Oct 31, 2011

BEIRUT





The EPs and the albums by Beirut are largely the work of Zach Condon, a young Santa Fe, New Mexico native.

Condon has recorded before: when he was fifteen and under the name of Realpeople, he made an electronic record, fashioned after his love for The Magnetic Fields. Condon was a straight-A student until he dropped out at the age of 17 to travel Europe with his cousin in a drunken haze, cavorting and partying with the locals wherever he ended up. It was during one of these evenings that he was first exposed to Balkan music (notably including the Boban Marković Orkestar and Goran Bregović), blasting from the upstairs apartment. Condon ended up with the Serbian artists all night, going through albums country by country, note for note. 

The first album under the Beirut moniker, Gulag Orkestar (2006), was the direct result of what he learned that night. While it may sound like an entire Balkan orchestra playing modern songs as mournful ballads and upbeat marches, the album was performed and recorded almost entirely by Condon alone. He did so on Pro Tools while skipping school in Albuquerque and at Sea Side Studios in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Jeremy Barnes added percussion and some violin overlays.

After recording, Condon formed a full band which at times varies in the number of members, from six to ten. Live he is accompanied by Perrin Cloutier (cello/accordion), Jason Poranski (guitar/mandolin/ukulele), Nick Petree (drums), Kristin Ferebee (violin), Paul Collins (organ/keys/tambourine/ukulele), Jon Natchez (baritone sax/mandolin/glockenspiel), and Kelly Pratt (trumpet/euphonium).

In November 2006 Condon was “briefly hospitalized for extreme exhaustion”, the band’s website said, and as a consequence the band cancelled the rest of the tour. They resumed performing in March 2007 and released their second album, The Flying Club Cup the same year on October 9th. Parts of the album were performed and recorded by Condon in his bedroom again, but others were recorded with the live band, which resulted in a more organic, live sound. While writing, Condon said he was inspired by French music, like Jacques Brel(whose song Le Moribond he covered on his Elephant Gun EP), and he moved to Paris for a while. During the extensive tour in support of The Flying Club Cup, Condon and the band more or less fell apart from exhaustion once again and disappeared from the radar in April 2008. 

Condon took a long break and returned in 2009 with a double EP, March of the Zapotec & Realpeople: Holland. The first was partly recorded in Mexico with the Mexican Band Jimenezand had a more South-American flavour to it than Condon’s previous efforts. The second EP ‘Holland’ was credited to Condon’s old name Realpeople and consisted of five electrotracks, once more in the vein of The Magnetic Fields.

Albums

* Gulag Orkestar (May 9, 2006)
* The Flying Club Cup (October 9, 2007)
* The Rip Tide (August 2, 2011)

EPs

* Lon Gisland EP (January 30, 2007)
* Pompeii (February 28, 2007)
* Elephant Gun (June 25, 2007)
* March of the Zapotec & Realpeople: Holland (2009)








Oct 30, 2011

MNDR


New York City (2009 – present)
    MNDR is an electronic music duo, formed in 2009 in New York City, consisting of Amanda Warner and Peter Wade.


    Warner moved from Oakland, California to New York City in 2008 to work as a songwriter for hire. It was only after meeting Wade that she began to consider fronting a musical act herself. MNDR has opened for bands like YACHT, Massive Attack, and Deerhoof and frequently collaborates with visual artist Jamie Carreiro, who provides visual effects for MNDR’s live shows.Warner and Wade uploaded four tracks to MySpace in 2009, and those tracks eventually became MNDR’s debut EP, E.P.E… The band is currently at work on their first full-length album, tentatively scheduled for release in early 2011. The song “Fade to Black” from E.P.E was re-recorded in the Simlish language of The Sims and is featured in The Sims 3: High-End Loft Stuff.

    Amanda Warner is featured on the song “Bang Bang Bang”, the first single taken from Mark Ronson & The Business Intl.’s third studio album, Record Collection. The song was co-written by Warner, Wade, Ronson, and Q-Tip. Daniel Kreps from Rolling Stone describes MNDR as providing “the song’s indelible French-laden hook” while “a debonair Q-Tip absolutely slays on his verses.” Warner subsequently provided vocals for a parody version of the song, called “Dom Dom Dom”, written by Chris Moyles and Dave Vitty. She is also featured on Ronson’s 2010 tour in support of his new album.

mndrmndr.com






Oct 27, 2011

BASEMENT JAXX



Brixton, South London, UK (1994 – present)
Basement Jaxx is an English house music duo comprised of Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe that rose to popularity in the late 1990s. Basement Jaxx started in Brixton, South London, UK in 1994, where they held a regular club night called Rooty, which would later become the name of their second album. The duo got their name from the location of the studio where they recorded their first EP - it was located in the basement of friends of Simon Ratcliffe. 

In addition to their own work, Basement Jaxx have become in-demand remixers. Tracks such as 4 My People (which became a massive chart and club hit), Like I Love You and She Wants to Move have all had the Basement Jaxx remix treatment.

Their official website is www.basementjaxx.co.uk








Oct 16, 2011

KRAAK AND SMAAK





    Oscar De Jong, Wim Plug and Mark Kneppers and are the studio core of Kraak & Smaak.
After originally bonding over a slavish devotion to vinyl and a love for classic funk records they went on to record their debut album Boogie Angst. Picked up in the UK by Radio 1 and in LA by KCRW the band quickly picked up fans especially in the Los Angeles TV and Film community. This led to their music being used in hospital chick show Greys Anatomy leading in turn to widespread use in other films and shows.
     In the UK support has kept building steadily on the back of the incredible live show. 
Annie Nightingale was a long time supporter of the band and the various guest mixes and spins on her Radio 1 show led to festival bookings and other R1 DJ’s getting on board.

    2011 is the year that Kraak & Smaak will take centre stage with the release of their third studio album that will sureley satisfy their growing army of fans and win over new converts. The setup single from the record – Dynamite - has already become the most added electronic record at American college radio and the band have debuted their new live show at the Eurosonic Festival to a rapturous response ahead of a mad summer of touring.
It is more of an electronic album than their previous ones but it still has the unmistakeable Kraak & Smaak swing. The music moves effortlessly from nu-disco through deep electronic funk to upbeat hand in the air anthems. It is also more song based than before, with new singer Lex Empress contributing songs to the album as well as the band’s MC Sebastian, rising UK bluesman John Turrell and Dutch songstress Janne Schra (Schradinova and ex-Room Eleven). The band also had the chance to work with vocalists who have influenced and informed their unique sound. The distinctive voice of house don Romanthony can be heard alongside New York funk legend Lee Fields bringing a brilliant diversity to the album which is weaved together by the trademark K&S beats and incredible keyboard playing.

     Kraak & Smaak’s second album Plastic People spawned their biggest hit to date Squeeze Me. It sold over 80,000 copies in the US, was used there in a major TV ad for download service Rhapsody, brought in celeb and music industry fans as Perez Hilton (describing their music as ‘Amy Winehouse meets Moby’) and Kanye West and earned the band a live performance at ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Show. It also marked a change from the out and out boogie funk of the first album to a deeper more electronic sound and led to a world tour taking in the cream of the worlds festivals including Glastonbury, Big Chill and Bestival in the UK, Lowlands in Holland, Good Vibrations in Australia, Coachella, Ultra Music Festival and Detroit Movement in the US and many others around Europe.

    In between the first and second albums the boys also released a double CD of the favourite remixes they had done – The Remix Sessions, including Jamiroquai and Richard Dorfmeister; since then their remix catalogue has only gained more weight with Maxwell, Junkie XL, Sam Sparro, Fedde le Grand, Darwin Deez and Sander Kleinenberg and very recently, Moby’s new single ‘The Day’, all being re-touched with the Kraak & Smaak sound.