Monday, November 21, 2005

The National Trust

I recently mentioned the idea of the all important "bridge" track in a posting. For DJs who spin eclectic sets and jump from genre to genre, there's nothing more important to keeping a dance floor moving and the evening flowing than a track that spans styles. The beauty of said tracks is that they are often few and far between and most importantly, the DJs best kept secret. But a recent promo sent from Thrill Jockey is simply too good to keep for my self, wallowing clandestine in my crates for the occasional gig. While their monograms may be similar, you'll have little trouble confusing The National Trust from Brooklyn alt-rockers The National. The sophomore release from Neil Rosario and company, Kings and Queens, is an absolutely masterful batch of songwriting spanning decades of influences -- from Motown era R&B to the yacht rock of Loggins and Collins, McDonald and the Doobies; from early Detroit techno to current Bugz in the Attic-style UK future soul. No post could do the breadth of this record justice but "It's Just Cruel" is a great start melding the opulent sound of late 80s electro funk (think Prince, Cameo) with a taut, undeniable broken beat, falsetto vocals and an avalanche of processed bass and synth. This is compositionally strong and produced with no holds barred -- slap bass, dirty horns and a fantastic upper register Funkadelic synth melody. Perhaps one of the most danceable tracks ever released on Thrill Jockey, the venerable Chicago imprint known more for their cerebral rock than their hedonist future disco -- Mouse on Mars and Adult as the exceptions of course. I sure as hell hope this record gets some attention (the last, Dekkagar, was tragically underappreciated) because unlike a lot of albums that get lost in the hype machine, this is full of stylishly well-developed, intelligently written songs. Sure, there are definitive 80s moments, but the most nostalgic element of Kings and Queens is not in its tone but rather in its uninhibited approach to using every aspect of the studio. Resources

  • For more information on The National Trust check out their Thrill Jockey Records homepage.

  • The National Trust :: It's Just Cruel

    Thursday, November 17, 2005

    King Seven

    Nice hard-to-find track today from Leed's King Seven. I guess King Seven is the alias of James Hoffman, a talented young guitarist and producer who has fast become one of scissorkick's artists to watch. Hoffman doesn't do anything cutting edge, but instead takes those edges and sands them down to smooth, child-safe rounded corners. His combination of airy neo-folk guitar and down/midtempo drums is initially reminiscent of Lemon Jelly or Hint and although his Hidden EP has a sound you will swear you've heard, it's probably unlikely you actually have unless of course you picked up Bonobo's new Solid Steel mix which features the title track of the EP. This is wintery, holiday drive soundtrack stuff for sure, a welcome addition to the scissorkick holiday mix which will be available online for December. "Simple Folk" is pure stereo cinnammon, a winning combination of pastoral acoustic and processed guitar, energetic drums and just enough conga to keep it funky. If you've been looking for something to counteract some of the dissonant records you've been listening to, this is it. A surefire cure-all for drone-damaged and tinitus-prone ears. Resources

  • For more information on King Seven check out his homepage.

  • King Seven :: "Simple Folk"

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    All Good Loft Party :: This Saturday

    Quick announcement to any NYC-area readers. BIG jam tomorrow night with special guests from DC, The All Good Funk Alliance and Kid Gusto and Moose. The party will cover a HUGE spectrum of music -- from quality downtempo and midtempo jazz juice, to electronically augmented funk stormers to latin, broken and all the prefixes in between. Yours truly will once again be teaming up with DRM to drop some bombs. I expect it will be more of a UK style jam, with the DJs all over the map and a friendly, knowledgable crowd of music lovers. Oh, and for just $10 you get beer until the many kegs run dry and a place to do your thing until the sun rises. That's why the address is a secret. So if you are interested in coming, email the organizer, Aaron of Bastard Jazz at to get detailed address information later today. And if you come by, please say hello.

    All Good Funk Alliance :: "The One"

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Five Deez

    There is an infinitesimal line separating good experimental hip-hop from awful, unlistenable waste. Seriously, I hate to even use the word experimental for fear of automatically inducing comparisons to artists on Anticon, Def Jux and the like -- who have released some essential recordings over the years -- and qualifying a record before you've heard a single note. So let's just call Five Deez progresssive, okay? We liberals seem to enjoy the label, so I'm sure the out-there Cincinatti foursome won't mind. But really, how can you talk about their new record Kommunicator without making references to some type of outer fringe. The important thing to note is that Fat Jon and the boys have figured out a way to stretch their musical elasticity to new distances. They expand but never break, pushing the production to seriously impressive limits all while making accessible hip-hop. No seriously. Today's post "Fugg That" is the perfect example of smart, courageous hip-hop production, moving perilously close to genre overkill yet stopping just short of the excess to qualify it as near-genius. I know I may be a little over the top, but it's just not that often that a track recalls vintage IDM and drum n' bass AND a dirty south/crunk cadence all in a single track. Somewhere out there I'm sure Cee-Lo is ready to channel Sun Ra, but until that happens you can't get more intergalactically funky than the new record from Five Deez. The mothership has revisited... Resources

  • For more information on Five Deez check out their web site.

  • Five Deez :: "Fugg That "

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    Bonobo: Solid Steel

    Great double post today of two killer downtempo/midtempo jams coming from Brighton. Both Bonobo and Flevans have been holding down the UK seaside resort town for a while, with the former moving from local stalwart Tru Thoughts to Ninja Tune. The newest addition to the Solid Steel series has Simon Green (Bonobo) putting together a typically rousing jazz-fueled midtempo set. The boys and I have seen Bonobo spin a few times and he always plays absolutely essential recordings, not just mashing things up by hopping genres, but instead finding the hallowed "bridge tracks," those songs that are actually built by parts of multiple genres. It makes for an amazing set as evidenced by his new It Came from the Sea edition of Solid Steel. Following DJ Kentaro is no easy act but the monkey man does an admirable job capturing the mood and flow of his live set on disc. I also added the Flevans download because it is arguably his best track to date, a supreme jazz-funk-breaks banger that's currently a very hard record to track down. Luckily I have a few spins left on my lonely 12" but once that goes it's back to Ebay. Enjoy. I have some great posts coming up from James Friedman, 5 Deez and the new COLDCUT! So check back soon. Resources

  • For more information on Bonobo check out his Ninja Tune homepage.

  • You can purchase Bonobo music online at by clicking this link or at Ninja Tune's Ninjashop by clicking here

  • Bonobo :: "Change Down/The Sugar Rhyme" Flevans :: "Hey Mr. Bundle"