Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Gift

Here is a cleaned up, organized version of the aforementioned Bon Iver show.  Nifty cover art, done by yours truly, included.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bon Iver | 9:30 Club [8.3.11]

Last night, I made my first visit to the DC indie rock mecca, the 9:30 Club. Oh, and I might add, seeing the second of two sold-out Bon Iver shows, was not a bad way to start. Justin Vernon and the ever-expanding cast of the Bon Iver road crew blasted through the majority of their recently release Bon Iver, Bon Iver and reworked some favorites from the campfire, freak-folk staple food For Emma, Forever Ago.

Around the internet are reviews of both shows from the sold out stint at the 9:30 Club written with universal acclaim, even giddiness. Though, each reviewer cites a different facet of the show that pushed it over the top. Whether it was Vernon's noise solos during the coda of some favorites or the choice it bring along 2 drummers, every aspect contributed to an incredibly round show.

What made the show hold so strongly for me was the complexity and roundness of these arrangements. Each tune, especially the more sprawling of the like from the new record, benefited from incredibly detailed arrangements. The subtlety of the rapidly evolving brass and winds (every band member seemed to be able to play every instrument in the western hemisphere) the intricate, interlocking rhythms of the percussion "section," and the sheer beauty of Vernon's falsetto created a sum that well outweighed its parts.

The sound of this show will stay with me for quite some time. Lucky enough for me (and you) is that our good friends at NPR Music were there to record the spectacle and nice enough to host the performance on their site. A wonderful, wonderful parting gift, indeed. Listen here.

Set List

  • Perth
  • Minnesota, WI
  • Towers
  • Holocene
  • Creature Fear
  • Flume
  • Hinnom, TX
  • Wash.
  • Brackett, WI
  • Blood Bank
  • Who Is It (Bjork cover)
  • Re: Stacks
  • Calgary
  • Wolves (Act I and II)

  • Skinny Love
  • Beth/Rest
  • For Emma

Oh, and don't be a shit head at your next hyper-sensitive local beard fest.

Wet Hot Capital Summer

I have not posted since getting to DC as part of my stint with Future of Music Coalition. In the last few months, I have gone to some incredible shows, and listened to some incredible records. In an effort to share this with you, I will be documenting my experience in the District with a series of posts going back to the beginning of this sticky Mid-Atlantic summer. Recaps will be in the not-so-distant future.

Thank you and all the best.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3/17 Broadcast: Posthumous Swag

1. Drums and Tuba: Tobalino
2. Thom Yorke/Four Tet/Burial: Mirror
3. Musiq Soulchild: Money Right
4. My Morning Jacket: Golden
5. 213: I'm Fly
6. The Strokes: 12.51
8. Animal Collective: Daily Routine (Phaseone Remix)
9. Local Natives: Wide Eyes (Fool's Gold Remix)

Friday, March 11, 2011

3/10 Broadcast: I'm A Unicorn And He's A Table

**NOTE: Fool's gold is pyrite, not cubic zirconia. Cubic zirconia is fake diamond. Steven has the IQ of a snail.

1. TV on the Radio: Caffeinated Consciousness
2. Yuck: Suicide Policeman
3. Alex Clare: Relax My Beloved
4. One.Be.Lo: Enecs Eht No Kcab
5. Frank Ocean: There Will Be Tears
6. Earl Sweatshirt: FYC x Gruzen
7. Curren$y: Audio Dope II
8. Britney Spears: Till the World Ends (*Steven's mistake*)
10. Battles: Race : In

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Welcome to The Unicorn Ranch

Apart from the weekly show I do with Danny Weiss from 10-11 PM on Thursday, I (Steven Hummel) am now doing my own solo show every Tuesday from 10-11 PM on WALT. Unfortunately, for the time being, you can only listen live if you're on the Davidson College network, but all shows will be uploaded here thereafter for the international audience's listening pleasure. So far, there have been two episodes, which are detailed below. In the future, you can find the archive on the right sidebar. As always, I sincerely appreciate your support and readership.

Episode 1 (Download)

1. Desto: Gremlinz
2. Jam City: Magic Drops
3. MellowHype (ft. Earl Sweatshirt & Wolf Haley): Chordaroy
4. CyHi da Prynce: Ring Bellz
5. Sugar Glyder: Sleepless We Seem
6. Skepta (ft. N-Dubz): So Alive

Episode 2 (Download)
**NOTE: I was an idiot and didn't turn the mic on for the introduction, so that's why you hear the intro song cut right into "Novacane."
1. Frank Ocean: Novacane
2. La Roux: Bulletproof (Nacey Remix)
3. TV on the Radio: Will Do
4. Tyler, the Creator tells a joke
5. MellowHype (ft. Domo Genesis): Brain
6. Michael Caine impersonations on The Trip
7. Sugar Glyder: Sans Matador
8. Comedian Bill Burr on obese kids
9. Kanye West: I Wonder
10. Estelle (ft. Cee-Lo): Pretty Please (Love Me)
11. jj: STILL
12. Grouplove: Naked Kids

Friday, February 25, 2011

Explanation + Update

What happened? Where did Muzjiks go? In short, Muzjiks returned from winter break and got its ass kicked by college. It's still here, it's still evolving, it's still producing content and staying on the bleeding edge of what's hot in the world of music—it's just happening beneath the surface. Muzjiks is in no way abandoned; in fact, it's still embryonic, as far as I'm concerned. Here's what's on tap (in roughly chronological order):
  • change from domain to domain (something I'd wanted to do since the site's inception)
  • in-depth Odd Future piece in the vein of my Kanye West piece in terms of scope
  • new logo with an eventual redesign/overhaul to come this summer
  • maintaining regular broadcasts and podcasts of both MuzjiksFM and my solo show, The Unicorn Ranch (more info on that to come in the near future)
  • overall, more exhaustive coverage of daily news with lengthier features mixed in
In the meantime, please bear with me and don't delete that Muzjiks bookmark—just update it when the switch over to happens.

As always, I appreciate your continued readership.

2/15/11 Broadcast

1. TV on the Radio: Dry Drunk Emperor
2. Earl Sweatshirt: Molliwopped
3. Sugar Glyder: The Work (And What May Come)
4. Thom Yorke: Atoms for Peace
5. CyHi da Prynce: Top of the World
6. Atlas Sound: Shelia
7. The Slip: Airplane/Primitive
8. Tommy Emmanuel: Amazing Grace

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2/1/11 Broadcast


1. Gemmy: Supligen
2. Led Zeppelin: Going to California
3. James Blake: Unluck
4. Wilco: Wishful Thinking
5. EarlWolf: Orange Juice
6. Steve Reich: Electric Counterpoint
7. Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians
8. Squarepusher/AFX: Freeman Hardy & Willis Acid
9. Noisia: Alpha Centauri (Excision & Datsik Remix)
10. Radiohead: Worrywort

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sugar Glyder Continues Ascent With 'Lovers'

Although surely not the most boring day in history (that woeful honor goes to April 11, 1954), August 4, 2010, was still rather unremarkable. Weather was seasonably warm across the country. The stock market behaved in its characteristic downtrending manner. No one particularly notable died, nor were there any noteworthy news stories that day. But that night on the corner of 32nd Street and 7th Avenue, Arcade Fire played a packed Madison Square Garden and a clogged (the Internet is a series of tubes, mind you) online live YouTube audience in support of their long-awaited Neon Bible followup, The Suburbs. The same Win Butler blog heartthrob who brought Merge Records its greatest record since the mythic In the Aeroplane Over the Sea with Funeral was performing in one of the most storied American venues this side of Radio City. No longer was this Canadian collective a Montreal secret. If it hadn't happened already, then August 4, 2010, surely marked Arcade Fire's arrival as a bona fide arena rock band. Like Kings of Leon before them, Arcade Fire had successfully risen from obscurity and indiehood to the mainstream—and accomplished the feat largely on the quality of their music alone. This was no corporate force-feeding by way of ClearChannel airwave saturation; rather, this was a direct result of old-fashioned good music winning over the ears of the masses.

Arcade Fire's music is of the variety that sounds at home reverberating off the walls of spacious venues; that begs to be echoed by a choir of frenzied concertgoers; that requires a space large enough to can contain Sarah Neufeld's passionate violin swells, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne's matrimonious harmonies, and the band's ambitious album concepts. You might call it… epic. But don't tell anyone I told you that. After all, if there's any rock equivalent of the dubstep "filthier than..." meme, it's the brotastic label of "epic" under which all Muse, Explosions in the Sky, and Coldplay records are categorized. But like Arcade Fire and quite unlike most bands that seek to fashion an "epic" sound, North Carolina's Sugar Glyder achieves such sprawling, larger-than-life sonorities without overblown production, without kitchen sink philosophies of the-more-layered-textures-the-better, and without vocals drenched in more reverb than St. Peter’s Cathedral on a hot day. It's grandness without grandiosity.

In this respect, Lovers at Lightspeed picks up where Poor Baby Zebra left off, offering Sugar Glyder's trademark blend of soaring guitar-driven rock, hummable melodies, phonaesthetically-conscious phrasings, and an acute awareness of how to manipulate chaos and order in the way that would make the Pixies jealous. That's not to say that the band's sound is outdated, however. Combined with these foundational elements that undergird any talented rock band are quintessentially now qualities that situate Sugar Glyder at the forefront of undiscovered independent artistry. Tracks like "Deep Into Summer" find the band integrating Local Natives-esque percussion while "The Work (and What May Come)" finds Howie, Rigo, Aoyagi, and Matthews effortlessly transitioning between tempos in an impressive display of their ever-progressing songwriting abilities.

And although they might be taking stylistic cues from Death Cab for Cutie (see: Howie's vocal timbre on "Ocean, I Love You" and melodramatic lyrical direction of the EP), Minus the Bear (see: repetition of short, simplistic melodic bits in guitar), and the aforementioned Local Natives, Sugar Glyder manages to make the EP unmistakably their own. The anthemic chants in "Ocean, I Love You" recall "The OK Song" and "Blackbeard Has Feelings Too," and the organ that introduces "The Work" hearkens back to the groovy organ that commands the breakdown in We Cracked the Sky's "Ice Cubes for Igloos." And perhaps most encouraging on this effort is Daniel Howie’s further vocal development, exploring the tone colors that his instrument is capable of as he scales up and down his register. Yet Howie doesn't allow his explorations to trigger timidity; instead, he flexes his vocal capabilities perhaps most impressively on any track in Sugar Glyder’s discography in "Deep Into Summer" as he effortlessly hits a note that puts Kelcey Ayer's wail in "Airplanes" to shame. Further adding to the vocal textures on Lovers, though, are welcome appearances from Bobby Matthews and Chris Rigo, lending their pipes to the chorus in "Deep Into Summer" and throughout the EP.

Praises aside, however, I must admit that this release, while stellar, does leave some to be desired for this listener. For one, the band seems wary to delve into the weirdness hinted at in earlier songs like "B C D E," "I Fear I Might Have Lost You…," and bizarre MacSpeak interludes of previous releases. While this may be a personal preference, I feel that it’s these more avant-garde leanings that would really set apart Sugar Glyder’s music from the rest, and perhaps this avenue will be investigated on the LP to come. Moreover, the lyrical content of Lovers is rather hackneyed for my taste. Granted, this may come with the territory, being a record about lovers and all, but I confess that I did find myself wincing at some of the nauseatingly love drunk words coming out of Howie’s mouth. But if Howie’s lyricism is the EP’s downfall, then it’s also Howie simultaneously saving the release with his incredible knack for pleasant-sounding phrasings. Referred to earlier with the Pitchfork-worthy (i.e., pretentious) terminology of “phonaesthetic,” Howie’s awareness of the euphony in words is perhaps the single element the unifies Sugar Glyder’s irresistible sound—that is, along with Rigo’s precisely-engineered melodious guitar lines, Aoyagi’s thumping bass, and Matthews’s noticeably more technical drumming. Take, for instance, “One More Snow,” which finds Howie’s proficiency as a wordsmith at its finest:

Seasoned with my infatuation for love and what it means

Reasons, sweet deliberation's got me tossin’ in my sheets.

If the selection and arrangement of those words doesn’t highlight the inherent sonic beauty of the English language, then I don’t know what does. It’s rhythmic and bouncy just sitting on the page, for cryin' out loud.

And when these words do come to life on Lovers at Lightspeed, I can’t help but wonder when August 4, 2010, is going to happen for Sugar Glyder. Because if there’s any justice in this music industry, then that day is coming. The band might stand to hasten the arrival of that day by marketing themselves less as a “punk” band and more as a buzzword-exploiting “experimental indie rock/post-punk” outfit, but I foresee the end result as inevitable: Chris Rigo, Daniel Howie, Bobby Matthews, and Emily Aoyagi are going to fill arenas. It’s simply a matter of time.

One More Snow

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Not Swag.

Mashup extraordinaires The White Panda are "performing" at Davidson College tonight. Let's just say I'm skeptical. Might start Twitter beef about it. Follow @muzjikssteven. If you don't get a review out of Muzjiks, then it's safe to assume that the "concert" was atrocious beyond words.

Hi, my name is Steven Hummel, and I'm a pessimistic, elitist fuckhead. I appreciate your readership.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Episode 1: The Return

1. Sugar Glyder: "One More Snow"
2. Rick Ross ft. Kanye West: "Live Fast, Die Young"
3. jj: "Still"
4. Gorillaz: "Hillbilly Man"
5. James Blake: "I Never Learnt to Share"
6. Endgames: "Ecstasy (Jam City Refix)"
7. Velour: "Booty Slammer"
8. Young Galaxy: "Peripheral Visionaries"
9. Chris Brown ft. Busta Rhymes & Lil Waynes: "Look At Me Now"
10. Kanye West ft. CyHi da Prynce: "Christmas in Harlem"
11. Earl Sweatshirt: "Earl"
12. Flying Lotus: "Do The Astral Plane"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

MuzjiksFM is back!

Tomorrow night at 10 PM EST, MuzjiksFM will finally return to the airwaves. Watch this space for the streaming URL, the playlist, the podcast link, and the Soundcloud download. Get ready—Sirius XMU has nothing on us. Seriously. We run shit.

UPDATE: Stream here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mainstream Pop's First Attempt at Dubstep

Prepare to hear this for the next four months...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Funky disco soul revival?

It's not prevalent enough yet to call it a revival, but with Cee-Lo Green leading the pack with his Stevie Wonder-esque The Lady Killer, it's conceivable that a full-blown resurgence of the funkadelic sounds of the 70s could be on their way back to the mainstream. Perhaps it's just my wishful thinking, but here's a handful of examples of recent music that are fully indebted to the sounds of the yesteryear and give me hope for the future of grooviness. Now we jive.