Monday, June 28, 2010

Grimy, Filthy Dubstep

Picture completely unrelated.

If you're not already familiar with dubstep, you're missing out. A genre characterized by nasty basslines, crunchy synths, and neck-breaking head nod grooves, there's not a style of music better for testing out that new subwoofer. Perhaps what makes this genre so exciting, however, are the many variants that exist under the "dubstep" umbrella—from the desolate, alleyway house take of Burial to the drugged-out, hip hop fusion slant of Flying Lotus to club banger-meets-slaughterhouse floor style of Joker. Although it's impossible to cover all the bases, I'll try to offer a cross-section of what's out there in the world of dubstep...

Emalkay: When I Look at You [alt]
I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for drops. There's something carnal about that synth swell that explodes into a clusterfuck of bass and melody. If that description fits you too, then you're in for a treat. Hang in there for about a minute, and then prepare for your speakers to turn inside out.

Joker: Psychedelic Runway [alt]
An example of dubstep with a more distinct groove to it, this is what a UK drug kingpin might roll around town listening to. A little trippy, a lot gangsta, and criminally grimy.

Plan B: She Said (16Bit Remix) [alt]
A sort of sister genre to dubstep is grime, a UK take on hip hop that incorporates dubstep-esque beats with spitfire English emceeing. Here, 16Bit remixes rapper Plan B's "She Said" and takes it to whole other level of intensity.

Hyetal: Pixel Rainbow Sequence [alt]
Incorporating 8-bit samples from the original Donkey Kong and other nostalgic video game favorites, Hyetal offers another dubstep track with a sick buildup and release within the first minute of play. More laid back and less in-your-face than some other dubstep offerings, "Pixel Rainbow Sequence" is nevertheless super nod-worthy.

Flying Lotus: Massage Situation [alt]
Another more laid back track, "Massage Situation" features a soulful female vocal sample over a groove that builds, deconstructs, and rebuilds again. Although considerably less lysergic than, say, FlyLo's 2010 Cosmogramma, this song is nothing to scoff at.

Burial: Archangel [alt]
A dubstep primer would simply be incomplete without a sampling from Burial. Don't expect this to be part of your next party playlist. William Bevan, the man behind Burial, creates haunting soundscapes that are probably the club bangers of the underworld. As a brief aside, I must say that Burial holds a special place in my heart for the sole reason that his music was played as roadies set up Radiohead's equipment before I saw them in 2008. Burial's music is now forever synonymous with anticipation and happiness as the musical interlude to what would become the best night of my life beginning at 8:47 PM when Thom, Jonny, Ed, Colin, and Phil took the stage at Verizon Amphitheater in Charlotte, NC.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Playlist Pt. 1

The story of my life...

It's the dog days of summer here in the great American Southeast, and there's not much better than speeding down the interstate with the A/C cranked, the windows rolled down, and the music blaring. Muzjiks is here to help you with that last part. Here's an assortment of summery, feel-good tunes we've had in heavy rotation lately...

Grouplove: Naked Kids [alt]
Although the entirety of Grouplove's
self-titled EP could easily double as the soundtrack to your road trip, this track serves as an appropriate sampling of what the five song release has to offer.

The Radio Dept.: Where Damage Isn't Already Done [alt]
This reclusive Swedish dream pop outfit can do no wrong when it comes to wonderfully fuzzy melodies. If you haven't already done so, do yourself a favor and check out the band's most recent LP,
Clinging to a Scheme, an album that will definitely contend for a top spot in Muzjiks' end-of-the-year honors. However, this offering comes from Radio Dept.'s critically acclaimed debut full length, Lesser Matters.

Gorillaz: Empire Ants [alt]
Having quickly skyrocketed among the ranks of my favorite songs of all time, this track off of
Plastic Beach has one of the most mind-numbingly dope buildups ever. Listen to this and try not to dance—I dare you. Turn up the volume, turn up the bass, and throw your inhibitions to the wind because the guy at the red light next to you is about to look at you like you've got epilepsy when this thing hits the halfway mark and the groove overcomes you...

Deadmau5: Strobe [alt]
Arguably at the top of the electronic genre right now,
mau5 is regarded as a must-see on the festival circuit. Listen to this track and you'll quickly understand why. Ideal for nighttime driving.

Tiesto (ft. Tegan and Sara): Feel It in My Bones [alt]
With it's pulsing bassline, trance synths, and sultry female vocals, this song has all the makings of an indie club
banger. Once again, I dare you not to dance. Seriously. This thing is infectious.

Wiz Khalifa: Cabin Fever [alt]
Whether you toke or not, this song has one of the sickest beats I've heard this year. Along with
Big Boi and Big K.R.I.T., Wiz has released some of the most exciting hip hop this year. Another staple of my nighttime driving playlist.

Third Eye Blind: Motorcycle Drive By [alt]
A summer playlist would not be complete without a nostalgic 90s tune, and there are few bands as quintessentially 90s as these Californians who blew up with "
Semi-Charmed Life" and "Jumper." Another track off of their self-titled 1997 debut, "Motorcycle Drive By" features a beautiful acoustic guitar-driven buildup that goes perfectly with a sunny afternoon.

Keep your eyes peeled for more music worthy of participation in your summer memories here on Muzjiks because, frankly, we're sitting on some gems. After all, we can't pull out all the stops at once...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Extra! Extra!

According to Ed O'Brien of Radiohead, Thom and the gang are almost finished up with their much anticipated LP8, a follow-up to 2007's industry-revolutionizing In Rainbows, and expect to be releasing it by the end of this year. Fingers crossed for a 2011 world tour!

Read more on AtEase.

Sugar Glyder: WXOU 88.3 FM Interview

Muzjiks, a.k.a. purveyor of all things Sugar Glyder, would like to offer an entertaining and insightful interview of the Charlotte foursome that aired last night on Michigan's WXOU 88.3 FM. Enjoy, and please check out SG's music!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sitek's Maximum Balloon

With TV on the Radio currently on their planned one-year hiatus, the mastermind behind TVotR's sound has been hard at work with Aziz Ansari on a joke-rap mixtape titled Aaaaaaaangry and now a solo project as Maximum Balloon. Today, Muzjiks has the first listen on what Sitek has been cooking up under this new solo moniker. Combining a club-ready synth line with vocals from Aku (of Dragons of Zynth) that sound surprisingly similar to TVotR's Tunde Adebimpe, "Tiger" also is heavy on Sitek's characteristic funky guitar. While I know I speak for many when I say that Tunde, Kyp, and the rest of the TV on the Radio gang is greatly missed, this offering does a satisfying job at tiding fans over. Listen below.

Tiger (ft. Aku)