Tag Archives: electro

on deck: grizmatik at basslights, hampton, va

6 Dec

For the past few years, both Griz and Gramatik have been at the top of my (and many other EDM fans’) list of favorite funky fresh DJs. Both had a flair for the fawnk, which is always a welcome respite from the deluge of bass-heavy DJs making their rounds on the internets.

Let’s start with Gramatik. He’s repped by Pretty Lights record label, and is arguably the most legit DJ in their lineup. For me, at least, Gramatik lends credibility to the Pretty Lights label, rather than the label lending credibility to Gramatik. After all, I believe Gramatik had already released his wildly successful “Street Bangerz Vol. 1″ by the time he signed with Pretty Lights Music, and his sound was already well established from the get-go. Despite his Slovenian roots, Gramatik has a solid grasp on American jazz, blues, and funk that he weaves throughout his mixes, which meander without getting dull.

Griz, on the other hand, is a bit less of a veteran. In fact, he didn’t drop his first full album until September 2012 (after a strong presence on ze blogs for some time), but the result was worth the wait. Griz gets down with the funky stuff too, but his mixes are a little dirtier and bass heavy than Gramatik’s. He also incorporates a bit more soul, which definitely contributes to the toned-down feel of his stuff, even though the sounds are intense.

But then- THEN – came the collaboration that surpasses the sum of it’s parts: Grizmatik. That’s right- this fall, these two wunderkins teamed up, but their heads and tables together, and dropped some supa fresh ish on us this fall. Their collab, with the appropriately mishmashed title “Digital Liberation Is Mad Freedom” (i.e., Griz’ Mad Liberation plus Gramatik’s #digitalfreedom), is the most exciting team work of 2012. I’m always impressed whenever two extremely talented solo musicians are able to produce something together that sounds seamless- it doesn’t sound like either one was trying to push their sound in front of the other. Rather, the resulting tracks are a perfect blend of what I love about Griz and what I love about Gramatik, all in one nice musical package.

The two have only done limited performances together as a duo, which makes me especially exciting for Basslights, the upcoming electro extravaganza in Hampton, VA on 12/28-12/29. The lineup doesn’t expressly list “Grizmatik,” but both artists are performing solo- and I can’t help but assume they’ll be hitting us with some epic tag teaming during the two day festival. Not to mention that they’ll be sharing the stage with oh, you know, just Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, A-Trak, and Big G. Cotdamn. Cheers to peeping New Years Eve a few days early.


on my boombox: my month of travel, in song

9 Oct

September and October 2012 will forever be known as “the months of DC absenteeism.” I’ve been zipping all over the place via plane, train, bus, and roadtrip this month, so DC show-going has been mostly on hold.
That said, traveling is often a great way for me to forever relate certain music to a particular trip or experience. Sometimes it’s the song that plays on repeat when you’re drinking with your college friends during a reunion weekend; maybe it’s a new album that keeps you sane through a long flight delay. Or, maybe you’re lucky enough to see a local band play in a new city you’re visiting.

So, here is the rundown of the music I’ve been digging this month, that I will forever associate with these particular trips. (Note that I’m not including my Lotus show trip to Philly in my list of travels, because I already featured a Lotus track in my last track. But you should still listen to more Lotus).

1. Road trip to Notre Dame: Noosa, “Walk on By (Sound Remedy Remix)”

During a road trip all the way to South Bend, Indiana, to watch Notre Dame crush Michigan, this song played double duty: not only did it get us pumped up enough to turn the end of our 10 hour road trip into a party, but we continued to play the song throughout the weekend. And why wouldn’t we? This song inspires infectious party enthusiasm for anyone who listens to it. I should probably never listen to this song when I am trying to convince myself to stay in one night, because I wouldn’t even last through the first verse before getting off the couch and putting on some make up. Welcome to your fall party anthem, friends. You’re welcome.


2. A weekend in New Orleans: Panorama Jazz Band at the Spotted Cat Jazz Club

Any self-respecting music fan knows that when you’re going to New Orleans, you’re going to Mecca. You’re going to the place that gave literal birth to the defining genres of contemporary music: jazz and rock n roll. The music seeps into every aspect of New Orleans life, and I loved visiting a culture that was so immersed in its love of music. After all, we’re talking about the city that fostered the rise of everyone from Weezy to Frank Ocean to Big Freedia (and bounce music as a whole).

Naturally, I was ecstatic when the weekend’s plans included a trip to Frenchman St., a strip in the French Quarter that is bursting at the seams with live music venues. We ended up at a place called the Spotted Cat, a place that forever changed my perception of jazz clubs- for the better. At least in New Orleans, the term “jazz club” need not imply stuffy, fancy, old crowds, or expensive drinks. Picture your favorite funky dive bar, but put a small stage at the front and feature extremely talented musicians there every night of the week- free of charge. Needless to say, i was in heaven. Check out Panorama, the band I had the lucky pleasure of seeing on Saturday night.


3. Homecoming weekend in Charlottesville: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, The Heist

For this particular trip, I’m still in the lead up phase. So, this piece of music gets to play the role of “album I listen to while obsessively day dreaming about Homecoming weekend in Charlottesville.” Homecoming in Charlottesville, home of my alma mater UVA, is always one of my favorite weekends of the year. Thus, I usually need a great piece of music to listen to repetitively in the week prior, for several reasons: to get me excited for the unprecedented amounts of fun I’m about to have while reuniting with my old college friends, and to distract myself to make the week go by faster. And, of course, said music will be played repetitively during the road trip down 29 South, lest I burst with impatience during the drive.

THANKFULLY, Seattle-based white rapper-producer duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis just dropped a new album that totally fits the bill. The Heist includes songs featuring everyone from Schoolboy Q to Ray Dalton to Eighty4 Fly to Band of Horses.  The whole album is top notch, but a particular stand out track is “Same Love,” a moving tribute to gay marriage, in support of Macklemore’s gay uncles. Macklemore conveys a sense of empathy that is entirely endearing and unexpected, and the input from Mary Lambert is perfect. Yes, I will be listening to this album the entire way to Charlottesville, and the party-ready track below will make more than one appearance during the weekend.

“Thrift Shop”

on my boombox: bonde do role & major lazer

1 Aug

The title of this post might read “on my boombox,” but truthfully this could fall under a couple of categories- so, COMBO POST TIME!

Anyway, artist of choice today: Bondo do Rolo. You’re already intrigued, I know. Brazilian names are intriguing.

But thankfully, these guys deserve the attention they automatically garner for their exotic roots. Bonde do Role is bringing favela funk music straight from Rio de Janeiro to the U.S., and I couldn’t be more stoked about it.

What is favela, you ask? Don’t worry, I wouldn’t know either, if it weren’t for NPR. But sometime in fall 2010, I listened to an NPR piece about this Brazilian dance music (also called “baile funk” or “funk carioca”) taking the world by storm, and I fell in love with what I heard. Ever since, I’ve hoped favela would creep out of Rio to infiltrate mainstream and indie dance music in the U.S.- rest assured, it has, and in large part thanks to these guys.
Bondo do Role got their big break in 2006 when mega-producer Diplo found the band’s Myspace page (nothing says 2006 like a Myspace page, am I right?). Ever since, their music has subtly made waves by being featured in numerous commercials, games (such as FIFA), movie previews, etc- it’s possible you’ve listened to these Brazilian party people without evening knowing it.

This summer, I’ve renewed my appreciation for Bonde do Role due to some choice collaborations and remixes that have popped up across the internet; one of them, “Bang” featuring Das Racist, I featured on RwR’s July playlist. This time, I’m featuring their work with the same man who discovered them, Diplo.

See, Diplo is not only Bonde do Role’s producer and a successful solo artist, but he is also one part of the DJ duo Major Lazer. The crazy-awesomeness of Major Lazer’s outrageous, raunchy, Jamaican dancehall-influenced electro music deserves a post of its own, but rest assured it’s epic. For now, just be excited about the below track that combines the favela force of Bonde do Role with their mentor and DJ extraordinaire, Major Lazer.

Oh, and the reason I said this post was a combo? It could also be an “on deck” post, because Major Lazer is going to blow the lid off of U Street Music Hall on Thursday, October 25. Oh. hell. yes.

Are you dancing yet?

Major Lazer, “Get Free” (Bondo do Role remix)

weekend roll out: madeon, “minimix”

29 Jun

Well, it’s been a good week. Healthcare reform ruled constitutional by SCOTUS. I experienced my very first site launch at work (yes, I got to stare at that beautiful design for a very long time back in March). And most importantly, Madeon released a new track.

I became a fan of this French 16-year-old electro prodigy sometime in 2010, when I first heard his excellent remix of Yelle’s “Que Veaux Tu.” He has, as expected, gained steadily in well-deserved popularity since then. This kid packs more ingenuity into each track than many DJs can show in an entire mixtape, and his music is so incredibly accessible- for all people and places. He puts out tracks that are equally as enjoyable from headphones in the office as they are at a club. No matter what the environment, it still sounds great.

I was lucky enough to see the youngin’ spin at UHall back in May (I hope some of you remember that incredibly sweaty night when Uhall must have reached 110 degrees), and his live show more than lives up to his recordings.

This week, Madeon proves once again that we won’t stop hearing his name for quite a long time. With “Minimix,” Madeon takes his mixing style to a whole new level by sampling ~100 songs in a single 5-minute track. Are your forreal, Madeon?!

Rolllll out.

Madeon, “Minimix”

on my boombox: yuksek, “on a train” (magician remix)

30 May

It’s no secret that much of the music on my blog comes from the taste and expertise of my many musically inclined friends. The best is when friends expose me to new music as we share DJ responsibilities while sitting on porch on a Saturday night in the summer– periodically switching out iPhones from the speakers while different people serve up their new favorite beats (or just throw on a tried-and-true classic. Anything by the Talking Heads will do).

I discovered the track below by this very same process, during an especially enjoyable porch sitting session this past weekend. Everyone was bringing out the good stuff and fresh beats were in abundant supply, but this one especially stuck out.

I haven’t listened to a ton of Yuksek before but I definitely will now, because the original version of this remix is strong. And this magician character, whoever he is, just takes it to a whole new level. This track is the perfectly versatile party song- one that gets people going but doesn’t feel awkward when played in a chill setting. It’s a new go-to hang out jam, and I’m always on the hunt for more of those.

weekend roll out: frank ocean, whip appeal (SBTRKT remix)

13 Apr

Happy weekend, yall. I’m sad to report there’s a little less bounce in my step this morning. See, normally by Friday morning my weekend show schedule is pretty; not today. See, I normally never let the jam masters known as Lotus come into town without seeing one or all of their shows. However, I bojangled on buying tickets and now the Saturday show at the 930 club is sold out. What to do, what to do.

However, my Friday buzz was mostly recovered when I found this track. Love Frank Ocean (of Odd Future fame). Love SBTRKT (yet another 930 club regret- but hopefully catching him on the festy circuit this summer). Love SBTRKT remixing Frank Ocean even more. Gold on gold = gold.

Roll out-

Frank Ocean, “Whip Appeal” (SBTRKT remix)

on deck: u street music hall’s two year anniversary week

13 Mar

It’s hard to believe that just two short years ago, DC existed without U Street Music Hall. The now legendary danceclub/music venue/electro basement has played such a crucial role in my DC nightlife experience right from the get-go that I simply can’t imagine my life in DC sans UHall. No place has so often made me curse the weeknight Metro schedule, sing the praises of Natty Boh, or lose my voice from shouting over an eardrum-blasting soundsystem than U Street Music Hall.

Ok, mushy stuff aside, let’s get serious. You know the folks at UHall wouldn’t let an anniversary pass without throwing down in a big way to celebrate… all week long. Make it to one event, make it to them all- you owe it to UHall. They do so much for the young and bass hungry of this city. So go forth, don your glowsticks, and toast to many more successful years spent dancing at one of the nation’s best clubs, right here in our hometown.

Tuesday: Anniversary week launches with a live performance from one of the most highly respected and prolific DJs in the game, Four Tet. So respected, in fact, that he was one of a handful of DJs who received the ultimate privilege of remixing Radiohead for the King of Limbs 12″ remix series. Tet will be joined by New York-based garage/Hip-Hop/dubstep-influenced electronic producer FaltyDL and local mixmaster Harry Ransom. Advance tickets are sold out (womp) but a limited number of additional tickets will be available at the door.

Four Tet, “Pinnacles”


Wednesday: MOOMBAHTON. A homegrown electro subgenre that is doing amazing things for DC’s rep on the national electro scene. The 13th installment of UHall’s monthly Moombahton Massive features Moombahton pioneer and D.C. native Dave Nada with partner Matt Nordstrom (a.k.a. Nadastrom), resident DJ Sabo (Sol Selectas, Los Angeles), and special guest Toddla T of BBC Radio 1.  Oh, and HUGE bonus points for arranging Dave Nada’s mother, “Mama Nada,” to hold down the kitchen and whip up an assortment of her homemade empanadas all night. Yes please. 

Nadastrom, Rum & Coke EP


Thursday: D.C. electronic music blog Blisspop.com presents DJ sets from Ellum Audio, Maceo Plex, Catz N Dogz, along with Bristol’s bass-heavy house producer Eats Everything and Blisspop’s DC favorite Lxsx Frxnk.

Lsxs Frxnk, “Lost and Sound” (teaser)


Friday: I admit my trips to UHall more often occur on weeknights and Saturdays, but UHall has a weekly house party called Red Friday. This week the lineup includes house pioneers Derrick Carter and Alan Braxe, with a set from local DJ Juan Zapata.

Derrick Carter, “Get On It”


Saturday: Ok, here’s the biggie– Bliss, one of D.C.’s mainstay parties fronted by UHall co-owner Will Eastman, will host a special anniversary night featuring a selection of D.C.’s hometown heroes including the debut club performance of Volta Bureau (Will Eastman, Outputmessage and Micah Vellian), Starks & Nacey of Nouveau Riche, and UHall’s resident DJ, Brian Billion. Holy ish. Gold on gold on gold. This is basically DC’s royal family on the turntables all night, and this lineup is the only one that could bring me to a place that doesn’t serve Guinneess on St. Patrick’s Day. I went to anniversary night last year, and it’s definitely not one to miss.

Volta Bureau, “Alley Cat”