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VIDEO: Twigs — “Ache” (dir. by Grace Ladoja)

August 14, 2012

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The only reason I know where Twigs resides is from their YouTube account, twigstv: United Kingdom. The location doesn’t surprise me, but the mysteriousness does. Their tumblr, even less revealing as their YouTube account, only has the two music videos they’ve uploaded, one, from July 10th, is really sexy – I’m afraid to watch it in public, the second, from August 8th, is called “Ache” and has this eerie, looming aura to it, like a pre-dawn fog floating over a river and you’re on a bridge; you hear footsteps, turn around, and find yourself alone, you look into the water and bubbles are approaching the surface (!). 

Yeah, “Ache” sort of feels like that, but, like it’s video predecessor, “Hide,” the track is blossomed with lust, tensioned with lovable minimalism and a gloomy drag-hiphop beat that feels like A$AP Rocky should swirl himself in it.

The video, directed by Grace Ladoja, might even add more allure and mystery for “Ache.” The minimally crafted, one sequence shot features a small cast of characters with a slew of eccentricities: a man wearing a piece of headgear that looks like it could withstand a full-blown riot, a light the man seems to be transfixed under (left), and a fog that eventually takes over and makes the man dance crazily (above). 

A slow-churning piece of work, be sure to keep a heads up on whatever and whoever Twigs is. I know I’ll be waiting. 

WATCH: Twigs — “Ache” (dir. by Grace Ladoja)

-Aaron Geer

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Touring with Animal Collective, Micachu & The Shapes Should Open Plenty of Ears

August 13, 2012

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Opening up for Animal Collective for their Fall 2012 tour, Micachu & The Shapes have every reason to be there. “Micachu is largely inspired by Harry Partch who famously used an array of customised and home made instruments. These included a xylophone made of light bulbs, a ‘Cloud Chamber’ made out of pyrex dishes that could not only be played musically but detect particles of ionizing radiation and a series of highly complicated 44 stringed instruments” (Rough Trade).

With their newest LP, Never, out now via Rough Trade, Micachu reminds me first and foremost of the Baltimore’s tUnE-yArDs, for their immense deliberation of noise and crafty skills in accompaniment, and then a slew of garage bands that’ve circulated throughout the years. It’s easy, one may assume, to put a finger on every track the three-some make. Take “Holiday” for example: a 1-2-3-2 synth riff flies around between Mica Levy (aka Micachu) and her gorgeous, highly distinct voice while a snare drum tuned too-sharp (not complaining) shimmers and shakes somewhere between keen and sensationalism. 

Self-produced, Never is a free-ranging blast of sound and home recordings that blend improvisation with heart-wrenching songwriting and instrumentation.

Most songs barely reachthree minutes, the longest “Nothing” – the thirteenth of fourteen tracks – at 4:56 is one of the loveliest I’ve heard all summer.

Debuting on July 17th on YouTube, each track of Never was released with a music video, which is really fun: quirky, somewhat rudimentary, videos shot cheaply with no intention of creating genius. Which is exactly why the album seems so appealing: at a time when lushness and overproduction for tracks – marketed and scanned through the dilapidated lasers of Facebook, Soundcloud, Spotify, et cetera – seems destined to be accompanied with a music video that feels more cinematic and trite than the newest trailer for another incredulous based-off-the-comic-book-super-hero-mega-movie, Micachu & The Shapes merely make hopeful, almost anti-art videos for each track (and ironically, too, if one were to really go into it).

Below is the video for “OK,” the first single off Never, and below that are the tour dates they’ll open up for Animal Collective.

WATCH: Micachu & The Shapes — “OK” (via YouTube)

Micachu And The Shapes – Tour Dates With Animal Collective
9/18 Seattle, WA – Paramount
9/19 Vancouver, BC – Malkin Bowl
9/20 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
9/21 Oakland, CA – Fox Theater
9/22 Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
9/27 Dallas, TX – House of Blues
9/28 Austin, TX – Backyard
9/29 New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
9/30 Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
10/2 Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion
10/3 Philadelphia, PA – Mann Center
10/5 Brooklyn NY – Williamsburg Park

-Aaron Geer

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WATCH: Russ — “Corleone”

July 9, 2012

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When I was 19, I wasn’t doing what Atlanta’s Russ is doing right now, and I really don’t think a lot of people were/are/is/will. A member of Atlanta’s collective DIEMON (Do It Everyday Music Or Nothing), Russ not only writes better than most rappers his age, he produces (every track) better, as well. His most recent album, Straight From Limbo, like all recordings from the collective, is free for download on the DIEMON website here.

One of the better tracks from Limbo is “Corleone,” and, with the video below, it’s clear to see that he’s not afraid of showing what’s lurking: an industry that DIEMON’S ready to annihilate.

WATCH: Russ — “Corleone” 

 

-Aaron Geer
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VIDEO: Ty Beat & MC Friendly — “Elderly Spelling Bee” (feat. Matt Black)

May 16, 2012

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Posted by Aaron Geer

If you’re looking for Michigan produced hip-hop turn no further to Young Heavy Souls. Branded as a “digital music company/distributor” and founded through the eyes of one of our favorite acts of West Michigan, Matt Black, another MI rapper is slowly rising to prominence. MC Friendly, based in Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids, has a distinct taste to his flow, and his producer Ty Beat, also of Grand Rapids, blends swirling electronic synths with drums that bite, bass that floats  between loose hiphop-nouveau and tight sampled rhythms.

Ty Beat & MC Friendly’s Blast Femur – off Young Heavy Souls – is six tracks of dense electronic hip-hop. MC Friendly is nearly flawless because of the high-quality production. Energy drips off each of his rhymes, and Ty Beat never pressures too far into over-marginalizing what’s really at play: the strength in MC Friendly’s writing.

So it makes sense for one of the best tracks off Blast Femur to be titled “Elderly Spelling Bee” (watch video below) because of the tenacity and importance that Friendly puts into each line, going as far as cougar hunting: Tell your dad to keep his eyes on his chick cause I’m a slick motherfucker. Featuring Kalamazoo’s Matt Black, the track is centered around organic instrumentation from Ty Beat and a vox-endcoded chorus that sort-of comes out of nowhere but I can’t imagine the track without it.

Download Blast Femur here

WATCH: Ty Beat & MC Friendly — “Elderly Spelling Bee” (feat. Matt Black)

 

Aaron Geer is the Founding Contributor to Phiendly. He recently graduated from Western Michigan University with a B.A. in English and wonders why he hasn’t been accepted into any graduate school programs. He then remembers that he forgot to apply.
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On the Timeline of R. Kelly, and the “Share My Love” Greatness

May 14, 2012

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Seriously, it’s worth listening to…

Posted by Aaron Geer
R. Kelly’s released one of his greatest tracks recently, and his newest album Write Me Back might put the bumpy, and often times manic career that spans nearly two decades into the same breath and categories as soul and funk legends as Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and Barry White

In the 8th grade I bought Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On because it was Rob’s top five album in Nick Hornby’s enigmatic novel on love and music, High Fidelity. Nine years later, I turn to Gaye’s title track when I drink too much and end up on stage singing karaoke, dedicating the track to the cute blonde bartender like I’m some showman wearing a suit and not jeans that haven’t been washed in, well, you don’t really have to wash jeans, right? Right?

I’d like to say I listen to my fair share of the distant-genre’d label of “soul,” but in all reality I don’t have an ear past anything other than Barry White  (I have Isaac Haye’s Shaft hanging on my wall in my living room, per the discretion of my roommate’s fondness of quirky record covers) and of course R. Kelly’s tumultuous roller coaster of a career.

Like most of other millenials like myself, a quirky fondness of R. Kelly comes to mind because of the (literally) out of this world movie Space Jam. In third grade I wore Michael Jordan’s #45 jersey in my school photo and the OST for his WTF? movie was the first CD I’ve ever owned. You could say I was obsessed. I’d say, frankly because I wish it were true, I was merely possessed by not only Michael Jordan and his greatness in not only being the greatest basketball player that was, has and will ever play the game, but also of R. Kelly’s purely-awesome anthem “I Believe I Can Fly.” Singing it in your head already? Yeah, same here.

R. Kelly really looks like Will Smith in Men In Black here. Right?

In 2003, I was the type of kid to complain about the eventual never-ending war in Iraq, only played the acoustic guitar because I (surprisingly) had a girlfriend, but here I was, hiding my most-likely-listened-to-track with my headphones on and AIM set up to troll, listening to R. Kelly swirl his way straight ahead, so instantaneously, into “Ignition (Remix).” He started the track with, also what I would say if I was eventually caught listening to it, Now usually I don’t do this, but uhh. And I would even listen to it on my Walkman as loud as I could and play along on my drums because I wanted to master the hi-hat and what I would eventually speed up to twice the speed to anything that I’d ever play ever again on drums.

And then the glory – oh the greatness and glory – of R. Kelly’s craziest, most insanely beautiful moment when he released the videos for Trapped in the Closet. I felt like everyone was thinking, Have you seen them yet? The midget? Viiiiiibraaaate? I KNOW! and couldn’t help but to play them on YouTube over and over and over again until eventually we all just said Yeah, he’s fucking crazy and pretty much pushed him and the craziest thing ever into the back of our minds.

Now, he gives me an even better surprise: one of the best soul tracks I’ve heard since something I’ve heard on vinyl. “Share My Love” (watch official video below) is full of violins, funky guitar, thick bass, and a piano so laden in lush tranquility that it’s hard not to imagine Al Green or Marvin Gaye singing this on Soul Train. The first single off his highly-awaited album Write Me Back, “Share My Love” pretty much has everything you’d want to have a good laugh and put on at a party when things are getting a little weird and “No Diggity” and “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” are being played on someone’s iPod and there’s a train of nostalgic smiles beaming from everyone. Cause that’s what R. Kelly feels like, a ride back in time.

At the apex of “Share My Love” is a hilarious moment when R. Kelly strips it all bare and does his best R&B mucho-suave, sing-saying “Now that we’re in this room, let’s do what we were born to do: Populate . . . I just wanna share my love with you!” I’m currently reading Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom and one of the central figures goals in life is to make Americans aware of the harrowing overpopulation that is spreading throughout the world, the animals that suburban sprawl is killing worldwide, but really, I don’t think R. Kelly could give a damn. See, what I feel what R. Kelly wants the most is for people to love him for who he is, one of the craziest pop figures of our lifetime, and with “Share My Love” I’m sure plenty of people will be opening their arms up to the guy who pissed on the girls head.

WATCH: R. Kelly — “Share My Love” (official video)

 

Aaron Geer is the Founding Contributor to Phiendly. He recently graduated with a B.A. in English from Western Michigan University and is openly taking donations for paying back his student loans he’s already worried about.
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