Friday, October 22, 2010

Groove Armada's Saint Saviour Going Solo Tonight!

Groove Armada recently announced the next phase of their career, saying farewell to their full band stage show. It's been a long road, from the early missteps of “I see you baby, shakin' that ass” to their breakthrough album with Richie Havens, up to the present with their last transcendent vocalist, Saint Saviour. Now that Groove Armada have finished their last-ever full band tour, Tom and Andy will have the time to work with Saint Saviour as a solo artist.

Saint Saviour began as Becky Jones, lead singer of an electro band from a few years back called The RGBs. The band shared management with Groove Armada, who took them on tour, and the rest is history.

Her first single debuted earlier this month, and it's a hell of a departure from the pop, electro and dance singles she has previously recorded. “Woman Scorned” is a scathing rock song that has put her high on my list of new artists to watch. The single is out now on iTunes and as a limited 7" vinyl. Here's the video:

It all begins tonight (Oct 23) as Saint Saviour plays her first solo show at Bush Hall in London. If that's anywhere near the place you call home, you can buy tickets for only £8.00 and see history in the making tonight!

Now that you've heard “Woman Scorned”, here's a banging remix to show you what it sounds like when you take Saint Saviour's new style back to her dance/house roots. Plus, I have included Becky's fantastic cover of Depeche Mode's “Enjoy the Silence”.

Saint Saviour - Woman Scorned (MOPP Bang Remix) (YSI)
Bonus: Saint Saviour - Enjoy the Silence (YSI)

Fun & Steel Train at The Media Club

Fun, one of Silence Killer's most-hyped bands since we were one of the first to write about them in early 2009, finally brought their show to Vancouver last night. We said they were “about to be New York's latest indie pop sensation” and they've come a lot further than that in the past year and a half. Last winter they toured with Jack's Mannequin, then in spring with Paramore and Relient K. Now they're on their first headlining tour, with 9 dates left in North America before they head to the UK for 9 dates with Paramore and B.o.B, then back home for 11 more dates starting in New York.

The show really began with the opening act, New Jersey indie rock band Steel Train. I had no idea who they were, but within a few songs, the audience was having so much fun, I thought they might upstage the headliners. As it turns out, Steel Train's frontman Jack Antonoff is also Fun's guitarist. Earlier, I was wondering why the DJ had been playing Yo Gabba Gabba's “Party In My Tummy!” and one of the roadies was wearing their t-shirt. It turns out, Steel Train wrote Yo Gabba Gabba's song “It's Fun to Dance”, which they played for us, pushing the crowd over the edge of insanity.

Fun finally took the stage while everyone was calming down, driving the crowd back into an uproar with the song that caught everyone's attention in the first place—“At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used to Be)”. I love when a band plays their best song first. Saving it for later makes you look less than confident in the rest of your music, whereas opening with your best jumpstarts the crowd's excitement, which usually lasts til the end.

Fun's lead singer, Nate Ruess, has an amusing habit of lengthening the interludes in their songs so he can banter on a bit and hype up the audience for the climax of the song. Later in their set, he mentioned his appallingly patchy excuse for a beard, which I had noticed earlier, giggling to myself. “It looks like cockroach legs, growing out of my face,” he quipped, “I feel like I'm in Iron & Wine, but I'm no better than Justin Bieber!”

My favourite part of going to concerts is watching a band with fantastic showmanship. Steel Train did a great job of that, but Fun really takes the cake. They were wild, crazy and entertaining, joking with each other between songs and timing all the breaks and pauses in their songs perfectly to keep the audience in rapt attention. Nate addressed their almost overuse of unexpected interludes near the end of the show, saying, “I'm the king of anticlimaxes.” An audience member quickly said something back, and Nate laughed and replied, “Yes, that is what she said.”

When Fun left the stage, the crowd was almost too exhausted to continue cheering, but we managed to earn a one-song encore, the teasingly dramatic opening song off their album, “Be Calm”. As already mentioned, Fun still has 18 North American dates with Steel Train and 11 UK dates left, so don't miss them! It's the most fun you could possibly hope to have with a band called Fun!

fun. - All the Pretty Girls (YSI)
Steel Train - Turnpike Ghost (YSI)

Previously on Silence Killer
Fun - Walking the Dog
Fun - At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used to Be)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little Comets - The Isles

“In the B.R.I.T., I say British Isles! The streets are bleak, the kids are running wild.” Everything about this song and its video, good or bad, is a steadfast tribute to Great Britain. The video is remarkable in its ability to make every scene, even if it's just a melancholy face, look like it could have only come from Britain.

Little Comets are on tour in the UK right now, accompanying Darwin Deez, and “The Isles” single is out now on iTunes.

Little Comets - The Isles (Orchestral Version) (YSI)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Alain Johannes, Bringing Brilliance Back

Everyone knows how an electric guitar, a bass guitar and a drum kit go together. Alain Johannes' decades-long career has been intertwined with bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. He has worked and played with artists like Chris Cornell, Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures. Maybe it's why his new album Spark is so unconventional. It's like he crafted a brilliant double-stringed cigar box guitar and then set off to reinvent rock and roll.

Track one, “Endless Eyes”, is an amalgamation of noise. He sings with frightening passion to his late wife, “It's killing me that I must go on living”, while the eerie sound of a theremin backs the cigar box guitar. Then track two, “Return to You”, changes the pace with a more jingly strumming, like a mandolinesque, and almost-cheery backup vocals.

“Endless Eyes” and “Return to You” are both free to download, so have a listen or three and then pick up the album. Spark is out now on Rekords Rekords and Mike Patton's Ipecac Recordings—always a boutique of hidden gems scraped off the floor of the American record biz.

Alain Johannes - Endless Eyes (YSI)
Alain Johannes - Return to You (YSI)

Barbra Streisand Can Do It Anyway That You Want It

Duck Sauce, better known as Armand Van Helden and A-Trak, are back with a brilliant followup to “aNYway”, one of the biggest club hits of 2009. Van Helden and A-Trak prove their pop prowess with their uncanny ability to turn anything into a catchy hook. Another tribute to New York, here's “Barbra Streisand”.

Duck Sauce - Barbra Streisand (YSI)

There's a ton of official and unofficial remixes of this already. This is the only one that tops the original.

Duck Sauce - Barbra Streisand (Manila Killa Edit) (YSI)

And here's the video, complete with a Streisand impersonator and some real celebs including Kanye West, Chromeo, Questlove and Pharrell. Watch this without getting it stuck in your head.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Miles Kane of The Last Shadow Puppets Announces Solo Album

Miles Kane, co-frontman of The Last Shadow Puppets is doing a solo project. His debut single was premiered last night by Radio 1's Zane Lowe as his Hottest Record In The World!

This is just fantastic. Love at first listen. Here's Miles Kane's smashing new single, “Inhaler”.


Pre-order the limited edition and numbered gatefold 7" single from from Townsend Records. Miles Kane will be appearing live in the UK in November, then in December as a special guest to The Courteeners.

One eskimO at Venue (Vancouver)

The stage is looking lonely. A set of motorcycle headlights are mounted on the bass drum, its beam piercing the fog. An assortment of cymbals are mounted on a rack behind the drum kits, like a memoir to drummers long forgotten.

Meet One eskimO. In early 2009, we discovered their now hit song “Kandi”, making me an instant fan. My love for them grew exponentially as I fell for song after song while they released various demo and previews of their (finally!) debut album, One eskimO.

I suppose they fall under the genre of shoegaze, which shows in the beauty and emotion of their songs, but it's at the mellow extreme of the genre. The archetypal electric guitar is changed for the wondrous sound of a shimmering acoustic. That, together with the unusual drum kit and Kristian Leontiou's stunning voice makes One eskimO exceptional.

They started with a triple punch of three favourites: “Hometime”—one of their first success, “Astronauts”—newer song and “Givin' Up”—popularised among clubgoers by Don Diablo. The crowd was small, especially with Broken Social Scene playing across the street, and the set was intimate. A few danced, while most of the audience just stared in awe, singing along with a surprising number of songs. Throughout the set, one guy kept yelling “Amazing!!!”, which got a bit annoying; I could see “Amazing” on the set list—last song. Nearing the end of their set, they played “Kandi”, extending the song so we could all sing it longer with them. They finished with “Amazing”, which honoured its title, then left the stage, only to return for the obligatory two-song encore. The encore was great, except for Miss Inappropriate Clapping and Screaming, who showed up for the encore to interrupt every 15 seconds. Lucky she didn't find her way to the front any sooner.

One eskimO's self-titled debut is out now on Shangri-La. They still have 20 more North American tour dates in the next several weeks. DO NOT MISS. Here are some MP3s and music vids, if you aren't already convinced.

One eskimO - Hometime (YSI)
BONUS: One eskimO - Givin' Up (Don Diablo Remix) (YSI)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

La Roux's 2nd 'In For The Kill' Video, Kanye West Remix

Welcome to La Roux's second “In For The Kill” video, featuring more velvet vanity and less 80s driving down the highway at night with bad-ass sunglasses.

It's been 20 months since the first “In For The Kill” video dropped, so to add more buzz, the new video comes together with a brand new remix featuring Kanye West. The video and the Kanye West remix both feature brand new vocals by La Roux's Elly Jackson.

In For The Kill Video #2

In For The Kill Video #1

La Roux - In For The Kill (Remix) (feat. Kanye West) (YSI)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

VIDEO: DJ Fresh vs Sigma - Lassitude

From DJ Fresh's new album Kryptonite, here's a drum and bass collaboration with Sigma, fused with house vocals. The music video is pretty sick, but the song definitely stands on its own.

And here's a bonus MP3 of Jakwob's dubstep remix.

DJ Fresh vs Sigma - Lassitude (Jakwob Remix) (zshare) (YSI)

VIDEO: Burns & Fred Falke - Y.S.L.M. (You Stopped Loving Me)

Burns and Fred Falke present the most adorable music video of 2010. This catchy club track is from Burns new mix album, This Is Burns 001: European Sex Music.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

VIDEO: Le retour de Yelle

The French electro popstar returns, backed by a thousand celebrities in her new video. The Hiltons (Paris & Perez) appear, as does Jacko and his monkey. Cats everywhere!

The single is out now on the numéro un French electro label, Kitsuné, and features this funky remix.

Yelle - La Musique (Lorenz Rhode Remix) (zshare) (YSI)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

VIDEO: The Count & Sinden featuring Bashy, New Gorillaz

Girls, club, slow-motion, rapper with wacky sunglasses. It starts off like a generic hip-hop video...

New Gorillaz single “Doncamatic (All Played Out)” is coming out next month, but this isn't from Plastic Beach. Good way to fuel rumours of another Gorillaz album (already?!)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Atari Teenage Riot at The Rickshaw (Vancouver)

Three long hours of listening to a string of DJs spinning glitchy drum and bass, though one of them kept throwing in some crazy remixes of 90s hits like Blur's “Song 2” and “What Is Love” by Haddaway. Finally, at 11pm, the lights dimmed and the theatre went quiet. A curious mix of onlookers watched the stage in anticipation—hardcore punks and college kids who grew out of 90s punk into 00s indie (or whatever the kids are listening to these days).

In 1992, Germany, Atari Teenage Riot was born, a terrifying new hybrid. They sprouted from the roots of anarchist hardcore punk and industrial drum and bass, both notorious among music's most aggressive countercultures, and defined a new genre: digital hardcore. Their political views—anarchist, anti-fascist and anti-Nazi—made them infamous in late-90s Germany. Their music and their live shows were surrounded by controversy and violence, getting them banned, censored and even arrested for a riotous anti-NATO protest. The band went their separate ways in 2000, but returned in early 2010 with new song, “Activate!” and a tour across Europe, Asia and North America.

A wave of feedback and noise began to ascend as a breakneck beat emerged. Finally, frontman and founder Alec Empire took the stage, behind Nic Endo, wearing her trademark white makeup with black Japanese characters over her face, and ATR's new MC CX KiDTRONiK. They began to shout the words to their new single “Hey! Activate! Hey! Activate! Hey! ARE YOU READY?!” The strobelights came on and the mass of bodies on the dancefloor went mental.

I spent the afternoon listening to this band, but nothing prepared me for the live intensity of Atari Teenage Riot's ear-scraping noise and mindsplitting beats. I love the feeling of discovering a new band, then just as I start to get into them, I get to see them live and they blow my mind, making an instant fan. It's happened to me three times in the past month (see Free Energy, The Drums and School of Seven Bells).

After the show, I was talking to a friend I ran into during the show. He was waiting with his friends to meet the band, one of his friends being none other than punk legend, Mr. Chi Pig of SNFU. Legends among legends. What a night.

Atari Teenage Riot: you are obscenely loud, your music is pure thump-smash-grinding noise that could easily spark debates over what is “music”, and for a band that has three DJ/vocalist/drum machinists and no actual band, your moshpit was mental. I loved when you came back for the encore and did three more songs, while throwing your equipment off the stage. You guys put on one hell of a show.

Tonight was the last night of the North American tour, as they're heading back to Europe for 12 dates in November. Don't miss them!

Atari Teenage Riot - Activate! (new single!)
Atari Teenage Riot - Destroy 2000 Years of Culture (zshare) (YSI) (1997 single)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Drums at The Biltmore (Vancouver)

I have seen so many great shows at the Biltmore since I moved to Vancouver a year ago—La Roux, The Very Best, Gang Gang Dance, Sondre Lerche, Owl City, School of Seven Bells—it's the best place to see everything that is underrated in the world of music. Afropop, dirty electro, shoegaze, psychedelic post-rock, all from one sweaty dancefloor.

Tonight's theme was surf rock, featuring The Drums co-headlining with Surfer Blood. This is not your typical Dick Dale-style fast, rolling guitar licks that go on and on in instrumental form. This is the new wave of surf pop (lolz), with vocals and more delicious reverby noise than ever before.

The Drums played first, to a sold-out, jumping crowd, a few of whom left without seeing Surfer Blood, commenting that The Drums should be the headliner. I should note that The Drums has one hell of a drummer. Good choice of name. The lights were almost all off during their set, but it worked magically; I could imagine watching them play on a beach under the sun, but only while it sets.

The band played on. Everyone who could see the not-high-enough stage danced. The singer commented, “If you haven't danced yet, don't worry; there's still time. You couldn't possibly look more foolish than we do.” Their music doesn't nod heads, it moves feet and breaks everyone into a dancing sweat. I heard the Biltmore got air conditioning—not true.

The Drums' self-titled album debut and their Summertime! EP are out now on Moshi Moshi.

The Drums - Let's Go Surfing (zshare) (YSI)
The Drums - I Felt Stupid (EP bonus track) (zshare) (YSI)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Introducing Dominique Young Unique

“I ain't representin' the projects, I'm makin' music to get the f**k out!” And so begins the barrage of sound that smashes your face when you press play on Dominique Young Unique. It's like Major Lazer or MIA, but with no repetition.

I was all set to see her last Friday at Vancouver's prime hip-hop venue, the Fortune Sound Club, but a friend from out of town showed up without warning, and the ensuing shenanigans of the night curbed all my attempts to catch the show. I hope she comes back soon.

Dominique is rising fast, having recently shared the stage with DMC (of Run DMC), Andrew WK, Doug E Fresh and The Cool Kids at this year's Jelly Pool Party in Brooklyn. Her music is raw, hitting fast and hard with breakneck electro beats on “Show My Ass” and slowing down to a leisurely dash in “The World Is Mine”. Dominique Young Unique's Domination mixtape is free to download from Art Jam Records and her Blaster EP is coming soon.

Dominique Young Unique - Show My Ass (zshare) (YSI)
Dominique Young Unique - The World Is Mine (zshare) (YSI)