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Spilling Over Every Side by Pretty Lights

It's Derek Vincent Smith, it's gonna be good.

I wonder what people from past generations would think of music nowadays I don’t mean lyrically, but the actual sound. Take Pretty Lights for example – Derek Vincent Smith’s use of traditional instruments are only a small portion of his entire sound set.

Smith’s use of untraditional beats has set him, and many other electronic musicians, apart from conventional music. His newest album, Spilling Over Every Side, the second EP of his 2010 trilogy, is a step in a new direction, although not a leap forward from his previous work. The most noticeable difference is each song’s length, topping at close to nine minutes on “High School Art Class”. I’m not sure I prefer the lengthiness, but as he points out, there’s a “sort of dimension flip” occurring in each song.

In a document included with Spilling Over Every Side, Smith points out that he’s tried to incorporate different genres into his work, “transitioning between something pretty and organic to something heavy and electro”. Although this may be true, I don’t see Smith pushing forward and building from his previous work – it’s more of a side step. I’m sure if I was out hitting up one of his shows, this would be some awe-inspiring shit, but I expect his albums to be on the highest levels, only because I respect his craft so much.

Despite all my criticisms, it’s still phenomenally fresh, especially compared to countless other electronic albums I’ve heard over the past few months. I’ve been a big fan of his for a while, and with this latest addition, Pretty Lights continues to impress meh.

As always, you can hit up his site,, and head over to the downloads section to pick up this, and any of his other albums. Just make sure to give back the love if you enjoy his tunes – I just got a t-shirt form his store and it’s quality. Or go to the North Coast Festival this upcoming Labor Day weekend, and show him some support. Plus you might see me there (if you’re so lucky).

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[audio:HotLikeDimes.mp3,LettheWorldHurryBy.mp3|titles=Hot Like Dimes,Let the World Hurry By]

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Made Like Us by Paper Tiger of Doomtree

It's no Doomtree, but it's still Minnesota nice.

What the hell’s a Doomtree anyway My guess is it’s got something to do with the Tree of Life, maybe its arch enemy!… maybe not. Doomtree is a collective consisting of a mix of MC’s and DJ/producers from Minneapolis, including Paper Tiger. I’ve been following Doomtree ever since I heard “Flex” – check it, guaranteed like. And now for the second time, one of the group members has created a solo project – Paper Tiger’s Made Like Us.

My first thoughts after listening to Made Like Us was that it’s got some killer beats and vocals, namely Dessa, but why not include some of the MC’s I’ve come to love with Paper Tiger’s beats A recent interview with Paper Tiger at Sunset in the Rearview brought up this very question. Apparently he wanted to go solo on this one and make it all his own. Now the question is if he pulled it off… (I’d say so)

Question: On the last track of the album, “Cigana” has about half a minute of silence in the middle – why is it that on some albums the last track has a silent part towards the middle or at the end The first person who can answer this for me will get entered into the contest we’re holding next month- I really want to know!

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[audio:2ndDayBack.mp3,Cigana.mp3|titles=2nd Day Back,Cigana]

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Massive Attack Rmx & Magical World by Bassnectar

Pretty Lights on Acid.

Helllooo, sexy! I haven’t been this titillated by a song since Pretty Lights. Hell, I haven’t been titillated by a song ever… and I’ll try never to be again.

I’ve been listening to Bassnectar for a few months now, but didn’t get into him past the occasional blackout session – he never seemed to sound as good when sober. Well, after coming across these two over the past month, and sober at that, I’m hooked. Both blow me away every time I listen to ’em, wasted or sober. I’ve never wanted to go to a concert so much and get completely obliterated. And Bassnectar plays in Minneapolis on Halloween, could it get any better than that… well, if he played here sooner, but whatever.

So I’m wondering which of the two do you like better I go back and fourth, but the “Massive Attack Remix” is on repeat at the moment.

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[audio:MassiveAttackRemix.mp3,MagicalWorld.mp3|titles=Massive Attack Remix,Magical World]

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Honest Expression by Binary Star

Yea, yea we know how shitty mainstream is, let's move on...

Came across Binary Star while testing out a three-day trial of MOG. I’m not so sure about MOG’s fees – can’t justify $10 a month to use on the iPhone, but it’s got some promising features.

Anyway, I was pretty impressed by Binary Star’s “Honest Expression”, so I decided to check out the rest of their album, Masters of the Universe. It’s got a few standout tracks, and the rest of the album is better than most of the shit I’ve heard lately.

What I love about these guys is their witty lines laid out throughout the album. Although some aren’t so politically correct, “Rodney King ain’t never felt a beat like this”, it’s refreshing to hear some uncensored music.

What I don’t love is their obvious hate of mainstream, money hungry rappers. I’ve come across a few different talented MC’s who spend too much time hatin’ on the mainstream. Although I completely agree with ’em, it’s not something I really give a shit about. Leave a track for that and move on, they’re many more pressing issues to cover.

Other than that these guys have got something and hopefully will ignite another album soon. Though it’s been 10 years since their last LP, so I wouldn’t count on it. But I’ll make sure y’all are the first to know, just follow me on Twitter… or Facebook… or my RSS Feed… ;D

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[audio:HonestExpressionIntro.mp3,HonestExpression.mp3,RealityCheck.mp3,KGB.mp3|titles=Honest Expression (Intro),Honest Expression,Reality Check,The KGB]

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It’s the Chemicals by Inspired Flight (feat. Scarub)

Collaboration is Innovation

Music that isn’t easily classified, is so, usually because it pushes the boundaries of its genre, leaking into every other. When I first heard Inspired Flight’s “It’s the Chemicals”, I thought it was an electronic song; then after about a minute or so I realized that it had some hip-hop elements, as well; and finally, I heard some alt rock. Well, after listening to it a few dozen times more I’m still just as clueless on classifying it, but I guess that’s the case when a group pulls from different genres through the use of electron equipment.

Electronic instruments have given us the power to utilize instruments that were once too difficult and tiresome to learn. Now we can mesh up a range of instruments to create something that would’ve taken many hours and musicians to achieve. Yea, some say it’s just being lazy and blah, blah, blah (see Copyright Criminals), but this doesn’t consider everything. It may be easier, but it allows the artist to create without the limitations of knowing every instrument.

In the end it all comes down to what is produced. Art isn’t necessarily about method, but what the final outcome is. You wouldn’t fault photographers for not creating everything in their lens, just like you wouldn’t fault DJ’s for not creating every beat. Yes, there is a limit to the extent of sampling you do off of someone else’s work, but it’s not set in stone. As Newton put it, “if I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants” – we are all just building off of our predecessors. The key is to build up, push the boundaries of a genre, and create something new.

Someone help me out on where to put this (what genre), I’m leaning towards electronica now…

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[audio:ItstheChemicals.mp3|titles=It’s the Chemicals (feat. Scarub)]

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Genetic World by Télépopmusik

"Jun-a-tick-twa-t"... no, no, I don't think so.

I’ve been stuck to the television watching Sons of Anarchy all day, so I’m gonna make this quick – gotta finish the second season up!

“Genetic World” sounded like another electro trip hop song, sprinkled with nature sounds, but surprised me about half a minute in. The song sparked something in my head. It’s just one of those songs that hit it right. The bass kicks in and the vocals drop nicely, which brings be to my next point, the lyrics.

I’m known for hearing words in a song that are completely, well, wrong. At first I thought the chorus was in French, saying something like, “Jun-a-tick-twa-t”. After a while I realize it was “genetic world”… sometimes I just don’t know what I’m thinking…

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[audio:GeneticWorld.mp3|titles=Genetic World]

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Just Like Everyone Else by Solid Gold

"Keep your fuckin' mouth shut."

Ever since I can remember, my father has hated the word fuck. I, however, kinda like it. It’s served me well, expressing my thoughts when I lacked the more appropriate words – it has so many uses. Yes, it can be crude & inappropriate, but it can express something like no other word can. It may even shock some at times, for example – when used in music, but isn’t that the fun in it anyway

Now, when I talk about it being used in music, I don’t mean by those hip-hop hooligans, they tend to overuse it. I’m talking about when a musician drops it when you’re least expecting it. A good example is Solid Gold’s “Just Like Everyone Else”. Zach Coulter’s voice is anything but crude, but when he slips in the good ol’ fuck bomb, it gets your attention. It was surprising at first, but after a while you start to understand its purpose. How else could you express such hurt & anguish from an ex-love Just picture the song without all the fucks, it’s just not as affective. I gotta give credit to Coulter for his use, and not overuse, of the word. Well played, sir.

If your in Minneapolis tonight, Solid Gold is playing at the Weisman Art Museum at 9. I may hit it up if I’m over in the Twin Cities tonight.
Edit: I just looked at the website and it’s sold out… fuck.

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[audio:JustLikeEveryoneElse.mp3|titles=Just Like Everyone Else]

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The DJ Shadow Remix Project

Let's find the best from the mix...

I’ve been a long time fan of the Quannum collective, but never got into Shadow’s work past Entroducing. Recently, the DJ Shadow team contacted me about featuring a new remix project – a compilation of remixes done by Shadow’s fans – so I thought this would be a good chance to check out more of his work… well, kinda…

Initially going through the album, I thought that most of the DJ’s did a decent job at putting their own spin on Shadow’s music, but none really stood out. There’s some that caught my ear but failed to keep my attention.

So I thought I’d turn to you guys. I’ve posted a couple of tracks on here for you to listen to and hopefully give some feedback on. If you want to listen to the full album it’s posted over at solesides. Hopefully we can find the track(s) that carry this album forward. I’ll post my thoughts in the comments below after I get a few more listens in.

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Pursuit of Happiness (KiD CuDi Cover) by Lissie

"Everything that shines ain't always gonna be gold."

Lissie is one pretty young thing (love you MJ) that packs some power. In her live performance at the Great Escape this last May, Lissie performs “Pursuit of Happiness” by KiD CuDi, or I should say outperforms. They’re only a handful of covers that I like better than the original. Along with Lissie, the instrumentals – especially Eric Sullivan’s guitar solo – make this song addicting as hell… which may, ironically, be it’s one downfall – it’s been stuck in my head for the last couple of weeks.

Make sure to check out the video of her performance in the full article. It really captures the passion she has for singing.

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[audio:PursuitofHappiness.mp3|titles=Pursuit of Happiness (KiD CuDi Cover)]

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Evil & Technology by ¡MAYDAY!

"I'm a slave to evil"... and technology.

Mayday’s latest EP’s, Technology & The Thinnest Line, came out over a year ago, just a couple of months apart from each other. Although they may not stack up to their first album, each has at least one catchy single.

The Thinnest Line features a single titled “Evil” – although, I don’t have much to say about it, its lyrics are too true… no offense, ladies ;). “Technology”, on the other hand, reminds me of my past years in college. My roommates and I senior year had a running joke about how obsessed I was with technology. It reminded me of just a few of the stupid things we did back then. Good times. “Technology” may have some corny lines, “USB, you and me connect so desperately”, but the rest of it isn’t half bad. I mean how bad could it be, it’s about technology.

I still can’t decide which sound I like better of the two. What do y’all think I’m leaning more towards “Evil”, right now.

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