Friday, February 27, 2009

Singles Review: LDN Picks the Picks | February

Dialogue Incorporated LDN counterpart Roy Shay
drops the knowledge on the February nuggets

A bit late, but here nevertheless:

1:: Harmonic 313 - "Cyclotron": The only beat that matters right now, still. I heard it played outside the confines on my iPod for the first time ever last week at Fabric and shat my pants, just a little. Has Mark Pritchard found the elusive Brown Note?

2:: Paper Route Gangstaz vs. Animal Collective - "Animals Collecting Money": Mr. Joshua of Dialogue Inc. turned me onto these kids, pitching them as "The only respectable mash-up guys on the scene right now", or something like that. Show some love: .
3:: Wu Tang - "Wu Ooh": Put your W's in the air, because you know what it do. That is all.

4:: Tranquill - "Payroll [Paul White's Clean Dub]": Based entirely around a haunting, mesmerizing, chilling Vangelis sample (thanks, Nadi), on third listen these stunning 3:30 minutes will rip your heart out from within and make you cry. This is sonic heroin.

5:: J Dilla - "Doughnuts": It's Dilla month, so act like you know. Hell, even NPR ( does!

Roy Shay::Myspace

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Album Review: Lily Allen | It's Not Me, It's You


El•ec•tro \ i-lek-troh \ adj + pop \päp\n

Earlier this year Dialogue Incorporated did a special Chicago music showcase at a local music venue here in the city. While I was setting everything up for the night there was a teenie bopper birthday party that was winding down. Surrounded by about a dozen 16-year old girls restlessly skipping through song after song on an ipod, I was taken by surprise when they finally settled on “Alfie” from pop tart Lily Allen. I forget now how I originally came on to Lily Allen. I’ve already mentioned my high school days penchant for ska music so, regardless of when I first heard Alright, Still - Lily’s first album, I admit that I liked it. I guess the intellectual side of my brain is telling me I’m not supposed to like pure fuck-off teen pop, but, there’s something to be said for the carefree bounce and bright horns that ska offers. There’s also something to be said for Lily Allen’s unabashed style of song writing so it should have come as no surprise to me that these girls would love her music too. I guess I just didn’t think that, being a UK export, she could have so successfully infiltrated mid-western America’s teenage music scene. Fast forward 3 weeks and it’s not so great of a shock now to see that, with the release of her second album It’s Not Me, It’s You, she’s instantly regained her chart topping status in the UK and is quickly climbing the ranks here in the US. On this sophomore outing its apparent that she’s grown up a little – but not too much. Allen takes her “tell it like it is” attitude and applies it to the larger social realm and, although a bit clichéd, its done in Allen’s own forgivably charming way. Over the course she tackles an absent father, 3-minute men, drugged up youth, celebrity materialism, GW, and God. Weighty lyrical topics indeed. Given the Lily Allen spin it may not be the most enlightening listen but at least the girl’s intentions are spot on. Charging forward with her post-feminist feminism, as it was dubbed by The Guardian, her breadth of subject matter is matched by equally varied musical stylings. Backed exclusively by The Bird & The Bee producer extraordinaire Greg Kurstin, Its Not Me… forgoes its ska filled predecessor, preferring to explore electro crunch, dubstep sub bass, rockabilly bounce, klezmer, dusty swing, and, of course, pure piano driven pop. The diversity provides endless color and a few real winners on the singles front, most notably the alt country electronics of “Not Fair” and the shimmering punch of lead single “The Fear”. Obviously its not an album that goes fathoms deep but maybe that’s not the point. For all the criticism about her clichéd musings on societal issues, in this pop world we’re living in, tell me we’re not better off with the delightfully amusing and genuine ms. Allen at the top of the charts than we are with, say, Lady Gaga.

- Joshua P. Ferguson

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dialogue:Incorporated:Radioshow #10 | February - guest set from Hedford Vachal

Paris Hilton: Alas My Love! For We Are Separated By A Dark River! Paris Hilton’s Lover: If I Were You, I’d Probably Do The Same Things You Do.

Dialogue Incorporated | February Newsletter
Dialogue Incorporated Radio #10
Guest mix from Hedford & Vachal's - Brad Vachal (Tirk)

Compiled, mixed, and hosted by Mister Joshua

Letter from the Editor
DJING: A Postmodern Approach

By Joshua P. Ferguson
Postmodern\ post-mäd-ern\ adj
- of, relating to, or being an era after a modern one
- of, relating to, or being any of various movements in reaction to modernism that are typically characterized by a return to traditional materials and forms (as in architecture) or by ironic self-reference and absurdity (as in literature)", or finally "of, relating to, or being a theory that involves a radical reappraisal of modern assumptions about culture, identity, history, or language

At the end of the night this past Saturday, after a particularly interesting Valentine’s Day evening, a friend came up to me and asked how I felt about the style and variety of the music I’d been playing. My current Saturday residency is at Bar Deville – a neighborhood bar here in Chicago that caters mostly to those of the indie variety. Rockers, hipsters, nerds, heads, it’s got them all. Which, I decided while contemplating my feelings about playing there, is great! The bar’s got a little bit of everything so naturally, as the dj, I give them a little bit of everything.

As a lifelong musical bon vivante my tastes have gone through many phases – a rock n’ roll, punk & ska fueled high school era gave way to a few reggae and jazz filled college years. This eventually led to Kruder & Dorfmeister and Amon Tobin and on and on as I grew more entrenched in the world of electronic music. Scattered as my tastes are, in my gigging career I have typically found myself faithfully representing hip-hop nights, loungey hookah sessions, or deep house all-nighters. These days, though, its not as easily compartmentalized. Being strictly categorized into a tidy single genre when asked “what kind of music do you play?” is too confining a prospect. When I’m asked that question now the response is more of a “whatever it takes to make tonight a good night.”

At Bar Deville this means keeping things eclectic. It’s the only residency I have currently where I can play Operation Ivy, Old 97’s, Lily Allen, Grace Jones, Notorious B.I.G., The Beach Boys, LCD Soundsystem, & Trentemøller in the same night. The best part about it is that the customers love it. Call it a generation that’s grown up on ipod shuffle. Or a boredom with nights that aren’t adventurous enough to venture outside the box. Or the Serato era, where DJ’s broke down their genre confines. Or call it postmodern. Or something. I prefer to think I’ve reached a point where I’m appreciating music on a broad spectrum regardless of genre, scene, or style and the people that come out and hear me are sharing in the appreciation.

This month’s Dialogue reflects this new approach to djing. Joining me on the show is Portland’s Brad Vachal of Tirk’s Hedford Vachal. Brad’s had a colorful career in the music industry as well and these days he finds himself channeling a lot of these experiences into his current manifestation: Hedford Vachal alongside founding Dandy Warhol Eric Hedford. Stay tuned for words with Brad later on. With that -

Let the conversation begin!


As mentioned, this show touches on a wide array of styles and we feel the result is a good representation of what is setting the collective dialogue ears on fire these days. Bringing things back to our “roots” so to speak we begin out in left field with Four Tet’s glitch folk rendition of Born Ruffians “I Need a Life”. Keeping the lounge vibe rolling we move into the standout track from Alif Tree’s new album Clockwork on Compost. Maybe not the most consistent musical act but when he hits it right, its right. “Enough” from his first album still sees regular play on more mellow Dialogue nights and now “Au Revoir” is giving it a run for its money.

We hope some of you caught our little review of the new Oliver People’s ad campaign featuring Zooey Deschanel of the folksy country duo She & Him (if not you can peep that here: Check it) Oddly enough we’d included “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” from the band on this show prior to the launch of the campaign so the two coinciding is both great additional content and a prime example of how the Dialogue sound is branching out these days.

From here we settle back into our core sound. With so many stellar new discoid tunes dropping these days we’ve had a serious backlog of songs to feature. “Chasing Waterfalls” from Faux Pas is a recent discovery. An amazing track in and of itself Faux Pas should be destined for big things in the future. All of his work is available from his website at: On the edit tip we’ve got 3 heaters in the mix. RVNG recently dropped one from DJ legend Greg Wilson, truly a DJ’s delight. The always on point JISCO hit one out of the park with The Revenge’s “Unfinished Edits…” and finally our friend Shoes snuck us the painfully good “Me & My Diva” reworking Bohannon.

The Bird & The Bee are back on the show with a feature of the lead single for their new album. Check our full album review here: here. Rounding things out we’ve got a few winners from our favorite labels, specifically new offerings from Versatile, Eskimo, and Innervisions. Last but not least we want to be sure to mention Death Metal Disco Scene’s remix of the fantastic new Lily Allen single “The Fear”. The lovely Ms. Allen is back with her sophomore album and its all the pop goodness you’d expect. Look for a full review of that album on Dialogue in the coming days. With that, and without further ado, we’re happy to welcome Portland’s Brad Vachal of Hedford Vachal to the Dialogue family.


Another lover of the disco sounds with a musical career stretching back to high school our friend Brad Vachal joins us from Portland to impart some of his latest and greatest dance floor tunes on Dialogue Inc.

Dialogue Inc (DI): Talk a little bit about your history in the dj world, coming up on the Portland scene, your penchant for disco and italo related jams, and how you got started.

Brad Vachal (BV): My entrée in the dj world started as many DJs of my generation started, by being a music fan. In my early high school years I started buying as many records as I could. Not really dance stuff, although some stuff that qualifies as that. During that same time period my friends and I started making weekend trips downtown to hit the clubs. Those were the days of new wave and some of what we would now call Italo, I don’t know what we called it then, probably just club music. Before long my friends and I were doing mobiles, high school dances, and such. Those were my first experiences playing records for people. We played pretty cool stuff by the standards of high school dances.

After finishing high school I got a non-DJ job working in the same club that I’d spent so much time at. That meant my life kind of revolved around hearing music at night and then shopping for it during the day. A few months later I started working at the town’s 12” record store, it was called Turntable Mary’s. So between the two jobs I was completely immersed in the “dance music scene”.

So then after a couple of years a few So.Cal rave stragglers made their way up the coast and started planting some seeds in the Northwest. A guy named Rich Shilling from LA moved up here and we all helped him throw some warehouse parties. I quit my night job to DJ at a weekly club Rich started. We only lasted about three weeks but it was enough to move me into playing records fulltime - no more bartending or coat check for me.

DI: How long have you been at Platinum Records? How has this informed your opinion on the dance music industry, vinyl vs serato, what you see in how the music industry is changing and what you're doing to stay on your toes.

BV: Platinum opened in the fall of ’93. I was there from the beginning, so I’ve seen the ups and downs. The late 90’s were definitely moving lots of units. Like is so often the case, I don’t know that the music was at it’s finest, but we all know music that sells is rarely music that’s good.

I think it’s getting really hard to sell records in this country. We’ve been hit with a few things all at the same time - the economy declining, the “DJ as hobby” trend decreasing, and the takeover of digital music. There are a few stores and few distributors holding on but every year it gets thinner and thinner. I think that the Brits will hold onto vinyl firmly for at least a few more years, but in the US, it’s already really slim. There is so little stuff coming out domestically now. All the US west coast boompity house stuff, that was always kind of bread and butter for the shop, there’s almost none of that stuff coming out domestically anymore. I feel like the disposability of some of that stuff, as well as current commercial hip-hop, really fueled the digital takeover. When you’re playing music that has a shelf life of a month it kind of makes sense to download it and then delete it when your done. But I find it strange that music never takes on any tangible form. It’s given a rough mix, played, then changed some, sent to some people, they play it, and then it goes away, never to be released. Strangely transient… Could you imagine something like Led Zeppelin or The Who, never fixed in a tangible medium? The idea seems odd to me, but we’re getting close to that. One of the main reasons I make music is to get it pressed onto a record. Then I can play it. For me, that’s kind of the endgame.

DI: That leads us to Hedford Vachal. Tell us about how this project came together - maybe a touch on Eric's background and how you two came to work together. DO you have a goal for your sound? Album aspirations? The label?

BV: I first met Eric through the record store I worked at and he was working on music with a guy who owned the club I worked at. We started DJing out at about the same time and when the rave thing took off we were both right there. He gave himself the moniker “DJ Aquaman”, since the club he was working at wouldn’t want him DJing anywhere else. And for the last twenty years or so we’ve played together quite a lot. He’s made music since he was in high school - all kinds of different things. We first worked on producing music together in the late 90’s. We put out a couple of records through Platinum; that was when Eric was in the Dandy Warhols. Together we did a remix of one of their songs. Between those records and now we’ve worked on music on and off. But it wasn’t until the recent stuff that we really came together. 

We don’t work at a breakneck pace, so we’re not pumping tracks out like crazy. We work at a pretty steady pace though, and we’re about done with the next EP, just getting things squared away with Tirk and all that, maybe tightening a few nuts and bolts. The plan is to release a couple more EPs worth of singles and then an album wrapping up the EPs and a few more tracks at the end – kind of the typical arc of things.

I don’t know if we really aspire to have any particular sound. It’s always kind of loose, and in a good way – most of the parts are recorded live. We try to come at things from a disco perspective I think. But there are plenty of other influences, like rock. Eric’s always been in rock bands so that’s a pretty obvious influence. Maybe a bit of what would Alan Parsons do. Sometimes influences come from some crazy round of wikipedia/youtube research on some 70’s pop band – or if not influence, maybe a bit of inspiration. 

We’re also finishing up a remix for fellow Portlanders YACHT. Our mix is coming along well, we’ve made it our own kind of 80’s funk jam. That may be a 7” first, and possibly later on a twelve. We’ve also got a remix on the Tirk 02 compilation, as well as Richard’s mix of our track.

To round all this out, we’re also putting together a live show. As of now we’re a four piece: live drums, bass, keyboards, percussion. Not a laptop type show. More of a space rock jam band. It’s still in its early stages, but we’ve got a couple of shows booked in the spring. We’ll be bringing in a couple of ringers to play with us, so it should be very good.

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Dialogue Incorporated Radio Show #10

Guest Mix from Hedford & Vachal's Brad Vachal


1st Hour -

Born Ruffians “I Need a Life” Four Tet remix – Warp
Aliftree “Au Revoir” – Compost
Jenny Owen Youngs “Fuck Was I” (Morgan Page remix) – Nettwerk
She & Him “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” – Merge
Faux Pas “Chasing Waterfalls” – cd-r
Greg Wilson “Cosmic DJ Delight” – RVNG
The Revenge “Unfinished Edits Are Out of My Hands” – Jisco
Shoes “Me & My Diva” (Bohannon) – cdr
The Kills “Tape Song” – Domino
The Bird & The Bee “Love Letter to Japan” – Blue Note
Joakim + The Disco “Love & Romance & A Special Person” – Versatile
Downtown Party Network “Days Like These” – Eskimo
Booka Shade “Charlotte” – Get Physical
Lily Allen “The Fear” (Death Metal Disco Scene remix) – cdr
Tokyo Black Star “Sepiaphone” – Innervisions

2nd Hour -- from Hedford & Vachal’s Brad Vachal

Rune Lindbaek “Bonat Synthesizer” – Drum Island
Drrtyhaze “Superhigh” - Tirk
Wild Rumpus “Rock the Joint” (Reverso 68 mix) – Bitches Brew
Mark E “Fazer” – Sonar Kollektiv
Crazy P “Love on the Line” (Unabombers dub) – 20:20 Vision
In Flagranti “I Chatted Up the Nympho Secretary (Part I)” - Codek
D’flex “Waltz” (Kawabata remix) – Tiny Sticks
Den Haan “Night Shift” - Dissident
Little Casper and the MX’s “Ultimate Warlord” - JDC
Move D “Heidelberg Gals” – Running Back
Reggie Dokes “Release Yourself” – Prime Numbers
Idjut Boys “Radio Rage” – Glasgow Underground
Hedford Vachal “I Want To Take You Higher” – Tirk cdr

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Allure: Oliver Peoples | Sometimes We Do It Just For Fun

"Catch A Tuesday"
a film by Autumn De Wilde
Oliver Peoples SS09 ad campaign

It’s amazing when good things come together. Last week I published our favorable review of The Bird & The Bee’s amazing new album and featured photos of a quality that led us to sing just as many praises for the imagery as we did for the album the photos were crafted around. It just so happens that the photographer behind these photo shoots was a certain Ms. Autumn De Wilde. Now today while lounging around the Dialogue HQ and flipping through the latest issue of Vanity Fair I luckily stumbled upon an advert for Oliver People’s new Spring/Summer eyewear campaign which features an ultra stylish short film by De Wilde. Small world.

It’s at this juncture that I should mention that I just upgraded my spectacles to a dashing pair of Paul Smith’s whose eyewear division falls under People’s watchful eye. So not such a shot in the dark then that People’s would do an ad campaign featuring a photographer turned director that I’ve recently come to admire.

It’s also at this juncture that I should mention that the ever-diversifying Dialogue Incorporated has recently branched out into advertising. That’s right, our creative director has found himself back in school focusing on ad copywriting with the hopes of moving on to creative directing for a real salary (no offense to Dialogue, but we all know this is a labor of love). Knowing this our faithful followers should probably expect Dialogue content to slowly start branching out past purely musical content to cover all things stylish in music, fashion, the arts, and yes, the ad world (they do exist!).

Right… Back to the advert. So I always scan the whole issue of Vanity Fair before digging into any of the articles and as I flip the page scanning from left to right my gaze is met by a pair of the most amazing blue eye’s staring back up at me, peaking over a pair of jet black sunglasses. Of course these baby blues belong to Zooey Deschanel the co-star to Jim Carrey in his latest film, lead singer in the oh-so-great She & Him – who I might add are featured in the latest episode of Dialogue Incorporated Radio dropping later this week - , and, admittedly, probably my biggest celebrity crush. Ms. Deschanel is the poster celeb for People’s SS09 campaign and at the center of this campaign is Ms. De Wilde’s film “Catch A Tuesday” starring Deschanel and fellow indie-folk sensation Matt Costa. Hmm. I seem to have found myself at the convergence of my own personal style and a designer, a singing actress, and a photographer/director - all of whom I greatly admire. I'm loving this.

In a similar vein to Wes Anderson’s "Catch A Tuesday" unfolds around Tuesday, Deschanel’s character, who enlists the help of her brother (and various disguises) to elude two unnamed assailants. The film plays out like a music video set to the She & Him song “I Was Made For You” and ends with the overdub “Sometimes we’re in danger. Sometimes we’re on the run. Sometimes we do it just for fun.” A brilliant play on 60’s era spy/chase films and how sunglasses transform your personality this is the kind of style in the ad world that makes me want to enter the profession.

Check out the film, the beauty, and the sunglasses here:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Album Review: Bird & the Bee | Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future


Ret•ro \re-trõ\adj + In•die \in-dê\adj + pop \päp\n

For most The Bird and the Bee probably came flitting and buzzing into consciousness thanks to their playfully aggressive single “Fucking Boyfriend” (especially after Peaches got her hands on the track for her dancefloor primmed electro remix). Comprised of increasingly ever-present producer Greg Kurstin and his charmingly stylish “bird”, vocalist Inara George, the duo made a decent little name for themselves back in 2007. Since, Kurstin has steadily been making a name for himself as the studio wiz behind Lily Allen’s forthcoming album, not to mention for his moonlighting on tracks for Brittney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Beck, and The Flaming Lips. Now at the helm of The Bird and the Bee’s sophomore effort, Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future, Kurstin pushes their retro informed sound into more refined territory. Embracing a kind of post modern amalgamation of lush 60’s pop, indie rock guitar riffs, and spy-themed lounge electronica B&B’s songs all enjoy a space age sheen that is as much 21st century studio dexterity as it is a musical embodiment of 70’s sci-fi movies à la Solaris or the likeness recreated in brother Coppola’s CQ. All in all it’s quite colorful scenery for Inara George to brighten things even further with her sugar sweet vocals and cheeky references to pop culture of this generation and the last. Covering subject matter as disparate as David Lee Roth and Dance Dance Revolution Ray Guns jumps from pure indie pop romance to twinkling upbeat electronica while George purrs about politeness at the club, childhood rock star crushes, and those same fucking boyfriends. Thanks to a few well-done photo shoots Bird and the Bee have also extended their style ‘beyond the page’ so to speak adding, for George, a look that will leave high end vintage hipstresses in a jealous rage, and, for Kurstin, a look as if James Bond had spent more time with psychedelic drugs than any of his movies actually let on. What’s the ultimate result of all this music and motif? An endlessly amusing listen and a band whose style cues you might actually consider working into your personal wardrobe.

- Joshua P. Ferguson