Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kavinsky | ...Nightcall... + mp3

The illustrious French label Record Makers—founded by the gloriously loungey AIR and home to Sebastien Tellier, Acid Washed and the subject of this post, Kavinsky—is back with another electro disco jem from the Letterman jacket-rocking, Knight Rider-channelling discoid deviant Kavinsky. This is cause for a wee bit of a stir in-and-of-itself, but when the track, "Nightcall," brings with it production from Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, a.k.a. the other half of Daft Punk, and groovy vocals from CSS's Lovefoxxx, things are no longer stirring, they're whipping around so much we have a disco-boogie cyclone rising from our laptop speakers.

To quote from the Kavinsky bio: "The legend of Kavinsky is an interesting one—the story goes that he died in a car crash in 1986, whilst driving his beloved Testarossa. He reappeared as a zombie in 2005, with his 12-inch "Teddy Boy." Since then, he's shown up all around the globe, playing music to humans." Now ain't that interesting. I guess it'd be more fitting for him to be channelling Night Rider then.

Dead or alive, Kavinsky churns out the sultry French electronic sounds that that gets our blood moving, even if his can't. And really, how could he not when he was parked in the studio with Homem-Christo. To boot there's a trio of remixes that are available for free, our favorite coming from French boogie master and Ed Banger alum Breakbot. Reminsicent of his stunning "Baby, I'm Yours" Breakbots mix is a slo-mo sultry '80s boogie number just crying out for a dance floor. When Lovefoxxx bubbles up on the refrain, any resistance we might have had to the track evaporates.

And we hope it'll do the same to you, so download to your hearts content.

— Joshua P. Ferguson

Here's the releases full tracklisting:

Nightcall Tracklist

1.Nightcall (Featt Lovefoxxx)
2.Pacific Coast Highway
3.Nightcall (Dustin Nguyen Remix)
4.Pacific Coast Highway (Jackson Remix)
5.Nightcall (Breakbot Remix)*
6.Nightcall (Robotaki Remix)*
7.Nightcall (SAWAGii’s Revenage Remix)*

*digital only


And speaking of "Baby, I'm Yours" by Breakbot, we've been looking for an excuse to post this hand painted and, frankly, amazing video for the song:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Movie Review | Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

a review (sort of) by Joshua P. Ferguson

Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Directed by: Edgar Wright

Based on the graphic novels by: Bryan Lee O'Malley

I'm not much of a movie reviewer, but sometimes I can't help myself. I'm happy to say that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has provided me with one of those rare 'can't help' moments. Even so, this is not a case of dissecting acting chops, camera angles or plot devices. It's more of a way to get excited about a movie that's undeniably made for my generation. Between the grunge hair, the 8-bit video game references and the angsty directionlessness of its characters, my date and I were clearly enjoying the film more than most of our theater companions.

I can't necessarily relate to Michael Cera's Scott Pilgrim personally, but I bet I have a few friends that can. And thinking back on my high school and college days, I can name a few names from those days who were (and possibly still are) of the Pilgrim mold: mooching off friends, spending what little cash they have at the record store, jumping from meaningless relationship to meaningless relationship. At the very least, the record store habit applies to me as well. So does the idea of a girl running through my dreams (correction rollerblading). Unfortunately, I didn't have drawn out video game-style battle sequences with their exs.

But that's why Pilgrim's story is the stuff of graphic novels and movie adaptations. How could I not fall in love with the endless strings of sound effects manifested in word form as they floated across the screen in an endless succession of A-A-A-A-A-A-A's and T-H-W-O-O-O-O-O-O-M-P-S? Aside from the early funny pages, I wonder if any generation embraced comic books the way mine did. Leaving the theater I reminisced of days spent aimlessly killing time at comic book stores, hoping the clerk would let me help bag new arrivals and then let me take said arrivals home for free. If I was really lucky, he'd even foot the bill for lunch from Burger King.

Those were the years that I also started falling in love with things. Girls, obviously. But also music, clothes, hanging with friends, finding out who I really am. These concepts, while not always well communicated in the movie, are why I enjoyed Scott Pilgrim so much. As Pilgrim battles with ex after ex, from vegan rockers to Asian twins who clearly listen to too much Daft Punk, he finds out what he's really made of. The dynamic between Pilgrim and his muse Ramona Flowers, isn't exactly fleshed out to the fullest. In a sweeping scene, Flowers agrees to a date, tells him it's boring, invites him to her house and then spends the night with him. Next thing you know they're an item and a barrage of battle-ready ruffians fly out of the woodwork, making the rest of the movie an indie rock version of a Dance Dance Revolution version of Mortal Kombat. You still get the point (he likes her, she likes him), and besides, it's the late '80s and early '90s reference points that surface during these battle sequences—my personal favorite being the Smashing Pumpkins tee circa Siamese Dream that conveniently shares Scott Pilgrim's initials—that allowed me to look past the flaws in the characters and in the plot itself.

And so it was that I was able to laugh at stupid one liners ('Ciao Knives" said to the young super fan Knives Chau, "Les-B-On is about to be Les-B-Gone" said to Flowers by her female ex), video game sounds and the borderline manic pixie dream girl Ramona Flowers herself, and thoroughly enjoy this ultimately flawed movie.

I also totally dug the song by The Clash At Demonhead (a.k.a. Metric)—fronted by fellow manic pixie dream girl Brie Larson of United States of Tera fame—that stands out as the most contemporary musical element of the movie, which you can peep here:

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - 'Black Sheep' Music Video from Louis S on Vimeo.

You can also nab the song here: Metric "Black Sheep" (mp3)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blog Review | Chicago's Top Electronic Music Blogs

Roll Call

These Chicago bloggers are in a class all their own.

By Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 07.29.10

We get it—music lovers are opinionated. Many think their views are so spot-on, they broadcast them to the world via a blog. The truth is blogging requires more than just taste, it takes dedication. Too often, would-be bloggers throw up a review or a free mp3, and next thing you know, months have gone by without one word or a second of audio to entice readers into visiting regularly. But these three bloggers go well beyond just opinions. They have a knack for trend spotting, a way with words and unparalleled dedication. Even while they juggle day jobs and other responsibilities, their sites offer daily news bytes, reviews, party announcements and plenty of music, and it keeps their readers coming back for more.

Name: Steve Mizek

Blog: littlewhiteearbuds.com

Founded: 2005

Mizek, who spends his days as an advertising analyst at Market Access International, approaches Little White Earbuds with the same eye for detail he displays during business hours. He started modestly, offering up thoughts on whatever he was digging at the time. Now the site sees contributions from more than 20 writers and publishes multiple posts daily. The Little White Earbuds team features at least seven album or singles reviews a week and boasts a weekly podcast from an electronic artist or DJ. While Mizek describes Earbuds’ focus as “everything from disco to dubstep,” it does have a heavy techno slant. The site has actually become so robust as a blog, it almost sells it short to call it such. “I try to look at it from the perspective of a website and less as a guy posting when he feels like it,” Mizek says. His model has a lot in common with popular electronic music e-zine Resident Advisor, and if Mizek keeps up the good work, RA is going to have some heavy competition on its hands.

Read on for profiles on Red Threat, CreamTeam.TV and Strangers in Stereo: Continue Reading

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Clothing Preview | Women's Fashion Fall 2010

Fall Fashion 2010 | Coming Round the Curve
by Joshua P. Ferguson

There are many reasons to look forward to changes in season, but one that rules the Dialogue Inc. offices is the eager anticipation of the fashion previews for the New York Times Style Magazine. The wait ended this weekend with the arrival of the Fall Women's edition. In it, the stand-out trend that dominated more than any camel hair jacket or little-heeled pump, is a move back towards fashion for women with real curves. And they did it without a single reference to Mad Men (that I could find anyway).

Here are two shots from Marc Jacob's fall collection for Louis Vuitton:

I don't know where my vintage tastes come from, but if women's fashion remained perpetually in the '50s and '60s, all skirts, flower prints, plaids, cardigans, wools and flare, fine by me.

I've always appreciated fashion, even before I quite realized that that's what it was. From an early age I was concerned with how I was going to express myself through my wardrobe, and over the years that grew to an appreciation of wardrobes on the whole; a general sartorial appreciation of how people express themselves before they've even opened their mouth. In that sense, I've always been more Kate Spade than Kate Moss, preferring style that reflected a genuine girl, perhaps even a girl next door (which is not to say that I'm not drawn to the Femme Fatale as well). It just needs to seem believable, nay wearable, none of this waifish, rail thin stuff. So as Marc Jacobs (see above), Prada and the like paraded cleavage, thighs and legs, and the New York Times summed summed the whole thing up, I have finally found my personal tastes align with the tastemakers in Italy, New York and Paris.

Speaking of Paris, one of the more interesting shoots from the mag was a spread with Vixen français Laetitia Casta. I specifically remember being 16—or thereabout—and getting my latest issue of Rolling Stone, only to find Casta on the cover with nothing but her birthday suit and a pool of pink rose pedals. I think that was the day I learned the true meaning of "sex symbol." So beginning my sunday morning with a spread of her channelling a previous era's sex symbol, Brigitte Bardot, to promote the upcoming biopic Serge Gainsbourg, Vie Heroique was a blast from the past (in a personal and historical sense) hearkening back to those formative years when I probably solidified my admiration of curves over slenderness. Check her spread here: Laetitia Cast | Retrofitted

And because I don't want to leave you with nothing but a bunch of pictures of buxom babes, head here for a little Serge Gainsbourg + Brigitte Bardot listen: Bonnie & Clyde

Friday, August 20, 2010

Video Review: Ellen Allien | Sun the Rain

To prove that no, Dialogue Inc has not gone the way of the pop world, we're back to our usual selves today, praising our favorite finds in the indie and electronic spheres. But to ease back into the norm from yesterday's Sunshine State excursion we've found another feast for the eyes, full of diving, dew drops, splashing and sunbeams.

Ellen Allien's Dust was a highlight of our spring and we're glad to let it spill over into summer with this video for "Sun the Rain" which we featured on our last podcast.

Read our interview with Ellen Allien for Time Out Chicago | From Dust Till Dawn

And of course, peep the video:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guilty Pleasure: Katy Perry | Teenage Dream

Ok, you've got me. While my trustworthy cultural cohort Roy Shay poetically expounds on the wonder that is selvage denim, I find myself here, gullibly contemplating the high and low points of the new Katy Perry video. Alas, we can't be all class, all the time. And so it is that I throw my more refined scruples to the wind, and wish that I too was cruising the California coast in a vintage beamer, a carefree cutie by my side and a caravan of colorful cohorts trailing closely behind. Yeah... Me and a legion of 13-year-olds. We're all sharing this same fantasy. Right now.

And maybe that's what worries me. Certainly not even I am above guilty pleasures. But the celestial pop princess has taken over summer, promoting sweets, skin, surf and sexual innuendo. On one level, I love it. It's fodder for endless laughs. And, I'd much rather have Ms. Perry dominating the airwaves, because I know she's in on the joke. The same can't be said of Ke$ha and the like. But watching her "skin tight jeans" slowly snake their way down her silky thighs and hearing her purr about going "all the way tonight" I realize that maybe—more so even than cupcake bras spewing whip cream from their cherries on top—my dear Katy may be stuffing kids heads with thoughts of, well, going all the way tonight. Then again, if not her, someone else, and I've already said that I'd rather it be her. So I'll leave the condemnations to the conservatives, and leave you, dear readers, with a roll call of conflicted interests flying at me like bugs hitting a convertible BMW dashboard as it speeds to the beach. With Katy Perry in the passenger seat.

—Joshua P. Ferguson


To see life through this lens filter.

To live in Cali.

His car.

To get drunk on the beach.

More tattoos. Shit, one tattoo.

Friends with dumpy pick-up trucks.

Or convertibles. (just not a Seabring).

My missing puzzle piece. (Seriously, I can’t finish this fall landscape scene without it).

To race you to the water in my boxers.

His workout schedule.

A back alley dance party.

Especially one with flares.

To run away and never look back.

Or no regrets.

Sex in a pool more often (sorry fellow swimmers).

To spend a night in a stereotypical roadside motel room.

Katy Perry. Duh.


She still wears Diesel jeans? Really? Stylist alert.

"No regrets, just love." Come on Katy, you're sexier when you're being funny. Or pervy.

That these kids are too hip for their own good.

About “Native American” hipster trends.

That Letterman jackets are the hipster trend for fall.

That a "California Loves You” hat is trying too hard.

That Katy’s parents will not approve of “going all the way.” Hey kid! Yours won’t either.

That “this is real.”

That I’ve listened to this song 10x in a row.

That after all this, I’ll still look forward to playing this song this weekend.

That all token black guys will have to start looking like members of TV on the Radio.

Katy Perry. Duh.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Clothing Review | 3Sixteen + Selfedge

3Sixteen + Selfedge | True Baby Blue, I Love You

by Roy Shay

I’ve gone through a rebirth of sorts in the last couple of years. When I say “rebirth”, I don’t mean the kind that would make my lovely missus perk up and scream “Hallelujah!”, but rather one involving my preferred choice of leg-covering garment: Jeans.

I’ve always worn them and have always thought I was doing it right: Starting at the age thirteen, I was convinced that Diesel was the end-all when it came to denim; I “progressed” to Rag & Bone in my late 20s, and after hearing the words “APC New Standards” one too many times, figured out that raw (as in, unwashed, dry, dark, dark blue) denim is the mature, stylish way to go. Picking up that pair also sent me to Wikipedia’s definition of “selvage” denim, where I learned the benefits of this supreme, gorgeous material and what making a pair of trousers from it implies.

This passing interest in the way denim is weaved has now turned into a somewhat unhealthy, rather out of control obsession that began with my first real pair of big-boy jeans, Levi’s upscale range of authentic reproductions called Levi’s Vintage Clothing (or LVC). I picked up the 1947 model (referring to the way Levi’s made the 501’s at that year: America having had enough of rationing and cost cutting now brought back hidden rivets and stitched arcuates, things seen as indulgences when the whole country was saving money and hence removed during the war) and through diligent non-washing - the only way to wear raw denim if you want to see it fade right - and a somewhat questionable insistence on not wearing anything else, grew to love and realise the utter beauty of real, proper jeans. The way they started showing signs of wear and fading, the fit... Indeed, I had been reborn.

And then came the next chapter in my now fully-blown, unruly obsession - A new pair of 3Sixteen’s: a collaboration between Selfedge - a small, specialist denim shop in LA specialising in high-end, obscure, limited jeans made of Japanese denim (the holy grail for the denim purist) and 3Sixteen: a small, specialist jeans designer, based in New York. The model name: 3Sixteen+ 10BSP. The denim: 14oz indigo rope dyed Japanese selvage with a dual-red selvage ID, hidden rivets and a hand stamped heavy-weight patch made for them by the formidable Tanner Goods. Bearing in mind that the last two sentences made sense to roughly 43 people on the entire planet, know this: these are jeans like you’ve never known to exist. A deep, dark, mesmerisingly blue fabric with texture and weight that can only come from a fabric woven, cut, sewn and finished by hand; The cut - neither douche-slim or rudeboy baggy - perfect in a way the fantastically shite-worthy Earnest True Seven Religion of Humanity of the world will never, ever be; The material itself, dyed and woven in a way that is intended to fade in beautiful, satisfying contrasts on high-abrasion areas, reveals on close inspection a microscopic white fur that, to the touch, brings to mind something between a Tom Ford velvet dinner jacket and the suede seats of a factory-new Aston Martin.

The place for one fantastic pair of jeans in anyone’s - yes, anyone’s - closet can not be overstated; The one pair that will go with anything, that will prove to be timeless for another hundred years like denim has been so far, that will blend in without tacky, loud pocket stitching and branding, that will scream everything Ed Hardy jeans owners think theirs are screaming but fail pathetically... The perfect jean. These are those.

(Editors note: Please excuse me while I go load all my current denim up on to e-bay so that I can get my hands on a new pair of these. Pure perfection. Thanks once again, my dear Mr. Shay. —JPF)



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Album Review: Hey Champ | Star

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 07.29.10

Hey Champ


Townie Records

in•die \in-dê\adj + Electro \ i-lek-troh \ adj + pop \päp\n

It’s been more than 18 months since iPod hard drives ran white hot from the endless looping of “Cold Dust Girl,” Hey Champ’s 2008 Internet sensation. The song, a synth-pop and rock hybrid about being snubbed by a girl at a club, turned a lot of people on to the trio. Lupe Fiasco was so enamored he even signed them to his First and Fifteenth label. Like that, the band was set to release its debut album in March of 2009. Or so they thought.

After Fiasco abruptly shut down the label, the band’s record was left in purgatory until Brent Stiefel—an ex-employee of the visionary Sub Pop label—offered up a home at Townie Records. Given its temporary shelving, Star avoids sounding stale. The dance-rock drums, crisp guitar and electro fuzz of opener “Shake” sound just as current as those of critically adored newcomers Two Door Cinema Club. The song’s pop sheen also makes it clear that Hey Champ means to attract as many ears as possible. That was the mind frame vocalist Saam Hagshenas, drummer Jonathan Marks and keyboardist Pete Dougherty were in while writing and recording the LP.

Depending on who’s listening, the band is indie rock for the club or, if you prefer, electro pop served with a side of guitar. It’s a great formula for marketing, but it also gives an air of trying too hard to please. On “No Future,” the six strings take a hike altogether to give us a less ironic take on Chromeo’s sound. The latest single, “Neverest,” is cast from the same mold as “Cold Dust Girl,” only this time the New Order melancholy is turned up slightly. Songs like “Artificial Man” and “So American” hint at punk authenticity, but ultimately, tooled for maximum playability, Star seems well positioned to make members of the band just that, stars.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Monday, August 16, 2010

Arcade Fire | Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

Summer reading has wreaked havoc on my productivity. But, forever the optimist, I find that somehow my path through page after page these last months has contributed to a convergence of certain interrelated socio-cultural ideas, the discovery of which have made my leisure time well worth it. As the days pass idly, I can start to connect dots, stringing together themes that have carried over from one book to the next and, with a steady soundtrack humming in the background, from one song to the next. Today I made one such connection, thanks, in part, to Thomas Pynchon, David Mitchell, Arcade Fire and Tommie Sunshine. (I know... please continue to bear with me—I do realize I'm embarking on some nonsense meta-cultural string theory bullshit, but it might make for a fun read).

My summer reading adventures began with Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice—for more: Thomas Pynchon | Inherent Vice—in it, he tackles the corporate conspiracy of capitalism (among other things), therein referred to as "The Golden Fang," a thinly veiled reference to America's monetary vampires.

In Cloud Atlas—my current read—David Mitchell is in the process of taking me on a journey from 19th century Australia, to 1930's Belgium, to '60s California—coincidentally close to Pynchon's '70s setting in the Golden State—to... From a recent article I read on Mitchell, I know that my literary travel will eventually progress to a Philip K. Dickian future. And then back again. It is in Mitchell that I am able to reinforce my point about interconnectedness. In seemingly disparate happenings, years apart in their occurrence, the strands of humanity carry on interrupted. To quote him from his recent NY Times interview, Mitchell says, ‘Good God. I just realized. It’s about people. It’s not about metaphysics!’ The reason we love the books we love—it’s the people. It’s the human mud, the glue between us and them, the universal periodic table of the human condition. It transcends.”

Indeed. And while it may be humanity that truly fuels my furious page turning, I can't help but think that metaphysics are playing into it as well. Clearly this post is becoming a testament to that.

And here now we reach the musical meat of my rambling and, fittingly, it's Twitter—that ethereal internet-based stream of collective consciousness—that wrapped everything up in a neat little package for me. Tommie Sunshine, an astute and entertaining voice in music and culture, posted up a remix to our shared favorite track from the new Arcade Fire record, The Suburbs. The song you ask? "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)." Coincidentally (or not...) Arcade Fire has provided me with the highlight of summer thus far, their closing set at Lollapalooza coinciding with the highest heights of my 30th birthday celebration. And, in that I am not alone. As of last week, they have the top selling album in the country.

To quote from "Sprawl II": "Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock. These days my life, I feel it has no purpose. But late at night the feelings swim to the surface." Clearly the monotonous drone of the dominant lifestyle of suburban worker bees has affected Win Butler, Regine Chassagne and the rest of the ranks of Arcade Fire. Much as it has Thomas Pynchon. And most likely Mr. Sunshine as well.

There's something about the beautiful melancholy of this song that makes it stand out so brightly. And rightfully so. The grind may be oppressive, but looked at in the right light—or at least taking note of it's necessity and finding the right way to get past it and make the best of things—is the balance that we all hope to find. The song's placement on the back end of the record, with it's steady indie-disco thump, leaves us introspective yet smiling. No one really likes a Spieglberg ending, the machine just tricks us into the delusional thought that we are supposed to. But that's too easy, and clearly not how the world really rotates. As Mitchell put it, the true beauty is in the mud. If everything were on sparkling, shiny, happy ending, it would lose it's essence. Without the grit, we cease to recognize the beauty of what's underneath when the soot is washed away. For me—and I sense I'm not alone here—that is infinitely more satisfying and thought provoking. In seeking out the mythical silver lining—with or without a Cloud Atlas to help us find it—we discover true, un-marketed, un-mass produced or otherwise generic beauty. And, to find this in two prolific authors, a visionary DJ and a No. 1 album is truly a silver lining.

Now back to work.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) [Tommie Sunshine's Quaalude Edit] by tommiesunshine

Friday, August 13, 2010

Article: Rusko | Southland Tales + mp3

Southland Tales

British expat Rusko brings dubstep to the West Coast, and the world.

By Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 08.05.10

TOC | Southland Tales

“Everyone wants to live here. It’s paradise,” says the silver-tongued Ari Gold of sunny Los Angeles on a recent episode of Entourage. It seems the DJ world agrees. A throng of artists has recently relocated there, including dubstep’s biggest star, Rusko. A year ago, 25-year-old Christopher Mercer—as he’s less commonly known—was feeling cramped in London and joined the DJ migration west. He settled on L.A.’s hip Silver Lake neighborhood, which he describes as a West Coast version of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg.

When I reach Mercer to chat about his Lollapalooza performance, his appearance as part of the HARD Summer Tour and his new LP, O.M.G., he’s being ferried home from San Diego, where he was taking in the sights—loads of geeks and Batman—of Comic-Con. Typical of young Brits, Mercer doesn’t drive, which can prove problematic given the Golden State’s landscape. But for the U.K. native, the Cali highways are simply too much. “I don’t cruise up the coast on a Harley,” he laughs. “I ride to the store on my little scooter because I’m too scared.”

The scooter suits his lifestyle perfectly. While discussing his new home, he runs down a list of noteworthy neighbors. Dave “Switch” Taylor and Wes “Diplo” Pentz, the minds behind Major Lazer and close confidantes of M.I.A., and breaks originator Adam Freeland all live within walking distance. As talented as his musical entourage is, it’s only half the reason for the move. His real motivation is to secure dubstep’s place in the American musical lexicon.

A British electronic-music genre characterized by roaring bass lines, half-time breaks and generally savage intensity, dubstep isn’t the phenomenon here that it is in the U.K. “There, they play my tracks on the regular radio in the daytime next to Rihanna and Britney Spears,” Mercer explains. A fixture on the U.K. scene, he’s spent the last six years championing the genre through his DJ, production and frequent radio work, often with regular collaborator Caspa. Looking to the U.S., Mercer saw potential for growth and decided he’s in the best position to exploit it. “There was no one over here that was like: Right, America, this is dubstep, this is what it’s about, and I’m the man to give it to ya.”

Continue reading

To help keep you in a dubstep mood, here's Rusko's epic "Da Cali Anthem" | Rusko "Da Cali Anthem" (mp3)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Review | Big Chill 2010 Hertfordshire England

Big Chill 2010 | Grown Up. But Not Old.

Words and Photos by Roy Shay

Lurk around the perpetually active Big Chill forum pages, talk to the random punter whose been going to the Big Chill “when this was all fields, this”, and the consensus seems to be absolute: Since Chillfest, the operating company behind the festival, went into liquidation last year and the behemoth of the festival industry, Festival Republic, took over, the Chill has gone corporate. The patchouli-scented festival has been chugging along for fifteen years now, but in the last three years has barely made enough to cover expenses and started hemorrhaging spectacular amounts of money yearly. This led to it being picked up by Festival Republic (the people behind the grand daddy of them all, Glastonbury, among others: Leeds, Reading, etc.), who, through insensitive cost-cutting and the kiddie-oriented bookings (Tinie Tempha, Plan B, Lily Allen) have sucked the life out of the festival. According to most anyway.

Ask Festival Republic and they’ll say their goal was to keep the spirit of the festival and change as little as possible. Is this the case? Shitty toilets (as it were), an alarming count of 16 year-olds gurning on pills, odd reshuffling and renaming of stages, prevalent corporate sponsor logos emblazoned on the sound towers—Sky TV, Vodafone, Uggs—It seems as though FR almost went out of their way to piss off the regulars.

Reading through endless pages of people whining on said forums and even reading what Pete Lawrence, co founder, had to say—“it has followed the general trend of blanding out”—I had to stop and ask myself if this is in fact a bad thing. Sure, not being able to see Lily’s face when she announced to the 35,000 14 year-old girls that she’s pregnant was a shame (no video screens on the main stage? FFSWTF?!!), but boy if my testicles didn’t rumble during Kruder & Dorfmeister’s Depeche Mode remix. In other words, having more money (for things like, say, awe-inducing, brown-note validating sound systems) isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a festival. Ask some of the families that go to the Big Chill, and most will attest the their camping conditions have improved vastly, too.

Ultimately however, if you ask me, it’s about the music. Honestly. And while the Orb were tragically omitted from this years’ lineup in favour of Plan B (Say it ain’t so!), I still managed to find a cohesive, satisfying path through this years’ talent (Gilles Peterson—>Greg Wilson—>Joker) on Saturday night.

What I’m saying is, catering to a new generation of festival goers and not just aiming to appease the dinosaurs—and all this in an attempt to keep the Big Chill alive , mind—isn’t the worst outcome we could have hoped for. And if the Chill isn’t for you anymore, there’s always Festinho.

(note from the editor: It's somewhat irrelevant to the post, but this remix of Beach House's "Lover of Mine" by Roman Ruins is groovy and a great listen while you read. Download here. —JPF)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Video Review(s): Magnetic Man + Katy B | I Need Air + Katy On A Mission

Probably our closest musical confidante—with whom we rarely don't see eye to eye—London town's Roy Shay recently travelled to the Great British highlands in search of the Big Chill. Amidst "raving teens screaming their tits off" he unearthed this little nugget from dubstep powerhouse trio Magnetic Man, a.k.a. Croydon's Skream, Benga and Artwork. A threesome of the genre's pioneers armed with youth, testosterone and a penchant for ravey sub-bass mayhem, we know this project is destined for big things. If "I Need Air" is any indicator—or its cover story in NME, for that matter— it's poised for MASSIVE things.

Check it out for yourself (or seek the song out here):

In the midst of our non-stop mania over this song today, we were hipped to this new song from U.K. vocalist Katy B. All of a sudden we have two formidable dubstep anthems on our hands. Sounding like a British Keri Hilson mixed with a touch of Lily Allen, Ms. B is backed up here by production from the afore mentioned Benga, and the result, one of the most pop-worthy dubstep tunes we've heard—yes, we just said this a few weeks back about Rusko's "Hold On" and we meant it then too—could legitimately spell out mainstream dubstep appeal in the U.S.

Check it out out for yourself (or seek the song out here):