Thursday, September 29, 2011

Live Review | The Rapture @ Metro


Live Review | The Rapture

Metro, Chicago

by Joshua P. Ferguson

The Rapture has had a tumultuous existence. Infighting, family issues and label headaches have probably stunted the trajectory that this band could have had. Watching their intimate show at the Metro last night, I couldn't help but wonder if frontman Luke Jenner—or lost member Matt Safer—lies in bed at night asking himself if the Rapture might have been LCD Soundsystem had things worked out differently.

If Jenner does, he didn't show it last night. His band might be playing smaller venues and lack in the confidence and stage presence of its bigger labelmate, but a brilliant new record, In the Grace of Your Love, and a string of past hits were more than enough to work from, and the near capacity crowd seemed to agree.

The punk-funk pioneers put on a no-frills show, stepping onto the stage with little more than a hello. The bulk of their set seemed to lean heavily on past material, wasting no time getting into hits like "Get Yourself Into It" and "House of Jealous Lovers"—which I thought was surely going to be saved for the encore. Modest but still energetic, they left no breathing room between songs. One would bleed right into the next amid slick guitar riffs, sax solos and heavy cowbell. The only breaks they took were for Jenner to dive into the crowd—which he seemed to revel in, doing so three or four times.

When they walked off stage having only played "Miss You" and "Never Die Again" from the new record, I was fully prepared to complain about cashing in on hits and failing to ready new songs for the road. But an encore of "Sail Away" and the anthemic "How Deep is Your Love" shut me up quickly. If it took all of their ups and downs for the Rapture to turn out sounding this good, than these boys should rest assured that things worked out for the best in the end.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

I also woke up to this killer remix from A-Trak that's also a great tribute to fallen comrade DJ Mehdi. Courtesy of Stereogum.

In A-Trak's words:

"I did this remix over the summer, and when I was close to finishing it I played it to my friend, the irreplaceable DJ Mehdi. We often played each other our productions for feedback. As it turns out he and Riton were visiting New York so they stopped by my apartment. I was working on the main version of the remix, the vocal version. I knew I would make a few alternate edits during the mixdown. The funny thing was, Mehdi's favorite part was the ending! He and Riton suggested that I have that part come in earlier. My reaction was: that would work well for the dub version. And sure enough, when I finished mixing it down I made a dub with their suggestion. When I sent it to Mehdi shortly after, he responded (as a joke) that I should call it "Dub For Mehdi". He included it in his "Tunisian Summer" mix. And then, as we all know, the unimaginable happened and we lost our dear friend. The least I can do now is name the edit after him. This one's for you, Memed."

Download: The Rapture "How Deep Is Your Love" (A-Trak dub for Mehdi) | 320 mp3

Download: The Rapture "How Deep Is You Love" | 320 mp3

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DJ Mix | Biome "FABRICLIVE Promo mix"


"Biomes are climatically or geographically defined as similar climatic conditions on the Earth." Ok, so Googling 'Biome' doesn't take you straight to the Manchester dubstep DJ that's the subject of this post. But this definition of the word from Wikipedia does help frame the man. Being climatically similar to Earth means that it's not of this Earth, and listening to to the young producer's recent promo mix for London club institution Fabric, you certainly get a sense of the otherworldly.

Dark, spacious and cold. These three words carry equal weight in describing both outer space and Biome's sound. His mix is flooded with original material, stuff that could only be inspired by too much time in an overcast Northern England. The beauty here is, never does the mix become overwrought with clichéd dubstep aggression. Like his forebears on Tempa or from the ever-growing RINSE family, he's tempered dubstep's dark side with a patient brooding. This is what sets the U.K. scene apart from its counterpart here in the States.

It's rainy and grey here in Chicago today. Waking up to this mix was a perfect compliment. It's brooding and with a touch of evil—those Decepticon Transformer crunch abounds—but the scales never tip to all out madness. Catch him here before he takes over Fabric this Friday.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Download: Biome FABRICLIVE Promo Mix | 192 mp3

Biome - FABRICLIVE Promo Mix Tracklist: 
1. Biome - Havana V.I.P 
2. Peverse - Helios 
3. Rowl - Void 
4. Ipman - M.O.B Mentality 
5. Kryptic Minds - Hyprid (Biome Remix) 
6. Icicle & Youngsta - Momentum 
7. Biome - Propaganda 
8. Ipman - Messenger 
9. Biome & Fallen 45 - DMT 
10. Biome - Persepolis 
11. Biome - The Raven 
12. Razor Rekta - Tugboat 
13. Indigo - Portal 
14. Core - Waisteland 
15. Biome - Tripwire 
16. Killawatt - Ether 
17. Versa - Shadow Movement 
18. Ipman - Raindance 
19. Biome - Autumn
20. Biome - Autumn (170 Re-fix)

Here's an interview the club did:

What was the music scene like in Manchester whilst growing up? How was it you got into deejaying and producing? Originally I'm from a place called Haslingden in Lancashire and to be honest as far as dubstep and drum & bass go there was no scene at all. You rarely found anyone who shared the same interest; which is why I eventually moved to Manchester along with Indigo, who was the only other friend I knew from Haslingden that was into the same music as me. Since moving there I've had a lot of support from various promoters, DJ's and producers. I've been into producing my own music since I was about 10 starting with the eJay program and 'music' for the Playstation. I used to enjoy listening to various DJs but always wanted to be producing the music I was mixing. 

You recently released ‘Space,’ a melancholy dubstep cut, on independent label, Black Box Recordings. Can we expect to hear any fresh, unreleased Biome material on the 30th? 
There will be a lot of fresh material and some forthcoming some dubs. I'm producing all the time so like to pull out the odd fresh surprise when I play out and see how they go down.  

Are you working on any forthcoming releases at the moment? 
 There are a few forthcoming and a few not yet 100% but I'm happy to wait for the labels to announce what will be coming next. My track 'Swirls' and the flip, that is so far untitled and produced by Versa and myself, are forthcoming on M.U.D as a limited 250 copy vinyl release. My tracks 'Propaganda' and 'D.M.T,' which are co-produced with Fallen 45 have just this week been sent for mastering, so I can tell you they're forthcoming, but don't want to mention the label until they are ready to announce their next release. 

I read you once produced drum & bass; do you have any plans to explore other genres in the future? 
I still make drum and bass from time to time along with bits of downtempo, ambient type stuff and techno influenced music, but my main focus at the moment is on the 140bpm material. Hopefully you will get to see some different genres from myself in the coming years. 

Lastly, can you tell us a little about the mix you’ve made for us? How did you go about piecing together your selection? 
I wanted the mix to represent my club sound but also be very listenable at the same time so I built it as I would a tune, with a beginning, middle and an end. I also wanted to show my deeper more musical side as well as the darker, more twisted bass music I create and represent this through my own productions and those from some of the producers whose music I'm really into at the moment.

www.fabriclondon.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

Review | Rinse Vol 8 mixed by Roska


Various Artists
RINSE:15 MIXED BY ROSKA
Rinse•Records

 Dub•step \ dub-step \ n + house \haus \ n 

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine: TOC | Rinse 15

The latest installment of pirate-radio-turned-record-label Rinse’s mix showcase kicks in with chants of “DJ Roska dubplate.” Part of the ever-evolving U.K. bass scene, DJ-producer Roska gets his fair share of up-front club tracks. Either they’re of his own making (like “Myth vs. Wonderful Day” getting the shout-out here) or they’ve been passed to him as still-hot test pressings by any one of the talents associated with Rinse (Brackles, Zinc and MA1 all get air time). 

Like the soundsystem culture it grew out of, the dubstep scene prides itself on newness; its bubbly little sister is funky, and Roska has positioned himself as the frontrunner for the sound. Pulling the sound into housier territory by adding tropical percussion and a 2-step pop sheen to the genre’s low-end grime and halftime breaks, funky is a direct response to dubstep’s doom and gloom. 

Here, burgeoning pop star Katy B’s hit “Lights On” rubs shoulders with the bass bin–blowing “Ruckas” by J:Kenzo and the rough soul of Redlight’s “Stupid.” This is dubstep with mass appeal. Aggressive yet accessible, Roska’s mix is undeniably U.K., but not so stripped down and cerebral as to be foreign to all but the most diehard scenesters. 

The DJ’s also not afraid to play with the flow. Tracks drop in and fade out with each new transition; all that’s missing is the crowd’s cry for a rewind of its favorite cut—there is no shortage of potential candidates. From Magnetic Man’s 2010 anthem “I Need Air” to Zinc’s garage throwback “Love to Feel This Way,” Roska has taken a pristine screenshot of one of the most exciting movements in bass music. It’s worth every spin.

—Joshua P. Ferguson




Thursday, September 22, 2011

Article | Only Children | Family Affair


Family Affair
A collective of disco lovers gives up party rocking to focus on the 
music they love best.
  
by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago Magazine | 06.29.10

Only Children calls its home base Castle Albany—emphasis on home.The second-floor Logan Square apartment is where Dino Balocchi and Chris Baronner lay their heads at night, and group member Jesse Hozeny spends a lot of time here. It’s the epicenter of their family gatherings—with Baronner’s dog Ramona always close at hand. Framed LPs, a Simon & Garfunkel poster and fast-food decals cover the walls, records are neatly shelved, and the turntables are always spinning; this is where Only Children live and work.
It’s also where I meet them to talk about “Don’t Stop,” Only Children’s debut song. Prior to this, they’ve been primarily known for edits and remixes. Away from the dance-music world, Balocchi and Hozeny have been in the band Apteka since 2006. Baronner, on the other hand, has been deejaying for more than a decade as Bald E. “Some of the first exposure to the dance-music scene in Chicago was going to parties [Baronner] was doing,” Balocchi says. In 2008, the three teamed up to explore what they could do together in the world of 4/4 beats. (Friend and studio technician McRae Reed is considered a silent partner and fourth member.)
Only Children’s edits of dance-floor staples like Prince and remixes of synth pop acts like Hey Champ caught ears just as club sounds were making inroads into the indie world (or was it the other way around?), and their blend of the two had just enough punk bass and disco sheen to send dance floors and the blogosphere into a frenzy. Gigs at South by Southwest and Lollapalooza followed in 2009. Then, as Balocchi puts it, the sugar high wore off. “We were up there with our computers playing remixes of Michael Jackson,” he says. “It was super fun. But when that ended we were like, oh man, I have a headache.”
“The funny thing is, we still didn’t know what we were,” says Baronner during our living room chat.
“I think we had a teeny little front- row seat on what is possible in the new media environment,” Hozeny adds. “A kind of hypey thing happened and then there’s this ripple of people that are thinking that you’re this thing. Are you this thing? How do you respond to that?”
Since June these cats have been on the steady come up, releasing their debut 12", "Don't Stop" and as a great additional resume bullet point, they opened up for Cut Copy two nights ago.
Baronner has also released a new mix, which I'll include below.
1. Neil Young | Dance Dance Dance (Key Of Bald É. Edit) 
2. Sugar | Helpless 
3. Pixies | Planet Of Sound 
4. fIREHOSE | Slack Motherfucker 
5. The Lemonheads | It's A Shame About Ray 
6. Jane's Addiction | No One's Leaving 
7. Nirvana | School 
8. Dead Kennedys | Night Of The Living Rednecks 
9. The Jesus Lizard | (Fly) On (The Wall) 
10. Fugazi | Stage Banter 
11. Drive Like Jehu | Bullet Train To Vegas 
12. Simon & Garfunkel | A Poem On The Underground Wall 
13. Dinosaur Jr. | Thumb 
14. Stan Getz & João Gilberto | Tonight I Shall Sleep With A Smile On My Face

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shuffle | Drive


Shuffle | Drive

Chromatics "Tick of the Clock" - Italians Do It Better
In film, as in music, mining the past to help populate the present is an infinitely renewable resource. Especially when it's done with the expertise of a film like Drive, a past-present, heist-get-away-love-story by stoic Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn. Set in the present day, but a present day where vintage Impalas rule the road. 

During the opening credit sequence alone Ryan Gosling's and Carey Mulligan's names float across the screen in bright pink font that could have been lifted straight from Cocktail. In the background, Kavinsky's "Night Call" provides a pulse. Its the perfect fit, given the myth of Kavinsky as an undead night rider in a letterman jacket and his penchant for moody electro-boogie. This is no extension of the Fast and the Furious franchise.

Gosling is the Driver, an unnamed part-time stuntman and full-time get-away driver who's perpetually sporting a white silk jacket emblazoned with a gold scorpion. Ralph Macchio wishes he would have been outfitted in this for Karate Kid II.

Between his stunts and his heist assists, Gosling falls for Mulligan, the beauty down the hall from his '70s-era L.A. apartment. In Time Out Chicago's review, A.A. Dowd fittingly compares the smoldering stares between the two to those of Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love.

As this homage to '80s cop flicks, Steve McQueen and the wandering outlaw samurai acrchetype progresses, a heist involving Mulligan's freshly out-of-jail hubby goes horribly wrong and Gosling is forced to wreck shop in the name of love—quite brutally at points. 

Adding another layer to the well-executed pastiche feel, Johnny Jewel—the melancholy man behind the brilliant Glass Candy and Chromatics—was tapped for a couple of his retro-Italo gems, including this freebie "Tick of the Clock" which would fool anyone not familiar into thinking this came out during the Reagan era. Jewel posted the film soundtrack edit to his soundcloud today, and we've included it here for your downloading pleasure.

—Joshua P. Ferguson


 
CHROMATICS / TICK OF THE CLOCK (Drive Movie Edit) by JOHNNY JEWEL




Thursday, September 15, 2011

Shuffle | The Juan MacLean + Katy B + Gigamesh + more


Shuffle | Songs from our inbox

Tycho "Hours" (original + Teen Daze remix) – Ghostly International
Golden State downbeat guru Tycho named his first album Sunrise Projector. That speaks volumes about his preferred musical hues. Now, he's priming for the November release of his latest, Dive, again hinting at the album's thematic elements. "Hours," in both its original and remixed form, is a shining piece of Balearic chill out. It is a tune bathing in the warmth of tropical waters. Teen Daze's remix splashes things around a bit more.

Downlaod: Tycho "Hours" | 320 mp3

Download: Tycho "Hours" (Teen Daze remix) | 320 mp3


When the Saints Go Machine "Kelly" (Shlohmo remix) – !K7
Another Cali producer with a potent knack for chill out and tie to Ghostly International, Shlohmo actually takes the synth-pop lovey doviness of "Kelly" to a darker place by casting a grey shade over the proceedings with echo-chamber vocal riffs, sharp keys and muted drums. The first time Kelly kissed a boy becomes a more introspective affair, but no less beautiful an experience.



Gigamesh "When You're Dancing" (RAC remix) + Katy B "Lights On" (Gigamesh remix)
This Minneapolis producer can lay claim to taking part in some of the baddest remix to grace Midwestern dance floors—and more thanks to the reach of the blogosphere. As one third of Discotech, Gigamesh helped churn out remixes for everyone from Lykke Li to Rod Stewart, seemingly each more potent than the last. Now doing it solo, he churns the highlight from Katy B's On A Mission into a floor filler that will make downtown and uptown alike swoon. 

Gigamesh also chimes in with an original of his own, this one remixed by RAC—a newly ubiquitous remix outfit that is doing its damnedest to follow in Discotech's footsteps, but with a lighter and more indie-friendly touch. I love the beat here and can't stand the vocals. You decide for yourself.



 
Katy B - Lights On (Gigamesh Remix) by GIGAMESH


Katy B "Katy On a Mission" - Rinse/Columbia
Speaking of the captivating Miss B, Katy B's full length debut hit digi-shelves this week. The young siren debuted a few months back, making her mark just behind Adele as the No. 2 album in the country. Not bad for the tastemaking dubstep imprint who's logo now shares packaging space with the mighty Columbia. Mixing indiginous dubstep, funky, house and jungle beats with the universal language of pop, Katy B represents bass music at it's most mass-appealing. Where elsewhere this might signal the death of a movement, Katy—with help from producers like Benga and Geeneus, which can't be overlooked—only has us smiling at success done right.

Download: Katy B "Katy On a Mission" | 320 mp3


The Juan MacLean "Everybody Get Close" - DFA
DFA cohort the Juan MacLean has been spending the last few months getting in touch with his housier side as Melba Peach. Its possible that this time in the studio spurred on the release of Everybody Get Close, a collection of outtakes, remixes, remasters and material previously only available from the concession stands of his live shows. The title track trades off the synth squelches twinkles, giving us a glimpse of what MacLean might sound like after too many hours in a room with George Clinton.



Monday, September 12, 2011

The Allure | Topshop + Topman Chicago


The Allure | Soundtracking

Topshop + Topman Chicago

This weekend, ultra hip British retailer Topshop opened its second flagship U.S. store in the Second City of Chicago. Its prime location at the Water Tower end of Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile drew and endless stream of eager shoppers looking for something to spice up wardrobes no doubt overloaded in H&M and Forever 21.

Dialogue Incorporated had the luxury of being on hand for the festivities, supplying a rock heavy soundtrack to massage shoppers' ears while they picked from Fred Perry-esque polos, patterned button-ups, loafers, tweed blazers and vintage-y winter sweaters. If it is your desire to emulate the style of MGMT, Vampire Weekend or Oasis—let's admit it, the music may be shit, but the Gallaghers have decent threads—Topman is the outfitter for you.


Sorry ladies, I didn't spend anytime scoping the fall fashions for women. But the Topshop brand presence out weighs Topman two floors to one, so between the lingerie and personal shopping services in the basement and the sprawling women's section on the main floor, you'd be hard pressed to walk out of there empty handed.

Musically, I took it as an opportunity to stretch out sans a dance beat—but that doesn't mean it wasn't upbeat and ripe for hip shaking. Arcade Fire and the Black Keys mingles with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Queens of the Stone Age, The Kills and Metric chimed in too. In short, it was a blast. And I thought it complemented the Topshop brand brilliantly—to use the stereotypical British parlance.

Here are five highlights—one for free download—of how I translated Topshop + Topman into sound. 

Happy listening.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Mystery Jets "Serotonin"

This band of Brits put out one of my fave records of 2010 and feature heavily in Topshop's every day soundtrack. I noticed they were sorely lacking on material from the group's latest LP, so I saw it fit to throw its title track into the mix.

 
Mystery Jets - Serotonin

Delphic "Counterpoint"

The manager wasted no time in pledging allegiance to hometown Mancunian heros like Depeche Mode so I thought I'd give Manchester my own salute with its latest musical offering, Delphic.

 
  Counterpoint by delphic

Foster the People "Houdini"

I couldn't let the Brit rockers have all the fun. Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" is the biggest rock song Stateside—no hyperbole here. It's #4 on the Billboard charts. But the album is full of highlights, this one being my personal favorite.

 
  Houdini by Foster The People

The Rapture " Sail Away"

It's the first song on their new record, and I often have trouble moving on to track two without playing "Sail Away" twice. This Brooklyn outfit revitalized the idea of rock and dance playing nice together and they did it more than a decade ago. Now, the Rapture is back and they sound better than almost anyone who came after them. "Sail Away" is a case in point.

 
  The Rapture - Sail Away by modularpeople

The Drums "Money" (Beat Connection remix) — for download

The latest British indie darlings, the Drums debut record received its fair share rotation time at the Dialogue offices. We haven't been as enamored with their sophomore effort, but we have pulled out this gem for our DJ sets. It doesn't hurt that the band has given it up for a free download either.

The Drums - Money (Beat Connection Remix) 


Topshop Chicago

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review | Various - Dubstep Allstars Vol. 8



Various Artists

DUBSTEP ALLSTARS VOL.8 MIXED BY DISTANCE

TempaRecords

Dubstep \ dub-step \ n + tech•no \tek-nõ\ n

Originally published in Time Out Chicago Magazine: TOC | Dubstep Allstars

Before electrostep man-of-the-moment Skrillex had even heard the term dubstep, the U.K.’s Tempa was laying the foundation for a dance-music revolution. Operating since ’99, the label introduced the world to Horsepower Productions and Digital Mystikz, two acts that are among the genre’s first. And it was largely through its Dubstep Allstars DJ-mix series that these sounds made it out of the tiny East London clubs where they were being played, often on anonymous vinyl white labels.
More than ten years later this is still the case. In that time, dubstep has turned into an international electronic music movement, and all the while, the label—and the series—has remained true to its roots.
As well as any selector before him, Distance, the DJ and producer whose 25 selections make up this eighth volume, has captured the spaced-out breaks, deep bass wobble and dark atmospherics that characterize the Tempa sound. His entire mix is sparse, haunting, swelling with low end and reverberating with hints of a Jamaican heritage that has gone through decades of U.K. dance permutations.
Dominated by his own productions, like the grinding “Mean Streak” and buzz-saw mayhem of “Drawn,” his set also showcases current scene stealers—and frequent collaborators—Tunnidge, whose “AfterShock” is a surefire brain rattler, and veteran Benga, who proves that even while gaining popular momentum with Magnetic Man, he can still crush subwoofers with cuts like “Chemical Compound.”
Hand-crafted and expertly mixed, this is an intimate glimpse into the original dubstep scene as it stands today, unencumbered by any hype machine. My only complaint is that the sounds on display here haven’t progressed too far sonically from those thrilling early days.


—Joshua P. Ferguson

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Live Review | North Coast Music Festival


Live Review | North Coast Music Fest

Union Park, Chicago

by Joshua P. Ferguson

With the passing of Labor Day, and therefore the ending of summer, I am officially considering myself a festival boy scout. Beginning with Detroit's Movement fest in May and carrying on through Pitchfork, Lollapalooza and, as of this past weekend, the sophomore installment of Chicago's burgeoning dance-jam-hop showcase I've spent many a weekend in 2011 soaking up sounds and sun. Now I come prepared. Possible changes in the weather are well researched. Cell phones and other necessities are wrapped neatly in a Ziplock bag. The sunblock's always been there, but now it joins me in spray form for ease of application. I'm not fooling around. Covering all these festival's for Time Out Chicago, I've even grown quite good about reviewing on the spot. Typing thoughts into my cell phone like an essay-length text and sending them in to editorial right then and there, I helped perfect real-time coverage this summer.

As fun as it's been, I'm glad it's over. I'm tired. I have ear fatigue—and a faint ringing in the left one. I'm burnt out on rubbing up against sweaty bodies belonging to people who have drank or drugged the concept of personal space right out their brains. 

But that's that. No more bitching. Ultimately those moments bleed together into the din of festival—as a concept, not as a specific memory. What I'll take away from this year's North Coast are the dancing computers of the Hood Internet, SBTRKT's expansive U.K. bass music bliss, showing my little  brother a good time and bidding the whole shebang a fond farewell with Thievery Corporation chilling everyone out in the background.

Here, in a series of quotes, are snippets of the best ways I could come up with to describe what I was seeing and hearing. Links to full reviews and, more importantly, photos (!) follow.

Happy reading!

North Coast Music Festival | Friday

The Hood Internet: "Foster the People mingled with the dirty south, Cee-lo said ” Fuck You,” cardboard computers danced onstage and the crowd—everyone from hippies with hemp necklaces to bros in flourescent tanks and oversize gold chains—loved every bit of it." —TOC | Hood Internet 

James Zabiela: "His youthfulness is matched by a crowd of painted baby faces and smoked-up eyes. A sign bobbing above the crowd beckons APPLAUSE, but everybody's too busy thrusting those fists skyward." TOC | James Zabiela 

SBTRKT: "jazzy snare taps, sultry vocal riffs and just enough sub to remind the crowd we're here to dance. I don't know if they're 100 percent sold, but they showed up en masse to figure it out."  TOC | SBTRKT 

North Coast Music Festival | Saturday

RJD2 + Break Science: "The weather gods smiled on RJD2 at least, letting up just in time for the stoned-beats maker to drop the needle on his Mad Men theme song. Juggling between funk samples, hip-hop acapellas and turns at the MPC, the DJ-producer was joined by drummer Beat Science, upping the head nod factor by ten." TOC | RJD2 

Major Lazer: "I was fortunate to have a girl in the crowd introduce Major Lazer for me. 'Diplo's such a hottie,' she said. The more recognizable of the duo's two principal members, he does know how to inject his booty bass with sex appeal." —TOC | Major Lazer 

Rusko: "Watching Rusko deejay, you'd think he is playing a game of hot potato with his feet, that the stage itself is white hot. The Cockney Thug—as he's become known—gets down like he's jumping with an invisible rope." TOC | Rusko 

Common: " 'Go' reminded us that hip-hop can be more subtle than 'How Low Can You Go.' This is why he's the elder statesman here and today's most seasoned performer so far." TOC | Common 

Fatboy Slim: "Up on the stage, silhouetted by images of rippling human cells and rapid-fire emerald green lasers, it's hard to make Fatboy Slim out in detail, but the big beat alum is approaching 50. Clearly for him, age is just a number because his set isn't dated." TOC | Fatboy Slim 

North Coast Music Festival | Sunday

The Budos Band: "There's something really cool about a band that was conceived of during late-night Ethio-jazz listening sessions. If Mulatu Astatke sat in with Fela Kuti and a virtuoso bass player straight outta WAR, that's these guys for sure." —TOC | The Budos Band 

Little Dragon: "Little Dragon could be the poster band that embodies what North Coast is all about. Danceable without being house, indie without a wall of guitars, they jam without that contrived Phish-iness. Ok, so magnetic singer Yukimi Nagano doesn't rap, but the band has toured with De La Soul, so it's in there somewhere." —TOC | Little Dragon 

Thievery Corporation: "Pan-world dub funk, listening to the band's music—which fleshes out with percussionists, guitar and a cavalcade of vocalists live—is like following a musical spice route through bhangra chill-out, French chanson, samba and a sex scene from a James Bond film before settling down on the sandy beaches of Jamaica for a healthy dose of dub reggae." —TOC | Thievery Corporation 

Head here for full coverage of the fest —TOC | NCMF


Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Allure | Virgil Abloh



The Allure | Virgil Abloh

It's amazing how time flies. Back in the late '90s and early '00s, Virgil and I were running around Madison, Wisconsin, broke ass college students getting degrees that have suited us ok—mine, marketing. Virgil's, architecture—though we're both doing things outside those areas of expertise, to some degree anyway. We used to DJ at the same bar just off the capital square, Cafe Montemartre (R.I.P.). One of his nights, Foggy Bottom, I even took over with a buddy during the summers when he'd leave town.

Fast forward to today.

I've known for a while now that through good fortune, will and impeccable taste, Virgil has been welcomed into Kanye's inner circle. I also knew he was a part owner of RSVP Gallery.  Mixing pop art, high fashion and a lot of hip-hop, it's one of the hippest boutiques in the Windy City. And one of the forces behind @Superfun, one of the better party promotion engines around. But, it wasn't until I stumbled upon an interview with him for Chicago Magazine today (courtesy of Hype Beast) that my man is rocking the title Creative and Art Director + Style Advisor for 'Ye. Damn. That's a mouthful, and an enviable one at that. Now, as one of West's closest confidantes, he consults on everything from his red carpet threads to his stage sets.


—Joshua P. Ferguson

Here's a link to the article and a video, where Virg waxes poetic on style tips for fall.