Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I'm Lazy. Enjoy Another Sample. Blah.


It is April 25th, 3:02 pm, and I am finally getting to what we ostensibly came here for: the music. We have traversed the sprawling grass expanse – on weekend leave from its day job as polo field – and now I’m standing in the middle of the Gobi Tent, smallest of the three giant white tents which dominate the South-East corner of the grounds, which means it’s still about half the size of a football field. On stage, the band Battles is doing their sound check – an even more complicated process than normal, given the thicket of guitars, MacBooks, keyboards, and amplifiers through which the band members are scurrying, plugging in a cable here, testing an effect pedal there, tuning this, tweaking that. A truly genre-defying group, Battles have been a favorite of mine since I first heard their robot-circus-instrumental-indie-math-rock (I said they were genre-defying) in high school, and their latest album, Mirrored, has been on heavy rotation on my iPod over the last month. No one else in the B.C.P. crew knows much about them, but we’re here at my behest, and I’m a little nervous as the set kicks off, wondering if my new friends are gonna like my taste in music… wondering if Laura will get it, and there goes the drummer, pounding away, his white polo shirt – buttoned all the way up – and black slacks shockingly out of place on his muscled, sweating frame, jaw clenched, neck bulging, as he just absolutely wails the holy living shit out the snare. That pounding, unceasing juggernaut of a beat holding everything together, as guitar riffs are looped and layered, vocals are distorted, crescendos of sound build and burst over and over again. Battles is as unique a band as we’ll see all weekend, and the smiles on Cody and Alice and B-Don’s faces affirms my decision to drag everyone out here, the bonds of friendship are slowly growing stronger as the lead singer, Sideshow Bob hair emitting a sweat halo, loops a guitar riff, leans into the mic, and exhales a haunting chant…


Drummer finally stops moving, tilts his tomato-red face towards the heavens, and drops his sticks. My ears are ringing, and everyone’s grinning, as we turn to each other and try to process what we just heard.



My ear drums are fucked. WHAT? WHAT DUDE? That’s right. This is the inevitable result of a adolescent passion for death metal, and a concordant disregard for any parentally recommended safety measures. Like ear plugs. Well, it might not have been inevitable – WHAT? WAIT, WHAT’D YOU SAY? – I mean, people mature, and it was no sure thing I’d maintain my death metal allegiance, right? Right! I didn’t – I moved on, to the fat bass and screeching synths of electro, house, drum & bass, dubstep, techno, fidget, and the like. From that point on I would eschewing the ear plugs for concerns of fashion rather than urges of rebellion, but my poor tympanic membrane couldn’t tell the difference – only that it was losing its ability to register a whole new segment of frequencies at the high and low end of the scale. Combine that with the drugs, and the fact that, once the damage started to set in, I naturally began turning up the volume at home – in my ipod earbuds on the way to class, on the subwoofer at my friends’ house parties – and soon I was that guy. Impossible to talk to on the phone. Mumbler extraordinaire. Often seen headbanging while riding my bike to class, music so loud that the friendly cries of “hello” and “fuck youuuu” bursting from my friends’ lips fall on ears that are, while not deaf, certainly working on it. That guy next to you in lecture, tinny noise spilling from the hood of his black zip-up – I’m sorry, I’m sure it’s annoying. I know it’s annoying when I’m on a plane, a bus, or a train – because I’ve had people, many times, tentatively tap me on the shoulder um excuse me could you please turn down your headphones and while my instinct is to go UM, NO, FUCK OFF, my desire not to get my ass beat, by man or by karma, restrains me. So I turn it down for a little bit, and as soon as I’m back in the open air, feet hitting the pavement, getting the city under me, the volume’s back at full blast, and I’m back in my head, in my world. It’s a tradeoff I’ll take.

I hope you like it (no one is reading this, but that's cool!). Coming as soon as I get some more coffee, that Trouble & Bass Party recap thing. And why Shaq to the Cavs is more meaningful in the abstract than in the concrete world of playing basketball. And the beauty of grilling Carne Asada. I got ideas, son.

Oh yeah, happy birthday to my good friend Alex Carillo. Tonight I am further delaying my writing to go celebrate it, as he further delays working on our comic adventure collaboration. As soon as we do something, you'll see it.


- Dan

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

From The Grave: Eli Escobar at Temporary Spaces

Figure 1: Eli (Ell-Ee) Escobar

Hi. So. Looks like this blog isn't dead, even if it is floating in the purgatory that is blogger.com - possible move to wordpress pending, I'll be sure to notify all 2 of you if that happens. As part of my Life Plan, this space is now going to include all sorts of my writings - music reviews, concert/dj recaps, stuff that people are interested in, etc. I hope this is pleasing to you. At the very least, I'm gonna be posting on a bi-daily basis for the forseeable future, as a way to release the creative stagnation that living at your parents' place foments. It would be all to easy to sit on the couch for the next month. but, WE CAN DO BETTER.


New Feature (!): Shit I Done Went To.
1. Monday June 22 - Eli Escobar @ Temporary Spaces (Fountain & Normandie. East Hollywood whaaaat).
My first attempt to get out of the house and into LA, during this long summer of discontent. My and JT PESOS rendezvoused at his place, in the BH (the one time I didn't mind driving out there... thank god for the lack of traffic on a Monday night), to drink absolut and san pellegrino. very bourgeoisie, and not tasty at all. The objective, a sloppy drunk, was only acheived for like 45 minutes. Should just drove straight to the venue, and avoided the late, semi-inept taxi experience - one more reason to hate LA - and used the cash on overpriced drinks. Although, $6 for a Red Stripe is pretty par for the course, and I guess I should just be used to it by this point. Anyways, once arrived at Temporary Spaces - an aptly named venue, just an unmarked door on a corner, its significance belied only by the bouncer and list-girls out front, we alighted from our gas-guzzling chariot, and approached the disconcertingly unpopulated corner. No lines here. This vaguely amateurish vibe is in no way dispelled when Pesos starts chatting with the list girls... only to discover that they went to high school with his little brother. What the fuck? Can you work the door at a club when you're 19? It's not like we're 30 or something, younger siblings' friends should be neither seen nor heard when heading out...

Anyways. Upon entering the place, there is nobody up in my face, because there are hardly any people in the bar. A smattering of hip-hop hipsters - big white tees, clark kent glasses, tight pants, fly nikes, maybe a sick LA hat, you know the deal - and like 3 semi-beat blonde chicks at the bar, some people posted up along the walls on stools and in booths. Despite the lack of a social atmosphere, I gotta give props to Temporary Spaces in and of itself: it's the kind of bar that is my shit, all dim, color filtered lighting, big varnished wooden bar with brass accents, a wide variety of fine whiskeys lined up behind, simple leather seating. Six bucks later, I'm sipping on a Red Stripe, and six minutes later, I'm heading to the men's room. Upon exiting the commode, I bump into Trevor, a.k.a. DJ Skeet Skeet, the promoter of this fine event, and decide to act like I know him and give him a holla. Skeeter and I discuss our shared appreciation of Eli Escobar's old school NY house excellence, and our shared concern about the disconcerting lack of people in the place: He is "legitimately kinda pissed, to be honest." I commiserate, then realize... it's time for another beer!

"Another Red Stripe... yeah... you guys take credit? Sure...what the fuck? $20 minimum? Sheeeit... yeah, do it" Well shit now I need to buy at least 3 more beers tonight. I gotta start carrying more cash on me. Or drinking more beforehand. Or having a lower tolerance for the booze. Or SOMETHING. Anyways, Pesos spots everyone favorite bearded fat man (and Harvey Feinstein look-a-like), DJ Thee Mike B, resident @ Dim Mak's Banana Split Sundaes (Sundays... duh... at Bardot). Dude is cool enough, I suppose, and suggests that Skeeter should chill out, that "this place always fills up after midnight anyways." And he only sounds moderately like a pretentious dick when, while discussing how awesome Eee-lye Escobar is, he informs us that it's actually pronounced Ell-ee. Whatever.

An hour later, sure enough, Mike B was right, and the place is close to packed - the cigarette smoking "patio" (dungeon might be a more appropriate word) might be the densest concentration of second-hand smoke in the greater LA area (I'm still coughing), and the dancefloor is popping. Unfortunately, at least by my standards, it's popping to some new DJ, Eli is done, and it's all dancehall - that funky island shit. Which is cool, you know, for like a song or two, mixed in a Diplo set or something, but isn't really my steez. Still, watching the territorial conflict, between a white hip-hop hipster and an African (dude was dark) slickster (suit jacket, fancy pants, etc.) for the right to assert their male dominance by dancing with a fine-as-fuck Erykah Baduh look-a-like is pretty hilarious. Let's just say the white guy has a decided handicap due to his inherent (lack of) dancing ability. Despite this compelling battle, I've just finished beer number four, which means I've finally broken through the chains of the credit card minimum charge that have been holding us here. It's time to go home.

Waiting outside the bar for a cab, stupid LA cabs, where the hell are they when you need one... oh here comes one oh wait it just drove past us what the fuck - "Yo, that motherfucker didn't pick you guys up cause you black!" opines the esteemed african-american gentleman standing outside with us, while his compatriot chuckles. "Yo, it's cause he could tell we're Jews yo! - we're the other black!" And with everyone outside laughing, we snag the next cab, and we're off. Till nex time.

- Dizzy Dan


Monday, May 4, 2009

Thoughts from the Recession


I have an ongoing list of things I want to happen because of the recession:

-Concerts and sporting events become cheaper and easier to buy tickets for. 
-More people become nurses and teachers.
-Financial Doucheness becomes a thing of the past.
-Marijuana is legalized due to the tax income for state budgets.
-All party photographers become homeless people. 

On another note, TUWP fam Emile killed it last night at his performance. I have no idea what things like that our supposed to be like, but I imagine not many feature J Dilla tributes. Hearing those trademark sirens was a really pleasant surprise. Here's a song that was reimagined last night ( I think, at least). 

And happy Cinco de Mayo. Can't wait for all of us non-Mexicans to use a fake holiday barely celebrated in Mexico to commemorate a battle against the French army that delayed them from occupying the capital for a couple of months by eating and drinking a lot of Mexican stuff. No seriously, Mexican food and beer are DELICIOUS. Who wants to go to El Sitio with me?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Coachella: Youtubes and words

Somehow, I have managed to have something to do or distract me at all times the last couple of weeks. I'm playing catch up at all times. So, in light of this, some memorable moments from the Coachella 2009 festival. 

Ravey Tunes
Surkin had already achieved "Download everything this guy puts out immediately" status, and now he has achieved "Ill DJs I will try to see everytime possible" status. Killed it in the afternoon.

Y'all know me. I get loose on the reg. I got loose for Crookers. They started with a punch in the face and kept it going. When you open it with this banging Major Lazer song, and you've got a pretty dope Italian hypeman people respond to, I am able to get loose. I sprinted into the tent right then and partied the hardest of the weekend during this song.  (Major Lazer, which is Diplo and Switch btw, is already my CD of the summer, after having heard 2 songs.) 
I had downloaded this song off the Mad Decent blog (where else, right?), and thought it was retarded. I WAS WRONG! It is actually the best song of the year, and it was so sweet live. It is infectious too. It goes great with Mario Kart or trying to dance your blues away after a Laker loss. 
Download: Toad's theme

Related: I noticed a strong generation gap between the DJs at Coachella. I felt so much more energy coming from Crookers and Surkin than vets like Felix or the Chemical Bros. Those old guys, and Felix is the posterboy for this, are stuck in the DJ as an idol who controls the crowd and is there to be worshipped. I saw about 30 minutes of Felix before I got fed up with waiting years for buildups to drop with Felix holding his hand up to try and get us pumped. I attribute this to the breakup of the DJ/crowd divide. Once upon a time, DJs were held up as the bridge between electronic artists and the fans. It required tons of time and money to become a DJ. What they did was a beautiful mystery to the average person and the crowd would have complete trust in their DJ to be playing the hot shit. The landscape has completely changed. Everyone's tried DJing on their own. Everyone has downloaded all these songs from hypemachine. The cover's been blown. It's not about you anymore, DJ, its about the crowd. Anyone can do this, it's not hard. Cut the weak theatrics, rock the party, and do some creative mixing. I'm not down with dudes sitting on their electronic royal chair when the young guns are more loose-friendly. 

Non-ravey tunes
By Sunday evening, I was running on fumes. Sunday's lineup had dead time unlike any other Coachella I had been to. On a whim, I went to check out Devandra Barnhart's set in the small Gobi tent. All I knew about the dude was he is classified as "freak folk" and was suggested to us by pretentious people who we had little musical taste in common. When we got there, the place was rocking and it turned out to be the most pleasant surprise of the festival. Dude could be the smoothest cruise ship lounge singer ever. 
By the end, I was satisfied that after 3 years, I have pretty much "done Coachella" as hard as I could. I don't know if I will be back next year (definitely not camping), but I know without the same people, it will not be nearly as great an experience. (That is the sappiest I will ever get on this blog.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Coachella Tales: Chapter 1

I guess this is cheating, since I didn't write it expressly for the blog, but fuck it, it's not like anyone reads it anyways. If JTPE$O$ doesn't dig it I'll stop. Here's the first part, completely raw and unedited, of a short story i'm working on that is a retelling of the amazing event that was coachella 2008. Hopefully this upcoming weekend will be just as fertile ground for interesting happenings...

oh yeah and coachella mini-mix at the bottom of the post.

Three Days of Madness: Or, The Best Weekend Yet.

We’re lost in Diamond Bar. We can see the freeway, it’s right there, gotta be less than a half-mile away, followed all the signs, only all of a sudden the road is gone. Literally, a fat chunk of macadam just excised from our route, bright orange cones and shiny reflective barriers telling us STOP GO BACK NO FREEWAY HERE, a dirt river that our steel horse can’t ford. I’m on the phone with B-don, telling him to stay awake, it’s only 11pm, we’ll be there soon, don’t go to sleep, we’ll be there soon, yes, yes, I know we were supposed to be there, yes, we’re lost in fucking Diamond Bar. Yes, Diamond Bar. No, I’ll explain later. So I hang up, look left, and tell Will to pull into the next gas station, because god-dammit, I will not be alone at Coachella this year, and B-don is waiting, and yes he’s awake still, and we’re an hour and a half away, and this is the night before the day that is the start of 72 hours that I will never forget, if I can remember them.
It is the twenty fourth of April, 2008, and I am still smoking cigarettes, so I reach in my pocket for a cheapo plastic lighter, the kind that always breaks, and touch its overeager flame to the end of the smoke – genus Camel, species Light – that’s already between my lips, and roll down the window as I inhale. This is good, this is right, the nicotine entering my bloodstream heightening my anticipation and lowering my agitation, because it is, after all, the day before Coachella, the anticipation 364 days in the making, the agitation from 4 hours of waiting for friends who never came, 3 hours of crawling through the Valley on the 101, traffic done as only LA does it, and whatever asshole work crew was too busy to be bothered to put up detour signs after they biopsied an asphalt artery back to the 60, leaving Will and I driving the empty streets of this suburb-of-a-suburb at the twilight hour, trying desperately to get back on track. Orange-hued light from a chain of streetlights, infinitely long stretching out before us, let me know that we’re still somewhere, before finally we see a gas station. A cop car. I drop my cigarette out the window. Will wheels the truck around, the cop staring at us as we pull in.

“Hello officer, we’re just trying to find our way back to the freeway, we got lost trying to get around some road construction, could you tell us how to get back to the 60 East?” I say in my best Responsible Citizen voice, and wait for an answer from the shadowed window to whom I addressed my plea.
Officer Smith, brave protector of Diamond Bar, Truth, Justice, and The American Way looks up at the two college-kid punks who just pulled into his gas station. What the hell are these kids up to, driving around his sub-suburb at 11:30 at night on a Thursday? Probably smuggling drugs in the back of their Jap-made pick up truck, what’s under that camper shell? Oh look, the one in the glasses is sauntering over, like he owns this place, the tall one listening to some fruity techno shit in the car. Stupid punk comes right up to the patrol car window, like he has any right, and says
“Hello officer, we’re just trying to find our way back to the freeway, we got lost trying to get around some road construction, and we’ve got to get to our pinko-commie-tree-hugging-devil-worshipping music festival before we just break down and start stuffing our mouths with all the pills and pot and psychedelics we’ve got stashed in the back of our truck, because, god-dammit, we hate America.”
Officer Smith knows this could be a ruse. Better just give the assholes directions to the freeway and let somebody else deal with him, ain’t gonna be any trouble in his burg. So he does, but not before giving the four-eyes a nice hard stare, to let him know that he knows what’s going on. The truck pulls out, takes a right, finds the on-ramp, the only car on the road, tail lights getting smaller and smaller, disaster averted, back on course for what Officer Smith knows must be trouble.


End Chapter 1.

Coachella Mix - I didn't make this, someone on the coachella message board did. but it's worth downloading, nice mix of coachella tunes. - DOWNLOAD

Franz Ferdinand – Lucid Dreams
Ghostland Observatory – Club Soda
The Presets – Steamworks
Crystal Castles – Reckless
The Kills – No Wow (MSTRKRFT Remix)
N.A.S.A. – Gifted (Ft. Kanye West, Santogold, & Lykke Li)
Peter, Bjorn and John – Let’s Call It Off (Girl Talk Remix)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs vs. Daft Punk – World Maps (Along Came Jones Edit)
M.A.N.D.Y. and Booka Shade – O Superman (Ft. Laurie Anderson) (Felix da Housecat Remix)
Gui Boratto – Gate 7
Plump DJs – Rocket Soul
The Crystal Method – Weapons of Mass Distortion
Surkin – Chrome Knight (Ft. Chromeo)
Sebastian Tellier – Kilometre (Aeroplane Remix)
Etienne de Cr̩cy et Monsieur Jo РHanukkah
The Chemical Brothers – Hey Girl, Hey Boy

that's the tracklist.

and for kicks, a band of horses (playing on saturday) song I really like. this one's for smurray.
our swords - DOWNLOAD

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Song of the Day- Eighth Grade Edition

I never got around to "THE BANGING B-SIDE '. 

(You should already have this.)

I was reintroduced to this song over last summer by Boy 8-Bit's Mad Decent Podcast, where 8-bit sweetly looped the beat and played Jay-Z's verse amongst a bunch of minimal tech-house "i have no idea what the fuck genre it is." There's nothing next level anymore about mixing rap into a electronic set, particularly when its a Mad Decent podcast. It's almost expected when your founder is Diplo that everything is going to be influenced by hip-hop. I distinctly remember a few years ago hearing mixes by Ed Banger artists where they would drop a hip-hop track amongst all the "bangers"  and A-Trak's still at heart a hip-hop DJ. Essentially, the ties go deep. What struck me the most when I heard that mix is that the song drew no attention to itself as a rap song. 

I heard Mr. Oizo spin once and he dropped Snoop's "Beautiful" in the middle of his set. It validated the song in one respect and it served as a noticeable break from the rest of the set. Ed Banger was(/is? Their relative fall from grace is a whole other topic.) extremely image-conscious, to the point that they would flat out say that things like "So Me designs are just as important as the music." They were too "cool" for the old techno establishment and playing rap music was a way to say "Fuck you" to the image of techno being played in posh bottle clubs for Eurotrash douches only. They had an all-inclusive aesthetic, and rap was a part of this, just like the Marshall amps at Justice concerts incorporated rock elements. It was all part of a grand vision, and they wanted you to notice this vision included rap. 

Nowadays, it seems like there are a lot of rap songs that would fit into house sets. Electro guys are getting rappers over their beats to mixed results (cough, MSTRKRFT, cough), and some rappers/Black Eyed Peas are jumping onto the forefront of the electro bandwagon. I'm almost positive that if "Is That Your Chick?" was played at a party, a lot of people would think it was something crazy for Jay-Z to get on some kinda-dubstep track. Its BPM is a whopping 133, it mixes well with everthing with no intention of doing so. Tried it with dubstep, bmore, electro, whatever, it works. Normally, the DJ has to slow down the set and have a hip-hop section; but not here. It is at its core hip-hop that has a strong fast electronic influence without trying to be something its not. Its refreshing for me to hear 8-bit riding for some ACTUAL hip-hop in his sets, rather than trying to electrofy something that doesn't need to be fixed. 
And maybe above all else, it's an under-appreciated song that holds up really well, even if MEMPHIS BLEEK IS A HORRIBLE RAPPER. The song sounds like it could have come out TODAY, besides the fact that this is blatantly referenced:


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Bad


SO! It turns out the song that I really wanted to post last time was NOT the Edu K/Nadastrom joint (though that is pretty sick too), but was in fact the previous track in the mix (I guessed wrong when I looked at the tracklist!) Instead it's this nice little slab of pretty much pure dubstep, though I love that old-skool flava vocal sample.

Witty Boi - Ironman VIP - DOWNLOAD - You know what to do.

and because I found whilst looking for the above track...

Nastee Boi - Bangorz - DOWNLOAD - BASS IN YOUR FACE. now THIS is straight dubstep. nothing new under the sun... but who gives a fuck about the sun? let's smoke some weed in some dark damp alleys, file into the warehouse as mist falls on our black hoodies, put out your cigs, finish your beers, don't put your nike high tops in a puddle, and head towards the fucking massive soundsystem that looks like the bastard love child of a harmon kardon and THE GOD DAMNED DEATH STAR and get ready for the bass to go DARTH VADER on our asses. good times. i'll see you saturday at lot 613...