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...


I have no idea if anyone actually reads this, if you post something - anything! - in the comments, I'll buy you a beer, or a double-double, roll you a j, or do something else awesome that fits within the constraints of time, distance, and me being relatively broke. Yes, I am now bribing people to interact with me. Well, I was a long time (3 ish years) fraternity member, so some would say I should be used to it. WHATEVER WORKS FUCKERS. I want to see some activity!

oh yeah and obviously limit one per customer. and say something. i'm not buying you a god damned 30 rack or rolling you a carton of fatties because you posted "hi" 50 times in a row.



Little min post here, just to let all of you bass fiends (me. maybe jt pesos. will, if he ever reads this blog...) about this absolutely destructo-crushing mix that I was linked to by.. wait for it... my dad. See, Sasha Frere Jones (SFJ... google it), esteemed music critic, and New Yorker online blogger, shares my craving for fat crunchy LAZER BASS. And my dad, aging hipster that he is, loves el Nuevo Yorquero ( I mean I do too, but whatever), and so he passed along this little bad boy to me, just saying "this is a little beyond my comfort zone.. but thought maybe you'd like it". WELL HE WAS RIGHT. I DO!





EDU K - RAVER LOVIN (NADASTROM REMIX) - DOWNLOAD - Well, y'all should know that I harbor an unhealthy obsession with Nadastrom from when I saw him tear it up dj'ing at club 9:30 in DC. B-More meets rave meets electro meets fat booty shaking bass. Another party banger. And who can't relate to needing a little raver lovin'?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

SotD: So Many Days Gone

Les Petits Pilous Sounds Like It Means The Small Pillows

Too many days gone to get a song for each one... tonight at least, as I want to go upstairs and watch Dr. Strangelove, which Steve has been waiting to do since he finished off brewing the newest batch of delicious homemade beer. A Cream Ale today.. I'm stoked. I think we might have to start bringing beer stuff onto the blog, because homebrews rule, and beer is just amazing in general, but you don't need ME to tell you that. What you do need me for is getting some new tunes. Well, "need" might overstate the relationship, but let's just assume that someone might download these.

Today we have some non-bangers for the chill-out set, a medium-grooving disco take for the hipsters, and, of course, a few bonafide dancefloor exploders. EXPLODERS, I TELL YOU!

Chillness is female vocals, spare drum beats, and a barely there bassline that makes you want to light one up and lie back in a loving embrace on the couch. If there's actually someone with you even better, but the weed does a pretty good embrace if not.

1. Little Boots - New in Town (Fred Falke Remix) - DOWNLOAD - this one's for my good friend Ben, in reference to the need to chill out a bit after getting into road rage fist fights in hollywood...
2. La Roux - In For the Kill (Skream Remix) - DOWNLOAD & In For the Kill (Foamo's Remix of the Remix) - DOWNLOAD - Rainy days, long lost loves, etc. Smoke a cigarette while dramatically staring off into the distance while this one plays. Skream is morning times, Foamo is night.

Bangers are when 3000 people are all on the beach, drunk and salty and sweaty and wet and hot and just breaking it the fuck down, and then some shit comes busting out of the speakers that just gives everyone temporary epilepsy and that shit drops and you FREAK THE FUCK OUT. That's what it's all about, ladies and gentleman. Floatoapia 2009 was the illest, probably will never again be as cool as it was this year, so here's a song that made it bounce out on the sand on Saturday, and one to make it bounce on the dancefloor next Saturday.

1. Les Petits Pilous - Wake Up - DOWNLOAD - HOLY SHIT. Nuff' said. Absurdly dirty.

2. Proxy - Tha Raven (Les Petits Pilous Remix) - DOWNLOAD - Yes, yet another remix of that fantastically filthy track from Russian doom-meister Proxy, but damn if it isn't worth rocking out to. Strictly necesary? Maybe not, but then again, are dance parties? A little repetition through reinvention is great to groove to, and besides, now you have TWO Les Petits Pilous made tracks.

Oh Yeah! The 'medium bangers'. Just one - for the good times of the next day, when it's still nice out, and you're just taking it easy, getting life back together. Enjoyable.

1. Animal Collective - My Girls (Hatchmatik Disco Bootleg) - DOWNLOAD - A.C. are amazing. My Girls might be my favorite song of the year so far... cliche but true. So good. Add a little dance spice to the hauntingly catchy vocal hook with this mix.

The Redemption of the Thorpe

Gotta Fight the Laziness...

Damn, it is way too fucking easy to not post. Spring break... then the rugged party times of the the first week back. Lots of opportunities to post, lots of good stuff to talk about, and where does it go? Well, those times are over. Posting is back. Daily songs, other shit as often as possible. Coachella previews coming soon, maybe some mixes, who knows - and if you're one the elite few who read this blog, we want your contributions. Be it a cool song you found, an interesting thought about the NBA, or just a fucking funny story - pitch in!

So back in the day, before things done changed, I sent some questions to esteemed analyst and pro baller trainer David Thorpe, and sadly thought he wasn't gonna get back to me... well, as you could probably guess by now, he did! And it was actually a while ago, and it's just been me being lazy that's prevented this post from going up. So here we go, offical first april post: Barely Educated talks Trevor Ariza w/the Thorpester.

(Barely Educated): Trevor pretty clearly is a valuable contributing member of the Lake Show, and I remember him always playing well in his brief chances in NY (where he was held up as part of Isiah's drafting acumen.. and can't hate on that! [just everything else]), and Orlando... basically noone's every denied he's a talented kid... so why did it take this long for him to get some consistent minutes?

(David Thorpe): I think Ariza has just been a little unlucky in terms of who has been in front of him and who is coaching him. He's in a great spot now, so seeing him blossom is not surprising.

(Barely Educated): How many Brian Cooks is Trevor Ariza worth? 3? 5? Also, why does Brian Cook have the facial hair of a vagrant? Laker fans have only contempt for the Cookie Monster.

(David Thorpe): [Thorpe didn't answer this. Perhaps Brian Cook's playing for the Magic, and hence his close promixity to DT (who is based in the Tampa area) means he didn't want to start beef. I stand by Cook's worthlessness]

(Barely Educated): Let's assume that Orlando traded him b/c they thought he couldn't shoot the 3 (so vital in SVG's system). Although Ariza is no Ray Ray/Peja/etc., he's making about 30% of his attempts this year, and from my perspective at least, his stroke looks decent - maybe he'll never be a 40% guy, but 35% doesn't seem improbably to me, with more reps. Was this more a case of him always having had the fundamental ability but not being given the chance, or does his form look actually improved since his days in Orlando? Trevor seems to be a hard worker, so I could see either one.

(David Thorpe): He looks smoother and more confident in his jumper, and I expect it to get better for 3 or 4 more years straight. Learning when to shoot and where to take the shots from will help his % increase as well

(Barely Educated): On that note, could you briefly assess his progress as a ball handler? When we traded for him the rep was that he was a jumper, that's all, but he's shown more than that in LA.

(David Thorpe): [I think Thorpe just answered this question in his answer to the the next one. Maybe. I'll take it.]

(Barely Educated): Finally, given all of the above, what do you see as Trevor Ariza's ceiling? Very-good non-All Star (a la battier/bowen)? Couple time all-star? Essential key to title runs (Dennis Green/Michael Cooper)? Something else? I'm driver of the Trevor Ariza Will One Day Be An All Star Bandwagon... let's hope I didn't jinx it.

(David Thorpe): I've always thought of him as a basketball player that is a phenomenal athlete, not the other way around. He just needed to grow into the player we expected him to be, just like everyone else. I expect him to keep getting better at all aspects of the game and turn into a very good starter. It's possible that he earns an all-star birth one day, but not so likely. But I'm a big fan of his game

(Barely Educated): Bonus Questions: what's your favorite food? favorite hip-hop song if any? favorite opera? favorite seinfeld episode? favorite character? Is Lamar still Elaine with the way he's been playing? Who wins in a fight, Ronny Turiaf or Josh Powell (a.k.a. ronny 2.0)?

(David Thorpe): I'd have to say my favorite food is most kinds of sushi or sushi rolls (especially from Ban Thai). Not sure about favorite hip-hop (there are many) but I really like "Miss Independent" right now, reminds me of my wife when we met 22 years ago. I love "Turandot" and specifically the aria "Nessun Dorma". Best Seinfeld episode is impossible to name, but I love "The Switch" because I got to know it's lead writer, Sam Kass, and he sent me a copy of the script. George's dad is amazing, but I love all of them. No, Lamar is definitely not Elaine right now, and I hope he never returns to that role (Batgirl either, for that matter). Powell is a tough kid, very tough.

There you have it! Pretty politically correct, but you probably don't want to rip on the huge athletes you work with every summer. And I think we all new Powell was gonna win that one. Now if only Lamar can keep not being Elaine when Bynum returns...