Saturday, 29 November 2008

Hype: IIIrd

There aren't anywhere near enough posts dedicated to Hip Hop on this blog, it's about time that was put right.

Having come across him via New Look, I can't seem to get enough of NYC's Theophilus London.

First there was old school, then there was new school and now there's new... new school? Hip Hop has always flirted with the mainstreams of rock, pop and in recent years; electronic music. It's apparent more in 2008 than possibly ever, with Kanye's 808 & Heartbreak riding the crest of the wave.

Having taken the US by storm, he's literally just landed in the UK for his debut show on these shores at NYC/LDN @ Cargo in the capital tonight (Nov 29th). With the phenomenal JAM! mixtape (mixed by MachineDrum) under his belt, he's about to unleash another - This Charming Mixtape.

Here's the first released song from what is the precursor to his debut EP, relatively titled This Charming Man, which will be released through normREX/Warp (fast becoming an IT favourite in it's self!) in 2009.

Theophilus London - Cold Pillow (YSI)

Dedicated to the memory of model and best friend to Theo, Verdery Knights, whom died three days after the video for Cold Pillow was completed, in which she also featured.

If the above has wet your proverbial whistle, or you want to hear more before passing judgement, here's a few tracks from his debut mixtape (the full version can be found here).

Theophilus London - Forever Begins (YSI)
Theophilus London - Leader Of The New School (YSI)

For those of you in and around NY on 12 Dec, get to Le Poisson Rouge where he's performing with edIT (whom we posted on way back when) and the rest of The Glitch Mob. So jealous.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Hype: Worship False Idols

So before I make some ridiculous link to the sneezing panda, or some sort of pathetic panda-related joke, I'll get to the point.

Before I went to serve coffee in some downtrodden, back-water town this morning, I had a chance to chat with Shoreditch based producer Gold Panda. It went a little bit like this...

What's the thought process behind Gold Panda?
Um. I don't know if I really think about it too much, when I do it never works out. It's just sort of happening at the moment. I guess I get really depressed and frustrated and then make a song... and I hate it.

Maybe I'll listen again a year later and think 'oops, that was actually good'. Only Quitters Raga was made recently...and I hate it. Is that the musical process? Who knows. I am a disaster continually happening!

What's the musical process behind Gold Panda?

Basically I'll listen to loads of gangster rap and get really excited. Then I'll make some crappy twinkly sounding track instead. All my tracks are samples from old records so I basically sift through stuff into a sampler and mess with it till I make my own song. Sometimes I'll pluck some instruments and sample them, pitch them up and down.

I can't actually play any properly though. I try to avoid all preset sounds and definitely no sample CD's!! If I think of a drum sound I want then I will try and make it with paper or bubble wrap or some other junk if I can't find it on an old record. I like it to rain when I make songs.

When did you first start making music? Has your style changed much since then?
I just grew up on hip-hop and made stuff with samplers when I was younger. That is how I started. I think I've made most types of music since then, mainly for a laugh. I guess all my influences have come together for Gold Panda so my style hasn't really changed, just matured, maybe. I always have ideas about other projects and styles though. Too many.

Who were your musical heroes growing up, and have they influenced your sound?
I went through my dad's records, they were all crackly 7" rock n roll and doo-wop tracks etc so I guess maybe that's where the Gold Panda sound comes from.

I loved Michael Jackson and used to dress up as him and dance to it, but hey, who didn't? Mobb Deep, Snoop, Onyx and Gravediggaz. My mate Phil but he's dead!

Whilst there's definitely an underpinning style in your work, all of the tracks are quite different in terms of sound, where or whom do you take inspiration from?
The tracks are all made in the same way so they get a certain style. I want every track to be different but so you know it's a Gold Panda track. (Does that make sense?) Sometimes I'll hear one sound on a record, sample it, loop it for hours, drink some tea and be inspired by that.

You've done remixes for Tin Can Telephone and Stricken City (both of which are excellent!), are there any more in the pipeline?
Thank you very much! Yes there are more on the way (shhhh). Anyone want a remix, let me know. It'll sound like a Gold Panda track though.

What does the future hold?
Hopefully a live set and some releases. A tape. 7". Do an album. More remixing and more tea. Write a book. Grow a cat up. Buy a plant. That kind of thing.

Gold Panda - Quitters Raga (YSI)
Gold Panda - Back Home (YSI)

Gold Panda - I Suppose I Should Say Thanks Or Some Shit (YSI)

Somehow, I don't think this will be the last you'll hear from Gold Panda on this blog.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Hype: Romantic Rights

Sometimes it's just not as simple as Boy meets Girl. What if Girl happens to be a world renowned American supermodel? What if the Boy is a Canadian multi-instrumental musician?

An inevitable marriage of passion, imagination and creativity happens, and it's called New Look.

Sarh Ruba and husband Adam Pavao have collaborated to produce an EP's worth of downbeat melody-led electronica.

It would be so easy to be deeply cynical about the entire thing without even giving them a chance, but the delicate and elegant delivery of Ruba's vocals underpinned with the high-craft of Pavao mean New Look could easily hold their own weight without the listener being made aware of their origins.

I'm not quite sure whether their debut EP is satirically named or not, but How's My Hair? is available FREE at their website.

The duo recently worked with Warp's 'jack of all trades' Jimmy Edgar on their latest track Function Of Your Love. That track, along with the Edgar remix can be found over on Dazed Digital.

New Look - Make It Over (YSI)
New Look - Everything (YSI)

Monday, 24 November 2008

Plug: << Rewind

Recently, I've spent a lot of time picking up all of the albums released in '08 that I hadn't yet had the chance to check out.

**MP3s removed due to DMCA** (High five Google cache!)

Amongst them was Ex-Simian / current Black Ghost vocalist Simon Lord's self-titled solo effort under the alias of Lord Skywave, released through This Is Music back in June.

The name Lord Skywave is taken from one of the UK's earliest synthesisers. The Lord Skywave was designed by Simon's father Jeremy in the 1970's, only ten were ever made and remarkably, one of it's most striking features was a joystick controller.

To call the album an ensemble piece would be a slight understatement as it incorporates elements of classical (featuring compositions from his late grandmother Madeleine Dring), dub and soul amongst others, yet sounds far less contrived than those of his contemporaries Jamie Lidell and Sam Sparro.

Buy Lord Skywave @ Rough Trade

Although it's never going to top any 'Albums of 08' charts, it's definitely a hidden gem, along with Hot Chip front man Alexis Taylor's stealthily released solo album of home recordings Rubbed Out (thanks Slutty Fringe!).

Released through Treader, if you're a fan of the second half of Made In The Dark, this will be right up your street. It's perfect for late nights and lazy afternoons, consisting of fifteen affectionately crafted, stripped down love songs.

It's a really beautiful album and as well as some really breathtaking, deeply personal song writing, it features a cover of Paul McCartney's Coming Up which is done to perfection. Definitely highly recommended.

Buy Rubbed Out @ Cargo Records

I'll round it up with another album that narrowly missed out on my un-finalised top ten albums of the year, The Jade Motel by Sweden's Zeigeist.

To the unfamiliar, Zeigeist are Princess, Pearl and Mattias and their debut is a high-style, high energy electro-pop roller coaster.

Undoubtedly, comparisons to The Knife will be made, but this trio should be respected in their own right. Packed full of synth, beautiful production and bursting with great melodies, it's yet another reminder that no one does this kind of music like the Swedish.

Buy Zeigeist merch @ Drella

Care to share your hidden gems?

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Guest Mix: Kwes.

Next up in the Guest Mix feature is one of the UK's best kept secrets - Kwes.

It's pretty likely that you've either come across him without even realising it or will be doing so in the near future, as there seems to be no end to this man's talents.

He's on production duties for the likes of The XX, thecocknbullkid, Dels, Ghostpoet, Esser and Post War Years, he played keys on Jack PeƱate's debut album and is occasionally part of Ebony Bones' live setup.

He's also a maestro and aficionado of the mixtape, of which he has a series on his own blog which can be found here.

Here's his 'Illegal Tea' mix, exclusively for Illegal Tender.

/[0=0] // 00:41:31 // 66.5mb
1. Nick Drake - Which Will
2. Edan - Making Planets
3. Do Me Bad Thngs - What's Hideous
4. Madvillain - Rainbows
5. Love - Andmoreagain
6. Musiq - Newness
7. Acoustic Ladyland - Cuts & Lies
8. Liars - It Fit When I Was A Kid
9. The National - Fake Empire
10. The Streets - Blinded By The Lights
11. John Cale - The Endless Plain of Fortune
12. Blur - Battery in Your Leg

Kwes. - Illegal Tea Mix (YSI)

Furthermore, he has a single coming out on Salvia/XL on 4th December which you should definitely invest in. Both sides are available for your listening pleasure on his Myspace, my personal favourite being Tissues.

Here's his fantastic rework of Hot Chip's latest single One Pure Thought.

Hot Chip - One Pure Thought (Kwes Rework) (YSI)

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Hype: Beautiful Day, Only Marred By The Fire

Pic by David Beech

It's a bit of a bitch when I can't even remember how I came across the talents of Tigs, Will and James, and it's even worse when you consider it was only about two hours ago.

The reason for this is simple; I've been listening to their band CHEW LiPS for the entire time and it has such rendered my short-term memory useless.

With only fifteen or so gigs under their belt, there is already considerable interest from the BBC's musical monarchy as Google tells me that Lamacq worships the ground that they walk on and even showcased them at the Electric Proms which can be found here.

That's all you're getting from me, I'll let this magnificent track do the rest.


Hits The Spot: When She Smiled At Me, I Got A Nosebleed

My admiration for 21yr old London musician Micachu has admittedly been a slow-burning one (having been guilty of overlooking her for a considerable amount of time), it wasn't until I caught her and The Shapes live in Sheffield earlier in the year that I realised what a fool I had been.

I'm still not sold on some of her material but there's an undeniable talent there, shining through in moments of genius. One of those moments, or rather 148 of them comes in the shape of Curly Teeth, the song that flicked on the switch and made me think "hang on, this is brilliant!".

Here it is...

Micachu - Curly Teeth (YSI)

Previous: Micachu Remix of We Have Band's Oh! (Click Click)

Buy current single Golden Phone @ Rough Trade

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Hype: Play It Again, Play It Over

Pic by Anders von Greffelstejn

As In Rebekkamaria is the alter-musical project of RebekkaMaria Andersson, front woman of Danish/Swedish band Lampshade.

A good friend of mine recently put me onto her, my only wish being that he’d done it sooner, as she played what seems to be her only UK date for the foreseeable future at Electroqueer’s Halloween Special in London two weeks ago.

The album, Queen of France, has absolutely blitzed its way through my charts, hanging onto the top spot for quite some time now, and rightly so.

Standout track She Lion is an absolute belter, at it's best when cranked up to full volume in my car with no regard to who can hear me whilst I sing my face off.

So far, the album has only been given a Swedish release (October 29th), but She Lion is set to be released in the UK at a date to be confirmed.

Fingers crossed she follows suit with the album, and then after what will be a painful wait on my part; a tour of the UK.

As In Rebekkamaria - Yours Truly (YSI)

Buy Queen Of France:
MP3 @
CD @

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Plug: I Saw Them Stars Go Off

So, I finally got my hands on the much coveted Notwave. compilation from DFA/Rong.

After the ritual three consecutive listens and despite the fact that it contains tracks by Free Blood and Tussle, the one that really 'hit the spot' was the slow burning funk-come-hip hop of I Turn My Camera On by Mexican producer/DJ Fre$hro.

Taking inspiration from the No-Wave scene of New York in the late 70's and early 80's, the collaborating labels have stayed true to the ethos of the movement in compiling a fantastic and broad array of tracks that place emphasis on experimentation and the celebration of individuality.

I can honestly say that there's not a bad track amongst them, from the astral locomotion of Sal Principato & Dennis Young's remix of Elephants Meandering by the aforementioned Tussle to the deeply sinister mind bending bass of Smoke Machine by Welcome Stranger, there's certainly no filler.

Freshro - I Turn My Camera On (YSI)

Buy Notwave @ @ Beatport

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Hits The Spot: You Have No New Messages

I just got hold of this, and it has me spellbound.

So there's a level playing field here, James Figurine is the pseudonym of James Tamborello, who is also known as Dntel or one half of The Postal Service.

He's done something quite extraordinary; he's reworked a song by The Streets into something that is not only listenable, it's hypnotising.

Rather predictably, he's completely discarded the awful spoken word lyrics of Mike Skinner, and put his own down-tempo spin on Blinded By The Lights.

Feel free to share your thoughts.

James Figurine - Blinded By The Lights (The Streets Cover) (YSI)

Hype: You'll Find I'm Not That Easily Impressed

Let me tell you a story...

Sometime during 2005 in the alternate dimension that is Shoreditch, a world renowned producer/DJ/label boss meets an ex-choir boy for a one off jamming session. Presumably the aforementioned jamming session goes well as it's the beginning of a collaboration that is still going strong to this day and has since taken the name of ColouringIN.

It turns out that the above actually happened, the world renowned producer/DJ/label boss is Tom Neville and the ex-choir boy is Henry Bennett and the unlikely pair have just finished their debut album.

With a previous promo release called Robot Restroom under the name Tom Neville presents: Colouring In and a penchant for alliteration and consonance, the duo seem to take an 'anything goes' approach in terms of sound. Here's a slice.

ColouringIn - Intergalactic Romantic (YSI)