Tag Archives: wesleyan mafia

Jam of the Day – The Compass and the Wires

Until January 4, 2010, you can view the “Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection Exhibit” at the MOMA. The exhibit includes over 300 selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation’s “extraordinary collection of over 2,500 contemporary works on paper,” the largest gift of drawings that the museum has ever received. Although the Times didn’t exactly give it a glowing review, “Compass in Hand” is certainly worth checking out, even if only this small online slide show.

But if you’re looking for a different sort of directional indicator, don’t fret. Brooklyn-based electro-pop/synth group Red Wire Black Wire has the remedy in the form of the title track from their EP Compass, which was released by Tough Customer Records back in November. They have a pretty extensive tour schedule, slated to start in September, coinciding with the release of their first full-length, Robots & Roses that will take them all over the U.S. and even to Russia. They will be back in the bk at The Studio @ Webster Hall on October 23. Check out their first official video, for “Compass,” below and mark your fall calendars.

Red Wire Black Wire – Compass:

-Drew

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Jam of the Day – Boy Crisis Finds the Fountain of Youth, Gives it to Monkeys

If you happen to be a nerdus maximus and read the Wired Science blog on the regular, you might have seen the piece a month ago about the results published in Science magazine of a 20-year-long study of rhesus monkeys. The study seems to show that “caloric restriction” (i.e. eating less than you “should”) actually produces changes in the body’s metabloic functioning that in turn may serve to lengthen life and increase the quality of life in primates (and maybe humans, too!). This is not entirely new thinking, but “[t]his is the first study to show that caloric restriction slows aging in a primate species. And of course, we’re primates, too. It’s a lot more relevant to humans than the mouse.” Sometimes science just pummels you with common sense. EAT LESS, BE LESS FAT. Maybe not exactly the fountain of youth that the story’s title suggests.

Not like I coughed up any dough for this research, but for my dollar I’d much rather take a sip off of the new “Fountain of Youth” track from Brooklyn’s favorite panty-dropping, party-starting fivesome, Boy Crisis. Part of what the Village Voice just dubbed the “Wesleyan mafia” along with MGMT, Amazing Baby, Bear Hands (not in the article, surprisingly), Das Racist, and a bunch of others, the group is comprised of Tal Rozen and Victor Vazquez on vocals (Victor is also known as Kool A.D., one half of the DR crew), Alex Kestner on bass and laptop (among other things), Lee Pender on guitar, and Owen Roberts on drums.

The first time I ever heard these guys play, I knew it would only be a matter of time before some major swooped in and picked them up by the spandex, which is exactly what happened last fall when Ben James signed them to B-Unique/Atlantic Records. Since then, the group has spent a lot of time selling their vision of danceable, freaky-deaky, Bowie/George Clinton funkiness to audiences across the pond, including gigs at the Glastonbury and Isle of Wright music festivals. They also had an opening spot for Katy Perry up in Boston recently – here are some great behind-the-scenes photos from our friend Ben Rowland of the show.

Apart from the touring, the boys have also been putting the finishing touches on their first full-length, tentatively titled Tulipomania. I had a chance to listen to a near-finished version of the record a couple of weeks ago, and let me tell you, its “japanties are makin me hot,” to borrow a line from the album’s first single, “Dressed to Digress.” To be honest, I’m not that into the studio-version of “Dressed to Digress” (it sounds a little thinner, bass-wise, than the pre-deal versions), but “L’Homme,” “Ganglion of Lightnings,” and “1981” all sound amazing. But why didn’t “Strawberries” make the album? I guess we can’t have everything we want in life. As to the new fare, I think Victor’s vocal patterns strongly shaped “Murder Murder Murder” and “Sex and Violence,” both of which have similarly sparse openings followed by catchy choruses of tightly rhyming lines. “Bang Bang Bang” sort of follows the same pattern, but with Tal recycling the lyrics from an older song over some horns and super-sleek production. God-damn Boy Crisis is catchy as hell! Essentially, all of the tracks are bangers; I can’t wait for the release.

I think that “Fountain of Youth,” the opener, is probably my favorite (at least of the newer tracks). And though they still haven’t released the actual music video for “Dressed to Digress,” this past weekend the band got together with their friend Jordan Fish to shoot a new music video for “Fountain of Youth” featuring a lot of women “relatively scantily clad” and “covered in paint at some point,” according to the casting call. I can’t give away too many details, but according to one female acquaintance on the set for the shoot, the women are carrying around Tal and Victor on some sort of “chariot.” Check back for updates.

As a video appetizer, last week Boy Crisis posted a link to an “ULTRAVIDEO MEGAMIX” for “Fountain of Youth”, so check it out while you wait for the real video full of scantily clad painted women. Boy Crisis is forever, like Wu-tang!

Boy Crisis – Fountain of Youth:

-Drew

P.S. Boy Crisis wins! It’s EV2BK.com’s 100th post!

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ev2bk Live Music – Das Racist @ Bowery Ballroom

So I know that we’ve already posted a couple times about Das Racist, but it’s kind of inevitable given that homeboys are eeeerrywhere these days. New York magazine just wrote a story (in the print edition, even!) in which they describe the duo as “sawing the legs out from under hip-hop as they celebrate it.” And a couple of weeks earlier, the New York Times ran a review of their recent show at Union Pool, in Williamsburg, in which the central argument seemed to rebuke most of DR’s detractors by asserting that “their sloppiness is a mask for detailed, affectionate hip-hop parody, name-dropping KRS-One and Asher Roth as easily as W. E. B. Du Bois and the literary critic Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.” Hima and Victor seem to pretty much have NYC on lock at this point.

If you weren’t able to make it out to the Union Pool show, then you’ve got a shot tonight, as they will be headlining at the Bowery Ballroom along with supporting acts Gordon Voidwell (listen to “White Friends”), POPO, and Old Money.

Get ready for some madness! In the meantime, here’s a video to fuel the fire (but don’t worry, they aren’t only a “fast food rap” group.

Das Racist – Chicken and Meat:

-Drew

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JOTD Update – Siren Festival Wrap-up

Behind the Stillwell Stage @ Siren Music Festival

Backstage at Stillwell @ Siren Music Festival

I’m not sure how many of you made it to Coney Island for the Siren Music Festival last weekend but, if you did come, hopefully you made it there by 2:30pm, when Bear Hands played. It was such a great day to be outside drinking some beers and enjoying live music! Bear Hands played a pretty tight set, including the song “Frank” that they hadn’t played in a while, and all the regular favorites such as “Golden,” “Sickly Brunette,” and “Can’t Stick Em” before they finished up with a spontaneous-crowd-hand-clap-backed version of “What a Drag.”

Bear Hands @ Siren Music Festival 2009 (7/18/09)

Bear Hands @ Siren Music Festival 2009 (7/18/09)

What was really interesting to me is that it seems like some of the songs – most notably “Frank” – have been re-tooled in the studio and are sounding really sleek and sing-along ready. I am expecting a fantastic reception to their full length (probably being released in late winter?), especially if this live show was a taste of things to come.

One of the most fun/funny moments of the show was when Dylan called Das Racist up on stage to perform a rendition of their unexpected hit “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” over the band playing a live cover of Jay-Z’s “D.O.A.” and a hail of “Yeah”s, “Uh-huh”s, “No”s and the general histeria/noise that ensued. Fun times all around, although I wasn’t sure that the crowd really had any sort of idea what was going on.

On a side note, Das Racist is playing a show tonight at Union Pool with our friends The Tony Castles and IN, which should be a really hot sweaty time. Come join us!

There were a ton of great other performances over the course of the day, although we spent most of our time at the Stillwell Stage. But near the end of the night, as the sun set and the general revelry-level creeped up a notch, we made it over to the main stage to check out Built to Spill. They were awesome as always, and ended the festival on a perfect note, right next to the Wonder Wheel:

Wonder Wheel after dark

Wonder Wheel after dark

Good night, Brooklyn.

-Drew

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Jam of the Day – Take a Drag Off the Bear Hands Joint @ Siren Music Festival 2009

Beach Balls! Music! Fun Times!

Beach Balls! Music! Fun Times!

Tomorrow the 9th Annual Village Voice Siren Music Festival will take over Coney Island with a free concert that includes a lineup of about 15 bands, culminating in sets by Built to Spill and Spank Rock at the Main Stage (on W. 10th St. off Surf Ave.) and the Stillwell Stage (Stillwell Ave. off Surf Ave.), respectively. There’s a great group of bands playing this year, so grab some sunscreen, your friends, and a beachball (these were a must-have item whenever the above picture from beatcrave.com was taken, apparently) and kick it in Coney Island all day. And given that Budweiser is sponsoring the Official After Party, I’m sure there will be lots of boozing in addition to the dancing. Doesn’t sound like a drag at all.

Here at ev2bk we’re especially excited to see/party with one of our favorite bands, and longtime buddies, Bear Hands, who are playing on the Stillwell Stage at 2:30pm sharp. Even the New York Metro is psyched (thanks Betsy)!

Bear Hands was formed back in 2006 when Dylan Rau was living in Brooklyn and asked Ted Feldman, Val Loper, and TJ Orscher to play on some demos that he was recording. Dylan was going to school with Ted at Wesleyan at the time, and already knew TJ and Val from the CT music scene (Val and TJ had been in CT hardcore band In Pieces, and had – if I remember correctly – played some shows with Dylan’s old band Building a Factory, but in any case, they knew each other well enough to have at least shared a bowl or whatnot). The general band-mythology is that during the recording sessions, all four guys sort of realized “hmm, maybe this could be a pretty kick-ass band” and so now they’re “doing the best they can” (from their myspace page).

But just in case you think this implies some sort of lack of ambition or luster, it should be noted that already in 2009 alone the boys have toured Europe twice:

Bear Hands @ Cargo in London (2/23/09)

Bear Hands @ Cargo in London (2/23/09)

Recorded some live tracks with Daytrotter after playing a few shows at SXSW in Austin (here’s my favorite of those songs):

“Belongings”

Totally killed it at a show with Passion Pit at Bowery Ballroom back in June:

Bear Hands at Bowery Ballroom (6/19/09)

Bear Hands at Bowery Ballroom (6/19/09)

And for the rest of the summer are all set to play Hartford with Airbourne Toxic Event, Boston with We Are Scientists, and both the Leeds Festival and Reading Festival in the UK later this August. Oh and did I mention that they are currently in the studio recording their first full-length record? Last week when I spoke with Dylan he told me that it was sounding pretty great so far; I’ll post an update after I listen to some of the tracks with him tonight in the studio.

We love this band, and think you will too! Each and every member of the band is the sweetest of dudes and would probably love to get to know you. So come join us and get your dance on with Bear Hands and the rest of the bands tomorrow at the Siren Music Festival. Here’s a little preview of the remix of the hotness from Bear Hands. The song, “What a Drag,” can be purchased as a 7″ import from Rough Trade Shops and Too Pure Records.

Bear Hands – What a Drag:

Have a great weekend!

-Drew

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Jam of the Day – Das Racist Poll

For a while now I’ve been reading internet buzz about Das Racist, a self-described “WEED EDGE/HARE KRISHNA HARD CORE/ART RAP/FREAK FOLK MUSIC DUO.”

Das Racist @ Coco66 (photo by Katy Porter)

Das Racist @ Coco66 (photo by Katy Porter)

Hima Kumar and Victor Vazquez – who is also in the hot Brooklyn band Boy Crisis – have set their guns somewhere between “stoner-ridiculous, just-having-a-good-time, come on quit taking this so seriously” and “creat[ing] a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding the impact of internalising core consumer culture ideals.” Na just kidding, I got that last quote here, but some people want to get all intellectual about Das Racist like that.

And so on the more serious tip, today Pitchfork reviewed a remix from Wallpaper for their track “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” and I have to say that as much as Pfork can be crazy pretentious and over-the-top critical, the review strikes me as relevant in its grasp of the disparate reactions this song seems to elicit from listeners. Personally, I’m in the “DR fan” camp, but clearly others don’t necessarily agree, like this guy who called PH/TB “one of the worst songs I’ve heard.”

Now, I’m not trying to flip it and say that this is the best song ever, but I think that what Das Racist is doing to rap is similar to what The Onion does to news: making a critical statement about the state of society only in as much as that “statement” can be understood in the context of a joke. This is supposed to be funny, people. Get those panties fixed – they’re in a bunch! Only to underscore my point, look at this “News in Photos” piece from The Onion back in March 2008.

Why not listen and decide for yourself?

Das Racist – Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (Wallpaper remix):

Then, cast a vote in our first ever poll!

-Drew

    UPDATE ON JUNE 10, 2009

Now Perez Hilton is linking to this song too. Getting major.

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Jam of the Day – It’s Electric

MGMT – Electric Feel

It’s hot like an electric forest out there today.

I can’t embed the video for some reason, so looks like you have to go the extra mile and click on the link above. But if images were words, it would look something like this:

Talking animals!
Glitter-y rain!
Motorbikes in the moon!

-Drew

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