We swear this isn't an ironic listening. We love Beyoncé and 4. OK, we might unironically skip straight to track 5, 'Party', produced by Kanye West and with rap by Andre3000, because we ain't no stay-home-mums that need all those ballads about being broken hearted and finding the right person. But, after that, the album turns into a beautiful compilation of classic r'n'b, soul and a bit of sweat-inducing booty tracks - not too many though - that sound surprisingly courageous considering the actual state of pop music. And for that, we bow down and hail Queen B. P.S. Get the deluxe version, for those extra couple of amazing tracks.
The name of this label has been interpreted in many ways; from 'bass-seekey' to 'base-ike', but the correct way describes exactly what this label is about: BASIC. Bassike delivers easily breezily cut staples with an interesting little twist that keeps them from being your run of the mill. For those that live in climates like that of Australia (where Bassike hails from) or Brazil, you'll know how easy it is to make fashion faux pas when the weather gets hot and the prospect of wearing anything but a bathing suit becomes slightly unappealing; Bassike is all and everything you need.
Before watching HBO's Game of Thrones, I assumed the series would tend a bit more towards the blood-dripping Danish movie Valhalla Rising rather than fairy-tale stories a lá 'Lord of the Rings'; and for that I didn't really like the series at the beginning. But slowly, I found myself submitting to tales of bad kings, midget juggernauts, savage warriors and... dragons. And that happened probably because there aren't exactly good guys and bad guys here, like there are in Tolkien stories - and that is, of course, a simplification of his work. Another reason I relented to this series is because of the intriguing political backstage element that leads to the ever-happening dance of thrones. Oh, and did I mention the gratuitous nekkid-ness?
Of the slew of new spots having opened up in Sydney in the last six months, The Norfolk on Cleveland St in Surry Hills has been one fated with success. Owned by some of the same kids that have brought The Flinders back to life (and currently, it's incredibly quick onset of 'The Norms'), you'll undoubtedly find The Norfolk rammed with all kinds, vying for a bite, a beer and a spot in the garden out back. The aim of the game is to cultivate Aussie pub culture at it's best; and it's doing a pretty decent job so far - if only you could get a table!
Super Sad True Love Story is the third book from the writer of the best selling Absurdistan, Gary Shteyngart. Incidentally, I read him name dropped in Flavorpill's Ultimate Hipster Reading list and in the same sentence as James Franco (they're buds, apaprently) just before I finished his latest offering. Don't let any of that put you off, or take away any of the sad scary brilliance of Super Sad True Love Story; written from the perspective of one 39 year old Lenny Abramov, son of Russian immigrants and in love with the impossibly cute and cruel Eunice Park. A satire that cuts to the bone, Super Sad True Love Story is exactly it's title. And it's good.
So aside from the terribly old news of his contribution to taking the third world to the first, Diplo is now trés mode with such first world accoutrements as GQ and Vanity Fair (though it pains me somewhat to identify him as 'that 'Paperplanes' dude – guys, for me, that was a totally mediocre tune. Go listen to some of his less lamestreamed stuff). In fact, he's actually a columnist at the latter. Diplo's latest column exploits a night out at Vogue Knights Tuesdays – and I don't mean the rival magazine kind.
I'm kinda fuming – just a little – out of jealousy, here. A Vogue Ball/Night was one thing I really had trouble trying to get a hold of last time I was in NY. Like most people who see the film, ever since I encountered Paris Is Burning, the Vogue Ball scene and culture has held great fascination for me. Earlier this year, I met father of the House of Ninja, Benny Ninja, survivor of the legendary Willi Ninja when he hit the runway in Sydney for Australian Fashion Week (I squealed when he glided out) and that only fueled my desire to get my Cindarella on and be at a damn ball.
Anyway Diplo, despite his modest claims of not knowing a lot about being black/gay/cool, having gleaned all his knowledge of that particular Bermuda from DJ MikeQ and Maluca, was the white/straight/'uncool' guy, perfect to go to a vogue ball in Manhattan a little while ago. Documented by Vanity Fair contributor Shane McCauley, Diplo takes us through his Knight on a Vogue Tuesdays (though unfortunately, the exact location and club isn't disclosed, except that it's right next to the Comfort Inn somewhere in Midtown, amongst a bunch of emtpy warehouses. Respect though, it'd not only get shit if that littled secret got outed online at Vanity Fair, but it'd probably have already moved on anyway by the time anyone hauled ass over there).
makes a good party isn’t the fashion, the clientele, the hipness of
“D.J. current hit,” or the club’s interior. They see that a really good
club is built by the community, and that a community breeds the
creativity in the music and the dance. You’d think that, on first look,
when the dance competition starts, that these guys hate each other. The
new-school vogue style is built on a lot of hair whipping (if you have
the extensions or real thing — Willow Smith’s song got played a lot in
different forms) and a lot of falling down backward on the offbeat. This
part of the dance is amazing. It seems the more violent the hair
whipping and the falling, the crazier the crowd goes." – Diplo
"...always, the weird scream/snare on the fourth beat is used to
precision. It’s the sound that you might hear in Psycho, when
Janet Leigh is being stabbed to death in the shower. It’s the sound that
all the dancers mark to do a special move: an enormous fall, a deadly
hair whip, and hip-dislocating side thrust. Or many other very violent
moves that would not be allowed on So You Think You Can Dance."– Diplo
[Ed's note:True, no pure Voguer has ever reached Top 20 on SYTYCD – trust, I know. And they haven't yet exhibited actual Vogue style as a number on the show. YEAH, I'm a fan, haters to the left.]
Wednesday // June 15, 2011 at 17:19 // filed under Music
Fuck Cheryl Cole and her American TV Drama, we are obsessed with another Girl Aloud. One that we’ve never thought we would be - frankly, I’ve never thought I’d be obsessed with any of them - especially not in 2011, but anyway... Nicola Roberts, the youngest and most awkward of the girls, went solo and her debut single is the shit.
Produced by Diplo and Dimtri Tikovoi, ‘Beat of My Drum’ is stupid, fun and sticky. Think The Ting Tings before getting utterly annoying, Yelle and... Major Lazer. Yes, most of the sounds and structures can also be heard on ‘Pon de Floor’, the same song that Diplo and Switch sold to Beyoncé for her latest album, but, as opposed to ‘Who Run the World (Girls)’, this track wasn’t born underground and (badly) adapted to pop. It’s that same kind of monotonous track that you are constantly listening to on the radio, only sparkled with cool drums and weird samples.
The chorus is so simple, it’s almost impossible not to compare with all the songs that decided to spell words in a cheerleader type way, because, frankly, all they're doing is spelling “L-O-V-E” and singing the line “Dance to beat of my drum” with a military drum in the background. Of all the songs that go down that path, the one that this reminds me of the most is Gwen Stefani’s “B-A-N-A-N-A-S” break in ‘Hollaback Girl’. Coincidentally or not , Diplo remixed this early in the game and it still maintains as one of his biggest mainstream remixes.
But back to Nicole. While her music is probably the best pop thing we’ve heard this year, the video is a bit... awkward. Her hair looks alright and her wardrobe makes her look fun and young, but her inability to dance and to change her facial expression kinda ruins it for me. Not in a “OMG, this is garbage” kinda way, just in a way that won’t make her a threat to any other big girl in pop, even with music produced by Diplo, Metronomy and Dragonette.
Nicola Roberts - Beat of my Drum
So woman up, Nicola, go rehearse faces and dance moves in the front of the mirror, to prove us wrong by overlooking you and your entire career.
Thursday // May 05, 2011 at 16:30 // filed under Music // Fashion
Brooklyn institution Мишка NYC has made the coolest behind the scenes/teaser video that I've seen to date. Shot by Eric Maldin, it's for Mishka's summer lookbook, and they enlisted nearly a dozen bands to get their model on. Some of those babe-in' out include: Diplo (who seems to be getting into this model steez, specially since his Alexander Wang business)
HIYA // Wes
A very cute - and I quote - 'lil Diplo AKA Diaperlo' (?! dat baby yours, Wes? Who da baby mama, if it is?)
Nathan from Wavves.
John and Jupiter from HEALTH (MISS U HEALTH)
HIYA // babes
Aaaand last but not least, Pictureplane (who happened to be in LA recording his new album with Jupiter from HEALTH !!!! when the Mishka posse tricked him out and shot him in the new collection).
Pretty awesome set of people to represent a clothing collection if I ever saw. Check it:
The soundtrack is also prrretty wicked to boot, with:
Hold On (12th Planet Remix) by Rusko
Monday (The Glitch Mob Remix) by Nalepa
Touching Transform by Pictureplane
To read read more about it, go HERE (<----- and respect, in regards to their attitude towards the line of New Era 'Nuke 'Em' caps...they didn't have to, but they did. Go read about what they did)
Monday // April 18, 2011 at 13:30 // filed under Music // Art
We have to give props and a massive congratulations to our boy Ferry Gouw who's work for Diplo and Switch's Major Lazer projectis finally set to hit Cartoon Network's Adult Swim! Which means Ferry has been nose to the grindstone on that shit, having been appointed creative director on the show. Each episode is slated to run 15 minutes with no air date as yet.
Check some of the preliminary sketches:
Switch was talking it up last summer (though it has been in talks and
development a long time before that), dishing to Spinner.com:
"That's one the most
exciting things that have happened with the
project. It stemmed from the 'Hold the Line' video where it was kind of
like an old episode of 'He-Man' with a 'G.I. Joe' advert. And Adult
Swim approached us to see if we were interested in developing that. Me
and Wes will not only have input into the cartoon, but we'll write the
music for the soundtrack, which for us is, like, a pretty fun job. We're
going to link them up with some of our friends in Jamaica to do some of
the voices. It's pretty much an open platform and they're very open to
us throwing ideas at them."
HIYA // Skerrit BWOY
HIYA // Zola
HIYA // Lee 'Scratch' Perry! YES he IS a character!
Pretty cool right?? The next and inevitable step is the production of the action figures...
Thursday // March 17, 2011 at 15:51 // filed under Music
Last week, Kelly Rowland came to Brazil and played
in a small gay club for around 20 minutes and all the gays died. Some of them
were furious because spent money to witness a gig so short, but most of them
died. I think I’d die too, even though all I know from her are the Destiny Child
songs, that one with Nelly and those awful ones with David Guetta. But since
then I've paid a little more attention to her and found out about her new single, ‘Motivation’.
Though featuring Lil Wayne, a rapper who I just despite, 'Motivation' is a total winner.
For a starter, it sounds very similar to the songs selected for GIRL UNIT‘s
awesome mix for The Fader; a delicious mix of 90s R'n'B and 2-step. And while it
might not be the song that will haul her solo career onto the
charts, it might just give her a cult pop following.
Kelly is promoting her latest collaborating with Nelly (and killing my childhood
by releasing a crappy new version of ‘Dilemma’), but she's already shooting
the video for ‘Motivation’. Let’s wait and see, shall we...
Tuesday // February 22, 2011 at 15:55 // filed under Music
HIYA // G-Dragon and T.O.P.
to time, I feel the urge to go chasing some new guilty pleasure on the kpop’s
TOP 10. There I found colorful pop groups like The Wonder Girls, Miss A and 2NE1,
with that old school pop sound (think Spice Girls and early Britney), good choreography
and all the wigs you can imagine (although the colours don’t seem to have that
many variety). As much fun as they are, you can see that they are really a
local phenomenon. But none of them are GD & TOP, a duo that have impressive
songs and ever better looks. But who the fuck are GD & TOP, Wikipedia?
Choi Seung-hyun is T.O.P and Kwon Ji-Yong is G-Dragon; both South Korean musicians. The first is also an actor and the latter a music producer. They both got really
famous by joining the all-male pop group Big Bang, but felt that they could
do more as rappers on their own; so they asked permission from the CEO of their
label (awww) who allowed them to go solo for a while.
GD&TOP the debut album was released on 24th of December in Korea and in Japan just this February, and although
waiting to explore more of their rap side, is very multifaceted. R’n’B, discopop, cheesy electronics soaked in autotune...there's a bit of everything – even bad (like, really bad) music.
single, ‘High High’, is a club anthem that would make any one of the Jersey Shore cast
pump their fist to the sky - and you can see in the chorus the kind of incentive
behind that move. The track, self-described as “G.H.E.T.T.O E.L.E.C.T.R.O”, sounds
like something that Will.I.Am would produce to buy himself another mansion. It’s
not a great start, but definitely shows they can become the next Far East Movement,
which is, at least, trending.
video, the duo opt for the nightclub theme that allows them to show how
incredibly stylish they are. TOP is a really tall and handsome with a love for
casual suits and blazers. He's rocking a bleached 'do that looks better
than Mark Ronson’s (sorry buddy, but expensive as it obviously was, it really didn’t work that well for you). GD has an
afro shaped into a pouf (forealz) and is more of a shiney jacket type of
man. In the video he even wears Fanny and Jessy, which makes him even cooler.
GD & TOP - High High
Now, next single ‘Oh Yeah!’ has grown on me a lot lately. Remember when Calvin Harris roped Dizzee Rascal into that summer smash hit? This is quite similar, but even bigger. Featuring Park Bom, the lead vocal on 2NE1, in a moment that puts Fergie to shame with her “I gotta feeling”-shit. Unfortunately, this song doesn’t have an official video, but there is a TV presentation that will do just as well because it features all the girls from 2NE1 plus dance choreography.
GD & TOP - Oh Yeah!
ladies and gentleman, the song that introduced me to the duo: the brilliant ‘Knocked
OuT’. Produced by Diplo (let’s accept once and for all that Wesley is omniscient), the song talks about how cool they are, how jealous
people try and get close to them and how they adore to pop bubbles – which is
the reason this hip hop instrumental has lots of bubble sounds. But before we
go to the actual song, let’s see what Diplo has to say about it.
went to Seoul to DJ last year for the first time… I don’t even remember how I
met any of the Kpop crew, but someone got in touch with someone… I was a super
fan of 2NE1, those girls are killing it. People don’t know that Kpop sort of
runs all of Asia and now Japan is the main market for these artists, but every
one of these guys have proper Korean and English skills. My beat was for some
kids in this Kpop crew from one of the biggest groups, BIG BANG. They are sort like
NKOTB/JAY-Z/Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber all mixed into one act. GD and TOP
are the main rappers that go in for verse 3 in every Big Bang song. YOU can
tell from GD and TOP that they are rapper-rappers, not phonies. They have crazy
flow, they wear tiny pants on top of tanks talking about Swag... These are my
favorite new rappers! I didn’t realize they were a big deal. I sent a beat over
a couple months back and then [it became a] youtube hit and got a mil views in 2
weeks. Kinda swag! The styling is sooooo much better then US rap, it’s really
sad. Anyway, I’m moving to Korea now.”*
finished his post with the instrumental version of the song, which you can
started talking about them singing about swag on top of tanks, he meant
it literally. As you can see from the video for ‘Knocked Out’, which is really quite
simple and minimal yet, because of the fashion, toy art and scenery pieces, is also
really luxurious. Basically, if I had a band today and it wasn’t a sorrowful indie
one I would dream of having a video like this.
GD & TOP - Knock Out
And when we
thought that they wouldn’t release another video, they hit us with this completely different
facet in ‘Baby Good Night’. For a start, this song features a girl speaking
in a sexy french voice. And then there's this R’n’B style that reminds me of a lot of
the Justin Timberlake’s encounters with Timbaland – falsettos, big drums,
acoustic guitars and electric pianos included. The film shows them late night
at home wearing awesome robes and pajamas, drinking champagne and missing their
girlfriends (I still don't get what the snake is doing in the bed, so I’m
assuming it has some meaning in Korean). You can’t get any classier than that,
GD & TOP - Baby Good Night
We might finally be done with the videos, but there are still two
more amazing songs on the album. ‘Intro’,
is the best intro a pop album could ever get, featuring sample of "It's
Yours to Have" by Freda Payne, and ‘Don't Go Home’, as well as ‘Make
It with You’ by Bread. All very sunny pieces of disco/funk hip hop.
final considerations on GD & TOP. It’s so funny how they put English words
in the final of their verses and even sing in Korean with a misleading English
accent (which makes me really confused, as I’m not a native and don’t know all
the words in the language). And as Diplo said, the Occident doesnt have hip hop icons as sylish as these two here.
But anyway, with lyrics like:
I may like toys more than girls
but laugh at me
My long eyelashes are born from natural freedom
different from disgusting
- makes them much cooler than any of the clothes they are wearing.
Anyway, as you can see, we're pretty obsessed with these two lately (so much that
they just got the biggest text I'm ever written here on the blog), but I really believe
we're going to hear big things about them.
And how can you not love a duo who uses
a symbol of a hand with two fingers up resembling a Playboy bunny?
*sorry, Wesley. I had to edit your text to make
**Ed: and it still doesn't make all that much sense!
Thursday // February 03, 2011 at 17:36 // filed under Music // Fashion
HIYA // Diplo
In a sudden but not wholly unexpected turn, man about the world town Diplo was asked by It-Boy fashion designer, Alexander Wang, to face up the latest collection for his line of basics, T by Alexander Wang alongside blonde busty gap-toothed young beauty, Ashley Smith. Both were chosen due to their current status at the top of their respective game, according to Wang in the behind-the-scenes video below.
Behind the Scenes Diplo and Ashley Smith for Alex Wang
No stranger to the modelling world, until now Diplo's closest brush was having previously somehow roped in model agency Ford Mento take his measurements and help him film a plea for high end suiting (as if he couldn't afford to pay retail!).
Despite moves that look curiously to be like that super lame/beyond cheeseball 'fishing' dance soundtracked Amanda Blank's 'DJ', Diplo somehow pulls it all off due to his undeniably valid self assurance. He belongs here. And that's undoutedly what has the world at his feet (read: well me, swooning at his feet).
And you know what? Looking good looks good on Diplo.
Wednesday // January 26, 2011 at 12:06 // filed under Music
So Diploblogged today and he dropped some
awesome things. Like he talked about how nice the weather is. He also said how cool Sleigh Bells'
debut album is. He described it as “half Lynyrd Skynyrd, half Bangladesh,
half man and half alligator” and showed everyone that he A) sucks at math and doesn’t
know that four halves make something that is 200% and B) clearly meant that Sleigh Bells
are a band that goes up to 200%.
casually said that he was in the studio with Switch - the other half of Major Lazer - playing team Beyoncé
the sick beats produced by Sleigh Bells’ Derek E. Miller. And just like that he informed us that Queen
B’s team rushed to get him down to the studio to produce some of that crazy
sound for her.
didn’t take your breath away, Diplo’s remix for ‘Tell ‘Em’ will. Adding
drums in to the already impressive beats catalog of the original, this will
test the quality of your speakerphones like nothing else.