New Music 03/10/11

Federico Aubele – Berlin 13

Unbeknownst to me, I’d heard this guy on one of the Thievery Corporations compilations, and once I started listening to the characteristic vocals and Spanish guitar, it came flooding back.

This release highlights the changes in the artist’s life while living in Berlin, and 13 is the “death” Tarot card, which represented for him a new beginning. He keeps his talents, but mixes them rather sublimely with some heavy, deep Dub tones. It gives the bulk of this record a thick feel, even when it’s only the vocals of Ka and the guitar. To my delight, it works well, if not very well, across the entirety of the album. I love the sound.

Rainbow Arabia – Boys and Diamonds

With a name like that, there’s a whole lot of expectations for what this album is going to sound like. Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed much, though the highlights were few. It’s a heavy, synth-dependent style with the distant female vocals and plenty of catchy percussion, while avoiding a lot of the pitfalls this genre’s known for. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but sometimes, given identical tools, %75 of these groups will make something I can’t listen to.

Without You and Hai are my favorite tracks on this album, while Nothin’ Gonna Be Undone and Sayer are throwaways. The rest of the album is solid listening and entertaining, for sure. Good stuff.

Ancient Astronauts – Into Bass and Time

I’ve known about these guys for a little while, but it’s been less than 24 hours since I listened to them first and I can’t stop. There are perhaps one or two records a year I get which, upon first listen, can get a five-star ranking for EVERY track. The last time I remember this happening was Pnuma Trio, or maybe Dutch. Interestingly enough Raashan Ahmad is also present on this release too.

This pair of Germans has somehow captured the best of US underground hip-hop sounds, blended it in with their own interpretations, some Jamaican Dub/reggae, Asian strings, and made it a very delicious treat. I hear the echoes of every DJ I’ve ever respected in here, but without it feeling like a copy or riff in any way, shape, or form.

It’s like DJ Shadow, DJ Krush, RJD2, Kabanjak (a fellow German), Blockhead, Stoupe, and many others have all been blended, slowly, and poured over ice.

I’ll not only be spinning this for a LONG time, and include at least one of these track on Nerd New Year, but this will be something to enjoy for years to come. Brilliant.

Robert Miles – Th1rt33n Remixes

I am not a big fan of Th1rt33n as an electronic album, perhaps because I’ve long since moved past the Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream, Fennesz electronic haze and soundscapes.

Delightfully, however, Miles knows a guy or two who can do some of the work for him and get some vocals and beats on these tunes. A four-track EP or remixes, I’m pleased to say that only Antimony (Max Pollu Hypnotica remix) was shy of my best rating. The other tracks, one even done by Miles himself, are entertaining and certain improvement on the originals, especially when airplay is considered.

I’m pleased that I’ll have a couple tracks to better represent what I hoped Th1rt33n could sound like.

Mic Crenshaw – Under the Sun

Mic is another name I’ve heard over the years but never had opportunity to sample in album form. He’s a vocalist whose presence is instantly listenable and compelling without feeling preachy or harsh. Mic is certainly an activist voice and he gives us a tour of what he thinks, track after track.

As we know, tracks aren’t worth listening to if the beats aren’t up to snuff. Fear not, because you won’t be bored or annoyed by the backing Mic gets on this record. Lots of synths, believe it or not, and a fair bit of interesting treatments like bells and claps. Hey, I’m failing here to explain it, so get it where you can and make sure you listen to Bad Blood, Yeah, and That Glue. Great stuff.

Dub Is A Weapon – Vaporized

Akin to what I’ve heard before from the legendary Dub Trio, this is an instrumental group who are a hard interpretation of Jamaican Reggae and Dub. It’s got the heavy, omnipresent bassline, but with guitar riffing, piano stabs, and horns, not to mention the drums.

Over the years I’ll get a few instrumental albums that have little to do with the Nerd Show theme: electronica. However, I can’t help by play this stuff on the show because I have such an affinity for Dub and Reggae. Guess that means you’ll be hearing it on the show…

Donwill – Love Junkie Remixes

The basic track, Love Junkie, is good. Funky beat and clever lyrics. Content is a bit sketchy though, because it’s kinda a weird love song in a very pop way. Not so much a fan. Look At Me rubs me the wrong way from the intro, as it’s just a bunch of noise.

Relief hits, however, when I get to the So Shitty remix and dub of Love Junke, the last two tracks. The track has been rendered anew and it’s genuinely interesting. Cutting up Donwill’s lyrics and spreading them over a Garage-type beat gives it a new lease on life, not unlike the Blueprint track I mentioned last week.

Now it’s fun.

Touring in Utah – March/April 2011

Here are some of the artists I know traveling through the State of Deseret during March and April 2011 that you may be interested in:

Zion I & The Grouch
3/29 – Star Bar, Park City

4/01 – The Great Saltair, Magna

Blueprint w/ Macklemore
4/03 – Kilby Court, SLC

Mount Kimbie w/Beats Antique
04/05 – The Depot, SLC

TOUR – Zion I & The Grouch + Community Outreach Campaign

Getting the word out now for this amazing show on the 29th of March at the Star Bar in Park City, Utah.

As quoted by Co-Sign Collective:

To kick off the release of their much anticipated album Heroes in the Healing of the Nation, West Coast hip-hop crew Zion I & The Grouch are excited to announce a nationwide tour, starting March 19 at the historic Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. The trio, long since known for tackling weighty topics, are donating 100% of all ticketing fees sold through to local community organizations. The group has partnered up with different organizations in every city, such as Totem Star, Project Commotion, Self Enhancement Center, and Urban Peak.

The Healing of the Nation Tour also features Blu, and The Jacka on select dates, with The Shotgun Wedding Quintet (Jazz Mafia) opening each show. The Heroes in the Healing of the Nation album features Freeway, Fashawn, Casual, Mystic, Eric Rachmany, Jacob Hemphill of Soja, Eligh, Marty James, Los Rakas, Codany Holiday, and the R.O.D Project and is due out March 22, 2011.

For a full list of organizations, go to

Zion I & The Grouch
* w/ Blu
% w/ The Jacka
# w/ The Shotgun Wedding Quintet (Jazz Mafia)

3/16/11 Austin, TX @ Mohawk (SXSW)
3/18/11 Austin, TX @ Beauty Bar (SXSW)
3/19/11 San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore * % #
3/20/11 Fresno, CA @ Fulton 55 *#
3/21/11 Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades * #
3/23/11 Arcata, CA @ Humbrew * #
3/24/11 Eugene OR @ McDonald Theatre * #
3/25/11 Portland, OR @ BRANX * #
3/26/11 Seattle, WA @ Nectars * #
3/27/11 Missoula, MT @ Palace Lounge * #
3/29/11 Park City @ Star Bar * #
3/30/11 Aspen, CO @ The Belly Up * #
3/31/11 Ft Collins, CO @ Aggie Theater * #
4/01/11 Boulder @ Fox Theater * #
4/02/11 Denver, CO @ City Hall * #
4/15/11 Madison, WI @ Majestic #
4/17/11 Chicago, IL @ Abbey Theater #
4/18/11 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop #
4/20/11 Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground #
4/21/11 Boston, MA @ Middle East Club #
4/22/11 Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory #
4/23/11 Baltimore, MD @ The Quarter #
4/24/11 Philadelphia, PA @ The Blockley Poorhouse #
4/25/11 Tempe, AZ @ The Club House #
4/26/11 Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre #
4/28/11 San Luis Obispo, CA @ SLO Brewing Co. #
4/29/11 Santa Clara, CA @ The Avalon #

Playlist 03/03/11

Playlist 03/03/11

This is the list of artists, albums, and songs
Artist Album Track
Roots Manuva & Wrongtom Duppy Writer Dutty Rut (feat. Ricky Ranking)
Empresarios Sabor Tropical Cumbia
The Glass At Swim Two Birds Heavy Disco
Robert Miles Th1rt33n Orchid Miracle
Tremor Para Armar Fumar (feat. Coiffeur)
Cut Copy Zonoscope Need You Now
The Go! Team Rolling Blackouts Bust-Out Brigade
Paper Diamond Levitate From Now Till
Shigeto Full Circle Remixes And We Gonna
Spose Happy Medium Can’t Get There From Here (instrumental)
Toddska Cowboy Girl From England
Sims Bad Time Zoo Too Much
Fleck & Fish Finger Generation Bass: Transnational Rude Profile
Classified Handshakes and Middle Fingers That Ain’t Classy
Claps New Science Fold (Chic Portier remix)
Vanity Theft Rattle Rattle Promo Missing Teeth (Houses Peeling remix)
Salva Complex Housing Keys Open Doors
MC Zulu Crowd Control Crowd Control (Downtempo remix)
The Kickdrums Something’s Gotta Give Something’s Gotta Give (Skinny remix)
Amad Jamal Barely Hangin’ On Rodney King
Atmosphere The Family Sign Just For Show
George Acosta Visions Behind Expressions Love Rain (feat. Fisher)
GLC, Curt@in$, and Rakaa Closed Sessions The Roadhouse
Los Chicharrons Roots of Life Ma Do Nar
Radiohead King of Limbs Bloom
Austra Beat to the Pulse Beat to the Pulse
Blueprint So Alive So Alive (innerpartysystem instrumental)
The Electric Life Is Moving Sometimes
Worldwide Groove Corporation The Midnight Sessions Smoke & Mirrors
Hiatus Ghost Notes Save Yourself
Paris Suit Yourself My Main Stain Sometimes (M.E.S.H. remix)
The Qemists Take It Back Remixes Take It Back (feat. Enter Shikari) (The Prototypes remix)
Return to Mono Framebreaker Framebreaker
Stateless Matilda Miles to Go
Win Win Win Win Distorted Reality 3
Zion I & The Grouch Rockit Man Single Rockit Man (feat. Silk E)

New Music 03/03/11

Zion I & The Grouch – Rockit Man Single

Tracklist – Rockit Man (feat. Silk E), Instrumental, Drop It On the 1, Instrumental

These tracks are solid.  I don’t mean that just to be nice, either.  Zion I has had my ear for a while and his vocal style is top notch, but The Grouch completes this duo’s collaboration with Silk E for some seriously strong presence.

But I’m hugely, and I mean HUGELY impressed that they’ve basically imported the UK Dubstep-based sound for these tracks and even tossed in some chopped and screwed Houston style for good measure.  The instrumental versions of these alone are seriously radio-worthy.


The Electric – Life Is Moving

A project involving DJ Vadim, probably the only Russian DJ anyone has ever heard of.  It’s a R&B/Hip-Hop flavor.

The album starts out a little flat for me, and We Rolling, track three, is a skipper, but Sometimes and So Now You Know are both a compelling mix of restrained vocals and driving, snappy beats.  It’s hard to ignore Beautiful, as it’s a track I’ve heard before as a single, but it’s a bit repetitive and chatty.  Kinda wish for an instrumental version of this.

The next set of tracks gets tiring, though a few of them I would prefer as instrumentals.  Let’s call this the R&B section.

Did I mention that many of these tracks would be best as instrumentals?

This could have been a much better album for me, but I’m pleased that there are two or three tracks I feel good about.

Paris Suit Yourself – Sometimes

Hmm.  Let’s not mince words: the base track kinda sucks.  The Micachu mix doesn’t do it any favors, but the M.E.S.H. remix brings a new wardrobe to the equation and I like how it’s dressed.  Victor Tricard tries hard, and does a good job making a miserable track fun.

The Qemists – Take It Back (EP?)

This track, Take It Back (feat. Enter Shikari) was one of my favorites on their 2010 release, Spirit In the System.  I spun that one like mad and included it on the Nerd New Year broadcast.  This is the original track, a remix by The Prototypes, a VIP remix, and Drity Words, a track I’ve heard twice before, strangely with differing guests, but with another go at it with the VIP remix.

The original cut is a classic for me, and The Prototypes made their interpretation beautifully. The VIP mix is a complete rebuilding of the track, and it’s somewhat unrecognizable, but certainly moves its appeal a bit wider because it’s less of a pounding.  Really nice, too.

Dirty Words, well, no thanks.

The Death Set – We Are Going Anywhere Man

I don’t like The Death Set.  Nuff said. Deleted.

Chilly Gonzales – You Can Dance EP

Nine remixes of the track You Can Dance.  The original is, well, not bad. It wasn’t even near one of my favorites on Ivory Tower.

It kinds sounds like he gave the track to a bunch of his quasi-disco mates and had them remix it.  Mostly it sounds like music for bellbottoms and cocaine.  Not into that, thanks. Edwin van Cleef and Max Tundra make a few decent remixes, but they are still working hard against the base track.

Blueprint – So Alive (remixes)

The track So Alive is very good, with compelling vocals that don’t overpower the excellent backing band beats.

The Budo remix is a stripped-down version with a Casio-like beat, guitars, and a progressive introduction of bass and horns.  Very interesting interpretation of the original with its own merits. X144’s interpretation is a bit more bombastic. innerpartysystem remakes the track to the point it’s unrecognizable save for the vocals. The instrumental version might be the best of them all.

Stateless – Matilda

As a fan of Stateless from the Bloodstream EP, prior to their first, self-titled album, I had high expectations for the full release after getting a few singles with remixes.  I’m not disappointed.

There’s a cohesive aural element throughout the album, something very important to a release with the track diversity Matilda has.  Curtain Call, for example, gives you a full three seasons, if you will, by the time it’s halfway finished, and you know you’re in for a bit of a ride.  Ariel, one of the two singles widely played, is a dynamic, questioning, accusatory track that would give any listener familiar with their older work a bit of a breath of relief 25 seconds in.  Yeah, they still have it.

Miles to Go makes you realize that, given the same elements, SO MANY groups would get this wrong. Blending a piano, heavy beats, spare percussion and haunting vocals is not easy.  Great track. Visions carries on this delicate blend with some guest vocals that just work. Assassinations is the second single released beforehand, and it fits right in beautifully.

Red Sea begins a more ponderous stretch in the album as almost a two-minute interlude. I’m On Fire carries the theme onward. Ballad of NGB is, for lack of a better term, a romantic song  Very neat. Song for the Outsider might very well be a reference to DJ Shadow.  Chris James, lead vocalist for Stateless, worked on several tracks for DJ Shadow’s The Outsider, and his mention of Stateless in his blog years ago helped promote the group in many important ways. Junior earns it keep here with rich vocals and a simply lovely beat.

I Shall Not Complain finished the album with another brilliant display of melding Chris’ vocals with percussion, electronic beats and synths, and even an accordion.  Again, it would be so easy to get this wrong, but they don’t.

Great album.

Austra – Beat to the Pulse

Interesting little EP here.  Beat and the Pulse has some neat instrumentation with good beats and synth work, but I’m a bit tired of the chorused, subdued female vocals.  I’m feeling it a bit more with another listen, and I’m going to give this one a chance.

Energy disappoints me with some decidedly lo-fi sounds, as if they’re hiding the vocals.  Bjork would be blowing this the hell out, but Austra are not. Young and Gay is interesting, and a decent track. I look forward to some more material from Austra.

Return to Mono – Frambreaker

One of the few CDs I got this week, this one was out of the blue.  That’s led to some bad results in the past, but not so today.

Song of the Beast was good enough that I wasn’t ready to write it off.  How many of these artists I’ve never heard of, given the same tools, would make a mess of it?  You’d be surprised.

Framebreaker, Doomsday Device, and The Promise make for a great trio of tracks.  Great vocals that make me respect the talent, and a genuinely interesting beat and synths.

XRUST and Nightfall are the other highlights of this solid album, with Black Swan being the only disappointing track on this album for me.  Impressive work, going to have to play these tracks for a while.

Playlist 02/17/11

Playlist 02/17/11

This is the list of artists, albums, and songs
Artist Album Track
Saigon The Greatest Story Never Told Bring Me Down (TV Master)
J-Live S.P.T.A No Time To Waste
Verbal Kent Save Yourself My City (feat. Sadat X & EDO.G)
Roots Manuva & Wrongtom Duppy Writer Proper Tings Juggled
The Heavy How You Like Me Now? How You Like Me Now? (Original)
The Builders and the Butchers Dead Reckoning Out of the Mountain
Empresarios Sabor Tropical Pensamiento
Fujiya & Miyagi Ventriloquizzing Taiwanese Roots
Igor Boxx Breslau Tank
The Glass At Swim Two Birds Is It Me?
Sistol Remasters & Remixes Keno (Mike Huckaby remix)
Carlos Go Go Gomez New Paradigm Global Music Saraeye
Robert Miles Th1rt33n Orchid Miracle
Tremolo Audio Para Armar Nylon 2 (Trifasico mix)
Bag Raiders Bag Raiders Sunset
Cut Copy Zonoscope Take Me Over
Daedelus Tailor Made Tailor-Made (feat. Milosh) (TOKIMONSTA remix)
Emika Count Backwards Count Backwards (Kryptic Minds remix)
The Go! Team Rolling Blackouts T.O.R.N.A.D.O.
Paper Diamond Levitate So Precise
Seefeel Seefeel Rip-Run
Shigeto Full Circle Remixes There Is Always Hope (Mux Mool remix)
Spose Happy Medium Can’t Get There From Here
Stateless Assassinations Assassinations
Toddska Cowboy Girl From England
Sims Bad Time Zoo Bad Time Zoo
Engine-Earz Experiment Generation Bass: Transnational Kaliyuga
Classified Handshakes and Middle Fingers That Ain’t Classy
Claps New Science Fold (Chic Portier remix)
Vanity Theft Rattle Rattle Promo Anatomy (Houses Haunted Tape remix)
Salva Complex Housing Beached
MC Zulu Crowd Control Life of Priveledge
The Kickdrums Something’s Gotta Give Something’s Gotta Give (Kutcorners remix)

It only took 8 years…

But the Nerd Show now has an actual blog site.

I’ve got a Twitter account set up, and it’s awesome.  Facebook Fan Page, check. Domain, check. MySpace, why bother.

HTML and text files are fun, but when you want to put up some neat information, well…

I still have a backup of the old site.  Let’s hope I don’t have to use it.