Shows of Note – Get Lucky

20130304-081800-749651

Ravers all over the Pacific Northwest are hoping to get lucky this year. The annual USC Events festival (Lucky 2014) will take place on Friday, March 14th this year, at the WaMu Theater in Seattle. This event has quickly become one of the biggest “must-attend” events for any EDM fan.

Diplo

Diplo

USC Events has reputation for putting on shows that don’t disappoint both in music and show production. Thousands will gather for Lucky to experience the trapeze artists, epic light shows and elaborate St. Patrick’s Day themed costumes that will accompany the EDM line-up.

Some of the Lucky lineup highlights include Diplo, Kill the Noise and Showtek. Diplo has excited many EDM fans and has garnered quite the following in the hip-hop scene as well. Be warned, a lot of twerking will ensue once Diplo takes the stage. Diplo, or the formally known Wesley Pentz has been on the scene since 2003 with Epistomology. 2012’s “Express Yourself” caught the attention of well…everybody. Since then Diplo has produced the Revolution (Remixes) EP in which the artwork is a fist made up of half-naked twerking women.

 

Kill the Noise

Kill the Noise

Kill the Noise also highlights the Lucky bill. The one man band made of Jake Stanczak specializes in drum and bass, dubstep and house.  Always sporting his baseball cap and skull emblazed bandana, the young producer gained a huge fan base before he even produced his first solo release, the Roots EP in 2010. Since 2010 he has produced Kill Kill Kill, a Roots Remixed EP, Black Magic and Black Magic Remixes.

Showtek

Showtek

Brothers, Wouter and Sjoerd Janssen, the two members of Showtek are sure to delight hardstyle and progressive fans alike at this year’s Lucky. Though their roots are in hardstyle they are slowly exploring the progressive side of EDM. With an alarmingly quick rise to fame, they’ve performed with David Guetta, Tiesto and Steve Aoki, along with other powerful EDM artists and are truly at the top of the electronic music scene. Check out their collaboration with Justin Prime, “Cannonball (Earthquake)” featuring Matthew Koma which was just released two days ago on iTunes.

The ‘Burg is giving away two pairs of Lucky 2014 tickets this Friday (3/7). Listen between 8 and 10 p.m. and again between 10 and midnight for a chance to get Lucky this March.

Share

Fresh Tunes – Something Soft, Something Hard

Nothing+band

Close to the Glass
The Notwist

The-Notwist-Close-To-The-Glass-608x608Anyone can make electronic music. Every necessary bit of hardware or software, every bit of knowledge, every tip or trick or tutorial is available to everyone now- and for relatively little money. And with that ubiquity of knowledge and access to all the necessary tools comes a sort of over-saturation, “If everybody knows all the tricks, it’s no more magic” says Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk. So the game has now become one of separation; of being absolutely and totally unique among thousands of new artists. The Notwist has fully realized this shift in the electronic music paradigm and has crafted something that genuinely separates them from other artists with their ninth and newest album.

During the first moments of Close to the Glass, one gets the impression that this could just be another head-nodding rip off of electro from the 90s; an arpeggiated synthesizer texture embellished with random rings and beeps and a skittering snare beat. But then the vocals enter. The voice is untreated: no vocoder, no auto-tune, calmly speaking about hideous signs and something about screaming. There’s some strange subtle terror waiting underneath these tracks, something unexpected or unnoticed, or combination of sounds that shouldn’t theoretically work together when discussed soberly.

And that really is the greatest strength of this album- its ability to defy expectation. “Kong,” the third song, for example, would almost seem completely out of place on this album were it not for its development into an absurd and oddly cohesive mash of orchestral layers, acoustic guitar, electronic glittering, and raucous bass. The marriage of these elements, electronic or otherwise, imbues Close to the Glass with the magic Thomas Bangalter feels is lacking in much of recent music. Anyone can make electronic music- but few can make it like this.

Guilty of Everything
Nothing

a3943802535_10There’s a hot, twisting frustration and rage in those who feel disconnected from or overwhelmed by reality. Everything moves too fast and too slow, there’s nobody to talk to, there isn’t enough time, there’s energy with nowhere to go. “I’m caught between a beggar’s teeth,” sings Domenic Palermo of the band Nothing. The newest album from the Philadelphia quartet seems- to us at least-to be exploration of that frustration with detachment from a world out of time with one’s own rhythm. From this exploration, Nothing has made something dark, loud, and beautiful.

The landscape of each track is very similar; the vocals are treated as a musical instrument fully engulfed by the haze of incredibly loud ambient guitars, bass, and drums. Instead of lyrics that are heard, Palermo’s singing is more of a texture that is felt. It draws one in, trying to decipher the already cryptic lyrics Nothing has buried under heavy, leaden sonic layers. But perhaps that’s the message itself, trying to make sense of something that would be easy were it just a bit different. The themes in Guilty of Everything, then, are embodied by the music itself, a masterful and nuanced act on Nothing’s part.

But despite whatever nuance one discovers in the way Nothing has orchestrated Guilty of Everything, it’s important to remember that this band is loud. The tender, ambient moments give way to hysterical paroxysms of dissonance and consonance. Nothing sounds like they are collectively exorcising whatever demons of the past that may still haunt them. Even in their liner notes the quote, “To all things we’ve ever hated. To all things we’ve ever loved. Thanks for making this possible,” punctuates pages of lyrics juxtaposed with black and white pictures of a prison shower, a junkie spiking his vein, and other-almost ominous- photographs recreating bleary-eyed memories and recollections. We still don’t know entirely what Nothing is trying to tell us, but we are entirely sure it is important.

Share

Shows of Note – Darkstep

Excision+big

Excision is an artist we talk about quite frequently. Ever popular with the college crowd, Excision has returned to Washington again and again, pleasing fans every time. Excision takes dubstep and makes it dark, grimey and dangerous.

Excision

Excision

It’s been a while since Excision has produced a new album. X Rated was released in 2011 and he has yet to follow it up with an album or EP though there have been a handful of singles including “Headbanga”, “Brutal”, “Raise Your Fist” and “Vindicate” to name a few. Many of Excision’s most recent singles are in collaboration with other artists like Datsik and Space Laces.

Constantly on tour, Excision has listed The Gorge right here in Washington as one of his favorite venues.  Dropping out of school isn’t advice most people would give, but Excision’s decision to drop out of his business degree program ultimately paid off.

Excision is playing in the northwest January 22 at The Knitting Factory in Spokane, January 23 at The Roseland Theater in Portland and January 24 at The Paramount Theater in Seattle.  We’re giving away tickets to the Spokane show tonight between 8 and 10 p.m. and 10 and midnight. Tune-in for a chance to win!

Share

Shows of Note – A Global Concept

Robert+DeLong

Robert Delong’s music is sort of hard to define. Is it electronica? Is it pop? Is it indie? Maybe synthpop is the best describer. No matter what you call it, Delong’s music is interesting to say the least. An MTV “2013 Artist to Watch,” Delong uses anything to make sound in his music and we can’t get enough of it.

Robert Delong

Robert Delong

As if his musical talent wasn’t enough, we love Delong even more because he was raised in Seattle. Now an L.A. local he may just be the future of pop music. Delong’s first full-length album Just Movement was released in February of last year to stellar reviews.  “Brilliant,” “Seamless,” and “Perfect” are all adjectives recently associated with the album. Just Movement has a five-star rating on iTunes from fans and Music OMH called Just Movement “…an odd album, in the nicest possible sense of the word.”

Robert Delong will be performing in the northwest January 23rd  and January 24th at Barboza in Seattle and January 24th at Star Theater in Portland. Pipboy will be giving away a pair of tickets to the January 24th show tomorrow (01/17) on “Geek Speak” between 8 and 10 a.m. so be sure to tune-in for your chance to win!

Share

Shows of Note – Be aWARE She’s Awesome

Jessie+Ware+PNG

English electro-pop artist Jessie Ware fits right among many of the British female pop stars that are all the rage right now. Like Emeli Sande, Charli XCX and Katy B she is electric and soulful. Jessie Ware sounds like sophistication for the future.

Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware

Ware released her first full length album Devotion, in April of this year. Devotion follows an EP released in 2010 and a single in 2011 titled “Valentine.” Ware has a knack for blending vocals seamlessly with simple yet still textured backing production. Influenced by powerful pop female vocalists such as Annie Lennox, Lisa Stansfield and Sade, Ware worked with experimental indie group Man Like Me as a backup singer before starting a solo career.

Devotion is a good introduction to the artist and is intricate yet almost lazy sounding at times. Tracks such as “Imagine it Was Us” makes you want to get up and dance where “Wildest Moments” is a sad reflection on a broken relationship. We recommend checking out “If You’re Never Gonna Move” and “Sweet Talk” as well.

Jessie Ware is playing in the northwest Nov. 15 at the Neptune Theatre and Nov. 15 at Sonic Boom Records. You can also catch Jessie Ware in Portland on Nov. 16 at the Rosleand Theater.

Share

Shows of Note – Female Fronted Awesome

Polia+PNG

It was only 2011 when Polica was founded, but the indie rock band out of Minneapolis, Minnesota has already received the praises of Bon Iver, NPR and others. Incorporating electronica and hip hop flavors into their music, Polica has successfully created a psychedelic indie sound.

 

Polica

Polica

Give You the Ghost is Polica’s debut album, released in 2011. The band has successfully followed their early success with the recent October release of Shulamith. The name Shulamith belongs to radical Canadian Feminist, Shulamith Firestone who was a founding member of various feminist groups including Redstockings and New York Radical Feminists. Female fronted Polica has devoted their second album to conveying a message of feminism that echoes Firestone’s message.

The album begins with what is perhaps the best song on the album “Chain My Name.” The song gets the listener ready for a record that is busier and more textured than polica’s previous work. We also recommend checking out “Trippin” and “Spilling Lines” off the Shulasmith album.

Polica will be performing in the Pacific Northwest Nov. 22 in Portland at the Wonder Ballroom and Nov. 23 in Seattle at Showbox at the Market. The ‘Burg will be giving away tickets to the Seattle show, today (11/11) between 1 and 3 p.m. and tomorrow (11/12) between 8 and 10 p.m. Tune-in for a chance to win!

Share

Shows of Note – Suddenly I’m Hit

James+Blake+JB_PNG_040413_07

Suddenly I’m hit
It’s the starkness of the dawn
And your friends are gone
And your friends won’t come

So show me where you fit
I’ll wait
So show me while you’re strong
We’re alone now

Those are the lyrics of the single “Retrograde” from James Blake’s new album, Overgrown, which dropped April of this year. The song hints at a love story gone awry because people have the inexorable ability to change. Simple, and almost disturbing in its ability to entrance the listener, “Retrograde” is the epitome of James Blake.

James Blake

James Blake

Once a traditional electronic DJ, Englishman James Blake has renounced that life and is the poster child of the “Post-dubstep” era. Drawing influences from the soul, R&B and hip hop genres, Blake won the 2013 Barclaycard Mercury Prize for album of the year.

Futuristic. Beautiful. Amazing. Raw. Hypnotic. Those are all words people are using to describe Blake’s latest album. Say what you want about it,  other than “Retrograde” we highly recommend giving “Take a Fall for Me (Feat. RZA),” “Digital Lion,” and “Life Round Here” a listen off the Overgrown album.

Blake will be playing in the Pacific Northwest at Showbox SoDo in Seattle on November 20 and Roseland Theater in Portland on November 21. The ‘Burg is giving away a pair of tickets to the Seattle show this Friday (11/8) between 8 and 10 a.m. Must tune-in to win!

Share

Shows of Note – Fresh Beats

Gramatik+2

Gathering influence from American funk, jazz, soul and blues, Gramatik has used his varied tastes in music to create the sort of down-tempo instrumental hip hop you can’t help but nod your head to.

Gramatik

Gramatik

Signed to the Pretty Lights Music label, most of Gramatik’s music is available for free following his philosophy of “freeing music by making music free.”

A quick glance over Gramatik’s online presence will make it pretty clear that Gramatik is a guy who just wants to have fun. While he makes a lot of good music, Gramatik admits most of the time he just wants to smoke weed and is a self-proclaimed comedian.

Gramatik’s full length album Beatz & Pieces, Vol. 1 wasn’t released on iTunes until April 9, 2012 but was available through other means in 2011. With an average 5-star rating on iTunes the album is being well received by Hip Hop and EDM fans alike. Whether you want to sit down and listen or just have the album playing in the background Beatz and Pieces Vol. 1 fits your needs.

We will be giving away two pairs of tickets to Gramatik’s Seattle show at Showbox at the Market on November 15. Gramatik will also be performing in the Pacific Northwest November 14 at Roseland Theatre in Portland and at the Knitting Factory in Spokane on November 17. Listen tonight (11/01) between 6 and 8 p.m. and again between 10 and midnight for a chance to win!

Share

Shows of Note – Chill-out Trip-Hop

bonobo

Bonobo has been electrifying the ears of his listeners since 2000, when he released his first album, Animal Magic – and his music is indeed magical.  Since then, he has continued to fuse electronic music with hints of jazz and unique rhythms.  Bonobo is a true wizard of sound.

Over the past few years, Bonobo has been touring around the globe with his live band, hooking audiences with his catchy rhythms and creative melodies.  2012 was a year in which Bonobo also found success as a DJ. The artist traveled to New York to write material for his next album, a true piece of electronic music excellence.

Bonobo

Bonobo

The North Borders, Bonobo’s latest work, plays like a soundtrack to a fantastic dream.  After pressing play, listeners will be transported into the sonic bliss of Bonobo’s creativity.  The album’s resonance will be felt long after the final track has ended.  The aura of tracks like “First Fires”, “Cirrus”, and “Ten Tigers” are habit-forming works of art.

The balanced complexity of Bonobo’s music stems from his skill of piecing together separate ideas.  As he told Berkleegroove.com in April of this year:

It’s interesting how you get these sounds, which are three-times removed from each other, but when you listen to the track you think, ‘WOW, this sounds great!’”

You can keep up with Bonobo’s latest news, tour dates, and more on his website, bonobomusic.com.  He will be making stops at Seattle’s Showbox at the Market on October 24 and Portland’s Roseland Theater on October 25.  Listen to 88.1 The ‘Burg tonight (10/18) between 6 and 8 p.m. for a chance to win tickets to the Seattle show!

Share

Shows of Note – Not Dead Yet

Zeds Dead

Electronic Dance Music is no longer a genre that is passed off as something a small group of weird kids like. The genre has seeped into almost every form of music from rock to country. EDM DJ’s are now mainstream and the average college student can probably name at least one EDM DJ whether David Guetta, Calvin Harris or some other artist that has “featured” popular pop singers or rappers in their music.

The Hot Sauce EP

The Hot Sauce EP

Zeds Dead is one of many EDM artists slowly creeping its way into mainstream status. Now a regular on the USC playbill, the duo formed in 2009 and are from Toronto, Canada. The group is made of DC and Hooks and specializes in grimey dubstep and house music. In their own words, Zeds Dead “balances on the line that separates chill listening music and dance floor.”

January of this year the duo released an EP titled Hot Sauce, named after a scene in “Pulp Fiction.” The EP showcases Zeds Dead range, merging drum & bass, tribal and glitch. The opening track on the five song EP features spooky noises, starts off slow and builds into the next song preparing the listener for the sirens, cymbals and hip-hop vocals on the rest of the EP.

After asked about their influences in an interview with Earmilk.com the duo said this:

There’s no formula really. I [we] usually just mess around until I stumble upon something I like. Sometimes an idea just pops into my head and I rush to jot it down very simply and then elaborate on it later. I listen to a lot of music so it naturally influences my music in one way or another.

Zeds Dead is performing with openers Paper Diamond, DJ Green Lantern and Branchez at Showbox SoDo in Seattle, Saturday, October 19. Tune-in tonight (10/11) between 8 and 10 and 10 and midnight for a chance to win tickets! 

Share