Archive | March, 2011

Put Your Hands Up For . . . Japan!

31 Mar

flag by Yukinori Yanagi

Jad Cooper (one half of Drlkt Freddie) has been living in Japan for a bit, and it’s obvious that his skills haven’t faded with his travels. He sent me a promo mix he made for a fundraiser party he’s DJing on April 2nd in Nagoya, and I’ll be honest, it blew me away. It veers a bit from previous exposure I’ve had to Cooper’s work, which tends to be harder and heavier. This mix, “United Beats of Tsunami Relief,” puts the shine on deep house.

In the mix, Jad crafts a Jackmode-like ensemble of full-on dance tracks, a few of them being his own tracks and reworks, so it’s definitely a mix you do not want to miss. Get to downloading now.

(click to play; right click + save as to download)

For those of you in Japan, you can check out more information on the party here, and if you’re far away, visit the following website to donate to the tsunami/earthquake relief effort: Japan Society

 

– Retail DJ

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Funk On A Friday: SebastiAn – Embody [video]

25 Mar

SebastiAn, making out with . . . himself

Everyone knows I love SebastiAn. I had the pleasure of seeing him live back in 2006 or 2007 at Studio B, and before then, I had been visiting his myspace page on the daily just to hear his many dark, aggressive original tracks and remixes. He was my segue to other great groups like Revl9n and Teenage Bad Girl. Long story short, the man makes great music, but considering the previous direction his music has gone, his newest single “Embody,” which has possibly the cutest video on the planet, was a shock. It’s light and fun and full of soul. I’m hoping the rest of his album will be just as good.

 

Pop Makeovers

25 Mar

I don’t listen to a ton of pop music, and sometimes when I step into a club where the DJs play “top 40,” I feel like an alien. Fortunately, when pop DOES find its way in my radar, it’s been chopped, screwed, refixed, remixed, and reborn. The most recent pop makeovers come to us by The Hood Internet, whose mashup of Hercules and Love Affair with Nicki Minaj redeemed the princess of rap, and DJ Van Scott (1/2 of Drlkt Freddie) who sent me a remix of Ke$ha’s “Sleazy” that gives the song (and the artist) a whole new face.

The two songs are polar opposites, actually, with Scott’s “Sleazy” remix serving as a full-on party track, and the Minaj/H&LA mashup better for a mellow setting. Needless to say, they’re both great. Give them a listen and enjoy:

The Hood Internet – Moment 4 Lenora (Nicki Minaj x Hercules and Love Affair)

 

Ke$ha – Sleazy (Van Scott F.U. Remix)

 

– Retail DJ

 

 

 

Gratuitous Dance Mix: Database

23 Mar

Database will be in NYC this weekend, dropping down at Brooklyn Bowl on Saturday, but for those of you who can’t make it or who can and want a preview, check out this mix they put together! It’s a gaggle of disco-y sounds and 80s synths. Imagine if the boys of Duran Duran had a groovy cousin on vacation in 1970s New York who got transported to the future (taking a pitstop in the 80s pop era first, of course), the extract of their essence finding itself on a soundcloud page of two Brazilian DJs, and there you have it! 🙂

Enjoy this mix and dance a little, wherever you may be now OR Saturday!

(click to play; click the small arrow on the right to download)

tracklist after the jump

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I Love Mondays: Extended

21 Mar

Normally, the mix I put up for I ❤ Mondays is around an hour or less, just enough to give you that extra boost of energy when you need it the most. This time around, however, I wanted to take it into overdrive. Afterall, it’s Monday, and sometimes one boost is not enough.

I have a tendency to wake up late on Mondays, even if I have nothing to do. It’s as if my body says, “No, Retail DJ, recover from the weekend first, THEN worry about getting out of bed.” A chronic oversleeper on the first day of the week, I can’t help but listen to what my biological clock says. My body needs a break, so I succumb to all the peer pressuring of sore limbs, heavy eyelids, and the hangover-like brain pulsing of a serious caffeine addiction. But when I do finally rise, late or not, I need music to reboot. Occasionally, on some days (very much like today), I wake up much earlier than intended. For the first time in forever, I went to bed before 4 am (12 am, actually!), which meant that my body was shocked and awed to the point of waking me up at 5:30 and not letting me return to my slumber.

I just interpreted it as a sign to extend today’s I ❤ Mondays mix. Yes, today’s feature is for those of you who have to wake up at the crack of dawn to commute from  another state to get into NYC or who have to take a ferry to your destination or who have to cross interstates and paths with roadkill to approach your office. This is for those of you who wake up early on Monday just to get a head start and outsmart your Monday morning misery. This is for those of you who’d rather pretend Monday morning was Saturday night, and you dance as you put on your clothes.

Shir Khan – Data Transmission Podcast 150

(follow the link above to play + download -or- subscribe here)

tracklist (below) after the jump

The music this time around comes from Shir Khan, care of my favorite Brits over at Data Transmission, whose podcast, as I have mentioned many a time before, might be the best thing since sliced bread. Shir Khan, whose is the mastermind behind Exploited Records, is an excellent DJ, and this seriously funky mix is not to be missed. The podcast very much mirrors what goes on over at Exploited: classic samples are employed, breakbeats somehow find their match in deep house, and Latin percussion loops have a happy marriage with disco vibes. The 2+ hours of music is incredibly well-mixed, has an amazing tracklist, and serves as a seamless presentation of music at its finest.

Let this mix guide you as you start your work day (or for my friends across the pond, practically end it). You won’t be disappointed.

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A Tribute to Institubes

18 Mar

A few days ago, I read the news. The French label I had loved for so long was closing its doors. Yes, Institubes, the people who supported artists like Surkin, Das Glow, Bobmo, Teki Latex, Tacteel, and a whole host of other amazing producers were throwing in the towel. Their reasoning, however depressing, struck a chord with me:

” . . . It’s always been a bit of an uphill battle. But it got worse and worse. At first it was fun to figure out ways to get people to check out our music. But once that’s done and you have something resembling an audience, it becomes apparent that this is not really your job. Your job is to reconcile the public with the very idea of buying records. All the power to you if you can bear it.

We’re closing shop because the operation is losing too much money, this much is clear. Most of what we could have done to prevent or delay this outcome reside in two words: lifestyle and branding. Investing in t-shirts and co-branding, scoring “collaborations” or sponsorship deals with deep-pocketed companies. I have but a regret: we actually did it sometimes. We should have said no more often. Bands struggling to get together with brands, artists and audience deriving more validity from corporate interest than from anything else, bands happy to learn that in the future they would have to “take charge of their own promotion”: this wasn’t for us. In other words, on our small scale, we should have been able to carve a non-capitalist niche within the larger corporate world. I thought, being young and naive when we started, that “underground” meant just that . . . “

In other words, they are closing out before selling out – quite literally.

“Not only because we no longer sell shit (and even when you do, it’s hard to shake the feeling that you’re selling free shit), but also because tracks are peaking faster than tumblr memes. In our historical moment, music is everywhere but second or third or tenth to many other interests and areas of culture. Fashion, Apple, video games, “devices”, social media, etc. And that’s cool, I guess. But I don’t want to have to be a function of fashion. Nor do I want to urge an artist to publish half-baked tracks every month in order to stay “relevant”. Depleted accounts is one thing, but depleted attentions?”

I feel like this almost every day when I pore over an article or spend hours making a mix and I feel like no one is listening. I feel this way when I see sites that put about 10 seconds of thought into their posts get thousands of hits. Part of getting the word out about your brand, product, whatever is selling yourself, and sometimes, people are quite reluctant to do that, especially if it means a dumbing down of what they put out or a total reduction in quality and presentation to appease people who don’t want to give the attention to read more than a sentence. Twitter pretty much sums up our present lifestyle: post anything, pay little attention. It’s unfortunate that Institubes fell victim to our society’s turn for the worse (and the economic downfall that came along with it), but their work will always be remembered.

I will never forget the times I saw Surkin DJ at Studio B or shed a tear while listening to Para One’s “Midnight Swim (Original Mix)” on the train going over the bridge. Their music is fun, inspiring, and really a testament of innovation. In order to honor the people who brought me some of my favorite music, I created a mini-mix using some of my favorite old tracks by several artists who got famous BECAUSE of the folks behind Institubes. Enjoy:

Retail DJ – Institubes Tribute


(click to play; click the small arrow on the right to download)

tracklist:

1. Das Glow – Vulcanice

2. Bobmo – Rock the

3. Surkin – Kiss ‘n Horns

4. High Powered Boys – Hoes Get Down

5. Tacteel – Feel It, Feel It

6. Bobmo – Legally Dead for 4’31

7. Para One – Midnight Swim (Surkin Drowning Mix)

8. Bobmo – Get ‘Em, Junior

9. DJ Mehdi – Lucky Boy (Surkin Remix)

10. Para One – Dudun-Dun

 

Read the entire Institubes letter here

– Retail DJ

What’s Good? Eastern Bloc

17 Mar

Dash Speaks

We worked with Dash Speaks before, profiling him mainly for his DJing and production work, but he also happens to be an acclaimed lyricist and rapper. His newest EP Eastern Bloc sends us on a trip to the USSR and its aftermath, with moments of emotion, triumph, and humor. Though he admits it’s something that he “didn’t make […] to get famous,” and recognizes that the musical diversity exhibited by the EP makes it a bit difficult to promote on the blog circuit, it’s the passion and diligence he put toward Eastern Bloc along with the excellent storytelling that makes it so easy to appreciate. I had the opportunity to talk to Dash about his inspiration for Eastern Bloc and the process of doing literally everything for the EP. Here’s what he had to say:

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