Today's Song: Matthew Dear 'Up & Out'

Rich Juzwiak · 08/29/12 03:10PM

Matthew Dear's fifth album under his own name, Beams, is a woozy rifling through preexisting musical styles, and the combinations that emerge make for an unsettling listening experience. It acts like upbeat pop music, but Dear is always subverting his setups — with weird interjections, with contrasting rhythms, with his own vocals that speak of indecipherable commands in a cartoonishly low voice that saunters with a twang-free, country swagger. He sounds like what Madonna wished her Music-era cowboy at made her look like, a loner and individual in this world of pulsing electronics. He never sounds lost, though, and in fact, seems more confident than ever, a mirthful ringleader appropriating sounds because that's how genres are made in the endless chain of dance music. His singular offshoot is a doozy — this sounds like everything, but nothing sounds like it.

Today's Song: Michael Jackson 'Speed Demon (Nero Remix)'

Rich Juzwiak · 08/27/12 05:07PM

Yet another of the "new" offerings from the upcoming Bad 25 box set has leaked: a remix of "Speed Demon," best known for its video (really, an excerpt from Moonwalker), in which Michael Jackson dances alongside a clay rabbit that is also himself. Or something.

Today's Song: Bobby Champs 'Drag Queen'

Rich Juzwiak · 08/22/12 04:20PM

This is the perfect example of a video making a song — a hypnotic, wobbly house track, you either like what this is doing or you don't. Your body either responds to these particular sounds and frequencies or it doesn't. Simple. However, pairing it with a host of insects whose antennae twitch rhythmically and whose running (on a turntable) is synched with the beat makes it fascinating. This is among the most bizarre ways to convey how the song is behaving.

Today's Song: Róisín Murphy 'Simulation (Mano Le Tough Remix)'

Rich Juzwiak · 08/13/12 03:48PM

In advance of the Aug. 24 release of blog fav Róisín Murphy's "Simulation" single, the label that's releasing it, Permanent Vacation, has leaked this subdued, housey remix of it. A demo of the original, slow-burning disco version leaked a few months ago; Spin reports the finished version is "11-and-a-half minutes of heavy breathing, and featuring one seriously ecstatic chorus." Love to love you, Murphy.

Today's Song: Cooly G featuring Simbad 'Landscapes'

Rich Juzwiak · 08/01/12 03:45PM

This song has been around for a while, but England's Cooly G released her full-length, Playin' Me, on which "Landscapes" appears just a few weeks ago. It's a stunning piece of work that has me racking my brain for a new term to replace the horribly clunky, barely descriptive "post-dubstep" label. (Don't even get me started on "bass music.") Cooly describes her work as having a "deep house tribal dubstep vibe," but that pile-on of words doesn't reflect her sound's sparse elegance. There's also a dash of neo-soul — her approach to songwriting reminds me a lot of Joi's "Sunshine & the Rain," in that many of her songs consist of just a few chanted lines. "Landscapes" is one of them. Instead of sounding undercooked it is hypnotic.

Today's Song: Fiona Apple 'Every Single Night (LOL Boys Edit)'

Rich Juzwiak · 07/26/12 03:05PM

Internet-producing partners LOL Boys have never recorded in the same room — they pass tracks back and forth online from their respective locations of Montreal and Los Angeles. Earlier this week, they released an excellent mix (via Fader) of their revisions of recent (and some not so recent) songs by the likes of Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Avicii and Carly Rae Jepsen. They've converted these tracks into woozy, pulsating dog-day summer jams. We got our hands on the original versions of what went into the mix, and are sharing one of the most unlikely remixes: a clattering, pumped-up rerub of Fiona Apple's recent "Every Single Night." The setting has her sounding even more unsettled than usual.

Today's Song: Storm Queen 'Let's Make Mistakes'

Rich Juzwiak · 07/20/12 02:50PM

Once a year, we are blessed with a new track from producer Morgan Geist and subway-singing soul man Damon Scott. In 2010, it was "Look Right Through." 2011 saw "It Goes On." And now, coming at you in 2012 is "Let's Make Mistakes." Storm Queen straddles electronic disco and house, and the tension between the grit in Scott's voice and Geist's ultra sleek production is never less than gripping. I particularly love how the multi-tracking lifts the already very sticky chorus.

Today's Song: Talking Heads 'Once In A Lifetime (The Reflex Near Re-Vision)'

Rich Juzwiak · 07/12/12 04:00PM

Here's an almost-re-edit of Talking Heads' 1981 classic from London's The Reflex. "Almost" because, as explained on the track's SoundCloud page, "I added claps and a couple of sound fx but everything else comes from the stems, all carefully chopped up and replayed." Basically, if you've been wanting a slightly more dance-oriented version of this song for the past 31 years (or however long), today is your lucky day.

Today's Song: Nelly Furtado 'Spirit Indestructible'

Rich Juzwiak · 07/05/12 04:08PM

Here's Nelly Furtado's second attempt to launch her The Spirit Indestructible album (due in September) following the flop of its first single, "Big Hoops (The Bigger the Better)." You don't win friends with freestyle and her voice sounds accordingly unwieldy and shrill. That said, nothing says freestyle quite like balmy summer days, and for that reason alone, this one is doing it for me.

Today's Songs: Some Potential Songs of Summer from the Past Two Days

Rich Juzwiak · 07/03/12 03:15PM

Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" is the actual song of the summer, but Pink's just-released "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" is bound to be nipping at its heels on the Billboard Hot 100 in no time. What sounds like the product of tossing Modest Mouse's "Float On" in a blender with some stadium rock and a pinch of house, this is the most undeniable ear candy I've heard from Pink since her debut single, "There You Go" (back when she was R&B and of ambiguous ethnicity). The yelping she does at the end of the chorus ("I've had a shit day, you had a shit day, we've had a shit day") is the best, riskiest use of her pipes yet. Pink often irritates me for carrying herself like she's above her pop peers, but here she actually is, so hooray for her.

Today's Song: Azealia Banks featuring Styles P 'Nathan'

Rich Juzwiak · 07/02/12 01:55PM

Between the steely beat, the timbre of her voice and her flow, Ms. Banks is serving "Is That Your Chick?"-era Missy Elliott on "Nathan," a song from her Fantasea mixtape, due out next week. It's just as well: if Missy's not going to release robotic, just-leftfield-enough hip-hop, I'm glad that someone's doing it. Aided by producers Drums of Death, Azealia continues to impress and Style P's verse is fantastic, too. Dig his Batman words.

Today's Song: Strip Steve 'Astral Projection (KiNK Vocal Remix)'

Rich Juzwiak · 06/26/12 03:40PM

Out of all the things I love about this remix from Bulgarian producer KiNK - the hint of foreboding, the contrast between the Glass Candy-esque low-fi vocal and the crisp track, the throbbing - I love its space the most. It sounds like it's cycling through a small start up and shutdown on every quarter note.

Today's Song: Michael Jackson 'Rock With You (Frankie's Favorite Club Mix)'

Rich Juzwiak · 06/25/12 04:05PM

Michael Jackson died three years ago today, so here's my favorite remix of my favorite of his songs, done in the mid-90's by none other than the godfather of house, Frankie Knuckles. I love how Frankie keeps all of the elements in that matter (the strings, the horns, the bubble-keyboards) and emphasizes some to make them matter more — I never realized how gorgeous this vocal performance was until I heard the stripped-down intro.

Why Does deadmau5 Request a 5-Foot Tall Inflatable Animal in His Rider?

Rich Juzwiak · 06/22/12 03:40PM

The great American pastime of reading musicians' touring demands now encompasses the current crop of electronic producer/DJs under the stylistic umbrella of "EDM." The blog EDMsnob has leaked a host of riders from the likes of David Guetta, Afrojack, Paul Van Dyk, DJ Pauly D and current Rolling Stone cover mask-wearer deadmau5. Some of these are years old, and most of them are not unreasonable at all, but there are amusing tidbits to be gleaned. Here are a few:

Today's Song: Niki & the Dove 'Last Night'

Rich Juzwiak · 06/13/12 01:00PM

This week, the debut album from Swedish weirdos (Sweirdos?) Niki & the Dove, Instinct, was released digitally in the United States. Swirling in influences that seem to range from the Knife to superstitions to a pile of twigs, Instinct is a creepy, pulsating electronic beast that manages ultimately to sound just left of standard pop. Confounding, fantastical lyrics abound, but my favorite moments come in the more straightforward offerings whose subtle weirdness manages to creep under skin with a stealth tenacity.