Hey, everyone. It's been a year now since writing! To be honest, I've grew tired of deconstructing tracks and albums to the point where the enjoyment had been sucked out of it. Let me tell you, it is more rewarding to experience things without written internet bias. There have been some great releases in the last 12 months, though... I'll let you know about them soon. But right now, I'm here to resurrect this dusty space with a response to an essay written by Portia Seddon - MP3 Blogging and the Urban Soundscape.

Her essay touches on a lot issues regarding the pitfalls, cultural relevance and responsibility of writing a music blog that focuses on rare music from other countries - all contextualized by ongoing ethnographic research about the topic.

What I found most interesting was the outright reflection and primer regarding the modern realities of media and power. In the past, media carried the implication that its consumer was powerless... any form of propaganda is a good example. The proliferation of the internet has acted as a great equalizer, allowing consumers and audiences to be critical and vocal. The measure of power is now reliant on reach and clout. Lil Bub the cat (below, now "the toast of the internet" and showing at the TriBeCa film festival) had the same chance as any other photo or video posted online. With great power comes great responsibility.

However, Seddon's essay isn't about how anyone has the chance to gain statue in our new worldwide community, but more about how 'world' music blogs have taken full hold of this idea, which is where her aforementioned research comes in. This group of people crate dig and search exhaustively for rare (mostly African) recordings to share online for free, and then present them as mostly disconnected from their origins. But is it responsible to do so? It may seem as though the internet has made everything better: books are widely available, anything can be exchanged instantly, new opportunities and connections are inevitable. However, there are some things that just can't be replaced by the internet. For one, ethnographic research. In our increasingly interconnected world, how much can we rely on the internet to gain an true understanding of another place? Seddon presupposes not very much. The essay suggests that these music blogs and digital ethnography dilute and may even disrespect the origins of people and things. Many people believe that it is the responsibility of the blogger to contextualize (to some, synonymous with said respect) its history. And some just want to hear it without knowing any of it. The question is whether or not this behavior has the opposite effect of the intention to expose: by separating it from its source, bloggers may be contributing to its obscurity in world musical history.

Analog Africa.

One of the critics Seddon inserts into her essay is Boima Tucker, who likens this trend of finding African vinyl to the "mad-dash for rare African minerals" in the 19th century. This unsettling proposed metaphor is followed up by his thought, "My biggest criticism is not that they are going to Africa to shed light on these ‘lost’ recordings and forgotten about artists. I’m instead worried that they concentrate too much on those forms of music that fit nicely into the story that they, the DJs, want to tell about the music." This irks and conflicts me more than I care to articulate. In the midst of a cut-and-paste culture made possible by the internet (best example: blogs), it is interesting that Tucker fixates on telling people how they should listen and experience things. It was one of the reasons I stopped writing on this page and have become turned off to music criticism in general. The truth is that music blogs do dilute the potential to have an individualized experience. But there is no problem with being able to listen to and share found music in order to tell one's story. At the end of the day, music blogging is a hobby. Let the people dig! They may find themselves in that crate.

Beyonce's "Countdown" - The Elwins & Luke Lalonde

Check out this awesome video of Toronto staples The Elwins and Born Ruffians' Luke Lalonde cover "Countdown" by the fabulous Beyonce. As a long time fan of The Ruffs, I'd never imagine to see the day when Luke would sing the words flyest, my boo or lip-lockin.

And if you like the clean guitar and musical direction of the track as a whole, look into The Elwins' debut LP And I Thank You, which is out now.

I Need a Trip

Check out Vacationer and their adorable website. Perfect!
A little bit lo-fi, a little bit tropical, and totally dreamy.
Is it summer yet?

Their LP Gone comes out on March 20, 2012.

Listen on Soundcloud.

Rough Trade x Bowery Presents

Rough Trade Records announced that they will be partnering with New York's concert promoting giant Bowery Presents to open a counterpart record store and performance space to their London shops in Willamsburg, Brooklyn this fall.

Few details are available about the project. However, it is known that BP will provide their growing roster to set up intimate, live performances in the store.

Stay tuned. At time when record stores have been closing in droves, it will be interesting to see how this effects locals, local businesses and New York's musicscape as a whole.


I've been really enjoying Howler's debut LP America Give Up this week.
Those who might shy away because of its garage and raw vocal labels will be pleasantly surprised by the fun riffs and mildly-surf aesthetic that cuts through its heavy facade.

Video: The Whitest Boy Alive - "Bad Conscience"

bad conscience from marcin oz on Vimeo.

Here's a preview of a possible cut from the third Whitest Boy Alive album! Erlend's voice is pretty raw, but if this is any indication of whatever else they have cooking, the upcoming LP should be right on par with their other two minimalist greats Dreams and Rules.


AB & The Sea. by helenadagmar on Flickr.

You've gotta hear Bone Dry by California poppers A B & The Sea.
It's the perfect summer song.

Video: Best Coast - "Our Deal"

Drew Barrymore's latest directorial pursuit has come to us in the form of a music video for "Our Deal" by California surf-band Best Coast.

The piece features an impressive cast, including Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development), Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly), Donald Glover, Chloe Mortez, and Tyler Posey.

After being extremely disappointed by Best Coast's live performance last February, this video has served a nice, artistic redemption for the group.


The newest indie mystery is UK group WU LYF (World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation). The elusive band, who not up until recently kept their identities a secret, has been capturing the attention of everyone from Nylon to The Guardian with their unique brand. The sound? An irresistible dream pop/shoegaze backtrack with unexpected, scratching Kings of Leon-inspired vocals from the Aha Shake era.

These guys aren't going to move audio mountains, but their debut Go Tell Fire to the Mountain has certainly taken everyone by storm.


Video: Cults - "Go Outside"

Go Outside, by Cults from Boing Boing on Vimeo.


Manhattan's flavor-of-the-month Cults has just put out a new video for their single Go Outside. An interesting take on the song - I'm sure everyone was expecting something slightly more transparent from this indie-electro duo.

Their s/t is out now, check it out!