Archived entries for

you, you’re awesome

you, you're awesome

Yeah, you’re awesome, but I wasn’t talking about you.  Why do you think people are always talking about you?

Cincinnati-based band You, You’re Awesome takes their ridiculous band name one step further to bring us equally silly song titles.  But I have a sense of humor, a weird one at that, so not only do I appreciate this band, I appreciate each song, like “Oh, Hi,” ”Guess What? Shun!” and “Yipee Ki Yay, Mister Falcon.”

The electronic duo is comprised of Yusef Quotah (noise, synths, Atari, Nintendo, etc.) and Kevin Bayer (drums).  From an article / interview with Pop Dose here, YYA explain the concept of their two-man act, heavily influenced by video games, electronics, drums, visual elements added to their sets and, of course, absurd song titles, inspired by their funny and random encounters.  Here’s an excerpt:

Of the original concept for the group, Yusef says he “wanted to be in a band where I didn’t have to lug around amps. I wanted to put everything in a suitcase and get on a plane and just go somewhere and be ready.” But with the addition of live drums and video, “Obviously we can’t do that. We completely fucked that up.”

After three EPs, the most recent of which is You’re Getting Old, released on January 12th, the band is gearing up for their first full-length.  Meanwhile, here is one of my favorite tracks from the most recent EP:

You, You’re Awesome – Oh, Hi

New UK Artist: Electronic Pianist Donald Yule

donald yule

I rarely play classical music – it’s just never a conscious selection.  Fast songs tend to dominate my playlist. I even take naps to techno music (not kidding).  But there is something to be said about slowing down and listening to lighter, softer music. Recently, this is what caught my attention: Donald Yule.

Donald Yule is a pianist from East London who also just happens to dabble in electro/techno – perhaps why I love it?  Yule has been playing for 7 years – which when you think about it, it’s kind of rare for someone to start at age 19, as Yule is now 25.  Nevertheless, he seems to have mastered something special.

Yule’s pieces (you can only find two on his MySpace page currently) make me think of  Air’s work on The Virgin Suicides and In Rainbows’ B-Sides. The few songs I have heard from him are breathtaking. He is  currently working on an EP so stay tuned for more to come, which will be released by his brother’s label, Domestic.

Domestic has an artist collaboration EP out now called The Planets. “Venus” is the only piece that’s purely acoustic, and like all the others on the album, is a musical interpretation of what the chosen planet means to the artist (really?! – awesome).

The solo piano track is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon.

Donald Yule – Venus

Phantogram on Amplified


Another one of the bands that performed at the forthebeat CMJ showcase is up on ABC News Amplified this week.  We teamed up with Dan Harris and his team to bring you We Have Band, Phantogram, Sleigh Bells, X-Wife and Electric Tickle Machine at Public Assembly during the NYC music marathon back in October.  Check out the video interview with Phantogram below, featuring footage from our show.

Phantogram is Saratoga Springs duo Sarah Barthel (vocals, keyboard) and Josh Carter (vocals, guitar).  Their self-titled EP was released last Spring, the band signed with Barsuk Records just prior to CMJ and their first full-length Eyelid Movies was released to critical acclaim this month.

forthebeat covered Phantogram’s September ’09 show at Glasslands for ABC News here.  Read, listen and watch!

Phantogram – Mouthful of Diamonds

New Artist: Red Pens

red pens

With the exception of shiny things on the sidewalk, small animals or $5 foot longs, nothing grabs my attention like a killer boy-girl duo. It’s no surprise then that I’m completely captivated by Minneapolis’ Red Pens, a band that rocks so hard I’d never believe it was just two humans if I hadn’t stood slack-jawed watching them live a few months ago and texting everyone in my phone “GO d0wnload ReD pensss noww.”

Red Pens is Howard W. Hamilton III (that’s some government name, son) on guitar and Laura Bennett on drums (ladydrummer=10 million points) and is everything that rock should be: big drums, big sound and big ideas delivered with passion, class and style.

Their lo-fi sound is built for making out in the back of your 1986 Chevy Celebrity, or a night of cheap beers in a bar your mother would never step foot in. See for yourself at Pianos on February 26. If you don’t love them, or at least come away with a serious and confusing girlcrush on Laura, I’ll personally pay you back for your admission.** Start with the catchy and thoughtful “Weekdays”:

Red Pens – Weekdays

**No, I won’t.

gorillaz make you feel good again

Alex Metric

Fridayyyy.  And this song is going to get you fully prepped for the weekend.

Like ‘em or love ‘em, the world’s most successful virtual band Gorillaz are back with their third studio album Plastic Beach, out starting March 3 in Japan and finally March 10 in the U.S.  Already, remixes of the new tracks are popping up all over, but Alex Metric‘s remix of “Stylo” turns the song upside down, inside out, and gets it dance floor ready.

The initial build up signifies something big is coming.  And just before the main vocals start, when the giant beats are juxtaposed with those rich, unhurried and familiar Gorillaz vocals, I want to jump out of my seat.

Gorillaz – Stylo (Alex Metric Remix)

New Artist: sayCet


I can’t stop listening to this song.

“Opal” by sayCet is just beautiful. The original is wonderful, but dare I say, I like the remix by Error Love – Opalovsky – even more. The original is dreamy electronic pop at its best, but the remix really gets me with the looping of the gorgeous vocals of Phoene Somsavath.

sayCet is the project of Pierre Lefeuvre, a french music composer. It should also be noted that alongside his original work are some amazing remixes which include: Radiohead’s “Nude,” Air’s “Sing Sang Sung,” Bloc Party’s “Signs,” and Phoenix’s “1901.” The remixes are intricate and beautiful extensions of the originals, and his background speaks to this immensely.

Beyond the electronic beats and compositions Pierre creates for sayCet hails vocalist Phoene Somsavath. Her voice is beautifully haunting and a perfect compliment to the experimental “ambient Chinese pop” – as deemed by the band.

Although sayCet is pretty new (just over 1 year collaboration), they are already set to release their second album next month. Titled Through the Window, look out for this on March 22nd…should be amazing.

sayCet – Opal (Error Love-Opalowsky Remix)

Stricken City

Stricken City

Stricken City is ostensibly a new band from London, who just released their first record, Songs About People I Know, this week on The Kora Records in the US.  They are definitely from London.  And their record label and release date are accurate.  So what about them is so ostensible?

Just that singer/keyboardist Rebekah Rah’s outsized persona so annihilates the nervy, punk-ish groove that the rest of the band lays down, that they almost seem like a backing band.  In fact, Rah and guitarist/co-songwriter Ian Pettifer are the only original members of the band, going through eight (!!!) bassists and drummers since their formation four years ago.  That’s two of each, per year, for you philosophy majors.

With such a talented and dynamic force out front, I am not complaining that this band is not a pure cooperative.  Listening to Songs, I immediately think of other eccentric spotlight-hogging female lead vocalists: Bjork whilst a Sugarcube, Debbie Harry of Blondie, and Karen O among her fellow Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  If anything, Rah sounds more confident in her twee lyrical sketches and melodic, but still all-over-the-place, vocal melodies on her first record than some of those ladies did on their debuts.

What I am complaining about is that their only US date is at South by Southwest this April, which is quickly followed by a show in Paris, meaning they’re not sticking around.  Wheesh.   I’ll be first in line to see them this summer when they (better!) come stateside again.  Well, maybe not first, but I’ll be at the show.

Stricken City – Small Things

A 7 Year Old’s Bday Party Never Looked So Good

ed banger

Ed Banger Records turned 7 last week, and on February 12th, they threw a motherf***er of all bashes. Some of the label’s best were there to celebrate including headliner Justice and supporters Busy P, Breakbot, DJ Mehdi and more. The show was at Terminal 5 and it was superbe/fantastique/magnifique! Balloons, confetti, a giant cake and France’s finest rocked out from 9 PM to nearly 3 AM. There were so many amazing highlights and favorites, I can’t list them all, but here are two: Justice remixed Lenny Kravitz’s “It Ain’t Over til its Over” and forthebeat met Breakbot and told him that we heart him and well, he is tres awesome.

Neon face paint was in. Pre-pubescence was in. And beating up the beat was – yes, in. They are throwing round II in London on March 5th – sans Justice but with Breakbot, Busy P, Fake Blood, Sebastian and Riton.

If you haven’t heard it yet, Breakbot’s Baby I’m Yours EP came out on Valentine’s Day, but I’ve decided to post a recent remix Breakbot did of a new Air track:

Air – So Light Is Her Football (Breakbot Remix)

fluent in: body language

body language

Are you a young, attractive professional of average intelligence who likes to have fun?

If you answered yes to the above, then I’m 94% confident that you’ll like Body Language.

If you answered no to the above, then you probably kill kittens for fun and this blog is no place for you.

Brooklyn-based Body Language, who served as production collaborators with Passion Pit on Manners, have just released a five-track EP called Speaks.

With roots in dance parties and remixes, the group’s beat driven dance tracks are hot and fresh like a $5 Subway foot-long right out of the toaster oven (if you opt for that–it’s free so you might as well) with banging beats, graceful vocals and lyrics that ooze with charm and humor.

Case in point: “Huffy Ten Speed,” a cheerful, upbeat track that promises to be a favorite for summer parties at forthebeat HQs (SL’s apartment), and reminds me of the dude who stole my bike in grade school, and then maybe grew up to be kind of cute (I’m still gonna punch you in the face, Aaron).

Exhibit B: slow it down with “Sandwiches,” where Angelica Bess somehow makes everyone’s favorite lunch item sexy, hilarious and amazing.

Body Language – Huffy Ten Speed

Body Language – Sandwiches

the modern drift is all i have


After 10 years and two studio albums, Efterklang is going to have a big year in 2010 with the debut of their full-length Magic Chairs due out on February 23rd.

The Copenhagen-based, experimental pop 4-piece, comprised of core members Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen, Thomas Husmer and Rasmus Stolberg, have been playing together since December 2000.  Live, Efterklang adds three to four members to create a truly orchestral sound, and have even played with The Danish National Chamber Orchestra to recreate their second album Parades, the collaboration dubbed Performing Parades.

On the new record, Efterklang experiments with pop structures and continues to create their signature cinematic sound with catchy hooks, telling fans: We wanted to display every sound source clearly so that the listener can hear every ingredient of the music.

Our friends over at The Photon God sum it up best: Efterklang is probably one of the few bands I can always count on to move me in some way. Their sound is just so surprising and from a storyteller’s perspective, infinitely enviable. I have the capacity for admiration of bands that can tell stories with sounds. Even if there is no defined narrative, emotions are shown and understood in a sequence that has an impact on you.

Efterklang is touring in the U.S. in March with a stop in New York City on March 3rd at Le Poisson Rouge before heading to SXSW.

You can stream three songs from their upcoming album – “Modern Drift,” “Alike” and “Full Moon”on the homepage of their website here.  And you can listen to “Modern Drift” right here on forthebeat…

Efterklang – Modern Drift

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