Blankstairs is a new net-based beat music label out of Portland, OR. And I mean new. Like first-release-coming-soon new. The whole thing is run by a bunch of youngsters not quite old enough to get into any music venue in the city without an all-ages show going on, of which Portland has very few. So, they started throwing their own shows at bike shops and art galleries which they called Beatogether. All of these details so far are pretty similar to that NYC label, Astro Nautico. Two young collectives on opposite sides of the country, essentially pursuing the same thing under similar circumstances? A collaboration was bound to happen. And here it is; a 25-minute deeeep-breathing track from Astro Nautico’s Michael Jukeson, accompanied by gelatinous visuals from members of the Blankstairs label. If the first proper release (like BS001) is anything at all like this, then I imagine we will all be adding this collective to our to-follow list of youngsters making electronic music.
aaronmaxwell’s bidness associate is back in town with another trunk full of over-compressed Black Market beats for sale. Cigars and suntans are FREE.
• TONY FERRARI: http://tonyferrari.bandcamp.com
“Stones in My Heavy Bag”
Before 2012’s Blood Rushing and Perlas, before the beautiful trio of Graphic As A Star, This Coming Gladness, and A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, before even lesser-known albums like Born Heller and SOS JFK came the understated Little Life. Released in 2001 and self-recorded by Josephine Foster during her time as a music teacher, the 11-track album takes inspiration from early American music and channels it into a collection of sweet folk songs dedicated to her young music students.
While much of Little Life features playful nods to Tin Pan Alley rhythms and light-hearted, Ella Jenkins-esque storytelling, “Stones in My Heavy Bag” slows the vocals and rhythm down to a beautiful crawl. Here, Foster, who has consistently displayed a nuanced appreciation of structure and form, dwells on the same chord for the entire song, punctuated by ukulele strums and Foster’s harmonized melody that harkens back to work songs, spirtualized music made here for the classroom. Sure, “Stones in My Heavy Bag” technically moves toward its inevitable conclusion, but it feels circular and ever-lasting.
Little Life is reissued today via Fire Records.
[Photo: M Borthwick]
Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire
Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire caught my attention in 2011 with his Merry eX-Mas & Suck My Dick mixtape, and it was filthy. Not just lyrically, but in sound: it sounded like trash. Oh, but I LUUUV trash. Especially musically. And when it’s tolerable to listen to at length, then serve me up a fresh pile of it: steaming. However, that’s not the case here with Kismet. Almost every track has a different producer, and I actually almost believed Curtis Mayfield produced “Vanilla Rainbows” (but then remembered I’m dumb, and that he died years ago). Yet, the playfulness of Kismet is perfect for that summertime vibe/feel. It’s in the air. We’re all waiting. So let Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire please ya warm desires. Licking lyrics in your ear like a lollipop sweating flavor, Kismet features Goldie Glo, Heron, Gorgeous and Joe Blacks, Danny Brown, Nacho Picasso, Flatbush Zombies, Adrian Marcel, and the “TOASTY” dude from Mortal Kombat II. It’s ill. It spits on every grave. It’s stonewalling you. It’s fiery. It’s Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire’s Kismet. Thanks for slipping me this post just to funk it up, Z.
• Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire: http://www.LifeIsPassion.com
“Listen to Your Heart (feat. Neon Bunny)”
In the Korean pop monoculture, independent anything is rarer than kumiho teeth. So this electro-pop refresher from bedroom producer Smells and bathroom chanteuse Neon Bunny is like a double rainbow. Between the generously French house progression, the arena-compressed percussion on the second verse, the Korg M1 solo, and some anachronistically tasteful sidechaining, “Listen to Your Heart” is 2009 vintage blog-house translated to Hangul. Check it out below (plus the video for Neon Bunny’s most recent solo single, “Oh My Prince”), and show these Seoul upstarts a little love — you know the clubs in Hongdae don’t pay, right?