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  • Instrument Spotlight

    The following is a fictional personal anecdote about the hydraulophone. The anecdote is designed to incorporate interesting facts about hydraulophones (and bonus facts too!) and leave you with an understanding of an instrument you may have never heard of... Read More
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    use toms. don’t say it art. say it gorge. Read More
  • Mac Miller's GO:OD AM: A Review

    The biggest question for listeners, especially after Faces, was the vibe. What kind of attitude would Mac bring to the project, his first on a major label? Read More
  • Women's Rights by Childbirth: REVIEW

    The first time listening to Women’s Rights by Childbirth was a great moment for me. It takes a while for me to discover the next piece of music I’m going to fall in love with for a couple of months at a time, but when I know, I know. You know? Read More
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Rap Beef is the New WWE Wrestling

Everyone loves a good rap beef now and then. It’s another way to get some drama into your life when the 2016 election season is lacking. I feel like in the past few months I’ve been living in some alternate reality, because the recent drama in the hip-hop community has been surreal to say the very least.
Rap beef in 2016 is much different than the ‘90s or even the ‘00s. While there have been a few high-profile diss tracks recently (Drake’s “Back to Back” is currently up for a Grammy), a lot of the beef ends up being some tweet or video online. It’s like some pro-wrestling feud: Rapper A disses Rapper B on the main stage, we then cut to Rapper B fuming offstage, who will then be on stage later and talk about Rapper A. The parallel between the two world was even acknowledged recently when Flo Rida competed in a rap battle (or at least, tried) on WWE. But this weird clip is only one of the several surreal happenings as of late. Here are some of my personal favorites:

Deerhunter YouTube Rarities

Deerhunter has been making music, in one form or another, for the last 13 years. Accordingly, their ascension to the top of the indie rock sphere encompasess the entirety of the web 2.0 revolution of the '00s, meaning that a lot of strange Deerhunter music and video is out there on the internet, but is woefully buried in broken Blogspots or abandoned Tumblrs.  As the KRLX board's resident Deerhunter expert, I've decided to take this opportunity to share my personal favorite YouTube content of theirs, as there is a wealth of high quality music out there that has flown well under the radar. Here are my eight favorites:

1. "Spring Hall Convert" 1998 Demo - Yes, you read that right: 1998. Bradford Cox was just 16 years old when he laid this demo down on a 4-track in his bedroom, and it would be another nine years before it evolved into its final form as the eighth track of Cryptograms.  "Spring Hall Convert" is my second-favorite Deerhunter song (behind "Earthquake"), so I was beyond excited when I found this video online. It illustrates how Mr. Cox's tape loops and writing chops were already quite mature... a full four years before the official start of the band.

2. "Spring Hall Convert" Platts Eyott Session - While I'm on the topic of "Spring Hall Convert," I might as well share this fantastic acoustic recording that Bradford Cox laid down all by himself in 2008 on Platts Eyott Island, a nature reserve on the Thames. This rarity was only available on cassette tape to those who came to the Microcastle release party, but luckily it's been reposted in full on YouTube! I love the reworked vocals and the loose "Here Come the Warm Jets"-style playing.


9 songs under 99 seconds in under 99 words: excluding titles


by A Noah Harrison

good short songs tell stories.

9 "news from the heavenly loom" - circulatory system

self-conscious transitory elevator music—misty dimensional shift in the blink of an eye


8. “prelude” – the millennium | 1:18

literally hip-hop from 1968, real j-dilla shit


7. “gilchrist ギルクリスト” – FL  XL| 0:36

the call to action, the battle, the moment of truth, ???


6. “down is up” – moondog | 1:08

wandering moondog briefly reverses verticality of universe.


5. “chapter ten” – kendrick | 1:16

syncopation to a fat beat and a turning point




What Would Have Happened if I Had Gone to Shakey Graves


This past Wednesday, I almost went to go see Shakey Graves (my favorite musician) up in Minneapolis. I bought the tickets ($25!!! the most I’ve ever spent on a concert) a month ahead of time, I had at least two people willing to drive me, and I was super excited to see Shakey for a third time. Unfortunately, one of my friends got tonsillitis and the other had too much work, so I ended up having wasted $25 and getting wasted because I was pretty bummed. The lesson was learnt: Never get your hopes up, for you will always be disappointed and have to resort to drinking.  Luckily, as implicitly stated before, I’ve seen him two times, so I will now deduce how this concert would have been like.

We get to the concert venue at 8 o’clock, about half an hour after it actually starts because I’m cool and also I don’t care about opening bands a lot of the time. I have no idea what First Ave looks like so I can only assume it is a huge ballroom with a lot of chrome. There is a slight mist in the air, like an 80s music video. In the distance, we hear music playing. We get closer. It’s pretty good. I think to myself: “maybe I shouldn’t give opening bands such a hard time. These guys are great, and it’s only fair that they get exposure with a more popular artist. They probably work just as hard. And now I have someone else I can obsessively listen to.” I will forget the name of the opening band by the end of the night.

My friend and I stand in the periphery, not too close, nodding our heads and occasionally giving each other glances in which we raise our eyebrows. As time goes on, I look at my watch more and more. These guys are going on for way too long. All their songs sound the same. I just want to see Shakey Graves. Opening bands suck.


Things I Learned from The TOPS Show at the Cave (Interview)

Interview With TOPS



I had a great time at the TOPS show. I think everyone who was there had a great time and I have been doing my best to rub it in for those folks that left early or made no effort to attend. I learned a lot that night through interviewing David Carriere and Jane Penny before, dancing like I was possessed during, and hanging out with the band after the show when they came back to Steak house to crash on our couches. Here is a nearly comprehensive list of what I learned:

²  Jane Penny has a great laugh—it almost verges on villainous, but is overwhelmingly positive and reassuring.

²  Childhood never ends (according to David)

²  The erasure of Silly Kissers’ albums was an unintentional casualty of how the Internet works and not part of some conspiracy.

²  Riley Fleck (Drums) is insanely good at Bananagrams.

²  People in San Francisco love Tupac Sweatshirts.

²  Jane is shy talking about loogies, but not hawking them.

²  When things get rough black pantyhose has a secondary function.

²  Everyone loves music, even sober, uniform-clad, Sprite-drinking, Southern boys.

²  Alana DeVito (Bass) is the most excited about Canada’s new prime minister.

²  Tops’ sound engineer is a master of his craft. He also wears tighty-whities.

²  Your favorite musicians are just people, knowing that can make it more fun to talk to them.

²  Jane is actually Adam Sandler’s Daughter

²  Marianne Faithfull made a cool fantasy album with Angelo Badalamenti in 1995.


These things and more are better contextualized in the embedded interview below.






Hierophants -- Parallax Error


Hierophants is the latest in the trend of lo-fi semi-comedic bands, and they’re pretty great. They’re unique, however, thanks to their more 80s influences and cleverer than usual lyrics (“Every bridge, there’s a troll”). Filled with fuzzy riffs and even fuzzier synth, Parallax Error is a tour de force of short, catchy songs that you’ll be humming the entire day.


RIYL: Chastity Belt, R. Stevie Moore, White Reaper, fuzz

Top Tracks: Stress, Change, 321, White Bread, Nothing Neu



Darkstar -- Foam Island


Pretty mellow, occasionally dancey semi-minimalist electronica. Kinda sounds like it would be in a very hip commercial for something really vague like headphones or a website for cheap airline tickets.


RIYL: Howling, Apple commercials

Top Tracks: Pin Secure, Stoke the Fire, Through The Motions, Go Natural



Chapin Sisters – Today’s Not Yesterday


Today’s Not Yesterday is the third full length by the sister duo Chapin Sisters. Backed up by tight songwriting, and interesting instrumentation featuring the occasional organ, Today’s Not Yesterday is a solid modern folk album. The beautiful vocal harmonies from the two sisters however forms the backbone of the album. The vocals float breezily through most of their tracks on the album, making up for any other blemishes there might be.


RIYL: Over the Rhine, Martha Wainright, Joni Mitchell

Top Tracks: Autumn, Getaway, We Will Not Stop




Ambient and Ambiance: Music to Study to

I find it very hard to read while listening to hip hop. Similarly, it’s hard to listen to some downtempo folk when I’m going on a run. So what are the right types of music to listen to while studying? And more importantly, what about all these other different types of work: writing, reading, math-ing? Well, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite albums to listen to while working. Vibe out below:
Graphic Design: Daft Punk - Alive 2007
I imagine that Daft Punk’s Alive 2006/2007 tour would have been one of the greatest times to be a Daft Punk fan. This was when they were in peak form: they had dozens of recognizable hits, and were fully embracing their maximalist robot lives. Alive 2007 is a recording of their Paris concert, and everyone is turned up and cheering as Daft Punk lays down hit after hit. I can generally tolerate some lyrics when working with the icons and images of Adobe, and while Daft Punk certainly has some words, they usually only serve to accentuate the beat and help you participate by singing along. If you want to design your heart out in the middle of a massive party, I strongly recommend you play this.
Computer Programming: Four Tet - Beautiful Rewind
Similar to other genre-blending electronic musicians, Four Tet isn’t afraid to juxtapose glitches and “electronic” sound with a warm and “live” sound. I find myself wanting to sing along to the vocals in the track, even if they are completely incomprehensible (the song “Buchla” is a perfect example of this. Butler is just a synthesizer company). I come back to Four Tet when I want to similarly juxtapose the digital and real world when computer programming. The common image of someone who is “in the zone” and coding is probably on their third Mountain Dew, in a dark basement. But it’s important to remember that programs are written for everyone, and should be beautiful and accessible. Four Tet is kinda like that too: textured and nuanced, but enjoyable and accessible.
I can’t exactly place why this is the case, but Boards of Canada feels a lot like science and math. This may just be me projecting, but Boards of Canada thinks it too: songs like “Triangles & Rhombuses” and scattered samples of volcanic excursions encourage, or at least don’t reject, the association. Their name even has a naturalist association, stemming from the documentary-producing National Film Board of Canada. The analog sound and hip-hop beats feel somewhat nostalgic, and maybe it helps me approach some chemical reaction with the same childlike sense of wonder I watched Planet Earth with.
Last winter, I was working on a large biology literature review. Every paper I read would lead to a new list of papers to read, and I think the only way I got through it was coffee and The Field. I continued to use The Field as a way to slog through long and dense readings in future classes as well. The Field is simultaneously a minimal head trip and a pump-up soundtrack. This is for making every highlight, underline, and annotation feel important.
In contrast to the work that needs to keep chugging along, writing a paper often requires longer moments of calm and thought before writing more. It’s in these moments that I turn to the non-rhythmic ambient music of Brian Eno, to keep me focused but not feeling behind. Brian Eno’s first album to be explicitly labeled as “ambient” was Ambient 1: Music for Airports, an album that I still make a point of listening to when I go to the airport. Ambient 4: On Land is the final installment of this series, a collage of nature and mechanical sounds that will sustain you in your world for at least the 45 minutes of the album, and you could probably loop this or go into another Ambient album. 


An underground Vancouver label, Mood Hut Records has only just began releasing its sun-soaked and marijuana-addled house grooves on vinyl and electronically.  Until fairly recently, a significant portion of their releases were exclusively available on cassette and recordings were stubbornly hard to find. Thankfully however, Mood Hut has finally decided to join the 21st century and those of us who don’t happen to live in Vancouver can join in on the fun. (A few of their cassette mixes have been released by the label on www.libramix.org, but most of them are still unavailable online)  Like much of the Vancouver electronic scene, Mood Hut releases aim for a certain level of “chill,” their tracks never approaching the energetic heights of more traditional dance-centric house music. Rather than teeth-grinding ecstasy, Mood Hut releases with their typically electric instrumentation and throbbing bass lines conjure up the same kind of hazy summer nostalgia evoked by bands like “Real Estate.”  


Penderstreet SteppersThe Glass City

The Penderstreet Steppers are one of the three main Mood Hut affiliates alongside Cloudface and House of Doors. While there are other artists and side projects whose records are released with varying frequency, these three groups and their side projects form the core of the label. The Glass City, released as the A side on a recent Penderstreet Steppers 12”, is a good example of the modern Mood Hut sound. Unlike early releases which leaned quite a bit on the fuzzy cassette shtick (often to great effect), more recent releases have moved towards a crisper production style that accentuates the variety of textures that often appear on a single track. On this track in particular, I find the juxtaposition of the wooden güiro (that instrument you scratch with a stick, you probably played it in elementary school music class) and soft whooping vocal sample quite enjoyable (the best example is probably around the 3:30 mark). Despite the relatively crisper production style however, there is still a tape haze around most of the track, which alongside the pensive piano samples help to capture that feeling of wistful melancholy.



Jack JSomething (On My Mind)

One half of the PenderStreet Steppers, Jack J is probably the most well-known member of Mood Hut Records after his 12” on the Future Times label was released to widespread critical acclaim. (That release happened to include the track Thirstin’, which is my favorite track by a Mood Hut artist and was my song of the summer this year https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkfvlQ75WUg) To me, it seems a large reason for that success is that Jack J’s records are the most obviously pop-oriented releases on Mood Hut. Unlike some of the other artists on Mood Hut, Jack J totally rejects many of the stylistic tropes that dominate house music and make house music often less approachable. Something (On My Mind) for example relies heavily on instrumental samples that sound like they could have come from a funk or soul album, eschewing the synth heavy style that is often found on other house tracks for a more organic and inviting sound. These instrumental samples are complimented by the same crisper production style found on other  



Aquarian FoundationVhembe

Aquarian Foundation consists of House of Doors, Hashaman DeeJay (a frequent Mood Hut collaborator whose Boiler Room set with the Penderstreet Steppers is one of the best I’ve seen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sddQi6opHwY ) An older track from Mood Hut, Vhembe clearly demonstrates the influence of cassettes on early releases by the label. Dripping with static, Vhembe is much more indebted to the traditions of outsider house than the pop sound embraced by the Penderstreet Steppers and Jack J. Both however share an affinity for a broad variety of traditional instrumentation, with bells, handclaps, and a broad variety of drums all making an appearance at some point. In Vhembe however, these come alongside the same kind of looping synth samples that has been traditionally found in house music, making it pehaps a less engaging listen for those not already engrossed with house music. The synth samples here are incredibly engaging though, thanks to both their analog qualities which lends them a certain sense of immediacy, as well as their impressive ingenuity.      



Cloudface – Otcho

Cloudface is one of the three main Mood Hut affiliates and the Devonian Garden EP that this track is from was the first official release from Mood Hut. Like Vhembe, Otcho is another Mood Hut track that clearly showcases the influence of cassettes in its sound. Unlike later releases which would skew towards a more distinctly pop and dance template, Otcho and the rest of the Devonian Garden EP is more heavily influenced by ambient electronic music, making it a for more relaxing listen. Judging by the few early cassette releases that I’ve heard, this kind of ambient experimentation was at one point much more prevalent within the Mood Hut crew.       








Women's Rights by Childbirth: REVIEW

The first time listening to Women’s Rights by Childbirth was a great moment for me.  It takes a while for me to discover the next piece of music I’m going to fall in love with for a couple of months at a time, but when I know, I know. You know?

A pre-existing love for Chastity Belt—the lead singer’s Julia Shapiro’s other musical outlet—paved the way for my admiration.  But the lyrical content of Chastity Belt—humorous, smart, but generally scattered—is nothing in comparison with what Shapiro fleshes out through the course of her new band’s album.