!Listen to Sidney Gish!

Listen to Sidney Gish! She just released an album called No Dogs Allowed, and I haven’t been this excited about a new find since…also finding Haley Heyndrickx last week. No Dogs Allowed is a funny, upbeat, legitimate masterpiece. You’ll sing “Sin Triangle” around the house and dance to “Sophisticated Space.” You’ll teach a parakeet to talk. And then, once you finish the album, share it with a bunch of friends, and listen once more, you’ll find Ed Buys Houses, and realize, amazingly, that it is on the same level as No Dogs Allowed. You’ll ride on your bike home on an unseasonably warm day, and then share Sidney Gish with as many people as you can. Enjoy!

Sidney Gish is a musician attending Northeastern University in Boston, MA. She released her last two albums during winter breaks.

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Destroyer @ Underground Arts

When Dan Bejar sings ruefully “I’ve seen it all,” you’ll believe him. The slouching pop mastercrafter gave a spellbinding performance to a packed room at Underground Arts last Monday, in support of his eleventh studio record, “ken”. The album draws on more goth and 80s synth-pop influences than his previous, still woven through with his iconically cryptic lyrics.

Simply listening to his recordings, one hears a sardonic quality in Bejar’s delivery. But seeing him live lends the lyrics an almost despairing earnestness. Whether imploring or berating, he punches each syllable of tongue-twisting verse with knit eyebrows and white knuckles. During instrumental interludes, he would kneel down to take a swig of Modelo’s and fitfully comb at his wild, greying mane.

The band opened with a few tracks from the new album, “In the Morning” and “Tinseltown Swimming in Blood”. The 8-piece ensemble conjured a full, slowburn sound remniscent of New Order to back the vocal’s heart wrenching intensity. This touring band has been together since the release of 2011’s Kaputt, the soaring pop album that earned Destroyer a nomination for Canada’s highly competitive Polaris Music Prize. The tempo then picked up with the glitzy track of the same name, the audience beginning to groove along with the band. By the time they launched into the ecstatic instrumental freakout at the end of the sunny and dramatic “Times Square” from 2015’s Poison Season, everyone in the room was enthusiastically bobbing along.

Perhaps the best moment of the night was an inspired rendition of Kaputt’s “Suicide Demo for Kara Walker”, which the trumpet player opened by bending and looping his sounds on an effects board for two or three minutes,  to create a sonic palette straight out of a Michael Bay film. The movement climaxed with a sailing riff on the alto flute and Bejar clapping away at a tambourine. While the emphasis throughout the night was songs from the latest album, several more tracks from Kaputt, Poison Season, and even a few from further back in his massive discography appeared. 

It’s hard not to notice the cloud of cynicism that enshrines Bejar. Throughout the performance, he barely acknowledged the audience, doing away with any chatter between songs. The most he offered was a small, flourishy bow mid-performance, a gesture mimicking the anachronistic elegance that often appears in his music. This cynicism was especially apparent when he waved his hand toward the crowd while singing “why’s everybody sing along when we built this city on ruins?” But he ended the night with the upbeat anthem “Dream Lover”, a song Bejar himself described as “a positive reinforcement song for very negative people.” And, for the first time the whole evening, the misanthropic rocker cracked an almost imperceptible smile.

OSHUN in West Philly

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Photo via Oshuniverse.com

On Saturday the thirteenth of January , Niambi and Thandiwe Sala and producer/DJ, Proda, walked in succession down the back stairs of a West Philly basement, to the front of an eager crowd. like foreign envoys Back in 2015 in an interview with Complex, the two explained that Oshun is the Yoruban deity after whom the project is named. “A West African, traditional deity, she’s a goddess, and she governs over sweet waters.” She’s a mother of love, fertility, wealth and diplomacy”.

Their presence expressed this vividly. From the time they walked towards the stage, until they took photos and thanked their fans after the conclusion, the air was full of love. Afrofuturism stands as the core value and inspiration for the group’s art. In fact, “love for [their] people and for serving and enlightening their people” is what brought the two together, when they first formed Oshun back in the freshman dorms at NYU. On Saturday these philosophies spread through the venue like a spell. In an audience comprised of primarily black/brown persons, the occasion was best described by Oshun themselves; a celebration.

The two wore matching camo jumpsuits, bronze crowns, and bronze tops which swirled over their bodies in winding patterns. Once the “takeoff sound” (a glittery, space-sound like something that would come from The Powerpuff Girls) was played, the beginning of a collective voyage into the “Oshuniverse” began. They began with a few track off of their upcoming series Bittersweet, before moving to songs from AFAHYE and ASASE YAA. With “Parts”, the two wielded a kind of sweet but powerful energy throughout the crowd. From the delicate emotional depths of Sango, to more energetic and beat driven tracks like “Blessings on Blessings”, they proved that every track in the discography is drenched in meaning. Their defiance and strength was expressed through sweetness and love; a testament to the paradoxical spectrum of a narrative which is too often flattened in our society.

With standout tracks like “Not my President”, both showcased their gifts for vocal improve, sounding better, and hitting runs more impressive than those than their recordings. The track included metal-inspired guitar riffs to replace the more jazz-like trumpet solo featured at the end of the original recording. As many genres as Oshun fits together in their music, producer Proda managed spread this idea throughout the set to add more energy to the performance.

Now that Niambi and Thandiwe are graduated from school, they have been able to create their album series Bittersweet, and embark on a two-month tour throughout Canada and the United States. A sort of Neosoul/Hip-Hop infusion, their music draws heavily on reggae, and multiplicitous forms of traditional African/root music. Mixing these sounds with progressive production and otherworldly sound effects/design, the Oshun’s art ends up somewhat like an enormously expensive musical history lesson/divination session. The two frequently express the spiritual nature of their goals and purpose in interviews and press. At their West Philly performance on Saturday they brought a message of peace and healing to a well deserving crowd.

Snails @ The Fillmore

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Canadian native “Snails” will be Performing at The Fillmore Friday night December 15th! You wouldn’t want to miss this if your a huge bass fiend and love grimy trap/dubstep. Philly being one of the stops for his “The Shell Tour” Snails wants to celebrate his success in the release of his new album “The Shell”! About 2 weeks prior to his arrival to our city we got a chance to interview him while he was on the road, just having completed a show in Huston he was more than happy to give us 30 minutes of his time to tell us how he has become what he is today.

WKDU: What was that one track that pretty much blew your name up and paved your way to success?

Snails: Miami 2015 Ultra! Jack U (Skrillex and Diplo duo) played my track I produced with Antiserum called Wild. this track gain recognition and approval from many trap/dubstep fans and led me to working with Skrillex’s Label OWSLA.

WKDU: What are your favorite types of venues to play at?

Snails: playing at clubs is fun because judging by the how the crowd vibes I am more flexible to change my style of play and music selection and experimenting with new things on the fly. On tour and at huge venues like the Fillmore I pretty much have a set plan of what I want to play because for big shows like this I want my fans to experience a story that goes with my music. The sound system, the shell stage, and the visuals is what gives my fans the ultimate experience of my new album.

WKDU: We can see that you really love and have an immense amount of respect for your fans, where does that come from? I know this pretty unusual for a lot of DJs because everyone just wants to do their gig and move on to the next city.

Snails: If it wasn’t for my fans I wouldn’t be where I am at today! On my new album there is actually a track I dedicated to my fans called “The Anthem”,  my biggest fans call themselves “The Vomit Squad”! Before my sets I try to walk through the crowd to take photos and just give back with my presents and just say hi on a personal level.

WKDU: What are some pre show rituals?

Snails: I drink tea, and try to watch the crowd during my openers to calm my nerves. even though Iv performed so much and in front of so many people in the past years every show I still get butterflies in my stomach.

WKDU: Tells us about the come up and development of your new album.

Snails: It took about 9 months to finally have it done. with my work I don’t like to rush I like to do every track with no deadline and carefree. this was a very fun project because I worked with tons of different artists ranging from many different genres like rap, metal, reggae, and other dubstep/trap guys who help contribute. I myself have a metal background so this for me was refreshing.

Keeping it All Natural with Mat.Joe

Before throwing down at Rumor’s All Natural party, we sat down with German dance duo Mat.Joe for a chat about living in Berlin, their hip hop roots, and highlights of a crazy successful 2017. Be sure to check out their #1 Beatport house smash “Love Stream”, if you haven’t already.

WKDU: What were your first favorite hip hop and electronic artists respectively?

Mat: Oh I guess my first Hip Hop favorites were Wu Tang and Dr. Dre…it started with Yo! MTV Raps..oh damnnn, miss those times! Electronic-wise it was Ricardo Villalobos back in the minimal days.

Joe: My first Hip Hop tape was Jeru the Damaja’s “Wrath of the Math”. It blew me away! House-wise, crossover hits from Stardust, Phats & Small, Bob Sinclair, Armand Van Helden, and Daft Punk found their way into my ears when I was a teenager.

WKDU: How did hip hop / skateboarding background lead you to electronic music?

Mat.Joe: We both went to some crazy underground raves back in the days. Guess that the lovely vibes and different energy made it something special. House music is really similar to Hip Hop, Soul and R&B. Skateboarding is a big sub-culture…same with electronic music back in the days….maybe because of this, haha. We still love all those things and ride our boards in the hood as often as possible.

WKDU: What are the differences in your own two personal tastes and styles of music?

Mat.Joe: Haha…this question is in any interview we get. We both have a really similar taste and started with electronic music production in late 2011, right after we froze our Hip Hop project. It’s way more relaxed in the studio and when you play back2back if you share the same taste.

WKDU: Tell us about an ‘only in Berlin’ kind of moment you’ve had since moving there – it seems like you guys like it as a homebase.

Mat.Joe: Oh so many moments…but we guess besides the good food and the lovely cloudy sky (baaahhhh) the parties are crazy wild and they don’t stop! One time at Sisyphos we realized, ‘Oh we’re partying for 3 days already!’…Berlin is Berlin! ❤

WKDU: Closing out the year, what have been some of your most memorable moments from 2017?

Mat: Got a lot of amazing moments with a lot of cool people, great parties in different places around the world plus a successful track in “Love Stream”.

Joe: The festivals were incredible, the Brazil tour, the marathon sets we played at Lost Beach Club and like Mat said, it’s all about the moment and about connecting with the people.

WKDU: What can people expect when they see you DJ live?

Mat.Joe: Some lovely crazy boys with Mat.Joe necklaces and lots of ice cream…haha, but seriously we want to have a good time and enjoy partying with people. So come to the party and don’t be shy. Let’s drink some shots and have some breakfast at the DJ booth. Cheers!

Catch Mat.Joe in a DJ booth near you and stay “crispy” !!

Green Velvet @ Coda 12/08/17

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It was under the name Cajmere that he released catchy tunes you have probably heard. Tracks like “Percolator” and “Brighter Days” featuring the Chicago-native house diva vocalist Dajae really put this guy on the map in the early 90’s.  Although these tracks were both released in 1991 and 1992, almost 3 decades later, these melodies and vocals still hold up in the club.  Already a pioneer and legend of house music, this self made DJ/Producer/Vocalist would create his own label “Cajual” and release tons of great content.

When the 2000’s hit, Cajmere had fully established himself in the house world.  He decided to change direction, put on Steam Punk shades and sport a neon-green mohawk.  With this, his new hyped-up more flamboyant alter ego was born… Green Velvet!  He also created a new Record Label, Relief, with the goal of making fun and care-free dance music.  Popular tracks such as “Bigger Than Prince” and “Laser Beams” speak for themselves. He easily shifted away from producing strictly House to embracing Tech House, Techno, and Deep House. Relief Records is consistently releasing great music and frequently appears on Beatport’s Top 100 list. Among Relief’s most notable artists are Shiba San, Huxley, Eats Everything, and Jay Lumen who produce absolute fire! Green Velvet not only focuses on his own label but he is constantly reaching out to work with other labels such as Toolroom, Snatch!, Ministry of sound, and DIRTY BIRD.  Back in 2015, he collaborated with DIRTY BIRD’s founder Claude Von Stroke to form the duo, “Get Real”, a truly fantastic project!

Philly is in for a real treat when this man comes through Coda this Friday! Green Velvet is set to premiere a new track featuring Gene Farris under Relief Records called “Lol”.  Catching a 3 hour set from this legend is an absolute must for all dance music fanatics of House, Techno, Tech House… pick your poison.

Appian gets Stripped & Chewed

Midwest producer Appian (pronounced App-ee-an) has been honing his ear for dance music since he was a kid, soaking up select cuts from his Mom’s collection. His Mom must have good taste, because Appian’s gone on to create some of the vibiest house music we’ve heard of late, recently joining forces with Chicago-based label Stripped & Chewed for a bumpin’ piano-laced four-track EP entitled Rite of Passage.

We caught up with Appian to talk about the midwest, snackin’, and to grab a sweet guest mix!

Appian: “I grew up in Ferndale, which is a suburb of Detroit, by 8 mile and Livernois. I listened to dance music as a kid because my mom had a bunch of CDs and tapes from DJs. When I got older, I got into Djing and making music.”

“For this mix, I had some slower tracks that I wanted to play. Usually I don’t play that much of the slower tempo stuff that I have, so this was a good opportunity to put some of those tracks together to see where it goes. As far as music influences, I was influenced by Rhythm Is Rhythm, some 80s club music, Aphex Twin’s techno stuff, and a lot of house music… among other things.”

WKDU: How’d the midwest influence your sound and how’d you connect with Stripped & Chewed?

Appian: The mid-west has its own style… I don’t know if I can really describe it though. Stripped & Chewed got in touch with me about doing a record. I’ve liked a lot of stuff that they have done with the label, so it was a great opportunity to collaborate.

WKDU: Any party pro-tips?

Appian: Play the music you love and music for your friends. Play music for the dancers.

WKDU: What’s your favorite post-party snack?

Appian: Chicken strips or coneys.

Peep clips of the Rite of Passage EP below & stay groovy y’all.