Jun 2 2014

SXSW 2014 – Day 2 (Feat. Zella Day, The Strypes, Banks, London Grammar, Sohn & Cashmere Cat)

SXSW Bike cougarmicrobes.com  1024x768 SXSW 2014   Day 2 (Feat. Zella Day, The Strypes, Banks, London Grammar, Sohn & Cashmere Cat)

Cougar Microbes headed to Austin, TX to experience SXSW 2014 in all it’s glory. Over the course of 4 days we witnessed some phenomenal performances in venues all around town covering every genre and sub-genre imaginable. As we had anticipated in our festival preview piece some of the biggest highlights came from those artists we weren’t expecting.

This is how it went…

SXSW Zella Day cougarmicrobes.com  SXSW 2014   Day 2 (Feat. Zella Day, The Strypes, Banks, London Grammar, Sohn & Cashmere Cat)

Zella Day – B3SCI Presents: SXSW Day Party w/ Wind-Up Records, My Old Kentucky Blog and Unrecorded @ La Barbecue

We began our adventure by necking a couple of crazy Bloody Marys that was garnished with bacon and queso because that’s what needed to be done. Satisfied that our thirst had been quenched we headed over to watch Zella Day perform at Le Barbecue‘s outdoor stage. Undoubtedly a star in the making Zella‘s raspy vocals were an absolute pleasure to witness on this sunny afternoon and the amassed crowd show their appreciation at every chance. Her cover of “Seven Nation Army” was especially well received turning a well known rock anthem into a sultry folksy affair that was running through our heads for the rest of the day.

SXSW The Strypes Cougarmicrobes.com  1024x682 SXSW 2014   Day 2 (Feat. Zella Day, The Strypes, Banks, London Grammar, Sohn & Cashmere Cat)

The Strypes – 1100 Warehouse Presented by: Live from LN Labs/mophie

A short walk over to the plus 1100 Warehouse saw us amongst the first in line to catch The Strypes. It is literally jaw dropping to think that these 4 kids from Cavan, Ireland are all between 16-18 years of age because their musicianship and stage craft puts many more established acts to shame. Playing their 60′s inspired high octane blues rock saw sparks fly every time they kickstarted one of their anthems. Frontman Ross Farrelly could be forgiven for wearing his shades throughout because his vocal delivery was always powerful and rough around the edges in just the right way. However, the real star for me is guitarist Josh McClorey who seemed like a man/boy possessed playing riffs after riff and solo after solos like he was born on a stage. He ended the show with a solo up above his head before throwing his guitar as high as it would go. Rock N Roll is not dead, long live The Strypes.

Banks SXSW  SXSW 2014   Day 2 (Feat. Zella Day, The Strypes, Banks, London Grammar, Sohn & Cashmere Cat)

Banks – Hype Hotel Presented by: Gorilla vs Bear + Yours Truly

Next up we rushed to see Banks at Hype Hotel. The electro pop starlet has built a decent following with a series of well received tracks but it is live that her songs seem to really flourish. She switched between jazz infused sounds to strong bass line one minute and immersive beats the next. Her cover of Aaliyah’s “Are You Somebody” was a particular stellar moment with her hushed vocals and quasi-screams seeming positively authentic.

London Grammar SXSW SXSW 2014   Day 2 (Feat. Zella Day, The Strypes, Banks, London Grammar, Sohn & Cashmere Cat)

London Grammar – Hype Hotel Presented by: Gorilla vs Bear + Yours Truly @ Hype Hotel

We did not have to go far to see British trip-hop stars in the making London Grammar doing their thing. Frontwoman Hannah Reid was striking on stage giving off a cool aura and the interaction and subtle eye contact between the members on stage was worth watching alone. As this stand their sparse melodics where exactly what the doctor ordered and this was as intimate as a big show can get.

Sohn SXSW SXSW 2014   Day 2 (Feat. Zella Day, The Strypes, Banks, London Grammar, Sohn & Cashmere Cat)

Sohn -4AD Presented by Howl @ Cheer Up Charlie’s

Watch out James Blake, Sohn is after your crown and on the basis of this performance he’s not too far behind the Mercury Prize winner. His R&B vocals delivered over a progressive electro backbeat easily won over anyone with working ears in the audience. Sohn is someone we will be watching closely in the coming year and if his remix work for the likes of Rhye, Disclosure and Lana Del Rey is anything to go by it will not be long until he picks up an award or two for himself.

Cashmere Cat SXSW SXSW 2014   Day 2 (Feat. Zella Day, The Strypes, Banks, London Grammar, Sohn & Cashmere Cat)

Cashmere Cat – Empire Control Room Presented by: Mad Decent

Underground warehouse vibes seemed to be the word of the day for this ridiculous performance by Norwegian super DJ Cashmere Cat who manages to get every single body at the Mad Decent party moving. Crowd favorites like “Do You Like Drugs” mixes seamlessly with “Party Girls, his collaboration with Ludacris and Wiz Khalifa, but our personal highlight had to be a sick remix of Disclosure’s “Latch” that we had never heard before and could hardly imagine.

doublecougar SXSW 2014   Day 2 (Feat. Zella Day, The Strypes, Banks, London Grammar, Sohn & Cashmere Cat)


Jun 1 2014

SXSW 2014 – Day 1 (Feat. Misun, Tokyo Police Club, Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar & Ryan Hemsworth)

SXSW DJ Cougarmicrobes.com  1024x819 SXSW 2014   Day 1 (Feat. Misun, Tokyo Police Club, Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar & Ryan Hemsworth)

Cougar Microbes headed to Austin, TX to experience SXSW 2014 in all it’s glory. Over the course of 4 days we witnessed some phenomenal performances in venues all around town covering every genre and sub-genre imaginable. As we had anticipated in our festival preview piece some of the biggest highlights came from those artists we weren’t expecting.

This is how it went…

Misun SXSW SXSW 2014   Day 1 (Feat. Misun, Tokyo Police Club, Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar & Ryan Hemsworth)

Misun -B3SCI Presents: SXSW Day Party @ Red Eyed Fly

After unofficially kicking off our festival experience the previous night with a mariachi band playing Beatles covers we were well and truly ready to start SXSW 2014 and what better way to do so than Misun‘s blend of sleepy electronica and chilled R&B. The trio hailing from LA by way of DC definitely got heads nodding and in front woman Misun Wojcik they possess an authentic star in the making.

SXSW 2014 B3SCI Presents Tokyo Police Club SXSW 2014   Day 1 (Feat. Misun, Tokyo Police Club, Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar & Ryan Hemsworth)

Tokyo Police Club – B3SCI Presents: SXSW Day Party @ Red Eyed Fly

After an effective hunt for food we returned to the Red Eyed Fly to catch Tokyo Police Club. With the sun shining bright the Canadian outfit’s alternative pop anthems rose above creating a feel good vibe that transferred to a receptive audience who crowded around the stage. Peppering their set with songs from their most recent release ‘Forcefield‘ you would be hard pressed to find a more contagious band to dance along to.

SXSW Schoolboy Q cougarmicrobes.com  1024x672 SXSW 2014   Day 1 (Feat. Misun, Tokyo Police Club, Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar & Ryan Hemsworth)

Schoolboy Q – ACL Live at the Moody Theatre

A swift bike ride over to The Moody Theatre meant we arrived just in time to catch two of the acts we were most anticipating back to back. First up was Schoolboy Q who warranted a bizarre guerilla marketing campaign by Top Dawg Entertainment outside the venue involving scantily clad women in balaclavas handing out masks.

Once inside we were a little disappointed to have been assigned tickets in the seated area but this subsided very quickly as the Los Angeles native hit the stage like a man possessed. Almost immediately the venue began smelling like an Amsterdam coffee shop and the audience reacted to every word Q spat from the stage. Largely playing material from his recently released ‘Oxymoron” album the rapper lending authenticity to the rappers prickly persona. A particularly angry rendition of “Gangsta” was stellar all but this didn’t deter him from scolding the audience if he felt they weren’t responding to his liking. While stomping off stage his exclamation that he was off “to see Kanye and Jay-Z perform” could have been interpreted as a slight to label mate Kendrick Lamar but after such a superb set we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

SXSW Kendrick Lamar Cougarmicrobes.com  1024x765 SXSW 2014   Day 1 (Feat. Misun, Tokyo Police Club, Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar & Ryan Hemsworth)

Kendrick Lamar – ACL Live at the Moody Theatre

So far the day had been a steady crescendo of one amazing performance after the next, but to catch Kendrick Lamar in the flesh was one of our most anticipated moments. ‘Good Kid, M.a.a.D City‘ is one of those albums that grows better with each listen and deserves a spot in this decades best releases.

The Compton MC hit the stage in fairly unassuming fashion sporting a grey camouflaged jacket and beanie hat but there was no doubting of his superstar status. With the audience in a near frenzy screaming every word back he easily settled into his comfort zone playing each track expertly while leading his fans in a succession of highlights. Tracks like “The Art Of Peer Pressure” and “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” came through in particular bombastic fashion demonstrating a great dynamic between the rapper and his crowd. Never looking out of place on the huge stage regardless of whether he rapping acapella or leading his fansinto yet another epic singalong. With his music soaked in our collective minds there were gonna be very few acts throughout this week who could reach the level of this amazing performance.

SXSW Ryan Hemsworth Cougarmicrobes.com .JPG 1024x682 SXSW 2014   Day 1 (Feat. Misun, Tokyo Police Club, Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar & Ryan Hemsworth)

Ryan Hemsworth – Lustre Pearl Presented By Soundcloud

We end a glorious first day of SXSW Music with up and coming Canadian DJ Ryan Hemsworth offering his excellent hybrid hip hop, R&B and dance sound. Mixing familiar hits with little known tracks in seamless fashion allowed him to get the crowd on his side from the get go and he didn’t lose them until the end. Despite his young age Ryan is almost a SXSW veteran by now and it shows with a confident performance soaked with an endless succession of potential earworms.

doublecougar SXSW 2014   Day 1 (Feat. Misun, Tokyo Police Club, Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar & Ryan Hemsworth)


May 18 2014

Lana Del Rey to release “Ultraviolence” next month

I thought I would be scarred for life after watching the now infamous 2012 SNL incident which left me (and millions) thinking whether Lana Del Rey was in actual fact a fraud. It’s time for me to admit that I’ve secretly appreciated her (recorded) music for a while. I’ve decided to do my “coming out” with this song ­ “West Coast“, the first single from her upcoming album ‘Ultraviolence ‘ (produced by The Black Keys‘ frontman Dan Auerbach).

The song has been out for a while now but the video has just been released and I’m in love with both. She performed the song for the first time at Coachella and I don’t think she could have found a more perfect place to debut her ode to the West Coast. I also need to add that the woman CAN actually sing live.

The lyrics are quite simple ( Let’s face it she’s no Bob Dylan) but it’s that simplicity underneath the apparent fakery that I like about her. All the elements are there to make ‘West Coast‘ a new weapon in her repertoire:: black/white imagery, home video bits, hollywood glamour, romantic lyrics, and of course, a bad boy.

I find this song hauntingly beautiful. It oozes vintage vibes and dark hypnotic sounds, and might actually be my favourite Lana Del Rey song to date. I remember her saying that she would end her career after her first album…. so I’m glad she pulled a Jay-Z on this one.

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Post by Olivia

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TRACKS:

doublecougar Lana Del Rey to release Ultraviolence next month


May 15 2014

Kissy Sell Out drops The Promise EP

SCH023ThePromiseArtwork 1024x1024 Kissy Sell Out drops The Promise EP

We love the occasional rave-up here at CM Towers, especially when it’s in the form of nostalgic housey-garage reminiscent of the short-lived yet much loved glory days before the scene all got a little bit serious – too popular, too naughty… and kind of imploded a bit.

Step forward world-conquering DJ /producer Kissy Sell Out, with his new bangin’ EP ‘The Promise’ – which manages to draw on the unique ‘old skool’ atmosphere and vibe of the 90s and early 00s house and garage scene, whilst imbuing his own considerable talent and personality in to the tracks with a meticulous playfulness that absolutely works. – Kind of what you would expect from a producer who also blogs about astrophysics…

Lead track ‘The Promise’ from ‘The Promise EP’ features a familiar sounding female vocal, not completely dissimilar to ‘Show Me Love’ by Robin S, ramped up with solid chunky house beats, claps, samples, loops and a bassline that follows the melody like a pilled-up loved-up puppy.

Ave’ it!

Also check the sampler mini-mix of the 4 track EP here (out 19th May):

doublecougar Kissy Sell Out drops The Promise EP


Apr 22 2014

Y Not Festival preview

dave portass y not sign 1024x683 Y Not Festival preview

Picking off the mud from last summers wellies, Cougar Microbes and are getting set yet again for Y Not festival. Set in the picturesque Peak District, the award-winning festival boasts a line-up as expansive as its surroundings.

We can’t wait to catch bursts of new talent like Nordic Giants’ thunderous soundscapes on display alongside the established acts. White Lies promise to bring their grandiose anthems to Derbyshire whilst wellies will certainly be re-muddied whilst going bonkers to Dizzee.

Check out the full line-up for yourself here Hope to see all your fancy-dressed, welly-wearing, smiling faces there.

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Post by Sam

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doublecougar Y Not Festival preview


Apr 15 2014

Frankie Knuckles RIP: A Revolution That Forgot Its Revolutionaries

AfterParadise Frankie Knuckles RIP: A Revolution That Forgot Its Revolutionaries

Frankie Knuckles passed away earlier this month (RIP). Sadly I don’t think I ever caught him live, but I was well aware of his legacy and impact. I enjoyed reading all of the tributes written about him – many from fans and fellow DJs whose lives he changed forever. Even major news outlets like USA Today and The Economist showed their respects to the house music icon, which was genuinely surprising to me. Never before had the history of house been discussed like this in mass media. Chances are it won’t happen again.

The dance music world may have paused momentarily to honor Frankie, but soon the knowledge and appreciation of house’s storied roots will continue to erode at its usual brisk pace due to fading memories, generational turnover, and mortality.

Unlike hip hop, dance music doesn’t have built in acknowledgement. Through name dropping, resurrected rhyme schemes, sampling, and even recycled fashion and iconography, even a casual rap fan will eventually discover the likes of Run DMC, the Sugar Hill Gang and Kurtis Blow. Thanks to rock n roll’s integral role in American culture, any modern rock fan could converse at length about the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix or Bob Dylan.

House music is different. Its story remains largely untold.

While Frankie Knuckles rightfully earned legendary status, many of his deserving peers did not. Ron Hardy, Arthur Russell and Walter Gibbons all died young and have already faded into obscurity, their life’s work completely unknown to the hundreds of millions who currently dance to music they helped create. Others are still alive, but have been relegated to obscurity regardless. Jesse Saunders and Farley Keith will not be having CNN – or even a Grantland – tribute articles written about them.

I remember watching a documentary on house music and learning that a teenaged Paul Oakenfold used to frequent the Paradise Garage and danced to sets by Larry Levan. If it wasn’t for that rare interview, I would have had no idea about the connection between European rave culture and the OG American disco clubs. I was a fan of both artists and a huge music nerd, but even that fact was unknown to me until recently. These days, does your average Ultra or EDC attendee even know who Oakenfold is? Would they even care to learn?

Maybe by its own design, house isn’t meant to be documented or remembered. Cross generational continuity is difficult to maintain in a youth driven dance movement. It didn’t help that many of those early DJs and dancers lived on the fringes of society: black, Latin, gay, and inner city. Seldom do these groups get to write history, and furthermore countless were lost to the AIDS epidemic and drug addiction back in the 80s.

Also, they often say that people dance to forget. As is the case today, to say that those early days of house music were hedonistic (and thus hazy) would be an understatement. That doesn’t mean that the magic that a great house DJ creates on the dance floor is any less real, but just like magic, those moments are fleeting and ethereal. House music blew up and overtook the world, but left precious little standing in its wake.

It’s a revolution that forgot its revolutionists.

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Post by Roger Jao

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TRACKS:

doublecougar Frankie Knuckles RIP: A Revolution That Forgot Its Revolutionaries


Apr 9 2014

Brooklyn’s Inky Jack drop “Freedom” single

inkyjackfreedom Brooklyns Inky Jack drop Freedom single

The Brooklyn beat madhouse that is Inky Jack just dropped a new track, “Freedom“.

This is the first taste from their new EP ‘Infrared‘, coming out in June, and if last year’s self titled release is anything to go by it’s going to be pretty special.

Mixing everything from dub and reggae to synth and rock, the Inky Jack boys put on quite a show. We’ll be keeping an eye out for upcoming tours and more goodies from this duo.

TRACKS:

doublecougar Brooklyns Inky Jack drop Freedom single


Apr 9 2014

Drake releases new two new tracks

drake Drake releases new two new tracks

If you ever get bored of last years excellent “Nothing Was The Same” (which, let’s face it, is highly unlikely) you can rest assured Drake still has a song or two under his belt.

Last week he dropped two new tracks with little fanfare and naturally both garnered millions of plays within hours. “Draft Day” shows the Toronto superstar can still spit hard when he feels like it and includes an unexpected dig at Cougar fave Chance The Rapper.

Days In The East” is more in the emo-r&B mould that has become Drake‘s speciality but if it ain’t broke why fix it?

TRACKS:

doublecougar Drake releases new two new tracks