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)


Dec 24 2013

Backstage with Bombay Show Pig

Hot on the heels of FILTER Culture Collide and the cusp of CMJ, Bombay Show Pig sat down with us to discuss festival life, their debut album, ‘Vulture/Provider‘, and what the remainder of 2013 has in store.

We caught up with the indie rock duo from Amsterdam following their final show in LA at Harvard and Stone. Between hashing out the the differences of touring France and the US (less hamburgers), and impersonating industry-types’s smart phone dependency, we learned that although they perform live as a duo, on the record you’ll hear Linda (drums/vocals) and Mathias (guitar/vocals), playing everything from melodic percussion, to strings, and horns.

In fact, LA audiences were treated to a fuller sound thanks to guest appearances from bassist Adrian Rodriguez, who’s been touring with a personal, local favorite: Hanni El Khatib. They met in appropriate fashion at after-hours hot spot, The Overpass, after a gig earlier this year.

Watch the interview to get the full scoop on what happens when Usher swings by your SXSW showcase (sadly no Bieber in tow), and be sure to give their low-fi, garage rock gems a listen.

Vulture/Provider‘ is now available worldwide on Spotify.

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Post by by NicoleTwitter@nikki_redhead
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TRACKS:

doublecougar Backstage with Bombay Show Pig


Dec 20 2013

Chris Holmes drops Beatles/Paul McCartney/Wings DJ set

chrisholmes Chris Holmes drops Beatles/Paul McCartney/Wings DJ set

If there is a musical equivalent to ADD they may as well call it Chris Holmes syndrome. The man (allegedly) screwed with the major label system in the 90′s, played with fellow Chicagoans Smashing Pumpkins during their last proper hurrah and released 2011 criminally underrated ‘American Sunshine album with his long running project Ashtar Command.

Now living in L.A. Chris is a fixture at some of the best and most fun nights the city has to offer. As part of the DJ collective The Embassy he’s regularly taking over some of Hollywood‘s hottest venues and in my opinion few people “understand” a room as well. Oh, and he’s also the opening act for Sir Paul McCartney….

Chris has been all over the world as part of his duties for the fab one customising his set with local covers and remixes for each continent. After being asked over and over again he’s finally released his definitive Beatles/Paul McCartney/Wings mix.

With such a large catalogue to pick from it is as brilliant as you would expect.

TRACKS:

doublecougar Chris Holmes drops Beatles/Paul McCartney/Wings DJ set

 

 

 


Dec 20 2013

Drake live @ Staples Center, Los Angeles

drake tour Drake live @ Staples Center, Los Angeles

Upon entering the STAPLES Center, LA’s ccolossalarena, the first thing that is noticed is the style of all the concert attendees. Women sporting custom OVO Owl crop tops and men closely following behind them in the freshest LA-based street wear. The show started promptly at 7 causing me to miss Future’s set but I fortunately got to catch a glimpse of Miguel. The only way I could describe Miguel‘s performance is drowned in fringe. Black leather fringe down his jacket sleeves, down his leather pants and all the way down his custom mic stand.

After Miguel exits, the lights go up in the house and it’s a party in anticipation of Aubrey Graham. All of the sudden the crowd starts cheering, which confused me because the lights were up and the house DJ was still going. I glance over to the VIP area to see Kris Jenner with her Kardashian minions waving to the crowd a la Michelle Obama. It was appalling and invigorating at the same damn time.

drake Drake live @ Staples Center, Los Angeles

Finally the lights go down and Drake appears on stage. His performance balances between the hardest rapper in the game to modern pop crooner. His rapping hits hard with the highlights being “Worst Behavior” and bringing out opener Future for “Same Damn Time.”

For “Hold on Were Going Home”, Drake brings up Gina from the crowd, turns down all the stage antics and sings directly to her, telling Gina, “Damn you look fine like Martha Stewart in your canary yellow sweater“. Drake announced to the crowd “If you came with a date tonight, you are definitely getting lucky tonight. Between Miguel and myself we’ve set you up for a home run“, which of course was true.

Besides Future, Drake brought all his friends to the stage including YMCMB frontman Birdman, Nicki Minaj, R&B princess Jhene Aiko, and local legend Snoop Dogg (or is it Lion now?).

On the night Drake solidified his place as a number one player in rap, R&B and pop music impressing the audience with his confidence, style, and plethora of number one hits.

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Post by Robin Petering / twitter: @monstertrvcks

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TRACKS:

doublecougar Drake live @ Staples Center, Los Angeles


Dec 3 2013

CMJ Music Marathon 2013: Day 2 (Ben Caplan, In The Valley Below, Dorine Levy, Adi Ulmansky, ASTR, Mean Creek)

cmj music marathon banner CMJ Music Marathon 2013: Day 2 (Ben Caplan, In The Valley Below, Dorine Levy, Adi Ulmansky, ASTR, Mean Creek)

Now into its 3rd decade of existence CMJ Music Marathon has earned a reputation for picking largely unknown acts and ushering them towards imminent success. With 1400 acts playing across 80+ venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn there really is something for everybody.

Here are our personal highlights:

Ben Caplan | Arlene’s Grocery
Ben Caplan live CMJ CMJ Music Marathon 2013: Day 2 (Ben Caplan, In The Valley Below, Dorine Levy, Adi Ulmansky, ASTR, Mean Creek)

Ben Caplan is a man equipped with a striking appearance and a voice to boot. His massive beard is potentially only outdone by his huge charisma and today at Arlene’s Grocery this is no different. The canadian troubadour commanded the room ranting and raving between songs before breaking into his passionate mini folk epics. Short of his usual backing band theses songs took on new meanings with their lyrical wisdom resonating particularly well thanks in large part to Ben‘s unique booming voice. This man was born to perform.

In The Valley Below | Pianos Upstairs
in the valley below live cmj CMJ Music Marathon 2013: Day 2 (Ben Caplan, In The Valley Below, Dorine Levy, Adi Ulmansky, ASTR, Mean Creek)

Los Angeles based In The Valley Below‘s civil war evoking outfits are stylistically eye-catching but their music is no less imposing. The meeting of Michigan born Angela Gail and Memphis raised Jeffrey Jacob has produced an elegant mix of organic sounds and just the right amount of electronic influences. Their unique vocal stylings complement each other wonderfully and the on stage chemistry is evident as glances and knowing smiles are frequently shared. At one point Gail produces a chain which she uses as an added percussive sound; the result manages to be both haunting and beautiful.

Dorine Levy | Fat Baby
Dorine Levy live CMJ CMJ Music Marathon 2013: Day 2 (Ben Caplan, In The Valley Below, Dorine Levy, Adi Ulmansky, ASTR, Mean Creek)

We head on over to the Tune-In Tel Aviv showcase at Fat Baby to see what is the best Israel has to offer. The last time we caught Dorine Levy live was at this year’s SXSW where she debuted her new touring lineup (essentially consisting of Dorine and her talented jack-of-all-trades husband Eitan). A few months have passed since then and the Israeli will soon be releasing her debut LP  ‘Diver‘ (review coming soon) meaning this set is a superb indicator of the progress she has made so far this year. It’s immediately evident that the entire live experiences has been sharpened over this time as newer songs have become fixtures in her set and there is a sense of momentum throughout. Notably Dorine has toned down her personal interaction with keyboard, laptops and other gizmos leaving much of this to Eitan. This new found freedom results in more audience participation and eye contact and allows the songstress to fully launch into each performance. Her next stop is Nouvelle Prague festival in the Czech Republic and after that the world.

Adi Ulmansky  | Fat Baby
Adi Ulmansky live CMJ CMJ Music Marathon 2013: Day 2 (Ben Caplan, In The Valley Below, Dorine Levy, Adi Ulmansky, ASTR, Mean Creek)

Adi Ulmansky is a veritable burst of color on stage at Fat Baby tonight. This is Adi‘s North American debut and after playing a triumphant set at Filter’s Culture Collide festival in LA she’s ready to take over NYC as well. Rocking her newly braided (but always multi-colored) hair and a scanty outfit her allure offers a false sense of security much like a praying mantis. Once she starts performing the transformation is evident and it feels she could literally bite your head off. Over a backdrop of self produced kaleidoscopic 8-bit epic beats Adi raps and croons with the best of them switching from being extremely menacing one moment to highly vulnerable the next. The aforementioned ‘Hurricane Girl‘ EP was one of the great suppress of this year and we expect great things from this girl in 2014.

ASTR | Pianos
ASTR live CMJ CMJ Music Marathon 2013: Day 2 (Ben Caplan, In The Valley Below, Dorine Levy, Adi Ulmansky, ASTR, Mean Creek)

After ASTR‘s lead singer Zoe, announced that it was her birthday, it was apparent that the people who managed to get into the backroom of Pianos were in for a great show. Singing her heart out and whipping her long red haired ponytail around the stage, Zoe‘s energetic performance echoed throughout the packed room. Her partner in crime, Adam – a fluffy haired dude with Buddy Holly glasses – handled the high powered beats by banging on drum pads (strongly resembling the set from the game Rock Band) with effervescence. Their electro-pop track “Razor” had the crowd dancing and sweating along with them, though ASTR still displayed their range of abilities with a cover of Drake‘s “Hold On We’re Going Home.” The overall great performance left the crowd wanting more, and I’m excited to see what other dance tracks are to come from this group.

Mean Creek |Pianos Upstairs
Mean Creek CMJ 2013 CMJ Music Marathon 2013: Day 2 (Ben Caplan, In The Valley Below, Dorine Levy, Adi Ulmansky, ASTR, Mean Creek)

Last for the night was Massachusetts garage rockers Mean Creek who were basically the antithesis of much of what we had seen so far solely on the premise of having a real live drummer. There is a really endearing underdog quality to this Boston gang’s repertoire that translates instantly and makes you want to root for them. The band are gearing up for the release of their 4th LP ‘Local Losers‘, the first for Old Flame Records,  in early 2014 with a set that incorporated material from that upcoming release. The sense of excitement at airing these tracks is palpable as the four piece launch into each new song with extra enthusiasm. There is also time for a particularly spot on cover of The DescendentsSilly Girl‘ which leaves those in the know particularly pleased. ‘Local Losers‘ can’t come any sooner.

TRACKS:

doublecougar CMJ Music Marathon 2013: Day 2 (Ben Caplan, In The Valley Below, Dorine Levy, Adi Ulmansky, ASTR, Mean Creek)

 


Nov 26 2013

Culture Collide Festival 2013

culture collide Culture Collide Festival 2013

For three days in mid-October, FILTER corrals some of the most promising talents from around the globe for a mini showcase-style festival in the heart of Echo Park. Spanning five venues and eight stages plotted within a few block radius, Culture Collide offers a doable tasting of up and coming international artists.

Aptly named, Culture Collide, emphasizes a global approach to the music business, bringing in talent from more than 25 countries. Though at first the name may come off as a gimmick, I can assure you it’s not. Walking down Sunset Blvd., venue-hopping through the evening’s shows, a true spirit of worldliness was alive and well as each group of passersby spoke another language.

Check out highlights from the shows:

Adi Ulmansky (Israel) | Taix Front Lounge | Presented by Oleh! Records

AdiUlmansky 0797 v2 Culture Collide Festival 2013

Perhaps best known for her high-profile collaborations with dubstep producer, Borgore, 2013 marked a breakout year for Adi Ulmansky with the release of her début solo EP, ‘Hurricane Girl’. From sugary sweet melodies, to making beats, and rapping with major ‘tude (think Azealia Banks) – Adi Ulmansky does it all with swag to boot.

Terry Poison (Israel) | Taix Front Lounge | Presented by Oleh! Records

TerryPoison 1067v5 Culture Collide Festival 2013

Upbeat and infectious electro pop backed by a full band. Terry Poison knows how to have a good time – get ready to dance. After a recent lineup change the band retreated to Berlin to hone their sound and released the EP ‘Gorgeous‘ this year.

Iceage (Denmark) | The Echo

Iceage 0005 v1 Culture Collide Festival 2013

The boys in Iceage are so punk rock they nearly broke up on stage. Their booze-fueled outburst may have played a part, but the vibe felt like a mix between Pete Doherty and Joy Division. ‘You’re Nothing’, their second album, was released in February 2013 on Matador.

Like Swimming (Sweden) | Lot 1 Cafe

Like Swimming promo photo band 600x337 Culture Collide Festival 2013

While it’s more of a cafe and less of a music venue, discovering the uplifting pop of Like Swimming after a short stroll down Sunset Blvd made it a worthwhile last stop for the evening. These Swedes make “radio-ready” less of a dirty word.

Birth of Joy (Netherlands) | Taix Front Lounge

CultureCollide 0010 v3 Culture Collide Festival 2013

Straight up rock with a nod to Jim Morrison and the psychedelia of the 60s and 70s. Holland’s Birth Of Joy filled the room with a fury and the audience took note.

Miami Horror (Australia) | The Echo

Miami+Horror Culture Collide Festival 2013

We danced the night away to the sunny sounds of indie electro outfit, Miami Horror, during their headlining performance Friday night at The Echo. Having just dropped a killer single featuring Superhumanoid’s vocalist, Sarah Chernoff, we’re stoked to hear the rest of their second album, due later this year.

Liars (US) | World Stage

Liars 0067 v3c Culture Collide Festival 2013

Based on the raw energy put out in the final 20 minutes of their set, Liars was the standout act of the festival in my book. Not only did this three-piece win major personality points for their stage presence, but they killed it in a major way on “Brats,” my recommended take-home track.

Rhye (US, Denmark, Canada) | The Church

rhye Culture Collide Festival 2013

If you thought you were getting into the uber-intimate Rhye performance held in The Church – fuggedaboutit. Entry to this show became a who’s who of Hollywood and had a line wrapped around the block hours before the start time.

Missing this show was a major let down for many, as it’s by far one of the biggest debuts of the year; and the sensual delights of ‘Woman‘ would have been pure magic inside the four walls of a church. Tender vocals tell a feverishly romantic story of love and passion in this soundtrack for getting busy between the sheets.

Gliss (US, Denmark) | Echoplex

Gliss 0130 v2 Culture Collide Festival 2013

The scene at the Echoplex was alive and well with Funky Sole DJs spinning upstairs and a solid lineup sponsored by Red Bull Sound Selects downstairs. Third on the bill was Gliss, a male, female duo who share vocals over hazy synth pop that favors dark and brooding tones.

The Raveonettes (Denmark) | Echoplex

The Raveonettes Culture Collide Festival 2013

We closed the fest with another Danish, guy-girl rocker duo holding court at the Echoplex. After nearly a decade in the business, the crowd eagerly waited to see what The Raveonettes’s had in store.

Between the fuzzy guitars and soft vocal harmonies, these noise rockers have a penchant for crafting tunes that haunt.

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Post by NicoleTwitter@nikki_redhead

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TRACKS:

doublecougar Culture Collide Festival 2013


Nov 22 2013

Zola Jesus live @ The Masonic Lodge @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery

ZolaJesus 0630 720w Zola Jesus live @ The Masonic Lodge @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Of all the venues in LA, the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery has more magic than most. A tiny building on the front grounds of the cemetery, with bench seating around the perimeter and a small setup of folding chairs in the center, this room demands your undivided attention.

Having booked two, one-hour shows back-to-back, there was something of a cabaret vibe as Angelenos rolled in ready to start weekend. At 8:00 PM sharp Zola Jesus took to the stage looking thoroughly modern in a sleek, monochromatic column dress, wood-soled flatform sandals, and metal cuffs around her top-knot and left bicep.

ZolaJesus 0688 720w Zola Jesus live @ The Masonic Lodge @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery

In the past I’ve seen Zola Jesus compared to M83, which in truth, was probably due to her guest vocals on “Intro” from ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’, because stylistically there’s not much of a similarity. Midway through the set the show really began to gel with the performance of the song “Night“.

It may have been The Avett Brothers that released an album titled ‘Emotionalism’, but it’s a fitting description for this evening, as well, particularly on the uber-romantic track “Fall Back“.

Versions, the aptly titled new release from Zola Jesus features songs from previous albums re-worked in collaboration with J.G. Thirlwell and the Mivos Quartet. The new classical arrangements stemmed from an invitation to perform at the NYC Guggenheim that caused Nika Roza Danilova (Zola Jesus’ real name), to approach Thirlwell with the aim to strip away the original electronic aesthetic, and while some of those elements are still present, it is the unwavering strings and big vocals that make for high drama.

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Post by NicoleTwitter@nikki_redhead

 

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TRACKS:

 

doublecougar Zola Jesus live @ The Masonic Lodge @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery


Jun 9 2013

Weekend Videos: Trentemøller – “Never Stop Running”

Trentemøller is back with a new 7″ single from his upcoming third album ‘Lost‘. “Never Stop Running” features Jonny Pierce of the Drums and is everything you would expect from the Danish electro maestro.

The video was shot by cinematographer Frederik Jacobi, whose Los Angeles population visuals perfectly complement the pulsating beat.

The Danish electro king plans to tour Europe extensively, including opening dates for Depeche Mode, before releasing ‘Lost‘ in September on his own label In My Room.

TRACKS:

 

badge itunes lrg Weekend Videos: Trentemøller   Never Stop Running

doublecougar Weekend Videos: Trentemøller   Never Stop Running