The pioneering Italo-disco genius Giorgio Moroder, currently going through a popular renaissance thanks in part to his appearance on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, is 73, and he came up in the era when producers weren’t also expected to serve as DJs. But last night at the Brooklyn club Output, Moroder played his first-ever DJ set. The set was part of the Red Bull Music Academy series, and Moroder had the younger DJ and “musical director” Chris Cox helping him out; he wasn’t doing it all himself. Together, they played many of Moroder’s greatest hits, like the Donna Summer songs “I Feel Love” and “Bad Girls” and his own music for Midnight Express. They also worked in newer tracks like “Racer” and the Daft Punk collab “Giorgio By Moroder.” Moroder introduced himself via vocoder and added bits and pieces, including one keyboard solo, to the music. And you can hear a pristine recording of the entire DJ set below.
The four-guitar Nashville punk monster Diarrhea Planet has lately cultivated a rep as one of the best, most fiery young live bands on the touring circuit. If their revolting band name is still (understandably) putting you off, their live cover of “Born To Run” with Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles might be enough to change your mind. And later this summer, they’ll release the sophomore album I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams. The first single is the ragged, anthemic “Separations,” and you can hear it below.
If you’ve got a gift for metalworking and/or LED-light programming, you may be missing your calling; you could be raking in a ton of money by helping people realizing their dreams of transforming into Daft Punk robots. A new Wall Street Journal article explores the secondary market of artisans who are making facsimiles of Daft Punk’s robot helmets. According to the piece, there’s now a small but dedicated circle of fans willing to drop four figures on eBay for the privilege of looking like the two members of Daft Punk. From the article, it’s pretty clear that Daft Punk are leaving a ton of money on the table by not selling their own versions of those helmets. The entire piece is pretty fascinating, and you can read it here, though the above WSJ dot-drawing of Thomas Bangalter is clearly the best thing about it.
The Backstreet Boys’ luminous ballad “I Want It That Way” is almost indisputably the single greatest song to come out of the teenpop era, and if you’re still resisting its charms 15 years later, this is a pretty good morning to reconsider. Yesterday, during an in-store performance at Chicago’s Borderline Music, the British singer Charli XCX, who released her own album of pretty amazing pop songs just last month, busted out a charmingly low-key synthpop cover of the song. There’s nothing ironic about this particular cover; she’s radiating pure love the entire time. Also, I love how she handles the key change. Thanks to Stephanie for sending the cover in; check it out below.
Words like “party metal,” and “beer metal” come to mind when talking about Kvelertak, Norway’s black ‘n’ roll export, but a more accurate descriptor would be “sweat metal.” Or, if we we’re really going for accuracy, “fluid metal,” because it wasn’t just sweat that was soaking the stage and crowd at the Kvelertak show on Friday night. The band played the Studio At Webster Hall, a claustrophobic basement under Webster Hall Proper in New York’s East Village that always seems to be more packed than any fire marshal could ever allow. They were in town for a sold-out show in support of their well-received new album, Meir, and they brought the waterworks.
The first time I ever saw Jacques Greene DJ, he spun Mya’s overlooked, Nicki Minaj-featuring slinker “Ponytail.” Throwing that out there made it clear he had been committed to pop-R&B at a young age, but is also ordained to keeping things on the dancefloor vibe sultry but still party-primed. Tom Krell, bka How To Dress Well’s work is also clearly indebted to a youthful eduction in Tevin Campbell, Whitney Houston, and the like. And while the electronic elements of his output tend toward the more experimental side, this is a union that works because it’s hinged on their shared interest in music that makes you swoon. It would be reductive to call it “Climax 2.0″ but it’s making swell my heart in the same way — with yearning falsettos, an uncertain love narrative, and luxurious electronics. Check it out below.
Wes Eisold describes the new Cold Cave A-side as, “Cool nihilism. Existential, groovy, psychedelia.” I think the former term fits “Black Boots” pretty well, insofar as it means anything at all. The latter, though? Sorry, but “existential, groovy, psychedelia” this is not. Maybe “DeLillo-esque, urban, goth”? Or “violent, subterranean, death-rock”? Or “pale, rigid, post-punk”? I dunno, I think I’m being thrown by the word “groovy” or something. Anyway, Eisold is back with another self-released 7″, which appears to be his chosen form for new Cold Cave material at present. It’s a good look for him: Such “bleak, focused, minimalism” is perhaps better appreciated in small doses. Listen.
The enigmatic Californian rap producer Madlib is exactly the type of person to make a new track, put it on a 7″ single, only make 300 copies of that single, and then only sell those copies to the people who show up at one specific show. His new two-track single Rock Conducta is only available at a forthcoming San Francisco show, and one of songs is “The Mad March,” which chops up a funky marching band stomp into a time-stretching ripple. Listen below.