New Janelle Monae Video!

I must admit that I don’t quite get the story, but they’re jamming in the black and white. This is an energetic, R&B art freakout complete with ‘fro pomps, horns, bowties and handclaps. Enjoy.

“Tightrope” – Janelle Monae




This Is the Chip.

One Life Stand is Hot Chip’s fourth record release, a whole two years from 2008’s Made in the Dark. To be honest, his last release completely escaped me. I was, however, a very big fan of 2006’s The Warning which was full of hits I still listen to from time-to-time like “Over and Over” and “And I Was A Boy From School.”


Hot Chip is known for their not-too-fast, minimal electro-pop goodness without being too boring. You could play them at a dance party and people could jam without spilling their drinks. Not to mention the occasional falsetto vocals.  The 10-track offering starts off with “Theives In the Night”, beaming in sonic rays of shimmer before dropping in some sparse percussion and echoing keyboard blips. The song fills out in pieces: first the vocals, a  techno riff then the open-air handclaps. Add in some slick synths, light snares and you’ve almost got yourself a disco hit.

Ten years into their career, Hot Chip still knows how to have fun with their sound and create a deliberate listening experience.  For example, “Hand Me Down Your Love”   is very employs a heavily played piano [you can hear the little hammers striking the keys with brute force], a snare and  hyper-compressed background vocals. At first the song sounds very contained and boxed-in but by the chorus it opens into a fuller, more breathable sound. I know the violins and lighter piano melody play a part, but the attentiveness to detail during production also lends to the layers of listening.

Standout tracks are “I Feel Better”, a pulsating song with falsetto vocals, countering melodies that float in and out of each other over a glitzy synth hook. “We Have Love” has the most upbeat tempo with an emphasis on percussion and keyboard blips layered under the density.

This album does have its slow moments [“Brothers” and “Slush”], but they’re easy to skip and continue on to a jam. If you like handclaps, synthesized instruments or just wish Boys Noize was a few notches less intense, you’ll enjoy this album.

Assume the Lotus Position.


L.A.-based produced Flying Lotus has been gaining lots of exposure after releasing Los Angeles. I found out about him a few years ago after an intense Journey To Satchidananda phase [read 2007’s “Flying Lotus Is (From) the Future“]. After some research on Alice Coltrane, I found out she had a little-known nephew producing music in Southern California. He’s the great-nephew of legends John and Alice Coltrane. Yes, those Coltranes.

He makes great music. His EP Reset was followed by a full-length album, Los Angeles, which was an impressive showcase of his capabilities. Next up is his album Cosmogramma which is set to be released on May 4th on Warp Records.

Word on the street is there will be collaborations with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Ravi Coltrane and others. Stay tuned for more information.

Here’s the tenative tracklist:

01 Clock Catcher
02 Pickled!
03 Nose Art
04 Intro//A Cosmic Drama
05 Zodiac Shit
06 Computer Face//Pure Being
07 …And the World Laughs With You [ft. Thom Yorke]
08 Arkestry
09 Mmmhmm [ft.Thundercat]
10 Do the Astral Plane
11 Satelllliiiiiteee
12 German Haircut
13 Recoiled
14 Dance Of the Pseudo Nymph
15 Drips//Auntie’s Harp
16 Table Tennis [ft. Laura Darlington]
17 Galaxy in Janaki

J-Zen’s Most Important Meal of the Day.


Root 70 Lounge is a Japanese Hip-Hip, Nu-Jazz and Lounge label that I stumbled up by luck. I caught an eyeful of that vivid e-flier and the search was on. Within a few minutes I found that they have a new release on the horizon set to drop on February 10th in Japan by a French producer by the name of J-Zen.

J-Zen isn’t making music I haven’t heard before but he falls so gracefully into the canon along with other soulful sampling greats like Madlib and Dilla but he fits into the new school wonderboy category with my favorites Flying Lotus and Nosaj Thing who compose original beats with thoughtfulness.


His album “BREAKfast” was released on French label Dooinitmusic last year. It’s a mid-paced affair with lots of snares and wavering melodies that play through seamlessly. Each track ending tacks onto the beginning of the next, making it an album that begs to be listened to in it’s entirety because it’s obvious it was made in that way.  

The first track,  “Wake Up Call”, begins quite appropriately with a blaring alarm clock followed by a lazy, wavering chime melody reminiscent of a baby-mobile. It’s a sort of  lullabye to wake up to. The album listens like a mediation. There’s a method to his madness that makes “BREAKfast” sound like a 4 a.m. creation, a breakfast right at dawn not around 1:30 when you roll out of bed just in time for Divorce Court.

My favorite track on the album is “Moka.” It has that crackling vinyl sound, that fuzzed-out crisp  kind of percussion  and a really warm, thick melody. It sounds like all it’s missing is Q-Tip. “Muffin” is also sweet with a slightly off-tempo melody tinkering throughout the track.

I highly recommend this album for people that go on bike rides, long public transportation commutes or staring off into space while listening to something your brain doesn’t have to dissect to appreciate it’s tiny details.


Wake Up Call



Short Shots!

I’ve been finding a lot of fun tracks lately. Check out some new bands you might get into:

The Drums


Listen to “Let’s Go Surfing” + some remixes @ RCDLBL

The Drums are a Brooklyn indie band and this track is a sugary-sweet almost twee-pop ditty that’s really made for summer. Put this one on ice and pull it out once the sun sets up camp for a few months.

Chip Chop


Launch Blank

Portland-based duo Chip Chop is releasing their 5-track EP Lanch Blank tomorrow on February 2nd on Run Riot Records. This song is groovy electronic song with echoes and a mid-level melody circling itself.



Sea the Sea [Red]

Vitalic is a French-Italian dude that makes some pretty glitzy disco-pop. “Sea The Sea [Red]” is from his 2009 release Flashmob. You can read the Pitchfork interview and watch the video for his single “Your Disco Song.” You should also listen to “One Above One.”

M.I.A.: “There’s Space For Ol Dat I See”

M.I.A. quietly slid this video for “There’s Space For Ol Dat I See” onto Youtube on January 12th and called it a day. Just by word of mouth, more than 75,000 people have gone to watch the weird, alien-green LED freakout.

M.I.A.’s sounds like she’s singing through a tin-can telephone to a song she can hear coming from the side you’re on.


“There’s Space For Ol Dat I See”


Plus, don’t forget to head over to the Etta Strange Blog Youtube Channel to check out some other cool videos like Birdy Nam Nam’s super technicolor psychedelic video for “The Parachute Ending” , Maluca’s sassy video for “El Tigeroso” and the mind-bending visual composition for Ligeti’s “Artikulation.”