Thursday, June 30, 2011

CREEP-None More Noir

My feature on CREEP at The Vinyl District Blog

Brooklyn production duo CREEP sound like the lovechild of She Wants Revenge and Poe, with some of The xx and Garbage thrown in for good measure. You can finally feel good about breaking out the dark eyeliner and gothing out without having to reassure yourself and others that you are being meta, tongue-in-cheek, or subversive about it, and you are not really a [closet] Goth. [Is there such a thing as a non-closet Goth, btw?] Well, raise the black flag, my friends, and trash that VNV Nation record because CREEP are here to meet all of your needs.

CREEP are producers/DJs Lauren Flax and Lauren Dillard. Flax is an internationally-renowned house DJ and producer—one of her bigger recent hits was “You’ve Changed” with Sia on vocals. Her experience as Fischerspooner’s tour DJ clearly lends itself well to CREEP’s creepy synth-driven sensibilities, but the group’s sound is indelibly ethereally beautiful even through the cold mechanics of a foundation.

CREEP’s spectral debut single “Days” featuring The xx’s Romy Madley-Croft came out earlier this year. The refrain of “Are you thinking the same things I do?/ I been thinking about me and you/ My nights are turning into days/ But I don’t know since everything changed” is really descriptive of the ethos of CREEP’s music. Nights turn into days, dreamscapes unfold, miasmas shimmer in and out, lost souls find and lose each other, love and loss are different sides of the same coin. There is lots of smoke and mirrors, and reality is too tenuous to look for.

The follow-up “You” is a stunning showcase of R&B superstar twins Nina Sky’s interweaving vocals. The video, under the genius direction of Thalia Mavros, could not be a more apt visual piece for the song. If there ever was a video that lives and breathes chiaroscuro, this is it. Shadows fall away and take over—what is black or white, is there even an answer… Faces fade in and out. You will probably notice some very Shining-esque shots and maybe even an homage to Asian horror. Either way—it’s hypnotic, sinister, and terribly engrossing.

DFA’s Planningtorock recently released the remix of “You.” Check it out and get the MP3 where it premiered on RCRD LBL .

Don’t let the upcoming full-length release creep up on you—the record will grab you with a vengeance.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tokimonsta Feature

I have started writing for the Vinyl District blog! Check out my first feature--Tokimonsta.

Trip hop has long been a turntablist’s game, even if the most obvious examples you can think of are Geoff Barrow’s scratching on Portishead’s “Only You” or the seminal DJ Shadow Endtroducing. In the early 2000s, artists like DJ Krush, RJD2, Nujabes, and DJ Vadim continued to carry the torch, despite public opinion that “trip hop was dead” or relegated to Buddha Bar compilations. It is in this vein that LA-based producer TOKiMONSTA (Jennifer Lee) makes her pastiche of beats and samples.
Tokimonsta cut her teeth on a myriad of fresh remixes with a signature sound—anything from Tweet’s “Call Me,” to Lykke Li’s “Little Bit” and Telepopmusik’s “Breathe.” She released a ton of mixtapes and toured, paying some major dues in the process. Her diminutively adorable moniker terribly apt, Tokimonsta is a Godzilla on the wheels of steel and clearly knows more than a thing or two about crate-digging, scratching, and creating really naturally flowing sample soundscapes.
The Creature Dreams EP finds Tokimonsta on an even more consistent course with her sound than her last full-length album, 2010’s Midnight Creatures. “Bright Shadows,” “Little Pleasures,” and “Darkest[Dim]“ are three of the standout tracks on the EP, and they feature singer Gavin Turek. “Day Job” is another equally beautiful track—as a whole, the album is consistent in its excellence and is very un-California-esque in that it’s late-night listening alright. It is not a dark record—it’s maybe moderately melancholy in its dusty vinyl ambiance, but it is easily one of the best and most consistently “trip hop” albums to come out in recent years. Definitely worth a spin!