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The Kominas

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Though they’ve been described as a militant Islamic punk band, there’s a much more satirical quality to the subject matter of The Kominas songs than first meets the ears. Moreover, it’s not exactly punk. After an album that musically sounds like something between Fresh Fruit and Rotting Vegetables and Mr. Bungle’s California, the kids from Boston got a loud response, if not a varied one, from those listening. The band’s renegade shows in Pakistan were aimed at one end of the polarized population; common people and not the social elite, those whose affluence allows them time for music. Their intentions sparked controversy, to say the least. With the innaugural tour and album behind them, the Kominas are currently on the road for a second round of intelligent yet fist pumping shows. And yes, a second and equally shocking album is in the works.

For a full history of the Kominas, their influences, and the beginning of the burgeoning Taqwacore genre, check out their wikipedia page, or simply google their name for all the press. Tour dates are on their Myspace.

For Orchestra! Radiohead and More!


I’m absolutely loving the latest addition to the site For Orchestra!, a site put together by music composition graduate Walt Ribeiro. Users tip him off to songs they want re-arranged as an orchestra piece, and he goes to work. Check out this beautiful rendition of Radiohead’s Reckoner above.

When I choose a song, I understand that I'll be spending alot of time with it. There are times when I dislike a song I'm arranging but have to live with it, or eventually get sick of it. Luckily, Radiohead "˜Reckoner' grew on me pretty strongly. After a few days I began looping it for hours while I was walking somewhere or was waiting at the train station. I started depicting the lyrical meaning of the song and really getting involved in their song structure and repertoire. Into it? Keep reading.

FingerBeat

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FingerBeat is a virtual instrument inspired by retro synthesizers & samplers, designed for creativity & self-expression. A homage to dance music and pop culture, FingerBeat is a classic for absolutely everyone. Only on iPhone & second generation iPod touch. You can check out a video of it here.

Lee Memorial: Lives of Lee Memorial

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Lee Memorial’s new album took me by surprise twice over. First off, I’ll admit that I can’t think of a single Australian act that struck me since I heard Yeo and the Fresh Goods last year. Secondly, a mellowed out acoustic sound with poetic lyrics is not style of music that often captivates beat snobs like myself. You may be familiar with Sodastream, a duo that’s dropped releases in this vein for a decade before breaking up. Half of that now-defunct band, Karl Smith, assembled a band with a decent resume and put together The Lives of Lee Memorial, possibly named for a hospital, is fraught with Smith’s mystifying whines layered together. If you doesn’t sound like your taste, you’re probably not sold, and you’ll just have to take my word for it. It’s not out for a couple of weeks, so you’ve got time to conduct your research.

Jelli: 100% User-Controlled Radio

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Over the years, regular broadcast radio has become a touch authoratative. The system worked back before popular music was designed to be popular, but today we’re all pretty much presented with the same sugary garbage and expected to pick our favorites. Audiophiles seperate themselves from the pack by seeking out the most obscure sounds they can find, but for the regular person who still loves radio but wants to take back the airwaves, there’s Jelli. You don’t create your own customizable station, nor do you assemble a playlist yourself. Jelli is a musical democracy, with one playlist that’s decided by user voting. This idea brings back the influence of listeners on what’s actually popular. Take that major labels.

Thriller Headphones

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In the wake of Michael Jackson’s death, we’ve started to focus on the drama that still surrounds the singer – his will, the question of what to do with his non-biological children, why he suffered cardiac arrest, and so on. However, it is important not to forget that the reason we all loved the King of Pop is because of his talent as a singer, a dancer, and an all-around performer. The first time he first entered your home whether it was via MTV or through your stereo speakers, was not easy to forget…

johnnylighthands6.jpgAt least it wasn’t for me. My first memory of the singer was when I watched the video for Thriller…at age three. All I remember was seeing those yellow eyes and fangs and running terrified behind the couch. It wasn’t a good first impression, though later, I fell in love with the short film. Not longer after, I was jamming out and dancing around the living room to “Beat It,” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.” So, when I discovered the Thriller Headphones designed by Johnny Lighthands and built by ATOM Creative Solutions, I couldn’t help but smile.

The headphones, which won the Nokia headset design competition in 2008, feature that gravestones, zombies, and that creepy, yellow-eyed wolf bursting through the door. Though only one pair was made by Nokia into a working model, we hope that Jackson’s passing inspires Nokia to produce at least a limited-edition run of the freaky-awesome headphones.

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Deconstructing a Girl Talk Song

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Deciphering samples is a skill that every DJ and producer hones in order to boast when that original song comes on. Ever since a few cats took the art of sampling and went crazy with it, it’s been harder and harder to breakdown. Take Girl Talk for instance; despite the pop value of every song used in his collages, bet you can’t name every single one. And furthermore, how does this patchwork Lego set of beats and pieces actually come together to form a coherent track? Thanks to Wired Magazine, there’s a translation for folks who consider themselves more on the visual tip. A deconstruction of 30 seconds of a the Girl Talk Song ‘What It’s All About’ reveals 35 samples assembled to create that signature dancefloor crack sound. Great visualization via Wired.

Future of Music T-shirts?

got-music-t-shirt-k.jpgAll this chatter of Mos Def and his album on a t-shirt makes us happy. Music Tee’s we spotted last week are coming out in full force. My next question is simple though: What stops people from taking a camera phone picture of the download code on the t-shirt without purchasing it? Similar to the days kids used to bring razor-blades into the record store and slide out the CD quick and undetected. I hope we don’t ever have t-shirts locked up behind security as records and other hard media (DVD’s etc) have now. I’m excited to watch for sales figures of the Mos Def T-shirt ($40) to see if it has legs.

Music Tee

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I recently caught wind of this unique collaboration between Invisible DJ (Santigold, Chester French, Kid Sister, etc) and clothing line LnA called The Music Tee. The front of the shirts have a visual designed by Ian Markell while the back has a full track listing of the 14 featured artists. The coolest part? The hang tag sports a unique code used to download the album which is a compilation mix of said musicians. I quickly spotted some of my favorites – Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Theresa Andersson, and Passenger. While the premier shirt is a mix of multiple artists, there are already plans for shirts which focus on one artist or band. Look for those in the future.

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