Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Q & A with Sebastian Szary of Moderat

Berlin techno and breakbeat trio Moderat are back in business. After about four years of radio silence since their eponymous debut record, they’re on the road promoting a new album. Simply titled II, it was released on August 8 via Mute USA and is pretty damn great. 

There's something about their approach to electronic music, rendering it both cerebral and visceral, that straight up makes me want to use fancy-ish words and crank the bass up just so. II sounds a little like Thom Yorke, and of course a bit like Apparat and Modeselektor, the two bands from which Moderat's members collide every few years to make a new record as a three-piece. In the pic above, that's Apparat's Sascha Ring (whom I Skyped a while ago for Don't Panic Online mag) looking all sullen in the middle, flanked by Modeselektor's Sebastian Szary's (cigarette in his mouth on the left), and Gernot Bronsert.

A couple of weeks ago, I called up Sebastian and we chatted about the record while he sped down the Autobahn on his way back to Berlin from north Germany. The band had just kicked off the first show of this new record's promo tour, at Eastern Electrics Festival in Knebworth, and Sebastian oozed the kind of giddy excitement that I can only hope they'll be bringing to their Electric Zoo New York set at the end of this month. And yes, it is totally weird that Moderat are playing E-Zoo, but Sebastian's looking forward to seeing some of  the neon American "teatime ravers" he giggled about with me.

Check out the full interview on In the Mix, and head here to cop the album. I'd highly recommend this one.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Q & A with Dirty Beaches

Last month I interviewed Alex Zhang Hungtai, singer, guitarist and general main man in Dirty Beaches, for the Wild Magazine. He writes and plays music that encompasses lo-fi garage rock, 50s rock and roll and electronic crossed with post-punk. It's wonderful and odd. Anna and I also caught his Glasslands Gallery show when he was in New York at the end of June. It was weird and confusing but once I Skyped him, I learned why.

Alex is both an introspective thinker and a very open and expressive person. The combination makes for sudden intimacy that almost feels like over-sharing, but is golden when you're looking for thoughtful and personal profile material. 

Though I could've easily written like 2,500 words based on the gig, interview, and my own interview with his friend and musical collaborator Joshua Frank, I decided to chill the eff out and do about half that. In the final edit, we covered ground as varied as being a third culture kid and growing up all over the world, writing break-up albums and the batshit Glasslands gig. Shout out to Alex and the Wild for both tweeting the story out a couple of days ago, too.

Hover and click to read it.

Friday, 9 August 2013

On 1990s Whitney Houston and Style

1990. Simpler aesthetic times. Times when brows were thick, eyeshadow heavily applied, and ladies could rock one cross-shaped earring without looking like a Topshop knockoff.

And here's Whitney Houston, leading by example. Today would've been her 50th birthday (RIP, you pop vocal powerhouse) so I decided to go back in time and explore her sartorial leanings. I wrote about her "I'm Your Baby Tonight" music video for Noisey, and how it taught me a bunch of stuff about fashion. 

As a little girl I remember my sister and I had a dance routine to this song, so being able to gush about it as part of my job was heavenly. Click here to read the piece, and my thoughts on frosted lipgloss, ripped jeans and feather boas (spoiler alert: omg I used to love feather boas).

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Song of the Day: Banks - Waiting Game

This is Banks, an LA-based singer and songwriter who's been making music writers froth at the mouth for the last few months. She writes rather pretty, heartachey songs on piano (self-taught) and brings on great producers to tighten them up. I'm down.

On her latest single, "Waiting Game" she enlists the help of producer SOHN. Remember the lush harmonies and airy quality of his track "The Wheel"? Well, this one doesn't venture too far off that direction and I'm not complaining.

Head over to The Wild Magazine to listen to the Banks cut, read more of my words on it and hear her sing about why relationships suck the most when people are trying to one-up each other.
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