Week in Pop: Casy & Brian, Katie Kate, Slam Donahue

Sjimon Gompers

because iPods are so mainstream (VIA), cover photo (VIA)

Music is the perfect escape for the jaded sports fan. What with Metta World Peace's elbow, Mariano Rivera's knee and the tragedy of losing Junior Seau, we're looking anywhere but ESPN for answers. Thankfully we have a snapshot of the week in pop tracks and videos here for your listening and viewing pleasure in no particular order.

Shabazz Palaces remixed Lushlife's “Hale Bopp Was the Bedouins” featuring talents from Heems, The Palaceer, Fly Guy Dai, and Thadillac mixed by Blood in palaGlow. Turning the original into a suite where a different MC flows over the tracked clouded and screwed in different rooms. Lushlife's Plateau Visions is out now on Western Vinyl and has been given Honors on Impose's list featuring the best releases of April 2012.

You can catch all the excitment with Lushlife and Cities Aviv at the following dates and places:

May

4 Grey Eagle Asheville, NC with Cities Aviv
5 Masquerade Atlanta, GA with Cities Aviv
6 Farm 255 Athens, GA with Cities Aviv
8 Local 506 Chapel Hill, NC
9 Casbah Raleigh/Durham, NC
10 Cosmic Charlie's Lexington, KY
12 Shadow Lounge Pittsburgh, PA

Slam Donahue's Big House Big Dreams EP-mixtape dropped via Cantora and has been getting some serious spins here in the office this week. Comprised of David Otto on guitar and vocals with bassist Thomas Sommerville; the duo has staked a reputation through their pawn shop keyboard edge, hacked recording programs and an infectious pop sound that is putting them on more than a few journos' watchlists. If this seven song cycle is any indication, Slam Donaue could be a household name by Thanksgiving this year thanks to fresh jams like “Where Are You,” “How to Be Cool,” “It's Scary,” “No More Talking” and more. Listen now and be their biggest fan today.

Tune into Kool Keith's stream of surreality with “Extra Thoughts” featuring the I.M.O. Embracing his inner Jim 'American Poeet' Morrison giving special almost spoken word hyperbole on the end of the chorus that provides enough extra thought and care to give us visuals of “Spalding basketballs comes out the sky, which they bounce.” Kool Keith's album Love & Danger will be released June 5 through Junkadelic Music.

Grab a listen to Exray's new track “Ancient Thing” here with a remix by Devonwho. Balancing time between performances and the studio, the San Francisco modern-futurists have been busying themselves with the new record while putting together an electronic music frontier of forward minded beat shamans and doomsday prophets turned poets. The new single “Ancient Thing” is designed like old wind up clocks to be discovered as artifacts at a post-apocalyptic Antique Roadshow to marvelling at the sound of electro-human hybrids from before the advent of the big robot takeover. Exray's new LP Trust a Robot comes out June 26 on Howell's Transmitter and you can get a preview of the track “You Can Trust a Robot” recorded live at Cedric Wentworth's studio in SF here.

Listen to Exray's “Ancient Thing” get redone by Devonwho here:

DJ Touré dropped his “She Like It” featuring old guard B-Legit and rising star D-Lo for the occaision. Legit keeps it cool sounding as seasoned and skilled as he did back in the day on Down and Dirty handing the mic to D-LO who has matured in the past couple years as one of the Bay's freshest emcees. Hiero's premiere DJ with release Theory: Session One On July 17 on Clear Label Records and Touré's own 101% Music.

photo by Terri Nguyen

We have learned that DIVE will now be known by the slightly modified name of DIIV. Frontman Z. Cole Smith explains:

“DIVE becomes DIIV. Out of respect for Dirk Ivins and the original Dive, this former DIVE has renamed itself. We've not been contacted by Dirk Ivins or his lawyers, but the short of it is that I don't really give a fuck what the band is called. I originated this project in a bedroom with no internet and didn't know if it would ever leave the bedroom. “DIVE”, the word, was an element of what inspired the project in its genesis, but we've outgrown the name and its associations. The band is the same, the music is the same, the future will always be the same. A name is nothing.”

DIIV's Oshin drops June 26 on Captured Tracks and preview their latest single with “Doused” here.

Your other favorite three digit numeric titled group 2:54 brought their new single “Creeping” to the party. As the title would suggest, Colette and Hannah Thurlow keep the song's motions creeping with sparse scuzz drenched guitar that never overcomes a steady beat and electric organ moan produced and mixed by the legendary Alan Moulder. The single Creeping comes out June 18 from Fiction Records while the 2:54 self-titled LP arrives May 28 from Fat Possum.

Catch volcano!'s new's weekly installments called “Seed Fridays” where the band gives you the background on the making of tracks from their upcoming album Piñata. Working with metaphor that music is like flowers that derive from seeds, the band reveals the nucleus of each song. For their song “Fighter,” they share the “Knife Hands dance” which we learn is done by following these steps in time to the song; “Get your knife hands ready, knives up, knife your body to the left, down, right, legs together, up, waddle about, sharphen your arms, do the stabby, clap your knives, lazy susan, uppercut, uppercut, uppcercut, repeat.”

Casual leaked another track from the upcoming He Still Think He Raw with “Rock My Shit.” Support him don't distort him, Casual rolls through with his originator cred with a “Tell Me When to Go” rhythm trail and drops some real with “when I celebrate new years it's the fiscal kind.” Look for Casual's anicipated sequel He Still Think He Raw featuring production by DJ Fresh & The Whole Shabang on May 22 from Hiero Imperium.

Sweden has become the fascinating network hub of the international electronic/dance/ambient community's most successful translators of dreams. The duo of Hampus Klint and Einar Andersson create an Ibiza sunrise score to enjoy a sunrise with good company and the remaining contents of a half drunken jug of Tempranillo on the single “Månljus (saknad).” Perhaps the EP can best be described as the musical equivalent to watching pangea in slow motion, bridging bodies and straits of waters to conjoin disparate and lonely coasts. Ditt Inre's EP En Värld I Brand comes out May 29 on Cascine.

Steven A. Clark with Mr. Familiar released their track “Chemistry.” While not a cut from Clark's forthcoming album, it was originally an instrumental in promotion for Familiar's upcoming Time Traveler EP that grabbed Steven's ear as the ideal rap track. “The original was so dope I had to write to it, sometimes you may not know what it is about someone you like. You can’t always expect it, but that’s ok – it’s just chemistry.” Listen for Steven's long-awaited album Fornication Under Consent of the King June 11 and have Brunch with Mr. Clark here.

Get a listen to Something in Spanish's “For Slowing Down (Matthew Dear vs. Audion remix).”

Listen to the original versions of “For Slowing Down” here:

The new Lower Dens album Nootropics got released this week on Ribbon Music along with the Sebastian Mlynarski directed video for “Propagation.” Follow this merry bunch of white suited mystical spelunkers as they do things with light against a back drop of darkness with only Jana Hunter's voice to guide them.

IamSu! just dropped the track “Cancelled Plans” today with production by his crew called The Invasion featuring Kuya, P-Lo and Su!. Heralding from a larger clique called the Heartbreak Gang (HBK Gang if you will) consisting of a dozen or so rappers, designers, video production folk and music producers. Look for the latest Iamsu! mixtape KILT May 8 and his appearances on E-40's fresh album The Block Brochure: Welcome To The Soil out now.

Also just heard that Passion Pit remixed We are Serenades' single “Birds.” Catch the Serenades on tour across the North American states this month through May 25 and listen to their big track get the Passion treatment of boomboxes cascading down a waterfall made up of shiny jewels and other fluorescent objects.

Casy & Brian crashed our office party playlist with indie dance blasters “Pale Blue Dot” and “Sidewalk Ends” from their forthcoming album &. The album was recorded by Dylan Reznik of Religious Girls and Friendzone, and mixed and mastered by Andrew Oswald of New, Improved Recordings. C&B are coming at you with a force to be reckoned with a sound ready to crash festival stages. The story of the musical partnership begins in Seattle after Brian's band the Dalmations called it a day, met Casy, started a group called Catbees from a found drumkit and keyboard, moved to the Bay Area, started calling themselves their own names and went to work on their upcoming opus. Casy & Brian will release their full-length album in July with two Bay Area release parties planned for the cassette EP & at the Oakland Rec Center May 4 and May 5 at Thee Parkside in San Francisco.

Fasten your seat belts for a Maybach Music Group exclusive video featuring the talents of Wale, Rick Ross, Meek Mill and T-Pain in the video for “Bag of Money.” For the first single off the Self Made Vol. 2 compilation, Ross works a romantic simile for his lovelife and paper with Wale and Meek while T keeps the autotune lovers rock in full motion. Self Made Vol. 2 drops June 26.

Hunx released a favorite from Hairdresser Blues with the catchy single “Let Me In.” Showcasing signature Hunx vocal tones with an expanded range, Seth Bogar creates what could have been a long lost Sarah single or the theme to a cable access beach party situation comedy show. Hairdresser Blues is out now on Hardly Art and look for Hunx in Europe now through the end of May.

Katie Kate holds a classical piano degree from Cornish College of the Arts and spits some real game in the Seattle hip hop game that gives the White Girl Mob a run for the coveted title of 'most based.' Her breakout debut Flatland showcases an eclectic approach to some next level hype which we presume stems from her multi-instrumental approach to classic composition that turns the modernist school or beat craft on it's head.

While we're in the 'k' section, K-Holes released their album Dismania this week on Hardly Art along with the Micki Pellerano-directed horror-mod video for “Rats.” If you can imagine if the LP cover of Blondie's Parallel Lines came alive as members from K-Holes subjected to experiments reserved for rodents, you might have an approximation of the suspenseful possibly-maybe horror that may or may not await. “Rats.” K-Holes. Dismania is out now on Hardly Art.

Meet NYC's Cookies and check out their hot new single Crybaby. Comprised of Ben Sterling from Mobius Band along with Melissa Metrick and Ian Ainley, the trio excels at crafting progressive-thinking beat-centered pop for beautiful people. Cry out with the band when they say “Miranda, Miranda you're no better than the rest of us” on the B-side “Crybaby B” featured here and order their order their music here from Cookies Ltd.

Electronic house artist Hesohi released a little bit of soul on his track “Difference Between Teardrops and Rain” with video directed by Rich Sibert and Sumo Films. Making a recent splash in the international DJ remix circles with his single “To Hold You,” Douglas Hesohi brings his signature soul down to earth with Derek Sibert on rhythm guitar and solo by Willie Settles. “Teardrops and Rain” is Douglas's best performance since he was last seen in the Bay doing a karaoke cover of “You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” at the Mint.

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