Canadian Duo Challenges Themselves to Create a Top 40 Hit in 8 Hours

The charts are dominated by the same names. These names come up again, and again, and again and again. The top songs are always very similar. Similar lyrics, similar basslines, similar kicks and claps, similar synths.  These songs are written by the same group of people (Britney Spears’ latest single was first offered to Katy Perry), so its not surprise they all have the same sound. I’d guess that a good 50% of the artists on the Top 40 don’t even write their own music. And that’s not me hating, that’s fact, many musicians in the mainstream realm don’t write all their own music including Perry, Justin Bieber, and Taio Cruz. So what does it take to write one of these songs? Dan Bennet and his collaborator, Dave Wallace, Canadian hip-hop artists recently challenged themselves to find out just how difficult it is to make a Top 40 song. They gave themselves 8 hours to write and record a Top 40 song. The finished product has over 400,000 hits on YouTube and has been downloaded over 5,000 times. Not bad for a joke? The song was written and recorded in far less time then the proposed 8 hours, yet still it received huge amounts of attention. Gene Simmons of KISS even contacted Wallace and Bennet and offered them a contract on his new label. They told Simmons that the song absolutely does not represent their catalog, and directed him to the music they make as a living, not as a joke. Since directing Simmons to their actual music, they’ve yet to hear back. The dancy, synth heavy, “Lights, Camera, Action” is an example of what it takes to create the music that dominates our charts. So what does it take to get into the Top 40? Obviously not much musically, obviously the major labels MUST BASE THEIR DECISIONS OF SOMETHING BESIDES MUSICAL TALENT. Hmmm….

Contemporary Neo-Soul Music Done Right By Mayer Hawthorne and Electric Wire Hustle

Soul music has kind of fallen to the wayside in order to make room for rap and club music, as well as R&B, although all are heavily indebted to the legendary genre. Despite however, decreasing mainstream success for all genres, music creativity is still as alive as ever. The past few years have produced some great new neo-soul acts. Mayer Hawthorne and Electric Wire Hustle are two of my favorite recent soul acts.
Mayer Hawthorne is a former hip-hop producer from California who went the way of soul. He released his debut, A Strange Arrangement in 2009 and has been making waves with his lo-fi, retro soul sound. Apparently, when he brought demos to certain label representatives; they were appalled at his attempts to sell genuine, classic soul music as his own. Little did they know, Hawthorne was not trying to steal classic soul, these demos were his own. Hawthorne played all the instruments as well as vocals on the album. He also produced and the sound is impeccable. This glasses-wearing, skateboarding, nerdy, young producer from California was able to seamlessly create music with a wonderfully perfect retro soul sound to it.

Electric Wire Hustle is a more recent discovery for me. I found them while browsing blogs. They were receiving some pretty heavy praise and I figured, can’t be half bad can it? Wow this New Zealand group blew me away. Equal parts retro soul soundscapes, and J Dilla style instrumentals, this group is shockingly addictive. “Gimme That Kinda” and “They Don’t Want” are both highlight tracks off of the group’s eponymous debut. 

Waters (Rehearsal) - Electric Wire Hustle

Check out Electric Wire Hustle's website here

Dan Nixon Uses a Kinect to Make a Music Video for Young Silence by Echo Lake

Swirls of distortion drenched in reverb, walls of sound echoing through church-like digital spaces grounded by a slow pulsing kick and the crash of cymbals and hi-hats. And that’s just the music featured in the first music video to be made using a Kinect, Young Silence by Echo Lake, directed by filmmaker Dan Nixon. Nixon hacked the Kinect and fed the video into his laptop, into custom software allowing him to manipulate the data and create an art form out of the Kinect’s camera. The song is the single off of Echo Lake’s upcoming debut, due out on Valentines Day. Echo Lake’s psychedelic music is a haunting combination of pop and noise.

Young Silence - Echo Lake


Lupe's Second Single, Bassnectar Always Goes Hard

Lupe Fiasco dropped his second single recently and he dropped the usual, an ill track. He drops some real heavy lines in this and is at his political peak. Skylar Grey sings a hook that doesn't quite equal the one in Dr. Dre's "I Need A Doctor", but the rest of Lupe's track take's care of that, outdoin' Dre by far. Bass is heavy and crunches in your face on top of a rock style drum kit.

Words I Never Said ft. Skylar Grey - Lupe Fiasco

Bassnectar is at the top of his game releasing a consistent stream of fire tracks. Here's his remix of a tunegrape favorite, Ellie Goulding. Like I've said before, her light and ethereal voice works with the signature dark subs and the Bassnectar subs are always heavy.

Lights (Bassnectar Remix) - Ellie Goulding

and speaking of Bassnectar, well, I was never a big Metallica fan but damn...
Seek and Destroy (Bassnectar Remix) - Metallica

By the way, here's a leak from Alexander Ebert of Ima Robot & Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros fame's debut solo, Million Years. Some typical Ebert fun mood and folky soundscape. That's not a diss though, he sticks with a formula that's working for him, as long as he doesn't over does it he still seems to be on a roll.
Million Years - Alexander Ebert

Abstract Beats TV

I made a post about him a few weeks ago, but I'm going to write another. My man Abstract's prolific catalog is worth a look and he's trying to make moves, big moves. Unfortunately the music industry is different these days, and people don't get signed on the potential to make money in the future, they get signed if they make money immediately. Small artists with small fan bases don't get signed. So help out Abstract, spread the word, make Abstract a known name in the music world. He's got the talent, he just needs fans to back him up. Tell people, tell everyone, especially people with connects. Abstract, the real thing, peace.

Abstract Beats TV

Bet This Doesn't Come to Mind When You Think Black Eyed Peas

Before the Black Eyed Peas become in intolerable pop standard group that they are today, they were a hip hop group completely indebted to the Native Tongues movement. Back then they were less concerned by dollar bills, Billboard charts and such, following the path of positive vibes and jazz tinged beats instead. This was pre-Fergie as well. So can we blame Fergie for aiding in the destruction of real rap in the mainstream? Probably, at least a little bit.

Karma - Black Eyed Peas

Joints & Jams - Black Eyed Peas


Two Great Bands to Enhance Snow Day Relaxation.

7ft. Soundsystem

I work for a direct-to-fan music platform that provides artists with the opportunity to bypass major labels and other features of the conventional music industry in order to take control of their business and really access their fans. I was checking out some hot bands on our roster and found these guys, 7ft. Soundsystem. They provide a great combination of reggae and electronic sounds with a constant and heavy sub bass humming through each songs. The digital dub music duo creates some really cool and relaxed vibes, check them out.

Of God and Science

While I'm on the subject of bands found through my company heres another one to check it while you're at it. Of God and Science, a great folk/rock group. Banjos, pianos and acoustic guitars flourish in their soundscapes topped with melodic vocals and a good amount of vocal harmonies. Both bands are worth the time, a guarantee, trust me.

Late Night Playlist + New Wiz Khalifa Track, No Not Rollin Up

Late night playlist time. I'm spending my night on Hypem tonight so I figured I'd make a solid playlist instead of 12,000 posts. So here it is, the late night, here comes February mixtape.

Limit to Your Love - James Blake
A track off UK ambient electronic composer James Blake's eponymous debut. This is a striking track that alternates between sections of piano ballad type music and chorus dominated by a heavy wobbling sub bass.

Days ft. Romy Madley Croft - Creep (Deadboy Remix)
Next is the Deadboy remix of the eerie Days by Creep, featuring the always pleasant and ethereal Romy Madley Croft of The xx.

Devils - Say Hi
Say Hi, formed by Eric Elbogen, is usually known for Elbogen's soft mumbled vocals and quiet guitar. He is best known for mumbling through emotional and quirky lovelorn songs but the single of his latest album Um, Uh Oh is a significant departure from his sound. It seems as if he's taken a que from Modest Mouse almost. I like the way it sounds though and I'm a fan of the change.

Young Folks (Peter Bjorn and John Remix) - Kanye West
Kanye also went with a departure from his more recent sounds for this song. A Plain Pat produced reworked version of Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John. Good Stuff.

Empire Ants (Miami Horror Remix) - Gorillaz
The Miami Horror remix of Empire Ants by the Gorillaz has a great house sound to it and a banging bass. A great dance track that carries with a solid upbeat vibe.

D.A.N.C.E (Eli & Diplo Remix) - Justice
The Eli & Diplo Remix of the classic track D.A.N.C.E. by Justice features a great funky bassline that really adds to the disco feel and drives it in a more old school direction. Diplo has a magic touch and any track with his name attached deserves attention.

On My Level - Wiz Khalifa
I wasn't a fan of Wiz's single Rollin Up, but he definitely makes up for that unpleasant anomaly with this song. A great minimalist beat that's a departure from Wiz's more recent mixtapes. This brings me back to the Show and Prove stuff he used to do.


Gorillaz Play Crystallized by The xx at BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge

The Gorillaz covered Crystallized by The xx to an interesting effect. It's very hard to recreate the sound The xx have sculpted in their wonderful debut, but the Gorillaz put forth a valiant effort and it turned out pretty cool. The vocals don't work as well as in the original. Damon Albarn's voice lacks the cherub and haunting quality of Romy Madley Croft. They also slowed the song down noticeably. If I had to choose one or the other, I'd choose The xx, but I'm not trying to knock the Gorillaz at all. They made a great attempt at covering the song, and it is good, it just doesn't carry the same mood. Unfortunately for the Gorillaz, mood and atmosphere are two crucial components in the sound The xx have cultivated.

Fleet Foxes First Single, "Helplessness Blues", Shows the World is in Store for Another Successful Fleet Foxes Record

Helplessness Blues celebrates the repetitive aspects of human nature. Singer Robin Peckhold declares that although he was raised to think he was unique and different, he is comfortable with being just a cog in the machine. He is finding comfort in the fact that he is simply a human being. Now this celebration of normalcy is coming from Fleet Foxes, who are following up their highly successful and critically acclaimed second album, Sun Giant. The song seems split into two parts, initially powered by the fast paced strum of of acoustic guitar chords, which later give way to the rhythm section, along with a less prominent, guitar pedal laden guitar. A comforting and masterfully put together example of folk as well as an interesting song lyrically. Peckhold ends the song with the simple line, "Someday I'll be like the man on the screen." Well Mr. Peckhold, you may not be the man on the screen, but you are the man who is soon to be on the radio and all over iTunes yet again. What Fleet Foxes gets out of their music is derivative of what they put in, pure talent.

Right Click to Download: Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes

Check in with Billboard to see where I stole the above picture from, read more about the upcoming release and peep some Fleet Foxes tour dates.


Dancing Hats

Put on your dancing hat...

Questlove Discusses his Influences

I just saw a pretty cool tweet from Questlove, on long twit, or something like that. I've never heard of the website but apparently its for long tweets. Anyway, it was him describing the two biggest influences on his drumming style, the drumming of Stevie Wonder and Prince. Yeah, not people known for their drumming, but check out his explanation. Obviously, as the drummer for the Roots, he's a musician who knows his stuff and he name drops a few great tracks as examples of Stevie Wonder and Prince's individual drumming styles.

Love Having You Around - Stevie Wonder

Irresistible Bitch - Prince