Monthly Archives: February 2012

Listen to New Death Grips

Death Grips released one of last years finest albums with Exmilitary and now the incredibly intense outfit are set to release two separate albums in 2012. At the very least will have a suitable soundtrack for when the Mayan apolocaypse finally kicks off.

The first album is titled The Money Store and is due for release on the 23rd of April on Epic Records.The second album titled No Love is due some time in the autumn. You can watch the video to their new track ‘Get Got’ off of Money Store below. It’s ferocious and intense and we’d bet a fair bit of money that your mum probably wouldn’t like it.

‘Get Got’ follows ‘Black Jack’ which was uploaded with a video earlier this month:

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John Talabot – Fin



John Talabot is another man masked in mystery. With his face concealed in a veil  of Tin- Foil,  this Barcelona-based producer has released a continuous flow of underground house records since 2009; all of which are deep, cavernous floor-fillers that have been murdering the dance- floor with their glorious, upbeat licks.

Over his relatively short career Talabot has released on a few labels, Permanent Vacation, Young Turks and his own Hivern Discs imprint, and it’s this avenue that Talabot has decided to release his debut Fin, a mysterious, sad and pulsing house record that is not only a significant departure from previous material, but is one of the best releases of the year so far.

While this record replicates the sounds of the inner city, and the alley way ambiance of  producers like Burial, the first track ‘Depak Ine’ hints at another side of this metropolitan hustle.  Centering around this  eerie Amazonian jungle loop, Talabot plays on the similarities between urban decay and the constricting nature of the rainforest, and utilises the mystery of these sounds to create a thick collage of interlocking primal melodies which all groove gloriously around the steady clicks and shuffles of progressive house.

Despite the strangness of these sounds, this record is certainly geared toward  the 5 AM sweat pit of the dance-floor. ‘Destiny ft. Pional ‘ showcases the strong undercurrent of pop, and soulful house prevalent in his material. Pional’s lush, and layered, vocal lines perfectly compliment the angelic swoops of the synth that sound like showers of gold dust against the gruff metropolitan beat.

Throughout the record Talabot perfectly orchestrates these points into moments of striking analog beauty. As the record progresses, it is clear that Talabot is not remotely intimidated by the confines of house , and the skeletal structure of the basic 4/4 pattern.  Constantly morphing the beat around this  machine gun syncopation,  it’s mutating the confines of the basic 4/4 pattern that Talabot really uses his artistic vision to attack the senses. ‘ Oro Y Strange’ is a harrowing track that loops around desolate screams, replicating the dark sounds of the city’s underbelly. One of the many highlights of this record is the gloriously upbeat “Last Land”, a euphoric club-banger that once again showcases the producers skill in creating strong rhythmic tracks that seem eternal and ever progressive.

As you can probably tell this record is packed full of suprises at every turn, so I’ll leave the next bit up to you. All I can say is,  even if you don’t do anything else today, go and listen to this record.  Thank me later.

Alex Hall

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Listen to: DJ Harvey’s R.A. Mix

Resident Advisor has marked a significant landmark in their excellent podcast mix series by recruiting legendary, DJ Harvey, for a long ass, bad ass mix.

Number #300 is surely one of the weirdest mixes (I obviously don’t know for sure as I haven’t listened to all 300 like an uber-nerd) to be put together for RA. Forget cutting edge bass tracks or slices of contemporary electronic soundscapes, DJ Harvey’s mix is a raw, almost-disconcerting jigsaw of funk, psychedelic, rock and afro-centric tunes. Like a historic photo-documentary of carnivals over the past four or so decades, the mix throws up flashes of a thousand different places and time periods. All in dark party mode. All of which, at the very least, provides a bit of oomph to an otherwise potentially impotent Monday afternoon.

Listen to el Mix-o and read el interview-o. 

Gavin Williams

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Listen to Dean Blunt’s Narcissist II

We rather like Hype Williams, it’s the sort of post everything electronic music that only becomes possible in an age of ubiquitous high speed internet. Now Dean Williams, one half of the duo, has released a mind bending mix-tape on his soundcoud titled The Narcissist II. It’s a compelling and often times abrasive mix of done, soul and R & B, and it’s weirdly addictive once you give in to its depraved charms.

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Listen to new Gorillaz, James Murphy, and Andre 3000 collaboration.

Gorillaz have recorded a collaboration with James Murphy of DFA fame, and Andre 3000, the more flamboyant half of Outkast. It’s about as funky and good as you’d expect, and Andre 3000’s verse is particularly outstanding.

The tracks been recorded as part of a Converse promotion, so maybe corporations controlling every facet of modern life isn’t such a bad thing after all, at least when the outcomes are this thumping. Blacktar says bring on the dystopian cyber punk future if we can continously get our groove on to tracks like this, and perhaps we can literally never stop getting our groove on once we all become cyborgs.

Stream the track below or head over to our stylish basketball shoe corporate overlords website to download the track.

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Listen to: Madlib remix- Jadakiss V DOOM

As part of his sprawling series Madlib Medicine Show, the most blunted Hip-Hop producer Madlib is set to release Madlib Medicine Show #13: Black Tape on the 1st of March. This remix- an infectiously jazzy collision between DOOM and Jadakiss- is the first cut to surface from the album.

But apart from being a key piece in the jigsaw of Madlib’s masterplan and an insight into his incredible work ethic, the bottom line is that this remix is a pure belter. It initially sounds like the quasi-funk groove is slowly submerging itself into dark waters (again highlighting how the finest work from DOOM and Madlib has so often been when the two have married their sounds together) before flitting excitingly through cartoonish sonic U-turns, Dada-ist non-sequiturs and Ghostface sampling “RUN!”s. All in under three minutes. And, as a bonus, the apparently controversial artwork has been described as featuring “mutant porn”. Thank you, Madlib, for inviting us into your strange, strange world.

Gavin Williams

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Watch new Chromatics Video

Gloomy Italians Do It Better synth-pop band Chromatics’s have a new album titled Kill For Love due for release at any moment now. It’s been a five year wait since last album Night Drive had folks demurely nodding their heads on dance floors, and that wait has been extended as Kill for Love has missed its January release date; a delay likely caused by mysterious, sexy and urbane circumstances

In the meantime you can instead settle for the sexy, vintage filter drenched video to album track ‘Lady’. It’s not too shabby a number at all and it also has the distinct effect of reminding us how damn cool Ryan Gosling was in Drive, but perhaps our Gosling man-crush is beside the point.

Watch the video below:

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THEESatisfaction “Queens”

THEESatisfaction are Stas and Cat from Seattle, two women who started a hip hop project at college a few years back. Since then, the project has grown after  the duo appeared on the majestic Shabazz Palace record Black Up last year, and became the second hip hop group to be signed to Sub Pop’s beat exploration, with Awe Naturale due for released in late March.

The first cut, ‘Queens’,  is a jazzy, upbeat, slab of disco-inspired grooviness.  Initially pulsing around a simple 4/4 beat, the ladies inform us  to “leave our swag at the door”; they are like some old soul-sisters, telling us that street bullshit is not welcome here,  you can imagine them telling you to take your elbows from the table, or stop chewing with your mouth open. While this track is polite, and miles apart from the Odd future gang, the feel to this track is still satisfying, and a nice change of direction from frantic teenage profanity. Nonetheless, this style will not satisfy everyone’s taste for gritty street poetry, and Black Tar hopes future cuts from this duo are closer to the bone.


Alex Hall 

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Shlomo – ‘Rained the Whole Time’ (Nicolas Jaar remix)


We’ve been digging man of the moment Shlomo’s new EP ‘Vacation’, and now New York wonderboy Nicolas Jaar has remixed ‘Rained the Whole Time’.

Jaar keeps it simple but effective throughout. In a typically understated cut, Jaar’s field recordings add colour and depth to a twangy guitar line and glitchy hi-hats. Less is more.

The full remix EP also features Airhead, Salva and Groundislava. Listen to Nicolas Jaar’s cut below:

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Black Tar chats to Dirty Beaches

If Dirty Beaches transferred the sounds from Badlands  onto a  physical canvas the results would  still be the same, a Dirty Beach-covered in people’s junk and grime,  a strange and surreal place surrounded by cavenous holes and ravenes, with one tall, solitary figure, crooning into the wind. The protagonist to this hopeless tale is Alex Zhang Hungtai, the lone ranger in this plane of 50’s drawl and phantom pop. Alex is a Vancouver resident,  who has also lived in Montreal, Toronto, Honolulu and Taiwan, and it’s this displacement, and the images left to him of his rockabilly father, that characterises most of the project. Clearly there is more here than retro nostalgia, so Black Tar talked to the man himself about life on the road,  the confines of Lo-Fi culture and D.I.Y food poison remedies.

BLACK TAR: Hi Alex, could you briefly introduce yourself and tell us about Dirty Beaches?

Alex Zhang Hungtai: Dirty Beaches started as a one man project in 2005 after I moved to Montreal, it has since evolved to many different incarnations.

BT: How is the tour going?

AZH: Tour is going great, we just had a few bumps in the beginning with equipment malfunction (fried ax adapters…) and me getting food poisoned, but nothing a little apple cider vinegar can’t fix. (special thanks to home girl Frankie rose for the home remedy)

 BT : There are a lot of references to travel and general motion in you music. Is touring something you enjoy/ romanticise?

AZH: I think the previous answer kills the mystery and romanticism behind it. Touring is hard work, but I love it and rather do this than any other job in the world

BT :  Black Tar saw you play in London last year with a saxophone player. Would you ever  consider permanentley expanding the ranks of Dirty Beaches?

AZH: Yeah the live line up has been changing constantly, I’m currently on tour as a 3 piece electronic band, hoping to transition into form in prep for the next album. it will always change depending on the ideas that come.

BT : How do you write and record your material?

AZH: It changes depending on the accessibility of the type of equipment I can assemble that’s within my budget. I’ve recorded on a shoebox tape recorder, computers, protools, etc. environments vary from my apartment, friends kitchen, basement, to a proper nice studio in Italy.

BT : Do you view the lo-fi and tape culture as an artistic preference or a financial restriction to how you want your music to sound?

AZH: Def a financial restriction.  All my friends and I would kill to record in a nice studio, and work with a sound engineer that’s not a cunt, with Wurlitzer, fender Rhodes, organ, vintage amps / mics/ mixing board & record on reel to reel tape. Who wouldn’t want that?  But again, who can afford that.

BT :  In interviews you tend to get asked about the cinematic qualities to your music.  How important is this to you? The visualisation of your music?

AZH: I never really put much thought into it until people started to bring it up more frequently in interviews. But yes it does have a lot of correlations.

BT : Can you tell me about any new material you have coming up? If so, how does it differ from the stuff on Badlands?

AZH: Yeah I’m really excited about the new materials, mostly working w drum machines, bass, keys, oscillators this time. Taking a break from samples.

BT : Who you digging at the moment?

AZH: My friends in Montreal : Femminielli, and Tonstartssbandht. 

BT : Finally, hopes/plans/dreams for 2012?

AZH: Would love to tour eastern Europe, south Africa, south America and Asia.


Words  by Alex Hall

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