Modeselektor return to U.S. soil & pound our ears with their new material at a sold-out Echoplex

ModeselektorBy Josh Herwitt //

Modeselektor //
Echoplex – Los Angeles
April 4th, 2019 //

As electronic music continues to evolve in 2019, it appears as if the EDM craze that once was has started to fade. Sure, dance-centric festivals such as Ultra, EDC and Electric Zoo continue to thrive, but the amount has slowly tapered off over the last few years with hip-hop and R&B grabbing more of the mainstream spotlight lately.

So, where does a veteran electronic act like Modeselektor fit into the equation these days?

We’re not quite sure to be honest, but after making music together for more than two decades, Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary are still selling out clubs with their dark, pulsating beats and brash, in-your-face sounds.

The Berlin IDM (short for “Intelligent Dance Music”) duo is a favorite of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s believe it or not and yet, has only released four studio albums to go along with a handful of EPs since forming in 1996. Although to be completely fair, their side project with fellow German electronic musician Apparat (born Sascha Ring) under the name Moderat has also been quite the success in recent years as we have witnessed on more than one occasion, including the 2016 edition of Lightning in a Bottle (read our festival review here) and a stellar performance at The Mayan (read our show review here) in 2017 after playing Coachella’s first weekend (read our review here).

Modeselektor

One of those four LPs is Who Else, the eight-track release after a nearly eight-year layoff that dropped in February on Modeselektor’s own Monkeytown Records as the follow-up to 2011’s Monkeytown, which earned them a closing set in the Mojave Tent at Coachella a few months later where Yorke surprisingly joined them onstage for “Shipwreck” during Weekend 2.

At LA’s Echoplex last Thursday, we didn’t have the fortune of getting another surprise cameo from Yorke, but it was intriguing to see a sold-out crowd welcome Bronsert and Szary back to the City of Angels under the Modeselektor moniker for the first time in a long time (and on a school night no less). And considering they were only stopping through two U.S. cities — LA and NYC the night before at Elsewhere in Brooklyn — on this tour, the show felt a little extra special for those of us in attendance due to the circumstances.

Bronsert and Szary made mention of the jet lag that they were experiencing more than once, and with both now being of a certain age, it’s not quite as easy as it once was for them to get onstage night after night and do their thing. They certainly overcame it, as Szary jumped on top of their DJ booth several times while performing to engage an audience that conveyed its appreciation for his efforts (he even took a cigarette break onstage later on, too).

Who Else runs only 34 minutes long, with “Wealth”, “I Am Your God” and “Who” serving as its three singles, which meant that Modeselektor had time to sprinkle in some of their older material throughout a 17-song gig lasting roughly 90 minutes. One of those tracks was “The Black Block” off their 2007 sophomore full length Happy Birthday!, while even two remixed covers — Shed’s “Dark Planet” and Headhunter’s “Prototype” — were on the setlist. But the finale is what stuck out most, as Modeselektor showed Yorke some more love with an Atoms for Peace cover of “Default” on the supergroup’s lone record Amok that came out more than six years ago. It was a fitting choice given the connection Yorke has had with the outfit, and one that proved Bronsert and Szary, nevertheless, have what it takes to keep us right on our toes after all these years.

Setlist:
Grillwalker
Dark Planet (Modeselektor remix) (Shed cover)
WMF Love Song
Kalif Storch
German Clap
The Black Block
I Am Your God
(Unknown)
Prügelknabe
Wealth
Prototype (Modeselektor’s Broken Handbrake Remix) (Headhunter cover)
One United Power
Who
Wake Me Up When It’s Over
Berlin

Encore:
Blue Clouds
Default (Atoms for Peace cover)

Modeselektor

Modeselektor

Modeselektor

Showbams’ Top 50 albums of 2014

Best-albums-2014-coverBy Mike Frash, Josh Herwitt, Molly Kish, Steve Wandrey & Kevin Quandt //

Showbams presents the Top 50 albums released in 2014 (yes, all of 2014) that we just can’t stop listening to.

These are the albums that made us double-take upon first listen, while also being auditory art pieces that we continue to spin as we head into 2015. They are the bundles of songs that innovated and inspired us more than the rest, signifying musical progression, defining our time with a soundtrack that challenges traditional expectations, while boldly trekking into new frontiers of pop music.

Because as music continues to become more accessible, the bridge between independent and mainstream gets shorter each year.

The 25 Best Live Music Acts of 2014
Showbams’ Top 50 Albums of 2014

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2014:


1. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2

run-the-jewelsSo often sequels don’t deliver, but ascending hip-hop stars Killer Mike and El-P have simply progressed their brilliance as Run The Jewels one year removed from their first official collaboration. From the top of RTJ2, Michael Render manages to set a higher bar for pumped-up aggression, there’s more social activism laced throughout, more special guests that only add to the fuck boy-crushing populist mentality. And compared to RTJ1, there are more stand-alone gems that are primed for remixing and cultural integration. The sequencing is superb, and El and Mike are having more fun than ever as they tour the world and snowball momentum with their brand of hardcore, yet intricate rap that contains shades of weird. Like a championship baseball team, the songs in the two hole through cleanup hitter offer the biggest impact, wreaking instant classics upon us with masterful experimental production from El-P that emits new, subtle surprises the more you listen. As the album unfolds, tales of police brutality (“Early”), introspection and personal improvement (“Crown”), along with over the top raunch (“Love Again”) prove RTJ2 shines in every moment in a variety of ways through multiple lanes of success. -Mike Frash


2. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream

war-on-drugs-lost-in-dream-album-coverWhen a truly inspired artist borrows from the past while looking to the future, the outcome can be something fully new and exciting, which is what we have here. The brilliance of Adam Granduciel lies in his delivery, both musically and lyrically, crooning about the sometimes-not-so-simple intricacies of existence. Life, love and everything else in between can be tricky, yet Granduciel calmly assures us that things can work out.

Granduciel knows how to structure albums with the best of them — this acutely demonstrated via the nine-minute, sprawling opener “Under the Pressure”. First single “Red Eyes” keeps on a similar path as we sink deeper in, bobbing along to the pounding drum machine that has been a constant over the years for the Philly-based band. “Disappearing” takes us soaring above the clouds as we hear new, thrilling piano instrumentation with warm bass lines, creating a sense of weightlessness and flight. An extremely strong finishing track, “In Reverse” perfectly captures the fleeting minutes on this release before jarring us back into a slightly crueler reality. The long play of this record is so rewarding, and it grows with hopes that more can be brought into the light. Oh, and that the state rock ‘n’ roll is just fine. -Kevin Quandt


3. D’Angelo and the VanguardBlack Messiah

dangelo-black-messiahThere’s an intentional off-kilter spontaneity and cohesive force at the center of D’Angelo’s first album in 15 years, Black Messiah. The percussive and vocal syncopation here makes the off-beat feel natural — layered vocals get treated with filters and are multi-tracked to lend an unfamiliar presence to the back-and-forth vocal pitch shifts D’Angelo employs from line to line.

The end product is a record that possesses its own musical language, telling stories that are incredibly meaningful, but achieve balance between serious and playful, while always being sexy. The confusing, driving funk of the first two cuts give way to “The Charade”, which manages to hit a rare aural sweat spot of ultra-pleasurability. But then “Sugah Daddy” follows as an unplanned Sunday in the park, with vocal scats skipping along to the breezy song’s pacing. D’Angelo arguably can now join the ranks of the all-time great R&B/soul artists with the delivery of his long-awaited third record. -MF


4. Future IslandsSingles

Future IslandSingles jumps right out of the gates, showing its cards early, presenting the listener with Future Island’s trademark new-school, new-wave sound. Samuel Herring’s vocals are stunning as he pitches and growls through tales of the tougher side of love. It’s pretty, gripping and powerful while also holding certain pop sentiments, lending to an overall lightness while being arresting. “Seasons (Waiting On You)” is a quintessential slice of the emotion this band has become well known for both onstage and in the studio. “Doves” balances all the elements nicely, shining a light on the top-notch production featured on Singles. -KQ


5. Aphex TwinSyro

FINAL MASTER SYRO DIGIPAK.inddRichard D. James has been practically an enigma for the last decade plus, hiding out in a small Scottish village of 300 and releasing no new music as Aphex Twin since 2006. But the long layoff hasn’t changed the fact that he remains one of the most unique and influential electronic producers in the game today. Some of James’ best material on Syro comes early on, from his club-oriented mixes like “minipops 67 [120.2]” to the techno funk ­he crafts on the ensuing “XMAS_EVET10 [120]” and “produk 29 [101].” These aren’t beats designed to make you sweat your ass off — if anything, the cerebral nature of James’ work makes him the ultimate antithesis of the current EDM scene. -Josh Herwitt


6. Flying LotusYou’re Dead!

Flylo_youre_deadOn Flying Lotus’s latest record You’re Dead!, the Los Angeles producer forgoes the acid kool-aide test for a cyanide kool-aide dive straight into a fourth dimensional confrontation with the afterlife. You’re Dead masterfully trips through the journey of the soul into the next episode with sun-scorched psychedelia, 8-bit snapshots of g-funk and gorgeously redemptive jazz. The cold transition between the frantic jazz freak out of Kendrick Lamar featuring “Never Catch Me” and the cooled-out West Coast bounce of Snoop Dogg and FlyLo alter-ego Captain Murphy’s “Dead Man’s Tetris” highlights the producer’s prolific ability to craft varying hip-hop textures. FlyLo fully buries his new album’s death aesthetic through ecstatic, free-form layers of acid jazz and sprawling EDM planes of sound. -John Venanzi, Community Review


7. St. VincentSt. Vincent

St. VincentAnnie Clark ups the electronic ante on her fourth studio album. Branching out of her experimental indie-pop compositions, she embraces more cohesive arrangements that ironically focus her creativity on deconstructed production and sound obstruction. Both equally impressive in sound quality and sass, the opening tracks “Rattlesnake” and “Birth in Reverse” set the tone for the rest of the records’ exciting stylistic shifts and the intriguing unveiling of Clark’s gritty rock goddess persona. “Digital Witness” is a spot-on snapshot of our brave new 21st century day-to-day reality. Unapologetic, raw and sonically genius, St. Vincent is Clark’s breakthrough moment, and she appears to be doing it all with ease. -Molly Kish


8. Mac DeMarcoSalad Days

Mac DemarcoMac DeMarco’s signature style is here. It’s still fresh and in ways stronger than ever; it’s more pointed, focused and accessible. DeMarco is able to write in a way that allows the listener to easily empathize with him, as he turns his issues into ones that most of us have dealt with at some point. In “Chamber of Reflection”, it’s easy to really feel a sense of solitude. “Goodbye Weekend” sounds like a stoney Sunday afternoon coming to a soothing end. Every track has a personality of its own while holding up the overall ethos of the album. This album is lighthearted enough for multiples listens in a row with its breezy beach vibe, but also easily induces deep thoughts with its many lyrical gems. -Steve Wandrey


9. CaribouOur Love

our-loveWhat we have here is one of the most addictive albums of 2014. Our Love keeps deep house in its front pocket with steady beats per minute and an introspective mantra-centric lyrical conceit, but it’s also exploratory in nature, finding success in consistently building toward intense, euphoric plateaus. A steady flow of pleasant sounds ascend into impacting transcendence with “Can’t Do Without You”, “Silver” and “Your Love Will Set You Free”, and you must give Snaith extra credit for the masterful pacing and song-to-song flow — there is never a “skip ahead” moment. Like many classic albums, it opens up if you give it more time to radiate around your head, and listening to it becomes more pleasurable over time, even though it is mostly presented in poetic simplicity. -MF


10. Sun Kil MoonBenji

Sun Kil MoonBenji must be interpreted as a concept album about death, but more importantly, it’s about the importance details related to memory. For example, the title is taken from what seems like a throw-away line toward the end of the breathtaking “Micheline”. It’s powerful, visceral storytelling that is self-reflexive and biographical, yet so relatable that it compels personal introspection from the listener’s own experiences. Mark Kozelek’s lyrics are the centerpiece of the listening experience — they are so deep and resonant that the instrumentals and production are absorbed secondarily, although the stripped-down approach is intentional and noteworthy. Built around obsessing about the state of human demise — and the randomness of it — it’s easy to join Kozelek’s dire state of mind hours or days after listening. -MF


11. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
12. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
13. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
14. Spoon – They Want My Soul
15. Ariel Pink – pom pom
16. Beck – Morning Phase
17. Jack White – Lazaretto
18. The Black Keys – Turn Blue
19. Tycho — Awake
20. TV on the Radio – Seeds

21. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
22. Tweedy – Sukierae
23. Jungle – Jungle
24. Temples – Sun Structures
25. tUnE-yArDs – Nikki Nack
26. Death from Above 1979 – The Physical World
27. Ty Segall – Manipulator
28. The Antlers – Familiars
29. Real Estate – Atlas
30. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

31. Cold War Kids – Hold My Home
32. Interpol – El Pintor
33. Alt-J – This Is All Yours
34. Swans – To Be Kind
35. Strand of Oaks – HEAL
36. White Fence – For the Recently Found Innocent
37. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata
38. Phantogram – Voices
39. Broken Bells – After the Disco
40. SOHN – Tremors

41. The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
42. Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
43. Karen O — Crush Songs
44. Chet Faker – Built on Glass
45. Woods – With Light and with Love
46. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
47. Kishi Bashi – Lighght
48. Mark McGuire – Along The Way
49. Courtney Barnett – The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas
50. Adult Jazz – Gist Is

Run-the-Jewels4

The-War-on-Drugs5

10.future-islands

4.st-vincent

12.Ryan Adams

Sharon-Van-Etten_post

Spoon

Tycho

TVOTR

Temples

8.tune-yards

Real-Estate

Interpol

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Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes // Community Review

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alt-jTomorrow’s Modern Boxes //

Radiohead frontman and iconic dancer Thom Yorke turned an otherwise normal Friday into a worldwide listening party last week with the surprise release of his second solo record, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.

Distributing the eight-track collection through a BitTorrent paygate for six bucks, Yorke has gone beyond his criticism of modern music streaming by attempting to change the game. The album was downloaded 116 thousand times in the first 24 hours, with over 500,000 total downloads so far. So, is it any good?

Click here to get Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.

BAM TEAM META-RANKING:
3-5-bams_fix2

Thom Yorke is marveled as a musical superhero, and although his solo works are somewhat predictable, his reverence for sustaining and creating a practical business model for artists on the Internet is greatly respectable. Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, inspired by this very concept, is like an anesthetic. It’s hypnotic and easy to get lost in, and at times has the listener popping in and out of consciousness with its moody, lo-fi beats and enchanting vocals. It lacks some of the catchier tracks (“The Eraser” and “Black Swan”) from his last effort, The Eraser, but overall it’s a pleasant surprise and should hold over most Radiohead fans until their next album. -Anthony Presti
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: A Brain In A Bottle

Thom jumps straight out the gates on this stealthy release. His ever-evolving love for bass-laden electronic music is clearly evident within the first minute of Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, and doesn’t let up in this sublimely paced mini-LP that is sure to wet the whistle of Radiohead and Yorke fans, alike. Shifty samples are layered over warm keys and haunting piano segments – a pairing that Thom and co-producer, Nigel Godrich, have become extremely fond of in the past decade or so. Yorke’s past adoration for Aphex Twin combined with his current love for artists such as Mark Pritchard, Actress and Pearson Sound are clearly defined in this futuristic amalgam. Can we expect these elements present in the impending Radiohead release? One can only hope…. -Kevin Quandt
4 BAMS // Top Song: Guess Again!
 
It’s no secret that Thom Yorke has a thing for electronic music. The Radiohead frontman, after all, has been known to stage a surprise DJ set from time to time, including one in LA as recently as last month. Quite fittingly, the unanticipated release of his second solo record late last week via BitTorrent Bundle comes as quite a surprise after news surfaced just a few weeks ago that Radiohead had begun work on their ninth studio album. But if Radiohead’s new material ends up sounding like what Yorke delivers on Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, then we may not have as much to look forward to as we think. Minimal in nature, the eight-track album sees Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich playing with both sound and song structure as glitchy dance beats pave the way for strange and amorphous melodies, but it’s under these circumstances that Yorke’s experimental propensities can sometimes get the best of him. -Josh Herwitt
3 BAMS // Top Song: Nose Grows Some

The percussion-driven polyrhythm & syncopation from The King of Limbs and Amok continues to evolve here, but Yorke’s voice is treated more as an accompanying instrument in his second solo effort. Yorke is experimenting with technology and modulation techniques about as much as his marketing and distribution, and it plays mostly as a dreamy soundscape mirrored against spicy, digitized freak-out exhileration. Full of rewarding moments, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes induces spaced-out bliss along with a deflated back third of the record — except for finale “Nose Grows Some,” which is one of the best songs in the litter. -Mike Frash
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: The Mother Lode

Following the pattern begun with The Eraser, Thom Yorke continues with laptop whirls, blips, and even less melody. Relying more heavily on groove, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes carries the same general attitude as both its predecessor and Radiohead’s recent direction. The album feels redundant and its flow monotonous, satisfying but not thrilling or electrifying. -Steven Wandrey
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: A Brain In A Bottle

Thom Yorke’s latest solo album comes at you like a commuter train, at a moderate but reliable pace… and this is not a bad thing by any means. Though it doesn’t re-invent the wheel, the steady, hypnotic rhythms and characteristically tasty vocals make this a very pleasant album to listen to. I can easily see many of the cuts standing on their own in a club setting, just as much as I can see the rush to remix them with more break beats. Well done. -Andrew Pohl
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: Guess Again!

Leave your own quick review or comment below.

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15 things to expect at Treasure Island Music Festival

TIMF-2013-cover

Expect to see or experience these 15 things at Treasure Island Music Festival 2013:

1) Thom Yorke dancing like this:

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2) 27% of females in attendance will borrow their boyfriend/girlfriend’s jacket because they came ready for warmer weather, forgetting the festival takes place in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

14% of the boyfriend/girlfriends’ that gave up their layer will buy a TIMF hoodie.


3) A group of drunk British blokes and Palma Violets’ manager/hype-man/party-starter Harry Violent lead the pogo-pit charge at 1:30, proceeding to get much of the crowd to join them. Impressive for an early Sunday show.


4) Move over dubstep. Meet the most amazing bass-face in contemporary music:


5) Old and Young lose their shit to Disclosure’s breakout tracks like “Fire Starts to Burn” and “Latch” — Treasure Island will hence be dubbed “Dance Island”.


6) Danny Brown’sKush Coma” illustrates how wonderfully stoned the Bay Area is, soundtracking the scene with 27 weed references. And, that’s only the marijuana references!


7) You walk in early on Sunday, swear to yourself you’re hearing Beck, but it’s actually Cayucas.


8) Overheard at Holy Ghost! sunset show: 

‘Bridge and Tunnel’, that’s the name of the two stages!!!”
“Dude, this is this is the new LCD.”
“And my Dad said Disco was dead, pshhhh.”


9) As the ‘mad shuttle dash’ begins during the Atoms for Peace encore, the festival faithful will enjoy every last note, understanding that shuttle lines offer time to recap the day! Or you could plan your own exit route.


10) The one guy with the furry hat that never leaves Silent Disco.

rabbit_ultra2012


11) Diplo attempts to talk the crowd into breaking Big Freedia’s twerking world record during the Major Lazer set, but only 6 girls in the front row “express themselves” as Diplo takes a cell phone pic, then tweets it.


12) That adorable couple that stakes out a small spot between the Tunnel and Bridge stages and sees all 13 acts in one spot Sunday.

Youth-Lagoon


13) A beautiful James Blake sunset show moment confirms why you live in San Francisco or Oakland.


14) You swear you won’t wait in line for the ferris wheel, but end up giving in by the end of the night on Saturday or Sunday.

Sunset


15) Overheard from first time TIMF attendee:

“Wait, both stages are right here with no overlapping sets? Awesome. Pretty good view too…”

WKEND MIXTAPE: Atoms For Peace – Essential Mix

WKEND-MIXTAPE

Last weekend Thom Yorke & Nigel Godrich of Atoms for Peace (and Radiohead) took over the decks for BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix. The two-hour mix showcases unreleased Radiohead material, Doom, Atoms for Peace remixes and Thom’s own solo work alongside tracks from Aphex Twin, Diplo, Boys Noize, Shed and Steve Reich.

Atoms for Peace’s debut album AMOK is available now. Check out the Showbams review.

Tracklist
1. Chris Clark – The Pining Pt. 1 [Warp]
2. Doom & Thom Yorke/Jonny Greenwood – R Fren [Lex Records]
3. Luke Abbott – Brazil [Border Community]
4. Thom Yorke/Jonny Greenwood – Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses [_xurbia_xendless]
5. Redshape – Man Out Of Time (Major Space Dub) [Present Recordings]
6. Kuodede – Golf [Taxila]
7. Colleen Et Les Boites a Musique – Bicycle Bells [Leaf]
8. Shed – Day After [50 Weapons]
9. Thom Yorke – The Twist (Unfinished Section B)
10. Thom Yorke – Has Been
11. Macel Dettman – Ellipse [50 Weapons]
12. Luke Abbott – Modern Driveway [Border Community]
13. Radiohead – Give Up The Ghost (Thriller House Ghost Mix) [Ticker Tape]
14. Thom Yorke – Harrowdown Hill (C90 Mix)
15. Radiohead – The Gloaming
16. Boys Noize – Kill The Kid [Boysnoize]
17. Other Lives – Tamer Animals (Atoms For Peace Remix) [50 Weapons]
18. Radiohead – Harmonics Loop
19. Bad Autopsy – Ginmixer [Ramp]
20. Phon.o – Fukushima [50 Weapons]
21. Adolfo Coelho – Socana N’gam [Lusafrica]
22. Trim & Riko – Trousers
23. Apostrophi – Average Joe
24. Mr. Oizo – Stunt [Ed Banger Records]
25. Throwing Snow & Louis Vines – Too Polite [Local Action]
26. Steve Reich – It’s Gonna Rain Pt. 1 (1965) [Nonesuch]
27. DJ Tre – Ping Pong Track [Skratch-A-Trak]
28. Aphex Twin – Cilonen [Rephlex]
29. DJ Slugo – Juke Me From The Back Low
30. Thom Yorke – The Drunkk Machine [XL]
31. Firefox & Glamour – Check Da Skills [Gold Philly Blunt Records]
32. Thom Yorke – The Hollow Earth [_xurbia_xendless]
33. Macc & DgoHn – Forget Stuff [Rephlex]
34. Wishmountain – Walkman [Antiphon]
35. Oneohtrix Point Never – I Only Have Eyes For You
36. Alex Cortex – Huyendo [Klang Elektronik]
37. Radiohead – Bloom (Jamie XX Club Remix) [_xurbia_xendless]
38. Abu Sultan – Your Love Made My Head Hurt [Sham Palace]
39. Diplo & Blaqstarr – Get Off (Rob 3 Remix) [Mad Decent]

Enjoy!