DIIV is the nom-de-plume of Z. Cole Smith, musical provocateur and front-man of an atmospheric and autumnally-charged new Brooklyn four-piece.
Recently inked to the uber-reliable Captured Tracks imprint, DIIV created instant vibrations in the blog-world with their impressionistic debut Sometime; finding it’s way onto the esteemed pages of Pitchfork and Altered Zones a mere matter of weeks after the group’s formation.
Enlisting the aid of NYC indie-scene-luminary, Devin Ruben Perez, former Smith Westerns drummer Colby Hewitt, and Mr. Smith’s childhood friend Andrew Bailey, DIIV craft a sound that is at once familial and frost-bitten. Indebted to classic kraut, dreamy Creation-records psychedelia, and the primitive-crunch of late-80’s Seattle, the band walk a divisive yet perfectly fused patch of classic-underground influence.
One part THC and two parts MDMA; the first offering from DIIV chemically fuses the reminiscent with the half-remembered building a musical world out of old-air and new breeze. These are songs that remind us of love in all it’s earthly perfections and perversions.
A lot of DIIV’s magnetism was birthed in the process Mr. Smith went through to discover these initial compositions. After returning from a US tour with Beach Fossils, Cole made a bold creative choice, settling into the window-facing corner of a painter’s studio in Bushwick, sans running water, holing up to craft his music.
In this AC-less wooden room, throughout the thick of the summer, Cole surrounded himself with cassettes and LP’s, the likes of Lucinda Williams, Arthur Russell, Faust, Nirvana, and Jandek; writings of N. Scott Momaday, James Welsh, Hart Crane, Marianne Moore, and James Baldwin; and dreams of aliens, affection, spirits, and the distant natural world (as he imagined it from his window facing the Morgan L train).
The resulting music is as cavernous as it is enveloping, asking you to get lost in it’s tangles in an era that demands your attention be focused into 140 characters.
With striking vocals entwined with cascading chords these NYC-based Australians have been turning heads with their cavernous bliss-pop. Their pure sound is the logical answer to the saturated freak-folk explosion. With their debut release coming this year, High highs are bound to have their grandoise songs heard around the world.
Killer Mike got his formal introduction to the industry when he first appeared on the Outkast single "The Whole World" for which he won a Grammy. Mike then signed to Outkast's Aquemini label, which was distributed by Columbia Records, and in 2003 released his debut album, "Monster" which went Gold. After a short stay at Big Boi's label, Purple Ribbon/Virgin, Mike decided it was time for him to make moves on his own and in 2004 he established his own label, Grind Time Official. With no distribution, Grind Time still made an impact with Killer Mike releases including, "Dec Crack" in 2004, "The Killer" which won the SEA Mixtape of the Year Award in 2005, and "I Pledge Allegiance to The Grind I", which won Best Street Album at the 2007 Ozone Awards.
In 2007, the Atlanta native signed with SMC, in hopes of doing with the label what Dipset did with Koch. "I've done as much as I could do individually, slinging records and selling distribution," says Mike. "I got a goal, man. I literally have a goal of earning a raw, uncut, after taxes a million dollars with SMC and I know it's possible, ultimately I went with SMC because they believed in me."
Mike has established a crew, the Grind Time Rap Gang, who he plans to release through his label, Grind Time Official. With similar views on music as Mike, the crew is made up of like-minded artists from different backgrounds, who share the same passion and vigor for making dope music the hood can relate to.
Many artists have waxed poetic about telling the streets story but few have succeeded with the effectiveness that Mike displayed on his first album release with SMC, "I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind II." Mike's next release with SMC will be "Underground Atlanta," which will feature some of Atlanta's most notable hip hop artists including Gucci Mane, OJ da Juice Man, Pastor Troy, Princess of Crime Mob, Yung Ralph, Big Kuntry King, Young Dro, T.I., Stat Quo, Bobby Creekwater, Da Bill Collector, and Dem Getaway Boyz.
Underground Atlanta precedes Killer Mike's as-yet-untitled Grand Hustle debut, which he is currently recording. Mike sees this album as a way to give back to the Atlanta hip hop scene that gave birth to him and made him the artist he is today. Be on the lookout.
Hype Machine's Fast Forward
Hype Machine's Fast Forward is the best way to sample music that bloggers are talking about, fast.
On May 24, Toyota prius c brings Fast Forward to Brooklyn Bowl. In just one night, you'll check out a lineup curated by Stereogum, Gorilla Vs. Bear, I Guess I'm Floating, and Consequence of Sound; a special DJ set from Awesome Tapes From Africa; and still have time left over to bowl a few frames.
Come early! First 150 guests receive League Night gift bags courtesy of Toyota prius c.
Beat Culture is 17-year old Sunik Kim, who, simply put, creates experimental electronic music, incorporating sampled pianos, pitch-shifted vocals and synths that recall the “Wall of Sound” typically found in shoegaze. The cohesive “Goldenbacked Weaver” is Beat Culture’s debut album filled with a swirl of sub-genres and samples; you can hear a slight influence of Gold Panda, Animal Collective, Star Slinger, Burial and others. From Hong Kong (but actually Korean) and attending boarding school in the USA, Beat Culture creates pieces that consist of catchy phrases and atmospheric beats that invoke a wide range of emotions. His second LP, “Tokyo Dreamer”, was recently released.