Dubtown Beat: New Wave and party music
Editor’s note: Please be advised that some of the music listed may contain explicit and/or inappropriate content.
This week I was listening to my iPod on shuffle when I was reminded of one of my favorite bands that I neglected to listen to in the past month or so, The Smiths. They’re a great alternative rock band from England that is often considered a New Wave band. But they have their own distinct sound that is arguably fuller and tighter than the biggest and must popular New Wave bands.
The Smiths are a four man band, with notable members Morrissey and Johnny Marr. There is no keyboardist in the band, but Marr’s mastery of guitar makes every song sound like an orchestra of keyboards. Morrissey’s voice is unmistakable; his sophisticated English accent, smooth vocals and powerful falsetto add the final touches to the signature sound of The Smiths. Check out this classic by them and check out their greatest hits album if you dig their sound.
Kill the Noise (KTN) is a house music producer that has recently experienced a surge in popularity because Skrillex picked him up for his label, OWSLA. But KTN has been around for a while, making grooving remixes of popular songs like American Boy by Estelle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulhE5ZO0tI8). Recently it was his song that got remixed. Brillz, an EDM trap producer, got the opportunity to rework one of KTN’s recent releases, Roots. This song makes me feel like I’m traveling through a jungle, beginning as I enter and wander through, but eventually turning to night.
Over the summer, Chief Keef, the 17 year old rapper from Chicago, blew up when his single “I Don’t Like” became an Internet hit. He has pumped out several singles, which are all highly explicit party tunes that are bound to have you singing their hooks for days. But the subject matter of his songs is extremely shallow, focusing on sex, dealing and using drugs, guns, and violence against police. One of his songs is even entitled “Bang”, and the hook is him repeatedly saying “bang” while making gun gestures with his hands.
Although you may hear me whistling one of his songs as you pass me by, I think Chief Keef is an insignificant rapper that is destructive to the rap industry. Last year, He aimed a handgun at a police officer and was placed on house arrest. He ended up shooting the music video for “I Don’t Like” and rerecording his vocals in his home. Last month, he filmed an interview with Pitchfork Music, but it took place at a gun range, where he was recorded firing a gun, this broke the terms of his parole, and he could now be facing jail time. Just take a look at this music video, and you will get a pretty good idea of what Chief Keef is all about. He uses the same rhythm the whole song, and his lyrics are far from complex or thought-provoking.