Results for house

interviews

Shamir

Shamir has been on Jim and Greg's radar since they caught him at last year's SXSW Music Conference. Born Shamir Bailey, the 21-year-old Las Vegas native has been stylistically restless his whole life. He formed an indie pop duo in high school, explored a love of country music, and incorporates the sounds of vintage Chicago house and disco on his electronic pop recordings. After being blown away by a demo tape, producer and music writer Nick Sylvester took an interest in Shamir. Sylvester's GODMODE label released the North Town EP in 2014, followed by a debut full-length called Ratchet in 2015. Ratchet earned widespread critical acclaim, including high spots in both Jim and Greg's best of the year lists. Shamir stopped by the Sound Opinions studios a few months back and, after greeting the entire staff with hugs, sat down with Jim and Greg for a stripped-down performance on acoustic guitar and piano and a conversation.

Go to episode 530

Philip Sherburne

EDM - or Electronic Dance Music - has exploded over the past decade in Europe and the United States. But if names like Skrillex, Tiesto, Deadmau5, and David Guetta mean nothing to you, never fear. Jim and Greg have brought in Spin's Philip Sherburne, author of the“Control Voltage”blog, to offer a primer for the un-initiated. They kick off the conversation with a discussion of the genre's recent evolution: from the short-lived nineties rave scene with its anonymous DJs spinning in dark rooms, to the audio/visual spectacles presided over by celebrity DJs that we see today. A new emphasis on showmanship, and the adoption of dub step's aggressive, bass-heavy beats have won superstar producers like Skrillex, Tiesto, and Rusko a huge, youthful following says Sherburne, effectively making EDM the new stadium rock. But he'd also suggest keeping your eye on the up-and-comers, artists like SBTRKT, Four Tet, and Caribou.

Wrapping things up, Jim and Greg put the new artists we've heard in historical context. After all, as Jim says, covering dance music can give you deja vu. Greg reminds us that todays EDM producers are following in the footsteps of disco artists like Giorgio Moroder, Chicago house and techno musicians, Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin, Fatboy Slim, and - dare we say it - Brian Eno.

Go to episode 341

Jeff Chang

Jeff Chang, author of Can‘t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, joins Jim and Greg in the studio this week. Jeff, who co-founded the Quannum Label in San Francisco, was on the show previously when his book first came out, and he and our hosts engaged in a discussion of hip-hop's history. Now that Jeff's book has come out on paperback, Jim and Greg welcome him back to the show to discuss where hip-hop is today and where it is going. In order to get a sense of hip-hop's diverse makeup, the three music journalists decide to embark on a geographical tour of the genre, beginning with Chicago and working their way through the United States, and even the U.K.

Go to episode 15

Moby

Moby – who first appeared on the show in 2006 – arrived in New York City in the late '80s as a sober Christian vegan making his way through the nascent underground club scene. A decade later, he was the public face of techno, selling 10 million copies of his album Play and living a life of excess. He's written all about his early career in a new memoir Porcelain, a book Jim compares to Charles Mingus's Beneath the Underdog as one of the great musical autobiographies.

This week Moby speaks with Jim and Greg about the gritty but exuberant heyday of rave culture and house music – and how quickly it all ended. After a string of club hits, Moby confused some critics with the eclectic 1995 album Everything is Wrong, and alienated just about everybody with the hardcore punk-inspired Animal Rights in 1996. But 1999's Play was an unprecedented smash, which led, as Moby explains, to the traditional rise-and-fall story arc of fame and decadence.

Go to episode 556
specials

Wax Trax!

People in Chicago of a certain age fondly remember strolling down Lincoln Avenue into Wax Trax! Records. It was the epicenter of cutting edge culture in the 1980s. But even if you weren‘t there to sample goods from the record store and label, you’re familiar with its influence. Owners Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher created a world headquarters for artists who bridged disco, house, electronic, punk, and industrial music. Acts like Ministry, Front 242, RevCo, Underworld, KMFDM, and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult went on to sell millions of records internationally. Nash died in 1995 and Flesher in 2010. A year later, Wax Trax friends and family celebrated its 33 1/3 anniversary at Metro in Chicago. Two key players in that scene were Chris Connelly and Paul Barker. They share their memories of Wax Trax with Jim and Greg.

Go to episode 293

Rock Clubs in the 21st Century

Just like the small independent band or the mom and pop record store, independently owned rock clubs are also finding it hard to navigate their way through the ever-changing, increasingly corporate music industry. Cities often don‘t have the friendliest live music regulations, especially after tragedies like 1993’s E2 stampede and The Station fire. But, with album sales down, bands are more and more dependent on live music revenues. Jim and Greg have been writing about this issue in Chicago for years, but wanted to get a national perspective. They invited the following guests to share their insights: Sean Agnew of R5 Productions in Philadelphia, Mitchell Franks of Spaceland, Echo and Echoplex in Los Angeles and Jake Szufnarowski of Rocks Off Concert Promotions in New York City.

Rock clubs have an important place in the music industry, but they are just as important to the music fan as well. To illustrate this, Jim and Greg both reveal two of their most significant experiences at an independently owned music venue. Jim discusses seeing Hüsker Dü perform their album Zen Arcade in its entirety. It was at Maxwell's on New Year's Eve, and Jim was a college student. As he explained during The Feelies' interview, Maxwell's was pivotal to him learning about music, and this Hüsker Dü performance, complete with wrestling, was one of his most memorable. Jim plays "What's Going On?" from Hüsker Dü's live album The Living End.

Greg discusses seeing house music fixture Ron Hardy DJ at Chicago's Muzic Box. Hardy was not as internationally known as his peers, but Greg remembers how the DJ was able to bring together so many different types of music fans. The democracy of the dance floor is one of the reasons music clubs are so integral to the community. Greg plays a famous track from Hardy's set list, "Love Can't Turn Around."

Go to episode 140
reviews
RevelationsRevelations available on iTunes

Shamir Revelations

Singer-songwriter Shamir is back with a new album called Revelations. While his debut Ratchet sported a lot of house music and festival hooks, Revelations is a much more mid-fi effort that mixes genres like folk, soul and rock. Jim finds the record to be a shocking departure but in a good way. Shamir is singing about what's on his mind: racism, sexism, gender, sexuality, etc. He articulates his thoughts wonderfully with a sonically interesting blend of musical styles. Jim is a fan of Revelations and gives it a Buy it. Greg agrees, and loves that Shamir is asserting his independence and uniqueness as an artist. He also loves Shamir's allusions to other artists he admires, like the Ronettes and the Pixies. Greg finds this album to be inspired and interesting, and gives it a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 624
dijs

Jim

“Rubber Lover”Deee-Lite,Deee-Lite

Ever since Bootsy Collins visited the Sound Opinions studio in 2012, Jim has been thinking of dance band Deee-Lite and its hit 1990 single, "Groove Is In The Heart" which features Bootsy on bass guitar and guest vocals. Many consider Deee-Lite to be a one-hit wonder, but Jim is a big fan of all the band's albums, particularly their second, Infinity Within, which took a turn away from the first album's neo-hippy tone towards the political with songs about voter registration, environmental stewardship, and the judicial system. One track, "Rubber Lover" features the return of Bootsy Collins, and delights Jim with its safe sex message atop Chicago house mixed with New York rave sound.

Go to episode 458
news

Music News

Pioneering DJ and producer Frankie Knuckles passed away this week. Knuckles' musical legacy is arguably as important to dance music as Chuck Berry's is to rock or Kraftwerk's is to electronica. In the early 1980's, Knuckles helped cultivate House music's sound from the ashes of disco at a venue on Chicago's south side called The Warehouse. (Hence the name, House). The space was an oasis for misfits of all shapes, sizes, and colors to come together and celebrate being alive. As Knuckle's musical stature grew over the years performing at various clubs and remixing other artist's songs, he never lost his generous spirit. In a 2012 conversation with Jim and Greg at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Knuckles remarked that he‘d never regarded music as a competive sport.“Even though you have people on the dance floor, and people that come out and say this DJ is better than that one, I’ve never looked at it that way and I‘ve never let that influence me because I’m too busy having a good time and showing people a good time,”said Knuckles. He was 59 years old.

Go to episode 436

Music News

Last month, Jim and Greg shared the news that house music godfather Frankie Knuckles died. Now, sadly, another giant of the genre has left us. Rashad Harden, aka DJ Rashad, was a pioneering dancer and producer of a particularly sizzling style of dance music known as Footwork: a metamorphosis of the house sound that Frankie Knuckles helped establish in the 1970's and '80s and juke style, Footwork pushes the beats per minute from around 125 to upwards of 165, encouraging a uniquely athletic style of dancing. The uptick in tempo makes sense as Harden got his start dancing to house and juke music on Chicago street corners in the 1990's. Over time, other producers have joined the footwork fray, but DJ Rashad's always managed to keep things original, and often abstract, so that his songs were great to listen both at the club, and at home with headphones on. In remembrance of DJ Rashad, Jim and Greg play his landmark single "Let It Go."

Fans of streaming music and movies should pay heed to recent developments concerning Net Neutrality. For those not familiar, Jim explains that Net Neutrality is the idea that all data on the Internet, regardless of origin or destination, should be seen as equal and treated the same by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The Federal Communications Commission, however, is causing a stir by proposing new rules that go against that concept. One rule in particular would let those who can afford to, pay ISPs for the privilege of having their content distributed to consumers faster than other those who don‘t or can’t pay. The Future of Music Coalition warns that these new rules would carve the Internet“into a fast lane for well-heeled corporations and a dirt road for everyone else.”Jim and Greg are nervous what this will mean for the music industry and will be keeping a close eye on what happens to Net Neutrality.

Go to episode 441
world tours

South Africa

The Sound Opinions World Tour has been to Sweden, Japan, and Mexico. This week, Jim and Greg finally touch down in the African Continent – South Africa to be exact. Their field guide is Andy Davis, editor of the South African music and culture website Mahala. Andy confesses that his first record was The Boss's Born in the U.S.A., but he says he quickly embraced the music of his homeland with a little help from Johnny Clegg and the Queen of Afropop, Brenda Fassie. Davis says what's special about South African music is its "hybridization": the way musicians combine traditional guitars, rhythms, and vocals with synths and global genres like hip-hop. The result is a music scene varied enough to include rap in Afrikaans and Xhosa, South African house, and folk-pop about the apartheid struggle.

To find out what it's like to be a band in South Africa post-apartheid, Jim and Greg speak to rising Cape Town act John Wizards. The two main men behind the band are John Withers, a white South African from Cape Town, and Emmanuel Nazaramba, a black Rwandan. The two men met outside a café in Cape Town, and despite their differing musical backgrounds, John says his tracks and Emmanuel's vocals clicked right away

Here's our South Africa playlist on Spotify.

Go to episode 405