Saturday, May 29, 2010

Video: The Season Premiere of So You Think You Can Dance Season 7

You've been waiting for it. I can't believe it's here! Season 7 is beginning with all the old faves back to pair up with the next generation of SYTYCD talent. Enjoy.

Stream: Kanye West - Power

Kanye West is back. The is loaded with both veiled references and direct disses. 'No one man should have so much power' is the refrain, and it's not hard to read into that after Kanye's loss of control last year. The second verse starts by directly sledging SNL, I guess he wasn't happy with the Taylor Lautner riff on the 'I'mma let you finish' fiasco.

The beat is pretty ferocious, with african chanting leading into a steamrolling beat and sample from obscure legend King Crimson ("21st Century Schizoid man"). The ending is more 808's and heartbreak with a little late registration thrown in, a welcome orchestral flush in a courageously convoluted concoction. He's thrown it all in the pot for the first single, and resulting dish is spectacular.

Video: Big Boi - Shutterbug

 The Scott Storch produced heat-rock 'Shutterbug' has been bumpin in my speakers consistently for the last few weeks, and now comes the equally blazing and whacked out video, produced by Chris Robinson.  There's kegger cups, a puppet band and a headless Big Boi, what more could you ask for.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Essay: Performance Art and the Art of Performing - Lady Gaga and the pop art canon

I got into an argument the other day with three friends.  One, the lone female, was raving about Lady Gaga's recent concert whilst  the two other males of the group were deriding Gaga.  I stepped in and informed the three that I enjoyed some of Gaga's music, which brought about more derision, this time in my direction.  The female of the group was emboldened by my support, and decided to fill us in on the performance aspect of the concert, at which point she uttered the words 'performance art'.

This stood out to me because it is so rare in popular music that the words performance art are employed to describe the musicians performance.  By the definitions of the phrase, the words were true.  She was an artist giving a performance, connecting with her audience.  We can narrow the perception of performance art and say that it's usually avant-garde or conceptual, but surely this also describes Gaga's work on stage (and the real world, judging by photo's).
If you look at the history of pop music and performance art, you can see the permutations of the genre, blurring the lines between art, shock tactics and self-promotion (usually for fame or financial gain).
Alice Cooper shocked audiences in the 70's, but rather than pulling stunts for cheap thrills, Cooper used Comedy and a vaudevillian sensibility to get his points across.  David Byrne has spent the last thirty years defining his career through an intimidating array of art experiments via the mediums of conceptual art and popular music.

Cyndi Lauper is often mentioned in conversations about Gaga, although Madonna may be a more appropriate contemporary.  Lauper loved art and fashion, and her iconic sense of style (borne out of the thrift shop where she worked) has infused many modern artists seeking to interpolate the influences of 80's new wave culture.  However, Madonna was the first of the female pop artists to use her live show as an artistic statement, assuming you believe the 'conical bra' as an piece of art.
Fischerspooner are another act that springs to mind when speaking on Gaga.  They were a group of dancers, musicians and theatre performers that began as an 'experimental art piece about entertainment' and grew into a legitimate piece of entertainment themselves.

So where is the line drawn?  Gaga has numerous stage props, raunchy dancers and a wardrobe full of designer clothing.  Does this a performance artist make?  I'm tempted to say no, but I've no evidence to back my claims.  So then the idea shifts?  What is not performance art?  Is it not Miley Cyrus and her 'Hannah Montana' persona?  Is it not Spinal Taps inflatable stonehenge?

I would call all of it performance art. So why then haven't the artists themselves mentioned this, or critics, or fans?  Because most people don't think of pop music or pop music performance as 'performance art'.  Most people think of it as that generic, commercial genre that blasts from every popular FM radio station in town.  So then, is Gaga performance art by virtue of being an alternative to the current pop culture?

This of course, is very subjective, and brings into question the idea of what's alternative.  Is it a debut album by an artist or group that gets a good review on pitchfork?  Is it Kanye West and his wildly broad palette of expression? 

It seems as though performance art is being used as a term to push the idea of Gaga as an alternative.  As we can see, her fashion sense is not all that different from Kanye West or Bjork or even Jared Leto.  Her music isn't all that different from Beyonce, Fever Ray or Bat for Lashes.  Her performances aren't all that removed from any artist with expensive stage props (U2 anyone?). 

However, the words 'performance art', differentiate her from her peers.  Not many other acts describe themselves this way.  Why not?  Does it harken back to the old phrase 'If you have to tell people you're cool, then you're not cool'? 

I'll leave it up to you. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Video: Robyn - Dancing on my own

Robyn, the swedish pop songstress with the wild blond hair, has a new album out, Body Talk Part 1.  The first single is a thumping club jam that sees Robyn pining for an ex that's on the opposite side of the dancefloor.  The clip is pretty simple - Robyn, a hot outfit, some fancy lights, but when you're Robyn, that's all you need.

Robyn 'Dancing On My Own' (Official Video) from Robyn on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Video: Janelle Monae blows Lettermans Mind, performs 'Tightrope'

If anybody needed any evidence that Janelle Monae is going to be a massive star, then this is the proof.  One of the most bombastic, confident and entertaining performance seen on not only letterman, but Network TV, in a long time.  Check the horns, the slide dancing and make sure to hang around for the Diddy cameo at the end.  Her new album is The ArchAndroid, it is fantastic and is out now.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blog: Dancing with the Stars Australia has its lineup!

The talent for this year's Aussie Dancing With The Stars has been announced.

The female celebs taking part  include football wife Alex Fevola, singer Tamara Jaber, Home and Away actress Esther Anderson and Miss Universe Australia Rachael Finch.

The dudes taking part include actor George Houvardas from Packed to the Rafters, Better Homes and Gardens handyman Rob Palmer, rugby's Jason Stevens and former Neighbours hunk Blair McDonough.

Daniel MacPherson and Sonia Kruger are the returning hosts, and judges Todd McKenney, Helen Richey and Mark Wilson are all back.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Video: MGMT and LCD Soundsystem LIVE on telly!

 Thanks to the wonderful people at Pitchfork, I never miss out when there's awesome stuff on TV.  And so it was last night, with performances (not on the same show mind you), from MGMT and LCD Soundsystem.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Video: Drake - Find Your Love (Official Music Video)

 This is 8 and a half minutes long!  Reminds me of the old Diddy and Biggie joints with the great production values.  The main track is produced by Kanye West and features on the upcoming debut 'Thank me later'.

Stream: M.I.A. - XXXO

Check out M.I.A.'s new single XXXO, it's streaming from the website of her record label NEET.  And no, it's not an ad for Gossip Girl.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Video: You crazy for this one Hov! Jay-Z smashes SNL

 Jay-Z breezed through the Saturday Night Live studio's this past weekend, and once again showed why he's Hip-Hop's reigning concert king.  Backed by his ace backing band (and elector crooner Mr Hudson), Hova dropped a couple of jewels for the SNL faithful, and a medley of some of his classics.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Video: Wedding Dance Video's - The Top Ten

I hate these video's, they drive me nuts, always popping up in my inbox, taunting me.  But those are my nightmares, and I am aware that some of you out there like these vids, so here's the link

Video: Kids Dance Battle!

 Forget You Got Served, forget Step Up 3D, forget the stupid 'Telephone' song, because these kids break it down like I haven't  seen.  Never have I laid eyes on so much young talent in one room, these kids are ill.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Video: Freddie Gibbs - The Ghetto

Freddie Gibbs, if you haven't read about him on this blog before, was signed to Dr Dre's Aftermath before being released and walking away with a bunch of Dre bangers in his back pocket.  He's put out a couple of mixtapes that are good enough to be released as albums, and he's still plugging away searching for stardom.
Here he's in 'The Ghetto' a paean to his hometown of Gary, Indiana, and against the backdrop of economic devastation, Gibb's flows effortlessly about the towns trials and tribulations.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Video: Kele from Bloc Party - Tenderoni

 A little while ago, we gave you the stream to Kele Okereke rave-up 'Tenderoni'.  For the video, Kele laces up the gloves, while illuminated robot ladies dance around a neon coat-hanger.  Club much?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Video: 234 people with umbrella's dancing to 'Singing in the Rain'

It is a slow newsday people, and this is what happens on those days.  Can you even tell that I'm just filling in space here.  This was a guiness record though, so good on you people of Germany.

Blog: Gaga Watch 2010 - US Soldiers dance to 'Telephone'

I'm glad I put quotation marks around Telephone in the header, otherwise that might have looked a little silly.  Not like this video, which is ultra serious and manly.  We salute you boys.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Video: Bliss N Eso! embedded some great Bliss N Eso tracks from their last couple albums, and I thought I might do the same.  I saw the boys in concert last year with Pegz and they almost tore the roof off the Thebby Theatre here in Adelaide.  Although they're not the most perfect Hip-Hop crew out there, I appreciate their continuing efforts to experiment and push the boundaries of what was a limiting genre of music.