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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: OFWGKTA’s FRANK OCEAN

Posted in Artist Spotlight, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 6, 2011 by bangbangslang

Since the passing of R&B Doggfather, Nathaniel “Nate Dogg” Hale, BBS has been feeling very soulful. Last week found us at Lincoln Hall for Destroyer and War on Drugs – our second favorite show of 2011 – and while the concert held promise as a sign of amazing indie rock crashing down the pipeline in Chicago, we couldn’t keep these funky feelings at bay. Couldn’t shake ’em and didn’t want to. We embraced them. We’re like – ‘Fuck this scene right now. We just want to grind on some R. Kelly and sip bubbly”. Chris Brown‘s “Deuces” remix has been on blast (don’t hate – Drake, T.I., Kanye, Fabolous, Rick Ross, & Andre 300?!), loving this mixtape by Toronto’s The Weeknd (free download below), and have concluded that the constant in this R&B equation has been OFWGKTA‘s smooth singer/songwriter – Frank Ocean. He’s the catalyst.

The Weeknd – House of Balloons

DOWNLOAD: HERE

Frank Ocean‘s debut, “nostalgia, ULTRA”, is just plain sick – the most impressive R&B album (that’s not really R&B) to hit our ears in years . The 23 year-old New Orleans native often leans on left-field rock samples to aid the tone of the album, but balances the mood with the elements you’d expect to find on a Pharrell project or on BET After Hours – the end product is very soulful and  fresh to death. For example, Ultra‘s first full-length song jocks Coldplay‘s beat for “Strawberry Swing“, copping the same song title even, but the song doesn’t evoke Chris Martin‘s goofball, rainbow Sgt. Pepper costume, but rather a wave of nostalgic imagery in the form of young lovers, spaceships leaving behind a “dying earth”, and a painstaking breakup. By the albums’ end, Ocean references Radiohead, Van Halen, Coachella and samples MGMT and The Eagles (and another track that sounds a little Kanye-heavy via 808’s & Heartbreak). There’s even a Nicole Kidman soundbit that gets some love, a heated argument of one-liners on Kidman‘s end from Eye Wide Shut. Bananas. All the while, these sampled cuts sound fresh – just as fresh as the songs that stand alone from the “borrowed” approach that will no doubt have Ocean‘s fanbase doubled once Odd Future barfs all over the rest of America by summertime.

The album’s shining moment is the bass-heavy, perfectly personified  “Swim Good” – here Frank Ocean finds himself heartbroken, in a black suit, driving his whip into the ocean, swimming away from the heaviness of relationships and life’s bullshit. The song ends with a sound clip of waves crashing and bubbling onto shores of a beach somewhere seemingly far away, seagulls chirping, wind blowing. Ocean‘s strongest quality as a songwriter is his ability to create really tangible and visceral imagery and this is showcased from start to finish on Ultra. When he’s not painting himself as R&B’s Johnny Cash, full-throttle, headfirst into the Pacific, he’s having “cocaine for breakfast (yikes!)” in a dirty kitchen and shooting porn in a nearby bedroom or banging a girl in the bed of a garden, “making love underneath the cherry leaves, up against the cherry tree”. The imagery can be super gritty, but it’s very candid and Frank Ocean isn’t afraid to be human. One of the best genre-crossing bold voices in music right now.

Odd Future, Tyler the Creator, blah blah blah blah – Frank Ocean is swimming to success and swimmin’ good.

 

Frank Oceannostalgia, ULTRA

DOWNLOAD: HERE

 

BBS will be catching Odd Future‘s set at COACHELLA next Friday. Will you be there?

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: HERE

FRANK OCEAN OFFICIAL TWITTER: HERE

Hot Hot Heat Bring Dance-Rock Party to Lincoln Hall September 10th!

Posted in Artist Spotlight, Tour Information, Uncategorized with tags , on August 29, 2010 by bangbangslang

I remember relentlessly “spinning” Hot Hot Heat‘s debut effort “Make Up The Breakdown” my Freshman year of college, when I was DJing in a claustrophobic sardine box for my college radio station. If you were ever a college radio disc jockey stooge like me – you probably look back at those days with a love/hate nostalgia. That trapped swirl of cigarette smoke, Subway sandwich meat, coffee and B.O. smells in the studio. The relentlessly annoying range of radio personality retards who you were forced to share air time with. Midnight runs down the back stairwell during Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane” so that you could sneak a quick smoke and make it back to the mic unnoticed.  I had no free range to pick and choose content – instead I was forced to stick to ‘Director-Approved’ albums, but  at the end of each hour I was able to break from the mold and play any 1 song I wanted… then return to format (wow, thanks!). Fortunately, “Make Up The Breakdown” was getting heavy push for rotation from my Director during my time with WSOE and I guess if I have anything to thank that chubby nerdboy for, it would be for introducing me to Hot Hot Heat.

So what have Hot Hot Heat been up to since 2002?

Good question. Remember their sophomore effort, “Elevator”? And then the follow up, “Happiness, LTD”? Both albums were expert, infectious offerings  from the band, but with some gradual creative deviation from the song writing formula that earned Hot Hot Heat critical and commercial success (and a loyal following) and years of touring as opening acts for big names like Weezer, Foo Fighters, Wolf Parade, and Bloc Party they spent the last few years in a  self-built studio,  recorded their asses off, and have returned in 2010 with their “return to form” dance-rock, synth-driven fourth LP, “Future Breeds”. And it’s a triumphant return to form, indeed. One that marries HHH‘s anthemic pop abilities with some experimental indie-dance punk trippy-ness that paddles their new wave canoe  into uncharted waters.

Hot Hot Heat – Future Breeds (Dangerbird Records)

LISTEN: Hot Hot Heat – “Goddess on the Prairie”

With the release of “Future Breeds”, Hot Hot Heat finds their way to Bang Bang Slang‘s backyard with a September 10th tour stop at our favorite Chicago live music wateringhole, Lincoln Hall on September 10th. Tickets are still available and if you had any hesitation before, now is the time to grab tickets before they’re gone… and get those dancing shoes ready. It’s a Friday night for god’s sake. (Opening acts 22-20’s and Hey Rosetta! will provide support)

BUY TICKETS: HERE

Bang Bang Slang will be covering more of Hot Hot Heat as they make their way to Lincoln Hall, so keep checking back for updates and coverage. In the mean time, if you’re a BBS visitor who doesn’t live in Chicago – you can check HHH‘s full tour info below:

  • 08/31: Masquerade – Hell Stage – Atlanta, GA
  • 09/01: Mercy Lounge – Nashville, TN
  • 09/03: Rock and Roll Hotel – Washington, D.C.
  • 09/04: Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
  • 09/05: North Star Bar – Philadelphia, PA
  • 09/07: The Bowery Ballroom – New York, New York
  • 09/08: Middle East Downstairs – Cambridge, MA
  • 09/10: Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
  • 09/11: The Crofoot – Pontiac, MI
  • 09/12: The Basement – Columbus, OH
  • 09/13: The Rave/Eagles Club – Milwaukee, WI
  • 09/14: Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA
  • 09/15: Seventh Street – Minneapolis, MN
  • 09/17: Bluebird Theatre – Denver, CO
  • 09/18: Club Sound – Salt Lake City, UT
  • 09/20: The Empyrean – Spokane, WA
  • 09/21: Chop Suey – Seattle, WA
  • 09/23: Martini Ranch – Scottsdale, AZ

For official Hot Hot Heat merch and band info CLICK HERE

Follow Hot Hot Heat on Twitter! @hothotheat