Week in Pop: Colleen Green, Seun Kuti, Skaters

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With all the Oscar buzz becoming the proverbial water cooler conversation, no one wants to hear about you getting backstage at the Grimes show, or that alleged scrapped Johnny Jewel of Glass Candy's Drive soundtrack, or your favorite dark-wavy chanteuse of the week. So with the world's attention toward the red carpet, let us enjoy the artists and music that deserve another glance and listen in no particular order.

photo by Jenz

Colleen Green released Milo Goes to Compton album this week on Art Fag and got the party going with the single “Goldmine.” With Goldmine Sacks as our column's namesake, we feel more than obliged but honored to give props to Oakland's rising star who ventures into the dreamland territories with this track chock full of vocal overdubs and a lot of heart. With Colleen's full length now available to a wider audience, we can look forward to a new East Bay resurgence in grrl garage in a scene overpopulated by dudes.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra released their Sam Kristofsk- directed videofor “Strangers are Strange”, involving 70s style crime hijinx and potentially nefarious transactions equipped with a briefcase MacGuffin. UMO's self-titled is out now on Fat Possum and you can catch them at SXSW this year and later on the road with White Arrows and Girls.

Stalley has been readying Savage Journey to the American Dream and dropped the final track in his Songs By Me, Stalley series, “Mind Made Up.” With production by the Neptunes' Chad Hugo, the piano-driven track presents a relaxed and confident Stalley ready for his big album premiere but always down to spill a little bit of his hard earned wisdom.

photo courtesy of Kelsey Bennett

Give a warm welcome to Skaters, made up of Michael Cummings on vocals and Noah Rubin from Adam Green, The Dead Trees, and Little Joy, and featuring Joshua Hubbard of Dirty Pretty Things and The Paddingtons on guitar. (No, they aren't the old Skaters with James Ferraro and Spencer Clark, although, to their credit, it's a hard word to Google.) The story began with Michael and Noah sharing tapes back and forth with Joshua from LA to London until they met up and recorded in Manhattan were they have forged a sound scheme of punky pop poised to be the next big thing. You can catch Skaters March 10 at the Cake Shop and March 17 at Soho Grand, NY.

Seun Kuti's track “The Good Leaf” got remixed by Spoek Mathambo as he sets out for his tour with Egypt 80. Mathambo was selected by Chicago house icon Ron Trent to be featured on the remix disc taken from Kuti's Brian Eno-produced album From Africa with Fury called Rise Remixes coming April 10 on Knitting Factory Records. With Femi keeping the family tradition alive and Seun expanding the progressions of afrobeat, Fela would be proud.

By now you have seen the zany, whacked out slap-a-thon that is Odd Future's video for “Rella.” With Earl Sweatshirt back in the crew, almost every member involved in some kind of collaboration or side project or another; 2012 could be an interesting year for these Southern California odd fellows. In the meantime we will wait for the Odd Future Vol. 2 mixtape.

Chet Faker dropped “Terms and Conditions” for those who like a track that they can wake up to or begin their evening with. You can find Chet's forthcoming album Thinking in Textures and everything he has been up to since his “No Diggity” cover last year this March 26 on Chess Club / Opulent Records.

Black Marble and director Timothy Fiore invite you to a noir-ish house in a the stunning black and white video for “Backwards.” Here you will be greeted by sometimes topless women who play with mice, cats, dogs, scissors, knives, an axe, birthday cake, a piano and what looks like a punctured waterbed covered in a layer of swan feathers. Black Marble's Weight Against the Door is out now on Hardly Art.

L.E.P. Bogus Boys want you to know how serious they are about their paper. The Gregory Buissereth- and Corey Davis-directed video brings you on a ride along with the boys as they cruise, kicking it in Times Square in between making the media rounds and soaking up the love.

G-Side got their track “Recognize” remixed by DJ SickSentz this week. Helping the Huntsville rappers receive their due recognition, Sentz sends a jagged electo current running through the mix that almost douses the flows in an electric fire. Keep a look out for the Peel Off Passion DJ/producer's Sick0 project that is said to be released sometime in March.

Cuddle Magic is hitting the trail to a town new you in support of their forthcoming album Info Nympho available March 6 on FYO Records. On the first leaked track “Moby Dickless”, they blend the sentimental with the abstract lyrics and the electronic production elements with their more traditional New England Conservatory pop sensibilities.

Then straight out Toronto is 4th Pyramid with his new single “So Balboa” featuring Saukrates and production by Rich Kidd. While we are not sure 100% sure which Balboa is being referenced here, somehow the image of Rocky Balboa winning the fight and living like a king fits the bill for us. 4th Pyramid's album The Pyramid Scheme drops March 13 on Silk Ivory/Lyrics To Go/Universal Music.

Georgia Anne Muldrow dropped the track “Husfriend” this week from her upcoming Madlib produced album Seeds. The b-side to her recent single “Seeds” is a testament to the best recipe for a solid bond foundation to withstand the tests of the world and life's tribulations. Seeds comes out March 27 on Muldrow and collaborative life partner Dudley Perkins' label SomeOthaShip Connect.

Keep Shelly in Athens has drawn further atmospheric heights, percussion and key highlights on their remix of Tycho's “Dive.” What is great about like-minded artists reinterpretting each one another's work are the possibilities and progressions of each other's sound that is both encouraged and forged through a restructuring process that reveals multiple songs within one track. Look for this remix on vinyl and digital via the Dive single available April 3 on vinyl and digital courtesy of Ghostly International.

Max B. and Isaiah the Toothtaker did a collaboration with Max collect calling in his lyrics from inside the pen while The Hood Internet provided production duties. The track carries on with Max and Isaiah comparing their respective and collected rap sheets while a Sleater Kinney hook from “One Beat” plays. Furthermore, check out this fancy Legitmix technology that is pushing the sample envelope that we are told works like this:
“Legitmix allows consumers to recreate a sample-based track on their computer using their own copies of the copyrighted source music. For “Been Told”, The Hood Internet used Sleater-Kinney’s “One Beat,” so it costs 50¢ if fans own the Sleater-Kinney track, and $1.49 if they don’t (with 99¢ cents for “One Beat”, and 50¢ going to Max and Isaiah).” Convoluted still, it poses an interesting solution to the sample copyright question.

In case you missed it, here is Star Slinger's mixtape Jet Jam streaming just for you. The UK DJ/producer has an album up his sleave for release later this year but first he is taking to the road with The Hood Internet after making a stop in SXSW. Check your local listings for the Slingers tour dates with the Hood's ABX, STV and SLV.

BBU dropped the mixtape Bell Hooks via Bandcamp providing a conscious array of beats, rhymes, rhythms and some deep social questions from the Chi-town collective. Jasson Perez explains some of the group's angles on this mixtape: “We started throwing around the name 'Outlaw Culture,' which is this dope cultural criticism book, it examines how racism, sexism, and capitalism still impact pop culture. The book is written by bell hooks. We were willing to take more risks – to be more radical and confrontational with our politics – but express it from more a personal space.”

JD Samson and her post-gender dance party Men released their new EP Next with word of 3 more EPs to drop this year. First up is the single “Next” which features technofied-electrified grooves while JD lampoons the unatainable dream of ownership these days with the futile refrain of “never afford a house, never retire.” Truer words have never been spoken.

Also check out the epic zoom in the video for Men's “Who Am I to Feel so Free?” Wait for the lighthouse gag at the end.

Blondes released the light show spectacle that is their video for “Amber.” The canvas looks like a cracked lens that looks down from a skyscraper on to a series of busy metropolitan streets at night while strange light patterns interact with each other for an overall hypnotic effect. Blondes' self-titled is out now on RVNG Intl.

More in the videos department is Spanish Prisoners' video for “Know No Violence” off their self-released album Gold Fools. In the Jono Chanin video, Autumn Stein escapes the city to find a host of her doppelgangers running about wild in a wintry forest.

Be sure to check out Yalls “Settle Dow” (Monster Rally Remix) if you are in need of some warped sound and upbeat strings. Gold Robot Records has released the Yalls 7″ Fantasy on bone colored vinyl in quantities limited to 500 so act now while supplies lasts.

Help Fatal Lucciauno celebrate the release of Respect with the latest single “Black Hoody” featuring Spac3man. The procuction by BeanOne makes use of all strings from acoustic picking, blasts of electric shreds and violins for dramatic effect to match Fatal's mood. “BeanOne is the master behind the beat, he knew what I was feeling and capitalized on it.” Get your Respect now.

We checked in on planet Jimmy Moonboots to get a listen to “They Fought in the Temple” that recalls found and faint sounding VHS tapes of obscure Samurai action flicks. Lots of activity on the Monterey Peninsula this year with talk of upcoming projects, new surreal coastal sounds and some buzz surrounding some dude named Jerry Sagan who has some tricks up his sleeve this spring but we are not authorized to comment further at this time.

Watch and listen to AU play “Solid Gold” from IntotheWoods.tv crowded together in a home for a powerful yet intimate performance. Talk about waking up the neighbors, imagine this same set up in your studio apartment.

If you have been enjoying Django Django's stomping good fun on their Default 12″ then check out the video that has the paint slabs on the film effect that we can never get enough of. Keep an eye out for the Edinburgh quartet at Glasslands in Brooklyn, March 10 and appearances at SXSW.

While we are in video mode, check out Pep Love's autobiographical love letter to the game with “Hip My Friend.” The Jordan Ching video highlights the various facets of the industry from the studio, to shooting the video, the media men in suits but showcases the importance of community is reinforced with an appearance from some of Oakland's famous bicycle scrapers. Pep's first album in 11 years Rigmarole drops March 6 on Hiero Imperium.

And Craft Spells have anounced the upcoming release of their EP Gallery coming May 15 on Captured Tracks. You can find them this year at SXSW and get an exclusive listen to their new track “Still Left with Me” here. Enjoy!