“After recording an album-length, Auto-Tuned sigh, Kanye West is ready to celebrate again, but not in the way we’ve come to expect. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy isn’t idly titled. It’s a sinister, orchestral, hugely grandiose affair that owes as much to the artist’s self-aggrandizing ego as to the voracious id that would destroy it publicly. Exhibit A: West to album cover portraitist George Condo: ‘Look, I’ma let you finish, but can you make me look even douchier?'”
Jay-Z may run this town (or that town), but Spin Magazine staked its claim on Coachella coverage this past weekend in no uncertain terms. I was fortunate enough to be part of that journalistic wrecking crew, and on Friday, I devoted most of my otherwise fragmented attention to Jay-Z’s incredible set, which included a loving recreation of the New York skyline, and a duet with the wifey that brought down the house. Read about the 30-song set here.
I also covered Street Sweeper Social Club, Passion Pit, Echo and the Bunnymen and the Specials for the mag’s “Best and Worst Moments” roundup. Additional text by my old Filter colleague Liam Gowing, Spin Online Editor William Goodman and Deputy Editor Steve Kandell.
Photos by Andrew Herrold, Erik Voake and Matt Kiser.
Napkin Holder plays "Single Ladies" using a single lady.
Weirder things have happened, but corresponding with a guy who calls himself “Napkin Holder” is medium-high on my long-running personal list of journalistic strangeness (doing the “Humpty Dance” with Digital Underground and going on a “groove cruise” with the Flaming Lips currently holding spots number one and two, respectively). Odder still, this piano-playing, pop-covers YouTube phenom is decidedly unweird as an interview subject — basically, your reserved virtuosic nerd type (with all due respect). He’ll be performing at the Space 15 Twenty, er, space across from Amoeba Music in Hollywood on Saturday evening. Read all about it via our Q&A on LA Weekly‘s West Coast Sound.
I recently published a piece (via LA Weekly) detailing, blow-by-blow, the way in which Wallpaper’s Eric Frederic, helped by a cadre of rabid friends (myself included), took his latest remix incredibly viral. Which remix? Why the one in which he AutoTunes Jay-Z, of course. Read the new article here.
It’s my honor to introduce a furiously banging track by my dear friends in Oakland-based duo Wallpaper. This thing should be viral soon enough, but for now, you can stream it and download (by right-clicking) below.
Now the backstory: Jay-Z recently contributed his piece to the raging (har har) international debate over the blatant overuse of AutoTune in radio pop. Essentially hopping on an already existing meme, he named his track “D.O.A. (Death Of Autotune)” — co-produced, ironically, by one of the fad’s biggest abusers, Kanye West — and caused a stir with the lyric, “This is anti-AutoTune / Death of the ringtone / This ain’t for iTunes / This ain’t for sing-along.”
Here, Wallpaper., a group that’s used AutoTune as an instrument since early 2005 (that’s pre-T-Pain, for those taking notes), repurposes that lyric for a very singable, digitally modified hook. The somewhat brillaint ironic appropriation doesn’t end there, however. The meat of the track comes from Jay’s monstrous 2004 hit, “99 Problems,” which leads to this rather astute line from Wallpaper vocalist Ricky Reed: “I’ve got 99 problems but my pitch ain’t one.”
Oh, and did I mentioned that Jay’s voice is AutoTuned throughout?