Monthly Archives: October 2010

Setlist: Revolver

“There is a misconception that an ‘indie dance’ show should be all about electronic music. I play electronic music, but I also play hip-hop, country, rock, pop–anything that might inspire someone to dance. The type of dancing, like the type of music, does not matter.”

DJ Emily has her precedence right where it needs to be. The point of Revolver, BreakThru Radio’s Friday night alt-dance show, is to get people, from all places and of all musical tastes, ready for the weekend dance floor. Revolver will put the cut in your strut and the glide in your slide before you even get out of your apartment. DJ Emily is one of the best there is at infusing energy through Internet radio, and tuning into Revolver, one of her four featured shows on BreakThru, will not leave you disappointed.

A veteran of Internet radio (Emily has been with BTR since the beginning) DJ Emily understands what it takes to program a lively show. Having tested the theory out herself, and not to embarrassed to admit it I should add, Emily discloses the secrets of a workaholic radio DJ: “I myself have listened to the show when its aired and gone on to dance alone around my room on a Friday night. I truly hope that when people listen to the mix that they are dancing. Whether it’s around their room alone or with a group of friends, Revolver is really all about the dance.”

I would have to say that it is more than just about dancing. Looking at this week’s playlist proves Emily’s stringent declaration to “play anything.” From Hot Cha Cha to the Cool Kids, and Of Montreal to Naty Kid, Revolver stretches farther than any other dance mix station you will find on FM radio.

“The mix is the most fun thing to put together. I basically listen to a ton of different tracks and whatever gets me moving is what I play. I like to sit at my computer and listen to the first 15 – 20 seconds of a song, and if it doesn’t make me bounce to the beat, I move on.”

Learning DJ Emily’s method, it is easy to see how Revolver keeps one “bouncing” through the entire show. Never does it seem to slow down, not once does it fade off, and at no time do you feel the music becomes repetitive or monotonous. Revolver is one of those BTR shows that you play loud on your own when you have nowhere to go on a Friday night; and then you dance around your room by yourself and don’t feel ashamed about it. Because when you are alone with great beats, “the type of dancing,” to reiterate DJ Emily’s point, “like the type of music, does not matter.”

Link to this article:

– Kory French

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Tea Party’s Assist From the Old Guard

I’m on a few Tea Party email lists, and occasionally I actually read the mailers to see what my insane political cousins (twice removed) are up to. Tonight, the local NYC Tea Party chapter will gather for a panel titled “One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty.”

In order to give the anti-justice system tirade a thin glaze of legitimacy, a couple panelists have been scraped from underneath the boots of the old guard and pasted onto the press release. There’s Paul Rosenzweig, the founder of Red Branch Consulting PLLC, a homeland security consulting company, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department of Homeland Security.

There’s also Brian W. Walsh, Senior Legal Research Fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Walsh also worked on contract with the Department of Homeland Security where he “integrated private-sector organizations into government emergency preparedness and disaster response efforts at the federal, state, and local levels.”

Unsurprisingly, the panel consists of two privatization hawks who would really, really, really love to gut the public sector and sell it off, piece-by-piece, to corporations.

But this is yet another example of just how stale the whole “revolutionary” Tea Party really is. When it comes time to present the bestest, brightest examples of the party’s shiny, new ideology, frantic Tea Party organizers have to scour the bargain bin of Conservative intelligentsia to find a fear profiteer, whose most recent achievement appears to be penning a column titled “No Wonder The French Are Crazy,” and being cut from the Washington Post‘s Next Great Pundit contest, and another creature, Walsh, who probably pleasures himself to the idea of drowning the TSA in a bathtub.

(For a little more insight, Rosenzweig writes that he’s “amused at the idea that retirement at 60 is a human right or a social welfare entitlement.” Yeah. That’s what we’re dealing with.)

Anyway, it’s to be expected that the anti-government Tea Party movement embraces anti-government hacks, who make their livings scaring the piss out of Americans so they can then profit from insanely profligate private-sector “solutions.” However, it’s telling that whenever it comes time for the Tea Party to lay out their vision of tomorrow, they recycle the same useless morons that exploited Americans’ fear in the aftermath of September 11th in order to build a massive, privatized security structure that – by the way – didn’t fucking work.

This would sort of be like if the American separatists had asked King George to join their ranks. Ya know, just so they could utilize his vast experience.

Link to this article:

– Allison Kilkenny

Liner Notes: The American Dream or a Corporate Puppet?

Jay-Z was featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine last month alongside investor genius/billionaire Warren Buffet. What does this have to say about the authenticity of hip hop? Is Jay-Z a prime representation of the American dream; or is this just another example of an African American subcultural movement falling victim to white hegemony and corporate American capitalization? This week in Liner Notes, I attempt to offer both sides of the argument and leave you, as the reader, to come to your own conclusions on the matter. The basic question I want you to think about is whether or not Jay-Z is an example of the richness and possibility of the rags-to-riches “American Dream” model, or if he is proof that all art is for sale, and success in America will inevitably lead to exploitation and appropriation. 

The question of ‘authenticity’ is what really lies at the center of this debate. At what point does an artist’s work cease to be authentic? Perhaps the more important question is: Who is the authoritative voice that gets to decide? Mixed opinion on the arch of Jay-Z’s career goes without saying. There are some fans who feel he has grown, matured, and improved with age; while others believe that as Jay-Z’s success and popularity rose to the top, his music sank to the bottom.

Many hip hop fans with whom I have spoken (and who, I might add, have much more knowledge on the topic than I do) argue that Jay-Z has ‘sold-out.’ Being called a ‘sell-out’ is a pop culture phrasing no artist ever wants to hear. A brief look through American music and popular culture history tells a different story. Bob Dylan was called a ‘sell-out’ when, in 1965, he went from protest-poet laureate, to the folk revivalists, to rock ‘n roll star with a five-piece electric backing band. Years later, Dylan fans around the world acknowledge this change as perhaps the greatest moment of his career and rock scholars synonymously recognize it to be one of the most successful and profitable (in terms of talent and career-direction) transformations in the history of American music. So if the root of ‘authenticity’ lies within public opinion, which I think it does, then the verdict is still out on whether Jay-Z is a continuing success or not.

There can be no argument that Jay-Z is beyond successful when speaking in terms of financial gain and world-recognition. Shawn Carter (aka Jay-Z) was born in the projects of Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Marcy Houses (located in Brooklyn, New York) where as a young teen he reportedly shot his brother for stealing from him and was a self-proclaimed crack-cocaine dealer. Now, Carter is the CEO of a multi-million, multi-faceted corporation known as Roc Nation, which includes entities such as Roc-A-Fella Records, Rocawear, and many other profit and non-profit organizations. reports Carter’s January 2010 net worth to be greater than $785 million. Couple that with his wife, Beyoncé Knowles, net worth of $461 million (also sourced from and you get a total family worth of $1.246 billion. From a business standpoint and social upward-mobility point of view, there is no arguing that Jay-Z falls under the category of “success.” But what about his music? Has it suffered or flourished for this wealth and fame?

Jay-Z’s most recent album (The Blueprint 3) was also, by all accounts, a massive success. Independently, the single “Empire State of Mind” stayed in the number one spot for five consecutive weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100, and the overall LP was number one on Canadian, UK, and U.S. R&B, Rap & Hip Hop, and Pop album charts when it debuted in 2009. Had Jay-Z turned pop? And if so, how did the hip hop nation feel about it?

In a recent African-American Studies class of mine at Columbia University, I played a segment from the Forbes interview with Warren Buffet and Jay-Z and asked whether Jay-Z’s overcoming social-class oppression was an example of what is possible in 2010 America, or a one-off exception to the rule. One student voiced her opinion, stating, “Jay-Z wasn’t a success at all,” but that he was rather “just a corporate puppet.” This particular student is extremely bright, and she defended her point of view well. In her mind, success isn’t about sitting in a three-piece suit next to Warren Buffet on Forbes TV; it is recognizing the unjust disparities in this nation between the rich and the poor and seeking to bridge the gap–something Jay-Z has yet to do. To Erica (the student), Jay-Z isn’t a symbol of social upward mobility, he is an agent of capitalist appropriation and a puppet to help sell the myth that anyone in this country can “make it.” It should come obvious then, that Erica could care less for his “hip-pop.”

I don’t know where I stand in the debate. One of the common complaints about my editorials posted weekly here on BreakThru Radio is that I never offer my reader my stance on the cultural debates I present. I have been accused by some of asking the questions and then wavering, or just plain omitting, which side of the fence I stand on. Therefore, in order to appease those readers who would prefer I act more Bill O’Reilly’esque in the question of whether Jay-Z is an example of success from the streets of a tough neighborhood, I would have to disagree with Erica and say that he is. Although I understand her point and appreciate her idealism, I guess I am more optimistic about the possibilities a democratic state has to offer, as imperfect as it is. Seeing Jay-Z being interviewed alongside Warren Buffet in a $15,000 suit and knowing his background brings a smile to my face; not disgust. And to think that the man did this on the back of hip hop beats and witty rap lyrics further supports my feeling that so much is possible if one is just willing to look inward as opposed to living a life with no mirror.

Link to this article:

– Kory French

Walmart ‘Helps’ ‘Inform’ Employees

A Walmart employee sent me a link to a website called “Walmart Community Votes,” which allegedly exists to help inform employees about political candidates. This employee drew my attention to a specific page that really doesn’t do much to inform. Really, it appears to exist to propagandize on behalf of the Republican candidate:

I’ve contacted Sestak’s office to ask if: A) He received a questionnaire, and B) If he did, why did he fail to fill it out? It’s possible that Sestak chose not to return the questionnaire, but that seems like a stupid move, especially considering how the Pennsylvania race is tightening.

Ironically, the Democratic candidate Sestak owns stock in Walmart, and the company has recently shifted campaign contributions in favor of Democrats, though historically Walmart has opposed the Democratic Party’s pro-union platform.

But the problem isn’t just on the Pennsylvania questionnaire page. I got the same result when I checked out Georgia’s questionnaire:

There was an identical void of information on Alexander Giannoulias’s (IL-D) questionnaire page:

Aaaand Lee Fisher’s (OH-D) page

If I was one of the 1.6 million Walmart employees that accessed this website, I might think that the hoity-toity Democrats consider themselves too good to fill out a simple questionnaire for the benefit of “real American” voters. Or maybe voters won’t think those nefarious thoughts, and simply “educate” themselves using the available Republican platform. Both scenarios spell death for Democrats.

I’ve contacted all the candidates above to ask if they received the questionnaires. I hope some of them reply.
– Allison Kilkenny

CMJ Day 3 with DJ Wynn

10/21 Thursday

3:00 PM  Serious Business
Ventured into SoHo for a Live Studio session with Sunglasses. They were Southern gentlemen who brought toys, lights, and a projection screen. I wish more bands would bring props and makeshift sets. Cardboard cutouts of coconut trees and sandy spots.

3:20 PM
For two skinny gents, these guys know how to shake a floor. Seeing this also led to the revelation that the Serious studio is built on a bed of springs. Either that, or I’m really gullible.

6:00 PM   Vanessa’s Dumplings, 118 Eldridge St.
I knew I’d be back.

6:45 PM
“No man! I’m gonna listen to music tonight!”
Uttered by one passionate intern to a friend on the phone trying to convince him to play basketball in Brooklyn.

7:39 PM The Living Room
is on stage with a Rube Goldberg machine as his backing band, except these moving parts serve a purpose. Tiny iron elves banged a tambourine and rotating wood blocks that mimicked a xylophone. Metal joints shook sleigh bells and maracas. A bright orange tub from Home Depot doubled as a robotic kick drum. Certainly less egos to deal with.

7:55 PM
Buke and Gass
have a ukulele that’s been modified into a bass and a steel guitar that looks like it might have been David Lee Roth’s ashtray. I wonder why this band isn’t as popular as Sleigh Bells.

9:36 PM Cake Shop
Only caught one song from Light Pollution, but I like that the keyboard player had a PBR and a tin of altoids on his Casio.

Drawlings makes my party want to leave. I have to oblige.

11:03 PM Glasslands Gallery
Fabulous Diamonds
have a work drum beat. I can picture a room full of people rolling copious amounts of cigarettes to this music.

11:56 PM
Air Waves
is a great way to end the night. Airy tunes that are cozy and familiar. Snuggled in, I wonder how Nicole Schneit sounds so good while bouncing throughout her songs.

11:59 PM
When I tell my friend that Air Waves relocated to Austin, which I think is a pretty cool place, she responds with, “People say that, but it’s still Texas!”

AOTW: Tricky

“This is the most uptempo album I’ve done. I wanted something that could be played in a club maybe! Which is unusual for me. Because I don’t give a shit about clubs.”
– Tricky on his latest release – Mixed Race

Name: Adrian Nicholas Matthews Thaws 

Alias: Tricky, Tricky Kid

Hometown: Knowle West, Bristol, England

Birth Date: January 27, 1968

Occupations: vocalist, actor, producer

Got his start: The Wild Bunch and Massive Attack (two hip-hop groups)

Album Releases:
Maxinquaye (1995), Nearly God (1996), UKPre-Millennium Tension (1996), Angels with Dirty Faces (1998), Juxtapose (1999), Blowback (2001), Vulnerable (2003), Knowle West Boy (2008), Mixed Race (2010)

Famous Collaborations Include:
Björk, Neneh Cherry, Alanis Morissette, Ed Kowalczyk (Live), Cyndi Lauper, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Current Label: Domino Records

You May Recognize Him From: The 1997 film, The Fifth Element. He played a character named “Right Arm”.

Why is he BTR Artist of The Week?:

Tricky has had an undoubtedly amazing career. Some consider this man the founder of trip-hop. To be an innovator and one who defines a genre is quite an accomplishment and it seems as though this man should be a household name. We are hoping to do what we can to make that a reality.

The release of his latest record, Mixed Race (Domino Records) marks 15 years since his first solo-album Maxinquaye. In those 15 years the talented musician has collaborated with many famous artists and dabbled in every genre under the sun. Mixed Race which was recorded in his current home of Paris, France, may be Tricky hitting his stride. The elements of trip-hop which made him famous are still present. However, Tricky moves into a more accessible, uptempo, electronic field that is quite irresistible.

Now What?: Listen to BreakThru Radio for tracks off or Tricky’s new album and get out to one of his tour dates listed below.

Tricky Live!!!

Nov 1  –   Glav Club  –  St. Petersburg, Russia
Nov 2  –  Milk Club  –  Moscow, Russia
Nov 4  –  Palladium  –   Warszawa, Poland
Nov 5  –   Fabryka   –  Krakow, Poland
Nov 7  –  ETER Club  –  Wroclaw, Poland
Nov 8  –  Lucerna Music Bar  –  Praha, Czech Republic

Link to this article:

– Emily Smith

CMJ Day 2 with DJ Wynn

10/20 Wednesday

5:15 PM  Sunshine Cinema, 143 E Houston St.
“…we could save their lives.” said one ticket seller to another, unaware the 2-way speaker was on.

5:20 PM  Cake Shop
I never thought I’d end up at another Bath’s show, but it’s CMJ and I love Cake Shop.

5:28 PM
“Are you enthused?” said Will Wiesendelf. Bath’s wasn’t as animated as before, turning his reverb and flange knobs less flamboyantly this time around, but his signature dance moves were still on display. One spectator commented, “I just came to see this guy dance.”

6:00 PM
Marnie Stern noodled on her guitar while amps hiccuped with feedback. “O.K, we’re just gonna start.” said Stern. She plays guitar as if she were buried alive at some point, but crawled out and seeks revenge. During the beginning of one song, she had a blissed out look on her face, eyes closed, smirking slightly, and I wondered why her album wasn’t more popular than Sleigh Bells.

6:15 PM
The bassist said he’s glad to be playing “C-M-Vajay” and Marnie countered she would like some “Peen for my vajeen.” Later on, she would comment that the feedback that was still stalking around was a result of her “desperate vajeen” calling for help.

6:46 Mikey’s, 134 Ludlow
Lamb Burger topped with satay style onions, jalapeno, and mint, along with a Vietnamese Coffee shake. The burger was just the right size to justify a snack later. I’m always thinking ahead.

7:35 Santos Party House
Have you ever seen a bartender pace? How about one that looks like Yahoo Serious with a handlebar mustache connected to his sideburns?

Lower Dens sounds like a pretty girl who you’ve never met walking up to you at the beach. She confesses every despicable she’s done, but you don’t care. You end up walking with her along the beach and falling asleep on the sand. In the morning, she is gone, leaving just an imprint in the sand.

Tamaryn seems like a good choice for the Lost Highway soundtrack. Too bad the images projected in the background were more interesting than the music. I’m hoping DOM will punch me in the face.

DOM looks like Shawn White wearing flannel over a Madonna t-shirt. He begins the set with, “This next song is called Jesus. Hail Satan!”

This set is exactly the cup of Cuban coffee I needed to get me through the night. In between songs, the group does a quick rendition of the music from the first level of Super Mario Bros. Don’t you hate that one section where you can get an invisible 1-up, but sometimes it doesn’t let you backtrack enough to go down the warp pipe too?

A wasted individual pushes his way to the front of the crowd, to give DOM the finger. Satisfied, he slinks back whence he came.

11 PM
I might be falling in love with Marnie Stern. This is the second time I’m seeing her today, and she’s as chipper as ever. The feedback issues were credited to the energy traveling up to her vajeen, and there was danger of it exploding all over the audience like Ghostbusters. “You’re gonna get slimed!” she exclaimed.

11:14 PM
“How many times do I have to bring up my vajeen before someone hits on me?” said a bewildered Stern. How does one pick up a musician at a show? Anyone out there been successful that can share a story? If you’re reading Marnie, I cook a fabulous Honey-Soy glazed salmon, served with a bed of salad topped with feta cheese, apples, and walnut raspberry dressing.

An American flag was draped down the keyboard. A drum tom had a checkered flag wrapped around it. In the back, there were huge letters that spelled “Jr. Jr.” and contained light bulbs inside the frames. Alas, I saw none of this in action because Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. spent the first 25 minutes of their set dealing with sound and costume changes. Hearing Wild Nothing upstairs, I ventured out of the cramp compartment downstairs.

You fall in love to the music of Wild Nothing. Marnie Stern had that kind of look in her eye as she admired from the sideline.

Failed stage dive attempt. The crowd cleared out of the way as the diver bent his knees to leap from the stage. I figure if you’re diving in the first place, you’re accepting the fact that you may get injured, so I don’t feel so bad for the guy.

1:13 AM
On my subway ride home, I see a girl with red circles around her eyes. Is this a fashion statement, or is she a demon?