The duo of Tom Van Buskirk and George Langford (AKA Javelin) made their name as sample-loving pranksters, and their first LP, No Mas, is something of a goofball electro-pop classic. The follow up, Hi Beams, (released last week on Luaka Bop) is a more restrained affair in almost every way. The duo decided to write and record "real" songs that could be recreated onstage by a band. It totally could have sucked, but it doesn't. Simply put, what they lack this time in silly experimentation and surprise, they make up for in good old fashioned pop hooks and songs you can hum along to happily. Nice job, fellas. We asked them to send along a short list of stuff they've been digging lately, but first let's take a listen to a track from Hi Beams.
La Estrella Tacos - Highland Park, Los Angeles
I can't resist shouting out my neighborhood taco spot, good for late night stopovers and afternoon walkovers alike. Of course LA is the land of endless tacos, but this place is special. The chicken is juicy, the al pastor savory -- I keep the red sauce in my fridge as a matter of course. My guilty pleasure is the nachos… the fake cheese makes the tortilla chips all floppy and delicious…
Stand-up comedian Mark Maron broadcasts from his cat ranch in Highland Park, issuing compelling, hilarious, and heart-tickling interviews with such entertainment luminaries as Mel Brooks and Fiona Apple. I am a full-on addict and like to spread my addiction. It's a little embarrassing.
Ed Schrader's Music Beat
Minimalist punk meets surrealist Bowie with a hint of Ricky Gervais. Please ignore my description and just listen to ESMB (here is a remix we made of his song "Traveling")
Critter and Guitari
Our friends in Brooklyn and Philly make these beautiful portable electronic instruments that truly take the stress out of making music with technology. Built from wood and metal, they're stand-alone and are totally idiosyncratic. The arpeggios in the pocket piano run on unique and insane algorithms. They run on batteries so you can take them anywhere, and most have an internal speaker too. Plus they're the greatest dudes -- Critter and Guitari!!!
I played in the Brooklyn Rock Lottery in December. It was a benefit for Hurricane Sandy that pulled together 25 Brooklyn musicians and randomly broke them into five bands. We had about 10 hours to write some songs and come up with a name and then all the bands performed that night. So fun to meet and collaborate with an otherwise unlikely ensemble- this kind of thing should be happening every month in any city with a decent music scene.
My friend Wills posts a lot of footwork videos on Facebook- I think his posts have become some of the few reasons I still participate on the site. This one features Polar Bear. He's ferocious.
Some of this and a some rye and an ice cube is a welcome friend to a new dad.
Amazing energy! Have saxes! Speak Spanish! Hate cops!