Tropic of Pisces is the side project of Oberhofer guitarist Mathew Scheiner. From the strange opening seconds of his debut single “Symmetry,” you get a sense of the inspirations behind this project, but the outcome is still exciting. Like you know this wouldn’t exist without the open armed embracement of Afro-punk influences by Vampire Weekend (and their predecessors) or maybe even the aggressive ’80s pop, synth stylings of Ghost Beach, but you also know that you like to dance. That’s what Tropic of Pisces offers. There is a bounce to “Symmetry” that is instantly infectious, so listen to it, move around awkwardly at your desk at work, and look out for the Symmetry EP on February 25th via Ooh La La Records.
Sunset and Childish Gambino fan Kevin Gannon offered to give his thoughts on Childish Gambino and his upcoming album, ‘Because The Internet.’
I can remember my first experience with Childish Gambino like it was yesterday. It was, in fact, not yesterday but the summer of 2010. He had just released the Culdesac mixtape and my impression was probably similar to yours: “Holy hell, how did I not know that Troy (from Community) could rap like THIS?!” He instantly reminded me of guys like Lil Wayne and Drake because of his punchline-heavy approach, but there was a sincerity and reality to his lyrics that felt more organic than his influences. The Childish one just sounded, well, real and I could connect with his outsider vision, affinity for indie-rock and cartoons, and fondness for humor as a vehicle. This was, after all, a guy who decided to take on music after showcasing that he could write his ass off and act pretty damn well, too.
But it’s been nearly three and a half years since then and, of course, things are very different for both me and the rapper I’ve grown so fond of. For me, I’ve been most recently dealing with a transition from college to the “real world.” That means relying on my own income, which often gets a little pummeled when I make extraneous purchases to supplement my music-listening habits. Like my new headphones, I finally caved in and copped after reading this guide. And during this same time, Gambino released a slew of new material. That includes his debut album, Camp, which was unfairly panned by critics who seemed to be piggy-backing on one another’s hate. The record still resonated with me, though, as did his Royalty mixtape that dropped last year.
That being said, it did sound as if Gambino was getting somewhat stuck artistically. It seemed like he needed to challenge himself, be it by surrounding himself with new collaborators or simply immersing himself in a different setting. And this past summer, it was apparent that he had done exactly that after I watched his “Clapping For The Wrong Reasons” short film. It was an odd viewing experience, of course, because nothing seemed to be connected as one scene jumped to another. But it did show that he was branching out and spending time with acts who could challenge him. They included Trinidad Jame$, Flying Lotus, and somewhat-frequent collaborator Chance The Rapper.
Seeing all of this made me even more hopeful once I heard rumblings of Gambino’s sophomore album, Because The Internet. And, sure enough, he proved that he was on another level with the release of lead single “3005.” The sing-song hook, the lyrics split between bravado and introspection, and the superbly melodic, albeit forward-thinking production, blended together wonderfully. Here was a fully fleshed-out track from Gambino that was also equally familiar and unlike what we’ve heard from him before.
Subsequent single releases like “Telegraph Ave” proved that this was indeed a new side to the writer-turned-actor-turned-multifaceted-musical-artist. And he opened up about these changes in an interview with Billboard. He revealed that he feels like he needs to inspire people and that his music is a way for him to do that.
That’s why when he went into making Because The Internet in December 2012, he did things differently. He opted out of “going home” and instead rented out a new place—the mansion from the short film?—and reached out to new people. This allowed him to tap into different parts of his mind and expand his creativity. And as he told Billboard: “I didn’t want to make another album, really–I wanted to create a world.”
We’ll all get a chance to hear just what that world sounds like when the album is released Dec. 10. If you can’t wait that long, though, you can stream it right now on iTunes.
Tracklist for Because The Internet after the jump.
Whenever I visit my grandma, she always complains that my generation is anti-social (and stuff), and that disconnect can be frustrating. I try to explain the fast forward culture we live in, but the more I explain it, the more it seems terrible. This is going to be the last Tape Tuesday for at least a month, and ironically, it’s partially because I don’t want to live in fast forward anymore. I want to slow things down, evaluate, enjoy, and understand. Last night on Twitter, people were already criticizing Childish Gambino‘s Because the Internet, which is an album that I’ll need at least a week of consistent listening to understand. And that’s the problem. I feel like people don’t want to understand anymore, and lately I have become obsessed with understanding. See, I sound like my grandmother now. I don’t know which way of thinking is right or wrong, but I’m starting to understand what my grandma’s talking about.
- Vök - Before
- Teen Suicide – Haunt Me (X 3)
- Slaughter Beach – Spinning Globe
- Saint Raymond – Fall at Your Feet
- Yasmin Green – Into the Night
- Childish Gambino – Telegraph Ave.
- River Tiber – The City
- Avan Lava – So F*kt Up
- ≈MAXO≈ – HEALTH POP
- ceo – Whorehouse
- Default Genders – Stop Pretending
- Sportsman – Champagne
- Oliver Tank – Time Slows Down When You Walk Into The Room
- Alice Boman – Waiting
- Sway Clarke II – I Don’t Need Much
- Hayden Calnin – Coward
- The Holidays – All Time High
- Sleepy Dreamers – Bike Song
- Twin Forks – Cross My Mind
- Chance Waters – Bonnie (ft. The Griswolds)
- Francis and the Lights – Like A Dream
- D.A. – Farm
Something you tossed out is everything I want, something you’re dismissive of is the reason I wake up…
My goodness, you guys. I sincerely apologize for dropping the [Wrecking] Ball on the Mashup Mondays feature. Somebody should Wake Me Up and remind me that I need to treat yall like Royals, because that’s what you are. Alas, the Demons of the real world have been haunting me. The Monster that is work has been particularly monstrous lately. But today, I got a chance to Slow Down and enjoy some mashups. That’s right, I’m a lion and you’re going to hear me ROAR. [Applause from the crowd.]
Bonus points to anybody who can name the artists behind all the songs listed in this description. Or all of the artists used in Mashup Germany’s mashup below. Crazytown.
1. Mashup-Germany – Top Of The Pops 2013 (Hey Brother) [Revisited]
2. Ed Sheeran & Passenger – No Diggity vs Thrift Shop (Kygo Remix)
3. Ricky Cervantes – Artichoke Dip (OutKast v. Ke$ha v. Madeon v. Grandtheft)
4. Isosine – Hearts (Bon Iver vs Calvin Harris vs Ellie Goulding vs Childish Gambino vs Jeremy Lim vs Serena Sun)
I have to be honest with yall, I got a little nervous when I saw that Sam Smith released a song called “Money On My Mind.” It was one of those “noooo, not another one,” feelings, as though I was about to be bombarded with another song about the riches and fame. But surprisingly, the chorus of this song actually goes “I don’t have money on my mind, money on my mind. I do it for, I do it for the love.” So that’s good. The problem here is that this song is way too poppy for me. I started feeling things for Sam Smith (I don’t even think it was too soon to call it love) when I first heard “Lay Me Down.” His voice is almost too much to handle, that’s how good it is. It’s got a quivery and luminous vibe that few others can parallel (off the top of my head I’d pick Adele as the only rival). But this song seems more about the poppy production than the vocals, and that’s a direction that I don’t think Sam Smith would be well-advised to go in. When he sings “money on my mind,” it’s just a bit too reminiscent of Cee-Lo, who, don’t get me wrong, is a standout in pop music. But I beg of you, Sam Smith, don’t lose yourself in the pop scene. You’re too good for that. Keep the production minimal and play off the strengths of your vocals.
The reason I started this blog was because I was inspired by cool people doing cool things. It has focused almost 100% on music, but here and there I’ve shared some art and technology with you guys. Recently, I was invited to participate in a cool event hosted by HP where I was able to test out the latest and greatest HP technology. Being somebody who’s inspired by technology and forward-thinkers, this was a really cool experience for me.
For other tech junkies out there: the technology showcased at the #hpjoy event was forward-thinking. I was especially impressed the the LeapMotion system now in place in the ENVY laptop series. It allows a new level of control to the user by allowing gestures made in the air to be understood by the machine. This seems like a gimmick at first, but the opportunities are plentiful. For example, being able to quickly rotate and zoom in on 3D projections are quite impractical with a touchpad. One level geekier, having a new gesture-based means to control the screen gives developers a lot more potential to be creative with UI design. This could be the future, yall. After playing with the system, it became apparent to me that what the LeapMotion platform brings is the next logical step to the current age of multi-touch trackpads.
So after being able to geek out with the technology, I was given another gift from HP. I have received two HP Chromebooks for my review and comments. I’m giving away one of these two Chromebooks so you guys can have the opportunity to test out this new cool technology as well. Sign up with your information using the form below. The contest will run until December 14th, 2013, and then once a winner is chosen, he or she will be contacted via email and the Chromebook will be shipped to them. Also, be sure to spread the word with your friends! Once you’ve entered your information below, you’ll be given opportunities to share with your friends – for each friend you invite who then enters to win, you will be rewarded an extra entry.