"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. Getting soulful today with a new Toro Y Moi video, and additional tracks from Portland's Shy Girls and Bryan Ellis.

Toro Y Moi

Toro Y Moi recently premiered "Rose Quartz" as a single, by way of live videos from Pitchfork Festival in Chicago. Not much to say here as this is definitely not breaking any new ground or blowing any minds. It's just solid, soulfully mellowed out funky house -- kind of the lowest common denominator for introducing such sounds into the indie mainstream.
TORO Y MOI TOUR DATES * = w/ The Choir Quit, Can't Kids 8/26 - Brooklyn, NY - Afropunk Festival 9/26 - Durham, NC - Motorco Music Hall 9/27 - Asheville, NC - Orange Peel * 9/28 - Charleston, SC - Music Farm * 9/29 - Fairburn, GA - Counterpoint Music Festival 10/13 - San Francisco, CA - Treasure Island Music Festival

 

Remix City Sifting through mountains of remix trash so you don't have to, in an attempt to find the ones that contribute to their originals. Cat Power and Nicolas Jaar create a truly repeatable duet between remix and original, and Alice Cohen makes music perfect for the summer.

 

When two artists REDEFINE writers are excited about -- Cat Power and Nicolas Jaar -- get together, the results are sure to be nothing but spectacular. In the original for "Cherokee", Cat Power calls attractively for upwards post-mortem levitation and submission, the track's uptempo rhythm feeling more celebratory than pained the entire way. More heart-wrenching liberties are taken with Jaar's ballad-like rendition, which feels as though the sky is opening, shining down rainbow light like stained glass refractions in a cathedral. This remix and its original are truly complementary pairs. Cat Power's Sun comes out September 3rd on Matador. You can download and listen to the album's first single, "Ruin", HERE.

 

Since my move to Portland a few years ago, what has continued to fascinate me is the diversity of music fans in the area and their inability to get involved with many concerts which likely interest them. So rarely is there ever a mix of under twenty-one concertgoers with the more bourgeois, approaching-thirty art folk who run the city’s night life. This isn’t meant to be a slight on either demographic, as it is out of both of their hands completely, but compared to other cities, the way in which Portland concerts are a walled garden of sorts continues to confuse me.

 

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Live Show Review August 6th, 2012 @ The Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

 

Liars further the weirdness of their new record, WIXIW, with this insanely bizarre -- even for them -- music video for "Brats". Animated by Ian Cheng, this is 3-D animation at some of its most crass; Elmer Fudd (?), Bugs Bunny (?), and a dumb dog rave to Liars' house beats while humping one another and bumping into Liars themselves. My favorite parts come towards the end, when Bugs (?) seems to be humping just about everything in sight and does backwards and forwards somersaults atop Elmer (?) like a gymnast on crack (!)! Equally good is when Liars start getting down themselves. Spasms and rag doll effects galore! This is disturbing genius! Below the jump, you will find further WIXIW news, album trailers, and the dark music video for "No.1 Against The Rush", directed by Todd Cole.

 

See Our Interview With Liars About WIXIW

All photography by Suzi Pratt except Porcelain Raft, The Lumineers by Jim Bennett
When the 2012 Capitol Hill Block Party website became public, many speculated that this would be the LAST Capitol Hill Block Party ever. A cryptic and mysterious message led followers and fans to believe that the end of was near. It’s no secret that the event has caused some trouble in the neighborhood with businesses claiming to be hurt by the music festival in sales and typical noise complaints, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this year's Block Party wasn’t a success. This event has brought the community even closer together and over the years, has kept a well-balanced lineup of mainstream, up-and-coming, and local artists on their roster. Whether this was the last Capitol Hill Block Party or not, the organizers have done well. The bands and artists put their best performances forward and the attendees relished under the summer heat in the heart of Capitol Hill. We really couldn’t ask for more.

 

Beat Connection

What I have come to realize in my past four years of attending Capitol Hill Block Party is that the daytime acts often get the shaft. It is difficult to capture an audience’s attention between the hours of noon and 4:30pm because let’s be real -- everyone just wants to day drink -- but if you missed out on Beat Connection’s set on the Saturday of Block Party, you missed out big time. For Beat Connection, this was their shining moment. Having performed on the Vera Stage just one year before, being a main stage act was more than just a big deal. Not only did they have an upgrade in stage space, but they were performing to the masses! With their new album, The Palace Garden, receiving rave reviews lately, they are on top of the world. Beat Connection performed the ideal soundtrack for Saturday of Capitol Hill Block Party by unleashing a daytime dance party in the midst of their set. Is there anything better than listening to their hot new track “The Palace Garden, 4am” with the sweltering sun beating over your head and a nice cold PBR in your hand? I don’t think so. Beat Connection have undergone quite a transformation in the last year, adding more members to their group and a slew of instruments and electronic additions that have taken their music to the next level. With their undergraduate college careers almost over, I expect that we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of Beat Connection very soon.

 

Young Magic played at Mercury Lounge, on a calm Sunday after a cool summer daze party weekend. Accompanied by a friend, I walked in as “You With Air” began, my favorite track from Melt, Young Magic’s debut full-length which was released earlier this year.  July 29th,...

Multicultural Sounds travels the world for contemporary reinventions of cultural staples. Spain's Grammy-winning Ojos De Brujo tackle every genre under the sun in their remix album, and Montreal/Los Angeles by-way-of Iran's Niyaz talk humanitarian ideas on their latest, Sumud.

 

Ojos De Brujo

Barcelona's Ojos De Brujo (aka Eyes Of A Warlock/Sorceror in English), certainly know how to release a multicultural slaw of dub, electronica, tropical, ragga, everything, and more of everything. Antagonistic male rapping cuts into female vocals singing Spanish with a Middle Eastern warble and flair; dubstep takes over with stereotypical wobbles at times, only to fall into ragga beats; tropical rhythms and flamenco influences creep in until all things are indistinguishable and challenging. This is global dance music at some of its best, and it's a pleasing surprise Ojos De Brujo are a Grammy-winning act. At right, stream the equally Latin and Indian-influenced "Todo Tiende", remixed by Los Chicos Altos, and watch the animated music video of the original. See full post for a megamix of their entire remix album (which is well worth it to dive into!)
Ojos De Brujo - "Todo Tiende" (Original)

 

Liars continue to compel me to no end. Truth be told, with these days and their compulsive relentless onslaught of auditory information, I almost expect to get sick of a band after album four or so. So I downloaded Liars' new album when it came out, but only listened to it a few times before I found out I was going to be interviewing them again. I then decided I should probably rectify that and listened to it like six times in a two-day stretch. Holy shit! WIXIW is a freaking classic which finds them again refining their prime directive of reinventing their prime directive, which has always been their forte. Six straight albums of genius. Not many bands can pull that off. This one's more aberrant but still uniquely them. Basically, they use more computer beats and effects than usual – kind of what you'd expect a band to do circa now. Difference is, Liars were always kind of doing that, so it feels completely effortless. Oh, how it owns. I had the good fortune of catching them live a few weeks back and had my mind psychically ass-handed to me by the sound druids in the sky. Liars are one of the few bands I know that you can definitely say are better live than on record, that still actually make great records. There are plenty of bands that excel face-to-face but can't pull it together in the studio, ever. The way the bass amplifier worship reverberated through their new beat-heavy cuts brought a sinister vibe to sound, rendering the whole scene that much more exquisitely delicious. When they dropped into the punkier cuts from albums like Sisterworld and their self-titled third disc, there was more raw power per inch being blasted from the stage than most metal bands ever conjure forth in their faux demon-worshipping careers. A ton of acts are using pure volume these days as a way to mask underdeveloped songwriting chops, but Liars do it right. Frontman Angus Andrew talks about that and other fun shit like dreams below. Dig.

 

Liars – WIXIW Teaser
"'Wish you' is a familiar and universal sentiment of longing and hope, but when misspelt becomes uniquely shrouded and difficult to interpret, which in many ways is representative of our music and the songs we wrote for this album." -- Angus Andrew, on the album title WIXIW

 

Remix City Sifting through mountains of remix trash so you don't have to, in an attempt to find the ones that contribute to their originals. Erika Spring of Au Revoir Simone releases her solo project, with a remix by Jensen Sportag, and Chicago's Another offers up an entire remix EP, with standouts from LUST and Ambinate.

 

Erika Spring - "Hidden"

Singer and keyboardist of Au Revoir Simone, Erika Spring, has just released a self-titled EP from the experimental pop label Cascine, which is curiously a record label guided by intuition. A quick browse through their catalog reveals a series of clever, often female-fronted forays into gentle pop music. "Hidden", Erika Spring's first single, comes with a burning underlying synth line that adds a depth to its already sultry qualities. The remix by Jensen Sportag throws a mellow haze atop it, in some senses, while picking up its dancing in the bedroom potentialities.
Erika Spring - "Hidden" (Jensen Sportag Remix) Erika Spring - "Hidden" (Original)

 

Portland's best free festival, the community-oriented once again brings three days of musical performances! This year's lineup (and our choices) have a pretty heavy leaning towards indie, dance, and humorously, avante garde and jazz-influenced acts. Read on!

 

FRIDAY, JULY 20

 

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Radiation City

12:10AM (INSIDE) Indie rock, at this space and point in time, is a well-worn genre with little earth-shattering capacity. But there are some bands that can capture a vibe and a spirit that Pacific Northwesters just dig. In Radiation City's case, their fast ascension has not made them lose a sense of intimacy that makes them a great closing act for any community-centered event like PDX Pop Now! Their music is romantic, just like Portland's summer nights. SEE ALSO: RADIATION CITY - "FIND IT OF USE" (PALMAS REMIX)

 

SATURDAY, JULY 21

 

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The Miracles Club

11:50 (Outside) Dance and music go hand-in-hand with The Miracles Club, both on stage and in the crowd. So many Soul Train good times have been had with them at the helm, and as they're closing out Saturday night's PDX Pop Now! (the most exciting day of the festival), Refuge will be bumping and vibing, house-style, into the night. Expect a REDEFINE and Holocene partnership with them later this September, for MusicfestNW and a dance-related panel we're curating! Details to come.

 

SUNDAY, JULY 22

 

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Pulse Emitter

2:45 (Inside) The beginning of next month, Golden Retriever will be playing alongside Pulse Emitter, aka Daryl Groetsch, for their CD release show. Expect the same kind of far-out cosmic synth washes from Groetsch, which are guaranteed to create a spacey and meditative good time for those in the proper mindset.