Kindjacket Meets Mac Demarco (Genuine exclusive)

Perhaps Mac Demarco was so impressed by Kindjacket’s thought-provoking interview with Kim Jong-Un that he agreed to have an interview of his own with us after his recent gig at Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, or maybe it was the fact that we placed “2” 3rd on our end of year list for 2012?  Anyway, we’ve reviewed one of his last gigs of his big tour and then managed to catch up with him after the show when he was chilling outside.

The night had begun, as so many of the best do, with a few beers and with Pointless on the TV. Helen Mirren Films? Caligula. John Le Carre novels? The Looking Glass War. Needless to say, I know, but we got down to Brudenell in good spirits and had a pint. For those who haven’t been to Brudenell Social Club before it’s pretty much everything you’d expect a social club to be. There are 2 sides to the venue; one has loads of pool tables and a big TV (showing Leeds vs. St.Helens rugby league when we arrived), and the other had the stage and a long bar. With a capacity of about 150, it’s pretty much the perfect place to see acts like Mac Demarco, who love to interact with the crowd and there was a really intimate vibe. Another big plus for the venue is seeing the difference between the working man who just comes down for a cold one and to shoot some arrows, and the wannabe-relevant youths (me and my friends included). The contrast was pretty hilarious, but definitely adds to the experience.

The first act we saw were Bleached, who rocked out, but got little back from the crowd. Having listened to a little bit of their stuff, I thought it translated into a live performance really well and I’d definitely check them out again. A lull in between Bleached’s set and Mac’s followed, but once the band did their last bits of sound checking, there was a genuine buzz among the crowd and plenty of hollering as the band came on stage.

I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed “2” and “Rock and Roll Night Club” so much was because Mac seems like the sort of guy who just wants to goof around and have fun and it seems easy to relate to him. The band look like they love playing live together (even after a long tour) and had way more energy than you’d imagine. It’s also easy to admire how tightly the band can play, even when they seem to be messing around. The guitar riffs, which sound so slick, almost greasy, on the albums, sounded much bouncier and punchy when played live and the crowd definitely appreciated the effort the guys were putting in. I think the set list was the same as the Pitchfork – Safe For Work live stream that the band did back in February, but with livelier, more raw vocals, which the crowd absolutely loved. The crowd were even lucky enough to get to hear The Beatles’ “Blackbird” and Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff” covered again. Of course, Mac smashed “Still Together” too, his beautiful falsetto bringing the blokes sinking Carling at the social club to tears (possibly). Another standout moment was that opening chord of “Ode to Viceroy”, which seemed at the time to be just about the greatest noise a guitar could ever make. Anyway, I could write subjective bullshit about how well Mac plays and how great seeing him live is all day, but the best thing I could say is try and catch him live if you have the opportunity. Even if you don’t know his stuff, the band put on a great show and leave you feeling happy to have seen people who seem so buzzed about playing.

2

So after the gig, we decided to chance our arm and head back stage to see if we could get an interview with Mac, I bluffed that I was with the Leeds Student paper and he was happy to do it. Seeing as I’d never interviewed anyone before (Milo was an e-mail interview) and was 6 beers deep at this point, perhaps interviewing a dude I pretty much idolise wasn’t the best idea. The conversation starts with some chat about Mac’s beloved smokes. I pick up the recording half way through. It’s kind of long, but hopefully worth reading. Here’s what we got:

Mac (on Viceroys): No, the thing is, the joke with them is they’re not good at all. They’re terrible, but I love them a lot, but they’re the worst cigarette you can buy in Canada.

Kindjacket: What cigarettes are you on here?

Mac: Yeah outside of Canada it’s usually Marlboro red, except for Eastern Europe, they had Viceroy there.

Kindjacket: We were talking about this earlier, what beer do you like to drink in Canada? In the UK we have Red Stripe which is pretty popular on nights like this.

Mac: I don’t know. Happs, it’s the cheapest one on the shelves and it’s the strongest too. So Yeah, you get fucked up and stuff. It’s pretty chill.

Following this there was a brief chat about Mac’s upcoming show at the Garage in London. My partner in crime Mac Dewalo asks Mac if he’ll give a shout out to his brother, Cristophe, whose Birthday it was on the day of the show.

Kindjacket: How have you found the crowds in Europe? Have they been cool?

Mac: Yeah in Europe, they’re cool. The fans are down, but crowds in Europe are a little bit more tame, in mainland Europe I mean. But in the UK the kids like to get crazier.

Kindjacket: We’re an island nation! That’s what we’re like.

Mac: Yeah it’s cool. In Europe it’s strange though because you play a whole set and people are kind of like bobbing along, but they’re very respectful. They’re not yelling shit at you, but I like it when kids yell at me and stuff though. I don’t know…but then they call you for an encore [in Europe], and I’m like: I thought you hated the whole set!

Kindjacket: Haha fuck that! You’re not getting an encore from us, we know the set list.

Mac: Yeah exactly. But it’s just different from the States. UK and States are comparable crowds though, but mainland Europe is a little bit different. Cool though.

Kindjacket: Have you got anything you want to do in London before you leave?

Mac: We’ve got a couple of friends there, we’ll probably hang out with them. I’ve done the London tourist thing before…I came over here when I was 16 or something. I came over during the school vacation. But I don’t know…Touring for me is like, if I have a day off in a city where I have homies, I’ll just try and see them. Especially in London because we have friends from back home and it’s like: when am I ever going to see you again, you know? And plus I have some family there too.

Kindjacket: Are you spending most of your time out in the States now when you’re not touring?

Mac: I’ve spent a lot of time there lately, but I still live in Canada. I just got rid of my apartment, so I don’t have a house there anymore. But when I get back I guess I’ll just jump in the car and go somewhere… [laughs] I don’t know.

Kindjacket: Where is Captured Tracks based again?

Mac: It’s in Brooklyn, New York City.

Kindjacket: Ok, and how long are you going to be with them? Do you know?

Mac: Well the contract is three records, I guess. So “2” was supposed to be my first record on the contract, but it turned out to be my second record with them. So I have two more full-length albums with them, which is great.

Kindjacket: That’s cool. Have you got any plans for the next album?

Mac: I have some demos and shit, like nothing that’s really come together as a proper thing. So I don’t know. I don’t know what it’s gonna be like. But if it ends up turning out like “2” or “Rock and Roll Night Club” I’ll probably just throw it in the garbage and try again.

Kindjacket: No! Fuck that!

Mac: Well I like those records but I wanna make something new. You know?

Kindjacket: Yeah, sure. That’s cool. So what’s the next album going to sound like?

Mac: I don’t really know…It’ll probably sound more like “2” than “Rock and Roll Night Club” but I don’t really know. I’ve been playing keyboard a lot more recently. So a bit more synthy. Not synthy like a dancey synth album but…

Kindjacket: I’d like to hear you on Piano.

Mac: I’m ok. I’m not so good. You know the band Beak? I think they’re from Brighton. I’ve been really into them. They’re a great band. That kind of shit is kind of dissonant and weird. I think I’m going to try and do less guitar, or less electric guitar, you know the sort of jangly thing, but I have no idea, it’s just going to be pop songs again. [check out Beak’s song Yatton]

Kindjacket: That’s cool. If you had a record that you wish you could make or an ideal record you would have loved to make, do you know what it would be?

Mac: Yeah. It’d be Plastic Ono Band by John Lennon.

Kindjacket: Really?

Mac: Yeah. It’s like the best record ever. Soo good, it’s fucking crazy.

Kindjacket: You’re a Steely Dan fan too aren’t you?

Mac: Yeah I love Steely Dan.

Kindjacket: Can’t Buy a Thrill is one of my favourite albums.

Mac: I would actually prefer to make Aja, but I like Can’t Buy a Thrill too. Aja’s got like 8 songs on it and it’s fucking great. So good.

Kindjacket: I saw somewhere that you’re a fan of Weezer too?

Mac: Yeah I think I mentioned it somewhere and it got written up as “Oh I like Weezer”, but everyone thinks I’m a huge Weezer fan. Plus we did that cover on whatever media-buzz-whatever-thing…I don’t know what the fuck it was called…I mean I liked Weezer as much as any other kid my age when we were in junior high school, but I’m not like a die-hard fan. The new albums are not that good.

Kindjacket: Are you a David Bowie fan at all?

Mac: Yeah I love David Bowie.

Kindjacket: What are your favourite albums?

Mac: Ziggy Stardust. That album is so sick. Pretty much his first couple of albums are like…you can’t fuck with that shit. Every song is a hit. It’s crazy. I like his 80s stuff too. That’s cool.

Kindjacket: How old are you now?

Mac: 23.

Kindjacket: Do you reckon it’s kind of the age you’re at now where you kind of either have to be a grown up, or you’re maybe in between being a grown-up and a kid?

Mac: Yeah. I can act grown up if I want to be. I mean I used to work like fancy jobs or whatever. Well, sometimes I would. Sometimes, I’d work the worst jobs. If you’ve gotta act grown up, you’ve gotta act grown up but if you don’t have to then you can go and party and not be a grown up.

Kindjacket: Yeah I saw an interview where you were talking about a horrible job…it was cleaning up after animals or something. Was it in an abattoir?

Mac: Oh yeah. I worked in a vet clinic. Actually that was pretty sweet though. That was my first job ever and I got paid. It was like 3 hour shifts though and 3 hours is nothing but it felt like so long, and during a shift I’d jack off like 4 times.

[laughing]

Mac in action

Kindjacket: So what are your plans for tonight then Mac?

Mac: Party hard.

Kindjacket: Yeah! Yeah!

Mac: Yeah, we’re homies with Widowspeak and Sean Savage, who’s also on tour with us, and we’re friends with Bleached too so it’s gonna be pretty cool. They’re all nice guys.

Kindjacket: do you find on tour you get on with people pretty well?

Mac: Yeah. I mean whether it’s like other bands or the kids coming to the shows. Yeah, I try. There are some bands who are like “GET OUT OF MY FACE!” But if kids wanna hang then I’ll try my best to. Sometimes I can’t because I feel like I’m about to die. But you know, usually I’m game, so I do my best. We’ve done like 8 months of touring since September, with a bit of time off. My whole body feels like a little fucked up, but that’s fine.

Kindjacket: Have you got any plans to do anymore videos for the singles from “2”?

Mac: Nah…I don’t think so. I think we’re done now. Maybe some people would wanna try. There’s a couple of people who wanted to do videos for “Freaking Out the Neighborhood”.

Kindjacket: I thought the last video was perfect and the Viceroy video was quality too.

Mac: Yeah I liked that.

Kindjacket: How much budget went into making the “My Kind of Women” video and what was it like to make? I guess back in the day you had a lot more…control of your videos. One of the earliest videos I saw was the “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother

Mac: Yeah I just did that when I was chilling at home. I just recorded myself walking around.

Kindjacket: That song is underrated I reckon. It’s quite emotional too.

Mac: Yeah I love that song.

Kindjacket: Do you have a brother?

Mac: I do yep. His name is Enrico, or Hank. The Italian for Hank is Enrico I guess. [Mac says his brother’s full name but I can’t make out what it all is…Even if I could I reckon Hank probably doesn’t want everyone to be knowing his full name so I’ll just leave that out and save him from having his bank or e-mail account being hacked into]. And he’s a ballerina.

Kindjacket: You mention that in “Cooking up Something Good” [sings the line “my brother’s in the ballet”]

Mac: That’s right!

Kindjacket: Anyway…where were we? Oh yeah. The last video you did it looked like it was big budget. Well, bigger than some of your earlier ones.

Mac: Yeah, most of the videos I do are just like: Hey man! You make videos. Do you wanna get a 6 pack and we’ll just make one in a couple of hours? But some of them like European Vegas, my friend Angus made, and those are the videos where sometimes people are like: I really wanna make you a video. So I’m just like ok, you do all the work and I’ll just show up and act like me on camera. I mean I don’t really necessarily like doing videos like that, you know having other people’s fingers in my pie, or whatever, I’m not a huge fan of that. But when it turns out good, it turns out good. For the “My Kind of Woman” video these kids  from LA were emailing me, and I was sort of replying, I was like: oh cool, you have a treatment for a video, yeah I’ll read that, kind of, someday and then this kid got my phone number somehow! And he was like: err hey man. Did you get my treatment? And I was like err…Yeah. I loved the treatment!! So I went down to LA and got picked up at the airport by this kid, who I had actually never met before, and they got me super drunk every night and dressed me up like a woman. It was very strange. But I’m up for anything. I don’t think I’ll be doing videos like that too much anymore but it’s cool.

Kindjacket: So the making of that video was not lead by you at all?

Mac: No, not in a single way. I just showed up.

Kindjacket: If you had full control of a video and the biggest budget ever do you know what you’d like to do?

Mac: Oh it’d be the most fucked up video.

Kindjacket: Haha yeah. Cool. If you could make a video for someone else’s song do you know what you’d do?

Mac: I don’t know. I mean I don’t really make videos that much.

Kindjacket: Yeah, I was going to ask about this actually. I read somewhere online, obviously it could be bullshit, but I read a description of you as a multimedia artist. Does that piss you off?

Mac: No, no. It doesn’t piss me off, I just think it was a bit weird, they called me multimedia artist Mac Demarco. I mean, maybe I’ll put a stupid photobooth video on my facebook page, but other than that I’ve never made a video.

Kindjacket: Do you remember where that was?

Mac: Ahh fuck. I have no idea. That was a long time ago. It was in New York.

Kindjacket: Yeah. I thought it was bullshit because nobody listens to an album and goes, ahhh it’s a multimedia artist.

Mac: Well I don’t know how they got the idea, but they said [Rock and Roll Night Club] was a psychedelic movie project. And I was like: Dude, what the fuck are you talking about? But it’s cool though. I mean the more people think about me…That was my thing at the time with Rock and Roll Night Club. I don’t wear lipstick, I don’t play shows shirtless very often, and I’m not like a crooner guy, so the whole thing was pretty funny with what the internet thinks about me. People would write weird shit and I’d be like sure, whatever!

So, that was what Mac Demarco had to say for us. We can now write weird shit about him online too! We finished the interview and then headed back inside to watch Widowspeak play, who are also well worth checking out. Their new album “Almanac” is one of my favourites of 2013, and we got to meet the band afterwards and they were cool guys. We then went to some guy’s house party and had some beers and it was pretty awesome to be able to chill out with the guys from Bleached and Widowspeak, as well as Mac and his band. Mac was true to his word and partied hard that night. My abiding memory of him is seeing him with a plastic Sainsbury’s bag round his neck and a beer in his hand. Anyway, if you get the opportunity to see them, I would definitely recommend going to check out all 3 bands. They put on an awesome live show and if you’re lucky, they might be down to party afterwards too.

 

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Mac Demarco – My Kind of Woman (Official Video)

Mac DeMarco: My Kind of Woman
on Nowness.com

A nice treat for Gary from the man with a gap between his teeth and a dumstick up his bottom.

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Exclusive!! Kindjacket Katches up with Korea’s K1M J0NG-UN

K1m j0ng-uN is trending so hard right now. He is the Best New Man in global politics. He is hyper-relevant. He is ahead of the trend, but so in and of the trend, it’s hard to even know how he relates to the trend.

But why? Is it his cutting edge ‘do? Is it the success of revisionist masterpiece “Onwards Towards the Final Victory”? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfDCtAlBw2I) Described by P(itchfo)RK as one of the most relevant pieces of recent times, it now has over 17,000 HITS on YouTube: the perfect mix of under-the-radar-relevance and relevant recognition from the so-called “big-time blog players”. I personally feel that Kim has achieved his relevance through a savvy blend of media manipulation and relevant censorship.

Kim and Rodman vibing at the game.  Is that a beer Kim?? (Does Kim drink red-stripe?)

Anyway, after Kim decided he wanted to chill with Denny Rodman (a wack-ass baller who dabbled in wrestling and slung it up Madonna and slam-dunked Carmen Electra) we thought we’d see if he wanted to chill with us to achieve more cross-over success. Think of it like Lou Reed teaming up with Metallica, then deciding he wants to collab with Clams Casino too. It’s a natural progression to maintain relevancy. Old Kim fans will be like, “yeah, I can see how this is relevant” and new Kim fans will be all like “yeah this is relevant, I suppose”. Whilst Kindjacket fans will be like, “this could help the blog achieve crucial likes and relevance whilst massaging the egos of the guys at the blog so it’s pretty much win-win.”

Due to travel and visa difficulties I was only able to Skype Kim but when I finally got through he was looking chill, wearing a black Yankees snapback (post-relevant), Denim jacket (spring ’13 relevance) and a pale blue Yeasayer t-shirt (post-Pseudo-Psychedelia-relevance).

Kindjacket: Yo Kim! What’s up bro? How’s it going?

Kim Jong-un: Pretty good thanks bro. Just chilling online, checking out global trends. Ha, you seen (insert relevant meme) yet?

Kindjacket: No dude.

Kim shows me (insert relevant meme). We both laugh heartily. BOOM!! I’m really warming to this guy. He’s got a keen eye for a relevant meme and he’s chill with sharing it in an environment where he knows he’s not going to get a like. That’s cool with me, I can respect that.

Kindjacket: So Kim, what you been listening to, man?

Kim: Well censorship is a pretty big deal out here in the PRK but I’ve been sussing on Onwards Towards the Final Victory lately, it’s played pretty heavily on the radio and TV since I got elected, so mostly that. Those youtube vids with the kids playing guitar are pretty chill too, and it makes me pleased to see their happy faces, they love music and you can just tell those kids love “real” music. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njG_dQC-cnk ;  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSedE5sU3uc). Oh and of course, when I think about my late, great Father I like to slide No Motherland Without You on…I think that tune summed him up so perfectly. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LT8rVM0Mr0)

The mention of his late Father has clearly upset Kim and I give him time to compose himself. He sobs passionately, before an aide comes to his side with some tissues…He blows, I continue, grateful of the fact that I don’t dwell on the relevance of North Korean children playing guitar sounding like every other shit Mumford and Sons cover you hear at open mic gigs and No Motherland Without You sounding a bit like Bastille (I’ve never listened to Bastille, they don’t even have a Pitchfork page so I’ve definitely never listened to them but I imagine they sound like that).

Kim being chill w/unchill bros. Cool jacket Kim, did you get it from the oxfam tent at Reading Fest??

Kindjacket: Relevant tastes man, chill. How you finding running the country?

Kim: It’s okay actually. One of the good things about Korean politics is that I can do pretty much whatever I want and there are no bullshit quangos or review committees to analyse the decisions I make so it’s actually way more chill than you’d imagine and there’s no red tape to slow the bureaucracy down. Plus, you seen Team America bro? The sharks I have are the dopest thing. Me and the boys love smoking up and watching them swimming about.

The irony is, you’d vote for this man in a heartbeat {via the knife’s much hyped comeback}, and yet he doesn’t even need your vote! I try to press him on some of the weightier domestic issues the country faces because things are going so well…

Kindjacket: Any plans to change an economy and political system which is seriously failing your starving people?

Kim: No.

Like many in today’s society I attempt to inject some greater depth and insight into a conversation, but fail and instead talk about some relevant relevancy as an easy get out clause.

Kindjacket: How are you finding your new relevancy then, bro?

Kim: Yeah, pretty chill, dude. I remember the little milestones in my life: 100+ likes on a profile picture, facebook page hitting 2,000+ likes, first fake twitter account, first twitter death…I could go on, but obviously the big one is trending on twitter, I can’t forget that! I guess it feels pretty good in the moment, but you can’t forget that it’s just social media and there are more important things than people just giving you a bit of recognition when they’re killing time on the web, in between jerking of over the naughty gif section of ffffound. I’d trade in all my online relevance for the opportunity to work it with my childhood sweetheart again, but she left the country after I ordered my Chief Military Official to persecute her family and friends when she said we should go on a break. Too bad, I guess…

Kindjacket: So what are your plans for the future then? Don’t look back into the sun (via Libertine-relevance-in-a-previous decade) Kim!

Kim: Well, I guess I just wanna build a global empire and do my father proud (via The Inception). If that means that I achieve some relevance along the way then that would be pretty cool.

Kindjacket: Cool, thanks bro. Good to catch up with you.

Kim: Chill, speak soon dude.

Kim’s an emotional guy and I really feel his pain. I think it’s easy to misunderstand him, he probably has a little insecurity about his weight (he’s 3-4 stones too heavy), he clearly pines for his childhood sweetheart and he just wants to make his recently deceased dad proud. Achieving online relevancy has been good for him and he knows it but deep down maybe he- and all of us, in fact- want something more concrete which mad likes, shares and retweets won’t give us. We don’t want relevance, we want something relevant in relevant moments in the future which won’t fade out of fashion in the predictable cycle: weird, alt-relevance, blog-relevance, high-street (lamestream) relevance, counter-relevance, post-relevance. Kim knows this. That’s why he wants to establish a global empire. If establishing a global empire means pissing off Barry Obama (the first black president) then so be it. I for one wish him good luck and continuing good look because he really is the most relevant global politician right now and probably one of PRK’s most relevant hipsters/working professionals.

Do you think I should have asked Kim about Psy’s breakthrough relevance?

Do you wish Kim good luck in achieving what his father wanted him to achieve via his last wish?

Do you think Kim is misunderstand/relevant/irrelevant?

Do you sympathise with Kim Jong-un’s political ideology or just the fact that he is a 29/30 year old bro trying to make his way in this world where relevancy has never been more fleeting?

FR

 

 

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HaHarlem Shake

HAHA lol!! Well done! u did it m8! U acshally did it! You made a Harlem Shake youtube video. You could be the next internet sensation ur going 2 go viral. HAHA 😀 15 minutes of fame? MORE LIKE 30 SECONDS! lol

Those kRaZy “shakerz”

Who is giving the Harlem Shake videos the oxygen they need? Show me the sort of person who likes these videos and I will show you a moron. Show me the sort of person who gives up their time to record one of these videos and I will show you an even simpler moron. Show me the sort of person who gives up their time to write an article about these videos…wait. No. Anyway, just what is it about the Harlem Shake videos that winds me up so much? Could it be their repetitive nature? Could it be the fact that people doing them think they’re “zany” because they’re dancing in fancy dress? Or maybe it’s the fact that any wally with a camera can make one and they all choose to follow the same formula like sheep chewing on fucking grass.

There’s nothing cool about Harlem Shake videos. There’s no originality. One of the dangers of youtube videos is that anyone can put pretty much whatever they want up. With such low barriers to entry there’s a danger of the content of the site becoming lowest common denominator nonsense (this coming from a man who would put the legendary “LOL Gerrard” as one of his favourite youtube videos). The public gets what the public wants. I don’t have a problem with that and I think it’s a good thing, youtube can only reflect what people put on it and there’s more than enough good content out there. What I do have a problem with is the crushing lack of originality in the videos. I’d guess that I’ve seen about 25 Harlem Shake videos now, all following the same formula and the majority of them involving people trying to be kooky. Wow! What a character you must be! You’re mimicking a video you’ve seen in a desperate attempt for likes and views. One of the strangest elements of the Harlem Shake video craze is the lack of diversity in the videos even when you consider that such different cultures are making them. A group of Korean students perform the Harlem Shake exactly the same way you would expect a group of Austrian firemen too (Wacky? I know).

I find globalisation pretty cool because I like the little differences people get when they extract elements from other cultures. A pretty good example of this is in McDonalds’ menus. It’s still fast food and it’s still the golden arches and people would point to it being an Americanisation of the country it had invaded but they still change the menus to suit their target audience (http://www.sporcle.com/games/googlebird/im_lovin_it). I haven’t seen this at all in a Harlem Shake video. Everyone just wants to be like everybody else. It perfectly encapsulates what a meme is. Sure, people can dress up differently or do their Harlem Shake somewhere unexpected but that doesn’t make it funny or add originality.

Spot the Meme within a Meme – Get DiCaprio’s Dom Cobb on the case

Could it be that people feel like their part of a community when they do Harlem Shake videos? A number of the videos I’ve seen have been in public places and seem to involve large groups such as a group of students dancing on behalf of their university (BLOODY STUDENTS ROBBING US OF OUR TAXES – WHY DON’T THEY GET JOBS?). It certainly seems plausible that people like to feel like they’re part of something by making the videos and there is a fear of missing out which leads to people getting involved. If a group that I was involved in were making a Harlem Shake I could only think that losers and those with an IQ below 75 would want to go. This only explains half of the story though because people aren’t just making the videos, they’re also watching them too.

What sort of sickness would someone have to have to enjoy watching these videos? They’re for people who have no sense of humour. I can only assume that whilst watching the videos people are trying to enjoy leisure time, why would they want to watch a 30 second clip of someone dancing like every other clown? What part of these videos is funny or entertaining? Is there really that much that differentiates the Harlem Shakes with millions of views to one that I might make in my bedroom with my friends? I suppose that ultimately brings me back to the whole originality thing. People are happy to eat da poo poo that’s being uploaded, irrespective of its originality and complete lack of humour.

I can appreciate that writing hundreds of words criticising something which is ultimately harmless entertainment can seem even more appalling than the videos, but Harlem Shake tells us about what people want from the internet. They want to jump on crazes, they want to be part of the phenomenon, they want to be in groups, they want likes and they want them now. They’re happy to consume trash if all that needs to be done is invest 30 seconds of your time on youtube. If by some hilarious, post-ironic twist Harlem Shake videos were made much longer, even 5 minutes long, the likelihood is nobody would watch them because they couldn’t progress. Because youtube is so popular now, with so many people on it and people can see the videos on facebook, twitter, whatever, they provide a pretty honest, and brutal, assessment of people’s sense of humour. Well, I’ve seen what people like and it’s pretty shocking how dislocated I feel from what average Joes are enjoying. I think that’s ultimately why Harlem Shake makes me feel so uncomfortable. Everyone else is enjoying it and I just don’t find it funny or entertaining at all. It makes me feel like a real outsider.

Do you like Harlem Shake videos? Did you make one yet? Are you worried that if you haven’t made one already you might struggle for likes/views/bloggable relevance? Does watching Harlem Shake videos fill you with a crushing sense of sadness that most other people seem to like watching them? Should this piece be entitled Hipster Ripoff?

HAHA move over Gangnam Style, it’s Harlem Shake’s turn. LOL!!!

FR

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Back to Mine: Kindjacket

Back to Mine: Kindjacket from kindjacket on 8tracks Radio.

Kindjacket’s homage to the ‘Back to Mine‘ Mix Series, in which renowned DJs and electronic music producers would create a mix featuring what the artist would play at home after a night out.  Enjoy!

 

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Kindjacket’s Top Albums of 2012 – 10 to 1

Finally onto the top ten…

10. XXYYXX – XXYYXX

I discovered XXYYXX via a recommended youtube video that I clicked out of impulse.  The video and song are brilliant and it has gone pretty viral with over 5 millon views.  Anyway his album is great.  Most of the sounds created by the 17 year old are drugged out electronic beats that feature popular samples from the likes of, TLC (No Scrubs) and Alt-j (Breezeblocks).

 

9. Death Grips – The Money Store 

Oh Death Grips, you so crazy.  The Sacramento punk-rap-electronic-whatever-you-want-to-call-it band, have had a mental year.  After signing with Sony (the contract was printed out on Simon Cowell’s printer) they released the brilliant Money Store, then released ‘NO LOVE DEEP WEB’ (their second LP of 2012) for free download without Sony’s permission.  Thus they were released from their record deal. Oh and NO LOVE DEEP WEB’s cover is a picture of an erect penis.

‘The Money Store’ builds on the anger and rawness of ‘Exmilitary’ (Death Grips debut mixtape) with more electronic sounds and complex song structure.  The result is something unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.  The only problem with Death Grips is finding a suitable time to listen to it.

 

8. Andy Stott – Luxury Problems

Andy Stott’s 3rd LP ‘Luxury Problems’ is stunning effort, mixing the deep, dark, dubby sounds from his earlier work with more vocals.  The result is something almost unsettling yet incredibly listenable.

 

7. Alt-J – An Awesome Wave

Alt-J are the UK’s biggest indie success of 2012; rising from obscurity this year with their self coined ‘folk-step’ they have achieved both commercial and critical success, winning the Mercury Music Prize and selling out UK and international tours.

‘An Awesome Wave’ is brilliant trip, that combines folk, electronic music and indie pop.  I managed to see the band this year at Reading Festival, and they killed it, managing to replicate the sound of the LP with surprising competency .

 

6. Ab-soul – Control System 

On track two of ‘Control System’ Ab-soul (aka Soulo) describes himself as an ‘abstract asshole’, this is a precursor for what is to follow.  Soulo has a hell of lot of things to say from life, to politics, to drugs, to conspiracy theories, to girls.  ‘Control System’ centers on Soulo’s obsession that the American public is controlled and almost brainwashed by the political powers and MNC’s.

Soulo’s flow and lyrical content is spot-on; his words weave stories, create images and verses that are both as memorable as they are complex.  And then the beats, damn they are good.  The more I listen to the album the more you can hear strong Kanye influences, Soulo even twists Kanye’s “Yeezy Taught me”.

 

5. Chromatics – Kill For Love

Mentioned earlier for his work on 29th placed, ‘Themes for an Imaginary Film’, Johnny Jewel has been a busy boy this year.  For Chromatics he teams up with a full band, including female vocalist Ruth Radelet, who creates the yearning voice over most of the tracks on the stunning LP.  The album is joy to listen to; the production and song structure is stunning.  From catchy Eightiesesc pop ballads like ‘Back to the Grave’ to stirring instrumentals like ‘Broken Mirrors’, ‘Kill for Love’ has one of the most seductive and consistent sounds of 2012.

 

4. Grimes – Visions

I downloaded Claire Bucher’s aka Grimes’ first album back in 2010, it was a lo-fi eerie effort that lacked proper production and direction, however it was a start and a spark of talent.  I remember watching a video (which has now been taken down) of Claire as a shy, quirky Canadian student talking about her fascination with astronomy and space.  She had no charisma or image conscience.

After moving to 4AD and having her image and sound cultivating and refined Claire has evolved into an indie pop star.  ‘Visions’ matches Grimes style; it is catchy, etherial and has an almost harmless childlike feel.  It is an albums you can dance, chill or work to.  And with some of the best tracks of 2012 it is a must for all lovers of music.

 

3. Mac DeMarco – 2

Easily the surprise of the year.  I didn’t know who Mac DeMarco was until I read the review of ‘2’ on Pitchfork, yes it was favourable but not #3 of the year good.  I wasn’t too impressed after one listen, but as the album was reasonably short I found myself putting it back on, and back on, and back on.  Before I knew it I was hooked.  The sleezy yet honest sound with catchy guitar licks combined with Mac’s down to earth lyricism, that make him seem so accessible, almost to the point where you could imagine hanging out and necking a few beers with him.

Mac comes across as pretty funny guy, whether it is singing about his favourite cigs (Ode to Viceroy) or his ‘Kind of Women’, his delivery can at times sound like a joke as you hear his voice crack and struggle as he reaches for those silly high notes.  Mac maybe be the star of the show, but the album wouldn’t be anywhere near as listenable if it didn’t feature such catchy and fitting instrumentation.  My girlfriend doesn’t understand why I like this album so much, maybe I don’t either, but since I read that review in November I haven’t really stopped listening to it.  It’s hard verbalize why you keep going back to an album, yes “this lyric and that sound” are good, but sometimes one just clicks and you find yourself inexplicably hooked.

 

2. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city

Kendrick Lamar must be fed up with Kindjacket.  First he has to wait a whole extra year to find to find he only came 2nd in our top albums of 2011, then he has to wait until the new year to find out he’s coming 2nd for the 2nd year in a row.

‘Section. 80′ was Kendrick’s breakthrough LP.  It was a stunning album that combined sterling production with stirring lyrics.  Recently driving home, I found myself tearing up at the brutality and rawness of ‘Keisha’s Song’.

‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’ is more of a concept album than ‘Section. 80′, recalling Kendrick’s younger years.  It is a stunning, heart wrenching story filled countless songs of the finest quality.

 

1. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

Frank Ocean coming out has to be the publicity stunt of 2013.  And the timing… oh it  was perfect.  A week before the release of the eagerly anticipated debut LP frank uploaded a letter stating his feelings and that he’d had and desired a relationship with a man.  All of sudden the whole world was talking.  How could a man from the notoriously homophobic (according to the press) Odd Future be gay!?

Regardless to this stunt Channel Orange is a stunning R&B record.  Frank’s smooth voice brilliantly guides the listener through a journey of love, loss and self discovery.  It is one of those albums where you find your favourite song changing all the time.  One minute it will the scintillating 10 minute epic ‘Pyramids’, or it will be the catchy ‘Forest Gump’ and some days it will be the touching ‘Bad Religion’.

Features from Earl Sweatshirt, John Mayer and Andre 3000 are tastefully chosen.  Neither of these steal the show from Frank, they lift him up into greatness.

 

Thanks for reading!

A special mention goes to the Dirty Projectors’ Album ‘Swing lo Magellan’ and Soko’s Album ‘I Thought I Was An Alien’.  Both albums would have made in into the list, but only really started listening to them when I was on the last ten, so I thought it would be unfair to include them.

Follow me on twitter @kindjacket.

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Kindjacket’s Top Albums of 2012 – 20 to 11

Now onto the next 10..

20. The Weeknd – Echoes of Silence

‘The Weeknd’ wowed us all last with debut mixtape ‘House of Balloons‘ (which came 5th on last years top albums).  He completed the trilogy with the release of ‘Echoes of Silence’ on Christmas Eve, thus it didn’t make it into last year’s list.  On Echoes the Weeknd takes his vocal ability to new heights and although his work is getting a little samey, you can’t deny the man’s talent.

 

19. Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes

After hanging around with Thundercat a lot the brilliant LA hip-hop producer Flying Lotus has created an at times beautiful and dream like journey that is delight to experience.

 

18. Grizzly Bear – Shields  

My Dad bought the vinyl version due to the stunning cover art.  You get the brilliant sleeve design, two alternative covers and an MP3 download of the album.  This is why buying vinyl can be such a savvy move.  Oh and Grizzly Bear’s complex alternative pop music is a great listen.

 

17. Purity Ring – Shrines

With oozing synths, tangy hooks and vocals about body parts, Purity Ring have created an irresistible sound.  After becoming a youtube sensation by having a hot girl dressed in lingerie, paired with female vocals and gorgeous electronic music in 2011, Purity Ring created a fan base after only releasing two songs.  The next task would be capitalising on this, and they have done just that by creating a very good album, and touring the world.

 

16. Big K.R.I.T. – 4eva N a Day

The only rap mixtape on this years list.  Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T delivers one of my favourite driving albums of 2012, with seductive southern beats and K.R.I.T’s smooth flow, you find yourself wishing you were cruising around LA in a drop top Cadillac Eldorado.

 

15. The xx – Coexist

Not as good as their brilliant debut release, Coexist is still an excellant effort from the British trio.  Yes its even more stripped down, but it still sounds sumptuous.  This is the album to put on when lying (post-sex) in bed with the girl that matters to you.

 

14. Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man

As the album cover suggests ‘The Haunted Man’ is Bat for Lashes’ rawest and most revealing effort yet.  The production and song writing here is stellar; there are catchy pop songs like ‘All Your Gold’ which has a Gotye feel and then powerful, goosebump inducing ballads like ‘Laura’ (one of the songs of the year).  Its a thrilling listen that I highly recommend whatever your taste in music.

 

13. Actress – R.I.P.

Actress is a London based electronic music producer.  His 2nd album ‘Splazsh’ had a much more techno and less ambient feel then ‘R.I.P.’, the structured beats are now replaced with songs that wander and drift.  Yes there is still the same fuzzy, misty and foggy sounding production but Actress’ new songs are more intimate, introverted affairs. Very ‘Burialesc’ but with a smoother sound this is one of the best electronic albums of 2012.

 

12. Dean Blunt & Igna Copeland – Black is Beautiful

Formally known as Hype Williams (not the hip-hop video producer) the enigmatic anonymous duo have rebranded themselves as Dean Blunt & Igna Copeland.  It is doubtful that these are their real names, they are more likely pseudonyms to further the mystery surrounding the band.  The songs on ‘Black is Beautiful’ don’t even have track names, except track 1 called (Venice Dreamway).  The album is a dark, murky trip full of samples and lo-fi sounds.  The end product is something pretty damn unique and replay-able.  There’s even a cover of ‘Donnie & Joe Emerson’s – Baby‘, that Ariel Pink also covered this year.

 

11. Tame Impala – Lonerism 

Described as ‘psychedelic hypno-groove melodic rock music’ on their own website, Tame Impala have pushed the boundaries once again, mixing old with new.  The sound of ‘Lonerism’ is a joy to behold, taking you on a very well produced and colourful journey.

 

The next ten will be up soon…

 

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