Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lacezilla has evolved...
You can now follow The Labyrinth at 

Walk with me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Give It To Me Right, Or Don't Give It To Me At All

I unplugged myself for a little bit, and it's taking longer than expected to get back into blogging. Without further delay, here's some heat...

Melanie Fiona is a new artist signed to Universal Motown,
and I'm really feeling her song "Give It To Me Right"...

The sample is pretty smart, although I've been hearing mixed opinions.

These three videos won't let me embed them, but they're worth a click:

Raphael Saadiq

James Morrison
f. Nelly Furtado

The Ting Tings

Also, my dudes Chester French finally dropped a video for "She Loves Everybody":

STD analogy portrayed through violence? Hmmm. Discuss.

So yeah. Thanks for sticking with me during this pseudo-hiatus of mine. The truth is that between the holidays, the new year, and then a mid-January vacation, it was almost impossible to blog. Blah, blah, excuses, excuses. Bottom line is that you'll be seeing a lot of interesting music and cultural commentary from Lacezilla this year, and since the site is currently undergoing structural changes as well, it's certainly in your best interest to stay in touch :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

There's A Lady Who's Sure All That Glitters Is Gold

I wanted to do a Best of 2008 list, but the truth is, I hate ranking things. If you know me or you read the blog regularly, you already know what the favorites are. Hopefully you've related to a post, been put on to an artist, or gotten something out of The Labyrinth from time to time. That's the goal anyway. So, rankings aside, here's a little summary of what Lacezilla repped, closed her eyes for, nodded with, and danced wildly to in '08...


N*E*R*D, Seeing Sounds

Freindly Fires, Friendly Fires

Raheem Devaughn, Love Behind The Melody

MGMT, Oracular Spectacular

Kings of Leon, Only By The Night

Duffy, Rockferry

Wale, The Mixtape About Nothing

Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple

Kate Nash, Made of Bricks

Kid Cudi, A Kid Named Cudi: The Mixtape

Jasmine Sullivan, Fearless

Cold War Kids, Loyalty To Loyalty

Lykke Li, Youth Novels

Kanye West, 808s and Heartbreak

(These albums can get played all the way through and have multiple songs that should also be included in the list below.)

(Songs decoded below... click to listen!)

Sam Sparro "Black and Gold"
Chris Brown "Fallen Angel"
Hercules and Love Affair "Blind"
Thriving Ivory "Angels On The Moon"
Justin Nozuka "After Tonight"
Leona Lewis "Bleeding Love"
Flobots "Handlebars"

Wale and Blu @ SOBs

(LINK to post)

Santogold @ Highline 
(LINK to post)

Lykke Li and Friendly Fires @ Bowery
(LINK to Lykke Li post)

(LINK to Friendly Fires post)

And don't forget Lykke's enchanting cover of Wendy Rene's "After Laughter":

N*E*R*D @ Madison Square Garden
(LINK to post)

Matisyahu (with Brett Dennen) @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg
(Post coming soon!)

InnerPartySystem "Dont Stop" WATCH
Kanye West "Flashing Lights" WATCH
MGMT "Time To Pretend" WATCH
Gnarls Barkley "Who's Gonna Save My Soul" WATCH
Hot Chip "Ready For The Floor" WATCH BELOW:

Although the scope of The Labyrinth has substantially widened over the past year, I'm sure to have missed a few albums/songs/artists/shows/videos along the way. I can't listen to everything. If you think I missed something, please please please enlighten me :) And as for 2009, I'm interested to see what transpires with the careers of Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi, Janelle Monae, The Script, and Eminem.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You Won't Take What I Have And Make It All Wrong

Do you watch Mad Men? In the mash-up below, audio and visuals from Peggy Olson and Peter Campbell's best interactions are pieced together really well, and the creator used one of my favorite artists for the background music...

The artist, Louque, has a sound that is eclectic and tangy, and his '04 release So Long mixes funk, soul, trip-hop, reggae and r&b into what he calls "faya." 

Listen to more of Louque's songs HERE. 

And FYI- Christina Hendricks (who plays Joan on the show) is my new girl crush.
Boz, this might be my Rihanna.

Since Mad Men is set in the early '60s, you constantly find yourself noticing how much things have changed since then. The role of women in the home, the workforce, and society. Race relations. The seriousness of alcoholism. And they're always smoking at the office- you could never do that now so openly. But buried beneath all these changes, there's one cultural practice that didn't seem to evolve as much as one might think: saving face. For instance, some of these characters literally live double lives just to prevent their personal issues from getting scrutinized by their peers. The private life and the public life were two separate entities, and social interaction was more of a strategic art than a natural, friendly act. How much has that changed?
I bring this up because someone recently told me that the future of blogging was to have blog authors get more personal. But he didn't mean we should just be allowing you to take a glimpse inside our homes- he meant that we should be giving you the key to the front door and let you take an intentional, good look around. If you're someone who's deeply immersed in the online world, then his suggestion to take privacy public is probably not a new idea to you- blogs are like reality TV, they're at their best when something real is being captured. 
Because I'm such a private person, I constantly battle with how much personal information to release over the internet. But this a music blog that also has a running dialogue with culture, so even though it's extremely blogger-cliche of me to say, I truly believe that our lives have some useful stories worth sharing. Unfortunately for me, something about being too open around the campfire makes me very uncomfortable. Maybe it's fear: If I reveal who I am -flaws and all- people might judge or pigeonhole me, so like the characters on Mad Men, I play it safe. Should I relax and spill all my secrets, or make like Betty Draper and keep it buttoned up? 

I posted this Lily Allen song in April when it was rumored to be called "I Don't Know." I think I like "The Fear" better as a title... and it certainly speaks volumes to this topic:

"I don't know what's right and what's real anymore... 
I've been taken over by the fear."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sorry Baby, But I Gotta Do What I Gotta

People are so creative. The video below was made by duo Sniper Twins, who, instead of rapping and singing about stacking paper, are on that computer braggadocio with "Stack The Memory."
The hook is wavy, no? And they shot some of it at Tekserve- hilarious. Thanks to Mr. Jones for sending this my way weeks ago... I should have posted it earlier.

In the next clip, NY Magazine interviews a guy who took trash bags and made really impressive inflatable street art.

I want to commission him to make me a Zilla :)

And with his bright ideas from a few months ago, I'm not surprised that Mick Boogie dabbled with another good readymade project on this one...
"Adele’s album 19 set trends and created influence in the pop, rock and international worlds. But what would happen if the vocals and instruments of 19 were combined with the hip-hop sensibilities of the late 1980s, considered by many hip-hop’s golden age?"
Love songs and hip hop history: We are the mash-up generation.
Download 1988 HERE.

Speaking of love, it's likely that you've seen this already, but my appreciation for N*E*R*D continues to grow with their video for "Sooner or Later":

They turn a love song into a metaphor for the economic crisis... I guess money just broke up with us :( If you want more, watch them perform the song (and others) live at Roseland.

And this might be 2 years after 1988, but Special Ed's "The Mission" used to be my jammy jam.

This is a mission, not a smalltime thing.

I didn't have cable growing up, but my brother and I had some episodes of Yo! MTV Raps on VHS.

I was 6 when I first saw that video.

Gotta find those tapes...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm On The Right Path To Who I'm Gonna Be At Last

After running into 9th at the Highline show last Tuesday, I decided it was necessary to attend the Jean Grae in-store he'd be performing at on the following day...
In the PictoBrowser below, click the tabs to view my photos from Fat Beats:

They were there to promote the Jeanius album's re-release(s), and it felt really good to be among hip hop heads. I've said it before; Jean Grae is not only the best female MC in the industry, but she's up there with most males who rhyme as well. I felt horrible for missing her 11/30 Highline show, so I couldn't skip this intimate performance.

Footy via AnalectsBlog

They have more great footage on the Fat Beats blog, so if you want to see Jean performing alongside Talib Kweli and 9th, I suggested you go there. They were both signing albums after, but the line was crazy long, so I'll just support via Amazon- as you should. Thanks to Ls and Cani8a for coming with me!

That same night, 
10.Deep hosted their holiday party at Element...

KiD CuDi throwing me a deuce...
Disappointed at first, I'm now kind of glad the flash wasn't on.
Ahhh, con flash. Much better.
He ended up performing at the party too...
Hollywood Holt was hammer-, uh, having fun. (I'm not a fan.)
But how adorable are these three?!?...
Asher Roth in attendence...
Thanks to Boz y Brenda for the bracelets :)

"Dont Rush Me":

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rock Star, Bitch... Kurt Cobain Sh*t

The live performance is becoming more and more important for up and coming artists. As the music industry evolves and is further aligned with the digital world, what an artist does on stage can help separate them from the competition. Everyone has a Myspace page and a Youtube channel and a Twitter account. But during a live performance, the exclusive eyes, ears, and opinions go beyond the spectators in the venue; fans and critics can now see footage of artist's shows right after they end. One solid performance in the right city -with the right tastemakers- will have the blogs, magazines, and radio hosts buzzing like they were there in person. Luckily, Wale knows this. And how he executed last week's show at Highline made me realize that I might be a jaded NYC resident.

Unfortunately, I missed Colin Munroe's set, 
but I made it in time for KiD CuDi's...
He was joined by Capo to perform "Day N Nite":

I love how he goes into the "Crookers Remix" instrumental at the end, trying to get everyone to merge into a more electro lane. And trust, it wasn't the first or last genre-blending move of the night.

Peter Rosenberg and Mark Ronson 
entertained the crowd between acts...
But out the gate, Wale was full of that energetic, DC swag.
The crowd ate it up, proving that they were clearly there for him.
Chrisette Michelle joined Wale to perform their record with 
The Roots, "Rising Up."
After her, Clipse's own Pusha T joined him to perform "Back In The Go Go"

"That fly sh*t I been on..."
Each show, Wale takes time out to recognize historic Go Go band UCB, and in turn, educates the audience on DC music and culture. In the video below, you can catch a piece of that night's Go Go music lesson:

Embodying "regional" (DMV) celebrity: 
Wale with Tre, Mike and Marcus of UCB.
After the lesson, Freeway came out to represent for the Roc...
Wale didn't seem to mind.
And shortly after, Young Chris joined them on stage:
Along with Leo DiCaprio, the Roc was definitely in the building to support...
Hov amongst the spectators (and virtually impossible to photograph!)
Still, it appears as though The Dynasty is thoroughly intact.
Continuing the genre-crossing theme of the evening,
Wale performed "W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E.," and then transitioned into Nirvana's 
"Smells Like Teen Spirit," testing the crowds ability to summon their inner rocker:

Overall, it worked.
Hip Hop, Electronica, Pop, Go Go, and Rock music, all under one roof...
And all there for this "Folarin" dude - via the Allido magician, of course.

"Name Wale, don't say Wall-E!"
Many thanks to Mjeema and JZ for the ticket! XO