Disclosure at 9:30 Club

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Photo credit: Disclosure
Photo credit: Disclosure

With Disclosure’s sold-out concert, the 9:30 Club saw a new chapter in the ever unfolding saga of the British Invasion. Once four Liverpudlian lads and five chicks off the spice rack, the latest UK transplants to make waves this side of the pond are unarguably Disclosure, two Surrey brothers bringing the UK’s exciting homegrown breed of electronic garage beats into the American mainstream.

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I Can't Get Down with "Bow Down"

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I’ll make this short, because I already anticipate being tied to the Kogan clock tower and incinerated, or at the very least forced to wear a scarlet “B”, for the unforgivable act of blasphemy I’m about to commit—but hear me out. In my opinion, so many people love Beyonce because she has consistently produced incredibly solid, really fantastic bodies of music since 1999. I’m not going to list the litany of tracks and music video moments that have laid the foundation for Beyonce’s complete domination of the entire free world (but while we’re on the subject, take a lil minute and flip on the “Me, Myself, and I” video), or talk about the fact that I own B’Day on vinyl—all of you, whether you like it or not, understand exactly what I mean. I want to be clear: I am not in the business of devaluing Beyonce’s contribution to music, but I think very few of us would hinge this totalizing adoration for her on any claims of true sonic progressiveness. And that’s fine. That’s perfect. Up until this point, Beyonce has tried, and vastly succeeded, in being no one but herself.

And so I have to say, I’m really disappointed with her new track “Bow Down/ I Be On”. Both lyrically and production-wise, Beyonce kinda just bit everyone and it feels disingenuous and uncomfortable. Equal parts A$AP Rocky’s “Purple Swag” (come on, you didn’t think “Texas Trill” was all her, did you?) and the outro of Azealia Banks’ “Van Vogue,” B’s bizarrely aggressive, operatic track struggles amid an irksome sample to arrive short of the radio-ready standard she’s come to master. Both the A$AP Mob and AB have been credited in ushering in a new era of Harlem sound and style, but slapping “H-TOWWWN” all over one of Hit-Boy’s worst beats isn’t the way to go about participating in this aesthetic. I sincerely hope “Bow Down” is more of an anomaly rather than indicative of an overarching theme in Queen B’s fifth studio album. There’s nothing wrong with changing and growing, but we shouldn’t mistake “Bow Down” for freshness.

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SHOUT OUT EVERYBODY THAT FELL OFF VOL. 1: TERROR SQUAD

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Flipping through the vinyl stacks at the station, I came upon some mint Mystikal, Amerie, and Omarion wax (seriously plotting to swipe all of the above and I don’t care who knows) and thought to myself, “damn, what happened y’all?” It seems like mere minutes ago I was 13 and setting my ringtone to “Shake Ya Ass”—the New Orleans MC literally screaming “I CAME HERE WITH MY D*** IN MY HAND” every time mom texted about the soccer practice carpool. We here at WRGW Music Blog Inc. Worldwide pride ourselves on staying relevant in bringing you thoughtful features pertaining to the best new music around—but what about those who are no longer with us? Whether they were an old fashioned one-hit-wonder, had a kid, or went to jail, they straight fell OFF. I’ve decided it’s high time to resurrect some of these treasures from their Titanic-esque underwater grave, if only for a paragraph. Think of S/O EVERYBODY THAT FELL OFF as the #throwbackthursday of blog features, a peace-sign-selfie-less reminder of what once was. First up: Terror Squad.

Terror Squad was a Bronx-based hip hop collective most notabley containing Big Pun and Fat Joe, roughly 1,110 lbs of Puerto-Rican lyrical fury and FUBU.  The Squad’s ’99 debut The Album was a radio smash, but the group went on hiatus after Pun’s death from a heart attack just one year later. Fat Joe took a ticket for an Ashanti hook in the interim, enjoying a successful solo run that helped leverage the Squad’s resurrection with the release of sophomore album True Story (let me just say the cover art is amazing. Also, anthropology majors take note: it has become something of a fossil record, containing the first traces of DJ Khaled’s Tickle Me Elmo tags, “WE THE BEST” and “WE TAKIN’ OVER.”)

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M.I.A. Scores Kenzo at Paris Fashion Week

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This past Sunday saw Kenzo’s Fall 2013 presentation for Paris Fashion Week, a young, fresh collection inspired by Indian and Nepalese religious architecture and aesthetics. Building on the strength and commercial success of Spring 2013’s “Jungle Fever” motif, Kenzo again slams this season out of the park—bridging East and West with remarkably executed prints and textures styled simply and cleanly.

2011 saw Carol Lim and Humberto Leon assume the dual roles of Kenzo’s creative directors, but Lim and Leon’s past 10 years have been spent growing Opening Ceremony, the cult global lifestyle retailer the pair founded in 2002. Lim and Leon’s operative business model for curating Opening Ceremony’s products and cultural influence is simple, but genius: discover and develop the best young designers from across the world by traveling to a new country each year and immersing themselves completely in the market, discovering design talent and dope food organically.

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A Manifesto Upon the Rights of Ciara

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Ciara's fifth studio album One Woman Army is slated to drop this spring and YOU SHOULD CARE.
Ciara’s fifth studio album One Woman Army is slated to drop this spring and YOU SHOULD CARE.

I want you to answer this question honestly: when was the last time Ciara released a single? Was it 2004, the triumphant era of your bar mitzvah farewell tour? Did you shuffle between Scarsdale community centers, twerking your tuchus enigmatically to “Goodies,” the title track off the then 19-year-old’s debut crunk smash, both your braces and her vibratos never to be heard from again? No.

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