Mad Decent Block Party '14

Dillon Francis at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Credit: Helen Jiang

What do you get when you throw nine artists, whose musical style ranges from pop noise to dubstep, together? You get the third stop of the pioneering Mad Decent Block Party, and what a day it was. Children Of The Night, Trippy Turtle, Wave Racer, Cashmere Cat, Sleigh Bells, Wolfgang Gartner, Dillon Francis, Diplo, and Flux Pavilion took to the stage for a day of thumping beats and anthemic music that kept the crowd dancing at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Continue reading “Mad Decent Block Party '14”

Preview: Mad Decent Block Party '14


Cheshire cheesin'. Photo Credit: Lotanna Obodozie
Cheshire cheesin’. Photo Credit: Lotanna Obodozie

Already in its sixth year, the Mad Decent Block Party has spread to an unprecedented 22 North American cities with an even bigger lineup of 58 banging artists.

What’s this “mad decent” shindig we speak of? It’s the brainchild of producer-DJ-label founder-radio host-TV host-extraordinaire Thomas Wesley Pentz, aka Diplo. What started out as a record label showcase channeling quintessential block party vibes from Philly, the MDBP has now spread across the nation into Canada and South Africa and is set to follow the likes of Holy Ship with its own Mad Decent Boat Party into The Bahamas.

This year’s DMV stop is once again at Merriweather Post Pavilion on August 1 and tickets are still available. Diplo, Dillon Francis, Sleigh Bells, Flux Pavilion, Cashmere Cat, Trippy Turtle, Wolfgang Gartner, Wave Racer, and Children Of The Night are all slated to perform to a crowd yearning for one last weekend of dancing before summer ends and heralds the beginning of the school year grind.

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Album Review: Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals


When you think of Sleigh Bells, what are some words that come to mind? Loud? Aggressive? Raw? For a band that has managed to find their niche in the world of shred-pop, listeners may be wondering how they could even top their first two full length efforts with another album. The Brooklyn duo’s third album Bitter Rivals, balances the line between the recklessness and rawness and of their first album, Treats, and the careful, almost restrained production of their second, Reign Of Terror, with masterful ease. Bitter Rivals is poppier and more exuberant, while still maintaining the menace expected from the band’s music. Here, vocalist Alexis Krauss shows us the full range of her vocal spectrum, from almost cloyingly sweet to intimidatingly harsh. Because of this, the album appeals to both old fans and new listeners who may have found their sound too grating. With a whole lot of pop and even more punch, Sleigh Bells calls us back to attention, reminding the world why we were so drawn to them in the first place.

The album opens with the duo’s leading single and title track, “Bitter Rivals.” It starts off with crunchy acoustic guitar riffs but very quickly spirals into an anthemic head-banging tune, with Krauss shout-singing over bandmate Derek Miller’s shredding guitar and booming drums. Other tracks, such as “Minnie” and “Sing Like A Wire” are reminiscent of their first album, with sounds that could fill a stadium and the surrounding area. Some songs on the album, such as “You Don’t Get Me Twice” and the R&B-tinged “Love Sick” and “Young Legends”  tone back the shred-guitar and opt for a simpler (about as simple as Sleigh Bells can get, really) instrumentation, focusing on extremely catchy melodies and even sweeter vocals. Included on the album is also a version of their 2009 track “To Hell With You,” originally known as “2HELLWU,” which one may even venture to call a ballad of sorts. Ballad? Sleigh Bells? What?? It works, in a way that only they can pull off.

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