Thursday, March 4, 2010

OU alums rocking the mash-up scene

While this space is normally reserved for discussion of the hottest, freshest albums (this week: the infectious electro-pop of Little Boots and the more understated indie rock of Rogue Wave) to drop each week, I feel incredibly compelled to shine a light on music fresh in a different way -- specifically, fresh beats from some fly former Bobcats.

OU '09 alum Brian Kecskemety (BK) and his NYC cohort Brad Bambara, also known as the Stereo Bomb, create flawless, innovative mash-ups that rival those of Girl Talk's. There's the standard Jay-Z, Gaga and Weezy samples, but they're combined smartly with Queen, Radiohead, Spoon, U2, even Ben Folds (and a track from "The Lion King" soundtrack). BK is a solid dude with taste I can respect a whole lot, so I knew the Stereo Bomb's first release, Now Hear This, was going to rule. I finally remembered to download it this week (the album surfaced earlier in the quarter), and I was not disappointed one iota. Now Hear This is available for free on the Stereo Bomb's site. Seriously, you're a fool if you don't download this album. It's easy to love.

The brand new mash-up and remix EP, Bubblegum Bangers (FREE DOWNLOAD ALERT), from DJ Self Help, another former Bobcat, made its way to my iTunes this week as well. Now Columbus-based, Self Help might be best known to the OU community as the dude who DJs Dance or Die -- the one without the white man fro (no offense, Barticus -- got mad-love for your mane). Coincidentally, there's a Dance or Die tomorrow night, so perhaps Self Help will try to recreate some of his latest mash-ups and remixes then. Cross your fingers -- this stuff is innovative!

What makes it so great, you ask? Well, Self Help's quirky song selection, for one thing. If you're an indie and oldies whore like myself, you'll probably appreciate his remix of the TV on the Radio song "Ambulance" and his mash-up featuring George Harrison's cover of "Got My Mind Set on You." And let's just say I never expected to hear rap rhymes mashed up with '90s pop-rockers The Cranberries. It's simply a surprising EP -- in the best way possible.

Truth be told, the majority of new music I am exposed to does not excite me. It comes with the territory, though, considering the amount of music I am expected to listen to as someone who consistently writes about it. I can honestly say that these two releases excited me, immediately demanding my attention and serving as the soundtrack to what could be the most hectic week of the quarter -- week 9, baby. But I'm expecting the albums to only get better this weekend. I'm convinced mash-up albums were created solely for college students' going out "pregame" routine.

-- Jillian Mapes, ACRN's Editorial Director