10 Ways to Stay Hip

A weekly reference on cultural production to keep your mind fresh and your limbs loose.

Everybody loves a good Top 10 list, right? Welcome to the first of my weekly Top 10 lists of stuff I like, which will probably be mostly music, but might also include TV shows, or books, or even snacks. Let’s get stupid, I mean outrageous!

10. mojo-photo-javiera.JPGJaviera Mena – “Al Siguiente Nivel” (mp3 link)

Via my escaped-to-Buenos Aires compadre Disco Shawn, it’s a 23-year-old Chilean singer/songwriter who’s just made the jump to electropop. The chorus on this is what makes it, a breathtaking swirl of keyboards and harmonies that I feel compelled to sing along to despite having no idea what the heck she’s saying.

9. mojo-photo-audion.jpgAudion

This Michigan-based techno producer, otherwise known as Matthew Dear, accesses peak-time party insanity through the seeming mathematical purity of his tracks, which take a simple equation and then let it play out to a logical but brain-melting conclusion. He’s on tour, at Mezzanine in SF on 3/17, Vancouver on 3/31.

8. mojo-photo-saul.jpgSaul of the Mole Men (Sunday nights @ midnight, Adult Swim)

Anyone whose young mind was blown by Sid & Marty Krofft’s psychedelic kids’ shows like “Land of the Lost” or “Lidsville” will recognize the surreal, lo-fi ridiculousness of this grodier, sillier takeoff.

7. mojo-photo-beatbox.jpgHuman Beatboxen! (via BoingBoing.net)

First there’s this one, from Frenchican Idol or something; then there’s this one, which is also in France, on the Metro even, and there’s so much more, and it’s all great.

6. mojo-cover-stones.jpgVarious ArtistsStones Throw: 10 Years

This 25-track comp is the biggest value on iTunes right now: only $7.99 for some of the finest underground hip-hop of the last decade from the likes of Peanut Butter Wolf, Madlib, and J Dilla.

5. mojo-cover-pbj.jpgPeter Bjorn & John – “Let’s Call It Off” (from Writer’s Block on Wichita)

Handclap mania! Proving the anti-PB&J blogs are at least somewhat overenthusiastic, this album track sounds like drunk Swedes trying to remember the 80s. Oh, wait.

4. mojo-photo-aplusd.jpgElastica vs. The Gossip – “Standing in the Way of Connection” (A+D mashup) (mp3 link)

Full disclosure: Adrian & Mysterious D are my buddies and DJ co-conspirators, but they sure put together great tracks, and this one will make your indie haircut friends have seizures.

3. mojo-cover-shins.jpgThe Shins – “Sea Legs” (from Wincing the Night Away on Sub Pop)

Coming on like Air or Zero 7, the Shins let the hypnotic bassline take center stage on this groovy album track. There’s funky ’70s-style synth solos! And lead singer James Mercer kind of sounds like Morrissey sometimes!

2. mojo-cover-uffie.jpgUffie “Hot Chick” (12” on Ed Banger, France)

This blast of electro would be great even without the R-rated rap from this up-and-coming French gal. As it is, it recalls both classic Miami freestyle and new female rappers like M.I.A or Spank Rock’s Amanda Blank.

1. mojo-cover-arcade.jpgArcade Fire – “Oceans of Noise” (from Neon Bible on Merge)

Somehow connecting Springsteen, “The Man Who Sold the World,” and Chris Isaak, this track is a highlight from the Canadian band’s new album. See if you can get through the quasi-Norteño horns at the end without getting a lump in your throat.


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