Trouble & Bass’s monthly takeover of DC’s U Street Music Hall has consistently been the preeminent dance club’s finest night. In a no-frills club built with bone-rattling bass in mind, who better to play God (or Satan) than the pioneers of the global bass movement?
In an attempt to outshine previous T&B DCs, the crew (represented this time by The Captain) brings an all-star lineup to the club next Thursday. Leading off is new DC resident Willy Joy, who has already brought the house down on several occasions. Moving from a DC newbie to a DC veteran, next up is Nouveau Riche bass fiend Steve Starks, whose latest track is, well, a “Problem.”
Forget the haters: club music is very much alive. Newark’s own Brick Bandit Tim Dolla brings his brand of Jersey club to U Hall. Expect to hear plenty of hip hop and R&B hits chopped up into swagged out bangers. Headlining the night is Brenmar, whose future bass take on club music makes him a producer to watch.
Building songs around the perfect sample, be it Aaliyah or Marques Houston (as he does in “Taking It Down”), Brenmar’s jams are a perfect way to come down off that bass high. DC: don’t miss Brenmar and company. You’ll be sorry.
Thursday July 28th, 10pm – 3am U Street Music Hall
1115 U St NW
$10 Advance tickets | $5 before midnight
+18 to Enter
Kingdom is a producer that epitomizes my recent obsession, a trend I’ve coined rhythm and bass. The Brooklyn-based producer draws on all types of electronic music – dubstep, UK funky, juke, and kuduro, to name a few – along with the sultry vocals and melodic bent of R&B. With releases on leading labels Night Slugs and Fools Gold, along with a pick on the Trouble & Bass-curated Sounds of NYC EP, Kingdom finds himself at the forefront of a music revolution.
His debut single, the wobbly raver “Mind Reader,” received remixes from Night Slugs label heads Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990, who both altered the song’s tempo to reveal different aspects of its character. Bok Bok’s take is slower, putting Shyvonne’s vocals in the forefront; the remix by L-Vis amps up the song’s already high energy.
Kingdom returned the favor by releasing That Mystic on their label; the EP is one of the highlights of their young catalog. Under the scattershot percussion and foreboding synths are deep grooves that dare the listener not to dance. There are even surprising moments that lift the veil, like the breakdown of the otherwise unrelenting “Bust Broke” that pretty clearly samples Faith Evans’ “Soon As I Get Home.”
As alluded to earlier, Kingdom’s love affair with R&B doesn’t stop at a lone Faith Evans sample. He dabbles with baby making music on his remix of Usher’s “Appetite,” and his mix for XLR8R ends with a brilliant mash-up of Girl Unit’s “Every Time” and Ciara’s “Ride.” The latter was just released as a Night Slugs white label, “Ride It Every Time.”
While he can get smooth with rhythm and bass, Kingdom also has a sharper edge. Songs like “Uptown Buck” (on the aforementioned Sounds of NYC compilation) and “Hottest in America” revel in programmed drums, electronic chirps, and vocal slices. With the company he keeps, it’s no surprise that Kingdom makes dance music for all occasions.
Happy Fat Tuesday! Most of us are not in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, so what better way to celebrate the gluttonous (and hedonistic) day than with three new releases from leading labels? Here are some beads: show us your EPs.
Torro Torro – Blue Blouse (T&A Records)
The Toronto-based duo drops an early-2011 anthem: a slab of electro-house goodness, with throwback synth stabs and an addictive sample. The EP features remixes from top producers, who ably capture the spirit of the original without suffocating it. Zombies for Money give the song the tribal treatment and sharpen the edges on the synths (similar to their take on Steve Starks’ “Git Em”). The standout is the ultra-deep, super-funky remix by T&A’s own DJ Ayres.
Deathface – Fall of Man (Trouble & Bass)
Forget bro step. The hardest, most unforgiving sounds in the bass world come from Deathface. Claiming inspiration from influences as diverse as 90s hardcore and Magic the Gathering, Deathface’s follow-up to The Horror is simply brutal – what Al Jourgensen would be making if he was born in the 80s. The EP kicks off with the acid rave of “Bloodrave” and the surging “Fall of Man.” Offered with vocals and as dubs, “Gift of Fury” and “Sick of It” feature new member Adri Law (think Crystal Castles’ Alice Glass) who screeches over the unrelenting tracks.
Toy Selectah – Mex Machine (Mad Decent)
Toy Selectah was making global bass before it was cool (well, cool for bloghaus EDM fans). This Mad Decent EP features eight tracks over a range of sounds, from cumbia to tribal guarachero. Highlights are the jukey raverton of “La Ravertona” and Sheeqo Beat’s 3BallMTY remix of “Sonidero Compay.” The mini-mix is a good taste, but you’re going to want the full entree.
The dubstep genre is always evolving. On one end of the spectrum is the emotional, mellow sounds identified by Flufftronix and Dirty South Joe on their Luvstep mixes. On the other end is the preponderance of heavy, aggressive sounds known dismissively as “brostep.”
Brostep is a derisive nod to the bro-heavy audience that yearns for non-stop, facemelting, power-tool beats. Rusko, whose popularity and dalliance with harder sounds contributed to its development, has even apologized for brostep. To put it crudely, the pissing contest of producers and DJs crafting the most brutal beats possible cannot hold.
But what of the wobble? Who can carry the torch of hard-edged dubstep without falling into the silliness of brostep? Enter Flinch.
Adam “Flinch” Glassco is an electronic music veteran, crafting bass heavy music for over a decade. Like many of his peers, he started in the drum-and-bass world before slowing things down with dubstep.
The Trouble and Bass associate (who headlines U Hall’s monthly T&B party tomorrow night) is a master of dubstep that is as melodic as it is aggressive. The label’s eleventh edition of its Heavy Bass Champions of the World series featured one of the hottest bass bangers in recent memory, “Hiero.” I once described the track as “throwback jungle breaks [and] a bass blast that hits like an 18-wheeler;” I stand by that.
Flinch and frequent collaborator 12th Planet have found remarkable success on remixes like Jinder’s “Youth Blood” and Dave Nada’s “Apocalypse Theme,” tracks that sit at opposite ends of the dubstep spectrum. The latter is especially notable for finding a way to make the Apocalypse even more foreboding than Nada did on the original.
There is a fight for the soul of dubstep. Luckily, there is a way for bass to survive without being reduced to the demands of the lowest common denominator. For fans of the occasional fist-pumping wobble, Flinch ably answers the call of “Hiero” to “take me higher and higher.”
While this column usually serves as a first look at an artist, this week’s feature needs no introduction: for 4 years, NYC’s Trouble and Bass collective have lived up to their billing as Heavy Bass Champions of the World. Whether playing electro, dubstep, grime, or jungle, the crew does it with excellence and a trademarked gothic-rave chic.
Like the best (and most evil) corporations, the tone is set by the man at the top. Luca Venezia, better known as Drop the Lime, founded Trouble and Bass back in 2006, and is known for his psychobilly trappings and bass frequency dominance. While his Sex Sax may be the tune of the moment, “Set Me Free” is an even stronger song, with it’s “Show Me Love”-esque diva vocals and nonstop, layered bass. Here’s a live performance at last year’s Fool’s Gold vs. Trouble & Bass Halloween Party:
Next to DTL, the most recognizable T&B crew member is AC Slater (and not just because of his Saved by the Bell namesake). AC Slater is a remixer without peer; he’s given his patented electro-bass treatment to tracks by Moby, Little Boots, and Steve Angello, to name a few. “Take You,” his collaboration with Ninjasonik, is, to paraphrase Kanye West, a motherfucking monster – and that was before Nadastrom got their hands on it and turned it into the tech house banger you’re most likely to hear tonight.
The queen of Trouble and Bass is none other than Star Eyes, who sat down with TGRI a few months back. Star Eyes is another jungle fanatic who now makes grimed-out but party-friendly dubstep. Dexplicit (also in the crew) offered up this remix of Star Eyes’ “Disappear,” which makes an already haunting song more sinister.
[Editor’s note: A previous version of this post included Udachi who, while part of the T&B extended family, is on Party Like Us. -CK]
For 4 years, Trouble and Bass have been the definitive DJ collective, label, and party for bassfreaks. So what’s next? DTL will be touring in support of his next single, “Hot As Hell,” which is guaranteed to be just that. Never content to stand still, the latest volume of Heavy Bass Champions of the World features a track that combines the two most satisfying trends in underground EDM. Flinch’s “Hiero” is all throwback jungle breaks before a bass blast that hits like an 18-wheeler. It’s also the odds-on favorite to be the next big hit from T&B.
Catch the Trouble and Bass DC crew at the U Street Music Hall tonight, with Bart B-more and Deathface. And don’t miss these upcoming T&B DC dates:
Oct 31st – Trouble & Bass DC Halloween!
Nov 10th – Trouble & Bass DC w/ Supra1
Dec 8th – Trouble & Bass DC w/ Zombies For Money
This column practically writes itself every time the Trouble and Bass residency stops at the U Street Music Hall. Be it B Rich or Deathface, the preeminent label for bass freaks consistently brings top talent to town. Tonight is no different, as Chicagoans Willy Joy and Rob Threezy and LA’s Samo Sound Boy join the T&B crew at 1115 U Street.
Threezy, government name Roberto Herrera and formerly known as DJ Rob3 (get it?), is a member of Chicago’s Ghetto Division crew. He burst onto the EDM scene with his contribution to The Brick Bandits EP, “The Chase.” The Chicago club anthem mixed Bmore beats, rave synths and enough “Woo! Yeah!” samples to raise James Brown from the dead.
He followed up “The Chase” with releases on Fool’s Gold, Nightshifters, and T&A, including the uplifting jam “Love to the World” on the Ghetto Pass EP. With a classic soul sample, Baltimore breaks, and Chicago house feel, Threezy weaves three dance styles into a real crowd pleaser.
These days, Threezy’s sound is being influenced by the preponderance of ominous dubstep in the scene. Still, his Let’s Go Ravers EP for T&A has plenty of his distinct Chicago-meets-Baltimore club feel. The title track is a hand clap and siren filled banger, while “Round House” has a minimal feel reminiscent of Nadastrom’s “Ghetto.”
On the recently released Heavy Bass Champions of the World, Volume 10, Threezy and Joy go dutch on three tracks. The first, “Run Up,” features a melodic breakdown and squealing synths that beg for the Moombahton treatment. Plus, the two manned the tables for the latest T&B smashcast.
Rob Threezy proves that Chicago house and Baltimore club, like peanut butter and chocolate, are just better together. Don’t miss him tonight at U Hall.
New York clothing line / record label / rules of the universe Mishka are underground tastemakers. Their designs have defined hipster chic since its founding in 2003, and its series of Keep Watch mixtapes has been just that: mixes from some of the fastest rising stars in electronic dance music. Major Lazer, Rusko, Skream, and Nadastrom are just some of the acts that have contributed to the series in what is becoming an underground rite-of-passage.
Next up is recent Trouble & Bass signee Deathface. As Deathface, Johnny Love – formerly of Guns ‘n’ Bombs – is leading the way in creating dubstep that is sonically and thematically darker than ever before. His Horror EP is equal parts bass and blood, and his Mishka mix is no different.
The mix starts our ominously enough, with the grim horns of Benga‘s “Rock Music” descending into some two-step wobble. Goth-wave duo Blessure Grave are given remix treatment on “Strangers in the House,” set to be the first release from Mishka’s record label.
The entire mix is an unrelenting, dark grindfest, but it really hits it’s stride about midway through, as Deathface’s remix of the Mexican Institute of Sound’s “Cumbia” fades into hit-of-the-moment “Sex Sax.” When Mishka says, “Keep Watch,” it’s best to listen.
Bloghaus duo Guns ‘n’ Bombs broke up last summer, jumping off the electro bandwagon right before it careened into the next wave of EDM. Their last release, the funky dubstepper “Samba Death Squad,” hinted at the dark things to come for one of its members, both sonically and thematically.
Johnny “Love” dal Santo now goes by the name Deathface. The recent Trouble & Bass signee grinds out heavy, death metal-influenced bass, tracks that are perfect for a dubstep mosh pit. Imagine Salem but sped up for the dancefloor; demonic industrial that would make Al Jourgensen proud. Check out his grimly-titled “The Blood Has Gone Black” mixtape. It’s a balanced mix of originals with killer remixes, like his throbbing take on “Cumbia” by the Mexican Institute of Sound.
Deathface’s debut EP, The Horror, was released on Tuesday, and it proves that Goth kids don’t just have to look menacing outside Hot Topic – they can get in on some hands-in-the-air raving, too. Demonic shrieks and semi-automatic drum fills complement the familiar breakbeats and wobble of dubstep. When Satan wants to party, he listens to Deathface.
Deathface is on his American Gothic Tour and stops by the Temple of Boom tonight as part of the Trouble & Bass DC takeover. As if a bill with the T&B crew, AC Slater, and Mad Decent’s Mumdance wasn’t enough.