Saturday, August 21, 2010

DJ Bobby Viteritti & The Trocadero Transfer

San Francisco's Trocadero Transfer was THE city's disco venue in the 70s and 80s. It was of the caliber of the large New York disco clubs (Studio 54, Paradise Garage), but, because it was in SF, it had a more bohemian "anything goes" vibe (maybe less coke, more poppers and shrooms?) with a choreographed light show to add to the journey. The venue and its cast of characters shaped gay dance culture in SF and across the country. Icons like Sylvester, Cheryl Lynn & Martha Wash performed at "The Troc" and the stories of what went down on a typical weekend night are legendary. As with any successful nightclub, The Troc had its share of successful dj's, and, I've become enamored with one in particular, Bobby Viteritti. Viteritti was an East Coast transplant who could mix his way through a 5-hr set so seamlessly, you couldn't tell when one song ends and the next one begins. Viteritti has talked in interviews about how he would start a song in the middle, play it til the end, maybe go to a new track then start the old track from the beginning just to mess with the crowd, to throw off their expectation of what was coming next. He was also known for using rotary knobs instead of faders, and, considering the mastery of his mixes and the equipment he was working with completely blows my mind.

I've tried in vain to find mp3's or cds of Viteritti's mixes, and, it looks like his website is under construction with promises of samples in the near future. In the meantime, the following blogs have posted his work: Discoworkout posted this absolutely mind-blowing 1st hour of a 5-hour 1979 Trocadero set; and, one of my favorite blogs, Beat Electric, posted this 1980 set.

If you love dance music or disco, gay culture, or San Francisco history, check out all you can on Viteritti.


Thursday, August 19, 2010


One of my favorite producers and remixers of the past few years is Minneapolis (soon to be Miami)-based Gigamesh. Gigamesh is a man of many synths blessed with a golden ear, and, he can turn any tune into a gorgeous stomper brimming with warm analog and chunky bass. He is part of the remix group, Discotech, which has released some of my personal most-played-in-a-dj-set edits and remixes of the past few years (Radiohead, The Police, The Stones, Foo Fighters, Zep, M.I.A., to name a few). He is also in the electro group, Senor Stereo, which released their debut ep on Slow Roast Records (also home to DJ Craze and Kill the Noise). Lately, he might be most well-known for producing Mike Posner's hit, Cooler than Me. If you've heard the Gigamesh version and the one Posner originally started with, you will believe what I'm saying about the Gigamesh magic touch. One of my favorite Gigamesh remixes, however, is of the Minneapolis band, Estate, and you can download it via Rcrd Lbl: Write to Make.

To commemorate his move from the land of ice and snow to the land of flamingos and thongs, Gigamesh just released a 14-song mixtape called Moving Cities featuring an excellent selection of disco, electro, hip hop, and, even some Gigamesh originals that were previously unreleased. My favorites from the mix are Jacques Renault's remix of Midnight Magic's Beam Me Up, Azari & III's remix of the Voltage dazzler, One Night, and of course a Gigamesh remix of Marching Band's, Another Day.

Download the mixtape here.

Also, the Midnight Magic remix is so good, I just have to share:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tommie Sunshine Tackles Urban Sprawl with the Arcade Fire

The new Arcade Fire album, The Suburbs, just came out and I haven't given it proper attention yet, other than the iTunes snippets. I HAVE listened (and listened and listened) to Tommie Sunshine's disco remix of one of the stand-out tracks, Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), and, he absolutely nailed it. It's a gorgeous epic with pulsating disco beats that tie the laces of your favorite dancin' shoes, and, might even buy you a drink if you bat your eyelashes. If you're a real music person, I also recommend listening to this in headphones. On his Soundcloud page, Sunshine says he "heard the disco in it" and I can't think of a better way to put it. There IS disco in the original song, and, Sunshine coaxes it out of its dark hole for everyone to hear. What I like about the original song is it doesn't sound like an Arcade Fire tune - it's straight-up electro, and, God bless 'em for it! What Sunshine did with his remix, however, absolutely floors me. It's soooo beautiful. And, that bass? Come on. Sunshine proves once again he is the true master of midi and he remade this song into something all his own, and, in my opinion, it surpasses the sound of the original.

Download Tommie Sunshine's remix FOR FREE here.

UPDATE: Tommie gave us a little shout out on his soundcloud page. i can die now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'd be remiss not to mention Lissie, the midwestern-born, California-living singer-songwriter who is probably one of the better musical discoveries I've had over the past year. Generally, my tolerance for humdrum folk went out the window years ago, but occasionally an artist will come along and put a new twist on an old standard in such a brilliant way that you can't help but wake up and take notice. That's Lissie in a nutshell.

Part Neko Case, part Stevie Nicks, part something-completely-her-own, Lissie's debut album Catching A Tiger runs the gamut from contemplative ballads to swinging gospel to rock 'n' roll and back 'round again with lots of stops inbetween.

I first heard of her about five or six months ago when the lovely Clare Bowditch (more on her later!) posted a link to Lissie's cover of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance'. Immediately intrigued, I clicked through to another song, and fell head over heels in love with a song called 'When I'm Alone':

In addition to having an extremely strong and versatile voice, Lissie also manages to bring out the essence of what music should feel like with straightforward (yet still poetic) lyrics. Her songs often meander off into what amounts to an abbreviated jam session, but instead of distracting the listener, they pull you in and expand the tracks into something meaningful and satisfying.

She's signed to Columbia Records UK, which means she's been spending a lot of time touring in Europe and not nearly enough over here in the states. Still -- grab her album when it hits US stores on August 17.

BUY: Lissie - Catching A Tiger