aurgasm special posts

Aurgasm Live: Priscilla Ahn

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 by Michelle

singer songwriter // folk

When we first featured Priscilla Ahn back in 2007, she only had a 5-track, independently released EP available. Since then, she got signed to Blue Note Records, released two full length albums and has had her music featured in a number of films and television shows. And last week, she and Charlie Wadhams released a free EP under the moniker Sweet Hearts. She’s been pretty busy! Priscilla was nice enough to take some time to talk with us about making When You Grow Up and played a couple tunes, which we’ve included below!

Priscilla Ahn – “Lost Cause” (Live)

It’s been a few years since your EP and A Good Day came out. For the new album, When You Grow Up, were these all brand new tracks, or were some of these tunes you had written a while back?

Yeah, there’s only one song off the record that I started writing back in the EP days, and that’s “Lost Cause”. Everything else has been written sort of from the last record until now. I named the album “When You Grow Up” because a lot of those were written in a growing period. I took a lot of time to do a lot of reflection and thinking, and I feel like a lot of the songs came out of that.

Can you talk a little about your songwriting process? You’ve got a lot of layers in your songs — vocals, guitar and harmonies. How do you start off?

Well I write the lyrics and the guitar parts at the same time, it sort of just flows together. I’ll make a demo of it, so I’ll record that part, and then — it might not even be harmonies I’m thinking of, it could be other instrument parts — I’ll just sing them, to add something to the demo. [laughs] But they usually end up just being crazy harmony parts. I’ve done a lot of co-writing on this record, and each process for that has been really different.

When you’re co-writing, do you go in with an idea, or is it more collaborative?

The one with Inara [George], that was completely collaborative. We just sort of came up with that together on the spot. The one with Charlie [Wadhams] — I was late [meeting him], so he started writing an idea he got, which was great! The one with Sia; the night before I was meeting with her, I remembered that she doesn’t play any instruments, and realized it was all gonna be on me for guitar. So I actually came up with all the chords and stuff for that song, and then she pretty much wrote all the lyrics, which was really cool. And all the other ones have sort of been collaborative ideas coming together.

The people you wrote with, they all have a number of musical projects they work on (both solo and as part of a band). Do you feel like they’re musical influences as well as being friends, and who are some of your other musical influences?

They’re totally musical influences, because I’m such a fan. You know, I’m their friend but also their fan. Which is awesome because I respect what they do and I trust their ideas. At the same time, it’s a comfortable working environment because we’re friends, so it’s real easy-going. Other musical influences, as of late, I’ve been listening to a lot of Beach House, especially when we were recording the record. Françoise Hardy was an influence. I was listening to a lot of her music when I wrote “Cry Baby” so it was sort of influenced by that. Who else has been an influence…

I mean, not just for this record either, but also–

In life?

Yeah. That’s such an enormous question, I know.

Well, Neil Young is one of my biggest heroes. Andrew Bird is really cool. Growing up I listened to a lot of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Beatles. Radiohead was another big one. Pink Floyd.

Priscilla Ahn – “The Moon” (Live)

How did recording this album differ from your first album? I know you went over to England to record it with Ethan Johns, how did that impact the album?

It was really different, this whole recording experience was really different from my last recording experience. Ethan, he works really old school; we record to tape and he’s very organic. On the last record (A Good Day), I was so used to us doing two or three takes of a song, and we’d piece together the best parts in Pro Tools and then — oh we’re done! When [Ethan] started doing it, he had us play the same song all day, into the next day, and I would think, “This is taking forever!” But then I realized how genius it is, and what a big difference it makes, because it actually puts you into the song. Everyone who’s playing is also in the song, and you all listen to it together, and you find that magic take. And for a producer to have that kind of patience I think is really cool. It’s important to him.

And being in England, at first I was so stressed out because I wasn’t going to have all my musician friends around me, and I was not going to be at home, you know? So I was really freaking out about it. But once I got in there, it was much better for me. When I record in LA, I get really antsy in the studio, and I’m like, “I can’t wait to go home” and I’m not really focused. Whereas being there, what do I have to go back to? A hotel room by myself. Being in another country is also a deadline. I can’t stay there forever. I have a plane ticket for this day, so we have to finish. It was just really focused, and made time go by really fast, which was great. It was a really good experience for me to break out of my comfort zone, and try something new. And I ended up meeting some other really great musicians, like Sam Dixon, who played bass, who’s amazing. And Jeremy Stacey who played drums.

On the first album, you had someone play a saw, there was an autoharp — a lot of cool stuff. There were also a lot of interesting instruments on the new album, an omnichord, mellotron, celesta, marxophone. How did you start incorporating all those instruments in the recording process?

Well, for the first record, we just went in there and whatever was available. Luckily Joey [Waronker]’s studio had all this cool shit, and we were like, “Oh, let’s try this!” But for this album, I wanted it to be a little more thought out before we went in to record. For the sake of time, but also to have a sound for the album. I made a list of all the instruments that I really liked, which were a lot of those, and Ethan had a couple other things like a mellotron, and a really old pump organ. Each old instrument brings it’s own character and soul to the song, I think. For this album I gave it a little more thought, I mapped it out a little more. I went through each song and was like, “This one, I hear this, this, and this.”

Priscilla Ahn – “All You’ve Got To Do Is Fall In Love” (Live) [Benji Hughes cover]

The album includes a cover of Benji Hughes’ “Vibe So Hot”. What made you decide on a cover, what drew you to the song?

For this album, I wanted to do a more upbeat song, and I was listening to Benji’s album and I thought “Vibe So Hot” was so funny and fun.

When you were putting the record together, did you feel the need to include more upbeat songs to balance it out? I know a lot of the songs are slower tunes.

Yeah, I naturally just write slower songs and I wanted for there to be more movement in the album. With the first record, I had so much time to write all these songs, without thinking about it. Without worrying about, “I need this kind of song, that kind of song.” For these songs, they were all pretty new. I was definitely more conscious about it, in a stressful way.

Are there any songs or bands that have caught your attention recently? What music have you been excited about lately?

Well I love Cass McCombs. I’ve been listening to Little Dragon, but they’re a little more known. Oh, Blake Mills. He’s here in LA and his music is really cool, I have his Live in Shanghai EP and it’s so good!

Thanks Priscilla!

Priscilla’s recommendations:
Blake Mills – Cheers (demo) from Live from Shanghai EP

Get a free download of Blake Mills’ Live from Shanghai EP here.

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donthink: Classick #57

Saturday, December 24th, 2011 by Kyle
Cleaning barn stalls on the farm is often accompanied by my Uncle’s radio playing AM stations, and fresh sounds from generations passed inspired me to make a mix where current electronic trends resemble classic gems. Open your ears to 60’s pop, swinging electric beats, rumbling jazz, hazy noir, retro boogie, school band funk, swanky smooth sensations, robotic soul, and a safe moon landing. 2002 ErrorFM

donthink – Classick #57 (58min):

  1. Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ [1966]
  2. Cujo – Popsicle [2002]
  3. Defcon 5 ft Bluu – Goodbye [2002]
  4. Louis Prima – Jump Jive an’ Wail (Tranquility Bass Remix) [1956 / 1999]
  5. DJ Git Hyper – Just Face It [1997]
  6. Henry Mancini – Lujon [1959]
  7. Anjali – Lazy Lagoon [2000]
  8. Fingathing – Come on Girls [2000]
  9. Mo’Horizons – Do the Boogaloo [2001]
  10. Shirley Ellis – The Clapping Song [1965]
  11. DJ Shadow – The Newborn Hippopotamus Jazz Rock Machine [2000]
  12. Louise Vertigo – Où est la Femme? [1998]
  13. Jazzanova – L.O.V.E. and You & I ft David Friedman & Paul Kleber [2002]
  14. Michael Jackson – Ain’t No Sunshine (SSY Remix) [1972 / 2001]
  15. Avia – Exil Exit [1998]

donthink: Safe Bet

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 by Kyle
A luscious and vibrant sound was my aim for this mix, titled ‘Safe Bet’ because I wanted to create an introduction to downtempo / electronic music in a way that may captivate and grow interest. To subtly build an unfamiliar atmosphere and give hints of more to explore.

Classical tendencies, strings especially, sweet beats, glitchy cinematic effects and jazzy grooves fill the air. Mixed in 2003 while DJ’ing at ErrorFM as I hoped to inspire people with new music from around the world.

donthink – Safe Bet (63min):

  1. Xploding Plastix – Dieci
  2. Mujaji – Siempre (Jon Kennedy Remix)
  3. Bonobo – Change Down
  4. Jon Kennedy – Brown Acid
  5. Bathysphere – Where’s Vicky (Quantic Mix)
  6. Caural – Sipping Snake Blood Wine (Savath & Savalas Remix)
  7. The Cinematic Orchestra – All Things To All Men ft Roots Manuva
  8. Broadway Project – Beauty
  9. Yenara – When Mountain Meets The Sea
  10. A Guy Called Gerald – Humanity ft Louise Rhodes (Funkstörung Remiks)
  11. Daedelus – Minor Detour
  12. King Seven – Hidden
  13. Opiate – Pk 50
  14. Hint – Count Your Blessings (Bonobo Mix)
  15. Florian Ross – Piano Interlude

Aurgasm@FYF FEST 2010

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 by Michelle


While Julija was covering Bumbershoot up in Seattle, I was in Downtown LA’s Historic State Park for Los Angeles’ own FYF FEST. It was a pretty phenomenal afternoon of music. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the whole night, but the stacked line-up ensured I had tons of great bands to check out while I was around! The absolutely packed line-up included Cults, Warpaint, The Soft Pack, Best Coast, A.A. Bondy, The Mountain Goats, Local Natives, Delorean, Panda Bear and The Rapture (plus a comedy tent for good measure), which meant there was a lot of jumping from set to set, but I managed to catch a pretty solid number of acts.

All photos courtesy of Joey Maloney.

The Blow
After a long wait for press passes, I finally made it through the gates in time to catch the first set of the day, The Blow. It’s been four years since the release of Paper Televisions, and since then the group (which previously consisted of Mikhaela Maricich and Jona Bechtolt) has slimmed down to just Mikhaela. Currently her live sets are produced in collaboration with Melissa Dyne, who backs up Khaela from the soundbooth. Between lots of chatter about a celebrity who-shall-remain-unnamed, Khaela managed to play a short set which included “True Affection” and the ever-popular, “Parentheses”. Take a listen to “Pile of Gold” and a YACHT remix of “Hock It” below!

The Blow – “Pile of Gold”
The Blow – “Hock It” (YACHT Remix)

The enigmatic duo known as Cults, has remained somewhat of a mystery since I heard their track, “Go Outside” earlier this year. Prior to playing the FYF FEST, the New York based group opened for Maps & Atlases on their US tour. Check out one song I couldn’t stop playing this summer, “Go Outside”:

Cults – “Go Outside”

When we first posted about Warpaint early last year, they had self-released their 5-song Exquisite Corpse EP. Since then, the group has had a slight line-up change (Stella Mozgawa has replaced David Orlando on drums), re-released the EP in October of 2009 (via Manimal, signed to Rough Trade and have a new full-length dropping next month! Phew. The band is a familiar sight in the local venues around town, but the girls were absolutely at home on the massive Redwood stage. Take a listen to “Undertow” from the upcoming album below, as well as “Billie Holiday” which we featured last year:

Warpaint – “Undertow” (from The Fool, 2010)
Warpaint – “Billie Holiday” (from Exquisite Corpse EP, 2008)

Best Coast
LA locals Best Coast have been getting a lot of love on the blogs this year. The trio (Bethany Cosentino, Bobb Bruno and Ali Koehler) played to a massively packed crowd at this year’s FYF FEST; their fuzzed-out garage rock was an incredibly appropriate soundtrack to the scorching festival afternoon. While their lo-fi surf rock sound isn’t typical of what you might hear on Aurgasm, check out “When I’m With You” and “Boyfriend” below!

Best Coast – “When I’m With You”
Best Coast – “Boyfriend”

A.A. Bondy
Amid all the lo-fi, electro and indie bands at FYF FEST, A.A. Bondy stood out as one of the few folk acts to hit the stage. However, he wasn’t out of place at all — backed by a full band, Bondy’s soulful and earnest folk was the perfect mid-afternoon set to catch. Listen to “I Can See The Pines Are Dancing” from When The Devil’s Loose below and imagine sitting on the dusty ground, in the shadow of the main stage. Perfect.

A.A. Bondy – “I Can See The Pines Are Dancing”

THE SOFT PACK- “MORE OR LESS” from gia coppola on Vimeo.

The Soft Pack
While I relaxed and waited for Local Natives’ set at the Redwood stage, The Soft Pack made sure I didn’t wind down too much, when they took the stage. The Los Angeles-via-San Diego band kept the energy level up with their upbeat garage rock. Despite releasing a full-length earlier this year, the band already has a brand new track, “Gagdad” out now. Check it out:

The Soft Pack – “Gagdad”

Local Natives
Since we featured them last year, Local Natives have been riding an incredible high. The band signed to a label in the US and the UK, released their debut Gorilla Manor to rave reviews, and have seemed to be touring non-stop! Their stop at FYF FEST was the first time they’ve been back in their hometown all summer, and it was an incredible one. The guys are always amazing live, and it seems like all the touring has only tightened up their phenomenal live show.

Recently, the band has been releasing the stems for the tracks on Gorilla Manor on their website, and posting the remixes that fans send in. I asked Andy which remixes the band have really been into, and he sent back a remix of “Who Knows Who Cares” by Brighton-based BretonLABS, and the brand new remix of “Shape Shifter” by Superhumanoids, another LA local. (He also mentioned that Superhumanoids will be opening for Local Natives on their upcoming UK tour!) Take a listen to Local Natives’ favorite Local Natives remixes below, as well as the exclusive acoustic take of “Camera Talk” the guys recorded for us last year. Then head over to and have a go at remixing some tracks yourself!

Local Natives – “Camera Talk” (Acoustic Aurgasm Exclusive)
Local Natives – “Shape Shifter” (Superhumanoids Remix)
Local Natives – “Who Knows Who Cares” (BretonLABS Remix)

Dead Man’s Bones
When Dead Man’s Bones hit the stage, they were accompanied by the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir, the same choir that collaborated with the duo on their debut album, Dead Man’s Bones, last year. The band, which is comprised of Ryan Gosling (yes, that Ryan Gosling) and Zach Shields, played a completely charming and eclectic set backed by the kids, who were all dressed in costume (which included flappers, Abe Lincoln and a James Dean). Take a listen to “My Body’s A Zombie For You” and “Pa Pa Power” and hear for yourself!

Dead Man’s Bones – “My Body’s A Zombie For You”
Dead Man’s Bones – “Pa Pa Power”

Check out more photos from FYF FEST at our Flickr page. Thanks again to Joey Maloney for the incredible photos!

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Aurgasm@Bumbershoot 2010

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 by Julija


This year Seattle’s Bumbershoot marked its 40 years anniversary with an outstanding lineup of both critically acclaimed and up-and-coming musicians. Legendary Bob Dylan, folk goddess Neko Case, funky soul performer Jamie Lidell and the Mediterranean Balkan Beat Box are just a few to name. Following the Aurgasm spirit, below are a few acts we wanted to share with you.

The Budos Band
Aurgasm featured The Budos Band grabbed our attention for their truly irresistible afro-funky groove back in 2007. It’s a must-catch act for the fans of Menahan Street Band, Antibalas and the likes. Enjoy the soulful funk vibes of “Unbroken, Unshaven” taken from their recently released album The Budos Band: III (2010).

The Budos Band – Unbroken, Unshaven

Pete Molinari
UK’s Pete Molinari plays quirky folk-blues with a retro feeling to it and a good dose of British humour. “One Stolen Moment” delivers wistful melody and genuinely melancholic arrangements. “For Eliza”, A Train Bound for Glory (2010), displays Pete’s distinctive, melodic voice. From Presley-esque tunes to vintage Americana, it’s simply charming. Keep your eyes (and ears) open for Pete’s upcoming shows.

Pete Molinari – For Eliza

Ra Ra Riot
Mentioned already around the blogosphere, Ra Ra Riot were among the festival highlights on Sunday. From breezy pop to energetic indie rock, they won the hearts of the Seattle crowd.

Ra Ra Riot – Boy

Vienna Teng
Vienna Teng could be easily named the loveliest and audience-friendliest singer-songwriter of the festival. California-born Taiwanese-American pianist, Vienna actually is a software engineer who frequently performs across Europe and US. Vienna shared the news about going to grad school this fall, so unfortunately, we’re not going to hear from her any time soon. Enjoy her enchanting piano melodies:

Vienna Teng – Harbor

Lay Low
On the last and rainy day, Aurgasm darling Icelandic songstress Lay Low played an intimate acoustic set. Lovísa played songs from her latest album “Farewell Good Night’s Sleep” including a few lovely tunes in her native Icelandic.

Lay Low – Last Time Around

Bomba Estéreo
Colombian Bomba Estéreo set the stage on fire with the rhythms of cumbia, champeta and bullerengue mixed with danceable electronic beats. A little on the edgy side, the psychedelic effects seamlessly blend into glamorous electronic carnival. Unstoppable energy!

Bomba Estéreo – Fuego

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond, another pleasant discovery, are Portland-based chamber pop ensemble. We all already know that plenty of good music comes from Portland, so here comes another treat to keep us convinced. Loch Lomond blends folk melodies with soaring vocal harmonies and instrumentation of acoustic guitar, banjo, flute and vibraphone to create a sound of forest fairytale. Somewhat enigmatic, captivating baroque pop.

Loch Lomond – Wax And Wire

Photos by Yoav

Aurgasm@Bumbershoot: Day Three

Monday, September 7th, 2009 by Julija


Anomie Belle
We started our morning with the hypnotic strings and vocals of Anomie Belle. Anomie Belle is classically trained violinist and songwriter Toby Campbell, who toured North America with such artists as Little Dragon, The Album Leaf and legendary trip-hop artist Tricky. “Down”, featured here, displays her Trip-Hop experimental aesthetics, while its production brings to mind the clear and smooth downtempo vibe of Zero 7.

Anomie Belle – Down

Oren Lavie
Featured on Aurgasm two years ago, Israeli born Oren Lavie gave a warm and intimate performance that didn’t disappoint. Attached below is Aurgasm’s favourite track “Her Morning Elegance”, which was recently featured on Brian Williams’ “Inside the Obama White House” Special on NBC.

Oren Lavie – Her Morning Elegance

We were happy to catch probably the most playful and colourful show of the festival, Aurgasm’s favourite Lenka. Despite Franz Ferdinand playing at the same time, Lenka had a full house and her music was received with much support and enthusiasm.

Lenka – The Show

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Aurgasm@Bumbershoot: Day Two

Sunday, September 6th, 2009 by Julija


Hey Marseilles
Hey Marseilles, previously mentioned on Aurgasm as one of Michelle’s SXSW discoveries, warmed the hearts of the crowd on a cold and cloudy morning. Seattle’s Hey Marseilles play fresh and magical orchestral folk tunes that are both melancholic and genuinely cheerful. With piano, violin, trumpet, cello and accordion their stage presence is a miniature extravaganza. Barely known outside Seattle, these guys are definitely worth to keep an eye on.

Hey Marseilles – From a Terrace

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The Dusty 45s
Another pleasant discovery today was the Dusty 45s. Their energetic performance covered a variety of styles ranging from rockabilly to powerful Balkan notes (think Devotchka), from alt-country and Americana to classic Rock & Roll fun.

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Aurgasm@Bumbershoot: Day One

Saturday, September 5th, 2009 by Julija

Post removed temporarily.

Local Natives

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 by Michelle

indie folk // harmonic folk pop

Silverlake’s Local Natives have been making their way around the blogs lately, and understandably so. The quintet’s unique brand of indie folk highlights their tight vocal harmonies without sacrificing on rolling guitars, keys and percussion or sharp lyrics. Their laid-back and layered folk is a perfect way to wind down the rest of summer — a warm, blooming cocoon of sound. The boys were kind enough to take some time from their hectic schedule to lay down this exclusive acoustic version of “Camera Talk” for us.

Soothing and gorgeous vocal melodies meets sparse folk.
Local Natives – Camera Talk (Acoustic Aurgasm Exclusive)
Local Natives – Airplanes
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Special: Aurgasm’s Jukebox Mélange mix

Thursday, August 27th, 2009 by Paul Irish

My good man Tom Korkidis (of Eksi Ekso) invited me back our local River Gods, in Cambridge, for a night called Jukebox Mélange. Here are the sets I played; jams from the 70s, early 00’s and 09.

Aurgasm – Jukebox Mélange mix (part 1) (51min):

  1. The Rip Off Artist – What Kind of Blue [2004] blu tribunaL
  2. The Soul Fantastics (Ain’t No Sunshine) [2009] DJ Beto – Panama! 2
  3. Beau Love – Pacific [2007] Untitled
  4. Urbs & Cutex – Up & Down [2002] Breaks of Dawn
  5. Digable Planets – Dog It [1994] Blowout Comb
  6. Natural Self – In The Morning (Paul White remix) [2009] Tru Thoughts – Shapes 0901
  7. Hot Stuff Band – Juju Man [2006] Brazilian Breaks & Beats LP
  8. Eddie Bo – Hook and Sling [1969] Hook and Sling pt 1+2
  9. Diplo – Krunk (Variation #2) [~2003] Sound and Fury {bootleg}
  10. Mark Ronson – Diversion [2007] Version
  11. The Whitest Boy Alive – Keep a Secret [2009] Rules
  12. Love Grenades – Tigers In The Fire [2008] VA – Accidental Rhythm (Mix One)
  13. Quantic – Transatlantic [2002] Apricot Morning
  14. Baby Mammoth – Final [2003] Octo Muck

Aurgasm – Jukebox Mélange Mix (part 2) (59min):

  1. Quantic – Not So Blue [2002] Apricot Morning
  2. Ratatat – Mirando [2008] LP3
  3. Ocote Soul Sounds & Adrian Quesada - Ora Como Rey, Manana Como Guey [2006] El Nino y el Sol
  4. The Dining Rooms – Fluxus (The Cinematic Orchestra World Goes Round mix) [2004] Versioni Particolari
  5. Wando – Nega De Abaluae [2001] Brazilian Beats 2
  6. The Dining Rooms – La Citta Nuda (SoulPatrol Afrolicious Mix) [2004] Versioni Particolari
  7. Kanye West (feat. Kid Cudi, Common, Lady Gaga) – Poke Her Face [2009] LVs & Autotune 2 mixtape
  8. Robin Jones (feat Bosco de Oliveira) – Royal Marcha (Raj Gupta Vocal mix) [2001] Turntables on the Hudson Vol 3
  9. Unknown track
  10. MOVITS! – Fel Del Av GÃ¥rden [2008] Äppelknyckarjazz
  11. Instituto Mexicano Del Sonido – Yo Digo Baila [2009] Soy Sauce
  12. Dabrye – Smoking the Edge [2002] One/Three
  13. Jack Penate – Tonight’s Today [2009] Everything Is New