Motörhead Vodka

Four band-endorsed boozes

For some, plastering a band name on a bottle of booze is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. Others, like Maynard James Keenan, pour everything into their creations. However you define the following, here are a few band-name beverages to request at your next show.

French design duo M/M Paris shares a pixelated, neon future with C’est Wouf!

M/M Paris is a French design partnership consisting of Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak, well known for their work with musicians such as Björk (Volta), Kanye West (My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy) and more. Now the duo has a new exhibition, C’est Wouf!, up at gallery Air de Paris in Paris.

Featuring the titular dog(?) as well as light fixtures, neon sculptures, and more, the exhibit is up through May 18. If you’re not fortunate enough to be near Paris, view some of the wild work below.

Kid Koala

Q&A: Kid Koala

Kid Koala: "Space Cadet"Kid Koala: Space Cadet (Ninja Tune, 10/25/11)

Kid Koala: “Main Title Theme”

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Kid Koala, born Eric San, is a Chinese-Canadian DJ who garnered recognition for distinctive styles of scratch turntablism and comical samples after his Ninja Tune debut Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in 2000. Since that time, the turntablist has toured extensively with huge names such as Björk, Beastie Boys, and Radiohead, composed several original film scores, and collaborated on numerous musical projects, including his own Deltron 3030 and The Slew.

San also has quite a knack for illustration, which he employed for his 2003 album, Nufonia Must Fall, a 352-page romantic tragedy about a love-struck robot paired with a short, jazzy soundtrack. His new release, Space Cadet (out tomorrow), is his second graphic-novel/soundtrack pairing, and it sets aside the eccentric scratching and samples to revisit San’s classical piano training. Inspired by the birth of San’s daughter, Space Cadet is a 132-page graphic narrative and dulcet soundtrack that chronicles a young girl’s adventures through outer space with her robot guardian.

Here, ALARM speaks with San about his newest multimedia journey.

When and how did you develop your turntable techniques?

I try to develop it everyday! I do it by practicing and listening to as many different styles of music as I can. Turntables are chameleon-like. The challenge for me is to see if I can learn to play them tastefully in whatever style is required.

In this technological age, with so many DJs transitioning from analog to digital mixing, why have you stuck primarily with vinyl turntables?

I like the sound of vinyl crackle and record burn.

Can you explain your thought process when choosing sounds to mix into tracks?

I usually have a melody or a story in my mind when I record. I try to bend sound into the melody that I hear in my head. I have a record cutter in my studio, so I will record a single guitar note or keyboard tone and cut it to a custom record. Once it’s on the turntable, I can bend it into all the other notes of the scale.

What do you mean when you describe your search for inspiration as “audio-voyeurism”? How did your inspirations differ between past albums and Space Cadet?

I think whenever you listen to a recording, you are hearing a part of someone’s life. I like to imagine the life story around the whole recording and what compelled people to make such recordings. Space Cadet was completely inspired by the birth of my daughter. Most of it was recorded before while she was an infant. Each piece on the Space Cadet score is a kind of turntable lullaby for her.


Stateless: Soulful, Worldly Electro-Rock

On its second full-length, Britain’s Stateless bridges disparate genres with surprising ease. Its sound, at once indefinable and all-encompassing, gathers elements of R&B, dubstep, electronic rock, and more, and mixes them organically with the help of collaborators like DJ Shadow.

The Boxer Rebellion

Guest Spots: Adam Harrison of the Boxer Rebellion on Latin jazz

The Boxer Rebellion: The Cold StillThe Boxer Rebellion: “Step Out Of The Car” (The Cold Still, Absentee, 2/8/11)

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British rock band The Boxer Rebellion made a splash in the US when it was featured as an unsigned band pursued by a talent scout (“I’m a Mac” Justin Long) in the film Going the Distance. The Cold Still, out in February, is the band’s third full-length, following Exits in 2005 and Union in 2009. We tapped the Rebellion’s bassist, Adam Harrison, to pen a piece explaining the influence of Latin jazz on his musical development.

How Latin Jazz Unlocked the Secrets of the Bass
by Adam Harrison of The Boxer Rebellion

Everybody knows that the bass guitar is the easiest instrument to start from scratch. Like many before me, I had learned guitar and then joined a band that already had a lead guitarist and no bass player. As the “inferior” guitarist (and, in retrospect, the smaller 12-year-old), I filled the role. However, concern at the sudden realisation that I would never be Kurt Cobain soon disappeared when I started playing the bass. I think the deep end perfectly made up for my lack of height, and the more I started to follow the bass players in my favourite bands, the more I realised that they were, in fact, the coolest in the group.


Alash: Tuvan Throat Singers

With a layered, complex, and indigenous sound, Tuvan throat singers Alash sound like a mix between Tom Waits and a flock of swallows — all while inviting listeners back to their geographically diverse homeland.

100 Unheralded Albums from 2010

Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.