Live: The Internet Shows Off Its "Weird-Ass Music" At Bowery Ballroom

The Interet w/Kilo Kish, Phony Ppl
Bowery Ballroom
Sunday, August 5

Better than: Staying home to wait for Drake's posthumous Aaliyah collaboration.

The MTA and its agenda of mediocrity made me late for last night's Kilo Kish/The Internet show at Bowery Ballroom, but as I walked into the main space, Kish had wrapped up a song standing spritely on the stage and with an enormous grin said, "That song was about my ex-boyfriend. Fuck that dude." And with a sheepish giggle, she followed up with, "Fuck. That. Dude." It was a perfect moment: Her music is soft and sweet, but punctuated with heartbreak vitriol. The set concluded shortly after that and I felt like I had missed something big (seriously, smash the MTA). Kilo isn't packing powerful stage moves, but her energy is ethereal made me think she could guide me into a shimmering hip hop forest. (People on the Internet really need to stop using "Rap Game [Insert a Witty Reference]"—but if there had to be one for Kilo Kish, it'd be Rap Game Woods Fairy.) Women in hip-hop have been excellent at rewriting the tough-as-nails vs. sexpot narrative this year, and Kish is a prime example that a woman can use tenderness in her music while still expressing genuine (meaning, sometimes ugly) emotion. It electrified a very small crowd.

The crowd, in fact, was the smallest I have ever seen for any permutation of the Odd Future collective. I was there when Tyler, the Creator and Co. made their NYC debut to a mosh-pit-cum-critic-circle with no room to breathe; I saw panties tossed on stage to Frank Ocean last November, weeks after having watched the entire crew (sans Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt) stage-dove onto costumed Miami teenagers on Halloween. The most remarkable member that night was Syd tha Kyd, who stood behind the DJ booth, hyping the crowd up with Jay-Z hits and fist-pumping to each of her brothers' songs. How would that kind of behind-the-scenes zeal translate to her role as lead singer of R&B group The Internet?

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Introducing The Trollgaze Index With An Analysis Of The Internet's "Cocaine" Video

Don't get spun out—eat spun sugar instead!
2011 has been the year of "trollgaze," a media-agnostic genre name for those pieces of pop culture as designed for maximum Internet attention as they are pieces of art that can stand (or at least wobble) on their own. The ways to get inducted into the trollgaze pantheon are as plentiful as self-congratulatory Lil B retweets; in music alone, they can involve dropping songs chock-full of easy ways to laugh at them (extra points if you're being dead serious about doing so), acting like an entitled punkass brat, complaining about people saying that you're acting like an e.p.b., or somewhat ineptly playing on the already-existent prejudices possessed by critical-mass online audiences, among other things. With so many things these days vying for the masses' increasingly divided attention, though, it's becoming tougher and tougher to gauge whether or not a piece of cultural ephemera is actually trying to double as its social-media strategy.

To help all the overwhelmed online music consumers out there figure out if a piece of music is trollgaze or not—it's kind of difficult!—Sound of the City is establishing The Trollgaze Index, a scientific method by which we deduce just how hard musicians are trying to play their listeners for the fool. We'll measure on a 50-point scale; a score of 35 or more means that, yes, if you're paying attention to the video or the song or the "viral" campaign, you—and we—have been trolled. Installment one (from, appropriately enough, an Odd Future-affiliated act that calls itself "The Internet") after the jump.

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