In 2008, Converse roped in Julian Casablancas, Santogold and Pharrell to promote their shoes via a one-off single. As far as music/commercial tie-ins go, it was probably one of the more reasonable marriages, considering Converse's long-storied relationship with rock music.
Last week Converse repeated the trick: in the 2010 reboot, "All Summer", Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, rapper Kid Cudi and Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend have teamed up (below). The track is available at ind.pn/b4Geat. It's a slightly awkward melange of their distinct styles but Cosentino's plaintive vocals are lovely.
Sitek gets his TV off the Radio
Dave Sitek, producer/guitarist with Brooklyn art-rockers TV on the Radio, is taking the plunge into solo album terrain under the moniker Maximum Balloon. He has a lot of form as a producer of other bands, so his solo output has potential. The album also goes by the name Maximum Balloon and is released in August. The first song from it can be heard through the website maximum balloon.com. The track is called"Tiger" and it whets the appetite nicely for the record. Aku from Dragons of Zynth takes on the vocals in a delivery that has accurately been described as "like Fela crossed with Tunde Adebimpe". The song has similar soundscapes to TVotR, including joyous Antibalas-provided horns, but with more dance rhythms.
A travelling festival of art in London
Launched last month in New York, the Creators Project is a travelling festival celebrating technology, art, and hipsters which lands in London this weekend. For a flavour of what's in store, and a pop music panel with super producers Mark Ronson and Sam Spiegel, check out thecreatorsproject.com. We'll be liveblogging from Saturday's event, featuring Filthy Dukes and Kele Okereke at independent.co.uk/blogs.
Junip hits the Swede spot
With each new season NPR's weekly podcast "All Songs Considered" gathers discerning music commentators to preview new releases of the coming months. On the "Summer Music Preview" (ind.pn/cXRI5c), one band they mention is Junip, the rock trio of Jose Gonzalez. They put out an EP in May – get it at junip.net – and an album will be along shortly. When I first heard the Swede was making a rock album I glazed over: I've never been taken with Gonzalez's indie-folk but on the podcast they played Junip's track "Rope and Summit". It's just great. The trio keep things low key; the song has a lovely Krautrock drive, while Gonzales' vocal is suitably understated. It builds brilliantly, with soft guitar touches and keyboard lines; quite captivating.