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Subtle: hip-hop collagists of the artiest caliber 

Wednesday, Aug 8 2007
Reminiscent of Zero 7 and Portishead, Bitter:Sweet sounds like it comes from England rather than Los Angeles. And that's a compliment, because American attempts at soulful downtempo often pale in comparison to their pasty cousins across the pond. Bitter:Sweet's popular with ad executives and music supervisors for films, so you've probably heard the duo (Shana Halligan and Kiran Shahani) even if you haven't heard of them. The group's 2006 debut The Mating Game (which more recently was edited into The Remix Game) melds lively cuts like the James Bond-themed "Dirty Laundry" with more languid and sensual offerings. Bitter:Sweet performs live on Wednesday, Aug. 8, at the Independent at 8 p.m. Admission is $15; call 771-1422 or visit for more info. — Tamara Palmer

For almost as long as hip hop's been around, there have been rock bands, pop acts, and other honky outsiders who've borrowed from it — or stolen, depending on how you look at it. The difference usually hinges on the sticky notion of authenticity: the indefinable thing that tells you there's a difference in credibility between, say, Vanilla Ice and Eminem. The Anticon Collective — a loose-knit passel of hip-hop postmodernists, many of whom came up as white suburban punks — is keenly aware of the authenticity bugaboo. On its 2006 album For Hero, For Fool, Subtle — the six-piece Anticon offshoot that includes vocalist Dax Pierson, lyricist/vocalist Doseone, and drum programmer Jel — feeds everything imaginable into the sonic meat grinder (the standout "Middleclass Stomp" comes off like ELO and the Swell Maps inna South Bronx stylee.) For Hero is the kaleidoscopic roman à clef of Hour Hero Yes, a fictional rapper-cum-superhero whose cultural commentary pulls no punches — giddily blurring race, class, and cultural distinctions, while simultaneously illuminating them. Subtle performs on Saturday, Aug. 11, at Great American Music Hall at 9 p.m. Admission is $15; call 885-0750 or visit for more info. — J. Niimi

The popularity and prevalence of mash-ups — those fun hybrid mixes of two often very different songs — has worked as an excellent retort to those who thought this DJ technique was a passing fad. More proof that the concept is here to stay: "Bootie," the monthly club night dedicated to that slice of club culture, is now marking its fourth anniversary. Aside from having some of the best fliers around, hosts/resident DJs Adrian and Mysterious D have molded this party into a showcase not only for fresh tracks, but also for new techniques inspired by them (from bands playing live mash-ups to DJs using remote controls from the Nintendo Wii to blend songs). Help Bootie celebrate another birthday on Saturday, Aug. 11, at DNA Lounge at 9 p.m. Admission is $10-15; call 626-1409 or visit for more info. — T.P.

In the mid-'90s, Marsha Ambrosius and Natalie Stewart came together as Floetry , a serene R&B/hip-hop/spoken word group that wrote tunes for Michael Jackson and Jill Scott while garnering five Grammy nominations for its own material. Stewart departed the group, though, in late 2006 under circumstances the pair prefers to keep murky. But rather than abandon the strong brand name, Ambrosius (who is working on her solo debut for Dr. Dre's Aftermath label) is touring with what she calls "Floetry Remixed" with New York rapper/MTV personality Amanda Diva. The duo performs Floetry songs (with new verses by Diva) and fresh takes on hip-hop classics like Pharcyde's "Passin' Me By." Floetry Remixed appears live on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at the Independent at 8 p.m. Admission is $27; call 771-1421 or visit for more info. — T.P.

About The Authors

J. Niimi


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