Fun Fun Fun Fest Preview: DJ Car Stereo (Wars)

Those who know me know that I am a mash-up enthusiast. I recognize that this can be a risky thing to admit in some circles, but I just can’t get enough. I wrote my senior thesis in college on mash-ups, I’ve been to several mash-up shows, and four Girl Talk concerts (which is a lot for me for one artist). Maybe in a future post I’ll go into the nuts and bolts of mash-up construction, but for the time being I want to focus on DJ Car Stereo (Wars), who will be appearing at this weekend’s Fun Fun Fun Fest.

DJ Car Stereo (Wars) - Whoah Dude

Chris Rose, the given name of DJ Car Stereo (Wars), now splits his time between Brooklyn and Austin, but cut his teeth here full-time. His sound is most clearly akin to Girl Talk’s, whose shadow over this genre is so long that we can’t really avoid talking about him in reviewing any other mash-up DJ. CSW’s style is a bit denser than GT’s, not letting his samples breath like GT has on his recent albums, which leads to a frantic pace. I’m saying all of this in a good way. There’s a lot going on here. CSW crams about the same number of samples into his album as GT does into his, except in half the time. It’s harder in CSW’s music to pull out “moments” like you can in Girl Talk (“Oh, how hot was that B.I.G./Elton John part?!?”), but that makes it rewarding in a whole different way. Almost as soon as you recognize a sample, it’s gone, so you kind of just have to go with the flow and dance. Some of CSW’s mashes are a bit too off-key for my taste (like nearly the whole “I’ve Got a Feeling” – “Sweet Child O’ Mine” part), but more than enough are winning juxtapositions that I’m happy to overlook the few that don’t work as well (I hated Girl Talk’s use of “Under the Bridge” with Lil’ Wayne, so no one’s immune).

CSW’s most recent LP, Explains It All, shuffles samples from all parts of musical pop culture, but couches the album in nostalgia for those who grew up on early 90’s Nickelodeon. The album title references Clarissa Explains It All, and his song titles mash old shows with the samples contained in the track – like, “Thugrats” or “Are You Afraid of the Black Eyed Peas.” The songs support this to some extent, with samples from “Stay” by Lisa Loeb, “Fly Away” by Lenny Kravitz, “Got You Where I Want You” by the Flys, “In the Garage” by Weezer, “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy and “MMMBop” by Hanson, among others, it seems like a collection geared to twentysomethings. Yet, there’s plenty of Ciara, Big Boi, Three Six Mafia and other 00’s hip-hop and R&B to go around, as well. It’s incredibly enjoyable, and I don’t doubt that his set will be incredible at the Fest.

You can go here to download all of Explains It All for free, and you can catch him at Fun Fun Fun Fest on the Blue Stage on Friday at 1:15pm, and at after-parties around town all weekend. I hope to catch his Beauty Bar show on Sunday night. See you there.

– Carter