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Rest in Beats — Stadigvæk

I got put on to this super swaggy duo through our submissions and I can’t stop listening even though I don’t understand a word of it.

Briefly, they remind me of a Danish version of Phantogram. You’ll get that right away from the dope production and sounds within that production, but also from the female vocals, which on this, to me, are a lot cooler.

Stadigvæk means “Still” in Danish, and Rest in Beats does a great job, visually, of letting us know that the song is about someone who is no longer around. But what I like most, is how the cadence and delivery of her rap style seamlessly contemplate the broodier production as all three (lyric, beat, visual) progress into a haunted cry for an absent lover. It’s that subtle progression that works in the most minimalist manner and keeps this tune sounding super simple yet extremely captivating. 

I’m gonna check out more of their stuff today and vibe out with Rest in Beats, since nowadays it’s becoming harder and harder to find quality sounds to rock to that just sound good because that’s what the agenda was. (as opposed to the endless feeble attempts of going into the studio to “make a hit song”.)

Good music will always surface to the top from the bottom of the deepest barrels.

The Frightnrs – Admiration

I spent most of last December in the Dominican Republic, rocking with my family harder than I do with most of my friends. Before that my trips we’re to Jamaica and Hawaii, to say that I have a love for island life is a gross understatement and nothing gets me the jonesing for the Caribbean like it’s music. That and how visually beautiful it is – the way the sun wears out paint on hand made signs, the charm of imperfection, the lack of regulation, the humidity, the air so thoroughly infiltrated by the sea, ahhh. If you haven’t experienced reggae or Dancehall in Jamaica, Dembow at 5am in a club in Santo Domingo, Salsa in Puerto Rico then your priorities are all screwed up folk. The Frightnrs new EP is dope from top to bottom but when Admiration came on I was literally transported to Montego Bay, eating jerk at The Pork Pit like it’s my job.

Admiration is basically Billy Jean part 2, if you don’t know what Billy Jean is about your priorities are even more screwed up then I thought. It’s an interesting title for a song about being blamed but as they say you’re haters are lovers in disguise. Dude is basically about to get lynched because of homegirls wild accusations but it’s pretty hard to get worked up about it because behind the lyrics is a groove so damn on fleek it’s impossible not to want to get up and move. I like that man, I like it when music can take something terrible and make it art, it’s that transformation thing I was talking about in the Joni post. It’s a good survival skill to have in life, to be able to take a negative and turn it into a groove, remind to work on that more. Anyways, I’ve listened to this song about 20 times this morning and I need to stop writing so I can get up and dance to it, enjoy.

Andy Kong — City Lights

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I grew up in Brooklyn where the skyline of the city was my Disney World and getting there was the only fantasy that I obsessed over day in and day out. It wasn’t until college that I moved into Manhattan, and it was then that life would change to something I could never have imagined. I guess this tune from Andy Kong titled, “City Lights” triggered those feelings of awe in me of when I first got into the island because earlier today as I walked passed F.I.T. over on 26th street, all I could see and hear were freshman wandering aimlessly with the allure of the city in their eyes. It’s the same allure that I still get here in NYC every single day, and it was that allure that has made my life here so magical. hurts to say that the city has changed us.”

It’s crazy because so many of my friends have gotten up and left NYC for the west coast. I’m talking about hec, and nick, swiv, doug, Mike Rooney, goodwill and countless others that are out there now “living the dream“, but I know inside somewhere they miss this crazy place.

Sure, we’ve probably all had some of our darkest moments here, but even in those deepest darknesses the city lights managed to shine brightly, and it was within that brightness in the middle of the nights that our hopes and dreams went to stay alive. That’s what I love so much about this town, that no matter how many times you fall down and how bad things can get, the dreams that you came here to chase (whatever they may be for you) are somehow still always right there, somewhere within that endless sea of all those lights in form of constant inspiration, and no matter what you say, it can’t be found anywhere else that you may run off to. Nah.

City Lights reminds me why after all this time I am still in New York City and still as obsessed with her as ever. It reminds me of my obsession with its skyline and how the nights can take you to places you didn’t even think possible, and how those places can show you things more beautiful than anything you have ever been told.

Maybe California or London or Paris or Dubai have something similar in store for me, but in the end, my home is here, and I love it.

He was too romantic about Manhattan, as he was about everything else. He thrived on the hustle bustle of the crowds and the traffic.” —Woody Allen

Kali Uchis – Loner

These days every time I sit down thinking I want to write about something that’s bothering me I fail. It’s not that wack things aren’t happening to me, it’s just that I’m learning to play through fouls and I’m finding grace in anything and everything.

About fouls, they’re such an important concept because we experience a million degrees of violations on a daily basis, especially if you’re half awake and aware of your surroundings. I mean most people are so deep in their own worlds that they’ll foul you and not even know it. The point is, annoying shit will hit you left and right and you will have two choices, either take the blow and elevate or you let it derail you. Imagine Jordan freaking out every time someone fouled him? He wouldn’t be Jordan.

In terms of grace, my whole life has turned into one big Cafe Gratitude menu and i’m appreciating every little thing, finding beauty and magic in it all. Ain’t that some LA shit? The turning point has been realizing that for those with wondrous eyes and boundless imaginations the world is an ever changing masterpiece. Stop looking at your corny ass Instagram feed every once in a while and notice the clouds, look at how the sun reflects on trees, how the wind dances with it all – the highest level of creation is constantly happening right before the eyes of those looking.

I’m not looking at you dudes, I’m looking past you… – Jay-Z

That’s how I feel when someone is mad at whatever ridiculous Matrix related problem they have. You’re looking at me, living out the script, angry because that’s what you’re supposed to be and I’m looking into the horizon, watching God or whatever you want to call it paint a masterpiece for me at that very second.

Unfadeable so please don’t try to fade this. – Snoop Dogg

Which brings me to todays soundtrack – Loner. I’ve always been somewhat of an introverted extrovert; I grew up on stage, I was surround by millions of people in New York City, always been on the scene, shared my most intimate thoughts with the world online but never quite stopped identifying myself as a loner until recently. When I saw Kali Uchis perform this song at the Fader party last week it hit home in a way not much has lately. I can still spend days by myself and have a great time but I no longer feel like a loner, not when I look around me and see a living and breathing world but that’s another story.

I didn’t know what to expect when I saw Kali, most acts don’t quite translate live but she was not most. The best artist bring you deep into their world, your own becomes irrelevant and you dive deep into theirs eventually finding reflection by listening to their story. Her performance was raw, the songs we’re full of so much life translated into beautiful songs that you had no choice but to rock simply because it was real. When someone does that you can’t help but get the feel like your falling in love and it’s wonderful. To all those insecure people in the world who would hate on your significant other for feeling like that, you’re the type that would get jealous at a flower for looking for pretty, I hate each and every one of you equally.

Anyways, I don’t care what all these old ass people say about music these days, there’s real shit happening now like there’s always been, but if you’re not out in the streets seeing it you wouldn’t know, enjoy.

CJ Warren — Motor City Livin’ (Feat. L.A.Z)

If How To Make It In America ever does make a comeback (check the rumor mill), then for some reason this is some new retro Hip Hop shit that I could definitely hear on there. Either way, it’s a cool song with a great old school Hip Hop vibe to it that not only bangs, but also has a great soulful bounce to it.

Hip Hop these days seems sort of soulless to me, so it’s always good to hear some shit that you don’t need to put any thought into or that’ll make you reflect too hard on bullshit that no longer matters.

Anyway, hit play, don’t expect Drake and let the sounds take you somewhere that you may have never yet been, because that’s what Hip Hop used to do for me, in its prime. Oh, and if you’ve never been to Detroit, then close your eyes and picture what CJ Warren & L.A.Z could have been doing before and after they hit the studio to drop these verses, because half the fun of it all is to imagine what someone else’s world could possibly be like.

the shit is wavy baby,
New Jack City in the late 80’s.

Over, Out & Goodnight EMPT Nation.

Stonefox — All I Want

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I thought we were over when I walked out of our apartment and never went back. I knew we were over when a year and a half later there was no word from her. Birthdays and anniversaries passed and not one email or a subliminal message from her on her blog. I moved on with another girl who was just as beautiful, but less erratic, and maybe it had been that same unpredictability that I couldn’t stand that actually made me love her so. I didn’t know at the moment. I was still figuring it all out.

Another year went by and the memories of us faded another notch while the new ones I was building with my current love were forming. My world was once again normal and somehow it was much more vibrant and bright than it had been with her, and then the message I had subconsciously been longing for  appeared on my mobile, and I was left flabbergasted for a few moments.

I’m on the last train home
And you call my phone
To say I love you is too strong
But you are all I want.”

I sat there and thought to myself if I was the only one that ever felt this way. You know, waiting for someone you have longed for deep within your bones to reach out to you, as if you were in some kind of love story being written by the greats where at the end the two lovers are reunited after long roads traversed. And then a little bit of guilt took over my insides and I began to feel bad for the current girl I was with who made everything so much sunnier, and I though to myself that I must be a horrible human being because all I could do is fantasize about this ex and I running into one another’s arms, locking tight and making love for days after.

If you’ll see me after
Is the risk I’m taking
A second class lover
In the making.”

There’s nothing scarier to me than living with regret. There’s nothing more haunting than wondering what would have happened if I did just go with my heart and my gut, or with the childish pouts of objects we sometimes put much too high on pedestals. So I went, and in the process I left another broken heart behind, but all along I knew that this beautiful heart I was crushing was way too perfect for me, and that somewhere out there its second half was searching for it the way mine had been searching for me. And with those thoughts I closed my eyes and woke up to my dreams, and my dreams continued exactly where they left off, and life was once again wonderful.

Sometimes when the sun sets I feel alone
Sometimes I feel at home.”

BECOME X NoMBe – Miss Mirage

Original Posted OnJuly 20, 2015

Miss Mirage…if I had a nickel for every one of those.

Lovers who fade in and out of our lives like translucent visions in incalculable distance. Funny how we assign meaning, value, and STORY to love before it actually exists. We construct it like a pyramid in our minds prior to any tangible evidence — it is the fairytale trophy we all crave.

How many times have you met someone, or dated someone, or f*cked someone and given the relationship the fantasy of a real future, only to realize it was as far from love as earth from the sun. A million miles. Incalculable distance. Another hallucination, as real as a lover’s lips but evaporating when you lean in for the kiss.

And yet the inherent darkness, the loneliness, the solitude of love’s mirage also demonstrates the beauty of the spectrum of human emotion. The heartache of love’s lack assigns us the duty of finding love. Which after all is the quest of the human condition is it not?

Why do we exist? Why do we strive on this planet? Not for money, not for glory ultimately…but for love. To fail a million times as mirages confuse and twist us, but to finally find love — to finally arrive.

Nombe’s song encapsulates this profundity. The shambling broken soul of the first guitar twang is as familiar to us as realizing the man or woman we’ve been dating is NOT the one.

So we grudgingly return to the task at hand, embrace our old friend Miss Mirage, knowing that days or years down the road love’s truth will sit in our hearts, and she’ll be gone to plague someone else.

I will never dream of your love till you take me there.” – Kiesza

Square One — Overdose

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Know those moments when you just want to leave your apartment or office and run so far away that you can’t recognize the streets or people anymore? Those moments fresh after a painful breakup, right after the point that you just stopped crying every other second of every single day, but still at the cusp of mourning where you’re still waking up with potent pains in the pit of your stomach that remind you that the love it was once filled with is no longer there. You know these moments, don’t you? The ones we like to use to reflect on relationships that just ended and cry a little bit about in the solace of our own religion; the very moments we use to play out the best parts of those relationships and miss them as if we will never experience anything that beautiful again in this life. Deep down inside we know that isn’t true, but what good is a breakup without the tears and sorrow? It just doesn’t have the same effect.

You’re indecisive, and cold
but I need you to know,
I can’t let you go,
I let you go.

“Overdose” by Long Island trifecta Square One makes me wish, today, that I had something to cry about because it exudes that melancholic mood that I love to mull over memories in. From deep down the lead singer’s diaphragm, straight up through his vocal chords the song makes me want to get up off this desk, walk out this building, hop on my skateboard and just ride, right now (noon in NYC) until the early morning just before the sun rises again tomorrow. It makes me wish that I had moments that I knew I would never get back with some beautiful girl that I could reflect on while using the city’s bridges, alleys, its streets, and the concrete, steel and glass landscapes as the scrolling background behind me while coasting through the profound tunnels of my own rumination.

Late night, wide eyes, blacked-out mind,
Like an overdose,
Like an overdose.

Press play and get ready to be immediately sucked in by vocals that are sang like a drug addict from his highest points, or, just a brokenhearted man who has been defeated by his own sorrows, dealing with his own seesaw of emotions while adjusting to the thoughts of having to, eventually, let go.

POWERS — Beat Of My Drum (White Panda Remix)

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For anyone that’s as addicted to dancing as I am these days, this next tune is the one for YOU!, and your feet. White Panda has remixed “Beat Of My Drum” from POWERS, and they’ve made sure that it is dance-floor ready with a progressive house production that starts at 7 and quickly gets us to 10.

There’s something about dancing that finds myself doing it more and more, recently. I guess maybe it’s the escape it provides from all the other madness going on in the world out there. Maybe it’s just the clubs that I go to in order to indulge in dancing that have gotten the formula for escaping down packed. The club seems like the only place I can crank up a song like this to obnoxiously loud volumes in order to completely engulf myself in all of its sonic glories. The drum beats, the horns and synths, the way the music can make you bob and weave in and out of rhythms is best experienced this way, and that’s the thing of it—that the music becomes more of an experience than just an occurrence. I dig that shit so much that I go through withdrawals now when I can’t get to experience music on that level.

Anyway, this is a perfect mid-afternoon, mid-week experience to get the juices going, the blood flowing and your dance shoes ready to rock. And if it just so happens that you’re at work, or in class, or somewhere that you can’t get up and dance, well at least put on your headphones and crank it up as loud as your volume will let you go, and enjoy the escape that White Panda has so generously provided.

Joni Payne – Must Have

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form or another.” – Einstein

No, he’s not talking about photosynthesis you mark ass 7th grade level science ass buster. That’s mother f&%king Albert Einstein saying some frou-frou hippie sounding shit that could change your life.

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” – Tesla

That’s Nicola mother f&%king Telsa bro, the dude literally invented your entire world, are you listening? I really don’t know how else to explain this to you. Everything is energy; our thoughts, feelings, sex, love, money – everything is energy. So if energy can be neither created or destroyed then nothing ever really dies and that which is once was, that which will be already is. Why am I talking about these gangster ass geniuses? Because I’m listening to a song that makes me think of the nature of things.

Joni Payne’s Must Have, a Space Age love song that captures the illmatic nature of time when it comes to love. It’s like that friend you don’t see in years but the second you’re together you pick up right where you left off. In the movie Interstellar one of the main concepts was that love and gravity were the only things that could travel across dimensions and time, if you’ve shared that with someone you know just how true that is.

Fate brings you together again and things have changed because that’s what things do, but you quickly realize that what you thought was an “ending” was just a transformation. We’re so infatuated with defining start and end points but that’s just our limited perception. So like the song says, you sit there overwhelmed with a feeling much more powerful than your thoughts, you immediately reconnect, your energies align, space and time dissolve into it’s true nature and that next level Einstein/Tesla swag us mere mortals can’t understand takes over to break it down to you in the simplest way possible…

I think I must have loved you
I think I must still love you.”

Art this raw, open and honest holds a very strong place in my heart man. Joni’s ability to make vulnerability sound so beautiful is the only perspective I want to have. Nothing ever really dies, all possibilities are simultaneously happening and awaiting for our will to write the story. We all have the same canvas on earth – you can stomp through the garden sad and angry or smell the roses about the exact same thing. There is a vital interdependence between seemingly opposites forces that needs to be appreciated, it’s too complex to understand…

I guess I’ll ride with it, can’t fight with it…