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Grace Mitchell – Now

Grace Mitchell straddles boundaries of sonics and style across time and space without invoking the vapidness that inevitably comes from rehashing a foregone era’s artistic approach; she has the aesthetic of a Woodstock-era rock star alongside a grungy musical ethos, yet I don’t sense pastiche in her that I feel in so many others. That’s likely owed to her ability to filter various modes through the lens of off-kilter pop music that always manages to find itself at an infectious conclusion, one that I can’t imagine another artist in 2017 reaching with such precision.

“Now” is an illustration of her natural versatility as she transitions from quirky pop-rock to an arena-rock cadence before suddenly shifting gears into utterly anthemic pop vocals that send chills down my spine with every listen. Combined with a music video that alternates between Brady Bunch vibes and modern pop sensualité, I’m fascinated by the timelessness she conveys. I’m not usually one to make brash declarations, but her delving into the past just might be a vision for the future.


SIRMA – Free Fall

I have vague memories of listening to Imogen Heap’s “Hide And Seek” by my lonesome late at night during my teenage years, generally overwhelmed with amazement at the piercing chill of her vocoder-laced vocals as woman merged with machine. On the flip-side, I vividly remember the ice-cold nature of LIGHTS’ “February Air” as my breath condensed with every frigid exhale. Both songs and the experiences associated with them were defining moments for my fascination with pop music’s marriage to modern electronics.

SIRMA’s “Free Fall” seems to be the result of foremothers like Imogen Heap and LIGHTS as she injects utterly ethereal vocals into instrumentals that flourish with synthetic life, from the layers of twinkling keys to the programmed, arena-ready percussion featuring fluttering hi-hats aplenty. In an attempt to define this track, even atmospheric would be an understatement as she devises a soundscape that mixes nuanced composition with instantly infectious melodies to borderline perfection.

I’ve listened to “Free Fall” throughout recent LA nights, and while the track is new to the grand scheme of my life, I feel the importance of “Hide And Seek” and “February Air” in its very fibers. I’m ecstatic to see its meaningful potential fulfilled.


Kid Astray – Fall To My Knees

Oh man, first I want to apologize for the lack of posts this past week.  Passover, Easter weekend, Coachella, (No, I didn’t get to go to Coachella!), and on top of all of that I am packing up my house all by myself with a 16 month old needing my attention, plus work.  No excuses tho, nothing should get in the way of giving you all the quantity and quality you deserve, I will make it up to you 😉

I got a nice relaxing weekend in Cali with some fam this past weekend and it fueled me up to kick it into high gear with all of the shit I have to do in the next two weeks.  As relaxing as it was it went by too fast and I was having the weirdest dreams about the past, this life I lived where I was walking on egg shells, too caught up in love, not worrying enough about myself, blah blah blah, you have heard it all from me before so I will spare the details.  I guess those dreams are a reminder of where I am at now.  I am able to completely be myself without being shit on for who I am.  I don’t have to answer to anyone (except my daughter, she is BOSSY!).  Everything is 100% in my control and it feels damn good.

I’ve been going to far pretending and it’s ending.”

That lyric rings true for what the rock bottom of the past looked liked, I was trying to be something for someone that I just wasn’t, but thankfully I found my true self again and remembered what pure joy and happiness was and is.  I like the vibe this track gives off and how it brought me back to the dreams I have been having to do a bit of dissecting.  Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend and an amazing time at Coachella if you were lucky enough to go, press play!


QUIX – Riot Call (feat. Nevve) [RTT Premiere]

All I am really in the mood for these days is jams that are getting me ready for the Summer, can you believe it’s almost fucking here?!  EMPT gets to premiere this sexy number thanks to a gal who sends me many wonderful jams such as this by QUIX a New Zealand based producer and Nevve, I am going to have my Summer playlist locked down before Memorial Day weekend!

We have definitely been seeing a lot of “Riot Calls” so to speak in the recent weeks leading up to today, lovely Hype Machine has been booting numerous well received blogs from their site with no explanation and no warning, random folks are being ambushed on commercial airlines, our president is like a 15 year making some childish worldly decisions that will cause us all to flee to some livable planet in space.  I mean honestly I wake up hearing about all this stuff feeling like I am part of some satire movie, it just cannot be real.  It’s music that keeps me at peace with the world, music and my daughter.  My “riot calls” are tracks like this that hopefully get everyone pumped on a positive level of readiness for rooftop parties, new love connections, you name it, as long as it makes you feel good then that is something to riot about!

I need to get packing for my quick trip to Cali this weekend so imma put this baby on repeat to get me pumped and ready for sunshine. xx


NJOMZA – Hear Me

Pink and purple are my favorite colors. When I’m stressed out to the point of crippling anxiety, I imagine myself inhaling those colors until they wash over every inch of my body from the point of stress and outward. I’m not sure where my fascination with those two shades began, but I consciously attempt to surround myself with them; the Super Fly poster in my kitchen, the Anjunabeats banner in my living room, the Banks press kit tacked over my bulletin board, all of them resonate with variations of those shades. Even in the film and gaming content I consume, I constantly find myself magnetized to pink and purple aesthetics.

It’s thus no surprise that my eyes were immediately drawn to NJOMZA’s sad for you artwork. Her eyeshadow, her hair, her lipstick, the single-toned background, my idea of visual perfection all wrapped into a meticulously-crafted photograph. In turn, the colors that are visually present seem to wash through album single “Hear Me” like they do through my anxiety-ridden body, each and every note of the track dripping with purple and pink synth-pop goodness.

I’ve yet to hear sad for you in its entirety, but with the experience “Hear Me” has allowed, it goes without saying that I absolutely cannot wait.


Hight – Runway

Oh gosh, we should be taking off, but every time we stop we restart the wrong way.”

At this point in my life I realize how many fish there are in the sea. In my personal opinion there isn’t one person for everyone, there are hundreds, do you know how many people there are in the world that would click with you, A LOT! I used to not think this and shit I could be wrong because I haven’t dated in over two years but the person I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life, I fought tooth and nail for, I didn’t end up with this person, in fact we barely know each other anymore. If we ever met again I assume it would be like meeting a stranger, and would we click like we did the day we met?

Like I said, there are many out there for one person, that’s why now I am watching all my friends, some in failed relationships, some in good ones, some fighting to hang on to something that just isn’t there but I totally understand not wanting to give up, sometimes you just have too.  This track is just the pick me up with optimistic lyrics on the subject at hand helping the doubt to feel ok.  Live a little and get back out there, press play and I am sure this one will get your engine going again if your feeling a bit under the weather.  Speaking of weather, Seattle enough with the rain, California I’ll see your cute sunny ass next weekend!


DivineRule – (CLUE) WHO KILLED 2PAC and BIGGIE SMALLS?

You have the most to lose when you are ahead of the game.  The higher you are in this world the more people want to hate, the haters are always out for blood. Believe me I know this, I have always been a go getter, a really hard worker, I don’t believe in failure and if you tell me I can’t do something I work even harder because boy to I love to prove people wrong and I usually do.  People don’t like confidence because the majority of this world doesn’t have it, so much insecurities in this world, people could actually learn a thing or two from the confident few but they would rather hate, sad but true.  I think it’s just easier for people to focus on the negative, I wish I understood why, I can sometimes rationalize it in my head but I just don’t live in that type of head space.  I know what it’s like to feel like there is just this dark cloud hovering over your head at all times but that’s no way to live, it’s a shit way to live people.

I think the lives of Tupac and Biggie tell a true story of what happens when people live in a hateful head space, when jealousy and rage take over and you can’t appreciate someone else’s hustle.  To much competition since the beginning of time, how do we get rid of that, we probably never will but for a few of us and hopefully more and more as time goes on the word competition can leave our vocabulary. Who knows, all I know is I don’t focus on what everyone else is doing, I focus on my grind and what I need to do to keep pushing forward and eliminate haters, your haters are actually your biggest fans so learn to love them hard working badasses of the world, learn to love em’!

Thanks DivineRule for this jam and a reminder not to be afraid of the hustle, but watch your back if you got somethin’ special!


Maverick – I Know

Maverick describes his newest as an “abstract take on contemporary soul.” While I wouldn’t consider it outright abstract, it’s indeed a disorienting angle to take as he situates the vocals within a filtered haze that feels significantly distant from the track’s core. “I Know” still manages to be an accessible piece of work due to its driving electronics, though, a notion that seems to be integrating itself into the fabric of popular music right now.

PC Music’s infiltration of the pop sphere immediately comes to mind. The collective has taken a sound that was inaccessible to mainstream audiences in 2013 and is now mentioned in the same breath as Rihanna and Charli XCX. I’ve always considered this transition to be fascinating, but a friend of mine remarked that pop fans aren’t suddenly into tastemaker music. Rather, the tastemaker sound of past Pitchfork adoration is simply better aligned with the mood-heavy, electronic sounds that swathes of people now crave.

I, for one, am thrilled at the prospect of more listeners craving the music that’s been bubbling in tastemaker circles for years; not only for selfish reasons to hear more exciting music while out and about, but for the exposure of artists like Maverick who are toying with preconceived notions of how to present a style within the framework of a track that anyone could throw into their Spotify playlist and enjoy. Exciting times are upon us.

 


LYSA – Beats And Battle Drums

Some vocalists have a talent that feels straight up generational and while I’m definitely jumping the gun I’ve gotta say I hear that with LYSA!! There’s so many artists coming out of Sweden right now but she’s one of the first to make me literally stop what I was doing the first time I heard her music…that voice is just so weighty and powerful and doesn’t feel like it’s simply using the beat as a background… She feels at one with the instrumental, like she’s always perfectly in sync with each little drum kick and synth sound.

This song also just makes me think about how fucking much I *love* pop music. I used to be such a snob but I realized that there was a reason why people like pop so much…it makes you feel instead of sit and overthink and that’s something I’ve had trouble with throughout my life! If a pop song can also make me think enough to write an essay on it then that’s great but I try to approach pop by really paying attention to how it makes me feel…each little flutter I get in my stomach, each smile that cracks on my face, every head nod along with the song, all of that makes up the most important part of pop. It’s a test of how much I enjoy a pop song that “Beats And Battle Drums” passed with flying colors, so stop listening to me ramble and listen to LYSA!!


MOONZz x Restless Modern – Navigator

I feel like a broken record with so many references to BLU J as of late, but the duo’s flip of “Goodbye” instantly put me on the syrupy sweet vocals of MOONZz when it dropped last year – thus, it was thrilling to receive a new track from the lady of Luna. Titled “Navigator,” her fresh single is a jubilant outing co-produced by Restless Modern that embraces the trope of romantic joyrides and a more traditional pop approach. While undoubtedly modern in its percussive flair, the track carries a welcoming aura of nostalgia that invokes memories of long-gone road trips and romance.

With that being said, here’s so much value in a track that can tap into deeply seeded sentiments without having direct ties to the past. Most music that I hold in high regard has years of experiences and emotions attached, but most of it made me think forward rather than backward on first listen. Maybe those retrospective instigators were also structured around archetypes of old that were destined to strike a chord with me, but whatever the case may be, there was no denying how rewarding it felt to engage with the past.

Whether those surfaced visions were vivid or abstract, they felt less like foreign ground and more like home, and that notion persists through “Navigator.”