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Kill Paris (Feat. Nevve and Monstre) – Junkie (DNMO Remix)

I don’t know how I missed this stunning DNMO remix of one of my favorite songs of 2016 – Kill Paris/Nevve/Monstre’s “Junkie.” The original version captured such a special mood that any remix would have a tough time living up, but damn DNMO comes close on this. The dark, mechanical synth tones that bubble and brew under the track give the pensive vocals a new sense of tension. The drop is truly cathartic, feeling akin to a wall bursting under the pressure of tons of water. Or perhaps like a junkie fulfilling a need for a fix.

It’s such a thin line isn’t it – the human need/want to indulge in something, experience it for all it’s worth…BUT, don’t you dare enjoy it too much and grow addicted to it, cause then it’ll ruin your life. Think about that for a moment. As humans bursting at the seams with emotion, it’s natural for us to want to put all of our energy behind something we’re passionate about. But you’ve constantly got to be aware not to slip over that thinnest of lines, and become a “junkie” for something. You can “over” anything, from work to food to sex to sleep. So maybe the key is to WANT something like a junkie, but control your actions enough to participate in it like a balanced person. Be passionate as all hell in your mind, but ACT as though you’re proceeding with calculated caution. We’re instruments for all things creative if we’re controlled and balanced.

ATO – 94 Dreaming (prod. EDEN)

94 Dreaming simultaneously “picks up the past and recalls it as heaven” while fantasizing about “the bigger picture.” ATO, the young rapper from Leeds, captures the friction of what it means to be in a period in between; what it means to be young; a twenty something. ATO would perhaps reject this description. Not the geographical placement but the classification of adolescence. “Young” is subjective. To someone nearing a century of life, I can’t imagine how young twenty something must sound. “Young people have so much to learn about life” I’ve heard more than a few times. They’re right. There’s an endless well of knowledge to be acquired during our time. But the well isn’t finite and there isn’t a specific timeline

ATO’s got ample content to show his growth so far.


I’ve got to stop being selfish, helping other left me helpless…That’s young me…with questions that you can’t answer…I chose the darkest path
To emancipate my own feelings
Clouding the vision
Distorting the meaning”

Who’s to say his experiences aren’t as meaningful as those of an older generation? Being young doesn’t mean the lessons haven’t started rolling in.

In this time of our lives, the future looks simultaneously open and tied to a past that seems far behind. We’re tiptoeing on a tight rope, doing our best to keep looking up and out. Doing our best to not be devoured the size of our ambitions and those who say we can’t do it all. We’re perhaps in the middle, where hard work has yet to bear fruit and there’s not enough distance between us and old habits to feel we’re free from how we used to be. How we used to be pops us occasionally and we work to change, to make something of ourselves, but reaping the benefit of that work is a far away reward. So, dreaming is where we find ourselves most of the time. Dreaming is both what keeps us grounded and keeps us feeling high, keeps us feeling like we could reach the sky.


I’ll sleep on it
Dream bigger
New frame of mind
The bigger picture
Fingers travel scriptures
‘Till we capsize
I’ma keep running
We sinning
Pushed back to the beginning
The past speaking to me like a family 20 minute visit”


Thoreau – Girls Love Beyoncé (Rework)

Oh man I have definitely been about some covers lately.  I want the old jams playing in my head and I don’t want to let them go but sometimes I want to sprinkle a new sauce on that jam to get a different flavor.  Thoreau does a nice job of spicin’ up Beyonce jams that we all know and love, if you don’t love her I may be questioning whether you love anything at all.

To be great we have to be able to re create the greats in our own way that people can connect with in the now.  It’s not being a copy cat and it doesn’t mean you cannot think of something completely new.  We all have our idols, people we look up too, people that we saw as little kids that inspired us to be what we are right now doing what we love to do (hopefully).  Because I mean, damn, if you aren’t doing what you love then you are already dead…#truestory!

I don’t feel like clubs these days, I want a sexy lounge with some bomb drinks and classy cultured people all around me who know what they want, they want old school vibes that’s why they are at this sexy lounge and not the club, but they still want something that is in the now that they can dance too.  This Thoreau cover is what comes on and makes their Saturday pump up, some good R&B jams with a twist, press play, YOUR WELCOME!

Vic Alexis – In Touch

Bitbird is at it again, dropping this driving, hypnotic banger from Vic Alexis that includes an equally compelling promo video. The high-level production never stops flowing from the Heroic/Bitbird team, which includes such beatsmiths as San Holo, Droeloe, WRLD, Smle and more. This new Vic Alexis track “In Touch” is perfectly representative of their forward-thinking, highly-curated style and sound. There’s a bit of the Kavinsky “Drive” soundtrack vibe on this one, but it clearly stands alone with it’s own chilled-out-yet-edgy-and-dangerous atmosphere.

And isn’t that what makes for the best music? The kind that you can relax to, but also vibe out to when you’re feeling a little more mischievous. I could play this while smoking a J late at right, ready to drift off to sleep. But I could also play this while tearing down the 101 at 3am taking a bottle of whiskey to the head. Just kidding about the whiskey part, but there definitely is something about this song that makes the little devil on my shoulder perk up, like when my dog hears me opening anything that’s wrapped in noisy cellophane.

Leaving aside the dangers of driving while the little devil makes suggestions, maybe this a song for strutting. You can really get a nice, cool gait going on this one…black leather jacket zipped up to your chin, collar popped, boots unlaced, truly not giving anything resembling a f*ck while you saunter down the way. Music that makes you feel cooler is really what music is all about. Nobody wants to listen to a song that makes them feel like an annoying loser…that’s definitely a record that won’t sell. But make a song that allows someone to feel like a total badass while they walk the simple stroll home from Rite Aid…that’s music, and that’s art.

EMPT Premier: Lil Uzi Vert – You Was Right (Lauren Sanderson Cover) [Launch Kontrol Remix]

Really excited to be the first to premier this one.  A fantastic twist on the original, cover/remix with beautiful vocals by Lauren Sanderson.  When I first started to listen I was immediately taken by the vocals but then the unexpected twist happens about 38 seconds thru and you take yourself from a euphoric day at the beach straight to the club, exactly the way I would want my weekend to go.  This track gives you all of those nice energies that you need and want, the slow and the fast, kind of like sex right!?  Sometimes you want it slow and sweet and then you want to change positions in the blink of an eye and speed things up a bit then slow down again to have the ultimate climax! Have I got your thoughts going in a certain direction?  GOOD, I hope so because this is exactly what this track is suppose to do for you, oil up your engine because it’s already Friday, unbelievable!

I like the unexpected, that is kind of the way my life has been the last couple of years, all good unexpected things have been happening.  I think that’s the way life is when you just let the cards fall where they want to.  When you get a good hand you hold onto it and move on to the next game.  I am really digging the vibe to this track right now, it’s a good start to the weekend and a reminder that you gotta keep changing up your rhythm in order to experience the world the way it was meant to be experienced.

Press play and enjoy!

Kwon – Reflection Pool

I’ve been staring into this reflection a lot lately and I recognize it but it’s a lot different than how I remember it and I think back to when my hair was long and my nose wasn’t crooked and my teeth were straight and my beard had a bald spot in the middle and my eyes shined brighter. My nose is a little crooked and I have a quirky gap in my teeth and my hair is buzzed down to the scalp and my beard is filled in and my eyes are a little dim but I try my best to let the light shine through them. I’ve never dealt well with change and I’ve always been gifted at seeing the bad long before the good but right now I see the good even if its obscured.

I’ve been afforded the opportunity to be molded by experiences and natural growth that have reflected upon me physically like the glimmer of a pool as the moon looks down upon it at night. People tell me I look older than my age and I believe it because I don’t feel like a college-aged man anymore and I can see that in every crook and cranny on my face as youth has given way to life. I don’t feel carefree anymore but I also don’t feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and I’m grateful and I try to let people know that every time I smile and offer a glimpse of that gap and for a moment my eyes shine brighter. A woman told me the haze had lifted from my eyes one day and it was temporary but it gave me hope and I know I’ll never have that long hair or straight nose or perfect teeth again but my beard will flourish and my eyes will glow and I’ll feel at home once more.


Eva Shaw – Rise N Shine (Justice Skolnik Remix)

Rise and shine people!! It’s a beautiful Thursday morning and I’m feeling rather refreshed! I’m usually a night owl that struggles to get out of the damn bed every single day, but I woke up bright and early and you know what…it was fucking fantastic! I had two *giant* cups of coffee, did some reading, meditated, and got some quality work done, all before the time I would usually even wake up. A few hours later, I’m already deep into my tasks for the day and I feel *so* productive that I’m pretty sure I could take on anything right now!

I feel so much of those positive vibes in this brand spanking new remix of Eva Shaw’s “Rise N Shine” by Justice Skolnik. It’s one of those songs that’s perfect to slap on in the morning and dance around my place to while I get ready on early days like today! And I’ve gotta say, I love a specific little lyric in here: “don’t let anyone take your light away, rise and shine.” I can relate to that so damn hard…after a few really tough days internally, I had to say fuck how I felt the past 72 hours and instead get stoked on the 24 hours ahead of me. I’m so glad I went with rising and shining today, cause I feel so much better for it… It goes to show that an early morning here and there can be a key to satisfaction even for the most nocturnal night owl!

Axel Mansoor – Wasted My Love

My taste in music has few grounded roots in the music I cover most often these days. In fact, I spent the entirety of my teenage years almost exclusively invested in a range of heavy genres – hardcore, metalcore, and deathcore just to name a few. Why mention this? On Axel Mansoor’s “Wasted My Love,” there’s a specific moment in the song, a bridge around 2:20 in particular, that instantly transports me back to my days as a post-hardcore fiend. The bands I found most palatable in that genre placed an emphasis on a balance between heaviness and melody; thus, bridges loaded with melodic flair that would lead into a mosh-ready chorus were ever-common.

While surely not a call to get the pit moving, the bridge on “Wasted My Love” feels like an early Tides of Man song circa-Dreamhouse. It’s a gorgeous transition that finds Mansoor at his vocal peak on the song, isolated and crystal clear, to the point that I’m waiting for Tilian Pearson to enter the equation and deliver some complimentary high octaves before diving into a guitar-driven organized chaos.

While I never expected to discover that type of vibe on SoundCloud, it’s a wonderful moment that shows how genres can collide in the most peculiar ways.

Emma Dewing | Buttons

Now that’s how you break out onto the scene in 2017. Newcomer Emma Dewing’s “Buttons” passes the “dope test” with the ease and grace of a ballerina (cause she is one). She sounds dangerously confident, her vocals accented by subtle flairs reminiscent of Shakira. Ely Rises’s production is anchored by punchy percussion that either sounds like or is a dusty old drum break from the classic hiphop days. The arrangement as a whole screams pop smash, with a quick tension-filled verse exploding into the uber-catchy chorus, and then doing it all again over slightly more fleshed out production. It feels like a guilty pleasure song AND an actual favorite song at the same time and that’s really tough to pull off.

Her style and image is striking and combined with the clever song, we’ve got something seriously compelling here. Making a great song isn’t enough in 2017 – things move so fast that even truly fantastic art is almost rendered “disposable” by people’s constant thirst for “what’s next.” You’ve got to really penetrate and create a cultural impression, and Emma seems to clearly understand that. There’s obviously no shortage of talented female vocalists releasing music every week, but this is something that truly stands out and makes me want to know more, see more and hear more as soon as possible.

WRLD x smle – Stranded (ft. Kiddo Al)

Stranded is a feeling that I’ve experienced in waves lately. Surrounded by new friends in a new city, I’m objectively doing well. On the other hand, I sometimes feel alone in rooms full of people; the familiar faces are gone, the reliable comforts have disappeared, and I realize the only person I have in that lonely moment is myself. I’m not someone who I want to be alone with, as my thoughts constantly race, almost always ending up in a self-depreciating region that serves me no positive purpose.

But I won’t let being stranded be the end of my story. I’ve thrown out my proverbial message in a bottle, and on virtually every occasion, a rescue party has come for me. They’ve thrown out their lifebuoys and pulled me on deck with them, showering me with food and water and bringing me back to life. The past few days in particular, I was convinced I was long gone, yet new friends who haven’t known me for years came to my rescue like clockwork. It’s been a humbling, perspective-endowing experience that’s made me realize the piercing loneliness I had felt was only internal.

There are people who care about me enough to rescue me from the shipwreck of self that I often create, and for that, I’m beyond grateful.