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The Knife – You Make Me Like Charity (Cry Wolf Remix)

So I don’t know if this song will make you like charity, but it’s definitely been making me get all hyped about going outside and strutting to this. One of the great things about a band like The Knife is that they turn seemingly bizarre combinations of sounds into something refreshing. While the Swedish duo is influenced by a lot of vintage synth-pop, another duo who also likes wearing masks, North Carolina’s Cry Wolf, remixes this track with an added oomph. 

I’m used to hearing hard-hitting bass like the one in the remix, but it usually comes with the word “moombahton” on the title, and you definitely don’t expect to hear Olof & Karin Dreijer‘s kid-like voices paired to this beat. But somehow, it works. Perhaps it’s the fact that one of the members of duo Cry Wolf is a former hardcore vocalist who decided to explore electronic music. Their remix is able to have some sort of violence to it, while still keeping the original’s eeriness to it. That’s what’s got me hooked to this track, and hopefully you will too cause everyone needs a mid-week pick me up at some point.

The Knife – You Make Me Like Charity (Cry Wolf Remix)



Florence + The Machine – No Light, No Light (Breakage Remix)

Dark, emotional, euphoric, I could keep going with everything that this track makes me feel.  Vocally I am always intrigued by Florence, her energy and timing is something that not only as a vocalist myself but as an actor I stare at with her ability to perform with an emotion that you can feel from the outside, in…incredibly deep work here!

We need to remember what we are fighting for in this life, this track really makes me think of what my goals are and why I need to push every single day to obtain these goals.  We are all sitting in the dark somewhere fighting to touch that light which metaphorically is that goal, that dream, the thing we love most that we can’t wait to taste and touch.  I think to be able to train yourself in the dark and know that the light exists is half the battle, even more then half the battle, it helps you to appreciate the light much more and humble yourself once you reach it.

No light, no light in your bright blue eyes
I never knew daylight could be so violent
A revelation in the light of day

You can’t choose what stays and what fades away
And I’d do anything to make you stay.”

I think there are a lot of different meanings that you can take away from this, we can’t automatically jump on love stories but there is always a revelation in all the things that we deem important to us which could be anything, so I say make these lyrics motivation to push for all the important things that you are fighting for, I believe thats what this is all about.

The Breakage remix doesn’t take anything away from the original track, but only adds to it’s deep meaning.  Giving it that extra bass and synth to add a super hero affect to Florence’s already stellar energy, this remix kind of makes me feel like I am in one of the Batman movie’s, particularly this last one.

Check out the the video of the original and you’ll understand this dark and amazing performance that I am talking about, that you feel just by hearing the vocals.

This track has my energy on a whole other level right now, so press play and hopefully you’ll feel that push as well, enjoy!

Florence + The Machine – No Light, No Light (Breakage Remix)

Agnes Obel – Katie Cruel (Feltman & Badutski Remix)

Lately, I’ve been really fascinated by colors triggered by emotions in one’s brain. That is to say, if you were to get beneath a cat scan or MRI while having specific types of emotions and look at the colors that are activated in your mind, what would you find? Entire pools of red and yellow when angry? Primarily cool blue tones when you’re relaxed? And are those colors ever known to us, even if we can’t see them for ourselves? Like, do we have some strange intuitive sense as to what is going on in our heads? Specifically, in relation to music — something so complex and not just one emotion, I like to think about what parts of the brain light up. I’m imagining a light show.

The amount of gifted music that has crossed my path in the past ten years, especially this past year after beginning to write for EMPT, has been astounding to say the least. Whether it’s been new discoveries, where you give something a first-time listen and feel instantly attached and connected, or old re-discoveries. Songs that meant so much to you in a period of time that was either really red-brained, or perhaps more chilled out and blue-brained. Of course I don’t know the actual reality of what color your brain turns. I’m not involved in neuroscience whatsoever, though I’d love to be. This song is one of those re-discoveries for me.

It’s hard to imagine that you forget certain songs after a what seemed like a really significant period of time. The first time I heard this song (and let me just say, the original/most well-known by Karen Dalton must be listened to in its own time as well as it is just as eery and hauntingly beautiful), was right after I started to get involved in a pretty serious relationship. Anytime I enter something more serious, I try to keep an open-mind. A lot of self-reflection takes place, almost like editing a paper while writing it. It’s not entirely effective, but sometimes it just needs to be done. Maybe this is why there is no certainty as to where a relationship will go, what path it will take, and when jealousy will start to kick in. But in the beginning, it was constant euphoria, as it always tends to be.

Coming across the piano and hum of Agnes Obel’s comforting, but almost motherly, female voice seemed to dig a hole deep inside my heart almost instantaneously. In this situation, it was a combination of a number of things that led me to such an emotional place. The lyrics tell a story of someone who was, and then who they became. That was what stuck to me most, as you’ll see in the first verses.

When I first came to town,
They called me roving jewel;
Now they’ve changed their tune,
Call me Katie Cruel,

Through the woods I’m goin’,
Through the bogs and mire,
Straightway down the road,
To my heart’s desire

I guess it got me thinking about how life throws a lot of people at you who you get to watch go from one kind of persona to another. That notion in general chokes me up, because we see it every single day. A celebrity who possessed such great talent, then suddenly, an enormous failure. A friend who remained loyal no matter what, then one day, betrayal of your own trust.

The same can be said for relationships. What they start as, is not necessarily real. I believe it was CP who said a few posts ago, the beginnings of relationships are seemingly perfect. But just because they seem perfect, doesn’t mean you see the entire truth. (Something along those lines, hope I haven’t completely butchered your ideas on love, CP!  That is why I took to this song immediately and so strongly: because it was a reality check and a reminder that what was, would eventually become something else. And it may be something great, but it would most likely be painful. After all, we are dealing with humans here, the most complex of creatures only because we can self-reflect and possess emotions that we can talk about.

So what was the point of the colors in the brain, besides my own geeky fascination? I recently came across footage of a female’s brain during an orgasm, highlighted specifically in colors of red and yellow which appropriately showed the gradual process. I was immediately fascinated by the notion of colors equating to emotions in the brain.

Enjoy this remix by Feltman & Badutski. It doesn’t significantly alter the original, but it does enhance the quality of the already existing sound and emphasize the lyric. The beginning feels like a character introduction into a movie, walking down a long hallway into a room where the main shot will take place.

Try to be conscious of your brain’s colors as you listen. Just for fun.

Agnes Obel – Katie Cruel (Feltman & Badutski Remix)


Sneaky Sound System – Friends (Plastic Plates Remix)

A steady flow of remixes has been spilling out of Plastic Plates‘ bag of tricks, and he has yet to disappoint. His style always takes it to the next level, finding acclaim with his remixes of Adele, Body Language and Katy Perry. This time Plastic Plates (aka Felix Bloxsom) adds his signature groove-matics to Australian electropop outfit Sneaky Sound System.

Each layer of beat and effect lays the framework for this monstrosity of sound. First, a little shake, followed by a kick that makes your heart find a new beat to pulse to. The symphony rounds out and Connie Mitchell‘s vocals slide into the mix.

Friends, why can’t we be friends?
And all the rules they don’t mean a thing
See the daylight brings a brand new star
It feels like nothing makes much sense when you’re the one.

Plastic Plates maintains a powerful consistency with his remixes. I have yet to find one that doesn’t take over my body, head to toe. And that’s just the direction the music moves you. You need at least one track every day that can simultaneously get you hype and chill you out. Try this on for Tuesday.

Sneaky Sound System – Friends (Plastic Plates Remix)

La Zebra Feat. C Plus – Sunshine On My Mind

Children of the 90s, we grew up on Hip hop. Whether it was Wu-Tang, DipSet, Mobb Deep, Jadakiss, Wu-Tang, or even A Tribe Called Quest, listening to rap as a suburban white Jew made me feel, well, a bit harder. Rolling with the windows down and listening to ruckus beats laced with profanity and having Diesel in the holster was the lynchpin of my high school experience.

And with the recent reincarnation of Snoop Dogg (to Snoop Lion), rap definitely just isn’t the same these days. I love the now mainstream sound of guys like Kid Cudi and Wiz Khalifa, but it’s definitely a big departure from the Reasonable Doubt era.  So I don’t really listen to much rap anymore, I guess partially cause most of “What’s Hot” on DatPiff feels soulless, most of what’s popular in “rap” feels more like pop/R&B, and cause my tastes and outlook on life are just much different.

But there’s still always a time and place for rap, and C Plus, a (I think) Long Beach based rapper that’s pretty raw flow, isn’t afraid to go in. C Plus is definitely repping the carefree, “I’m gona do me and get mine” attitude. And he goes just a little harder than Childish Gambino, over a funked out beat that’s got a nice punch. This songs both got a fun vibe and a rawness about it that will get your head noddin.

Going through the changes but you stayin who you are,
Going hard cause you aint promised tomorrow.

The songs definitely about lighting up and posting up. But as you age (advice: don’t), you realize there’s sadly way more to life than just kicking it with your homies.  To achieve what you want, you need to double down on life, go out there, and make moves. Keep a sunny disposition in the face of BS, and just flat out grind. Luck won’t ever just magically find you–you need to go out there and seize it.

La Zebra feat. C Plus – Sunshine On My Mind (Oh Lord Remix)

La Zebra feat. C Plus – Sunshine On My Mind

Silversun Pickups – Lazy Eye (Jason Bentley Remix)

I’ve often found my strongest relationships and friendships have been based on everything a solid relationship/friendship should be based on, but a shared interest in good quality music is one of the biggest foundations. If a lover, significant other, or friend shows me music they think I will enjoy and I end up loving it, I’m their’s forever. I think it takes a strong understanding of a person to show them new music. You don’t just say “Hey, listen to this” without knowing the person. And showing music to another and they end up not liking it as much as you thought you they would or as much as you do is the worst feeling. Personally, I can’t watch movies with anyone else unless I 100% know they will like the film. I’m the same way with music. I want to show someone music I strongly believe they will enjoy. It shows I get them on a certain level.

A couple – well more like four years ago – I had a relationship with someone who opened me up to a whole new realm of music. Every time we got together we’d exchange mix-CD’s and drive around listening to them. Sometimes when a part was about to come up, they would say, “This part is the reason I put this song on your CD.” Often they were dead on. I remember one time we were driving and my friend put on “Brother” by The Annuals (a band I didn’t know of a the time) claiming the end of the song will sell it for me. Well, when the music crescendoed and exploded into this guitar/singing/belting/screaming sonic mess I fell in love with the band.

Another band I wasn’t familiar with at the time was Silversun Pickups. My friend put this remix on one of my CDs and it became an addiction. I can’t tell you how much I played this song. I came across it the other day and fell into that odd nostalgia music brings us to and got to thinking of how well my friend knew me before I knew me. I love this remix. Jason Bentley has infused the just right amount of “coolness” to make this otherwise cliche alt-indie song work for me. The guitar melody is light enough to move to and the dim wump-wump’s of the bass and wobbling synth production in the background turn the song into one you can sway back and forth to. It’s not a dance-y track by any means. It is simply a song to move to. Over the past week I’ve found myself walking to the beat even oddly getting into the zone at the gym to it. If it comes on at a party, I see people lighten up; their bodies straighten up with the guitar. I think what makes this song so hauntingly good is Brian Aubert’s incredibly androgynous voice. For the longest time I thought the lead on this track was a female, and when I watched the video I got confused because a man was performing the verses. I later realized how powerful Aubert’s voice is. He has the ability to seamlessly go from this high-pitched range to an all out scream. And even when he’s screaming it’s not even screaming; he has pitch and is moving through a melody in a way that’s not annoying and uncomfortable to the ears. It’s light and heavy at the same time. Bentley accents this by remixing the track with this almost atmospheric quality. It’s got me simultaneously lifted and grounded at the same time. It is simply good music making, that’s it!

Did my friend and I ever become great friends? No. Time and distance weren’t on our sides, but that’s okay. People come and they go. What I learned here was how to open up to new music and not stay comfortable in one or two genre’s. I learned to see beyond the top 40. To be quite honest, they’re they reason I’m here today writing for you. I don’t know the majority of you but I have this weird sense that I know you a little bit and that’s why I’m comfortable sharing these tunes with y’all. Enjoy this track. It’s a refresher for the ears.

Lost and loaded
Still the same ‘ol decent lazy eye
Straight through your gaze
That’s why i said i relate
I said we relate
It’s so fun to relate.”

Silversun Pickups – Lazy Eye (Jason Bentley Remix)

Craig Martinson – You Are In Color

Craig Martinson, been going back and forth with this dude for the past couple of days and after reading his story I was very inspired by what a deep human being Craig is, and how much heart and emotion he puts into his music.  I thought it was only fair that I share his story as well because it really shows where he gets his great lyrical range in terms of fantastic metaphorical emotion filled with a chilled out vibe that is absolutely perfect for a beautiful Monday to set the energy for the rest of the week.  I hope you enjoy Craig’s story as much as I do and vibe out to this track, just forget about the week ahead.

In the world of independent music, there are countless stories of unheralded man-children obsessively twisting nobs and perfecting their musical masterpieces for months on end.  Those stories pale in comparison to that of Craig Martinson.
Martinson spent four years, his entire mid-20s, in a house north of Boston.  He rarely left.  He hardly slept. He struggled through  a half-dozen shows and then, demoralized, retreated to his bedroom.  He recorded an entire album, destroyed the files, vowed to quit music and started all over again.  
Where many “artists” would toil away in a drug induced haze, enveloped by the stench of their own vomit, Martinson–true to form–opted to go it alone.  Having never taken a drug or had a drink, he was left only with the true madness of a misunderstood soul, the keen sting of a broken heart and the staggering ability to write a song that cuts to the core of life itself.
The impetus for his four-year hibernation came when Martinson broke up with his girlfriend and spent a summer contemplating life or death while holed up in a friend’s garage in suburban Massachusetts.  He decided he could either die or write songs.  He chose to write songs.  Out of the pits of despair came the music that forms his album, Heartbeat, a life-affirming ascent out of his own personal hell and one of the most stunning achievements made by any kid who locked himself away in a dark room intent on shutting out the world and making something that would outlast it.  But it took a long time to get here…  Like…a really long time…
Now, armed with a guitar army of childhood friends who never left his side even when his path out of the musical wilderness seemed completely doomed, Martinson is ready to unleash Heartbeat on the world.  The influences are clear—the kid has spent his time wisely, drawing from the 60s chamber pop of the Beach Boys, the guile of the Kinks and the energy of the Stones.  
Four years in the making, Martinson’s album is a clarion signal that if you never give up, never lose hope and work until your fingers bleed, dreams can come true in a heartbeat.”

This is pure truth and creative determination, press play and get inspired as I have by this!

Craig Martinson – You Are In Color

Selah Sue – Crazy Vibes

Hmmm. Hear that sample in the beginning. That sets the ever so slightly off-groove, so that by the time we’re knee deep in chorus, things are getting emotional and soulful real quick. Selah Sue may or may not be my new obsession if not only for the tremendous amount of vocal talent occurring here. The cute blonde from Belgium looks nothing like the voice she sports, one that possesses much power, flexibility and control.

It’s funny because this song is all about crazy vibes, but all I can think about is the warm vibe it’s given me from the start. It’s been playing on repeat for the past couple of days now and I think it stays on repeat because of how tune carries you from place to place, and maybe even because of the ever so slight involvement of a voice box. I love that! It works so well against the raw voice that is hers.

It’s actually really fun to watch videos of her, not only singing, but being. She’s a really entertaining person to watch. You guys know what I’m talking about right? Like when you fall into the youtube hole of watching Shakira or Beyonce videos, where you are totally lured in because of their voices and dance moves, but eventually realize that they are just so good to watch? The way their bodies work in sync with their voices, and how fascinating it is to see one on such a screen that is seemingly perfect, at least to you? That’s how it is with Selah Sue. I was kind of fascinated by how she didn’t open her eyes when she sang in this video below. I don’t really know why, I guess it could be a thing to help you focus more but it was so interesting to me. She’s also just obscenely beautiful, and I think we all have a soft spot for beautiful people on camera. Plus, I love Erykah Badu, and clearly, Selah Sue does too.

I think you’ll find her just as charming as I do. Happy listening!

Selah Sue – Crazy Vibes


Theophilus London – Love Is More Red (feat. Sade)

Late night train rides. There’s really no better time for a serenade and a beat drop. Theophilus keeps it on the level in this track off his very free mixtape, Rose Island Vol. 1. A great deal of his other work is brighter and just a touch sweeter on life. Love Is More Red doesn’t hit those sentimental notes and instead straight keeps it real. London spits lyrics about trials and hardships both in love and money.

They say love is like a battlefield,
But if that was real we’d never see the sun, sun
The thought of lookin’ in your eyes, how that must feel
But it never will, trust it got me numb, numb… 
Still waiting for love to come,
Turn it all around.
Still waiting for love to come,
Turn it all around.”

Meanwhile, Sade sneaks in all smooth, operating some Soldier of Love all over this track. She plays this proud counterpart to Theophilus’ heartache. The two voices spill over salient guitar riffs and combative snares, evoking the gladiatorial arena that is love. We’ve all felt the invasive extraction of love. It can cut so deep sometimes alter huge pieces of our being. But we all keep searching, from within and without, soldiering on to the bitter end. Raise a glass and keep fighting.

Theophilus London – Love Is More Red (feat. Sade)

Sade – Soldier of Love

Gold Panda – Quitter’s Raga

The triangle theme is not purposeful, I promise. But the sitar and Indian samples are totally on purpose, because this track is so full of life. I saw Gold Panda at Bowery Ballroom last night and I have to admit, I was totally blown away. I’ve only ever heard a few songs by the knob-turning electronic extraordinaire that is Derwin Lau, so I had no idea what to expect. What I encountered was a visually stimulating performance that paired with the chopped up beats and sounds exquisitely. You’re dancing and flailing the arms, going through the motions that a crazed musically filled person goes through, thinking the music is dirty with that heavy bass and thumping in your heart, and all of a sudden, he drops  a totally different beat. And just like that, the whole game is switched up entirely.

That’s what happened for the entire night.

He did an entire section of sitar inspired music which I fell hard for. I only wish that this track was as long as what he played last night. His live edit extended this under two minute track, to what seemed to be ten minutes. This was a remarkable thing to witness, because there’s a lot of talk all the time about DJs getting behind their tools and doing minimal work for a live show. Last night, we saw a man hard at work to produce chopped up sounds, and while the transitions weren’t always perfect, they didn’t need to be. Mostly because I think that’s part of his more experimental sound, but also, because that can be an awesome side affect of putting your all into a live performance.

While I can’t re-create the live performance for you, I can hope you take away as much pleasure from this song as I have. Happy Friday!

Gold Panda – Quitter’s Raga


Shigeto opened for Gold Panda. Shigeto is part japanese. He is also a master of all things drum-related. Seriously, it’s remarkable to see someone go so hard on the drums for an extended period of time. I caught his last two songs, and judging by the crowd’s tremendous uproar as he exited, I’d say he did pretty alright.

Shigeto – Ann Arbor Part 2