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Little Dragon – Little Man (Benji Boko Remix)

In honor of the free Little Dragon concert I attended on Friday night at Prospect Park, I’d like to share with you mighty EMPT listeners this track. I heard this remix a couple of weeks ago from a friend, and have been mildly (that’s really putting it lightly) obsessed for a while now. Little Man is one of my favorite songs by the band, besides Twice, and I almost cried when they played it last night.

I tend to turn to Little Dragon when it comes to anything mildly difficult in my life. Yukimi Nagano has a way of soothing my soul, while encouraging me to conquer my fears of searching within. There’s definitely something to be said about their fluid movement, which caters to many jazz elements. In concert, songs went from one to the other so smoothly. I described it to my friend as if we were seeing a live DJ act whose music production was done all on stage (instruments and all) because they were using transitions from song to song as if it were no big deal. They took every opportunity they had to jam together, that at one point it almost felt like they were just playing because they were having fun. (With an audience in mind.)

As you can probably tell, I could go on and on about Little Dragon for days, but I would rather get you guys amped up for this track. It’s a gorgeous Sunday here in Brooklyn, and I think this is the perfect track for your day. Kick back and enjoy.

Little Dragon – Little Man (Benji Boko Remix)


Florence + The Machine – Never Let Me Go (Clams Casino Remix)

 

There was a star riding through the clouds one night, and I said to the star, ‘Consume me.”Virginia Woolf

I read an article not too long ago about the types of people you will fall in love with during your twentys. In his “thought,” Ryan O’Connell (one of my personal favorite people in the world who I have yet to meet) cleverly describes the good, the bad, and the somewhat uncomfortable types of people we will come to love during these weird youthful-but-adult shaping years. While I agree with everything he wrote, Ryan failed to touch upon the all-consuming love; a type of relationship that is both excellent and incredibly dangerous. Let’s call it the first love syndrome. A person comes into your life and completely turns it upside down.

Perhaps you discover all these new things about yourself you didn’t know you were capable of. Perhaps you’ll find your ability to trust, or even something as small as finding the courage to try a new food because this person brings out an adventurous side in you. Whatever it may be, this consumption is not out of need, but out of some thing between wanting and curiosity. You don’t necessarily need this person to “complete” you, but you also know you can’t be without them and in that sense you can’t and don’t want to let go of them.

Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine gives us a vulnerable glimpse into that moment of clarity in realizing the intensity of a relationship. In this track off her sophomore album, Ceremonials, her relationship is the ocean. Deep below sea-level there is nothing but ocean around you. I hesitate to say it’s cliche, but the ocean is the most appropriate allegory for this type of love. Put yourself in Welch’s mind here for a bit and imagine being in this allegorical ocean with this other person. The relationship is passionate and already all-encompassing, but the surface of the ocean, however, is tumultuous and bipolar. You have a choice to either stay on the surface and face whatever the ocean throws your way risking the strength of the relationship or you find it in yourself to let the ocean consume you and swim to the floor where the storms are above and the only test is for the endurance of the heart.

Admittedly, this track was one of my least favorite singles from the disc. My mind’s been changed, though, after hearing this track. Clams Casino has stripped away the original track’s pop ballad elements for low-fi electronica. A minimal production of muted drums, a heavy bass murmur, and looping background echos put the focus on Welch’s stunning vocal performance. It’s a slow sonic descent into the ocean of Welch’s tale where two and a half minutes in Clams places us on the ocean floor, cuts out the lead vocals, slows down the backing vocals and creates the auditory illusion that we’re hearing this song underwater. It’s the song’s most vulnerable moment that allows for Welch to chant “Deliver me” over the “never let me go” loop in a spiritual acceptance of her new possession.

And it’s over
And I’m going under
But I’m not giving up
I’m just giving in.”

No matter where you are today put this on and just be for a bit. Whether you believe in Welch’s story or not, Clams Casino has given us a musical track that’s spiritual in its own cathartic quality.

Florence + The Machine – Never Let Me Go (Casino Clams Remix)


Dan Auerbach – Heartbroken, In Disrepair

 

Lately I’ve been digging on the bluesy rock of Dan Auerbach, one half of The Black Keys. Auerbach took time out of his Black Keys’ fame in 2009 to release his solo album Keep It Hid. The album was recorded live which is felt in the grit and authenticity of the sound. In comparison to the Keys’ music, Auerbach administers a distinctly healthier dose of blues and soul, notably in tracks like Heartbroken, In Disrepair.

God may forgive me, but that’s not enough’
Cause I gotta live with myself, till I’m dust
Just walk on by, if we pass on the street
Sometimes in battle, it’s best to retreat
 
Searching for light, gasping for air
Heartbroken, in disrepair”

Auerbach chooses a minimalist approach with the lyrics on this track. Instead, the last third of the track is dedicated pain-driven guitar riffs that somehow speak louder than the lyrics themselves. I’ve had it on repeat for a few days, each time feeling a little more of the determination and a little less of the hopelessness.

Dan Auerbach – Heartbroken, In Disrepair

Bonus video. Check out Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney‘s thumping, garage-rock revival off the latest album El Camino. Make your own comparison.

The Black Keys – Gold on the Ceiling


The xx – Chained

 

There’s always two sides to every love story; whether we like it or not. Before I continue any further, it should be very clear how biased I am towards The xx as they are one of my favourite bands. So please excuse my probably biased but honest post.

As I was saying, about the two sides to every love story.. It just so happens that no one believes the truth but their own truth (at least in my humble opinion). And sometimes -ironically- when people have just been freed from a relationship they remain chained to a feeling or their ‘truth’. Sometimes we ask if we held the other person too close or didn’t let them breathe and we do so with a rhetoric tone as we hope there’s a chance the other person doesn’t answer even though we asked.

“I watched you breathe in
And I wish you’d stop
Only for long enough
Long enough”

The worst realisation is to acknowledge how two people that were once so close, could be asking themselves these questions. It just proves how -without noticing- we can grow apart as fast as we attract each other.

“Winged or chained
I ask you
Would you have stayed
Did I hold you too tight
Did I not let enough light in”

Oliver and Romy tell this story with their usual unique blend of simple vocals and melodies; this time in a bit more upbeat and almost danceable rendition than their first single Angels. It sounds like a typical xx tune in the bassline, guitar riffs and the cataclysmic drum work except for the subtle influence of a couple new musical elements that set this album apart when you appreciate it as a whole. As the sophomore release of their new album, Chained has been expected with much anticipation.


Adventure Club – Need Your Heart ft. Kai

There is nothing I love more then some good dubstep on a Friday afternoon.  Adventure Club never seems to let me down, they always know how to turn up the party dial and it’s never too extreme.  I love big drums blasting through my headphones literally vibrating my whole body!  Dubstep can be hit or miss for me but Adventure Club brings in Kai’s beautiful vocals right away and throughout, she has almost an Adele thing going on but not as over the top which is what really draws me to her voice..Absolutely beautiful and refreshing.

I have been non-stop in the studio with my boys trying to make the next best thing and sometimes when I am feeling tired I like a little bit of kick in the ass and this track definitely does that for me.  I am adding the Protohype remix bonus for you all, so if you think the original is sexy and hyper then get ready an overload, but a good overload!

Even though it’s Friday I got a whole lot on my plate to take care of but couldn’t leave you all without a filthy party track to get you ready for whatever you got planned this weekend, enjoy!

Adventure Club – Need Your Heart ft. Kai

Bonus:

Adventure Club – Need Your heart ft. Kai (Protohype Remix)


Justrock feat. Cheevy – Airplane (Sohight Remix)

Is it wrong to like a song because it’s just so damn good? I’ve been listening to this song over and over and over again trying to find some deeper meaning, but the music keeps lifting me up and taking me away from this attempt. I listened to this track ten times last night, maybe eight the day before, and now I’ve had it playing through my morning coffee-brewin’ ritual. As I sit in my lofted living room, the sun is finally peeking its head above the East Village rooftops and coming into the space. This track feels oddly appropriate for this Thursday morning. It’s not heavy listening and its effect on the mind is mimicking the effect of the coffee I’m drinking. I’m awake with this song and if that’s the intent of the track, then that’s a-okay.

I feel grateful for my time spent on planes. Airplanes and air travel are one of the most exciting things in todays world. With all the security baggage aside, the very principal of flying is what makes it so enticing. You’re flying way above houses, streets, cities, and farms. You’re defying gravity and moving at speeds unimaginable. I only ever realize how fast I’m moving in a plane when we pass another plane during the flight. Cheevy and Justrock have taken that experience of flight and turned it into sound. The song starts on the runway and starts to build up speed as the drum boom-booms on and the synths crescendo into take off. Joy is the only word I can attribute to the feeling I get when I hear the drop here. This is the energizing part. Each drop is different here: some are just the melody and others have Cheevy’s soaring over the production. The drop dies down and we’re coasting for a bit. The middle of the song slows down into a brief dub-breakdown adding a little turbulence that’s completely necessary to allegory these two musicians have made. As we leave the wobble we’re being brought back up to speed and drive straight into the chorus again, this time coasting through the air.

At one point in the song Cheevy repeats the word “freedom” – it becomes almost like a battle-cry. He’s more yelling it than speaking it. It’s an appropriate nod to the heart of air travel and the paradigms flight was build on. For what it’s worth -and I may be going out on a limb here – this song is freedom personified. I think that’s why I keep listening to this track. It’s motivational without being cheesy and Oprah-y. Justrock and Cheevy have created an honest escape route for us to access with the click or tap of the play button. You can now take off anytime, anywhere without the hassal of checking our bags at the gate. The only thing to check is your attitude; leave it behind because this track will not take off with added baggage. You can collect all that in four and a half minutes at touch down…that is if you ever decide to land.

Happy Friday.

Justrock feat. Cheevy – Airplane (Sohight Remix)


The Presets – Ghosts

Never too late for a Thursday post! This track called my name from a plethora of choices. I haven’t felt so alive after listening to a track in a while (and by a while, I mean maybe a few days…when you live in a constant state of music this is what happens) and the chorus of “ohs” had me immediately hooked. There’s something about the tone of the vocals that gives you the feeling of epic  empowerment, as if the vocalist is speaking to a crowd of people. It’s not quite the lyrics that do it, so much as actual tone of his voice. I think it also has something to do with male chorus in the background, who do an especially great job at setting the scene.

Ran ‘em up in a strip called love 
Lost my mind in the streets of neon 
Now I’m coming on back 
Help me up move right, left foot forward

The Presets are an Australian electronic duo, though their music is electronic in a cool way. One of the first posts I ever wrote for EMPT was about a tUnE-yArDs concert that I went to around this time last year. I remember talking about electronic music for what seemed like a long rant of time, but the point was to look at artists who don’t necessarily work towards the electronic genre of music, but towards implementing electronic instruments into their music. Combining bare, strong vocals against simple electrified orchestral sounds. Introducing a driven and quickly paced drum. All of this is so that we end up right where we should: throwing our hands into the air as if the clouds were opening up to a choir of hallelujahs and maybe doing some karate moves. Because that is definitely what I ended up doing halfway through the song.

I just realized that I’m sitting in my apartment completely dark, with the exception of fairy lights that are hanging from the walls. I’ve listened to this track probably twelve times over the span of the last half hour, and I’ve done so with noise-canceling headphones, as well as a decent speaker system. If you’re looking for the ultimate experience, go for darkness and speakers. It will do incredible things for your evening.

The Presets – Ghosts

BONUS: *I dated this guy for a minute last year and he was actually the one who introduced me to The Presets. As we sat nestled in the back of a bar in the village listening to this song from his Blackberry, I realized that I was 1) really into these guys, and 2) listening to a song on a Blackberry. Totally different feel than Ghosts but still got that groove that I know you’ll love.*

The Presets – Yippiyo-ay 

 

 


EMPT Presents – S U M M E R : a n t i – w i n t e r 3d by Ryan Radler

I used to wanna rap like Jay-Z
Now I feel I could run laps around Jay-Z
Nas ain’t seen nothing this nasty
B.I.G. & Pac got it coming when I pass too
You got the mic, I ain’t the one you wanna pass to

My ni$*@s say my new shit past due
I paid dues, even got that shit tattooed
HiiiPoWeR on another plateau
I know you know we need a few plaques too…” – Ab Soul

I love those lyrics. That’s the confidence, belief and attitude one needs to make progress. You can never sit around looking at the throne as something that can’t be achieved. You work hard, create your own lane, challenge it and get what you demand from it – in order to be the best, you must challenge the best.

That 41st law mentality is what makes Ab Soul is one of my favorite rappers right now. Aside from being highly intelligent, he sounds driven, like he cares about being great, like he practices everyday and wants no one to question his ability as a rapper. That use to be the norm in Hip Hop, you couldn’t try to be rapper without being incredibly good at it. I’m not talking Mr. Brainwash good here, I’m talking Picasso great. You had to be amazing, you had to innovate, you had to have your own style, you had to be the real deal. In the age of “swag” rappers the playing field is different but it’s nice to know there are still people that still value mastery and perfection of their craft. So many people want recognition or success, few actually know what it really takes, even less are truly willing to do it.

So why all the talk about rap in during a Ryan Radler release? Well it’s simple, these tapes come with that same fire and artistic integrity to not just exist but stand out as something special and worth while. I love that energy more than anything in an artist, it’s seductive, irresistible and necessary. When are artist is in the zone and that energy translates to their work the observers mind opens up and respects it. That’s usually when people say – I don’t really like this type of music but this is cool. I haven’t heard a Ryan Radler tape that hasn’t done that to me and I love it. That said, press play on this one and feel the energy of someone working hard to be great. Immerse yourselves in the Ryan Radler zone, it will treat you right.

S U M M E R :  a n t i – w i n t e r   3 D

  1. GRAND RESORT – Night Is Dark
  2. MILES BONNY x B.LEWIS – Bottom To Top
  3. XXYYXX – Tied2U
  4. JOHNNY HAMMOND – Can’t We Smile
  5. WARPAINT – Undertow (Blackbird Blackbird Remix)
  6. SANDRO BRUGNOLINI – Alipid vs. Franciose Hardy
  7. GORDON REES – In a Bossa Mood
  8. FRANKIE ROSE – Know Me
  9. PHÉDRA – Aphrodite
  10. FINAL DJs – Salt On Our Skin (Sebastian Scotch remix / Normandy Edit)
  11. LABYRINTH EAR – Snow White (DREAMTRAK Remix)
  12. SMASHING PUMPKINS – 1979 (StardonE Remix)
  13. BRAIDS – Glass Deers (Teen Daze Remix)
  14. YOUNG MAN – Fate

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Household Goods (Zeds Dead Remix)

It’s been a little over a week since I saw Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs live at the Music Hall of Williamsburg and I’m still riding the high from his set. The clustered crowd erupted into this odd uniform jumping-arms flailing-head knocking-hair flipping dance the moment Orlando Higginbottom dropped the beat to this track. If feelings are contagious then I caught the joy bug that night and it’s been keeping me going since. I’m still listening to Orlando’s stuff this week and don’t see myself tiring of it anytime soon. His music is refreshing. It lives in electronica, dabbles in dub, and rejoices in pop. His monotone delivery is comforting. He’s an artist who – I feel – knows his place in the music world and is soaking it up. Orlando isn’t trying to be anything or anyone he’s not. The music he produces under Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is honest electronica; well crafted without the pretense.

I will admit I was a little bit wary of listening to Zeds Dead’s remix of T.E.E.D.’s already excellent track, fearing a total dubstep take over, but I was happily happily surprised. The boys of the Dead’s duo have toned down Orlando’s track and turned it into a trance inducing experiment. They’ve taken the vocals of the original, removed the heavy synthesized and hyped up production and layered it over a sensually wobbling bass and light keyboard harmony. When I listen to this song I feel like I’ve entered a void where I’m not falling but I’m not flying either. I am just there…hovering, spinning, floating. That’s what makes this track work so well. Zeds Dead have taken Orlando’s story of reaching the point in a relationship where defining what’s happening is a necessity and channeled it through production.

Give me another chance

’cause I could be the dog to your bone…or something.”

As the “something” repeats and glitches we understand where Orlando is in relation to this relationship. I think we’ve all been through a relationship where we know it’s more than friends but are unsure whether what we have is worthy of defining it as something other than a “something.” It’s a weird place to be, really. The relationship rules seem to live in the same limbo as we do. In Zeds Dead’s case, the something lies within the wobble-wobble. Through the bass are we to find the truth; are we to come to know where we are and are not. It’s a seductive production that does Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs justice. Rather than making the original track into some club banger or music hall show-stopper, the track is remixed for ears willing to be still for three minutes.

Enjoy being carried away by this track late at night when your mind is racing.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Household Hoods (Zeds Dead Remix)


Passion Pit – Constant Conversations (St. Lucia Remix)

Already an EMPT Nation favorite, Passion Pit’s Constant Conversations has blessed our lives with some great vocals delivered through the “painful” lyrics of the song, or, maybe even the other way around.  The original beat has a slow-jam/R&B funk feel that does wonders for it, but on this St. Lucia Remix he brightens up the entire vibe and feel of the song through splashes of electro synths and strings, modified vocals, and a fun grit to it that can be heard within the pianos and intro that instantly make the remix feel grander.

Staying as true to the foundation as possible, St. Lucia keeps the overall essence and structure of the original on the remix yet still managing to make it noticeably different.  These differences can seem subtle at first glance because again, what we love are the delivery and smoothness of the original vocals, as well as the lyrics and vibe, but in reality St. Lucia has simply managed to take a great product into a alternate space that also sees it sitting at the top if its charts there.

August, to some of us, represents the final stretch of summertime days and summertime fun.  It goes from preparing for school and new beginnings all around us for the Fall, to preparing for a new season of work, TV shows, and outfits to flaunt.  With that new season at bay we should remember to enjoy the beloved “Dog Days” of Summer we do have left by taking it as slow and mellow as St. Lucia does here with Constant Conversations, and savoring it’s beauty ― music and all.

Sometimes less is truly a whole lot more…

Passion Pit – Constant Conversations (St. Lucia Remix)