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Niki & The Dove – DJ, Ease My Mind

Take me downtown
Tonight I want to forget
I want lights to blind me
I want peace, want to disappear.”

What is it about dance beats paired with a narrative of lost love that makes songs like this so good? I came across Niki & The Dove this weekend and at thought that Fever Ray had released something new. But the farther I got into the song the more I started to hear the distinctions between the two Swedish groups. This song was poppier; it managed to sonically carry a melancholy tale through the air with its beat that doesn’t give up until it reaches the end. You can hear the anguish in Malin Dahlström’s vocals. Her high-alto raspy voice sounds like a howl when she reaches the chorus begging the DJ to just play the damn song so she can forget her lost love for a bit. Dahlström’s delivery had me wanting to hold her and let her go at the same time. I listened to it once and had to listen to it again because I, too, wanted to get as lost as she was.

Songs like this track – dance-y break up songs somehow make the situation seem bearable. Robyn’s, “Dancing On My Own” comes to mind as I sit here racking my memory of other similar tracks. That song (which I happen to believe is one of the most underrated pop songs to exist) captures the unrequited love perfectly, but instead of singing it over some mellow guitar or low-fi electronic production, it’s set to a beat that lets the listener (and artist) shake whatever negative feeling they got brewin’ out. Niki & The Dove do the same thing in this track. Why bother relishing in some longing when music and a little swayin’ with your eyes closed to the beat is the best remedy? A DJ can be your doctor. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all experienced this desire for someone else only to find that they don’t feel the same. When that moment comes and you want to get lost (hell, even if you just want to let go for four minutes) turn this track up and just go. Trust me, by the time you get to the break down half-way in and Dahlström is “oh-oh-ing” you’ll feel as light as the track.

Niki & The Dove – DJ, Ease My Mind

Bonus: Get your good headphones ready, I’m including Jakwob’s excellent remix of this song. It’s darker and more hypnotic than the original. A heavy bass-line and synth melt together to create a lush euphoric track that pulses through your whole body.

Niki & The Dove – DJ, Ease My Mind (Jakwob Remix)


Purity Ring – Amenamy

It’s the most cherished day of the week for the music lover – Tuesday. Go on, get excited. After releasing their first single way back when in January 2011, Purity Ring is finally ready to present their full length album Shrines. Their popularity has been building after quietly emerging and releasing a track here and there.

Finally reality struck and tour dates were revealed. After watching them go above and beyond what I expected, the duo that is Megan James and Corin Roddick made me fall in love all over again. Roddick is casual and lean; James is a strikingly beautiful, five-foot-something lady with a lot to say. Roddick quietly grooves on a custom built instrument that drives both sound and lighting while James‘ charming, yet seductive voice spouts lyrics that are rhythmically personal and alliteratively poetic.

Some shattering find for this candor to die
Plug up your wormholes and give them, to feeders and spirits be freer 
and freer and broil and toil and foil dies
Scallop the breastbone, roll in toll and grow old the long winter in it 
Think not what the season will become
Breathe truthfully at the garden glen, that grew masterfully over your withering son.”

Amenamy is just a piece of this whole sensation that Purity Ring has built. I recommend getting the album and finding your own sensual groove.

Purity Ring – Amenamy


Lauryn Hill – Lost Ones

I realize I haven’t posted in a bit but believe me my heart and soul and physical sweat has been here every day making sure you all are getting the quality and quantity that you deserve but there should never be an excuses, I am actually the first person to call out everyone excuses.

Lost Ones gives a lot of meaning to what we deal with as artists, or actually any profession for that matter.  But it’s really amazing how money can complicate things, creative situations, people you care about.  One thing I do know is you have to be careful and never take advantage of the people that do have money, it isn’t something I want to get into because I have seen too much off all these situations and could go on for days but the bottom line is you have to remember what your ultimate goal is, who are you trying to inspire, who inspires you, forget about that shit that grows on trees because if I am not mistaken talent doesn’t grow on trees.

Lauryn’s album The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill is all about her trials and tribulations as an artist, in her own personal life and with religion, something I definitely relate to on all levels and I think most of us can relate to as well at a certain point in our lives.  I wasn’t old enough to really understand some of the things she was saying in her music back in 1998, but I was definitely drawn to Lauryn and even more so now.  It’s really a trip to go back and relive the artists that you love and watch a whole different meaning come from their music then what you took from it years ago.  It’s beautiful thing to watch our growth as human beings.

It’s funny how money change a situation 
Miscommunication leads to complication 
My emancipation don’t fit your equation 
I was on the humble, you – on every station 
Some wan’ play young Lauryn like she dumb 
But remember not a game new under the sun

You might win some but you just lost one 
You might win some but you just lost one.”

Enjoy!

Lauryn Hill – Lost Ones

 


Gigamesh – Don’t Stop

I have never written about Gigamesh, but I’m certainly no stranger to the fact that he is an EMPT favorite. I’ve come to love his musical work because of the unique sound he seems to possess while playing with tones reminiscent of the ’80s but modern all at once. I should probably mention that any song with breaks in the beat are enough to get me pumped and ready to go out the door in the morning. What better way to start your week off than with this track?

We’ve got everything here: synthy strings (I say this because I’m not sure what the exact sound is — sometimes it sounds like strings, sometimes it sounds like synths), cute and high pitched female vocals that make you want zone out into another decade, and a continuous rise, which can only mean that the beat is constantly dropping. Does that make sense? I love thinking of music that way, as a constant up and down roller coaster of beats and rhythms.

This track is particularly important on a Monday because the last thing you should be doing is stopping. You’re just getting started, and we all need that little push from one another to do great things and make a difference in whatever world we choose to interact with. So go out today and do great things. You don’t have to do great things all week, I’m just saying today is all you can control right now. So go do it, and don’t stop until you’re satisfied.

Gigamesh – Don’t Stop


Pinemarten – I Can See

Now this is a nice thing to wake up to here. You know when you have those phases, weeks or even days were you feel like the days are moving at the speed of light? It’s so easy to get caught up in the routine. Even if your routine doesn’t seem monotonous to those around you, you yourself can get caught up with trying to be something else.

Sometimes you just need a change of perspective to see better. Nothing drastic, something like giving yourself ten minutes to enjoy a breeze, or  giving yourself three minutes (oh yeah three whole minutes) to play a song while not trying to think of anything else, anyone else, except the echo-y voices and synths on this track. It reminds me of some Kavinsky tracks that just ooze you away. The British musician’s EP “Can’t go back again” is that perfect combination of slow dance synth pop that keeps you floatin’ on a lazy Sunday morning.

Is this what you want, or is this all pretend?”

Banging your head with questions and doubts blurs out the moments. And sometimes you need that, relax, and refocus time.

 Pinemarten – I Can See

 

 


The Killers – Runaways

Oops! I went to a Killers concert last night.

Apparently they decided to only play four US stops, which seems stingy because they have two scheduled just in Krakow, Poland. Seeing as they made their name in the UK, though, I get it. It’s been 10 years since The Killers first emerged with Mr. Brightside, and the 30-somethings are still rocking sold-out houses. They’ve hit that groove where their teenage fans from a decade ago are still cool enough to hang with the younger, emerging generation of fans. It makes me feel both old and hip.

Runaways sucks you in with an intro that swirls around Flowers’ voice and is reminiscent of Don McLean and Rick Springfield. In classic style, they build up to the fist-pumping anthem that almost every Killers’ hit has been. The energy of the song piles up throughout until you just have to give in and let go.

Let’s take a chance baby we can’t lose
Mean we’re all just runaways
I knew that when I met you, I’m not gonna let you runaway
I knew that when I held you, I wasn’t lettin’ go”

Battle Born will drop in September and all we have for now is this one little gem of a single. So reach back into your bag of tricks from 2002 and relive some of your dreams that were soundtracked by The Killers. Sometimes you just need a little nostalgia in your life.

The Killers – Runaways


New Navy – Breathe (Télépopmusik Cover)

 

This week from monday through thursday was really fast-paced and hectic for me. And while I was enjoying it, it was only yesterday I found out that today was a god-sent holiday! It’s as if life was telling me: just pause for a sec, and breathe.

Very few people take a classic original and make it better. Like Steve Jobs with some of the things he did at Apple that changed our lives. I’m not saying New Navy is the Steve Jobs of music. But what they did to Télépopmusik’s original classic is pretty remarkable.

Stripping the original of all the electronic bits and spicing it with acoustic bliss on the musical side; and on the vocal part giving it a little more nostalgia and raw emotion is where they set this cover apart. But don’t worry, the more organically acoustic nostalgia injection doesn’t mean it’s downtempo or super sad. With help from claps and fast-paced drum-work it manages to be quite dynamic. In fact, it’s sort of like a roller-coaster ride. Take a listen and you’ll understand what I mean.

I don’t like it when people mess with perfect songs like Breathe but this is something else worth sharing with all of you. Would love to know your thoughts in the comments.

Have a great weekend, and remember to just breathe.

New Navy – Breathe (Télépopmusik Cover)


Frankie Rose – Interstellar

You know that hungry feeling where you know you’re hungry but you don’t know what for? You could get a burrito, a slice of pizza, or dive head first into a salad but nothing sounds appetizing? So you decide to suck it up and make some toast with nutella and convince yourself you’re satisfied – “There! That toast did the trick,” you say as you walk away from your dirty plate rolling your eyes ’cause you know you’ll be hungry in an hours time and your indecision will come back with a vengeance. I often feel the same way when it comes to what music I want to listen to. I scroll through my library aimlessly judging each artist and often end up landing on some song I’ve listened to a thousand times like a Rihanna’s “What’s My Name?” I play it, lip-sync, maaaybe make a photobooth video to it, but at the end of the 3 minutes or so I’m left wondering what’s next? Do I listen to more Rihanna? Shamelessly yes, but I know that there are tracks stashed in my obscenely large library that will fill me up more than some pop tune.

Former Vivian Girls member, Frankie Rose, released this track early this year off her EP of the same title. Admittedly, I wasn’t a huge fan of her older work but this track changed my opinion on her. Since going solo, Rose seems to be on a quest for some sort of spiritual enlightenment. The track’s beginning sounds like we’re floating in some glittery abyss: little chimes and synths echo and melt together. Rose’s ethereal voice welcomes us to this place known as the interstellar highway where moon-dust apparently pours out of us. With a burst of light, the drums kick in and we’re moving on through space with Rose guiding us with each “ah-ah-ah.”

Earthless, guilty in five million parts now

I have left you

Weightless free from predictable ways my

Feet had touched the ground”

There’s a theme of earthly abandonment in this song. Wherever this highway Rose is taking us on is unlike the predictable ones we’ve grown accustom to. I listen to this and I feel weightless. There’s a part of me that has a huge soft-spot for tracks that take me out of my body and into some limbo space: where the sounds I’m hearing match the colors behind my eyelids when I close them. Rose’s solo celestial progression is working its magic. Put on some headphones, turn up your speakers, close your eyes and simply listen for a solid 3 and a half minutes – you’ll end the song full, satisfied, and hungry for more.

Frankie Rose – Interstellar


Ben Howard – Old Pine (Peking Duk Remix)

[photo source: www.minagraphy.com]

 

Happy Friday! We’ve got a sexy fun track for you this evening, and I can’t wait to share it with ya’ll. I haven’t heard the likes of Ben Howard since my high school days, but I’m pleased to have come across this remix. His voice is soothing and sensitive alone, perfect for this rainy day. But paired with the intensity of a drum build-up to a drop that caters to your post-work week needs, there is really nothing better. While it’s fun to dive into those drops at a million miles per hour and feel the intensity, I take pleasure in the passionate build-up. In this case, it’s a whistling tune alongside pianos and a airy chorus accompanied by a quiet guitar. These elements create a superb contrast, as the beat drops the whistling is all that remains from the build-up.

Strangely enough, the beginning reminds me of something we might hear from RAC. That makes me happy.

Whatever you guys are doing tonight, I hope it’s fabulous and unaffected by the rain! Or perhaps it’s not raining, in which case, get out and experience something! Last night I went to a Bulgarian bar for the first time, which was silly and insane all at once. But it was mostly great. Take this song with you even! Let it be the start of your night, allowing you to remain mellow and energized all at once.

Cheers!

Ben Howard – Old Pine (Peking Duk Remix)


The Knocks & Fred Falke – Geronimo

You wanna go to the sky with me?!

Man, take a look at the world right now. Scientist have have recently made one of the most important discoveries in modern science with the observation of what could be the God particle aka the Higgs Basoon. We’re that much closer to know what matter is made of, are you kidding me?! Our technology is so advanced it’s making all aspects of life easier in ways most of us fail to fully understand or appreciate. The fact that you can learn just about anything simply by taking 5 minutes to Google something is so mind blowing it’s hard to grasp. I know it’s all becoming “normal” and common place but take a moment to marvel at your surroundings people, we live in one of greatest, most progressive times in history…

You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.” – Andy Worhol

Progress is happening everyday, time is certainly waiting for no man and the modern life is all about being flexible, learning, challenging what you know and living fast. Geronimo by our boys from BK The Knocks & French House pioneer Fred Falke captures this energy to perfection. Kitsune describes this track as thundering, I would add to that massive, passionate, driving, banging and we’ve just about nailed it. The way this track just keeps getting bigger and bigger makes me think of how I’ve been feeling about progress lately. You have to be active, ruthless and fearless about getting better, keep pushing. That sidechained synth keeps moving the track froward, that’s how you have to be about the things you want, don’t stop. There will always be roadblocks, negativity and challenges but just push through it because the only consequence is getting what you want.

The lyrics are few and simple, just how I like them. The call and response ask two things – do you want to go the sky or fall to the ground? Couldn’t have said it better myself.  The song breaks down to that chant with hand claps and you just want to jump – Geronimo! This is how we do weekends around these parts. Stay live, live the moment folks, let’s get it!

The Knocks & Fred Falke – Geronimo