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THEY. – Truth Be Told (ye. remix)

THEY. are one of the most exciting young acts that have mainstream potential. “U RITE” for example is a smash that sounds just as proper blasting through my headphones as it does soundtracking an NBA commercial. Their genre-bending energy is infectious enough to lock in audiences far beyond a cool kid niche which promises serious longevity for their bubbling career. Their genre bending sound also lends itself well to remixes (the Louis Futon flip of “U RITE” earlier this year was straight up colossal), so I’m stoked to hear another one.

Their newest remix comes from rising producer ye. and it’s a doozy. It speeds the track’s tempo until a deep ebb and flow of a drop that taps into the lowend of trap music with melodic touches – the sounds are fresh yet make sense in context of the current scene. The remix is right up there with Futon’s flip, so in other words, it’s a massive track that demands a listen as soon as possible.

SIYONI & Tazzy – Stay Young

You can always trust Elysian to deliver some of the dopest electronic trap music out there…this new joint from  SIYONI is a perfect example as he infuses haunting melodies into clattering percussion. Tazzy provides a perfect complement to the hazy atmosphere with powerful vocals that have a dramatic edge. The red fountain on the album artwork is seriously representative of the passionate sonic package that SIYONI and Tazzy deliver.

Thinking about the title “Stay Young”, I can’t help but look back on all the little existential crises I’ve had throughout my life. When I was in elementary school, I was terrified of never going to the beach at the same age again. When I was in middle school and turned 13, I confessed to my friend that I was in fear of leaving my youth behind. These days I don’t worry too much about my age – it’s my passion for the things in my life, whether it’s the arts or good discussion or letting loose, that keeps me young. The fountain of youth is the little things that make me happy day to day, moment to moment.

Ruchir – Made of Gold Ft. Deverano

I first stumbled upon Ruchir via “Sleepless”, a vibrant single that brought out the best from one of the scene’s rapidly rising topliners, Emma Sameth – not to mention a grandiose atmosphere that was beyond impressive for a debut. There’s a similarly dramatic quality to “Made of Gold” that sets it apart from its modern electronic contemporaries – the subtle keys, the harmonized vocals, the uplifting melodies, all components that come together for a sound that transcends the status quo.

It’s interesting that Ruchir wasn’t going to release “Made of Gold” until family and friends encouraged him to consider otherwise, but sometimes artists need a second (or third or fourth) pair of eyes to help them decide what work to share. It’s an exciting process that, in my experience, is rewarding to everyone involved. The artist receives an outpouring of positivity from their inner circle that gives them confidence in their art, the inner circle is given the honor of assisting in a highly personal process, and the listeners are rewarded with a relatable piece of work that could change the course of their day, week, month, or life.

With all that being said, Ruchir is three for three when it comes to killer singles, so I’m looking forward to whatever he delivers next.

Moglebaum – Slow Love

Much like the flora from its album artwork, Moglebaum’s organic electronic approach continues to flourish on their new single. It’s an aptly titled track called “Slow Love” that’s a lush blend of slow-jam synths and sultry vocals…fuck I’m using a lot of adjectives in a two sentence stretch, but there’s so many elements to appreciate here. For a relatively new act, Moglebaum has a sound that’s wholly their own – I listen to hundreds of new tracks a week, yet I can’t pinpoint anyone else that’s executing this style to such great heights.

As someone totally immersed in music day in and day out, it’s easy to lose the thrill of discovering new acts that I had before working in the music industry. I’m a product of the streaming era and a member of the music industry, so it’s all too easy to accumulate hundreds of songs in a playlist that I enjoy without ever digging into the catalogs of each individual artist (or even remember that I added them to said playlist to begin with). That being said, there’s still releases out there that keep me actively returning to listen repeatedly, a ~prestigious honor~ that both of Moglebaum’s 2017 singles have warranted.

StéLouse – Bones Feat. Tilian (Flapo Remix)

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Dance Gavin Dance – I was never into them during the peak of my scene kid phase, so I missed the glory days of the Jonny Craig and Kurt Travis eras, but I caught them on their first tour with Tilian Pearson. I had seen hundreds of bands up until that point, but I’d never heard a vocalist that outright blew me away until that night. Every time he hit a high note it was borderline euphoric, and after the show, I immediately began digging into his back catalog with Tides Of Man. Cuts like “Chemical Fires” became the soundtrack to some of my fondest memories from my senior year of high school, and once the first Dance Gavin Dance album featuring him finally dropped, the soundtrack to my freshman year of college was confirmed.

I was an outright fanboy, so I naturally was also fascinated by his solo pop project that channeled his sleek vocals into a purely melodic space – it amazed me that someone who sang on post-hardcore records could also have songs featured on ESPN. Thus, it makes sense that I’m loving his transition into the electronic space with a recent Stèlouse collab (which has now been flipped into a gorgeous, vibed out remix by Flapo). As my taste has expanded from post-hardcore to pop to electronic, Tilian’s artistic growth has been there every step of the way.

Julien Mier – New Eyes

There’s so much to love about Julien Mier’s new single. The down-pitched prelude has a codeine-soaked, college radio station charm. As for “New Eyes” in its entirety, calling it charming would be a serious understatement – it’s an intricately woven cut that exudes childlike wonderment, where every high-pitched synth feels like an individual twinkle in a starry eyed gaze. Its “drop” is an outright revelation as stretchy synthesizers and record scratches are warped into a head-nodder of a flow.

Songs usually trigger memories about various points in my life, but this one transports me to another world that I’ve never previously explored. It’s a soundtrack to lush, rolling hills where flora and fauna are abound. It’s a soundtrack to achieving natural bliss. It’s a soundtrack that I want to revisit again and again for the music and the daydreams alike. There’s no doubt I’ll keep coming back.

.dxf – Keygen

Technology is a fascinating thing. We’ve transcended humanity’s physical limitations and tapped into an infinite resource that aids us in a variety of ways, the most exciting being advances in trading of information and creating art in my humble opinion. The fact that bits and pieces of humanity’s all-encompassing knowledge can be traded amongst one another in realtime is a powerful next step in our evolution. It’s also fascinating to me that we’ve been able to advance our modes of expression – the 20th century creation of electric guitars is one thing, but a creation like autotune that extends the possibilities of the human voice is outright revolutionary.

.dxf is a meta exploration of these modern notions as they examine the very advancements that have made their music possible. A French trio tapping into the introspectiveness of folk, the percussion of hip-hop and electronic music, the utilization of autotune – it’s a concoction that’s equal parts intelligent and emotional as they inject pathos into P2P and virtual reality. Combined with their forward-thinking visuals, the trio’s debut EP is like putting on a set of virtual reality goggles and being engrossed in a world that exists somewhere between the present and future.

Louis Futon – Royal Blood (ft. Keiynan Lonsdale)

I’ll admit that I know Keiynan Lonsdale for his role on The Flash more than his music career, but “Royal Blood” shows that I’ll have to start keeping tabs on both of the young kid’s artistic ventures. He has such a smooth voice that it feels almost conversational as he promises “I’m never gonna leave ya” (much appreciated Keiynan), not to mention Louis Futon’s slick production. Lonsdale and Futon are truly a match made in heaven as Futon has perfected a groovy vibe that’s complemented by perfectly placed horns and sparkling synths – in other words, an ideal foundation for the soulful side of Lonsdale’s vocals.

Thinking about Lonsdale’s multitalented approach, it couldn’t be more apparent that the modern artistic landscape requires its participants to be multitalented. With the rise of the internet, there’s a million dope singers out there, so what sets you apart? What’s the story behind your art? These are questions I’m constantly considering, like a mini pop quiz for every artist who I dig into…and there’s no doubt Lonsdale passes the quiz. His backstory, his artistic palette, it all feeds into an even greater appreciation for his sleek vocals and makes me very excited to see what he releases next.

Saukrates – Mysterium (ft. SonReal)

It’s not often that the old school and new school collide with cohesion these days, but Saukrates has always had an ear for what’s hot. SonReal has way more in common with traditional hip-hop than the Soundcloud rap sphere, sure, but it’s impressive how a rising star goes bar for bar with a living legend. The entirety of the track is breeze filled with lyrical gymnastics that flow with the fluidity of a world class acrobat, not to mention silky smooth sung vocals from both rappers.

I also have to give big ups to Soxx for putting on so hard for the new school. There’s so many formerly cherished rappers on the outside looking in because they’ve refused to keep up with the kids or outright denounced them, claiming the style of hip-hop they were pushing decades ago is superior to what’s being made right now. Over the years, Soxx has let his sound gently evolve without sacrificing the core style of his own music, maintaining a high level of quality by simply doing his thing. It goes to show that you can stick with your sound while simultaneously championing artists like SonReal who are prepared to be handed the torch. I can’t wait to hear how Soxx blends the past, present, and future on his upcoming album.

Sumera – Faith

I had a revealing discussion about faith last night. Short of a few months in middle school, I’ve never believed in a Judeo-Christian god. I’m at a point in my life where I need a higher power, yet my previous experiences with faith left a bad taste in my mouth – a crippled man telling a church full of believers that his life improved only once he donated money to the church, or pursuing cosmic ideas amidst the haze of a mind saddled by chronic marijuana use in college.

I thought I was onto something when I prayed to a faceless, nameless higher power in my hospital bed earlier this year, asking to not let me die. I continued to tap into that resource, what I perceived as a higher power who would amiably direct events in my life like pawns on a chess board, yet the recent suicide of a family friend shattered that slowly developing belief. If the light in so many people’s lives flamed out, then why would a greater force directly benefit me? It’s bothered me for weeks, but the discussion I mentioned put me back on the path to pursuing a higher power by understanding that there’s indeed something out of my control – life and death. If I engage in the present moment, I’m engaging in life. If I engage in life and pursue spiritual principles, I’m engaging a power greater than myself. It might not be faith in the traditional sense, but it’s faith that brings me closer to feeling whole.

I have a feeling this approach will allow me to better appreciate the beauty in the world around me. Thus, it’s likely no coincidence that I have a serious appreciation for Sumera’s gorgeous, introspective cut “Faith” today.