Skip to content

Junior Boys – So This Is Goodbye

juniorboys

In an era of overnight celebrity, we tend to take the difficult road for granted. It’s easy to listen to a track on Spotify and never know who the artist is, let alone their story. How many nights did they sleep in a dingy van, schlepping from town to town, trying to make ends meet while they slaved away producing new music that almost no one heard?

The Internet has offered aspiring artists an avenue to larger listenership, but our listening and sharing culture prioritizes the music over the artist (which may not be wrong) and generates little to know actual income for the tired hands behind the scenes. If someone gets big overnight, even through virality, you can almost assume that some serious money is behind them. Think Lorde was an organic hit? Think again. She was signed to Universal before anyone in the US had heard of her, and blew up once Sean Parker (of Facebook fame) shared “Royals” with his social media networks.

Junior Boys is a duo from Canada that originally formed in 1999, before going through some lineup changes and years of minor recognition. Eventually, they started getting some larger festival bookings and even had a successful solo tour (they’ve also toured in support of fellow Canadian Caribou). The last I heard of them was two years ago.

This is how it happens. A band bubbles up for a few moments, before fading away for good. It is at once inspiring and crushing; the dream is attainable, but not sustainable. And if you don’t have corporate backing, good luck. Every small band that bubbles up and eventually makes it to the big time gained that backing along the way. At least these days.

“So This Is Goodbye” came out in’08, the title track to an LP of the same name. When I hear it now, it sounds infinitely dated. The Internet is awash in music like this, bedroom beats with mediocre vocals. None of it gets me.

But this track does, because I know the story and care about the journey of not only this band, but of every artist. The plastic plucks of Junior Boys take on a new life, as I imagine them sitting in a dark studio in dark Canada, shaving in a truck stop bathroom, or playing to a constantly talking crowd. To succeed in art, you have to grind. Sure, connections help, but what really matters is the product. Junior Boys simply weren’t good enough or special enough to stand out.

And neither are 99% of the artists on this earth. That doesn’t me we shouldn’t celebrate them and their work. In fact, that work is often better and more personal than “successful” art. “So This Is Goodbye” will strike a cord with anyone who gave it a go before saying “fuck it” and filling out a W9.

Junior Boys – So This Is Goodbye

Pin It


BlakRoc – What You Do To Me (Feat. Billy Danze, Nikki Wray, and Jim Jones)

Just some bad ass blues rock for no cot damn reason. Jim Jones, The Black Keys, Billy Danze (M.O.P.) & Nikki Wray, I mean…

This type of shit it (doesn’t) happen everyday.” – De La Soul (Ego Trippin’)

Dame Dash was on to something and had it not been for bad politics a lot more great music like this may have made its way to the airwaves. That’s why as fake and lame as it is to play the game, you always have to remember that in life we’re dealing with egos left and right. Not only those of others but also our own. Often times we can be our own worst enemies and so learning when to hold strong is equally as important as knowing when to fall back. A good team mate knows his role and a good team knows it’s goal, everything in between is usually egos at play and counterproductive to the objective. As we journey to accomplish great things in our efforts to contribute to the human experience, it’s important to realize that to create something worthy of the world we must step outside of ourselves at all times during that process.

Anyways, as I sit in my office playing this much louder than anyone around me would like I can’t help but think of New York. I mean this track is gushing NYC. Raw, dirty, edgy, soulful and resilient. Anything is possible in NY man, I love that energy. Like every other kid I use to hop the train growing up to save a few bucks for snacks at school, that’s one memory. Another is me and Cyrus riding around Manhattan in a Maybach club hoppin’ and having the time of our lives. I love that, I really do.

I’ve been on a constant come up since I was aware of it, hustlers spirit within me I’m never quite satisfied or comfortable. Innovating, being artful and creative to survive becomes engrained in you.

All I see is new to me…”

You seek that spirit in those around you, it’s a beautiful thing. Anyways, play this shit, get hyped, much to do.

BlakRoc – What You Do To Me (Feat. Billy Danze, Nikki Wray, and Jim Jones)

Pin It


Seinabo Sey – Younger

I love songs that ask questions and linger in my head. It’s only fitting that this song found its way to my ears at the end of one week and beginning of another — literally. It’s one in the morning, the freshness of a new week on my horizon, yet last week lingers over my head like a mysterious house guest. This song painted a picture in my head immediately, and somehow managed intertwine itself with my life’s thoughts. The positively piercing vocals of Seinabo Sey scribed themselves to the inner walls of my ears and brain, and within moments, I was transfixed. I’d heard this song previously, I think as a remix by Kygo, but never the original, and I felt physically moved by the musicality and sonic adventure that I found myself embarking on. There’s a duality that I’m always in search of — one that exists in perfect equilibrium and forces me to sit at my computer at one in the morning on a Sunday, just as I think I’m about to go to bed, and crank out a post — because that duality is the perfect blend of music and lyric. It sounds cliche, but you know what? Cliches are rooted in next level emotions and feelings, too real to communicate, and because it’s so hard to translate those emotions and feelings into words and proper descriptors, we give them these blanket terms that are supposed to, you know, do the job.

They don’t.

There is a light to all this darkness, I will tell you this
There’s redemption in you asking them just why it is
Some answers are better left unspoken when you know you ain’t getting any
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?”

This set of words went in one ear and painted a mural inside the walls of my curly haired head, danced for a while as I smiled and reflected on the notion of youth and youngness. Just earlier tonight, I had discussed my twenties with someone over the telephone, in which we both agreed that these were years better spent in search of self. That means embodying selfishness, welcoming it, allowing it to take hold of yourself, because during no other decade of your life is it known and excusable. Isn’t that silly? You can try, in your thirties, but it will feel tiring, particularly because it’s less talked about, particularly in our society. You can do whatever you want, but there’s always going to be more people in your life married with babies in your thirties, than in your twenties. All I ever hear from other twenty somethings is, “I feel” and “I think” and “Sometimes you make me feel” and it’s amazing. Because it’s okay to feel. But think of it this way — you spend your baby years discovering. You spend your teenage years understanding. And your twenties? You discover and understand all at once. And you learn. That’s the beauty, because there are so many different things going on at the same time, for the first time in your life and for the first time for many of you, in your independent life, that it’s only natural to be selfish.

So the next time you think, man, I should have my sh*t together and get grown, remember. You ain’t getting any younger. And now is the time to discover and remember that life is equal parts answer and equal parts mystery.

Seinabo Sey – Younger

Pin It


The Black Keys – Dearest (Buddy Holly Cover)

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 11.34.31 AM


Dearest – though you’re the nearest to my heart

please don’t ever – umm ya
ever say we’ll part

You scold and you were so bold
yes together – umm ya
our love will grow old – umm ya
our love will grow old

You may be a million miles away
please believe me – umm ya
when you hear me say
I love you – I love you

Come home – keep me from these sleepless nights
try my love again – umm ya
I’m gonna treat you right – umm ya
I’m gonna treat you right.”

I love track and have loved the original since I was a wee one.  I think what draws me is the simplicity of the lyrics that even a little girl can easily grasp, maybe not understand the message that lies within the lyrics but grasp the beauty in them none the less.  It’s sad that we can’t keep our innocence and naiveness, especially when it comes to love.  We look at the word love as young children as such a simple word, a word we say to our parents or our best friends, we don’t realize that the older we get the more this word (probably one of the most complex words that I have come to know), is going to make us cry, make our hearts pound faster then we could have ever imagined, make us question the world, make us angry, disappoint us, and make us realize that there is no true definitive answer to what this word really is or means.  I try to remember the innocence of what I felt when I first heard and used the word love, because it’s shown me a lot of disappointment in my 27 years of life, but I am an optimist and I don’t easily give up, so bring it on love, show me what you got, I’m ready for you!

Music is a love that has also shown me many faces, has shaped who I am and my perspectives.  Music is the universal language and it all starts from when the world was created.  Buddy Holly was such a powerful influence to the rock and roll world in his short short life.  The way he shaped the way some of our greatest musicians create their music is quite amazing.  I think to be able to be such a creative force like Buddy is to be able to bring back innocence into your adulthood, to let go of insecurities and let everything be organic and just happen.  The type of rock and roll we think of now is much different than what Buddy Holly created.  There is a softness, a happier energy that rock and roll once was, and I think music was once much more positive in it’s sound and lyrics because even though we are always dealing with some harshness in this world music was once an expression of optimism.  Now I feel as though artists and even myself express all of our anger and frustration in our music.

I love a feel good track like this one on a mellow Sunday, and The Black Keys brought justice and kept the innocence to this already stellar song.  Press play, relax, and remember what it was like to feel love without all the strings, enjoy!

The Black Keys – Dearest (Buddy Holly Cover)

Pin It

Kings of Convenience – I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From (Röyksopp Remix)

Royksopp++Karin+Dreijer+Andersson+RoyksoppThisMustBeIt21

Every so often, a song comes along that lodges itself not only in your ear, but in your mind. You relate to it, but aren’t sure why. Is it the wistful lyricism, or the hollow acoustics reminiscent of grandfather’s guitar? The puckering bass line, tripping through a bath of whirring starsplashes…it becomes the soundtrack your universe, along with the many other songs and stories and memories that make you who you are.

The combination of Norway’s Kings of Convenience and Röyksopp is divergent from expectations for casual fans. Kings are known for their spare, delicate guitar ballads, equally calming and staccato. Röyksopp is one of the preeminent electronic acts of the past two decades, rising to the top through sustained quality production and showstopping live performance.

Sure, electronic acts remix pop acts all the time. In this case, however, it’s a matter of history. Both duos met in grade school (as in, the Kings singer me the Kings drummer), and had records out by high school (though under different monikiers). In the early 1990s, the Norwegian electronic scene settled in Bergen, a city of two million, and the recently formed Röyksopp collaborated with future Kings singer Erland  Øye. And 17 years later, this fantastic remix dropped.

“I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From” is a song I’ve kept to myself for a long time. I don’t put it on shared playlists, or play it at public gatherings. I feel greedy for it, the chance to settle into the music and let my imagination drift. Our digital world pressures us to share, share, share; to brand ourselves through posts and shapshots. And we oblige, for no specific reason. But we all know that no digital footprint can ever show the person inside. Only years of intimacy can ever offer a partial image of the soul.

Today, I offer this track as a glimpse of the person behind the posts. Really, every song we post is a taste of us, a coy reference to something going on behind the screen. In this anonymous world, the music gives us voice. And we hope that, every time we share a piece of ourselves, your day gets just a little bit better.

Kings of Convenience – I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From (Röyksopp Remix)

Pin It

Gorgon City – Ready For Your Love Feat. MNEK (Florian Paetzold Remix)

couple-relaxing-on-a-bed

It is not a typical situation and declaring the moment takes as much guts as the act of letting someone in when we’re most vulnerable. No one’s ready to jump on love. At least not me.

I first heard Gorgon City’s original when it came out upon seeing MNEK on the track’s title. I dug it, mostly for its melodies, by owning the starring role in the song they put the  lyrics on a background. These lyrics.

It wasn’t until I pressed play on an early listen of Florian Paetzold’s remix that my jaw dropped just as the 1 minute mark passed. I stopped typing on my keyboard while a mental—and spacious—WTF moment passed by. Naked, reverberated and heavily-pitched-down vocals single-handedly lead this movie. As the lyrics are sung you can feel the meaning of every word. Finger snaps like a metronome and a sonic wind gust prepares you for the drop. Then it’s chopped vocals and harmonies that lead to the bridge. If you think that was all wait for it around the 2:40 mark.

Summarizing what is unique about this remix is quite simple. You see, the norm is that computers, technology and synthesizers squeeze the emotion out of a song. By pitching down the vocals and the other magic stated above, Florian manages to make a song more passionate and moving. And when a remixer is able to accomplish something like this it deserves praise, recognition—and in the words of MNEK, most of all, most of all, sharing it with someone like you.

Gorgon City feat. MNEK – Ready For Your Love (Florian Paetzold Remix)

Pin It

Moon Boots – Off My Mind

 Moon-Boots-No-One

 

“I can’t get you off my mind, no matter what I do.”

So begins one of the funkiest tracks you’ll ever hear, Moon Boots’ “Off My Mind.” This gem came out over two years ago, and provides a nice into to what Moon Boots is all about.

“I don’t like the term nu disco,” the US-based producer said in an interview with Indieshuffle. He’s right. His music is more emotionally invested than disco, less about the party as about the sensual experience. It’s disco in the vein of “I Feel Love,” the right amount of house, a heavy dose of R&B, and a referential stability keeps us focused on the groove.

The French Express label, home to Moon Boots and contemporaries like Jonas Rathsman, Perseus and Isaac Tichauer, is the latest dance-centric crew riding a rising tide of popularity in their home niche. The artists have been steadily producing for a number of years, but fandom has just now reached critical mass, and these guys are hot. They’re booked to feature at Coachella’s highly regarded DoLab stage, and also rostered at Ultra (Miami) and Movement Electronic Festival (Detroit).

Take this track, for example: a snare-cymbol track lends it some bmore club-inspired grit, while an Aeroplaneesque lead synth purrs its way through a barrage of swirls and stabs. While some other French Express land closer to classic industrial house, Moon Boots stays comfortable in a pop mentality while paying respects to his influencers, who must include Lindstrom, Chic, and Utah Saints (the riff at 2:50 is pure “Something Good”).

A brief tangent: What will it take for this music to be truly considered “mainstream”, not in the derogatory sense, but in the sense that it’s selling well and casual music listeners are away of its existence? Indie is obsessed with the 80s, rock is less and less rebellious, and pop is dominated by rinse-and-repeat throwaways. I don’t believe it will happen with French Express, but I do believe that, within the next decade, the shift to the internet will be complete enough that the notion of mainstream will no longer apply. Corporate dollars wills till push some artists to the top, but I forsee fewer and fewer long-running, BIG bands and more of the bubble-pop cycle of genre preference we’ve been seeing since electronic music went viral in the US.

This isn’t a rhetorical exercise…we at EMPT love to know what you think about music culture. Please share your thoughts in the comments, but not before pressing play.

For those who like Funk night, clubbing in Berlin, or just plain like to shake it in front of the mirror, Moon Boots is for you.

Moon Boots – Off My Mind

Pin It

Miguel – Simplethings

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 12.00.17 PM

She said, I don’t want a model
I don’t want a movie star
You don’t have to win the lotto
I want you to win my heart
Yeah, she said I just want someone true
She said I just want someone to, smoke with me babe
And lay with me babe
And laugh with me babe
I just want the simple things.”

Sounds so simple doesn’t it?  I mean if we think about it, love can be simple or it can be complicated, the same goes for life itself, we make our own fates and our own destinies. I think we as humans want things to be complicated so that we can feel sorry for ourselves and make excuses for why we cannot love or why something isn’t getting done or why life is going the way that we want it.  I say bullshit, I say make it exactly how you want it and burn the excuses.

..at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.  That’s the world’s greatest lie.” -The Alchemist

I love the soul and deep energy that goes into Miguel’s music, I think this track is a great start to the week.  Beautiful effortless vocals, lyrics that make you think but almost help you to unwind from any complications and worries you might be enduring.  I know we all say that we want to find that perfect balance, especially during the beginning of the week, but really what is perfect, it doesn’t really exist.  Complicated should be the new perfect and we should make the word a positive one and not negative, perfect is boring, complicated is mysterious and riveting.

Embrace the complicated and make it into something beautiful, enjoy the week!

Miguel – Simplethings

Pin It

Work Drugs — The Good In Goodbye

artworks-000070007703-mes4fp-t500x500

With the weather in NYC being 50 degrees plus and all, I figured I had to write to something that felt just as good as it does outside right about now. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Winter in New York City, and the snow more than anything, and I, by no means, am one of those people that’s complaining about Winter being Winter, but the eye of the storm is here, and I plan to make the most of it, so, by default, Work DrugsThe Good In Goodbye caught my ears right away, and so, here you and I are ready to enjoy some Indie Rock magic and feel good saying goodbye to the Winter for the next couple of days.

We sometimes chase after the things that we know we shouldn’t. Our keen spidey senses go off, and suddenly a big red fire alarm appears hovering over our heads, and well that thing goes off too—loudly. We say: “fuck it!” with our fists up high as we dive face first into this pool of heartbreak, knowing fully well what’s about to take place, somehow believing that we may just be able to escape said pool without getting the least bit wet.

Hours, days, months, or maybe even years later the time comes to say: ‘adios’ to this thing we once so viscerally desired. Whatever the elements and alignment of stars that got us to that point are, we have a choice to make. We either admit to ourselves, and that other thing, that it was all wrong for us, take our defeat as a learning lesson and say goodbye to it, or, we cower and hope that it goes away without the need to be honest to our own selfs.

Have you ever been in a relationship where all you wanted to hear from the other person was the pure honest truth, and no matter what you said or did to them they still would not give that to you? Well then remember how that made you feel, and never do the same to someone else.

Being powerful enough to say goodbye to someone is a feat that many of you will never achieve, but the few of you that do will find extremely liberating. You will be free of all guilt, free of pain, free of emotional ties, and free to move your heart and all its idiosyncrasies somewhere else. It’s not that the other person won’t hate you forever, or be really hurt, or really mad, or maybe happy that you did it—eventually. No; none of that matters because everyone in this life is chasing happiness, and by everyone I mean e v e r y o n e, so what really just matters is that you are happy.

Yesterday I asked someone that if she were miserable would she want me, or anyone else that she loved for that matter, to be miserable too? As you can imagine, no one with half a heart would want someone that they love to be miserable if they don’t need to be. I mean, we all know that misery loves company, but how selfish would something like that be: “I had a bad day at work and because I had a bad day, well I want you to have a bad day now too?“. That’s not very practical, forget that it isn’t even nice in the first place. So, I ask you here: ‘if you cannot make me happy in this moment, and, if true happiness is only found in-the-moment, would you really be mad if while you were miserable I went somewhere else to get happiness?‘.

Happiness is a choice found in-the-moment. Sure, you can feel a false sense of happiness from a memory, and yes, you can feel that same false sense of happiness from a moment in the future that has yet to arrive, but, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, feels as good as happiness feels when you are in it. It’s never as intense in your memories, nor as vivid. It never smells the same when you recall it, and it ALWAYS feels at least five times better from when you projected it, while you’re in it.

Every year on an even day
I light a match and burn a rose he made
Just a part of blood inside the sea”

The Good In Goodbye” is about taking a chance on something that you know may not end well, just because. It’s about those people that even though you had to say goodbye to, you never necessarily need to forget. I mean, who else really knows what’s going on in your head other than you?

It’s an indie rock kicker with a delicious bass that makes you want to twist and shout, and some super cool vocals that instantly make you want to sing along. It’s a reminder that this life is about tasting and trying everything in sight because we never really know when we will be awakened, or when we will ever be back.

Took a chance and chased her around the block
She was just a ghost inside my dream.”

Work Drugs — The Good In Goodbye

Pin It

Major Lazer – Good Enuff (Cash Flow Dub)

Is it Summer yet?  I’ve been on the West Coast for a month now and I guess it always feels like Summer over here with relaxed vibe, the sun always shining and the beach just steps away, these folks be spoiled I tell you!  It’s hard to get anything done when the sunshine is blurring your mind, it’s a good thing the city girl in me keeps me movin’ and reminds me not to stop grindin’.  Entertainment is my life, if you know what this business is all about especially the music biz then you know how competitive it is.  Everyone wanting to be the best, always looking over your shoulder thinking that someone is going to steal your ideas and your glory, but all that worry and the doubt doesn’t get us anywhere.  As I get older and wiser I am realizing we need to be sharing, collaborating and saying yes to everything, if you make a mistake, oh well, life is about learning.

Speaking of collaborations I couldn’t be more pleased with this track.  Major Lazer never ceases to amaze and surprise me. Three different artists coming together to make magic, I mean literally this is one of those tracks that makes me believe in magic.  I have such a love for Reggae music since I was a little baby.  I have been an avid listener of Collie Buddz, and his reggae flow mixed with Lindi Ortega’s rock/folk vocals is such a unique combination.  This is what I am talking about when I say that we cannot be afraid to collaborate and share ideas, break the barriers, and don’t be afraid to fail.  I don’t really even believe in failing anymore, my fears about failure are starting to diminish thank goodness.  ”Good Enuff” takes me to a place of complete and utter bliss, and Major Lazer’s lyrics really speak to me in this specific song.

“It`s never ever good enough for you
I got this strange little feeling
That my words ain’t appealing to you…

I tell you how I feel, you say it’s insincere
We try baby but were going south
I try baby but your full of doubt
So tell me what am I to do right now?”

Oh sigh! Isn’t it amazing how you feel like no one is ever listening, especially the people that are the most important to you, how sincerity is so rare that when you are being sincere people doubt so much more because sincerity is so foreign to the majority of this world.  It’s pretty sad, but just because someone is doubting you doesn’t mean you need to doubt yourself, never ever doubt yourself.  Negativity and anger can be a true and natural poison, believe me it says so all over its label.  The repellant for this is finding security in yourself and eliminating doubt from your entire being, and believe in all the love that is given to you.

Anyways, thank god it’s Friday right?  If the weeks keep flashing by like this it will be Summer in no time, so press play, get lost, fall in love, be grateful for all the wonderful things you have to offer, f*&k doubt, just enjoy!

Major Lazer – Good Enuff (Cash Flow Dub)

Pin It