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Miguel – Simplethings

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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

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Work Drugs — The Good In Goodbye

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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

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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)

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Hippie Sabotage: “White Tiger” and “Sunny”

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Rarely does a song come on which I literally must stop what I am doing and soak in it. This is definitely the case while listening to tracks from Hippie Sabotage. This brother duo from California has been releasing albums and mixes since 2011. In the past few months, they have continued their rash of releases which range from reworks of Lorde to sampling oldies. Each song could stand alone as a symphonic culmination of percussions and instrumental excellence.

Listening to their songs such as Stay High and Sunny make you believe in the beauty of music and the power to make people move with every pitch change and drop.

Seriously, where have you been all my life?

Feeling the sensation of the base making my headphones vibrate, resonating through my body to my fingers with every deep stroke of the synth and breaks in the song. You feel the air leave your lungs and you can simply exhale. Although the brothers have kept a rather elusive profile, they give you enough you make you searching and pining for one more sweet release. Well played, gentlemen.

Hippie Sabotage – White Tiger

Bonus Track:

Hippie Sabotage – Sunny

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Martina Topley Bird – Poison (Van She Remix)

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I first started getting into electronic music in 2005. I listened to “Discovery” before that and, if it counts, “The Hampster Dance” (WHO DIDN’T? RIGHT? ANYONE?), but didn’t start listening to new productions until I cut my long hair and emerged from a 70s metal phase. 

Hype Machine had just been created, and it allowed newcomers like me to delve deep into the nascent music blog network. Those were the days when the HM feed was filled with weird Euro bangers and complete unknowns.

One blog I linked to was Blue Walrus, a new, eclectic blog that occasionally posted electronic tracks. I checked in from time to time. In 2007, site founder Tim Dickinson posted a mixtape (which became a multi-part series) called “Clap Your Hands to the Electricity,” which featured tracks and remixes by Justice, Boys Noize, Sebastian, and The Klaxons among others. One track was Dragonette’s fantastic “I Get Around,” here remixed by Australia’s Van She. I fell hard for that track and still listen to it as a pregame amp anthem.

I dug deeper into the catalogues of all of those artists and, well, now they are all household names among a certain sect of music aficionados. Except for Van She.

The band started in 2002 in Australia, and never really broke out. I never was a big fan of their original music, but as remixers, they were and are some of the best in the game.

The track I’ve selected to share today is Van She’s remix of Martina Topley Bird’s “Poison.” The sultry vocals of the original are lifted from a sparse jungle drum beat and layered atop Van She’s trademark rhythmic guitar plucking and aggressive synth revs. The result is straightforward, sexy and fun. A stand up through the sun roof  kind of jam. Hope you enjoy it.

Martina Topley Bird – Poison (Van She Remix) 

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Sam Smith – Money On My Mind

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Sam. Smith.

A composition between Sam Smith and Disclosure at the end of 2012 launched Smith and his sultry vocals into the elite of the music scene. Sam Smith recently released an EP, Nirvana, on 28 January 2014. Cannot recommend this more.

His release offers 7 tracks, some of which are more R&B and stripped down which compliment the more energetic remix with Disclosure and this number, also on the EP.

With Sam Smith‘s punching soprano vocals and the help of a solid base and delicate piano , this tune just oozes sex and a class and lyrics which say “I do this for the love”.

Although he has sold old nearly every upcoming show in Europe, if get a chance to be serenaded by this talent, I would recommend it.

Sam Smith – Money On My Mind

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Kraak & Smaak – Squeeze Me (A Skillz Remix)

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What am I into?

How about getting funky as shit on the dance floor. Hair plastered to the forehead with sweat. Faces filled with exuberant aggression. Like they want to rip your head off with hip swings and shoulder brush-offs.

How about ear-trashing bass. Bass that makes the air snap. Bass that hits you right in the intestines. Wobbly, filthy, grimy bass.

How about some R&B vocals for good measure. Love and silky looks and emotion. Some jazzy piano twinkles to add flavor.

I’m into this track.

Kraak & Smaak – Squeeze Me (A Skillz Remix)

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Sting – Shape Of My Heart (LCAW Remix)

For most of the world today is Valentines Day, a day that is filled with flowers and candy and funny little cards with hearts all over it, a Hallmark day.  A day where we find an excuse to tell people we love them or break up with them.  For me February 14th holds a much deeper meaning for a couple very personal reasons and for those things I honor today.

I think you should be able to show your love to those in your life every single day.  That has always been a strict moral of mine, and those that know me know it to be true.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. -Lao Tzu

Sting has always produced music that takes my romantic emotional side to a very deep place, he has a voice that is like watching the ocean when the sun is setting.  I know I know, pretty corny but it’s true, I get lost when I listen to his songs about love. LCAW puts a really wonderful spin on this track to make it just perfect for this blissful weekend. So whether your spending time with your loved one, hanging with friends or celebrating this day for other reasons besides love, I think this track is the perfect mood setter for any of those reasons.

Happy February the 14th, this post is dedicated to a very dear friend Miss Maddie <3

Sting – Shape Of My Heart (LCAW Remix)

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Neo Safari – Sunshine

We are nearing the end of winter. The promise of crop tops, drinks mixed with lemonade, and tan lines is coming closer. Consider this a shot of warmth for your ears.

Neo-Safari , or Dan Rogers, is a producer from Dallas, Texas. Although the exact genre of music it specializes in seems to vary, the tracks are all unique and draw you in with the layers of starry sounds and mixed decades of influence.

In Sunshine, you hear dance music from the 90′s, vocals from the 60′s and a track that will melt the chill away. With more recent releases including a rework of Broken Bell’s delicious track, Holding On for Life, Neo-Safari appears to continually release synth drenched tracks to bask in.

Neo-Safari – Sunshine

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EMPT Exclusive: Interview with The Soundmen

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EMPT doesn’t always do interviews, but when we do, we bring you the freshest names in the game.

This week, Nicky DePaul caught up with Seattle-based production duo The Soundmen, who have blown up of late (Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, MTV), to learn about the new Seattle sound, how their musical collaborations happen, and why surfing is the best medicine.

EMPT: First off, who are The Soundmen?

JJ/SD: The Soundmen are the production duo of Justin Jamison and Scott Durday.  We have been producing together for years, are best buds since college, and just love making music.

EMPT: You’ve just released your debut EP, “The Soundmen,” but you’ve been remixing and producing for years already (formed in ’09). Tell us a bit about the journey from one-off’s to a full EP.

JJ: We formed The Soundmen in ’09, however, we started out producing hip hop records for Seattle artists before that and then gradually started shifting our production into what it is now by getting the opportunity to work with artists outside of hip hop. Scott and I have always listened to a wide range of music, so the transition into other genres felt natural.

SD: Its been quite the journey! Justin and I started heavily in the rap world. We cut our teeth producing in the streets, making and placing production with artists like G Dep (Bad Boy), Babs Bunny, Murda Mook, Ron Browz and others. We always saw ourselves as behind the scenes until we decided to make and put out a remix EP for fun.

The EP, a remixing of Grizzly Bear and Little Wayne called Veckaflyest, spread fast and got us on the radars of Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine and other music outlets. Thats when we realized the power of using the internet to release our own music.

Since then we’ve steadily been collaborating with a wide range of artists both to produce songs for them and then create our own original records to showcase our sounds. Our debut EP, is culmination of the collaborations and sound we have cultivated during 2013.

EMPT: For right or wrong, most people don’t associate Seattle with pop or electronic music. For a long time the city had the grunge label, and more recently the mainstream output has been folk/indie rock-y (Fleet FoxesBand of Horses). But with the rapid rise of Macklemore and you guys, the perception is changing. What do you think about that, and how is the Seattle cultural scene reacting?

SD: The Seattle scene has always been incredibly diverse, and we couldn’t be prouder to be a part of that. Seeing Macklemore‘s success, an artist who we and many of our peers have worked with, blow up with an almost genreless approach to hiphop has been awesome. I think it shines the light on one of the most diverse music environments in the country, that defines it sound not in pre-concieved style but in output.

JJ: The Seattle scene is one of the most ecclectic scenes around. Of course, Seattle is known for grunge and before that, Jimi Hendrix, but the music scene is very diverse. I think that labels tend to look for a familiar “Seattle Sound” when looking at this region for talent. Also, labels like Sub Pop and Barsuk have long had their style of artists, but they are even starting to venture into different genres.

EMPT:  What are your artistic goals? Are they the same as your career goals?

SD: Our career goals are twofold. One, to continue to define The Soundmen brand/sound as a diverse and consistent production sound. And Two, to increase the amount of production that we are doing behind the scenes for artists.

Artistically though, we want to continue to be a place where music fans go for GOOD music. Not music that sits in one genre, or is enjoyed because of the synth and drum sounds of the moment. Although we enjoy throwing nods to certain trends, we like to think of our music as pure electronic music that is hopefully timeless.

EMPT Many of the songs on the EP are collaborations. How did those come about?

JJ: Most of our collaborations came from previous work that we have done for artists, whether it’s a remix or original production. We built those relationships through working together in the past and they were willing to contribute to our project.

SD: Our collaborations have resulted in many different ways. Sometimes we remix an artist, and then bridge that gap to creating something new. Sometimes its simply reaching out and having a mutual appreciation and going from there. Our collaboration with Avan Lava happened that way, as we DJed with them at SXSW in 2012, had talked about working together and when we produced that song we knew it would be for them.

EMPT: Your Facebook profile lists a bunch of influences, including DillaAphex TwinOrbital andThe Neptunes. What impact have artists like these had on your development?

SD: All of those artists create or have created timeless music and stayed true to the music they wanted to make. Whether it was completely mindblowing electronic or slap heavy hiphop, they perfected their sound and craft. This is what we want to do. Not just dabble in a genre and jump back out, but perfect our blend of electronic pop & hiphop to exist as its own brand.

JJ: These are all artists that we grew up listening to and were inspired by all of them in different ways. When I started making music I learned by paying attention to the way my favorite artists did things. When we first started producing, Scott and I were primarily using samples on most of our records. Producing trends have definitely changed a lot over the last ten years and I feel like we were able to learn from some of our favorite artists but also find our own unique sound along the way.

EMPT: What are you ordering at the bar?

SD: Margarita, heavy on the salt, and top shelf on the Tequila.

JJ: I usually order a good beer. I’m an IPA guy. My other drink of choice is a good whiskey.

EMPT: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

JJ:  I went to school for audio engineering and film post production so I would still be in a studio somewhere or working in film.

SD: Surfing. Its the only activity I’ve found other than music that I never get bored doing. Shredding beats and waves!!

EMPT: Who is your dream collaborator and what venue would you most like to play with that person/group?

SD: Right now ASTR, St Lucia, FTSEMapei, and The Chain Gang of 1974 are all blowing me away with their sounds and would love to bring our sounds into their worlds. But overall, I would kill to do a song with Ed McFarlane of Friendly Fires. Hands down my favorite vocalist of the last decade.

JD: Ed Macfarlane from Friendly Fires has been a long standing favorite of Scott and myself. If I could pick any venue it would be Neumo’s in Seattle, because it is the first place that I saw FF perform live. If we were in NY, I would pick the Mercury Lounge or Bowery Ballroom.

SD: As for a venue to DJ at. Initially it was Roseland Ballroom, and then in 2012 we were lucky enough to DJ a set there to a sold out crowd. So now I think DJing a festival like Glastobury or Coachella would really be our dream. Playing those tight 1-1.5 hour sets of bodymoving music to a sophisticated crowd of music lovers is what we love to do.

EMPT: You get to plan one perfect day. What does that day look like?

SD: Finishing a massive track with Justin, followed by an evening surf session in 5-7 ft surf in 80 degree water with the boys. Light offshore winds. No one else out.

JJ: It would have to be a recording session with one of our favorite artists in an area that we could take surf breaks. Possibly even catching a good sporting event at night.

Thanks to Justin and Scott aka The Soundmen. Buy the full EP on iTunes here.

The Soundmen – With You ft. Rai Knight

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