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Chromeo – White Women

If you did a dance remix of Hall and Oates with Daft Punk and added a dash of Duran Duran, you’d get something like the hot new album “White Women” by Chromeo. Before you accuse the artists of racism, take a breath because the title has a double meaning.

What was the inspiration behind the album title?

The musicians admitted that the name “White Women” is actually an intentional tribute to one of their favorite photographers: Helmut Newton; this photographer published a famous series of black and white erotic portraits under the same name in 1976. This provocative album cover photo imitates Newton’s classic style of posing powerful women in risqué settings that push the boundaries of their audience. Thus, the album cover of, “White Women” is a tanned woman with deliciously long legs in a tight, ultra-mini bridal dress few would dare to walk anywhere in, and the Chromeo duo of David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel, also known as “P-Thugg,” escort the “stolen” bride down an empty street rather than the infamous aisle. How’s that for a conversation starter?

Not only that, you can see in the music video of, “White Women’s” latest hit, “Jealous” that the phrase is also a general pun about women of all different races, sexual orientations and cultural backgrounds in white wedding dresses. All in all, the pun of “White Women” shows the playful, cheeky nature of Chromeo that fans have come to adore.

What can you expect from this record?

With familiar beats pumping along, the playful layers of synthesizers blend in to create something totally new, fresh and upbeat.  The duo that is Chromeo never take themselves too seriously, but that doesn’t mean the songs lack in quality, wit, wordplay, and beats that will make you dance in your office desk chair.

The first popular track, “Jealous,” has everything you need in a top summer hit single: fun, beats that build, humor, sex appeal and breaks with heart-filled lyrics that will bounce you through life with a smile. “Jealous” is a song with enough glamour to take women down a runway, enough flirtation to help you catch the eye of your latest attraction on the dance floor and enough punch to make that long highway drive an enjoyable one.

Songs like “Over My Shoulder,” a séance of a groovy, lost track of the late 70s disco craze is just the type of track that we expect from Chromeo, one that tackles serious topics with a twist of witticism and fun.

With lines like “even though you have small breast, to me they look the best, I confess, I want take you home and get you undressed. You see your problems of self-esteem can be self-fulfilling prophecies, so probably, your best policy is to talk to me,” they tackle self-esteem, the Hollywood image, and the sex-driven world that women have to traverse their entire life without being heavy handed.

This 12-track “electro-funk” album also features Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend as he shines later in the album in the song “Ezra’s Interlude” and Toro Y Moi on the track “Come Alive.”

“Come Alive” doesn’t just encourage listeners to take a break and dance; it’s urging you to get out of your static state in life. With undertones of social equality—”we got something so real, however they feel, doesn’t really matter no more”—the song is a statement about true love and not hiding in the shadows anymore. One can see how this still applies to present times.

If the song isn’t enough to make you a fan, the funny music video features sexy department store mannequins literally coming to life to dance as our hero struts and sings down the aisle. The final scene when both David Macklovitch and Chazwick Bradley Bundick (Toro y Moi) are caught making out and sexing mannequins in the storage room by Patrick Gemayel’s department store security guard is priceless and will surely win you over.

Overall, it’s another win for Chromeo.

Where did they come from?

A Jewish and Lebanese duo from Canada who met in the mid ’90s, Chromeo first got worldwide attention after the song “Needy Girl” hit clubs in 2004 from their debut album “She’s in Control.” The Reese’s candy company later used the song “Needy Girl” in a 2007 television commercial for the Reese’s peanut butter cup where the words, “The perfect three-way: milk chocolate, Reese’s peanut butter and you,” flash over the image of the candy. That wasn’t the only song to gain them more exposure either; audiences heard their song “Mercury Tears” in the 2004 snowboard movie “Chulksmack” by Mack Dawg Productions. A few years later, the next big hit, “Night by Night,” showed their growing potential as they smoothed a “Miami-Vice” flair into a more modern sound that continues to gain sophistication and popularity to this day.

Chromeo hits the road:

The Come Alive tour is keeping them busy until the first week of June in 2014 all across Europe with live shows in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin and more. After that, they’ll crash Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater in August, followed by a special feature at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas, Nevada a few days later.

Jason Kane is a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. He bought the new Chromeo from SoundStage Direct, his go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment, and played it on his VPI Turntable.

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La Roux – Let Me Down Gently


It’s about damn time!

When I first heard a static-y leaked version of “Fascination” in ’08, I knew La Roux was going to be big.  Their arrival onto the scene coincided perfectly with the rise of blog and remix culture, and their sonic combination of pop, soul and forward-thinking synth music in fact prefaced the rise of today’s electro-pop craze.

“Going in for the Kill (Skream Remix)” led to Purity Ring; “Bulletproof” to CHVRCHES. And many of the unheralded tracks on La Roux’s eponymous 2009 debut, like “Armour Love” and “Cover My Eyes” set the stage for Lorde and similarly simmering female vocalists. La Roux contemporaries – Little Boots and Ladyhawke especially – haven’t gained anything near the popular acclaim and staying power.

What I’m trying to say is that, by my measure, Ellie Jackson is the co-queen (along with Robyn) of modern pop vocals. I was lucky enough to catch a La Roux live set last year (my second overall). Jackson’s stage presence is elite, and the audience clearly knew every song. The was also chock full of killer new material that fit into their canon without being repetitive, and I left feeling pumped for a new album. Then, nothing. The wait continued.

Now, finally, after 5 years, La Roux will release their second album, “Lost in Paradise,” stateside on July 8th. “Let Me Down Gently,” the lead single from the album, is an instant classic for La Roux fans, but surely will not be the lasting impression from the album. It’s a fine taste of a sound that’s been imitated over and over but not yet matched, delivered, despite the layoff, without missing a beat.

The tracklist has been released, and includes songs titled, “Sexotheque” and, “Tropical Chancer.” The band played the latter at the show I attended, and let me tell you, it will bring the house down when released. I’ve been singing it to myself for over a year, not knowing the title or lyrics…“t-t-t-tropical chancaaaaa.” I can’t wait.

La Roux hits the road in June, and will tour the US (both solo and as New Order’s opener) through July before heading back to England. If the swing passes through your town, don’t sleep. Pop mastery is rare, and strong live performance of their caliber even rarer.

Welcome back La Roux.

La Roux – Let Me Down Gently

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EMPT Exclusive: Interview with Corsica Arts Club

Corsica Arts Club

EMPT gets a ton of emailed songs from up-and-coming artists, most of which we regretfully do not get to post. However, once in a while we find a gem and reach out to the performers to learn a bit more. Today, writer Nicky DePaul catches up with Corsica Arts Club, an emerging band out of Los Angeles who captured our ear with their blissful take on summertime rock, “California I Follow.”

EMPT: You guys are as new as they come. Tell us, who are Corsica Arts Club?

CAC: Corsica Arts Club is Brendan and Arash. We’ve been friends since we were teenagers and we’ve been making music together for over a decade.

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

Arash: We try to write the best songs we can write, songs that we would enjoy listening to ourselves. There’s nothing we’d love more than to make a career out of it.

EMPT: How does your long-term friendship impact your writing and recording process?

Brendan: There’s a bond, an inherent understanding. It’s very easy to communicate both creatively and personally – our feelings, our aspirations, or how we’d like a song to sound.

Arash: We grew up liking the same music, discovering the same artists and albums together, so we have the same references for anything from melodic ideas to production ideas.

EMPT: “California I Follow” is very much an LA song, in the recent tradition of early releases from Best Coast or No Age: lo-fi, laconic, washed out. Does a sense of place infiltrate your music purposefully?

Arash: Not necessarily, though we can’t help but be influenced by our environment on some level.

Brendan: Whether in the narrative we’re telling or in the palette of sounds we’re using. At the same time, we strive to make music that’s universal, that can be appreciated regardless of the fact that we’re from LA.

Arash: If anything, we hope to evoke a feeling more than a specific place. All of our friends that we’ve played it for say it sounds like summer. That being said, I’d hope that someone who has never been to LA, but has a romanticized idea of it from films or television, hears the song and feels like they’ve been transported here. I love songs like that.

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

Arash: I literally have no idea.

Brendan: I’d say the same. I’d feel like something was missing. The absence of music in my life sounds like an incomplete life.

EMPT: Your Facebook lists some prominent influences: Bowie, Iggy Pop, Kraftwerk, The Beach Boys. What does it mean to you to be influenced by an artist? How does influence appear in your art? Are there any current acts you’re drawing from or would recommend to our readers?

Arash: There are certain songs or albums that elicit such profound excitement when we hear them, that strike such a chord, we’re almost immediately thinking about how to recreate those feelings. David Bowie‘s”Low” for example. When we discovered that album it felt like finding the secrets of the universe. We’re enamored by everything about it – obviously the songs, but also the story behind it, the production techniques, the album art. It’s hard to pinpoint all the ways our favorite artists have influenced us, but I’ll tell you that we keep Bowie and “Low” in mind when we think about sounds or instruments we’d like to use in a song.

As far as current acts go, some of our favorites include Radiohead, The Strokes, and Phoenix. The guys from Dawes, who we knew back when they were called Simon Dawes, have had an influence on us in the sense that they turned us on to The Band and Big Star. We can’t thank them enough for that.

EMPT: Nice. I remember the Simon Dawes days. They played at my high school battle of the bands contest. Next question: What are you ordering at the bar?

Arash: A Death In The Afternoon. That’s champagne and absinthe.

Brendan: *laughs* I don’t drink. Arnold Palmer. Or water.

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

Arash: I’d want to spend the day on some beach, probably somewhere on the French Riviera, with a good book or two, then have a party at night with all my family and friends.

Brendan: My favorite place is Cinque Terre in Italy. I’d love to go back there.

EMPT: Any future plans you’d like to share?

Arash: We’re constantly writing and recording music. Beyond that? There are some things in the works. Keep an eye on us…

Many thanks and good luck to Corsica Arts Club. Find them on Soundcloud, Twitter and Facebook for more music and updates.

Corsica Arts Club – California I Follow

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Young Thug — The Blanguage

Metro boomin’ want some more nigga”

I never know what Young Thug is saying until I head on over to Rap Genius and read… and even then I’m not sure that I get it. But, sometimes music is our guilty pleasure simply because it’s happening on its own, in the background. Sometimes we don’t need to know the words to enjoy the vibe of a tune. Sometimes all we need is to hear those great piano chords masterfully played by intense finger pounding like what you will hear at the three minute and fourty-two second mark on this cover of Drake’s “The Language ” titled “The Blanguage.” Then, on the repeat listen you will desperately await those same piano strokes as you mindlessly enjoy the tone and Versace flow of Young Thugger’s chants.

Voodoo is an idea. It is the idea that with enough power you can control the outcome of any situation. Its powerful chants have killed before, they have inspired before, they have made people rich and broken others dry, yet the one thing nobody can deny is how enchanting they can be. Maybe not enchanting in a way that is always welcomed, because I do believe that the chants can sound pretty creepy, but nevertheless, they capture your attention, and they make you listen regardless of what is being said. That’s how I see this cover. It captures me from the beginning because of the familiar production. It manages to keep my attention because of its familiar flow, and finally, it gives me a much better reason to appreciate the production details than Drake ever could.

It’s sunny enough in New York City right now to rock some shades, cool enough to throw a leather on, and nice enough to enjoy this tune all day. It’s mellow, it’s bouncy, and it’s so Hip-Hop in a day and age where Hip-Hop you can play on repeat is a scarcity.

Young Thug — The Blanguage

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Sam Smith – Stay With Me (Black Space Remix)

This song feels like a gospel. And this is the time for a gospel. A saving grace in music. Some reassurance that the music industry is not just filled with foxes who sound ‘really great’ when auto-tuned or spewing words that resemble more of what we wrote to our crushes in passed notes from our training bras and back seats.

You half expect this song to come with a choir in the back singing behind him smoothly, resonating emotion and hope and praise. Dawning hair which is reminiscent of  doo-wop singers, the singer’s English upbringing clearly oozes from his dapper and polished attire and presence. I appreciate this though. Bring back the days of the Rat Pack and tailored suits.

Sam Smith, a somewhat newer face in the past year, was been awarded top honours this past year for being the bright rising star in the UK. He has been breaking hearts with his music and moving us to dance and to breath in his sweet voice with each release of a new track or mix. His debut album will be released at the end of this month titled, “In the Lonely Hour” and can only promise to deliver more.

This edit is nothing to look over from Black Space, a 19-year old producer from Geneva, Switzerland. Influences for this young lad stem from the musical styles of Kygo (clearly heard in this mix). What gives me chills in this song is when you hear the flutes come through with the consistent piano. The tone feels almost like that of an Arcade Fire track simply filed with a sound which I can only describe as “hopeful”.


Sam Smith – Stay With Me (Black Space Edit)

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MC Solaar – Obsolète

Passé, dépassé, obsolète?

MC Solaar est un grand nom du rap français jouissant d’une notoriété indiscutable. Il a fortement participé à l’instauration du rap dans la culture française grâce à des textes très réfléchis et engagés. Il a su attirer un publique plus large avec des chansons moins provocatrices que ses confrères. Le morceau Obsolète montre à quel point le MC était à l’avant-garde de ce mouvement. 20 ans après la sortie de Prose Combat (album sur lequel figure Obsolète), à l’encontre du titre de la chanson, le texte n’a rien de désuet, au contraire.

Ce texte toujours d’actualité 20 ans plus tard, induit une comparaison entre le passé et le présent. Il y a quelques jours, j’ai rentré mon deuxième pied dans la vingtaine. Comme à chaque anniversaire, un regard en arrière s’impose, et à l’heure du bilan je me rends compte qu’on dit souvent que c’était mieux avant. « Nous ne sommes pas nés à la bonne époque, sérieux c’était mieux avant, aujourd’hui on va droit dans le mur ». Les paroles d’MC Solaar nous montrent finalement que ce n’est qu’un éternel recommencement.

Oh shit, à la télé y’a plus de speakrines

Y’a des films de séries B que j’estime à quatre centimes

Alors qu’MC Solaar regrettait la disparition sur les écrans des speakrines, (des femmes ayant pour rôle d’annoncer les programmes) pour l’authenticité qu’elles apportaient, et n’adhérait pas au nouveau genre de séries B américaines ; nous aujourd’hui, regrettons ces séries cultes de notre enfance et déplorons la téléréalité qui les remplace. A force de regarder en arrière constamment nous sommes peut-être dépassés par ce qu’il se passe aujourd’hui ? La technologie évoluant de plus en plus vite sans vraiment connaitre ses effets sur la société, les médias faisant de moins en moins la distinction entre l’information et le divertissement et de nombreux autres changements nous pousse à regretter le passé.

Mais finalement, qu’est ce que notre époque a de si regrettable ? Pourquoi pas ne pas positiver et dire : « Ça sera encore mieux demain ! » ? Ce morceau donne envie de lever la tête et de regarder autour de soi ce qui est essentiel, une démarche assurée jouant des épaules afin de trouver la ferveur nécessaire pour assumer cette évolution constante!

MC Solaar – Obsolète


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SOHN et Bowery Ballroom

I’m not alone when I say that last week was remarkably overloaded with talented artists swarming the scene in New York City. Regardless of the rain and foggy overtone that flooded the streets, I still made my way to the sold-out SOHN performance at Bowery Ballroom on the Lower East Side. Having spent the previous night on the ground floor for Shlomo, I chose a different locale this time and perched myself on the 2nd floor in order to get an aerial view that was not bombarded with humans and cellphones.  I could be submerged into the music without distractions.

Seducing the world via his own brand of dream-soaked synth and lushed out R&B, Christopher Taylor, aka SOHN, is a force to be reckoned with. He did not hold back during the 75-minute show that encompassed all of our favorite tracks on his new full-length album Tremors. Surrounded by two other musicians, SOHN was dead beat in the middle.  At first glance, you might think he was a fellow New Yorker, wearing only black on stage and a hoody pulled up so all you could see was his silhouette.  But no, this Vienna-based London-born producer and vocalist certainly had a much more relaxed tone, with a significantly slower pace, everything that a native New Yorker doesn’t possess. These subdued vocals entered your brain waves and immediately disregarded thoughts of your day-to-day responsibilities and hustle and bustle that living in a city begs of you.

Watching him on stage transported me out of this consumer feeding frenzy and drew me into each word, watching his hands groove so freely with the airy synths and slow-motion bass. Once he began to sing, his vibrato tenor began to press against the heavy, pattering synths and looped vocals and I began to float. The audience fell silent and we all collectively felt the strong threads of melancholy. Influences of Björk and Radiohead were prominent, as well as the noticeable similar characteristics of James Blake and Autre Ne Veut. But each song started off slow and steady. Every whisper of sound caused the LED lights to synchronize with the bass, and deep vibrant colors of green, white, and red were displayed; each one, painstakingly released pure raw emotions into the atmosphere.

In a recent article, SOHN described his work with moments of positivity, however, they come across in a very dark and dreary way. For instance, his song titled, “The Wheel” begins with, “I died a week ago.” It’s clear that the atmosphere is murky, but this man explains that he intends for the listener to understand that it is a new beginning or fresh start. You can be reborn and have this freedom to be who you want, when you want, and go in any direction your heart chooses. For me, these elements were the core moments I took away from the show.

Each morning we wake up is a new beginning, and we get to make choices that will ultimately shape our journey on this planet.  I hope all of you have a chance to see SOHN live, and if not, then blast the album and you too will feel the rebirth. If you have fallen in love, recently separated, had your heart broken, or find yourself on the prowl for the love of your life, remember that we all have the power to attract — we all have shining souls, and what you project onto others will come back to you.

The takeaway: Positivity comes in many ways, even through darkness.

S O H N – Artifice

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Wet – Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl (Branchez Remix)

This song has been on repeat for three days. I keep having the same conversation over and over with different people. You are not unhappy. You don’t want to be alone. You don’t to be with them. What happened? Did something change? If you have ever been on the giving end of this conversation, you know your brain turns flaccid and your thoughts lose credibility and clarity before leaving your lips.

Another person talked to me about hot wax. Everyone is a little masochistic. You watch a calm candle flicker and we all dip our fingers in the wax surrounding it. Letting the heat burn your fingers. A simple reminder that you can still feel at all as the thoughts that tumble in your mind leave you feeling vacant. Hot wax acts as a reminder of reality. The song cuts back in and you hear the almost upbeat, downer breakup tune pulling you back like hot wax.

More than anything, I feel that we have seen so many shifts in what is normal and what is not. Our parents grew up thinking the person they dated in college was inevitably the one. Or if you move around too much, then you will never be able to grow. We now pride ourselves as a generation of lovers who no longer need to be monogamous with our darlings or our jobs or our zip codes or our zippers. We move around to stay present in the current.

Over a beer in a pub with a stranger I have known for ten years, he asked when is the time to settle down. He was thumbing the keys to the house he recently purchased and I could see wanderlust was already causing him to constantly itch his feet in his loafers that were cemented there in The Angel.

A listen to the angelic voice of this three-piece from Brooklyn and you will feel the longing for heartbreak. For the hot wax. The lead singer put it best when describing their debut album as “break-up songs, well atleast superficially.” Wet is currently travelling around the UK and will follow-up with a tour with CHVRCHES later this summer.

Branchez, however, brought this song to a level of hot wax. It was a beautiful, airy tune to get your head into, and then he brings his signature New Yorker bass and makes you dance and break hearts. A perfect Spring / Summer, love / break-up mix.

Wet – Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl (Branchez Remix)

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Tensnake – Love Sublime ft. Nile Rodgers and Fiora

For the past three week’s I’ve been living alone for the first time ever. Growing up, I was surrounded by family at home and friends at school. In college, alone time was rare, and frankly I didn’t seek it out. Between roommates and lovers, the apartment was rarely empty. And upon graduation, I moved in with my domestic partner. We’ve been living together ever since.

A month ago, I found out I’d be alone for three weeks as my partner traveled for work. I didn’t think much of it. I’d be at work during the day, and fill my evenings up with friends, reading, writing, anime binging etc. But that wasn’t the reality.

I found myself feeling bored and lonely, two emotions that I’m not used to. Boredom is easy to cure in the short term: just crack a good book, go for a bike ride. But by the end of the second week, I was spending far too much time lying on the floor of my apartment with my cat asleep on my chest, doing nothing.

Loneliness was the real trial. I have been exceedingly lucky in life to never experience strong loneliness, but as I progress deeper into adulthood, I’ve awoken to why it’s been such a pervasive theme in the human experience. No longer are my friends available on cue, no longer is my sister in her bedroom down the hall. Perhaps older adults erase that loneliness with families of their own, but I doubt it goes away completely.

Full disclosure: I’m a nerdy, awkward white guy. And when I dance, I do the dice roll and moves that vaguely resemble those practiced in the squarest 50s hootenannies. Over the last three weeks, I danced constantly.

You know those videos “History of Dance” (or something like that)? Seriously, get me on camera. I was busting out the Jacko spin, the Swabbage Patch, the Running Man, the Lasso (to my cat, of course) and the disco point. I’m used to dancing in crowds, and using crowd-dance moves, so my solo-party was a revelation. The ground you can cover with one sliiiide!

Are you feeling bored, tired, lonely, out of it? Try my prescription: One dose modern disco (ingredients: diva vocals, piano stabs, Nile Rodgers), one empty living space, and complete inhibition.

Push that grocery cart, dig that hole, thrust to the left, thrust to the right! Our society pays exorbitant fees for gyms and classes and seminars to achieve a sense of health and belonging, all well and good.

But all we really need is some time alone to dance.

Tensnake – Love Sublime ft. Nile Rodgers and Fiora

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Lykke Li — No Rest For The Wicked



Shawty is a killa.

“What goes around comes around”, and that’s exactly what No Rest For The Wicked is about. It’s sang from the perspective of a heartbreaker and delivered to you, the heartbroken. It’s a powerful ballad of emotion, a heart that bleeds from an open-wound found in gingerly played piano keys that cry out loudly with every stroke.

Lykke Li does an incredible job on this one with a vocal performance reminiscent of various signature name brands. The airiness in the delays of Stevie Nicks, the finishing twang from the accented words of M.I.A, and the layered track mixes of country singers. The singing on this is exactly what we want to hear, even if we didn’t know that we wanted to hear it.

I let my good one down,
let my true love die,
I had his heart, but I broke it every time.” 

We all have that one person from our past who we regret hurting. Maybe the timing wasn’t right, or maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t meant to be in this lifetime because some things are just not meant to be for the lifetimes we are currently in. You’ve felt that before, right? As if you’ve known the person that has caught your attention for five minutes for a LOT longer than just five minutes? As if every kiss given and every touch of the neck is all too familiar in ways that make you try to recall memories from another era that you know are not this one?

How do we know who our true love is when we barely know ourselves? How can you sacrifice the pieces of you that you don’t even know you have yet? This is why some of these great loves come into our lives and we can only let them down by breaking their hearts. The best thing happens only when you accidentally run into them and their new loves and families, and get to see just how happy they are because that’s when you know that you were meant to destroy a part of them in order for them to rebuild a much stronger foundation.

Sometimes we even get to realize that it’s those very same foundations that are not yet strong enough to sustain a love as powerful as ours that needed to be rebuilt in the first place.

Lykke Li — No Rest For The Wicked

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