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A-Trak (feat. Phantogram) – Parallel Lines (BLU J Remix)

The resurgence of 80s music tropes has coincided perfectly with my recent transition to life on the coast. Something about the combination of modern synths and stripped-down drum machines taps into the opposition of dry heat and cool breeze during the summer. In the past month, ABRA’s “CRYBABY” and Autumn In June’s “HEROin KIDZ” in particular have soundtracked moment after hazy moment.

A new addition to my sun-drenched rotation comes from Blu J’s remix of A-Trak and Phantogram’s summery house explosion, “Parallel Lines.” It reminds me why I’m so happy the classic 808 sound has regained popularity at 128 BPM as the crisp, kick-to-hat beat is timeless. When tracks like the “Parallel Lines” remix are pulsing through the speakers and pink-and-purple neon signs dot the landscape around me, the essence of today’s time and space fades away until the blinding light of my phone receiving a Twitter notification smashes the reset button.

That reminds me, I have a nice view of neon-lit buildings from my balcony…you can find me out there listening to Blu J’s “Parallel Lines” remix til that notification comes.

Virtual Riot (feat. Madi) – Flutter

Take note, children; Moving Castle are on a serious roll and it’s not totally due to their music. Sure, the posi future-bass tunes as of late have struck a chord with listeners (100k SoundCloud plays is the worst-case scenario around these parts), but this LA-based label has managed to create a culture with p u r e a e s t h e t i c in mind. I mean, look, go and check their most recent rollout for Manila Killa’s “Youth;” a gorgeous, electronic ballad complimented by flowery artwork turned my entire Twitter TL into a purple-flower emoji parade for days – no, weeks – as the track climbed onward to almost one million plays.

As of this morning, my TL is quickly beginning to drown in a flock of bird emojis, which naturally means a new track – Virtual Riot’s “Flutter” – is now upon us. Flanked by an album cover with the omnipresent Moving Castle logo, an assortment of miniature items, and light orange hue as a backdrop, this song’s rollout is yet another one-way ticket to a e s t h e t i c c i t y. As is this case with all Moving Castle releases, though, this one sticks in the mind like a piece of gum to the bottom of your shoe; featured artist Madi’s vocals are ethereal, demanding multiple rewinds in their own right while Virtual Riot’s step outside of his dubstep comfort-zone results in a joyful future-bass outing.

Fuck, even Moving Castle’s Twitter icon is now the same orange hue as the cover. These guys are GOOD.

Fjord – Hey Hey My My (Neil Young cover)

On the surface, a cover song seems like a slam dunk concept. You release an (presumably) already well written and nicely arranged song by an artist with an (presumably) established fan base, sit back, and watch your followers skyrocket. It’s just that simple!

But nope. Most bands will tell you, it’s mostly a challenge not worth accepting. It’s like showing up for the first day of school – as the new kid – taking a nice hearty dump in your jeans, proudly sitting down at the popular girls table, declaring your support for Donny Trump and then asking them all to have an orgy with you that night. You’re not gonna go home with too many friends that day, and your chances of survival for the rest of the school year will be in serious jeopardy.

But, if you somehow pull it off, it’s a big deal. And with their cover of Neil Young’s classic “Hey Hey My My,” Fjord pulled it off. They sh*t their britches, spouted off their controversial political leanings and still boned all the hot girls, the holy trifecta! It’s especially delicate with a legend like Young, but I imagine most of his fans would really appreciate this cover. It’s true to the energy of the original and the production elements perfectly match what’s going on right now in electronic pop music. It’s haunting, honest, anthemic and sincerely has me wondering what’s next up Fjord’s sleeve. Bravo to the new cool kid in school.

Illenium – Sleepwalker (Virtu remix)

While enjoying the beautiful ride that is this song, I started thinking about how I rarely, if ever, remember my dreams. And if I can remember anything, it’s these little mundane dreams where I’m running errands or performing some pending chore. Honestly, isn’t that worse than having nightmares all the time? Basically I have to run errands twice, once in real life and once in my sleep.

It makes me jealous of people who remember these wildly vivid dreams, maybe even having deep insight into their being through the dream. Or people who sleepwalk. I know it’s kinda dangerous for obvious reasons, but man I’d love to wake up one night in the middle of making a sandwich or microwaving leftovers. That sounds way more exciting than having a dream about picking up face cream at Target doesn’t it?

What I need to do is learn how to sleepwalk, and then figure out a way to actually do my chores while sleepwalking. Can you imagine? A nice deep sleep while doing the dishes, folding the laundry and taking my dog for a walk? Head back into bed for the last few hours of the night, and then wake up refreshed with everything on your checklist crossed off. Now that is efficient living. The producer of this epic remix, Virtu, stated that he actually sleep walks. I should definitely consult him about taking up this interesting hobby. I wonder if he works on music while sleeping. The possibilities are endless!

Pretty Sister – West Coast

I’m all for refreshing my perspective about Los Angeles. I need songs like this to remind me how luscious and gorgeous LA can truly be. I’ve lived in this sprawling city for almost 20 years, and I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. People shout out “I LOVE LA” but in all sincerity I the best I can do is mutter “I kinda like LA, i think, at least most of the time…maybe?”

It’s a vexing place, and my “on-the-fenceness” was pushed over the edge – in the wrong direction – after living in Europe off and on for a few years. So many classic cities in Europe are easy to love. So is New York, Chicago and most other cities built in that classic European fashion. They’re built upwards on relatively small land masses, making it easy to create efficient public transportation, above and below ground. Everything is nearby in a city constructed this way – groceries, shopping, great restaurants, etc. It’s either down the street, or a few metro stops away.

But because it’s built out instead of up, in LA people are resigned to being stuck in their cars most of the time, so they struggle to have a deep relationship with the city. Everyone is stressed after sitting in traffic and then having to find somewhere to park. It’s a challenge to make to meet up with friends and bar hop on a Friday night. You gotta drive 45 minutes to go 5 miles to eat.

But that aside, LA is evolving and growing into itself. I realized that it’s simply just a younger city than those others. It’s a new design, and who am I to say the old design is better? Than I just sound like the cranky guy defending music of his youth as better than the music of this generation’s youth. Maybe NY is the aging older brother and LA is the hotshot, loudmouth younger brother. I’m excited to see what this awe-inspiring city becomes, and honestly it’s beautiful songs like Pretty Sister’s “West Coast” that greatly add to it’s culture. Everything about the song oozes coolness, smoothness, pride, confidence and swagger, and I guess those are the same virtues that define LA as a whole. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I guess every so often little bro has to show up his older brother to prove he’s a force to be reckoned with.