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Music

Charles Bradley – Why Is It So Hard (live on KEXP)

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Then I moved to Brooklyn, New York
Had hard times…But sometimes I hold on…

Some days I feel pretty weary; there’s only so much a human can do for other people before she breaks. Grown up responsibilities got me down this week. Not enough time for the work I love and for the brain stretching I require on a daily basis. Sure, 3+ freelance gigs got me feeling a bit more confident in my ability to ‘make a living’, but there’s something soul crushing about the exhaustion that results from mind numbing and / or passionless work. It’s not that I’m ungrateful— it’s good to feel like I’m contributing to society and helping others yadda yadda altruism blah blah pay my taxes bullshit yeah, but it ain’t nothing compared to the renewable exhaustion that arises after having allowed myself to indulge in a full day of doing the work I love— I’m talking about the kind of shit that defines me as a creative being kicking it on a pretty blue dot in space; out of the body & into the ether where time ceases to exist and the spark is unremitting. Cause disguise the limit, and that’s where you’ll find me. Eventually. For now, I take solace in the words of Walt Whitman: “these are the days that must happen to you.” Gotta keep on keepin’ on and maybe listen to this song. Ladies and gents, Charles Bradley. 

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Music

Delicate Steve – Flyin’ High

More often than not, we find ourselves in situations where we end up taking our bodies for granted. Our minds tell us to take in as much as we can — whether it’s food, work, art, exercise, sex, social media, alcohol or any of the other hundreds of things we interact with. And I’m definitely guilty of that, too from time to time. But I think as conscious individuals, we deserve the right to be conscious of not only our minds, but our own bodies and what their limits are.

I thought about this today as I listened to this song that I haven’t been able to stop listening to since last weekend. I saw these fine gentlemen perform at a festive-Easter show last Sunday in Brooklyn, and haven’t been able to cut myself off from their music. They performed after Dustin Wong of Ponytail and I couldn’t think of a more serendipitous marriage of musical individuals on one roster. The only thing more perfect than that night is the collaboration of these two musicians on this track.

There are so many layers to this one song. It builds and builds until your heart can’t take it anymore, and then they drop you off at the top of a mountain, letting you take in the view of the vast and breathtaking surroundings. There’s nothing for you to interact with for hundreds of miles. You are alone with that which came before you — mountains, earth, snowy peaks, ethereal tree tops — that’s existed for longer than your brain can realistically comprehend.

That wall of sound is monstrous.

I never ever feel like I’m taking in too much music. I think that’s what makes us at EMPT a special kind of human. We’re not afraid to over indulge in this particular indulgence. Never do I find myself saying, “Man, I need to take it easy on the music intake this week.” Think about that for a minute — this is the only true thing that exists on our planet that doesn’t kill us if we take in too much. I mean, maybe, if you really break it down and get all analytical, yeah. Going to too many shows and not wearing earplugs, and drinking too much, may potentially harm your ears and body in a long lasting way. But I mean music alone — without all the other stuff that is situational. You could sit in your house and listen to music all day long, every single day, and your only crime would be perhaps playing it too loudly if you start to really feel it.

I like to think of how this song plays in my head, the brain activity that’s going on right now as I listen to it for the hundredth time. If you were to take a CAT scan of my brain right now, you’d see vibrant reds, oranges, greens, blues, violets, and a steady dancing interaction between all of the colors. They’re trying to imitate sound waves. The reds are in the front of my brain for a moment, and then they jump to the back as if they’re a part of a West African dance routine. And isn’t that exactly what dance and physical body movement is? A visceral reaction to the activity going on inside our minds?

Life’s pretty spectacular. Take a moment to allow yourself at least this one indulgence that runs you no risk besides supreme pleasure. Happy Sunday, and thank you so much to both Delicate Steve and Dustin Wong for the magical birth of this track.

Delicate Steve – Flyin’ High

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Music

Robert DeLong – Basically, I

The live show that Robert DeLong put on the other week at Music Hall of Williamsburg quite simply, knocked the socks and shoes and possibly jewelry, off my feet and body. I won’t lie, I had a preconceived notion that DeLong was going to be a mostly dub-steppy DJ with a very electronic live show. I was happily surprised to find that my silly expectation couldn’t be further from the truth. As soon as Hayden and I stepped foot into the crowded and darkly lit Music Hall of Williamsburg, we were dancing. Which is a funny feeling because I can’t remember the last time that happened to me. Being a person that likes to dance, my experiences as of late have been such that I’ve had to warm up to the music that was playing.

Not the case here. I turned around to see that everyone, mostly couples, but still everyone, was dancing and that many of the faces of the crowd were painted with some kind of glow in the dark paint, in honor of DeLong. But it’s not really exciting to read about the crowd, so much as the performer himself. DeLong probably plays every instrument that exists, or at least every instrument that exists that can somehow be incorporated into his music, and that was news to me. In the middle of songs, he would move from his several pieces of electronic equipment, to a drum set carefully placed out of the way, or grab a guitar and start playing in the middle of the song. The way I’m describing probably makes it sound like the kind of thing that was disorganized and random, but that wasn’t the case at all — he was seamless in his movement from instrument to production tools.

We walked in while he was in the middle of performing Global Concepts, which is one of my favorite songs. But when I got home that night, I did that nerdy thing that a lot of music geeks do when they get home from an amazing show: I went online and youtubed the sh*t outta his music. I found this (strangely titled Religious Views even though that’s not the title of the song), which I thought was beautifully done, and gave me a whole new appreciation for the song which I’ve included in this post. So, I’m including that song in this post for that reason. Because the build is that good, and because I have such a soft spot for watching an artist create the masterpiece in front of our eyes. The first time I encountered that at a live show, was at Newport Folk Festival while Andrew Bird performed. I then realized that he was one man band, and I was forever in awe of that sort of musician from there on out.

Enjoy!

Robert DeLong – Basically, I

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Music

Kate Boy – The Way We Are

The first thing you’ll notice about this song is the drums. The driving drums, while not tribal, certainly inspire tribal movement. Uninhibited swaying, limbs akimbo, and pure delight, is what I experience when I listen to this song. The lyrics are a slap to the face, but not in a negative way. They demand your attention and the song is nothing but an ode to self.

This song essentially encapsulates the feelings that I experienced when I saw Kate Boy perform at Glasslands in Brooklyn earlier this week. I wish all bands demanded the attention of a crowd in a particularly small venue the way Kate Boy did, because there wasn’t a single person that wasn’t engaged in some way. I attended the show by myself, and quickly squeezed my way through the couples and adorable fan boys to something that was sort of the front. I was close enough to make eye contact with the lead female singer. The entire band wore the same outfits: black baseball caps, black loosely fitted outfits that showed no figure and no skin, with metallic strappy bits that came around their upper torsos.

The performance started and ended with a tremendous amount of energy and power. I’m talking about the kind of synth and drum playing that wasn’t created by hands, but by bodies. Full body involvement in this concert, and that reflected on the audience. I was alone and I danced my ass off. If that doesn’t say something, then the fact that almost everyone I could see was involved in some sort of bodily movement, surely relays my point. At this point in my life, I think enough people (including the you all, the readers of EMPT) know that dancing and what it unleashes in me, is one of the most important activities I can do for myself. It’s like a drug, the mind just goes on autopilot. It’s also a beautiful thing to watch the people responsible for making music get so into that their audience reflects their movements. I did it, I totally tried to copy the lead singers dance moves. Was I successful? That’s not the point.

Kate Boy showed me that they were not only supremely capable musicians on my headphones and in my iTunes library, but on a stage too. I was blown away by this intimate performance (not to mention, their first in the US), and I urge everyone to see these phenom performers as soon as possible. They’re on tour. So you can do that.

Here’s my favorite song of theirs, even though nothing beats the incredible build up from In Your Eyes. The beat in this one trumps all.

Enjoy!

Kate Boy – The Way We Are

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Music

Hiatus Kaiyote – Ocelot

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Sometimes a really beautiful and musically talented friend will tell you to listen to a band that they know you’ll love, like really love, and sometimes, you space out and forget to do that for months. And then one day, you re-discover the band on accident and it just happens to be the same week that another really lovely friend tells you that they have an extra ticket for you to go see said band in a sold out show at the Knitting Factory on a Monday night.

I haven’t felt so lucky in a long time.

Hiatus Kaiyote hails from my favorite place that I’ve never been to — Australia. Nai Palm, the exquisite lead singer that I photographed above, stole my heart several times on Monday night, but I would be committing a crime if I said she was solely responsible. The entire band’s on-stage chemistry and truly deep rooted soul tactics boxed my heart far away. I wasn’t even expecting to have my heart stolen this week. Alas. 

My friend and I saw an opportunity to get closer to the stage shortly after we entered the packed venue, and as soon as we did, I felt that much more connected. A girl next to me grooved in the same rhythm as me for almost the entire set. A smile slowly crept up on my face and plastered itself there for the rest of the performance. The band brought out a couple of beautifully talented guest singers, who warranted an uproarious response from the crowd. One of the guest appearances was a man from France named Spleen. As he shuffled on stage with his hands held in front of his stomach shyly, Nai Palm asked us to welcome him with the Brooklyn warmth that she knew we had. I had no idea what to expect, and I’m glad because the surprise was incredible. Orchestrated belts and screams came out of this beautiful man’s mouth with the intensity of a punk rocker but the delicacy of a classical musician. He later came out on stage for the encore and proved to be one of the best hype men I’d ever seen, demanding the audience to scream louder and louder. And the encore itself was a magical moment where both the audience and the band were jamming together as one, audience led by the band and instructed to do specific vocals which matched the bands syncopated rhythms. 

The band was as in love with the audience as the audience was with them, and at one point in the performance, Nai Palm received the most heartwarming note from an audience member. She read it aloud, and while I can’t remember exactly what it said, the words followed the lines of poetry and warmth. Not only was it a praise for the band, but an expression of love for the music that they put out, begging the musicians to never stop.

Hiatus Kaiyote performed this song, Ocelot, and I think it was my favorite of the set. Coincidentally, it’s my favorite song on the album, and also the shortest. I wish it was longer, but it’s just enough to woo you in love with this band. They’ll be back in November and I urge you all to drop most of the important things you’re doing, and go see them perform live. Buy your tickets early though because they’ll be sold out again, guaranteed.

Hiatus Kaiyote – Ocelot

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Music

Savoir Adore – Sea of Gold

Today deserves a little bounce in your step and a little smile in your heart. You’ve earned it. I believe that the outside tends to reflect what’s going on inside, in several regards. When you treat your body badly, you look bad. Skin, hair, weight — these all suffer. I think the same thing happens when the world is doing badly. The weather gets bad, the general disposition of the public is depressed. So I’ve been excited all week about this beautiful weather in New York. Hopefully, it means that we’re doing okay for a little at least.

Savoir Adore brings us a pleasant tune of hope. The chorus is a little reminiscent of something Fleetwood Mac might created, with its breathy ha’s. I’ve had a lot of Brooklyn pride lately (but really, always), and any chance I have to write about a band that’s blowing up Brooklyn, I take. Savoir Adore is Brooklyn indie pop-rock duo, and they’ve taken the land by storm via adorable lyrical tunes and awesome drum beats. This song is only further proof of that.

Who are you now?
I’m living in a sea of gold
Who are you now?
I’m living in a sea of gold.”

Savoir Adore – Sea of Gold

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Music

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Waulking Song

Oh man oh man oh man I’m so stoked about this track. I don’t know when I first heard it, I think it was New Years Eve to the credit of one of my favorite people. But it also might not have been New Years Eve, all I know is that someone played this song at some point in my apartment and I got really excited about it and then forgot all about it until last week. It came up on Spotify somehow and now I’m a pool of happy. Not only is it the perfect song to start your day in a really happy and positive way, sounds wise, but it’s just fantastic when you’re walking in New York City. You know one of those days where all you want to do is smile comfortably at everyone that walks by you because the music in your ears is working so well with the thoughts and feelings of your current body, and for whatever reason, you know that this song will hold a special place in your heart whenever it comes on your headphones next. I feel that way about very specific songs, this being one of them. Rilo Kiley’s, Silver Lining, also has a similar affect on me. Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba is another one. You probably get it by now.

I had this really lovely moment the other day while listening to this song on the subway. Mind you, the subway car I’d chosen to take reeked of feet the entire ride, but besides that, there were some really beautiful people seated on either side of me. This is one of those moments where you’re really thankful to be a blogger because when else would you get to write about beautiful people and have others read about it? There was a beautiful man with green eyes and silver-black dark hair, taller, in a clean cut creative professional outfit. A woman sat beside me with dreads down to her knees, lighter eyes, and rings on every single finger.  Although no missed connections happened, a smile glued to my face as I exited the train car. Walking through Brooklyn felt like a floating on a cloud, and I mean that in the most literal way. I kept getting distracted and then when I would return to the moment, it just made me happy and further encouraged the goofy smiling. I haven’t been that inexplicably happy in a while. I mean, I like to think of myself as a generally happy person, but I guess it had something to do with the energy of the people that surrounded me, and the energy that I was putting out, because everything felt in sync.

I know that’s silly to say, but how can you not acknowledge when a moment like that happens? And furthermore, when it happens while TEED is playing in your ears? I hope this happens for you, too. I know the weather’s been lousy, it’s not what we want or expect right now in this city. But here’s the thing: you have so much more to be happy about! So be happy about it. You guys are incredible.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Waulking Song

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Music

No Way Josie – Freakness/Album Release

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I have something special and brand new for you all today!

Singer/Songwriter, trainer, Soul Cycle master, bike messenger, believe me the list goes on with what this girl Kym Perfetto can do!  Kymnonstop to be exact because that is exactly what she is NON-STOP!  I had the pleasure of meeting Kym almost 2 years ago when I stepped into a Soul Cycle class down in TriBeCa.  I am not going to lie I thought I was maybe going to die at the end of the class as sweat is pouring from every place on my body, but at the same time I wanted to keep jumping around, singing at the top of my lungs, with this crazy energy that just made it all worth the pain.  Yup, that’s the way Kym likes to do it, she has this contagious energy, great taste in music and motivation for days, I guess her nickname fits pretty well, for this tiny, ripped hottie!

So back to why we are all reading this!  Kym and her partner Drew Toews AKA: Fake Money, hailing from Brooklyn and LA have spent the last year putting together their kick-ass album “No Way Josie – Freakness”, took a lot of work and energy but they finally made it happen, takes a lot of drive and energy not to give up but this electronic duo had the passion which is quite obvious when you listen to their music.

No Way Josie is the project of two NYC bike messengers banned from using front
doors. Multi-instrumentalist/producer Andrew Toews (aka DJ Fake Money) & singer/
songwriter Kym Perfetto (KymNonStop) met while racing alleycats and began
collaborating in early 2011. The result? Music you would expect from two hyperactive
kids that prefer to play in traffic: heavy beats, catchy hooks, sassy vocals and plenty of
whomp.”        

NYC Bike Messengers, I thought I had heard it all, who knew!!?

On top of Kym and Drew’s album releasing just today, No Way Josie has their album release PARTY tonight in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at Cameo, click here to buy tickets online or you can by them at the door.  They are going on right at 10pm, so make sure you get there a little early to get your drink on and your sexy on.  I am gonna be there for sure so I better see a ton of your crazy faces dancing there with me.

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If you love what you hear, which I am sure you will check these crazy kids out on their website and Facebook  (Free download of their song Freakness) and definitely give them a follow in twitter for more info on what they are doing and where else they will be performing if you can’t make it to their Brooklyn release party at Cameo tonight!

Get your asses to Brooklyn tonight and start enjoying your Saturday with these new jams!  Here is your teasers for what’s in store this evening, enjoy!

No Way Josie – Waiting Outside

Bonus:

No Way Josie – Freakness (Fake Money Remix)

Categories
Music Video

EMPT Premier: Vensaire – Apollonian

Yesterday I was lucky enough to get this gem in my inbox from our friend Jessica over at The Participation Agency, thanks Jess!

We are happy to be premiering Vensaire’s new video for Apollonian, it’s definitely a trip but a good one.  If you haven’t been properly introduced to Vensaire just yet.  “They’re Brooklyn-based. Sound is Japan in 1650 meets Floridian-folk, with a violinist and synthesizer. Video is pretty psychedelic, about death and the Iliad. In true Brooklyn fashion they’re throwing a big rave at this old school house in Bushwick on Saturday for the release party, flyer attached.”

I don’t mean to brag but so many great artists hail from Brooklyn and if you happen to be in the Brooklyn area like I am then you should get your ass to this party because I know I will definitely be making an appearance on behalf of EMPT, especially for having the pleasure of premiering the video for Vensaire.

Check out all the other amazing tracks that this band have for your listening pleasure at their Soundcloud, and hopefully I will see some of you at the party, Enjoy!

Categories
Music

Scattered Trees – Four Days Straight

This end of the month has never been more insane in my entire life. I’ve never felt so overwhelmed, happy, confused, and emotional all at once. Regardless, without the end of the month, I would not have discovered these three new artists. Scattered Trees, Rubblebucket, and Caveman are all playing shows in the middle of August in New York City/Brooklyn, and I cannot be more excited. The truth is that while all of these bands have different sounds, they all kind of carry a similar chillwave vibe. I cannot think of a better way to end July than with a cool beverage in hand, some outdoor speakers, and this song playing.

If you can, check out Rubblebucket, Scattered Trees, and/or Caveman in the upcoming month. August will be a tremendous month, music wise. So much good music to squeeze in before summer starts to end, and I have faith that we’ll be hearing some of the best during this time. I’ve also just remembered that Mercury goes into retrograde tomorrow. So there’s that. Terrifying, but also totally a reason to be spontaneous and tap into some new music that you may not have necessarily listened to before. I’ve found that music has been the only thing constant in my life while I’ve had several nervous breakdowns and such in the past week over finding a new apartment to move into. And you know what? It’s not really worth it. Because when it comes down to it all, everyone who is looking for an apartment will find an apartment. It’s incredible how powerful one’s mind can be in this period of time though, completely taking control with negativity.

Listen. Reflect. React. And be cool, that’s all we can do right now.

Scattered Trees – Four Days Straight

Rubble Bucket – Silly Fathers (RAC Remix)

Bonus: Cave Man – Old Friend

-Ashley