Categories
Music Remixes

Jessie Ware – Keep On Lying (TOKiMONSTA Remix)

I’d quite like to talk about dancing really quickly. Now, this isn’t a dance song, but I’m currently tapping my feet along to the good-ness that is TOKiMONSTA’s style. She (yes, SHE) first captured my attention with “Drive” (do your ears a favor and search our site for this post), so I was happy to hear her style translate over to a remix. She couldn’t have picked a better artist than Jessie Ware. OK.. I’m a little (lot) biased, having been a fan of Jessie’s for a few years. Simply put, this is a badass song.

Back to dancing… I never felt hindered from dancing until moving to Oklahoma. It’s not a bad state overall, but it’s the little things that get me. One thing being the lack of dance floors (excluding two-stepping bars of course). The fact that the majority of bar-hoppers would rather sit and talk allll night, than to get up and get a little jiggy, confuses me. It became apparent to me last weekend when I was in a college town; it was the “Big Game”- two Oklahoma colleges playing each other. So, a girlfriend and I were hopping around, having fun, all the while looking for a place to “end” the night. Somewhere to dance! This was how it was for me in college.. go out and find somewhere to let loose. It shouldn’t be as hard as it was last weekend! We ended up creating our OWN dance floor!! When I woke up the next morning and was revisiting the memories, the thought hit me- why were we the ONLY ones dancing?? I felt like an anomaly, with everyone looking at us strangely. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by Austin’s abundant nightlife, filled with bars accompanied by energetic people and dance floors, not just bar stools.

So it’s just kinda been on my mind lately. I’m not asking for a giant dance party.. just some SPACE to move around, and for the general atmosphere to be open to body movement. Let’s bring some free-thinking into these Southern towns! Who’s with me?

Make sure to give Jessie Ware’s new album a listen, and keep your ears pricked for more of TOKiMONSTA’s work.

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Categories
Music

Kero Kero Bonito – Flamingo

Black, white, green or blue. Show off your natural hue. 

Here’s something interesting for you. A song that embraces our differences- the “flamingo” in all of us! Sarah, Gus, and Jamie, the trio that make up Kero Kero Bonito put diversity into a very positive light in “Flamingo”. They also mix English and Japanese lyrics throughout the song. I was pleasantly suprised by this, and liked how it further exemplifies the message the band is spreading.

If you’re multicolored that’s cool too

In addition to the positive message, the elements and tempo tie together to produce a kick-ass song. From the pan-flute before the first verse, to the disco-like interlude after the second, this song screams “random”! (In a good way). Randomness of life is what makes it exciting. I didn’t remember much from statistics class, but I vividly remember my professor stating that “Life is random”. So simple, yet absolutely true. Life is composed of randomness; randomness is nature.

As the result of mult-cultural parents, I have been forced to embrace differences in life, and at the same time, accept that not everyone is so open to such diversity. I was quite a shy child, but as I grew up and went to college, I was able to be around people who reveled in my differences- a weird trans-atlantic accent, crazy curly hair, and a zany sense of humor. I could BE myself, and found people who let me! The diversity that college brought me enabled me to find myself without restriction. Now, several years later, I care much less about what outsiders “think” of me.

I hope you can find positive people to be around so that you’re able to find yourself without restraint. BE weird and DON’T apologize for it!!
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Categories
Music

Ace of Base – The Sign

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While flipping through my music library last week, I came across Ace of Base’s “The Sign.” It’s a cheesy track, but at the time was groundbreaking in its fusion of reggae and pop melodies. This is the kind of song that everyone kind of knows, but no one knows anything about it.

Let me give you the lowdown. The album that featured “The Sign” (“Happy Nation”, 1992) sold 23 million copies worldwide. 23 MILLION. It’s one of the 50 or so best selling records of all time, just ahead of Oasis’ seminal “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” Overall, Ace of Base has sold over 40 million records.

This quartet of Swedes (three siblings and a guy named Buddha) are one of the most random musical successes ever. You never hear about them in the media, and rarely hear any song other than “The Sign” on the radio. And yet a laundry list of big name and indie artists site them as a valuable influence: Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Robyn, Yeasayer, Trust.

It’s moments like this when you realize just how big the world is. There are Chinese and Indian artists who have hundreds of millions of fans, yet most Americans have no idea who they are and will never hear their voices. The music industry – the economic profit model of music sales – is crumbling. But the music industry – the unending production of new music across the globe – is larger and more successful than ever. How wonderful!

I recently had a very random job filming a high school wrestling tournament for Fox Sports. Fox put me up in a hotel overnight, and as I arrived back after a long day behind the camera, I ran into a very masculine looking guy walking a tiny Chihuahua with its nails painted pink. I legitimately thought I was hallucinating, even more so once we got to talking and he busted into one of the best freestyle raps I’ve ever heard.

Every moment, someone around the world is making music. From the Chihuahua freestyler to the grandmother singing the children to sleep to Ace of Base, our lives are played out to a soundtrack created by those around us. Whether their songs stay locked behind closed doors or sell 40 million records without attracting notice, we owe all music makers our gratitude.

 

Ace of Base – The Sign

Categories
Music

Broken Bells – Holding on for Life

Whoever had the idea for The Shins James Mercer and prolific producer Danger Mouse to get together…give that person a fucking medal. Broken Bells, their collaborative project, has released two fantastic albums, described by Rolling Stone as “left field pop” and by the guys as “experimental, but melodic too.”

“Holding on for Life,” off their new album “After the Disco” is the band’s best song yet. Mercer channels his inner Bee Gee’s, delivering one of his most powerful vocal performances of his illustrious career, while Danger Mouse harkens back to his Gorillaz production days, blending a pseudo-Asian synth line with a grunge guitar bridge straight out of nineties Seattle.

Both of these artists have made careers out of coaxing a positive feeling out of songs with troubling subject matter. At first listen, “Holding on for Life” feels like a fun LCD Soundsystem style dance-rock track, tugging at your marionette strings and getting your body jerking in that special indie way. But then you hear the minor notes, the noisy dissonance, the abstract exploration of loneliness. You almost feel bad for your initial happy reaction.

But not for long. The point of Broken Bells seems to be that it’s ok to smile when life isn’t going so well. It’s better to dance in front of your mirror than to mope in your room alone, even if you’re alone either way. Barry Gibbs and Elliott Smith can coexist. This song allows us feel the weight of the world without getting crushed. It encourages us to make eye contact with that beautiful stranger. To take the chance and worry later. Because if the world is falling to pieces around us, we may as well open our mouths to see how it tastes.

Broken Bells – Holding on for Life

Categories
Music

Monarchy – It Must Be Love

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Aren’t we over the whole “hide my face to boost interest in my music” thing? Or is it, “hide my face to make a statement that no one actually gets but just nods along anyway”?

Daft Punk is allowed to do it, because they invented it and have done it big. Those helmets ain’t cheap, and pre-helmet they did some freaky shit to keep their mugs out of the press room.

New artists out there: stop. It doesn’t make you cool.

I’m not talking about artists who keep their identities secret. That actually is cool, and totally understandable. Sustainable? Not unless you’re Banksy, who is definitely paying people off. Even Burial wanted to play live eventually (though the fact that he, with his music and creepy same-nameness  to a funeral director, was unknown for so long was perfect).

You know what is cool? Good art. If you make it, they will stream.

Monarchy are caught in a weird in-between state of face-coverage. Their identities are known, and they are regularly photographed without costume. But in all official photos, they are obscured. I guess they perform in face paint, which is played out but still allowed.

Luckily they are saved from their confusion by excellent music. “It Must Be Love” is a slice of juicy synth pop served on a platter of onyx rhinestones that will worm its way into your psyche. Imagine a happier Presets, or a better Bravery, two bands in the same vein (please, Monarchy, don’t be offended by the Bravery comparison. I know that might seem harsh).

It must be love
 With a boxing glove
 It must be love.”

Monarchy – It Must Be Love

Categories
Interview

EMPT Exclusive Interview: Superhumanoids

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All band names are not created equal. The Monkees is weak. Led Zeppelin is heavy. Yes is boring, yet quirky. Thievery Corporation is genius.

Superhumanoids is up there with The Flaming Lips and Arcade Fire as one of the best-named active bands. No one really knows what a superhumanoid is, but its evocative, playful and slightly threatening at the same time.

Cameron Parkins, Sarah Chernoff and Max St. John formed Superhumanoids in Los Angeles in 2010. The past three years have seen their profile rise exponentially, as their homegrown, meticulously produced pop-rock tracks gained an international following and recognition by a number of high profile  websites and publications.

In August, the band released “Exhibitionists,” their debut LP, to unanimous acclaim. The EMPT team has featured a handful of the tracks from that album already, and has fallen in love with the catchy, dreamy grooves.

We caught up with the band in the middle of their current national tour (schedule here…catch them in a city near you!) to hear their take on life, culture and their favorite Roy Choi restaurant.

EMPT: Does the label of “LA Band” mean anything more than the obvious physical location? What makes a band/sound “LA”? 

SH: There is a specific culture here – the weather, the Mexican food, the people, the casual lifestyle. Musically everyone here is so diverse that all you can really know when reading “LA Band” is that you aren’t sure what style of music will come off the Soundcloud player once you hit play.

EMPT: Who do you consider to be your artistic contemporaries?

SH: Taylor Cohen, who directed our last video and is working on our current one. Evan Weinerman , who directed our earlier videos. Hassan Rahim who designed all of our artwork. Nick Walker who shoots all of our photography. Then the obvious bands and musicians we consider close friends – PAPA, Mini Mansions, Classixx, Local Natives, Kisses, Grouplove – the whole Innovative Leisure family.

EMPT: If HBO called and offered you the credit song slot on “Girls,” what would you say?

SH: Yes, thank you.

EMPT: What is your favorite beer brand?

SH: Corona in a can.

EMPT: If you weren’t in a band, what would you be doing?

SH: Making music in some form.

EMPT: Any bands our readers should be on the lookout for?

SH: All the above mentioned – also the new Body Parts album is very fiery and Jon Wayne‘s new jammers are next level.

EMPT: Kogi, Chego, A-Frame, Sunny Spot? (A bit of background on this question: Roy Choi is the founder of Kogi and is considered a catalyst for the modern food truck and fusion movement. He is a cultural celebrity in Los Angeles, and an avowed fan and friend of Superhumanoids.)

SH: A-Frame no doubt. We collectively had one of the best meals of our lives there. Kogi if you’re drunk.

Thanks, Superhumanoids! Find them on the interwebs at http://superhumanoids.com/ and @superhumanoids.

Superhumanoids – Geri

Categories
Music

Little Animal – Everyday

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Traditionally, a one-man band is a type of street performer or novelty act, a guy who straps a bunch of instruments to his body, and plays them all at the same time. Hands, feet, teeth…anything goes.

In some respects, most classical composers were one-man bands. They just didn’t have the technology to produce music, and employed entire symphonies to be their hands and feet.

If you can play guitar, you’re sexy. If you can sing, same. If you can do both…

Recent years have seen a number of solo visionaries come to the fore in rock music. Kevin Parker of Tame Impala writes all of the band’s songs, sings every song, and plays all of the instruments on record. Same goes for Gotye, Tune-Yards, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Dave Grohl on the first Foo Fighters album.

Casual fans never know. It’s not like you can tell. But once you know, your appreciation level rises. The music is suddenly far more interesting.

Enter Little Animal, the one-man project of 22-year old Parisian Romain Blatter. His post-Phoenix pop rock blends elements of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Strokes, Damon Albarn and winds up as the perfect soundtrack for an informal dinner party or car commercial.

Little Animal is still very underground. So, yeah, you’re cool for knowing about him.

EMPT – we make you cool.

Little Animal – Everyday

Categories
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

Categories
Classics Music Remixes

Spin Doctors – Two Princess (G Templeton & Branded James Remix)

Children of the early 80’s that were –or so we believed– at our prime during the 90’s remember quite vividly the Spin Doctor’s album Pocket Full of Kryptonite and it’s famous hit single Two Princess. I will not go into details about the things I was trying to do to that song — many times.

Well, G Templeton & Branded James collaborate once more to take the original pop rock anthem into a tropical sun-drenched disco groove. Percussions, happy piano chords reminiscent of Viceroy, a slightyly slowed down lead vocal track and a couple of looped verses and the de rigeur echoed claps make this all one needs to warm up a bit the coldness of this winter. This remix is not complex or pretentious, because it doesn’t have to. This remix is that drink of fresh coconut water. There’s nothing new about the water itself, but damn if it feels good and fresh every time we have some.

Come to us dear 90’s nostalgia. Drink up and wear sunscreen.

Spin Doctors – Two Princess (G Templeton & Branded James Remix)

 

Categories
Music

Slow Magic – On Yr Side

I’ve been listening to this song since August, it kept me company in my walks home from the office. To listen on a good volume made not only the scenery better with a perfect soundtrack, but it also helped me construct these visions and directions of my personal and professional life—this is my business as usual on these walks home. To drift away in these thoughts and mental visualization and planning is important to me, and it’s one of the things I enjoy most about living in this city of Bogotá. This is that kind of music, the type that not only lets you think about other things, but it actually helps you do so; in spite of the vocals which are so perfectly placed throughout the track that they never get in the way of you and your thoughts.

When I listen to musical creations like these, my hope for newbred good music reinstates itself. Slow Magic’s experimental electronic music —just like SBTRKT and alike— is the foundation of a new kind of imaginary pop; the future of electronic music one might think.

After the 1 minute mark it picks up, and the percussions, a single bell that carries the same dose of reverb as the handclaps is some of the melodically addictive part of this one. Since the beginning of time there’s been music for everything in life. This type of music is for those times that are a bit more special. Get this song and keep it  at all times. Trust me, it’ll come in handy.

Slow Magic – On Yr Side