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Chrome Sparks feat. Steffaloo – All There Is

No offense, Michigan, but you’re not the first place that comes to mind when I think of innovative electronica. But what do I know? Jeremy Malvin, the wizard behind the Chrome Sparks curtain, has been crafting beats out of Ann Arbor while also playing drums for Stepdad. The trained percussionist released My <3 back in 2011. The 7-track album journeys through synths and samples, highlighting mood-altering beats. The entirety of the album is fluid and reflective, and overall, is as much an exploration of sound as it is of self.

waiting for a sign
my eyes close
looking to recall
when i was a child
 
is this all there is
is this all there is to life?”
Steffaloo provides what I’ve coined the “vox aetherius” on All There Is. Her mostly acoustic solo work emphasizes the delicacy of her vocals, but when paired with the nu-gaze synths and beats, she takes on a whole new vibe. Her gentle melodies swerve in and out of Chrome Sparks’ musical structure. It’s so easy to get lost in it, so easy to ask the big questions. Take some time, and let yourself go there.

Chrome Sparks feat. Steffaloo – All There Is

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Music

Diamond Messages – You Were the One (feat. Steffaloo)

In the past few years, there has been an influx of electropop artists, or at least the public’s awareness of them. The chillwave subgenre has experienced a mounding increase of artists.  Retrospectively looking out from the mountaintop of the proverbial chillwave artists from the past few years, you can’t help but realize there was some real gold in them hills.  In their early material, artists like Toro Y Moi and Neon Indian modestly layered straightforward pop melodies over lo-fi beats.  They subsequently ascended to produce successful follow-up records, which were largely based on their bold and somewhat surprising, integration of live instruments.  After proving they actually had musical talent, it put to rest any inkling of them being strictly button-pushers.

In the same vein is Diamond Messages, the UK-based brainchild of Jason Craig and Katelyn Britton.  In the beginning of their career, they released infusions of downtempo beats with acoustical charm which yielded blissful imagery, with their under-the-radar EP Smoke and Mirrors.  With standouts like Liquid Summer the EP was truly a tease of bigger things to come.  And sure enough, fast forward to now and look how they’ve evolved.   Their newest single, You Were the One, throws a welcome curveball to their fans in a way similar to the aforementioned artists.  This time around, there are multiple elements to swoon over.   Diamond Messages create a vintage soundscape in You Were the One with vinyl sound effects galore.  With indie pop vocalist Stefalloo (pictured above) on board, her voice expresses longing that’s so sincere and personal you’d think she was singing right to you.  The jukebox-R&B drums provide the beating, yearning heart of the song.  It’s rare to have such an upbeat and groovy mood ascribed to the “one” that got away, and the contrast of the lyrics and the instrumentation fare extremely well.

After hearing this track, it’s hard not to be thrilled about the direction they are headed.  Shine on, you crazy Diamond Messages.

Diamond Messages – You Were the One

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Music

Stumbleine – Fade Into You (feat. Steffaloo)

In 1997, there was a mild public uproar over the gratuitous violence and nudity in director Paul Verhoven’s “Starship Troopers”.  However, there was little to no mention in the media of its biggest crime: the use (or misuse) of Mazzy Star’s pop hit Fade Into You to score a cheesy fight scene involving ‘90s B-movie staple Casper Van Dien.  Alright, so maybe it wasn’t a total abomination, given that the female being fought over was the foxy Denise Richards. But out of all the romantic, why did it have to be in a movie about an alien bug takeover?

Fortunately, two promising underground musicians, Stumbleine and Steffaloo, have collaborated to give Fade Into You another fighting chance.  One a seasoned producer, the other a vocalist.  Stumbeleine brings production experience from his role as one third of dark ambient trio Swarms, while Steffaloo is part of a charming new breed of singer/songwriters.

Their re-imagination of Fade Into You equates exceptionally well with the original.  New textures and sound effects are added, while the love-sick lethargy of the vocals is maintained.  This time around the swaying 6/8 time signature is dramatically accented by syncopated heartbeat drums that land like love-struck meteors.  In exchange for the driving acoustic guitar strum of the original, we are treated to atmospheric, blurry electric chords that tug on our heartstrings just like Mazzy Star did in the 90s.  It’s a great soundtrack to a slow dance with someone you have a serious crush on, like in this wonderful scene, which totally makes up for the whole “Starship Troopers” thing.

Here’s to hoping this version can find a worthy cinematic home of its own.

Stumbleine – Fade Into You (feat. Steffaloo)

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Music

Le Miel du Mois by Steph Lund: Aout 2011

Like the flowers needs the rain, like blind man needs his cain, I need you…

If you haven’t noticed mixtapes are a big deal around these parts but there’s none more significant than our beloved LMDM by Steph Lund. Month after month, no matter the weather, you can come here and find a new fresher than the last mixtape and for that we’re so thankful. I don’t know about you guys but my months don’t feel like they can’t start until I hear the tape and since music is a drug that means I’m pretty much addicted to LMDM. Actually, I know I’m not alone, I’ve seen some other addicts tweeting and commenting when the tape isn’t out in time…

Like the darkness needs the night and the moon glow needs the light, I need you…
Like a person needs his soul like the winter needs the cold, I need you…
Like the fire needs the air I won’t burn unless your there, I need you…” – Frankie Beverly & Maze – I Need You

Somehow Steph always manages to put it all in perspective with songs that make you sit down chill out and think and then immediately after another to make you get up and dance. I don’t let too many girls play with my emotions but when it comes to LMDM I’m daytime television baby. Alright, the day is young but there’s much to do so check out the new disclaimer and take a ride, enjoy.

There are many ways to listen to LMDM but I highly recommend you do as I do – press play, sit back and put your trust in Steph. A lot of thought was given to the sequence so no fast forwarding, no rewinding, no flipping, just listening…

Beirut’s Port of Call is my favorite track off of their new album, so I wanted to open the mix with it. I also included Air France’s new song, which after a bit of a hiatus, its exactly what I could have hoped for. Not everything is new which I think makes for a more interesting lmdm like the Santogold remix which means more to me in using it two years later than when it first came out. Andddd its August…”

Le Miel du Mois at work? That’s much better than work at work! Download

Tracklisting:

  1. Beirut – Port of Call
  2. On-The-Go – In The Wind
  3. Chrome Sparks – All There Is (feat. Steffaloo)
  4. Discovery – Osaka Loop Line
  5. Errors – Supertribe
  6. Santogold – You’ll Find A Way (Switch and Sinden Remix)
  7. Holiday Shores – Phones Don’t Feud
  8. Air France – It Feels Good to Be Around You”
  9. Neon Indian – Polish Girl
  10. Wise Blood – Someday (Stroked Tribute)
  11. Atlas Sound – Spring Time Instrumental
  12. Donora – I Think I Like You
  13. Priors – What You Need (Le Crayon Sidechain Edit)

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