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Music

TΛJΛN & Fwdslxsh – Beautiful

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I’ve always thought the hardest musical feat to achieve is to create a track that allows people to feel different things simultaneously. Any truly successful musician can pull it off from Stevie Wonder all the way forward to St. Vincent. I’d argue it’s the truest sign of a really great musician and certainly the calling card of one with learned experience and wherewithal.

Enter TΛJΛN. Are you ready? To directly quote Destiny’s Child, I’m not quite entirely sure you’re ready for this jelly. Just get ready for an almighty mindfuck.

TΛJΛN is 17. He started making beats last summer. Believe it or not he began on GarageBand and a Mac Mini at his onset. In September he graduated to Fruity Loops. He quickly rose in online circles (most notably majestic casual), and began collaborating with artists of considerable stature.

In writing about this track I had the immense (and unusual, for me) pleasure to speak with TΛJΛN himself. In a phone conference we discussed his life, the equipment he uses, his current and future intentions.

TΛJΛN is heavy into hip hop and the underground experimental electronic scene. He lives in Utah and is humble as all get out. He created this track with fwdslxsh, a fellow under 21 prodigy. The track began and lay dormant until they revitalized it to be featured in Majestic Casual. The rest, as they say, is history.

What really stands out to me here is TΛJΛN‘s fucking expert maneuvering of a track. Fwdslxsh‘s vocals soar. The synths and beats are soothing and touching. The final use of strings lends a poignancy that almost hurts. The fact that this kid is 17 makes me want to just pack it on up and head out to some country where no one knows my name. To say that TΛJΛN is musically wise beyond his years is the understatement of the century. I can’t imagine the heights he’s going to reach, but he mentioned a desire to DJ and a Europe tour in the works. His new remix of Justin Timberlake is the freshest and I only expect more. Keep yer eyes peeled for this name, folks.

TΛJΛN & fwdslxsh – beautiful

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Music

Foxygen – Shuggie

Shuggie

“But you don’t love me, that’s news to me.”

croons Foxygen‘s brilliant near androgynous sounding lead singer, France. The song, Shuggie, is steeped in those sort of badass sardonic yet poignant one liners. France has a prose unique entirely to him, reminiscent at times of the best parts of Bob Dylan. Carefree and loose. Almost off the cuff. 

“Hey man, have a soda. It’s on the house. Remember what I told you about the rooms inside this house.” 

The best way to describe this song is unpredictable. It is consistent with the rest of Foxygen‘s work, expertly psychedelic with notable elements of Phil Spector and 60s energy.  The song itself contains some 3 or 4 completely separate sections (including a teensy funk breakdown at 2:35 worth waiting for). It’s off of Foxygen‘s excellently titled “We are the 21st century ambassadors of Peace and Magic.” And, not surprisingly, it is a delicious account of potentially haunted house, unrequited love and rhinoceros shaped earrings. Enjoy.

Foxygen – Shuggie

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Music

STWO – Wifey remix

Wifey

For those familiar with the original soulful 90s jam “Wifey” by Next and its accompanying steamy video, the song will seem pretty hard to top. Rest assured though, French DJ and beatmaker STWO has succeeded in adding a compelling and brilliant new take on the original. Oh, has he succeeded.

What this remix does is completely disarm you. Pretty much the only thing that is kept consistent with the original is the vocal track. STWO lends his expert skills and strips the song bare. We begin with vinyl scratch and the vocal track (bare with a just a hint of added reverb). A syncopated drumbeat enters (and maintains nearly throughout) that doesn’t line up with the original track just enough to make you feel a bit thrown off. To quote Next’s song itself, that shit is “crucial, girl.” He’s got a synth pad singing triplets somewhere in there too, just to perfect this sumptuous feast of musical elements that would hitherto seem impossible to put together. Together though, due to STWO’s expertise, this shit sings. 

The Wifey remix remains consistent with the rest of his work: Minimal but penetrating. The result is unusual, ethereal and ambient. And a solid new take on /tribute to Next’s 90s classic. Happy listening.

STWO – Wifey Remix

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Music

Digital Farm Animals – Adore You

digital farm animals

Good morning. Get ready to feast your ears. Get ready for my a song I really like. That is understatement of the year, but I feel okay about it.

Lately I’ve been rocking out to Digital Farm Animals’ Adore You. It has all the good things. solidly steeped in 80s revival. The instrumentation rings beautifully of Prince. The kick drum is loud, present, and commanding. The synths are heavily utilized and kick ass. And the vocalist, Ofei, brings a contemporary, almost painful soul to it.
Plain and Simple: Digital Farm Animals’ Adore You is the music you want playing while you’re doing excellent, excellent things. Head out and do them. Good Day.
Digital Farm Animals – Adore You
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Music

Hooray for Earth – No Love

hooray for earth

This has been a weird summer for me. I can’t seem to bring myself to get too excited about anything. I suppose I’d describe it as a sort of pervasive apathy. This new “October in August” weather isn’t helping either. I know I should be celebrating its livability, but it’s actually just another factor drastically altering my equilibrium.

I’m not alone, either. When I speak to most of my friends they’re either feeling the exact same or varying degrees of similar. Maybe it’s something in the water, or maybe I should get new friends, but I’m pretty sure it has more to do with all of us performing for invisible stages. I think our brains are just finally giving up on us and insisting we take a break from displaying our lives (online, mostly), as perfect tableaus of success.

I guess we all find ourselves in that place, sometimes. I certainly feel it in the lyrics for Hooray for Earth’s no love. The song’s audio is magnificent and I want to do it justice as well (stay with me here), but here’s a good snapshot from their song that I just can’t get out of my head.

“This time, no love is what I need
but I want to want to love
I want to want to learn“.

Oh fuck yeah, Hooray for Earth. Just tell it like it is. Because we all DO “want to want to love.” We all “want to want to learn.” But sometimes no love is just what we need, despite what we think we want. Whether it’s in a relationship or any other area of our lives, sometimes we need to take a break and acknowledge where we are. Alone.

So, yes. Here we are on a lovely morning. As I said, the song audio stands up just as well: It’s unapologetic synth pop with a driving beat and a solid amount of harder rock elements. It was mixed by Chris Coady, and good god you can hear it in the best sort of way. Let yourself be however you are, wherever you are. Give this track a spin. Even if you’re feeling GREAT about everything, it’ll just make you feel better.

Hooray for Earth – No Love

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Music

Tourist – Stay

Days like today are made for sitting inside (with an animal if you own one), and some great music. If you don’t share yer abode with an animal it doesn’t matter because we can both still bask in the excellence that is Tourist‘s ‘Stay”.

London based producer Tourist, (aka William Phillips), has released this new track off of an upcoming EP with Method Records. It’s just as mellow as his earlier work but incorporates some minor darkness into that ambience. The bassline floats so beautifully in the scheme of things you can’t even really call it a bassline. And of course, Tourists’ beautifully crafted beats lend the track just enough structure to sink your teeth into. Nothing feels too anchored. Everything feels like a warm, flowing continuous experience.  Just perfect, perfect music to satisfy any of your summer longings dashed by the precipitation outside. Enjoy.

Tourist – Stay

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Music

Basecamp – Emmanuel

Basecamp - Emmanuel

To me, August has always been a month of mystery. It’s that strange part of the year where somewhere in the back of your mind you’re letting go of summer. Whenever July 31st hits my thoughts start to race.

Something about this particular August has been even more jarring for me, as we have this faux-October (fauxtober?) weather. I feel like I’m walking around with mesh over my eyes. Hell, I’m not complaining weather gods, but I’m confused as all get up.

An August like this is precisely the sort of time to have a song like Basecamp’s Emmanuel on repeat. By the way when I say ‘repeat’ I mean the serious repeat — like, go to yer iTunes and click until you get the blue circled 1 icon.

“Mouth moves, but no sound,
We gave up our ground. “

Basecamp – Emmanuel

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Music

Sam Smith – Safe With Me

When I first heard Sam Smith’s ‘Safe with me’ it legitimately took everything in my power not to blast, blast, blast it in my headphones. I failed. I don’t know if my ears will ever forgive me. Let me tell you something: It was worth it. If there’s anything you listen to in the next few weeks, this track has got to be it.

‘Safe with me’, the new cut off of Sam Smith‘s upcoming debut EP for PMR Records, is just triumphant. Sam Smith‘s smooth, soulful, and utterly reassuring tone pairs perfectly with the track’s dynamic rhythms. The production creates movement while still making the listener feel every bit as safe as Davis’ lyrics instruct. There’s a lot going on underneath Davis (background vocal lines, an almost tribal beat, a drone bass, organ, and much, much more), but rather than distracting from Sam Smith it just lifts his ethereal tenor up further. Serious props to Two Inch Punch for the expert production, co-writing, and arranging of this song. It is clearly the culmination of an immense amount of work and love.

The result is a beautiful, soothing and poignant tribute to a loved one. “Don’t you know your secret’s safe with me? All your worries can be put to sleep,” sings Smith. You’ll end up feeling that way, because Sam Smith and Two Inch Punch have achieved the rare feat of making you feel like they’re singing directly to you. Sit back and enjoy.

Sam Smith – Safe With Me

 

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Music

Lucius – Hey, Doreen

Hey, Doreen is the first single of Lucius’ upcoming full length Wildewoman (ooh gurl. Good title). The song certainly draws sonically from Lucius’ past EP (Man, I’m still not over this amazing acoustic live video of Turn Around), but takes it quite a bit further. It’s still has Lucius’ signature soaring two and sometimes three part harmony. It still has that 90s indie sound, but incorporates just a hint of 60s psych pop/piano lines (a la The Zombies), and quite a bit of Motown inspired rhythm section/tambourining. That’s a verb I just created, and I feel pretty good about it.

Back to Lucius. Combine all of the aforementioned elements and you’ve got a delicious new Lucius track that makes me pretty excited for the record. This is the kind of song you want to listen to on headphones. Because I can 99.99999996% guarantee you that your shitty Macbook speakers won’t do justice to the intricate, incredibly well thought out audio of this track.

The melody is in a considerably lower range than I’ve heard Jess and Holly do, with a chorus more in the range I’ve heard them belt. The prechorus/chorus is some signature Lucius excellence: Melodically solid and incredibly memorable without being annoying. And I’d like to give a special shoutout to their videogame esque synth interlude at 2:49. Beautiful beautiful.

All in all this bodes well for the Wildewomen themselves and Wildewomen and men worldwide. Lucius is about to head out on a pretty expansive tour with some of the more fantastic indie rockers (including Tegan and Sara, the Head and the Heart and Grace Potter). Catch em when they’re in yer area.

Lucius – Hey, Doreen

 

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Music

Clubfeet – Cape Town (Panama Remix)

Clubfeet - Cape Town

I’ve been on a bit of an Australia kick lately. Today’s badassery comes from two separate Aussie bands, Clubfeet and Panama. The track is Panama’s remix of Clubfeet’s ‘Capetown’. The original track (and its AMAZING accompanying video), is a bouncy, soulful dance jam. Clubfeet, a critically acclaimed Aussie five piece synth/pop band, have two fantastic records under their belt. Capetown is off of their newest and is one of its better cuts. Their music is complex, versatile, and perfect for any dance party, anytime.

Panama brings the disco even harder with their remix. The track starts with a tight piano cluster. Clubfeet’s airy vocal + deliciously almost-sarcastic lyrics (“everybody buy me a drink, it’s my birthday”), come in soon after. Panama keeps it sparse and punchy, adding in a simple but memorable slap bassline and driving  drumbeat. The result is pretty damn close to perfection.

Australia’s indie dance scene is kicking it hard, and this track is no exception. Clubfeet just finished a tour with Panama, making this collaboration even more excellent. Hopefully they’ll make their way to the states soon. I’ll be right in the front row dancing.

Clubfeet – Cape Town (Panama Remix)