The Preatures – Is This How You Feel?


Do you ever put on a song and immediately start jigging? That’s how it is when I press play on The Preatures’ “Is This How You Feel?”. The bass & guitar mesh well together in a Fleetwood Mac-esque sound. The male singer, Gideon, has a verse sandwiched between lead female vocalist Isabella’s, who takes the spotlight throughout the song. The pair balance really well together; she slides her way back into the verse seamlessly. I hardly noticed her takeover until writing this post!

The content of this song is simple.. we’ve all been there. Liking someone and being in the dark about how they feel toward you. Part of the mystery is fun, but the unknown brings on an uneasy feeling- a feeling of something that needs to burst open. Hey how about you sing this song to your crush and see how she/he reacts? Joking of course, but how about you take the plunge and just ASK!

Shake it right tonight”

The sound of the Australian band sounds rather like a pop tribute to the 70’s scenario of dance house-based compositions. Along with Fleetwood Mac, their sound is very reminiscent of HAIM, so if you’re into singing along to something upbeat, you’ll take a liking to this track. As a child who grew up with music-centric parents, I can definitely empathize with the sound of this track. Might you?

The band’s style varies tremendously song-by-song. You’ll notice this on their EP titled “Is This How You Feel”, released back in 2013. Also be sure to check out their latest album: “Blue Planet Eyes”.

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La Femme – Sur La Planche


Vive l’été!

Quand je suis sur la planche, tout est bon.

Et quand nous sommes sur la planche ensemble, alors…c’est comme nous sommes le monde, et rien d’autre existe.

La Femme – Sur La Planche

Interview Music

EMPT Exclusive: Interview with Corsica Arts Club

Corsica Arts Club

EMPT gets a ton of emailed songs from up-and-coming artists, most of which we regretfully do not get to post. However, once in a while we find a gem and reach out to the performers to learn a bit more. Today, writer Nicky DePaul catches up with Corsica Arts Club, an emerging band out of Los Angeles who captured our ear with their blissful take on summertime rock, “California I Follow.”

EMPT: You guys are as new as they come. Tell us, who are Corsica Arts Club?

CAC: Corsica Arts Club is Brendan and Arash. We’ve been friends since we were teenagers and we’ve been making music together for over a decade.

EMPT:  What are your artistic goals? Are they the same as your career goals?

Arash: We try to write the best songs we can write, songs that we would enjoy listening to ourselves. There’s nothing we’d love more than to make a career out of it.

EMPT: How does your long-term friendship impact your writing and recording process?

Brendan: There’s a bond, an inherent understanding. It’s very easy to communicate both creatively and personally – our feelings, our aspirations, or how we’d like a song to sound.

Arash: We grew up liking the same music, discovering the same artists and albums together, so we have the same references for anything from melodic ideas to production ideas.

EMPT: “California I Follow” is very much an LA song, in the recent tradition of early releases from Best Coast or No Age: lo-fi, laconic, washed out. Does a sense of place infiltrate your music purposefully?

Arash: Not necessarily, though we can’t help but be influenced by our environment on some level.

Brendan: Whether in the narrative we’re telling or in the palette of sounds we’re using. At the same time, we strive to make music that’s universal, that can be appreciated regardless of the fact that we’re from LA.

Arash: If anything, we hope to evoke a feeling more than a specific place. All of our friends that we’ve played it for say it sounds like summer. That being said, I’d hope that someone who has never been to LA, but has a romanticized idea of it from films or television, hears the song and feels like they’ve been transported here. I love songs like that.

EMPT: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

Arash: I literally have no idea.

Brendan: I’d say the same. I’d feel like something was missing. The absence of music in my life sounds like an incomplete life.

EMPT: Your Facebook lists some prominent influences: Bowie, Iggy Pop, Kraftwerk, The Beach Boys. What does it mean to you to be influenced by an artist? How does influence appear in your art? Are there any current acts you’re drawing from or would recommend to our readers?

Arash: There are certain songs or albums that elicit such profound excitement when we hear them, that strike such a chord, we’re almost immediately thinking about how to recreate those feelings. David Bowie‘s”Low” for example. When we discovered that album it felt like finding the secrets of the universe. We’re enamored by everything about it – obviously the songs, but also the story behind it, the production techniques, the album art. It’s hard to pinpoint all the ways our favorite artists have influenced us, but I’ll tell you that we keep Bowie and “Low” in mind when we think about sounds or instruments we’d like to use in a song.

As far as current acts go, some of our favorites include Radiohead, The Strokes, and Phoenix. The guys from Dawes, who we knew back when they were called Simon Dawes, have had an influence on us in the sense that they turned us on to The Band and Big Star. We can’t thank them enough for that.

EMPT: Nice. I remember the Simon Dawes days. They played at my high school battle of the bands contest. Next question: What are you ordering at the bar?

Arash: A Death In The Afternoon. That’s champagne and absinthe.

Brendan: *laughs* I don’t drink. Arnold Palmer. Or water.

EMPT: You get to plan one perfect day. What does that day look like?

Arash: I’d want to spend the day on some beach, probably somewhere on the French Riviera, with a good book or two, then have a party at night with all my family and friends.

Brendan: My favorite place is Cinque Terre in Italy. I’d love to go back there.

EMPT: Any future plans you’d like to share?

Arash: We’re constantly writing and recording music. Beyond that? There are some things in the works. Keep an eye on us…

Many thanks and good luck to Corsica Arts Club. Find them on Soundcloud, Twitter and Facebook for more music and updates.

Corsica Arts Club – California I Follow


Jagwar Ma – Come Save Me

Some days it seems like the world is going to shit. I think people have always felt this way, but damn. Power plays for “strategic” locations (see: Crimea, Senkaku), unceasing government sponsored murder, institutionalized racism (as bad as it gets in the USA, it’s worse oversees)…not to mention the 5th IPCC report detailing the true scope and threat of global climate change.

These crises don’t feel as immediate as when my father’s grade school teacher said goodbye to her class during the Cuban Missile Crisis. But, in some ways, they are more onerous and frightening than ever, a constant presence on screens reminding you that all is not well in the globalized world we share.

All global citizens should feel pressure to “make the world a better place.” Whether that’s through donating international aid money, advocating for local issues, or helping out a friend in need, the action is what counts.

In times like these, the most valuable services can seem trivial and trifling. What’s another song from another band when compared to the death rattle of yet another rhinoceros, cruelly slaughtered so some guy thousands of miles away can feel better about his hard on?

Art is a saving grace. No matter the destruction or extinction, artistic production will prevail as a beacon of individualism and emotion. Isn’t history just a long stream of artistic accomplishments, reminding us that no matter how bad it got, we, humans, always prevailed, and with a glimmer in our eyes to boot.

Jagwar Ma’s “Come Save Me” (the band’s first ever song) is that resilient glimmer embodied: The lyrics aren’t groundbreaking, the instrumentation is repetitive, but it expresses unbounded emotion in a moment when the audience needs it. “I don’t want a love like this,” sings Gabriel Winterfield, “come and save me.” No, Jagwar, you save us. Save us with your collaborative mentality (the band met through an open music and art collective that called itself a “band with no members”) and your sweet summer croonage.

It’s too simple to avert our eyes from the tragic. But if we come to understand that the tragic is an eternal partner to the comic, perhaps we can find some solace aboard our tiny bobbing boats that balance atop the crashing breakers of time. 

Jagwar Ma – Come Save Me


The War on Drugs – Red Eyes

Rock music has seen a decline in relevance over the past few decades. This was partially inevitable, because public tastes move in cycles and no one was quite living up to the examples set by The Who, The Doors and, kings of kings, Led Zeppelin. Not only were those bands pushing records and selling out arenas, they were also totally insane and badass. Their exploits are lore, as the advent of omniscient tabloids had yet to dawn.

Of course, some of the greatest rockers of all time succeeded and were contemporary to those early legends: Hendrix, Prince, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, not to mention Guns & Roses, Nirvana, Sonic Youth and more. But it’s safe to say that the culture of rock has receded as a mainstream force, especially as metal has fractured into too many sub genres to count and become a relatively niche pursuit (don’t know any metal, huh? Kylesa and Mastadon are accessible to newcomers).

Arcade Fire’s “upset” Album of the Year Grammy win in 2011 was painted as a triumphant return for rock, but perhaps it augured in the other direction: that indie had been culturally appropriated by the masses. That narrative argues that the win wasn’t an upset at all, but actually the recognition that independent bands were no longer necessarily at a disadvantage to those with label deals, largely due to streaming, sharing and novel e-commerce and distribution strategies. Saying a band is “indie” no longer seems to refer to a contract status, and rather to an image (born from a mélange of art students, hipsters, rich kids and style bloggers).

It’s hard to rank rock bands today. The Who are still touring. Is Beck eligible? What do we do with country? I’m not going to try.

Here’s what I know: The War On Drugs is one of the best rock bands around, and they aren’t getting their due. Since 2008, the band has released three album and two EPs, all of them filled with recognizable sonic elements. Frontman Adam Granduciel ambles like Dylan, and surges like Springsteen. Their discography, while diverse (and including some excellent ambient/drone tracks), often evokes the emotive, noisey rock of The Cure and Arcade Fire, or the pseudo-ballad of Smashing Pumpkins.

“Red Eyes,” the lead single off the just-released “Lost In A Dream,” is an exercise in real rock. Not hard, not soft; lush yet restrained; and featuring ripping guitars. The mastering is expert (supposedly it took Granuciel much longer to master the song than to write and record it) and neither the poetic lyrics nor their earnest tone have a hint of pretention.

I encourage you to seek out live studio video, especially the set featured on KCRW radio’s Morning Becomes Eclectic show. The War On Drugs are at home in the studio, with perfect sound and an informal atmosphere. But I can imagine they’ll blow the roof off many a venue this summer and beyond.

The War on Drugs – Red Eyes


Blur – Girls & Boys

Damon Albarn does not get enough credit.

I’m biased, it’s true. There aren’t many people who would gladly listen to the full “Monkey’s Journey To The West” soundtrack straight through. I have been a Gorillaz obsessive since the first album dropped, and have purchased everything Albarn has been a part of before or since: The Good, the Bad and the Queen, Rocket Juice & The Moon, the African ensemble projects, the operas, the various feature spots, the production gigs (most notably for Amadou & Mariam and Bobby Womack.)

Just look at that list. Even if you have never heard of an artist, that amount and stylistic variety of output in a short time is impressive. And don’t forget, Gorillaz is basically his personal concept project for which he has written all of the music. And, the list doesn’t even include his most famous musical outing. Yet Albarn is not a mainstream name (at least not in the USA).

When Blur was announced as a Coachella headliner for the festival’s 2013 installment, the Internet was up in arms. “Who?” was the general refrain. “Oh, that woo-hoo song band?” came next.

I get that. Albarn’s first band’s first single came out before I was born, and the band broke up in 2001. “Song 2” has become a generic sports arena staple, stripped of its attitude and novelty. But as anyone who saw the Coachella show or any of the reunion shows knows that Blur remains a force to be reckoned with. They are, without a doubt, one of the top rock bands of the past 20 years, in terms of quality and influence.

And in the ultimate victory, they have outlasted their bitter rivals, Oasis.

So if you don’t know Blur, here’s one of my favorite tracks to get you started. Time to play catch up.

Blur – Girls & Boys


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 and @superhumanoids.

Superhumanoids – Geri


EMPT Presents: French Press, Vol. 1

Artwork by Evelyn Wilroy

The idea for the French Press playlist series was a simple one. Create a playlist for a blog with a french name with the word French in it. Voila, the French Press series. Ironically, I’ve never used a French Press to make coffee, but I’ve heard great things, so I’ve stolen the name because I want these playlists to be compared to the quality of product delivered by these devices. Just kidding. Like I said before, French Press was literally the first name that popped into my mind when I decided to name the playlist. Blame it on the blog name. I could give a rats ass about a cup of coffee. I’ll take a woman in the morning instead.

The French Press playlists won’t cover a certain genre, or feel, or attitude. Simply, they will contain my favorite songs of the month (sometimes new discoveries from the past) and will hopefully take you through the motions of your day. These are turn up playlists, these aren’t turn down playlists, they’re both and sometimes neither. For me, that’s what I want a playlist to be, and maybe I’m selfish, or bias, but after you listen let me know where it took you.

I’d also like to extend a massive thank you to the talented Evelyn Wilroy, who designed the first tape’s cover art and who will also be designing the artwork for each of the following volumes. Follow her blog pleine de vie where you’ll be able to purchase her work and bask in her cool.

Jusqu’à la prochaine fois que nous parlons,


French Press, Vol. 1:

1. Seyi – Icecold (feat. my flatmate)
2. Sampha – Without
3. John Wizards – Lusaka By Night
4. Waterstrider – Midnight Moon
5. X PRIEST X – Samurai
6. j.viewz – Far Too Close (2013 Edit)
7. Clubfeet – Cape Town (Panama Remix)
8. Capital STEEZ – King Steelo
9. Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle – By The Time That I Awoke
10. Duke Dumont – Hold On (feat. MNEK)
11. Lion Babe – Treat Me Like Fire (Star Slinger Bootleg Mix)

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WZRD – Teleport 2 Me, Jamie (ft. Desire)

The movie Drive made Desire’s Under Your Spell an instant classic and on February of last year Kid Cudi revealed his project WZRD (an alias he uses for the rock project where he partners up with Dot Da Genius).

Drive’s soundtrack has the ability to transport (or teleport me, for that matter) to another time (even though it’s a relatively new movie only a couple years old. But everything about the movie has influences from a decade that’s very special to me. Among its feats was making Desire’s Under Your Spell an instant classic. In Teleport 2 Me, Jamie, Cudi samples Desire’s original and sings about how much he wants this girl to be with him. The elusive Jamie is Jamie Baratta (Cudi’s best friend or girlfriend, depending who you ask). Cudi still can’t sing yet he’s managed for us all to accept and even like the way he ‘sings’ in his songs.

WZRD (which was first called Wizard then 2 Be Continuum and later WZRD where the four letters are pronounced one letter at a time *rolls eyes*) is the rock project that finds behind it the aforementioned Cudi and Dot Da Genius. Teleport 2 Me, Jamie was their debut single in February 2012 and since then I haven’t heard a bit. Hopefully this side-project gives birth to more stuff like this.

WZRD – Teleport 2 Me, Jamie (ft. Desire)


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)