Indie International II

Welcome to the Indie International, a periodical that exclusively shines the light on undiscovered artists from around the world! We’ve been neck-deep in talent over the past few weeks, so without any further adieu lets dip our toes into uncharted waters and feel the flow!

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Owen Tromans

We featured UK storyteller Owen Tromans’ last album ‘For Haden’, and just one week ago Tromans released a brand new LP ‘Golden Margins’. Pairing up once again with his backing band “The Elders”, Tromans’ style flits between traditional singer/songwriter narratives and campfire folk jams.

Recorded in the country-side in the dead of winter, there is a palpable loneliness that pervades ‘Golden Margins’; at times the stories seem to unfold in one’s own mind like ghostly memories, crawling ever so slowly in front of one’s eyes, but the pace never slows to a complete standstill, and Tromans cleverly sprinkles bits of humor and wit to hold the listener in reality. “I think the pyramids were built by Africans/Seems to make the most sense”

Although Tromans has no trouble despelling conspiracy theories in ‘Pyramids’, “Sometimes I find/You got to narrow your mind”, his penchant for weaving his own folk stories is a testament to his abilities as a both a storyteller and an artist rooted firmly in reality. For me, growing up in Canada, Troman’s procures visions along the lines of The Tragically Hip and the legendary Gordon Lightfoot. Transitioning from accessible, alt-rock inspired humor-ballads that would slot nicely into any bar on the outskirts of town, to full-blown chamber-folk unfurling like an audio graphic novel, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get from Tromans, but the result is undeniably poignant, and one can’t help but get lost in his stories.


Stream the album in full via soundcloud.

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Graeme Kennedy

Hailing from the Electric City Peterborough in the heart of southern Ontario, Graeme Kennedy has released two tracks from his upcoming full-length. Oozing with style and swagger, “No Use For the People” is a sidewalk-slapping stroll through the city. Kennedy’s sing/talk vocals drip with confidence and certainty, while the minimalist rock and roll arrangements keep the pace quick and punchy. It’s brilliance is in subtlety, coupled with the overarching “not giving a fuck attitude”, in spite of everything seemingly going wrong.

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Graeme Kennedy – No Use For People

Listening to ‘Magician with a trick’, I was immediately reminded of eclectic three-piece “Why?” and their tacit obsessions with mildly offensive lyrical arrangements. But unlike Why?, Kennedy doesn’t devolve his music for the sake of shock humor, rather his message is quite clear. “You can hop a high horse/and ride with hate/but there aint no pride in joining that parade/Ride On”. “Magician with a trick” is a heavy-handed slap-in-the-face to bigots and the intolerant, and a creative way to promote the very Canadian concept of multicultural equality. Don’t be fooled by the message, Kennedy is still the most likely candidate to burn your ass with a cigarette.

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Graeme Kennedy – Magician With A Trick

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Nanaki

Back overseas on the Isle of Man, multi-instrumentalist Mikie Daugherty tells a different tale with his solo-project Nanaki. Once a full-blown band with many members, Daugherty took the Nanaki moniker to his bedroom and let the music flow, creating the ‘Afterlight’ EP. Unlike the previous artists, Nanaki’s stories are told exclusively through instrumentals, and the narratives are truly left to the listener to discern. Daughterty’s versatility as a musician is incredible, bouncing between rock genres with each song and effortlessly re-imagining his sound in epic four minute bursts. The sophistication is quite evident, especially on the album’s heavier track aptly named “Fuck Spotify”, as Daughterty toys with time signatures and tempo changes.

As an album, it’s completely schizophrenic, but whatever your flavor for rock, one song is bound to speak to you, if not all of them. “Afterlight” is a musicians album, an impressive experiment, and the sum of its parts looks like some sort of interstellar Frakenstein rock monster, with visceral chunks borrowed from a history of post-rock and outer space.

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Nanaki – Antisocial Media

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Nanaki – Saint Alessa

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Olivia Gilmore

Singing since the age of 5, Olivia Gilmore is an absolute gem from Hollis, Queens. Drawing inspiration from R&B legends Stevie Wonder, Faith Evans, and Mary J Blige, Gilmore’s raw emotion bleeds through on her latest single “Matrix”. Digging deep, Gilmore confesses that she “wrote this song as candidly as I could in hopes of not only sharing my experience but also encouraging the listener to face their reality head on and decide to let go…” Her vocal prowess takes centre stage, and she’s an absolute powerhouse. It’s beautiful music, channeling the soulful era of 90′s R&B while blending contemporary production elements. Keep an eye on this girl, she only just began her professional career and she’s bound to make a splash.

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The Sherpas

UK five-piece The Sherpas just released their latest single “Six Steps”, coupled with an extremely bizarre and somewhat frightening video presumably shot in someone’s basement. There’s been a bit of a funk rebirth in the UK as of late, and the Sherpas are one the bands leading us up the mountain of funkadelic, 70′s/80′s infused alt-rock. This one is a real hand clapper, and Pierre Roxon’s eclectic vocals are a standout. The Sherpas are a relatively new band having a hell of a lot of fun, so keep an eye on these gents as they flesh out their sound.

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The Sherpas – Six Steps

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Feral Conservatives

I’m a sucker for alt rock with unexpected classical instruments (see Raleigh), and it’s not very often that you happen across a band with such a complete sound sporting a mandolin. But lo, we have the Virginian duo Feral Conservatives, with their release 2-song EP release “A D”. Rashie Rosenfarb absolutely kills it with her lofty vocals and melodic mandolin plucks, and rarely have I come across a band so fresh and so new with such polish. There is a delicate balance achieved between Rashie and her bandmate Matt Francis, who’s fuzzy guitars mesh ever so gently with the soft, lush vibrance of Rashie’s mandolin. It’s a versatile sound, and certainly not as tender as one might expect. There’s an sharp edge to the Feral Conservatives, a dipolarism that can be dissected from both their name, their album cover, and their sound. And like yin and yang, Rosenfarb and Francis complete each other beautifully.

Check out their bandcamp here

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Feral Conservatives – Wait For Me

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Feral Conservatives – Complacent

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And that wraps up this edition of the Indie International! Thanks for listening, and remember,

Always stay for the openers.

Would you like your band to be featured on the Indie International? Easy! Send your submissions to jarrett@thenewlofi.com!


Montevideo Mondays (XIII)

Lost in that parallel galaxy known as the alternative scene of bandcamp music labels, a record with four tracks arrived last week in my inbox. A friend recommended me to listen Abdul and his most recent effort, “Pareidolia”, which was released a couple of months ago.

“Pareidolia” is well known as a sort of psychological reaction where a rare, vague stimulus (maybe an image) is erratically perceived as something well known. Is like finding a face in places like a food plate.

So the name of the record sets the rules, and Abdul´s songs tend to channel the title: they present themselves as abstract pieces of well known instruments and some electro touches that stay instrumental but, after some minutes, became more like a blurry sound. However, they never lose its pleasant vibe, something that seems to come from a very intimate place, with inspiration and relaxation as the main goal. It´s an invitation of a musician with worries of the commercial etiquette and form that sometimes seems to be implanted in our heads. Here, the music seems like a search and reflection process, defined by the constant experimentation with ideas, all exposed in a very nit music environment, with no angular sounds, more focused in a quiet, gentle vibe. In these songs, you can´t hang on nothing; the best option is to let yourself go with every track. Brazilian sounds and some other bits of black 70´s music seem to be around a package of influences very subtle, difficult to detect.

“Pareidolia” (you can get it for free, here) is more than this EP of four tracks. It is actually a selection of discarded songs of “Naoplia”, which came at the beginnings of 2013. By the way, that record and these songs are full analog-recorded. Here´s one of those songs:

Also the artist has written a blog about the recording process. If you can read spanish, click here.


SXSW 2014: An Epilogue

After I arrived back at home from SXSW, I would spend the next few weeks endlessly editing photos and pumping out lengthy wrap-up post one after another. Throughout the festival, there was a general negative attitude that seemed to pervade every lengthy line and every short-handed blog post. SXSW had gotten too big. Maybe it was the presence of the iTunes fest, a rather shitty way to waste an entire day waiting in-line for the possibility to see world-wide touring artists like Coldplay and Imagine Dragons. Or maybe the six hour line to get into another six hour line to watch Kayne and Jay Z. Or perhaps it was the Doritos Bold Stage, a gigantic vending machine hell-bent on ramming ‘enriched’ wheat flour down the throats of anyone stupid enough to try and watch Lady Gaga at South By. Whatever the case, the blogosphere was abound in negative reviews from festival veterans and newbies alike, all of which left Austin with a sour taste in their mouths and a new-found hatred for ‘mainstream’ that ignited their emblazoned musical hipsterdom in the first place.

The endless tales of misery coupled with a rather misplaced sense of entitlement overwhelmed the media coverage of South By. It was quite disheartening; I was in Austin for the very first time, and according to everyone else it was the shittiest festival the city had ever hosted. I was left quite confused, was I actually having as good of a time as I thought? I contemplated my experience for several weeks, and after reading a very well-written stinging critique of musical journalists reporting on SXSW, I began to see the industry in a whole new light.

I never stood in line longer than I should have. There was never a point when I felt discouraged by the sheer magnitude of the festival, and never once did I question the integrity of SXSW as a whole. Maybe it was because it was my first experience, or maybe it was because I wasn’t so fucking jaded that I felt entitled to see every show I wanted with VIP accreditation. There was a time when SXSW was smaller, undoubtedly, and it was a haven for music dorks to walk freely in and out of venues while catching every buzz band they could imagine. This was still the case, but the corporate presence was significantly larger in response to the growing audience, and as such the noise was a lot more difficult to shut out. For aging musical journalists, this was overwhelming; droves of fringe-fans flooded the streets mingling with people more eager to score free liquor than see artists perform, and the endless barrage of corporate advertising was undoubtedly very difficult to handle for those who identified with the sub-culture of indie music and anti-corporatism. It was a hard pill to swallow, but certainly one worth taking considering the flood of free food and drinks made available, and every complimentary pizza and beer consumed by these frustrated correspondents was footed by the very corporations they loved to hate. Their sharp critiques published in the days following the festival were quite literally, biting the hand that fed them.

It wasn’t until about a week after I got home that I realized how pissed off I was at the community. I didn’t get flown to Austin on my publication’s dollar; I’m still reeling from the near $3000 bucks I spent to stay there, and I certainly didn’t get the benefit of getting paid for a single damn word I was writing about it (Well over 10,000 words, I might add), or the 1800 photos I took. And yet I kept reading post-after-post of festival wrap-ups about six paragraphs in length lambasting the festival organizers and their corporate sponsors. It was sickening to think that industry leaders like Vice’s music blog Noisy were publishing such heinous pieces of garbage. These were the people I was supposed to look up to, the paid journalists with a musical knowledge far superior to my own that had somehow managed to secure my dream job. And yet here they were, relentlessly whining about a festival they attended (or didn’t) for free on the basis that there were too many drunk people and Subway handed them a flyer.

To echo Kevin McStravick’s piece, you’ve failed us. The music industry is constantly evolving, and unfortunately our aged superiors are not. It’s time to retire, to hand over the reigns to those who are willing to dive headfirst into the trenches of the contemporary music festival, willing to get shitfaced for some solid writing material, and willing to grow alongside the industry. SXSW, Coachella, Tomorrow World, Sasquatch… these festivals have grown to fantastical proportions, buckling under their own weight and balancing their growing needs with the corporate dollar, and yes, as a sociologist, it’s fucking depressing that our society is a cleverly disguised oligarchy, but that’s our society, and unfortunately music festivals do not exist inside a social vacuum. For those indie enthusiasts, there are plenty of fantastic smaller festivals popping up all over the country, eagerly awaiting your press credentials and the voice we’ve granted you, so I urge you to head back to your roots and do the job that got you where you’re at in the first place. Otherwise, step out of the way, because it’s our turn. We aren’t jaded. And regardless of whether or not you think festivals aren’t “cool” anymore, we do. Maybe the problem is that you stopped being relevant sometime after you wrote your last thoughtful piece back when Vampire Weekend was known only for “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”.

It’s not easy to drum up enthusiasm when it drains your bank account, and that’ll change in the future. When we are the ones sitting at your comfortable desk writing the piece that will define our generation, we’ll remember what you said, and I’ll remember what I wrote. For you festival promoters looking to hand out passes to aged has-been ‘journalists’, we’re The New LoFi…

And we’re fucking coming.


SXSW Festival Wrap-Up: The End.

I hesitated, spun around on the spot and snapped a couple quick photos. Almost immediately his focus changed as he stared into the camera lens, the slightest smirk hardly visible under his hedge-like beard.

“Do you want a hug?”
I lowered the camera, “Absolutely” I grinned.

He was a good hugger, surely from experience, and with a hearty chuckle and a couple pats on the back I felt the loneliness wash away, if only for a moment.

It was at this point I realized I’d spent the entire festival taking shots of artists and venues, while completely ignoring the most quintessential element of SXSW. The people. The majority of my time was spent people watching and navigating the massive crowds. Groups of friends stood on every street corner, laughing and slapping shoulders, retelling the events of the night before. Old friends stumbled into one another, eager to share their experiences and compare them to previous years. Droves of fantastical lunatics dressed like peacocks wore vibrant displays of colors and clothes, desperate to attract the attention of a suitable mate. While street performers garnered small crowds as they put on eclectic pop-up shows. The streets were constantly abuzz with life, laughter, and of course, music, and the city of Austin was undoubtedly alive.

I decided on the final day to drink in the atmosphere and turn my lens to the people and places of Austin. As such this post wound up being something a little different, and is more akin to a photojournal than a blog post.

Despite the clouds, it was another warm day at South By, and everyone was in good spirits in the early afternoon, eagerly anticipating the inebriated evening events that were only hours away. This was the scene at East 6th, the heart of SXSW.

The city of Austin was bursting at the seams, and high-end apartment complexes were in construction all over downtown. This particular high-rise was on the west end, on my way to the Quantum Collective Day Party on top of Whole Foods.

At first I had no idea who this woman was, until she played the iconic song “Tom’s Diner”. It was none other than singer/songwriting legend and the “Mother of the MP3″ Suzanne Vega. The song she wrote back in ’81 was about Tom’s Restaurant in New York, famously known as ‘Monks’, the frequent meeting place of Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer on Seinfeld. It was a bit of an eerie moment for me as she shot a look into my eyes.

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Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner

The scene atop the Whole Foods was very mellow; kids ran about in the background while soccer mom’s mingled with the peaceful, yet strinkingly alternative music crowd. There was free soda pop and coconut water abound, and it was the most serene moment of the festival. Eventually, by will of the sheer good vibrations, the sun poked out of the clouds, and as I sat in the mulch behind the stage I began to deal with another wave of nostalgia from my time at the Calgary Folk Fest last August. This was the closest atmosphere to the Folk Fest, and a much needed afternoon of calm, musical therapy.

From Suzanne Vega in ’81 to electro-vets from 2001, the scene suddenly jumped twenty years as Dirty Vegas showed up to play an energetic set consisting of old hits and new material. Once again, I wasn’t even sure I recognized the English duo until they busted out their smash-hit “Days Go By”, a song that garnered a huge following more than a decade earlier.

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Dirty Vegas – Days Go By

The feature performance of the Quantum Collective Day Party was one of my favorites, We Were Promised Jetpacks. After missing the first few songs of their set the other day, I elected to go out of my way to catch them play in their entirety. I also took the opportunity to approach Adam Thompson, shake his hand, and introduce myself as equal-parts blogger and rabid fan.

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We Were Promised Jetpacks – Moving Clocks Run Slow

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We Were Promised Jetpacks – Roll Up Your Sleeves

It was an energetic set in front of the free-spirited, peaceful afternoon crowd. Kids bounced on their parents shoulders and late-twenty-somethings stood misty-eyed as they recalled their infatuation with indie-rock before their iPod’s took a dramatic turn towards Jack Johnson and the like. The performance was capped off by a rare, yet hilarious mistake, as Adam fumbled his chords several times and proclaimed “Whoops” mid-verse. The band was still busting a gut as the song ended, mouthing “Whoops” to one-another and enjoying a full-bodied chuckle.

The sun began to sink as I started the long walk back to the heart of SXSW.

One thing I noticed about the street culture of South By was that it was very difficult to discern between the homeless man and the street performer. This gentleman was accepting donations in the form of phone numbers, and surely had stable housing considering his twitter account.

The value of social networking was very evident, as street performers often broadcasted their twitter and instagram profiles. Charles drew a modest crowd as he plucked the neck of his guitar with great finesse.

The crowds became much more viscous as the sun began to set on Austin, one last time. Although the majority of festival-goers weren’t stumbling just yet, there was certainly a buzz that proliferated throughout the crowd.

I caught this gentleman in the middle of a very intense “guitar” solo. He actually had a pretty sizable stack of cash in his “tip box”, and was generous enough to pose as I strolled by.

Surprisingly, not every show in the middle of the street was allowed to continue. Officer Beck shakes hands with these unknown artists as they are forced to pack up their performance. In all fairness, they had a full band playing in the middle of the road, but the attitudes of the police were still quite accommodating throughout the run of the festival. I took note of the artist wristband on the bearded gentleman, and wondered who they were.

Pedicabs were the only logical way to get around town. For a modest fee of ten dollars, you could enjoy the serenity of a quick ride from one end of town to the other. The driver’s themselves were often quite eclectic, and at times would wear outlandish costumes and dress up their cabs with flashing lights and booming speakers in order to attract potential clients. The few pedicab drivers I spoke to were quite annoyed with this practice, and although business was booming for South By, both Manny and Ian had informed me that it was extremely difficult to make money due to the sheer volume of pedicab drivers.

They would park at the end of Red River Street near Rainey, and wait upwards to an hour to catch a fare. Despite appearances, the pedicabbies were quite organized, and fare’s would be doled out based on which driver had been waiting the longest.

This was my home away from home, The Art of Tacos on Rainey Street. I ate here every day, sometimes twice, and was always greeted with a smile and a laugh from the people running the small food truck. They were very hospitable during my stay, and served up a generous amount of meat and toppings every time I ordered. I absolutely loved these guys, and I made sure to shake some hands and say goodbye before they packed up in the morning.

I went back to my hotel for one final recharge before heading out into the night. Lady Bird Lake was a most gracious host, and I sat in the park overlooking the water on several occasions throughout the week. I was always struck by the juxtaposition between the madness of the festival and the park I had to walk through to head home.

The garbage, much like every festival I’d ever attended, had reached a critical mass in the evening. However, as a testament to the spirit of SXSW, people did whatever they could to avoid actually littering, including precariously setting their garbage on the edge of the bin. Although I made note of the ecological impact, when I awoke the next morning I rather shockingly discovered that every trace of the festival had been removed. Apparently, teams of garbage disposal men are sent out on the last night around 4 in the morning and they swept the streets from top to bottom. It was quite incredible, and aside from the odd poster here and there, it was a completely different city only a few hours after the last artist played the last set.

My other second home, The Hype Hotel, played host to an extremely bizarre performance by Sophie and A.G Cook. It was a strange piece to witness after the show by UK’s Miley Cyrus, Chloe Howl. Their unique electro-set nearly tore the roof down while a hired model stood in a blow-up pool full of beach balls. With each song she moved on to another menial activity, playing with her hair, laying down and reading a magazine, or simply staring off into the crowd in no particular direction. I exchanged a lot of “What the fucks” with at least ten different attendees, and scribbled frantically in my notepad as I awaited for the final show of the festival.

This was not the bedroom chillwave I fell in love with. Ernest Greene took the stage sometime around one, and my curiosity about his live performance was immediately quashed upon the first song. It was upbeat, energetic, and every bit at place with a summer festival. I was completely blown away. The presence of actual instruments had a massive influence of the sheer sound and relentless positivity erupting from the stage. Ernest was flanked by a handful of talented musicians, including his wife, and his performance was one of the most energetic and exciting shows of the entire week.

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Washed Out – All I Know

I first heard “Feel It All Around” back in July of 2009. It was the start of my beautiful relationship with The Hype Machine just after I signed up for an account, and an inspiration for me to open up my world to the ever-expanding universe of new music. “Feel It All Around” was the definition of chillwave, an emerging subgenre of tranquilized synthetic bedroom pop, and audio-therapy for anyone prone to stress and anxiety. In many ways, my musical career is the result of this song, and even five years later it sits atop my “Most Played List”, still as fresh and as poignant as ever. To hear it live on this day, at the Hype Hotel, was poetic justice, and although the pace was quickened and the sound wasn’t the same song I’d heard over 250 times, hot, fierce emotion pumped through my veins. In that moment, I lost myself. I was music.

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Washed Out – Feel It All Around

“I hope you’re not all sick of live music” an out-of-breath Ernest Greene quipped to the crowd.

After seeing somewhere between 30-50 bands (I lost count quickly), in many ways, I was becoming a bit jaded with the performances. However, Washed Out was at the top of my “Must-see” bucket-list, and despite the exhaustion of a week-long beer and taco binge, I was bouncing on my heels the whole set. Seeing an artist live can yield a number of different results, but sometimes, the live set transcends the music you know and love, and becomes something wholly larger than the mp3′s you loop in your iPod. This was one of those shows, and Washed Out had uncorked pure, emotional bliss.

It was the only performance I’d seen all week that had an encore, and unfortunately one of the negatives of being at the very front-and-center of a set is that you have access to the set-list taped to the floor in front of each musician. Although I wasn’t surprised, I was thrilled at the opportunity to enjoy an elongated performance by one of my favorite bands. Ernest was constantly working at his craft, and throughout the night he delved into every EP and LP he ever released, adding new layers and fine-tuning instrumental elements of some of his oldest songs. It was as if his music was constantly evolving, and the emotional peak of the performance hit with his last song, “Eyes Be Closed” from 2011′s widely successful album, “Within and Without”. It was a full-blown sensory overload, and I let the atmosphere completely overwhelm me.

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Washed Out – Eyes Be Closed

The walk home was a high like I’d never experienced. The drunkards were in great spirits as they wandered back to their hotels, and the entire week began to flash through my memory. From the nervous first few hours and the conflict with the hotel, to the Mel Gibson look-a-like and the tragedy only a few days ago; it was all capped off with one of the most energetic, emphatic shows of the festival. The feeling was bittersweet; my time at South By had come to an end, and I was met with mixed emotions as the reality began to set in. I had one more full day in Austin before my flight back home, and I knew the view from the very top had come to an end. Until next time Austin, you were a most gracious host.

(Much love to the volunteers and festival organizers who surely endured more stress than they deserved. Thanks to Elizabeth Derczo and the Press team for the opportunity, thanks to Anthony V of the Hype Machine for the last-minute VIP ticket, and a special thanks to all the people I met, and those who may or may not have read my massive wrap-ups.

And of course, thanks to James and Damon, without whom none of this would have been possible)

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Stay tuned for my final word, coming up in the SXSW Epilogue.


Soulection + Tom Misch

Two fantastic discoveries for you today. First up is the Soulection White Label series. The series highlights short 2 to 4 track EP’s from some of the most forward-thinking artists worldwide with a new release every Friday (#WhiteLabelFriday). The series is only available on Soundcloud; a digital source that embraces new music as it becomes available almost daily now. And if that doesn’t sweeten up your weekend enough, every release has a sexy album cover designed by the very talented Andre Power to accompany each artist.

Last week saw the addition of Tom Misch to the series. He’s an 18 year-old composer, songwriter, guitarist, singer and violinist that produces all his music in his bedroom in London. He has a fantastic knowledge of obscure jazz and R&B inspired hip-hop beats which help create a very smooth and intelligent sound. His goal is to “make instrumentals that will effect peoples mood in a positive way but also make people think.”

Download his latest release entitled Beat Tape 1 on the Tom Misch Bandcamp page.

Tom Misch - The Journey


Jneiro Jarel


More commonly known as DR. WHO DAT? -has got to be one of the more influential hip hop producers of my era. With a insane traces of abstract thought he’s produced beats and tracks under aliases such as Shape Of Broad Minds and has performed and collaborated with similar experimental artist such as MF DOOM, TV On The Radio and Count Bass D.

Now it seems that Jarel has been workin hard since his latest release as JJDOOM with underground legend MFDOOM titled “Key To The Kuffs“. after takin a good gander around th ethernet i was only able to come up with this teaser of what sounds to be like some newer material that he’s been working on via his instagram.

…and of course thats all he fuckin leaves us with. As the Redbull Music Academy applications get review you can look forward to spotting Jarel as one of the original RBMA Alumini.


Throwback Thursday

Went digging through the old inbox this week and came across another unannounced gem of an artist: I✇KA, a 24 year old producer based in Dresden, Germany. There is no way you can lock this guy down to a specific genre; his sense of sound is extremely vast and his music ends up being incredibly layered because of it. Here are a couple of my favorite selected tracks to give you a taste. Give him some love on Hype Machine if you like what you hear.

Ioka – 2 too many
This is the first track Ioka sent us a little over two years ago now, and I remember ear-marking it way back then. It’s collected a little dust since then, but it’s fitting after readying his original message saying “2 too many is my Next Rough Work inspired by Western Movies! Great Diversity with some really Dusty Vocals and Beats!”

Ioka – Maybe Somewhat Somewhere (feat. Yazzmina)
Definitely one of Ioka’s more chilled out tracks, “Maybe Somewhat Somewhere” transports you into the safety of a Japanese zen garden.

Ioka – Jasmin Wuyuann №8 (feat. Yazzmina)
“Jasmin Wuyuann №8″ is a great example of how Ioka’s music can be quite cinematic. He partners here again with Yazzmina to narrate the track with some incredible vocals.

Ioka – Black and Tan Fantasy
Continuing to show his versatility, here’s Ioka exploring his Blues side.

Ioka – Meine Mama hat eine Kamera im Bad angebracht. Sie sagt ich bade immer viel zu lange.
This was one of the longest and hardest tracks for Ioka had to complete and might have something to do with the title. It’s one of the longest song titles I have ever come across (it means “My mum put a camera in our bathroom. She said my baths are too long” in English). But it is an epic of sorts. With an overture of glitch driving you through a tense soundscape of melody.


Syncopated Rhythms

Ever find yourself lost in a journey of the astral variety? Waves of time chilling down your spine. Infinitely searching for perfection in the cosmos? With my heart set on my big move out to the last frontier (Alaska, for all you geographically challenged fools) i found myself tuning into some slower, more “lax” bumps and beats that surely induce you to your own personal lofi setting. (Note to readers: all tracks are best enjoyed with a mug of coffee one of those bagels with onions in ‘em)

El Iqaa
An electronic act from Lebanon? i really haven’t a clue about this band/group/person? but i can promise you that it’ll leave you ears dripping for more. El Iqaa’s later release “circulate Ep” definitely begs for a more serious review and doesn’t quite mesh into the slow-slippin category as maybe Daedalus or Flying Lotus can be thrown into but definitely has influences from both.

Helios
With a few musical aliases (Goldmund & Mint Julep) Helios, performs many well known covers and composes music for films and television. more notably he’s done work for facebook’s “A Look Back” track appropriately named “Years“. Among many other tracks he’s composed or in this case “re”-composed, Boards Of Canada’s infamous Sixtyniner originally released on their Twoism EP back in the groups 2002 reissue.

Calmer
A talented Collin M Palmer from the Brooklyn-area wraps his wave like emotions into a onslaught of loops and mixed drum patterns to create a window of rainbows. influences ranging from Miles Davis to Squarepusher, Calmer does exactly what the moniker beckons; Calmer.

18 Carrat Affair
All the cool kids bother and pester me into listening to Com Truise. I’m down but as for the indie aspect of things i rather dig Denys Parker and his super funk. Almost nostalgic, 18 Carrat Affair layers his sounds using what sounds to be tape machines and no over-dubs. Keep an ear peeled for new stuff regarding (I’d like to think) one of the better one-man lofi acts coming out of Missouri.

Lowercase Noises

This is not elevator music. nor is it baby-making music. But it will in fact make babies break out into a soft sob. You could probably imagine Lowercase Noises being found in a cheese-ridden love story. Like the “Notebook”. or “Blue Valentine”. Fact is, is that you wont and although it DOES sound like it’d fit into any movie starring Ryan Gosling; Lowercase Noises is much more than that. Andy Othling incorporates awesome ambient vocals, soothing guitar effects and well composed pianist skills with a dash of classical strings. One of my favorite multi instrumentalist in the Albuquerque area, Andy continues to treat with sultry sounding albums that convey a sense of sadness and yet simultaneously, hope. You can hear more of his work here

BBNG

As i tuck up my incredibly huge boner for live/jazz performances, i’d like to leave you on a high note/dick tip of BBNG (Bad Bad Not Good) and their musical magic. For all the noobs who haven’t heard of them, they’re a 3-piece jazz set from (who the fuck cares?) the moon and they utterly kill it when it comes to underrated young jazz musicians. After getting their foot in the door so-to-speak by covering and then later producing tracks for the infamous Tyler, The Creator they haven’t slowed down one bit. and i dont blame them. here in this particular live performance they’re heard covering some of James Blakes innocuous dubstep CMYK/Limit To Your Love. Needless to say, unless you’re planning a trip to the (obviously cooler) Europe, you wont be finding these dudes touring anywhere near the US.