Category Archives: Awesome

Highly Anticipated: New Album From The Technicolors

Phoenix-based band the Technicolors’ forthcoming album Metaphysical (out July 7) focuses on “a void”—the one between where its frontman, Brennan Smiley, is, and where he’d like to go. Today we are pleased to premiere “Impostor!,” a single from that very LP, which seems to encapsulate this concept. “The song is about everyone’s constant need of explanation for everything,” says Smiley. “Everyone wants you to explain yourself, tell why you did something a certain way, as opposed to just feelin’ it and letting it move you, or maybe challenge you to think differently.”

Fittingly for summer, “Impostor!” is a roll-your-windows-down tune. The guitar intro has a ’90s rock grittiness and bite that sets the tone, and next comes Smiley’s Julian Casablancas-esque voice—a softer swoon that creates a needed contrast for the song to flow (and makes it ideal to leave on repeat). Smiley says the track started simply with a guitar riff, courtesy of guitarist and vocalist Sean Silverman. The lyrics came later when Smiley was sitting in a unair-conditioned room in the thick of an Arizona summer. He watched an early-2000s “Magic Tricks Revealed” documentary in the guest room of the studio the where the band was recording and realized he would have to sing “Impostor!” the next morning. He didn’t have any lyrics—yet. “I started literally sweating out the most ridiculous lines ever,” recalls Smiley. “The last line of the second verse is about making an elephant disappear.”

Smiley wrote the lyrics in about five minutes, and the track’s guitar riffs ultimately powered Metaphysical as a whole. “We plugged the acoustic guitars straight into this old Neve console that mixed some pretty legendary records, and cranked it till it sounded like what you would imagine if Raiden started a band with Johnny Cage,” says Smiley. “I think we stumbled on some wild guitar sounds that have since inspired us to go even further down those roads.” – Interview Magazine

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Newest Love: Juic3box + Alice France – “True Love”

“True Love” is the debut single from JUIC3BOX, an artist alias from singer, songwriter, and producer Sam Gray. With over 30 million streams on Spotify across 4 current single releases, Sam is ranking the charts with hits from Hardwell (“Creatures of the Night” – 5.6m), Julian Perretta (“Tied Up” – 4.5m), DJ Katch (“Lights Out” – 23.5m) and Manovski (“My Redemption Song” – 680k). While attending ADE in Amsterdam, he discovered Dutch singer Alice France and immediately invited her to record this outstanding new dance anthem. Alice France is a vibrant young artist and songwriter from the Netherlands. Her appreciation for singing and R&B started early on, inspired by legendary divas like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Aretha Franklin. Her classic, soulful vocals bring “True Love” to life, and leave every listener wanting more.

“True Love” has already been well received, with the Wide Boys Pool Party mix giving a great electro house boost to the already invigorating track. You can check out the original and the Wide Boys mix via SongSpace here.

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FINALLY!!!!!!!!!! The Debut Album From Night Drive Is Heeeeeeeere!

I can’t even tell you how LONG I’ve been waiting for this! It feels like YEARS! Rodney Connell and Brandon Duhon make up the duo that is Night Drive.

Fun Facts:

Both of the guys started as frontmen for the bands MoTel Aviv and Glasnost (!!!YASS! I remember loving Glasnost).

They previously supported acts such as Yelle and Digitalism — again YASSSS!!!!

Night Drive is the type of music you would hear on a car stereo if Giorgio Moroder and Ray Bradbury were driving late at night through a buzzing metropolis. Inspired by the bygone era of glamour and excess, kaleidoscopic neon lights, Studio 54 and Tony Wilson’s Hacienda, the band pulls influence from acts such as Brian Eno, New Order, OMD, The Drums and LCD Soundsystem to name a few. Night Drive rides a nu-wave of fast-tempo, synth-based electronic sounds driven by rich guitar melodies and arresting vocal hooks.

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Video: Fujiya & Miyagi – “Impossible Objects of Desire”

Check out the video for Fujiya & Miyagi’s track “Impossible Objects of Desire”. It is the 9th track off their recently released self-titled album. When talking about the video lead vocalist David Best said, “The song is a hymn to vinyl and the rush that music can provide,” offers vocalist David Best. “It loosely began as a homage to  Bowie’s ‘Be My Wife’ Video, but then morphed into something else. The song is also about the physical and chemical reaction music has on the mind and body.” You can order the self-titled LP here.

Many musical projects approaching almost two decades of existence begin to show signs of stagnation or perhaps start to crook their neck as looking over their shoulder becomes a more common stance than focusing on the horizon. However, for the Brighton-based, genre-hopping, Fujiya & Miyagi the opposite can be said as they see in 2017 by wrapping up a unique year-long musical project that represents one of their most adventurous to date.

Two EPs join a third to make up this album, a carefully staged project that sees the group traverse disco, electro, pop, and the now synonymous 1970s Germany-inspired groove they so seamlessly ooze. Whilst the EPs all contain a distinct personality and fluidity of their own, the new dynamically focused position of the tracks as a full album embodies a long-term plan. “From the beginning, I have always thought of this as an album rather than three separate records, ” Singer David Best says.The now melded album is a vast one stylistically with influences and references that span from Arthur Russell to JG Ballard, yet the undercurrent that connects it all into one universal groove is one of honesty and joy, a surging sense of euphoria and hope that attempts to cut through the foggy world that welcomes its release. “On this album, I have tried lyrically to find the positives and not rely on my factory setting of a general contempt for the world around me.” Best says.

The positivity and propulsive energy of the record is not only carried by its natural rhythm, lyrics, and sparkling melodies but is also a reaction. “The album is a really strong resistance to societies compulsion to suck the energy out of everything. It’s a really good thing to provide an antidote to all the scary stuff that is going on, even if it’s just for 5 minutes.” Best says although the album proves to be more than a five-minute distraction and more like a 45min escape.

Fujiya & Miyagi – S/T tracklist
01. Magnesium Flares
02. Serotonin Rushes
03. Solitaire
04. To The Last Beat of My Heart
05. Extended Dance Mix
06. Outstripping (The Speed of Light)
07. Swoon
08. Freudian Slips
09. Impossible Objects of Desire
10. Synthetic Symphonies
11. R.S.I.

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Obsessed: NVDES

Photo Credit: Neil Favila

I’ve been a huge fan of NVDES for almost a year and am super excited that today the Los Angeles-based creative collective returns with new single “Turning Heads”. Fronted by Josh Ocean, the track is brimming with his signature frenetic guitars and punk energy, and hones his prowess for crafting compulsive summery jams. “Turning Heads” is NVDES’ first release of 2017 and will be followed by an EP later this summer. About the track, Ocean comments:

“Turning Heads is a complete freestyle jam written and recorded in 40 minutes. Inspired by a telepathic visit to Alain Clark’s Amsterdam Apartment.”

Following the release of his glitchy, grooved-out 2016 debut EP Life With Lobsters, NVDES garnered over 10 million streams across platforms, charted on Spotify’s Global Viral Chart, and received acclaim from the likes of FADER, NYLON, and many more. The four-track collection spins through an array of kaleidoscopic sounds that are both levitating and melodic, yet wholly original.

As NVDES prepares for the release of a new EP later this summer, fans in Los Angeles can catch him live tomorrow, June 8th at The Roxy Theatre. Tickets are available here.

Check out some other gems from NVDES below:

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Must Listen: Sunsquabi

Earlier this year, Colorado trio Sunsquabi revealed their now critically acclaimed sophomore EP ‘Deluxe.’ Released via GRiZ’s All Good Records, ‘Deluxe‘ saw Sunsquabi bring their electro-funk- meets-jam-band sound to new heights on the five track project that Earmilk describes as “a deep, dank, and funky surprise.”

Well, the ‘Deluxe’ surprises aren’t quite done yet. Today, the band is excited to unveil another piece of the ‘Deluxe’ puzzle with a brand new take on EP cut “Pygmy Up” from remix extraordinaire Cloudchord. The original, a collaboration with Russ Liquid, takes an uptempo turn at the hand of Cloudchord who accentuates the track’s percussive elements and transforms it into a bonafide festival anthem.

If unfamiliar with Sunsquabi before now, the act have become infamous as trendsetters in the electronic music circuit thanks to a sound This Song Is Sick describes as a “hybrid sound infusing irresistible and funky live instrumentation with electronic production elements in a unique way.” Prior to ‘Deluxe,’ Sunsquabi built their reputation with debut EP ‘Odyssey‘ that featured collaborations with Big Gigantic and GRiZ. On 2017’s ‘Deluxe,’ the band continued the heavy-hitting collabs- this time with Late Night Radio, Russ Liquid, and Nick Gerlach.

Catch the guys live this summer with performances lined up at music festivals Summer Camp and Werk It Out. As for what to expect from the live show, Sunsquabi have enlisted Tucker Wilde’s Stage Dynamics to build out a full-stage production. As we wait until Sunsquabi hit a stage near us, be sure to check out the brand new EP ‘Deluxe’ out now via All Good.

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Must Listen: Bobby Saint – Unholy

“Bobby Saint hopes to change the game with his forthcoming Unholy EP”  AFROPUNK
“Sweet vocals over a sparkling beat”  – Pigeons & Planes
“It’s saucy. It’s sexy. It’s beautiful”VICE/Noisey
“Outlandish, soulful”  – Indie Shuffle
“Sensual” HYPEBEAST

Bobby Saint captivates on Unholy, his debut solo EP out today on Shoot To Kill Music. The collection sees Saint flex his vast musical chops (from songwriting to production and all things in between) as he explores the interplay between the divine and the profane.

Title track “Unholy” sees the Barbados-born, LA-based artist twang with sinful playfulness over blues-rock attitude. Saint funks out on “Use It,” meshing a bouncy, R&B-tinged bassline with pop-infused neo-soul. It’s followed by the appropriately titled “Sexy,” a libidinous R&B romp that drips of love, lust, and desire, which recently premiered via Afropunk.

“This EP is about freedom, growth, spirituality, views of self, city nights and love. It’s about keeping the fires lit, raising consciousness, while bowing down to the greats: Bob Marley, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye. This is me going forward with only love and the funk in my heart.”  – Bobby Saint

On “Big Shoes,” a confident Saint struts with gusto as he mixes piercing piano balladry with blossoming crescendos amidst a cinematic backdrop backed by powerfully soulful vocals. Closer “Fire & Gold” turns an acoustic beauty into a full-fledged, undeniable rock with swagger.

Armed with a versatile voice, powerful stage presence, a unique lyrical perspective, and raw, unfettered talent, Bobby Saint is not just one to watch; he’s one to watch out for.

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Newest Love: Sleep Party People

“(The Sun Will Open Its Core) marries the psychedelic weirdness of MGMT with the Euro-y sonic tenets of early 80s Mitteleuropa synth-pop. It’s both grandiose and intimate, eerie but inviting. It also has a point to make.” – BlackBook

“‘Lingering’, which will be released on June 2nd through Joyful Noise Recordings, is poised to be one of the year’s best records. With a deft and intoxicating brand of dreamy pop, as well as collaborations from the likes of Peter Silberman from The Antlers and Beth Hirsch (best known for providing vocals on Air’s masterpiece Moon Safari), Lingering has all the ingredients to be a smash success.” – The 405

BlackBook has shared Sleep Party People’s “The Sun Will Open Its Core”, the third single from the forthcoming album Lingering. “The Sun Will Open…” follows two previously released singles, “Fainting Spell” & “The Missing Steps”. Written, recorded, produced and performed entirely by Danish multi-instrumentalist Brian Batz, Lingering – featuring collaborations with The Antlers’ Peter Silberman & Air vocalist Beth Hirsch – is Sleep Party People’s fourth studio album and the first release since 2014’s Floating. Watch the video for “The Missing Steps” here. Lingering is due out June 2nd, 2017 via Joyful Noise Recordings.

When talking about the track Batz says, “I got really frustrated and emotionally upset when the whole refugee debate in Denmark was at its highest. I felt extremely indignant in terms of how society dealt with this problem. Normally I don’t go into politics, especially not in my music, but this was kind of inevitable.”

“I don’t get how people can reject human beings, who are fleeing from their destroyed homes and cities. What if it happened to us? Wouldn’t we do the same and ask for help and do whatever we felt necessary? We should be able to help each other even if we don’t agree on religion, politics or what we eat and wear. It puzzles me that some people out there can’t see the reason in helping. I had to write a song about this. Period.”

Though Copenhagen-based Batz & his 5-piece live band have become synonymous with the rabbit masks they wear during Sleep Party People live performances, Lingering finds Batz shedding his guard to create some of the most personal and accessible material of his career. Whilst “The Missing Steps” and other moments on Lingering engage demonstrably with bliss (also the woozy, unhurried not-quite title track, “Lingering Eyes”), it is nonetheless a record also concerned with anxiety and doubt, and the ways in which we cope with those insecurities that can persist through adulthood.

A personal high-water mark for Batz from Lingering is the appearance of Air-collaborator Beth Hirsch, who guests on “We Are There Together”. A longstanding fan of classic album Moon Safari, he was left tongue-tied when Hirsch contacted him out of the blue, seeking out a collaboration. Whilst Lingering is enriched by several such artistic collaborations – with The Antlers’ Peter Silberman also providing choir arrangements on “Dissensions” – it is equally shaped by Batz’s famously eccentric collection of instruments. “Salix And His Soil” came about when Batz bought an old organ; “When I turned the organ on for the first time, it started playing this crazy fast Super Mario Brothers-ish beat and loop by itself. I got hooked straight away and started jamming along”.  Elsewhere, “Fainting Spell” rests entirely on a piano loop played out on the snapped wires of his battered old studio piano.

On Lingering’s album-closer “Vivid Dream”, Batz sings of ‘Beating down my own door. Aiming to be flawless and without any mistakes’. Flawed or otherwise, in Lingering, he has unmistakably created a thing of stark beauty.

Tracklisting:

1. Figures
2. The Missing Steps
3. Fainting Spell
4. Salix And His Soil
5. Lingering Eyes
6. Dissensions (Feat. Luster)
7. Limitations
8. The Sound Of His Daughter
9. The Sun Will Open Its Core
10. We Are There Together (Feat. Beth Hirsch)
11. Odd Forms
12. Vivid Dream

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Lineup Revealed for 2017 Thrival!

The Thrival Innovation + Music Festival has announced its music lineup, featuring a blend of 19 national and local artists. Headliners Wiz Khalifa, Logic, Carnage, GRiZ, and Two Door Cinema Club and over a dozen more acts will perform at the historic Carrie Furnaces on September 29-30.

Two-day general admission and VIP festival passes go on sale Friday, May 19 at 10:00 AM EST.

Capping an extensive 2017 festival touring season — including performances at Lollapalooza and Okeechobee Music Festival — multi-platinum selling and Grammy-nominated recording artist, Wiz Khalifa, will make his only appearance in Pittsburgh in 2017 as one of Thrival’s headliners.

Logic, the 27-year-old Maryland-based rapper, will also headline Thrival, building off of a packed 28-date U.S. summer tour. His critically acclaimed, “Everybody,” sold 247,000 equivalent album units last week, earning Logic his first #1 album. The album touches on an array of societal issues that affect us all on a daily basis.

Irish alt-indie darlings, Two Door Cinema Club, are also touring the U.S., having just announced dozens of new dates across the country.

Detroit electronic funk outfit, GRiZ, and Los Angeles-based Guatemalan American DJ, Carnage, will both headline their own stages.

SuperDuperKyle will make his first-ever Pittsburgh performance after the release of his Billboard Top 10 hit, “iSpy” (currently #8). Chart-topper and multi-platinum artist, Kiiara, veteran DJ, TokiMonsta, Sirius Alt Nation mainstays, Missio, and Grammy-nominated DJ, Steve James, are all first-time Thrival artists, joined by Harts, Echos, Circa Waves, Welshly Arms, Michigander, The Garment District, Byron Nash & Plan B, Rachel B., and JRod.

“We started this initiative five years ago. To watch its growth has been pretty remarkable,” says Bobby Zappala, founder of Thrival and CEO of Ascender. “Thrival 2017 is set up to be a special experience. We’re proud to have a Pittsburgh artist headline the bill for the first time in the festival’s history.”

“Thrival Music continues to grow, and this year’s lineup is the biggest and most prolific to date. We welcome an eclectic mix of multi-platinum and chart-topping artists who will compliment a host site that has the potential to be one of the best live music venues in the entire U.S.,” says Dan Law, Director of Thrival and VP of Business Development at Ascender, the nonprofit organization that presents and produces Thrival every year.

The festival kicks off with Thrival Innovation (featuring a new partnership with San Francisco-based event and media company, NewCo) on September 27-28, a conference focused on “Intelligence: Humans X Tech” — a theme that leverages Pittsburgh’s strengths in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

After Thrival Innovation, festival-goers will transition from Pittsburgh’s East End to the historic Carrie Furnaces in nearby Swissvale, Pennsylvania for a “one-of-a-kind Pittsburgh venue” that “features a stark contrast of new sound and rustic industrial setting” minutes away from Pittsburgh city limits.

For a unique local flair, Wiz Khalifa filmed the music video for his 2012 double platinum single, “Work Hard, Play Hard” at the Carrie Furnaces.

“With the right vision, leadership, and investment, the Carrie Furnaces are primed to be a premier destination for live music fans. By doing this together, we’re turning a mill back on. But instead of producing steel, we’re producing culture,” says Law. “A show at Carrie is unique. You can’t get it anywhere else.”

The festival is the flagship initiative of Ascender, a Pittsburgh-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to serving early-stage startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators.

To help manage this growth in 2017, Thrival has partnered with Live Nation Entertainment for venue operations, talent buying, and marketing efforts.

“Ascender’s partnership with Live Nation to deliver Thrival Music allows our core team to both invest more energy in scaling Thrival Innovation and more effectively engage our dynamic local audience, with Live Nation adding significantly to the festival’s expanding national reach. We’re very excited for the opportunities this presents,” says Zappala.

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Listen: Hounded – “On My Side”

Sydney producer HOUNDED is back on the grid with a sunshine-filled track called “On My Side” and it arrives just in time to defrost us from all those winter chills.

Right from the first chime you’ll be grooving and your shoulders will be bopping while the fluttery voice of Brisbane artist Savoi makes this track all the more uplifting, and all you wanna do is dance and smile.

“I had a difficult time finding vocals that matched the energy of the song. I was fortunate enough to be in the studio with Savoi late last year and his voice just seems to fit perfectly with the instrumental. I find that Savoi’s voice really compliments my style and gives it that extra sense of movement and energy” – HOUNDED

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