Category Archives: Check ’em Out!

Check ‘Em Out: BENE – “Soaked”

Hailing from the suburbs of Auckland, 19-year-old Bene has emerged as New Zealand’s up and coming indie pop artist of 2019 with a Gold-Certified chart-topping hit that’s already garnered millions of streams and support from Zane Lowe, Lily Allen and more. Newly signed to Republic Records, Bene is re-releasing her breakout single “Soaked” as she sets her sights on the U.S.

After posting GarageBand demos on SoundCloud when she was just a senior in high school, Bene caught the ear of producer, Josh Fountain, and began writing and recording at his Golden Age Studio. “Soaked” quickly climbed Spotify’s Viral Charts, streaming over 14 million times, charting on Australia’s Triple J radio Hottest 100 of 2018 and holding the number one spot on New Zealand’s Shazam Top 100 for two months, not to mention achieving Gold Certification in New Zealand and Australia. With endorsements like Zane Lowe and Apple’s Beats1 radio, Bene went from playing her first small club gig to her first arena show—opening for longtime role model Lily Allen—in a matter of months.

Of “Soaked,” Bene says, “To see my song catch on with so many people already has been amazing. And now signing with Republic to bring my music out into the world is just bloody crazy.”

“Soaked” sets the stage for further music to be released from Bene this spring.

 

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East Forest & Ram Dass To Release Collaborative Album + Song ft. Krishna Das

Acclaimed electronic artist East Forest (aka Trevor Oswalt) has released his collaborative song with legendary spiritual teacher Ram Dass,  “I Am Loving Awareness (Feat. Krishna Das)” via Paste Music. The track is featured on East Forest’s new album East Forest x Ram Dass, which will be released in four chapters throughout 2019, with Chapter 1 out January 25 via Aquilo Records. The album features East Forest’s music accompanied by new teachings from the author of Be Here Now, Ram Dass. Listen and share “I Am Loving Awareness (Feat. Krishna Das)” here. Pre-order Chapter 1 here.

In June 2018, East Forest was invited to Ram Dass’ home in Maui to join in conversation and record brand new teachings from the legendary teacher. After capturing these words of wisdom, East Forest returned to his studio in the high desert of Southern Utah to compose the soundtrack to beautifully support each songs’ subject. In these new recordings, Ram Dass’ words speak masterfully to the modern challenges that so many face with technology, dark thoughts, the nature of the soul and so much more. The new East Forest record also features guest appearances from the likes of Trevor Hall and Grammy nominated artist, Krishna Das, all framing Ram Dass’ teachings with contemporary voices and cementing the 87-year-old spiritual teacher into an echelon of relevancy and immediacy — offering a direct antidote for a highly polarized nation that is deeply in need of a universal voice of wisdom, connection and unconditional love.

“Music is a language that all souls understand. I’m honored that my teachings have been paired with a musician like, East Forest, who has crafted an album with so much love.” – Ram Dass

“We forget that we are nature. We feel so much separation in our modern life, inundated with so much information; I believe our solutions will come from the inside out. They’re already here, we’re just uncovering them. It’s all a process of discovery. We need to give space for that which wants to emerge — making this music is my way of creating some space, and inside I hope we can hear an answer.” — East Forest

Ram Dass & East Forest

East Forest has been the leader of underground ‘sound healing’ ceremonies around the world since 2008. Using music as a tool, he has trailblazed the field of organic tech, building bridges between the digital and natural world. Being fully independent and playing in the private shadows allowed the sound of East Forest to emerge: an emotional and spacious musical lexicon with a sound that took shape out of a practical need to play solo for five to six hours while guiding a room full of listeners in deep meditation. Live looping and layered keyboard melodies filled the musical space while angelic vocals and original field recordings floated above.

Word organically spread and a devoted community shared East Forest’s early albums, many of which were live recordings captured directly from his sound healing performances.

Moving into festivals, theaters, and clubs, electronic beats and diverse live instrumentation eventually joined in, from strings and analogue synthesizers to african kora. East Forest’s electro-acoustic ethereal sound continued to evolve and he found himself performing in a diverse range of settings from SXSW, Google, Mysteryland, to Grace Cathedral, Summit at Sea, as well as his own TEDx talk.

More than a dozen albums later, East Forest continues to explore a path of emotionally driven music that pulls from ambient, classical, electronic and indie-pop genres.

Ram Dass made his mark on the world by teaching the path of the heart and promoting service in the areas of social consciousness and care for the dying. When Ram Dass first went to India in 1967, he was still Dr. Richard Alpert, an eminent Harvard psychologist and psychedelic pioneer with Dr. Timothy Leary. In India, he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, affectionately known as ‘Maharajji’, who gave Ram Dass his name, which means “servant of God.”

On his return from India Ram Dass became a pivotal influence in our culture with the publication of “Be Here Now”. In fact, those words have become a catch phrase in people’s lives for the last 40 years. With the publication in 2011 of “Be Love Now” Ram Dass completed his trilogy that began with “Be Here Now” in 1970 and continued with “Still Here” in 2004. He released “Polishing The Mirror: How to Live From Your Spiritual Heart” in 2013 and released his most recent book, “Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Love and Dying” with co-author Mirabai Bush in 2018.

Ram Dass now makes his home in Maui and teaches world wide through his website RamDass.org and continues the work of Neem Karoli Baba through the Love Serve Remember Foundation.

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TEES 4 TOGO – Cool Tees For a Great Cause

Kathleen Hanna has launched TEES 4 TOGO, a brand new, star-studded line of T-shirts designed by — and portraying designs of — Hanna and her friends. 100% of the profits go to Peace Sisters, a Pasadena-based non-profit that financially assists to fund local girls’ school tuition costs in Dapaong, Togo West Africa, the hometown of current Pasadena resident and Peace Sisters founder, Tina Kampor. Each shirt is cozy, colorful, sweatshop-free, and costs$40 each—the amount it costs for a girl to attend school in Togo for an entire year, including books.

In Togo, Hanna points out, people usually don’t have enough money to send their children to school, especially if they have boys and girls at home. “People often decide to spend their money on the boys. When Tina was an educator in Togo she saw so many girls’ dreams fall by the wayside. She came to California determined to change that.”

For her birthday last November, Hanna organized a Peace Sisters gofundme, which raised almost $9,000. Hanna also began throwing fundraisers at her home, was named a Peace Sisters ambassador and regularly attends board meetings with Kampor, learning how each dollar the group earns is spent. Feeling bolstered by the team’s professionalism and attention to detail, she decided to do more. That’s when Hanna got the idea for TEES 4 TOGO.

TEES 4 TOGO emulates Kampor’s own donations to her home country. “Tina came to Pasadena from Togo, got her nursing certificate, and started sending girls through school. First, she sent two girls through school. The next year she sent five. Before she started Peace Sisters as a non-profit in 2016, she had already sent 130 girls to school with her own money.”

Photo Credit: Jason Frank Rothenberg

Through it all, Hanna has worked to address and facilitate conversations around inclusivity, equal opportunity, sexism, and breaking societal expectations. “We’re not gonna have equality in the world if we don’t hear African women’s voices,” Hanna says. “And we’re not gonna hear women’s voices if they have no education. Another part of this is Trump saying Africa is a shithole. How can I respond to that as a citizen? How can I do something positive in light of that? I found an organization run by somebody who grew up in West Africa, who flies money back to the school every year, and has already been doing it for 15 years. This is my opportunity to be an ally to her already successful project.”

Kampor brought three things to the girls in Togo on her recent April 2018 trip: money for girls’ tuition, solar lamps, and her own vivacious spirit. With TEES 4 TOGO, Hanna hopes to continue Kampor’s work by giving West African girls an opportunity for education, which, she argues, is more vital than ever today.TEES 4 TOGO is just the beginning. Hanna says: “Eventually the dream is to send all the girls to college, and help with housing needs, which may start happening as early as this November, depending on how many shirts I can sell!”

TEES 4 TOGO is consistent with Hanna’s renowned feminist and DIY philosophies. 15 TEES 4 TOGO designs:
— Sleater-Kinney performer and actress Carrie Brownstein (drawn by Kim Gordon)
— Comedian Patton Oswalt (drawn by writer and performer Sam McPheeters)
— Joan Jett (drawn by artist Sarah Larnach)
— Beastie Boy and Hanna’s husband Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz (drawn by musician Seth Bogart)
— Public Enemy rapper, author and producer Chuck D (drawn by political artist Adee Roberson)
— Sociopolitical comedian W.Kamau Bell (drawn by musician by Eric Adams)
— Musician & Hanna’s former Le Tigre bandmate JD Samson (drawn by Kathleen Hanna)
— Body/Head and Sonic Youth musician Kim Gordon (drawn by Ooga Booga artist Steve Dore)
— Actor and comedian Kristen Schaal (drawn by Coleman Fitzgerald)
— Grimes (drawn by artist Maddy Mathews)
— Author, artist, performer and actor Justin Vivian Bond (drawn by illustrator Greg Kozatek)
— Author and musician Brontez Purnell (drawn by illustrator Janelle Hessig)
— Actor and comedian Hari Kondabolu (drawn by Bill Thelan)
— Writer and director Jill Soloway (drawn by artist Hannah Lucy)
— Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin musician, activist & actor Kathleen Hanna(drawn by Charlotte Farmer, Jhonny Russell, Katie Edmunds & Jess Marshall)

 

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White Panda – “Hands On Me” ft. Loote

So, I’ve been a fan following White Panda for years now. He does some amazing mashups, check out some of it below:

Now, after years of working on his own writing skills, he’s released a debut track titled, “Hands On Me” and features fantastic vocals from Island Records’ emerging pop duo Loote. It’s fun, upbeat, feel-good, party-ready…everything one looks for in summer jams.

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Newest Love: The Hip Abduction

Sometimes inspiration strikes from the immersion of living in a faraway place. Sometimes, inspiration stems from a place that everyone can relate to, but maybe no one’s actually been. This is the music of The Hip Abduction, the vibrant St. Petersburg, FL-based collective that formed over a mutual appreciation for West African and early Jamaican reggae/dub music.

The Hip Abduction began through informal jam sessions and quickly coalesced into a sound that attracted national attention. For Gold Under the Glow, the band’s 2016 third full album release, THA engage an indie pop acumen alongside a highly emotive and roots-driven sound.

The Hip Abduction featuring David New (lead vocals, guitar), Chris Powers (bass), Dave Johnson (baritone and tenor sax), Sean Fote (keyboards), Matt Poynter (drums, vocals) and John Holt III (kamale ngoni, guitar, vocals) have shared stages with the likes of Grace Potter, Ziggy Marley, Galactic, Umphrey’s McGee, Matisyahu, Thievery Corporation, 311, Moon Taxi and more. Watch out for more festival plays in 2017 including Jam Cruise, Sweetwater 420 Fest, Summercamp, Electric Forest, FloydFest, Deep Roots Mountain Revival, Peach Fest and more as well as coast to coast dates.

Upcoming Shows:
MAY 04 Red Rocks Amphitheatre, CO
MAY 19 Chive By Southeast, FL
MAY 26 Cali Roots Music & Arts Festival, CA
JUN 01 Plaza Palooza, TX
JUN 16 DUCK CREEK LOG JAM, OH
JUL 12, 13, 14 Camp Bisco, PA
SEP 21,22 Camp Deep End, CA

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New Music: Freedom Fry – “Classic”

Los Angeles based duo Freedom Fry has shared their retro-inspired official video for recent single “Classic,” pulled from their long-awaited debut album Classic out June 1st. Featuring models Madison Paige (profiled in The New York Times) and Jayden Robison, the video is co-directed by the band and Ryan Lumley.

Freedom Fry previously shared their video for “Wild Child,” teasing another track that will appear on their debut album this summer. Following a series of shows at SXSW and a live session with KUTX, the band will bring their kinetic energy to a hometown show in Los Angeles on 4/10 at Moroccan Lounge.

See my post about Freedom Fry from last year, here.

Composed of Parisian-born Marie Seyrat and Michigan-born Bruce Driscoll, Freedom Fry has independently amassed over 50 million streams on Spotify and earned numerous #1 appearances on HypeMachine. They recently shared a #girlpower version of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ “Man On Fire,” which is featured in the new animated film from Intuit, racking up over 20 million views to date. Freedom Fry’s music, which heavily bleeds the warmth and sunshine of their home state of California, skirts the lines between pop, folk, and alt rock and can be heard in over 50 films, shows, and commercials including Judd Apatow’s Love, Showtime’s Shameless, Grey’s Anatomy, and in high-profile ads for fashion labels such as Lanvin and Madewell. They have performed in Europe and throughout the U.S. with the likes of Stromae, Phantogram, and X Ambassadors.

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Video: Public Access TV – “Metrotech”

Photo Credit: Jonah Freud

Public Access TV has shared a video for their new single “MetroTech” off of their highly anticipated sophomore album Street Safari, due out in February 2018.
 
The video features Kevin Corrigan (Buffalo 66, Pineapple Express, The Departed) dancing through the dimly lit streets of the city.
 
“Max (bassist from PATV) met Kevin randomly while day-drinking alone at some dive bar. Kevin was there by himself as well and eventually they started talking and spent the rest of the day hanging at this bar. Max then “night walked” home and the next day when he told John the story, the video idea and everything was created.”

The story of Public Access TV seems like it was written for an episode of Behind The Music. A group of friends drop out of high school and catch a New York City bound bus with dreams of starting a band. What follows is a frenzy of press hype, label bidding wars, a critically-acclaimed debut album, sold-out tours, and festival slots around the world. 

But as all viewers of any music doc surely know, there is always a darker side to the story, and PATV is no exception. Addiction, recovery programs, public brawls (mostly with one-another), a devastating explosion that destroyed all their earthly possessions, and a car crash behind the wheel of an 80’s convertible…a lifetime packed into a one-album cycle. Now for part two, Public Access TV’s sophomore album: Street Safari.
 
The band, comprised of frontman and lead-singer John Eatherly, Xan Aird, Max Peebles, and Pete Star, entered the studio to record the new album in fall 2017 with Producer Patrick Wimberly (Beyonce, Chairlift, MGMT, Blood Orange) armed with a plethora of songs they’d written documenting the tumultuous last few years of their lives. The first single “Metrotech” previews the more expansive palette the band is working with on their new album. 

“I think it’s a cop-out to say that this is our mature album, or whatever cliche thing it is that bands say about their second album.” says Eatherly. “There was no spiritual awakening or come-to-Jesus moment. We’re four young guys trying to figure our lives out, be good people, and a lot of the time find ourselves coming up short. Expressing this through songwriting is the challenge and I can only hope the deliverance.”  
 
Tickets for Public Access TV’s European / North American tour are on sale now. Full dates below.
European Headlining Tour Dates:

Feb 13: Academy 2. Dublin, Ireland
Feb 14: Broadcast. Glasgow
Feb 15: Underground. Newcastle, UK
Feb 16: Brudenell Social. Leeds, UK
Feb 17: Soup Kitchen. Manchester, UK
Feb 18: Hare & Hounds. Birmingham, UK
Feb 20: Crofters Rights. Bristol, UK
Feb 21: Joiners. Southampton, UK
Feb 22: Oslo, London, UK
Feb 24: Green Door Store. Brighton, UK
Feb 26: Yard Club. Cologne, Germany
Feb 27: Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Feb 28: MOD. Hasselt, Belgium
Mar 1: Supersonic Club, Paris, France

Public Access TV North America Headline Tour

Mar 6: DC9. Washington, DC
Mar 7: Milkboy. Philadelphia, PA
Mar 9: Savannah Stopover Fest. Savannah, GA
Mar 10: The Earl. Atlanta, GA
Mar 11: The End. Nashville, TN
Mar 13: House of Blues – Bronze Peacock. Houston, TX
Mar 17: Not So Fun Wknd. Dallas TX.
Mar 20: Valley Bar. Phoenix, AZ
Mar 21: The Echo. Los Angeles, CA
Mar 22: House of Blues – Voodoo Room. San Diego, CA
Mar 23: The Observatory, Constellation Room. Santa Ana, CA
Mar 24: Bottom of the Hill. San Francisco, CA
Mar 26: Crystal Ballroom – Lola’s. Portland, OR
Mar 27: The Timbre Room. Seattle, WA
Mar 28: The Cobalt.Vancouver, BC
April 2: Schubas. Chicago, IL
April 4: Garrison. Toronto, ON
April 5: Petit Campus. Montreal, QC
April 6: Great Scott. Boston, MA
April 7: Music Hall of Williamsburg. New York, NY

 

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Check ‘Em Out: MTNS

Brisbane electronic group MTNS has been trickling releases from their Like A Stone EP for a few months now, and today the full EP is here. Their biggest hit “Slow Motion” has now racked up over 17,000 SoundCloud plays with “Waves” also pulling healthy numbers. The EP was recorded in LA with brothers and good friends of MTNS, CAMBO and Louis Bartolini.

“Our time spent in California was inspiring. It was an amazing experience getting involved in a music scene outside of our own,” MTNS said.

The songs are inspired by their families, friends, and faith, and for a lyrical perspective, they are based on a reflection of life from hindsight.

“These songs reflect the joining of our histories and differences. Through the process of building this EP we’ve learned a lot about collaboration in music and experienced first-hand its power to bring people together,” MTNS said.
The MTNS soundscape has developed since their first EP Salvage three years ago, stepping away from the computer and using natural elements to blend in with the electronic productions.

“A big part of our new development was experimenting with sounds and attempting to bring the ‘live, natural and band feel’ to the electronic scene. Our first songs were all based 100% on the computer, so it was great to get out of the box and manipulate natural elements by blending them with the electronic sounds,” MTNS said.

Two new songs on this EP are “Aes Sedai” and “Like A Stone”, each rounding out a cohesive pop-electronic vibe. There’s angst and drama across the four tracks, which hit you hard and strike with every synth clash.

This newfound sonic direction for MTNS is a promising step forward in establishing themselves as major players in the music space, and will hopefully inspire others to follow suit.

“Our hope is that anyone listening to our music will feel inspired to create and connect in the same way we have,” MTNS said.
Like A Stone EP is available everywhere now including Spotify & Apple Music.

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Check ‘Em Out: Everything by Electricity

There is a powerful agent, obedient, rapid, easy, which conforms to every use, and reigns supreme on board my ship. Everything is done by means of it. It lights it, warms it, and is the soul of my mechanical vessel. This agent is electricity. Everything by Electricity. — Jules Verne, 20000 leagues under the sea

The band Everything by Electricity’s sound is littered with the strains of alienation and longing for escape one would expect from childhoods spent gazing across cold barren landscapes deep behind the iron curtain.

Whilst lush pop beats strongly at its heart, dense waves of guitar, reverberating walls of noise and fragile melodies collide amidst sparkling neon-lit synths, dreamy vocals and ghostly shapes via the night sky; anchored tight by pulsing bass, throbbing drums and drum machines.

On moving from Siberia to London, Yulia (guitar, synths, vocals) quietly crafted a collection of demo material in her bedroom studio and expanded the live line-up with the addition of Daniel (bass guitar, synths) and Manoela (drums, pads).

Check out their track, “Last Day of the Sun” below:

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Check ‘Em Out: SQRD – “Would Run Wild”

Having spent the last few years developing and evolving his unique sound, Swedish born and based producer SQRD returns with a new video to his single “Would Run Wild”, out now via Swedish Tastemaker label Sommarhjärta.

After the release of his critically-acclaimed Gold EP in 2016, which saw the producer master his blend of lo-fi electronics and rich, textured compositions, “Would Run Wild” video aims to create an atmospheric backdrop that highlights the quintessential essence of SQRD’s music to date.

With strong and understandable comparisons to the likes of James Blake, SBTRKT and The xx, the producer’s latest material bridges the gap between niche appreciation and contemporary appeal. “Would Run Wild” is a nostalgic piece with a captivating and alluring set of skillfully filmed images accompanying the track.

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