February Digest

It’s February! Which means it’s almost March. Which means it’s almost the official end of winter. Which means it’s almost the official start of Spring. Which means SXSW is really soon. Which means I get to hang out with all of my internet friends really soon at SXSW. Which means I will actually be warm for the first time since October in 2 weeks in Austin. Which means I’ll probably be sick in 3 weeks. But by then it will almost be April, and life will not be so gray and cold pretty soon. In the meantime, here are some noteworthy things related to music that I happened to catch this month and that I would like you to catch.

I’m going to start by talking about Lusine’s new album The Waiting Room and I can’t stop gushing about it. I think it’s the Ghostly album I’ve been waiting for without even knowing it (though I typically love most Ghostly albums). The standout track for me is definitely “Stratus” which sounds like a revelation and/or a really hard math test, in a good way, though. It just grows and morphs and makes me ears rejoice. This rest of the album is also pretty stellar, and if you’re into that Ghostly sound, it is a necessity.

Next up is a totally effing beautiful video from Florida’s Hundred Waters who I was first exposed to at last fall’s CMJ, where I was surprisingly good at staying up late and came out of those 5 nights with only one brutal hangover. Anyway, “Boreal” might be one of my favorite Hundred Waters tracks, and I now like it even more that I get to think about this whenever I listen to it. It starts out quite strangely, but boy does it finish up with an unexpected bang. The video takes a quite unexpected turn somewhere in the middle and it’s really pretty visually stunning when it happens.

It’s somewhat impossible to reflect upon music in the month of February without mentioning James Blake. Mostly because I kinda <3 most of his works, and he is coming to Detroit in May. He was one of those UK lads who I for some reason never thought would stop in our ever so humble town. He's also putting out a new album this Spring-ish and has released the first track in video form. When that chorus kicks in, I can't help but think, "That's rich." Can't wait to hear the rest of this album if it's all as good as this.

I should probably just start a monthly column called “MØ of the month” or something since I’ve posted one of her tracks nearly every month since first seeing her last fall. This one is a remix of “Pilgrim” by MS MR and it’s sort of an 90s R&B take on the normally extremely upbeat track, with vocals front and center. But it totally works and is a strong indicator that MØ is kinda awesome.

While we’re on the topic of understated excellence in remix form, let’s take a listen to this Ryan Hemsworth remix of Rhye’s “Open”. I just got to see Mr. Hemsworth perform last Saturday here in town and he can really throw down a set that can get all the kids going. This remix really shows his versatility and the fact that he can go hard or soft with the same impact. Hoping to catch that bro again in Austin for some happy dance times.

Now time for some VERY exciting news. Namely that dailybeatz up and coming favorites Keep Shelly in Athens have recently signed with Cascine, one of our favoritest labels in all of the land. It’s really a perfect and natural fit for both artist and label, but it’s still pretty exciting. They’ll be releasing their debut full length album this fall and have given us a sneak peak at a new track in “Madmen Love”. It’s got a bit of a different feel at first, almost as if something is off, but then it comes together quite nicely in the end, in a pretty big way.

Let’s close things out on an abnormally energetic note with this Hudson Mohawke remix of Disclosure’s “White Noise” featuring AlunaGeorge. After thinking I would never see Disclosure ever, I will get to see them at least twice in the next month and a half, and that rules. This remix is kind of fantastic. Like when that 1:30 mark hits, just watch out. Enjoy, and seeya next month for more good music and horrible commentary like this.

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January Digest

Welcome to another edition of me posting once a month, because it’s just better for everyone this way. This month’s theme is songs recommended via Twitter (maybe I’ve used this one already?). When I’m at work, I read the twitter throughout the day and when people I know with fantastic musical tastes post links to songs, I usually favorite them to listen to later and then forget to do that. Until today. All of the songs posted below have been discovered via Twitter recommendations, complete with the actual tweet thanks to the fancy embed functionality of Twitter.com, because I’m probably the only person who still/always accesses Twitter from Twitter.com. Most of the songs are electronic in nature (obvs) and the people whose tweets are reference are also 99% friends that I’ve met from Twitter but have hung with IRL at least once or twice, which really brings it all together. But enough about me….

Our first track comes to us courtesy of @d_e_v who produces the weekly radio show for Hype Machine and is an all around awesome dude with musical taste that is on point. It’s the Two Inch Punch remix of Jessie Ware’s “If You’re Never Gonna Move” which you probably know as “110%”. It’s confusing when song names change after albums are released, but I’m pretty sure there was some sort of legal reason, and Jessie Ware is a babe so we’ll let it go. I can’t say I love this song more than the original (since that was one of my favorite songs of 2012) but it certainly does it great justice as an alternate take on a great tune.

I knew I liked this song before I even listened to it mostly because my boy Sampha was a part of it. He joins forces with Koreless to produce a really unique track that I’m kind of obsessed with after just one listen. I dug Sampha’s stuff with SBTRKT but have come to find that he can hold it down on his own, too. And of course my girl @itsadredogg gets the assist for this one.

Up next is a sort of IRL double-whammy because I’m friends with some of the Portals kids (and met Jake for like 5 seconds at SXSW last year) and have also hung with Chrome Sparks aka Jeremy a few times. In fact, I kicked off CMJ this year with quite a nasty hangover thanks to that bro. Anyway, here’s a rad newish track of his called “Send The Pain On”. And make sure to hit up the link below to read a bunch of words from Jeremy on how the song came about. This song/Chrome Sparks is good.

This next one comes to us from MØ, one of our unofficial most promising new artists out there, which I declared in my head before her CMJ set even finished. She will be releasing her first single next month and hopefully we’ll get some album details soon because we want to hear more from this gal. Regarding Twitter, you may know Rich as the proprietor of The Line of Best Fit and while we are not yet IRL, we are looking to be housemates for SXSW in a few weeks, so the IRL will abound.

This next one was a song I already dug quite a bit, so when Blackbird Blackbird tweeted it, I was stoked to be able to include it in this all Twitter edition without cheating. Nosaj Thing’s new album Home is pretty rad and I’m kind of obsessed with the voice of Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino. The whole song (sans vocals) kinda sounds like it’s being played in reverse or something. Good tune, good album.

It’s music video time! Indie bros Grizzly Bear (who better be playing a show somewhere in the metro Detroit area this year) released a new video for “Gun-Shy”, one of my favorite songs from their latest album Shields. Well, most of the songs on that album are my favorite song from the album. Anyway, the video is super weird, and I adore the way it was shot. Just watch it. Tweet courtesy of blog bro friends/perennial SXSW housemates from I Guess I’m Floating.

Last but certainly not least, some guy I don’t know tweeted that new Bonobo song “Cirrus”. Perhaps it appeared in my feed as a retweet? Anyway, this song kinda rules, and it was just recently announced that Bonobo is playing a show on my 30th birthday in April (#oldmanwinter) and songs like this make that prospect infinitely more exciting.

Ok, fine. One more. Even though this tweet was technically made in February, it still counts. It’s just this little bro in some country I can’t quite identify covering Lykke Li’s “I Follow Rivers”. She tweeted it herself and I didn’t think he could pull it off but he kinda nails it and then some. But even more importantly, this now justifies the gratuitous Lykke Li pic at the top of this post. I forgot how much of a Swedish megababe she is and now I’m obsessed with her again. Sorry, Victoria, for at least a few weeks. And the rest of you, until we meet again next month, maybe.

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Here it is, folks. Our first photos of 2013. In fact, our first photos since mid-October. We’ll blame it on the holidays and the general lack of energy that overtakes life once the weather takes a turn for the worse, in addition to that November/December show slump. We couldn’t be happier to kick off the year with the ever lovely Ellie Goulding, who we’ve been lucky to photograph once before.

I was bummed to miss openers St. Lucia after recommendations from some well-trusted musical resources, especially after I caught their last song and really liked what I heard, but I guess that’s what the internet is for. Ms. Goulding took to the stage in all black with a hooded T, some chunky Dr. Martens, and some shorts that gave just the slightest glimpse of her bum, while sipping on some [iced] tea (how ever so British of her). While much of the crowd could have put me in jail under the wrong circumstances, I was happy to see a bevy of coworkers (past and present) a bit closer to my age also enjoying Goulding’s brand of pop that begs you to move your feet and sing along if you know the words (and boy, did they know the words). She slowed it down a bit in the middle to throw in some of her softer tunes but the energy from Ellie and the long sold out crowd was so thick that you could quite literally barely wade through it, as her light show extended onto the walls and ceiling of the venue. She seems to have hit her full stride this side of the pond and we hope it continues, because we like huge pop stars that seem to be friendly, decent people that are not completely caught up in their own fame as well.

Check out the pics below, as well as this classic Goulding remix by Monsieur Adi, one that Goulding herself said made her cry the first time she heard it. You can check out a few more pics on our Flickr page.

And how about those gams?

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December Digest

Hey kids – did you miss me? A lot has happened since we last spoke. I went to Chicago to see/swoon over Tame Impala, the Game of Thrones prophecy that winter is coming has turned into winter is here (along with the painfully short days and wretched dry skin that accompanies it), I essentially stole some more awesome furniture and housewares from craigslist, I took part in a friends up north (west, actually) weekend to make up for the lack of such a summer trip, saw Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs at the mother effin Shelter right here in Detroit, and even ventured to Chicago AGAIN for New Years (because yes, it is now January 3rd, and despite me starting the December Digest in late November, I am only just getting back around to it now) where I partook in a late night Sunday funk dance party and went to the coolest party ever at the home of the lovely Veronica of creamteam fame. Ok, I guess it wasn’t that much, but I’m not that exciting of a person.

Oh, so you don’t care about my boring personal life at all and want to hear music? Ok, fine. Let’s start out with the album that I’ve been gushing over the past month or so, the self-titled debut from Melody’s Echo Chamber. The way the story goes, allegedly, is that Melody, a super classically hot French babe, went to see Tame Impala (are you seeing a trend here?) and instantly knew that frontman Kevin Parker had to produce an album for her. She had the songs, but didn’t know how to make them sound just how she wanted, and once she heard the band, she knew he was the guy to do it. And do it he did. If I were to make a year end album list (which I almost certainly won’t), this album would definitely be on there. This gal sure has a way with arpeggios and the songs sound exactly like these videos look. Here are a few of my favorites. Did I mention that Melody is a total babe? She reminds me of the French version of Elizabeth Hurley or something. I need to marry her. Can someone please introduce us ASAP? You probably already know about this, but if just one person learns about these tunes and loves them, it will all be worth it. This album is just so lush and gorgeous as fuck while maintaining that psychedelic element that only Mr. Parker can create. Totally don’t have an obsessive personality. Not at all.

Ok. Sorry, I’m done now. But, while we’re on the topic of musicians who are total babes with total classic good looks, let’s watch another video. This one is the new track from Chromatics, led by classic babe Ruth Radelet. This song is pretty great and seems to be somewhat of a fuller sound from Chromatics. The music between the verses and choruses are like a warm blanket on my cold winter ears. You can pick up the mp3 at purveyor of most things musically awesome, gorilla vs. bear. And since I started this post over a month ago and just finished it in January, this song is super old now (but no less fantastic)

Another babe that I talked a bit about last month was . Yen Sleep did this remix of Maiden and I kinda like it a lot. The vocals feel a lot deeper than before, and the beat gets some nice housey vibes, too. I like all vibes, but especially vibes like this. So excited for a lot more music from this gal and the abundance of killer remixes that they are likely to inspire.

Here’s a tune that appeared in my Facebook feed recently as posted by my girl Dre (proprietor of Gluttony is the New Black and writer for every other site on Earth). Don’t know for sure but it seems like S.Maharba is a babe, too, based upon the pictures that turned up on a quick image search and it was recommended by a babe, so it fits the bill. Just a super lo-fi, super lovely track. Also FYI, it’s not S. Marhaba as my arab self thought it was at first. I threw in another track below as well cuz these are some sick beats.

Another bloke who oft recommends killer jams is Mr. Kowalski of Solar Bears. We’ve posted Solar Bears tunes a few times and are looking forward to them releasing their next album, hopefully some time in 2013. In the meantime, check out this little number from Clu featuring some wonderful vocals from Gemma Dunlovey. This song really comes together as it progresses. And the outer space supersonic riff that shows up a few times in the background is the icing on the cake.

And finally, since I didn’t listen to that much music this year, I thought I’d just mention some neat albums you might have missed that were rad this year. Like the Fort Romeau album, and the TOPS album and the John Talabot album, and the Peaking Lights album, and the DIIV album, and the Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs album, and the Taragana Pyjarama album. Listen to tracks from all of them below. These aren’t necessarily my favorite songs from each album, just the ones that already existed on Soundcloud (cuz I’m lazy and whatnot). I sure hope your 2013 didn’t start with a nasty cold and a kidney stone like mine did.See you in January! Which is actually right now.

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November Digest

In an effort to divert my attention from all of the pre-election speculation that has been consuming my life over the past week (because I’m completely mortified about what might happen tomorrow evening), I thought this might be a good opportunity to squeeze in another one of those “once a month” big posts I mentioned and have done exactly 1 time thus far.

Let’s start by talking about CMJ. I’ve made it very clear that my goals at CMJ are to hang out with my internet friends who I only see twice a year at best, and that’s exactly what I did. It was an exceptional week in which I shared much food, drink, and camaraderie with internet friends new and old. Just to prove exactly how IRL the week was, below is the list of all my Twitter people that I got a chance to at least have a brief conversation with over the course of those long, tiring, awesome 5 days. This is definitely the most important facet of any de facto music blog convention such as the CMJ music marathon, and these are the people who all helped to make it the best ever, via linked Twitter handle and in rough order of appearance. The fact that I linked them all just proves that I care. I’m sure I forgot people, but seriously <3 u all. @thinkorsmile
@kaylorikay (not @klaurak)

I don’t hate any of you.

There was also some music at CMJ. Like I said, this was sort of the bonus to the IRL hangout week, but I did catch some good stuff despite my efforts to avoid all bzzbnds since I’ve kind of only been listening to new albums by older favorites nonstop (I’m looking at u Grizzly Bear and Tame Impala). My two favorite acts that I hadn’t heard before (despite much buzz) were probably Denmark’s (have I mentioned that I love Scandinavian music?) and Hundred Waters out of Florida. Two very different sounds, and you can read all up on them on actual music blogs if you want. So yeah, that’s all I have to say about CMJ.

Since I don’t listen to new music anymore, I hopped over to the ever reliable dipped in dollars aka the blog that probably most directly aligns with everything I love about music (especially electronic/dance music). So here’s a little sample of what you might find within their pages. But you should obviously go to their site and listen to everything else on it, especially their doper-than-dope October Mix which includes my potential song of the year. Any ideas which track it might be?

But for serious. Awesome people, awesome music. If you are one of the 3 people who feel a void with my lack of updates, you should head over there as your new go-to.

And since I don’t have anything else to talk about but feel that the above does not yet constitute a “digest”, I’ll just talk about how I’m going to Chicago next Tuesday to see Tame Impala, quite possibly my favorite band of the moment. Yes, this does mean that I will be taking my last two days off work for the year to drive to Chicago on Tuesday morning and to drive back to Michigan on Wednesday. But it will be totally worth it. Their new album Lonerism has been owning me lately and I can’t wait to hear some of the tracks live/hang with my Chicago peeps/totally geek out. Still debating whether I want to photograph this show or just give it my undivided attention. Do yourself a favor and listen to the album opener “Be Above It” loudly every morning to start your day. Preferably on some nice headphones so that you get the full effect of the walls of sound that occur throughout this song which are completely lost in youtube video form. And then just go ahead and let the rest of the album play after that. I’ve also included the album closer for its beauteous melodies and long reverb guitar solo outro.

In other news, it’s cold, the sun goes down at 5pm, and I hate all of those things. See you next month, maybe.

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If there’s one thing I love to do on a Tuesday night, it’s to see Crystal Castles perform just a few miles from my house. When HEALTH is the opener, things get even more interesting. Having a torrid remix history with each other, the two bands took to the stage at the Royal Oak Music Theatre last night for an affair to be remembered. After a photo pass dispute (where I spent 2 of the first 3 HEALTH songs convincing the security guy that it was possible for there to be 2 opening bands at a show), I took a few pictures of HEALTH in the 10 seconds I had left and enjoyed the rest of their distinct noise rock set, including a cover of Pictureplane’s “Goth Star”, from the comforts of the crowd. The saddest part was that I didn’t get to see more of that drummer who so entertained me when I caught them opening for Yeasayer many moons ago. Crystal Castles then took the stage and the venue was turned into an extremely enjoyable near epileptic light and sound experience from outer space. Between the heavy beats and digital blips from Ethan Kath and the energy of Alice Glass (who must have spent just as much time above the crowd as she did on the stage), there was really a little something for everyone. I like these bands a lot, so it’s always fantastic to catch them live so they can remind you that you need to listen to them a lot more than you do. Check out some pictures of some of the madness below.


Crystal Castles

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What’s up bros? Last night, the wonderful tour bus commune lovefest that is Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros rolled into my neighboring city of Royal Oak for their first trip to the area since that killer show at The Crofoot a few years back. I definitely didn’t give their latest album as many listens as their debut which was one of my faves that year, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t stoked to see them live again so close to home, though at a much bigger venue than last time.

It definitely didn’t hurt that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah would be opening up the show. Surprisingly, I think they were the loudest act I’ve heard in that room. Despite that, it reminded me that I really liked this group and had totally forgotten about them. I even bought their debut on vinyl and took a cheesy picture with them like one of those annoying people who does that. And I listened to it tonight. And it was good.

And Alex Ebert and crew kinda brought the house down with their set that nearly reached 2.5 hours with very little breaks in between. Perhaps it’s the catchiest of folk melodies that all sound like you’ve known them for years, or the 12 person ensemble on stage who must have played 2 or 3 different instruments, or the enthusiastic crowd (those youngsters are good for something at shows, I guess) that was actually even dancing a little, but if you don’t walk out of the doors feeling at least a tiny bit better about the world (if only temporarily), you are probably some sort of emotionless sociopath. They played a great combination of all of the greatest tunes from both albums along with a new song or two and a few misc jams, all seeming to break out into a quick tempoed singalong with each chorus. The loyals who stayed until the bitter end were treated to the customary Alex Ebert sitting in the crowd final song. But man, the kids these days are just so much more obnoxious about it, more concerned with instagramming themselves making a rock and roll face next to him than listening to the song. But anyway, yeah, see them if they come to a town near you.

As promised last time, I tried to make a few animated gifs out of photos from the show because I think it’s lame and funny, so check those out below, along with a lot of pictures in dreadful to photograph red lighting with lots of grainy noise.

And now some less vomit-inducing stills.

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September Digest

Remember that time when I was like, “I don’t really want to blog anymore, but maybe I’ll just do a big giant post once a month or something,” and nobody, including myself, thought I ever would? Well, it’s happening, right now. Think of this as a mini digest of some posts I might have done individually had I still felt the spirit. We have a lot to talk about.

First off, Beat Culture, a veritable dailybeatz regular this year, has finished his debut LP Forgive and is trying to release it on vinyl, because vinyl is awesome. He’s raising funds via indiegogo and we are big/huge fans of his stuff and want to have it in our record collection, so please help out if you can, even if it’s just a few bucks. He’s raised over $2,500 so far but still has just under $1,000 with only three days left. And you know how these things work – unless you reach your fundraising goal, you don’t get any of the donations, which is why it’s super important that we help him reach that goal. You can donate some funds here and everything helps, even if it’s just a few bucks. He’s streaming this track as a little sample and to help promote the fundraising efforts, so please help out this talented rising artist if you can, because I want to have some Beat Culture on vinyl, y’all.

Next, we are going to talk about a couple of songs that have not left my head for the better part of 2-3 weeks. These tracks are certainly not underground (or even new, for that matter) but I guess I just needed to make sure every person has heard them, just in case. And there are no rules to blogging (isn’t that the whole point?), and ESPECIALLY no rules to not blogging, which is what I do now, so shove it.

The first is “Yet Again” from the soon-to-be Grizzly Bear album Shields, currently streaming on NPR. This track is one of the catchiest little ditties I think the band has put out to date. As Carles put it, a more mainstream track to appeal to NPR Cool Dads. I guess if I wasn’t relationshiply challenged, I might be an NPR Cool Dad, so maybe Carles wasn’t too far off. Anyway, it’s a completely fantastic and upbeat number, and the rest of the album is pretty darn lovely as well. Go ahead and ask me if I care if this has been on a million blogs already or whatever.

The next track is the oldest of the bunch and it’s from my main homegirl Jessie Ware. She doesn’t really know she’s my main homegirl but believe me, she is. This track has been floating around the interwebs for months now but I didn’t actually hear it until I listened to her debut album Devotion a few weeks back, surprising to me since I’ve posted her a few times over the last few months. This is certainly a standout track from that album, and I’ve surmised that at the right volume, this could even be woven into your friendly neighborhood dance party playlist. I literally had 2 near sleepless nights last week because this song and the song above it refused to leave my thoughts no matter what I tried. Ms. Ware is such a fresh voice in the quasi re-emergence of some true R&B and she’s got the voice and the style to make it happen. You should also check out the full album because, just like the new Grizzly Bear album, it is also pretty darn lovely.

And the last of the tracks you’ve probably heard that I’m sharing with you just in case is one that’s rather hot of the press, just released this past Friday but already logging in 130k+ plays on Soundcloud. It’s from the UK’s Disclosure (the UK has been EFFING KILLING IT THIS YEAR MUSICALLY, by the way) and our first taste of their upcoming debut LP to be released next year. This song sort of has the same vibe/beat as Sam Sparro’s “Black and Gold” from a few years ago, a track I loved, but the chorus of this song is undeniably huge, due in part to Disclosure’s heavy beats and in equal part to Sam Smith’s impressive vocals. After Disclosure’s The Face EP earlier this summer and this track, this is definitely high atop the most anticipated albums of 2013 list. Especially since I don’t really know of many others yet. But man. Just turn the volume way up and let this one rip. You don’t get the full impact of the huge chorus without that volume. I normally turn off the comments on Soundcloud but I just flipped back over and caught a comment pop up that said, “You guys just understand dance music.” So true. So true.

And last but CERTAINLY not least, let’s take a stroll to perhaps the greatest audiovisual experience I’ve witnessed in person in some time. Yes, I’m talking about none other than Amon Tobin’s ISAM 2.0, which I saw live in the flesh last night at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. The funny thing is, up until a few days ago, Amon Tobin was nothing more than a name I’d heard a bunch of times, but then a friend posted a preview of ISAM 2.0 and I knew instantly that I had to see it for myself. Imagine a giant three dimensional game of Tetris on stage with some high tech projection mapping creating some of the coolest visuals I’ve seen at a show, all atop heavy, heavy beats. And because these projections were so perfectly placed on each and every angle of this structure, it often looked as though the structure was see through, or moving, or opening and closing, or doing one of a million other actions. Some straight up cool ass shit, to be quite technical about it. And Amon Tobin lives in the middle of it all, appearing from time to time to remind you that it is not all a machine.

**DISCLAIMER: There is no way any photograph (or video, for that matter) could ever do this any justice. So I just posted a few pics. But use the internet and find more videos of this beastly set, and if it comes to a town near you, you go see it.

Also, I made an animated gif, as seen at the top of this post. That means I know how to make animated gifs now, so every show I shoot from here on out will feature at least one animated gif.

Since I know how to make gifs now, I just made this one of my friend (and Audiovole.com editor) Sarah walking in front of a Palm Springs estate during our recent Coachella adventure 5 months ago.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this rare September digest. The tunes may not have been the rarest, but they are all of the highest quality. See you next week/month/year/never.

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