daft punk

A NIGHT OF CHOCOLATE AND CHEVAL
July 28, 2016 6:50 pm

When walking into any small time club, you can expect some loud popular music while waiting for a band to go up on stage to have fun and play some cool tunes. But last night at U Street Music Hall in Washington DC, a small club turned into a musical hot box.

20427_620380401430800_4122135562059143816_nStarting the night with some cool DJ work from local artist Dirty Chocolate, he pumped out some of his own music while playing club hits with elegantly twisted remixes. From metropolitan city Gaithersburg, Maryland, he taught himself how to make music while going deep into the internet. From humble beginnings (graduating the same high school that I did) to sick clubs, Emmanuel Osemene has a strong future ahead of him. I had a minute to chat with him about his experiences with music after the show:

I’ve always been a huge fan of music…I love discovering music and finding people who push boundaries. It’s cool to see talented people use their imagination to make music better. You wouldn’t hear it in my music but Pharrel, Timberland, Daft Punk, Juicy J, Kanye West, Justice, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and Tame Impala have been some of my biggest influences.

After him, the crowd turned around to the main stage and there were so many switchboards and keyboards that I honestly had no idea what to expect. Then the band started to play and I was immediately blown away as the four of them played musical hacky sack, taking turns on solos and bits of the song while perfectly supporting each other.

Their name is Club Cheval, they live in Paris, France are in the states for a bit to tour. Theyed play song after song of fantastic electronic sound and mixing with a superb drummer in the back who ended the show with the gnarliest drum bit I had ever heard. I had a chance to talk to Panteros666 (the drummer) right after their set list.

Tell us about yourselves…

We live in Paris, but we we are from a little city called Lille…We have a lot of influences there from Britian and Belgium so we have that kind of culture where we just mix everything together.

Where do you get you unique sound from?

Literally everywhere. We don’t put any genres on any pedestal and have no hierarchy with our music. We listen to stuff like Hip-Hop, Balie Funk from Brazil, Slow Jam and experimental stuff. I’m into trance and lots of other stuff. Each one of us has our own certain sound and we like to mix it to create something different. It doesn’t really work well in France though, so that’s why we’re here, we can relate better with the people. Sometime we are just too powerful for them and that’s probably why we are bigger here.

How did you guys meet?

To cut a long story short, we were all doing our high level studies which actually including political sciences, sound engineering and other areas. But we got together in our small city and were really obsessed with making a new breed of electronic music. We did well in our little city and then moved to Paris and met a lot of people and now were here playing music.

It was amazing how humble and relaxed Dirty Chocolate and Club Cheval were. It was a fantastic show, great start and great end with happily ringing ears all the way home. Check out more Dirty Chocolate here and Club Cheval’s tour dates here and new album here.

FLUME GETS UNDER YOUR SKIN
July 22, 2016 4:20 pm

Electronica, Dubstep, Trap, House and Dance are some of your standard groupings for modern EDM. Flume seems to achieve a transcendence of all this while mixing in some profoundly experimental sounds and strong hip-hop elements. His newest album Skin is this great achievement. Suffering from a handful of small issues throughout the album, Flume still brings new life to the genre.

Born in Australia, Harley Streten began making music with a basic production disc found inside his cereal box at 13 years old. At the age of 21, his first album, self-titled Flume, was put out through Future Classic and the next year, 2013, it had a strong US release. With songs like Some Minds that came out in 2015, tours and popular remixes, Streten has been one active young man.

This brings us to Skin. I’ll be upfront, it isn’t my favorite of all his music, but this does not mean that it doesn’t have some seriously impressive tracks that will find their ways to my personal playlists.

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From the beginning of Skin, songs like “Helix” and “Numb & Getting Colder” really show off his deep dedication to EDM and the art of music. He throws out the standard formula of builds and drops on many tracks for progressive pieces that feature very unique sounds and samples. Just like Skrillex and Daft Punk have explored what sounds can be made inside of software programs, Streten brings some surprisingly new sounds to the world. Listen to “Lose It”, “Free” and “Innocence” to better understand this impressive creative nature he has deep in him.

This is the main strength of the album, the ability to meld different sounds and use various samples in odd and interesting ways you’ve never imagined would work so well together. Flume is also a master of bass, seriously, your subwoofer probably hasn’t worked this hard in a long time. With pounds of drums and ambient bass lines, I haven’t heard songs with beautiful bass lines like this since Deadmau5’s 4×4=12.   

He also mixes in a lot more hip-hop than I expected and it makes his music even more appealing and more addictive. You Know is such a progressive hip-hop/rap dedicated piece, if it weren’t for the other similar songs, you wouldn’t believe it was actually on Skin. My favorite on the album is Smoke and Retribution featuring Vince Staples and Kučka, its rhythm is so strong and the pauses with light synth parts is downright powerful.

Skin takes some dedicated time to understand and appreciate. It does something that I haven’t seen anywhere else using very different tones and genre melding tracks even including the infamous Beck. It is a hit and miss though, some tracks are great and appeal to everyone, but others might be only attractive to a select few. But if you like any kind of EDM, you’ll find a new favorite song from Flume.

READY OR NOT- MYZICA IS POISED TO BREAK OUT
November 9, 2015 2:46 pm

It’s official. The 80’s – so hot right now.

This is actually not news. This is a trend that has been building over the last decade and is now in full swing. For proof see Daft Punk’s 2013 Grammy Album of the Year, R.A.M. (hint: the secret ingredient is disco). Dozens of bands have been taking part in this trend, but one of the latest is Nashville’s Myzica. After forming in early 2014, Isaaca Byrd and Micah Tawlks produced a slick self-titled synth-pop EP that is quite easy to love. The band manages to do what many others operating in this space can’t (see: the new 1975 song). They take the best parts of 80’s synth pop and fuse it with everything that has come since. It’s a style that acknowledges that there is a reason 80’s music is going through its resurgence, but there’s also a reason some things got left in the 80’s.

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Photo by @Josh.redmon

The first song off the EP is the first Myzica song ever, “Ready or Not. It’s also pretty damn groovy. What separates this from other synth-pop songs of the 80’s and today is that it’s not overblown. They knew when to stop- when there were too many things going on. This is a trend that drives not only this song, but much of Myzcia’s music. The bouncy pocket of the verse in this song comes from the scarcity of the drums, bass and guitar. Each instrument is playing something reserved, yet interesting. The parts work together to build a tasty bed of greens for the Isaaca’s Raspberry-vinaigrette voice (sweet, with a bit of bite; adds significant color).

Friday the band opened for COIN at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville. Their promising EP seeded high expectations that the band followed through on. Isaaca and Micah were joined on stage by Garreth Spinn on guitar and Dabney Morris on drums. The pair fit in nicely, playing the syncopated parts with energy and flare, but without overstepping their bounds. Morris did a nice job integrating the various electronic drum noises without losing the feel of the song, and Spinn impressed not only with his complex-yet-reserved rhythm guitar, but also with his spry dance moves.

A highlight of the set came with a performance of Myzica’s newest release, a cover of “I Was Made For Lovin You” by KISS. This is a perfect cover for them. The original is from the time period that the genre references, but not exactly from the genre itself. Their version is fresh and dancy, different from the original, but still fueled by its nostalgia. While this seemed to be missed by the significant portion of the crowd that was there for COIN (aka: in high school), it did release a blast of energy into the room.

The stellar performance was hindered by only a few things, and keep in mind, this is being pretty nit-picky. Firstly, the band would benefit from more dynamic lighting. You can’t blame them here too much, as they were not the headlining act and therefore didn’t get the full treatment. But the groovy, exciting music calls for a groovy, exciting stage atmosphere to match. Myzica could also benefit from having a higher quality sound maintenance. While the sound was by no means bad, it seemed like it was not the ideal mix for them. Again, the venue had to leave room for the headline to come on after and sound better/louder, but the issue was more the mix than the volume. Isaaca’s voice was clear, but the synth sounds didn’t quite match up with the acoustic ones. In particular, the electric drum sounds lacked the body and presence they needed to fill out the songs.

Finally, the band needs a pinch more stage presence. When the music is super active, this is not a problem. For instance, when Isaaca was singing, she was captivating. She carried an energy and excitement that was contagious. But when she stepped back from the mic, that energy melted away. While she shouldn’t be in the forefront for the whole show, the group could find a way to carry that intensity throughout the more “low-energy” parts of the set.

These “issues” might seem trivial to some, but they stood out because everything else about the group was so polished. They are great musicians with great songs. They have a cool look and a cool sound. With a few tweaks, their live performance could go from “a lot of fun” to “absolutely bonkers.”

I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

Young Liars Bringing The Wave
July 16, 2015 11:00 am

We probably listen to a lot of indie bands without realizing that some of them have never stepped foot on U.S. soil. Indie rock band Young Liars, hailing from Vancouver have been around since 2008 and recently finished touring after releasing their latest album Tidal Wave last summer. It all started out when Andrew and Tyler formed a band in high school, leading to the rest of the band joining through mutual friends which got their current lineup. They’ve been pursuing music since such a young age that they were considering going to college for music. “I(Andrew) don’t know how realistic that is. You kind of look at it and you realize that most of the people who go into arts colleges don’t come out with much [laughs]. I was looking at the jazz program at the University of Capilano here which was very popular and I was also looking at North Texas. I think we always wanted to play music.”

Young Liars sound like a very current and hip name that would attract it’s very namesake- rebellious youths that make up the very fabric of our Brooklyn underground music scene that we love so damn much. Surprisingly, it came from a magical realism punk rock comic book that Andrew read where “one of them starts doing a lot of drugs and starts seeing things.” At the time there weren’t many “young” bands emerging, giving them the push to stick with the name. But now there’s a lot more out there, and “it’s a little bit of a regret. Even if we wanted to change it, there’s already Liars out there so we can’t just drop the Young part of our name.” Andrew also went on about how they aren’t much ‘self promoters’ and kind of got ‘tired’ being in their own videos, so the “Young Again” video featured old men dancing around town instead of the band members. “We were joking that we missed the boat of not showing our faces whatsoever from the gekko like Daft Punk. You can’t really pull it off when everybody knows what you look like, so having a video where we didn’t have to be really present was cool.”

If there’s one song you should listen to off their new album, it would probably be “Tidal Wave”. It’s one of the more upbeat tracks on the album that you’d want to hear out on the beach at night while sitting by a bonfire. “It wasn’t what we were usually writing at the time and every other song tended to be a lot louder, higher energy pop. It came out really groovy and we did some cool stuff; we used a DJ ducking style on Jordan’s vocals in the chorus and it was probably 30 beats per minutes slower than anything else we’ve written. It was one of the last songs to be fully finished in the studio.”

youngliars

For a band that uses a lot of electronics and synthpop sounds, they do an exceptional job at trying to play everythng live without any previous recordings. No audience wants to see the same old show every time! “We’re an electronic band but almost 99% is what you hear on stage is actually happening at the time. We don’t run any samples or anything like that. We loop a lot so somebody would be playing live and we would loop it. We found that you fall into a real trap if you’re an electronic band and you can do everything really easily, where that stops being a show for people and that was something we wanted to avoid.”

 

The only time they’ve played the U.S. was in LA a few years back, and they haven’t been able to come back since then. Apparently, our great America isn’t the most neighborly country. Who would’ve thought? “Yeah- the visa process is really long and extensive. It actually didn’t go well the first time because our drummer couldn’t get in! If we were to go to Europe it would be much easier actually. We were held up until a week before our show and I contacted the local congressmen of the district that we were playing in because it was for a festival, and BEGGED them to push us through…Which he did, but when we got to the border they wouldn’t let the drummer in. We didn’t totally figure it out, but the cops hadn’t properly closed the file when he was pulled over once and basically saw it as an open police file. All he needed was a document they had given him that he had at home. So we actually got a drummer friend to cover who learned all the music the day of the show. It was one of our biggest shows too since we were opening for CSS and it was a little bit of a nightmare at the time. The funniest part was, he went on a vacation to the states the next week and all he needed was that piece of paper!”

Now that they’ve finished their Tidal Wave album tour, they’re all in summer vacation mode trying to soak up the sun and have some drinks on the beach. Let’s keep our fingers crossed to them making it to the U.S. sometime soon, bringing a slice of that Canadian indie rock scene to our venues!

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