October 5, 2016 2:33 pm

Upcoming band alert!  Winston Churchill once said, “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” If this is the case then Canadian band Young Empires is on their way to taking over the world. While I’m honestly not a huge fan of electronic music, Young Empires mixes indie rock and electro in a way that is not overbearing and just feels damn good.

The trio from Toronto that formed in 2009 is made up of Matthew Vlahovich, Jacob Palahnuk, and Taylor Hill.  The band experienced major hype after their debut EP, Wake All My Youth, was released in 2012 and high demand for tours took over before they were able to spend a solid amount of time working on their first full-length album, The Gates, which was released last fall.

As empires go, they have been gaining ground internationally and conquering media outlets left and right.  NME compared them to The Killers, Arcade Fire, Yeasayer, and Foals. Quite the compliment from a magazine who gives out “Worst Band” awards.

To me they sound like a blend between Cut Copy and Two Door Cinema Club.  It’s energetically electronic while still being ear-otically pleasing.  You can and may very well want to dance to it, but hey, you can chillax to it too. And it is this very precise balance on which they are building their empire. Their lyrics are quite the balancing act as well. Gospel-like lyrics contain omens of both despair and hope.  For example, their song “The Gates” sings, “No I won’t lose hope, no I won’t lose sight, but heaven is a place I just can’t find” and features a music video that includes haunting scenes of religion displaced with images of humanity, beauty, and destruction. The video recently was names one of Vimeo‘s staff picks and you can watch it here.

Rithm: A New Way to Flirt?
June 15, 2015 4:24 pm

In the 80’s there were mixtapes; 10-or-so songs recorded off other cassettes, serving as a more tactful way of telling your crush you want to bang them. This was often followed by the creator waiting with baited breath to find out whether the object of their affections would respond positively to their choice of “Need You Tonight” by INXS, or whether the selection had been too heavy-handed.

If only they had Rithm.

Recently released for iTunes and Android, Rithm is a messaging app that allows friends to chat and send each other music. The app’s functionality is demonstrated by the short video below that follows a love story between Jess and Matt. Jess is hanging out in her bedroom, Matt is on a bus. He sends her a song, she responds with a dancing emoji. Jess asks Matt to dance with her. Matt dances down the aisle, to the displeasure of the 4 other people on the bus. It’s cute.

A basic, free, version of Rithm allows friends to chat and send 30-second song clips to each other from the app’s vast catalogue. The app also features chatrooms (!!!) that are sorted by genre and allow all users to explore new music and add featured 30-second clips to their personal playlists. Proprietary animated emojis that twerk and do dances like the Cat Daddy and Dougie are also available. Those who subscribe to the $3.99 per month Rithm Gold are able to purchase and send up to 40 full songs to friends, as well as create their own playlists to share. Rithm also boasts curated song lists and broadcasts, as well as “exclusive emojis from top artists like Steve Aoki, Migos, Zeds Dead, and The Chainsmokers”. And of course, song clips can be shared to all of the major social networking sites and through standard text messages.

The lower price point certainly makes the app appealing to a younger age group, and its unique format adds many fun features to your standard text messaging program. Rithm is the first app produced by Rithm Messaging Inc., a startup in downtown Toronto. The company’s Tumblr ( features up-and-coming artists, plus news about what’s happening at the Rithm offices.

And, for the record, “Need You Tonight” is available in the Rithm library.

Images from