[Indie/Electronic] Mas Ysa – Arrows

masysa
MAS YSA
Arrows

While Mas Ysa –the solo creation of musician Thomas Arsenault- has been a music project with whom this humble writer has been enamored, we unfortunately haven’t covered his eclectic catalog nearly enough. The Canadian bred producer and vocalist embraces cutting-edge electronic music, from house & techno to neo-wave and synth-pop, but carries a songwriting sensibility to dabble in both dancefloor gems and harrowing ballads; oftentimes blurring the line between the two. After a recent chain of emotive,  downtempo pop singles including “Look Up” and the Nicole Miglis (of Hundred Waters acclaim) featuring “Gun”; Mas Ysa’s latest release foray gleams more uplifting and dance directed than most of an already sterling library. “Arrows” tumbles through a wide spectrum of of sounds and feelings, with Arsenault claiming: “’Arrows’ is sort of a Euro club banger, but also a very personal love song. It comes out of me wanting to make a universal, club-ready track but unwittingly giving into emotion.”

This one’s landed beautifully between club ready romp and heart-wrenching ballad; further signalling Mas Ysa’s unique ability to toy with a lofty range of worldly musical influence. “Arrows” is the latest single to crop up off of a debut long-player, Seraph, due out July 24th on Downtown Records, and if Mas Ysa’s latest body of work, the Worth EP is any indication, we might have another contender to this year’s best album battle.

Check out Mas Ysa’s impending U.S. tour dates with another pair of TMN darlings Tanlines, and stream “Arrows” above.

6/30 Covington, KY – Madison Live *
7/01 St. Louis, MO – Firebird *
7/02 Lincoln, NE – Vega *
7/03 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge *
7/05 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge *
7/07 Vancouver, BC – Electric Owl *
7/08 Seattle, WA – Neumos *
7/09 Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios *
7/11 San Francisco, CA – Phono Del Sol *
7/13 Los Angeles, CA – Bardot
7/14 Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory *
7/15 Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar *
7/17 Austin, TX – Red 7 *
7/18 Dallas, TX – Club Dada *
7/19 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s *
7/21 Atlanta, GA – The Earl *
7/22 Ashville, NC – The Mothlight *
7/23 Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall *
7/24 Philadelphia, PA – Voyeur *
7/25 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair *
7/27 Brooklyn, NY – Baby’s All Right^

* w/ Tanlines
^ w/ Wish, Michael Baharie & Kelsey Lu

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[Indie Pop] The Watermelons – Best of You EP

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The Watermelons
Best Of You

It’s warm outside. The sun is shining. Flowers are blooming. The beer in our fridge is ice cold and beckoning our immediate attention. All we need is a soundtrack to this bright, sunny day, and coincidentally, The Watermelons came tumbling into our inbox.

Any time a band lists Paul Simon as one of their influences, there’s a 99% chance we’re going to enjoy it. To this day, we still listen to Graceland from start to finish here at TMN HQ, giving it a thoughtful nod as one of the best albums of all time. Though this band infuses some of those mid-eighties sounds into their persona, they also harness more modern acts like Phoenix, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Little Comet. Yet, as much as we like to pick out who sounds like who, they have a well-defined sound that stands firmly on its own.

Their debut EP comes out on July 20th, but for right now, you’ll have to enjoy just their debut single, “Best of You,” which is an undeniably upbeat, summer anthem. The combination of catchy-as-hell lyrics, danceable 80’s-style guitar work, and glowing synths come together perfectly, leaving even the stingiest of warm weather disapprovers stopped in their tracks, helplessly singing along.

“To Be In Love” follows suit, providing listeners with a rock-centric, head-nodding ride, complete with another uplifting, all-to-catchy chorus. On the other hand, “This Time” showcases the band’s ability to deviate from those upbeat poppy anthems, reducing the tempo and highlighting some beautifully sung harmonies. Rounding out the four-track EP is “If You Want To Love Me,” which is an endearing song, complete with yet another memorable chorus, fused into a ballad-style structure.

All in all, this is an overwhelmingly impressive collection of four songs, especially given they’re all on a debut EP. These Chichester/Brighton-based boys have quite the career ahead of them, which should definitely include, but not be limited to the following: iTunes commercials, car commercials, indie movies, blockbuster movies, sold out rooms, and festival appearances. And, speaking of shows, we highly recommend heading out and witnessing them in person. While we haven’t had the pleasure, we’re pretty damn sure it’ll be worth the small price of admission.

Upcoming Shows:
4th July @ AlleyCat
17th July @ Smiths of Spitafields
24th July @ Amersham Arms

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[Indie] Tearjerker – Perfect

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Tearjerker
Perfect

We have July 17th marked with a big red X here at TMN headquarters, and there’s one reason alone for that. It’s the date that Toronto-based Tearjerker releases their upcoming album, Stay Wild, which features this hazy delight that we’ve come to fall in love with today.

“Perfect” comes damn near close to embodying its title, leading listeners on a cool, dreary, shoegaze journey. It’s definitely not going to find it’s way into your “Uplifting Summertime Indie Playlist,” but will fit well into your “Grey Fall Day Playlist.” If you’re not that specific with your playlisting, then we just recommend throwing it on when you’re spending a quiet night at home.

The song features beautifully textured soundscape, rife with slow, meticulous strumming, subdued drumming, and echoing vocals. Impressively enough, everything, including the writing, recording, production and album artwork, has come from just the three band members. In fact, Tearjerker has released special edition cassettes of their albums with handmade packaging, which help create that tangible feel that’s so often lost in this era of music. When asked about this record, Taylor Shute had this to say:

We spent a lot of time getting everything right with this record. From a hanging note at the end of a song, to a barely audible sample in a breakdown in the middle of a track, we tried to make a record that will reward repeated listens.

Pre-order Tearjerker’s 10-track LP by clicking here.

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[Electronic/Chill] Soma – Uncertain

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Soma
Uncertain

With the crazy amount of music submissions that come across every facet of our Ninja collective’s  e-mail and social media accounts, it can unfortunately become quite easier to stop searching and just let it come to us. So, on those rare occasions from which we manage to hunt down and fall in love with a completely new tune from an artist or band shrouded in mystery, well… it always holds a special place for us.  The latest entity to preoccupy this place in our heart is brand new project Soma, and their lush, breezy, two-step led single “Uncertain”. “Uncertain” walks an envious line between fragments of pop, chillwave, trap, R&B, house and even soul for a debut single rich in both its concept, sound and potential.

While not much has been uncovered in regards to Soma -whose only webpage is a secret portal that requires a password and their lone social account being a Soundcloud which lists Soma’s location as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Philadelphia- we’re slobbering like a Pavlovian Pitbull for more from the brand new project. You can be sure we’ll stay on top of Soma as everything develops, but in the mean time, we’ll be grooving to “Uncertain”.

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Traversing the Ego and Talking Musicianship with The Internet [TMN Exclusive Interview]

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On ‘Ego Death,’ The Internet have truly caught up to their initial vision just around the same time the rest of the music scene is striving to do the same.

The Internet
Special Affair

When The Internet, spearheaded by Syd the Kyd and Matt Martians, put out their first album Purple Naked Ladiesin 2011, they were already ahead of the curve. That debut, which was a collection of the first material the two had ever made together–with Syd on the mic and Matt on the boards–favored jazz, neo-soul, N.E.R.D.-esque vibes tied together with silky R&B vocals and unique hip-hop-tinted lyricism. Their predilection for live instrumentation and extended jams, the type that could be heard on Matt Martian’s Jet Age of Tomorrow projects, led the duo, who first met on MySpace, to put together a 6-piece band that would help them catch up to the ambitions expressed on their debut. The resulting project was their sophomore record, Feel Good, which progressed their sound with the help of that ensemble who brought a marked musicianship to match Matt and Syd’s executive direction.

With deeply collaborative albums like Kendrick Lamar‘s To Pimp a Butterfly and The Social Experiment‘s Surf both solidifying the reincarnation of funk, soul and live instrumentation in hip-hop and R&B, it’s clearer than ever just how innovative The Internet were with their undertakings. Their latest album, Ego Death, which is out now, continues that progression building off the rawness of their debut all the while incorporating the complexity of its predecessor. More than ever, it feels like The Internet, who describe the project as their most collaborative yet, have congealed into sonic bliss.

Musically, Ego Death finds itself in a place minimalism, which is not to be confused with simplicity. There’s gorgeous jams through out on tracks like the Janelle Monae-featuring “Gabby,” moments of bounce on cuts like the Kaytranada-assisted “Girl” and bedroom anthems like “Special Affair.”  What ends up really bringing cohesion to the project are Syd’s captivating voice and the common theme encapsulated by the album’s title–an inner-conflict between a heightened ego and a broken one. On Ego Death, The Internet have truly caught up to their initial vision just around the same time the rest of the music scene is striving to do the same.

We were lucky enough to chat with Syd and Matt about the MySpace days, Odd Future and the making of Ego Death. Pick up your copy and read the full Q&A below. 

Ego Death

 iTunes || Spotify 

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TMN: What were your earliest musical memories, as far as what was playing around the house or anything that you were listening to growing up that you felt like has influenced your sound?

Matt: I think my very first memory was hearing my dad play stuff in the car all the time. My very first memory musically was The Commodores song called “Machine Gun.” It’s a song that has no lyrics or anything, it’s just a fucking jam–a jam-out Commodores song. And I remember I would always ask my dad to play it on repeat, and as a kid I didn’t know this wasn’t normal, but now that I’m older I realize that type of music is not something a normal five year old really grabs onto. Because I’ve never been a trained musician, but I’ve always known what sounded good and what not to do, which is kind of a gift in itself.

Syd: Me, I grew up listening to a lot of like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, India Arie, Musiq Soulchild and a lot of reggae like a lot of Maxi Priest, Steel Pulse, and Third World. Yeah, my dad is part of kind of a musical family, his brother is very involved in the music industry in Jamaica, and my mom is just like a huge fan of music. She still wants to be an engineer, like me.

TMN: So, building off of that, when did you guys first start making music?

Matt: I would say I started late; I was a late bloomer. I was 17 and it was like my first year of college. It got to the point where I got sick of waiting on my favorite bands to put music out. And I always felt like the good bands took forever to put music out and the trash bands would put music out every three years. So, it was like, you know, N.E.R.D. would come out with an album then you wouldn’t hear shit like, “Nigga I been waiting four years! I’m not gonna wait four years for twelve songs!” So, for me it was more like teach me how to fish, eat forever type of situation.

Syd: I took piano lessons as a kid and all that, but I didn’t start making music on my own until I was like 14 when my dad got me a laptop for school and it had Garage Band. I just started and I knew at that point that I wanted to do something involved in music, I just didn’t know what. Then I realized “oh a producer,” and then I realized “oh I’m not that good at this…” (Laughs). So I just started engineering instead just to stay involved one way or another and to make money.

TMN: So, I know Matt you had done some production work with Odd Future in general. Syd were you the first person to get in touch with Matt or was it through being a member of Odd Future yourself?

Syd: No, Matt was in Odd Future way before me, like years before me. Matt is an original member, he’s like one of the first members. I was a fan of his, because he had the Super 3. I was a fan of the Super 3 so I used to just message him like “Hey, give me advice on beats” and he used to give me advice.

Matt: Right. It’s kind of weird when I think about it now, like we’re best friends and we’re in a band together, because it really was like fate. So, me and Tyler (The Creator) linked up like a few years before I met Syd, this was on MySpace as well. The Internet is just the embodiment of both, and how a lot of our lives have changed because of it. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Internet. So, we basically connected through MySpace, bouncing ideas, then she got into Odd Future. I was already in Odd Future so we got even closer. It kind of happened organically, how it was supposed to happen. It was nothing forced, it was more so like we both had very similar interests, and we grew up from very similar backgrounds so it just makes a lot of sense.
Continue reading

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[SEX] Gallant – Weight In Gold

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Gallant
Weight In Gold

The star of tomorrow is here, and his name is Gallant. Hot off his last release with “Open Up” and his cover of the Foo Fighters “Learn To Fly”, he’s now delivering one the singles off his album titled “Weight In Gold”, and it’s nothing short of amazing. It just premiered on Apple Music by Zane Lowe, but you can also stream it in full here. Featuring a vocal range that can make the best look like child’s play, supported by some flawless song writing, this track is ready for the radio and sure to be a canvas for thousands of artist to remix. The production from Stint makes this track an absolute smash hit, with mesmerizing synth work and some seductive melodies sprinkled throughout. Cheers.

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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (June 2015 Round #4)

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Music has the magical mystery powers to create and preserve memories without us even trying. So really, the Indie Dojo is kinda like handing you a plethora of flux capacitors to use in the far off future. Soooo, that’s pretty cool.

Little Wolves
Home
My Dead Air
Holding On
Sample Answer
Good Boy
Cry Monster Cry
Atlas
Why We Run
Ignites
Ofelia K
White T
East of Here
Heartbeat
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