Author Archives: Ash El Gamal

[TMN Exclusive Interview] Talking Music, Performance and Brotherhood with The Bots

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The Bots
All I Really Want

With every generation comes a new wave of artists who, while often influenced by their predecessors, push music forward reflecting the collective consciousness of their time. Mikaiah and Anaiah Lei, 21 and 17 respectively, are certainly representatives of this emerging class but, considering how long the duo has been making music as The Bots, they’ve got a solid head start on most of their peers. The LA-bred brothers recorded their first album nearly 6 years ago and have been rocking the festival circuit, starting with appearances on Warped Tour, ever since.

Musically, The Bots brand of rock is certainly a product of some of the great musicians of the past ranging from punk’s roots to contemporary icons in the genre. In fact, they’ve seemingly followed a chronological trajectory of the genre, fusing styles and injecting their unique twist along the way. In mastering the craft of those that came before them, The Bots have truly found their artistic identity and are poised to make an impact with their forthcoming album, Pink Palms, which will be released on October 14th via Fader Label.

We had a chance to catch up with the promising band at this year’s Outside Lands finding the brothers, as we expected, to exude an aura of youthful creativity. Check the conversation below, stream the first single from Pink Palms above and, if you’re digging it, grab the track on iTunes as well.

TMN: When did you first start listening to music and what was the first artist that you really got into?

Mikaiah: Our parents showed us a lot of good oldies and reggae growing up. I was listening to a lot of MTV stuff so that was, at the time, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Avril Lavigne, Green Day

Anaiah: Do you even know a Backstreet Boys album?

Mikaiah: No, but that’s what I listened to!

Anaiah: I liked a lot of Reggae and Punk Rock music.

Mikaiah: Commercial radio and stuff like that was what I was into, but then I grew up. After the punk thing, I was like, okay, this is real cool music. I started weeding through all the other types of music and figuring out what I really liked. As I grew a bit older, I realized I shouldn’t be so worried about what people think if I like Madonna or whatever. I listen to everything now, but back then it was a lot of Reggae and Oldies. When we came to a certain age, our father introduced more 80s hard core. It was a lot of Black Flag. Also, Rock ’n Roll like Ramones and, everything more classic, like Led Zeppelin and ACDC—it was punk and then all the rock bands. That’s when we found out what we really like. We like rock music. Anaiah listens to a bunch of stuff, I listen to a bunch of stuff. We share music and that’s how we keep things interesting in the band itself when writing. Continue reading

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[Festival Review + Playlist] Take Us Back: Outside Lands 2014 Highlights through Photos & Songs

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During the Gold Rush, the area where Golden Gate Park currently resides was referred to as the “Outside Lands,” a sprawling seemingly uninhabitable expanse, before being adopted by the city of San Francisco and developed into what is now the gorgeous western portion of the city. Today, Outside Lands carries a whole new meaning as the the premiere music festival of the Bay Area located in the heart of the park. Every event has a unique charm and, for OSL, the magic of San Francisco’s physical and cultural beauty is truly at its core. With breathtaking scenery, quality food/wine and the lingering remnants of the hippie movement, Outside Lands 2014 served as yet another reminder of why the area has become, and has for so long been, such a desirable destination even with its famously cold summer weather.

Just over two weeks have passed since we took our final steps out of what was the most popular OSL in the event’s history. In the days following a festival, the mundanity of everyday life can become particularly evident. Luckily, with concerts, there’s always an artist’s music to revive the excitement of your most memorable, albeit sometimes least remembered, moments. This year’s Outside Lands lineup featured an incredible diversity in artistic styles making for a broad range of experiences to look back on. Join us as we take revisit a dozen of our top highlights from the weekend through photos and songs. Continue reading

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[NEW] SBTRKT – War Drums (ft. Warpaint) + Highs & Lows

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SBTRKT
War Drums (ft. Warpaint) LIVE AT MAIDA VALE
SBTRKT
Highs & Lows LIVE AT MAIDA VALE

With his forthcoming album about a month away, SBTRKT continues to provide us reasons to be excited. On his latest release, the pioneering electronic producer let loose track number 3 from the second part of the project.

“War Drums,” which features the vocals of talented Warpaint front-woman Emily Kokal, delivers exactly what its name suggests with intricate, driving percussion. Per usual, SBTRKT shows off an immaculate attention to detail and an ear for the perfect singing voice to match leaving the listener in a state of awe that only grows with incremental listens. According to the track listing, this one will clock in at just under three minutes, but the version presented here is a stunning live rendition from BBC‘s Maide Vale Sessions, which is nearly two minutes longer.

As part of a three-song Soundcloud set, all from the same live session, SBTRKT also shared a live version of the Sampha-assisted “Temporary View” and the previously unreleased “Highs and Lows,” which although incredible dope is not listed as a song on the upcoming record. Peep the new sounds above–Wonder Where We Land is out on September 23rd and can be pre-ordered via iTunes.

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[NEW] Caribou – Our Love

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Caribou.
Our Love

After an extended hiatus, Dan Snaith, aka Cariboumade a splash a couple months back with the announcement of an upcoming album and subsequent release of the first single, “Can’t Do Without You,” a euphoric, building dance masterpiece that immediately took the blogosphere by storm. The talented producer returns this morning with the title track from the project and it is absolutely stunning. On “Our Love” Caribou draws the listener in with a smooth electronic groove but, rather than keep it low-key, at about 3 minutes he switches the beat up with an addicting bass-line that dares you not to dance.

In many ways, Caribou has chosen the perfect time for his return falling in place with the incredible direction that producers like Jamie xx, Four Tet, Mr. Carmack, and oft-collaborator Burial are taking with their respective, distinct brands of experimental bass music. Kick your week off with some bounce above. Starting tomorrow, August 19th, this one will come as an instant download with pre-order of Our Love, which drops on October 7th via Merge Records

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[Hip-Hop] Joose – Black Sand (Rvdical Remix)

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Joose
Black Sand (Rvdical Remix)

Hip-hop is currently going through a fascinating transformation as rappers continue taking risks ranging from the strange vocal inflections of Young Thug, and more recently Makonnen, to the future bass raps of Goldlink. The Soulection collective has had a special role in carving out what label-captain Joe Kay calls the “sound of tomorrow” lending their unique brand of dance music as instrumentals for a broad range of talented emcees. The strength of this movement is multiplied by the artists’ and labels’ openness to collaborate, which in the digital age has become easier than ever and allows for an unprecedented diversity in styles.

The latest remix from Flow-Fi‘s Rvdical the Kid is exemplary of this incredible progression reworking the already dope track, “Black Sand,” from frequent West Michigan AGO collaborators Joose and Sango into an addicting masterpiece. While the original has a minimal and incredibly relaxed vibe to it, Rvdical’s take adds an ethereal element rearranging the vocal sample and adding unique percussion giving Joose’s lyrics a whole new context. Zone out to this awesomely floaty track above.

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[NEW] Captain Murphy – Cosplay

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Captain Murphy
Cosplay

Over the course of this week, legendary experimental producer Flying Lotus has been unveiling information about his highly anticipated upcoming album, You’re Dead. In addition to sharing the dark, trippy album artwork and exciting tracklist, which includes features from Snoop DoggKendrick Lamar, renowned jazz musician Herbie Hancock and FlyLo’s rapping alter-ego Captain Murphy, he also let loose a new Captain Murphy track today through Adult Swim’s Singles Program titled “Cosplay.”

For anyone who hasn’t been to Comic Con, the term cosplay is short for “costume play,” a performance art most commonly involving people dressing up as existing fictional characters and creating intertwined story lines–quite fitting in this case. As we’ve come to expect from the Captain, this new offering is brooding and ominous with warping vocals and disorienting production. For some more background on FlyLo’s menacing other half, watch an awesome animated short about the origins of Captain Murphy here.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, FlyLo said the new project will “mess up the game” diving into themes of death and the afterlife through music. We’re certainly excited to hear his take on the age-old question on You’re Dead, which is set for release on October 7th. Stream this new offering above and look for a free download via Adult Swim on August 18th.

BONUS: Check out snippets from You’re Dead below.

Flying Lotus
Youre Dead! Teaser
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Alt-J – Every Other Freckle

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Every Other Freckle

Alt-J‘s upcoming album is shaping up quite nicely. Earlier today, the U.K. alternative rockers released the third consecutive quality track from the project. In tandem with the other two songs we’ve heard thus far, their latest offering helps crystalize expectations for their highly anticipated sophomore record.

Each glimpse has featured a different dimension to the band’s sound–“Hunger of the Pine” full of sultry, powerful longing and “Left Hand Free” feeling more upbeat and catchy. “Every Other Freckle” presents yet another facet falling in between the other tunes in terms of energy but incorporating some of the vocal patterns found on An Awesome Wave, most notably “Breezeblocks.” The range of styles presented in these first singles suggests that we can expect a versatile and engaging mix from This Is All Yours, which is available for pre-order on iTunes and drops on September 23rd.

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