Author Archives: Clayton Warwick

Thin Lear – The Guesthouse [TMN PREMIERE]

Following a three-year hiatus, Queens-based songwriter & producer Matt Longo, aka Thin Lear, is back with the first release since his self-titled EP. Today we’re bringing you a first look and listen to that release, titled “The Guesthouse.” If you weren’t already familiar with this up-and-coming artist, this is the perfect introduction to his sound and what you can expect from his upcoming album.

A charming ride throughout, “The Guesthouse” is a tasteful blend of organic percussion, playful guitar work, and a splash of saxophone. All of those elements come together well, serving as the perfect accompaniment to Longo’s enveloping vocals. It’s a combination that left us both wanting to throw this into our regular rotation and anxiously looking forward to the full album.

We reached out to Longo to ask him about the inspiration behind this release. Here’s what he had to say:

I wrote ‘The Guesthouse’ one night in a fit of insomnia. I’d been working for way longer than I should’ve been, and my brain wasn’t winding down. In that sleepy, restless state, I started to think about how I’m incapable of being mellow, incapable of knowing what to do with free time, unable to just power off. I know a lot of artists who deal with this, and I think it’s only gotten worse now that we all have laptops and cell phones. The pressure is there to continue working, or distracting yourself from rest, always.

When I was recording the track, I wanted the production and arrangement to mirror that anxious, but exhausted feeling. You know, the sax is frenetic, but it’s also sleepy. The beat is a jaunty disco, but it’s also heavy, weighing on the song, keeping it tethered. The vocals are pleading, but resigned. The song is restless, and it’s worn out, and it can’t settle itself down. It’s an engine that won’t shut off.

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Big Wild talks Superdream, Red Rocks, and finding his voice [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

We’ve had Big Wild on our radar for quite some time, first posting about his vibey tunes back in 2015. Since then, we’ve had the pleasure of watching the rapid adoption and adoration of his style, leading him to a dedicated fanbase and some of the largest venues in the world.

Ahead of the release of high highly-anticipated debut album Superdream, out now via Counter Records, we reached out to learn more about this evolutionary shift in his career.

TMN: Superdream, your debut album, just dropped a few days ago. How excited were you to release it?

BW: Extremely excited. It’s been a long time coming! I’m just excited for people to see the full body of work, versus the singles that we’ve put out in the past. I think it’s going to give a lot more context to what I’m trying to do and where I’m trying to go with my music.

TMN: This is really your coming out party with singing on your own tracks. How did that come to be?

Making instrumental music felt very limited. I kept hitting a creative wall. There was a subconscious part of me that wanted to take it further and find a new way to express myself. The natural way to do that was through singing and songwriting. It was where I needed to go to stay inspired. To me, it felt like the logical next step.

TMN: Did you know that you could sing?
Continue reading

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Kita Menari – Pretty Sure [TMN VIDEO PREMIERE]

“Pretty Sure” is the first experience I’ve had with Micha de Jonge’s project Kita Menari. And, I’m pretty sure I’m in for the long haul after one listen through. It’s quite charming, drawing on associations of The 1975 and Passion Pit, yet still maintains a well-defined originality and authenticity.

Today, we’re going one click past the single, bringing you a first look at the accompanying music video. Inspired by Natalie Imbruglia’s video for “Torn” Jonge wanted a similar look and feel, including the crew behind the shoot in the final product.

The end result is organic, entertaining, and the perfect pairing for this enveloping tune. Have a look for yourself.

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Fractures – Reset [EP Review]

I was already very familiar with Australian-based Fractures before Reset came across my virtual desk. My experience stems from my wife’s, dare I say obsession, with “It’s Alright.” Not to say that I don’t enjoy that track, as well, but it’s cemented firmly in her regular rotation. In fact, that very song played in our hospital room, from her pre-planned playlist, right after our son was born.

While the listening experience of “It’s Alright” is slow and ethereal, Reset offers some variance, often more upbeat. This isn’t a huge shift, though, as we’ve seen this style before in tracks like “Eastside.” Yet, in comparison to his most popular offerings, this EP goes off the track of comparisons of Ry X and James Vincent McMorrow, and lines up more so with The Postal Service.

The title track was my favorite from the bunch, set to a quick-hitting synth and Fractures’ alluring vocals. It’s emotional and warmly familiar, enveloping you from the very start. Don’t get me wrong, though, I loved the full collection. It’s the type of listening experience best served sprawled out on the floor, with your favorite person, preferably with it playing via vinyl. That is, assuming it will come out on vinyl (fingers crossed).

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mxmtoon – My Way [TMN PREMIERE]

I spent my childhood soaking in classic crooners like Sinatra, Martin, and Prima, thanks to my 2nd-generation Italian-American grandfather. Those songs are timeless to me, which is why I had some pause when I first glanced at this submission. It only took a few seconds to shift my perspective, though, falling in love within a few bars.

If you’re not hip to mxmtoon, now’s the perfect time to get acquainted. Having soared to immense heights over the course of last year, this soft-singing, Oakland-based, 18-year-old indie songstress has an endearing style that’s worthy of your attention. Admittedly, this is my first experience with her music, but it certainly won’t be the last.

Her rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” is wonderfully unique, which is necessary when approaching a larger-than-life track. What drew me in particularly, was the inclusion of building vocal harmonies over the chorus. It was a clever way to deal with the power from Sinatra’s vocal prowess. But, that’s the mark of a well-done cover, right? There has to be something that’s ownable and different than the original, with enough remnants to pay respects to the creator. And, mxmtoon has executed that perfectly.

Frank Sinatra has always been a personal favorite. ever since i started playing ukulele, i’ve been singing his songs and “My Way” was one that really resonated with me! So much so, I wanted to do formal cover of it. I’m excited to be releasing this cover and to have been able to put my own spin on it as well, and I hope people love the song just as much as I do. Hope I did Frank proud! – mxmtoon

While tickets are sold out, I’d like to still mention that she has an upcoming tour this March, with dates listed below. You’ll be hard pressed to get in, but it’s always worth a shot.

Chicago – Schubas – 3/6 – SOLD OUT
Brooklyn – Baby’s All Right -3/9 – SOLD OUT
Seattle – The Crocodile – 3/13 – SOLD OUT
San Francisco – Rickshaw Stop – 3/14 – SOLD OUT
Los Angeles – The Echo – 3/16 – SOLD OUT

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Various Blonde – Smoke [TMN PREMIERE]

Brought to life by multi-instrumentalist Joshua Allen and drummer Mark Lomas, Various Blonde is Kansas City’s best kept secret. Cooked up in 2009, this outfit has taken on many forms, working with a revolving cast of musicians and producers. Most recently, the pair has teamed up with LA-based producer and bassist Brandon Eugene Owens, who has performed with acts like Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill.

My first experience with “Smoke” brought up associations of one of my all-time favorites, Absofacto, another uber talented multi-instrumentalist. Personally, that was all I needed. From there, I spent more time with it, digging into the complex soundscape and subtle nuances. It’s a dark and cosmic ride, spun up with so many rich textures and layers. The heavy bassline, dark and haunting synths, quick-hitting hi-hats, and Allen’s alluring vocals, all come together to create an enveloping experience.

Have a listen below, and then head over to Various Blonde’s channels and support.

Facebook | Soundcloud | Spotify.

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[lo-Funk] daste. – Sober

daste.
SOBER

Hot damn. Within a few seconds of “Sober,” I was hooked. The smooth bassline, the cool-as-James-Dean vocals, and the funky lo-fi synths create an undeniably addicting soundscape.

“We don’t follow any specific recipe approaching each track. It all evolves from a hive mind of ideas and refining them into the mood we’re feeling. ‘SOBER’ came about quite quickly. Pretty much within a day of writing the basis of the songwas done, and we then started doing our thing on the production which is often when we like to take our time focusing on the smaller details. As Tyler likes to say “The ‘d’ in daste. stands for detail.

This is just the second release from this brand-spanking-new act, and what a doozy. We’ll high-key have it on repeat until we get the next sampling. Hopefully, that happens sooner than later.

In the meantime, make sure to follow these guys on Facebook, so you can keep up.

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