Author Archives: Jake Balbes

[15 to End 2015] Ninja Jake’s Best of the Year

As we end 2015 I still think about the first day of it. I’ll never forget waking up to the Kanye West x Paul McCartney x Rihanna collaboration “FourFiveSeconds” and wondering what it would lead to. I certainly didn’t think my Macbook would give out one bittersweet evening this year. It was no easy task giving up my perfect iTunes library & curated playlists of “downloaded” music for my, now groomed, Soundcloud & Spotify accounts. We all had to make adjustments, and most of it was fun. Slacker Rock won me over. See ya in 2016.

’Mick Jenkins – Your Love (Prod. by Kaytranada)’

Shut your eyes & pout to this cut with production courtesy of Kaytranada.

The kindle to your campfire.

’Obenewa – He’
Find my favorite chorus of the year on this powerful cut.

’Mac Demarco – The Way You’d Love Her’
Undeniably cool, the soundcheck all-star had an amazing 2015.

’Tor Miller – Hold The Phone’

It would have been a crime to keep Tor off this list with his tremendous ability on the keys.

’Raf Riley – Hiding Place’
The self-proclaimed “overall decent chap” delivers my favorite beat of the year.

’Eltiano – Dou’
 Elton, please make more music.

’oriJanus – I Want You’
Taken from Soulection’s SADE compilation, oriJanus is masterful.

’Inspired & The Sleep – In My Labyrinth Mind’
This San Diego duo strikes gold with their psych-pop bender.

’Good Morning – Cab Deg’
Royal gentleman Good Morning take the crown for activating the most senses.

’Zak Abel – Alchemy’
“I can taste your poison on my lips.”

’Benny Sings Feat. GoldLink – You And Me’
This is the kind of collaboration that happens in your wildest dreams.

’HONNE – Loves The Jobs You Hate’
Easily listened to HONNE more than any other band this year.

’Jorge Alvarez – Rap Can’t Save You (prod. prime.cut)’
Future trendsetter with slick flow, looking forward to more tunes from Jorge.

’Kali Uchis – Ridin Round (Produced by DJ Dahi)’
Kali with the ultimate “put the top down” tune, revamped by DJ Dahi.

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[Smooth] Gosh Pith – Gold Chain

Gosh Pith
Gold Chain

Gosh Pith return with a lovely tune to ease any holiday stress. Tackling the constant conflict between the meaningful and the meaningless, ‘Gold Chain’ is our first glimpse into a new EP they’ll be releasing early 2016. 69 continue to bend tradition and exercise their ability to effectively spread the love. This complimentary tune is like a holiday card you wish you wrote them. Although it comes to a wrap quite quickly, it’s awfully sweet. These guys know how to bake, do the dishes and hit the jewelry store! Catch them with girlyboi in Chicago at Schubas (12/14) or in Brooklyn at Rough Trade (12/17). More to come from this devoted duo out of Detroit.

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[Hip-Hop] David Sabastian – Shit Just Got Real

David Sabastian
Shit Just Got Real

Los Angeles is home to renaissance man David Sabastian. The multi-talented artist/rapper/fashion designer/painter formed the ‘ANTI Society‘ in 2012 and has been gathering conscious individuals together ever since. He’s created a raw and progressive aesthetic for his brand that’s setting trends. Sabastian goes off on ‘Shit Just Got Real’ – the newest single from his forthcoming album, I Am Anti, due out later this year. After an extended creative hiatus, his first single ‘Duh‘ was released back in July. It feels like Sabastian may go on a roll here and end the year on a very high note. This video was directed by Alexander Hadden alongside David Sabastian and is quite the thrill. I’d join the ANTI Society before they close their doors.

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[Pop] HONNE – No Place Like Home (Feat. Jones)

No Place Like Home (feat. JONES)

We always have something to think about when hanging with HONNE. They take us to the depths of our truest feelings as soon as they arrive and it’s easy to find some space to dive into. Feeling like there’s “No Place Like Home” can be especially strong when Andy and James bring their friend Jones along. Her impact is felt as the first artist to feature on an official HONNE single. Jones vocals match up perfectly with the precedent that has been set. This will find it’s rest on the recently released Over Lover EP, which is now available on Soundcloud, Spotify & iTunes. Let’s see what kind of remixes come out of this project.

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[Pop] HONNE- Loves The Jobs You Hate

Loves The Jobs You Hate

HONNE waste no time and immediately energize us one second into their brand new song “Loves The Jobs You Hate.” A perfect fit for the last song of the night, this is taken from the forthcoming Over Lover EP out on Tatemae Recordings/Atlantic Records on September 2nd. Since emerging with ‘Warm On A Cold Night‘ over a year ago, HONNE continue to hypnotize with their romantic music. They force you to listen to them differently than any other band–nobody does it like they do. On November 4th HONNE will play their first US show at Rough Trade in NYC, tickets here.

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[TMN PREMIERE] MONAKR- Teardrop (Massive Attack Cover)

Teardrop (Massive Attack Cover)

Fresh off being announced on the second annual CRSSD festival in San Diego, MONAKR unleashes a cover of ‘Teardrop‘ by Massive Attack to keep things swirling. Lead singer Matthew Santos drives along the revamped production with a sense of power and fearlessness. This pretty tune successfully resuscitates a classic and showcases the band stepping outside their comfort zone. With an EP on the horizon, this Chicago-based four piece is set for a busy Summer. Both of their independently released singles (‘Calling Out‘ and ‘Diamond‘) debuted #20 on the Global and US Spotify Viral Charts, so it’s expected that a massive footprint will be made in the near future. MONAKR, born in the Winter of 2014, explores the deeper and darker side of pop music, filtered through Chicago’s R&B and House traditions. This Friday you can find them in their hometown at Lincoln Hall playing an official Pitchfork after-show with Celine Neon and Kinky Lovetickets here.

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The Kickdrums – Better [TMN Premiere]

The KickDrums

It’s an exciting time to be a fan of The Kickdrums. “Breathe Again” did some major damage on the radio and new music, whether solo or collaborative, has been popping up quite frequently. Today Alex makes us feel even “Better” with a brand new single set to be featured on his new solo effort releasing via 24west Records. This selflessly written tune will inspire those currently fighting for their significant other to take their efforts up a notch. His upcoming solo EP will be accompanied by a limited print 7″ blue vinyl of “Breathe Again,” making it one of the most enticing buys of the summer. The Kickdrums have played recent shows at Webster Hall, The Mint, and Brick & Mortar. Pre-order the new EP here.

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