Author Archives: Matthew Bloss

[TMN Premiere] Loveclub – Stuck

Loveclub
Stuck

Hardly anything gets our proverbial Music Ninja blood pumping quite like unveiling brand new artists yet unheard to the rest of the world. Such is the case with today’s TMN Premiere coming from L.A. based, Canadian Indie-Pop project, Loveclub. Loveclub’s aural aesthetic is one bending 80’s synth kits & sensibilities around sharp songwriting, and contemporary pop arrangements for a sound uniquely his, yet utterly relatable.

The first single to see light from Loveclub is “Stuck”. Fusing tinny kick-drums, aerated pads and perfectly popping snare stabs, Loveclub buoys the lovely instrumentation with a flitting vocal track that shapes the tune’s emotional identity; landing somewhere between indie-pop and (wink, wink) PBR&B. About the tune, the debuting artist shared: “’Stuck’ is about putting it all out there and realizing that sometimes it doesn’t work out.” Something surely most of our listeners can associate with. We’re prognosticating a strong finish to 2018 from the budding synth-pop style-bender that is Loveclub, and you can be sure we’ll be revealing more pieces to his unraveling puzzle as they are released. Until then, stream Loveclub’s premiere single “Stuck” above.

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[Festival Preview/Playlist] The Underground Music Showcase 2018 – Denver, CO – 7/27-7/29

The 18th anniversary of one of Denver’s most storied music events, The Underground Music Showcase, is rapidly encroaching, bringing with it perhaps its heaviest-hitting lineup ever. What began as a one-night performance featuring just four bands, The UMS has steadily exploded into to a three-day music and arts festival featuring hundreds of performances. As the time draws nearer to what will no doubt be another incredible weekend of performances, this year taking place from July 27th – July 29th, it’s time to get our readers familiar with this year’s crop of highly established headliners and burgeoning local & national artists, spanning a plethora of genres and sounds.

Dotting the top end of this year’s addition of The Underground Music Showcase are more than a few TMN regulars. Among this year’s biggest highlights are the smooth indie-disco stylings of L.A. electronic duo Classixx, the infectious ciphers of B.J. the Chicago Kid, Deezie Brown & legendary hip-hop troupe Digable Planets, a healthy smattering of established indie acts including Greta Kline’s Frankie Cosmos project, ParallelephantsDeerhunter & Mothers, scuzzy rock sets from Alvvays, White Denim & Superchunk; not to mention the most eclectic handling of local talent we get to hear year after year including sets from olorado’s own CRL CRRLL, Aaron Bordas, Slow Caves, Bud Bronson & The Goodtimers and loads more.

Right now, special one-day GA tickets can be found for $40 over on their homepage with weekend passes for just $75. We’ll see you there in full force on July 27th, but until then, get in the UMS swing of things by streaming our playlist below.

’Alvvays – Party Police’
’Classixx – All You’re Waiting For’
’BJ the Chicago Kid – Smokin’ and Ridin’ (Feat. Freddie Gibbs & Problem)’
’Deerhunter – Nothing Ever Happened’
’Digable Planets – Rebirth of Slick (Cool like Dat)’
’Frankie Cosmos – “Sinister”‘
’Overcoats – Hold Me Close’
’Mothers – Blame Kit’
’Cloud Cult – Where It Starts’
’Gang Gang Dance – Glass Jar’
’Superchunk – Hello Hawk’
’Parallelephants – Reason Don’t Define’
’White Denim – Get Back To Love’
’Night Beats – Outta Mind’
’Jeff the Brotherhood – Black Cherry Pie’
’Deezie Brown – Sheepskin / Shayne’
’CRL CRRLL – M O N E Y’
’Aaron Bordas – As We Are (OriginalMix)’
’Bud Bronson & The Goodtimers – Cars’
’Slow Caves – Poser’
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[Event Review] Stars – Bluebird Theatre – Denver, CO

’Stars – Asleep (Smiths Cover)’

Even writing this, it’s hard to believe that Canadian synth-pop stalwarts (and quasi Broken Social Scene offshoot) Stars are nearing their twentieth year in existence. Once supplying some of this writer’s favorite sugary sweet, heartfelt pop tunes, Stars have managed to carve out one of the most endeared fan bases in any stretch of music, and last week, your Ninja faithful were privy to another stirring performance from our Northern friends. Stars, who are touring on the heels of 2017’s excellent There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light, and a pair of exciting singles to pace the first half of 2018, trotted out to rapturous applause before diving straight into aforementioned LP’s lead single “Flourescent Light”.

Read the rest of our review, and check out a few pictures from the evening after the jump!  Continue reading

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[Interview] TMN Gets To Know Zach Maxwell

It’s no secret that unearthing new and exciting artists is the main vein running through the pages of TMN. Sometimes an album strikes you just the right way, providing our ears with a dose of dopamine, while also signalling a wealth of untapped potential. One such artist and album is Zach Maxwell and his recent Music for Life EP. A songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Maxwell’s music manages to flit around the edges of multiple genres while offering a completely unique scope to listen through. Recently, Maxwell has been converting his recordings into a live setting behind a highly buzzed about residency in Denver at the eclectic Your Mom’s House venue; building loads of Mile-High hype over the past year.

Zach Maxwell will be playing the final show of his residency this Saturday, June 16th at Your Mom’s House, and we had the chance to sit down and get to know the burgeoning artist a little better before this weekend’s show. Read our interview with Maxwell below, and be sure to listen to Music For Life streaming on all major platforms.

The Music Ninja: First off, thanks so much for taking the time to sit down and chat with us a little bit. We’ve had the chance to listen to Music For Life a few times through, and more layers seem to reveal themselves with each passing listen. With this being your first official release more than a single, can you speak to the writing and recording process? Was your process any different trying to make a cohesive multi-track statement, or were things pretty routine when it came to getting the individual tracks in order for Music For Life?

Zach Maxwell: Thanks so much for the kind words about Music for Life! I’m glad that more and more layers are revealing themselves in subsequent listens.  It’s interesting, the process for making this EP was super nonlinear for me. Before I decided to release this EP, I spent a few years just making music that I wanted to listen to.  Just flowing with whatever vibe I was feeling on whatever day I happened to be making music. After a few years, I had 100’s of songs to choose from and realized it was probably time to put some of them out in the world! In listening to all the material I had made, certain songs seemed to fit together as a unit more than others.  I wanted my first release to be something that was more of an offering to the listener as a complete unit with a message versus a bunch of songs that I happened to like and put together. Additionally, my friend and longtime music Veteran Jayson Jackson helped me curate the songs and put together something that worked together. So the process was more working backward than thinking from the get-go that I was going to put a collection of music together.

’Zach Maxwell – Are You?’

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[Music Video] Chromatics – Black Walls

Is 2018 the year we finally get to hear Dear Tommy? Always with a penchant for tooling and retooling with his many bands’ (Glass Candy, Desire, Chromatics) albums, which has become somewhat expected from his legions of fans, Johnny Jewel and the rest of Chromatics have tentatively (again) set a release date for a followup to 2012’s brilliant Kill For Love –some time in the Fall on Jewel’s Italians Do It Better imprint.  Originally announced all the way back in December 2014,  Chromatics faithful have had their anticipation quashed time and time again, including reports last year that after completing the record, Jewel decided to demolish every copy and start again from scratch. Kind of. “Dear Tommy has the same titles, same lyrics, same track order, as when it was announced Dec of 2014. Nothing’s changed except it’s better.” quipped Jewel when pressed about the “new” record last year, so at least we have that. And here we are yet again, smack dab in the middle of 2018, with another glimpse of the mystical Chromatics record “Black Walls”, that almost makes everything better in 4 minutes and 53 seconds.

On “Black Walls”, Ruth Radelet’s unmistakable refrain is as simultaneously pained and beautiful as ever; pulling us into Jewel’s web of frigid synths and penetrating guitar. Simple in structure, complex in its execution and moody af, “Black Walls” is textbook Chromatics with an even glossier coating of paint. Watch the video for “Black Walls” below, and cross your fingers there is more to come from Dear Tommy soon.

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[Synth-Pop/Experimental] John Maus – Running Man

Much to this writer’s delight, we’ve had the chance to shine a welcome light on visionary producer, songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist John Maus in these recent months. With an impending long-player, Addendum, due out May 18th; we’ve been offering a few pieces of that one, including “Episode”, in the wake of its buildup. A collection of B-sides and new tunes alike, Addendum features 12 additional recordings from his Screen Memories sessions including this latest offering, “Running Man”.

Sharing an aural aesthetic with the 1987 film of the same name, “Running Man” layers staccato synths atop one another and over glistening pads & shuffled percussion all heavily steeped in reverb-y delay. Maus experimented working with an all-analog batch of synths to create his last two records, literally building every rumbling, squelch and blip from the ground up before turning them into full, cohesive movements; and his uniquely personal touch towards his production methods is felt in every inch of his latest works. In anticipation of Addendum‘s release, Maus will be conducting a Reddit AMA via /r/indieheads on Tuesday, May 5th at 5:00 p.m. Eastern; so for our redditor family, polish those questions up and be ready for tomorrow. Until then, stream “Running Man” below.

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[Music Video] Son Lux – The Fool You Need

Son Lux, the genre-skirting synthesis of Los Angeles composer Ryan Lott along with the help of New Yorkers, Rafiq Bhatia on guitar and drummer Ian Chang, have stormed into both this year and this writer’s headspace like a symphonic speeding bullet. Coming off of the heels of an excellent 8th album, Brighter Wounds, which saw release in February, the hyper-talented trio has been garnering loads of worthy critical acclaim in the months since; while touring internationally almost constantly since its release.

Recently Son Lux unveiled the visceral visual accompaniment -directed by Jean-Paul Frenay-  from one of Brighter Wounds‘ standout tunes, “The Fool You Need”. The video, which opens with some rather jarring imagery, fits like an unlikely puzzle piece atop Lott’s cleverly fractured drum patterns and aching vocals. When asked about his work, Frenay relayed that he visually interpreted the track to mirror the endless circle of life, love, and death that it so tragically captures. Son Lux will be maintaining their presence on the road, getting ready to kick off a co-headlining tour with indie-pop princess Kimbra come May 12th. Stream the video for “The Fool You Need” below and check out their forthcoming tour dates after the jump.

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