Songs of Water – EP + Interview [Artist Feature]

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In our world of information-by-the-minute, endless communication methods and amounts, and constant connectivity, sometimes it’s a beautiful thing to just press play and sit back. Just last week, we took a break from the mounds of digital communications, put on one of our favorite artists on SoundCloud, and let the suggested songs lead us down a path of unplanned bliss. There were a couple of skips here and there, but then we landed on Songs of Water.

After hearing “11 Miles,” we immediately reached out for more information. After getting in touch with Stephen, we fired over a few questions to get to know this impressive act a little better.

11 Miles
Golden Summer
Evergreen
Strangely Beautiful
Ghost

TMN: Thank you for taking some time to talk to us today. When we stumbled across your SoundCloud the other day, we became instantly intrigued and wanted to know a little more. So, talk to us about how Songs of Water came to be.

SoW: Our music was born out of a community of friends who all loved to explore different sounds and create experimental art together.

TMN: Let’s go back before the start of the band. What’s your musical background like? Were you classically trained, or was it something you taught yourself?

SoW: Myself (Stephen Roach) and Luke Skaggs both grew up with strong bluegrass heritages. Jon Kliegle came from a family of traveling accordionists, Elisa Cox is classically trained, Michael Pritchard and Greg Willette are both self taught multi-instrumentalists and composers.

TMN: Looking back into your past, can you highlight five artists who helped influence what fans hear in Songs of Water?

Continue reading

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[4th of July Playlist] The Music Ninja’s July 4[0] Dojo

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Do you ever feel like a plastic bag? Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again? Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin? Like a house of cards, one blow from caving in? Do you ever feel already buried deep six feet under? Screams but no one seems to hear a thing. Do you know that there’s still a chance for you ’cause there’s a spark in you? You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine. Just own the night like the 4th of July…

You guys are all Fireworks!!! Enjoy our eclectic 4th of July playlist–fitting for your pre, during and post celebrations (don’t worry there’s no Katy Perry in there).

As a wise Ninja once said, “Fourth me up fam!” Peep below or check it on Soundcloud here.

Phony Ppl
End Of The Night (Louis Futon Remix)
Pharrell ft. Jay Z
Frontin (Disclosure ReWork)
Free n Losh
I Love You So
Jungle
Time (Lxury Remix)
Trails & Ways
Skeletons
Justin Timberlake
My Luv (Sable Edit)
Griz
Get Down (ft. Sunsquabi And Manic Focus)
GoldLink
Dance On Me
Masego x Medasin ~ Sunday Vibes
Lion Babe
Treat Me Like Fire (Snakehips Remix)
ODESZA
Memories That You Call (BLACKBIRD BLACKBIRD Remix)
The Knocks
Modern Hearts ft. St. Lucia
Kaytranada
At All
iLoveMakonnen
No Maam Feat. Rome Fortune & Rich The Kid
Big Wild
La Brisa X International Players Anthem
Peking Duck
High (Yahtzel Remix)
Chet Faker x SAINT WKND
Lover
Stevie Wonder
Superstition (C2C Remix)
Thundercat
Them Changes
Toro Y Moi
Empty Nesters
Daye Jack
Still Barking
Kendrick Lamar
Westside, Right On Time ft. Young Jeezy
Danny Brown
Grown Up
StarRo
House Party
Big Dope P Hit Da Blokk (Rustie Remix)
Aloe Blacc
I Need A Dollar (Big Gigantic Remix)
Day Wave
Total Zombie
Bob Marley
Jammin (Kungs Remix)
John Denver
Country Roads (Pretty Lights Remix)
Jay Z & Kanye West
Otis feat. Otis Redding
Towkio
Heaven Only Knows (Ft. Chance The Rapper, Lido & Eryn Allen Kane)
Bombay Bicycle Club
Home By Now (Nicita Remix)
The Watermelons
Best Of You
Bobby Nourmand
Birds (original)
Uppermost
Beautiful Light
Feed Me Jack
Definitely You
Club Cheval
From The Basement To The Roof
Curren$y
Dojo (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
Main Attrakionz
Summa Time
Janet Jackson
Got Til Its Gone (Dr. MaD REMIX)
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[TMN PREMIERE] Wicked Man – Soil Leaking Water

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Wicked Man
Soil Leaking Water

With the plethora of genres, sub-genres and micro-genres (yes, we know how ridiculous that sounds) that we’re presented daily as bloggers, it’s not all that common to come across something that feels completely unique. Recently, we were introduced to Oakland three-piece Wicked Man, who possess a sound that’s nearly impossible to place, but draws on indie-folk, jazzy jams and impeccable guitar plucking combined with a nearly-sinister voice. Their debut EP, Fingership, felt like a project of discovery for the band but they’re gearing up for the follow-up and, if the first single is any indication, it’s one you’re going to want to look out for.

“Soil Leaking Water” is built on a sort of haunting, oscillating guitar accentuated by the mischievous vocals of frontman Yonatan Tietz, who’s voice finds itself somewhere between Bob Dylan and Alt-J’s Joe Newman. That instrumental loop is quickly followed by layered synths and steady percussion. From that base, the track develops into a magical composition invoking a range of emotions through out tied together by a common groove–whether it be from the guitar, synths or vocals. The complexity of the instrumentation and dynamic nature of the piece don’t take away from its accessibility, though, and neither does the unconventional crooning.

It’s a jam that oozes a variety of vibes that we’ll definitely be saving for our 4th of July BBQ. Do yourself a favor and give this multiple listens above–it gets better with each one. Wicked Man’s upcoming EP is due out mid-September.

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[Give Back] Surfer Blood Playlist + Go Fund Me

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If you’re a fan of this West Palm Beach band, you’re probably very familiar with what’s going on with their guitarist Thomas Fekete. If you’re not familiar with Surfer Blood, or the uphill battle they’ve been facing lately, then today is the day that this changes.

We first started posting their music back in ’03, becoming instantly enamored with “Weird Shapes.” The sharp guitar riffs definitely hooked us within minutes, followed by swooning over the juxtaposition between front man Jon Paul Pitts charming vocals, a spattering of hardcore screams, and glowing vocal harmonies from Thomas Fekete (guitar/backing vocals), Kevin Williams (bass guitar/backing vocals).

Since then, we’ve posted a handful of songs over the years, yet haven’t kept up with their greatness. It’s not that we’ve fallen out of love with their laid back, coastal sounds, it’s just that the amount of music that comes out on a daily basis is simply overwhelming.

With the news of guitarist Thomas Fekete’sstruggle with cancer, we thought it was the proper time to re-visit their catalog and put together a playlist of our favorite tunes. So please, take the next thirty minutes, or so, and enjoy our curation.

On a more serious note, we as music lovers take quite a bit for granted when it comes to our favorite bands. These guys are hitting the road for months on end, usually living out of a van, making less than we probably all think. What’s worse is, there is no health care for musicians. There is no 401k. There is no disability insurance that’s automatically provided when you choose your band name. Up until a certain point that few see, it’s entirely on them to make ends meet.

As music fans, it’s important that we take some time to help out these heroes that dedicate their lives to filling our headphones, venues, and festivals with our favorite songs. Please read Thomas’ personal note below, then head over to his Go Fund Me page and donate what you can. No amount is too small, as it all adds up to the collective amount of helping him out.

A few months back I had a major surgery to remove a large tumor from my abdomen. I was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive cancer (a sarcoma), which unfortunately has moved. A few days ago, my doctors informed me that it had spread to my lungs and my spine.

Any bit of help would be massive for me, as I’m no longer able to tour and make a living, and my wonderful wife/best friend whom I just married in November will now be leaving work to help me throughout my treatment. If you can’t help, no worries whatsoever, all I ask is that you spread the word. Any extra funds collected when this is all said and done will be donated to further my doctor’s alternative cancer research. I not only feel great, but I am in great spirits, and I know this will soon be over like a bad dream. Please take care of yourselves, enjoy every single day. Life is beautiful. Love and light always.

Island
I Cant Explain
Dorian
Drinking Problem
Im Not Ready
Catholic Pagans
Twin Peaks
Take It Easy
Weird Shapes
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[Indie/Electronic] Mas Ysa – Arrows

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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

watermelons
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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