[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (June 2014 Round #1)

indie-dojo-music-ninjaSometimes we are faced with some really tough decisions that could very well change our lives forever. We just want to make things a little easier for you. The only decision that lies in front of you right now is to listen or not to listen. Either way is fine with us.

Elder Island
What Its Worth
Blue Hawaii
Try To Be
Paula
Black Acura
Magic Arm
Said Things
KHUSHI
In The Sun
FRENCH FOR RABBITS
GOAT
Louie and Patrick
Whats Right Without Wrong?
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[Folk] Sean O’Neill – Vienna

Sean O'Neill Approved press shot
Sean O'Neill music
Vienna

It’s easy to see why people connect with particular types of music. It may be a life event or it could be a certain frame of mind that one is currently in. We all connect with music for different reasons at different times of the day, week, year and life.

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for endearing folk music. When I was single, I was always thinking about finding that special someone, and folk music was the connection to those constant day dreams. Now that I have someone, songs like “Vienna” from Perth-based singer-songwriter Sean O’Neill have me spending my days thinking of what adventures lie ahead with her.

While this post divulges more personal information than the norm, I felt a deep connection with “Vienna.” The luscious atmospheric soundscape creates the perfect harmony with the subtle finger picking and O’Neill’s understated vocals. While it may seem subdued to you, this tune is anything but, providing an emotionally-charged ride for its listeners.

With influences as diverse as Sufjan Stevens, Bill Frisell and Arvo Part, this young artist released a solo EP in Australia in 2012. Now relocated to London, we’re offered up a unforgettable listen to “Vienna,” and we’re anxiously awaiting more.

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[Surf's Up] Cre·scen·do – Gatsby

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Crescendo
Gatsby (Official Single)

Grab the surfboards, a cooler full of beers, and all of the necessary accouterment to make some s’mores. LA quintet Cre·scen·do are bursting onto the scene with a sound perfect for a day or night at the beach.

Their debut track, “Gatsby,” features all of those notable surf-rock elements that are always make you want to move to LA, whether you actually like the city or not. The guitars are have that delicate wavering distortion, creating a dreamy, laid-back vibe that’s primed for your warm weather endeavors.

Comprising of Gregory Cole ( vocals), Josh Skinner ( Guitar), Ava Yazdani ( Drums), Jade Kim ( Bass) and Jesse Roberts ( Synths), the band is revealing their debut full length this summer, just in time to populate your playlists. ‘Gatsby’ serves as wonderful first taste of this brand new act. Speaking on the track, front man Gregory Cole states:

I was writing the song in my bedroom and the instrumental spoke to me. It asked me to deliver lyrics with a light at the end of the tunnel. After a few takes I developed the melody, and the name “Gatsby” was the first thing that popped out for it , along with the forgiving and acknowledging lyrics. I haven’t even seen the movie nor remember the book, as far as I felt then and now the name could be male or female. I hoped like all the songs, this track could be therapeutic to the people.
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[Indie Rock] Bad Suns – We Move Like The Ocean

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Bad Suns
We Move Like The Ocean

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock as of late, you’re probably familiar with the tremendous trajectory Woodland Hills based Bad Suns have been on. That’s right, these guys are pretty much on fire right now, and while we’ve already been fans for quite some time, “We Move Like The Ocean” has us shaking our heads saying, “No, no, no! Don’t stop a rockin’.

Dated Simpsons jokes aside, this newly released single is a piece of indie-rock mastery, infusing classic post-rock undertones, beckoning on such classics as The Cure, Echo and The Bunnymen and Joy Division. Featuring a playful, waivering guitar section, some electronic elements, and a solid pop-rock structure, “We Move Like The Ocean” is an indie-rock ballad worthy of your summer playlists.

Dropping on their debut album Language & Perspective (June 24th), you can pick this tune up, along with three others, by pre-ordering today.

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Q and A with Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr [TMN EXCLUSIVE]

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Following the release of their second album, The Speed Of Things, Detroit born and bred indie pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. have begun making a name for themselves for something beyond, well, their name. Quirky yet accessible, polished but never bland, Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein have found the sweet spot between pop sensibilities and uniqueness, expanding their electronically-tinged hooks and dynamism just enough to keep things interesting without abandoning their comfort zone, deftly outmaneuvering any possibility of failing prey to the dreaded sophomore slump. The Speed Of Things changes gears often, shifting between exuberant choruses, love poem sensitivity, introspective melancholy and conversational assertions, but never stops moving forward through the swirling melodies and smooth vocals.

Joshua Epstein

Joshua Epstein

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. recently packed Chicago’s own Metro with a sold out crowd, their largest ever outside of their hometown. Epstein’s colorful world map jacket and Zott’s curly hair tied into a ponytail on the side of his head were framed by flashing J’s and R’s sidestage as they opened up the set with “Hiding,” singing into a disembodied phone receiver and thrusting fists in the air with every “Hey!” The solitary incandescent bulbs attached to each mic stand illuminated intermittently, seemingly signaling new ideas realized mid-lyric, while each half of the duo dutifully took their turn leaping into the crowd to lend credibility to their synth-infused single “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On The Dancefloor).”

TMN: Congratulations on what was your biggest ever show outside of Detroit to date! How does it feel?

It’s an amazing feeling to have people in another city show up at all, so to have a record crowd made it even more special.

TMN: How have you been enjoying the tour so far?

​It’s been the most successful and most fun. That’s a good combination.

TMN: You brought your dog Potato on stage during the show. What’s it like bringing him along? How does he like it so far?

​It’s actually Josh’s dog, but yes, he’s been incredibly well behaved. He brings a lot of joy to the bus and helps us keep things in perspective.

TMN: I understand you recently did a benefit concert to raise money for a sick child. Can you tell us a little bit about this? How much of a responsibility do you feel artists have to give back to their communities in ways like this?

​Alex is a kid who recently discovered he had brain cancer. His family got nailed with a huge bill and we were just trying to help out. It was a really fun day with him and his family. Being in a band is full of self-centered moments. You spend most of your time trying to make people care about you. So, it was good to spend a day thinking about someone else.

TMN: So I have to ask, what’s the story behind the name?

​We wanted a name that wouldn’t restrict our sound. It’s so outrageous that it gives us freedom to sound like anything we want.

TMN: Will your children carry on the legacy as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Jr.?

​Never.

TMN: Is Dale himself a fan?

​He is. He says so in a video on tumblr via fox sports.

TMN: I understand you started the band rather casually without many expectations. Do you believe art is always best created with spontaneity? Is your process more calculated now that you’ve found success?

​There’s a good mix of both. In order to finish any good idea you need to have vision and execution which is more calculated, but spontaneity is good for coming up with ideas and changes.

TMN: You both seem to split frontman duties 50/50 more or less. How does this work? Is your songwriting process the same?

​We are finding our roles more and more as we grow together. We never plan for it to be perfectly split, but it does seem to balance out.

TMN: Many people consider indie pop to be a bit of a contradiction yet you guys blend the two worlds perfectly. Do you consider yourselves to be more of one or the other? How do you find balance?

​We are just trying to make pop music in the old sense of the word. We’d like to make a popular song that has some substance to it.

TMN: How has the Motown style popular in your native Detroit and the presence of legends such as Jack White influenced your music?

​Greatly. There is pride that comes from being from Detroit. You respect the history and feel responsible for the future. Makes us work hard at writing good songs.

TMN: You recently made a hip hop mixtape, can you tell us a little about that? What inspired such a side project?

​It has been a dream for a while. We really like making beats and producing other people’s tracks. It was a way for us to let people know what we can do.

TMN: I heard Paul Simon worked on your new album in some capacity, what was that like?

​It was wild to get his thoughts. He didn’t just have general thoughts either. He gave some recording tips that really worked well for War Zone.

TMN: What’s next for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.?

​I need some lunch.

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Photos by Andrea Calvetti

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[Indie] Bahamas – All The Time

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Bahamas Music
All The Time

Once again, we’re reminded how easy it is to fawn over Finnish-Canadian singer-songwriter Afie Jurvanen, better known to the masses as Bahamas.

Dropping off of his upcoming album Bahamas is Afie (due out August 18th), “All The Time” is a delectable single that flaunts a perfect blend of both charming folk style and modern song-writing appeal. With a backdrop of some crunchy guitar chords that casually mingle with light and airy fingerpicking and a simplistic percussion pattern, this song is a beautiful way to cure the blues we’ve all been experiencing during this two year hiatus.

If you’ve seen Bahamas live, you’ll definitely appreciate this song in particular, due to the stellar solo Afie laid down. If you haven’t seen Bahamas live just yet, know that you’re in for some unique and eye opening guitar work, amongst finding yourself swooning over his every word and some nonchalant comedy in between songs.

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[Folk] Anand Wilder & Maxwell Kardon – Wedding Day

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Anand Wilder and Maxwell Kardon
Wedding Day

Talk about an all-star cast: Yeasayer co-founder and multi-instrumentalist Anand Wilder and longtime friend and composer Maxwell Kardon have announced the completion of a new musical featuring fellow bandmates Ira Wolf Tuton and Chris Keating, James Richardson (MGMT), Christopher Powell and Ryan Kattner (Man Man), Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend), K Ishibashi (Kishi Bashi, of Montreal), Haley Dekle (Dirty Projectors), and more.

According to the press release, Break Line The Musical “harkens back to rock concept albums of the early 70′s,” exploring “the classic arc of lost love, betrayal, and pride,” and is based on “a labor conflict in a Western Pennsylvania coal town” that the duo’s fathers had discovered in “an old folk song taught in Quaker schools in the 1950s.”

Conceived six years ago, Wilder’s project began to take shape in between Yeasayer albums and is reminiscent of his band’s debut LP, with a lighter, springier version of All Hour Cymbals’ freakier folksy vibe. Taking inspiration from The Kinks and The Byrds, the musical puts a contemporary twist on a classic art form.

Ahead of Break Line’s release this July 15th on Secretly Canadian (July 14th, rest of the world via Mute), Wilder and Kardon have given us a small taste of what’s to come with ‘Wedding Day,’ a sleepy track that begins with children’s laughter and reversed guitar strums before Wilder’s croons raise the tempo into full-blown folk-pop festivity.

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