[Event Recap] SXSW – The Highs and Lows of our Week in Austin, Texas

SXSW-live-streaming-tmn

Another SXSW is in the books, and as we look back with aching feet, muddy clothes wrapped in plastic bags, and a phone full of video clips and pictures, we’re slowly trying to process everything that went on during this intensely crazy week. It was one to be remembered, that’s for sure, providing ample amounts of “Only at SXSW” surprises, newly discovered artists, and, of course, plenty of BBQ.

In lieu of a lengthy, play-by-play recap of everything we experienced, we’re going to change it up and just cover some of the high and low lights. Our hopes are such that you will not only put some acts on your list for this upcoming year’s touring season, but also learn how to SXSW better and more effectively in the years to come.

THE HIGHS

Our dance card was admittedly jam packed, as you would expect from us. Since we don’t focus on a particular genre, our schedule often looked like a game of Tetris, numerous colored blocks stacking on top of each other quicker than we could anticipate. With that in mind, we tried to divide and conquer, leaving certain ninjas to review their favorite genres.

Mew: We’ve been waiting to see Mew for the better part of a decade. If you could peek into our all-time play count on Spotify, you would notice that “Am I Wry? No” has garnered an absurd amount of plays. Our adoration goes further back than Spotify days though, discovering this act long, long ago.

Their live set was absolutely flawless, with Jonas’ vocals echoing what we’ve heard through our headphones in so many walks around our college campus. It was truly one of those life-affirming shows, reminding us of exactly why we started doing this.

Satellites (Acoustic)

ELEL: This band of relative newcomers stole our hearts, and did so in one of the hardest venues to do so. We caught them in a small hall, that was less than forgiving acoustically. Their ability to overcome that, and still get a crowd of people to dance and smile was notable. “40 Watt” particularly shone bright, giving us a glimpse of their unique harmonic abilities. We can’t wait to catch them on tour, as we’re sure they’ll be bringing this seven-piece to every major city really soon.

40 Watt

Continue reading

Related items:

[Event Preview/Denver Giveaway] Bag Raiders w/ Action 52 & Rose Quartz- 4/10 – The Bluebird Theater

bagraiders
Kimbra
Miracle (Bag Raiders Remix) + Denver ticket giveaway!

Australia’s Bag Raiders have brilliantly maintained a coveted spot between the staunchest of electronic and dance aficionados, and full-fledged mainstream success in a way so few acts have the ability, yet countless artists aspire to. The duo behind indie-dance gems like “Shooting Stars”, and “Nairobi” are bringing their skills behind the DJ booth for a special DJ Set this Friday at Denver’s Bluebird Theater, and we’ve teamed up with our friends at AEG & Global Dance Music to give away a pair of tickets for one lucky winner. Rounding out the bill are a pair of TMN darlings out of the burgeoning indie scene of Denver, CO: Action 52 & Rose Quartz.

Fresh off of a superbly composed and wonderfully executed EP: Axis of Love, Rose Quartz has been sharing their sound all over the contiguous U.S. lately, behind a nationwide tour with Generationals and Ishi; and never come close to disappointing anyone in attendance for one of their hometown shows. Finally, kicking things off will be the underground tipping, fun loving house music of Action 52, who last landed on these hallowed pages with their take on Ludacris’ “How Low”. Needless to say, we’re getting positively jazzed up for this one, and as always, it just wouldn’t be half as fun without a couple of our Ninja friends in attendance as well. Entering this one is a cinch. Just “like” The Music Ninja Facebook page here, and comment with your favorite Bag Raiders tune below in the comments section for guaranteed entry. We’re announcing our winner on the day of the show, so stay tuned for the reveal!

There are a few rules, of course:
– The event is all ages, so tell all your friends to increase your odds of winning!
– You are responsible for your own transportation.
– You must bring a valid form of ID to pick up your tickets at the Bluebird Theater box office.
– You must find a TMN representative and let them buy you a shot (or Red Bull for our non legal friends)
Good luck Ninjas!

Related items:

[Event Preview] The Underground Music Showcase – 7/23-7/26 – Denver, CO

Theums2015

After the raucous and discovery laden journey that was last year’s Underground Music Showcase in Denver, CO; we are once again gearing up for another edition of our favorite music festival in Denver. One of the few remaining music gatherings in our the fair city of Denver to eschew the typical smattering of major label festival fare, The UMS has dropped the first glimpse into a lineup boasting over 1,500+ acts strewn across various shops and bars dotting Denver’s South Broadway district, and we’ve already got stars in our widening Ninja eyes as a result. Buoyed by the gleaming synth-pop of Portland, OR’s STRFKR and the psych induced dream-rock of Brooklyn trio DIIV, as well as TMN Favorites Rose Quartz, Wild High and The Epilogues, this year’s UMS looks to be as top heavy as ever without skimping on any of the underground qualities which brought it to prominence in the first place. Grab your tickets here, and quite honestly, for our friends in Denver, $50.00 for a four-day paradisaical dip into some of the best atmosphere and music (of an absurd number of genres as well, mind you) the Mile High City has to offer is what we like to call in the industry… “a steal”.

Check out our 2014 coverage of The UMS here, stream our mini-playlist featuring a tune from each aforementioned act to stoke your UMS fire, and read the full lineup of announced artists thus far for the 2015 installment of The Underground Music Showcase below.

UMS 2015 first lineup announcement:

STRFKR, Diiv,  Milo Greene, Brick + Mortar, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Mac McCaughan (Superchunk), Moon Hooch, Until The Ribbon Breaks, Accordion Crimes, Beginners, Bud Bronson and the Good Timers, Colfax Speed Queen, Dragondeer, The Epilogues, Eros & the Eschaton, Gabriel, Garzón-Montano, In the Whale, The Knew, Land Lines, The Lonely Wild, Ned Garthe Explosion, Plum, Rose Quartz, Ryan Chrys and the Roughcuts, Shady Elders, South of France, SPELLS, Wild High, Wiredogs, The Yawpers.

Golden Light
Doused
Leaving Now
Tidal
Hunting Season

 

 

Related items:

[Event Review] 5 Faces of Chaz: Examining Toro y Moi’s Evolution at The Independent, SF 3/28

DSC_0344Over the last five years, Chaz Bundick, as both Toro y Moi and Les Sins, has repeatedly redefined his style bringing refreshing facets of his reserved, enigmatic persona to light all the while maturing with each album. A true musical chameleon, Chaz has worn many hats but, regardless of genre, he maintains his aesthetic always remaining true to himself. This realization couldn’t have been more evident as I watched Toro Y Moi perform a hometown show at The Independent in San Francisco last weekend in which he intertwined his various musical identities into a cohesive and career-spanning set.

Backed by several talented musicians, including ninja-favorite Astronauts, etc. on the keys, Toro y Moi’s countless jams, from hazy bedroom productions to groovy indie rock, were presented in the most vibrant way possible. Almost signifying transitions between old and new, Chaz swapped between MIDI keyboard and guitar through out without losing a beat. As an avid fan, and music geek, I found myself not only dancing steadily through out, but also hit with a flurry of thoughts and emotions inspired by the diverse, yet unified, setlist. To best capture those feelings, I decided to recount the performance in the context of a career retrospective. Flip through the pages and explore the five faces of Toro that I witnessed last Saturday with photos and songs from the set to match.

Toro y Moi’s upcoming album, What for?, drops on April 7th but can be streamed via NPR Music now. You can pre-order on iTunes here and find upcoming tour dates here.

All photos by Dom Powell

Continue reading

Related items:

[Alternative] Trails and Ways – Skeletons

11078252_977636245601840_7945763949953096894_o
Trails and Ways
Skeletons

Oakland-based band Trails and Ways first found their way into our hearts a few years back starting with their brilliantly organic and original covers. As if their approach to covers wasn’t indicative enough, their 2013 debut EP, Trilingual, solidified T&W as one of our favorite indie acts out. After a relatively quiet period during which they were performing, practicing and working on new material, Trails and Ways were officially signed to Barsuk Records, the label of Death Cab For Cutie, early last month with a debut full-length album on the horizon.

Today, we get the first single, and opening track, from their anticipated debut and it proves more than worth the wait. “Skeletons,” which we first caught live at their hometown show last year, feels like the perfect next step in the talented group’s sound. Following an intro of atmospheric guitar and emphatic cries, the verses recess into gorgeous, breezy vocals before unleashing one of the most infectious, energetic choruses you will hear all year. Trails and Ways’ aesthetic, influenced by the band members’ international travels and outdoor hobbies, has an enchanting, transformative effect that feels best suited for a dance party in the midst of mother nature. We’ll certainly have this on repeat today and until their debut, Pathology, drops on June 2nd–pre-order here.

P.S. If you like what you hear, check out our exclusive interview with Trails and Ways from last year’s Outside Lands Festival.

Related items:

[Space Pop] The Landing – Then Comes The Wonder

landing
The Landing
Then Comes The Wonder

We’re taking a few hours to scour through the past few weeks of music, given the fact that we’ve been fully preoccupied with SXSW and WMC for the better half of March. One of our most intriguing finds comes via solo, Brooklyn-based act The Landing.

“Then Comes The Wonder” is a cosmically gratifying indie pop tune that boasts an infectious nature one can’t quickly shake, no matter how hard they try. Not that anyone would want to though, what with the glowing vocals, playful synths, and booming, repetitious percussion.

While this did come out two weeks ago, we feel like it still deserved a moment on TMN. We’re pretty damn sure you’ll agree with us.

Related items:

[Indie] Patrick Watson – Places You’ll Go

patrick
Patrick Watson
Places You Will Go

As winter’s icy fingers slowly release their deathly grasp on the world, mother earth is gladly opening her eyes from the long winter’s rest to awaken the flora and fauna for yet another spring. As if pre-destined for that very happening, “Places You’ll Go,” is an articulately crafted ballad created for the engendering of the warmer months.

With slow, rolling guitars, fluttering synths, and Patrick Watson’s near-unbelievable vocals, this newly released tune is a welcome breath of fresh air for his fans. Staying out of the international limelight for some time, this distinctive Canadian act is thankfully back.

We’re honestly overwhelmingly enamoured with this new take from Watson, and all we can close with is we’re once again left jaw agape and extremely satisfied, as we’ve come to expect time and time again.

Related items: