[Album Review] Tame Impala Ventures Into Unknown Territory With ‘Currents’

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In exchange for their sometimes fickle loyalty, music fans of every background expect an unreasonable level of appeasement from performers. Demands include personal relatablity, a constant flow of tunes, selfless humility, and to be generally well received but not “too popular”. The music community does not necessarily expect longevity.

Even the most obscure and unorthodox genres get their time in the spotlight before receding back into previously held supporting roles; the artists that operate in and dominate these roles must too come and go. At the moment, the genre known as Future is being called to the stage; a delicate balancing act between gaining traction among the majority while keeping its compelling novelty ensues. Overall, Future has encountered relatively nonexistent pushback from the established main characters, who seem content to continue recycling the decades-old blueprints to success in their respective fields.

By redefining what can even be described as instruments, artists are incorporating 8-bit video game tunes, flipping ringtones, adding bizarre ambient noises, and continuing to blur the understanding of what we define as aesthetics. Producers of the modern day get away with this level of provocation because aesthetics as an idea is amorphous. Factors like exposure, maturity, and setting can lead to a harsh sounding guitar solo today being reinterpreted as a masterpiece tomorrow.

Under this fluid theory, every music fan can point back in time to a specific album or artist that gave them a different outlook on music as a whole. Whether it be the immortal first album of Kanye West, the discovery of Grizzly Bear’s folksy Veckatimest, danceable mashups by Girl Talk, Toro y Moi’s funky Anything in Return, Kid Cudi’s hijacking of the hip-hop scene, or the first time Skrillex blasted through the speakers at a party, passing through phases of music is a part of self-discovery that is both identifiable and incomparable. For a year – or perhaps a few years – listeners will continually recalibrate their ever-changing but never dying love of sound until said aficionados revert back to their audial comfort zone. This week, Perth’s pride and joy Tame Impala, the brainchild of Kevin Parker, has brought the majority back home to that comfort zone with its third release, Currents.
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[Alternative] Mac DeMarco – I’ve Been Waiting For Her

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Mac Demarco
I've Been Waiting For Her

Mac DeMarco’s been “Passing out Pieces,” as he would say, recently. Last week, he shared a fully instrumental compilation titled Some Other Ones, a pre-cursor to his upcoming, appropriately-titled LP Another One. Today, we get another single from the highly anticipated follow-up to Salad Days. On “I’ve Been Waiting For Her” sees Mac in prime form layering breezy guitar and nonchalantly soothing vocals. As the song closes you can hear a quirky modified guitar solos that brings to mind his early LPs. DeMarco’s sound will always have a timeless feel to it, even with its oddities, and his latest is definitely no exception.

Hit play above and let your mind wander to its happy place. Another One drops on August 7th–you can pre-order here.

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[Nu-Disco] Trails and Ways – Downright (feat. Harriet Brown) (Falcon Punch Remix)

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Trails and Ways ft. Harriet Brown
Downright (Falcon Punch Remix)

Since we first caught wind of Trails and Ways all the way back in 2012, we’ve kept a close eye on the Oakland band. They’ve steadily built their following since then, but this year has truly been a breakout one for them. After signing to Barsuk Records early this year, they released their debut album, Pathology, which both showcases what we love about their radiant, organic sound all the while expanding their sonic scope. The track “Downright” falls into the latter category with a groove that manages to combine their signature, South American-tinted style with an ’80s groove and aesthetic. A verse from Harriet Brown, another Ninja favorite, ties that vibe together with his silky vocals that recall Prince.

A week ago, Denver-based producer Falcon Punch put out a remix of “Downright” that maintains the 80s-revivalist nature of the tune all the while transforming it into a nu-disco jam. Electing to place Brown’s voice first, Falcon Punch utilizes many of the original’s elements–the breezy guitar and the catchy backing piano–but with the help of perfectly placed pads and a BPM boost, breathes new life into the song without losing its charm. Take a trip back to the Neon 80s and grab a free download above.

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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (July 2015 Round 2)

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Working hard or hardly working? Either way, we’ve got an Indie Dojo to whistle to while you work…or you don’t. Hey, it might even make you look more productive.

Hein Cooper
The Real
Mt Warning
When It All Bleeds Out
Phillip G Cook
Great Tide
Pavo Pavo
Ran Ran Run
Saskatchewan
Whats Love Got to do With It (Tina Turner cover)
Marlon Williams
Dark Child (Single Edit)
Declan Donovan
Fallen So Young
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[Event Review] Tanlines & Mas Ysa – Denver, CO

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All photos courtesy of Aimee Zawacki

Living inside of the blogosphere bubble can provide its users with an absurd number of inspiring positives; usually before many other consumers even have the chance. This adage was on full display last weekend as a buzzing gaggle of Ninjas took in an intimately moving performance from both Canada’s fastest rising avant-pop export Mas Ysa, and NYC experimental-pop darlings Tanlines.

First and foremost, we’ve had a rapidly expanding soft spot for the one-man musical stylings of Thomas Arsenault (who by the way was the biggest sweetheart in the world) and his Mas Ysa project, and had been anxiously awaiting his first ever Denver performance on our favorite foot-high stage in the city. With no local openers slated on the bill, we were coaxed into arriving near the opening of the Larimer Lounge doors to make sure we didn’t miss one minute of one of our most anticipated sets of 2015. Then, there he was. Arsenault slunked onto stage -shrouded in drapey black fabric, black hair already lacquered with backstage sweat, and as barefoot as a hobbit- straight into an enclave of Roland drum machines, MIDI controllers, vocoders, and synths. With the grace of a lofty gazelle, Mas Ysa gently worked into an opening cut; a cover of a yet to be identified Lower Dens single, and while Arsenault’s content doesn’t scream and demand its listener’s attention like so much of today’s most saturated pop music, the young Canadian commanded the small room’s attention with a relative ease usually reserved for already established veterans.

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Standing inside of a shelter of machines, mic in hand, Mas Ysa moved through a few more cuts from his forthcoming debut LP Seraph, including a minimal and Nicole Miglis-less version of “Gun” and a stunning reimagining of “Arrows” (check out our feature on the tune here), with a subtly endearing physical presence that felt part Chris Carrabba and part Ian MacKaye, while we were musically transported from more streamlined vocal synth-pop as on “Look Up” to more baroque, melancholy affairs utilizing Arsenault’s slick grasp on the gritty techno and nuanced electronic indie contained within the structures of songs like “Sick” and “Running”.

Mas Ysa
Look Up

Read the rest of our event review and check out some more photos from our evening with Tanlines & Mas Ysa after the jump!

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Family Friends – Across the Water [VIDEO PREMIERE]

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FAMILY FRIENDS
Across The Water

A few months back, we fell head-over-heels with the nostalgic psych pop sounds from Australian/British brother-sister group Family Friends. Pulling on influences from both classic and modern artist like The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Lana Del Rey, their sound transcends multiple generations, pleasing 90’s kids and current scenesters alike.

Their debut EP, Across the Water, recently dropped and we’re happily bringing you a first look at the accompanying music video to the title track, “Across the Water.” Written, produced, and recorded by members Rebecca and Tom Fitzsimons, their DIY style is evident, yet far from any amateurish associations one might assume when hearing that. It’s artfully crafted, boasting an evocative listening experience with tasteful guitar work and memorable lyrics brought to life by Rebecca’s lovely voice.

The music video brings warm associations of classic home movies, pairing perfectly with space their music occupies. It’s a simply a match made in heaven. Take a peek below.

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Finishing Sentences with Coyote Trickster [TMN Interview + Event Preview]

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Coyote Trickster
Just Be Yourself

We’re really excited to be teaming up with the Make It Funky collective for the second installment in a series of California showcases highlighting local talent. This time around, we’ll be at Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco on Saturday bringing yet another myriad of vibes featuring psychedelic indie-rockers Coyote Trickster with support from the soulful Fire and funktastic Color TV. To get you all familiar with our fantastically quirky headliners, we had a unique interview in which we asked the band members–Terence (bass), Paul (guitar), Eric (guitar and vocals) and Huli (drums)–a few questions and then had them finish ten sentences. Get to know the band through their answers and grab your tickets at the link below.

The Music Ninja & Make it Funky Present: Coyote Trickster, Fire & Color TV at Brick & Mortar Music Hall on July 11th

TMN: How did Coyote Trickster start? 

Eric: There was a big group of people at Santa Clara [University] that played music together. Kind of an amorphous group of people playing in a cloudy haze, bumping into each other and hearing things out. And then there was a party that came around and the people who were hosting wanted bands to play. So, the big blob full of people that played music together all kind of formed into different bands for the party and one of the bands was Coyote Trickster. That was our first gig. We played with a different drummer then. We moved up to San Francisco after college and then met Huli up here and started playing with him. 

Terence: I think once I started playing with Eric–we lived in the same dorm freshman year– and jamming with these guys, I realized it was something I really want to be a huge part of my life. Long story short we ended up living together in a pretty cool space where we can live and play and create. We’re doing what we can and seeing where it goes. 

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Beehives

TMN: Tell us a bit about the recording process behind your debut LP.

Paul: We did all the tracking at our house in San Francisco in our garage. I did guitar parts in my closet. Eric put up a bunch of mattresses for a vocal booth. The most disgusting Craigslist mattresses (laughs). We did all that and mixed at Tiny Telephone here in San Francisco and then we got some guy to master it pretty much because we saw he did something for Jerry Garcia.

TMN: Between the soulful vocals, psychedelic elements and jazzy jams, it’s pretty hard to place your music. How do you think about your sound?

Eric: I think we’ve all grown up in an age where genres are so fluid and changing all the time. We never listened to pure rock or pure soul or pure blues—it was always a mixture of all these things together. So, I think we always just search for a groove in all of the songs. They all have to have some kind of rhythm that hooks us and gets people moving. If you see us on stage we’re always bouncing a bit. That’s the core of anything we’re trying to find that works with the band–that kind of groove or rhythm that we all get locked into and excited by. We’re just looking for something that has that appealing background to it and then we’ll combine all the different pieces to fill around that groove.

FINISH THE SENTENCE…

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When I was 13, I couldn’t stop listening to…

Huli: Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars by Fatboy Slim

Paul: Led Zeppelin.

Terence: The Fugees.

Eric: I have the worst one out of everyone. I was probably rocking Third Eye Blind—the self titled album. That’s a great album.

The first song I ever made…

Huli: …was called “Healthy Gums” and only used FL Studio presets.

Paul: …was in high school, I don’t know what it was called, a country song with very dirty, sexual innuendo in the lyrics.

Eric: I probably stole from someone else and told people I made it. It was probably like a Good Charlotte chord progression that I slowed down.

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