If you’re like us, you’ve probably looped Disclosure‘s “Latch” track to the point of record-scratching — it’s a stellar jam and one that’s pleasantly led to the UK duo’s generous amount of press coverage as of late. But all the credit can’t go to the production; Sam Smith‘s impassioned vocals are impressive in their own right and with this acoustic version, flushed with beautiful string and piano work, we get to see just how impactive his voice really is. He’s emotional, but so commanding at the same time. Treat yourself below, and be sure to revisit the original, too.
Not my usual album review here, but I liked this single that came across my inbox. “Mirror” begins with some ambient sound and marches into an effective mix of distortion, simple percussion and a driving baseline, setting the stage for a dreamy guitar and vocals. The tune grows more complex and triumphant as it goes along, leaving the listener satisfied.
The song has a little bit of an 80′s feel, but this happens organically and isn’t sought after, in my view. A grittier, modern version of The Police was my initial impression. Anyway, check this single out here!
BETS stole our hearts and ears with her release of the quirky single, “Rooftop Lover.” If you haven’t heard it yet, you’re missing out. Her unique tone pairs perfectly with the lazy strumming on the track, creating a overwhelmingly enjoyable indie pop jam. After hearing this song ad nauseam (it was quite the favorite here at the office) we decided that we wanted to know more about the woman behind this longing rooftop wanderer. So, we fired over some questions to get to know her better.
TMN: Hello BETS! Thank you so much for taking some time to answer some questions for us. As a newcomer to the scene, we know a lot of our readers would like to get to know you better!
BETS: Hi! Thanks for having me.
TMN: First up, why don’t you tell us how you got into music. Did your parents encourage you as a child, or was it something you were just interested in personally?
BETS: I definitely was encouraged as a child to be creative. We didn’t have a TV growing up, so instead we did things like draw, make music and run around inventing things –pretty unheard of in this day and age. I also come from a very artistic family, so I think it was the combination of those things that definitely ignited the spark in me to create things and to be an artist.
TMN: When was the turning point in your life where you had the confidence to know you wanted to be fully involved as a singer?
BETS: I always dreamed of being a singer, but it’s only very recently that I got the courage to step out onto the stage. I’ve been writing poems and songs and singing since I was a teenager, but I always kept it to myself. It was my own little secret. Somewhere along the line I realized I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I just wasn’t going to die happy without music being my life.
TMN: How many instruments do you play? Do you have one that you gravitate more than the others?
BETS: I don’t play any instruments, but I wish I played ALL instruments. I do own a few though with high hopes…so you never know! Oh, and I love bass in a big way.
TMN: You’re currently splitting your time between NY and LA. What’s the reasoning behind that?
BETS: That’s really something that happened rather than being something that was planned. I moved to LA from Brooklyn 3 years ago, but I go back and forth so often for work & family stuff that really I just live between the two. For music, it seems perfect actually and I love both cities too much to let one go…for now.
TMN: If it were solely based on food alone, which city would you rather live in?
BETS: LA for the healthy fresh food, NY for the restaurants and falafel…see, I’m torn.
TMN: Let’s ask another food based question. If you were on Death Row, what would your last meal be?
BETS: Artichokes, greek salad, and my famous homemade ice cream cake.
TMN: Your voice is just as unique as some of the instrumentation on your record, who are other female singers you look up to or enjoy listening to?
BETS: Why, thank you! I love listening to old school stuff…people like Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and Aretha Franklin. Grew up listening to a ton of oldies, so I guess it stuck.
TMN: We absolutely loved “Rooftop Lover”. It was definitely on repeat at TMN HQ for quite some time. What was your inspiration behind that song?
BETS: I wrote that tune because I would always go with my girlfriend and songwriting partner, Christina O’Connor, to make music on a roof in Hollywood and I started calling us “the rooftop lovers” and then decided to write a song about it. It became a love song… don’t they all.
TMN: Name three musicians you would love to collaborate with in the future.
BETS: Oh, so many! Would love to do musical collaborations with Haim, Lykke Li, and The National. And while I’m making wishes, I’d also like to collaborate with Lena Dunham on something creative someday, please.
TMN: This one is a little off the wall, but we always love hearing what people have to say. If your music were an animal, what would it be?
BETS: If my music was an animal it would be a Bali Bird of Paradise… or just a puppy dog named Bear.
TMN: Ok, one last one for fun. If you were stuck on a deserted island with only one musicians catalogue of music, who would it be and why?
BETS: I’d be stuck with the Beatles catalogue (for obvious reasons) and some coconut water.
TMN: Alright, thanks so much for the virtual sit down! Feel free to talk about anything else you’d like to share with our readers at this time.”
BETS: All I want to say is thanks to all the listeners for helping me leave my secret songwriting life behind, I love you all. Lots of exciting new songs, videos and shows coming this summer so stay in touch here: www.betsmusic.com xx
Manchester Lo-Fi pop specialists The 1975, a group with whom our faithful Ninjas should be well aware of at this point, are getting geared up for the release of their fourth studio EP, titled simply IV through Dirty Hit Records. Fusing moments of pure ambiance with pop-song sensibility has proven to be their recipe for success, thus The 1975 have already carved out an impressive niche within the American independent music community, which never seems to be an easy feat for bands hailing from across the pond. Their latest single “Haunt // Bed” falls in line with past releases, projecting a visual and auditory wave of melancholia, hidden amongst lead singer Matthew Healy’s patchy lyrics. While this cut may lean closer to a more downtempo B-Side than some of their more radio-friendly choices, it was a song we no doubt thought our readers deserved to devour as we inch ever closer to the weekend. The 1975 are less than a month from a full-fledged U.S. tour in support of fellow visionaries The Neighbourhood, and if you are fortunate enough to reside in one of the following cities, please do not miss your chance to be a part of something special by missing their set. Stream “Haunt // Bed” above, and don’t be shy about leaving your comments!
U.S. Tour Dates (w/ The Neighbourhood):
06/04 – Tulsa, OK @ Vanguard
06/05 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
06/07 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s
06/08 – Austin, TX @ Antones
06/11 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
06/12 – St. Petersburg, FL @ The Local 662
06/14 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
06/15 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits
06/17 – Atlanta, GA @ Vinyl
06/18 – Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend
06/19 – Norfolk, VA @ The Norva
06/22 – Rochester, NY @ Main Street Armory
06/23 – South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Showcase
Ahh, there’s just something about softly sung vocals carrying over delicately strummed ukulele chords. The beautiful simplicity in Josh Schroeder’s track “Paraglide” proves this point to the fullest. Josh’s wavering vocals glide effortlessly over each repetitious strum, taking you into a whole different world. This is the kind of track that’s perfect to lie back in the grass with your significant other, and just forget everything else but the moment that you’re in.
This Portland based indie artist truly knows how to write a great songs. You may recognize Josh’s ethereal vocals and songwriting style from his work in Josh and Mer (who are currently working on a new EP). This track however was co-produced with Jason Carter (Black Francis, Pete Yorn, Art Brut). The video was made by Josh himself. He wanted it to represent the lyrical interpretation that life, earth, atoms, and stars are all connected. An endless timeless cycle, if you will.
The solo EP is called Mourningside, and will be self released on May 21st. Make sure to keep an eye out for it.
Bristol, England’s Oliver Wilde stoked our fire early this morning by announcing the release of a new LP entitled A Brief Introduction to Un-Natural Light Years in Julyvia Howling Owl Records, along with the first juicy single from said album: “Flutter”. It is a dreamy, and atmospheric tune using elements of acoustic folk and a healthy dose of hazy reverb. Oliver Wilde’s sound fits along nicely with spaced-out shoegaze staples like Real Estate, and should be filed next to Kurt Vile’s latest record in your music library. It is a dreary, gray and rainy day in Denver and nothing has fit that aesthetic better musically than this. “Flutter” recalls my angsty high-school years devouring entire catalogues of music from the likes of Elliott Smith, early Modest Mouse and The Comas, whilst deciphering if The Strokes were really going to bring back Rock-n-Roll – which was an extremely exciting time to be a staunch teenage music critic. Aaaahhh, to reminisce. Listen to Oliver Wilde’s drubby single above, and let it transport your psyche wherever it needs to go this afternoon.
It looks like we slightly missed the boat posting this one by Minneapolis based five-piece dream-pop outfit Young Man, as it premiered a few weeks ago, but we’re happy to bring it to our Ninjas late rather than never. The first single to be taken off of their latest long player, which is the third already in the young band’s artistic career, “In a Sense” is a lucid, atmospheric cut laden with front man Colin Caulfield’s intimate, but cryptic lyrics. Drawing on analogous influences like Beach House, Deerhunter, Panda Bear and Atlas Sound, it is quite clear that said artists have had a clearly defined influence on Young Man’s sounds. Crisp vocals, brittle guitars and only a minimal toying of their previously established sounds has lead to a gorgeous track. One that you should listen to right here for that matter.