Benjamin Francis Leftwich talks touring, Kanye, and having wine with Damien Rice [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

Ben Leftwich by Pip for Dirty Hit Records

After years of pouring over Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s music, on both sunshine-filled days and blustery winter nights, we finally got what we’ve always wanted. It took six years for us to see him perform, but it was worth every bit of those agonizingly long 2,000+ days.

Before we watched him perform, we, of course, had to spend some time with him to get up to speed with everything that had happened in that lengthy wait. Instead of crafting questions, though, we ended up just talking for a half hour. Nothing was planned, rather just two music nerds talking about life, and everything that comes with it.

TMN: You’re on a tour right now, going through the states, and you’re midway through. How’s the reception been so far?

BFL: It’s been amazing. We did a tour up here in July — a shorter tour. Kind of normal places to play. This time, I’ve played at places I’ve never been to in my life. Mobile, Alabama. San Antonio, Texas. Spent a night in New Mexico. Dallas. Houston. Orlando. Denver, Colorado, where we are now. I really take that stuff very seriously.

Where I’m at as an artist, some nights we’re playing to a lot of people, some nights we’re playing to very, very few. The truth is — I love it all. Even when it’s a few people. Those people have driven so far to be there and I’m so grateful to have them there. It spurs me emotionally as well. I know what it’s like to fall in love with a record.

It’s an amazing feeling and I’m lucky to tour with such a nice group of people. I’ve met some beautiful people. And, so much of the music I’m into is American, or heavily influenced by America in some way. Tom Petty. Springsteen. Even someone like Tallest Man on Earth. He’s one of my favorites. I know he’s Swedish, but he’s influenced by American worlds.
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[Alternative/Rock] Shiny Wet Machine – Hospitals

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Shiny Wet Machine
Hospitals

Shiny Wet Machine already caught our ears with their debut single “Stun Gun” and now they have returned with more. Their sophomore single “Hospitals” just hit the web through Sizzy Rocket’s imprint Diet Punk.

With “Hospitals” the group tones down the energy and attitude a bit, but they still hold true to the values that brought these artists together. There’s still some sass, but it’s not as outwardly provocative. Sizzy’s performance is as incredible as always and her lyrics are captivating. The thing I really love about this song and the project at large is they are able to play both sides of the line between the professional sound and the intimate, local rock vibe. Shiny Wet Machine is what every band you hear playing at backyard shows wants to be, but doesn’t come close. No offense, just listen to “Hospitals” for yourself and see. While you’re at it, grab a copy on iTunes.

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[Denver Event Preview/Ticket Giveaway] TMN Presents: Great Good Fine OK @ Larimer Lounge – 1/25

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Brooklyn based electronic-pop auteurs Jon Sandler & Luke Moellman -better known as Great Good Fine OK -first landed themselves amongst the heaps of fine music here at TMN all the way back in 2013, and have found themselves supplying our listeners time and time again with a lush brand of heartfelt, synth-driven ditties in the years since. Outside of these Ninja confines, the duo have found themselves racking up countless moments of acclaim; from music video premieres on MTV, features in Billboard, and appearances at some of the world’s most notable festivals, GGFO have established themselves as a forceful live act blessed with the ability to fill eager rooms wherever their sound careens through a loaded set of live monitors.

Great Good Fine OK find themselves marching into 2017 armed with a new EP, III , (stream “Take It Or Leave It” & “Always” from III below) which lead vocalist/songwriter Jon Sandler noted as housing “…some of the best songs we’ve ever written…”, a hefty upcoming North American tour, and a more polished, mature aesthetic. On the heels of all that hype, we’re feeling like some rather eager beavers to be presenting their Denver stop on January 25th at the Larimer Lounge, and we wanted to get our readers equally as excited by giving away a couple pairs of tickets. Entering our contest is as always, beyond easy. Just “like” The Music Ninja on FB, click on this post header if you’re still on the TMN front page, then comment below with your favorite Great Good Fine OK song, and boom, that’s it! (We even provided a few below if you need!) And of course, we want as many people as possible to come dance with us, so for our friends looking to secure their spot, advance tickets can be purchased here.

There are a few rules, of course:
– The event is 16+ Be sure to tell all of your friends to increase chance of winning!
– You are responsible for your own transportation.
– You must bring a valid form of ID to pick up your tickets at the Larimer Lounge door.

Check out our preview mini-playlist, start commenting below and best of luck ninjas!

Great Good Fine OK – ‘Take It Or Leave It’
Great Good Fine OK – ‘Always’
Great Good Fine OK – ‘Already Love’
Great Good Fine OK – ‘Something To Believe In Ft. St. Lucia’
Great Good Fine OK – ‘You’re The One For Me’
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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (January 2017 Round #3)

indie-dojo-music-ninjaAre you getting used to writing 2017 instead of 2016 yet? Do you remember to stop off at the The Music Ninja for a new Indie Dojo every Tuesday? If not, no worries. We’ve got plenty of time to work on both of those things. Just remember, repetition is key and we are always here with a repeat button.

’Decorator – Circles’
’Incan Abraham – In My Bones’
’Louis Schefano – Come To Think’
’Simon Alexander – Phoenix Fire’
’Dom Robinson – Good Love’
’Auditorium – It’s Only God, I Swear’
’Wilderado – Talking About Love To A Cigarette’
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Greyface – Delilah [TMN PREMIERE]

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Greyface
Delilah

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to start something beautiful. For LA-based Greyface, that was certainly the case, finding their inspiration in a dimly lit rehearsal space before a Blonde Redhead show. Recording on their phones for fun, this seemingly innocent jam session turned into the project you’re about to dive into today.

Their journey didn’t start here, though, staying true to so many other musicians’ stories. Jutty Taylor (vocals, bass, guitar), Ryan Malina (producer, guitar, keys, backing vocals), and Julien Bellin (drums, percussion) had been playing with off an on for quite some time. After years of jamming together, working on separate projects, and honing their craft, Greyface was born.

Their debut album, Greyola, is set to come out on February 10th, but we’re lucky enough to be sharing a sneak peek at one of our favorite selections from the collection. “Delilah” is a delicate, somewhat dreary, and downright addictive jam that calls on associations of the glory days of this genre. You could easily find it nestled neatly into an Indie Rock playlist next to Neutral Milk Hotel, The War on Drugs, and The National. Yet, while it certainly grabs hold of those nostalgic feelings, it has plenty of modern appeal, bringing it nicely into 2017.

Make sure to keep tabs on this trio by following them on Facebook and Soundcloud. After listening to the rest of the album, we can assure you that you’ll want to.

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[Psychedelic Rock] Shadowgraphs – Countryside

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Shadowgraphs
Countryside

Shadowgraphs could honestly be a time-traveling band. Seriously. “Countryside” might as well have been plucked straight out of the 60’s. After a pair of EPs, these North Carolina natives are on their way to giving us a full length album in April of this year, and this first taste of it already evokes a tantalizing mixture of new and old.

You may here a little bit of The Doors, Tame Impala, and possibly even some Beatles influence throughout “Countryside”, and it just feels right. Every element of the song, from the organ to the reverb-soaked vocals, coalesces into something of a dream, reminiscent of warmer and better times. While we’re stuck in the middle of winter at the moment, Shadowgraphs is already providing the soundtrack for the spring, so don’t miss out on the pre-order for their album (due out April 7th) on the Golden Brown Bandcamp.

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[Indie] Sjowgren – Now & Then

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sjowgren
now & then

After an explosive debut single, “seventeen”, Sjowgren is back after a twelve month hiatus, and they’ve clearly been working on something special. This is the sort of band that’s already come out firing with their own flavor of indie and pop that instantly sticks with you and will be running around in your head for the rest of week.

“now & then” balances a fresh take on a tried-and-true sound, allowing for Sjowgren to enjoy a slow and steady release schedule, which is clearly focusing on quality over quantity. Every little nuance of this tune is pristine, from the rumbling guitar to the beautiful vocals, so it would come as no surprise that “now & then” could see the success that their previous single has. Lose yourself in this absolute dream of a song today and keep an eye out for more Sjowgren on the way.

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