Rose Quartz Sits Down With TMN To Discuss New Album, Record Stores & More [Exclusive Interview]

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Denver based Rose Quartz has long been a staple in many of The Music Ninja staff’s music diets. Back in December, the now four-piece released their re-tooled, textured and evolved debut EP as a full four-piece, Leaving Now, which we fell head over heels for and most recently dropped a collaborative ‘TMN Premiere’ single with Brothertiger, “Pleasure & Pain”. Last weekend we had the chance to take in one of our favorite music festivals, The Underground Music Showcase, in Rose Quartz’s backyard of Denver, which this year featured headliners like DIIV, STRFKR, Tennis and of course, Rose Quartz themselves for one of the busiest three-day stretches we have the pleasure of consuming all year.  After taking in their Saturday performance on the Main Stage, we caught up with Ethan, Alex, Clay and Matt after an intimate and enthralling set on Sunday at the Hi-Dive to discuss the important things in life. Like disco, Schlitz Malt Liquor and loads more. Read our entire interview below.

TMN: First off, thanks guys for sitting down with us, we’ve been huge fans since it was just Ethan & Alex as FLASH/LIGHTS, and then of course to the debut Flashlights EP from Rose Quartz. We’re just going to keep it super casual, so let’s just get right into it.

So, now that you’re a full live quartet with the addition of Clay on bass and Matt on drums, there seems to have been a shift in sonic temperament from the Flashlights EP  to your most recent EP Leaving Now, which we loved. Can you talk a little bit about how that shift has affected the songwriting and recording process for you guys.

Alex: Yeah, we’ve done a lot of different things now that we’re a four-piece. We’ve been writing for the entire band now, and shifting our influences much more to a funky, disco kind of influence. We’ve been listening to a lot of the BeeGee’s, Hall & Oates, and Michael Jackson…

Clay: …The Gap Band

Alex: …Yeah The Gap Band, and a bunch of good 70’s funk and disco. And I think that just that has really helped out, and then having four people, whether it’s on stage or in the studio, just having three other people to smile at has made us want to play I guess, happier and more upbeat in regards to the music.

Ethan: And now that we’re a four-piece band, the writing style has changed. When it was just the two of us we had to write stuff that could be performed by two people and didn’t look shitty. *Laughs from the room* Which limits the kind of writing we could do in terms of our live performances. So now that we can do it as a four-piece we can write much more complex stuff with more layers, and more tasteful ways we could actually recreate live. So that was a big shift for us definitely. Just.. finding the groove.

Read the rest of our interview with Rose Quartz after the jump….

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[Indie-Dance/Nu-Disco] Midnight Pool Party – Disease (Eau Claire Remix)

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Midnight Pool Party
Disease (Eau Claire Remix)

D.C. based indie-dance and disco bender Eau Claire just might be one of the hardest working producers in the dance game right now. It seems like not another week passes without another gem bubbling up from her, and after most recently appearing with us behind a shiny take on Saint Motel’s “Just My Type”, Eau Claire’s back with another window into an ever-evolving production psyche on a remix of Midnight Pool Party’s “Disease”.  While the original fits squarely into that shapeshifting indie-dance niche, Eau Claire showers a glossy revision with ample disco synths, subdued percussion and some mid-track vocal filtering that would make Imogen Heap quiver with delight.  While this writer might be a sucker for sunny dance beats which hearken visions of rooftops, beaches and pools; Eau Claire stands above much of the pack with her tightly wound production and crisply composed dance structures. If Eau Claire keeps rolling on like this, we have a feeling it won’t be long before she’s being mentioned in the same breath as some of the underground dance scene’s biggest names. We’ve already been doing exactly that. Stream Eau Claire’s remix for Midnight Pool Party above and for our friends in the U.S., take a peek at Eau Claire’s next slate of performances below.

Eau Claire Upcoming Shows:

July 31st – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
August 8th-9th – Palm Springs, CA @ Splash House
August 22nd – Brooklyn, NY @ Elements Music Festival
August 29th – Los Angeles, CA @ Skybar at Mondrian

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Surrender the Spirit – Witnesses [TMN PREMIERE]

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SURRENDER THE SPIRIT
Witnesses

There’s a seemingly endless supply of quality music pouring out of Brooklyn on a daily basis. It’s a veritable hotbed of talented musicians from all genres, churning out DJs, popsters, and avant-garde acts alike. Today, we’re bringing you a relatively new act from this musical borough, as we showcase the blogosphere’s first listen of “Witnesses.”

Comprised of Kristin Sonntag and Jonathan Rauberts, Surrender the Spirit brings listeners into an immersive pop experience in this latest release. “Witnesses” calls on associations of acts new and old, blending elements from the 70’s to the 2000’s with ease. It’s driven by a danceable bassline and splashy cymbals, providing an enveloping listen, complete with heart-warming harmonies, layer-upon-layer of sonic styling.

Beyond a musical escape this afternoon, we highly suggest digging in further to Surrender the Spirit. Although they only have a few songs out right now, we’re sure this will change soon.

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[Indie] nvdes – unforgettable

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nvdes
unforgettable

Part endearing, ukulele-laden, softly-sung indie track, and part grin-inducing, head-bobbing, late-night dance session track, the sum of collective parts in this infectious piece is exactly what it’s been titled with – “unforgettable.”

There’s unfortunately not much for us to say about this enigmatic musician. With only one previous release, no information on facebook, and less than a couple hundred social followers, we don’t have much to go on when it comes to nvdes. However, in this case, we’ll gladly accept that fate, and keep a careful eye out for more releases to come our way. We highly suggest you do the same.

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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (July 2015 Round #5)

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Inspiration and motivation come and go on a normal basis for most of us. Sometimes we’re in it to win it and sometimes we’d rather sit and waste away for a couple hours or more. But no matter what mood we are in, music seems to fit right in. So no matter if today is the day you are going to conquer the world or let the day just pass you by, let the Indie Dojo accompany your space for a while. You never know what inspirations or motivations might be hidden in one of these gems….

Dyrisk
Sticks And Stones
CRUISR
Throw Shade
Theo Berndt
Guess You Never Thought Of It That Way
The Legends
Something Left To Die For
Al Bairre
Bungalow
leo kalyan
golden age
Motion Cntrl
ITS ON YOU
Autumn In June
HEROin KIDZ
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[NEW] Vic Mensa – Codeine Crazy (Icarus Story)

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Vic Mensa.
Codeine Crazy (Icarus Story)

Fresh off a killer performance at Pitchfork Music Festival, Vic Mensa has released his own unique take on Future‘s “Codeine Crazy“, first premiered live during his set this past weekend. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, coinciding with the release of Future’s DS2 album, while also following the release of Vic’s recent collaboration with Skrillex, titled “No Chill“.

This isn’t your typical rap cover where you’d expect an artist to slap a new coat of paint on a rehashed beat and simply call it a “freestyle.” Instead, we find Vic channeling his inner rockstar as he opens up about the struggles of flying too close to the sun (a la Icarus) on his rise to stardom and how he copes with the new pressures. The angsty, guitar driven backdrop sets the stage perfectly for Vic to experiment in a way like never before, while also allowing longtime collaborators Stefan Ponce and Papi Beatz to show off some of their range from a production standpoint as well.

Vic is currently preparing to release his Roc Nation debut, Traffic, sometime later this year. The album already boasts features from heavyweights like Kanye West and Skrillex, though remaining details seem to be sparse at this point. Be on the lookout for the talented emcee in your city as he embarks on his Traffic Tour to close out the summer.

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[TMN Premiere] Brothertiger X Rose Quartz – Pleasure & Pain

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Brothertiger X Rose Quartz
Pleasure & Pain

Two of our absolute favorite indie and pop blurring entities, Brooklyn’s Brothertiger and Denver’s Rose Quartz, have come crashing together this morning, and we couldn’t be happier with the result. “Pleasure & Pain”, our joint effort in examination, has actually had quite the lengthy path before seeing a full release this morning. Rose Quartz lead vocalist and songwriter Ethan Converse, and Brothertiger’s heart and soul John Jagos first layed down their saccharine sweet synth-pop collaboration during last year’s Underground Music Showcase in Denver, CO before either of the two had begun recording with their current, full band iterations. As for the tune itself, Converse’s delicate yet direct refrain leads things off atop a wiggling piano lead and what is unmistakably a heavy dose of Jagos’ analog synth work before reeling on vocal duties himself for “Pleasure & Pain”‘s sticky chorus. While this one may reflect an earlier glimpse of the pair’s musical psyche as opposed to the more dynamic and involved directions we’ve seen things arc with both bands, we’ve been absolutely hooked and reminded why we fell so hard for both groups in the first place.  And, as if we could be any more excited about this year’s UMS (read our preview and check out our playlist here!), in anticipation of both Rose Quartz and Brothertiger’s performances they’re giving away “Pleasure & Pain” completely on the house from Rose Quartz’s Soundcloud page here. Stream “Pleasure & Pain” in the form a brand new and shiny ‘TMN Premiere’ above, and for our friends joining us at UMS 2015, be sure to jot down both set times for Brothertiger and Rose Quartz listed below.

UMS Performances:
Brothertiger – Thursday, July 23rd – Eslinger Gallery @ 11pm
Rose Quartz – Saturday, July 25th – Main Stage at SSFCU @ 5:30pm
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