[17 To End 2017] Ninja Clayton’s Best of the Year

A friend in the music industry told me a few years ago about a study that shows changes in musical tastes as you grow older. There comes a certain point where you shift the weight of your interest from discovering new music to revisiting music that meant something to you at different points in your life.

This year was that year for me. I don’t think I’ll ever go full-blown “you kids don’t understand good music” mode, but I did spend a good portion of my year looking back, rather than forward. Thrice, Strung Out, As I Lay Dying, Metallica (pre-Black album), Pantera, and countless other punk and metal acts filled my headphones, leaving little time for much discovery.

But, as much as I delved into songs from my past, my profession keeps me into up-and-coming acts, which continued to impress me throughout 2017. Here are my 17 favorites, in no particular order:

Martin Luke Brown – ‘Opalite’

I received an offer to premiere “Opalite” earlier this year. It was a no-brainer. I immidiately loved the juxstaposition between booming kick drums and raw, enchanting vocals. In fact, not only did Martin Luke Brown deliver one of my favorite songs, but he also became one of my new favorite artists.

’Opalite’
Martin Luke Brown – ‘Into Yellow’

The artist so nice, I listed him twice. Holy, hell. ‘Into Yellow’ is absolutely gorgeous. Definitely one of the highlights from this past year. It calls on associations of other solo-vocalists like James Vincent McMorrow, James Blake, and Bon Iver. If I were you, I would definitely keep him on your ‘Artists to Watch’ lists in 2018.

’Into Yellow’
Mat Hunsley – ‘Do You Need Me Near’

Mat Hunsley’s folky gem always gets me longing for epic summer adventures in the mountains. His voice is powerful, dreamy, and soothing. It’s the perfect accompaniment to whatever warm weather activities lie ahead later this year. I just can’t wait to crack out this one out come May.

’Do You Need Me Near’
James Vincent McMorrow – ‘True Care’

JVM is one of my absolute favorite artists and will be till the end of time. To put it into perspective–my wife walked down the isle to ‘Cavalier.’ When I interviewed him and let him know, he dedicated it to us later at his show. ‘True Care’ is my favorite off his 2017 album offering. It’s raw, gorgeous, and showcases what everyone should know about him–he’s one of the voices of our generation.

Absofacto – ‘Light Outside’

I’ve been head over heels for Absofacto for years. It was an absolute pleasure to see him come roaring back with a stellar new tune. ‘Light Outside’ is absolutely worthy of you belting out each and every lyric as you drive to work. Take one listen and see for your self.

’Light Outside’
Someone – ‘Forget Forgive’

Someone delivered one of the most beautifully simplistic tunes from 2017. It’s very minimal, but offers a completely encompassing experience from start to finish.

’Forget Forgive’
Sam Dew – ‘Runner’

I first got turned on to Sam Dew with his Bill Wither’s cover. I would love to include that, but it’s a few years old, so I’ll opt to showcase another tune. ‘Runner’ is dubbed as R&B, but the heavy, distorted bassline guides it into the alternative realm, crossing genre lines with ease. It’s a fantastic tune and one that left a lasting impression on me.

’Runner’
Northern Faces – ‘Messin’ With Me’

Absolutely loved this indie rock jam from NY-based trio Northern Faces. With a big, bold, anthemic nature, I was immidiately hooked on ‘Messin’ With Me’ and could see this as a pivoting point for a huge 2018.

’Northern Faces – Messin’ With Me’
Moncrieff – ‘Symptoms’

Gritty, bluesy and soulful. This Londoner has plenty of attitude to share, and ‘Symptoms’ is the perfect embodiment of that edge. It’s raw and powerful, but still beautifully refined.

’Symptoms’
Vilde – ‘Just Visiting’

I wrote up a few tracks from Vilde this year. I love his unique tone and range and inventive instrumentation. It has such a unique air around it, one which I couldn’t shake throughout 2017. Keep your eyes peeled for more from this up-and-coming artist.

’Just Visiting’
The War On Drugs – ‘Pain’

I didn’t get into many albums this year, but The War on DrugsA Deeper Understanding was one of the few. It was a body of work that shimmered with reflections with the likes of Dylan and Springsteen. Fantastic listening experience, through and through, with ‘Pain’ leading the way for me, personally.

Butterjack – ‘Good Girls’

One hell of a tune from an artist that has less than 100 followers on Soundcloud. It’s smooth, groovy, and has lyrics that keep you coming back. Be on the lookout for Butterjack in 2018.

’GoodGirls’
Eat More Cake – ‘Heat of the Night’

Undoubtedly my favorite new song from 2017. I honestly can’t count how many times I’ve listened to it. All I have to say is thank you, Eat More Cake.

’Eat More Cake – Heat Of The Night (Original Mix)’
Bobby Nourmand – ‘D U S T’

Bobby is a close, personal friend of mine. I typically don’t include him in lists like these because it feels a little awkward. But, I’ve been waiting on this track’s release for years. It’s easily one of my favorite works by him and I simply cannot leave it out. Absolutely brilliant piece from one of my favorite people on Earth.

’D U S T’
Icarus ft. Talay Riley – ‘Trouble’

Hot damn, I grooved my ass off to this number quite a few times in 2017. The horns, the lyrics, the driving, four-to-the-floor beat all add up to one of my top picks from this year. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, though. Icarus has been killing it regularly.

’Trouble (feat. Talay Riley) (Extended)’
Walker & Royce – ‘Take Me To Your Leader’

Despite my growing age and receding hairline, I do, in fact, like to still get out on the dance floor and boogie. This tune from Walker & Royce was always my go-to when I was ready to ramp up for an evening out. Sporting silly lyrics from Dances With White Women, it’s a carefree party-starter. Big ups, boys.

’Walker & Royce – Take Me To Your Leader (Radio Edit)’
Jesse Ware – ‘Midnight’ (Goldie Remix)

Oof. This track saw a heavy placement in my regular rotation. I’m a massive DnB head and this Goldie jam not only holds a place in my 2017 favorite list, but in my all-time DnB favorites.

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[Music Ninja Radio] Episode 97: Ash’s Best of 2017

Music Ninja Radio is a weekly podcast recorded and broadcast live on San Francisco’s BFF.fm  from 4-6PM PST every Friday. 

Music Ninja Radio
Episode #97: Ash's Best of 2017

Soundcloud || Spotify Playlist  || BFF.fm Archive & Tracklist

We had a very rare episode to close out 2017 featuring all my favorite tunes of the year and a special guest appearance from former co-host Ninja Dom, in town from London. I started this playlist with about 12 hours worth of music and ended up focusing on tracks from my favorite albums of the year. To round it all out, I mixed together 11 of my favorite 2017 house tracks. We have some even more comprehensive end of year lists from our staff coming to the website later this week so stay locked. Thanks to everyone and anyone who rocked with Music Ninja Radio in 2017! – Ash

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[Get Crunk] Friday Party Playlist (Vol 277)

Friday is finally here. Christmas is just a few days away and you’re likely going to be traveling or partying it up before you have to spend time with your family. For any and all of those occasions we’ve got you covered with music – and don’t worry there’s no holiday jams in this. Fresh free downloads in this week’s volume come to us from Mozado, Kaizen, Ryden, BROHUG, Kedzie and many more. All twelve of these treats should satisfy your aural palate for the weekend. We’ll be back next week with another batch, but for now – Merry Christmas!

’BOiCE, Feline – Soaking Lovers’
’Mozado – Home For The Night ft. Rosé’
’Kaizen –
Sanctuary’

’Another One Bites the Dust (I am Sid Remix)’
’Ryden – Shining (ft. Rapta)’
’Tchami – World To Me (KOOS Remix)’
’Be BROHUG’
’Kedzie & Superwet – Venom (Original Mix)’
’Doctor P – Tetris (Casey Jones X Bassly Flipped It)’
’MY BAD – Trouble (feat. Delaney Kai)’
’Kelela – Frontline (Heritage Bootleg)’
’Hajj – Pay Homage Remix’
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[Electronic] Mickey Valen & King Deco – Move That Body

Mickey Valen & King Deco
Move That Body

“Move That Body” isn’t a Christmas song, but then again you’ve been bombarded by holiday music since before Thanksgiving. We’re switching things up for you with a smooth original from Mickey Valen and King Deco that dropped on Lowly Palace.

The soulful R&B infused electronic gem is just what you need to take a break from the usual sounds of this time of year. “Move That Body” will take hold of you with its infectious grooves and whisk you away for just over three minutes; that is unless you engage the repeat function which we wouldn’t blame you for. We’ve done it, now it’s your turn!

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#TMNMailbag #2: Bass Machina – HALO

Bass Machina
HALO

For the second installment in our TMN Mailbag series, we have the ultimate pleasure of premiering a stellar track from San Diego-based Bass Machina.

“HALO” is officially dropping today with us, and on Spotify, and couldn’t be a more perfect song to carry you in to your holiday break. It’s fresh, energetic, and will have you sporting an ear-to-ear grin as you head home from work this afternoon.

With live-recorded guitars, impeccable percussion work, and playful synths, it’s a radiant future bass track that’s chock-full of good times throughout. In fact, it’s so well put together, that we were shocked to find out these cats only have 20 followers on Facebook, and 44 followers on Soundcloud.

It’s safe to say you’re getting in on the ground floor, which is always a fun thing to look back on years later. Make sure to keep tabs on this duo on Facebook to keep up with future releases, show dates, and more.

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#TMNMailbag #1: Shuhandz & High Flown – Apex

Shuhandz & High Flown
Apex

Every day, we’re bombarded with email submissions from publicists, record label reps, managers, and even agents. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing. We often find incredible music and have the unique chance to bring a debut look at a new artist. On the other hand, sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming, but that’s just the way the industry works.

As much as we love our associates in the industry, a lot of us got into this to share the music we found. We came up in an era of Soundcloud and Bandcamp scouring. It didn’t matter if a track was one week or one year old, we posted it because we thought it was good.

So, we’re going to get back to this. And, we’re going to start today with our first ever #TMNMailbag post. No publicists. No managers. No label reps. These tracks are coming directly from the artists, and in this case, from Asheville-resident Shuhandz.

Released a few months back, “Apex” is a collaboration with High Flown, another North Carolinian. It picked up a decent head of steam, racking up over 20k streams and healthy spattering of comments that fell for the chilled out vibes.

With a silky smooth bassline, calculated percussion work, light guitar hits, and ethereal, vocal synths, “Apex” could be somewhat of a go-between track. It could be picked up by your heavy bass head, looking for a chance to wind down at the end of the night. On the other hand, fans of ambient electronic music could be swayed to start checking out more drippy trap tunes like this one.

Make sure to keep your eye on Shuhandz moving forward.

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[Festival Preview] BUKU Music & Art Project – Where Art Comes to Life

Watch out New Orleans! BUKU Music and Arts Project is coming March 9th & 10th to the party of all parties in downtown New Orleans. As expected, this festival is bringing the underground industrial nature of techno culture back to the festival circuit with an incredibly diverse genre-crossing line up that will keep you movin’ and groovin’ for two days straight.

Get lost in the multi-genre performances from electronic acts like Bassnectar and Borgore, rock bands like A Day to Remember and MGMT, hip-hop artists like Migos and Isaiah Rashad, and tons more. Talk about buku bands! There will also be live street art, custom-made industrial art installations, local food vendors, and a ton of “pop-up” performances to keep the thrill alive.

If you’re looking to up your experience, the festival also offers a VIP ticket option that gets you access to the Buku Rooftop, a multi-level structure with special amenities and VIP-only artist performances. Checkout the playlist below featuring every artist that’s been announced so far, then click here to get your tickets rolling.

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