[TMN DOES MIAMI RIGHT] Ultra + WMC 2014 Review

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Welcome to my Ultra-world. It is a land filled with sun, sex, sounds, and sea. The energy here is relentless, the pace is fast. People come from around the globe to experience the narcotic pulse of bass that emanates throughout the city. Come with us as we voyage in to the depths of debauchery and dance, and experience the glory that is known as Miami Music Week.

Pool parties are a mainstay of the Winter Music Conference, so let our journey begin in South Beach at the Raleigh Hotel pool for the DIM MAK Miami Beach Party. Here we can observe the one and only Steve Aoki in his natural habitat. Aoki provides copious entertainment for all, and he is generous enough to even give some of his devoted following cake and champagne! Though very little of these accoutrements actually make it in to anyone’s mouths, it’s the thought that counts. Other notables to be taken from the environment are Deorro, The Chainsmokers, 3lau, Felix Cartel, and Autoerotique. Amidst the hard hitting, fist pumping, in-your-face beats that DIM MAK records is known for, we can’t help but to be pleased with the plethora of beauty and movement that surrounds us. A large pool waits patiently behind, framed in a soft blue hue and coaxing weary partiers towards it cool waters with the promise of buoyancy. As the party wanes, we trickle with the masses back on to Collins Avenue and become engulfed in an ocean of neon, skin, and cars that cost more than most families homes.

New Dim Mak Music!

Back across the bay and just a couple miles north of the Ultra Music Festival, we now travel to a chic and sensuous lounge nestled in the heart of Wynwood. The famed area is known for its walls; ever-changing murals blanket the buildings. The crackle and hiss of spray paint can be heard around every corner and an aroma of acrylic permeates the nostrils like a vandal’s potpourri. Be mindful of the razor wire on your right as we meander towards The Social Lubricant. TSL’s staff holds up to the lounge’s name, offering courteous and brisk service along with reasonable drink prices (for Miami). Absorb the deep house beats put on tonight by the likes of underground sensation Thugfucker. That’s right, Thugfucker. While the American and Icelandic combination of Greg Oreck and Holmar Filipsson could certainly play until 5am, the line up tonight will not require them to. Both of the boys are in excellent spirits this evening from the looks of it. Their connection with their crowd is palpable. Each twist and turn of their set seems to mean something, each bassline tickles the stapes in a profound way. Don’t forget about Thugfucker’s buddies either. Matt Tolfrey, Nick Curly, Francesca Lombardo, and many others are here as well to ensure auditory satisfaction. Are you hungry? There’s a sushi bar in the back corner to compliment your ethanol if you so choose…I would highly suggest it, we’ll be here awhile.

Thugfucker live

We’ve shown you South Beach and gone underground in Wynwood, so let’s venture now to what everybody has been waiting for; let’s go to Ultra Music Festival 2014! A cab is necessary because parking is the worst clusterfuck you’ve ever seen in your life. I am scheduled to interview Art Department, Paper Diamonds, and Vello Virkhaus prior to partaking in any of the festivities. You’ll notice that there, regrettably, is no press area within Ultra’s grounds…there IS, however, a mega yacht docked right next to the grounds that we can use. After delightful conversation coupled with a Krewella photo-op and a chance brush by with Zedd (he has sparkly eyes, pay no mind to my screaming “Zedd! You’re awesome!”), we tromp through the hidden workings back stage to make our way over to the Underground stage. Cue the sensory overload!

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[Glorious] Duologue – Memex EP

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After a long, music-filled weekend at Coachella, and a much needed wind-down session in San Diego, I’m finally back at the helm, writing about some very deserving tunes. Right out of the gate, we have one of the better pieces of music we’ve heard in the past few months, coming out of London by way of Duologue.

This UK based five piece have pulled together a stunningly crafted sophomore release, providing listeners with a chance to get completely engrossed in swells of electronically produced beats, glorious vocals and surging, cinematic energy with their EP, Memex.

While we sincerely struggle to find a favorite among this stellar line up, we can’t help but find ourselves helplessly lost, careening down a path rife with subtle guitar riffs, moving lyrics and lush, emotion rich soundscapes of “Traps”. Calling on associations both indie rock and ambient electronica, this song seamlessly flirts with associations of the likes of Two Door Cinema Club and The 1975, while also giving nods to Bonobo and Tycho at the same time.

As bizarre of a combination of influences as that may be, these cats have nailed it ever-so-effortlessly, leaving this blogger grinning ear-to-ear.

Memex
Operator
Traps
Bodylog
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[Alternative/Indie/Pop] Twin Shadow – To The Top

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Twin Shadow
To The Top

One of our absolute favorite bands, the George Lewis Jr. fronted Twin Shadow, are back with their first original piece since concluding a gorgeous concept cover series  “UNDER THE CVRS“, and once again the work oozes an incredible amount of musical prowess while revealing a gorgeous and haunting piece of its songwriter. “To The Top”, like much of their recordings, contain layers of structural significance within every inch of its arrangement. From every note plucked on Lewis’ sprightly guitar to the simple yet complete percussive fills, anthemic claps and soaring background vocals; every piece of the tune serves in an ultimate purpose of taking its listener on an auditory journey to its end goal. Never ones to skimp on deeply emotive song content either, about “To The Top” the  quartet wrote something we think most can identify with: “What is it when you realize that someone isn’t right for you? Or when you find that you do not and can not posses someone entirely? You want someone so bad and it feels like hell. It’s not like the first time, once loved love evolves, and you no longer have as much control, and it frustrates you. I think because of this feeling we find ourselves constantly wanting to reset, like new years resolutions, like dreaming up moments from the past where the ending flips on its head, like true forgiveness…We just want to say ‘wait wait wait, this went too far in the wrong direction, can we try that again.’”

“To The Top” is being given away for free through Twin Shadow’s Soundcloud, and although we’ve been craving another album or EP since 2012′s incredible Confess, this will hold us over for at least a few more weeks. Not to worry either as a recent press release has revealed that a follow-up is currently in the works. Gosh, it’s a good Tuesday.

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[Indie/Electronic/Psychedelic] Klaxons – Atom To Atom

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Klaxons
Atom To Atom

British post-punk dance champions Klaxons have released “Atom To Atom,” the next track off their new album Love Frequency. Serving as the band’s third album, their first since 2010’s Surfing The Void, Love Frequency will feature collaborations with artists across the electronic spectrum including LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Chemical Brothers’ Tom Rowlands, producer Erol Alkan and more. “Atom To Atom” sees Klaxons pushing their sound further into the realm of electronic/house music. Pulsing, bass-driven beats build on top of dance-ready synth before erupting into a sea of psychedelic electronica. Talking about the new album, bassist Jamie Reynolds stated: “We have arrived. On the first two albums, we were taking off and this one is us flying. We are there.”

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[Video/Chill/House] Sebastian Carter – Stranger Sights (Feat. Henry Green)

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Sebastian Carter
Stranger Sights (feat. Henry Green)

Sebastian Carter has graced the pages of TMN multiple times behind a smooth and emotive brand of house remixes, but this time the Swiss born producer is back and armed with a beautiful original record featuring an ethereal vocal contribution from budding UK troubadour Henry Green. “Stranger Sights” executes a succinct hi-hat shuffle plucked right out of NYC’s Paradise Garage brand of late 80′s dance music; but rather than a jacking house vibe at its core, there lies a very seductive and melodic heartbeat to the tune. Henry Green, whose vocals we had never heard before, casts an even more soothing aesthetic onto “Stranger Sights” with his reverb treated crooning, and behind those beautifully coalescing elements, this one quickly took the place as our favorite Sebastian Carter tune. As an added bonus, the visually stimulating music video plays just as well as the track does aurally. The pair teamed up with rising photographer/videographer Jack Toohey, who had this to day about the project: “I was inspired by the mysterious quality of the song, I immediately pictured aimless wandering on a cold night. Picking up on lyrics like ‘retrace my steps, ‘wasting time’… That feeling of being out dancing until 3am – every things a bit of a blur – dangerous thoughts like ‘in the hope  that i’ll be yours again’ start slipping back into your mind. I guess it’s just trying to capture that feeling and that mystique of the hours before dawn.”  We think both the song and video nailed it. Stream “Stranger Sights” above (which you can download for free on his Soundcloud), and check out the official music video after the jump.

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[New Motown] Temptations – Cloud Nine (FKJ Remix)

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Temptations
Cloud Nine (FKJ Remix)

It takes a lot for me not to scoff at an attempt to remix one of the greats from the Motown era. I grew up on the Temptations, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, etc. My mom played it endlessly, giving me an early appreciation of soul music.

With that being said, I have to offer a tip of the cap to French producer French Kiwi Juice for dialing up this new-school take on a legendary tune. The soulful vibe is very much so alive and well, freshened up with some sexy sampling and a groovy beat. It maintains everything that was great about the original, while coupling in some 2014 flavor.

As an added bonus, my mom even gave a nod of approval. Nice work, FKJ.

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[Electronic] Glass Animals – Holiest feat. Tei-Shi

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Glass Animals
Holiest Feat. Tei-Shi

Glass Animals’ sound is pure bliss. With a new EP, Gooey, being released on April 7th, “Holiest” featuring Tei-Shi is definitely one of our favorite tracks from the British group.

With the perfect mix of smooth instrumentals, chilling vocals and gorgeous beats, “Holiest” is absolute fire and embodies a radiating flow reminiscent of Emancipator, with a bit more vocals, of course. Teaming up with singer Tei-Shi on this track takes Glass Animals’ already majestic sound and creates a calming melody that just emanates serenity.

Glass Animals and Tei-Shi together is absolutely captivating. We hope this collaboration doesn’t end here, but it is a beautiful pairing and only one of the amazing tunes from the laid-back EP. So turn up the volume and lose yourself in “Holiest.”

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