Even though I’ve been writing for TMN over the past five years, I certainly don’t expect any of you to have me or my musical tastes pegged. In fact, I’d much rather you see this site as a whole, enjoying the eclectic blend that all the ninjas bring to the table. But, if you have paid attention, you’ll know that I love nothing more than hunting through submissions, SoundCloud, BandCamp, tweets, and smoke signals to try and find the best and brightest emerging artists.
2015 brought a few new acts to the scene that I simply couldn’t get enough of, a few of which made it into this year-end playlist. In addition to those, my musical world was blessed with albums from artists who haven’t released something in quite some time, including one band that surfaced after a six-year hiatus.
My 15 favorite tracks are listed below in no particular order because that would be painfully difficult and time-consuming. Instead, I’ve compiled them in a way that should provide you with an enjoyable listening experience, start to finish. If you’re unfamiliar with any of them, I’ve included a one-sentence description that should help highlight what to expect.
’Patrick Watson – Places You Will Go’
’Mew – Satellites (Edit)’
’James Vincent McMorrow – How To Waste A Moment’
’Viola Beach – Swings & Waterslides’
’The Watermelons – Best Of You’
’Jack Garratt – Breathe Life (Radio Edit)’
’Drenge – We Can Do What We Want’
’Gallant – Talking In Your Sleep’
’Bobby Nourmand – The Sound’
It’s the holidays! We’re supposed to be full of love and joy and gratefulness. BUT THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO and in so little time that we find ourselves swirling around in bah humbugs and stress-ridden shopping. And in the snap of a finger, it’s all over. NOTHING worth stressing over, that’s for sure. So let’s do us all a favor and remind each other to take a step back from the hectic, consumer-ridden craze and enjoy the moments we are able to spend with those closest to our hearts. Money can’t buy us love, but kicking back with our favorite people while listening to a free Indie Dojo…priceless.
’Neighbour – Time & Money’
’Babbit – Painting Greys’
The holiday season is in full swing, with Christmas’ velvet red hat peeking right around the corner. By now, most of you have had your fill of Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey, Dean Martin, and Elvis, and for obvious reasons. Yes, they are timeless classics sung by musical greats, but they’re also classics from a very small pool of selections. With this in mind, we scoured the internet to collect some newer Christmas tunes from acts you listen to on a daily basis, and some from acts you might not have heard just yet. Some just popped up in our feed this year, some are favorites from years past.
If you can convince your parents or grandparents to let you take the musical reigns at your holiday gatherings, throw this on. Who knows, maybe your family will find a new favorite from this mix.
Lastly, happy holidays to all of our fans out there. We wish you a happy and healthy season filled with great food, great booze, and great memories with your loved ones.
’The Shins – Wonderful Christmastime ‘
’Andrew Bird – Auld Lang Syne ‘
’Niia – The Christmas Song’
’Hunter Hunted – “New Christmas”‘
’King Cardinal – Alone On Christmas Eve’
’Death Cab For a Cutie – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’
’Shawn Sanderson – Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!’
’Sky Barbarick (NOOSA) – Silent Night (The Music Ninja Exclusive)’
’Blitzen Trapper – Christmas is Coming’
’She & Him – The Christmas Waltz’
’Niia – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’
’Subi – Christmas Time Is Here (prod. kev)’
’Clever and the Casual – Home for the Holidays’
’The Oh Hellos’ Family Christmas Album – Mvmt IV,
Every Bell On Earth Will Ring
’Hey Rosetta! – Carry Me Home’
’Phoenix – Alone on Christmas Day’
Some people are better at certain things than others. That’s just the way life goes. Like the exquisite library of artists we’ve have accumulated in our indie dojos. While most of us only dream of being as talented as those we lend an ear to, we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves for not being able to belt a note or strum a guitar. If anything, we are AWESOME at listening to the Indie Dojos. Bonafide Pros. And without us bonafide pros, what is an artist really? It takes 2 to tango friends, and we are more than happy to let those with musical talent take the lead.
’Hembree – Can’t Run Forever’
’The Sweet Serenades – Fireworks’
’Cat Clyde – Like A Wave’
’Siv Jakobsen – Dark – Martin Hviid Remix’
You know those days you start off with good intentions? You roll out of bed walking on sunshine, ready and willing to face the great day ahead. And then good ol’ life happens. You spill your coffee all over your white shirt, you forget your lunch at home, you get honked at by the road rager behind you, or yelled at by incredibly grouchy people at work. And they just keep rolling along, plowing you down any chance they can get. Pretty soon you want to just curl up in a cave, never to see the outside world again. But then you remember we are here, to remind you “when life gives you lemons, hit play on an Indie Dojo”. We promise it will help get your mind of that other crap for a while.
’Odd Souls – Lose My Head – Demo’
’The Weather Machine – Peach’
’The Domestics – It Came To Me’
’Jay Woodward – Blue Sky Blue’
This Is Why I Need You
Even if it’s only for a few brief minutes, there are a lot of people who are in need of some sort of positive embrace. 2015 has been an intense year, highlighted by a confounding amount of violence, division, and grief. Even beyond the stories that endlessly scroll through our feeds on a nearly daily basis, each and every person is battling their own wars, whether it be with finances, relationships, or health issues.
We can only assume that Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Jesse Ruben felt the heft of a collection of those issues, both for humanity as a whole and at an introspective level. The end result was today’s premiere, “This Is Why I Need You.” Uplifting in nature, this song is welcomed in by calming acoustic guitar work, and encapsulating atmospheric elements, both providing the perfect musical backdrop for Ruben’s soothing vocals and inspiring message.
‘This Is Why I Need You’ is about a lot of things. It’s about how big and scary the world can be. It’s about growing up and trying to figure out how to deal with new things. It’s about gratitude, and the people who help you get through the stuff that feels impossible. But for me it is more than that. It is a reminder that I’m still a songwriter.
If you’re enjoying Jesse Ruben’s work, make sure to follow him on SoundCloud to keep up with all of his new releases.
If you’ve been keen to our site for the past few years, you’ll know we have a handful of artists that we religiously cover. The process is almost automatic once we see that they’ve released a new tune. We frantically head to our keyboards, eager to quickly convey our swooning adoration. Still Parade, aka Niklas Kramer, is one of those acts, and today is one of those days.
“07:41” was released less than a day ago, and it brings us all of the cozy, embracing, feel-good nature we’ve come to know and love from this heavenly-voiced act. However, in comparison to his Fields EP, this song, and his last, differ from the wonderfully lazy, ethereal progression we first came to know. Today’s song, in particular, is heavily rooted in a style that calls on associations from 70’s pop, bringing listeners in with a light and playful funk. That aside, the hazy yet calming nature is still very much apparent throughout other elements, giving Still Parade fans both a taste of something new and of what they already love. When asked about the meaning behind the tune, Kramer had this to say.
07:41 is about this weird feeling when you’re new somewhere. you feel like a stranger and no one really seems to care about you. But there’s also the chance to build up something new. It’s the point when you just don’t know what’s going to happen. Can’t be quite scary and exciting at the same time.
This tune will be released as limited hand-cut 7Inch by the UK label Art Is Hard Records, and we certainly hope we can get our hands on a copy.