Ruu Campbell – Crossroads [TMN PREMIERE]

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Crossroads(Heartsong)*Ruu Campbell

Ruu Campbell has a cinematic quality about his music, which can most likely be attributed to a long and storied career comprised of years of genre-jumping. From a major label deal with Dreamworks at 15, to work with Leftfield, to dabbling in EDM for a short bit with trance outfit Younger Brother, to collaborations with British jazz and electronic collective the Cinematic Orchestra, each experience along this epic path has helped mold this intriguing musician. The pinnacle of the lengthy musical adventure: Heartsong, his debut LP, which will release in August of this year.

Captivation awaits. Seemingly coming straight out of a classic US Western film, “Crossroads” walks along a dusty road, carried by finger-picking, the loud hum of a standing bass, and Campbell’s understated and absolutely radiant vocals.  Pressing play on the track above will not only take you into a film-quality soundscape worthy of a classic Clint Eastwood tip of the cowboy hat, but it will also completely consume you, if only for two minutes and fifty seconds.

I want to share beauty with you as a listener, and I’m so happy that I can do it.
- Campbell

Calling on comparisons of other brilliant songwriters who boast the same ability to encapsulate you in a listening experience (think Nick Drake, James Vincent McMorrow, and Ry X), this seasoned musician is bringing more than enough to catch the blogosphere’s attention with this album. We know the world will be shortly behind, admiring the incredible breadth of talent that is Ruu Campbell.

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[Gorgeous] Nick Hakim – The Light

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NickHakim
The Light

It seems like ages ago that we were writing up Nick Hakim’s stunning tune, “Cold”. In all reality, it was just last month, but in internet time, that seems like an eternity ago.

This DC-based indie soul artist flaunts effortlessly between genres, infusing classic vocal interpretations with jazz piano work and future soul style atmospheric elemental layering. In “The Light,” we’re given a glimpse into a delightfully seductive ballad, which lightly drifts though understated vocals coupled with light percussion work and engaging piano chords.

Coming off his newly released EP, Where Will We Go Pt. 1, this is the type of song that’s perfect for a lonely night at home, or a special night with that special someone. We’ll leave it up to you to decide when you choose to enjoy it.

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[Folk] Ruu Campbell – The Call (Heartsong)

Ruu Campbell The Call Heartsong
Ruu Campbell
The Call (Heartsong)

This morning I was woken up by severe thunderstorms. Literally every thirty seconds I would hear the loudest thunder, and lightning even hit my neighbors house. I got on facebook, and I received a message regarding this track. The sun came out as I hit play, and it was a pretty unique moment. It’s almost like Ruu Campbell‘s song made the weather from dark to beautiful. As I am listening to “The Call”, I feel at peace. “The Call” took my mind away from things I have been going through, and I am completely focused on how wonderful this song is. No more negative feelings about what I could have done, or how I am feeling in general. Ruu Campbell washed away all of that negative energy with one track, and I am impressed. Now that Ruu Campbell made me feel better, I am going to run to the beach and get some sun. Ciao

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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (July 2014 Round #3)

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You know what’s the worst? After-Vacation Blues. Whether you have a couple days off work or a couple weeks of traveling, the days of not being obligated to do anything but chillax are the most glorious moments of your life. And then you are abruptly pushed back into reality. We know. It sucks and there is no easing into it, ever. So if you need help jumping back into the real world, let the Indie Dojo help. We might not bring you back to vacationland, but we can definitely give you a playlist to help take your mind off the harsh reality you are about to jump into.

Birds of Chicago
Cannonball
Poor Remy
Wrecking Ball
Black Handed Kites
Up
Jim Guthrie
Wish I Were You
Imaginary Family
The Bird Watcher
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Get to know Denver’s UMS – 7/24-7/27 [Interview and Showcase Playlist]

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We’ve been proponents of underground artists for as long as we’ve been in existence. In all honesty, we get more of a thrill from reading a submission with a subject line like, “Debut song from indie/folk artist from the UK,” than we do from something like, “Mega superstar announces 1,000,000 city tour.” There’s a certain excitement in showcasing an up-and-coming artist that simply can’t be obtained from any other type of music review.

The Underground Music Showcase (better known as The UMS) shares this affinity for what most call “Hipster One-Upping” by continually bringing in top-notch, lesser-known, independent acts for nearly a decade and a half. Starting out in a single venue, this showcase has grown tremendously, to the point where it now aggressively takes over a stretch of Denver’s most coveted neighborhoods, turning it  into a four-day music festival.

We had a chance to catch up with one of the organizers, Kendall Smith of The Denver Post, who dropped some knowledge on how this thing started, whom he’s excited to see personally, and what this musical frenzy goes to benefit.

TMN: Thank you for taking some time to speak with us today. We’re less than two weeks out from The UMS, how are things coming along so far?
You bet. The clock seems to have sped up, but things are shaping up nicely. We keep improving every year. This year looks to be no exception.

TMN: Talk to us about the origins of this festival. It’s going into it’s 14th year, correct?

That is correct. The UMS was started by John Moore, formerly of The Denver Post. He wanted to showcase a few local bands he thought weren’t getting the attention they deserved. It started as a one night, one venue event. Eventually, the pop music critic for The Denver Post, Ricardo Baca, took it over, moved it to South Broadway and created the multi day, multi venue model it currently operates under. John and Ricardo are brilliant, passionate and talented men. I am a fortunate person to have worked with them both.

TMN: You’re bringing in artists from all over the world, including one of our current favorites, The Griswolds. How do you go about selecting your worldwide and national underground talent?

We have an awesome talent acquisition team led by James Irvine. James is the founder of Holy Underground and also books Larimer Lounge. We met The Griswolds through our efforts down in Austin during SXSW. The UMS produces a day party for our pals at Reverb every year. The Griswolds played this past year and turned in a burner of a set.

TMN: Some people may not know this, but this festival benefits the Denver Post Community Foundation. How did this partnership come to be and what types of causes does it support in the metro area?

When the festival was brought in house at The Denver Post, the decision was made to add it to the portfolio of Signature Events offered by The Denver Post Community Foundation. Net proceeds of the event are distributed to local non-profits to support of programs that benefit children, the arts, literacy and education and the provision of basic human services.

This year, we have two charitable partners. The first, a youth facing organization, Youth on Record, is a long time partner of The UMS. Our second, and a new partner this year, is an artist facing organization, MusiCares, a nonprofit arm of The Recording Academy.

TMN: Most festivals/showcases try to bring in those marquis artists that will sell tickets. You guys do exactly the opposite of that, providing music lovers with a glimpse into some lesser known bands. What are some of the struggles with putting on a show like this?

How much time do you have? Kidding aside, the core mission of The UMS is to showcase the vast talent we have in this region while also growing the audience for the local scene. We hope through our efforts, we continue to build trust. Trust with fans that the quality of the bands is going to be great. Trust with national booking managers that The UMS will a great look for them in Denver.

TMN: Denver seems to be a hotbed for all different types of music, filling up a sizable number of venues week to week. Aside from the obvious notable venues (Red Rocks, Fillmore, Beta Nightclub) what are some of your favorite spots to catch a show?

We are so lucky in this town. There are so many great rooms. I love the Gothic, hi-dive and Larimer Lounge. I recently saw a pretty rad Devo show at Summitt Music Hall and Colorado Springs has a pretty terrific new room at Ivywild.

TMN: What’s the one venue at UMS that everyone should check out, if they haven’t already?

All of them! Four days is plenty of time. I encourage everyone to check out the Main Stage this year. We have moved next door to Security Service Federal Credit Union and have made some upgrades to the stage and infrastructure. It’s going to be great!

TMN: What artist are you most looking forward to checking out this year?

I love and hate this question. I love the lineup this year, but we get so busy running things I just don’t ever plan on being able to see anybody in particular. My best bets are usually to see some of the main stage acts. Should a happy accident occur whereby I am in the right place at the right time and get to see any one of Ark Life, A Tom Collins, Eros and the Eschaton, Dragondeer or Roadkill Ghost Choir, I will be way pleased.

TMN: If you had to describe this event in three words, what would they be?

Music. Community. Goodness.

TMN: Thanks for your time! We can’t wait for the showcase July 24-27.

Thank you! See you on South Broadway!

HEADLINERS

Real Estate
Crime
Blonde Redhead
People Under The Stairs
Acid Raindrops

TMN’S PICKS

The Griswolds
The Beware the Dog
GEMS ≠ Scars
Brother Tiger
This Must Be the Place (Talking Heads Cover)
Miniature Tigers
Used To Be The Shit
Native Daughters
GDS
Speedwolf
Up All Night
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Ffunny Ffrends
Baths
Miasma Sky
Hillary Hand
Tameless Tongues
American Tomahawk
Do Not
Kyle James Hauser
Maria
Goodnight, Texas
Santa Cruz
Fort Frances
Chicago
Heart Attack
Lions & Lambs EP
Rose Quartz
Scarves
RUMTUM
Alona
Mosis
Where It Was
Keepers
Hello (Original Mix)
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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (July 2014 Round #2)

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No matter how disgustingly hot it gets, you just can’t hate on summertime. The daylight sticks around longer, the music festivals are abundant, the smell of suntan lotion and grills fill the air. What’s to hate? Sure the sticky, muggy, dry, sweaty heat can be exhausting, but there are ways around it. Air conditioning, fans, swimming pools, ice, lots and lots of ice and indie dojos. Sounds like the opposite of summertime sadness to us.

The Narcoleptic Dancers
Again And Again
The BearFox
Lullaby
Renée
Strawberry Stains
I Have  a Tribe
Yellow Raincoats
Black Wolves
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Nate Eiesland – Drifting [TMN Premiere]

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Nate Eiesland
Drifting

There are just a handful of things more powerful than flourishing love, and the fading of itself is one of the few that can rival it. Nate Eiesland‘s “Drifting” quickly captivates both the ears and the very hearts connected to it with its instrumental foundation of guitars pickings, elongated piano chords and lyricism that echos something that was once beautiful but is no more. A tale of longing, this track represents the second offering from The Red Album, a collaboration between Nate Eiesland (ON AN ON), Nygel Asselin (producer of Half Moon Run) and Toronto songstress, STACEY.

There are tracks that get you through your work day, others get you through the weekend, “Drifting” is not intended to get you anywhere. On the contrary, it is meant to simply keep you in the moment where the heart feels most comfortable.

Red Brick Songs is offering a collection of euphonious experiences brought together by fifteen songwriters form all over the North America under one musical retreat. We posted its first installment “Tunnels” a few weeks back so please check it out if you haven’t already.

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