[Event Recap] SXSW – The Highs and Lows of our Week in Austin, Texas


Another SXSW is in the books, and as we look back with aching feet, muddy clothes wrapped in plastic bags, and a phone full of video clips and pictures, we’re slowly trying to process everything that went on during this intensely crazy week. It was one to be remembered, that’s for sure, providing ample amounts of “Only at SXSW” surprises, newly discovered artists, and, of course, plenty of BBQ.

In lieu of a lengthy, play-by-play recap of everything we experienced, we’re going to change it up and just cover some of the high and low lights. Our hopes are such that you will not only put some acts on your list for this upcoming year’s touring season, but also learn how to SXSW better and more effectively in the years to come.


Our dance card was admittedly jam packed, as you would expect from us. Since we don’t focus on a particular genre, our schedule often looked like a game of Tetris, numerous colored blocks stacking on top of each other quicker than we could anticipate. With that in mind, we tried to divide and conquer, leaving certain ninjas to review their favorite genres.

Mew: We’ve been waiting to see Mew for the better part of a decade. If you could peek into our all-time play count on Spotify, you would notice that “Am I Wry? No” has garnered an absurd amount of plays. Our adoration goes further back than Spotify days though, discovering this act long, long ago.

Their live set was absolutely flawless, with Jonas’ vocals echoing what we’ve heard through our headphones in so many walks around our college campus. It was truly one of those life-affirming shows, reminding us of exactly why we started doing this.

Satellites (Acoustic)

ELEL: This band of relative newcomers stole our hearts, and did so in one of the hardest venues to do so. We caught them in a small hall, that was less than forgiving acoustically. Their ability to overcome that, and still get a crowd of people to dance and smile was notable. “40 Watt” particularly shone bright, giving us a glimpse of their unique harmonic abilities. We can’t wait to catch them on tour, as we’re sure they’ll be bringing this seven-piece to every major city really soon.

40 Watt

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[Event Preview] The Underground Music Showcase – 7/23-7/26 – Denver, CO


After the raucous and discovery laden journey that was last year’s Underground Music Showcase in Denver, CO; we are once again gearing up for another edition of our favorite music festival in Denver. One of the few remaining music gatherings in our the fair city of Denver to eschew the typical smattering of major label festival fare, The UMS has dropped the first glimpse into a lineup boasting over 1,500+ acts strewn across various shops and bars dotting Denver’s South Broadway district, and we’ve already got stars in our widening Ninja eyes as a result. Buoyed by the gleaming synth-pop of Portland, OR’s STRFKR and the psych induced dream-rock of Brooklyn trio DIIV, as well as TMN Favorites Rose Quartz, Wild High and The Epilogues, this year’s UMS looks to be as top heavy as ever without skimping on any of the underground qualities which brought it to prominence in the first place. Grab your tickets here, and quite honestly, for our friends in Denver, $50.00 for a four-day paradisaical dip into some of the best atmosphere and music (of an absurd number of genres as well, mind you) the Mile High City has to offer is what we like to call in the industry… “a steal”.

Check out our 2014 coverage of The UMS here, stream our mini-playlist featuring a tune from each aforementioned act to stoke your UMS fire, and read the full lineup of announced artists thus far for the 2015 installment of The Underground Music Showcase below.

UMS 2015 first lineup announcement:

STRFKR, Diiv,  Milo Greene, Brick + Mortar, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Mac McCaughan (Superchunk), Moon Hooch, Until The Ribbon Breaks, Accordion Crimes, Beginners, Bud Bronson and the Good Timers, Colfax Speed Queen, Dragondeer, The Epilogues, Eros & the Eschaton, Gabriel, Garzón-Montano, In the Whale, The Knew, Land Lines, The Lonely Wild, Ned Garthe Explosion, Plum, Rose Quartz, Ryan Chrys and the Roughcuts, Shady Elders, South of France, SPELLS, Wild High, Wiredogs, The Yawpers.

Golden Light
Leaving Now
Hunting Season



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[Folk] Axel Flóvent – Forest Fires

Axel Flóvent
Forest Fires

We’re not quite sure what it is about Iceland that seems to culture amazing musicians. Maybe it’s the stunning scenery? Or maybe it’s some sort of mysterious mineral in their water? Whatever it is, we’re glad it’s there.

Following in the footsteps of other supremely gifted Icelandic musicians (Sigur Ros, Asgier, Olafur Arnolds), Axel Flóvent is throwing his name into the mix for reasons why we love music that originates from this northern European country.

Having just released the news of his upcoming EP Forest Fires, this hopeless romantic hopes io instill the true essence of charm into his modern songwriting. It’s not hard to call on associations of Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Guillemots and the aforementioned Asgerir, but this small-town musician has carved out his own sound, which is evident in “Forest Fires.”

His voice is painfully beautiful, harnessing tremendous depth in emotion and craft. Set agsint the backdrop of crashing percussion, slow, rolling guitar strums, and an illuminating piano melody, everything seems to come to life with thoughtful storytelling. It instantly grabs you, sending you on a journey you hadn’t expected. But, we’re pretty sure you’re glad that it did.

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[Indie] Patrick Watson – Places You’ll Go

Patrick Watson
Places You Will Go

As winter’s icy fingers slowly release their deathly grasp on the world, mother earth is gladly opening her eyes from the long winter’s rest to awaken the flora and fauna for yet another spring. As if pre-destined for that very happening, “Places You’ll Go,” is an articulately crafted ballad created for the engendering of the warmer months.

With slow, rolling guitars, fluttering synths, and Patrick Watson’s near-unbelievable vocals, this newly released tune is a welcome breath of fresh air for his fans. Staying out of the international limelight for some time, this distinctive Canadian act is thankfully back.

We’re honestly overwhelmingly enamoured with this new take from Watson, and all we can close with is we’re once again left jaw agape and extremely satisfied, as we’ve come to expect time and time again.

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

indie-dojo-music-ninjaYou’re lucky it’s March 31st, otherwise we’d be obligated to April Fool’s you. But have no fear, we won’t pull a fast one on ya. We’ve got nothing but a good ‘ol indie dojo. No tricks, no gimmicks, no foolin’ allowed.

Harrison Storm
The Words You Say
Mike Main and The Branches
Everythings Gonna Be Alright
Martin Stahl
The Wanderer
Down The Road
Andrew Belle
Wants What It Wants (Hushed)
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[Video] Will Joseph Cook – Message


Will Joseph Cook, just 17, has been cooking up a mini-storm over the last few weeks with his track “Message.” That tune landed him the coveted number one position in Hype Machine’s popular chart, and also reached third on Spofity’s Global Viral Chart.

It’s very early days for this up-and-coming indie act, but there’s nothing immature about his delivery, both lyrically or vocally. If you aren’t convinced just yet (which you definitely should be), check this roof video of him performing “Message” below. Under that are his first two offerings from new EP You Jump I Run, out via Duly Noted Records.

Streets Of Paris
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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (March 2015 Round #4)

indie-dojo-music-ninjaSpring, spring, spring. For us lucky folk, it’s here. And for the not so lucky folk, we’re so very sorry. So, we made you this indie dojo full of sunshine and rainbows (or what we think could replace the real thing). We hope it makes up for the lack there of.

Michael Rault
Nothing Means Nothing
Will Joseph Cook
We Moved (ft. Benja Lyman)
Lola Marsh
Pigpen Theatre Co.
We Wont
Glass Ghost
Sound Of Money
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