Get to know: LAXX [TMN Exclusive Interview]

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LAXX
Step Two [Preview]

LAXX is most definitely one to keep your eye on. Having signed with the renowned bass family Never Say Die last year, LAXX dropped his explosive debut EP for them in February and is now unleashing his second on April 7th. A follow up from ‘Step One’, ‘Step Two’ is another display of his self-coined “Twitch” music, packed with jittery synths and intense rhythmical progressions – not to mention a frenzied remix from label mate MUST DIE! The iconic and wonderfully simplistic ‘Step One’ is given a more dynamic and atmospheric twist, whilst maintaining that earth shattering drop impact of the original. I particularly enjoy ‘The Limit’ with its blend of vocal outbreaks and sustained pulse throughout, and LAXX’s sense of musical identity resonates here. I had the opportunity to to grill LAXX on ‘Step Two’ and what we can expect to see from him in the future.

TMN: Did you approach making ‘Step Two’ differently to ‘Step One’? Did ‘Step Two’ feel more like you were experimenting with a new set of sounds?

LAXX: ‘Step One’ was hard to follow, but I had a vibe in my mind already and knew what sort of thing I wanted to hear. It took a while, I named so many projects ‘Step Two’ and had about 5 different tracks which I was going to go back in on, but none of them were what I wanted. When I’m writing I know when I’ve got it, and a lot of the time I just start again because it’s not working for me. As soon as I got the basic vibe of it, I must’ve known, because I named it ‘Definitely Step Two’. But yeah, I wanted a similar vibe but a different musical palette.

TMN: Which track on this EP are you most proud of and why?

LAXX: Like all of them for different reasons. ‘Brainbug’ took the longest to finish, but I’m still as into ‘The Limit’ as I was when I first wrote it. I’ve always tried to create something simple, which has as much impact as something overproduced. But in all, I’m proud of all of them, and they all took weeks of back and forth to finish.

TMN: Where does the term “Twitch” music come from?

LAXX: “Twitch” is a term I created just because I didn’t feel what I was doing was fitting into categories I was listening to. To me just means a different rhythm, not just the obvious. The vibe in ‘Brainbug’ and ‘The Unknown’ are pretty much off key and different, so thats what I mean. I take inspiration from everything, but I still see what I’m doing in a different bracket to Trap or Dubstep, so it would be wrong to call it either.

TMN: What’s next in terms of future sounds from you? What can we expect you to deliver after this release?

LAXX: You’ll have to wait and see, but I’m just going down a new route. I want to do something different and exciting and make peoples ears prick up. So, I can’t say really, but I’ve got a lot in store..

TMN: You’ve previously worked with several grime artists. Do you have any plans to collaborate with vocalists again?

LAXX: Yes. I’ve always been a big fan of grime MC’s and Footsie, D Double E and P Money are some of my favourites. I can’t really say whats to come, but there will be some colabs in the pipeline.

TMN: Could you name 3 of your all-time favourite tracks?

That’s not an easy question as my music taste is pretty broad and I go through phases with different genres constantly. But here you go:

Krust – Warhead

Bad Company – Planet Dust

Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing

TMN: If you could work on a track with any Never Say Die artist, who would it be?

LAXX: I like all of the artists on Never Say Die, but I’d love to get in the studio with Zomboy. I just know he’d be a nutter to work with, he’s got so much energy in his tunes, it’d be a laugh just to work with him and see him vibe out.

TMN: Thanks for your time LAXX! Awesome release.

LAXX: Cheers for having me and make sure you grab ‘Step Two’ on 7th April!

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[Indie] We Were Evergreen – False Start

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We Were Evergreen
False Start

Less of a ‘False Start’, more of a new beginning: Parisian trio We Were Evergreen, have downed their twee toys and deliver a sparkling sense of misdirection with this adrenaline fueled release. No doubt the intoxicating spriteliness of ‘False Start’ mirrors its narrative inspiration: band member Michael sourced the idea from a Usain Bolt documentary.

Flip through the back catalogue and you’ll hear rumors of lo-fi, fizzy and quirky pop offerings; descriptions almost unaligned with the textured electro vibes and sleek vocals that peruse ‘False Start’. We Were Evergreen may be shaking their cute vibe and replacing it with something a bit more sassy.

Riding high off the back of a European tour (supporting Metronomy), sell out UK shows and notable nods from prestigious press (BBC 6 Music and The Guardian’s: Pick Of The Day), We Were Evergreen now embark on their own headline tour of the UK and pop in at Liverpool’s ‘Sound City’ Festival 2014, to strut and fret their hour upon the stage, with the likes of Wolf Alice and Albert Hammond Junior.

We’re not expecting Olympic stadiums, but we are suggesting big things.

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[Synth-Pop] Bestfriends – Refine EP

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We had the chance to feature Chicago dance-poppers Bestfriends along with their gorgeous single “The Way I Feel” a few weeks back, and in the time since we’d been salivating like one of Pavlov’s Dobermans for the full release of Refine; the duo’s latest extended play. Well today, our patience was finally rewarded with the full drop, and immediately the five track synth-pop-meets-electronic-R&B fueled journey jumped onto this writer’s short list of favorite albums of 2014 thus far. While listening to their incredibly inviting and sonically textured sound, it’s easy to forget that only a pair of musicians -Gregory Shanahan & Nick Scalise- oversee Bestfriends’ entire artistic process. From the ground floor of writing and composing, to recording and performing, Bestfriends even manage to see their work all the way through to the final mixing and mastering stages, leaving no stone unturned from their vision in the process. It’s clear from the onset of Refine as opening track “When the Lights” bounces into your ears so gracefully behind a rhythmic lead guitar and four-four kick that this artistic attention to detail translates into a wonderfully shapeshifting and fully listenable collection. These two synth savantes’ meticulous crafting of Refine has resulted in an EP which feels deeply rooted in their  emotive brand of dancey, layered pop music while simultaneously playing out as all kinds of accessible to cutthroat music fans and casual listeners alike. Bestfriends’ Refine EP is available for purchase now through iTunes , so if listening a few times here isn’t enough, do like we did and hop on over to add this one to your library permanently. For now though, just stream Refine in its entirety below.

When The Lights
The Way I Feel
Lakeshore
Refine
Lyra
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[The Love Playlist] Indie Songs for Lovers Vol. 2 (70+ Tracks)

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As we slowly wake up from our hibernation laden winter, we’re gleefully looking ahead to spirited adventures with that special someone. There’s something about it, isn’t there? The warm weather. The flowers. The waves slowly lapping against the shores. Some people may argue that summer is the best time to be single, but we know all of you hopeless romantics out there disagree, as you patiently wait for the grand-scale plans that you have laid out.

Back in 2012 we released our first “Indie Songs for Lovers” playlist with a resounding appreciation from you all. While we may have missed the boat last year, we’re back at it again with a heart-warming selection of over 70 tracks that will leave your lover swooning.

Starting with accoustic folk, this playlist will take you on a journey through poppy indie rock all the way to some smooth rolling beats to set the mood.

Press play and get lost in love, ninjas.

James Vincent McMorrow
Cavalier
mutual benefit
advanced falconry
Dawn Golden
All I Want
Josh Record
For Your Love
Josh and Mer
All Was Right
Panama
Always
Josh and Mer
From The Sea
Frett
Porcelain
I Know Leopard
She
Imaginary Future
The Thick and the Thin
Few Bits
Shell
The Last Song
Tom Misch & Carmody
Joel Baker
Every Vessel Every Vein
Blue Stahli
Ghost of Love (David Lynch cover)
RY X
VAMPIRES

Continue reading

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[Electronic] St. Vincent – Digital Witness (Darkside Remix)

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St Vincent
Digital Witness (DARKSIDE Remix)

Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington, better known as Darkside, are hot off the heels of their 2013, critically acclaimed release Psychic. They also recently dropped a new remix of St. Vincent’s Digital Witness.

While the two are currently working on separate projects, they still had time to come together and release a raging remix of Annie Clark’s standout single. This flooring, industrial track commands the listener’s attention and obedience to our digital overlords. Drowsy, modulated vocals are pulled through an automated soundscape of pulsing, mechanical beats and robotic synth that make you wonder “What’s the point of even sleeping?”

According to St. Vincent, the track will be released as a 12” vinyl June 17. Pre-orders for the record are available here.

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[Drum and Bass] Bryzone – Trial Run/Stargaze

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If your attention hasn’t already been drawn to the work of new drum and bass imprint Soulvent Records, you need to become familiar with their sound, sharpish. The London-based label have just released their second offering since establishing themselves in the latter half of 2013 via the work of BMotion. A small, independent collection of like-minded creatives, I would firmly attest that Soulvent will continue to deliver high calibre releases as time goes on.

Bryzone is the next young talent to step up to the plate with his single Trial Run ft. Jenny Mayhem. A glorious slice of shimmering liquid, Mayhem’s softly undulating vocals make the ideal accompaniment to the prominent melody. The sophisticated use of piano riffs and elegant subtlety behind this track display Bryzone’s soulful approach to production.

On the flip comes ‘Stargaze’, a deeper and slightly more melancholy piece, still incorporating gentle piano and adding a surging wave of strings to majestic effect.

A pair of tracks with summer vibes written all over them, these are an essential addition to any D&B lover’s collection. Available on both Beatport & iTunes.

Bryzone
Trial Run Feat. Jenny Mayhem
Bryzone
Stargaze
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[Deep/Tropical House] London Grammar – Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me (LCAW Remix)

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London Grammar
Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me (LCAW Remix)

It’s been almost exactly a year since 19-year-old Munich, Germany-based producer LCAW broke onto the scene with his enormously popular remix of “Run” by Daughter–currently with well over half of a million plays on Soundcloud. And what Germany may lack in terms of warm latitude, there seems to be no effect on his knack for blanketing everything he touches with a layer of smooth, warm, summery vibes.

This time, LCAW’s unveiled his take on London Grammar’s “Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me.” The song has a beautifully harmonious pairing: the vocals of London Grammar’s front-lady, Hannah Reid, immediately bring to mind a more melancholic Florence Welch, intensified by yearning lyrics that ruminate over a fleeting love. LCAW reinterprets the sound, making it a bit more upbeat, pulsing with glimmers of hopeful reminiscence.

There’s no reason this one shouldn’t make it into your favorite summer playlists–after all, it’s up for a free download over on LCAW’s Facebook page. Like the lyrical motif “I’m still holding onto your waistband” sprinkled throughout the song, here’s to hanging on tightly to the relaxed vibe LCAW imparts, like that last bit of lingering warmth on the sand, long after the sun’s already dipped below the horizon.

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