[Live Review] Ski Lodge, Urban Cone – Mercury Lounge, NYC

Last week, I braved one of winter’s most brutal weeks here in New York City to see Brooklyn’s indie rock band Ski Lodge and Sweden’s electro-pop outfit Urban Cone. Despite the frostbitten face and temporary use of my numbed out-limbs, the little trek to the Mercury Lounge was worth it. So kudos to all involved! It’s not everyday you get a quality bill at an early show during the middle of the week.

Ski Lodge opened the night with a handful of tracks off their self-titled EP, a collection of breezy lo-fi pop. These songs possess hints of afro-pop bounce, as well as just something that hints at jangly, old school guitar-driven surf rock; overall, absolutely nostalgic, fun and feel-good, especially on a night when all I craved was some warm vibes. Interspersed between their older material were some newer songs that the band’s been working on over the last few months. As much as I love their aforementioned EP, the new stuff sounds very promising. It’s a bit more intricate and unpredictable, in a good way, and the vocals are more pronounced and in focus. It doesn’t necessarily grab at you immediately hook-wise like their previous tunes, but that’s not a bad thing. It shows that the group is poking and prodding in different directions, trying out different arrangements and ways of basically building their songs — it’s a great sign. And, despite playing this new material, the group (who added a new drummer not too long ago) sounded tight and totally comfortable with the set. Now I’m anxiously awaiting their debut full-length…

A Game

I Would Die To Be

That evening Urban Cone celebrated their NYC debut and their energy and aura throughout the entire set reflected that. I’m always amazed and so pleased when I witness a band just shamelessly enjoying performing. Live music is meant to be an experience, and a wholly unique one at that. It’s live; it’s not a record, it’s not Spotify, it’s not the radio. There should be a palpable feeling of gusto and enthusiasm during any performance. Urban Cone brought it all, pouring every emotion — joy, despair, nervousness, anxiety, exuberance — onto the stage. Their songs vary from perky synth-pop to more slick dance-y songs, but one thing remains constant: the total believability in each of their hooks. When the chorus approaches, the band takes full advantage of the build-up, running with it as long as they can as they pounce on their keyboards and trickle their fingers up and down their guitars. During the actual big moment choruses, you know it. Their songs are so well-built for these highly saccharine moments; they grip you and hold you there for a few blissful minutes, but really, the feeling stays with you even songs afterwards. They aren’t so much breaking new grounds in the electro-pop field in terms of sound, but their execution and, as I mentioned, general sincerity about it, could really separate them from their peers.

Urban Cone
We Should Go To France

Urban Cone
Black Ocean

Urban Cone
Kings & Queens
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[Electro/R&B] Dungeonesse – Shucks

Dungeonesse is the new project of Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and multi-instrumentalist Jon Ehrens. Along with news of their self-titled debut album, the duo have also released this fresh, fresh single called “Shucks”. It’s a velvety, addictive treat that features some Grade A genes from the electronica + soul + pop genres. As the track plays on, rocking side to side with an air of cool and confidence, and Wasner’s breathy, sensual vocals take charge — “I wanna hear your heartbeat, my love” — it’s really difficult not to want to put this on repeat for at least a few hours. I’m officially very excited for more material.

Dungeonesse’s self-titled debut album drops May 14th via Secretly Canadian.

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[Hip-Hop] Jon Connor – Tour Life

Jon Connor has consistently been one of the hardest working emcees in the game, constantly releasing quality music seemingly just for the hell of it. On this dope new single, the Flint, Michigan native boasts about the many luxuries of life on the road as a talented young emcee. Although Connor puts together an energetic performance on the mic, he still does a phenomenal job of creating a chill atmosphere. This is mainly due to the sampling of Röyksopp‘s “Remind Me,” which most of you will probably recognize from one of those old school GEICO caveman commercials. With no word on where this one will land, we’ll just have to enjoy this free download for now.

Jon Connor
Tour Life
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[Video] Swim Deep – The Sea

swim deep

A little while back, we posted the smile-inducing infectious indie rock tune from Birmingham quartet, Swim Deep. Well the feel good popsters have released their video directed by Dan Brereton. The fun, dancy tune has been given a 1990′s feel in this interpretation. This may age us by saying this, but we often yearn for the days spent traversing our local mall. Well, Swim Deep has brought back those adolescent memories with this entertaining video.

If you get a chance, make sure to catch these guys with Two Door Cinema Club before heading out on their own tour, and landing at SXSW. “The Sea” is out March 4th on Chess Club / RCA Victor.

The Sea
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[Indie] BETS – Rooftop Lover

The often quirky, retro, lo-fi vocals of BETS are anything but conventional. With that being said, this lazy and wandering indie rock tune is rather infectious. At first listen, this track from the bicoastal singer songwriter made us grin a little. Then after a few times over, her unique tone and catchy hooks had us craving more. Now, we just simply can’t help but listen to this track over and over again.

This self-titled debut EP is now available for purchase. Click the song below, then head over to itunes when you’re ready to buy.

Rooftop Lover
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[TMN Exclusive] Baauer – Dum Dum (Steven V’s Dirty Edit)

Today we’re featuring an incredible re-work of Baauer‘s track “Dum Dum” from Steven V. Remixing anything from Baauer is no easy task, because the production level is always so clean. Steven V takes a safe route, tweaking each drop while still staying true to the original. Both of drops are equally as satisfying allowing you to fall in love with this massive tune all over again. Cheers

Also make sure to check out Steven V & Alvo‘s Festival Trap remix of Steve Angello & Laidback Luke‘s track “Show Me Love”, by clicking here.

Baauer
Dum Dum (Steven Vs Dirty Edit)
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[Hip-Hop] Casey Veggies & Rockie Fresh – Energy (Prod. Uncle Dave)

Both fresh off of solid projects, young emcees Casey Veggies and Rockie Fresh team up for a new track, appropriately titled “Energy,” celebrating their early success. Over a bright, oscillating instrumental, the Veggies and Fresh, from LA and Chi-town respectively, both show off their individual styles while cultivating the type of excitement that surrounds rising stars. Listen and download this dope collaboration below.

Casey Veggies x Rockie Fresh
Energy (prod. Uncle Dave)
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