[House] Oliver Heldens – Koala

I’m not going to lie, the main reason I jumped at the chance to review this track is because i’ve been away for 6 months in Australia and this song is called ‘Koala’ – it seemed fitting.
Call it fate or call it coincidence that this just happened to come along as I made my return to rainy ol’ England, but either way this tune is so good it seems as though the stars aligned just for me.

Holland’s own Oliver Heldens is no stranger to the EDM scene, his tune ‘Gecko’ dropped last year and drew a huge amount of attention – reaching #2 in the Beatport chart. Some of this attention came from fellow countryman Tiësto, who snapped him up and signed him onto his label at the tender age of 19. Since then ‘Gecko’ has had a reboot and was re-released last month with the vocal services of Becky Hill. A track which is already being proclaimed ‘Hottest Record In The World’ by the BBC’s Zane Lowe.

This time round Heldens has brought us ‘Koala’, another animal themed banger which oozes that melodic, yet plenty heavy, Euro-House style. Starting off somewhat deceivingly sounding almost disco-inspired, this tune ends up going in harder than ‘Gecko’, straying more into the realms of Electro House. This is to be expected from Heldens, his sound is all things House and seems to wander off wherever it wants, into Electro, Deep, Progressive – wherever the Dutchman wants to take it. Thankfully, Heldens accomplishes this effortlessly and the result is really quite something.

It’s early days for this young producer, but he’s already making some serious waves. I for one am very excited to see where he ends up. One things for sure – he’s going places. Give ‘Koala’ just a few minutes of your time and i’m sure you’ll be as hooked as I am.

G’Day!

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Get to know Denver’s UMS – 7/24-7/27 [Interview and Showcase Playlist]

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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[TMN Exclusive] Will Eastman – 4 A.M. Eternal Mix III

Do you ever catch yourself searching for the perfect song to end the night to? Well look no further! Club owner, producer, and DJ, Will Eastman, went ahead and did the justice of adding the best ‘turn down’ songs to his 4 A.M. Eternal Mix series. You could say he’s a jack of all trades, as Will Eastman has done everything from being a museum specialist and historian at the Smithsonian, to playing at the Virgin Mobile Freefest. I’m really loving his approach on this mix with all of the soothing house and techno. Most DJs nowadays want to provide you with something to get hype to, but I prefer Will Eastman’s approach of giving you the perfect mix to relax and end your night to!

Tracklist:
Pablo – Roxy
Daniel Avery – Knowing We’ll Be Here (KiNK Remix)
Urulu – Moon Unit
Kölsch feat. Gregor Schwellenbach – Cassiopeia
&ME – Locust
Andhim – Hausch
Lane 8 – Every Night
Enea & Ozker – Don’t Take It Away
Pat Lok – Could Be Mine (feat. Patrick Baker)
Digitalism – Wolves ft. Youngblood Hawke (Booka Shade Remix) Mermaids – A Pale Wolf
’Will Eastman – 4 A.M. Eternal Mix III’
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[Deep-House] James Curd & Luke Million – Say The Words To You (option4 Remix)

One of our most treasured finds, burgeoning dance producer option4 returns to grace the hallowed pages of TMN with perhaps his most groove-laden, intoxicating remix to date; which behind his viral dance modifications of Great Good Fine OK’s “You’re The One For Me”, Elizabeth Rose’s “The Good Life” and most recently, Donnel Jones’ “U Know What’s Up” is saying quite a lot. option4 has taken James Curd & Luke Million’s new single “Say The Words To You” to a textured soundscape only the Denver based, genre bending producer could. Kicking off behind a snappy four-four clap as opposed to the standard issue kick-drum, we were only moments into this revision before being aurally hooked to a light but soul consuming synth line that works as an addictive focal point for most of the track. Rather than utilizing an often times formulaic house route of the classic: intro/groove/break/groove/outro structuring in his compositions, option4’s remix plays like a story of sorts, dipping into chunky low ends, uplifting hi-hats, entrancing vocal work and hip-hop hooks all the while masquerading as a straightforward club tune. option4’s remix of “Say The Words To You” comes as a part of a congruently titled EP featuring remixes from Yolanda Be Cool, DCUP & more and seeing as we’re nothing short of an Old Faithful geyser’s worth of musical compliments, we implore you to give this one just six minutes of your day. If you’re really crunching to this one, snag the high quality copy on Beatport as well.

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[MP3 Playlist] The Chill Dojo #92

Well ninjas, hopefully all of you survived your 4th of July holiday weekend. We know it can get a little rough after 3 days of raging hard, so it’s understandable if you don’t want to look at another American flag for the next couple of weeks. Luckily for you, we put together the perfect recovery Chill Dojo to sooth your mind – and your liver for that matter. TMN always knows how to give you exactly what your soul needs every Tuesday morning and afternoon because we like to give all of you a small break from the festival life and bring you back to reality. We’ve got a heaping dose of some intense feels for you this week so prepare to fight that dire urge to soulfully move your body and cry the rest of the day. So press that play button and let these delectable sound frequencies give you some peace of mind.

Until next week, yo!

’Lemaitre
High Tide (Oliver Nelson & Tobtok Remix)’
’Foster the People – Best Friend (Jai Wolf X AObeats Remix)’
’Sam Smith – Stay With Me (EigenARTig Remix)’
’CRYSTAL FOX & DOLPHIN TEARS – ATLANTIS’
’bonobo – Duals’
’Psymbionic – One Thing ft. Cristina Soto’
’Görkem Han Jr. – Ocean’
’Wayward – Belize’
’waiting so long’
’Pascäal – Drowning In You (Mincha Edit)’
’Sailor & I – Turn Around (Âme Remix)’
’Free n Losh – Lost Ft. Cat Lewis’
’Alicks – Beneath The Surface’
’misxgi – OCEAN’
’xxyxx – Zygote’
’Diversa – i love you for existing’
’The Weeknd – The Knowing (Aeron Beem’s Ethnic Vaportrap Bootleg Remix)’
’Cazzette – Sleepless ft. The High (Prinston Acoustic Edit)’
’Sam Sm1th – Stay W1th Me (JayKode Remix)’
’Lana Del Rey – Fucked My Way Up To The Top (Yamill Remix)’
’Bondax – All I See’
’StéLouse & Rusty Hook – Space Bar’
’Brew Brewses – Cracked Stones’
’Braedon Bailey – Breathe Easy’
’Sun Ritual’
’Esta. – Lexo’
’#33. Haan 808 – Black On Green (Free Honey)’
’Petit Biscuit – Collapse’
’14AM’
’Take A Note’

 

 

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[Album Review] French Style Furs – Is Exotic Bait

“You are going to be pleasantly surprised by this / You will find yourself sweetly insulted,” seduces Nathan Willett in the opening line of “Miami U R About 2 B Surprised,” and he couldn’t have been more right.

I remember being very surprised when I read the announcement that the Cold War Kids frontman and bandmate Matt Maust were teaming up with We Barbarians drummer Nathan Warkentin (with Haley Dekle of Dirty Projectors featuring as well) to form side-project turned supergroup French Style Furs, and now it’s finally here, with the trio releasing their debut LP Is Exotic Bait on Frenchkiss Records today.

Named after a storefront in Brooklyn and cultivated in spontaneity, French Style Furs is abstract and pulsing with the kind of creative urgency that comes with writing and recording in between shows, with Willett’s signature howls, barks, and wails giving restless life to lyrics inspired by Trappist monk and mystic Thomas Merton’s poetry.

Opening with the quasi-autobiographical “3 Friends,” Is Exotic Bait exudes this vivacity, confidently declaring “Damn it / We are here” after chronicling the musicians’ decision to “Live together and know nothing of it,” with “No plans / No benefits,” and asking “Could we just fly in space / And forget to exist?” If that isn’t the description of playing in a band then I don’t know what is.

Taking the dance-inspiring synth vibes explored in Cold War Kids’ last album Dear Miss Lonelyhearts and running with them, Willett and co. get downright frantic in “All The Way Down,” before transitioning into the fuzzy, vaguely U2-esque riffs of “(World In My) Bloodstream.”

Standout track “Solitary Life” opens with one of the best bass grooves of Maust’s discography so far (you can almost see him jerkily swaying on stage as you hear it) before swinging horns, Dekle’s vocalizations, and even some cowbell are layered on.

Produced by Nick Launay, whose past projects include Nick Cave (one of the Cold War Kids duo’s main influences) and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Is Exotic Bait is steeped in the brooding of the former and the sharpness of the latter; “Miami” and “Turn or Burn” display some of the darkest and deepest vocals ever recorded by Willett, while the beat and pulse of “Christmas Card” could just as easily be filled with Karen O’s shrieks and shouts.

Complete with another beautiful specimen of cover art from Maust, Is Exotic Bait is good on its promise of being one of this year’s most pleasant surprises. Oh, and only Willett could write a song called “Ambassadors Of General Electric” and make it sexy as hell. Check it out in its full glory below:

’3 Friends’
’All The Way Down’
(World In My) Bloodstream’
’Solitary Life’
’Miami U R About 2 B Surprised’
’Ambassadors Of General Electric’
’Turn or Burn’
’Man The Master’
’Christmas Card’
’Clairvaux Prison’
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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (July 2014 Round #2)


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indie-dojo-music-ninja

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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