Author Archives: Clayton Warwick

Fractures – Reset [EP Review]

I was already very familiar with Australian-based Fractures before Reset came across my virtual desk. My experience stems from my wife’s, dare I say obsession, with “It’s Alright.” Not to say that I don’t enjoy that track, as well, but it’s cemented firmly in her regular rotation. In fact, that very song played in our hospital room, from her pre-planned playlist, right after our son was born.

While the listening experience of “It’s Alright” is slow and ethereal, Reset offers some variance, often more upbeat. This isn’t a huge shift, though, as we’ve seen this style before in tracks like “Eastside.” Yet, in comparison to his most popular offerings, this EP goes off the track of comparisons of Ry X and James Vincent McMorrow, and lines up more so with The Postal Service.

The title track was my favorite from the bunch, set to a quick-hitting synth and Fractures’ alluring vocals. It’s emotional and warmly familiar, enveloping you from the very start. Don’t get me wrong, though, I loved the full collection. It’s the type of listening experience best served sprawled out on the floor, with your favorite person, preferably with it playing via vinyl. That is, assuming it will come out on vinyl (fingers crossed).

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mxmtoon – My Way [TMN PREMIERE]

I spent my childhood soaking in classic crooners like Sinatra, Martin, and Prima, thanks to my 2nd-generation Italian-American grandfather. Those songs are timeless to me, which is why I had some pause when I first glanced at this submission. It only took a few seconds to shift my perspective, though, falling in love within a few bars.

If you’re not hip to mxmtoon, now’s the perfect time to get acquainted. Having soared to immense heights over the course of last year, this soft-singing, Oakland-based, 18-year-old indie songstress has an endearing style that’s worthy of your attention. Admittedly, this is my first experience with her music, but it certainly won’t be the last.

Her rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” is wonderfully unique, which is necessary when approaching a larger-than-life track. What drew me in particularly, was the inclusion of building vocal harmonies over the chorus. It was a clever way to deal with the power from Sinatra’s vocal prowess. But, that’s the mark of a well-done cover, right? There has to be something that’s ownable and different than the original, with enough remnants to pay respects to the creator. And, mxmtoon has executed that perfectly.

Frank Sinatra has always been a personal favorite. ever since i started playing ukulele, i’ve been singing his songs and “My Way” was one that really resonated with me! So much so, I wanted to do formal cover of it. I’m excited to be releasing this cover and to have been able to put my own spin on it as well, and I hope people love the song just as much as I do. Hope I did Frank proud! – mxmtoon

While tickets are sold out, I’d like to still mention that she has an upcoming tour this March, with dates listed below. You’ll be hard pressed to get in, but it’s always worth a shot.

Chicago – Schubas – 3/6 – SOLD OUT
Brooklyn – Baby’s All Right -3/9 – SOLD OUT
Seattle – The Crocodile – 3/13 – SOLD OUT
San Francisco – Rickshaw Stop – 3/14 – SOLD OUT
Los Angeles – The Echo – 3/16 – SOLD OUT

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Various Blonde – Smoke [TMN PREMIERE]

Brought to life by multi-instrumentalist Joshua Allen and drummer Mark Lomas, Various Blonde is Kansas City’s best kept secret. Cooked up in 2009, this outfit has taken on many forms, working with a revolving cast of musicians and producers. Most recently, the pair has teamed up with LA-based producer and bassist Brandon Eugene Owens, who has performed with acts like Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill.

My first experience with “Smoke” brought up associations of one of my all-time favorites, Absofacto, another uber talented multi-instrumentalist. Personally, that was all I needed. From there, I spent more time with it, digging into the complex soundscape and subtle nuances. It’s a dark and cosmic ride, spun up with so many rich textures and layers. The heavy bassline, dark and haunting synths, quick-hitting hi-hats, and Allen’s alluring vocals, all come together to create an enveloping experience.

Have a listen below, and then head over to Various Blonde’s channels and support.

Facebook | Soundcloud | Spotify.

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[lo-Funk] daste. – Sober


Hot damn. Within a few seconds of “Sober,” I was hooked. The smooth bassline, the cool-as-James-Dean vocals, and the funky lo-fi synths create an undeniably addicting soundscape.

“We don’t follow any specific recipe approaching each track. It all evolves from a hive mind of ideas and refining them into the mood we’re feeling. ‘SOBER’ came about quite quickly. Pretty much within a day of writing the basis of the songwas done, and we then started doing our thing on the production which is often when we like to take our time focusing on the smaller details. As Tyler likes to say “The ‘d’ in daste. stands for detail.

This is just the second release from this brand-spanking-new act, and what a doozy. We’ll high-key have it on repeat until we get the next sampling. Hopefully, that happens sooner than later.

In the meantime, make sure to follow these guys on Facebook, so you can keep up.

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[Pop] Manila Killa – ALL 2 U (feat. Sara Skinner)

The new year brought a fair amount of change for Manila Killa (Chris Gavino), as he embarked on his first year as a solo artist. Aside from a shift in his career path, he’s also showcasing a glimpse at a shift in his musical style. Maybe this is the true Chris? Whatever it is, we’re all about it.

“All 2 U,” which features Sara Skinner, is the last single from his upcoming EP. A through-and-through pop gem, this track exudes pure authenticity. It’s catchy as hell, not overdone, and extremely well put together, complete with organic guitars, playful percussion, and approachable vocals. Simply put–you won’t be hard-pressed to put this one on repeat.

If you’d like to catch this tune live, make sure to pick up tickets to the 1993 tour, which makes 11 stops across April and May. Tour dates are posted below, for your convenience.

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Vern Matz – Tiny Nuclear Reactor [TMN PREMIERE]

Vern Matz
Tiny Nuclear Reactor

With a nostalgic, melancholy vibe, “Tiny Nuclear Reactor” is seemingly the perfect accompaniment to my dreary weekday drive to the office. It’s grey and subdued, but still has enough nuanced fun to it pair up nicely with a thermos full of coffee, fumbled around with through a pair of pilled wool gloves.

Maybe it’s those 90s vibes that have me thinking of a brisk Seattle day. It’s not hard to hear nods to Ben Folds or Deathcab for Cutie, what with the casual vocal cadence and soft guitar strums. It should be noted that while this feat is often emulated, it’s rarely effective. That’s not the case with Vern Matz.

Made up of three former Yale Students, this trio showcases a maturity in both songwriting and execution. “Tiny Nuclear Reactor” is the perfect example of that, bringing you a warming simplicity, done so in a way that’s carefully thought out.

Make sure to follow these three on Facebook to keep up with future releases and live dates.

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Hydraulic Lover

Crunchy, groovy, and layered with delicious psych-pop elements, “Hydraulic Lover” has me transporting back to my younger years, minus the teenage angst and awkwardness.

Brought to you by Bradford-based GRDNS, made up of Jacob Lyons (vocals/guitar), Sam Gledhill (guitar), Cameron Harrison (bass) and John Fitzpatrick (drums), this tune should serve well to blend the gap from those just discovering that distortion is a wonderful thing and those of us who spent our teenage years with headphones full of it. Taken from their debut EP, it’s brimming with heavy guitar work, approachable lyrics, and engaging backing vocals. It drips with 90’s grunge and does so in an effortless way.

Hydraulic Lover is about accepting all the bad attitudes, stupid shit and low vibe activities you get up to when you’re young. It’s the idea that song people treat each other like sexbots and the action of love is more hydraulic than passionate

The single was released just a bit ago, but today we’re offering a first look and listen to their accompanying music video, which highlights show and studio footage combined.

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