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Posts from the ‘Music’ Category

Female EDM Vocalists You Need To Know

During the dawn of rave music it was common for producers to sample vocalists from popular songs and integrate them into their own beat in creative ways. The rave scene of the late 80’s – early 90’s put more focus on the beat, and any vocals were intentionally blended into the background so as not to stand out as much. But the rave scene has since matured and Electronic Dance Music has reached levels of popularity and production unheard of in the earlier days. While glitchy vocal samples and fully instrumental tracks are still common, these days have seen the rise of talented vocalists who specialize in offering their voices over EDM tracks. Some vocalists are extremely prolific, and feature on some of the biggest EDM anthems of the decade. Unfortunately, it often seems that these prominent voices don’t always receive the spotlight they deserve. More importantly, since EDM is a male-dominated scene (which is definitely changing) it seems as though females in particular have had a harder time receiving recognition for their work. Below is a list of some of the most prevalent female vocalists who have most likely featured on a song you love.


 

Tasha Baxter

 

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Tasha Baxter hails all the way South Africa, but her voice can be heard all over American and European productions. She usually features in more bassy or psychedelic style songs. She’s a frequent collaborator with Jon Gooch (aka Feed Me), a popular English DJ/Producer who has released music under Mau5trap. My personal favorite Tasha Baxter/Feed Me track is ‘Cloudburn’; Baxter’s contribution to this track is what makes it memorable. Baxter has also collaborated with American DJ/Producer Au5 on the song ‘Snowblind’ which currently has over 2 million listens on Soundcloud. Her most recent song feature is  ABIS & Signal – The Wall (ft. Tasha Baxter). Also, listen to Greg Reve – Unveiled (2012) to get a really good sense of quintessential Tasha Baxter vocals.

It only takes listening to one or two tracks featuring Tasha Baxter to be able to quickly recognize her voice in any subsequent songs you listen to. To me her voice has jazzy elements reminiscent of Amy Winehouse. Her knack for bassy and psychedelic productions paired with her high vocal notes makes her best of both worlds in terms of masculine and feminine appeal.

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Anna Yvette

 

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Anna Yvette is a New York-based singer, songwriter, and producer. She’s been active in the EDM scene or almost 10 years. She’s been a prominent vocalist since the beginning of EDM’s meteoric rise in the U.S. Along with Tasha Baxter, she is probably one of the more recognizable names in EDM. Before EDM however she was really into rock, and she even has a rock album called Ships of Theseus from 2009. Her Monstercat Wiki page has a list of her most played Monstercat songs, and shows that she has amassed tens of millions of views within the record label.

Yvette is also very active on social media. You can find her tweeting frequently under the handle ‘Mother Unicorn’. She’s one of the more outspoken vocalists in the community and is partly who inspired me to create this write-up of female vocalists.  

Demonstrating her versatility as an artist, Anna Yvette recently produced a song called ‘Summer Never Ends’ which includes Laura Brehm, another honorable mention in the field of female EDM vocalists.

Music blogging site Nest HQ recently did an Artist Spotlight on Anne Yvette. Check it out for a more in depth look at her recent projects.

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Nevve

 

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Nevve is relatively new to the scene — she’s only been active for a few years, but she already features in some of the best songs by current up-and-coming producers. Some example producers include Illenium, 3LAU, Taska Black, Boombox Cartel, and many other diverse talents spanning the genres. In her short time as an EDM vocalist she’s amassed a million+ plays within Monstercat.

Nevve is also somewhat mysterious. From what I can see she is not active on any social media sites; her Instagram is private and doesn’t appear to have any posts. She’s active on Soundcloud though and already has 20k+ followers. I wasn’t even able to find an image online that I was 100% sure was her. Nevve’s mystery is gradually becoming a topic of discussion within the EDM community; some have even gone as far as suggesting that Nevve is actually a collective, whatever that means. Her frequent collaborations with members of San Holo’s bitbird record label may suggest Dutch origins.

Despite being relatively new to the scene Nevve definitely makes this list due to her rapid rise in popularity, and the fact that every last one of her features so far have been hits.


Veela

 

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Canadian-born Veela has been one of my favorite vocalists since discovering her almost 10 years ago. She has been active for a while, offering her vocals on many of the lesser known (but nonetheless talented) electronic artists like Feint, Maduk, Rameses B, Varien, and Blackmill. One of Veela’s greatest features was on Blackmill’s ‘Let It Be’ which has almost 15 million views on YouTube and practically defines the Melodic Dubstep subgenre. Furthermore, anyone who has downloaded a fresh copy of the music production program FL Studio might remember her as being the vocalist in the sample song shown to users when they start the program up for the first time. Her Monstercat wiki page features millions of views under the record label.

Veela’s solo work includes her Prelude EP, Icy Love EP, 2233 EP, Course, Guide To Get Through It — all of which can be found on Spotify.

Some of her earlier fans may remember that she dated the geek culture rapper None Like Joshua who is known for his anime and video game-inspired raps. Veela and NLJ even did a few songs together.

Aside from her vibrant purple hair and infectious social media presence, Veela has always stood out vocal-wise for her enchanting voice and the fantasy themes of her lyrics and persona. Veela is also a consumer of geek culture and this is reflected in her music. Her stage name after all is inspired by mystical fairies of Slavic folklore, or it could be inspired by the magical creature of Harry Potter lore. Her voice reminds me of how the forest nymphs of ancient myth might sound. Her Canadian accent often-times slips through her songs as well, which — as an American listener with a non-regional dialect — adds to the enchantment of her voice. Veela is a sort of alternative Pop princess living in her own world. She radiates creative energy that seems to attract others of similar mindedness.

Visit Veela’s website for a sneak peek into her world, including merchandise and music.

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Bright Lights aka Heather Bright

 

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Heather Bright (aka Bright Lights) is probably the most high profile vocalist in this list (she even has her own official wiki page, for whatever that’s worth). Originally from South Carolina, she eventually moved to New York to really kick of her music career. Heather Bright has been writing songs for pop stars since 2009. She’s written songs for Ashley Tisdale, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, and more. She’s also featured on some of the biggest EDM anthems of the decade. These include: ‘Language’ by Porter Robinson, ‘How You Love Me’ by 3LAU, ‘Follow You Down’ by Zedd, and ‘Never Say Goodbye’ by Hardwell.

Heather Bright features in one of my favorite songs by the electronic trio Savoy titled ‘So Bad’. I actually had the opportunity to see Savoy live in Portland, OR, and Heather Bright opened for them! I thought that she was a great performer. She was her own DJ, and she sang and danced to all of the anthemic songs that I mentioned above. And as a bonus, during Savoy’s set she came out and sang on all of the songs of theirs that she’s featured in. It was an incredibly fun show considering how small it was.

Keep a look out for Heather Bright’s debut solo album, which doesn’t appear to have a name or release date yet. Also visit her Official web page for links to all of her major performances, songs, and merchandise.

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Honorable mentions: London Thor, Laura Brehm, Kerli

 

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Album Review: ‘Worlds’ – Porter Robinson

It’s been almost four years since Porter Robinson dropped his Worlds album and I still hear the ripples of its influence all across EDM today. In 2014, the then 21-year-old Porter Robinson switched the game up by abandoning his heavy-hitting DJ sets to instead chase video game and anime-infused nostalgia tunes. And to accompany his album, Porter Robinson’s vision for dance music was fully realized with his Worlds live tour. This groundbreaking album and tour completely changed the tone of EDM, and many up-and-coming artists today have found inspiration from the young producer.

I still remember the first time I listened to this album. Someone, somewhere on the Internet had posted a link to NPR’s First Listen channel which is a site where you can listen to select albums a few days before they are officially released. The big feature on this day was Porter Robinson’s Worlds. I had seen chatter about this album for months up to this point and had also listened to and enjoyed the singles ‘Flicker’ and ‘Sad Machine’, but I still wasn’t prepared for the full album experience.

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The Tracks

The album begins with ‘Divinity’ featuring vocals by Amy Millan. This track is perfect for setting the tone for the rest of the album. It includes all of the ingredients that define Worlds: heavy drums, ambient build ups, dream-like vocals, retro video game sounds, and the overall feeling of floating in some sort of digital oasis.

Next up is the iconic track ‘Sad Machine’ which was one of the original four tracks released as singles before the album release. ‘Sad Machine’ is known for being the first ever track to feature vocals from Porter Robinson himself. It is also one of the first tracks to really begin the storytelling of the album. The lyrics to this song suggest the awakening or rescuing of some sort of virtual entity. It reminds me of any video game that requires a hero to venture out into the world to rescue a loved one.

The third track on the album, ‘Years Of War’, continues the melodic motif of the previous songs, but this time lyrically takes us back to the years of being children with vibrant imaginations. ‘Years Of War’ is a playful retelling of the experience of children at war, either between each other or with the authorities that be. The uplifting tone in conjunction with the melodic motif of the previous two songs reveals its message of innocence. ‘Years Of War’ is another nod to the fantastical, but this time delivered through the memories of children gearing up for a role-playing game, whether it be physical or virtual.

Track four is another album single called ‘Flicker’. This is still one of my favorites. While staying true to the overall vibe of the last three tracks, ‘Flicker’ also incorporates Porter Robinson’s interest in Japanese culture. ‘Flicker’ features random samples of Japanese phrases that he pretty much designs to sound like a rap of sorts. Overall, ‘Flicker’ is an upbeat, funky tune. I’ll admit that I’m an unapologetic bass fiend, so it was a pleasant surprise when a little after the halfway point of this song it drops into a glitchy, somewhat heavy breakdown that somehow manages to retain its Worlds vibes. Even more pleasant is how this song’s position in the tracklist basically primes the listener for the next track, ‘Fresh Static Snow’, which leads with one of the heaviest Electro basslines on the album. ‘Flicker’ received its own music video right around the album release. The video portrays one of the major themes of the Worlds project: the blurring between the physical and the virtual.

The first four songs on the album (‘Divinity’, ‘Sad Machine’, ‘Years of War’, and ‘Flicker’) seem to have been intentionally placed to ease the listener into the virtual fantasy that is Worlds. Each track on its own conveys a specific aspect of Porter Robinson’s new style. Every track on the album is of course unique, but they mostly act as extensions to the themes set in place by the first four. In fact, like all great albums, Worlds in its entirety can be seen as a self-contained story. By the time the album nears ‘Sea of Voices’, the third-to-last song, it becomes clear that we are nearing an end to an epic journey. The last three tracks on the album, ‘Sea of Voices’, ‘Fellow Feeling’, and ‘Goodbye To A World’ in my opinion act as a three-song outro. And this brings me to my all-time favorite song on the album, ‘Fellow Feeling’. This track is more experimental and acts as a sort of meditation or recap of Porter Robinson’s sound design and overall direction. I also think that it’s a call-to-action and a statement about the state of EDM during that time, as suggested by a line in the song, “now please, hear what I hear”, before dropping into a distorted and jumbled bassline; one of the most unexpected things to hear on such a refined album. The live version of ‘Fellow Feeling’ was definitely a moment to remember as well. After ‘Fellow Feeling’, tensions ease as ‘Goodbye To A World’ literally bids the listener farewell.

I don’t pretend to like every song on the album. ‘Hear The Bells’ for instance has a pretty epic crescendo, but overall it sounds a little generic to me, almost as if it were intended for an indie rock radio segment. Also, ‘Lionhearted’ — while being one of the signature songs on the album (complete with its own music video) — took me a long time to appreciate. It didn’t strike me as anything original at first, and instead reminded me of older songs by MGMT. ‘Polygon Dust’ off of Worlds was a similar song, but less Pop-y and more inline with what I thought about the rest of the album. Many people seem to enjoy those two songs though. And I have come around to enjoying the chorus of ‘Lionhearted’ a little more, but mainly just the melody.

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Porter Robinson’s Worlds changed the state of EDM by infusing it with honest and substantial emotion that challenged conceptions of masculinity, femininity, and noise vs. beauty in regards to music. Where before we had producer after producer creating random singles that are only listenable when mixed into a DJ set, Porter Robinson invites his listeners into an immersive world-building experience. He also proved to be even more relatable by revealing his love for video games and anime, two interests of mine that have increasingly become more accessible and popular in Western culture.  Since the release of Worlds I’ve noticed a profound change in the EDM landscape. All of us bass heads were suddenly reminded why we love electronic music in the first place. Whether consciously or not, it seems many producers have borrowed the themes and sound design of Worlds for their own purposes. I wouldn’t even go as far as calling these producers copycats. Instead I think they are inspired, and many up-and-coming artists seem to have directly absorbed Porter Robinson’s sound to their own art direction. His influence doesn’t end with the album either. The Worlds Tour live show itself is the second bomb that was dropped on the EDM scene.

The Live Show

By the time Worlds came around I was already familiar with Porter Robinson’s Spitfire EP which was an eclectic mix of classic EDM bangers (fun fact: it was also the first project to be released on Skrillex’s very own OWSLA label). I had never seen Porter Robinson live and didn’t believe I was missing out on much due to the over-saturated nature of DJ sets around this time (circa 2012-14 was definitely the peak of EDM’s rise in the U.S.). However after my first listen to Worlds I was suddenly intrigued by this producer whom I’d only associated with high-octane EDM sets before. This new Porter Robinson resonated much more with me, so I decided to buy tickets to the live show.

Lucky for me, the Worlds Tour came to my city just a couple of weeks after the album release. By this point I had listened to the album front-to-back multiple times. I had heard some opinions about the show from people who had seen it in prior cities. A couple people mentioned how low tempo it was, almost to the point of making them fall asleep, and others talked it up as being one of the greatest shows they’ve ever been too. Given my reaction to the album I was almost positive that I would love the show. Based on screenshots and video clips I saw online I also already had a good idea of the stage setup.

With the Worlds Tour, Porter Robinson wanted the live show to be just as immersive as the album. He decided to go completely clear and transparent with his equipment table in order to make the visuals behind him more visible. This helped to take emphasis off Porter Robinson himself and add more focus to the visuals that help tell the Worlds story.  It also became apparent that this show would be special when he brought out the various instruments he’d use during the show; these included a drum pad and a couple of other MIDI devices such as keyboard and microphone. The typical EDM set usually consists of nothing more than the DJ, his/her controller, and whatever visuals the artist’s team decides to throw on at a given moment. As the Worlds show progressed, Porter Robinson could be seen live mixing songs and occasionally singing on his microphone and playing the keyboard live. The most epic moments of the show however were when he’d grab his drum sticks and start jamming out on his drum pad. His drum pad was of course mapped to some heavy Electro percussive synths, so every once in awhile the crowd was treated to a unique and aggressive jam session that stood in stark contrast to the more serene and melodic sections of the show. All in all the Worlds Tour was a rollercoaster of emotions backed by anime and 8-bit video game visuals as well as Porter Robinson’s sentimental performance.

 

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The Worlds Tour was one of the first EDM shows (that I’ve seen) this decade to really push the DJ and the controller to the side and focus on a traditional and organic live show. Nowadays I’m seeing more EDM producers integrating live instruments into their performance. This is the synthesis of digital and analog that I believe EDM has been working towards since the beginning. It’s no surprise that one of the major themes of the Worlds album is how the line between the virtual and the physical are blurring.

Soon after the first time I saw the Worlds Tour live show (I think I ended up seeing it 4 or 5 times) I created an 8 minute compilation of some footage from it. Watch it below for a taste of what was experienced!

To my surprise, there is much more I can say about Worlds and Porter Robinson’s projects in general, but for the sake of being concise I think it best to draw this post to a close. I would be doing everyone a disservice however if I did not at least recommend listening to the Worlds remix album after becoming familiar with the original. For the remix album, Porter Robinson selected very specific artists who must’ve met a certain criteria of his, and every song on the original album got a remix. What I love most about this remix album is how every selected artist brilliantly adds their own signature sound while retaining the essence of the original track. This is something that takes tons of skill, otherwise the original song has no relevance to whatever beat the remixing artist is trying to add to it. It’s no surprise that the Worlds remix album is almost as good as the original; every artist chosen was already proven to be amazing at what they do. Listen to Worlds (Remixed) on Spotify. I also want to use this as an opportunity to recommend Porter Robinson’s newest project Virtual Self. I recently wrote about it here. Expect more posts about Virtual Self from me soon!

New Music Video: ‘Ghost Voices’ – Virtual Self

Hopefully by now the many fans of Porter Robinson have caught on to his side project Virtual Self. The self-titled EP was released in November 2017 and has ignited the dance music scene with early 2000’s rave nostalgia. Almost every track has received remixes, and new artists are emerging who seem to have been inspired directly by Virtual Self. Today, Porter Robinson has released the official video for arguably the most popular track off the EP, ‘Ghost Voices’.

The video for ‘Ghost Voices’ sees Virtual Self lore come to life as we witness the physical awakening of the project’s leading characters, named Pathselector and technic_Angel. These characters seem to be the dual artificially intelligent (AI) egos of Porter Robinson’s ‘virtual self’. They even have their own Twitter accounts which were used to promote the project initially.

My favorite part about this video release is the inclusion of the two Virtual Self AIs in the YouTube comments. Porter Robinson (or whoever moderates Pathselector and technic_Angel’s YouTube accounts) chose to do a sort of AMA for fans; the AIs basically invited fans to ask them anything. The AIs mainly chose to answer questions related to their identity and purpose. For example, the AI’s revealed that they are each responsible for the creation of specific songs:

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I found this to be extremely interesting and I look forward to seeing how these separate entities reveal themselves musically in future works.

Other comments made by the dual AIs were more cryptic and hinted at a larger lore being created:

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These are all terms and phrases that have been mentioned sporadically across Virtual Self’s social media and songs (and there’s much more not mentioned here). Porter Robinson is clearly trying his hand in some serious world-building with his Virtual Self project. It will be cool to see how the pieces fit together as Virtual Self’s multimedia catalog grows.

‘Ghost Voices’ is not only my favorite song thus far, but it also seems to be a fan favorite in general. Watch the video for ‘Ghost Voices’ below!

New Music: Top 5 Favorite Track Releases This Week [2/11/18 – 2/16/18]

Taska Black – We Would Never Do

This is the first and only song I’ve heard from Taska Black, but from what I’ve read so far he is taking the EDM scene by storm. Taska Black typically releases music under San Holo’s Belgium record label bitbird, but this new track ‘We Would Never Do’ was a debut release under the popular label Monstercat. That is one good indication of this artist’s rising success.

What blew me away about this song was the monstrous, distorted bass drop about a minute into the track. Taska Black weaves together a unique pattern full of interesting pitch changes that give the track a dark but fun tone. In an attempt to define the style I would probably consider it Hybrid Trap with some Industrial tendencies, but I won’t worry too much about genre technicalities. Featured vocalist Nevve also delivers an enchanting hook as she repeats the title phrase “we would never do”.

Like I said before, I haven’t had a chance to play any more of Taska Black’s tunes but I am excited to do so. He has definitely earned himself another fan with this one.

Play this song loud!

Virtual Self – Particle Arts (1788-L Remix)

Technically this song wasn’t released this week… it was released Friday of last week, but there is too much hype surrounding it for me to let it fall through the cracks. An artist going by 1788-L has seemingly come out of nowhere with a massive, hard-hitting rendition of Virtual Self’s ‘Particle Arts’. Virtual Self, as many may know, is Porter Robinson’s new project which seeks to bring back 90’s nostalgia techno-style music similar to Dance Dance Revolution and many popular Japanese RPGs. Like with many of his past productions, Porter Robinson has undoubtedly spawned a new movement of inspired artists seeking to expand upon his sound. 1788-L is one such artist who seems to have begun this project with direct inspiration from Porter Robinson’s Virtual Self. Thanks to some sleuthing from a writer over at YourEDM, 1788-L has been revealed to be the side project of artist Stonewall Klaxon who has already established a pretty unique and heavy sound. 1788-L has only one other song on his Soundcloud called ‘Replica’ and based on its heavy cyberpunk-inspired electro production we can get a pretty clear sense of the direction the project is headed. Needless to say it has me extremely excited for what’s to come; not only from this artist but from others who seem to be inspired by Porter Robinson’s ground-breaking path.

1788-L’s rework of ‘Particle Arts’ begins just like the original, that is until the 57-second mark where the beat completely changes up and drops into a mind-shattering crescendo of electro brilliance. Listen below:

Reid Speed & Frank Royal – IN 2 U (ft. She Is B)

It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to some good liquid Drum & Bass, so I’m glad I’ve discovered Reid Speed & Frank Royal’s track ‘IN 2 U’. Somehow this track elicits both nostalgia and novelty to me. The serene female vocals and low-tempo DnB beat bring me back to the early days of my EDM discovery. The novelty comes from the psychedelic bass growls that enter the beat around the 1 minute and 30-second mark. Both of these elements combined have brightened my interest in the genre as a whole.

Reid Speed, in particular, is interesting to me because I’ve recently learned that she is actually the founder of Play Me Records, a record label that I’ve loosely followed on Soundcloud for some time. Reading a little into her history I found that she is actually a pioneer in the DnB scene and is known for her ability to stretch the boundaries of genres. ‘IN 2 U’ is indeed a hard song to really classify; it seems to blend the styles of psytrance, DnB, and dubstep at times. I’ll definitely be keeping a closer eye on Reid Speed and Play Me Records from now on.

Alison Wonderland – ‘Church’

I won’t say too much about this song because I wrote a dedicated piece about it this morning, which can be read here. I will say though that this song took me a couple tries to enjoy. It stands in stark contrast to her previous release ‘Happy Place’ which was more rowdy and upbeat. But after about the third listen I started to understand the direction Alex Sholler (a.k.a. Alison Wonderland) is going with this one. I now find it to be a simple yet addictive song about empowerment and self-respect. And for the bass-head in me, there is a nice little surprise within the beat of the chorus which really shows itself while listening through some good headphones.

‘Church’ is the 2nd single to be released from Alison Wonderland’s highly anticipated sophomore album Awake. A video was also released at the same time as the song, watch it below and remember to read my dedicated piece about the song and video linked above.

Ghost Town – Modern Tragedy

I was shown Ghost Town a couple years ago by my girlfriend and I immediately loved their fusion of EDM and Rock. Ghost Town has been around since 2012 and they’ve continued to showcase a unique and versatile sound that has attracted millions of listens. After releasing a steady stream of singles in 2017, it was announced that two original members of the band have left and gone their separate ways. While this news was extremely disappointing to me, I kept an open mind as they released another song titled ‘Hell’ just last month. Based on the quality of that song, I feel reassured that Ghost Town will continue with their impressive Rock/Electronic fusion in the years to come.

Following the release of ‘Hell’, the remaining two members of the band released another track earlier this week titled ‘Modern Tragedy’. This latest release proves that despite the loss of two of its founding members, the band still seeks to improve on their established sound. ‘Modern Tragedy’ is heavy on the electro and the lead singer’s vocals are full of energy as he yells empowered lyrics such as “this is who I am!”. This song in particular also features interesting album artwork that has me curious about their new art direction. In the past their artwork was more cartoonish and colorful; the artist Alister Dippner has historically worked closely with the band, but I am uncertain whether he will still be doing future artwork.

The reason I’ve had such a close eye on this band’s latest releases is that I’ve actually purchased tickets to see them in Colorado in just two weeks! It was disheartening to learn of the band’s split after I had already purchased tickets, but the release of ‘Hell’ and ‘Modern Tragedy’ has reassured me that this will still be an exciting show. They will be opening for the band Slaves. Listen to ‘Modern Tragedy’ below, and be sure to watch the video for ‘Hell’.

New Song/Video: ‘Church’ – Alison Wonderland

Alex Sholler a.k.a. Alison Wonderland is back from her happy place to deliver another single from her highly anticipated album Awake. And to accompany the new song, Alex has simultaneously released a video for as well.

‘Church’ stands almost in stark contrast to her previously released single ‘Happy Place’, which was a little more upbeat and rowdy. With that said, it took me a few listens to really understand the vibe Alex is going for in ‘Church’, and I must say it is indeed a very spiritual song. Quite frankly, it FMUOASL.

Alison Wonderland spends the first few lines of the song defending herself against attacks on her character while gradually building into her hook where she eloquently declares “…You better treat me like church”. Basically, Alison Wonderland is demanding some well-deserved respect! Whether this is aimed at critical fans or a past boyfriend, ‘Church’ is mostly an anthem about retaining self-respect in the face of criticism. While the lyrics are relatively simple the song itself is full of honesty and confidence. This doesn’t stray far from her hit song ‘U Don’t Know’ which describes the feeling of being in an abusive, controlling relationship. Of course, being a bass music fan, my favorite aspect of this song are the deep, subtle bass synths in the background of the chorus. You may need good headphones to hear them, but you’ll know what I mean.

The video for ‘Church’ — a tad unsurprisingly — begins with Alison Wonderland in a church sitting in a chair on stage. She looks fed up yet relaxed, which resonates well with the message in her lyrics. Alison Wonderland stands up and begins walking towards the camera just as the hook comes around; all the while a choir of girls can be seen singing and dancing along to her lyrics in the background. To me, her choice of using an all female choir further accentuates the sense of empowerment she is trying to convey. After a cool transition Alison Wonderland can be seen stepping into a station wagon with her choir. The backdrop of this scene features colorful, celestial FX which further the spiritual element of the song. The scene transitions one last time to the troop of girls running down the street towards the camera passionately singing the final iteration of the chorus.

‘Church’ marks the 2nd single to be released for Alison Wonderland’s album Awake. Alex gave fans a surprise last week when she dropped the album art for Awake on social media:
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Watch the new video for ‘Church’ below!

New Song/Video: ‘Alibi’ – Krewella

The sisterly electronic duo Krewella just simultaneously released a song and video titled, ‘Alibi’. This marks the 5th song they’ve released since dropping their EP New World Pt. 1 in late 2017, which means Pt. 2 must be just around the corner! Krewella’s New World Tour appears to be drawing to an end. The new video is mostly comprised of tour footage with scenes of the sisters rapping and singing in various urban settings.

The song itself uses the same ‘ride or die’ trope Krewella has used throughout their New World Pt. 1 EP. The lyrics can be interpreted as undying loyalty to their fans, to a lover, or between the sisters themselves. Whatever you get yourself into, they’ll be your alibi. The beat starts with swelling dark synths that give off a sinister impression at first, but backed by the sisters’ Pop vocals, the song soon builds up and is fully realized as an uplifting Dancehall track. The video takes us through neon-lit cities and concert footage before finally cutting to a scene of an apparently oblivious Yasmine playing a somber tune on the piano. At the last second Yasmine suddenly realizes there’s someone behind her and a vulnerable, awkwardly endearing moment ensues.

Watch the video for ‘Alibi’ below.

 

New Music Video: ‘Spotlight’ – Marshmello x Lil Peep

Everyone’s favorite Marshmello just released a new video for the posthumously released song ‘Spotlight’ featuring the recently deceased Lil Peep. The video is practically a direct translation of the song’s lyrics which describe bitter feelings of jealously, resentment and nostalgia after a relationship has ended. It also acts as a tribute to Lil Peep and features symbolism strewn throughout the scenes.

‘Spotlight’ begins in a 50’s themed, neon-lit diner. The character of focus is a young, green-haired female sitting alone in the diner when suddenly her ex-boyfriend walks in; he is accompanied by friends and what looks to be a new girlfriend. The green-haired female acts as a stand-in to Lil Peep as she actually experiences the torment of seeing an ex in public who has apparently betrayed her in some way. During these early scenes we also see the first set of symbols, such as the name of the diner which is Crybaby, the same word Lil Peep was known to have tattooed over his eyebrow. Marshmello’s smiley face logo can also be seen in various places. The green-haired female eventually leaves the diner and hops on her motorcycle. As she’s cruising the open road the video pans over the night sky where we can suddenly see constellations light up in the shape of more of Lil Peep’s most notable tattoos. At home, the green-haired female can be seen contemplating her past relationship with the guy in the diner. A plan begins the form, and soon after she heads back to the diner. When she arrives however, the diner is in disarray. The customers and workers have left save for a few stragglers. The place was robbed — most likely by the green-haired females ex and his friends. Regardless, she uses this as an opportunity to lay her past relationship to rest.

Lil Peep died in mid-November 2017 after an alleged drug overdose while on tour in Arizona. Since then dozens of tributes have been made to honor the young rapper. Lil Peep recorded many unreleased tracks with various artists, but very few have been released out of respect for the dead. Marshmello however was urged by Lil Peep’s mother to release the song ‘Spotlight’ which they created together a few weeks before Lil Peep’s death. The song itself sounds somewhat incomplete, but Marshmello was able to at least make it catchy and listenable.

Watch the video for ‘Spotlight’ below:

New Music: Top 5 Favorite Track Releases This Week [2/4/18 – 2/9/18]

Darci – ‘At Least’

I’ve discovered Darci for the first time through this song and learned that they are a hip-hop duo comprised of a vocalist and a producer. Since then I’ve listened to everything currently on their Soundcloud page. This particular song is probably the most electronic-sounding, as opposed to the rest of their catalog which features more hip-hop/r&b-leaning production. Still, ‘At Least’ channels this duo’s r&b spirit with the vocalist staying true to his melancholy tone, lyrics, and flow. The vocals are backed by ambient electronic synths and a trance-like melody.

With the release of this song, they have also announced that they’ll be releasing even more music this year. Hopefully that will include an album or an EP. Until then they have plenty of tracks to hold you over. ‘Life’ is another favorite song of mine by them, and I am hoping to hear more songs that are more electronic like ‘At Least’.

Just A Gent – ‘404’

Just A Gent is no stranger to me. I first caught wind of him two years ago with his remix of Alison Wonderland’s ‘U Don’t Know’ which turned the song into an emotionally substantial EDM banger. Despite how good that track was, I didn’t think I’d hear much of him in the near future. A year later, after releasing various singles and remixes, he released an EP titled, Stories To Tell which was very enjoyable and made me realize that this guy was to be taken seriously. Today, Just A Gent officially released ‘404’, which has convinced me that we will be hearing from him for awhile.

‘404’ is a somewhat grimy bass track that starts out with some Twilight Zone-esque keyboard work leading into a deep and wholesome bassline. Soon after, the beat builds up and then drops into otherworldliness as distorted bass synths lead into some very wet, alien-like sounds. The song carries on like this for the rest of its three-minute duration, and never once did I want it to end. Judging by the album art, otherworldliness is exactly what he was going for, and he nailed it!

As an honorable mention, Just A Gent also released another track today which is a remix of Kill Paris’ song ‘Red Lights (feat. Dotter)’. Be sure to listen to that song as well. It’s a lot more melodic than ‘404’.

Deadman x Petey Mac – ‘Good In LA (Feat. President)’

This is the only track I’ve heard by Deadman and Petey Mac (and the featured vocalist President), but I think it’s a super fun track that would fit great in a DJ set or a hype mix. The track starts with some fast-paced House beats and then randomly drops into an uber wobbly Dubstep beat somewhere in the middle of the song. This part gives me goosebumps every time and is the main reason I enjoy it. Hearing it live would be amazing!

Marshmello, Anne-Marie – ‘FRIENDS’

I have a soft spot for Marshmello. Ever since hearing Mija drop his song ‘Find Me’ at a music festival a couple years ago I was enthralled by his minimal Trap beats. This was also before he revealed his physical identity complete with an oversized helmet and happy-go-lucky image. Since taking on his physical identity I watched as he slowly gravitated towards watered down Pop productions and probably left many of his original fans behind. Despite all of this, I still got excited whenever I saw that he released a new track. Sadly, much of the time I am left somewhat disappointed, especially after his mainstream hit, ‘Wolves (feat. Selena Gomez)’.

This morning I woke up and was surprised to see a new release from Marshmello and Anne-Marie titled ‘FRIENDS’. I wasted no time throwing it on and listening intently with no real expectations of what I would hear. Fortunately, I was happy to find that this track was very tasteful to my ears. ‘FRIENDS’ feels much less like a kids song; Anne-Marie adds flare with her badassery and Marshmello’s bassy production compliments her perfectly. Marshmello has redeemed himself in my eyes with this one and I am curious to see what he does next. Despite my disappointment in him sometimes, he does occasionally creates something for his day-one fans. Also, I understand that I am in no place to demand that an artist creates things a certain way, but as a fan, I am allowed to have an opinion.

Kai Wachi – ‘MUD (feat. Macntaj)’

Kai Wachi has been on a roll lately. He just released his epic EP Die Young four months ago (complete with a hard-hitting, Soundcloud exclusive bonus track), began his U.S. tour (which I attended in Portland not long ago), and now has just released a new single, ‘MUD (feat. Macntaj)’. Kai Wachi is known for his heavy Dubstep and Hybrid Trap beats that are usually infused with hip-hop and rap vocals. This track does not stray too far from this formula, although it is unique in its own right.

‘MUD’ starts off almost how you’d expect given the style Kai Wachi’s established in his latest EP. Rapper Macntaj leads the song over a growling bassline with some aggressive bars. The beat soon builds and then drops into an unexpectedly mild bass change tinged with some experimental synths that are characteristic of Kai Wachi. The song gets really interesting around the halfway mark when the beat transitions into a low temp piano outro that lasts an entire two-minutes! All the while, Macntaj continues to lend his vocals over the piano, and even he seems much more chilled out in contrast to the opening of the song. ‘MUD’ demonstrates an exciting refinement in Kai Wachi’s production as he proves that he can do both heavy and melodic music on a whim. I’ve been a fan of Kai Wachi for a few years after hearing some remixes he did for Dabin, so it’s been enjoyable seeing the evolution of this artist. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for this bass-music hero.

Seven Lions Presents: Chronicles (Chapter 1)

The master of deep and spiritual EDM, Jeff Montalvo a.k.a. Seven Lions, has recently announced the start of a special live show he is calling Chronicles. The show will take place in Seattle at the WaMu theater on May 12th, 2018.

Jeff Montalvo recently moved near Seattle so it makes sense that the inception of this project will start there.

Presale tickets have since ended, but today General Admission just went live. Along with the opening of General Admission tickets came the announcement of special guests Kill The Noise, Liquid Soul, and Jason Ross.

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The Facebook Event page describes the event as follows:

‘Chronicles’ is a concept born out of the world of Seven Lions – a mysterious place that’s existence has been foreshadowed throughout the fabric of the project. Now, with Chronicles, it all comes together in a live spectacle that will usher in an expansion of the world of Seven Lions.

Curating a line-up that delves into all corners of his influences and tastes – with acts from the worlds of trance, bass music and psy respectively – Chronicles will also see Seven Lions play two contrasting sets to book-end the event’s musical journey. Opening up the room with a special ‘Observatory’ set, Seven Lions will explore his deeper and more experimental side as with his recently launched mix series, whilst his headline closing set will provide the classic peak-time Seven Lions experience that he has imported to festival stages, clubs and theatre halls across the globe.

I personally live close to Seattle so I’m definitely planning on going. I’m hoping to document it with videos and photos, so expect a new post sometime after the show!

Buy tickets to the show here (currently $42 + fees), and be sure to catch up on all of the music by Seven Lions and his special guests. Also have a listen to Seven Lions’ Observatory mix below:

New Music Video: ‘The Tide’ – Pale Waves

The up-and-coming English Indie-rock band Pale Waves has just released their 5th music video in a single year; this one being for their track titled, ‘The Tide’. The new video takes a slightly different approach than the others by being the only one to feature footage from live shows and miscellaneous tour moments.

Pale Waves has gained massive popularity since forming in 2016. With their nu-goth aesthetic, Pale Waves will quickly catch your eye, and with their catchy 80’s revival sound they will quickly become an earworm of nostalgia. Fans of The XX, Chvrches, or classic bands like The Cure will definitely enjoy Pale Waves.

Watch the new video for ‘The Tide’ below and keep a look out for their debut EP coming March 16th, 2018. An album is expected in the following Summer. In the meantime, the band is curating a playlist of their releases on Spotify.