The past month or so has seen a rise or decline in some of the biggest players in the digital music landscape. Apple Music launched, SoundCloud is…transitioning, SFX (the owners of Beatport) are in the midst of a fire sale, Tidal came and went, Spotify is plotting along, and Vinyl is on the rise (again!). Interesting times, to say the least. Below we have divided our online habits into three categories: Streaming (Paid), Streaming (Free), and Purchasing, in order to better evaluate the current state of the industry and also to offer our thoughts and aspirations for where things might go.
So join us, as we divulge our digital endeavors.
I first heard about RY X on October 12, 2013 – 3 years after his self titled (then Ry Cuming) debut album was released on Jive Records, 1 year after his collaborative project, HOWLING, with Frank (Âme) Wiedemann saw its first release, and 1 year before The Acid, a three piece band with RY X as the front man, would release its debut LP. At the time he was just an enigma, shrouded in layers of cloth and surrounded by the Greek Theater stage curtains, closed tightly in anticipation for Above And Beyond’s acoustic run in Los Angeles. RY X was the opener, a position he had found himself in before, as Ry Cuming opening for Maroon 5, but this time was different. It looked like he had just spent the last year wandering the Australian outback (his native land), complete with long hair, long beard, and tribal markings on his face; he wasn’t putting on a show, this was who he had become. As the lights went down he gave the crowd one piece of information about himself, “My name’s RY X, good luck finding me after this, I’m not really any where.” Continue Reading
It might be the end of Summer but things are just starting to heat up. Literally, and metaphorically, as the Bixel Boys share their best tunes to beat this sweltering heat wave. It features some of the sexiest sultriest cuts around – from RnB to Hip-Hop to Future Bass to that signature Bixel Bounce. Curated for the fine folks at Boomrat – this ain’t one to sleep on!
Be it bloggers like us, or the artists we love, Boomrat gives a nod to those with taste via their Directory feature that highlights the most relevant artists, users, and blogs in the space. We’re proud to be among the few blogs that provide insights to their pool of tunes, so it’s an honor to be among the Featured Blogs, as well as seeing a host of our writers in their Featured Users.
To keep the goods times comin’, the crew over at the site have also named their Top 50 Featured Artists, Top 50 Emerging Artists, and Top 30 Trending Artists. These acclaimed DJs were carefully selected via consumer driven data pulled from the site, blog and social media activity, online stats and coverage, along with feedback from music curators & users as to insure the best of the net were rounded up for your listening pleasure.
Don’t wait, dive in!
I have been an Aphex Twin fan for fifteen years. I was fifteen when I first heard ‘Come to Daddy,’ and it was my gateway drug into electronic music. It was him that inspired me to dive into the world that I now immerse myself in everyday as a composer and as a listener. His work has played a vital role in my musical education and formation.
I attended the preview Syro album listening event at Verboten in NYC Saturday afternoon and these are my thoughts.
It’s a bold move to release an album that was self-described as “cold, bleak, glacial” just after the summer solstice, but it appears as though Anticon co-founder Alias has done just that. Three years post-Fever Dream has put Alias in an almost inescapably frigid place, sonically. His new album Pitch Black Prism is unrelentingly ominous, its barren urgency takes shape in sharp, crystalline form. Truly a metaphorically glacial album – iced, structured, oddly beautiful, and with much to be seen under the surface. If you’re a Boards of Canada / Aphex Twin fan… you’re probably gonna like this one.
A couple of weeks ago I met up with Grenier at one of my favorite local spots Forage for a little food and friendly discussion. What I think both of us anticipated was a brief discussion about his upcoming projects, but what ended up happening was a close to hour long conversation about creativity and the state of music. I left feeling the opposite of disappointed… sure I was like 30 minutes late to my next thing but the topics we discussed was something I felt needed to be expressed. So instead of a carefully edited, introspective piece from me that took days to organize and edit down, below you’ll find an honest conversation between myself and a musician who’s very clearly spent a lot of time not only working with others but also thinking about how to work in new ways.
This all came about by the premiere of his stunning music video for “Intentions,” which came out on Symbols last year. You can watch the video below but I highly suggest clicking after the jump to read about Grenier’s multitude of new projects, including ones with Archie Pelago, Eprom & Hejfund, and The Glitch Mob. I’d love to see others’ opinions on the rest of this, perhaps open some insightful discussions.
On Tuesday Los Angeles based creative genius Jerome LOL released his Deleted/Fool EP on home label Friends of Friends. Having previously released an album on FoF as the now defunct LOL Boys, Jerome’s new EP is his first official solo release. I could throw words around about Jerome being a sort of avant-garde musical and visual curator, or how his aesthetic bleeds originality in its cheeky complexities and colorful simplicities – but that would be selling him short, and missing the point. My lack of ability to really envelop Jerome LOL as an entity is precisely his appeal. The off-kilter balance of this ‘tumblr-era x internet 1.0 x 90’s branding’ visual mish-mash with the delicateness and deeper meaning of Jerome LOLs musical endeavors is in my humble opinion so cleverly curated that I am just consistently in awe. Jerome’s filtering and curating of a dizzying amount of visual and audio influences from everywhere across the spectrum into a concise and branded look and sound is something I’ve always respected. His DJ sets are interesting and fun, his label Body High is a wonderful homage to LA and dance music origins while keeping releases and artists fresh and cool, and his music videos are insanely unique and some of my favorites:
The four-track EP begins with “Deleted,” starts with Jerome’s signature swinging drums, in true-to-form fashion created by an antiquated and distorted piece, the DJX-2. The claps and swing fade as Sara Z’s cool and sensitive vocals come in, with clear cut changes in the cord progressions between each verse carrying the mood. It’s these subtleties in the undertones that reveal the emotional complexities of the track – doubling computer jargon with the destruction of a relationship (“we’re offline, no course of action” “control, escape, command, delete, it’s all in our hands”). The track evolves and grows in almost pop-song format with repeated choruses and verses, a bridge and an outro, which shuts off all the drums just before Sara utters her last line- printing the track in your head.
“Always” continues with the cymbal-heavy, swinging drum patterns, this time lighter in feeling given the faster pattern & more effervescent vocals. The keys in the chorus are touching and warm, and the various inflexions of Sara’s voice on the word “Always” is captivating and soulful. The heavy distortion on the bassline and clanging drums on “Fool” flip the EP from pop-leanings to a much more club/warehouse mindset, until Angelina Lucero’s melancholy and poignant vocals rip you off your shuffling feet and onto the floor. But as the heavy bassline fades, a glockenspiel-sounding bridge comes in before Angelina’s chorus comes in, aided by incredibly pitched-up echoes of her voice carrying each line. The clanging drums and garage moodiness are met by the pitch shifts and “this instrument can never sound sad” use of the glockenspiel – it’s this touch of color in an otherwise entirely depressing track that is a common theme in Jerome’s work. The EP closes with “True”, another considerably moody song from Angelina Lucero’s teethy and slow vocals and sort of rain-down-your-windowpane piano chords that rain so heavily on the track it nearly drowns out her vocals until the very end.
Like with all artists that have developed their own signature patterns and sounds, I see the argument from both sides on Jerome’s heavy use of jazzy/swing drums and pop-oriented progressions: on one side it doesn’t have an grand sense of variety, but on the other it’s clearly a sound and vibe that nobody else is really doing. You can identify a Jerome LOL track from just a few seconds of listening, but because of that the tracks can be considered to start sounding the same. I’m personally more drawn to the ‘Deleted’ half of the EP, which to me is an example of the vibe of work I enjoy most from Jerome; the ‘Fool’ half dives much deeper into a darker side of his music which I simply do not grasp as well – I think that’s a side he’s still sonically developing. But I do have to give props to Jerome for really nailing the structure of his tracks.
You can purchase the EP on Bandcamp HERE or on iTunes HERE:
CONTROL Fridays @ The Avalon. Whether you like it or not, you’ve got a crazy story to tell from a night spent there. We think about what music we may be into right now or not anymore, but you better believe if you live in Los Angeles or have been here for a weekend, chances are you have had a wild one at one of the longest standing electronic music weekly events across the globe. After the “blog-house” scene spilled DJs into clubs and venues nationwide, Los Angeles was a beacon for this growing underground buzz. It wasn’t without difficulty for a young Ryan Jaso and Chris White to prove to the already storied venue, Avalon Hollywood, that their new weekly event CONTROL would gain any traction and or keep the crowds coming. “The red-headed step child” as the owners and managers of the club first called it, CONTROL had to live in the shadow of Avalon’s bigger nights showcasing heavyweights such as Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto, and a still thriving live music calendar. But none of that could stand in the way of what was going to happen with a growing music scene. For 5 years now, the “little weekly party that could” has turned into the taste-making, career-launching, riot-starting, life-changing movement that has kept LA one of the premiere places to discover new talent and see the best of the best at the same damn time. Continue Reading
Acres of lush green grass. Majestic palm trees highlighted by a purple mountain backdrop. Sunny Southern California skies. Desert nights in the Spring. Cutting edge art installations. The hottest artists/DJs in the world. And 75,000 of your closest friends. As far as music festivals go, The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is as good as it gets. What makes Coachella the premier festival in the country & one of the top festivals in the world? First and foremost, the music. Coachella first began in 1999, took a year off in 2000, and since then, I’ve attended the last 13 festivals. And if there’s one thing I can say unequivocally, it’s that the music lineup always delivers. Not only does Coachella consistently offer the hottest musicians of the moment, the festival has also played host to some of the greatest acts of all time: Paul McCartney, Prince, Madonna, Roger Waters, Radiohead, Daft Punk, Dre & Snoop & many others. Artists come out of retirement & bands reunite for Coachella. Musically speaking, it’s an A-list festival. But to achieve that A-list status, you have to deliver the goods from top to bottom. While keeping an eye on the mainstream, Coachella has always had its finger on the pulse of the underground. At the height of the Disco Punk revival in 2004, Coachella made sure to book acts like LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, !!! & Le Tigre. During those glorious Bloghaus years from 2007-2009, Coachella didn’t miss a beat with Bloghaus darlings MSTRKRFT, Klaxons, Justice, Sebastian, Kavinsky & Ghostland Observatory. And last year Coachella took a more underground approach by adding the Yuma Tent & keeping things deep & dark with acts like Seth Troxler, Maya Jane Coles, Julio Bashmore, Loco Dice & Richie Hawtin. For Coachella, it’s ALWAYS been about the music.