The age of handheld Google capability has eliminated the cultural placebos of previous generations. There is no truth that isn’t available instantaneously, and every tid-bid and old-wives-tale is held to the scrutiny of absolute truth. No longer must we speculate and debate over menial facts, over questionable symptoms, or anything otherwise dedicated to memory or knowledge. Reality is just one quick search away.
Is this the death of faith? The death of superstition? When everything can be proven true or false within a few moments, what is the point of wisdom? Why even waste valuable grey matter by incessantly storing facts and dates when that material can be recalled in a fraction of a second.
What does this mean for the future of knowledge?
Here’s an awesome song by The Notwist called ‘Kong’. They’ve been making music since 1989, which is as old as I am. How the hell can anybody make music this godly for this long? Shit gets me pumped for social change.. or something.
22 playsArtist: The Notwist Album: Close To the Glass Track: Kong
The strangest part about SXSW this year is the fact that a lot of the bands performing are bands I haven’t heard for years. I suppose it has something to do with releasing new material every couple of years, and the result is almost a metaphorical ‘reset’ button the sends us back in time. Around the same time I was listening to Wye Oak and Phantogram, We Were Promised Jetpacks made one of my favorite albums “These Four Walls”. In 2011 they released their second LP, “In the Pit of the Stomach”, and although I wasn’t blown away by the material, the album has been like fine cheese and wine. Slowly and surely maturing into it’s own, and taking a special place in my heart and in my playlist.
This song, in particular, is one of the best pieces of atmospheric rock I’ve ever heard, and potentially one of the most beautiful songs I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. This time next week I’ll be in Austin, Texas, and there’s no line-up too looming that’ll keep me from seeing Adam Thompson belt out this gem.
Do you like music? Do you have feeling in your limbs? This is goosebump material at its finest, the break at 2:57 will slay you. Turn up your headphones and get completely lost. It doesn’t get better than this.
8 playsArtist: We Were Promised Jetpacks Album: In the Pit of the Stomach Track: Sore Thumb
People Under the Stairs are one of the many hip-hop groups attending this year’s SXSW, and a group I’m personally excited to see. This song was given to me by a dear friend, and due to circumstance and my own foolish lust, we haven’t spoken in years (and probably never will). But there are certainly times when I miss her dearly, and her musical influence is never lost.
This song has served a meditative purpose for me over the years. First, it’s a tune about marijuana, and second, it’s a tune about chilling. For those who don’t know, my name is Jarrett, and I smoke weed. A lot. It’s becoming more and more accepted in mainstream society, but there’s still a big social stigma attached to the stoner. It’s sad, really, because nobody looks twice when someone in their twenties gets black-out shit-faced several night a week. But you tell people you get high and they look at you differently. Maybe one day that’ll change..
"When the stress burns my brain just like acid raindrops/Mary-Jane is the only thing that makes the pain stop"
'Acid Raindrops' has become my mantra in times of stress. I've dealt with stress and anxiety since I was a child, and despite this song being attached to some painful wounds that haven't quite closed, whenever I find myself overwhelmed with anxiety it always seems to pop up on shuffle. Two things have kept me grounded in the past three years, weed and music, and 'Acid Raindrops' is the perfect culmination of both.
8 playsArtist: People Under the Stairs Album: "O.S.T." Track: Acid Raindrops
Here’s is an absolutely ridiculous (and incomplete) list of the bands I will be seeing at SXSW in 9 days, in no particular order. Every one of these artists was handpicked, and I personally absolutely love each one.
Glass Animals, Misun, Classixx, Damon Albarn, Dum Dum Girls, Ghost Beach, Lemaitre, M0, Panama, People Under the Stairs, RAC, Phantogram, Real Estate, Ryan Hemsworth, ScHoolboy Q, The Kite String Tangle, Tyler The Creator, Zeds Dead, Agnes Obel, Bipolar Sunshine, BANKS, Jungle, London Grammar, Wild Child, Chance the Rapper, Tokyo Police Club, Sylvan Esso, Beat Culture, Chet Faker, Flume, Mutual Benefit, Sam Smith, St. Vincent, Carousel, CYMBALS, Kendrick Lamar, Kurt Vile, SOHN, Chromeo, French Horn Rebellion, mr. Gnome, Ejecta, The Barr Brothers, Roadkill Ghost Choir, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Empress Of, Abram Shook, Giraffage, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Washed Out, HAERTS, Little Dragon, Cloud Nothings,Tennis, Cate Le Bon, Black Milk, Shlohmo, Hieroglyphics, Souls of Mischief, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Seoul, Hundred Waters, Conner Youngblood, Gemini Club, High Highs, Warpaint, Jez Dior, Childish Gambino, Different Sleep, Wet, Oberhofer, Prince Paul, Nabiha, The 1975, Small Black, Foxygen, Phosphorescent.
(Emphasis was added to the bands I have a gigantic nerd boner for)
Needless to say, this list is absolutely ridiculous, and it doesn’t even include heavyweights like Coldplay and Willie Nelson, to name a few. This is only a small fraction of the talent at this year’s SXSW, and I think I might be able to die feeling like I’ve accomplished everything I ever wanted come the end.
Leading up to my departure, i’ll be featuring some artists on this list (and potentially adding more as more get announced). Obviously during and after, i’ll have a ridiculous amount of material and coverage for you all to gobble up. YUM YUM!
Here’s one of my favorite old tracks, ‘93 Till Infinity by hip-hop legends Souls of Mischief. Because honestly, i’ll be busying writing about this festival till… well, infinity.
18 playsArtist: Souls of Mischief Album: 93 'Til Infinity Track: 93 till infinity
It’s not very often I happen across a song I haven’t yet listened to, and I already hit the “Like” button. But such is the case with Seattle’s Belgian Fog; an artist who releases a new song once every six months or so.
It’s synth-pop brilliance, and if you manage to look beyond the fluid production and listen to his lyrics, you’ll find complex, intelligent, and wholly fresh lyrical stories. “YouDriveMeToMadness” was an emotional rebuttal to a neglectful father, “Wait For Help” laments the social anxiety of mental disorders, and his latest track “Loveless Way” is a song about how he’d rather stay in a ‘loveless’ relationship for comfort than move on. It’s pretty heavy material, but the presentation is all sunshine and lollipops.
Absolutely one of my favorite artists of the past year, and if Robert Dale ever releases a full length album i’ll be snatching up all them feels right quick.
36 playsArtist: Belgian Fog Track: Loveless Way
New neighbors moved into the apartment underneath me, and i’m quite sure a flock of teenage girls managed to squeeze into a small two-bedroom. What kind of human beings get together on a Sunday evening and sing Marvin Gaye and Beyonce at the top of their feeble lungs? Teenage girl human beings. I spent twenty minutes “Boo’ing” through the ventilation system.
Fortunately I’ve had lots of great music sent to my inbox in the past few weeks, one such artist is Egg&I. Isaac Ashlind’s sound is completely unique, elements of traditional folk splice with waves of dreampop, it’s almost as if Edward Sharpe and Washed Out made an album in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Bouncing around Oregon and spending time in Columbia, there are palpable floral footprints throughout the EP, sunshine and rain meets sand and dreams. ‘Bricks’, Ashlind’s strongest effort, lulls the listener into hypnosis before taking a melodic turn towards lush synthetics and finger-plucked bliss. The result is gorgeous, and truly unlike anything I’ve ever heard. At times the EP takes haunting turns, particularly towards the end of ‘Sleep Paralysis’ when the bass turns seismic. Yet a subtle optimism seems to prevail throughout the EP, and ‘Oxytent’ brings us full circle as our consciousness swoons and careens between dreams and reality. The tension climaxes breifly, and It’s a beautiful end to a lucid and lush EP soaked in sunshine.
Show Isaac some love via bandcamp and pick up his album for free, if you like.
44 playsArtist: Egg&I Album: ButterflY Ln EP Track: Bricks
Have you ever tried to type in the URL to Facebook while you were already on Facebook?
The technological lapse-loop of consciousness is akin to the previous generation’s “Where are my glasses?” (glasses on head), or rather, the old “I can’t find the remote control” while frantically checking couch cushions with the remote-in-hand. My issue was that I didn’t complete my loop properly, you see, it goes Email–Facebook–Instagram–Tumblr–Twitter-News. I wake up, and the cycle begins. The first thing I see when I wake up isn’t the sun, the trees, nor my cat. It’s the last thing I saw before I went to sleep. The loop. Got a spare minute in traffic? On the train? On the toilet? Professor too boring? The loop.
The goal is, of course, to avoid human contact at all costs. And if you get skilled enough at building your own personal loop, it’s self-updating. Meaning when you start at say, Twitter, by the time you finish your cycle you can refresh Twitter and stare blankly at your iPhone for eternity. I wonder if there are people so deeply entrenched in the act of networking, their lives and careers are entirely symbiotic with a WiFi connection. Why even get out of bed?
Here’s a song worth looping, my old favorites Phantogram with “Bill Murray”
86 playsArtist: Phantogram Track: Bill Murray
There’s a strange satisfaction that can be gleaned from pure consumerism. I’ve spent my reading break reaping the benefits of our society; from candle-lit steak dinners, downtown shopping at record stores and sex shops, to tequila shots and home-made margaritas. Needless to say, i’ve never been more white and more upper-middle class than the past few days.
It’s temporary satisfaction at best, and an addictive type of “happiness” to boot. The inclination is to spend more money on more shit, go out for more dinners and buy more suit jackets. Every new experience or new material good comes with an asterix; I need more. Because these consumables have only one status, consumed, and when they’re gone the pleasure fades away quickly. It’s easy to see why many people live in a world of debt, spending money is an opiate that can addict us all.
But it’s back to the social grindstone for yours truly, and it’s time to buckle down once more and attack some scholarly projects.
Fueling my passion for writing notes this evening is the NY duo Yellerkin. Blending elements of woodsy mid-west folk and the fast-paced reverb echoes of the big city, Adrian Galvin and Luca Buccellati conjure up images of the sun through the sticks and a muddy pair of Doc Martens. Although they claim they grew up “yelling”, their sound is significantly drowned out by the vast expanse of trees and crunchy leaves. It’s the perfect tune for the winter thaw.
Yellerkin – Solar Laws
12 playsArtist: Yellerkin Album: Solar Laws - Single Track: Solar Laws
It’s been a year since Giraffage dropped his first LP, "Needs", and the sample-sommelier is back at it again with his full album remix of The Dream’s 2007 album “Love Hate”. (Full download available)
Giraffage is starting to hit the big time going on tour this past year, and there’s nobody better in the game at cutting samples. The remix album is a pretty incredibly piece of work, and I strongly suggest giving Charlie Yin a follow on his tumblr page. He’s been a member of our community for quite some time and we gotta support the fam
Baby making music at it’s finest. The beat is an 8-bit throwback, and it reminds me of my rugrat days playing Shadowgate and Deja Vu for the NES. Put it on loop and watch your sperm count triple
56 playsArtist: Giraffage Album: Giraffage Remixes The-Dream Track: I Luv Your Girl
Sometimes I think about the narratives people create for themselves. We’re a strange generation, everyone has a split identity. It’s almost inaccurate to say that we have a virtual persona and a “real life” persona, that line is washed out. And it wouldn’t surprise me if in the future, our offline selves won’t just switch on for good.
Not that I’m one of those technological naysayers, although in my golden age I’m starting to become a little geriatric in my acceptance of iGoods. I just feel that there’s more artificiality to the Twitfacegram than we perceive.
“Had a great day with the girls!”
“Yuck I’m getting sick again”
We’ve all seen these statuses, or some variation of them. The first type of status serves as a social signifier, it’s proof that yes, you were with your girls and yes, you acknowledge the time shared and you’d like to share that knowledge with other uninvolved parties. It’s a concept I don’t quite understand. If I wanted people to see my pictures of the bar I was at, I probably would’ve fucking invited them instead. The second type of status is multifaceted, it can serve the purpose of drawing pity, or more heinously, it can serve as a get-out-of-jail card. A virtual certificate to those coworkers, friends, or family you might be bailing on.
The language is always very peculiar, very ambiguous yet universal. These statuses are a social currency of sorts, and to be skilled in the art of something like pop-cultural hashtagging can send you down the rabbit hole into a weird subculture of double-tap addicts incessantly gaining followers and posting selfies.
It’s tough for me to justify to my conscience that I’m not an asshole. Sometimes I see these sorts of statuses and I laugh and grin derisively. I think of something mean to say and I pick apart their choice of words.. But I never hit “Enter”. After I delete the potential comment, my shoulders sink, and I wallow in my own self-disgust. Who am I to lambast those who are simply part of the dominant culture? They’re just social actors, playing out their roles, and-… Christ. I can’t even finish that sentence without sounding like a jackass.
I guess I just wish people spoke more genuinely online. If you wouldn’t say it out loud, why are you representing yourself that way?
One of my biggest struggles growing up was the struggle to be myself, to not be shy, to shed my social anxiety. And as a result I dove head first into sociology. It’s the scientific study of culture, society, and human nature. Unfortunately, knowledge can come at a high cost (aside from tuition), and the social scientific lens cannot be removed. Every waking moment is a social experiment: watching the drunkards across the street talk about fucking, sitting on transit, getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, hell.. even spending 15 minutes in a taxi is some sort of strenuous social act. I’ve dealt with livid customers who had to sit with strangers because they bought their tickets cheap m from “groupon”. Speaking to another human being outside the context of a monetary transaction is bar none, like THEE hardest fucking thing imaginable for some people. Especially sober. And that bums me out.
I decided to make my Facebook statuses all haikus, because I wanted people to know that I gave these things some honest thought. They aren’t some contrived sentence or old tropes, and they aren’t wifi diarrhea statuses that only exist because I had ten seconds in between red lights.
Favela’s Easy Yoke is a very unique piece of music, blending elements of dreampop we’ve grown to love with looping samples of classical string instruments. Unlike the other songs on this list, tension mounts in this track, and the result is pure beauty. A good song to walk home to, and minimalist soul at it’s finest. The last few moments will leave you with goosebumps, and it’s this kind of music I use as therapy in times of mental turmoil.
Oh, and here’s a download link.
Favela. – Easy Yoke
20 playsArtist: Favela. Track: Easy Yoke
It never ceases to amaze me how musically deprived I become when my car is out of commission. Tragically, old blue’s radiator exploded, and after a rough week playing passenger to my lady (and trying to change a tire at one AM in -25 degree weather), I’m finally back behind the wheel and at the mercy of my iPhone’s shuffle.
School’s out for the week and i’ve constructed an exhaustive “To-Do” list that needs to be completed before the 25th. One of those “To-Do”s happens to be to reacquaint myself with you lovely followers, and what better way to reacquaint oneself than on Valentines Day?
And what better music for Valentines Day than The 1975’s Sex.
20 playsArtist: The 1975 Album: The 1975 (Deluxe Edition) Track: Sex
I’ve been neck-deep in sociological jibber-jabber the past few weeks, writing a multifarious batch of pieces ranging from Inuit depiction in the National Film Board Archive of Canada to recent legislation on teenage sexting. Tonight I’m hunkered down with my latest project; a comprehensive content analysis of the effects of pop music on gender stereotypes. I’ve got about fifteen PDF files open and an empty glass of wine. But in the background of all this white noise, Housemate’s latest song washed all the text away with the first few keys.
Brad Payne grew up in arguably the prettiest place in England on the coasts of Bournemouth, and the coastal influence is evident in his eclectically bubbly production. It’s a tone-heavy, glitchpop sea-song, and another stellar product from a former teenage basement-dweller. His debut album Axiom will be available on March 17, and until then whet your whistles with his latest single “Always Here for you”
Housemate – Always Here for You
And if you like the sounds, support the artist by giving him your thumbs and ears at:
Stream some early tracks from “Axiom”
32 playsArtist: Housemate Album: Always Here for You - Single Track: Always Here for You
It’s official! Yours truly will be headed to SXSW as a member of the press!
Please, please, hold the applause! The flight is booked, the hotel is secured, and the gastrointestinal butterflies are full blown jittering. It’s been a weird few days, i’ve been desperately trying to gain some peer accolades for this accomplishment, but all of my friends, family, and co-workers have no idea what SXSW is… so i’ve been glowering in my own self-appreciation, and i’m getting quite sick of myself.
There’ll be something like 850,000 thousand bands, give or take a few eight-hundred-and-fourty-eight-thousand, and I can hardly contain my musical boner. Realistically, it’s a huge opportunity for me, both as a amateur journalist and as a representative for The New LoFi (for those of you who don’t know, TNLF is my homebase). It’ll be an overwhelming life-changing experience, undoubtedly, and I can’t wait to put on my nerd glasses and hammer out some rock solid journalising.
The toughest part about leaving is saying goodbye to my cat for a week (and erm.. my girlfriend too or whatever). So in the spirit of sorrowful goodbyes, here’s a very topical song by SXSW 2014 artist, Oberhofer. Enjoy your weekend
100 playsArtist: Oberhofer Track: Gotta Go
For those of you who haven’t heard of SXSW, it’s this absolutely gigantic media-saturated festival with music, film, discussion panels, and pretty much every indie band that you could possibly imagine. As a cultural blogger it’s basically the Mecca of events, and as a personal music fan there really isn’t anything more grand in size and scale than SXSW. Hundreds of bands jam-packed in to small venues over a relentless six days.
The line-up is insane and exhaustive. Needless to say there are more bands that i’d like to see than there is time to see them, but I’d certainly like to catch Black Milk’s show. Curtis Cross first caught my attention about a year ago with this song, and his latest album “No Poison No Paradise” was a throwback to the type of hip-hop I grew up loving.
I just got an email from my editor yesterday informing me that a press pass has been granted to us, and he’d like me to attend. This means backstage, free booze, and potential access to exclusive events. Basically, the absolute dream. However, up until a few hours ago, I never even considered attending. I’d need time off work, i’d need to reschedule a few exams, i’d need to kiss my cat and my girlfriend goodbye for a week and i’d need to wrangle up a few thousand coins to make the trip. Not to mention all the planning; hotel booking, shuttle/taxi’s, flights etc.
The question is, should I go?
20 playsArtist: Black Milk Album: No Poison No Paradise Track: Sunday's Best - Monday's Worst
Last Lynx should be famous. Or will be famous. I can just feel the marketability… THEY’RE JUST SO TIGHT
I don’t always have profound thoughts. In fact, I think I drank that well-water of profoundity away. I’m in a recharge phase; my brain chemicals are just trying to get their shit back together.
I’m currently staring blankly at a pillar
NO BUT SERIOUSLY. Last Lynx. These guys. Get ‘em on the radio already they should hang out with Lorde and shit
40 playsArtist: Last Lynx Track: Lacuna