We arrived at Webster Hall hours earlier than I’d ever been there on a Friday night. Elohim & EDEN had the 8-10pm time slot on the main floor, so I thought I’d be settling into an intimate show for the select few people in NYC that had heard of my underground favorites. I couldn’t have been more wrong, Gotham was out in force. The dance floor was full at 8pm. All you party producers struggling to get butts on the floor at 10:30pm, know that they pulled almost full capacity at 8:02. If you were in the crowd, you know how palpable the excitement was.
Elohim was on stage, striking the perfect balance between mysterious, alluring, distant, and smoldering. She was also doing everything her fucking self while she struck said balance. I’m not sure how to describe this, but when you see exceptional indietronica being performed, you expect there is more than one person making the stuff live. Elohim thinks that’s adorable. She did vocals, synth, chord, percussion, lighting and visual media…herself. And it was good. Not like “oh wow, jack of all trades” good. Good like “Why isn’t she working in a giant record studio out in LA?” Her effortless moody, synth future pop chill rolled around the main room at Webster Hall, bringing teen conversations to a halt and forcing all eyes (and ears) on her. The cover work, the transitions, the curated visual art that accompanied her songs, all orchestrated hauntingly well. In all honesty, I’ve never been transfixed or enraptured by a live performer before. DJs don’t do it that way for me, and I never got to see Michael Jackson perform live. I’ve been going to live music for 18 years, and she’s the first.
The heat accompanying global moistness had given the city a sweaty, rainy feel, but the new week is upon us, so that means new sweltering tunes! A mix of old and new this week, dope trance from MitiS, chilled vibes from haven off the new WaveMob compilation, a surprisingly good tech house banger from SREYAS off an OverClocked Remix compilation, and two gems from Submotion Orchestra. Put this ish in your face, and if you get a chance to see Submotion Orchestra live, DO SO.
#MyBoyMitiS continues his meteoric rise from club kid to headliner, dropping a quietly epic Trance tune on Soundcloud yesterday. His signature attention to detail and innovative production choices shine here. MitiS delivers a trance tune that would find a home at FSOE, ASOT, Pure NRG or a dozen other Trance DJ podcasts or live sets. When you shazam it at Dreamstate later this year, you’ll know where it came from.
I cannot say enough good things about Haven. He’s one of those rare gifts of a producer that make you feel amazing things and never abuses the privilege. His latest off of WaveMob‘s new compilation is a stellar example of what WaveMob is capable of, and I highly recommend checking out the entire playlist. If you can’t get enough of this stuff, check out my interview with Haven & other chill DJs here.
I was jamming on a compilation of video game remixes over the weekend when I came across this remix. SREYAS really blew me away with this one, as I am not used to hearing tech house bangers that make me want to play Super Mario Brothers. This tune slaps honestly, the bass is exceptionally well produced, the original VGM material is used expertly, and the mastering is second to none. We’d expect nothing less from OverClocked Remix, so I encourage you to put the whole playlist on when pre-gaming this week, and show them some love over at www.ocremix.org
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been obsessed with Submotion Orchestra & their album Alium. The 6 piece organic band manages to fuse elements of jazz, pop, indie, electronica, house and R&B, creating a gorgeous, unique sound that feels exceptionally modern. The complexity of the album allows for a sonic journey that I’ve been missing from traditional electronic releases, while the moody goodness keeps me grounded while playing the album on repeat. Awakening is a triumph, even more so than the rest of the album, so don’t miss it. SeeMore managed to do an exceptionally difficult thing. Remix another one of my favorites from Submotion Orchestra, giving it some future bass oomph without getting in the way of the original source material. The fusion between old and new is one of the finer remixes on the Submotion Orchestra Spotify page, and has definitely turned me onto SeeMore.
Now that we’re in the thick of the “stuck to your chair” heat here in NYC, I decided to take a break from the throbbing electronic sounds of festivals, and serve up a dose of more analog vibes. Classic guitar, hip hop, indie, lighter drum & bass, and even a tune from a singer-songwriter. Cool off, slow down, and enjoy! Big ups to Stamp The Wax for providing 2 of the 5 tunes this week. They’re definitely one of my crucial daily reads.
Kenneth Bager’s Music For Dreams label has served up some exceptional Balearic, a vibe that some of my younger readers might not be familiar with. Essentially, the lighter, Mediterranean, ebb & flow feel that keeps you moving, but never presses you to dance or make a big show of it. Sunset over Hobro brings together guitar, accordion and soft, sunrise bass pad work for a relaxed intensity that pulled me in immediately. If it intrigued you as well, hit up the album on iTunes & Spotify.
Jesse Futerman, out of Toronto, slid this tune into my reality thanks to Stamp The Wax, and we’re all better for it. The lush, leisurely, morning jam deserves your coffee break or PokeStroll. The squelchy synths never get too aggressive, with a funky melody melting all over the beat. The muted trumpet & bass guitar give the track a vintage feel that I cannot get enough of these days.
Switching gears entirely, but staying at the same tempo, is this cut off of Peter $un‘s new mixtape, Paradise Is A Day Away. It’s been a minute since I repped rhymes, but this was too good to ignore. The heavy bass & ethereal feel seem to match the not-aggressive, but still wicked flow. It’s almost got a tinge of blues which is rare these days. Get at it.
Edwin Raphael does exceptional work here. The guitar soothes, the voice soars, and that’s all you need. No extra wacky synth work, no house beats, no autotune. Just a boy & his guitar, singing his heart out. Enjoy it with someone you love.
Rounding out the list is Brutalist, a group that wins for best new act name of the week, but also really nails it here on Strep. I expected the tune to be way more aggressive & brutal, but it’s a relaxed stroll through piano chord synths, stuttering bass & gorgeous chopped up vocals. Dig in and thanks to Stoney Roads for making sure I didn’t miss it.
We’re in the thick of the sauna that is Summer in New York. So to cool off, here’s your regular quintet of tunes, upbeat, yet still relaxed, all from excellent emerging talent. Enjoy with a cold drink and a skip in your step!
Sydney duo La Mar surprised me with this one. A slow, crooning start pushes into a delightful indietronica vibe, complete with the vagaries of Asian influences, soft vocals, and some relaxed bass. Can we please start hearing shit like this on the radio in America please?!
Since everyone & their mother is playing Pokemon Go, I figured this week’s tracks had to include at least 1 tune that screams JAPAN, and 2ToneDisco are happy to provide. The fusion between J-Pop, chip and glitzy West Coast house is bouncy, peppy, but still manages to nail the the breakdown at 2min in. All in all a great effort from 2ToneDisco, so now I’ve gotta find a way to interview these cats, especially after their dope JetSet Radio remix.
Hotel Garuda has been moving up that festival booking ladder steadily. Their sound is exactly what so many people need in their day/week/festival, so I couldn’t be happier for them. This sunny remix of the hit by Kaskade & Felix Cartal takes the scintillating vocals from Ofelia K and puts a solid, fest-ready house backing under it. It won’t blow your mind, just make you relax a touch mid-set.
Lexy Panterra continues the smooth, indietronica vibe in effect this week. The soothing vocals, vaguely garage-esque beats, and a distinct lack of audio modulation/auto-tune makes for a great chill/relaxation tune, or for your super secret playlist for getting down.
CADE is a new arrival on my radar, but has an EDEN/Stephen thing going on, so they’re a welcome addition to my indietronica stable. The sweeping chord shift at 1min in is exceptional, showing that heavy modulation can work, especially if you’ve already got chops. You can feel the West Coast influences on this track, but CADE still holds his own, bringing a unique sound to a field that will be very crowded in a couple of years. Indietronica is the future of pop, you heard it here first.
Spring is in full swing! To celebrate, here’s another 5 tunes you can bomp. Hope you got some time in the sun this weekend. If not, consider it added to your “to do” list for the week. SWRVN & Razz teamed up for this punchy, uptempo festival-friendly jam. This is one of those modern, EDM-infused hits that might make the oldsters in your crew cringe, but for the rest of you exhausted from Coachella, enjoy the energy!
Cruel Youth returns after her explosive debut in Mr. Watson. The new track is uptempo, less opiate related, and almost whimsical at times. Hopefully this means our protagonist is feeling better and we’ve got some sunny EP tracks to look forward to. Deeply compelling vocals anchor this sound splendidly, so enjoy it with some white wine walking through the park.
Moving Castle speeds towards the horizon, bringing some of the best forward-looking tunes around to us. Robokid pushes the ball up hill with this shimmering Future Bass tune. Inventive synth work, indie vibes, and just a drop of auto-tune attached to the vocals leads to a great hit that will most certainly perk up your afternoon. Jon Bellion came out of nowhere with this single last week, but I assume this has Spotify Discover or Apple Music hit written all over it. This indietronica has some of the best lyrics I’ve heard in months. “There’s bones in my closet but you hang stuff anyway” is perfect for the NYC dating life if I’ve ever heard one.
This last one slaps folks, with PrototypeRaptor proving once again why he needs to be taken seriously. If you’re not into throbbing electro, bordering on dubstep, steer clear. But if you’re looking for something pounding & exceptionally well produced, I got you. I want to hear the Flying Batter Zone from Sonic & Knuckles re-done in this style, because it goes hard.
The last Monday in March will be celebrated with Morgan Freeman, a black cat & 5 of the most legit things I heard last week!
Greyhat coming at you from Maine, with some soothing, almost vaporwave chillout. I say almost because there’s an indie punch to the track that’s much appreciated. It’s got a Blockheads classic psychedelic rock feel to it. Never too overpowering, but most certainly guitar-focused and liquid. Speaking of liquid, it pulls into a breaking, almost d&b tempo, before melting back into this lush indietronica that deserves roaring congratulations. It feels like driving through one of those rainbow 80’s videogame .gifs.
Ghostchant is one of my favorite UK artists. His fusion of garage, ambient, downtempo, trap & ethereal beats is second to none, and this kind of remix needs to keep coming. Pulling even more echo & melancholy into The Weeknd, this six minute rework is a giant made of clouds. So much work went into creating the atmosphere that The Weeknd’s vocals soar through, I hope he sees in. Ghostchant is one of the best producers in the game, and totally needs to do some work for huge pop artists. Bieber remix next perhaps?
I mentioned Mickey Kojak a little while ago, and when I said I’d keep my eye on him, I meant it. This one is hard to classify but makes me happy, a track that gives me hope for the future. Forward looking, while almost paying homage to Disclosure, this funky house track hits all the right notes. On point vocals, a surprisingly round & well produced bassline, decidedly non-tropical sounding pad work, and melancholy come together wonderfully. As it fades away, I’m left wondering, just like the last time I wrote about him, what’s coming next from this guy.
Hadn’t anticipated new SBTRKT, but it’s always welcome. THE-DREAM shows up to provide some euphoric hip hop fusion with potent indie bass. It’s a frenetic, tense build, but that makes the drop/chorus even more gratifying. Well put together, with all of the elements playing their position, as it were. The auto-tune is minimal if used at all, and the almost euphoric break rounds out the 3:48 nicely. Quick fun & unassuming.
This is dope. While it’s the most festival ready shit I’ve ever posted on this blog, I have my reasons, those being, Trainspotting. Any track that uses samples from Trainspotting doesn’t get turned off immediately. And I’m glad I didn’t. The first build is EDM as fuck, but the 2nd, real build is euphoric trance that we need more of. The samples remain useful throughout, and the music video is well edited. The build puts you in a crazy, serotonin filled place, which I hope to hear more of as the US festival season warms up. Bomp this ish loud, your music junkie friends will thank you. Big ups to Bobina for making this happen.
Bonus! A friend’s tune that he only hinted at existing, one of my tracks of 2015, is finally seeing official release! Yellow@TheLight has been killing it in the whispered quiet spaces of the Lower East Side and Bali, strangely enough. His vibe can’t really be described, so I’ll just let the track speak for itself. Metal drums, deep vibes, and a techno back bone come together to feel like a beach party from the X-Files. Half deep, half almost metallic, it really shows off the breadth & depth of the production competence Yellow@TheLight brings to the table. So hopefully you & I can convince him to do it more often. If you’re feeling this, he’s got a new mix out of similar depth.
It’s Leap Day! This day doesn’t exist, most of the time, so here are a couple of tracks you might not be sure are real until you listen to them again. Genre mixing, ethereal rhythms and a larger than life trance tune in the middle. That one’s not for the faint of heart, but the rest are totally for general consumption. Enjoy the 29th, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all those Leap Baby mutants out there!
Officially the smoothest Jackson 5 remix I’ve heard in a while. The upbeat tropical vibe would be annoying if it wasn’t almost driving and progressive. The vocal modulations give the track an interesting twist, that keeps me from hating on their presumptuous Jackson 5 choice. I don’t know where this geo came from, but I’m a fan and can’t wait to see where they go next.
Kaptain is a new arrival on the scene, but already making huge waves. With production like this, it’s easy to see why. That Future Funk vibe is melting the cold we’re all currently dealing with. The bassline synth is impeccable, and the tune swings like Uptown Funk. Grant Genske & Willdabeast (great name) add some extra layers of dopeness, giving you a solid six minutes of jazzy wobbly vibes.
Endemic! The off the wall potent hard trance producer that fell off the map a bit back is back. If you’re not into hard dance, run screaming from the room on this one. However, if you’re into punchy bass, heavy trance and old school UK vibes, you’re going to LOVE this track. It’s got a classic drop that’s positively frenetic for 2016. However, if you close your eyes, you can almost hear 2004 in it. Have fun ravers. #PLURLife
Slowing way, way down, filous brings his global bass feel to the Gorillaz classic. LissA joins filous to rework the song entirely, and we’re all better for it. Peaceful guitar chords, positive vibes, and a whole lot of relaxed competence flooding the original. Not a lot to say besides sit back and enjoy.
James Blake continues to be able to do whatever the fuck he wants. This Modern Soul hits all the right notes. Blake’s melancholic vocals fuse with the lilting piano and chord work to great success. But, that’s because it’s James Blake, who could probably make a room weepy with a Kazoo and an 808 if he wanted to. Great work as always, can’t wait for the next collab with Chance The Rapper.
New week, new tunes! Hope the long weekend is treating you well if you’re off. If you’re working on this Presidents Day Monday, turn on, tune in & drop out. Wayvee‘s Recovery EP is a lilting, chilled melodic future footwork feature. The reworking of the classical music is something you hear every so often, but it’s rarely this good. The soft operatic melody above the future bass & footwork is a treasure that you need in your life right now.
Pensees misted into my awareness last week, one of those artists you almost don’t notice if you’re not paying attention. The melodic chill is expertly produced, creating an aural landscape you don’t much hear in the USA outside of artists like Haven, glo & a couple of others. It’s evocative while faintly nostalgic, so put it on and drift off. If you can’t get enough of this sound, hit up the bandcamp for 5 more releases in the same chilled out vein.
Mazde has popped up on my radar a couple of times over the last year or two, but this track really brought his talents into light. The German remixed Rufus, pulling from the recent “Bloom.” It’s a powerful track that mixes melancholy, indie & some exceptional chord work. Take a look at this guy if you’re looking for music that’s hopeful without being saccharine.
Jerry Folk & ELOQ came out of nowhere on this one. The half indietronica, half future bass vibes on this are undeniable. There’s also a touch of the relaxed west coast feels we’re starting to see with the Future scene out in LA & SF. Great work, definitely legit effort, and earned a spot on my radar.
Closing out the post with a 2 piece EP from Isgoood. I don’t usually post seemingly standard House because I’ve got a pretty high bar for that genre, as I primarily dance out of doors in NYC to it. This kind of classic vibe is my exception. Done impeccably, the production perfectly captures the SoHo bar, filled with fashionable people who know their house & rock their own style. Props once again to V for always dropping quality on FreshNewTracks, as because of him, I can bring it to you all.
Welcome to February! New Monday, same dope offering! Let’s get right into it!
Can’t say I’ve heard of EdThomas before, but the UK seems to be able to do no wrong these days. The moody vocal driven soulful delight impresses, but never overperforms. Free n Losh are not your run of the mill production outfit. Hailing from Toronto, the syncopated, low-key track pushes into a melancholy indietronica crooner. These neo-soul & indietronica entries get better by the month. Great work from a group I’d only heard whispers about on the internets.
Kidnap Kid is one of those rare, precious artists that you are forever changed after listening to. His most recent release, Birds That Fly, is the first release on his new label of the same name. The smooth UK house vibe is perfectly produced. The ebb & flow of the energy allows for an alternating intensity that is so difficult to do well. Jamie XX & Submotion Orchestra are two of the only other artists I can think of that hang in this tier of understated dopeness.
If you were at Black Tiger Sex Machine‘s Webster Hall appearance this Friday, you probably got a better performance of this track than most. But even just the studio version is exquisite. The heavy electrostep is definitely not my usual cup of tea, but BTSM go out of their way to produce their way into excellence. The breakdown almost feels chippy, while the build is transcendent & crisp to the point of being progressive. The drop is grinding electro that I’ve not heard in months. Great work, and watch out, Black Tiger Sex Machine is going to take the 2016 festival season by storm. You’ll see.
Rounding out this week’s post is the new EP from Strife II. Strife II is one of my most favorite artists, so every time anything new from him gets released, I absolutely have to mention it. He’s my favorite liquid drum & bass producer by far. He pairs with a bunch of dope talent on the EP, featuring Identified & vocals from Rachel Jones. The trio of tracks feature his signature euphoric and symphonic vibe. The classical meets liquid meets euphoria is a feel I think the rest of the planet needs way more of. Only Truth has an almost-Rameses B thing going on, and Collide is an exceptional example of how smooth, rounded & flowing liquid can be. Infinity Saws, a clear inside joke to his own style of production, finishes out wonderful release on Subsphere Records.
While the holiday season bears down on us, that doesn’t mean the tunes have to freeze over. 5 more tunes, and not a cold shoulder in sight!
You don’t hear glitch hop like this much these days. I’m a huge fan of the orchestral feel that the track gives off. It’s almost got this mad scientist feel to it, as electro clashes with glitch and everyone wins. Definitely not something I’ve heard in some time, so even though I’m a year late to the party, Shurk got followed like woah.
Arbitraire showed up from nowhere with this winner of an indietronica tune. There’s a pretty high level of moodly dopeness here, with the track wandering into London Grammar territory at times. It’s hard to keep this kind of production under wraps so watch for this group, wherever they’re from, to start making digital waves in 2016.
Stamp The Wax is one of my favorite UK blogs & for the holiday season, they’re bringing out the Advent Calendar. A whole month of music leading up to Christmas, with all the proceeds going directly to the artists, with mastering, hosting and all of the trimmings being comped. This tune comes from Dark Sky, a hugely talented London trio. This 8:25 epic journey feels like it’s halfway between the worlds of techno, garage, minimal and topped with just a dash of Latin. It feels very Barcelona during Sonar Festival, with the tune oozing character but not in a hurry to get anywhere.
A tune from 2004 by a group called The Real Tuesday Weld, this is about as random as it is chill. The genre was dubbed Antique Beat, but this was 3 years before Beats Antique showed up, so it’s managed to be its own thing. The video is what happens when you let a YouTube producer loose on the Internet Archive. The track is as close as you can get to a modern iteration on the classic Steamboat Willy vibe of vintage jazzy lounge music.
This is one of those remixes you’ve heard over and over in tiny pieces. I kept hearing it on forums and had to track it down. It’s about 3 years too late, but if you’re legit looking for a celebration anthem for 420, a way to test out new speakers, or troll straight edge friends, I got you covered. Just don’t tell Dr. Dre.