SBTRKT has been hinting at a new album for a bit now, and it looks like it’s finally about to see the day. Debuting a few days ago, “New Dorp, New York” features Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig on vocals and comes out as one of the most unique and enjoyable tracks we’ve heard this year. The track revolves around a driving bassline and subtle beat while Koenigs’ vocals bounce over top coupled with noise swells and flurries of synth bleeps. It feels more like a VW track than SBTRKT, but some experimentation is expected after a year or so in the studio, and it’s ultimately a home run. Take a listen below and keep your ears peeled for more tracks off of Wonder Where We Land:
Caribou is gearing up to release their 6th full length studio album ‘Our Love,’ and the first single is one of the best track’s we’ve heard all year. Few words can describe the warmth they’ve packed in to the track between the analog chords, shuffling percussion, and simple but irresistible vocal line. We’ll let the song speak for itself, but needless to say, the LP has quickly become our most anticipated record of the next few months.
DC/LA producer and DJ, Tittsworth, just teamed up with a hip hop dream team for his latest track. “After The Dance” features Q-Tip, Theophilus London & DC vocalist, Alison Carney, for a laid back dance groove perfect for summer nights. The track feels as slick as an old school hip hop track wrapped up in an instantly addicting future funk of washed out synths and shuffling percussion. We’ve had this on repeat all week. It’s also up as a free download so make sure to grab it now:
If you don’t know the very, very, very, very (YES EACH VERY WAS NEEDED) talented Brooklyn based singer/songwriter Tei Shi, right now is your chance to correct that. Tei Shi is headed to U Street Music Hall on Tuesday July 8th to play with the UK’s very own Glass Animals. Her sound is classic R&B meets chill indie-synths & experimental vibes. Think Sade meets Devon Hynes/Blood Orange & James Blake. We sat down with Tei Shi and got to know her and how she makes her signature “mermaid music” sound, the importance of drink tickets, and collaborating with tour headliners Glass Animals for their track “The Holiest.”
So you call your sound “mermaid music,” what’s key to that sound?
-I first used the term when I was unsure of how to describe the music on my facebook page. I thought it was kind of funny and weird, and I love mermaids…in a way I think it also fits with the music. The “key”, I suppose, is the heavy emphasis on the vocals which creates a kind of siren-y sound with more ambient production. That’s at least true of Saudade for sure!
How did you develop the sound?
-I had been writing and working on the songs throughout a few years, and I teamed up with Luca Buccellati who has been producing everything with me and really helping me shape the sound. I brought the songs for the EP to him and we re-recorded them, developed the arrangements further together, added instrumentation, and really shaped it. I think the development of the sound is still happening, and it’s a combination of my own style of songwriting I guess, with growing experimentation and playing around with sounds and production. So it’s really still developing, but the basis is always the song and bringing Luca’s production skills into the mix.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and Bogata had to expose you to quite the spectrum of music, what has been your biggest musical influences? And the one we might find the most unexpected?
-I grew up all over the place, my family is spread out all over the world and I’ve definitely bounced around a lot, even in the past few years. So that kind of lifestyle and desire for change is something that’s really influential to me as a person. I was also exposed to a lot of different cultures and music as a result, and I think that played a big role in causing me to develop a really eclectic taste in music. I would cite everywhere from Queen, to Fleetwood Mac, to James Blake, to Mariah Carey as an influence. All of the artists and music that I consider to be influences on me musically you probably don’t hear at all in my music–I consider my musical influences more as artists who kind of opened my eyes and ears to different ways of being and expressing, rather than directly shaping my own sound. Recently I’ve been listening a lot to Ariana Grande and I love her, so that would probably be an unexpected one to some people…but I’d really love to write a song for her.
Your duet with Glass Animals, “The Holiest” is a simply stunning track. What or who inspired the track?
-Thank you! It’s still kind of funny and surprising to me how that track came about, it really just kind of happened and turned into something really cool without much planning or intention on either part. Dave from Glass Animals sent over some instrumental loops he had been working on (we were put in touch as they were looking to do collaborations and liked my music-for some odd reason). I remember listening through a few loops and when I came across the one that came to be Holiest, I was really drawn to it. I loved the clicky melodic thing at the beginning of the song, and that prompted me to just start writing this melody and lyrics over it, and the song just kind of came out. I wrote the melody and lyrics and recorded my vocals over the loop I think all in one sitting, and I sent it over to Dave. He really liked it and took it into his hands from there, played around with it, recorded his vocals on it, finished the track and got it mixed. It was all a really smooth and kind of surprisingly quick process. I’d like to think we kind of both inspired each other with what we brought to the track, and because of that we were both able to build on it really fast and easily. It was a really awesome way of working together.
Any remixer for any of your tracks. GO!
-James Blake remix of Adder(f)all. That would be my final wish.
Now that you have your first sold out show, supporting Glass Animals, do feel you have made the jump from online to real life?
-It’s really awesome to be playing a sold out show, especially alongside Glass Animals. They are so awesome and have been so supporting of me, and it feels really rewarding to be able to share the stage with them. In terms of making the jump from online to real life…I don’t know if I will ever really feel that jump haha. Things like playing these shows and having people be really responsive to my music still don’t feel real to me at all, and although I definitely think in a way that’s a symptom of the age we live in, and the fact that success measured in the digital realm is so intangible and hard to translate, I also think that any kind of ‘success’ or opportunity that has come my way is really surreal. A year ago I wasn’t even sure that I would put the EP out at all, and now I’m playing at these awesome venues and getting to collaborate with wonderful musicians and go on the road, and it’s all kind of surprising to me. I think the jump to reality will happen once I’ve put out a good amount of music and can actually hold an album in my hand and call it mine, and interact with people and their responses to the music personally.
What has been the most important part of that transition from having your first self made EP to touring?
-The most crucial part has been the coming together of the live band and the process of us kind of uniting and diving into touring and all that. It all happened really quickly, the band came together a couple of weeks before the very first show during CMJ, last October. Since then things have been happening pretty quickly and we’ve had to adapt to each other and learn to work together and bring the music to life on stage. Which has been really weird and a huge learning experience for me since I had never payed live before this project. The band has gone through a lot of change, and our live set up has changed a LOT since October. We’ve really bonded as a group too and have become really close as people, so that has been the biggest foundation in terms of making that transition. Without Gabe (who plays drums in the band) and Luca (who plays guitar and keyboard), I think I would feel really lost. They are incredible musicians with way more live experience than me, and they’ve really supported me and been the backbone for me in that transition.
What makes a venue not just a good one, but a great one for you as an artist?
-Two things: The sound (the quality of the sound system and whether the sound guy can put up with us), and second in line would probably be how many drink tickets we get. hahaha.
For your first trip to perform in DC, what are your must see sites off stage?
-This will actually be my first time in DC ever, I would love to stay and get to know the city a bit, do all of those obligatory touristy things like seeing the White House and all that. We’re having to leave and drive back to NY right after our show though, so the site seeing will unfortunately have to wait til next time!
PERFECT! Now we have even more excuses to get you back down to play for us again!
As we ease our way into the long days of summer, I thought I’d share some killer tracks that will keep your party going. Take a listen, and feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments section.
1) Nice7 – Time to Get Physical (Bontan Remix)
Italian producer, Nice7, teams up with north London producer, Bontan, to release one of the catchiest tunes of the year. From the elastic bass line to the melodic vocal hook, everything about this track will have you bobbing your head and wiggling your booty. It’s tough to outmatch Bontan and Pleasurekraft’s widely popular remix of Josh Butler’s “Got a Feeling” from last year, but this tune is definitely up there.
2) Purple Velvet & Amy Lyon – All My Days
“All My Days” is the debut track from Chris James and Lee Dear’s DIY record label, Secret Reel. The swinging number features Scottish American vocalist Amy Lyon, and it seems like the perfect track to close out the Soundwaves boat party. I just ordered this one in the mail, and I can’t wait for it to arrive.
3) Leon Vynehall – Butterflies
Leon Vynehall is one of the hottest producers right now. His mini-album “Music for the Uninvited” is easily one of the best deep house releases of the year, and he’s constantly dropping new EPs and singles. If you like this track, I highly recommend giving his soulful tune “Time” a play.
4) Corrado Bucci – Open Your Eyes
The young Italian producer’s “Open Your Eyes” EP is truly stellar. The title track gives us a solid mix of soulful jazz, anthemic trumpets, and looping bass frenzy. I highly recommend checking out the rest of this EP too.
5) Nadastrom – Fallen Down
The DC duo recently released this sub-bass grinder from their upcoming debut album. Hearing this tune on the U Street Music Hall soundsystem is on my bucket list for the summer.