Monthly Archives: April 2012

Lobo Hombre En Paris (Levantine Edit) – La Unión

Gorgeous and mellow edit by Levantine, who drops a deep beat that I can just get lost in. I love this kind of music that’s not a quick digestible 3-minute slice of pop. It’s a meandering journey through instruments and foreign vocals, progressing slowly and meaningfully into a force of deep relaxation.

Don’t think of this as playing a song. Think of it as surrounding yourself with a mellow vibe. It’s Sunday afternoon, just sit back and stare at the ceiling, have a smoke, and absorb the feeling of this track.

Download  Lobo Hombre En Paris (Levantine Edit) – La Unión

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- Switch

Of Monsters and Men (Remix/Cover/Album Release/Festivals)

 

I’m very happy to bring you a few updates on my favorite Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men. If you don’t know who they are yet, take a look back at our review of their debut album back in October.

First up, their album My Head is an Animal has finally been released in the U.S. and Canada. Go get it! It’s amazing. U.S. iTunes || Canada iTunes

They’re going to be playing at Lollapalooza and Osheaga festivals this summer, and to top it off they’re gonna be on Jimmy Fallon on May 8th. I’m so happy for them that they’re getting more well-known now, because by the strength of their debut album I was shocked that more blogs/magazine/people hadn’t found out about them.

Well all that’s starting to change, starting with this HypeM-chart-topping progressive house bootleg by Dzeko & Torres. I’m a sucker for house remixes of folk/indie songs, and this one’s super-awesome.

Download  King and Lionheart (Dzeko & Torres Streesh Bootleg) – Of Monsters and Men  +

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And finally, there’s also this sweet little cover of “Little Talks”.
Download  Little Talks (Of Monsters and Men Cover) – Michael Connor & Danielle Charron

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The Branding of Swedish House Mafia – An Experiment on Listening Objectively

A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet that Swedish House Mafia (SHM) released a new song titled “Greyhound”. Unlike their last few releases, I didn’t feel the need to rush out and get it. For some reason, I held off and it slipped my mind. Eventually, my obligation to stay up-to-date on the music world forced me to give in, but before I listened to it, I wanted to try an interesting experiment on myself. My objective was to work out how much of the fame and recognition that big artists get is due to successful branding and listeners’ expectations, and how much is due to the real noticeable differences in their music.

 

The Experiment Set-Up

I put “Greyhound” into a playlist of twenty other house/electro songs that I hadn’t previously heard. These songs were randomly chosen from a variety of torrents and music blog compilations. I did not read descriptions or reviews for any of these songs. All I had seen were their titles, artists, and where I had downloaded them from. I recognized some of the artists like Jack Beats, Dada Life, and Alex Metric, but most of the songs were by artists I had never heard of. That way, I wouldn’t be able to identify every song with a specific artist’s style or signature sound. Also, I had not seen any promotional material or reviews of “Greyhound” yet; I just searched for it on Hulkshare and downloaded it.

I played the playlist on shuffle without seeing the song order, wrote out the numbers 1 through 20, and wrote brief notes as each song played. I listened to the full playlist once on a pair of Pioneer HDJ-2000s, and once on my car speaker system turned up loud. Afterwards, I wrote a rough order of preference for the songs in the list.

 

The Results

The point of this little test was to work out something that’s been bothering me – to what extent does branding, publicity, fame, and name recognition play into my perception of these artists and their music? Here’s what I found out when I compared my notes to the playlist order:

 

I hadn’t even come close to selecting “Greyhound” as my top choice.

 

Read More…

Mouthful of Phantogram

I don’t know what it is about Phantogram that makes their songs perfect for mixing with hip-hop verses, but thankfully several artists have noticed and taken advantage of their beautiful indietronica (is that a real word yet?) in these mash-ups.

 

This first one is from The Hood Internet, long-known as mash-up masters. They add Wiz Khalifa’s “Roll Up” to “Don’t Move”, and it comes out with a super-mellow happy vibe.
Download  Move Up (Phantogram vs Wiz Khalifa) – The Hood Internet  +

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Next up, this one’s exactly what it sounds like – “Mouthful of Diamonds” vs “Diamonds from Sierra Leone”. Brought to you by wait what, the same mash-up genius behind The Notorious xx album.
Download  Mouthful of Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Phantogram vs Kanye West) – wait what

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Now this one isn’t strictly speaking a mash-up. Azad Right, who is my favorite rapper of the moment (if you want to know why, listen to this, and this), released this track about two weeks ago. He uses “When I’m Small” by Phantogram as the backing track.
Download  Old School (prod. Phantogram) – Azad Right

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Like what you hear? Hit up our earlier post about Phantogram.

Bonus Remix:
Sexy, energetic and very danceable – this remix by The Jackals is freaking perfect.
Download  Mouthful of Diamonds (The Jackals Remix) – Phantogram

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Home – Gabrielle Aplin

I really hope that you don’t feel like you’ve heard too many singer-songwriters coming out of the U.K, because I need to introduce you to Gabrielle Aplin. Like many other young artists in the last few years, she first found an audience on YouTube before using that to jumpstart her music career. After three EPs that shot well up the iTunes charts, she got signed to Parlophone Records in February. She’s now working on a debut album that’s slated to be released in August of this year.

For your convenience, you could just think of her as the female Ed Sheeran. But that would be a cheap shortcut, since her pop/folk hybrid and light, carrying voice are wonderful and inspiring and unique. To get aquainted, first listen to these two songs from her latest EP Home.

Home – Gabrielle Aplin  +

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Romeo Must Die – Gabrielle Aplin

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Now that you’re hopefully hooked, you can head over to iTunes to get the Home EP (US iTunes || UK iTunes) and the Never Fade EP (US iTunes || UK iTunes). Or just to find out more about her, go to her Facebook page or Twitter.

 

Remixes!

For when you’re in party mode, Chris Ramos did some fantastic work converting “Home” into an energetic vocal house song. I really love this remix. For a point of reference, it’s similar to how Kaskade always uses gorgeous female vocals in his music.
Download  Home (Chris Ramos Remix) – Gabrielle Aplin  +

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Dubstep remix from Eyes. Again, a really good remix, but this isn’t party dubstep. The song gains a nice deep, rhythmic beat that slowly works its way to the light womps+wubs of the chorus.
Download  Home (Eyes Remix) – Gabrielle Aplin

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- Switch

Levels (But Backwards)

That’s it, it’s Levels in Reverse.

Download  Levels (In Reverse) (George Monev Edit) – Avicii

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I think it’s pretty damn good, in fact – comparable to the original.

-Spark

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