Posts by Nathan
Evalyn may be a newcomer to the pop space, but she is absolutely no lightweight, and she’s proving it to the world by coming out of the gate swinging with a jaw-dropping cover of “The Hills” by The Weeknd. Her self-dubbed style of wine-stained soul pop will take you swimming in a pool of vibes, and she couldn’t have picked a better cover to make her debut with.
Tabbing the up-and-coming duo, Louis Vivet, for production duties, Evalyn’s cover of “The Hills” is like a collision between the smooth sultriness of The Weeknd’s original and the gritty, electro-tinged, neo-noir atmosphere of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall,” which serves as the second backbone to the cover.
Louis Vivet deftly craft a blank canvas for Evalyn’s soaring vocals to peer into your soul like an emotional telescope. Heavy-handed synth sequences give the cover a somber, nostalgic feel before peeling back to reveal the subtle percussion arrangements and beautiful string melodies that are at the core of the tune. Check it out below and keep an eye out for Evalyn because she’s the real deal.
The 19-year-old Kasbo has been quietly having one of the biggest years in music. The Swedish producer has dazzled with remixes of Jeremih and Vance Joy that made him one of the most buzzed-about artists in dance music, and he solidified his position when he dropped his stand-out debut EP, Umbrella Club, last month.
To close out the year strong, the Swedish talent has unveiled a track for ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective, an imprint that has earned the reputation for hand-picking and fostering up-and-coming electronic artists, that is arguably his best production to date.
“World Away” is instrumental electronica at its best, as a wave of lush soundscapes instantly washes over you from the first beat to the last second. Like a master at work, Kasbo creates a sound that is so purely beautiful at its core that it sends waves of nostalgia running through your body – almost like you’ve heard the shimmering synths and big drum sequences that are woven together – creating a track that is so familiar, yet unexpected.
You know you’ve made it as an artist when other artists start covering tracks that you put out – and it’s safe to say that The Weeknd has made some serious waves with his new-school take on R&B. His debut album, Beauty Behind The Madness, was riddled with hits, tempting both serious electronic heavyweights, like RL Grime, and respected up-and-comers, like Steve James, to take on the challenge of remixing and covering a Weeknd track.
Hailing from Philly, Steve James is making a serious claim as my favorite up-and-comer in progressive house thanks to his willingness to evolve his sound. After a few months of hibernating in the studio, James triumphantly announced his return with his cover of The Weeknd’s “Earned It,” alongside Jasmine Thompson, the UK’s leading cover artist.
If The Weeknd’s original is dripping in sex and lust, then Steve James’ re-imagination takes that and dunks it into a pool of vibe-y goodness. James lays a bed of heavenly piano melodies and refreshing percussion work as Thompson’s ethereal voice draws you in until you’re lost in the beauty of the track.
To say that Led Zeppelin are icons in music would be understating the impact that the English rock band had on the industry at their peak in the 70s and 80s. It’s safe to say that Led Zeppelin has earned their spot in the music industry’s Hall of Fame, ensuring that the task of remixing one of their songs is all the more daunting for producers. If there was any producer fitting to try their hand at remixing Zeppelin, it would be ATTLAS, the enigmatic mau5trap artist who Pete Tong recently revealed as Canadian producer, Jeff Hartford.
Armed with a propensity for crafting drawn out and beautiful, motion picture-esque soundscapes, ATTLAS tackles Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” with full force, turning the bluesy rock production into a beautiful piece of electronic textures and sound design. Robert Plant’s distinguished vocals guide the track through dreamy, arpeggiated synth work, as ATTLAS replaces the electrifying guitar riff in favor of subtle piano chords and light snare work that places the emphasis on creating a beautiful, nostalgic vibe.
Grab your hats ladies and gentlemen, because we’re going on an adventure into the jungle with Bolier and Natalie Peris. Since he made his debut with his massive hit, “Every Single Piece,” Bolier has been quietly making waves in electronic music, harnessing the power and emotion of his music and conveying it perfectly in a live setting.
Hailing from Amsterdam, Bolier has found his niche by delivering tracks with a house backbone and infusing them with a style of tropical that carries darker undertones, and it’s nothing short of stellar. While his signature style may be more suited for the summer, Bolier has proved that his sound can evolve with the seasons with “Forever And A Day.”
A layer of shimmering synths sets the stage for the track, as Bolier infuses “Forever And A Day” with some serious jungle vibes using tribal percussion arrangements. As you wander through the maze of synths and drums on the track, blaring horn samples rev up the energy, giving “Forever And A Day” an undeniable groove.
Hailing from New Jersey, Tru Fam are twin brothers, by the name of Sha and Just I, championing their own brand of alternative hip hop. The pair of brothers manage to deliver strong lyricism reminiscent of Frank Ocean and electronic-hued, synth-heavy production reminiscent of Kid Cudi – impressive company to be considered with for the up-and-coming duo.
Their most recent single, “Super Paranoid,” perfectly captures Tru Fam’s delicate balance between emotional lyrics bolstered by strong production. The track opens with a curtain of shimmering, falsetto synths and subtle, pulsing bass line, before peeling back the curtain to tell a hip-hop ballad of broken hearts and the dangers of love.
Take one listen to the track, and you’ll see that the comparisons between Tru Fam and Kid Cudi and Frank Ocean aren’t far off. The New Jersey twins expertly channel their inspirations in their music without losing their identity, delivering a beautiful ballad of hip-hop with smooth electronic textures.
There are a few record labels in music that have cemented their reputation as reputable imprints that only put out quality records – Interscope Geffen, future classics, Young Turks, and the newly formed, West Coast record label, Mind of a Genius.
Though Mind of a Genius is a boutique dance imprint, it has consistently pushed the envelope with its roster, only signing artists that bring a deeper level of creativity and dedication to their craft. The West Coast imprint made its debut in 2014 alongside their inaugural signing – ZHU – and quickly established themselves as an independent record label with a talent for tastemaking and a knack for picking the right talents.
THEY. is the third artist to be signed to Mind of a Genius, following the electronic luminary, ZHU, and R&B sensation, Gallant. The duo of Dante and Drew showcase an unique take on hip hop, as Dante’s strong production grabs elements from indie rock and dance in a way that few others can. With ringing endorsements by ZHU and Mind of a Genius, THEY. are primed for a breakout, and they’ve just dropped their debut EP, NU RELIGION.
On the lead single of the EP, “Motley Crue,” a layered, psychedelic-esque guitar melody provides an interesting, but unexpected, canvas for Drew to deliver his stand-out topline on “Motley Crue.” The arpeggiated guitars eventually make way for complex and evolving drum work that only serves to elevate the catchy verses of THEY.
If there’s any California band whose name you need to know right now, it’s Golden Coast. Summer may be over, but the boys of Golden Coast have found a way to channel the bright, blue skies and sun-soaked days of July through their music in a way that will make you break out in a smile. While most indie-pop bands with summer ready music tend to retreat to the studio and hibernate as the weather gets colder, Golden Coast has delivered their answer to the fall with “High Noon Getaway.”
This latest pop anthem is a step away from Golden Coast’s typically warm and bubbly synth-pop, as the immensely talented duo have done away with the warm leads and catchy hooks that have come to define their music in favor of sweeping, 80s-influenced synths and warm guitar melodies that harkens memories of the fall.
Though “High Noon Getaway” isn’t your typical indie pop anthem, it’s nothing short of phenomenal. It’s the perfect track for a late night drive down PCH with the wind blowing through your hair.
Move over ZHU, because there’s a new artist in town to claim title of music’s most exciting masked man in my heart. I have no idea who BLU J is, but he quickly stole my heart this year with his outstanding remixes of Alina Baraz & Galimatias (whom I have openly professed my love for many times), ODESZA, and even Rihanna. By choosing to remain anonymous, BLU J has allowed their music to speak for itself, and they’ve spoken loud and clear with their unique fusion of deep house with future.
Though the mysterious talents have cut their teeth as serial remixers of pop sensations, BLU J is breaking out of that mold with their first-ever original production, a deep house number featuring Raeon titled “TGTHR.”
BLU J sets the stage a curtain of sparkling synths that are pulled back to reveal a deep, pulsing bass line that commands the tune through an addicting, catchy chopped and screwed vocal sample and heady techno synth sequences.
One of the best things about the Internet age of music is the quick and easy communication between artists. Social media platforms have allowed artists that we would have never typically dreamed of working together and styles that we never would have guessed could blend to come together creatively and push the envelope with their sound without ever leaving their house or studio.
Lately, the music industry has been getting a serious injection of indie into its veins thanks to artists like Glass Animals and Toro Y Moi, who are successfully bridging the gap between indie and mainstream by fusing electronic textures or hip-hop beats with a decidedly indie backbone.
Quinn XCII, a Michigan native who used to go by Quinn, just dropped his indie-meets-future-bass tune, “Stung,” which was produced by his collaboration-mate, ayokay. A polished piano melody opens the track and sets the stage for the Detroit vocalist to take center stage with his smooth vocals that drive the track forward. Ayokay eventually peels back the curtain to reveal a melodic, dreamy percussion arrangement that packs a serious punch of vibes. Peep it below.
Raise your hands if you saw this collaboration coming. Nobody? Good – because I never would have guessed that one of the year’s biggest indie sensations in Glass Animals would be working in the studio with one of hip-hop’s most talented, emerging artists in Joey Bada$$, but the result is nothing short of spectacular.
There’s no denying that both Glass Animals and Joey Bada$$ are at the forefront of their genre. The Oxford-based, indie rock band made some serious waves last summer when they dropped their debut album, Zaba, which showcased a production style that featured their playful blend of electronic textures with subtle percussion elements and sticky melodies.
Meanwhile, Joey Bada$$ has been quietly dominating the underground hip-hop space as a co-founder of the rising Pro Era collective. He dropped his debut LP, B4.DA.$$, earlier this year, which harkened memories of West Coast hip-hop legends like Tupac.
On their collaboration, Glass Animals absolutely hits the production out of the park, as sticky electronic textures playfully twist and turn through the talented percussion work that has become a defining characteristic of the UK band’s style. Joey Bada$$’s iconic, rough vocals grate against the swampy production, making for a track with an interesting energy seemingly fitting for a late night trip out in the woods.
While every other aspiring producer is working to break through in the music industry with forward-thinking originals, Taylor Wise has carved out a nice niche for himself rebooting old school classics and giving them a new school feel. The emerging New York star has already built up a pretty sizable, and impressive, catalog – including remixes of Akon, The 1975, Galantis, and Fat Joe – but his remix of Earth, Wind, & Fire’s classic hit, “September,” is perhaps the best production yet of his blossoming career.
Taking on a legendary record like “September” is never an easy task, but Wise absolutely smashes it out of the park with this one. Chopped vocal samples sit alongside funk-infused guitar riffs that drive the track through a maze of thumping bass lines and polished piano chords, giving Wise’s remix an undeniably feel-good vibe from the start of the track to the finish.
Taylor Wise doesn’t try to do too much on the remix, keeping the foundation of the original organic, but still delivering his signature groove to turn “September” into a dance floor scorcher.