Vindata announce forthcoming debut album, ‘With Open Eyes’

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Vindata announce forthcoming debut album, ‘With Open Eyes’Vindata Press Photo Credit Owsla

No doubt Vindata have made a name for themselves on Skrilex‘s OWSLA imprint. With notable label contributions like their 2015 EP, Through Time and Space, all the way through their latest single, alongside their label head and NSTASIA, “Favor,” the LA-based duo have successfully planted their flag as forward-thinkers in the electronic space.

Now, the pair will soon make their very first longform outing, as the “Better” producers announced their debut full-length album With Open Eyes is underway. Announcing the news on social media, the duo explained,

“Since day one, our main mission as Vindata has been to express and to inspire through our love of music. For our next project, we wanted to make something that comes from our soul, and we’re proud of what we’ve been cooking up.”

Vindata did not declare a release time frame for the album but noted that they will “soon” share the expected landing date, along with with album’s artwork. View the full statement below.

Vindata announce forthcoming debut album, ‘With Open Eyes’Vindata Fb Statement Album

 

The marvelous evolution of Bob Moses continues with sophomore LP ‘Battle Lines’

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The marvelous evolution of Bob Moses continues with sophomore LP ‘Battle Lines’Bob Moses Battle Lines Album Review 1

At it’s best, dance music has championed the misfits, and been a home for the one-of-a-kinds. When this happens, a club can become a safe haven and temple for anyone willing to embrace others as they embrace themselves. But what happens when it isn’t the outside world that can’t contain an idea, but the club itself? The answer, it seems, is Bob Moses. Originally honed in New York’s effervescent music world, the now LA-based duo were warehouse warriors with a destiny that sets them apart from every indie rock act and dance DJ in rotation. The brainchild of an Ultra Records trance savant and a rock band bassist, Bob Moses has aspirations beyond every pre-made path; the weepy indie scene needs more kick drum, and the fist pumping dance hoards need to be subject to more songwriting with soul. It’s from this thrilling, precarious position that the duo deliver their second full-length studio effort, Battle Lines.

The album begins with a bang, as the towering vocal harmonies of “Heaven Only Knows” leads to a thundering four-to-the-floor romp. Despite grungy guitar work woven throughout the track, the song has an undeniable royalty to it that belies the track’s tellingly conflicted lyrics. As the LP flows forward, it’s clear the group is presenting their unique tastes, and nothing else. It’s a lucky thing; the compositions range from the shimmering cool of album’s title track to the rattling thrum of “The Only Thing We Know.” It doesn’t take long to realize this latest incarnation of Bob Moses has shed another layer of dance floor disco. In its place is an extra pour of smoke and fuzz that brings the duo deeper into indie rock territory than ever before — at least in terms of texture and instrumentation.

Beneath the surface is a group feeling freed to try on every song structure and arrangement inspiration that grasps their interest. The record’s final complexion reveals a lot about what the studio sessions were probably like. Guitar lines and echoing piano power Oasis-esque sensibilities on “Selling Me Sympathy,” while “Nothing But You” drenches Maroon 5 pop stylings in saturation and warmth. Dig deeper, and there are those uniquely effortless dance roots that put the group’s scene-straddling abilities in the spotlight. “Listen to Me” and “Enough to Believe” are atmospheric deep house in indie rock clothing, and “Heaven Only Knows” possesses a gritty stomp that would sound right at home on a more recent Justice record. In less capable hands, the collection of ideas would border on chaos. Ever the masters at toeing the genre line, Bob Moses cover the entire project in two bulletproof ingredients – sonic cohesion, and a supreme confidence and command of musical elements that come from the natural maturation of an artistic journey. The various inspirations push and pull the listener back and forth, but the space Bob Moses’s music lives in remains the same. The feat is duplicated in rich, bittersweet, and conflicted lyrics. They speak of loss, doubt, remorse and ultimately resolution — consider, “Back Down” begins with the phrase “Caught in the tide of our own divide.” If Battle Lines represents a group with a foot in multiple worlds, Bob Moses should hopefully aim to ride that tide right into whatever fascinating canvas of expression they draw up next.

Zhu’s ‘Ringos Desert’ is an invitation to a pulp western oasis [Album Review]

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Zhu’s ‘Ringos Desert’ is an invitation to a pulp western oasis [Album Review]Zhu Ringos Desert Album Review

It’s no accident that every first listen to a new Zhu project feels like a carefully guarded private screening. He is, after all, a master curator. The stage was set long before an audience fills the seats, the impending vision immortalized long before scenes were spliced and set in stone. It’s also no accident that Ringos Desert could be seen on the horizon for months in advance. The Mind of a Genius artist’s presence in the dance music world is as carefully crafted as his music, with omissions and inclusions carrying equal weight. What the man of mystery wants seen, heard, and known, is exactly what is received.

First came rumors in the spring of literal tons of sand ready for transport to stops on Zhu’s impending “Dune” tour, and a mysterious phone number rigged for a secretive BLACKLIZT set deep in the Mojave. In the midst of it all were releases — high profile singles like the Tame Impala-assisted “My Life,” and “Coming Home,” with Majid Jordan. More music followed, with the lion’s share ending up on the producer’s Ringos Desert, Pt. 1 EP. Zhu’s sophomore full length effort has crept into fans’ peripherals for the better part of the year – so just how different does a full listen feel? That’s the funny thing about the wilderness: No matter how many dunes one passes on the way to its center, looking out from the middle of an ocean of sand is a different existence entirely.

Upon arrival, Ringos Desert makes it immediately clear that its identity as an invitation carried over to the track list itself. The LP contains a large amount of powerhouse collaborators — eight, to be exact — with each packing impact. From heavyweights like TOKiMONSTA to relative unknowns like Karnaval Blues, Zhu’s call to the desert seems to have drawn a crowd before the album ever reached fans’ ears. That spirit of openness can be felt in every joint effort, as TOKiMONSTA personally attested to when speaking of her album appearance on “Light It Up:”

“It was truly special how this song came together in that it is very much the result of both our minds,” she said of the track. “Collaborating with Zhu was creatively effortless. We both knew exactly where this song could go and we got it there. I can’t wait for the world to hear it.”

Every song is polished to absolute perfection, each sound given dedicated space to exist like modern art in an exhibit. Tucked into the songs is a cheeky dose of western sonic flavor that seasons the entire album. The high-noon shootout whistles and echoing crow calls on album opener “Stormy Love” are unapologetic pulp, but there are subtler instances at play as well. Twanging guitar lines ranging from full-on distorted wails (“Desert Woman”) to sad cowboy strums (“Ghost In My Bed”) permeate the project, giving a human touch counterbalance to the grooves’ ultra-cool polish. Through golden hour slow-burners and starry dance cuts, that layer of crackle and dust deepens the thematic experience, feeling deliberate without gimmick.

The body of work is upper echelon electronic music pure and simple. Only a handful of artists possess the kind of vision and polish to make a body of work this consistent, and at the same step out fearlessly to push creative genre boundaries. But where does this primal call to Ringos Desert lead? The album has always been an invitation — but to what? The material embodies an expansive array of feelings and experiences; love, drugs, sex, pain, loss, doubt, and almost everything in between. Repeated listens can immerse in the moment and just as easily transport through potent escapism. That power is no accident — after all, Zhu has beckoned the world to the dunes from the very beginning. To listen is to join him beneath the stars and sun and feel without distraction or interruption. If not all who wander are lost, Ringos Desert proves not all who are lost need saving.

Still doing the D.A.N.C.E. a decade later: Justice on 10 years together, ‘Woman Worldwide,’ and what the future holds for the greatest dance-rock band of all time [Interview]

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Still doing the D.A.N.C.E. a decade later: Justice on 10 years together, ‘Woman Worldwide,’ and what the future holds for the greatest dance-rock band of all time [Interview]Justice Julian Bajsel Coachella C014875

Growing up with one French parent, as a child I was exposed to a more-than-healthy amount of Gypsy Kings. My Parisian mother, her questionable selections aside, always maintained music as a strong element of family life. However, somehow in raising someone who grew up to be a dance music journalist, my parents often have no idea what I do for work. Occasionally some dance music does break through their Baby Boomer consciousness though, and most often over the course of the last decade, it’s been courtesy of French electronic icons Justice.

Harmonizing the perfect blend of disco, classic rock tropes, and electro — the band’s inimitable catalog undoubtedly boasts a multi-generational appeal. Justice’s seminal debut album, †, was one of my first real forays into electronic music, and when I fell, I fell hard. It was essentially my parents’ introduction to electronic dance music too, so when I told my mother I’d be interviewing Xavier De Rosnay of Justice, a French dance legend she’s actually quite familiar with, she insisted on joining me. In fact, there was really no negotiating. Anyone else with a French mother, De Rosnay included, probably understands. So I had my mom present to help me interview one of the greatest electronic music minds of all time just ahead of Woman Worldwide‘s highly anticipated release.

Still doing the D.A.N.C.E. a decade later: Justice on 10 years together, ‘Woman Worldwide,’ and what the future holds for the greatest dance-rock band of all time [Interview]Justice Ww Live AnthonyGhnassia Credit

It has been almost two years since De Rosnay and bandmate Gaspard Augé’s critically lauded third LP, WomanNow, the two electro luminaries have followed up with a new “live” album — an homage, or perhaps more accurately, a counterpart — to Woman‘s live production, rebuilt in the studio as what De Rosnay describes as a “proper Justice record.” De Rosnay explains the record’s complexion, detailing, “After maybe six months of touring, we were really feeling the music we were playing on stage every night, and we just wanted to share it with the people who are interested in it. So we thought to record it and make another live album, but we wanted to find a way to make it different.” In those six months, the “Safe and Sound” producers brought Woman‘s flooring live manifestation to Coachella, Lollapalooza, Sónar, and home to Paris’ AccorHotels Arena to name a few. De Rosnay continues,

“We love A Cross The Universe and Access All Arenas, but they were meant to capture what its like to be at a Justice show. We knew people were frustrated, and so this time we decided to make a very clean version, very hi-fi version of it.”

Justice on wax compared to Justice on stage are two very different, polarizing experiences. De Rosnay boils down his relationship with that dichotomy, painting a picture of everything he and Gaspard wish they could do on stage being packaged up and brought to the studio to be fully actualized. Expressing a limitation on the minimal processing they can engage in live on stage, eventually, performance notes collected night after night were brought to the pair’s state-of-the-art studio in Paris with the intent to merge the two experiences. With the time, space, and resources needed to make their live show emulate the quality of a crisp, clean studio album format, Augé and De Rosnay were able to cherry-pick the best parts of their hair-raising live set and recreate them into Woman Worldwide. “It’s a version of what we’d like to do every night that we can’t do,” says De Rosnay.

Still doing the D.A.N.C.E. a decade later: Justice on 10 years together, ‘Woman Worldwide,’ and what the future holds for the greatest dance-rock band of all time [Interview]Justice Woman Worldwide Photo Cred Pascal Teieira 2

Among all the sonic chaos the two manage to pack into each LP, there’s an obviously meticulous nature to the duo’s work ethic. Surprisingly enough, the process of writing music actually proves to be much more organic and emotional for De Rosnay than calculated and measured. My mom chimes in, prodding in French about De Rosnay and Augé’s knack for perfectionism: “Are you happy with how the final product turned out?” I can feel my ears and cheeks getting hot.

“We are very happy with the album. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for us. Perfect isn’t the right word… its very accurate in terms of being what we originally imagined it to be. It is impossible to make a perfect record, but it’s very faithful to our idea. The records I love the most are not perfect in a technical term. As long as we connect to the music, then we can put it out.”

Since their 2007 debut, the band’s artistic development has naturally progressed between predominating styles and themes, however, it has always managed to hold a sense of genuine timelessness. “We don’t mind actually being tagged in one category. It’s not for some people. But we don’t mind the categorization. Every time we hear a new band, the first thing we do is try to categorize them,” De Rosnay admits. Though s heady, distorted electro backbone stands in direct contrast in many places to Woman’s futuristic gospel-glam core that came a decade later, both albums still undoubtedly look, sound, and feel like Justice. It’s been a gradual advancement of style, “Yeah, it’s a little strange,” starts De Rosnay, “on one hand, we always feel like we’re making the same thing. The disco element has always been there, like ‘D.A.N.C.E.‘ is straight disco with rock elements, perhaps just in a different shape. When we finish a record we never know if its too similar to what we did before.”

“Even if tomorrow we’re making a hard rock record, or a rap record, or even a reggaeton record, I think it will still sound a lot like Justice.”

Though, the two producers are far from the same wide-eyed DJs they were in A Cross The Universe touring the states for the first time a decade ago. Sometimes the leather jacket and stud-clad version of Justice seems like a lifetime ago. De Rosnay concedes that the pretenses of a full-length visual feature similar to the band’s unforgettable tour documentary seems unlikely nowadays. He sighs over the thought, “99 percent of music documentaries have a band as the subject and then people all talking about how great that band is, ‘oh they’re so cool’ or whatever,” De Rosnay laments. “We didn’t want to do that. We made A Cross The Universe for fun. We didn’t want to make a documentary that says we’re great. Making A Cross The Universe was like Jackass — we wanted anyone to be able to enjoy it and find fun [in it], even if they aren’t connected to the music we make. At the time I think I was 25, [Augé] maybe 27.”

Still doing the D.A.N.C.E. a decade later: Justice on 10 years together, ‘Woman Worldwide,’ and what the future holds for the greatest dance-rock band of all time [Interview]Justice O2 Briton Academy Credit Guifre De Peray

A Cross The Universe was really about what happens when you take a new French band and you allow them to indulge in the rock and roll cliches we’ve always been told about. But we made it knowing that ten years later, we’d be in a completely different place.”

De Rosnay maintains his characteristically cool, tight-lipped allure when prompted on a possible visual element to Woman Worldwide, “We’re always trying things. If it’s good enough, it’ll exist. For example, we tried to make a film for Access All Arenas and spent a lot of time on it, but it wasn’t good enough, so we didn’t release it. But we’re always trying to create a visual tie to things.” In planning ahead, De Rosnay and Augé prefer to savor the moment, but with a cycle of nearly five-year gaps between studio albums and nearly equal measures of time between live projects, with Woman Worldwide’s release, the duo’s pattern suggests a hiatus is due.

De Rosnay politely laughs at my mother’s nudging as she pesters him about taking, “les grandes vacances” after the duo’s tour concludes at Austin City Limits in October. Even deities make obligatory small talk with mothers. He counters, “Sometimes it feels like we’re on a permanent vacation, but at the same time we’re always working. It’s been two years since Woman was released and in the time since then, we’ve been touring. If we started working on the next album right after the tour and that takes a year and a half, it would be finished by late 2020 — that’s already four years between two albums without a break,” remarks De Rosnay. “We do disappear in a way, though, since when we’re recording we don’t play live.” Has any new music been written since Woman’s release? “…No.” Ah, that abrupt, yet ultra-cool French temperament.

Still doing the D.A.N.C.E. a decade later: Justice on 10 years together, ‘Woman Worldwide,’ and what the future holds for the greatest dance-rock band of all time [Interview]Alice MoitieÌ Credit Justice Press Shot

After a brief pause, De Rosnay does creep forward. “With Woman, we worked a lot on the live show. Then we toured and spent a lot of time working on Woman Worldwide, and now we’re working on… things. But it’s hard to start writing a new album when we’re still on the last one. One of the greatest pleasures of making music is being in our studio, together with time and space. We could work on laptops in hotel rooms and planes, but it’s not a thing we enjoy. That works for some people, we just like the pleasure of being in our own studio.”

Somewhere between nu-disco and New Testament, Justice have crafted, and then re-crafted, a certified masterpiece with Woman and the ensuing Woman Worldwide. Now that we might be nearing the end of a prolific chapter in the visionary Justice narrative, De Rosnay departs with a seemingly innocuous, yet perhaps foreshadowing salutation. “We hope this continues as long as possible, let’s cross our fingers. The door is always open.” Here’s to another decade of Justice For All.

Revisit deadmau5’s canonized classic LP ‘Random Album Title’ as it turns 10 years old

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Revisit deadmau5’s canonized classic LP ‘Random Album Title’ as it turns 10 years oldDeadmau5 Stoge

Ten years ago, deadmau5 changed the course of dance music with Random Album Title, one of the genre’s most influential albums to date. Arriving on Ultra Records in September of 2008, deadmau5’s third official LP put the world on notice that the Joel Zimmerman had arrived, was here to stay, and had a lot more up his sleeve. At the time of the album’s release deadmau5’s mighty mau5trap imprint was only a year old, and would go on to share Random Album Title‘s now iconic bolded arial black font. Time to get nostalgic.

As far as listens go, the record is still a front-to-back odyssey of genre-defining cuts. From the prophetic meeting of two future legends on the Kaskade-assisted instant classic “I Remember,” to the soothing waves of “Faxing Berlin,” the track list reads like a definitive collection of late 2000’s progressive house and electro. The horde will likely go on debating whether Random Album Title beats out its follow up, For Lack of a Better Name as deadmau5’s magnum opus until the end of time. What isn’t up for debate – the clear ripples of influence created by Random Album Title that are still felt across the dance music spectrum to this day.

Is a new Kendrick Lamar album on the way?

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Is a new Kendrick Lamar album on the way?Kendrick Lamar Livestream 2018 Album Rumors

If the rumor mill and recent tips are true, a new Kendrick Lamar album is nearly wrapped and ready. Some juicy updates were shared recently by Isaiah Rashad, K Dot’s Top Dawg Entertainment label-mate, via an Instagram live stream. While answering fan questions, the rapper said he was played a “damn near” entire Kendrick album by TDE CEO Anthony Tiffith. This news comes after previous tweets from Tiffith promised up to four new label projects before the year is out.

Kendrick has been riding a heavyweight wave all 2018, with recent headlining slots at Reading and Leeds festivals and a Pulitzer Prize for DAMN – making Lamar the first non-jazz or classic artist to receive the honor.  Whether or not a rumored Kendrick LP is among this year’s planned TDE roster releases is still unclear. According to Rashad, there’s guaranteed to be some high-profile noise coming soon. “ScHoolboy Q finna drop,” the rapper said on the livestream. “SZA’s hair is green, so you know it’s going to be fire. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Photo credit: Rich Fury

Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon disavows new Eminem collaboration over homphobic slur

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Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon disavows new Eminem collaboration over homphobic slurBon Iver Disavows Eminem Collab

Eminem kicked off Labor Day Weekend with a surprise album delivery, Kamikaze, and the music world tuned in droves in to see what Shady was serving – count Justin Vernon among the album’s collaborators, but not its fans. Amongst the LP’s various twists and turns was an unlikely feature from the Bon Iver singer, lending vocals on the rapper’s diss-heavy track “Fall.” It appears Vernon didn’t have a chance to hear Em’s verses before contributing to the song, as the singer publicly voiced his distaste for the rapper’s use of a homophobic slur on the record directed towards Tyler The Creator.

The “Skinny Love” singer has decided to walk back on his own feature, and while it’s still unclear which actions Vernon can take at this point to affect the song’s distribution, he said in a tweet he’s aiming to “kill this track.”

Vernon did explain his thoughts on the matter further, clarifying,

“Eminem is one of the best rappers of all time, there is no doubt. I have and will respect that. Though, this is not the time to criticize youth, it’s the time to listen. To act. It is certainly not the time for slurs. Wish they would have listened when we asked them to change it.”

Photo Credit: Imeh Akpanudosen

JAUZ releases comprehensive ‘The Wise and The Wicked’ concept [Stream]

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JAUZ releases comprehensive ‘The Wise and The Wicked’ concept [Stream]Jauzpic

JAUZ has released his highly anticipated 23-track project, The Wise and The Wicked just in time for Labor Day Weekend. The conceptually-driven LP sees the bass producer and DJ flex his muscles creatively, envisioning a dystopian world complete with a full storyline narrative to support his music. Delivered in four “chapters,” the story tells of a world where the wealth gap reaches its limit and two castes of the population emerge, pitting the ultra rich against the ultra poor under the guise of anarchy.

While JAUZ’s signature style at times has a darker edge to it, The Wicked sees him push the ominous side of his explorative stylings further. Featuring impressive collaborations from artists like Example, Kiiara, Krewella, DJ Snake and Ducky, the album follows a story arch with a rise and fall, ending in a climactic resolution. The release of The Wise and The Wicked follows the release of previous singles “Super Fly” and “Acid or Techno.”

Full track list and release date of ZHU’s sophomore album ‘Ringos Desert’ revealed

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Full track list and release date of ZHU’s sophomore album ‘Ringos Desert’ revealedZhu Ringos Desert Release Date

There’s been no shortage of new ZHU teases from the enigmatic artist’s hotly anticipated second album. The hype has reached fever pitch with singles featuring top tier collaborators, including a genius link with Tame Impala‘s Kevin Parker for “My Life,” and a satin smooth joint effort with Majid Jordan, “Coming Home.” Now, ZHU has unveiled his master plan with a full track list, official cover art, and release date. Ringos Desert hits stores and streaming September 7 on his longtime home label, Mind of a Genius records.

The album’s 14 tracks include previously released singles, as well as material from ZHU’s spring EP, RINGOS DESERT PT. 1. Despite the track list’s heavy chunk of available material, the full experience promises plenty of future hits – including monster collaborators like Karnaval Blues and TOKIMONSTA. The same day his sophomore LP drops, ZHU will kick off his DUNE tour in El Ray, California. Can’t wait until September to hear the new LP? The “Working For It” producer has an ultra secret BLACKLIZT premiere party  planned somewhere in the sands of the Mojave on August 31.

Full track list and release date of ZHU’s sophomore album ‘Ringos Desert’ revealedZhu Ringos Desert Tracklist

 

Yotto releases uplifting new single ‘Walls’ from forthcoming LP

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Yotto releases uplifting new single ‘Walls’ from forthcoming LPYotto Walls Hyperfall Single

Yotto has graced deep house fans with another stellar cut from his upcoming Hyperfall LP called “Walls.” The track is the third single from the album, which is out on Anjunadeep on September 7. “Walls” is a bit different from previous singles, going brighter than Yotto has gone since his 2017 track, “Edge of Affection.”

The intro beams in like rays of sun, immediately invoking a sense of elation and peace. The beat ushers in a surge of adrenaline, but the track’s light doesn’t dim. A rich, saturated bassline evolves from the driving percussion, as a hypnotic melody rises to meet it. The breakdown takes the melody solo, before a triumphant second top line somewhere between a vocal and synth takes over. The song’s climax is a majestic rush of glowing pads and flickering chord stabs.

Yotto has said his upcoming album will contain “drama, distress and deep, profound contemplation mirrored with relief, and relentless joy.” This latest single unquestionably and beautifully represents that last ingredient to the fullest.

Photo credit: Luke Dyson