Earlier this Spring, the seminal indie rockers — or “rokkers,” if one prefers the band’s spelling — MGMT took to social media to hint at a comeback and went on to announce the title of their first record in over four years,Little Dark Age.
At last, the band has unveiled new music in the form of the record’s title track and a confirmation that the LP is slated for early 2018.
“Little Dark Age” marks a sinister departure from the band’s well-known numbers like “Time To Pretend” or “Kids.” Still, it maintains some semblances of pop, in a seemingly candid, illustrious fashion. The tune flourishes in its chorus, “If you get out of bed/ And find me standing all alone/ Open-eyed/ Burn the page/ My little dark age.”
Little Dark Age will mark MGMT’s first album since their 2013 self-titled. Speaking with Beats 1 radio’s Zane Lowe, the duo detailed the recording process, “We felt like we had reached a flow, it was the sort of chemistry, the kind of magic feeling we had when we started the band.”
“Gold” features alluring vocals from singer/songwriter Shaylen layered over the duo’s signature bobbing beat. Though the song has a slightly darker vibe than its predecessors, it’s still instantly recognizable as a Win & Woo track. The producers allow Shaylen’s enticing voice to shine through the verses of “Gold” and bring in a compelling bass line in the chorus to guide the listener through each well-orchestrated segment of the song. With each new production, Nick Winholt and Austin Woo prove the beauty is in the details — and “Gold” is no exception.
Few duos in the world of dance music have amassed as loyal and global of a following as Australian supergroup Flight Facilities. Known for their enchanting brand of nu-disco and deep house, they’ve created an unmistakable trademark style and sound. This year the twosome formerly known as Hugo and Jimmy made their Boiler Room debuted in their native Australia to a packed out crowd in Sydney. Flight Facilities showcased their immense musical prowess throughout the nearly two-hour performance, filling the intimate setting with a quirky and euphoric blend of music that communicated their aesthetic.
Boiler Room has long established itself as one of the most cutting-edge events in dance culture and this performance from Flight Facilities perfectly sums up what listeners can expect from this iconic brand. Watch the video from Flight Facilities’ performance in Sydney on Boiler Room’s Youtube Channel.
Annie Clark, better known as the Oklahoma-born, Texas-raised guitarist and pop landscapist St. Vincent —who’s penned indie dance crossover tracks such as “Cruel,” “Cheerleader,” “The Strangers” and more — has a new album out Oct. 13. Dubbed Masseduction, the full-length marks Clark’s fifth studio album.
Prior to embarking on her “Fear the Future Tour,” the artist stopped at Hollywood’s Paramount studios for an exclusive Red Bull Music Academy performance and debuted an assemblage of new tracks off the record. Dazzling in her decorum, Clark sang in the first-person, “Hang on Me,” “Pills” and more, lyrically delving into modern romance, sexual power, loneliness, isolation, media saturation and the search for eternal youth throughout the night.
Recently, in the latest issue of Nylon, Clark discussed her recording process.
“The point is for the song to mean whatever it means to somebody else,” she said. “Some people have a real hang-up about being misunderstood. I don’t care. I would be concerned if someone was like, ‘Wow, she seems like a Holocaust denier.’ But racism, sexism or homophobia aside? I’m happy to be misunderstood. The record is full of sorrow, but the visual aspect of it is really absurd. I take the piss out of myself. The last tour I sat atop a pink throne, looking very imperious. This one will let people see that I have a sense of humor.”
Watch an array of videos from St Vincent’s dazzling performance below. Masseduction is out now via Loma Vista Recordings.
Dirtybird tech-house veteran Justin Jay has his new album, Home, along with an accompanying self-made music video for track “Ease Up,” featuring Josh Taylor.This is Jay’s second studio album — a definite product of exploration for the accomplished 24-year-old, as it flirts with elements of Tame Impala-esque psych-rock and funk.
The playful video stars and was produced by shaggy-haired Jay and his friends. Its psychedelic tones/overtures and distortion effects keep it in theme with the vibrant song itself.
“Ease Up,” while perpetuating Jay’s tech-house tendencies–especially in the 4×4 beat and dissident, also features futuristic sampling and has a chromatic design that is unique to Jay’s early discography. The track also breathes a vintage texture, most audible in the distorted vocals and free-flowing guitar riffs.
The Amsterdam-based label Atomnation is celebrating its 50th release with a compilation album. Dubbed 50AN, the album features new work from a slew of artists it’s worked with in ￼the past such as David Douglas, Weval, Sau Poler, and Gidge.
By way of the label’s longtime openmindedness towards music, they’ve incorporated everything from ambient and electronica to music with more dance or house tendencies. Certainly, Atomnation had made a name for itself in the underground circuit. Once operating as a strictly Bandcamp operation, the label has without a question come quite far.
Among the record’s standout numbers is a reworking from Weval. The group, consisting of Harm Coolen and Merijn Scholte Albers, rework the track “Ways To Go”off their 2016 self-titled release. The result is much more driving, compelling version of the tune. It makes sense when considering both Harm and Merijn got their start in the film industry, which is where they met in 2010, as the new “Ways To Go” is a compelling, cinematic earworm.
50AN Full Tracklist:
01. Polynation – Tikken 02. Portable Sunsets – If 03. Sau Poler – Elsus 04. Tunnelvisions – Alahambra 05. David Douglas – Liquid Love 06. Axefield – A Good Night Just Outside Of Bamako 07. Beacon – You’re Wondering (Applescal Guitar Dub) 08. Weval – Ways To Go (Alternative Version) 09. Koett – No Sooner Than They Will Come 10. Olaf Stuut – Suspended Animation 11. Gidge – Huldra (Other Version)
Sunday Morning Medicine is an eclectic playlist for the chill at heart. Curated weekly, chillers of divergent tastes Alexandra Blair and Michael Cooper bring you a selection of tracks to relax to. Our editorial feature highlights the cream of the crop, but you can follow the official playlist on Spotify.
The Detroit-based producer creates an intriguingly smooth track with saxophone, mellow chords, and heady doses of percussion—nods to Shigeto’s origins as a drummer—for a production that is simultaneously representative of Motown’s musical past and present.
Though primarily known for his warped takes of crushing bass, Mr. Carmack is a producer of considerable range. No where is this more visible than on his ever-shifting track “Crash (Charms).”
A bending lead glides over a foundation of rounded off synth patches and percussion that manages to be active without ramping up the energy too high. Carmack’s production exudes an effervescence that never strays into the glaringly obvious, instead opting for a subtle vibe that flows lithely.
No collection of songs that aims for relaxation and recovery could possibly be complete without an inclusion from Instupendo. The ideal entry to the young producer’s catalog, “Light Lock” begins slowly with a combination of hazy chords and meandering melodic lines. As a result, it doesn’t take long for the track’s easygoing vibe to gently hypnotize the listener into contentment.
Replays are likely and are well warranted. Instupendo is a producer of subtleties that are often missed on the first run through and his work rewards listeners who end up returning to his productions again and again
Rounding out this edition of SMM is Quickly Quickly’s lethargic “Trilogy.” True to its name, the track features three distinct sections that gradually build to a satisfying, invigorating conclusion.
At the outset, the producer leans towards a smirking, rolling RnBass effect. Undulating synths unfurl under percussive melodies before a piano interlude builds to an awakening concoction of buzzing leads and punchier drums. Thoroughly revived, “Trilogy” progresses towards a mellow finish — with a satisfied listener following intently.
Stream the official Sunday Morning Medicine playlist below and hit follow on Spotify for updates in real time.
Music lovers around the world are familiar with the legendary Colorado venue Red Rocks. Artists dream of playing the world-class outdoor venue for sometimes their entire careers.
Slow Magic is one of the lucky ones chosen to share his music there as an opening act for ODESZA, and he vivdly recalls the myriad of emotions coursing through him as he stepped up to the stage amidst a sold-out crowd.
“I was actually just telling myself throughout the set, ‘This is really scary, and crazy, don’t mess up,’” he announced in a conversation a few days ago.
The clean, crisp elevation air chilled the audience’s skin, as the Mile High sun set over the Rockies. That’s when Slow Magic stole the show last May with his energetic showmanship and impeccable production skills, balancing live and electronic instrumentation.
“It was an incredible experience,” continues the enigmatic producer, “and after the show it kind of all sunk in.”
It wasn’t always this way. Before the young musician was playing Red Rocks, Slow Magic was still learning his instruments of choice back in 2011.
“On my third [ever] show, my laptop completely fried just before my set so I handed an iPod with all my tracks to the sound guy and borrowed a drum from my friends who were also playing that night. I had played drums for a really long time but never connected the dots until that moment. I played the drum in the center of the crowd for the whole set and by the end my hands were a bit bloody.”
Armed with his instruments of choice — a computer, a MIDI keyboard, and a couple of drums — Slow Magic has become known for his unmistakable sound and his imaginative, animalistic persona. “Music by your imaginary friend,” reads his Twitter bio.
His image, a tribal-inspired live ethos, has become synonymous with his sonic identity, with its ethereal mix of distorted vocals, swirling synths, and light jazz.
Yet, it has been three years since the release of his sophomore project, How To Run Away, which the producer says was focused around themes of escapism, and of disconnecting from a sense of place.
October 4 marked another milestone in Slow Magic’s career as he releases his third studio album, Float, on the Sony-distributed imprint Downtown Records. And, while he’s far past the point in his career of having to explain why he chooses to stay hidden beneath the neon zebra mask, the 13-track LP lays out his innate, authentic sound while asserting a clear artistic vision for where he’s been (and where he’s going).
“Its also an album about Love, in a happy and a realistic sense, even sometimes in a dark sense.”
Work for Float began during Slow Magic’s time in Iceland. Referring to the album’s major underlying message, Slow Magic points a similar theme of his last album: “To me its about escapism, wanting to float away. Not exactly to disconnect but to float above.” Yet, on Float, Slow Magic refers to his newly-minted vision of ‘escapism’ in the transcendental sense. It is about transcending physical place, rather than a need to disconnect from it.
Once the instrumentals began to take shape, Slow Magic turned to vocalists Peter Silberman (from The Antlers), Kate Boy, Tropics, Toulouse, and MNDR to add more layers to Float.
Speaking to his vocalists, which he alluded to as a completely new challenge, Slow Magic lightly quips about his collaborators never having met him in person.
“Funny enough I realized that I never was in the same room with any of the collaborators, which is fitting as no one knows who I am anyway.”
One artist Slow Magic lamented on not being able to work with in person was MNDR, who’s laid down vocals for the likes of Feed Me and Flume. “MNDR is amazing, and her vocals have a lot of depth to them. The song really came together naturally, and I think it’s because her vocals were so strong from the start.” Standing as the album’s fourth track, “Shivers” spotlights MNDR’s Grammy-winning vocals, with it’s airy, narcotic allure, pulling them together into a distinctly chill track with distorted synths and Slow’s signature budding drum work.
When one thinks to Slow Magic’s theme of escapism, and how it resonates across multiple albums, it speaks volumes to the spaces with which Slow Magic lives and inhabits. Elaborating on the Float‘s theme further, Slow Magic mentions how “its also an album about Love, in a happy and a realistic sense, even sometimes in a dark sense.”
He elaborates, “It’s kind of a balance on the whole album between happy and sad or dark emotions.”
One track he cites at the center of this thematic is the Peter Silberman-assisted ballad, “Belong 2 Me.” The album’s centerpiece track is haunting and mysterious, yet relaxed and unrestrained, speaking to the yin-and-yang duality in which Slow Magic calls attention to. “Love is something powerful and sometimes uncontrollable,” he finally reveals.
Looking to the future, Slow Magic says he would love to see himself working with a distinctly eminent type of artist – from DNTEL and Ben Gibbard to Sufjan Stevens, Sigur Ros, and Yung Lean.
As for the extremely well-rounded vocal talent on Float, Slow Magic seems drawn to certain type of vocal quality — airy and atmospheric, bright and elegant — for which the producer says adds to the particular kind of aesthetic he’s working to create.
“Since it [Float] was my first time working with vocalists for features, I approached it very carefully. I think the challenge is to bring a lot of people in on the project but still to keep it cohesive sonically, and I think it ended up working very well. All of the vocalists compliment a each other in some ways.”
From the sprawling warmth of “Light,” featuring Tropics, to the 80s indie-pop throwback style of “Mind,” featuring Kate Boy, Slow Magic’s thoughtfulness to vocals really shines. There is a keen balance between his erratic, raw sounds and what each vocalist brings to the track.
Take, for instance, Kate Boy’s energetic pop-sensible style that calls on the “shoegaze” style of late 80s/early 90s British indie-rock. One almost feels as if they’re center stage in an angsty John Hughes teen movie. For “Mind,” Slow Magic wanted to take a step back from the original sound of his debut album, Triangle, while still doing something new.
Perhaps what makes the entire Float LP come together so coherently are the album’s instrumental tracks. The album’s first couple of instrumental tracks — “Valhalla,” “Skeleton Pink,” and the previously released “Drums” — string together the entire first half of the album so seamlessly that the tracks begin to take on a quality of their vocally mastered counterparts.
Yet, the album’s twelfth track, “Midnight Sun,” may just be the standout instrumental track of the album. Equipped with quirky synths, changing tempos, and a fun and elegant song structure, the track is light-hearted and laid-back. Its the type of piece one would find themselves chilling out to in a hammock down by the creek or gearing up for a night of partying with the friends.
One cannot speak about the musicality of Slow Magic’s third studio album, Float, without speaking about his visceral live production. The experience is so authentic and imaginative, so ethereal and raw, that one is transported to another time and space. Perhaps that is the kind of full circle experience of his cross-dimensional appeal. To listen to the Float LP in full is to be certain of an eventuality that one will see the songs performed live somehow, someday soon.
As an artist, though, the break-out producer says he’s always looking for new ways to grow his live production set-up. “The more I think of expanding the more and more i feel like I can do with the simple set up and the more I want to challenge myself.”
Watching Slow Magic on stage, as he balances the many moving parts of multiple instruments, is as intimidating to think about doing as it is an impressive sight to behold. “I am working on a ton of new things for my upcoming tour though, things I can’t say at the moment. So I’m always thinking of ways I can make the show a better experience.”
“I tried to stay away from listening to current electronic type music while I was working on this record.”
Above all, Float is transcendental, creative, and other-worldly. It is at times soothing and melodic, while, at others, staccato and upbeat. What stands out most about the album, however, is how it stands in complete opposition to itself. Like the yin-and-yang, the album reminds us of the duality of the human experience. It is both light and dark, gritty and soft, imaginative and real, both deeply conflicted and profoundly enlightened – and, ultimately, Slow Magic’s message is about learning to love ourselves in all those spaces.
Slow Magic will embark on a world tour in support of Float this fall. Stream the full Float LP below.
Kid Froopy has been making a strong impression on the scene over the past year. After releasing “Drive Slow” and “Dreams” over the summer, the Deadbeats producer has put out a funky new track, “Down.”
The third single off his newly-announced Drive Slow EP, “Down” is a lighthearted, yet moody song that Kid Froopy describes as a “depression track.” Opening up about the song, the producer hopes to convey a deeper feeling that the listener might not initially notice. He states that “it could mean a lot of different things, but for me it’s about change and realizing the things you’re doing aren’t working anymore.” The track will stand among 4 originals and 4 remixes on the forthcoming EP, due out October 20 on Deadbeats.
The due just released “This Love Kills Me,” the first single off a brand new album set to be released on Above & Beyond‘s Anjunabeats. Recently signed to the label after garnering the attention of Above & Beyond with a Kickstarter campaign, their first release “This Love Kills Me” is also the debut single off their forthcoming album — their first new work in over a decade.
Naturally, the euphoric progressive house track fills the void of those eleven years. More emotive in its deliverance, “This Love Kills Me” leaves its listener in a deep introspection. Whether at home or on the dance floor, the number opens fans up to a new chapter for the group.
Anjunabeats label honchos Above & Beyond have gone on to describe the duo as a “need in their life.”
“Their remixes changed our map, they said. Their first album was a masterpiece of bleeding heart indie electro that pulsed with the rarest thing in our scene: a clear and compelling personality. They were the black light. They were the only competition we had. They sounded like nobody else but we all played the hell out of their tracks anyway.”