[Track of the Week] Kiesza – Hideaway

Back when I was geeking out over The Magician’s latest mixtape, my infatuation turned to a specific moment of the mix – minute 26.   Somewhere, between a delicious disco rhythm and empowered female vocals, my feet started sending out unknown Morse code messages throughout my office and my head began to slowly sway to the delicate beat drops.  What was this magic and where do I find more? As I scoured through all my social media resources trying to piece together a track list, I found myself rewinding the mix in an incessant fashion.  I feverishly tried to find out everything and anything I could about my addiction.  Originally from Calgary, Canada – Kiesza has been hopping all over the globe – first to New York City and as of this week, London.   Her first mark on the scene was ‘Oops’ back in ’12, but with ‘Hideaway’ she’s sure to make a more memorable splash.

The track begins by ushering in a rumbling beat and sultry vocals, with deep and open notes and slowly, progresses into a powerhouse Deep Disco vocal anthem. Featured last Friday as Annie Mac’s BBC show as the track of the week, this infectious earworm is guaranteed to leave the dance floor grooving. Think Disclosure with a soulful female vocalist (much like the addition of Mary J Blidge on ‘F For You‘ or Duke Dumont with a little sass and that’s exactly what you’ll get from Kiesza.   With support from The Magician, Tenesnake and Route 94, there’s no doubt that ‘Hideaway’ will get plenty of play this year.

Follow Kiesza on her socials  and don’t forget, the Hideaway EP releases in the US this March on Lokal Legend!

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter 

Photo Cred: Arjan Writes Music Blog

[Artist Spotlight] MNEK + Sam Smith

There aren’t many male vocalists that get me choked up, but over the past year a handful have popped up on my radar much to my excitement.  Each time I hear a new song featuring Sam Smith or MNEK, my heart stops until I press play – and what I’ve found with each artists, is that I’m addicted to their soulful sounds.

Sam Smith, named the BBC Voice to Watch in 2014, has  slowly but surely etched a permanent place in my heart.  I first heard his breathtaking vocals when he lent them to Disclosure for the feel good crooner ‘Latch’; if that single doesn’t take your breath away, try your hand at the acoustic version:

Then, he does it again on the Nile Rodgers x Disclosure Collaboration ‘Together.’

So far, you’ve gotten an earful of Electro – but Sam Smith’s original work is something closer to Indie Rock with a sexy, bedroom twist:

Not to mention, his voice just remixes so pretty! MK does the jam ‘Money on my Mind’ excellent justice by infusing his remix with some signature deep house grooves.

This morning when I jumped on my mandatory morning music safari, I found a new singles under the man’s belt and I’m beyond excited to share.   ‘Make it To Me’ – has me wrapped up in all of the feels and almost in tears; his vocal prowess is so beautifully honest and refreshing, and that high register – hot damn that sounds phenomenal:

Stay up to date with Sam Smith across his socials: Webpage | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

Another vocalist that I can’t get enough of is MNEK. Every time I find a new MNEK (pronounced Em-En-E-Kay) cover on Hypem, I’m absolutely enthralled by how he refixes the song by ignoring the original format and laying down his own, silk smooth notes. There has been a host of singles over the past year that I’ve heard MNEK re-do, and each and every one is beautiful and unique in it’s own right. 19 years young, MNEK has the vocal power of an old soul;  time after time, he infuses his sultry R&B vocals into deep house rhythms to perfection and I simply can’t get enough.  One thing I really enjoy with the singles he’s released, is playing them back to back with the original; if you want to understand the man’s genius, it’s a great jumping off point – so I’ll get that party started for you:

[Original]

[Re-Fix]

[Original]

[Re-Fix]

[Original]

[Re-Fix]

[Original]

[Re-Fix]

And then of course, there are the original tracks he’s lent his stellar pipes to – like with Rudimental, SubFocus and DEVolution – proving that his voice is so much more than just [Deep] House, it’s an instrument that producers across the genres love playing with.

Keep tabs on MNEK across the interwebs – Webpage | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter

[Artist Spotlight] The Magician

My musical appetite shifts pretty frequently and I have to admit, lately my music library just simply isn’t cutting it.  I’ve caught myself shuffling through my songs so frequently that in the course of a day, I hadn’t listened to a single song from beginning to end; so frustrating!  So, it makes my heart incredibly happy when I stumble across an artist that knows how to keep me interested for more than a few hours, or songs, at a time.

The Magician first popped up on my radar a few weeks ago on Hypem; remixes of ‘When The Night Is Over’ were pouring through the Indie-Electro blogs and the track above caught my ear. After a solid week of various versions of the single on repeat, I retired the track and promptly moved on to newer addictions.  But then yesterday, as I was scouring through my social media accounts – I clicked through to a few of my favorite producers and tweet after tweet was directing me back to him and the latest Magic Tape.

The Magician - Magic Tape #38

Initially, I proverbially kicked myself –  “Thirty EIGHT?! How have I inconveniently managed to avoid such an exceptional producer?” But a little bit of research later and a few ah-HA moments later, I realized this absolutely wasn’t the case.  Not long ago, The Magician – whose real name is Stephen Fasano, was half of the then-duo Aeroplane alongside Vito de Luca.  They’re best known for their Balearic disco and French/Indie House and I’ve been a huge fan of theirs for a few years now.  There’s a mix that I play whenever I need to whisk myself to a tropical island and it never fails to disappoint.

After some good runs with Aeroplane, Fasano realized that his interest in the group was fleeting and decided to amicably part ways from Vito. Thus, The Magician  was born!  Back in 2011 he joined forces with  Yusek to form Peter & The Magician and since the he’s managed to break off on his own for some solo project.  The Magicianskillfully weaves deep, tech and indie house into a full fledged dance party that I’ve literally been living in for the past two days.  The best part about Magic Tape #38?  There’s 37 more to go – enjoy!

Tracklist

1. Casino Gold – All I Need

2. Duke Dumont feat. Jax Jones – I Got U

3. John Newman – Losing Sleep (Disciples Remix)

4. Chris Malinchak – If U Got It (The Magician Remix)

5. Cheap Picasso – Don’t Play Around

6. HAIM – Forever (TCTS Remix)

7. Kiesza – Hideaway

8. Lancelot – Givin It up feat. Anthony & Cleopatra

9. ??? – ??? 1

0. Klaue & Tatze – Bringing It

11. Disclosure – Voices (Le Youth Remix)

[Rising Star Spotlight] Thomas Jack

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Sure, it’s Monday morning – but thanks to the tropical house vibes coming from Thomas Jack, today just doesn’t feel that bad!   I discovered the young man less than a month ago when I caught myself in an unexpected cubicle boogie – his single ‘Booka Shake’ had started playing on Hypem and I was getting down with the get down.

The sultry synths combined with Nate Dogg’s seductive voice pave the way for one hell of a funky remix;  one thing that I haven’t gotten from a lot of American producers lately is the use of ’empty’ noise – a lot of what’s gotten popular is heavily layered, intricate beats that “whomp” and “untz” throughout.  The pieces are chalk full of noises and it feels like your head’s being bombarded with non-stop beats – with Thomas Jack, things are different.  There’s breathing room between notes, there’s wiggle room; other guys, take note.

The man garnishes the ability to take folk and indie singles and infuse them with emotion:  crafting delightfully dance-able tracks and weaving powerful words and melodies throughout his own unique creations.  Thomas Jack successfully creates an ambient atmosphere where only his music exists: if you close your eyes and let yourself drift into the simple yet intricate melodies,  you’ll start to float off to your own fantasy island – fully equipped with flirtatiously colored drinks with contrasting, miniature umbrellas.  Somewhere between the open, staccato notes and the full sounds of saxophones and pan flutes a  sub-genre of deep house reemerges with life.   Yes, you read that correctly – real instruments, oh yes! 

Thomas Jack ft. Adrian Symes - The Final Speech (Original Mix)

He’s already done guests mixes for two of my all time favorite music blogs – Earmilk and Gotta Dance Dirty and has been making his way into multitudes of music bloggers hearts – one quick search on the interwebs and you’ll see the recent infatuation with his music firsthand.  Bottom line, if you’re curious who to watch in 2014 – your answer is right here.

Firebox (Original Mix) - Thomas Jack & Max Simmons

Keep in touch with Thomas Jack across the interwebs and make sure you know when he’s coming to a city near you:

Soundcloud | Webpage | Twitter |  Facebook

[Rising Star Spotlight] Flume

When it comes to discovering new music, I’ll get inspiration from anywhere and everywhere possible – if you’ve been tagging along on the Bouncy Kitty for a while, you’ve born witness to my effervescent prowl for the latest and greatest tunes.   And here’s the thing, I can get into a lot of music.  At it’s most basic level – music is catchy. I love rocking to the beat so if it moves me physically – I’ll find a way to mentally get into it.  However, I can get over a song as easily as I can get into one; if I don’t find it to be musically complex, progressive or innovative – my interest dies exceptionally fast.  I habitually surf  social sites to get my jams; but, if there’s something I trust more than a socially verified banger, it’s a solid recommendation straight from the mouth of babes (and by babes, I mean my wonderful extended family in LA.)  One of my closest friends just happens to be my boyfriend’s housemate, and believe you me – I spend a hefty amount of time over in their neck of the woods.

Morning, afternoon, evening – the man is always garnering musical inspiration from a whole host of sources and he’s always imparting his musical knowledge on us.  One of his latest finds is Australian born and bred producer Flume, and needless to say – I’m hooked.  The Deluxe Edition of his latest album hits worldwide today, but unfortunately for us kids in the states we have to wait until the 12th to snag our copy from iTunes.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been listening to Flume’s  on Soundcloud  feed non-freaking-stop; each song is so uniquely complex and layered that you can’t possibly process it in one, two or even three listens.  And then, after the tenth or twentieth – you’re left wondering how you never heard those top notes before, or how the bassline rumbles your soul.  Forget about genres and fitting artists into neatly packaged little boxes, Flume is one of those artists that simply produces great music.  He combines downtempo electronic music with powerful lyrics and a a diverse group of vocalists like Ghostface Killa, Isabella Manfredi, Stalley,Moon Holiday and Chet Faker. No two tracks on the album sound alike, and there are a handful that I’ve had in heavy rotation. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but right now I’d have to say it’s between the feel good rap ballad ‘On Top’ with lyrics from T-Shirt, ‘Left Alone’ with  Chet Faker – an indie-electro artist from Australia ‘Holding On’ featuring the soulful voice of Freddie Gibbs, a rapper formerly on Young Jeezy’s label CTE.  The best thing about Flume’s music is that it can speak for itself,so I’ll let it do the talking; enjoy!

Keep in touch with Flume across the web and make sure you take note of his tour dates; you do not want to miss out!

Beatport | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube

[Artist Spotlight] Lili Lakich

The more I become acquainted with Los Angeles, the more I’ve realized that street art is literally any and everywhere around this amazing city.  My neighborhood – Melrose and Fairfax – is essentially a mecca for street artists; the area is riddled with skate shops, tattoo shops and a rich hodgepodge of different artistic types. The end result? Alleyway after alleyway, covered from head to toe in the most vivid and vibrant graffiti, street art, acrylic art and multimedia art I’ve ever seen.

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A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were wandering around the downtown area in search of something more or less transformative; for the amount of street art we’ve come across (hint: a lot) – for everything I’ve loved, I’ve seen three things I couldn’t reconcile or wrap my head around.  Thankfully, the Little Tokyo area of downtown essentially screams in equal parts culture and art.  One thing I didn’t know until recently was that the area hosts the largest Japanese-American population in the United States and stands as one of only three Japantown’s; the other two residing in San Francisco and San Jose, respectively.   Being the urban adventurers we are, naturally we were scouring parking structures, back alleys and side streets in search of the perfect piece, picture – or, hopefully – both.  After an hour of prowling the streets, we stumbled across an incredibly industrial yet new age art gallery.  One peak inside at the fluorescent art and we knew we had to explore; it turns out we stumbled into the Lili Lakich Gallery of Neon Art and we were not mad about it!

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Lili Lakich has always craved the contrast of a dark night and bright, neon lights. Originally from Washington DC, the Lakich family migrated from Washington DC to Arizona along with her father’s military career.  His idea of vacations were road trips and her family would choose their hotels based on the awesomeness of their neon signs.  And from a young age, this helped shape her love of all things fluorescent.  Route 66, Las Vegas – they weren’t just culturally iconic cities, they had become meccas of art and creativity; they were inspirational.   After bouncing between the Pratt Institute in New York and the London School of Film Technique – she finally settled down in New York to complete her BFA in ’67 and the next year she moved to Los Angeles to pursue art as a career.  Within a few short years, she began showing her awe inspiring sculptures – first in ’73 at Gallery 707 and then in ’74 for her first solo show.  In 1982, she created the Museum of Neon Art and worked as it’s first director until 1999 and since then has had shows all over the world, from Tokyo to Paris and her work can be seen in many major publications on neon and contemporary art.

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As I mentioned earlier, she currently runs the Lili Lakich Studio in Japantown which houses tons of her works – from her latest to her greatest, in addition to showing off the works of her students.  Yes, students!  One thing we discovered while talking to her was that she hosts an 8 week workshop on creating neon art! So even the average Joe can create art that glows; genius!  Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t afford to take this round of classes but trust me when I say it’s now on my bucket list of things to do before I leave this lovely city.  There’s something to be said for passionate people and Lili Lakich sure is one of them.  If you’re based in the LA area and want to hear more, simply head on down to Japantown and meet the woman for yourself! She’s wonderful, kind and more than willing to share her love of art with anyone who walks in her doors.  Or, if you can’t find the time to stroll through the shop, pick up a copy of her autobiography – For Light, For Life, For Love; now, onto the art!

 

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