[Track of the Week] The Polish Ambassador – Girl Control

“I keep it playin’ while some choose to play it safe…”

As I cruised through the lineup for Lightning in a Bottle, a wave of confusion washed over my body – I recognized about two thirds of the entire line-up but the closer I got to the bottom of the bill, the more questions I had: who are you, how did you get here and can you move my head, heart and / or feet?  Moby, Phantogram and Little Dragon grace the topline and rightfully so – they’re household names that you actually have the chance of hearing on mainstream radio.  Then you work downwards: Amon Tobin, Gold Panda, Simian Mobile Disco, Beats Antique, Gramatik,  Chet Faker, Thomas Jack, Random Rab, Desert Dwellers; those names might cause some to scratch their heads, but if you’ve been on the outskirts of indie electro or in the electronic underground – they’re just as familiar, if not more so than the latest work from the ‘headliners’.

Slowly but surely, I’ve been chronicling the artists starting from the bottom right corner and heading up that bright headline of familiar faces. Over the past few years, this process has become more of a tradition – starting with my first Coachella and leading me here – to my second Lightning in a Bottle experience.   And now that I’ve gotten aquanited with some of the lesser known acts, let me just ooze with excitement for a second: between the world music out of Natasha Kmeto, the delightful deep house grooves of Marley Carroll and the groovy, jam-band Plantrae – the bottom of the lineup has just as much, if not more talent than the top.  And of course, I already have a steady list of favorite artists that I’m delighted to be sharing with the world.  The cherry on top of my ice cream sundae is that two artists that I’ve featured in my Rising Star Spotlight series made the line-up – Thomas Jack  and  Flume, who’ll be performing as half of the duo What So Not.

The original plan was to meander through the artists repository on Soundcloud and throw a few tracks into my LIB Prep Playlist; but then, I put on The Polish Ambassador – and somewhere between the one woman dance party that started in my living room, rocking out in the car and then sharing my favorite jams with my friends, I’d realized that I’d been on a 2 hour kick and wasn’t planning on coming out of it anytime soon.  From the funky soul grooves to the ambient, ethereal soundscapes, The Polish Ambassador has effortlessly and successfully crafted music for any occasion.   My current favorite called ‘Girl Control’; it’s an oldie, but a goodie – and I’ll bet your bottom dollar you won’t stop booty shakin’ til its over.

As the festival gets closer, I’ll be shining the spotlight on the artists, entertainment, live talks and music that will be filling the hills of the San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley, CA.  I can’t wait to share what makes this festival so amazing with everyone, and hopefully I’ll be seeing your beautiful faces in the mountains!

[Track of the Week] Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home

It’s not frequently that I remember when artists came on the scene, but leave it to Drake to stand out.  The storytelling intonation in his voice lands halfway between sultry and scruffy and when it’s paired with both simple yet deliberate bass lines and minor chords – it becomes thematic and has the ability to move people.  Forget the fact he got his start on Degrassi – or don’t, we all have to start somewhere and truth be told, I’m sure his acting experience only enhances his music making abilities.  Born and raised in Toronto, Drake spent a good amount of time creating mixtapes in hopes of being discovered by a major label.  In 2007, he became the first unsigned Canadian rapper with a video on BET for the single “Replacement Girl”.  Drake was signed to Lil Wayne’s label Young Money Entertainment in 2009; later that year, he released his first EP ‘So Far Gone‘ containing the smash single, “Best I Ever Had“.  I only caught the song on my radar at the time because of a delightful remix by Indie-Electro DJ Matamatics, but it got me curious.  His sophomore album ‘Thank Me Later’ was certified platinum by the RIAA and his third album ‘Take Care’ is behind the (unfortunately) popular and overused phrase, YOLO.  I can forgive that little bit because the more I’ve listened to other tracks like “Find Your Love”,  “Take Care” with Rihanna, “Headlines” and “Swimming Pools”  – the more I appreciate the man’s musical genius as an artists and a lyricist.   

The latest jam of Drake’s that I’ve been obsessed with is called ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ and it’s been remixed to the nine’s by DJ’s across the genres.

Kastle, one of my favorite acts at this year’s Lightning In A Bottle, gave the track a proper deep house mix:

TJR – a crowd favorite from HARD Summer in LA – put a little bounce in Drake’s step with this festival ready remix:

K-Theory gave it a spin and their signature Dubstep infused electro sound on it:

Holy Ghost! did it one better by entire thing themselves; their mix is slightly slower, focused on the vocals and has a Nu-Disco bounce:

DJ Panic City crafted a slightly more upbeat, progressive house mix, with an emphasis on the melody and a few added lines of harmony

ASTR, a duo out of NYC, covered it their way – slowing down the BPM and isolating the vocals; the result is a very sexy rendition of Drake: