Song Highlight: Raye – “Alien”

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I
recently came across this track through a good friend of mine, and I’m in love
with everything about it. It’s dreamy, airy, and a lyrical trip. “Alien” dips
deep into a world of fantastical possibilities, swirling around the concept of
a futuristic lover, something that the singer Raye found, well, alien.

Raye
spoke about how she came across the idea for the song in an interview with
WeAreGoingSolo: “I have such a cold rational way of thinking about love and
sharing happiness, but this song is almost like a dream I would have. Someone
coming along to redefine my perspective. Alien had to be the perfect word to
describe this whole feeling, because the whole idea is so alien to me.”

Raye’s
thought process really shines through on the track, taking the listener on a
journey; the smooth production transports you to a foreign landscape, but the
lyrics make it feel familiar.

“Cause I, I do not know this place
But why do I feel so safe out here…
I’m feeling so lost in space round here…
I think it’s gonna be OK
When I see your face, when I see your face”

Raye
is a rising underground London artist, with both “Alien” and “Bet You Wish”
slowly gaining traction in the electronic R&B scene. She recorded her first
EP “Welcome to the Winter” when she was 17, and shortly after signed with
Polydor Records. With no intention of stopping, Raye is bound to make waves in
the near future, and I hope to hear more of her music soon.

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Alexander Bonilla



Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Back from the Dead: New Crystal Castles

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October 8, 2014 was a dark day for Crystal Castles fans. Stories with titles such as “Crystal Castles call it quits” saturated our newsfeeds as we sat in a corner wailing along with Not In Love and Vanished while eating copious amounts of ice cream.

No? Just Me? Okay.

Anyway, the pure despair beset upon me by the reports of Crystal Castles’ demise served only to enhance the state of pure bliss I was in the morning of April 16 when I awoke to a passive aggressive message from Ethan Kath accompanied by a Soundcloud link.

The message yielded a response from Alice Glass the next day and Kath later redacted most of the passive aggression, but that drama isn’t what’s important. There’s new Crystal Castles!

The track is called Frail and it’s signature Crystal Castles. It’s heavily distorted and is one of those tracks that melds into the background perfectly when doing anything to a beat, with just enough vocals to give you something to key into without drawing too much away from the instrumentals.

Speaking of the vocals, those on Frail are provided by someone referred to only as “Edith”. Though, they’re virtually indistinguishable from Alice Glass’ due in large part to abundant distortion.

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Overall, it’s a solid track, but it doesn’t stand out too much when compared to the rest of their discography. You can listen to it on Crystal Castles’ Soundcloud, linked above.

With Ethan Kath releasing new music under the Crystal Castles moniker and Alice Glass set to release new music in the coming months, it’s an exciting time for Crystal Castles fans. Only time will tell if their split was better for listeners or not.

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Garrett M

Show Review: Shlohmo in Seattle

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I’ve
been a Shlohmo fan for years now,
so I bought tickets to his show as soon as he announced a tour. That was way back around
the start of the year.

I whiled away the months
leading to the show by revisiting his impressive discography. I’ve long
considered his Laid Out EP to be a
masterpiece.

In March, Shlohmo dropped his new album, Dark Red. The
album was a stunning departure from his previous releases. But it still had all
those classic Shlohmo elements, like menacing basslines and warped notes.
Definitely an album worth checking out.

Shlohmo’s electronic
music isn’t the dance-y kind. His music reminds me of dark basements and scary
nights and pain and zombie apocalypses. It’s pretty great. That’s why I was
surprised when I started dancing at the show. Everyone was dancing. It was
probably because Shlohmo’s basslines were even more immense on Neumos’s bumping sound system. Shout
out my ear drums for not exploding.

I love it when electronic
artists bring out a band. Shlohmo brought out a drummer and a guitarist and
also occasionally wielded a guitar himself.

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The light show was crazy
intense. The lights and the music complemented each other beautifully, surging
and receding in harmony. At times, shrouded by the spotlights, Shlohmo seemed angelic.

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He mostly played cuts off
his new album, but didn’t forget fan favorites like Places and Later. Later is my favorite Shlohmo song ever.
I cried sweet tears of joy when it came on. Well, maybe not. Nonetheless, I was
super happy.

About an hour into the
set, Shlohmo and the band just ran off the stage without warning. “Is that it?”
I wondered.

Hell no. The lights flared
up and Shlohmo ran back up on stage. He grabbed the microphone and reassured us,
“That was a joke. This is real life now!” He played us one last amazing song.
Then, unfortunately, it was over.

My one beef with the show
was that the two openers, Purple and
Nick Melons, had sets that lasted
about an hour each. That’s a bit long, as openers go. I was restless, standing
on sore feet waiting for Shlohmo to come out. But the openers were pretty tight
so it was cool I guess.

Definitely a night to
remember.  

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Pranav Shivanna

Purity Ring – Another Eternity

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In 2012, Purity Ring’s debut LP, Shrines, garnered critical acclaim for its surreal take on synthpop. The record was focused and dark, with eleven fantastically produced tracks each adding to the overall occult aesthetic. Another Eternity departs from this spooky brilliance in favor of a brighter and poppier sound, while thankfully maintaining the great production values of the first album.

Unlike on Shrines, Megan James’ voice takes the front seat on Another Eternity. While the heavily processed vocals of the first album make a return on a few tracks, such as “Dust Hymns” and “Stillness in Woe”, they’re as a whole overshadowed by James’ more memorable melodies on songs such as “Heartsigh” or “Sea Castle”. MIDI vocal samples are also featured throughout the record, but are rarely the focus and serve as more of a tool in Corin Roddick’s instrumental arsenal than the lead voice.

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With less of an atmospheric vibe and brighter vocals, Another Eternity takes a step towards the mainstream and, seemingly sensing this, Roddick has slotted in elements of popular house music throughout the album. At the same time, he tries to maintain some of the weirdness that made Shrines the hit that it was. The result is what occasionally feels almost anti-EDM: A lone siren and percussion roll in “Heartsigh” among the otherwise synthpop instrumentals or a build up to a drop that never comes in “Dust Hymn”. On first listen, these sounds are jarring and feel out of place, but they quickly meld into the overall tone and are barely noticed on subsequent listens.

Aside from the house influence, Another Eternity’s instrumentals are fairly similar to those of Shrines, albeit brighter, and that’s a good thing. They’re every bit as polished as those on Purity Ring’s debut LP and leave little to be desired.

Though Another Eternity is a departure from Shrines, it is every bit as memorable. A change in tone this drastic is sure to divide the fanbase, but Corin Roddick’s fantastic production values ensure that this record sounds great and maintains a sense of cohesion between Another Eternity and Shrines. All in all, Another Eternity does well to avoid the “Sophomore slump” that is all too apparent in indie bands today.

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Garrett M

Jarryd James – “Do You Remember”

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Almost a month ago, Jarryd James (broody-looking guy in above photo) released his debut single, “Do You Remember”, confirming his status as an artist to keep an eye out for in the near future. 

The track is a lovely mixture of genres–a little bit indie, a little bit electronic, a dash of folk. James, who is from Brisbane and is currently opening for Angus & Julia Stone on their Australian tour, reminds me a lot of James Blake and James Vincent McMorrow. Vocally and lyrically, he is definitely on par with both. 

That falsetto. 

The gentle riff that begins this song is catchy and calming, and James’ breathy, soulful voice on top of the deep, rhythmic percussion that kicks in is enough to make anyone feel at peace. I dare you not to sing along when the chorus rolls around for the second time.

It seems unfair to be left hanging after such a great debut, but I strongly suggest following Jarryd James on Soundcloud and/or Twitter to stay posted on what’s to come–if this single is any indication, it’s going to be unreal. 

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malz

TBT: TURN UP DA SYNTH

I know it’s not Thursday but it’s never too late to throw it back for a super rad musical innovation of the past. On January 31st, 1955, the Radio Corporation of America debuted Victor: the world’s first electronic synthesizer! 

A synthesizer is an electronic instrument that can produce and mimic a wide range of sounds, from a guitar or a person’s voice to a bird chirping to sounds that can’t even be heard in nature. Nowadays, you might associate them with music that sounds like this: 

Or this: 

Electronic duo Daft Punk is well-known for playing around with different digital synthesizers. “Da Funk” is a super catchy example of their signature synth sound.

But wait, there’s more! Electronic and house music definitely don’t have the monopoly on the synthesizer. 

Mmmmm, sounds like the ‘90’s.

In the years since Victor’s introduction, synthesizers have progressed in leaps and bounds to the point where they can now be found in pretty much every genre of music. The quality of sound produced by a synthesizer can be changed by a number of factors–whether it uses analog or digital signals, for one, or how the signals are filtered and processed. Synth sound can be programmed or controlled with the voice. They can also be used to sample music, or take a sound from one song/recording and use it in another, with or without alteration. There is nearly nothing a synth can’t do. The RCA really did us a solid with this one.

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malz

Rad Report–come with me and join the Manatee Commune

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The music created by Manatee Commune is like a gust of wind that breathes life and energy into you as you walk down the street on a cold winter day  (similar to the ones we’ve been having in Seattle this last week). It’s the kind of music that exhales only positive vibes into anybody who takes a listen. When I first heard these beats I felt myself inhale a rush of emotions, which cannot be produced by anyone other than the incredible Grant Eadie—the creator and member of Manatee Commune. 

Described by Eadie himself as “chillwave, bedroom electronic, [and] rainy goodness,” Manatee Commune’s music is really unlike any other. There aren’t many artists producing such relaxing, yet intriguing types of music that can induce such an intense experience. The ethereal sounds within Eadie’s music bring out this feeling of awe that’s hard to describe, but is similar to the sensation of having climbed a mountain and having meditated on the summit. The idea of “the sublime” comes to mind, the concept of something completely awe-inspiring and stupendous—this is exactly how I feel when I play a song by Manatee Commune.

While definitely fitting into an electronic genre, I think of Eadie’s music as mostly experimental and trancelike. The most interesting and coolest part of many of these songs is that natural sounds are incorporated into them, which are definitely a reminder of the Pacific Northwest and Seattle specifically (where Eadie is from and currently resides). This gives the music a very relatable and homey feel to it that is applicable whether you’re on that grind studying for finals next week, or whether you’re trying to ease your mind and get some good sleep.

Although I feel like it’s remarkably easy to connect to Manatee Commune’s music through soundcloud and bandcamp, I’m really excited to be able to experience these rad rhythms live on December 3rd (tomorrow)! The show is actually FREE and is presented by our very own Rainy Dawg Radio in UW’s Ethnic Cultural Theater. I, myself, have yet to experience Manatee Commune live, and have heard that it’s an unbelievable experience. I hope to see you all there so we can enjoy the breathtaking work of this fantastic artist together. 

Two Sides of the Same Coin: New Electronic from North & South America

Music can be related from all over the world. From the south-eastern shores of Brazil to the Pacific Northwest, artists are always coming up with new forms of expression – especially in the realm of electronic. This week, two musicians have released the perfect example of a such a connection.

Brazilian dream-pop experimentalist, Kid from Amazon put out a tape last weekend that’s done nothing but displace my concept of reality. As I walk the streets of Budapest, soviet trams passing by, Musgo Vibes breaks through the monotony with its nu-disco beats and ambient vocalizations. Check out the stream (and download it for free) in the BandCamp player below:

Musgo Vibes by Kid From Amazon

Slow and relaxed at first, the tracks begin to build off of with one another between waves of enchanting synths and samples. As one becomes comfortable with the constant state of disassociation, a state of comfort is pursued through tracks like “Shy” and “Lugares”. Yet, as “Summer Haze” breaks and fades, the album returns to its Brazilian trance – birds chirping between cracks in the rhythm.

As my weekend came to a close, the Kid From Amazon was kicked off my “Now Playing” list by Jaapur’s latest release, the first of many continuous mixes of all his previous albums. This Oregon native provided the perfect contrast to the dream-state that Musgo Vibes, had put me under. Check out Tension below (free download):

Glitchy and poppy, the mix does nothing but keep my head bobbing. And as the tracks meld into one another, the album has become my new playlist for any dark and gloomy day.

Both musicians, though thousands of miles away from one another and myself, have managed to make this freezing cold how-can-this-still-be-fall weather feel a little more like summer with every bass-line, synth-riff, and break-beat. Check out their respective BandCamps here and here.

With love, from Hungary,

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DJ Desman

Marina and the Diamonds – Froot

Welsh songstress Marina and the Diamonds has just graced us with a brand new gem to sink our teeth into. The disco-y “Froot”—stylized as “FROOT”—is the new title track from her upcoming album of the same name. Always the generous spirit, Marina, born Marina Diamandis, released the song 10 days ago, on her birthday, October 10th. “Froot” sees Marina comparing herself to a ripe fruit, ready to be picked by the man she’s been waiting for. The song’s organic and lush lyrical imagery is in sharp contrast to the shimmery, digitized synths washing in and out of the five and half minute-long track. With tongue-in-cheek rhymes, elastic vocal runs, and catchy hooks, Marina has struck a happy medium between her indie-pop debut LP from 2010, The Family Jewels, and 2012 electropop concept album, Electra Heart. Whether or not “Froot” has enough juice to propel itself into stateside radio, as her single “Primadonna” could only graze, is yet to be seen. Regardless, the song is gaining traction and hype in the blogosphere, and has certainly earned itself a cozy place on my regular rotation.

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Jamie Coughlin