Aussie-Japanese brother and sister duo Lastlings announced their signing to Astralwerks Records with their debut single “Take My Hand,” their first release of 2020. The sound of Amy and Josh Dowdle’s shared project of nearly five years seems to be evolving, now sharing a sonic identity similar to electronic acts like Camelphat, Lane 8, and Rufus Du Sol. “Take My Hand” showcases a darker, more house-leaning approach to their production while maintaining the pop-sensible indietronic sound that has drawn attention to Lastlings from around the globe.
Check out the perfectly futuristic music video, conceptualized by Amy and Josh alongside Jonty Bell, and executed by Director/Producer duo Marcus Butler and Alicia Rashleigh Butler. The video themes around love and loss, particularly focusing on re-united those who aren’t ready to be separated by the confines of time and space.
Electronic production duo Young Bombs have finally dropped the music video to their great new single “Loyal,” and, boy (no pun intended,) it does not disappoint. Complete with feature singer GiGi and a slew of adorable rescue puppies, the cuddly video has a DIY aesthetic that makes the entire video feel very authentic and fits the feel-good nature of the song. Check out the video below – I’ve watched it at least six times in a row at this point.
French Montana x Post Malone x Nicki Minaj – “Writing on the Wall”
Post Malone continues his global dominance with a star-studded feature on French Montana’s “Writing on the Wall” alongside Nicki Minaj, who looks absolutely steamy in white and black lingerie.
Camilla Cabello – “Liar”
Bea Miller x Snakehips – “NEVER GONNA LIKE YOU”
“this song is about one person but i wanted to make the video about everyone. i think we all go through phases of believing that if the rest of the world could see who we really are, they wouldn’t like us. we compare our own lives to others but forget that when we do that we’re only seeing a small portion, not necessarily who someone really is and what they’re going through.” – Bea Miller
The last time a dedicated electronic act headlined Madison Square Garden was nearly three years ago, when Porter Robinson brought his live show to The Garden on November 18, 2016. By that token, MSG has proven to hold a very high standard for electronic artists looking to grace the world’s most famous arena when stopping in New York on tour. When touring in New York, the biggest electronic acts in the world are accustomed to being relegated to venues like Brooklyn Mirage, Terminal 5, and very occasionally, Barclays Center — so ILLENIUM had a lot to live up to.
Despite being a huge electronic music fan and a big fan of ILLENIUM, I went into Saturday night’s show skeptical of how ILLENIUM would translate a show to somewhere as iconic as Madison Square Garden. I left in awe of the entire performance, with even more respect for ILLENIUM’s music and live show than I came with.
Sporting a live band to supplement his expansive and anthemic songs, he played guitar throughout his 90-minute set while he enlisted band members and even his concert openers to play drums, bass, rhythm guitar, and keys.
Opener Dabin was also a surprisingly familiar face all night, being on stage for three sets after opening the concert with his own, a second joint set with Said The Sky (who is also his roommate), and finally playing backup guitar during ILLENIUM’s set. Said The Sky also chipped in on keys and Ableton Live after performing the aforementioned second opening set. ILLENIUM further surprised fans by bringing singer-songwriter Annika Wells on stage to play keyboard and sing female vocals on a number of songs, including their 2017 award-winning collaboration “Crawl Outta Love.”
Seeing all of the openers and surprise guests truly made the concert feel like it was, from its outset, thoughtfully constructed of artists who would contribute all night to the experience, which added an unexpected level of cohesiveness to the show that is rare among any concert lineup, let alone a night of EDM.
More than just a fun and collaborative evening, ILLENIUM’s set was wildly entertaining for the entire 90 minutes. His blend of pop accessibility with credible and anthemic EDM tunes allowed fans to sing along all night, rather than just sweating it out on a dance floor. ILLENIUM has found a singular sound that makes his music stand out among a lot of homogeneity in the electronic scene. He played songs from his latest album, ASCEND, his trendsetting album Awake, and multiple collaborations in between.
To put the icing on the cake, the visual and physical show production made for an immersive spectacle befitting of The Garden. With world-class graphics, an outrageous laser show, massive pyrotechnics and confetti cannons, fans were on their toes wondering what they’d see next, and very frequently got their fill.
With an open stage setup, ILLENIUM and his band were in full view of the crowd at all times in front of the enormous hanging LED screen that created the canvas upon which the visuals were displayed, keeping fans engaged and stimulated as well.
Since seeing the show this past Saturday, I’ve been raving about it to anyone who will listen; it may be the only electronic show fitting of MSG, and should be considered a must-see show for any fan of electronic wherever ILLENIUM’s ASCEND Tour will route through. This show’s worth every penny, worthy of traveling for, and something that sets a new standard for stadium EDM acts.
This Friday was a gold mine for anyone who appreciates a good music video – check out our favorites from this week below.
Normani – “Motivation”: The jaw-dropping music video, directed by the legendary Dave Meyers (“Bad Guy,” “Sicko Mode,” “God Is A Woman,” and many more) showcases Normani’s insane level of talent in all of its forms: athleticism, dancing, singing, and charisma. By all accounts, this song + video are catapulting Normani into her true “Star” phase. If you’re catching “Beyonce” vibes, it’s because this song feels a lot like “Check On It” (and Normani is also from Houston.)
PVRIS – “Hallucinations”: Prepare yourself for some crazy visuals: PVRIS has released their second single of 2019, “Hallucinations,” which turns an exciting new page for the Boston alt-rock group. A dark, synth-heavy rock record, “Hallucinations” needed an edgy music video to match. What the group came up with is a perfect representation of the song’s identity, being equally as trippy as it is powerful.
Gabriel Black – “Dead Yet ft. Phem”: One of our favorite songs this year, “Dead Yet” is a perfect coming of age anthem that captures the feeling of teen boredom and existentialism (probably why it was used in HBO’s “Euphoria.”) The video furthers that narrative, themed around a house party and struggling teenage romance.
Doja Cat x Tyga – “Juicy”: Doja Cat added Tyga on the track to her already fun “Juicy” – can you even ask for more?
PRETTYMUCH – “Rock Witchu”: The boys from PRETTYMUCH show off their dance skills with their latest music video for the groovy “Rock Witchu.”
Check out more of our favorite music videos on our playlist:
At first listen, I’ll be honest – I didn’t think I was in love with Rynn’s latest single “Nothing Ever Feels Like.” But, the beauty of today’s streaming age is you can give something a couple of chances, and test it in different environments or moods, with virtually no effort. Lucky for all of us, Rynn has clearly thought about that and gave us two versions of her latest single off of her newly-released Summer of Tokyo EP.
With a main version of “Nothing Ever Feels Like” along with an alternative “- Night Version,” Rynn presents her latest single in two very different lights. Giving the “Night Version” the first listen, the song shows itself with moderate piano instrumentation, giving the song a particular focus that feels very deliberate and controlled. But it lacks a certain level of emotion, which can be found when subsequently listening to the original version.
All of a sudden, then, the song feels stronger, holding more gravity with its use of synths and heavier electronic bass. The original thusly stands out as a modern electro-pop ballad, fit for times when you’re feeling down or moody, in an almost empowering way. It’s a song worthy of any mood playlist, and if you’re a fan of darker pop, this song has dark roots combined with Rynn’s airy, almost angelic voice, which creates a beautiful contrast.
Rynn’s Tokyo EP is her first 2016’s Nightfires EP and has been in the works since the release of her 2018 single of the same name. We spoke to Rynn about the background of “Tokyo” in an exclusive interview last October:
“It happened on a trip to Japan a couple years ago. There was a bit of a toxic guy relationship, and then I realized that there were a lot of emotional and other issues involved in that. That kind of all blew up at once, and then I was supposed to do a study abroad trip in Japan for a month, so everything fell apart.
I left for Japan, and basically had a mental breakdown, and bawled my eyes out for a month. I didn’t really talk to any family or friends back home, and the hotel we were staying indidn’t have Wi-Fi or anything connected in the rooms. No Netflix either…
So I basically just listened to one Coldplay album on repeat, cried and reflected on life, and really got into the emotional place of figuring out what went wrong in that relationship, what I wanted, where I wanted to be in life in the future and moving forward. I was very much re-discovering myself in that period of time that I was in Tokyo.”
The entire Summer of Tokyo EP is a fun piece of dream-pop work, with Rynn’s signature songwriting and storytelling. Listen below to the EP which also includes her new song “Like A Dream,” and read the rest of our “Tokyo” interview:
Out of all of the emerging acts in pop in 2019, the one person we’ve been the most excited about this year has been UK pop songstress Mabel. Born with pop star heritage in her blood, Britain’s rising star finally graced the world this August with her debut studio album, titled High Expectations, and we’re happy to report that it’s a pop masterpiece from top to bottom.
The album is aptly-named for one of UK’s most talked-about rising pop acts, given her lineage and fast rise to stardom. Born Mabel McVey, the 23-year-old is the daughter of Swedish singer-songwriter Neneh Cherry, whose 1988 song “Buffalo Stance” was a #1 US dance hit and peaked in the top 5 of the UK singles chart and Billboard Hot 100. Her dad, Cameron McVey, was also an established producer and writer in the ’80s and ’90s – so, yeah… High expectations.
Those expectations haven’t seemed to bog down Mabel, though, as she’s been able to channel her talent into becoming one of the brightest pop acts to burst on to the scene in recent memory. Coming off of 2018’s summer hit “Ring Ring” with Jax Jones, Mabel kicked off 2019 with what’s now the UK’s #1 best-selling single this year, “Don’t Call Me Up,” and its mood set the tone for the entire album.
With her self-assured lyrics and dancehall-tinged, rhythmic beats, Mabel’s pop brand becomes extremely clear when you hear her debut album and its various pieces: she’s that exotic, badass girl who hits hard and knows she’s “got it.”
There are hits like “Mad Love,” and “Bad Behaviour,” which keep that rhythmic identity under Mabel’s sultry voice and even steamier lyrics which position her as the one in the driver’s seat of her relationships. Add the new-but-underrated jam “Selfish Love,” and “Put Your Name On It” interspersed throughout the 20-song deluxe album, and the entire LP feels like it has a cohesive identity and theme.
The album isn’t exclusively full of dancehall-inspired rhythmic hits, though – Mabel is a versatile pop star, as she showcases in the second half of the High Expectations. Following “Mad Love,” McVey breaks out her emotional side with “Trouble,” and “OK (Anxiety Anthem),” both airy, self-aware ballads that prove she’s not invincible all of the time:
TROUBLE Yeah, I came looking for trouble / Yeah, I came looking for you ‘Cause I can’t get you out my head / I know instead, I should’ve stayed at home Yeah, I came looking for trouble / And I get everything I need, do as I please Living dangerously, living dangerously
OK (ANXIETY ANTHEM) There are days when the world gets heavy / Sleepless nights, I’ve had way too many When it’s late and no one’s around, around / Alone in my room and the tears start pouring Wishing the night was still the morning / But tonight, I’ma let them fall down, fall down
Cause it’s okay not to be okay It’s okay if you feel the pain Don’t gotta wipe your tears away Tomorrow’s another day
Overall, for a debut full-length studio album, the body of work that McVey has put together is an extremely impressive debut. Between Mabel’s keen songwriting ability and production that grabs your attention at every turn, the album is one that can be listened through fluidly without much skipping.
Each song on High Expectations tells and important piece of her story, giving it that extra ability to connect with listeners on a relatable and personal level, which works in her favor over the long term. This album and its hits will help boost Mabel’s already significant fanbase, and sets her up to be at or near the very top of the pop food chain for the forseeable future. It’s Mabel’s world to take, and we’re lucky to be along for the ride.
If you’re lucky, you can catch Mabel on her short US & Canada tour this month, including tonight’s show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom. We’ll be at the show tonight, so check back on Friday for photos and a recap!
Decatur, Georgia isn’t exactly the place you’d expect to find a bubbling rock act, but four-piece outfit Hero The Band aren’t your average band. Made up of four brothers each born a year apart, – Justin Barnett aka Ocean [vocals, lead guitar], Jerramy Barnett aka Goku Love [vocals, bass], DJ Barnett aka BamBam [vocals, drums], and Nick Barnett aka Nicky Jupiter [guitar, keys] – the group have managed to piece together a singular sound that shines in their latest single “Back To Myself.”
Having grown up on rock ranging from Queen to Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, The Beatles, Rush, and even The Fray, “Back To Myself” showcases the influences of the brothers Barnett while presenting a fresh sound and alternative facets that makes it stand out among a lot of today’s rock.
If you haven’t heard chloe mk’s debut EP, 𝘍𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘴𝘺, you’re missing out on one of the coolest new projects in pop music. Channeling the best eras of Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry but in a modern package. it’s a masterful introduction to a new pop powerhouse in the making.
Originally showcasing her powerful voice around Nashville’s bar scene, chloe mk eventually made her way into the public spotlight as the winner of NBC’s The Voice in 2017, and has been solidying her singular style since.
As a digital native, the New York-based singer/songwriter’s entire narrative is shaped by growing up in the internet-infatuated culture of today, a lifestyle and story that resonates on a personal level with her entire generation.
The entire EP is incredible, so give the project a listen from top to bottom – our favorites are “To Be Young,” “Ride,” and “Praying For Me.”
A year ago this past June, I met Sam Feldt on the Elsewhere rooftop during Bakermat’s show. A friend of Bakermat’s, who had him opening for him on his world tour, Feldt was there to check out the set before his own show at Lavo later that night. I turned to Sam and told him “we should do an interview sometime,” to which he said “Next time I’m in NYC, we’ll make it happen.”
364 days later, a lot had occurred, including a life-changing leg injury that came after a horrific scooter crash in early summer of 2018 that put most of his 2018 tour plans on hold. Post-recovery, Sam has also released his 2019 Magnets EP which holds his latest hit single, “Post Malone,” which has already claimed 25 million streams on Spotify in just over a month and sits in the top ten on Spotify’s premiere playlist, Today’s Top Hits.
I sat down with Sam at SoHo House in Chelsea for an exclusive interview before his June return to Lavo, to look back at the past year in retrospect since we’d first met.
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
<h6 style="text-align: left;"EB: In your personal life and career, does any moment or accomplishment stick out over the last 364 days?
SF: One positively and one negatively. Around this time I had a scooter accident that really impacted my summer. I wasn’t able to perform for two months and had surgery, recover and learn how to walk again. it was pretty drastic and really impacted also my look on live and my career and everything I’m doing. When you realize it can be over in a split second, you start to appreciate everything a lot more. So that’s something that I learned that was actually very valuable to me.
I think positively, I’m very impressed how well my new track “Post Malone” is doing right now. It’s at almost half a million plays a day (update: it’s now doing 1.2M per day), which is very rare, also for my music. So I’m curious to see where this goes, music video will be out soon. I went to Sirius XM and iHeartRadio in New York, and everyone was really excited about it. Who knows, it might be a new hit.
<h6 style="text-align: left;"EB: Most of the music you’ve put out so far falls into the tropical house lane, and is generally very chill. Is that a reflection of your personality and your taste?
SF: I started Sam Feldt around five years ago, and before that I was already DJing and producing under a different name. I used to make EDM, very hard kind of stuff. You can feel and hear that my heart wasn’t really into it, and so I said to myself, after struggling and failing, that I was going to create a new name and under that name I’m only going to put out what I love, what I love listening to myself – that was Sam Feldt.
The moment I started doing that was actually the moment I got signed and my success came, so it’s one of my biggest tips that I have to aspiring producers: make music that you personally love and listen to, that you can listen to 100 times before getting bored.
<h6 style="text-align: left;"EB: Are there any tracks that you’ve released in the last few years that made you nervous to put out because it was different?
SF: It’s always your gift to the world, the thing youv’e been working on for months. Then you put it out and you never know what people are going to say or think. Overall, I think over the last year, the response to my tracks have been really positive – I don’t have a lot of haters, luckily.
But yeah, these weird collaborations, like one I did with Akon, you never know what people will think, and there were people who said “This is not the Sam Feldt or the Akon that I know,” but I like pushing the boundaries and I like seeing where Sam Feldt ends in a way.
Also what I did with the album – 24 tracks ranging from 90 BPM hip-hop almost, to clubby 128 BPM foot-to-the-floor club bangers, all on one album – I think that really showcases how diverse Sam Feldt can be, and how open-minded my fans are, in welcoming all of that music.
<h6 style="text-align: left;"EB: Funny you mention that, because I was wondering if there was a big difference between your live show set that incorporates band members & instruments, and your club/DJ sets.
SF: It’s different because when you play with the live band, the set has to be structured in a way, because they have to know what to do and when to do it. You have to rehearse like a band, with a setlist. My live sets, because they’re instrumental, they tend to be a bit more melodic, and the club sets tend to be more bassy, deep, and groovy.
For my DJ sets, I’m very free – I can play longer, usually, I can switch it up and really read the crowd and adapt to it. So, it’s a very different way of playing.
<h6 style="text-align: left;"EB: So you really are flying by the seat of your pants at a club set, because you’re reading the crowd.
SF: That’s it. For instance, Lavo is already a different crowd and club than Marquee, and if I were to play a Brooklyn venue like the Bakermat one, I’d play differently. I think that’s the most important job you have as a DJ – that people are having a good time. You see that one thing works, and another doesn’t, you have to change it up.
<h6 style="text-align: left;"EB: Thinking about all of the artists you include in your DJ set, do you feature any artists more consistently than others in particular?
Yeah, there are a couple of artists that align well with what I try to do during my DJ sets. They’re melodic, have a happy vibe, they’re energetic and we share a similar fan base: Guys like The Him, Lucas & Steve – I can play almost all of their tracks in my set. But, I’m always looking for new talent, I’ll play any new song as long as it’s good.
<h6 style="text-align: left;"EB: Today marks six years together with your girlfriend Michelle, who is half of the DJ duo Cat Carpenters. What’s it like maintaining a relationship with someone who is also a DJ and tours?
SF: It’s actually really cool and interesting. People tend to think it’s hard, but it’s not anymore. We’ve known each other now for six years, and in the beginning, when we had just met, I wasn’t even touring yet. So, we really grew and the first couple years were a lot harder than it is now.
<h6 style="text-align: left;"EB: As musicians, do you lean on each other for advice when you’re making music, or do you try to keep it separate from your relationship?
SF: I think she’s definitely a big factor when it comes to listening to things in the studio, and snippets of things that I’m working on. She has a good ear, and helps sort me through the demos I get on heartfeldt.me, the submissions for my radio show. She’s just started as a DJ, so I help her out with production sometimes as well.
She also works for a startup that I own, called Fangage, running operations there. She’s with me now in New York, and it allows us to travel together, be very flexible, and still keep the businesses running that we have together. I think we’re a great team.
For more sam Feldt, check out our first Q&A from last fall where we discussed Sam’s life outside of the DJ booth:
Gorgon City is back and ready to kick off summer with a groovy new banger in their new single “Elizabeth Street,” out now on their own REALM label. The instrumental house track is more tame and deep than many of their more recent releases, making it an easily accessible track for even the most casual of EDM fans. It’s smooth builds and lack of an aggressive hook makes for a really enjoyable track that suits any mood, from workday tunes to exercise, and of course clubbing.
The UK duo will be sure to showcase the track at their upcoming Brooklyn Mirage show this Friday (which also features Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Less Foss) – tickets are still available. We’ll be there!