The angels-on-high voiced b3sci fave Saint Saviour delivers again with a new A+ lush life send-up of M83’s ubersmash “Midnight City”. On the track, Ms. Jones’ on point vocals are framed by Cocteau Twins-esque synths and a great almost hip hop-feel backbeat. Be on the look out for more from Saint Saviour coming soon including a new album Union and new single “I Call This Home”.
The Knocks absolutely smash this cover of M83’s big “Midnight City” track from last year. Grabbing popstress Mandy Lee (who sounds uncannily like Deadmau5 collaborator Greta Svabo Bech), the NYC duo put a spotless pop/electro shine on the M83 jam. Easily the song of the week.
The Knocks – Midnight City (Feat. Mandy Lee) (M83)
Big Black Delta opened an encore, night two, performance for M83 at Club Nokia in Downtown LA this past Friday. For those unfamiliar with the B3SCI top 50 in 2011 track-makers, BBD is the current project of Mellowdrone’s Jonathan Bates. It was great seeing him back, as I’ve long hoped for a new Mellowdrone project. If Mellowdrone had a certain Beck vibe, then Big Black Delta often reminds me of the darker synth music coming out of England in the late 80’s. Still their music maintains a winning freshness. The band arrived on stage pre-approved by M83 (Big Black Delta appeared on M83’s “Midnight City” remix EP) with Bates singing and working layers of synths and backing tracks accompanied by two female drummers. Bates moved in a herky-jerky way that made total sense and came off as likable in the lower-key environment. Those close to the stage got to see and hear a solid show from the up and coming LA based project. Jason Bates is a strong front man, especially with good songs like “Huggin & Kissin” under his belt.
M83’s live show is ready for prime time. Oh wait, they ARE prime time thanks to the massive success of “Midnight City”. Especially having completed two sold-out nights at Club Nokia, only two months after they played at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood. To be fair, it’s more than just the hit song that has brought them to this level. M83 has had a stellar live show all along. I will admit to not being a fan of Club Nokia, as the sound frankly sucks for most artists. The décor of the place seems to be geared more to the downtown velvet rope crowd. Either way, M83 cut through and delivered a show that reached everyone. From “Intro” into “Teen Angst” and then “Kim & Jesse”, it was immediately apparent that M83’s progressive synth-pop has taken on a rock-sized presence that will allow their show to work anywhere.
Leader Anthony Gonzalez freely admits to being uneasy in the role of front man, but M83’s style doesn’t require an outsized character. He actually fits the role quite well even if he has appeared less at ease in the past. I’d contest that the slower songs didn’t work as well as everything else, but really that’s just a minor concern. “Midnight City” was as expected the highlight of the evening. The hit seemed to come all too soon even though it was song number twelve in the set. This band may be known for being fairly low-key, but there were times when standing or sitting still was virtually out of the question. Most were even raving upstairs in the often jaded balcony, not only for the hit, but for the hot second encore “Couleurs”. The Frenchman Gonzalez has lived in LA for the past two years, so this week was very much a home town win for him. He and the band seemed genuinely blown away by the size of the crowd as well as the response. They will hit Coachella in April, and I fully expect their show to be a festival highlight.
it’s FRIDAY and B3SCI is coming at you with IN THE MIX and a handful of BANGERS to hold you over for the weekend… so let’s see what we’ve got here:
“Laredo” is previewed from Band Of Horses new LP Infinite Arms dropping official May 18 via Brown Records/Fat Possum/Columbia Records. BUY IT! this track dishes everything that was ever right about Neil Young, and 90s pop-rock melodies. we LOVE it, GET INTO IT! info pre-order
Deftones Diamond Eyes LP drops tuesday May 4 via Reprise Records. not many bands, and especially alternative hard-rock bands, continue to remain relevant to their genre for more than 20 years! Deftones keep it real. via Record Store Day release, M83 put their signature touch on “Rocket Skates”. need we say more… except shouts to skoa. info pre-order
Deftones – Rocket Skates (M83 Remix)
the self proclaimed ‘Jay Electramadaanmuhammadasalamic’a rings in this lovely friday with “The Ghost Of Christopher Wallace”, debuting on The Morning After with Amy Yee today. track is SICK… and like Yee says “fuck it we’ll do it live”!! good pickup and download @ Team Yee info purchase
Jay Electronica – The Ghost Of Christopher Wallace Feat. Diddy
FRIDAY BONUS!! check this rare audio clip of Blur and Oasis appearing on an American radio show back in ’94…
“Turn” is the new track from London duo TEN FÉ. Produced by Ewan Pearson (M83, Jagawar Ma), “Turn” spins a magnetically dark set of melodies around a adeptly set exercise in 70’s pop-referencing production (a neat nexus of Fender Rhodes, far-off harmony, and that particularly 70’s use of space in framing the record’s warm-toned edges. “Turn” is out now on SOME KINDA LOVE.
The impressive Odesza chalk up an equally impressive placement credit as they join M83, Ellie Goulding, A$AP Rocky, etc on the ostensibly blogger-friendly Divergent soundtrack with their big drums, big synths new mix for Pretty Lights’ “Lost and Found”.
Barcelona artist Alizzz realizes a fresh take on R&B-tipped electronic music on “Collapse”. Big, bombastic, almost M83-esque in its largeness, “Collapse” is the sort of track sizeable enough for a king & queen (& their crew) to roll to on Sat. night but still intimate and close-in enough to soundtrack your “pizza & chips” stay-in night. Alizzz’s new EP of the same name is available now on Beatport.
Last weekend Virgin Mobile landed at the Merriweather Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland for FreeFest. A Virgin media themed festival coined for it’s outgoing charity initiatives through the celebration of live music, dance, culture… and yes, ferris wheels! At a time where people are in the midst of habub about Sir Richard Branson’s Galactica space venture and the retired Endeavour space shuttle basically stopping the presses (btw the irony of people adoring a space shuttle from a program that basically died because it has lost support… is beyond us), EDM pioneer Skrillex took it upon himself to launch his own shuttle venture at the event. Seriously though, Skrillex had a spaceship on stage.
Thing kicked off with clean cut rockers Future Island, who are a spectacle to watch perform with their mesmerizing eclecticism and musical delivery from the future. The collective commands the stage with a unique brand of take-charge futuristic 80s inspired dream pop, and are fronted with the theatrically abrasive nature of singer Samuel T. Herring who’s passion for music is basically this dude’s spinach. On an opposite stage Allen Stone performed, basking his audience with the charisma of your next daytime soul star. Stone did an ample job of fronting his massive band. At moments Stone’s blue eyed soul pop harkens back to a time when his style music was more of a standard in general for festival music.
For us Portugal. The Man is always a festival favorite. It seems that everyone relates to their melodic diction and unique mix of rock. Songs, “So American” and “People Say” were highlights, and let’s not forget the band’s extended “Helter Skelter” interlude. Traveling to the next performance, we encountered Alvin Risk initiating the day’s Dance Forest. It was a party, the hard hitting electro pop banged and the new z-gen based crowd moshed like it was 1994 (little did they know). By the time Thomas Gold would later take stage, and the lights started happening, it became pretty clear that the glam of electro party music will never die.
Between some sets at the main stages, actor James Franco hosted a series of film shorts on the big screens. The 7FAM montages told stories with an organic dimeanor and they served an interesting distraction to the musical radness that lay ahead. Santigold soon took stage with her prehistoric-future and neon charged stage-show. Everyone took pictures like it was something they’ll ever see again. That’s what we call star presence. Traveling next to the pavilion stage we found Ben Folds Five performing. The recently reunited trio emitted their sentimental moments of mediocre key rock upon the audience. Everyone gobbled it up including us. It was great hearing tracks like “Brick” and seeing the trio still doing what they do best, just check out their latest The Sound of the Life of the Mind release to hear what we mean. That plus Ben Folds is reminiscent of some mad scientist child spawn of Elton John, which in effect almost makes him rock royalty. We’re still waiting for that reunion of The Bens.
More highlights of the festival included the Alabama Shakes. Singer Brittany Howard looked comfortable in her stage front setting. The singer was animated and seemed thrilled to be performing. And why shouldn’t she be, by all our accounts Alabama Shakes has been one of the best live draws in 2012. And “Found You” is still a standout track with it’s goosebumps caliber moments. Hip Hop star Nas was a sight to see in the flesh, spitting his raw talent on the mic. No frills here, just his DJ and his words.
Zedd and Porter Robinson soon took stage in the Dance Forrest with some epic sci-fi graphics in the mix. It was like the two were honing in on their future festival headline-act slots. Zedd – one of the few electronic producers today finding their credibility on both sides of the masses. Porter Robinson – one of the hottest names in electro house.
Hopping in to our Virgin Mobile teleports we dialed into the pavilions stage (with seats) for ZZ Top. But there wasn’t much sitting. This blues rock trio sported their custom guitars with their novelty beards and still schooled most everyone in the house. Who needs a show production when you can play some straight forward and loud blues with a few timeless lyrical hooks to boot? We loved their new ‘hip-hop’ song about “getting paid.”
M83 were in full band mode that night. These guys rock at the next level making art with their instrumental use of power chords alone, something becoming less and less relevant to popular music nowadays. Combine that with M83’s sea of synthy atmospheres, and this band has only grown stronger with their years.
Deciding to head back to the other end of the festival, we found Jack White headlining the pavilion stage with his full band of female musicians. Drummer, Carla Azar owned her sticks with a finesse on the skins unparelleled at the festival. Possibly even out-staging the prolific tycoon that is Jack White productions. Then again you know Jack White feeds on that style of passionate musical rage. A performance quality of which might be staring too much in his own musical tendencies.
Skillex had a count down on the big screens before he took stage. People ran to the field where he was performing, hoping to catch their glimpse of the EDM icon. Sonny Moore performed his set of progressive electronic music via the front mast of his own space capsule. The showman fusing his hardcore tendencies mixed an artful display of electronic music inflections. It was an energized performance that got everyone moving, and of some serious showmanship (perhaps because girlfriend Ellie Goulding was spotted in the masses). As his spaceship was launched 20 ft. in the air, Skrillex would jump up on his decks table to incite the audience. Speaking of inciting, how bout the pyrotechnics and über controversial visual references? Skrillex even teased the audience with his remix of “Sabatog” from the Beastie Boys and peppered more of the set with a slew of other hip-hop classics. By the time Skrillex’ set ended I though his spaceship was going to blast off and race Richard Branson’s to mars. Instead things concluded per Skrillex’s gracious wishes for camaraderie upon the festival drenched crowd.
The awesome Tropics a/k/a Londoner Chris Ward (whom you may remember from his really sharp remix of M83’s “Reunion” from earlier this year) delivers the sublime and soulful house song “Popup Cinema”, which is the lead track of an upcoming 3-song EP of the same name.
The second single from Philly collective Sun Airway’s forthcoming Soft Fall LP has just hit the interwebs. “Black Noise” is a catchy upbeat popper complete with the crew’s signature psychedelic’ish flare. Get the track on Sun Airways’s new LP dropping October 2nd via Dead Oceans, and be sure to catch the group on tour with M83 this fall.
Yes, you’ve read that correctly. B3SCI will be hooking up one lucky winner with a pair of tickets to attend this year’s FreeFest in Columbia, MD on October 6th! That is – if you can handle experiencing live sets from Skrillex, Nas, M83, Santigold, Jack White, ZZ Top and more all in one day!
To enter our contest just email us here and share how far you would go to get tickets if FreeFest was not free (or sold out of course)? The most creative and outrageous answer wins! Our winner will be picked by September 26. So get to it and good luck!
Stay tuned to B3SCI and Virgin Mobile Live for more exciting updates and news still to come on FreeFest 2012!