January Music Favorites 2016
The highlight of my whole month was probably getting to meet Mr. Carmack.
Mr. Carmack // Sam Gellaitry
The day of the Mr. Carmack concert, I randomly thought to check his Twitter page. Good thing I did, because I discovered his obscure announcement that he would be hosting a meet-and-greet in a nearby shoe store as a thank-you for his sold-out Chicago performance.
My friends and I eagerly left campus in the late afternoon to visit Bucketfeet, a shoe store that Natalie and I actually encountered the day we wandered around Wicker Park, after reviewing Mindy’s Hot Chocolate! They sell sneakers featuring art prints from design submissions they receive online.
The meet-up was low-key and chill. No lines, just small clusters of people making casual conversation. Aaron Carmack was talking with a couple, so we hovered nearby for a few minutes and then approached him when the couple walked away.
He hugged me, signed my shirt and talked with my friends and I about his music production and inspirations, and how excited we all were for his later show, even Carmack himself.
And then we snapped a quick picture.
The concert itself was unforgettable. Cofresi, who I had seen open up for the Lido concert back in November, excited the crowd with his passionate live percussion performance.
On the other hand, Teeko’s act was much less engaging. I was initially intrigued by his turntabling skills, but his set dragged on for so long that I found myself bored at multiple points. However, in my pre-concert listening phase, as I searched through Teeko’s Soundcloud, I discovered his mix for Rebel Pop radio, full of record-scratching, lyrical rap, hip hop and electronic beats, and just a bit of soulllllll.
When Sam Gellaitry stepped on stage, Teeko lauded him in front of the audience, praising his humility, pure talent and invested efforts. And when the first beat dropped, the crowd was thrown into a admiration-filled dance rage. It was awesome.
Later on, he played “rise/set,” which dropped just days before the concert. Dramatic violin notes contrast sudden bass drops, set with a mellow and complex melody to create a mature, emotional track. The audience went wild.
The shining star, however, was easily Mr. Carmack.
I had been waiting in anticipation of this concert FOR WEEKS. I compiled all of his most unique and interesting productions, both banger and chill, into a playlist, listening to it daily. When the day of the concert arrived, I was ready. So ready.
We threw down to his remix of kaaris’ “charge,” his insane collab with Stooki Sound (coming to Chicago next Thursday with Keys N Krates!), Travi$ Scott’s “Antidote,” and of course, Maddy and I’s favorite song of his (probably, we can’t decide), “Solutions.”
Go ahead, listen to it. It’s all in the playlist.
Natalie and I went to Navy Pier, had DMK Burger & Fish, and saw Kygo. Enough said.
Here are my favorite Kygo songs.
I got to interview two bands!
I’ve never interviewed musicians before, so getting to interview not just one, but two bands was a really great experience. Getting to speak with and hear about all of their experiences was surreal!
As part of WNUR Media, I interviewed Nightmare of You’s lead singer Adrian Day and local Chicago band Even Thieves! Check out the interview I did in anticipation for Nightmare of You’s 10th anniversary show.
I was even able to make it out to the show, and witness a completely enthralled audience sing along to the lyrics in passionate sync.
ODESZA’S NO.SLEEP mixes
Though they were released two years ago, the NO.SLEEP mixes clearly retain a lot of ODESZA’s style that makes them so noteworthy these days. This particular collection of mixes, however, focuses on gradual, arousing beats. Catacombkid and BeachesBeaches, the duo’s previous monikers, come through and incorporate beachy, lighter tracks by Mura Masa, ZHU and Dawn Golden as well as heavy-bass songs by Mr. Carmack, What So Not and Pretty Lights.
I’ve listened to all 10 of them through. Each has its reputable tracks, but my personal favorites are: 2, 5, 7, 9, and 10.
SnowTape Vol. 5 Feat. Louis The Child || SG15
Still obsessed with Louis the Child, I was ecstatic to discover their SnowTape mix this past January.
My favorite part is probably the transition from Cashmere Cat’s “Ice Rink” to Troyboi’s “ili”, because on another mix, they follow up Cashmere Cat with a completely different track, so having the music flow into Troyboi was a complete surprise.
The mix then follows up with tracks by Goldlink, A-Trak, and Hermitude. Finally, Jesse Slayter rounds out the mix nicely with his take on “Hoodboi.”
SLANDER @ EDC LAS VEGAS 2015
I remember listening to this for the first time on the L back to campus with Christina after we ventured around Wicker Park one weekend, and dancing furiously in a nearly empty train compartment, as well as under the heating panels at the Howard stop.
This mix features Slander’s take on works by Alison Wonderland & Jack Ü, as well as original tracks the LA duo created with NGHTMRE on their Nuclear Bonds release in 2015. At its core, this hour-long mix is a festival trap fan’s dream.
I like how they drop banger after banger, with just a few seconds in between each track to let us catch our breath.
Top 3 bangers from the mix:
Skrillex feat. Alvin Risk – Try It Out (Put Em Up Mix)
Showtek – We Like To Party (Slander & NGHTMRE Remix)
O.T. Genasis – CoCo (MAKJ Remix)
Premiere: Cosmo’s Midnight Mix
Cosmo’s Midnight puts out music that’s a cross between that of Wave Racer and Lido: happy, upbeat tracks that will keep you going through the day. This mix incorporates head-bobbing songs by Mr. Carmack and Sam Gellaitry as well; check out the drop at 11:42.
Still waiting for a tracklist to be released…
Louis the Child
The Knocks & Matthew Koma – I Wish (Louis The Child Remix)
I first heard this on the SnowGlobe mix, but they just released it separately on Soundcloud. The track reminds me of California beaches and summer, presumably because the lyrics go, It’s summertime, in Los Angeles // Breathing easy on the sand ’til the sunburn hits.
I would even argue that LTC does it better than the original, incorporating warpy, digital notes and a soft, rolling drop.
Miike Snow – Genghis Khan (Louis The Child Remix)
The title “Genghis Khan” caught my attention, because since when would anyone write a love song referencing a Mongolian military leader? The song turns out to be about a jealous, possessive guy who sings, “I get a little bit Genghis Khan // I don’t want you to get it on // With nobody else but me”. Even more, he says “Cause I don’t really want you, girl // But you can’t be free // Cause I’m selfish, I’m obscene”.
Despite the rather grim, twisted ideas that the lyrics communicate, LTC manages to keep the track rather light-hearted, retaining that quintessential upbeat, chirpy element with what sounds like kazoo notes and lots of light synth.
James Blake – Limit To Your Love (Cazzette Bootleg)
The original is a bit desolate, and quite slow. Cazzette’s take, on the other hand, speeds it up, infusing more drama and adding an irresistible drop.
Branchez – Dreamer (Songbird Remix)
I burst out laughing when I heard Rick’s voice transition into the vibey, chill track “Dreamer.”
Santell, the vocalist, is the same guy who collaborated with Lido on his newest release, The Passion Project.
I actually know the person behind the Songbird account! He grabs Santell’s voice and draws it out a bit, fusing the song elements together to make the track flow more coherently.
Karma Fields | Build The Cities (feat. Kerli) (Rootkit Remix)
This track feels like it follows three logical stages.
The first part is a slow, climactic buildup with a powerful narrative voice.
The second part (1:31) is the dance-heavy future house that I was surprised to enjoy, since I normally don’t get into future house tracks.
The third part (2:49) is Kerli’s voice returns to paint a mental picture of burning bridges and a city rising up in the background. It’s a positive, uplifting message that I’ve really taken to heart this past month.
LIZ x Wave Racer – Queen Of Me
LIZ’s voice on top of Wave Racer’s track creates a fun, fast-paced song that virtually anyone can get into.
Tchami – Missing You (ft. AC Slater & Kaleem Taylor)
“Missing You” quickly transitions from a slow, sensual love letter into a bumpin’ future house track.
Tchami’s collaboration with AC Slater (another artist part of the OWSLA record label) is evident even in the underlying beats, and Kaleem Taylor’s soulful voice provides the perfect narration.
Flume – Never Be Like You feat. Kai
Flume has a soft spot in my heart, as he is one of the first electronic artists whose music I first got into. When I discovered that he’s getting ready to drop a new album, I flipped! And then he released this track, which caught my attention with its almost Disney-esque entrance. Can’t you imagine this narrating the entrance to a grand ball or something?
And then it flows into Flume’s soft synth-filled drop. And Kai’s voice is literal perfection. As is the rest of the song.
This is awesome, thank you for sharing!
I’m pretty sure we have the same taste in music. Totally jealous about your band interviews too!
Omg! What kind of music are you into recently? Love meeting people with similar taste :) The band interviews were super cool and I’d like to do more soon in the future!