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Where I’ll be at Noise Pop Festival 2019

Help me figure out one conflict in my schedule

I’ve done Noise Pop Festival all wrong for the past four years. Usually, I go through the lineup when it’s announced, find the acts I know, and go see them. For the fifth year, I’m doing it differently.

I went through all of the 150 or so musicians playing this year and got it down to a handful or so to see. Noise Pop made it easier to get through all of the artists. It still took waayy too long, but I love to take on massive amounts of music. Especially when you dig out a gem.

I already promised a friend I’d go see Caroline Rose, but Tommy Guerrero has come out of nowhere and stolen that slot. He reminds me of the psychedelic surf rock reminiscent of Khruangbin and a bit like Toro y Moi too, but he’ll soon be incomparable. His rifts are the catchiest thing at Noise Pop this year. I gotta see him, but a promise is a promise! Help me figure it out and I’ll see you there, which will be mostly in Oakland for me.

Special shout out to Drew Banga! Dude can play a show.

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A COLORS festival in Berlin needs to happen

The simplest backdrop brings out the best in a musician's performance

COLORS out of Berlin produces some of the cleanest music performances on YouTube with some of the biggest prospects in music right now. Going through the 271 videos they’ve uploaded so far, and picking 36 (13%), two themes in my selection process stuck out.

The videos didn’t help every performer sound better. In the end, it was about their vocal chops. It did, however, bring out the best in the voices that stood out. Imagine a COLORS festival in Berlin. Live is the ultimate goal for any content company and most others.

I also realized, or more so confirmed, my dislike for listening to rap from outside of the US. It’s not about what they say, it’s about how they say it. Not being exposed enough to the phonetics in other languages when it comes to music has trained my brain to prefer the American accent. Even Canadian rappers I can’t take seriously sometimes. “Aboot” makes me chuckle, let alone when it’s in a rap song.

That’s why I appreciate COLORS. I trust their selection and they expose me to rap from around the world. I know if I listen long enough, they’ll find something I love. And if not COLORS, there are plenty of other international curation houses that’ll turn something up. Although not with a simple, vibrant, one-color backdrop that COLORS displays so beautifully behind each upload.

Would love to see Durand Jones & The Indications in front of COLORS someday.

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Motez with the GoldLink Remix

Unpacking a song takes more than a few listens

The best way to figure out if someone’s gonna like your track is to expose it to them in a few different ways. Not by flooding their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with impersonal self-promotion, but going to where they listen.

I first heard about Motez’s remix of “Palm Trees” by GoldLink when I dug into GoldLink’s catalog two years ago. It was just a good remix at the time but set the seed for something bigger.

Six months ago, I saw the GoldLink remix pop up in my Discovery Weekly playlist on Spotify. After that I started placing it everywhere I listen: resharing it on SoundCloud, playlisting it on Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube Music.

What makes it so special is its longevity – when novelty doesn’t fade fast and nuance unfolds slowly with every listen. When a track you’ve heard at different times in your life becomes a part of your story. I’m still unpacking this one two years later.

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DRAMA, a duo

Sad stories & house music

I first heard about DRAMA through their Fuck Dave track, featured on our with Soul playlist from 2017, but I didn’t realize what the duo had to offer up otherwise until now. It’s gonna help define the beginning of my 2019.

Via Rosa, the singing half of DRAMA, sings with ease in sound and heartbreak in story. She reminds me of Madelyn Grant. The inflection in her voice. A raspy whisper you hear even when she’s just talking.

Na’el Shehade, the producing half of DRAMA, gives Via some sexy four on the floor tracks and at times brightens up her sad songs.

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JID

Slick talker

JID’s hit, Never, reminded me of Anderson .Paak, but the Atlanta-based rapper gets compared to Kendrick more often. His rap style may not be as pioneering as the two yet, but he has a finesse with words just as good.

With rap and other forms of rhetoric, I’ve always been less about what you say and more about how you say it. I have to know a rapper’s style intimately before I try to understand what they’re saying. I still may not be getting the knowledge in rap that I do in longer forms of written word – mostly audiobooks & podcasts – but wordplay like JID’s is just as inspiring.

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Dream of Falling

It's like tropical house, but not terrible

In the wake of the tropical house bubble, back in the time of Kygo, came something much better. This ethereal style of house, popularized by ODESZA, will be appreciated far longer than its tropical house counterpart. Although the depths of it, beyond ODESZA, isn’t appreciated enough. That’s what this playlist is for.

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Famous Hips

Pop music remixed with groove

Remixes get a bad rap. They’ve got a famous song to compete with and the production value probably isn’t as good. That said, you gotta appreciate what they give us.

Remixes are meant to take the songs we love and make them something for the club. Give it groove. The production might not be 100% on all these, but for some they’re better than their original.

Sadly, this is the first playlist out of our latest that won’t be available on Spotify or Apple Music. Usually, the two music services have at least 50% of what YouTube Music and SoundCloud have, but this time it’s close to zero. I don’t know if one of these remixes are on Spotify or Apple. Thankfully, Dubset is changing that.

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o f f b e a t

Strange is something, especially with sound

This style all started for me with the quirky, anime & classic video-game sampling kawaii music. It’s grown into all sorts of future bass and trap offshoots. And I love it so much for its experimentation.

I first wanna here melodies and rhythms I’ve never heard before. It resonating is second, albeit more important.

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Jack Your Body

A different style of house music

Loose Control, BURN DISCO, and Four on the Floor are playlists for dancing, and Jack Your Body is the latest to add. A different style of house than the four on the floor it’s known for, tech house & g house are a different rhythm to dance to. Along with trap, which makes a few appearances on here.

Jack is the first playlist we’ve had that has the full catalog on Spotify. YouTube Music is the one missing a track for once.

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Rap Finesse

It's not about what you say, but how you say it

There are two types of music people. Ones who care about the lyrics and ones who care about the sound. Ya, you can be for both, but you’re also for one. I’m about the sound. Even with rap, it’s not so much about what they say, but how they say it.

I was listening to a Del a few years back and in one of his tracks I always thought he was saying “phonetical finesse.” Turns out he wasn’t, but those two words since have summed up what I love so much about hip-hop: wordplay.

Rap Finesse is a special playlist because a lot of the artists on here (towards the bottom) are the reason I started caring about underground, independent, and locally-known music. There wouldn’t be a Silence Nogood without ’em.

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