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Jordan Rakei

Soul from down under

The first time I heard about Jordan Rakei was through singer Madelyn Grant. The two at the time were recently featured on FKJ’s EP, Take Off. I wasn’t a big fan of his song “Learn to Fly,” especially compared to Madelyn Grant’s “Waiting,” but it gave me my first look into his songwriting skills.

Since then Jordan has been featured on Diclosure’s “Masterpiece,” as well as worked with a handful of other talented producers, but I know of him primarily through his podcast with Tom Misch, Alpha Mist & Barney Artist: Are We Live Podcast. These guys are a powerhouse in the UK music scene, even though Jordan is originally from New Zealand, and their podcast is good insight into their world.

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Outside Lands 2017: The Jacob Banks Show

with other acts Lee Fields, Khruangbin, and Solange

I went to Outside Lands for its 10th anniversary to see the Gorillaz, but I ended up getting too drunk and ruining it for my girlfriend. Fortunately, I turned it around day two and three, so that’s good. Especially day three.

For most long weekend festivals, one day usually has the best performances, often more than the others combined. We started off the last day of Outside Lands with Lee Fields & The Expressions, Khruangbin in the afternoon, and Solange at night, but nothing mattered that day more than Jacob Banks. It was his weekend.

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GlobulDub · Beach Beats

Or for a country road / midnight stroll. So many chill melodies

GlobulDub hasn’t gotten every sound perfect, but he has more melodies than just about any other beat maker. It’s not just the melodies, but his counter melodies. How the two play off each other, and how it progresses. Something important to any beat, and any song.

His music has a different texture of beauty each track. Something made for the beach, the country road, or a midnight stroll. –For the #keywords–

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Laster

Beats & Blushes

Someone get this man a voice. Laster can play a guitar well, surround it with a beat, but I doubt he sings or raps as well. Ya never know though.

His beats are both inspirational yet relaxing and his guitar melodies drive it all. I’ve noticed that with my favorite beat makers over the last few years. They know how to create a good melody on guitar: FKJ, Tom Misch, Josh J. The list goes on and some day I’ll make it.

I usually throw songs like his on a beats playlist, as I will for a few, but Laster’s consistency in good music far exceeds any of his kind. I just about blushed hearing a few of his guitar rifts.

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Phono del Sol

Must see Duckwrth & Thee Oh Sees live

Phono del Sol is a boutique, one day festival at Potrero del Sol park in San Francisco. I planned on going to the festival in 2016 to see Adam Vida, but lived in the peninsula at the time, which was apparently too long of a trek for me that day.

2017 was for DUCKWRTH. I had never interviewed anyone in person and I had to save it for someone special. It was an enlightening talk and energetic performance. Thee Oh Sees also had an eye stunning set, but the most beautiful thing wasn’t any of the acts. It was behind them.

Both of the two stages at Phono were set behind lush green backgrounds, also called trees and shrubbery. DUCKWRTH and Thee Oh Sees set were especially beautiful with vines covering the stage. In an age of electronic producers djing in front of lit up metal walls, it’s nice to stare at something natural for an hour long set.

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Rock Show

Jam with guitars or something like it

Serious question. Listen to the playlist. Would you consider it rock music? 1-10. Now rate how much you like the tracks. 1-10. I hope at least the second number is higher than the first. Let me know.

It may not be traditional rock, but all the tracks have some tie in, loosely. The list starts with blues & alternative, gets into indie & soul, and ends on electronic. Most of the tracks have a catchy guitar melody and unfortunately all male vocalists, except one. Ninet, the only one I’ve seen live.

We tried to address a similar problem with female producers and currently trying to find women who can rap. If I ever get enough rock on my list, I hope can bring awareness with that too.

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Pat Lok

As good as his artists

The future of electronic music seems to be over exposed synth (for now), but good producers pull it off. Pat Lok goes with a disco-house/pop approach and brings in some beautiful vocal collaborations for his latest album, Hold On Let Go. Realistically though, how many of his songs am I gonna be listening to in five years? One. Well, probably two or three, but one has a more dramatic effect.

I recently finished Dr. Dre & Jimmy Iovine’s documentary, The Defiant Ones. In it, Dre says a perfect line to sum up why one of Lok’s songs stood above the others. “Every producer knows that you’re only as good as the artist you’re working with.” And how Claire Mortifee’s lines are laid on top of ‘My Own Throne’ gets me giddy every time I listen. Her lyrics are an instrument played well.

Can’t wait to hear what’s next from Pat Lok. And who’s next.

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Leven Kali · Breaking Soul

When someone pops up in the places you love

Leven Kali has three strikes going for him. One, with his single that introduced me, ‘Mine.’ Second, a few months later he performed ‘Joy’ on Colors Berlin – a collective that hosts musicians to record a live set of a song against a clean colored background. In Kali’s case pink. Which repped him well. The final nail of approval was a tweet praising him from Ebro, a host on HOT 97 and Beats 1.

I went through Kali’s catalogue after his name popped up a third time, which is usually what it takes, and his music is starting to stack up. Although there’s a lot of collaborations with shit rappers crowding his sound. It’s good for exposure though, but he soon won’t need it.

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Masego

Savant in Style

We mainly highlight artists over singles now, which has given us different criteria to look for in what to feature. Mainly, more than just a few singles to show off. Something I see more with vocalists over instrumentalists or producers, but Masego does it all.

But like most musicians I pick, I love his voice most. He’s got personality that’s an artist’s dream and it shows through his voice.

He played with Goldlink at Coachella this year and the two are some of the finest record makers, live performers, and make some of the finest sounds with their voices.

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Colossal Clusterfest

Comedy Central's first comedy & music festival

I love how Comedy Central can make a fool of themselves. The logo they’ve had since 2011 represents its goofy humor well, a lot like the name of their first ever comedy & music festival, Colossal Clusterfest.

For its first year, it wasn’t a complete cluster fuck, even though the comedians took full advantage of the name. It actually felt like there was more to do than at most music festivals. From visiting a replica of Seinfeld’s original set, which did seem to be a cluster fuck of a line, to a dating show where a comedian represented each of the contestants – I signed my friend up. But the best was still in the comedy and music shows.

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