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Upstream Music Fest + Summit, 2017

Seattle supports local music scenes

Upstream’s first year was focused on educating the Seattle music scene about how technology & community are helping drive better business in music. And also gave them a place to show off their skills live. Upstream’s potential is educating other local scenes by recording the panels and making an effort to distribute them online. In turn driving more people in the music industry to come, so they can in turn see what’s happening in Seattle and other local music scenes.

We did find plenty of musicians this year coming from other local scenes to perform. My hometown Minneapolis had quite a few I adore, but I really only went for one local Seattle musician. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see Gabriel Teodros play while I was there, but I did get to watch his panel during the summit. After, I introduced myself and had the chance to tell Gabriel how his music has affected my life and the blog. He recognized Silence Nogood’s name (I hate saying it in public), but when I got back I had to look up the brief conversations we had over the years. There were some gems.

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DiRTY RADiO

What Pop Wants

What makes pop music? Or rather what makes music pop? Pop music has gone through many different styles throughout the century, but besides a large marketing budget, the voice is the greatest consistent factor. How many hits have you heard without them? Let me know, I’m keeping tally.

It’s hard to find voices that hit though. It’s not about their sound, but more about how they use it (+ how catchy the lyrics are) and DiRTY RADiO is developing well. I went through their whole catalogue and even though they’ve had the voice for years, it took up until recently to find how to use it. Collaborations with Young Franco, Pat Lok and more are developing their sound into something that’s not only catchy, but for many. Shit pops!

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SXSW 2017

100,000 steps later

Austin’s Sixth Street is where the main action happens at SXSW by night, along with Rainey St. I walked between the two and the Austin Convention Center in total of 25 miles over the four days. I was wrecked by the end, especially my feet, but I had plenty of stories to reflect on.

Covering big festivals can be stressful at the start. Making sure everything is booked and packed. The red-eye flight there. Figuring out the plan during the festival. But most of all the pressure to find a good story, and get it on paper.

It’s good stress that’s both invigorating and inspiring. Whether you’re there for work or fun, the key is to keep an open mind & heart. There’s always a story to tell, so don’t stress the good stuff.

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~ q u i r k y ~

Dance to a different beat

“I’m shy at first, but once you get to know me I do the stupidest, most random shit.”

I saw this quote and thought it was the best description of me in one line. I even got the t-shirt (seriously). My grandfather gave me the nickname Corky when I was little and the sentiment has stuck. I’m a bit odd, as we all should be, and a lot of my favorite music is too.

Originally these series of lists were all about kawaii music, which I dubbed VAPOR + VAPOR 2.0. Eventually the playlists expanded into all sorts of music along the future/trap spectrum, split into three categories – o f f b e a t, Sex trapt, and Future glam fucks. Quirky takes a little from each.

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DUCKWRTH

Funk wave to punk rage

I gotta give this to my girl. Not only did she push DUCKWRTH’s music on me, but also made sure I saw him at SXSW. I liked his song ‘I’m Dead’ at first, but after seeing him live I’m been obsessing over everything else.

I usually pride myself on pulling the best songs from an artist’s catalogue, but I pretty much like every damn song of his, especially off his latest album, I’M UUGLY. Back in 2014, DUCKWRTH’s music felt like a futuristic ominous acid trip – like Zion I, Illogic, or Deltron 3030 – but he’s expanded his sound since. DUCKWRTH’s even got a half funk, half punk song, and it works. Especially live with that style he’s rockin.

His live show and music is what’s going best for him right now, but all with the help of DUCKWRTH’s fashion style and graphic design work, which he does all of it. Makes for a much nicer package to promote.

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BADBADNOTGOOD at The Fillmore

Noise Pop Festival's 2017 Show to See

Besides the musicians it books, the historic Fillmore in SF is known for its free apples and posters. You can have as many apples as you’d like, but not every show comes with a poster at the end of the night. I talked with one of the coordinators there and she told me that sold out shows and any of the bigger names will get a custom made poster for all attendees.

I’ve gotten three posters so far. My first was at Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, then a few months later at The Knocks, and finally for Noise Pop Festival’s 2017 show to see, BADBADNOTGOOD.

I still can’t believe how well a jazz band could rock. BADBADNOTGOOD is known for their low-key instrumental playfulness, and while that dominated the show, it got real rowdy at its peaks, especially towards the end.

Their music isn’t all jazz though. Their experimentation in electronic with jazz is among the best playing now. They had a collaboration with Ghostfast Killa a few years back. And they also recently teamed up with Kaytranada & Goldlink for the best dance song of 2016.

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THEY.

Smooth words/trap beats

They. played at least a few times last year at SXSW, but I missed one because of The Roots fiasco.

They’re kicking off their tour this year and San Francisco is their third stop. I don’t know if I’ll be going to see them in SF, depends on if the lady likes the playlist, but I’ll definitely be seeing them in Austin at SXSW this year.

Especially since the company I work for is hosting them.
See you there?

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House + Heartbreak

· · · · Dance it off · · · ·

This is our third year celebrating anti-Valentine’s day 2015 | 2016. We didn’t plan on doing one this year, but the house we have is always soulful, which at least half the time is about heartbreak. There were so many classics stored up we had to throw this together.

We also got another house head to whip up her own. Lauren helped me with the first heartbreak playlist about hip hop and has created her own list for house, a few of which I so badly wanted to steal for myself.

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Rap Finesse

Hip hop is expanding in sound & style

We haven’t done a list on hip-hop for years. In 2015: Adam Vida, Anderson .Paak & Goldlink were our hope to revive hip-hop. As much as our love for them have grown more than many, our focus has still been with dance & soul music.

We did collect fifty songs with emcees that got talent. More for their cadence and flow than lyrical depth, but with one usually comes the other (not always). These emcees more than ever before come from different backgrounds with all types of styles and sounds. We’ve even got some from the UK.

I bet the next one in two years will have even more countries.

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Spire

A fresh breath of inspiration

Spire and his Soda Island friends put on some of my favorite bumble gum funk, generally known as future bass, specifically called kawaii, but I call it vapor (who knows). He does however have much more breath than that.

He has some of the most intricate & introspective music, and a good handful of it, which I don’t see enough. The guy can take what sounds like a scene from a movie and make it music. Beautiful in a way that reminds me of jazz. You don’t know where it’s going next.

Couldn’t have kicked off 2017 any better than this inspiration (other than disco).

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