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Valentine’s Day Mixtape! Ft. Rhye, HTDW, Blue Hawaii, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Sean Nicholas Savage, ERAAS, UMO & More

Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii

It’s Valentine’s Day! Everyone get crazy! There are obviously widely and wildly opinionated ideas regarding Valentine’s Day, but if you wanna divulge in the L.O.V.E. and/or hate for the red and pink candy coated day, go right ahead. However, as homage to the day people love to love and loathe, I’ve compiled a Valentine’s Day mixtape of sorts, specifically for YOU – My Valentine. Now, have a listen to these sinfully sweet tracks:

Rhye – Open

How to Dress Well – & It Was U (Elite Gymnastics Remix)

Blue Hawaii – Try to be

Sean Nicholas Savage

Sean Nicholas Savage

Sean Nicholas Savage – You Changed Me

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – So Good at Being in Trouble

Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko – Stay (Erol Sabadosh Remix)

ERAAS – At Heart

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Baby (Mature Themes)

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LUV 2 LUV/LOATHE U BABY: Coco Stereo’s 2014 Valentine’s Day Mixtape

coco stereo valentine's day mixtapeA year ago, the day before Valentine’s Day, I went to an Unknown Mortal Orchestra show and fell in love. Not with the band though, I already loved them long before. I fell in love with the guy who happened to be standing next to me. As strangers standing in the crowded, smoke-soaked venue, we found ourselves both happily singing and dancing to our favorite Unknown Mortal Orchestra song, “So Good at Being in Trouble.” Little did I know, this song would become the preface for our entire relationship… or should I say, him.

“Hey, what’s your name?” he turned to ask me. I smiled, debated his age and narrowly eyed his thick mustache and Hawaiian shirt. I laughed, entirely intrigued. “Did you catch Wampire before this?” I replied. “I was running late and missed them.” “No,” he said, as he bobbed up and down to the music, vigorously shaking his shaggy hair. “I was outside chugging Tecate.”

From that moment on, we shared an endless number of laughs, adventures, learning experiences, “I love yous,” and unfortunately more frustration, heartache and tears than should’ve ever appeared, especially in less than one year. Our relationship ebbs and flows went from timid reluctance, to comforting companionship, overwhelming highs and hope that falling in love can invoke, to disappointment, hollowing sadness and the heart-wrenching discovery of some incredibly damaging lies. Who could use a Tecate now (or five)?

A year ago, I made a Valentine’s Day Mixtape full of (you guessed it) Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Rhye, How to Dress Well, Sean Nicholas Savage, Blue Hawaii and more. Much has happened in life and music since then, so to keep the tradition alive, I bring to you yet another sinfully sweet Valentine’s Day mixtape. Let’s just say, Unknown Mortal Orchestra didn’t make the cut, and probably won’t for a very long time. However, yesterday, the day before Valentine’s Day, I went to another show (Sónar Music Festival to be exact) and once again, stood next to someone I love — This time, a very dear friend, fellow nomad, and former housemate from Ireland who met me in Iceland to help soothe my wounds with majestic scenery, the Northern Lights, a blue lagoon, expensive booze and of course, new tunes. So here’s to another year of love, or your attempt to heal from it:

Coco Stereo’s Top 50 Tracks of 2013

Coco stereo's top 50 tracks of 2013This year has been one full of new friendships, experiences, and unexpectedly, love. It’s also been a year full of disappointment, self-doubt, and a healthy dose of heartbreak –  Sounds like a year well spent. However, if there’s one thing that remains consistent, it’s that coasting along with us through the ebbs and flows that is life, there is music. So to celebrate the ups, downs and in betweens of 2013, I present to you 50 of the best tracks that have been with us through it all.

To accompany the top 50 tracks, here are a few musical highlights to round out our nostalgic look back of the year:

Note: All tracks are in alphabetical order (‘cus ranking them is just something I’m not into). Also subscribe or have a listen to the entire playlist on Spotify. Enjoy:

Active Child – Evening Ceremony
Angel Olsen  Sweet Dreams
Austra  Home
Autre Ne Veut – Play by Play
Banks  Waiting Game
Baths  Miasma Sky
Bibio – À tout à l’heure
Blood Orange – You’re Not Good Enough
Blue Hawaii – Try To Be
Braids – In Kind
Chromatics  Looking for Love
Chvrches  The Mother We Share
Diana – Born Again
Disclosure  White Noise feat. Aluna George
Empress Of  Hat Trick
FKA Twigs  Water Me
Fyfe  Lies
Gems  Sinking Stone
Haerts – Wings
Haim  The Wire
Helado Negro – Dance Ghost
Jackson Scott – Evie
James Blake  Life Round Here
Jenny Hval  Mephisto in the Water
Jessie Ware  Still Love Me
Josef Salvat  Every Night
K-X-P – Magnetic North
Keep Shelly In Athens – Recollection
Lorde  The Love Club
Majical Cloudz – Childhood’s End
Mortar & Pestle  U.V.
Mozart’s Sister  Mozart’s Sister
Museum of Bellas Artes  Abyss
No Joy – Hare Tarot Lies
Phosphorescent  Song for Zulu
Psychic Twin  Dream State
Pure Bathing Culture – Dream the Dare
Rhye  Open
Sean Nicholas Savage – You Changed Me
S O H N  Bloodflows
Still Corners  Berlin Lovers
Summer Camp  Fresh
Teen – Carolina
The Holidays  Voices Drifting
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – So Good at Being in Trouble
Vampire Weekend  Step
Wet  Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan  Lamia
Young Galaxy  New Summer
Yuck  Rebirth

Listen to New Sexy Slow Jam: Josef Salvat – Every Night

Josef Salvat

Josef Salvat by Sam Hiscox

Ugh. Josef Salvat. The London-hailing singer/songwriter consistently releases smooth, sexy, emotionally driven slow jams, each one more addictive than the next. He’s giving sexy slow jam counterparts, Rhye, SOHN, Autre Ne Veut and How to Dress Well a serious run for their money. Luckily for us (but maybe not for them?) Josef Salvat has released yet another ‘ugh’ inducing, heart-swooning, hip swaying track.

Every Night” is one of two tracks that’ll be released on a double-single, due out December 9th via Fingers & Thumbs. Have a listen and I dare you not to melt:

Josef Salvat – Every Night

New Smooth Bedroom Jamz: Active Child + Fyfe + SOHN + Wintercoats + Emiliana Torrini (Nym Remix)

fyfe

Fyfe

I’ve been on this bedroom “night-time music” kick (as Rhye likes to call the genre), where you should either be getting into bed while listening to it, or just waking up. Luckily, there’s been a plethora of recently released silky bedroom jamz. They easily ease the need to swoon for smooth. Here goes:

LA-based Pat Grossi, better known as the ambient electro dream-pop artist Active Child, put himself on the map with his compelling 2011 debut LP, You Are All I See. Now, Active Child is currently working on his Sophomore album and just released his amazingly beautiful and intense track, “Evening Ceremony.

While Grossi’s been working away on his album, he reached out to his Facebook audience for ideas: “Thank you all for the considerate feedback on the album. some really beautiful and sincere comments in there. glad to hear we’re all on the same page ; )) there are a few interesting collabs in the worksss.” The feedback obviously worked in Active Child‘s favor:

Active Child – Evening Ceremony

Fyfe is a hype-worthy 23-year-old London-hailing new kid on the blog/block who’s been blowing the blogosphere up and away with three extremely strong debut tracks. Paul Dixon, the boy behind the ballads, has an impeccably unique voice/sound and endearing lyrics that’s giving many an itch for more. Listen to “Lies” from Fyfe‘s debut EP, Solace, which you can stream on SoundCloud:

Fyfe – Lies

SOHN is the Vienna-via-London up-and-coming producer who made waves with his EP, The Wheel, back in November. Luckily for us, he’s just released another emotionally-driven and achingly smooth R&B influenced jam with some seriously sweet beats. Have a listen to “Bloodflows” now:

SOHN – Bloodflows

Wintercoats is the moniker of James Wallace,  the Melbourne, Australia-hailing multi-instrumentalist who some don a “master of ethereal delicacies.” Wintercoats‘ track “Halogen Moon,” which can be found on his forthcoming EP, Heartful (via Cascine) is a perfect example of one of those delicacies:

Wintercoats – Halogen Moon

Now, you wouldn’t typically associate “remix” with “smooth,” however, last week, Hilly Dilly posted this gem by Nym, local San Francisco producer. Icelandic singer-songwriter, Emiliana Torrini has what NPR dons, “Iceland’s warmest voice,” and Nym‘s take her track, “On the Sunny Road,” brings it to new heights. The track can be found on Nym‘s latest album “Trembling in the Stone.” He’s also donating all proceeds from the album, which you can listen to on bandcamp, to secular charities, named quarterly by the Foundation Beyond Belief – Nice guy!

Emiliana Torrini – On the Sunny Road (Nym Remix)

That’s a Wrap! 8 Phenomenal Highlights from SXSW 2013 Music Fest

SXSW No Breakfast TacosToday, I don’t have any plans to stay up until 4 am, drink cheap booze, eat copious amounts of meat or breakfast tacos and race around Austin, TX to watch 2,000+ bands play on a bridge, some steps, in a bar, church, garage, house, backyard, or in a burger joint… it’s weird. SXSW is officially over.

Although the mayhem of a music festival is utterly exhausting, it’s also rejuvenating in the sense that you fully submerge yourself into the deep end of a music-worshiping pool. At SXSW, you’re surrounded by thousands of bloggers, musicians, music industry folk, podcasters, writers, celebrities, and most importantly, but simply, fans. During these 6 whirlwind days, you’re immersed amongst a concentration of people who all share the same love and appreciation for music as equally as you do. It’s refreshing.

The festival exposes you to so many surreal opportunities, chances, music discoveries, and connections that you’d most likely never experience otherwise – It’s a truly magical experience. With that, here are 8 phenomenal highlights from SXSW 2013:

k-x-p

K-X-P

K-X-P at the Karma Lounge + Bob Boilen (Creator and Host of NPR’s All Songs Considered)
Helsinki’s goth LCD Soundsystem trio, K-X-P was absolutely electrifying and their performance was by far my favorite of the SXSW experience. Donning goth gear in the form of black capes and studded leather dresses, K-X-P pulsed long, intensely dark synth and heavy beats throughout the bar at 1 am. I also spotted Bob Boilen from NPR’s All Songs Considered in the room and introduced myself, as I’m a big fan. Quite extraordinarily, Bob mentioned me in his podcast that night, and coco stereo in his SXSW wrap up – Truly an honor!  You simply never know who may rock out next to at SXSW!

K-X-P – Melody

Empress Of at the Hype Hotel
12 pm is early by SXSW standards, but it was Empress Ofs first appearance on the festival circuit and it was well worth the price of a little lost sleep. Empress Of is not only adorable, but possesses a magnetic voice and purges raw, refreshing talent that made her performance appear seamless. Her voice quavered when introducing herself, but she happily bounced along to new electro-pop gems we were all eager to hear, as she currently only dons three. Humble, yet extremely talented, Empress Of stole the hearts and ears of many.

Empress Of – Don’t Tell Me

Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco. Photo: Colin Kerrigan

M for Montreal /Arbutus Records Showcase at the Swan Dive
I could write a novel’s worth of blog posts purely about this showcase as I never left, and it was 7 hours long! The lineup included Mac DeMarco, Sean Nicholas Savage, Majical Cloudz, Pat Jordache, Blue Hawaii, Doldrums, and Braids. If it wasn’t already obvious that Montreal is kicking serious ass in the music realm, it should be now.

Though Mac DeMarco, everyone’s favorite goofy crooner/rocker isn’t an Arbutus Records artist, he is from Montreal and a dear friend to these musicians. This was the 3rd time I’d seen DeMarco (who was still wearing the same garbs) at SXSW, and not purposefully, he just seemed to be everywhere. However, this was by far his best performance, as he seemed to be in true bizarro form amongst friends. At one point mid-performance, DeMarco scrambled up a wooden beam and began swinging from the ceiling rafters which throughly pissed off venue owners, yet pleased the crowd to no end.

Mac DeMarco – Ode to Viceroy

Sean Nicholas Savage

Sean Nicholas Savage. Photo: Colleen Corkery

The intriguing, ever-ecclectic and highly talented singer/songwriter Sean Nicholas Savage got on stage with just a keyboard and a microphone. He took his shoes off, swayed his hips, sang his best hits and the audience melted, or maybe that was just me.

Sean Nicholas Savage – Lonely Woman

Blue Hawaii‘s performance was by for the most surprising and mind-blowing for many. The duo filled the white washed venue with pulsing synth and Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s sweet, melodic, falsetto voice strikingly resembled Grimes. The crowd danced hard, especially Devon of Majical Cloudz who was front and center.

Blue Hawaii – In Two 

With a drummer and two keyboard/synth backups, Doldrums ferociously played his hypnotic, experimental electro beats (out of a suitcase), belted lyrics while crowd surfing with ease, and placed a dance inducing spell over the entire audience. Never had I seen such a massive conglomerate of pulsating, jumping and gyrating humans at SXSW. Everyone in the audience completely lost themselves in the music and it was incredible to witness/experience. The energy was at an all-time high.

Doldrums

Doldrums at SXSW 2013. Photo: Colin Kerrigan

Doldrums – Egypt

The most endearing aspect of the showcase, however, was witnessing the camaraderie, support and love each of the Arbutus and/or other Canadian artists showed for each other. I also spotted DeMarco obviously, as well as Born Gold and Mozart’s Sister amongst others. The entire venue was filled to the brim with artists who watched, cheered and danced harder than most to their fellow musicians’ music.

Rhye at the Pitchfork Day Party
I had the guilty pleasure of proving multiple people wrong at the Pitchfork Day Party, by exclaiming “Rhye‘s a guy y’all!” when many were smacked with the realization that Rhye is indeed a man. I mean, his name is Mike Milosh and he owns that dreamy, silky, seductive and sultry voice. Rhye explained that he and his band, including a phenomenal violinist and trombone player, had just flew in from Berlin and were on their 40th hour of being awake. Yet, they still played an astonishing set of what Milosh referred to as sexy “night time music” during broad day light.

Rhye

Rhye’s a guy! Photo: Trent Maxwell

Rhye – Open

Girls Names at the Flamingo Cantina
Though their faces were quite complacent, Girls Names rocked long and hard, and not an eye could pry away from their quint essential post-punk Brit rock, (they are from Belfast, after all). There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, crazy, or gasp-worthy necessary to make this a successful set, Girls Names simply provided steady, hefty, refreshing rock n’ roll.

Girls Names – Hypnotic Regression

Ólafur Arnalds at Peckerheads
I was completely unaware of this ambient Icelandic group/producer until my good ol pal, Bob Boilen had suggested the show. The bar, rightfully named Peckerheads, was clamoring with noise from happy drunkards and thumping beats from below, but Ólafur Arnalds urged people to take a seat and enjoy the beauty he was about to embark upon us. Accompanied by an intense violinist and cello player, Ólafur’s soothing, melodic and beautiful instrumental music quieted the crowd and made people exclaim, “wow.” 

Ólafur Arnalds – Only the Winds

The Exploded Drawing Party Boat

View from the Exploded Drawing SXSW Party Boat. Photo: Colleen Corkery

Giraffage on the Exploded Drawing Party Boat
I somehow managed to start day 1 of SXSW, typically the tamest of all, in the most blissful way. A crowd of people piled onto the Exploded Drawing double-decker party boat and we floated down the river into the sunset, all while sipping on cucumber/kale margaritas and dancing to the seriously sweet beats of 10+ DJs. Giraffagethe moniker of San Francisco-hailing producer, Charlie Yin, had the quickest, and most nimble fingers of them all, and he induced everyone to jump up, and all the ladies to get down.

Giraffage – Close 2 Me

Parquet Courts, Merchandise & Destruction Unit on Pedestrian Bridge at 3 am
Granted, this was technically a Chaos in Tejas event put on by BrooklynVegan, but racing to watch indie punk rockers Parquet CourtsMerchandise and Destruction Unit rock hard on a bridge at 3 am seemed so utterly SXSW. The bridge was literally rockin’ while the crowd was rollin’ into each other during a frenzy of excited mosh pits that lasted well into early morning.

Parquet Courts – Stoned and Starving

In the effort to make this wrap up reasonably succinct, out of the 50+ bands I managed to see, other stand out performances included: Baths, DIANA, Autre Ne Veut, Mozart’s Sister, CHVRCHES, Austra, Ryan Hemsworth, and . And while everyone in attendance may be missing SXSW already, it’s never too early to plan for next year. Until next time, adios Tejas!