DJ

Palaces: Album Review

It’s been about two months since I last updated, which was not my intention. Life has been busy and at times I’ve been distracted. I have some long overdue album reviews to do though. One of the albums dropped on May 20th. It’s Flume’s third full length, Palaces.

Palaces is Flume’s first album in 6 years. His last record came in 2016 with Skin. His latest brings more of electronic/future bass sound filled with collaborations and original mixes. For me, there isn’t a stand out track on this album, but there’s a few solid tracks that I think we’ll hear during live sets in the future. One of those songs is “Say Nothing” featuring MAY-A. I would add “Highest Building” featuring Oklou to the list as well. There’s several solo Flume tracks that are similar to past hits like “Wall Fuck”, “Helix”, “Holdin’ On”, or “Ezra,” but in general I don’t think any of these will quite hit as strongly. I do enjoy “DHLC” and “Love Light” though.

Overall I don’t think this is Flume’s best album, but a decent comeback after 6 years of nothing but a mixtape and a few stand alone singles that have become staples on the Flume set list. None the less, Flume is out promoting this album by playing the festival circuit while mixing in some shows in between. He has a fall tour lined up with select cities in the U.S. followed by a European tour. I was lucky enough to catch him both weekends of Coachella and part of his set at Bonnaroo just last month. He still puts on a great set with a mix of new tunes and old favorites. Though I do recommend listening to this new record, I wouldn’t spend a ton of time on it. Give it a listen or two, pick out some favorites, save them or add them to a playlist for the future, and move on, or better yet, listen to all the old Flume bangers while you’re at it. “Holdin’ On” still hits as hard as it did 10 years ago, but “Sirens” just isn’t there.

Coachella Band Preview: Disclosure

January was a total blur for me being in Mexico. However it’s finally February and I’m home for just under two weeks! Can’t wait to ski for days and think of the hot afternoons and cool evenings on the polo fields. It warms my heart. I have another 2 1/2 weeks in Mexico next month into the beginning of March, but after that it’s full on Coachella prep. I’m crossing my fingers that I get to be there again this year, but after a few discussions over this past month I think I will be. However, we’re 2 1/2 months away from another spring in Indio after a 3 year hiatus and it’s time to preview more bands. This week it’s Disclosure.

In 2020, I anticipated seeing Disclosure at Coachella. I hadn’t yet previewed the band when the festival was first postponed so I figured I should dive into them early this year. Disclosure is a British electronic duo composed of siblings Howard and Guy Lawrence. The brothers first started recording music and posting it to Myspace in 2010, which earned them a record deal. After several hit singles in their first few years, they dropped their first album Settle in June 2013, which was a big year for the duo. They toured worldwide playing shows and festivals. Settle was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance Album.

Their second album, Caracal, came in 2015. This album also received a Grammy nomination along with a number one spot on the UK Albums Chart upon release. After a one year hiatus from 2017-2018 and a few other breaks along the way, the band released their third album Energy in August 2020. They likely booked Coachella 2020 in anticipation of this, but unfortunately the event didn’t get to happen. The album released as planned though and the group received a Grammy nomination for it.

Disclosure plays a house/deep house style of electronic music. I always feel like deep house music has such a vibey sound and Disclosure’s music is no different. Their tunes will likely take a late set time spot at the main stage or Outdoor Theatre or even a headlining spot at Sahara.

They last played Coachella in 2016 and played the main stage on Saturday night. They play Saturday this year too and will be bringing plenty of new material to the desert. I hope to be able to be at their set. I’m not a huge Disclosure fan, but I know this is one electronic set not to miss this year. Start prepping your looks and get ready for this non-stop vibe of a dance party by listening to:

  1. Latch
  2. You & Me (Flume remix)
  3. Magnets
  4. Know Your Worth
  5. You’ve Got to Let Go if You Wanna Be Free
  6. Talk
  7. Omen
  8. Ultimatum
  9. Help Me Lose My Mind
  10. In My Arms

Coachella Band Preview: Hayden James

It’s been two months since the Coachella 2020 lineup was released, which means we have 5 weeks and 2 days to go before the masses start flooding the Coachella Valley in preparation of southern California’s most famous music festival. I can’t believe it’s only a little over a month away. Time really flies when you spend the winter in Mexico. Now it’s full steam ahead towards my 5th Coachella. It’s pretty surreal how I started these yearly band previews in preparation of my first Coachella and now here we are 5 years later and I’m on the brink of being at my 5th one. It was truly the festival that started it all for me and this crazy music industry adventure that I’m a part of. Alright…enough of me being super grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had, it’s time to focus on the music. This week I’m previewing an artist I wrote about back in 2018, Hayden James.

When I first wrote about electronic artist Hayden James, I had been listening to his song “NUMB” ft. GRAACE for months. It was my most listened to song of 2018. Since then, James released his debut album¬†Between Us on June 14, 2019. I also did an album review of it in August. Since the debut release, James has only played a few music festivals and a few tour dates, which is a bit out of the ordinary surrounding an album release. Most of his sets were in his home country of Australia with a few dates in the U.S., Europe, and New Zealand. This year includes several more tour stops in Australia, Mexico, and the U.S. including his Coachella appearance.

Coachella 2020 will mark James’ second Coachella appearance. His first came in 2015 as a Do Lab artist. This time he’s officially on the bill though and likely to play the Sahara Tent, if not, Gobi or Mojave. His soulful and sensual house style will surely bring plenty of fans out to his set no matter where it’s played. I would definitely expect a larger draw at Sahara since a lot of younger festival goers like to spend all their time at the stage, but who knows because many people enjoy a good electronic set. After seeing him in 2018 at Electric Forest, I know he’s capable of bringing lots of dancing and a lot of bass to his sets. He’s also very capable of setting the Coachella vibe with his tracks. Here are the one’s you should know:

  1. NUMB
  2. Something About You
  3. Just Friends
  4. Better Together
  5. Just A Lover
  6. Favours
  7. Nowhere to Go
  8. Hold Me Back
  9. Remember You
  10. Permission to Love

The Film Playlist: We Are Your Friends

While at my cousin’s house over the weekend, we watched another movie that easily makes The Film Playlist. It’s been a while since I wrote about a movie for this series so let me explain. The Film Playlist is a blog series I started about movies that are about music. It’s been about a year since I added anything to it, but as soon as we started watching We Are Your Friends this past weekend, I knew I had to write about it this week.

The 2015 drama stars Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Emily Ratajkowski, Shiloh Fernandez, Alex Shaffer, and Jonny Weston. It was written by Max Joseph and Meaghan Oppenheimer based off a story by Richard Silverman. Joseph also directed the film which marked his directorial debut. The movie is about an electronic music DJ named Cole Carter (Efron) who is trying to work his way up in the music industry. It’s also partly a coming of age story because Cole and his friends are young adults trying to figure out their lives in the midst of partying at night clubs, selling drugs, and being part of the electronic music scene. While booked to play a gig at a club one night, Cole meets the headliner, who was once a hot commodity in the electronic music world, James Reed (Bentley). Reed in a way becomes a mentor for Cole once he realizes his talent and helps Cole to understand how to create music that doesn’t sound like every other electronic song.

As soon as we started watching this film Friday night, I knew I would love it. The plot is average though. It’s nothing out of the ordinary or exceptional. I strictly loved it for the fact that it was about music and electronic music in particular. I’ve never seen another film that surrounds the electronic music scene. It was cool to see scenes about creating electronic music and also scenes featuring EDC Vegas, which is an electronic music festival done by one of the leading electronic festival promoters Insomniac Events. The soundtrack for the film was excellent. Its feature track “We Are Your Friends” by Justice featuring Simian is where the film got its title from. It also features songs by Years and Years with Gryffin, AlunaGeorge with Tchami, Seinabo Sey with Kygo and Deorro ft. Erin McCarley.

If you’re expecting an award winning film, that’s not what We Are Your Friends is. It’s really just a fictional coming of age film that surrounds the electronic music industry. If you’re at all into electronic music, I suggest you check it out. It’s a film you don’t have to think much about and can purely enjoy, especially if you have a love for music, especially electronic music.

Coachella Band Preview: Gryffin

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we’re a little over a month away from Coachella. One month. 30 some days. Can you feel the hype?! The time flies so fast once that lineup drops. That means there’s only a few more band previews left and limited time to listen to all your favorites in preparation for the festival. I’ve wanted to write this preview since January, but I’ve purposely held off so I’d have something to write about as the festival got closer. Out of the group of electronic artists performing at Coachella this year, there were two I was most stoked about. The first was Kungs, who I wrote about back in January (I was too stoked to save Kungs until now). The second is an artist known as Gryffin.

Gryffin, whose real name is Dan Griffith, is an EDM DJ from New York City. He’s also a talented instrumentalist. He started piano lessons at the age of 7 and played through high school, while picking up guitar along the way.¬† Gryffin attended college at USC and studied electrical engineering, but devoted his free time to making music. His intent was to make music for his friends to play at parties. He never expected to be making it for a career, yet here he is selling out tours and playing Coachella 2017.

Unlike most of the artists I preview, Gryffin has yet to release his first album. He is most known for his remixes and a few chart-making singles. There’s no doubt an album release is in the works for him especially with the original tracks he has dropped over the last year. One of his most well known hits and debut single, “Heading Home” ft. Josef Salvat, was released a little over a year ago. The song hit #1 on the Spotify Viral 50 Chart and also made the list of Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart and Dance/Electronic Digital Songs chart. Last spring, he embarked on his first North American tour and sold out every show. He dropped a second single, “Whole Heart” ft. Bipolar Sunshine, on August 26th, which also hit Billboard’s electronic charts. It sparked another 10 show North American tour this past fall. A week ago, Gryffin released his third single, “Feel Good” with Illenium ft. Daya, and it already has almost 3 million plays on Spotify.

Gryffin classifies his style of electronic music as melodic house because he likes to incorporate piano and guitar into his music. It makes sense given his musical background. That’s the cool thing about his live sets though. It’s a blend between electronic and instrumental performance. Along with DJ-ing at his shows, he plays parts of songs on guitar and piano. It adds new elements to the music that you don’t necessarily get listening to a recording. This is something that takes his live performances to a whole new level in the electronic music genre making his Coachella performance one that you don’t want to miss.

I first heard of Gryffin within the last year and a half or so. I would see his name listed on song remixes, but I never listed to any of them because I typically don’t listen to remixes (except the Matoma remix of “Old Thing Back” because #fave). It’s mostly because I prefer the original version of songs, or the ones I was first exposed to, which I guess is strange when I think about it because I love covers. I think that it’s more so with remixes where you can have a non-electronic song that is electronically enhanced. That’s what I don’t really like since I was never big on electronic music. I guess you can say that’s changed now, but I still prefer original songs. Just this past fall, I heard Gryffin’s original song “Whole Heart” playing in the background of an end of the season highlight reel video for the Washington Spirit of the NWSL. I really liked the song and added it to my Spotify playlists as well as to my iTunes. About a month later, I heard “Heading Home” and added it just the same. Just a few days ago I heard “Feel Good” for the first time and I’ve been so hooked on it all week. I had it stuck in my head yesterday. It’s a great song, and I believe it has a ton of potential to surpass the success of Gryffin’s previous singles.

Gryffin plays Saturday at Coachella. It’s his first Coachella appearance too. I expect he’ll play the Sahara Tent, but I don’t expect his set to be super late. As I said, his performance will be one you don’t wanna skip especially if you’re into electronic music. Even if you’re not, his hybrid live performance style might be something transitional for you. I’d love to catch his set if I had the chance. Gryffin doesn’t have many original tracks you’ll need to prep with, so I’ll include some remixes as well. Here they are:

  1. Heading Home
  2. Whole Heart
  3. Feel Good
  4. Desire (Years & Years) Remix
  5. Animals (Maroon 5) Remix
  6. Youth (Troye Sivan) Remix
  7. Talking Body (Tove Lo) Remix
  8. Clearest Blue (CHVRCHES) Remix
  9. Beggin’ For Thread (BANKS) Remix