Shakey Graves – And the War Came

shakey graves and the war came

I’ve kept a keen eye on Shakey ever since he released Roll the Bones back in 2011. He released an EP in 2012, then a live album last year called West of Calgary, recorded in Banff (if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on that rare album, you won’t be disappointed). A few weeks ago, Shakey released his second full-length album, entitled And the War Came. Higher production value, real drums, and a female presence (Esme Patterson) set this album apart from previous releases. Shakey still maintains the raw sound and the brilliant songwriting that makes him such an incredible musician. He’s definitely on my list of must-see musicians, and he’s playing the Phoenix in Toronto in early December for all you locals who might be interested. Without further ado, here’s my favourite track off the new album – the rhythm-driven ‘Family and Genus’:

And as a bonus, here are a couple of tracks off West of Calgary:

Shakey Graves – Tomorrow

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Shakey Graves – Stereotypes of a Blue Collar Male 

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Mexico City Blondes

mexico city blondes

Time and time again we see that many of the most delicious songs are made with simple recipes and quality ingredients. Such is the case with the debut single from Mexico City Blondes, a duo from Santa Barbara consisting of Allie Thompson and Greg Doscher. A catchy guitar riff, a synth, a smoker’s voice, and a Danger Mouse-esque drumline is all that’s needed to create this winning alt/country/rock track. On top of that, their band name is one of more badass I’ve heard in a while. Their debut album is coming (keep an eye out for news here), but in the meantime, they’ve blessed us with a free download to the track below, which can be found here.

Made in Heights

made in heightsI’ve been back in the country for 2 months now and it’s high time I renewed my vows to this blog and promised our small but dedicated readership that starting today, I’m  back on the roster and I’ll be posting regular updates. My tastes have tended more in the direction of pop music lately. In that vein, I’ve recently discovered Made in Heights, a Beverly Hills duo who’ve blended the percussive tastes of Purity Ring with the pop sensibilities of CHVRCHES and created a sound that’s the perfect addition to an night drive in the rain or an early evening drink with friends. Their music isn’t as predictable as it initially sounds and weaves a path between genres that’s as seamless as it is surprising (and refreshing). Check out my favourite tracks below and check out their debut album via bandcamp.



Big indie bands aren’t very common. It’s hard to avoid stepping on toes and sounding too loose, but every once in a while, a big band will come along and prove that sometimes, bigger is better. Polyphonic Spree, Broken Social Scene, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes are all notable examples of bands who actually gain something – a bigger sound, or a bigger emotion, or maybe even just a bigger stage presence – from all those members running around on stage.

Typhoon is like that. I can’t speak for their stage presence, but they’re an 11-piece band from Portland and their newest album, White Lighter, is an incredible piece of work. Piano, guitar, horns, flute(?), harmonies, and larger-than-life drum lines underlie most songs. The novelty comes from the band’s breadth rather than its depth. So multi-instrumental, but never all at once. The songs are strangely sporadic but flow seamlessly into crescendoed verses and catchy hooks. Typhoon has been around since 2005 but they’ve recently broken out from their pacific northwest fan base and gained some internet notoriety. Give these guys some help and head over to their site to listen/purchase some more tunes. Till then, check the tracks below. -M.

Typhoon – Dreams of Cannibalism

Blood Cultures

Blood cultures

It’s been too long! Far too long indeed. Holding down a music blog has become increasingly difficult amidst the hectic lives we lead. I’ve got a bunch of music I need to share before I head to India for another 6 months, so hopefully you’ll hear from me quite a bit over the next week or so.

First off – a song I just came across by a band called Blood Cultures, who are currently pretty low-profile. Apparently it’s a solo act out of New Jersey, and their soundcloud page has a single release called ‘Indian Sun’, which has racked up a grand total of 810 listens at the time of writing this. But this track caught my ear immediately. It’s a cross between LCD Soundsystem and CHVRCHES, with a bouncy beat, plenty of synths, and a solid fade-out to the sound of crashing waves to finish it all off.

Looking forward to more of this. Till then, I’m going to hit repeat a few more times and fade away… 



nononoSweden is home to some of the best acts in indie pop music. That roster recently recruited a new member in the form of NONONO, an electronic group from the nation’s capital. Their music falls somewhere between the dancefloor and breakfast in bed, in those hazy early morning hours where dreams and reality meld. NONONO is somehow catchy and edgy, full of energy when you are and relaxed when you want to be. Like fellow Swedes Niki & the Dove, NONONO has nailed the sexy, breathy vocals and the beat-heavy synthy instrumentals. This is good stuff. Their ‘Pumpin Blood’ EP just dropped, so check it out here. Enjoy our favourite track below. -M.

St. Lucia – Elevate

st. luciaWe covered St. Lucia after their debut EP dropped last spring. Now they’re back with a new single off their upcoming album When The Night, which drops October 8th. The single is titled ‘Elevate’ and is borne from the same soaring pop that we have come to expect from this NYC 5-piece. One part Talking Heads, one part Passion Pit, and two parts pure unadulterated tropical sunshine, ‘Elevate’ has been stuck in my head for the past week, and I can’t even complain about it.

St. Lucia – Elevate



Seoul is a mysterious new outfit out of Montreal. They’ve only dropped one track – a dreamy, hazy number called ‘Stay With Us’ with a fitting music video. I can’t pinpoint why I love this song so much. I think it has something to do with that bass line. Or that simple, solid beat that permeates the layered synths. Or the soft vocals that feel like just another instrument in the mix. I don’t know, but I dig it. They’ve released very little information about themselves other than being a self-proclaimed ‘ambient pop aggregate’, so we’ll just have to wait for the anticipated follow-up track (and album?) before learning more. Until then, enjoy this one on repeat, ’cause I know I will:

Seoul – Stay With Us



I’m a bit late to jump on the Lorde bandwagon. In fact, I’m playing catch-up with a lot of music that was released in the past 8 months. Regardless, it will take a pretty huge dive to get me off this bandwagon, especially considering that Lorde is Ella Yurich-O’Connor, a high school student from Auckland, NZ, with her entire life and career ahead of her. Lorde released an EP (The Love Club EP) back in December that immediately threw her into the limelight – both at home and abroad. Her brand of minimalist pop is smart and catchy, her voice is sweet and vicious at the same time, and she’s definitely going places. Check out more tracks from Lorde on the soundcloud page. Listen to my two favourites below.

2nd Annual Yeti Music Official Hillside Preview


Guelph residents are a bit confused at the line-up for this year’s Hillside Music Festival. No big headliners and very few buzz bands, just a lot of unfamiliar names. But, faithful to the festival as always, fans have scooped up all available tickets and will turn out in droves for Guelph’s biggest summer festivity this weekend. If you are one of those confused festival-goers, with no idea which unknown band to choose over the others, I’m here to help! I’ve cobbled together 15 tracks from different bands that I’m most excited for. So hit play and take note of the songs that catch your fancy. The planning phase of your stage-hopping schedule begins now.

Aidan Knight – A Mirror // Aidan puts on a hell of a live show. This Calgary native released a new album last October and will no doubt be touting those tracks during this performance. Check out more tracks here.

Whitehorse – Mismatched Eyes (Boat Song) // Whitehorse is Luke Doucet and Melissa McLelland, both legends in the Canadian folk scene who got hitched and formed a band together. CBC favourites and great live energy. If we’re lucky, we might just catch some of Melissa’s famed piano skills. New album in August! Check out more here.

Indians – I Am Haunted // Indians are a Danish band who sing fuzzy, reverbed-out rock songs. If you like Youth Lagoon, check out Indians. More here.

Jim Guthrie – Taking My Time // I’m pretty excited to see Mr. Guthrie. Jim just released a new album called Takes Time, and it’s pure folk rock gold. Catchy, witty, wonderful songwriting and so well-produced, with a style that brings together classic genres with more modern electronic indie rock feel. Oh yea, and he’s from Guelph (but lives in Toronto). More here.

Reuben and the Dark – Shoulderblade // Is a newcomer to the folk scene in Canada. Hailing from Calgary, Reuben Bullock released a powerful debut album via Arts & Crafts. With a voice and songwriting that sounds like an in-tune Connor Oberst, Reuben’s songs are jump from a soulful brood to a soaring chorus in the blink of an eye. Check him out here.

Snowblink – Unsurfed Waves // Snowblink are another Canadian band on the Arts & Crafts roster. They create stripped-down, hazy post-rock. Check out more here.

AroarA – #14 are a Montreal-based husband/wife duo. Andrew Whiteman has worked with Canadian big-leaguers Broken Social Scene and Apostle of Hustle, so you know he’s inventive, creative, and talented. More here.

Snowden – The Beat Comes // Like Edward of the same name, Snowden will leak delicious soundbites all over the place this weekend. If you’re looking to dance, Snowden might be one of the best chances you’ll get. They’re from Atlanta and you can learn more here.

The Darcys – The River // This track is off The Darcys’ upcoming album, to be released September 17th. One listen and you’ll be hooked on the unique sound of this art/alt rock band from Toronto. Yet another Arts & Crafts roster member. More here.

Young Benjamins – Bones // Young Benjamins are from Saskatoon and have been making waves with their debut album, released in May. They’ve turned the heads of Stars and Austra, both of whom have enlisted them as supporting acts in the past. ‘Bones’ was a pre-album single. Check out more here.

July Talk – The Garden // The Garden is a gritty blues song from Toronto duo July Talk. This duet features classic push/pull lyrics full of gravel and whiskey. You can listen to July Talk’s excellent debut album over on their bandcamp page.

Kopecky Family Band – Heartbeat // This isn’t actually a family band per se, but they’ve fostered a homegrown sound that could convince us otherwise. Heartbeat is a lively folk rock song off their most recent album, ‘Kids Raising Kids’. Check out more of these guys right here.

Two Hours Traffic – Territory // Two Hours Traffic haven’t really grown up. Which is a good thing, considering their sound has always embodied the youthful energy of a life without responsibility. Distinctly Canadian and carrying a hint of the east coast wherever they go, Two Hours Traffic are Hillside favourites and never disappoint. More here.

Niyaz – Parishaan // Ever heard of Namgar? Yea, probably not. They’re a Mongolian group that blends traditional nomadic East Asian folk music with modern electronic beats, and they’re awesome. When I first heard Parishaan, I immediately thought of Namgar, and that’s a really good thing. I can guarantee that this will be the best dance party of the whole weekend. Iranian melodies with a deep rhythm, founded in Montreal. Check ‘em out here.

Diamond Rings – Wait & See // Diamond Rings is John O’Reagan, a University of Guelph grad who resides in Toronto and makes electronic music. A kingpin of the queer music community in Toronto/Canada, John has a gift for creating catchy, poppy tracks that are perfectly catered to his deep singing voice. I’ve always wanted to see Diamond Rings live, so I’m pretty psyched for this. More here.

See y’all at the Island! I’m out for now. -M.

Back in Action

dustin tebbutt

I’ve been away too long. It’s tough to hold down a blog when both contributors are hopping all over the continent/world, frequently finding ourselves in places lacking any sort of internet connection. But I’m back to civilization, at least for the next two months, and happy to dive back into the blogging scene. Considering our last post is now a month old, it’s high time.

To kick things off, I’m digging through my back-catalogue of music accumulated over the past few months and making a few short playlists for your listening pleasure. This first consists of folk/bluegrass/acoustic/chill tracks, so kick back and enjoy!

The Breakmen – km19 // I just survived my first treeplanting season, and this is far and above the best treeplanting song ever written. When not planting trees, The Breakmen reside in Vancouver and tour all over Canada playing their folky bluegrass. Check out more of their music here.

Dustin Tebbutt – The Breach // If you mashed up Bon Iver with the chugging of a train, you might get something like this track. This is Dustin Tebbutt’s debut track off his upcoming album that drops later this year. Check out his soundcloud page here.

The Oh Hello’s – Hello My Old Heart // The Oh Hellos are gaining popularity after releasing their debut LP last October. Their style runs in the same harmony-rich folk vein as Of Monsters And Men and Mumford and Sons. This track is a personal favourite off an older EP. Pay what you want for both albums here.

Willy-Mason-Talk-Me-Down // Willy Mason is a young American singer-songwriter who’s on the rise. His recent tour with Ben Howard and upcoming one with Edward Sharpe are testament that he’s turning some big heads in the music world. This track is off his most recent album, ‘Carry On’, which was released in December and is available here.

Fish & Bird – Northern Lights// Fish & Bird are an incredibly young and talented folk group from Winnipeg. The lead singer (Taylor Ashton) has a lazy, raspy voice that I find impossible not to like. This track is off their most recent (excellent) album, released over 2 years ago now. You can get all three of their albums here.

Hayley Coupon – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards (Tame Impala cover) // Newcomer Hayley Coupon doesn’t have much music released. But she managed to  catch a lot of peoples’ ears with this cover when it dropped back in June. And rightfully so – it’s a beautiful, simple cover that’s entirely her own. She also has an original beautiful piano ballad called ‘Let Me Be’ on her soundcloud page. And she’s from New York. That’s all I got. But I’m going to keep an eye on this one.

Musical Flood

IMG_1557 edit

As many places in North America flood after the spring thaw, I’m welcoming the musical flood that comes with a fast internet connection after a month-long drought. I’ve thrown together a mix of songs – some old, most new, all good – that I’m spinning on this hot and humid pre-monsoon Indian day. My days left here can be counted on one hand, which means I’ll soon be home and able to post regularly. For approximately three days, until I dive into the B.C. wilderness for two months. Anyways, enjoy these tracks and check out the links for more details on the artists.

GodWolf – Alone // GodWolf are an Australian dance duo that are new to my radar. This is their newest track and I’m loving its bipolar personality, swinging seamlessly from soft chill pop to electronic dance and back. They’ve been getting some press over at Triple J’s Unearthed and have a few singles on their soundcloud page.

Gabrielle Aplin – Home (umami & Alle Farben Edit) // Gabrielle Aplin is barely out of her teens and she’s a big deal in the European pop scene, apparently. I’ve been living in a musical black hole for a while so forgive me if I should know more about her than I do. Regardless, this track takes her subtle English voice and adds the kind of spacey chill beat that I love (and have come to expect from German maestro Alle Farben). If you dig the voice, check out more of Gabrielle here.

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (Vanderway Edit) // While the internet has shit a collective brick over the newest Daft Punk single, I can’t/haven’t tried to get into much DP except for the occasional decent track that diffuses its way into my life. But I recently discovered this edit, and in a month of listening to it every day, many times per day, it hasn’t gotten old. It’s just so damn happy, and perfect for dancing on a granite floor with wool socks. Vanderway is French and part of the remix collective, ‘L’ordre collectif’. Check them out here.

Carrousel – Darling, You’re So Mean to Me // Fans of those 60s psychadelic throwback tracks that K occasionally posts will be fans of this gritty quickie. This band hails from Tallahasee, FL and you can grab their EP for free (no email required!) on their bandcamp page.

The Procussions – On A Mountain (feat. Logan) // The Procussions are from Colorado Springs and have been around since 1998. That’s a lot of experience. They sound as fresh as ever on this track, a catchy new rap single available for free download on their bandcamp page. Head over to soundcloud for a few other new tracks, including one (also free download!) featuring the Canadian hip hop ambassador, Shad.

And now, a bonus track from the depths of soundcloud:

My love for German beatster Peer Kusiv has already been established. This track is about as close to perfect as it gets for me.

Little Daylight made a riotous debut with their rowdy pop track, Overdose, released only a couple of months ago. Name in Lights is their second single, and they took the low road for this one, slowing it down and chilling out a bit. The result is one of my favourite new tracks.

That’s all for now! Over and out. -M

Sparse Beats

I suppose I should apologize for my absence. I’ve been spending life in the heat of rural India, a location not renowned for its technological advancement. I’m in the massive metropolis of Bangalore now for, of all things, a music show. Norah Jones has graced her ancestral homeland with her presence, and I’ll be catching her tomorrow night at a dusty outdoor venue in northern Bangalore.

Anyways, I do have some new(ish) music for you. Lately, I’ve been really into remixes and originals that lay acoustic instrumentals and soft vocals over a sparse, steady electronic beat. These two tracks have caught my ear and they’ve been on repeat for a few weeks. Both are large investments, clocking in at over 5 minutes with long instrumental sections. But they are oh-so worth it, reminding me of a couple of William Fitzsimmons remixes that have been dear to my heart for several years (one of which can be found below).

Peer Kusiv made it big with this track – skyrocketing to the top of Hype Machine in November. Rightfully so – this original track is a low-fi masterpiece consisting of sorrowful lyrics, wavy synths, acoustic guitar, and that perfectly delectable beat. Check out more Peer Kusiv here. Daughter is a band out of London, and while I haven’t heard much of their original material, this remix by Alle Farben is my definition of a perfect remix: tweaking the the track just enough to make it unique, while still maintaining the best aspects the original. That lazy voice vibes with the chilled-out instrumentals and sparse beats, creating the kind of track I can wake up to and fall asleep to. Check out Daughters here and Alle Farben here. And enjoy the tracks below! M.


William Fitzsimmons – I Don’t Feel It Anymore (George Raquet Remix)

Roadkill Ghost Choir

I sleep all day and I dream all night“, sings vocalist Andrew Shephard on Roadkill Ghost Choir’s newest single, ‘Beggars Guild’. In a literal sense, I can identify with those lyrics immediately, after suffering through a few days of jet lag resulting from a flight across ten and a half time zones. But at a deeper level, the folk/alt-country/rock standard hits home for several reasons. Shephard’s vocals evoke easy comparisons to Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, but with a slightsouthern flair. The cyclical chord progression and melody evade tediousness by mixing up the structure of the song – adding a harmony here, a cymbal crash there, and layering it all underneath timeless and obscure vocals .

Roadkill Ghost Choir are a sextet based in Florida. With pedal steels, banjos, and rich harmonies, they create a sound that is modern but harkens a golden age of southern Americana. Their debut EP, Quiet Light, is available for $5 on their bandcamp page. I’d highly suggest purchasing the entire album, but till then, here’s a taste to get you started. -M.

Roadkill Ghost Choir – Beggars Guild

Terraplane Sun

Sometimes you just need some sugary indie pop to propel you over hump day.  I’ve got the perfect new band for kitchen foot-shuffling or living room head-nodding. Terraplane Sun draw comparisons (and rightfully so) to Foster the People. They create the same style of smart, catchy pop tracks, overflowing with radio friendliness. Ben Rothbard’s vocals are especially similar to those of Mark Foster – catchy tenor and just a hint nasally. Hailing from Venice Beach, CA, Terraplane Sun are perfect ambassadors from the sunny state as the rest of us endure the cold and rain that November has brought. In addition to Mr. Rothbard, the band consists of Johnny Zambetti (lead guitar and mandolin), Cecil Campanaro (bass), Lyle Riddle (drums) and Gabe Feenberg (piano, accordion and trombone).

You can check out more Terraplane Sun here. They just released the excellent Friends EP, available for download here. Enjoy two sun-filled samples below. -M.

Terraplane Sun – Ya Never Know

Terraplane Sun – Get Me Golden


Jonathan Visger is the mastermind behind Absofacto, a musical project that sees him exploring familiar indie pop territory, while proving that unique sounds can still be carved out within this blanket genre. Their sound falls somewhere between the classic atmospheric vocals of Radiohead and the sparse instrumentals of Alt-J. Self-described as progressive ‘psyche rock’, their music is fun and catchy if listened to superficially, or dark and brooding if listened to intensely. Upon discovering them a few weeks ago, I’ve fallen in love with Absofacto’s entire discography. Part of what I love is the versatility of their music. Hints of senseless humour accentuate some of their tracks (Punch Drunk On Black Mold), while others convey a more solemn tone (Backfire). The song meanings are hidden and deep, requiring repeat listens to pick up muffled metaphors and hazy rhymes.

Hailing from Michigan, Visger has been making music since 2010 under the name of Absofacto, but he’s also involved in a few other projects – namely, Mason Proper and Hollow & Akimbo. You can check out plenty of releases over on Absofacto’s bandcamp page. It was released over a year ago, but Sinking Islands might be a contender for one of my favourite discoveries of 2012. Enjoy! -M.

Absofacto – Backfire

Absofacto – Punch Drunk on Black Mold

Chromeo – Bonafied Lovin’ (RAC Remix)

I didn’t have to search to hard for this track. It’s been getting plenty of internet press lately, easily stealing the top Hype Machine chart position over the past few days. With good reason; Chromeo is one of the smoothest bands around, and when RAC is thrown into the mix, you know you’re in for a treat. This track is overinflated with its own funkiness – largely synth-based with a feet-shuffling bassline and RAC’s classic, clean, simple beat. Pump this during your next living room dance party it’ll be a guaranteed success. -M.

Chromeo – Bonafied Lovin’ (RAC Remix)

Joshua James

I first discovered Joshua James over 5 years ago when traveling South America, and every time I visited an internet cafe I’d stream his myspace page as I reconnected with the world. I’ve been tracking his progress since, and now is the perfect time to introduce (or remind you of) this talented folk singer.

For the next few days, Joshua James’ 2009 album, Build Me This, is available for free download over on NoiseTrade. It’s jam packed full of typical Joshua James tracks – soulful, heartfelt, and intimate. His fragile voice is captivating and his songwriting is superb. Joshua has also just released his newest album, From the Top of Willamette Mountain, available right here. I’ve shared two of my favourite Joshua James songs below. ‘Coal War’ starts like a chain-gang gospel chant, morphing at its midpoint into a soul folk standard. ‘New Love Song’ is an older track, and a consistent favourite of mine. The songwriting and country-folk style of this song would earn praise from Neil Young. Show your support for Joshua here. -M.

Joshua James – Coal War

Joshua James – The New Love Song

Astronauts, etc.

Today, we recover. Everyone in this city is simultaneously rejoicing and regretting the events of last night, sipping on warm beverages, eyelids sagging, refusing to venture too far from their duvets. I’d like to share some music that complements this dreary, rainy day. Astronauts, etc. is the solo project of Berkeley (LA) student Anthony Ferraro. Ferraro seems to be an expert at crafting songs that focus more on atmosphere than on content. With rich, drenched soundscapes and reverbed vocals, Austronauts, etc. finds a middle ground between Bon Iver and Beach House. Head over to his bandcamp page to download his new EP, Supermelodic Pulp, for just $5. Till then, here are two free tracks to whet your appetite. They’re the perfect soundtrack to…well, doing absolutely nothing. Happy Sunday! -M.

Astronauts, etc. – Chemistry

Astronauts, etc. – You Can Yell

Indie Rock Triad – Kingsfoil, The Royal Concept, & Pacific Air Music

It’s a cool and rainy Saturday afternoon. In an effort to reduce our heating bill, we’re testing the limits of our cold tolerance. I can see my breath. I’m double-sweatered, infusing myself with the heat from a cup of coffee, and blasting music as loud as my housemates will allow in a vain attempt to pummel some warmth into my bones. I have a few new indie rock tracks kicking around my iTunes that fit well together in a single blog post, so here goes:

Kingsfoil – Grapevine Valentine // This is the first single of Kingsfoil’s new album, A Breaking Heart is A Bleeding Heart. It’s a catchy piano-driven pop song with a fantastic chorus melody. Also, fun fact: Frankie Munz (Malcolm in The Middle child star) plays the drums in this band. More here.

The Royal Concept – Goldrush // I blogged about The Concept back in the spring. They’ve now changed their name to The Royal Concept but haven’t given up their Pheonix-style power pop. This new track is a gem. More here.

Pacific Air – Roses // Remember Ko Ko? They changed their name to Pacific Air and got picked up by Universal Records, then re-released a bunch of tracks on their debut EP. Names aside, these guys have continued to create the bouncy upbeat indie pop of Ko Ko. More here.

Sol – Old Him (Prod. By Zilla)

Travel is, if nothing else, thought-provoking. Breaking the monotony of routine for the open road will inevitably also interrupt internal monotony, forcing the mind to explore uncharted territory along with the feet. Occasionally, an artist is able to capture such notions in a sharable format – a song, a poem, a book, etc. Sol has managed to do just that with his new track, ‘Old Him’.

Rap has long been a tool for social commentary. While its power is often overlooked due to the onslaught of meaningless and materialistic rhymes, almost all hip hop has an underlying message. Seattle hip hop is extremely adept at bringing that message to the forefront of their art, and it is in this scene that Sol honed his skills as a writer and performer. During his recent travels in India, Sol wrote and recorded this powerful track, a culmination of his thoughts and experiences. He says:

Here is “Old Him”, a song produced by my Zillas (Elan Wright & Nima Skeemz) 8,000 miles away back home in Seattle, written while on the night train to Bangalore, India, and recorded in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, while severely sick from food poisoning (caused two months into my trip, after being convinced by my Indian friends to try KFC for the first time in my life).

This song, and the story behind it, holds a personal significance as I prepare to embark on the longest international journey of my life. I just booked myself a flight to Bangalore, and while I will certainly will take night trains, I can only hope that food poisoning will not play a role. Check out more Sol here. Fans of Macklemore, Blue Scholars, Budo, and Grieves will not be disappointed. Listen to ‘Old Him’ below. -M.

The Quebec Cafe Mini-Mix

[Photo // WhinyDancer]

The peacefulness of an early Montreal morning rivals that of an Adirondack lakeshore. Sunrises have few witnesses here. I debark bleary-eyed from an overnight bus. As a backpack-burdened traveller, I am mistaken for homeless. A passing cyclist, bedecked in suit and tie, tosses 48 cents in my direction. I deliver “merci”  through a surprised smile as he rides out of earshot. Rivulets of rain flow off awnings and I consider curling up under a bridge with the unelected vagabonds. I can hear milk curdling in fridges as I pass through the student ghetto. The city betrays no hint of last night’s bustle.

I break the silence by inserting earphones and soaking in this playlist. My feet shuffle faster and I dance-walk to my destination. I fall asleep as the city wakes.

Jamie Woon – Lady Luck // An old stand-by, recently rediscovered. Jamie Woon’s best track – saucy, sultry, soulful, sinful, stunning.
Guillemots – I Don’t Feel Amazing Now (Mooli Remix) // Not a new track by any means, but new to me and a steady fixation of the last few days. When a 7-minute track can capture my attention for its entire duration, it has to be a good one. Take my hand and make me feel amazing, ’cause I don’t feel amazing now
Sleeping At Last – January White // Sleeping at Last lost some credibility in the indie world when  they were featured on the Twilight soundtrack, but this song still shines in all its softness.
Act As If – Oh My My // While this genre is saturated with mediocre releases on a daily basis, Act As If have proved themselves a cut above the rest with this delightful little indie pop song. The handclaps and chorus harmonies have me smiling.
Lana Del Rey – Serial Killer // Lana has been releasing track after new track. This is my favourite by far. Del Rey revisits heavily-treaded territory, but something about her desperation is alluring.
CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share // Scottish electro-pop outfit are receiving plenty of hype from their debut track. High expectations for a follow-up.
Crystal Fighters – Champion Sound // Every day I have a new favourite track off this album. Today I’m feeling the Champion Sound.


Satin Jackets – Aaliyah’s Boat

Summer may feel like the distant past, but this track combines bouncy synths with a smooth beat, expertly remixing Aaliyah’s pop classic and creating a track bursting with sunshine. Satin Jackets are a German electro/house outfit that create chill lounge tracks that will have you caught between a head bob and a foot shuffle. Close your eyes and let this lengthy track take you to a Caribbean beach, a dance floor, or wherever else you may find happiness. Check out more Satin Jackets here. -M.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich

It’s a rainy Sunday evening, I’m sitting in a cafe watching the reflection of the streetlights on the pavement outside, sipping on a pint of pumpkin ale, and listening to the mood-catching sounds of Benjamin Francis Leftwich. If, like me, you’re in the mood for relaxing, look no further.

Benjamin’s soft, fragile vocals first caught my ear last fall, with ‘Atlas Hands’, the first single off his debut EP, Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm. Now, he’s back with the title track from his upcoming EP, ‘In The Open’. The EP is set to be released November 19th, and from the sound of this new track, it’s set to be a relaxing masterpiece. Benjamin Francis Leftwich is from York, England, and clearly exudes the soul of Elliot Smith, Nick Drake, and dozens of other soft singing geniuses to come before him. You can grab a free EP of covers off his website, and pre-order the new EP here. -M.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Atlas Hands