I was lighting off fireworks earlier this week, you know, to celebrate our nation’s independence, and one of the bigger boom-snappers tipped over during its performance and started launching right towards me. I had two strategies in my mind as red and blue streaks of scorching shrapnel soared towards my head:
1. Attempt to out maneuver my impending death.
2. Sit in my chair in hopes that the artillery has mercy.
I sat. Maybe it was cowardice. Maybe it was idle sloth. Maybe it was a more complex inner realization that life will ultimately take me however it damn well pleases. Whatever the case, I survived and had I not, you would not get to listen to these tunes. Listen, celebrate life.
D.D. Dumbo – Satan
It’s going to be tough to describe this track without describing Phil Collins. I’ll just say this is a fantastic modernization of contemporary ‘80s pop from Australia. Listen, and let the tropical rhythm consume you.
Listen if you like: Phil Collins, Toto, Sufjan Stevens
Field Studies – Listener
Calming, industrial art-rock from the UK that explores the boundaries of a lot of genres without ever making you uncomfortable. Whether it is the intentional acoustic moments or the more delicate progressive rock undertones, there is something here for everyone.
Listen if you like: Radiohead, Muse, Beck
Polo & Pan – Canopée
I’m not entirely sure what this French electronic/trance duo is doing, but they’re doing it right. It’s jazzy, it’s fresh, it’s lucrative, and I have no idea what they’re saying. Who cares when the music is this good?
Listen if you like: Fela Kuti, deadmau5, Sasha
Margaret Glaspy – You and I
This Brooklyn singer-songwriter combines honest lyrics, bluesy guitars, and intimate vocals to make for a memorable listen. The music doesn’t necessarily do anything to change the game, but it’s passionate and upbeat.
Listen if you like: Joni Mitchell, Weezer, Death Cab For Cutie
Last Japan – Ascend
This underground London producer blends his dynamic track with some grimy rap from AJ Tracey to make a fresh ride. The production is dark, almost sinister, but the quick and aggressive lyrics keep it crisp. Spin it.
Listen if you like: Dizzee Rascal, Skepta, Big Narstie
Colony House – You Know It
Upbeat indie rock from Tennessee that slaps a smile on your face and keeps your toes tapping. Two of these dudes are sons of one Steven Curtis Chapman — a name you’ll be familiar with if you were raised in a home that spun a lot of contemporary Christian music. If that helps them write songs like this, more power to them.
Listen if you like: Tokyo Police Club, The Mowgli’s, Born Ruffians
The Big Moon – Cupid
These four ladies from London use this track to display their aptitude at writing contagious, hyperactive, and mature indie rock. There is a sense of ‘90s alternative rock in their style, but more dynamic. Super good stuff.
Listen if you like: The Kooks, The Runaways, Weezer
Elm – Concentrate
They call it “alternative baroque-pop.” I call it beautiful. This Dublin band delicately places their focused alternative rock, haunting cello, and soul-shattering lyrics together to create a borderline breathtaking track.
Listen if you like: Daughter, Sigur Ros, The Antlers
Ider – Pulse
Groovy indie electronica with a solid dose of R&B and soul that keeps your attention from the first note on the piano: Fantastic harmonies, beautiful transitions, confident progression. These UK ladies know what they’re doing with their music, and we reap the benefit.
Listen if you like: James Blake, Tegan and Sara, Maggie Rogers
Samaris – Wanted 2 Say
Pulsating, dark electronic trance that is made complete by angelic vocals. This Icelandic band makes music that allows its listeners to transcend typical expectations and experiences.
Listen if you like: The xx, Lykke Li, Santigold
Gradient’s Favorite Songs of 2016: The Complete Playlist
Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.
Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant based in New York City. During our conversation, we discussed the importance of work life balance, his start as a production intern at Sesame Street and why artist’s feel personally offended when you reject their work.
United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?
Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.
If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.
To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.
Branden sits down with writer and speaker Tyler Huckabee days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States to talk about empathy, justice, listening, and where we go from here.
Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.
This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.
Luca and Ilenia are the founders of Illo, a studio based in Turin, Italy. During our conversation, we discussed their self-driving video bot named Algo, how Illo was formed and how they’ve crafted a unique office culture.
This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.
We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.