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Artist of the Week: Vote for Your Favorite

by Suzy Exposito | 81 days ago
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Thank some higher power that it’s Friday! Which also means it’s time for our next Artist of the Week poll. You have until 11am EST next Friday to cast your vote and choose the best of of this week’s featured artists. Choose from:

Sante Les Amis

Sante Les Amis music has all the makings for one of those euphoric Volkswagen car commercials — syncopated handclaps, whistling and feel good electro-rock music. Hailing from Montevideo, Uruguay, Sante Les Amis is a five-piece whose music feels familiar, but different enough to be memorable. Most of their songs are sung in Spanish and reveal a plethora of influences from reggae to punk and disco, creating a bombastic dance fusion we can get on board with.

Cakes Da Killa

Cakes Da Killa dons a pink flower crown on the cover of his 2013 mixtape Eulogy a la Chiara di Blasio. The image projects an air of royalty and chastity when ironically the Jersey-based rapper is all about raunch, real talk, and the turn up. Rap might start off as a type of defensive mechanism for many aspiring artists regardless of background. As Cakes explained in a recent interview, “I started rapping as a joke in high school just to make fun of straight guys, and then it sort of just become a running joke that now I get paid for.” 

White Lung

Given how long it’s been since aggressive, unforgiving women in music have met favorable recognition by both music critics and radio stations, listening to White Lung is much like that first gasp of air when surfacing from a warm, muddy decade of sexist repression. The band has been circulated widely on CBC radio, honored at Canadian Music Week Indie Awards, and racked up tour dates from Europe to Australia. And yet throughout their ascension into international stardom, they remain true to their feminist fury, most especially in their third upcoming LP, Deep Fantasy.

Jetta

Back in the day, the largest section of the cavernous spaces of music megastores like Virgin, Coconuts, or HMV was “Rock/Pop.” Like a frigid puff of air emanating from an automatic sliding glass door, singer/songwriter Jetta is a cooling, comforting rock/pop presence. Her powerful voice and guitar-driven melodies hearken back to a simpler time when you didn’t need an insane gimmick or niche to grab anyone’s attention.

Melanie De Biasio

A decade ago, Melanie De Biasio suffered from a pulmonary infection that disabled her singing voice for a year. Fortunately she recovered and was able to record No Deal (Play it Again Sam), an intimate collection of sparse soulful jazz that is as discreet as it is engaging. The classically trained Belgium-born artist, who will tour with Eels this summer across Europe, harnesses a less-is-more attention to jazz that remarkably comprises of only voice, percussion, piano and flute. 


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Artist of the Week: Neon Bunny

by Suzy Exposito | 81 days ago
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Congratulations to our new Artist of the Week, Seoul’s own Neon Bunny!

Not bombastic enough for K-pop, but too polished up for indie, Yoojin Lim’s music sits comfy somewhere in the middle, best described as electronic bedroom pop. Her silky, near-whisper and downtempo stride are ideal for more sensitive ears. Hear it for yourself:

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Battle Mundial: World Cup Music Digest, 6/13

by Alexis Stephens | 81 days ago
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Throughout the 2014 World Cup, we will be celebrating the bond between music and the most popular sporting event in the world. Each day of the tournament, we will be selecting songs from each country playing. We want to help you get as hyped as humanly possible for the daily on-field drama.

Match 1: Mexico vs. Cameroon

Cameroon

It’s hard imagine that today’s games could beat the drama of yesterday’s Brazil vs. Croatia match (Autogoal!), but six teams are going to try. Cameroon is not favored to leave the group stage, but Cameroonian-American Lorine Chia has a great anthem for them in “Might Come Around”:

Mexico

Los Master Plus‘s “samba norteña” track “Fiestiña,” is the most FESTIVE World Cup track that we’ve come across. It’s hard not to give Mexico the advantage based on this:

Match 2: Spain vs. Netherlands

Spain

Polock‘s lead singer had this to say to us about the World Cup: “Antagonistic spirit, even in its purest ancient Grecian form, has nothing to do with music. On the other hand, we like football… We carry a football on our van to have some fun during the stops on the road. For the World Cup we would like Spain to be a winner again, but we think that Brazil is the favorite this time.” Spain hopes to have the same fighting spirit that Polock does in the video for “Everlasting”:

KiT represents Amsterdam via Curaçao. The video ”Jackhammer” almost has a Brazilian vibe:

Match 3: Chile vs. Australia

Chile

Vengo is Ana Tijoux‘s latest album and it’s a lush, organic celebration of Chile’s Andean roots and socially conscious hip-hop. It would be awesome if all nationalism sounded as brilliant as title track  ”Vengo”:

Australia

Australia in an underdog in the match against Chile. Bloods‘ ”No Fun” might be the anthem of the Socceroos if the prediction models are accurate:

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Battle Mundial: World Cup Music Digest 6/12

by Alexis Stephens | 82 days ago
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Throughout the 2014 World Cup, we will be celebrating the bond between music and the most popular sporting event in the world. Each day of the tournament, we will be selecting songs from each country playing that day. We want to help you get as hyped as humanly possible for the daily on-field drama.

Match 1: Croatia vs. Brazil

It’s Opening Day! At 5 pm São Paolo time, the world’s eyeballs will be focused on Brazil and Croatia as an underdog team battles one of soccer’s greatest dynasties and a frenzied hometown crowd. The ladies of Pearls Negras and MayaVanya know how to get bodies in both countries moving. Here is our opening match pre-game soundtrack:

Brazil

Pearls Negras have been our favorite act from Brazil this year. We spoke to them about Brazil being the host nation for the Cup and Mariana thoughtfully responded, “The Cup is very important, especially being in Brazil, but we are also fighting for improvements in our country. If we can have a World Cup, we should also have schools, hospitals and a better living wage!” Check out their trap-rave anthem “Pensando Em Você”:

Croatia

Croatian sisters MayaVanya have been based in New Zealand, but are relocating back to Croatia this summer inspired by the burgeoning dance scene there. They show off their super sporty sides in “Run”:

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Our Favorite Musicians Talk World Cup #BecauseFutbol

by Alexis Stephens | 84 days ago
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The World Cup invokes some of the most passionate fandom of any global sporting event. This year’s tournament kicks off two days from now, on Thursday June 12, when Brazil faces off against Croatia at Arena Corinthians in São Paulo.

MTV Iggy will be launching a daily music digest on Thursday called “Battle Mundial,” which will serve as a music playlist for each day of the tournament. Obvious choices like soccer anthems will be included, but there will also be songs about finding inspiration in sports and nation, and just some straight-up pop gems from countries like Uruguay, Korea, Greece, Belgium, Colombia, and more.

The popularity of soccer anthems, nationalist chants, and international collaborations that pop up around the World Cup are proof of the inextricable link between music and soccer. In advance of our Battle Mundial series, we asked some of our favorite musicians from around the world to provide some context to explain the music-futbol link and what they are looking forward to in this World Cup.


Pearls Negras (Brazil)

Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Pearls Negras are one of the hottest groups to come out of Brazil this year, impressing us with their fierce rap-meets-trap brand of baile funk. Alice and Mariana from the group mentioned some of the social tensions brewing in the host nation and their hopes for the country and team’s future:

Alice: “It will be great to host the World cup here in Brazil, but they must not forget that we want good things for society — not only for the period of the event.”

Mariana: “It is very gratifying to know that the World Cup will be in our country. People here are already in preparation, painting streets and houses; there are flags of Brazil on every corner. The Cup is very important, especially being in Brazil, but we are also fighting for improvements in our country. If we can have a World Cup, we should also have schools, hospitals and a better living wage!”


D’Banj (Nigeria)

Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Nigerian pop star D’Banj is extremely passionate about soccer, just see his song “Top of the World.” In 2013, he played in the Friends Africa World AIDS Day “Superstars Play for Life” celebrity match as well as performed at the closing ceremony of the African Cup of Nations in 2013:

“I am a huge football fan and I see music and football as providing entertainment to millions of people around the world. When I perform at a concert or watch a football match you can feel and see the passion that it generates. This is because music and football are both played with the heart. I hope to go to Rio for the World Cup. It would be a dream.”


Polock (Spain)

Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Spanish dance rock band Polock, isn’t as convinced that there’s a direct link between music and soccer:

Singer/guitarist “Papu” Sebastián Barrachina: “I don’t find any relation between football and music. At least not a synergistic relation. I come from Argentina where rock fans in the ’90s used to behave as football fans. Antagonistic spirit, even in its purest ancient Grecian form, has nothing to do with music. On the other hand, we like football. From time to time we enjoy watching together a good football match. We carry a football on our van to have some fun during the stops on the road. For the World Cup we would like Spain to be a winner again, but we think that Brazil is the favorite this time.”


The GTW (United States)

Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Soccer is one of the most important inspirations to Chicago’s The GTW. Case in point, “Neymar Night” an ATL Bass track by the Chigerian musician is named after Brazilian superstar, because a “Neymar night” is one where a couple just “kicks it”.

“I wouldn’t be making music seriously if it wasn’t for the World Cup. I released my first GTW mixtape for the World Cup in 2010. I found out about a lot of music through playing video games related to soccer. The music resonated with me because it was from all across the world. I’m going to be supporting Nigeria, any African team, and Brazil. I’ve been a fan of Brazil for the past 15 years. It’s weird, because there are a lot of protests down there for economic reasons, but when the game gets turned on, they’ll all be in the game, cheering. I’m expecting them to win because they have talent. I think an African team advances past the quarterfinals, because no African team has done that.” 


Mi Casa (South Africa)

Photo Courtesy of the Artist

South African house band Mi Casa has become a go-to group for performing at soccer games in 2014, having performed at the opening ceremony of the Africa Nations Championship in January and a friendly match between South Africa and Brazil in March.

Portuguese singer J-Something: “Music and sport go so well together. If you are winning, what do you do? You sing the team’s song. If you want to cheer them on, you sing a song. The World Cup is such a festive event and music brings everything together! I am looking forward to see how Brazil, with its culture and arts, interprets the World Cup.”

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Artist of the Week: Vote for Your Favorite

by Alexis Stephens | 88 days ago
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We know you’ve been waiting all week with baited breath, but you have to wait no longer! The Artist of the Week poll is here! You have until 11am EST next Friday to cast your vote and choose the best of of this week’s featured artists. Choose from:

Good Throb

People say punk is dead but rest assured, Good Throb is the next generation of miscreants who’ve decided to bellow “CLEAR!” and pump power back into its mainline. Their appropriately titled album, Fuck Off is an utterly nasty hiss of discontent moored to wax. Angular guitar careens through pared down, feral drumming. The bass plods through it all, creating an insatiable vortex of gutted punk that will suck you in for a convulsive twenty-two minutes.

DID

The Turin-based trio first started as an experimental dance punk act, kicking out aggressively upbeat jams like their 2010 single, “Hello Hello.” But four years later, these Italian gents have swapped out their angsty kicks in favor of a slower, more sensuous stride. Released last fall (and again in 2014) through Foolica Records, their Bad Boys LP is sun-kissed all over, its brisk, tropical synth arrangements much more fitting for a summer soundtrack.

Neon Bunny

Trying to place Neon Bunny within the hierarchy of Korean music isn’t an easy task. She’s not K-pop, at least not the dominant brand type that has become South Korea’s biggest pop-culture export in recent years. Yet the music made by Yoojin Lim is far more polished and radio-ready than what one usually expects from an “indie” artist. Her latest  “It’s You” manages to be a fantastic pop statement that reinforces her uniqueness.

Slow Club

A thoroughly modern meditation on heartache inspired by all manner of Motown, Slow Club’s third album Complete Surrender proves that adding a bit of angst to the process isn’t always a bad thing. Charles Watson provides a quiet counterpoint to Rebecca Taylor’s from-the-gut emoting, his leads on stripped-down songs “Paraguay And Panama” and “Number One,” playing like a cried-out postscript.

Vic Mensa

Conceived during a session on mushrooms at a friends house, INNANETAPE is psychedelic, slacker hip-hop in which teen spirit smells like orange soda, weed, and pheromones. His quicksilver verses on “Lovely Day” and “Hollywood” show off his thoughtfulness and intellect. Just as he’s entered rap’s inner circle, he’s thrown out another curveball. His latest single, “Down on My Luck,” is…hip house.


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