kwabs_sound_witnessthis

kwabs_sound_witnessthis

Kwabs defines new age soul with his gut wrenching vocals and intricately constructed instrumentals. It’s amazing how Kwabs is able to feel so relevant and timeless bridging genres while staying true to quintessential R and B. Camberwell,UK based Kwabs is bigger than love ballads and finds his rightful seat amongst The Weeknd, and Banks of this day and age.

Listen below or head over to his soundcloud to hear more.

professor-possessor-sound_motion_witnessthis

professor-possessor-sound_motion_witnessthis

I don’t know what the fuck these guys are doing but it’s awesome. In their video for Cold Steps they are wearing great clothing and dancing all over suburbia like they don’t care. They are from LA and I don’t know anything about them but I am on the hunt to see them live and do a follow up feature where we do an interview so stay tuned. Check out more from their soundcloud here.

the-colourist_witness-this_sound

the-colourist_witness-this_sound

We haven’t posted many music videos as of lately, but this one caught my eye and ear. It’s more poppy than I usually post but I can’t hate what puts me in a good mood, and although light and fluffy, Adam Castilla and Maya Tuttle’s chorus’s had me smiling and humming, so fuck it, I’m in! The Colourist is Adam Castilla and Maya Tuttle of Paper Thin Walls along with friends Kollin Johannsen and Justin Wagner. They are our neighbors in Orange County and I am looking forward to hopefully catching them around LA soon. Listen to their first single We Won’t Go Home below, and make sure to snag their debut album when it releases here.

The Colourist Tour Dates:

March 19th – The High Watt – Nashville, TN

March 21st – U Street Music Hall – Washington, DC

March 22nd – North Star Bar – Philadelphia, PA

March 24th – Great Scott – Boston, MA

March 25th – Rough Trade – Brooklyn, NY

March 26th – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY

March 28th – The Met – Providence, RI

March 30th – Pike Room – Detroit, MI

March 31st – The Basement – Columbus, OH

April 2nd – Schubas – Chicago, IL

April 4th – 7th St. Entry – Minneapolis, MN

April 7th – Black Sheep – Colorado Springs, CO

April 8th – Marquis Theater – Denver, CO

April 9th – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT

April 11th – Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA

April 12th – Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR

April 14th – Harlow’s – Sacramento, CA

April 15th – Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA

darkside_sound_witnessthis

darkside_sound_witnessthis

Amazing set from our favorite musically savant duo. Darkside’s Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington set the bar high with this set recently released on Soundcloud. Not much more to say, enjoy as I know you will.

LukeVanVoorhis-WitnessThis_concentrate-and-ask-again_witness-this-mixtape

LukeVanVoorhis-WitnessThis_concentrate-and-ask-again_witness-this-mixtape

Words and mix by Lindsay Colip photo by Luke Vanvhoorhis

shake it up, shake it down
turn it over, flip around
from left hand, to right hand
in black water, bubbles land
said the pyramid prophet man
concentrate and ask again.

Nick-Harte_witnessthis

Nick-Harte_witnessthis

They Say: New Zealand’s Shocking Pinks, AKA Nick Harte, burst onto the scene in 2004 with the seminal dance pop record Dance the Dance Electric, which shared with the world Harte’s peculiar brand of uncomfortable dance punk intimacy. With dirty lo-fi production, sweet melodies, and unexpected aggression, Harte channels the demons of obsession and emptiness into darkly lyrical art.

We Say: A genre bridging album that breaks any confines of stereotypical low-fi. Tracks like What’s Up With That Girl channel a sort of melancholy Crystal Castles while creating it’s own minimal punk driven soundscape. St. Louis features Gemma Syme and will find it’s way into a film I make someday. It feels as though I’m walking lost through a deserted mall after an eerie break up.

Vice gave it an amazing review and when you hear the rest of the album you will too. Pick it up here. And get a preview of the album here and below.

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words by Dersu Rhodes photos by Dean Bradshaw

I saw Miami Horror as a bunch of Aussie’s that lived to get loose and specialized in fueling the best dance parties on earth. After meeting up with them in Silverlake, Los Angeles for an afternoon photo shoot, I quickly realized that there was much more to these guys then summer festivals, dream synth, and skinny jeans.

We are late for the shoot as it takes us 45 minutes longer than we had planned to get across the city. When we arrive, we see Josh Moriarty sitting on the porch. He’s smoking a cigarette and due to a big one out the night before, he seems thankful that we brought a few beers along. Miami Horror are as close to rock and roll as I’ve ever seen and ironically they don’t play rock and roll. They look like a new-age Led Zeppelin, and they are all living together in a massive house in Silverlake.

As we scramble to set up, I notice there are girls literally sleeping on the floors of their house. They saunter in and out of bedrooms and it’s hard to tell who they are, or where they are from. The house is huge, and beautiful. It’s a furniture mash up of the decades, and punctuated with records from every era; Heart, BeeGees, Yes, and Todd Rundgren. I like to think that the records on display in the house in some way have found themselves, perhaps subconsciously, into Miami Horror’s music. Even Donna Summers watches over the living room, framed in a poster, front and center on the mantle of the fireplace. There is a mint condition Wurlitzer organ in the corner of the room and as the sun creeps in through a pained glass window and dances across the keys, I can imagine Benjamin eyes closed, a harem of young girls surrounding him as he dreams up the newest Horror song.

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Benjamin Plant – Production, Synths, Bass

Benjamin Plant, the originator of Miami Horror, sits outside on the front porch with his laptop out on his lap, he’s watching the first cut of their newest music video for Real Slow. “What do you think?” I ask him, leaning up against the house next to him. Benjamin is a bit shy, he seems a skeptical of who we are and what we are doing in his house, and I find myself questioning if I’m imposing on their world. How many times have they had to hang out with journalists or photographers whom they don’t know or frankly probably don’t give a shit about, they’re rock stars after all, right? “I like it.” he says quietly, “It has a sort of 60′s or 80′ s vibe, with long takes that I’m really feeling.”
I respond, “cool” but feel far from it.

I realize quickly that I’m a bit intimidated by this crew. Is it because of their close to 5 million views of I Look to You on Youtube? Or because their massive hit album Illumination was the soundtrack to my summer for so many years, or perhaps it’s because they look like they are famous, with their tight fitted jeans, their ‘I don’t give a fuck’ hair, that I still can’t figure out how to replicate, or maybe it’s because of their accents and the way that everyone in the electronic world knows who they are, or because they look cooler smoking cigarettes than Dennis Hopper?

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Aaron, Ben, Daniel, and Josh at their home in Los Angeles.

Aaron, Ben, Josh, and Daniel sit in the living room of their shared home. Photographer Dean Bradshaw is set up across the room and snaps off shots of the guys. We all laugh as Aaron strikes a pose sitting awkwardly with is legs straddled out in front of him. Dean fires away and it seems the more that he allows them to interact with each other the more powerful the images become. I feel there is something nostalgic about this scene, it’s an image that feels very real. Coming off of three years of touring, and in the new year kicking off their Australian tour, this down time together at home seems to be a special time for the guys as well. They play in an local psychedelic rock band called Wunder Wunder, they are writing songs together as a collaboration in their attic, and Daniel is even attending meditation retreats. “I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time.” Daniel says, “I feel like we are more grounded and centered, more creative. We are more balanced than we were on tour and we are making music that we all love.”

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Daniel Whitechurch – Piano, Synth

miami horror_witness-this.com
Josh Moriarty – Guitars, Vocals

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Aaron Shanahan – Co- Production, Guitar, Synth, Vocals

We are all sitting on the porch and the sun is deep in the sky, beginning to set behind the hills of Silverlake. It’s the golden hour and the light could not be more beautiful. The cameras have been put away, and I’ve stopped worrying about how to gain credibility with the guys. In fact, I’ve stopped asking them questions and everything feels so different. The random girls sit with us and they aren’t so random anymore, they are just friends, or long time girlfriends, not just groupies from the night before as I had assumed. We talk about life before Miami Horror and getting outside into nature, how the sun of LA has influenced the new album they are working on, and how exciting it is to be an artist in this city at this moment. Nothing had actually changed except for my own perspective.

It’s a wondrous study in the human condition, the way that we tend to project our assumptions into a situation. The guys are cool yes, but they don’t consider themselves rock stars, they are as grounded as they come, and my intimidation wasn’t initiated by the band, instead it is my own idea of how well-known musicians should act. They don’t expect people to be able to list all of their songs or to prove how cool they are, it seems that they are more interested in authenticity and the music rather than impressing people or the scene. The more that I relax and allow myself to listen, the more the conversation comes alive and my appreciation grows for what Miami Horror represents.

It grows quiet for a moment as we glance off towards the last bit of light slipping behind the Los Angeles hills. It’s the calm before the storm. Josh leaves that night to go back to Australia, and the rest of the boys will only be in LA a few more weeks before they start their next tour back in Australia for the first time in years. The welcome home will be massive as will the release of their next album and something tells me that the next time we will see them we’ll be be surrounded by thousands of their fans.

Special thank you to Isabel Secas, Laura Mckellar, Benjamin Plant, Josh Moriarty, Daniel Whitechurch, Aaron Shanahan, and Sam Luna.

Luke-VanVoorhis-strike_anywhere_witnessthis

Luke-VanVoorhis-strike_anywhere_witnessthis

Inspiration is an imaginary coattail, an invisible road map, childlike wonder at the moon, a run through an open field, and the sun beaming down on closed eyelids. It slips in like a cool morning breeze and rushes out with the tide. It’s sand in your hand – all there, then slips away all at once. Fall freely into the crashing waves. Move with intention, be cautious, don’t be deterred by the possibility of a storm up ahead. Use the knowledge you have, the faith within. There’s action in naivity – there’s power in the unknown. Dive deeper into the calm, close your eyes, and embrace the darkness.

“The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think, the way they see themselves, the way they see the world — you can change the way people live their lives.”

– Chuck Palahniuk

Compilation – Nissa Rhodes
Design – Luke Van Van Voorhis & Dersu Rhodes

Torstrasse_dersu

Torstrasse | Witness This
Album artwork by Laura Mckeller

Inspired by my move to Berlin and the time I spent lost in the city. There is no other place on earth that can evoke such a powerful, lonely, wondrous, state of mind. I lived for part of the time on Torstrasse in Mitte, sleeping on the floor of a friends study. During that time, I fell in love with deep house as it became the soundtrack to my explorations throughout the city. This is my attempt at sharing a part of that story.

Follow me on soundcloud: soundcloud.com/dersurhodes

fm-attack_deja-vu_witnessthis

fm-attack_deja-vu_witnessthis

FM Attack creates soundtracks to another era, his albums speak to another time and place in such a manner that I find myself gazing off into the distance, imagining myself ripping off down the road next to Ryan Gosling in Drive, or throwing parties with Cruise in Risky Business. Shawn Ward is the man behind FM Attack, whom we’ve featured in our Genius section a few years back. With the release of the new album Deja Vu, I had a chance to sit down with Shawn while we listened to the album on a Fall evening in San Diego.

This album for Shawn seems to be an extension of the last, not only in style and sound, but in the way he collaborated with Kristine from Athens Greece. “I thought about singing on the track, but then after I sent it to Kristine, she sent be back the first version and it was perfect.”
The play between Shawn and Kristine throughout the album really feels like a lost-in-space love story, his vocals intertwine with hers on tracks like Runaway and add another layer to the song.

“What’s your goal, what are you aiming for?” I ask Shawn as we sit listening to the last track on the album Lost Angeles. “I think I have reached it in a way already.” Shawn thinks for a moment. “It’s not about blowing up and being massive for me. I’m so happy where I am and what I’m doing right now.”
He lives in Mazatlán Mexico, making music in his studio next to the ocean, he has a tight group of friends that all make music, and in play shows all over the area. He has a gorgeous local girl whom they have been together for years now. He tours when he wants to, and gets to make the music that has inspired him his whole life. To Shawn it seems that it is more about the experience and for lack of better terms, the path. He’s enjoying his steps, and Deja Vu is another step that he enjoyed all the way through. I sense a sort of peace in Shawn as he sits next to me at the table. “I feel lucky to be able to make money doing what I love, that’s what matters for me right now.”

Make sure you check out FM Attack’s newest LP Deja Vu here and purchase it here.

opium_thenewdivision_witnessthis

opium_thenewdivision_witnessthis

The first single from Shadows, Opium, one of our favorite albums from 2011, finally has a video to go along with the amazing track. The music video is directed by Keegan Wilcox, starring Avan Jogia and Zoey Deutch, and produced by Dersu Rhodes and Steven Bender. Filmed in Mammoth CA in 2 full days, the finished product tells a story of love and addiction. You can find the song here and make sure to check out more from the New Division and Keegan Wilcox.

bloodorange_witnessthis

bloodorange_witnessthis

Blood Orange is Devonté Hynes, a writer and producer hailing from New York City. His music is so damn eclectic that it’s near impossible to categorize it. Listening to it feels like you are trapped in the best 80′s movie soundtrack you’ve ever heard, while being serenaded by Motown Diva’s, and a Brooklyn hipster quartet.

Devonte does it all, and his accompaniment by collaborates such as Samantha Urbani from Friends, Florence Welch, and even Kendrick Lamar make him a chameleon of sound. Make sure to spend some time on his Soundcloud page and of course purchase all of his albums right here.

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