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Interview: Abbey Watkins for Morning Warrior

Tobacco & Leather's Abbey Watkins is an London-based illustrator and print designer with a penchant for skulls, women and a bit of warping. When Los Angeles clothing company Morning Warrior asked Abbey to work on a few summer tank tops for them, she conjured up the energetic warrior spirit of the brand and brought her earth-inspired designs to a whole new world. Here we talk to the 25-year-old beauty to get a glimpse inside her life, workspace and a sneak peek at the look book for the collection.
Interview by Ally Mullen

Introduce yourself!
I'm Abbey Watkins of Tobacco & Leather. I'm 25, living in London and working as an illustrator and print designer.

Where did you go to school?
I went to Manchester Metroplitan Universirty and studied textile design for fashion. I chose Manchester because it's a vibrant city, but it's not too overwhelming. At the time I struggled a lot with my confidence so this played a big part in my decision. 

I always wanted to study fashion in London, but this was the best I could do with the tools and finances I had. It worked out well in the end as I ended up with the best tutor, Alex Russell, and I got a career out of it which I'm very grateful for. I'm from a very small town in the middle of nowhere so university was my way out and my first experience of a real city.

How did you get involved with Morning Warrior and when and how did this collaboration come together?
I was already aware of Morning Warrior when they got in touch about working together; it was obvious we shared some interests and creative visions so we got together and created these three designs.

Tell us about the influences behind your art! 
There are many, many influences but it's really hard to name them! I'm influenced by mythology and ancient gods, strange creatures—especially the mixture of animal and human. I'm interested in things like the occult and witchcraft, shamanism, and hallucingenic visions. I have this deep-rooted love for tribes and people that live closely to the earth, treating nature like a language that can be interpreted and returned. I guess all of that mixed with some '60s pychedelia and old metal album covers is somehwere near my vision. I've still got a lot of work to do to bring it all together though.

What was the driving inspiration behind your collaboration?
There was a loose brief for the collaboration, but with themes like "Mystical", "Animal" and "Bad Girl Biker", Morning Warrior and I were already pretty much on the same page, so it flowed nicely.

How would you describe your style of art to someone who hasn't seen it yet?
I still can't find an answer that satisfies, but the basis of my work is set in pencil realism, with subjects of naked women, skulls, animals, mythic elements and hints of surrealism.

What is your favorite medium to use when creating your illustrations?
Pencil. It's the only one that comforts. If there's color, it's done digitally.

Of the shirts you designed, which is your personal favorite?

I haven't seen them in the flesh yet! But my favorite is the grey Eagles Tank Top. That was my favorite one because I remember learning from it. You are always learning every time you draw but sometimes you can feel it, and I enjoyed that time.

What are your favorite things to draw?
Naked women, skulls, anything where I can play with its form and mold it into something else. That's my new favorite thing to do!

Are you going to wear your own designs?
I never wear my own designs. I hope nobody takes that personally! I just feel weird wearing something that I drew. Like it's somehow saying, "Look what I did!” And that makes me uncomfortable.

What was the… 
Last song or album you listened to: "Desert Ceremony" by Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats 
Last movie you watched: Iron Monkey
Last purchase you made: A black, leather, bondage thigh-harness from Etsy that clips onto your belt loops and wraps around your thigh.
Best part about doing this collaboration: That I got to draw and create and was given artistic freedom. Morning Warrior were an absolute pleasure to work for. It's not always that way with commissions.

Look Book Information: 
Photography by Emman Montalvan
Hair and Makeup by Brittany Sullivan
Model: Courtney Money at PhotoGenics L.A.
Styling by Julie Swinford & Renee Garcia
Clothing by Morning Warrior: Twitter | Instagram

Music Monday: April 7, 2014

No more Monday morning excuses! Stop staring at the clock and start your work week out right with five hand-picked songs from our music stylist, Corbin, who wants to fill your brainwaves with summer-ready sounds and auditory illusions.

Chrome Sparks - Goddess
This is a spiraling, dizzying new one from Chrome Sparks. It encompasses the ambiguity of the seasons right now here in Philadelphia. Is it spring? Because I can't tell. Anyway, "Goddess" is a tune. Good for late night drives. If this one is for you, check out this and this

Strand of Oaks - Goshen '97
This one should be set up slightly. There's this wave that seems very strong at the moment of Springsteen-esque feel-good tunes. This is one of them. (Also worthy of calling out for this feeling is The War On Drugs new record.)

Tala - The Dutchess
This is killer. Fans of Jai Paul and Hemsworth will like this one a lot. Make sure to also check out Ben Khan. AIRHORN SOUND EFFECT, Y'ALL.

Lone - 2 Is 8
You know what? 2 IS 8. Lone, you always are the guy. 

Mirror Kisses - Genius
Nice '80s pop vibe from Mirror Kisses. Really wonderful full sound and nice Ian Curtis vocals. The track remind me a lot of Var (War, Iceage).

Music Monday: March 31, 2014

No more Monday morning excuses! Stop staring at the clock and start your work week out right with five hand-picked songs from our music stylist, Corbin, who wants to fill your brainwaves with summer-ready sounds and auditory illusions.

WOODS - With Light And With Love
What a wonderful nine minutes here from WOODS. This is the title track from the forthcoming LP due out April 15. This tune has an updated '70s blues thing happening: It's chill but still makes you want to move. These tracks are nice if you want to focus on one thing for a minute or two, for instance, the bass, all the little accents and stuff coming together for the bigger sound. This is super cool and totally summer ready.

Colours - You Can't See Me
The Australian born, London-based band Colours has a sick industrial shoegaze happening here. Some parts are so jarring while others all smoothed out and glimmering. This track reminds me of a more trip-hoppy track that saw MM ages ago, here. "You Can't See Me" is full of ups and downs and is also, totally, completely waiting for the summer. 

Francis Inferno Orchestra - G.A.B.O.S
This third track is so smooth and nice. This has the vibe of The Field, but with more of a broken four on the floor, which is becoming The Thing—mainly because of people like John Talabot, Ryan Hemsworth, and Jacques Greene.  It's kind of like an optical illusion, but an "auditory" illusion. Regardless this is super cool. 

Yumi Zouma - It Feels Good To Be Around You (ft. Air France)
I don't know where to begin here... So Air France is a staple in Swedish Balaeric pop. Check out the explanation behind this cover. Man this is interesting. And listen to the original here

Fennesz - Static Kings
This track has a delicate half in/half out sound. It's soothing, but still not there totally, which is nice. It sounds like if they did bring in a full sound with drums and all the classic elements, the internet would explode. Very nice Monday tune, since it's super gloomy in Philadelphia. 

Local Made: Cold Picnic

Cold Picnic is partners Phoebe Sung and Peter Buer, who craft bags, art, textiles and more in their Brooklyn studio. Carrying on the tradition of storytelling through symbols, Phoebe and Peter make each piece by hand, seeking out objects from the past.

As part of Williamsburg's Space Ninety 8 Market Space, Cold Picnic has created custom wall hangings, macramé plant hangers and leather goods for our Local Made pop-up. Get the scoop on Phoebe and Peter's cool, nostalgic vibe and colorful creative process. Read the full feature here.

Music Monday: March 24, 2014

Even though it may snow tomorrow [insert Charlie Brown "AUUUUUGH" here], we're still in full-blown spring mode over here. And just because winter is knockin' on our door again doesn't mean we're going to pack up our sunny weather vibes. This week, we've got a fresh batch of new tunes to keep everyone groovin' well into April. Corbin

Cyril Hahn - Getting There
Oh, y'know, just a killer dance floor-filler from Cyril Hahn. If Cyril Hahn is a new name for you, check out this and this

Ben Khan - Youth
Ben Khan, veteran Music Monday super producer, has another one for us. This one really utilizes a classic break sample and a wider vocal. What a great, great track. It's kind of insane. It has that '80s romantic aura.

Ten Walls - Walking With Elephants
New track from Ten Walls. If you're unfamiliar with Ten Walls, they have the enigmatic Gotham as well as the minimal but solid Requiem. They're all very epic and drawn out, in a good way. The backing string section in this one draws me in.

Pattern Is Movement - Climb To Me
This track has that new-wave college vibe to it. It's reminiscent of the late '90s college jam sound, but updated with new sounds and arrangements. Pattern Is Movement have an extensive tour planned that you can check out on their Soundcloud page. 

Timber Timbre - Curtains!?
This makes me think of Nick Cave. Anyone remember the scene in Scream when they are showing the town with a curfew and they play Nick Cave?

UO DIY: Spring It On

Wish List: Spring Equinox

The first day of spring (which is today if you’re in the Northern hemisphere) is kind of like nature’s version of New Year’s Day. The trees are finally starting to blossom. The days are getting longer. The nights are getting warmer. It’s also the time of year that most people feel compelled to spring clean and start fresh, which is quite fitting considering the Vernal Equinox (as it’s formally called) represents new beginnings. It’s been celebrated as such since ancient times when our ancestors threw huge revelries to bless the freshly planted seeds for the coming year’s harvest. It’s also the end of the astrological year as Pisces moves into Aries, so in essence, nature and the cosmos are perfectly set-up to help you let go of the old and make space for the new. With that in mind, we created a simple ritual to make the most of this magical season.Madeline Giles

You Will Need
Two crystals
Journal and pen

1. Light candle, take a deep breath and relax. You might want to put on a playlist of songs that make you feel inspired. (I recommend Pure Bathing Culture for ultimate relaxation grooves.)

2. At the top of your journal page write a statement of positive intention. (I like: “I ask for this or something better for the highest good of all concerned.”) Then, begin writing what you would like to manifest. If you feel inspired to write in a list format, begin each sentence with: “I am easily finding myself _______.”

3. When you feel complete, reread the list – and do your best to imagine yourself engaging in these activities. If you feel like you can’t possibly imagine it, then go for a walk and come back to the ritual. It’s important to be in a peaceful and imaginative state when writing your intentions.

4. Imagine all your desires being soaked up into the two crystals in front of you. Know that you don’t have to “do” anything to make this happen. Simply setting the intention will allow it to happen.

5. Find a spot outside where you can safely dig a tiny hole. Bury one of the crystals in the ground. This is symbolic of surrendering your desires to the Earth, while metaphorically “planting” them.

6. Place the other crystal and your list of intentions next to your bed. Reread it at night before you go to sleep and every morning when you wake up. You can refine the list with new intentions as you wish.

Let's Bike Austin: Our Guide to the Best Stops in Town

In our new feature On The Road: Let's Bike Austin, we took a trip to one of our favorite southern cities, where we put together a cycle gang of creative locals and toured downtown, hopping off at their go-to pitstops along the way. 

We documented the trip: Jotting down directions and taking notes to create an official Austin Bike Map, perfectly curated by our fellow cyclists. So follow their route and see the sights — the Austinite way!

1. El Chilito:  2219 Manor Drive // Tel. 512.382.3797
First stop: El Chilito's Tacos and Café. Start your day here with the best breakfast tacos in town. There are vegan options and an organic coffee bar, where you can start the day with a fresh cup of joe served hot or on ice. If you're not on wheels, we suggest trying out their delicious frozen mimosas and sangrias to cool off from the hot morning sun (please don't drink and ride). 
UO TIP: Don't worry if you wake up too late: Breakfast is served all day!

2. Iglesia La Luz Del Mundo: 1120 East 3rd Street // 512.472.1851
After breakfast, head south and make sure to stop by Iglesia La Luz Del Mundo. In English, its name translates to "The Light of the World." While seemingly small, the church has an international following of around five million with 3,500 established places of worship around the world, making this short pitstop a true hidden gem!
UO TIP: Our favorite part about this little church is its unique architectural style. At night, the Light of the World sign is lit up!

3. Farewell Books: 913 East Cesar Chavez // 512.473.2665
This progressive bookshop sells cool new (and used) books, zines, tees and more with topics ranging from architecture, counter culture, fashion, film, photography and beyond. They also have an art gallery featuring a variety of openings year-round, most recently displaying the works of Massachusetts-based artist Emma Kohlmann.
UO TIP: Need a boost of energy? Stop by Flat Track Coffee in the back!

4. Fast Folks Cyclery: 1105 East 6th // 512.524.8260
Flat tire? Wonky rim? Rusty chain? Take a break at Fast Folks Cyclery, an independent full-service bike shop, for all your riding needs. This shop is animal friendly—we've spotted puppies, piglets, and cats (#samsoncat)—and if you're lucky, you might get to wear the Fairdale Box on your head. P.S. Is it just us or does working here look like the coolest place ever?
UO TIP: Safety first! The shop motto may be "Live Fast or Die Trying" but if you don't have a helmet, here's the perfect place to pick one up.

5. Franklin BBQ: 900 East 11th // 512.653.1187
Briskets and ribs and sausage, OH MY! Franklin BBQ is our #1 pick for your lunchtime pitstop! The two-hour line is well worth the wait—just keep your eyes closed in the meantime to keep from drooling all over yourself.
UO TIP: They open at 11AM and close when they sell out, so don't wait too long to get there!

6. Alamo Drafthouse Ritz: 320 East 6th Street // 512.861.7020
Catch an afternoon matinee at Austin’s best movie theatre. With daily themes (like Terror Tuesdays, Weird Wednesdays and Quote-Alongs) you'll be able to catch a ton of really fun films at a super low price.
UO TIP: Don't forget to check out the Calendar!

7. The White Horse: 500 Comal Street // 512.553.6756
Pop-in here for tacos and two-stepping! There's live music seven days a week, a giant dance floor, pool tables and… get ready for it… WHISKEY ON TAP! We don't blame you if your trip stops here—it's a great place to stay all night.
UO TIP: Make a quick trip to the bathroom to pat the sweat off your face because The White Horse has a photo booth! 

8. South Congress: South Congress Avenue // 512.474.5171
Hop off your bike for a bit to walk this hip strip, checking out the local stores, restaurants and venues. First Thursdays are the best time to see this Avenue at its best. It's an all-ages party with stores open late, special sales, and free drinks (or drink specials) for those who are 21+. There's something here for everyone!
UO TIP:  Head here at sunset for beautiful skyline views.

9. Prototype Vintage Design: 1700 1/2 South Congress Avenue (entrance on Milton Street) // 512. 447.7686
Plain on the outside, insane on the inside! Prototype is the go-to vintage store for Austin’s stylish set. Every blogger, vintage shopper and clothing lover has walked through these doors, scoring one-of-a-kind pieces with a southern twang. Even their website is freakin' perfect! Check it out for news, look books, and to get the scoop on the adorable trio who owns the store.
UO TIP: Bring some extra cash. It's impossible, I repeat, impossible, to leave the store without buying something.

10. Uncommon Objects: 1512 South Congress Avenue // 512.442.4000
Don’t miss this store full of wild antiques. They have everything and anything your brain can dream up. It's the ultimate store for home décor, rare knickknacks and gifts for your friends. Even Yoko Ono makes sure to stop here when she visits Austin!
UO TIP: Don't be afraid to dig around the store and take your time—this place is full of hidden treasures that are not noticeable at first glance.

11. The Mohawk: 912 Red River Street // 512.666.0877
Catch a show at Austin’s best music venue. Some of biggest acts have preformed at this outside venue that has been renovated out of recycled materials. With a main floor and a balcony view, you can see your favorite artist up-close and personal.
UO TIP: Go all out and get ready to have the best night of your life—just be prepared for crowd-surfers!

12. East Side King @ Hole in the Wall:  2538 Guadalupe // 512.363.5365
Fuel up at Top Chef winner Paul Qui's ramen trailer around the side of the Hole in the Wall. Hole in the Wall's venue has a full bar and a local's-only feel to it, but the friendly folks inside will make you feel right at home. 
UO TIP: This spot is right across the street from the University of Texas at Austin's beautiful campus and only a few blocks away from our UT Urban Outfitters store! If you've been biking all day, this is the perfect time to stop in for a change of clothes before your final stop…

13. Ego's: 510 South Congress Avenue // 512.474.7091
All roads end here: A Dive-y karaoke bar with a huge songbook. Once a pretty low-key place, Ego's has made a name for itself in Austin as the go-to karaoke spot in town. It gets super packed on the weekends so if you can, try a weeknight for a smaller crowd!
UO TIP: Get there early and have your song list ready to go. This will guarantee you get a spot on the list... or maybe even two.

Music Monday: March 17, 2014

SXSW may be done, but that doesn't mean we are! To fill the void of the around-the-clock sounds of Austin (and the bajillion tacos that were consumed during the past two weeks), we cooked up a fresh batch of songs to kick off the official start of festival season AND the first week of spring. Yes, it's the beginning of another long work week, but by typical Monday standards, this is one that's totally worth celebrating! Corbin

Tirzah - No Romance
Greco-Roman, you've done it again, with a killer chill new track from Tirzah, taken from the forthcoming No Romance EP out April 21. 

Oliver Wilde - Play & be Saved
Another fantastic track from Oliver Wilde! While Music Monday has heard another Oliver Wilde track some time ago, this one is a bit harder and less Radio Dept. I'm looking foward to this album: The stinging guitars with the soft pillowy vocals sound really, really good. 

DJ DJ Booth - C U L8r
Activia Frenz Vol. 1 comes out March 17 and so far all of the previews of this compilation are great. This selection is bouncy, along the lines of Cashmere Cat and Arnold—and with a great artist name to boot.

Jacques Greene - No Excuse
Jacques, the now veteran broken beat dance producer, doesn't need to make any excuses for his music. This song is off his forthcoming EP on LuckyMe Records, which we're big fans of over here. This is one label we're staying "Faithful" to.

Sky Ferreira - You're Not The One (Cid Rim Remix)
Here's Cid Rim's take on Sky's big hit of last year "You're Not The One." If you dig it, we recommend you follow it up with "Draw," another one of our favorite remixes by the artist.

Music Monday: March 10, 2014

Here are five of our favorite tracks for this week, bringing us from Monday all the way to Friday! If these don't get you dancing, then check your pulse because you might be dead. Corbin

Phoenix - SOS In Bel Air (Ariel Pink's Krystal Bamboo Remix)

The always surprising and low-key Ariel Pink puts his spin on a Phoenix track. This track is really chill and has that cool '50s vibe that Ariel Pink is known for. Good way to start off the week. 

T. Williams & Shadow Child - Want You To
This is one of those "finger-gun" songs. Both of these dudes are veterans, and thanks to these two, some of the best UK bass/house tracks in recent years have been produced. Check out T Williams - Three Letters, and Shadow Child - 23. You've been warned. You may want to save this until Friday at like 4:30pm.

Holiday Sidewinder - Carousel
Solid pop track. All around good sound and everything is executed properly. 

Wild Beasts - Wanderlust (The Field Remix)
This is The Field remixing Wild Beasts. This one speaks for itself. As a bonus, here is a track that was a remix of The Field by Sonn. The Field creates an almost mechanical sound that is amazingly therapeutic. 

Lil Spook - Without U (Prod. Greaf)
Take a spin on this one and see what's good. This one is along the same lines as Yung Lean for me.

Music Monday: March 3, 2014

Today feels like the perfect Monday to reference this soundbite from SNL, because "Mondays! Boy, I hate Mondays! They make me-eee so steamed" is exactly what I am feeling on this snow-filled nightmare of a day. But since that clip is only 20 seconds long, here are five other real tunes to keep you from thinking about the fact that it is March and winter is the worst. Corbin

Rodrigo Amarante - Hourglass

Whoa, this is a good one. This has a '90s thing happening and it's just all over the place goodness. Rodrigo Amarante's recent LP Cavalo is definitely something you'll want to check out. 

Boy In A Movie - Change You
Soft and subtly moving deep-groove track here. The vocals are well-placed. Plus, Boy In A Movie is definitely along the lines of Tycho and Odesza, two of our favorites over here. 

Movement - Like Lust
Movement made noise with their last single "Us" a few months ago. This new single proves they're going to be around for some time. 

aamourocean - Yuntekkem
TUNE. This one doesn't need much explanation. Wowzers.

Vindata - Bad Dreams
Nice trap Rnb song here. This one's got that classic bed spring sound every once in a while, but we love this track for all its NRG.

Music Monday: February 24, 2014

If you only listen to one song this morning, make sure you make it "The Invisible Woman" by Woody and Pip. I'm seriously obsessed with this song. It made my Monday so much better, and when it picks up at the end, it will have you seriously dancing in your seat. Corbin

Black Atlass - Burning Man

"Burning Man" was played at the Ray Ban Boiler Room by Jacques Greene last year at Pitchfork, and now we have the fully produced track. Black Atlass recently released his Young Bloods EP, and with help from XXX, "Burning Man" became a definite stand-out track. Check out the rest of the tunes here.

Woody and Pip - The Invisible Woman
This was a perfect way to start my Monday, to be honest. Stumbling upon a track/artist like this is the bomb. Check this one out and head over to their Soundcloud to check out their other track that incorporates Spanish singing. It's a big one. 

Factory Floor - How You Say (Daniel Avery Remix)
Daniel Avery has provided us with a precise, deep remix. It slugs along, with wonderful ins and outs to keep us guessing. This is a chiller, but it's also a banger. 

Krane - Too Cute
Trap/Rnb loveliness from Krane here. Apparently this track didn't make it onto his EP, which we're looking forward to. 

Your Friend - Tame One
Shoegaze is here to stay.

Music Monday: February 17, 2014

Boy, have we got some jams for you this morning! You're going to have a bit of trouble sitting still at your desk, so just let it happen: Bop your head, tap your feet and air guitar the first half-hour of the day away! Corbin

Todd Osborn - 5thep

Just give this a listen and try to stay in your seat. If you're not in a seat, get nuts. TUNE.

Odesza - Sun Models feat. Madelyn Grant
Odesza, the chill-wave meets driven-trap bounce artist, has a killer new tune here. What makes this stand out even more than his already killer Summer's Gone LP is the vocal integration. Hopefully this new tune is an indicator that more is on the horizon. 

Gardens & Villa - Bullet Train
Here's a nice and poppy indie RnB tune from Secretly Canadian. This is the kind of track that really makes you look into the full-length. Luckily their Dunes LP is consistent with this goodness.

Todd Terje - Delorean Dynamite
As usual, Todd Terje has churned out a super rad nu-disco/funk gem. This thing rolls on and on in the best way possible. If you haven't yet checked out his Essential Mix from last year, now's your chance. It's like this but two hours long.

Kappa Kavi - Yami - No - Kami
This one is for the Hemsworth and Cashmere fans. This track is a good example of the glowy, stuttering, pitched vocal thing that's happening in music lately. The end really makes you want a drop, and the whole thing is on point.

Music Monday: February 10, 2014

Our Music Monday post is totally special this week, because we've got an exclusive track to premiere from White Rainbow titled "Be the Dancer, Be the Dreamer." After grooving to that one, make sure to check out our other favorites from this week, too. Corbin

White Rainbow - Be the Dancer, Be the Dreamer

Here's our exclusive premiere! White Rainbow has released countless albums, and his upcoming album THRU. U is full of killer trap-influenced and washed out RnB/indie sounds. This track "Be the Dancer, Be the Dreamer" is a wonderful seven minutes of bounce and layers. There isn't a dull moment between the vocal loop and dreaming swirling synths. You can purchase THRU. U on Bandcamp digitally and on vinyl.

Jamie XX & Four Tet - Seesaw
Reading the title of this should be a clear indication of the quality level of this collab. "Seesaw" is a deep, bumpy movement, tied together with gorgeous Burial-esque vocals. This is an unreleased rip, and we're really looking forward to the official release in March. Let this one take you away. 

Windy & Carl - I Walked Alone
This slowed down dreamer is reminiscent of the glo-fi tracks from 2012. And it also reminds me of Nico. There's a lot of Nico vibes in here. Somber but still uplifting.

Giraffage - Nikki She Needs My Love (The Dream)
Giraffage decided to remix the entire Love Hate album by The Dream. This one is full of club-ready bangers, and it's a good summary of the remix album. At a time when Rnb Trap is under slight fire because of its massive presence in underground and Top 40 alike, this is a nice reminder of why it is where it is.

Yumi Zouma - The Brae
Here's a wonderful indie chiller to stay warm this Monday morning.


Music Monday: February 3, 2014

We're welcoming in the month of February with five new tracks. Check 'em out below. Corbin

Beat Culture - Shibuya (feat. KID A)

Beat Culture had the pretty amazing "Orange" last year, and this new one from Beat Culture comes with the wonderful vocals of KID A. From the start, the vocals make you think Bjork, but with a 2014 update. This is a late night chiller for sure.

Cam'ron & A-Trak - Humphrey 
This is pretty self-explanatory. Party Supplies, the tag-team behind the production of this banger, is really killing it these days. (Both of Action Bronson's Blue Chips have amazing production.) This has a lot of straight rips and flips that we've all heard come from our parents' old school living room speaker system.

Cash + David - Funn
This song is perfect for this snowy morning. (Hey, East Coast) This track starts off as a super chill, slow jam, right until you hit around the minute point and things get their legs. Great example of where this kind of music can go. Kind of Memoryhouse-ish, no?

Emma Shaheen - Saving Grace
The first ten seconds of this sound exactly like the beginning of Bjork's "Unravel." This is another vocal chiller. Check it out.

R L M D L - Bilingual 
Radio Dept, anyone? This is like a more electronically driven Radio Dept, pretty much all the way. But it's great. Really, really great.

Music Monday: January 27, 2014

This week we've got some new tunes from Ghost Culture, Lorca, Tone Ra and more. Check them out below! Corbin

Ghost Culture - Guidecca (Edit)

This track makes me go "whoaaaa." It's really hard to know where to start with this one, but it's definitely gonna be in your head for a hot minute. It reminds me of Disintegration (the track, not the album).

Lorca - Naoko
Really on point house track here. It's one of those tracks where patience matters. It's heavy but bouncy and creates a sort of trance. These new deep house tracks are chill, technical, and remind me of everything Dusky does. (And sort of similarly, Lxury.)

Braxton/Palmer - I Did Something Wrong
This track is monster. Generally we try not to group up two tracks with hardly any vocals, but this seemed to flow well. Again, this is the kind of chill and technical deep house mentioned earlier with Naoko. This track really shines at the end. It's insane.

Tone Ra - Say Something
Here's Tone Ra doing a wonderful flip of Christina Aguilera vocals that I've never heard before. The vocal line sounds a lot like FKA Twigs - Water Me. This is a slow one, but pretty and pleasant. 

Surf Club - Until Then
I'm getting a rad, "'80s indie pop" vibe from "Until Then." Vocals are in a great spot, and the whole thing is upbeat and very present. It kind of makes you think of the new Washed Out record. Or even Sun Airway.

Music Monday: January 6, 2014

Did everyone already give up on their New Year's resolutions? Us too. Exercise is hard. But don't worry, we'll never give up on Music Mondays. Here's five new tunes for you! To either work out to or, you know, not. Corbin

Breezy Lovejoy - P.Y.P (Mr. Carmack Edit)

Mr. Carmack, a veteran dream trap producer, has put his own spin on P.Y.P. This track is super danceable, and has a full spectrum of greatness and surprises. This is the kind of track that makes you wish Soundcloud had a repeat button. 

School - SoLong
'80s innocence is at the heart of this killer track. This is the debut track from School, and I'm really looking forward to more of this. It's like John Maus and Molly Nilsson made a track together. There's a great bass sound, and a great vocal presence. 

Lone - Dream Ache
Here's a new super sultry chiller from none other than Lone. There's not a whole lot to say about this track other than it's Lone. Definitely worth a listen.

Favela - Easy Yoke
This is a great RnB tune from Favela, and it's a perfect tune for some post-holidays relaxing time. It gives the listener a nice vulnerable feeling.

Mise - Eclipses; eyelashes
This tune has a shoegaze vibe to it, but also holds a '90s grittiness. Halfway through, you may be tricked into thinking you're listening to a Nico track. This is a really good one.

Music Monday: December 30, 2013

Our last Music Monday of the year, just in time for New Year's Eve. Hope everyone has enjoyed our Music Monday reboot this year, and we'll see you in 2014! Corbin

Disclosure - F For You (Rejeeected Remix)

Hemsworth has done it again. This remix was originally dropped at this past Pitchfork Festival, and if you haven't checked out the RyanPack V1, you should. It's a good collection of Ryan's remixes and flips.

The Smiths - This Charming Man (Skream's Heart Wrenching Ballads Remix)
Ever since Skream linked up to form Magnetic Man and dropped the track Flying Into Tokyo, it's been a mystery as to when we would get to hear more of this side of Skream. This track provides some insight into that mystery. They took a classic song and did something very interesting with it.

The Boy & Sister Alma - It's You
This track has a nice epic feel to it. It's reminiscent of Cock and Swan, a past Music Monday track. This track is bigger sonically than Cock and Swan, and finishes nicely  with strings and moving vocal wisps. It's a pretty killer tune. 

Flecs - Portmanteau
At first glance this track may seem like a run of the mill deep house/tech house tune, but give it a few listens and the depth of what's happening starts to set in. The breakdown at the end is on point. 

Oscar Key Sung - All I Could Do
UK Garage-y vibe, a nice RnB vocal hook, and overall good energy in this one. Looking forward to hearing more from Oscar.

Music Monday: December 23, 2013

Holiday week already stressing you out? Here are some tunes to help chill you out.
Casino Gold - All I Need

"All I Need" is a track from the Casino Gold All I Need EP, released today! This is a super killer house tune/floor filler. It has a feel-good vibe to it, and all the right elements of a high energy dance tune. It is the first track on the new Magician Magic Tape 38, and what better way to start out a mixtape? Casino Gold is a duo from LA, and the B side to this EP is just as killer. For more dance goodies, check out their Facebook.

Tip Toes - So Much
From the looming, looping string sample, to the fluffy backing beat, and well-placed vocals, this track is great. Tip Toes is Sam Nobles, one half of the duo Mean Lady. Mean Lady recently put out a full-length on Fat Possum. "So Much" is off of the Nieces EP, released December 3rd. This track is perfect if you like the chill wave vibes of Washed Out. Great tune, Sam.

AraabMUZIK - BlackOut
Veteran MPC handler AraabMUZIK just released two goodies that will be on his forthcoming LP. The trap wonderfulness coming out of Araab these days is insane. Heavy instrumentals, with the signature "You are now listening to AraabMUZIK." Everything about the beats he's been doing has been a bouncy joy. 

Clams Casino - Youforia (Mac Miller Instrumental)
A third installment of the Clams Casino Instrumental tapes was released last week. Need I say more?

Last Lynx - Lacuna
Wonderful Scandinavian indie-pop track from Last Lynx. This track is light and has an amazing hook. Look forward to more coming from Last Lynx in January.

Music Monday: December 16, 2013

Sure, it's Tuesday, but we did our Best Of Music Mondays yesterday, so we decided to save this Music Monday for a very special, day late Tuesday treat. Enjoy! —Corbin

Burial - Hiders

Come Down To Us.

headaches - Snacks
This is a chill house tune from Landon Speers. It has a warm vibe, perfect for the freezing cold. This song is light and repetitive - great to get lost in for a few minutes. 

Nate Connelly - You Echo
Nate Connelly has the sultry post-RnB thing going on in a real way. This track is slow and soulful, and you get pulled through it by Nate's well-placed vocals. Nate has released a bunch of different stuff recently, all on his Soundcloud page.

Northern American - Wander
This track has a college feel to it, and the percussion break in the middle is pretty awesome. This is reminiscent of early Bloc Party, and, of course, Vampire Weekend. (Vampire Weekend owns the term "college indie rock.")

Round - Glass
This track has been haunting me since the John Talabot DJ-Kicks hit a few weeks ago. It may be the best track on there, but there's no information on it whatsoever. Maybe it's Burial? Maybe it's Jai Paul? Maybe it's Yeezus? We'll have to wait and see.

Best Albums of 2013: Steve Gunn

Coming in at number ten on our list of the Best Albums of 2013 is Steve Gunn's album Time Off. Gunn is a critically acclaimed New York-based guitarist and songwriter whose work as both a solo artist and a member of his current band has gained him major recognition in the music sceneThat reputation helped him score a spot on tour with Kurt Vile as an "auxiliary Violator" in May of 2013, giving Steve the ultimate bragging rights of being the only artist in our top ten to have toured in two bands on our list! Impressive, right? Not to mention a LOT of work. So take a breather, get to know our number ten artist and get Gunn's tips on how to chill out on your own time off.
Interview by Ally Mullen

Hi Steve! Could you tell us about your upbringing?

I was born in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. I had a really great group of friends there who have gone on to some considerable accomplishments. We're proud of our little borough. Joan Jett is from our town. My friend Anthony Campuzano, a talented and accomplished artist, made the work that appears on the back cover of my album. Anthony’s dad is now the mayor of Lansdowne.

After finishing high school I ventured into Philadelphia, went to Temple University, and worked at a video store. I moved to NYC a year after finishing college and have been here ever since. I've held various jobs in the fine art business over the years, and I now sneak guitars on airplanes and try not to eat fast food. 

Let's talk about your album cover for Time Off. Where are all of those photos from? Are they your own?
I took most of the photos on the cover. My friend and bandmate, Justin Tripp, also took a few of them. I went to Justin’s studio with a box of photos, trying to figure out what to do for the cover. I tried to pick photos that had some relevance to the themes of the songs. Most of the photos are from my travels over the years and from around NYC. We threw the photos on a table, arranged them quickly, and took a photo of the pile. There is one picture of a small boy holding a puppy—that's me. I still really like dogs, and most animals.

If forced to choose, what's your favorite song on the album?
It varies, but right now my favorite song to play is "Water Wheel." I've been trying to play the songs differently, and I completely changed this song and it's now more comfortable and not as boring for me to play. I've played these songs a ton over the past six months, so I've been taking different risks with them. This one has always been the most difficult song to play, so I guess it makes it less tedious.

What's your favorite record of 2013?
One stand out record for me this year was made by my friend Jimmy Seitang, under the moniker, Stygian Stride. I've seen Jimmy play in various rock bands over the years, and this record took me by pleasant surprise. His composed synthesizer pieces harken back to a time when this kind of music was constructed with more care and wasn't made with merely a laptop. He's got all the old equipment, and he artfully recorded a fine album that could hold up to any German synth LP made in the '70s. A great listen for a dinner party—your friends will think you are cool if you play this. It's not easy to make a record that sounds like this

What is your favorite memory from the past year?
Taking the subway to Ed Sullivan Theater and playing on Late Show With David Letterman with Kurt Vile was pretty great. Playing shows in Russia was also a highlight.

When you have some quality time for yourself, what do you like to do?
Catch up on rest, catch up on vegetables, exercise, and put on some different clothes.

Can you give us five tips on how to make the best of your time off?
1. [Hold off on] texting, checking posts, and e-mailing—they can usually wait! (At least a little.)
2. Hold a real book in your hands and read it.
3. Go to a library, get some interesting cookbooks, and have a dinner party with your friends.
4. Drink wine and listen to Fado (maybe at the dinner party?).
5. Take a mindless stroll.

Buy Time Off here on iTunes!