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Start your week mad!

Happy Monday Hot-Sixer’s!! It’s been months, even years since I’ve been active on the blog but I’m so excited that Breakstone and I will have some new tricks, beats, and memorable posts for you in the next weeks.

First, how exciting is it that we have 2,300 Facebook fans!?  Thanks all for your support — would love to get to the magical 2,500 by the end of the week!

This sick video below has been trending through social media — a vid of pure madness — and I had to share it with you.   The limits of human zeal, wonder, and daring behavior is only limited to what you think can be accomplished.  Our madness keeps us moving forward — and these guys in the video are so mad  – base-jumping without gear, flipping off cliffs on motorbikes, surfing in unreal conditions — it’s beautiful!!

Madness Has No Limits

Whatever you plan to accomplish today, this year, or in your life, make sure you’re mad about it.  Always know that madness is what gets us to the next level and no one succeeded at anything by being mediocre or following the rules.   The rules are followed by those who want to obey them — not by those who do anything noteworthy.

So to accomplish all of your madness this weekend and beyond, it’s only fitting you have the right soundtrack.  We love the track that goes with the madness video, which is DJ Kestutis – Another Day.  Check out his SoundCloud page here.

 

DJ Kestutis – Another Day

DJ [Justin] Kestutis is from the Netherlands, and is an electro-house musician with a library of uplifting, fresh beats, all to drive you to your mad goals.

Happy Mad Monday!

Yasi June

 

 

 

 

 

Yasi June

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Doin' it RightI have to admit that since moving to Los Angeles sixteen months ago, my tastes have shifted a bit. No longer do I hear four-to-floor beats or festival tracks and get amped. The club bangers produced just aren’t interesting to me now. Far more interesting is the electro rock sounds that many bands are featuring with a combination of instrumentals and electronica. In this edition of The Hot Six, I present to you my favorite electro rock track, as well as some hot tracks infused with Middle Eastern beats. I’ve also included a dope bhangra/hip-hop mix. Of course, the bhangra/hip-hop mashups have been a part of popular culture since Jay-Z and Panjabi MC debuted “Beware of the Boys” in 2003. But, this thirty-minute mix that I’ve featured below is the best bhangra and hip-hop mashup mix that I’ve heard in a while.

Check out the full video playlist with individuals tracks below.

1. Doses & Mimosas – Cherub

2. Talk Dirty – Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz

3. Get Low – Dillon Francis & DJ Snake

4. The Man – Aloe Blacc

5. Doin’ it Right (Bird Peterson Remix) – Daft Punk

6. This is for My Jatts – Genie & Lil India

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photo 1It’s a Saturday and an eleven-year old boy wakes up in his native home, a jungle environment: dew on the leaves, snakes in the grass, and frogs in the pool. An almost idyllic life in central Africa. Mom and dad, two siblings, and him. What could be better?

Two days later, the country breaks out into war. It’s like a scene from a movie: one seat left on the plane; dad puts him on it; he departs; not to be with his whole family again for a decade. It’s a blessing and a curse. No more war, yet no more family. Is that a fair price to pay?

If you watch enough Inside the Actors Studio as I do, you realize that great art can come from great challenge. Meet Eric Zayne. A gifted musician in his mid-twenties who, in this humble writer’s opinion, may be the next great thing in music. The question is, do you know it?

American?

There’s actually very little “American” about Eric Zayne. A Montreal-born mixture of four nationalities who grew up in the Congo — yes, the Congo, or Zaire for all you historians, and who spent five years traveling Asia with various bands during his late teens, hardly fits the profile of a quintessential “American.” In fact, after returning from his Asian tours he settled back in Vancouver only to venture to Los Angeles a year ago to make his way as a recording artist. Yes, he’s spent a cumulative one year of his twenty-something years actually residing in…America.

Background

I met Eric at Molly Malone’s on Fairfax in Los Angeles. He invited me to his live show to write a review for this blog. I’ve received invitations like this before — to review songs, check out albums, and promote new music. Most of the time, I listen, think it’s shit, and instead of ravaging the music on my blog, thus creating a lifelong enemy, I politely decline.

But, when I received Eric’s invitation it was different. For one, he invited me to his show instead of sending me a link to his music. Then he asked me to review it, granted me an interview, and never interfered in the process as a promotional tool.

But, I did what I always do to be sure I’d be comfortable doing a review: I went online, checked out some of his sounds, and made the quick decision that I would not hate the music. So I went, and convinced some friends to come along with.

The Show

When we arrived, I didn’t know what to expect. Molly Malone’s is a chill bar that has two sides to it. The first is a standard Irish bar — long in dimension, not wide, with darts in the back. Back there, there’s a hallway that leads to another room closed off by a door (if I remember correctly). Passing through those doors, you are transported to a small-venue concert area. There are tables and chairs, but also a dance floor, elevated stage, and bar in the rear.

We parked ourselves up front near the stage so we could get a good feel for the place and music. The environment was loud, colors dark, vibe relaxed. This was not a place I typically find myself in, but was comfortable nonetheless, aided by some friends in tow, and eventually a friendly beverage or two.

The first band was good, nothing to write home about, but not terrible like some indie bands can be. We didn’t have to wait long for Eric Zayne and company to set up and begin.

When they did, I was immediately struck by the multiculturalism of the band: it looked liked it was assembled at the UN. I counted three African-American or mixed band members, one Latino or mixed member, and Eric who I came to discover is the very essence of mixed. You don’t see too many rock bands with this makeup. I’ll get to my use of the term “rock” to describe the group in just a bit.

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I wasn’t sure what the schtick would be. Were they going to cover songs, play originals, do a mix of both? I had no expectations.

The music kicked off and instantly the room’s energy kicked up with it – several notches. Eric’s energy was infectious. He was excitable, almost hyperkinetic, and in motion throughout each song.

Going back and forth between keyboards and guitar while leading the vocals, it was clear the musical talent was there.

Accompanying the singer was the band New Movement and its members including Danny Mills on keyboard, Mike Morgan on bass, Cesar Ramirez on guitar, and Kendall Lewis on drums.

Although all the band members seemed very precise and talented in their own right, my favorite band member was the drummer, Kendall Lewis. When I think of drummers, I think of Lars Ulrich of Metallica and his crotchety stance against Napster. Or Tommy Lee of Motley Crue wildly flailing his arms in that way hair-bands would ham-it-up in the 80s. Neither of them strike me as appearing genuinely happy when they play. Kendall Lewis, the drummer for Eric Zayne, was not only excellent, but looked like he was truly enjoying himself. It was refreshing to watch.

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Once the music started, the dance floor, which was previously empty, filled with fans and loyal friends showing their support with energy and enthusiasm. It was easy to tell that the music, although unfamiliar to my compatriots’ ears, was compelling. If I had no expectations, the people who I dragged along with me really had no expectations, and they were jamming out like the rest of the crowd.

The Music

Let’s talk about the music. I had a chance, in addition to seeing the live show, to listen to Eric’s latest album called, Between Us released on What if records. To be thorough, my binge-listening habits kicked in and I marathon-sessioned Between Us no less than a dozen times for this review.

The music is excellent. And I don’t mean excellent in a some generic let’s-get-this-over-with type of way. I mean it’s really excellent from an instrumental, vocal, lyrical, arrangement, and overall sound standpoint.

The sound is not categorizable. That is why the description of Eric Zayne and New Movement as a rock band seems tenuous. The music, from our interview, is largely influenced by some of Eric’s biggest musical models, principally Prince, but also Bootsy Collins, Parliament, and the funk sounds of the 70s. Any avid music listener will notice the additional resemblances to Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, and Bruno Mars to name a few. Is that to say the music is derivative? Not at all. It’s to say those are all massive acts who are doing huge albums and ticket sales. If I was in music management or the head of a label, the next great “one-of-those” would be near the top of my radar.

So Why Call Him the Next Great American Musician?

And this is perhaps the most important reason why I refer to Eric Zayne as the next great American musician. He is in every categorical respect non-American, both in lineage and location over the years. But, the music, the music is absolutely American-influenced and -sounding, if something can be said to be “American-sounding.” Does that make it country, hip hop, pop, rock, jazz, blues? What is an American sound? Or better yet, what is an American? A multicultural immigrant from a multitude of backgrounds? As a matter of fact, yes. We love those people. We take them, make them our own, then claim them as one of us. It’s the American way.

What America — and I am using this term purposely instead of the United States or USA — does best is import immigrants and export culture. This creates a cycle of immigrants wanting to come to our shores because of the culture — exemplified in movies or music, for instance — only to get integrated into our society with a mixture of their culture and our pre-existing one, which then melds into our society’s overall culture, which we then export out again and claim as our own. We are a machine at doing this all under the moniker of finding/chasing/pursuing the “American Dream.” We offer, better than any other country on the planet, the largest billboard for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And that gold attracts all colors to the rainbow. It’s perhaps America’s greatest asset: the ability to take in that which is foreign – influence, impact, and acculturate it – then spit it out as our own.

The point is that it is not easy for a musician to make it on the biggest stage, the American music scene. Ask the countless British acts that have tried to come over here only to fizzle. Ask the tons of DJs worldwide who don’t feel as validated as when the American market recognizes their work. Ask early 90s boy bands like Backstreet Boys why they couldn’t get traction in the U.S. but were massive overseas and in Canada. I don’t even want to get into The Beatles and their Ed Sullivan Show appearance. It was once they made it here that they really made it.

Eric Zayne is not from here. But his music and his story are primed to succeed here. Is there any doubt that a person known simply as “The Kid” in his adopted hometown of Montreal for his musical prowess is influenced by his world travels and international background? No. There is no doubt. But, when you listen to the music, you can relate, immediately. There is familiarity and even some comfort to it. The very international-ness of it compacted together over years spent all over the world, then presented in band format with rock, pop, disco, electronica, and blues undertones is the American stamp on it.

And here is my stamp to add: Eric Zayne may very well be the next great musician, singer, songwriter in America. If we were smart we would make it so. It is, once again, what we do best: take the best of what the world has to offer, lure it to our shores with hopes of the Dream, and then claim it once it gets here. With the right breaks and assists, I’m confident this is one artist who we’d be proud to call one of our own some day.

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My HOT SIX tracks from Between Us:

1) “Maneater” – A certifiable hit; should be on radio

2) “Supped Up Girl” – A perfect example of the Prince influences

3) “Hello Goodbye” – Fun song; banger at the live show

4) “So Strange” – Pop sounds with R&B and excellent guitar play

5) “Neptune” – You may think Timberlake and Timbaland produced this

6) “Digging You” – Rock with electronica; super funky

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I Could Be the OneFrom The Hot Six #29 Avicii and Nicky Romero’s “I Could Be The One.” I love this character, am rooting for her, and did not expect how it would all end. Would love to see EDM artists do more storytelling in their videos, such as this.

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Random Access MemoriesWhat’s funky, eclectic, retro and cool all over? The new Daft Punk album, thankfully(!) available on Spotify.

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Picture 2After a four month hiatus, Breakstone is back with his six hottest tracks of May 2013.

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Watch The Hot Six’s latest video blog! And subscribe to the Spotify playlists below!


Subscribe to The Hot Six Mix #7 to get the full length tracks from this month’s countdown as well as ten more tracks from The Hot Six flavor palate.

Subscribe to The Hot Six Master Mix to get all of your favorite Hot Six tracks from the past two years.

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While EDM is our bread and butter on the Hot Six, I’ve been adding more tracks from indie, electro and new wave sounds.  With that, I bring you Fashions — no, not Fashions, the 80s British new wave band but rather a Brooklyn based trio formed earlier this year, that sounds part Cut Copy, part M83, part Depeche Mode, but remains uniquely fresh and original.

I actually discovered them on Instagram, (@fashionstheband), and I’ve been mesmerized by their memorable vocals, and hook-rich synth sounds.  The three members are Matthew Maclaren, Jonathan Hudak, and Lepaux, and they released earlier this month their first EP called Young Heart that you can listen to and download here.

In just a few short months, over 30 radio stations are putting Fashions in their top 30 and they’ve made #91 in the CMJ Top 200.   They will definitely be a household name before you know it and I’m proud to bring you an exclusive interview for The Hot Six at the start of their long career:

The Hot Six: What are the six tracks you think everyone should be listening to right now. (Each track is hyperlinked.) 

Trust – Heaven

Twin Shadow – The One

Kate Boy – Northern Lights

Father John Misty – Nancy From Now On

Hot Chip – Night And Day (Rex The Triangle Remix)

Viceroy – Sunny Daze (Original Mix)

The Hot Six: Tell us where the name “Fashions” came about for the group name, how did you pick it?

Maclaren - I really wanted a name that would mean so many different things to so many people. To me, the name “Fashions” is easy to remember, it is always evolving and most importantly, it reminds me of David Bowie.

The Hot Six: Mathew, Lepaux, Jonathan — you three are from different parts of the country and the world. How did you all meet and what’s the story about how you formed your friendship? 

Maclaren - To make a long story short, Jon and I became best friends in college and decided to move to NYC in order to live our music/artistic dreams. We met Lepaux by simply putting an ad on Craigslist after all 8 other members quit the band.

Lepaux - I moved here from Brazil to start a band, but after a few months meeting really random people I was set to go solo. I’d just quit an internship at a recording studio and was looking for work when I found their ad. They seemed cool so I thought I’d give it one last chance. When we sat down, a few seconds in I knew I’d found the right guys.

The Hot Six:  Our readers are from all over the world, from Brazil to Qatar to Indonesia — tell us about the music/culture scene of Brooklyn, NY and what makes it unique. 

Maclaren - What I love about Brooklyn and it’s music scene is just how competitive it all seems. It’s very silly but it makes me want to work harder and immerse myself into all of the creative energy (good and bad) that Brooklyn has to offer. I talk to so many artists from so many different parts of the world, it really is inspiring.

Lepaux - Some of my favorite bands are from here, being able to see them perform all the time is good inspiraiton. Possibly the most unique aspect of Brooklyn bands is that a lot of times none of their members are from anywhere near here!

The Hot Six: Where is your favorite place to perform? 

Maclaren - We are currently putting together the best possible live act before we perform.

The Hot Six: If you could write music with any band/artist dead or alive, who would it be?

Maclaren - I would love to sit down and pick Dave Gahan’s (from Depeche Mode) brain. There is something in his brain that has helped him continue to be one of the most influential and dark music writers of our time.

LepauxDead would be Brazil’s greatest muscian, Tom Jobim, hands down. Alive, either Daft Punk or Empire of the Sun would be epic.

The Hot Six:  What’s next for Fashions? 

 

Maclaren -We are in the process of searching for perfect live members to complete our stage show.

Lepaux - We also just released the music video for Slip Away, check it out!

 

And with that, I present to you their first ever music video, Slip Away.

(Caution: not for the visually weak!) 

 

The Hot Six.

Yasi June

 

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Recently, my homie, Khaled, asked me if I was into the new Kendrick Lamar album, so when I was scoping the net for some videos, my eye was instantly drawn to this little documentary.

My favorite part of the video, is when Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar come out to “Hands on the Wheel” and the crowd goes crazy. Here it is from another angle:

Kendrick Lamar // Washington DC from BARCHIE on Vimeo.

In political news, did you hear Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) resigned? Native South Carolinian Stephen Colbert did. This is what he had to say about it:

For my actor friends, this is what I was watching up until late last night. Can you believe having a conversation with all of these guys in the same room? I love these roundtables.

It kind of reminds me of this:

That’s your WEEKEND: BOOM!

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Here is a link to the Florence and Machine Hot Six post, as promised in the video.

Speaking of having a torrid year, how about Jay Z? He had a baby, moved his basketball team – The Nets – to his hometown of Brookyln, AND christened the arena with EIGHT shows in a row. Here’s a documentary chronicling the opening of the Barclays Center with his concerts to open the arena.

Finally, my roommate loves “Live with Kelly and Michael,” and watches it religiously. Every now and then I’ll catch a quick snippet in the morning and come across a funny nugget of comedy. This one is just pure gold. It’s from the Brazilian prank show, “The Silvio Santos Show.” Check it out. It’s super effed up what they do, but also SUPER hilarious. I personally think the women at the 4:30 mark are the funniest.

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