Fear No Music

HW 1Without the tense, dissonant music supporting our most cherished nightmares, we’d hear only the entirely un-frightening stomp of blood-soaked boot heels, the tickling scrape of fingernails on the coffin lid, or the sing-song chirp of a final warning screech. For certain, horror without its musical accompaniment would be as mirthful and merry as any skip through a midnight cemetery overrun by a murder of rabid crows.

But add some music – discordant violin stabs, bludgeoning timpani thunder strokes, creeping bass synthesizers, or the solemn knell of funeral bells – and you turn a cheerful image like an empty noose swinging in an abandoned corn field beneath a sickle moon into something truly chilling. Read More →

Artists on Pandora: Introducing AMP

Heat map for AMP blogWhen I was about 28, a band I was in drove 1,098 miles from San Francisco to Telluride, Colorado to play a club gig. It was our first trip to the state and we were excited to be on the road. We arrived just a few hours before soundcheck, and we spent that time putting flyers on telephone polls and walking around town spreading the word, passing out printed invitations. About 15 people showed up for the gig. Read More →

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts

Sweater Beats

Sweater Beats is a Brooklyn-based producer who makes music for the bedroom. Combining sampled R&B vocals with Trap and boogie beats, he creates futuristic slow jams for the next generation. Seducing his studio to create remixes and originals both on Kastle’s label Symbols and Bondax’ label Just Us; listen for the forthcoming release Cloud City on HW&W.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 9.28.11 AMOtis Brown III

Otis Brown III is best known in jazz circles as one of the two drummers with Joe Lovano’s Us Five – and for backing up its original bassist Esperanza Spalding in her solo career. Brown has also just released his debut album The Very Thought Of You via Blue Note Records. He is joined by an impressive roll call of artists like pianist Robert Glasper, saxophonist John Ellis and singers Bilal, Gretchen Parlato and Nikki Ross on tracks like “You’re Still The One,” a gospel reinvention of the Shania Twain hit single. Read More →

You Thumbed, Bush Answered

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bushLast month we shared the launch of our Thumb Moments campaign with our first artist, Lindsey Stirling. Within moments of thumbing up a Lindsey Stirling song, a few listeners were surprised with a totally live, one-on-one concert via video chat by Lindsey herself.

As promised, we are back with more and this time, Bush joined in on the fun, surprising listeners across the US (seriously – callers spanned Hawaii to Florida) with a series of intimate, one-on-one mini concerts. Callers literally became a part of the experience – their images created the backdrop while Bush performed an exclusive acoustic version of their new single “The Only Way Out.”

As you might imagine, these fans were pretty excited.  See for yourself:

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Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts 

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 9.56.39 AMSoShy

SoShy began her rise to fame in 2009 with the international hit “Morning After Dark” which she co-wrote and sang with Timbaland and Nelly Furtado. She performed the song live across the world, including the American Music Awards and Late Night With Conan O’Brien. Her debut album Crack The Code drops this fall along with its single “Whaeva Man,” which she describes as ‘Street Pop.’

Kid Kamillion

Known for remixing Diplo and A-Trak, Kid Kamillion has also collaborated with Kid Sister, Mannie Fresh, Boys Noize and Spank Rock. This young fella’s been busy! Born in New Orleans, Kid Kamillion’s experience with southern hip-hop, New Orleans bounce and electronic music clearly influences his style. His new single “Pump This Party” overflows with trap beats, quirky samples and a very danceable vibe. Read More →

Inside Song: The Enduring Appeal Of A Sad Song

Some years ago, I went through a low period as a long-term relationship came to an end. I was living in a tiny apartment in Paris, a city where I knew only one other person. I was broke, of course. It was winter, and my music–the whole reason I’d moved to Paris–was going nowhere. I subsisted on espresso and Gauloises cigarettes, long walks around the freezing, empty city, and Radiohead’s Kid A and OK Computer. Cliché, I’m aware, but forgive me. I was young.

photoMy point, however, is that rather than seeking out some positive, inspiring music that could have helped shake me out of my gloom, I gravitated toward the saddest sounds I could fill my head with. And I know I’m not alone in this behavior.

There’s something about sad songs that holds a strong appeal for us as listeners. The pining vocals, the grand weeping sweep of strings, the dark shadow of the minor key and shattered glass spill of acoustic piano, they scratch some itch deep inside that the bounce and whirl of a chipper ditty can’t reach. Read More →

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts 

Robin Schulz

More often, it seems like deep house is part of the pop vernacular – there’s a common producer behind many of today’s hits: Robin Schulz. Widely known for his remix of Mr. Probz’ “Waves,” Robin’s debut album Prayer finds him remixing “A Sky Full Of Stars” by Coldplay and “Prayer In C” by Lilly Wood & The Prick. Upon first listen one is struck by a unified sound with emotional pop vocals, catchy riffs and plenty of reverb tying it all together. It’s stylistically similar to the Saint-Germain-Des-Pres Café compilations, but with a lot less jazz. If you’re digging on Clean Bandit, Duke Dumont, or Kiesza; you’ll find a lot to like in Prayer.

Elle King

Combining rock, soul, folk, jazz and country; RCA Records artist Elle King is preparing to release her much anticipated debut album featuring the single “Ex’s & Oh’s.” This track has been compared to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” but with a naughtier edge. This “banjo slinging baby” is also the daughter of actor and comedian Rob Schneider (Saturday Night Live, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo).

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 9.22.29 AMOwl John

Owl John is the solo project of Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchinson who recently released an album of the same name produced by band mate Andy Monaghan and Olympic Swimmers’ Simon Liddell. He has so far garnered accolades from Mojo and Under The Radar for his experimentation with atmospheric, electronic and bluesy influences as heard in the album’s opener “Hate Music.”  Read More →