Last year’s Great Escape darlings Racing Glaciers quietly released one of our favorite debuts of 2013 with last spring’s eponymous EP and its triumphant lead track “South“, and today they kick the new year off right with an impassioned follow up in “New Country”. Amping up the thrill and cranking up the feeling, it’s a massive step in the right direction for the Manchester five piece. All mountainside rain-dancing keys and unswerving guitars, the track marches relentless forward towards an absolutely seismic middle eight and a skyscraping arena-ready guitar solo in the epic conclusion, as Racing Glaciers establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the months to come. Expect big things.
We’ve been singing the praises of ASTR since the hometown heroes first made their starburst debut on these very pages with “Operate” last spring, and it’s been nothing but net ever since, from subsequent singles “R U With Me” and “Razor” to their grand slam live show. So it’s with boundless excitement that we announce their six-shooter debut 10″ EP, Varsity, out on Neon Gold this month.
Black magic pop at its most vital, every drop of the EP is as precious as it is vicious, from the seaside frights of leadoff hitter “We Fall Down” through their grand finale cover of Drake’s year-defining smash “Hold On We’re Going Home”. Elsewhere, spotlight singles “Operate” and “R U With Me” still sound as devilishly sharp as ever, the latter standing out as a ride-or-die anthem-in-waiting on some Bonnie and Clyde shit for the next generation. All in all, Varsity is a space-age letterman headrush that just doesn’t quit, dripping with you can’t sit with us cool from start to finish. Available everywhere on fresh-to-death white 10″ vinyl January 21st, drop down and get your preorder on HERE. And don’t forget the EP launch party the week prior at our Popshop relaunch January 16th, going down at Westway FREE ENTRY with RSVP via our friends at DoNYC HERE. R U with us?
It’s been three years since we first launched our flagship club night Popshop in Manhattan. After getting started at Tammany Hall in 2011 and soaring to new heights at Santos Party House in 2012 and 2013, we’ve found the perfect home for the next chapter of Popshop NYC at The Westway. So it brings us great pleasure to announce that from now onwards, we’ll be taking over the live programming at the new and improved Westway space, as well as moving our flagship night there.
Cutting the ribbon at Popshop’s third birthday this month, we’ve got a double threat bill of New York heatseekers featuring next big things ASTR and Joywave, plus Brooklyn partystarters Chordashian on the decks and Philly’s fresh princes of Bel Heir getting things going early. Better yet, the night is doubling as the launch party for ASTR’s debut Varsity EP, out the following week on Neon Gold (more details HERE). It’s all going down January 16th, and as a thank you to the city that made these last three years possible, we’re doing this FREE ENTRY. That’s right, all you have to do is RSVP via our friends at DoNYC HERE for guestlist, but be sure to come out early as entry will be granted on a first come first serve basis and this is likely to hit capacity quickly. It’s the next frontier for Neon Gold Live, and this is your formal invitation. Thanks for three great years, New York, and here’s to many more.
As some of you may have noticed, these pages have fallen silent these past few weeks as we work out a few bugs in the system, and thus our usual year-end posts have been a bit delayed. But as we always say, better great than never, so without further delay please enjoy our recap of the essential singles of 2013 below. As per usual, the only requirements mandate that all songs had to have been released in 2013, and that they can’t have been released through Neon Gold, either as a single or part of a Neon Gold full-length release, thus sadly eliminating from contention the songs by St. Lucia and HAIM (among others) that populated so many of our peers’ lists. Streams and downloads (where permitted) available via Soundcloud and Spotify below, and you can enjoy the full list as a Spotify playlist HERE.
We’ve got cause for celebration today, as our very own Magic Man followed up last week’s show-stealing Popshop throwdown with their publishing signing to Dr. Luke’s Prescription Songs over the weekend, and today keep things going with the announcement of their LA headline debut on Popshop West in February. So we really can’t think of a better time to roll out this sunsetting update to “Paris” by MS MR’s NICITA, who maintains the quaint nostalgia of the original while stripping away the old world cabaret-style piano arrangement in favor of a more electronic, percussive approach. Through it all, Alex Caplow’s timeless vocals ache and croon over enlightened RATATAT synths, as things go full Midnight In Paris in the finale and everything comes showering down like a nouvelle vague fantasy. It’s another home run for everyone involved, so feel the magic below and get your tix for Magic Man’s LA debut February 21st at The Echo HERE.
Hailing from Germany, England and NYC, HAERTS are quickly making a name for themselves as a sort of United Nations of Pop, and their new collaboration with Felix Cartal finds them stepping further into the international spotlight in the name of World AIDS Day. As the twinkling backbeat opens your eyes to widescreen technicolor, Nini Fabi’s gold-tipped vocals soar and spiral over Cartal’s life-affirming house piano chords. It’s pretty much a match made in dance heaven and you can find it exclusively on the brand new Dance (RED) Save Lives compilation HERE. Plus don’t miss HAERTS next NYC headline next month, as their sold out Rough Trade show December 20th has been upgraded and moved to January 8th at Music Hall of Williamsburg due to popular demand. Additional tickets for that date are now on sale HERE, and we have a strong feeling the wait will definitely be worth it.
Meet LA wunderkind Peter Thomas. After cutting his teeth at the production helm of Betty Who‘s The Movement EP and rolling out remixes for the likes of Phoenix and The Knocks, he takes his first steps into the spotlight today with his own debut single, “All of You”. Reunited with none other than Ms. Who herself on the vocal, it picks up where the duo’s earlier collaborations left off, but with an even keener eye on the dancefloor as his synth-streaked production takes Betty’s hopelessly romantic vocal to new heights. It’s an impressive debut from a name you’ll no doubt be hearing a lot from in the years to come, get familiar below.
LA’s The Colourist have just about perfected the art of the uplifting sunny anthem ever since first hitting the scene with debut single proper “Little Games” last year. Now, their latest offering is a radioactive remix of fairweather single “Fix This” by none other than NYC golden boys, The Chainsmokers. Keeping their untouchable hot streak alive, they fix the original up with a new lease on life, pumping it full of primetime synth chords and volatile dance energy as they shoot neon flares out over the night sky. Chainsmokers make their DC debut alongside Ghost Beach and ASTR on All Things Gold next Thursday, prepare yourself for battle with this Colourist remix exclusive below.
GEMS are quickly establishing themselves as the first truly great band to emerge from DC in as long as we can remember, and their sterling EP title track “Medusa” is already one of our songs of the year. Today the District duo release the original uncut version of the track ahead of their Glasslands headline tomorrow night, expanding the original into a six-minute stunner. The crown jewel in GEMS’ oeuvre, “Medusa” is a shadowboxing soul-crusher that ducks and jabs in all the right places – always ethereal, always the stuff of dreams – and the uncut version just gives you more to love. We’re sure your Thursday night’s already spoken for by Popshop tomorrow, but if not, GEMS’ Glasslands show is just about the only acceptable excuse in town.
Xaphoon Jones has been our go-to renaissance kid since first bursting onto the scene with Chiddy Bang way back when, but he’s got his sights set on new horizons as he gets ready to retire the XJ name at the end of this year. But good news for you and me and everyone we know, Xaph’s saved some of his best for last as he takes Grouplove‘s chartstorming summer single “Ways To Go” and compacts the alt radio anthem into a getting-weird-in-the-club slow-burner, from the chopshopped vocals to the double dub percussion. It’s the perfect bittersweet symphony for the closing of one chapter and the opening of another, as the Xaphoon Jones funeral looms large on the horizon as he gets set to play his last XJ show ever with Baauer and Swizzy Mack in Philly on New Year’s Eve. RIP Xaph, and here’s to new beginnings.