My Neighbor, the Pop Star

Photographed by Malcolm Lombardi

I first met jxsh on June 8th, 2018, online. Well, a lot of people first met jxsh online. The definition of met may change depending on who you ask, but in this day and age I would say it is appropriate to say we met before we could shake hands in real life.  I followed him on Instagram after seeing he was planning on going to Drexel University, the same as I was in the fall. I remember seeing an ad he posted for wanting videos of people across the internet “doing anything that isn’t talking.” So, I sent a clip of myself skating up a quarter pipe and he replied with “oH SICK” (if you have ever texted Josh you would find he is a fan of random capitalization.) A few weeks later, jxsh sent me the link to his new music video for “POMEROY,” an internet-inceptious montage of the people he has befriended through his DIY music.

I wondered if I would ever meet jxsh, from Cleveland OH, in real life or if he was even still planning on going to Drexel with his rising popularity. We didn’t talk for the rest of the summer, but I kept up with his music, blaring it as I drove down the Jersey rt. 22 highway. As September approached, perhaps the latest school to start was Drexel and I found myself moving my childhood bedroom into North Hall on Race street in West Philly. After getting situated, our RA called for a floor meeting. As the freshmen living on the East side of the fourth floor shuffled into the common room, I noticed a pair of yellow Golf Le Fleurs under cuffed dickies and a dark green Golf bee print collared shirt from my criss-crossed position on the floor. Then, I looked up to see jxsh’s signature grown out bleach blonde hair. This boy I followed over the summer, child of the internet, Loverboy, lived 2 doors down from me. What are the chances?

I ended up becoming good friends with all of his roommates who I would occasionally cook with, watch movies with and do stick-and-pokes with in our cinder block living room. That’s when I came to know him as “Josh,”  and now, after a bold but slight name change, you will all know him as “Josh Maison.” Although he is an incredibly friendly guy, I would usually find him in his room with headphones on, hunched over his computer. I didn’t need to ask what he was doing, just his stance showed the determination and avidity he was putting into making his own music. While I would be hanging out with his roommates in his living room, I would occasionally pop my head into his bedroom to just talk for a few minutes and I always found the same thing: his headphones on, laptop out, microphone positioned and working– always working on music. I decided to follow the process of his new single to figure out how a young DIY artist in 2018 does it.

Getting updates from Josh was always something different. He would either say “nah this is trash” and completely remake the project he was working on, or eagerly lead me to his desk and play me demo after demo. That is the respectable thing about Josh- he is humble. He needs to like his own music to release it, something that is so rare amongst the ever growing population of sell-outs in the music industry. However, after a few months of following his process, there was one night where we sat in his room and listened to demos he and his two best friends Dom and Riley, professionally known as Ghost Boy Sora and Riley the Musician, were making together. It was interesting that all of these unreleased skeletons of songs already had names. I questioned Josh as to why and he revealed to me that the title is the beginning of the song… before lyrics and production. The listener can feel this in the tracks, as the music these three make together engage the mind visually. Listening to the dynamic production style paired with Josh’s experimental lyrics and vocal sounds creates a song that transforms the room the listener is in into a complete sanctuary of experiential music. With most of his songs having four layers of vocals, the concentration and dedication to the making of a song is truly art created by three young visionaries.

Walk the Talk by RILEY THE MUSICIAN, Ghost Boy Sora, and Josh Maison

https://open.spotify.com/album/4wJEJ9UM8AQuBM0WHk4PRC

Josh’s latest song, U&I, paves a path going through the gates of heaven, as Josh requested this to be the plot of the production, saying “when we made U and I, I sent Riley some stuff me and Dom made and I said I wanted to make something heavenly electronic. My heaven, my happiness.”

The production plays with bright metallics, soft vocals and abrasive contrasts. U&I has a progressive sound about it, like something good is about to happen. It sounds like you’re going into heaven. His heaven and happiness is something that only seems to be attainable through the trio that is Josh, Riley and Dom.

I got to speak with Riley The Musician about his process as well. We face timed, closing the distance between Kansas City and Philadelphia, another reminder of how important modern technology is to DIY artists in this millennium. After creating “Walk the Talk” with Josh and Dom, Riley explained to me that he and Josh just clicked. They now make music together non stop, going through dozens of demos together Riley produces before creating a song. Along with this process, Riley was open about how if Josh believes the production of a song could be better, he tells him, something important in the trusting process between two creators. Riley ended the interview by telling me, “Josh just has good ideas,” something simple yet incredibly accurate.

Josh against the Philadelphia Skyline, photographed by Malcolm Lombardi

Spending my time with Josh Maison made me feel as though I was viewing something bigger than everything around me; like something inevitably large is going to happen and the thrill is not knowing when, but hopefully soon. Everyone around him believes he will blow up and are humbled by the possibility of their friend becoming a real, breathing pop star. Interviewing him in his small room showed me how anyone with a determination and a deep love for anything could make something beautiful.

All speculative fame aside, at the end of the day, I know Josh Maison as Josh from room 408, a kid who loves heaven, striped shirts and making good music. But throughout his rising popularity, he is still humble enough to sit down in a tiny dorm room with his friends, suck down boxed passion fruit juice and say, with a smile, “Guava is my shit, dude,” as the demo of a future hit plays softly in the background.

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From The Frontlines of General Admission

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The White Bronco Tour rode its way to an overwhelmingly warm welcome at Franklin Music Hall in Philadelphia last Saturday. Action Bronson: rap artist, chef, painter, tv personality and author who released the album White Bronco last November, brought along his long-time friend and fellow rapper Meyhem Lauren, and the legend Roc Marciano for a tundra-flurry of raps. At the merch booth, there were Blue Chips 7000 tapes available along with t-shirts, hoodies and physicals of White Bronco, along with limited edition prints of Bronson’s paintings selling for $100. The show’s audience grew slowly as the show went on, behind each puff of smoke arrived more people until Action took the stage and the venue was packed floor to ceiling.

Meyhem Lauren, co-host of Action Bronson’s Viceland show Fuck, that’s delicious opened with a heavy 30-minute set, performing largely songs from the 2017 DJ Muggs collaborative album: Gems from The Equinox. Although in moments the crowd became lost during some of Muggs’s rawer production, they were brought back into form as Meyhem splintered off into some beat-free verses, flexing his rap muscles. He also debuted a song off of a brand-new Alchemist collaboration entitled Still Playing Celo. His performance was remnant of an opener but exceeded all barriers of talent that accompany that term.

What’s poppin’ pidgeon
Feed ’em with dollar bills
But never give ’em wisdom
Being exhausted keeps the bezel frosted
Lost it. My mind that is, Braun Aromatic couldn’t have a grind like this

-Meyhem Lauren

Shortly after Mayhem left the stage, Roc Marciano strolled to the forefront, Hennessey bottle in hand and his team behind him. He sipped his bottle before blessing the crowd with a sturdy, head-on-my-shoulders continuum of bars. He spat verses from a plethora of albums, more notably Rosebudd’s Revenge, RR2: The Bitter Dose and his own DJ Muggs collaborative album KAOS. Almost the same way that Marciano is able to switch his flow from rugged to flush, he handed off his Hennessey for a Fiji bottle in-between songs. Roc’s fans were in the crowd strong, some of which leaving immediately after his performance, solidifying his role as a co-headliner on this tour. For those who know Roc Marciano, seeing him perform is a wild sight, yet his comfort onstage was undeniable and his demeanor was true to his word.

like a bum eatin’ out the dump, I’m the illest out the bunch. The butterfly was a caterpillar once. Son, if it’s love, then why bring it up like a grudge?
…blood drunk but, nah, I ain’t spiked the punch”
                      -Roc Marciano

Once Roc Marciano had eaten his proverbial fill, Action Bronson “The Human Highlight Reel” took to the stage slowly, with a fist raised high and a stern look that emphasized his role as the main attraction. His entrance to the stage brought with it an applause that matched the volume of the amps I was fortunate enough to be next to. Shortly into his set it was clear Action had blown out his vocal chords slightly, and was experiencing the occasional voice crack on his higher notes. Either due to luck or his abilities, he was still able to produce an awe-inspiring performance, at one point being resourceful enough to do a cover of Biz Markie’s classic raspy voiced single Just a Friend. He continued effortlessly through the new album, tracks like Irishman Freestyle and Prince Charming were only elevated by Bronson’s live delivery and aerobatic ambience. Midway through his set, in memorial to the late Mac Miller, Action took a moment to perform the song Red Dot Music off of Miller’s Watching Movies with the Sound Off, which played out as a somber yet empowering service to his past collaborator and friend. For those who are in the know, the one and only Big Body Bes made a short appearance during Action’s set only to receive an encore in which he returned the stage yelling, “GOD BLESS, WHO ELSE? PHILLY WE OUT HERE!”.  Action finished his set with an encore as well, performing a brand-new song with a lackadaisical flow and guitar strum layered production, it seemed like a well-fitted bonus track off of White Bronco. Action Bronson’s larger than life personality was humbled during his performance and he made sure to show love to the fans that had been with him for the long haul.

The White Bronco Tour is coming to a city near you and I suggest you get those tickets before they’re gone. No lack of substance, no Auto-Tone or background vocals, real hip-hop shared between the artist and the individual.

“Understand I’m only rhyming for this son of mine
And so my daughter can be a lawyer and reap the spoils
We ate the tuna, it’s suede puma, my look is Jay Buhner
Dawgie cause some of us just age sooner
I’m still twisted, rocking lizards from a strange river
Forbidden jungle in the joint paper, point shaver
Check the bio, I fixed the game between Kentucky and Miami of Ohio
I been wild” 
-Action Bronson

Movement Detroit 2019 is right around the corner!

Yet again!!! Another fascinating year to set forward on an underground electronic music pilgrimage!

For all you techno, electro, house, disco, minimal, tech house, deep house fiends this years line up is just as amazing as the years previous. A majority of the lineup includes a bunch of new talent as well as kings and queens of the industry returning for another year for this celebration. We at WKDU are really excited to see Volvox, Chris Liebing, Seth Troxler, UMFANG, Virgil Abloh, Stacy Pullen, Tale Of Us, Richie Hawtin, Octave One, Nastia, Josh Wink, Golf Clap, Floorplan, DJ Bone,Amelie Lens, and the list goes on!

The full lineup and ticketing information is available now: Movement 2019 Tickets and Lineup!

Make sure to book plans for accommodations, travel and after-party tickets right now while prices are still low.

Continue reading “Movement Detroit 2019 is right around the corner!”

Mom Jeans, Just Friends, Awakebutstillinbed

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Mom Jeans lead vocal and guitar, Eric Butler

Words by Brooklyn Fellner                                                                            Photos by Kayla Aughenbaugh

Union Transfer was particularly spooky this Halloween as they welcomed Mom Jeans, Just Friends, Retirement Party, and Awakebutstillinbed to their stage. With a large following, Mom Jeans announced on Instagram that they wanted everyone to dress up for their show. So, the Union Transfer was jam-packed with bloodied bodies, fairy princesses, and Dragon Ball Z characters that transformed the floor from pop-punk kids into a sea of disguised music lovers. The high ceilings and old architecture was the perfect setting for the holiday, as fog machines began to pump the floor with eerie faux smoke. Arriving in time for Awakebutstillinbed, I was greeted by the lead singer, Shannon Taylor in the lobby of the building next to a row of merch tables. She frantically gave me a press pass labeled “Nerd,” which I suppose was a joke made up by the box office at the UT. Shannon was then on stage setting up with her band two minutes later.

The band opened with a song about Philly, as Shannon disclosed she had lived here for some time. Paying homage to the city, Shannon credits her development as a DIY artist to the punk and emo culture that Philadelphia has to offer. A fast paced guitar mixed with a downcast melody and a hoarse, female voice radiated emo vibrations throughout the venue. Taylor’s voice resonated through UT, echoing with every scream she belted into the microphone. She moved all over the stage between verses, headbanging with her bandmates and slamming on her guitar in unison with the bassist. When it came to their third song, “fathers,” a more upbeat song with punk influences, the audience as well as the band were in sync with each other and it became clear to me that Awakebutstillinbed had a huge following in Philadelphia.

As the set went on, the music became more depressing in a thoughtful way, not a “this-is-so-sad-I-want-to-cry” type of way, but as a heartfelt connection to the feelings Shannon had. The last song played was particularly filled with emotion, and the band truly portrayed that as they played. The dark, soulful song ended with Shannon throwing her guitar under her arm, across her back and finishing with her chilling lyrics alone in the microphone. After the short set, Taylor escorted myself and Kayla backstage for an interview. There were several backstage rooms equipped with a large couch where Shannon plopped down on and began eating chicken wings. Her drummer and father accompanied us as we did the interview…. (interview at end of article).

Continue reading “Mom Jeans, Just Friends, Awakebutstillinbed”

The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2018 (in Alphabetical Order)

From hazy break-beats, to pumping acid techno, to hands-in-the-air Detroit diva house, 2018 was another great year for dance music. So many upstart labels shined and delivered great releases, countless new names floated to the top of lineups, and some of our favorite artists continued to bring the goods.

jlo champ

Bearing in mind that year-end lists tire everyone out and usually suck, here are forty tracks that heavily sound-tracked my radio show, club gigs, car stereo, and beyond — presented in alphabetical order because any ranking would be completely arbitrary.

Tune into WKDU one last time in 2018 for the ‘Resolutions Show’ from 8:30 – 10:30 pm, where we’ll read your resolutions on air, play some of the tracks below, and prepare you for a brand new year!

🎉  HAPPY NEW YEAR  🎉

The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2018 (in alphabetical order)

Artist Track Label
Waajeed After You Left DIRT TECH RECK
Hugo Massien Alien Shapes E-BEAMZ
Videopath And So Do Eye Peach Discs
Sa’D Ali Asylum (Louie Vega Deep In The Underground) Nulu Electronic
Steffi Between Form & Matter Air Texture
Pangaea Bonesucka Hessle Audio
Sami Bright Blue feat. ZSY 1432 R
Dj Steaw Celestial Vibrations Rutillance Recordings
Leo Pol Dark Outside Bass Culture
J. Albert Deep State Riddim Trilogy Tapes
Marquis Hawkes, Ursula Rucker Don’t U (Dubbed Out Vocal) Aus Music
Roza Terenzi Electronique Oscillate Tracks
Almaty Gennaro (Endian Remix) naïve
Moodymann Got Me Coming Back Rite Now Mahogani Music
Lady Blacktronica How I Learned Meda Fury
Omar S featuring Simon Black I’ll Do It Again FXHE
Baltra IWUNNAF33L CD-R
Scott Richmond and John Selway Keep On Climbing Firehouse NYC
Teakup Lose My Mind is / was
Heckadecimal Murder Tape Great Circles
Brother Nebula Parting Infinity Legwork
DJ Koze Pick Up Pampa
Hoshina Anniversary Pimp Jack Dept.
Batu Rebuilt XL Recordings
BMG & Derek Plaslaiko Rendezvous (NWB Mix) Interdimensional Transmissions
DJ Dre Respect These Things Take Time
Galcher Lustwerk Rules Meant to Be Broken Lustwerk Music
Djrum Sex R&S Records
D. Tiffany Sip & Savour Planet Euphorique
AceMo Speedn N Smokin Vanity Press
Will Dimaggio Steppin W Friends Future Times
Universal Cave Take Your Time (Universal Cave’s 909 Rubdown) Universal Cave
Omar S & Brian Kage Thru The Madness Michigander
Antemeridian Tuesday AM The Bunker NY
Alex Falk Upp International Black
The Horn Villager (Luca Lozano Remix) Klasse Wrecks
Scott Grooves We Move…We Have To Natural Midi
Marie Davidson Work It Ninja Tune
Shawn Rudiman Works On Paper Pittsburgh Tracks
Cassy X Pete Moss You Gotta Know (Ron Trent Remix) Kwench

Thank you to all the labels, artists, PRs, etc for the great music!!! See you next year — SPREAD LOVE ❤ ❤ ❤

Catch the Hot Mix on Tuesday nights at 10 pm for a preview of The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2019 ; )

Hollerboard goes IRL for a ‘Redux’

From basement dancefloors in Philly’s Ukrainian social club, to parties around the world, to the New York Times review section — the infamous Hollerboard helped birth one of the most fertile periods in dance music and partying in recent memory.
RJD2 Diplo Cosmo SXSW 2006.jpg
RJD2, Diplo, & Cosmo Baker at SXSW 2006 (All photos courtesy of Cosmo Baker)
“Kinda crazy to think about how a community that existed in real life ended up becoming an online community, centered around like minded people, like minded DJs, and friends IRL. We really were just playing around and trying to do things a little differently, and I guess that impacted the world.” – Cosmo Baker
Founded by Wesley “Diplo” Pentz and his Hollertronix partner Mike “Lowbudget” McGuire, the Hollerboard was a go-to source for hot music, trash talk, and early memes before the era of Facebook and Soundcloud.
Ahead of a blow-out party at Warehouse on Watts featuring some of the most famous Hollerboard alumni, we chatted with 1/2 of Hollertronix duo Mike ‘Lowbudget’ McGuire to get the scoop on how the Hollerboard came to be.
redux
How did Hollertronix and the Hollerboard start? What was going on in the Philly scene and beyond at that point?
Lowbudget: I know for us we were all hip hop dudes that felt a bit restricted in the scene musically. We found ourselves liking a lot of the new hip hop , especially the stuff coming out of the south. There was also a growing indie dance scene lead by Dave P as well. We were really into all of this stuff and and we just wanted to play everything we liked.
It was a culmination of what a bunch of 20-something music heads had been into their whole lives and it turned out there was a lot of people that were on the same frequency. As for the board, messageboards were pretty much the only form of any kind of social media. There were a lot of local Philly messageboards where people would talk about parties and music and beef over graffiti and gossip, They were a major part of the early “word of mouth (or internet)” success of our early parties. So when we became more established we started a messageboard of our own.
Cosmo DJ AM Hollerboard
RIP DJ AM!
How did you get to know Wes / Diplo?
We actually met at an underground hip hop show in Brooklyn. I was the DJ for this indie rap labal called Arrakis and he was there DJing. We kept running into each other at parties in Philly after that. We realized we had a lit of similiarly unusual interests and thought we should spin together.
Hollertronix & Roxy At The Rub at Southpaw 2004
Diplo, Roxy Cottontail, and Lowbudget
What were the projects that Holletronix put out?
Our main mixtape was Never Scared. It was on the NY Times albums of the year ( a mixtape, Iknow, weird) in 2003. We made a bunch of 12 inches with mashups and a few other random mixes here and there. But the mixtape was really the main thing.
What were the parties like at that time?
It seemed like every where we played, it was a mix of all types of subcultures. From hip hop to punk to what would soon be called “hipsters”, everyone kinda came together  because they knew it was gonna be a wild scene.
Hollertronix June 2003
Hollertronix party flier at the Ukie Club
What do you think the impact of the Hollerboard was then and into today?
I think a lot of the sounds you’ve been hearing in music for the last 10 years are a lot of times an amalgamation of the carious sounds being traded on the board. So many relevant producers and djs from this time were part of this scene.
Cosmo Craze A-Trak Pase Chromeo Amanda Blank JOTS Miami 2009
Miami 2009 with Craze, Pase, Chromeo Amanda Blank, Jokers of the Scene, A-Trak, Cosmo Baker
See you at Warehouse on Watts. NOTE: this will also be Spank Rock’s last time performing under that moniker !!!

Off the Shelf–WIDE AWAKE! by Parquet Courts

A quick preface from the editor:

At WKDU we receive new music every week from a huge variety of labels. We keep all of our new releases in our main control room (the room out of which our DJs do their thing) on our “New Music Shelf”.  Our DJs pull from this shelf quite often, because our goal is to serve you the freshest underground cuts–FDA certified 100% organic, grass-fed, farm to table, FRESH. With “Off the Shelf”, our goal is to dive deeper than ever into our “New Music Shelf” favorites, and to share our thoughts with our community. Here’s hoping we inspire you to check out something NEW.

Wide Awake

By Matt Squires

Parquet Courts’ new album, Wide Awake!, is a diverse collection of raw rock and rolls sounds, familiar to the American ear, yet unique and refreshing. The production is minimalistic, to focus the listener on the melodic and rhythmic aspects of the songs, which are undeniably catchy. The vocals are raw with minor imperfections as if performed in a live setting.

“Total Football” kicks off the album with a classic rock style sharp slow chord progression. Soon the beat speeds up and the bass riff kicks, forcing the listener to bounce back and forth, a feeling used many times on this album including, “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience” and “Extinction”. Growly vocals are introduced, seemingly untrained and raw, their voices fit the aesthetic perfectly. This riveting intro song ends like the streets of Philadelphia after the 2018 super bowl, “F___ Tom Brady!!”.

“Violence” shows the more serious side of this album. Smooth groovy rhythms and catchy riffs over a yelling monologue until coming in with the chorus “violence is daily life.” Parquet Courts makes their way around the genre spectrum while maintaining the same production aesthetic with the slowed jam, “before the water gets too high”.  The repeating riff is memorizing and the organ-sounding synth chords hold the song together.

Next stop on this journey is a flashback to 90s alternative rock. Sounding like Pavements “Range Life”, “Mardi Gras Beads” takes the album to very familiar place. The smooth lush reverb-filled verse contrasts with the rigid power chords that come in the chorus creating a rich texture. “Almost had to start a fight” channels the bands Proto-Punk aesthetic with riffs sounding like MC5, the vocals match the rhythm to create a concrete, energetic jam. Merging into “In and out of Patience” with the phrase “If it stops i’m having a bad dream”, the pattern changes, putting another involuntary step in the foot of the listener.

The aptly named, “Freebird 2”, lives up to its name talking about drugs and getting older with pentatonic blues scales. The title song, “Wide Awake” combines a groovy bass riff with a dance party vibe. The use of Auxiliary percussion on this track makes it stand out from the others. A straight rhythm blues jam ends the album out with a piano melody doubling the vocals, making for an upbeat vibe. The chord progression is a mixture of simple chords and unusually dissonant chords that give an excellent texture to this familiar groove.

Parquet Courts have maintained their progressive classic rock style. Innovative yet so familiar and easy to latch on to, this album is an instant classic filled with songs that capture the last 50 years of rock music.