Category: artists and bands

Listen Up: Our Favorite Albums of the Year

After egg nog, year-end lists are our favorite seasonal treat. We asked Listen staffers to share their top pick for album of the year, and got a varied list of seriously acclaimed artists and albums. Check ’em out, and enjoy our Best of 2017 playlist on Spotify.

Colin – Strategist

Thundercat – Drunk

Frequent Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar collaborator Stephen Bruner steps into the spotlight with his debut album, which packs 23 songs into 50 minutes. Thundercat’s bass chops are impressive, but it’s his inventive playing style, oddball arrangements, and unique sense of melody and harmony that make this album so special.

Magda – Senior Account Director

Sampha – Process

He’s the voice that’s accompanied the likes of Solange, Drake, Kanye, and Frank Ocean on their biggest songs, and Process is a work he can finally call his own. The remarkable, meditative album takes you on a journey through grief and self-discovery. Absolute stand-out of the year.

Josh – Senior Strategy Director

Flor – come out. you’re hiding

Swimming through the sea of today’s pop landscape can be overwhelming, inundated as we are with washy synth-pop, chilled-out pseudo-soul/R&B, and bedroom electronic acts all competing to own the post-EDM era. That’s why it’s rare to find an actual band that manages to tap into all of those trends while also delivering songs that are strong at their core, catchy as f*ck, and rock a sound that is relevant. come out. you’re hiding does all that and more, and it’s the album I’ve kept coming back to all year: Each track has popped up on my feed independently, immediately caught my ear, and then is revealed to be yet ANOTHER track off of Flor’s debut that stands out from the pack… Oh, and they’re signed to Fueled by Ramen. Nice pivot, FBR.

Steve – Partner + Grace – Marketing Operations Manager

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN

End-to-end, this album is compositionally brilliant, sonically rich, melodically interesting, lyrically profound… The list goes on. Anyone who offers a different take on “album of the year” is kidding themselves.

Brett – Partner

Hurray for the Riff Raff – The Navigator

Because I slept on everything else until now, and she sounds like a young PJ Harvey — which is not something that should be slept on.

Leah – Associate Creative Director

St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION

This may be St. Vincent’s darkest (yet poppiest?) album yet. That Jack Antonoff production adds a lovely pop sheen to some seriously heavy themes. I’ve always been a St. Vincent Stan, but her ballad of LA haterade (“Los Ageless”) has solidified my love for all things Annie Clark.

Taylor – Senior Producer

Anna of the North – Lovers

This is sweet, dreamy Scandinavian electro-pop. Between Anna’s airy vocals and synth-pop ballads, the record feels like a confessional from a best friend. The entire album is a hit, but “Fire” is a must listen, and proves there’s a reason why Anna is garnering shoutouts from Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean. For people that like: LÉON, Sigrid, MØ, feelings (not a band name; actual feelings).

Sam – Senior Account Director

The XX – I See You

I’ve always loved The XX. I’m British, and remember going to see them when they were first starting out in London at a tiny venue. More recently, we went to see them perform at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens. It was a balmy summer evening and it was the first time I’d heard songs from the new album live. It was also the first gig me and my husband had been to since we had our twin girls the year before. Needless to say, it was a pretty special evening and further cemented my love for this band.

Shelleyjane – Design Director

Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds from Another Planet

Michelle Zauner’s sophomore album is Twin Peaks levels of dreamy and magnetic. Laced with extraterrestrial atmospheric intros and outros, her voice shines over melancholic arrangements. The songs’ spacious, expansive sounds envelop the listener in warmth. (Shout out to Syd’s Fin and Anna of the North’s Lovers).

Kurt – Producer/Mix Engineer

Actress – AZD

AZD features texturally diverse and inspiring sound design which remains satisfyingly claustrophobic throughout. That said, it was really tough to choose, so honorable mention goes to Sondre Lerche’s Pleasure; Kirin J Callinan’s Bravado; Lindstrøm’s It’s Alright Between Us As It Is; and death’s dynamic shroud.wmv’s Heavy Black Heart.
Enjoy our Best of 2017 playlist on Spotify, and we’ll catch you next year!

Listen Heads to Amsterdam for ADE

Calling all electronic-music fans! Listen is heading to Amsterdam for the sprawling Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), which consumes the city October 18-22 with a mix of club nights, industry workshops and panels, and intimate performances from major artists. In between all-night ragers and carefully curated DJ sets, Listen co-founder Steve Milton and Microsoft Director of Strategic Partnerships Amy Sorokas will be sharing the latest from our Music x Technology program.

Part of the Dance & Brands ADE conference programming, our panel discussion, What Every Artist Needs To Know: Game Changing Technology, will take attendees through recent collaborations with Alison Wonderland, Childish Gambino, M83, and more, highlighting the customized Microsoft technology that took their live performances and music videos to another level. If you’re in town, join us on Friday, October 20 (12-1pm). Then, jet lag permitting, find us front row for EDM wunderkind Martin Garrix.

Emily King @ MOSCOT Music

For the latest Listen produced event for NYC eyewear institution MOSCOT, the super talented Emily King performed for an enthusiastic crowd at the MOSCOT Gallery & Music Space for an amazing MOSCOT Music event. She performed songs from her new album, Switch! With hits like “Already There”, “Distance” and “BIYIMM”, the audience couldn’t get enough and ended the night with an encore chant, to which Emily happily obliged.

Skype Lets MKTO Bring the Fans Into Their World

As part of our ongoing work for Skype, we’re helping the brand connect fans and artists through The Ones to Watch with Skype Tour. For the latest episodes, Skype checks in with MKTO, the latest pop band heating up the charts.
Tony Oller and Malcolm Kelley, both former stars of Nickelodeon’s hit show Gigantic, are no strangers to the spotlight. But as part of the Ones to Watch with Skype tour, the boys are experiencing their first time on the road as a headlining band. Skype caught up with MKTO in sunny Orlando to let the band’s biggest fans get closer to the boys they love.  In the videos below they answer questions about their biggest inspirations, their days on set, and how to rise above the haters. There are smiles, tears of joy, backstage hangs, and you can watch it all below.

Turnpike Troubadours Skype with Friends and Fans From the Road

For the latest episode of Ones to Watch, Skype got to catch up with Turnpike Troubadours in Madison, Wisconsin. As a self-proclaimed ‘red dirt’ band from Oklahoma, Turnpike Troubadours are all about staying close to their roots. But it isn’t always easy to stay connected with the ones you love while you’re on the road for months on end. So Skype sat down with the boys to learn more about their beginnings and meet some of the people that helped pave their road to success. Watch below as Turnpike Troubadours use Skype to have a group video chat with their booking agent, Jon, and friends Tim and Jason.

And let’s not forget about the fans! Perhaps just as important as those early influencers in a band’s career, the fans are what make it all happen. And no one knows that better than Turnpike Troubadours. In their second Ones to Watch episode, the band connects with some of their biggest fans over Skype video calls. Below you’ll see them answer questions about their album covers, song-writing process, and more . Check it out!

Listen + Skype @ Bonnaroo 2014

Last weekend the Listen crew was on the ground supporting Skype at the amazing Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, which took over a farm in the town of Manchester, Tennessee from June 12-15. Nearly 100,000 people attended, and Skype was there to give each of them a chance to get closer to their favorite artists on the lineup.
The Skype Recording Booth, situated next to the Bonnaroo’s iconic ferris wheel with Xbox’s Game Stage on the other side, allowed Bonnaroovians to stop by throughout the festival and record a question for Bonnaroo artists via Skype video message. Selected fan questions were then featured in artist Q&As dubbed Chatting With Artists, which are viewable via Xbox Live and on Bonnaroo’s YouTube channel.

A few of our favorite sessions include CHVRCHESDamon AlbarnCage The ElephantReal Estate, and Umphrey’s McGee.

Skype is also offering a chance to win 2 VIP passes to next year’s Bonnaroo just by signing up for their music newsletter – click here to enter!

Listen Recommends: NYC Summer Shows 2014

There are many reasons to love New York in the summer, but being able to see these awesome shows might be the best.
Below you’ll find a list of what we highly recommend you don’t miss and a Spotify playlist to get you excited. Summer is finally here.

Free

  • June 3: Ty Dolla $ign – Red Hook Park, 7pm
  • June 4: Janelle Monae – Celebrate Brooklyn! @ Prospect Park Bandshell, 8pm
  • June 5: Pro Era – Red Hook Park, 7pm
  • June 12: Charles Bradley, Mac Demarco, Benjamin Booker – House of Vans, 25 Franklin St., Brooklyn, 7pm
  • June 14: Thee Oh Sees – Northside Festival @ McCarren Park, 6pm
  • June 15: Cvrches – Northside Festival @ McCarren Park, 3pm
  • June 19: STRFKR, Poolside, Chrome Sparks – House of Vans @ 25 Franklin St., Brooklyn, 7pm
  • June 21: Dum Dum Girls/Hospitality/TEEN – Celebrate Brooklyn! @ Prospect Park Bandshell, 7pm
  • June 26: Warpaint/Yellowbirds – Celebrate Brooklyn! @ Prospect Park Bandshell, 7:30pm
  • June 27: Shovels & Rope/Valerie June/Shakey Graves – Celebrate Brooklyn! @ Prospect Park Bandshell, 7pm
  • July 8: Andrew Bird & The Hands of Glory/Luke Temple – SummerStage @ Rumsey Playfield (in Central Park), 7pm
  • July 10: Wild Beasts, Mutual Benefit, DJ Bill Pearis – RiverRocks @ Pier 84, 6pm
  • July 12: 4 Knots Music Festival feat. Dinosaur JR, Those Darlins, Speedy Ortiz & more – South Street Seaport, 1-8pm
  • August 1: Snowmine/The Casket Girls – Southstreet Seaport, 7pm
  • August 2: Dr.John & the Night Trippers/Hurray for the Riff Raff – SummerStage @ Rumsey Playfield (in Central Park), 3pm
  • August 7: Temples/Here We Go Magic/Spires – Hudson RiverRocks @ Pier 84, 6pm
  • August 9: St.Vincent/San Fermin – Celebrate Brooklyn! @ Prospect Park Bandshell, 7:30pm
  • August 9: Roseanne Cash/The Lone Bellow – Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 6pm
  • August 10: Charles Bradley & His Extroardinaires – Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 6pm
  • August 16: Blood Orange/Moses Sumney/Sean Nicholas Savage – SummerStage @ Rumsey Playfield (in Central Park), 7pm
  • August 23-24: Afropunk Fest – Commodore Barry Park

Paid

  • June 12: Neon Indian (DJ set)/Chrome Sparks (DJ set)/Lemonade (DJ set)- Northside Festival @ Glasslands (late show)
  • June 12: Titus Andronicus/Eagulls/Low Fat Getting High – Northside Festival @ Warsaw
  • June 13: Albert Hammond Jr./Drowners – Northside Festival @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, 7pm
  • June 13: Animal Collective (DJ set) – Northside Festival @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • June 13: Beach Fossils/Craft Spells- Northside Festival @ Warsaw
  • June 13: Perfect Pussy/Hop Along – Northside Festival @ Saint Vitus
  • June 13: The War on Drugs/Woods – Northside Festival @ 50 Kent Ave.
  • June 13: MisterWives/Body Language – Northside Festival @ Brooklyn Bowl, 8pm
  • June 14: Beirut w/ Special Guests – Northside Festival @ 50 Kent Ave.
  • June 14: Courtney Barnett/Benjamin Booker- Northside Festival @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • June 15: California X + more – Northside Festival @ Baby’s All Right 2-7pm
  • June 17: The National- Celebrate Brooklyn! @ Prospect Park Bandshell, 7pm SOLD OUT
  • June 19: The National- Celebrate Brooklyn! @ Prospect Park Bandshell, 7pm
  • June 28: A/JUS/TED / Dimitri/Pantha du Prince/ DJ Spoko/Mumdance – MoMA PS1 Courtyard
  • July 5: DJ EZ/Todd Edwards/Champion/Jam City/J-Cush – MoMA PS1 Courtyard
  • July 12: Mister Saturday Night/Cibo Matto/Archie Pelago/Gabriel Garzon Montano/Aunti Flo – MoMA PS1 Courtyard
  • July 19: Robert Hood/Objekt/Rrose/Vatican Shadow/Container/Young Male – MoMA PS1 Courtyard
  • July 22: Neutral Milk Hotel – Celebrate Brooklyn! @ Prospect Park Bandshell, 7pm SOLD OUT
  • July 26: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Celebrate Brooklyn! @ Prospect Park Bandshell, 7pm
  • July 26: Cashmere Cat/Total Freedom/GoldLink/UniiQU3/Suicideyear – MoMA PS1 Courtyard
  • July 30: Ingrid Michaelson – SummerStage at Rumsey Playfield (in Central Park), 6pm
  • August 2: Daniele Baldelli/Charanjit Singh/Simian Mobile Disco/Hiro Kone/Maria Chavez – MoMA PS1 Courtyard
  • August 9: George FitzGerald/Martyn/Leon Vynehall/Aurora Halal/Matrixxkman – MoMA PS1 Courtyard
  • August 16: Supa Dups/Dubbel Dutch/Visionist/Blazer Sound System – MoMA PS1 Courtyard
  • August 20: Robyn + Royksopp – JBL Live at Pier 97 @ Hudson River Park, 6pm SOLD OUT
  • August 23: Kevin Saunderson/Éclair Fifi/DJ Earl/Shamir/The Range/Gifted & Blessed – MoMA PS1 Courtyard
  • August 30: Benji B/Dam Funk/DJ Marfox/Tessela/Dutch E Germ/ Avalon Emerson – MoMA PS1 Courtyard
  • September 6: TBA/Evian Christ/Lone/Sophie/Forest Swords – MoMA PS1 Courtyard

Listen creates The Skype Music Room for Sasquatch 2014

At this weekend’s Sasquatch! music festival, we’re constructing an interactive space that combines original music, mind-bending projections, and uses people as the content. The Skype Music Room allows festival goers to create music in real time using Skype Video Messages as beats through our Digital Sound Interface, easy enough for anyone to use. Check out the video above for our demonstration with Sydney-based indie rock band, Cloud Control. The Skype Music Room lets you be part of the Sasquatch experience in a unique way—whether you’re at the festival, or checking it out from home. All you need to do to become part of it is send a video message (hopefully a fun, friendly one) to Skype_Sasquatch or click here.

Your video can then be turned into music and projected onto the walls of the Skype Music Room for everyone to enjoy.

See you there!

Listen composes music to support Audi A3’s unique #paidmydues campaign

Audi A3’s  campaign, #paidmydues, focuses on people determined and working hard in their respective fields, providing them with a platform to tell their stories of struggle and accomplishment that have transformed their lives.
#paidmydues was launched by a live-streamed, full day event from Santa Monica Airport’s hanger 8 on May 7th, gathering an Audi-curated group of 15 creators, musicians, filmmakers, artists, and performers who have paid their dues. Featured creatives include graffiti artist Madsteez, freestyle rapper Oddisee, comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, chef Jordan Kahn, comic book creator Jim Mahfood, DJ Dam-Funk, and animators Oh Yeah Wow, among others. Their stories, creations, and performances encouraged others to do the same with a contagious objective to share the inspiration with others.

With branded content, comes branded music. Listen stepped in and created original music to:

  • Tie multiple stories together through an original main theme track and six variations in different styles
  • Create music congruent to Audi’s branding
  • Connect with Audi’s target audience

We were happy to “pay our dues” with this project in the ongoing pursuit of helping brands utilize music to strengthen the connection with their audience.

damfunkaudi

Listen Blog Update

It’s been a few months since we’ve given our blog some love with the latest music, tech, and branding/advertising news from around the web. But that’s all about to change. We look forward to bringing you more of what we’re experiencing and inspired by at the intersection of the music and brands on a regular basis.There’s been a plethora of innovative happenings taking place lately and noteworthy topics catching our eye — such as this Fast Company article taking a close look  at Converse’s music and artist partnerships strategy, which goes into detail on how they support musicians without the ‘ick-factor’.  In other news, music analytics have become quite the hot topic, receiving increased awareness as they support A&R practices by helping labels predict future hits. And hats off to independent musician Owen Pallett for satisfying studied music folks and Daft Punk fans everywhere with his music theory-based analysis of the genius behind last summer’s dance-pop anthem, “Get Lucky.”While we’re catching you up, we should also mention some work Listen has been involved with lately. We have been supporting Skype on a few music/sound and live event-based projects, such as their Ones to Watch program in conjunction with Live Nation. Featured electro-pop band, Cherub, used Skype to answer fan questions and perform a special set for them in our NYC studio. The Ones To Watch program launched early this year and highlights the very best emerging artists and bands. We also assisted Skype at the TED Conference in Vancouver last March, which included a panel discussion with DIY artist and queen of crowdfunding, Amanda Palmer, alongside Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler. You can check out the full discussion online. More on that later.
Watch this space for more updates! Just don’t call it a comeback.

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