Discover the Honest Sounds of Cobi

Soulful singer-songwriter Mike Cobi, now known as Cobi, began his career as the front man in Boston-based indie band Gentlemen Hall. Thanks to a string of singles that delivered both heartfelt lyrics and a dynamic voice reminiscent of Hozier, Cobi has already made a name for himself as a solo artist. With his first EP Songs from the Ashes pt. 1, Cobi further establishes himself as an emotive lyricist backed by mesmerizing synth sounds. “Each song has come from some type of pain that has burned out,” Cobi says. “It’s like the alchemy or the transformation of pain into something more beautiful.”

With just three tracks, the EP encapsulates Cobi’s raw energy and unique songwriting ability. “Some songs are based on personal experiences and others are more imaginative,” he says. “They each have layers of meaning which is how I experience music. I think people can take the songs and interpret them how they see fit.”

Cobi

Cobi

From the ethereal sounds of “Underneath” to the pulsating beat of “Goddess,” Songs from the Ashes pt. 1 offers listeners plenty of room for interpretation. Still, the singer suggests just one bit of guidance: “Listen with an open heart and don’t try to analyze and figure things out,” Cobi says. “If people open their hearts and shut off their minds, they’ll understand it because chances are, they’ve experience the feelings that the songs are coming from.”

With a full-length album in the works, Cobi is eager to grab people’s ear and share his honest sound.

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The Infectious Sounds of Magic Giant

As we enter the peak of festival season, it’s time you meet the most festive band in the circuit: Magic Giant. Looking at this three-piece group, I’m not sure if they have just hopped off a bus from Burning Man or if perhaps they were recreating the dirty and beautiful world of Woodstock for the past week. Decked out in bandanas, bracelets, rings, headbands and scarves, I’m definitely impressed that someone has been able to out-do me when it comes to accessorizing. 

Austin “Bis” Bisnow, Zambricki “Z” Li and Brian “Zang” Zaghi are all real names, I promise. Together they are Magic Giant, and they’ve quickly become a must-see in this summer’s festival scene with their buzzy energy and upbeat sound. So far they’ve hit up Sun Drenched Music Festival, LaureLive Festival, Firefly Music Festival and Arroyo Seco Festival. The boys of Magic Giant have an infectious charm on stage, fully immersing the audience in what is essentially a massive “jump and scream and laugh and love” type of dance party. This inclusive energy translates off stage as well. As the band sits in front of me, I can feel the excitement radiating off of them.

“Did you see anyone at the Coffee House yet? I heard it’s a cool vibe, very chillaxed,” lead vocalist Bis comes out of the gate with natural friendly banter. “Kasey, right? Where are you from?” He’s now interviewing me. “Come to our show later, we have someone doing a proposal on stage!” The three friends continue on about how amped they are for the secret proposal and I realize I’ve been taken hostage into a web of hilarious chatter and back-and-forth wit.

“Zam and I needed a guitarist,” Bis says, explaining how the trio was formed. ”We saw Zang playing bass in a friend’s band in L.A. and loved him. We went home and Google-stalked him and saw some videos of him salsa dancing. We don’t integrate salsa dancing into our music at all, but we were fully blown away.”

Zam chimes in, “Hey! With album two, you never know. I wouldn’t say salsa dancing is off the table.”

It turns out that the guitarist of Magic Giant, Zang, wasn’t all too interested in this colorful duo’s offer to join their band. “I wasn’t looking to join a band, but they were persistent,” Zang admits. The alt-folk trio officially formed in 2014 and has recently released their debut album In the Wind.

The album was written during an emotional period for the band and those moments have resonated with fans. “People have reached out to us to let us know that our music has helped with depression and personal issues. On the live side though, the shows have just been about crazy dance-party stuff,” Zam says.

“We just want to make people smile. Something as big as someone losing themselves in a dance or as simple as a smile, we want there to be an underlying feeling of joy in the music” Zang adds.

The guys are feeding off of each other at this point, generating a buzzy conversation about the various meanings behind their music. “We appreciate the levels our music can have. If someone wants to listen to it on the first listen and groove and dance, that’s great. If someone chooses to go to a deeper place with the lyrics, that’s cool too,” Bis concludes. 

Magic Giant recorded In the Wind while on tour last year, in a solar-powered recording studio. “We were touring and tracking in between festivals. We had the freedom to change anything and everything,” Zam explains.

One of the band’s favorite songs off the album is “Jade.” The song had been a work in progress when they first played it at a festival in California, and a fan approached the band afterwards and expressed how spiritually connected she felt with the song. Her friend Jade had passed away at the age of 16 and the girl had felt her presence throughout the entire performance. “The song took on an entirely new shape after that. It evolved into being totally about Jade and we were able to do it on the road,” Zam confesses. 

From emotional moments to bursts of energy on-stage, Magic Giant is an eclectic band with a surprising range. Even more surprising to me are the following tidbits I gathered during my time with them:

1. Zang was once an upright bass player in the Philharmonic.

2. Zam learned how to play the violin, fiddle, viola and cello after being hit by a car when he was 12. After waking up from a coma, he taught himself how to play the violin in just a few days. Later on he learned that this was called Acquired Savant Syndrome. He wasn’t just a genius when it came to string instruments.

3. Bis played Division One football at the University of Colorado. He was a long snapper.

You can catch Magic Giant at Worldfest in California, WayHome Music & Arts Festival in Canada and RiSE Festival in Nevada later this year.

Main image: Brantley Gutierraz

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DuJour

Jamie Foxx’s Impersonation of Ed Sheeran’s British Accent Is as Funny as It Sounds

Leave it to Jamie Foxx to spill the beans about what life was like living with Ed Sheeran back when the «Shape of You» singer was just a struggling artist. The 49-year-old comedian appeared on The Graham Norton Show recently and spoke about how Ed Sheeran ended up sleeping on his couch for six weeks. According to Jamie, Ed showed up at the studio of his satellite radio show, The Foxxhole, in 2010 and convinced Jamie to invite him to his house to play some of his music.

«He played and I said, ‘you’re incredible!'» Jamie recalled. It led him to offer Ed a place to stay. Watch the full video above to hear Jamie doing a hilarious impersonation of Ed’s British accent, then hear what happened when Jamie put Ed’s skills to the test by taking him to a talent show with an all-black audience.

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TGIF: Enjoy Dog Selfies, Which Is Exactly What It Sounds Like

This has been a real asshole of a week. But the weekend is almost here. So focus on that. Give yourself a break, and enjoy the miracle that is dog selfies.

The hilarious (and sometimes controversial*) Twitter account We Rate Dogs threw down an odd challenge for National Selfie Day.

And the internet responded with bliss upon bliss upon OMGZ PUPPERS!

There are SO many more. Just go. Just scroll. Just deep breathe.

*Want to know about the We Rate Dogs dust up? Check out the Reply All ep, «Fog of Covfefe.»

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The Spiritual Sounds of London Grammar

It’s been said that listening to British trio London Grammar is something of a spiritual experience. Were this listener to wax lyrical, she might say that lead singer Hannah Reid is like a cathedral choir of one—her ethereal voice soaring over aching electro beats, up into the rafters and out through the stained glass windows. Church is a place for confession, so maybe it makes sense that the members of London Grammar are known for making some candid admissions. In interviews, they’ve spoken at length about crippling performance anxiety, the destructive nature of touring, their fear of fame’s unforgiving spotlight—and this time around, how they underwent a kind of musical amnesia.

“Making our second album was very difficult—harder than the first,” says Dan Rothman, the band’s charismatic guitarist. “Our tastes had developed and changed, and there’s just so much weird shit going on in the world. We’d also been on tour for so long that when we came back to the studio, we’d forgotten how to do it.” 

The tour in question was for the band’s first album, If You Wait, which debuted in 2013 with hits like “Hey Now” and “Strong,” and which won them the iTunes Album of the Year award—along with a frenzied cult following. Often likened to The xx (a comparison they’ve called “lazy”), their music is a medley of soulful piano riffs, restrained electronic beats and reverberating balladry evoking the quandaries of heartbreak, the pain of youth—along with the panic of it slipping away. In June, London Grammar releases its hotly anticipated second collection, Truth is a Beautiful Thing, which throws the doors open on their sumptuous style with a sound that’s altogether more expansive, orchestral and upbeat. But true to form, despite the album’s hype, the band still admits to some anxiety about its reception. 

“Generally, with your first album, you never consider the fact that anyone would actually listen to it,” says Dot Major, the trio’s keyboardist and drummer. Adds Rothman, “We’re not the kind of band, unfortunately, that can judge success on where we chart.” At least one fan would say that’s not the worst thing. As Elton John recently commented, “[London Grammar] is not the kind of music that gets in the charts these days, because there’s no room for intelligence in the charts.” So success must be measured in less quantitative ways. “I’m excited about playing festivals,” Rothman says. “I think that’s the real barometer of whether people have actually been listening to the new album. Either they’ll turn up to see us, or they won’t.” Even in the four years since they arrived on the scene, the music industry has changed dramatically, and the band says that navigating it often feels like a shot in the dark. “The Internet has been amazing for music,” says vocalist Reid. “But it’s changed how young people value it, because it’s so accessible. I hope streaming becomes monetized in a more ethical way for the artist. Especially for independent musicians.”

Although London Grammar is signed to Columbia Records, independence of process is deeply integral to their DNA. While many of today’s younger artists are opting for fame with quickie collaborations, they’re hoping to land in the “longevity category,” as Rothman says.

“I think a lot of artists now become defined by the collaborations they do,” he continues. “We haven’t done much collaborating. I think that’s probably because we needed to get our own shit together. It’s hard enough collaborating between the three of us. Maybe on the next album we’ll do it more…” he pauses for a moment. “I think Hannah’s voice would sound great on a Drake track.” Let’s hope Drake joins the congregation soon. 

Main Image: From left to right: Dan Rothman, Hannah Reid and Dominic “Dot” Major in Ravenscourt Park, West London

Grooming by Lauren Reynolds using 3ina and Unite.

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It Sounds Ridiculous But this Video Featuring The Vengaboys WILL Make Your Tuesday Better

Look, it’s a depressing, scary world out there.

When it comes to things bringing joy, we gotta take what we can. Most of the time we can guess what form that joy might take. Dogs. A loved one. I’m going to a metal festival next week.

Most of the time we can tell.

But sometimes all the joy in the world seems to be contained in a video of some people driving down an anonymous road in the middle of the night, blasting a hit song by awful Dutch eurodance group, The Vengaboys.

I know, I know, but look, I don’t make the rules:

Who are these eurodance vigilantes, gliding up to an abandoned horde of revellers, delivering euphoric cheese-synth in hours of need? I’d probably hate them all after a few minutes. But just then and there, in that capsule of time?

via GIPHY

And I would apologize for getting that song stuck in your head now for the next week or so, but…

Well, you know.

——


Petr Knava
lives in London and plays music

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Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon «Bro-Biking» Together Looks as Hilarious as It Sounds

Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon have been making us laugh for years with their quirky friendship, and their latest adventure is no different. On Saturday, Justin shared a hilarious video of him and Jimmy riding a tandem bike in the Hamptons, or, as Justin put it «bro-biking.» Between the bike bell and Jimmy’s reaction, we can’t stop laughing — and you won’t be able to, either.

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