Leo Islo is the moniker of Portland-based producer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Matt Pahler. Born in Chile and raised in the small mountain city of Flagstaff, AZ, he began touring as a drummer playing at venues across Arizona at the early age of 17 and it wasn’t long before his passion for music led him to songwriting. Artists like Neon Indian, Toro Y Moi, Caribou and Washed Out became early influences in his production style, a well-balanced mix of retro synths, ethereal vocals, warm guitars and analog beats.
2015 was a breakout year for Leo Islo and saw his transition house-driven beats through a series of single releases that garnered accolades from influential bloggers and won him a devoted fanbase. “Oh Dystopia” charted on the Spotify Viral Charts while “Higher Living” went on to place well on the Hype Machine Charts, peaking at #10.
In 2016, Leo Islo continues to build on his previous achievements with the Golden Grave EP. The release shifts seamlessly between lo-fi, house and indie pop, incorporating aspects of each of these styles to build the foundations of Pahler’s unique sound.
Find Leo Islo on SoundCloud or Facebook. Buy on
Hailing from Silver Lake, CA, Local Natives have just released their new single “Past Lives” via Loma Vista (also home to Andrew Bird, Iggy Pop, Health). This song is the band’s first new track since their highly praised 2013 sophomore album Hummingbird, which saw them collaborate with The National’s Aaron Dessner.
While it is still unclear whether a new album is on the way, the band have reportedly been playing some new material at a few recent gigs and are also scheduled to appear at a handful of festivals this summer.
More on the band’s official site or Facebook. Buy on
Brooklyn-based project Yoke Lore is the latest musical endeavor from multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Adrian Galvin, who also happens to be a yoga teacher and an avid dancer (he co-founded NYC dance company Boomerang). After the success of debut single “Heavy Love”, which premiered on The Fader last February, Yoke Lore has just released “Hold Me Down”, the festive and highly addictive second offering from his forthcoming debut EP.
Following the project’s lyrical theme in visceral human connection and poignant storytelling, “Hold Me Down” is an uplifting piece that spotlights Galvin’s signature vocals, backed by pile-driving percussion and work guitar work. More to come from Yoke Lore this spring, so stay tuned for the debut EP Far Shore, out on May 6.
More info and music on Facebook or SoundCloud. Buy on
Los Angeles duo Phantoms have drawn comparisons to Disclosure and Odesza for their glossy, funk-infused brand of electro pop, but they find the resemblance somewhat skin deep. Kyle Kaplan and Vinnie Pergola tread edgier territory on their cover of Eric Clapton’s classic “Cocaine”, whose dark synth and pulsating throb take the listeners to the depths of the underground.
The duo explains: “We’ve wanted to do a cover of an older song for a while. Nothing was really coming to us until last Friday when we were a few drinks deep and ended up at a Thai karaoke restaurant at 3AM. This young Thai man was doing an electric guitar cover of “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton, but he wasn’t singing, so we jumped on stage and sang along with him. It must have been in the haze of vodka and pad kee mao that we decided we should cover it as well.”
For more info go to Phantoms’ official site or check out their Facebook. Buy all the music on
Three years ago, Brooklyn disco duo Holy Ghost! released their sophomore album Dynamics and they are finally back with a new EP, Crime Cutz, to be released on April 29 via DFA. You have to give it to Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel for bringing back the unadulterated beats of the 80s with ambition and undeniable mastery.
The title track to the upcoming EP, which was premiered on Zane Lowe’s Beats1 show, is a seven-minute super funky jam featuring retro synths and incredibly fresh hooks. It gradually builds up to an electrifying crescendo before winding down to a blissful close. A real pop tour de force!
The band is currently touring Australia and will be back in NYC for a live performance at MoMA’s Armory Party in March. More info on their website or Facebook. Buy the music on