SXSW 2016 Boston & Beyond Spotlight: Slide along the slick pop polish of M+E

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Welcome to the latest in a week-long series of spotlights profiling the bands and artists performing at the 2016 Boston & Beyond party at SXSW, a collaborative effort between Berklee College of Music and Vanyaland. Our third annual event — and Berklee’s 11th SXSW party overall — goes down Thursday, March 17 at Austin’s Brush Square Park, located at 409 East 5th St., next to the Convention Center. The party is co-presented by Berklee Alumni, The Red Room @ Cafe 939, and Heavy Rotation Records, and is all ages and open to SXSW badge holders. Get on the list without charge by RSVPing via EventBrite. Additional info and music from each of the performing bands and artists can be found here.

Previous spotlights: Lady Pills, mar | co, Great Grandpa, Plastic Waves, Rann

M+E, 1 p.m. set time

We’ve long said there is a alt-pop revolution happening these days at Berklee. From familiar faces like Betty Who and Kiesza to newcomers like Noe, Amy & The Engine, Lili N, and Sarah Kendall, the school is churning out songwriters, producers and voices intent on shaking up the popular music landscape. Next in the queue is M+E, the alt-pop project from songwriter/producer Luke Niccoli that, alongside mar | co, gives our SXSW party a very clean electronic-tinted polish.

Short for Moods And Emotions, M+E worship at the altar of ’90s pop while adding a bit of freshness to the mix. Here’s what we wrote last week when we premiered the video for ‘talkabout.”: “The music of M+E is all about balance. The moods and emotions from alt-pop project mastermind Luke Niccoli pivot between our two favorite styles: the unabashed pop ambition of the ’90s FM dial and the more unfiltered promise of the twenty-teens bedroom project. ‘[It’s] all about nostalgia,’ says Niccoli, who when not creating his own brand of sound as M+E toils as guitarist and co-producer of fellow retro-pop-envelope pushers Amy & The Engine. ‘Musically, I threw it back to some of my favorites ’90s records with the acoustic guitar loop, lead guitar riff, and up-tempo beat. Lyrically, the song is about re-living the memories of a past relationship.’

With an exciting space to grow, check out some of M+E’s early and recent selections below, and take note: those not attending SXSW can catch the project at the Middle East in Cambridge on March 19.

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