Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Snow Ghosts - Heavy Heart

There's atmospheric and there's ethereal....then there's Hannah Cartwright. She appears to be able to float effortlessly in a plane high above the rest of us where she's channeling an amazing amount of power through her body. I haven't been moved by vocals like these since I fell in love with another Hannah, Hannah Reid of London Grammar. There's something so special about Hannah Cartwright's voice that reaches out into the void and pulls a familiar pain and ephemeral angst from the universe which she's able to deliver in an easily digestible manner and it resonates deeply within you because you've stared into the darkness with her. I don't feel like I'd want anyone on that journey with me other than her. She's just so evocative and expressive and I don't think I've really heard anyone with a voice as big as hers in a very long time. Her control is immaculate and she doesn't waste a breath.

"Heavy Heart" is one of Snow Ghost's latest singles taken off their upcoming release, A Quiet Ritual and I can't fully express just how this song has affected me. It's massive. It's an experience and I think that it's going to affect people in many different ways. I think it's going to be exactly what you need it to be when you need it. It think that you're going to pull from your own experience and this song will touch you more deeply than just a pop tune. There's a resonance to this that stays with you. Haunting and deep, it's going to be a more profound experience than most people are going to expect on first go round. It's one of those songs that is very amorphous in how you hear it. Each play through I've heard something different. Whether it's the production or the hollow loneliness in Hannah's voice or it's how the synth bends and moves to carry her voice to you; this song is beautifully and artfully crafted.

I love how art has the ability to illicit a visceral reaction from the viewer/listener. I love how music can get inside you and become so personal that each person hears something different. I love how these artists can play upon everything you are and bring you along with them on this experience. In my life time, I've honestly had 2 "religious" experiences in conjunction with music but I have a deep seated feeling that if I had the opportunity to experience Snow Ghosts live that number would increase.

This album was recorded in a castle in Wiltshire and spent two years in the making. "A Quiet Ritual is written for an ensemble of classical and modern instruments including the carnyx, an Iron Age Celtic boar-headed horn excavated from a bog in Deskford, Scotland. This mix of instruments is indicative of the theme of timelessness common to this album and their previous work."

Christian Lee Hutson - Northsiders

Jesus Christ man.... Getting back into writing has been a flood of emotions and getting to reconnect sonically with old friends has been the absolute best part of this journey. One of the greatest and most bad ass mother fuckers I've ever gotten a chance to see live and interact with is Christian Lee Hutson. I met him back in 2014 at the Communion tour and began to follow his music and his career and fell in love with his raw emotional honesty and absolute outlaw attitude about his music. He creates music that matters to him and does his own thing and that's how he connects with his audience. He is exactly what the world needs in an artist. He's cataloging his life and experiences through music and it's pure and it's honest and it's good. I missed hearing him and I'm so damn glad I've gotten a chance to bring him back into my life.

He's got a new single and new video called "Northsiders" and I can honestly tell you that I'm a wreck after listening to it. This is exactly how important music is. The story he's telling and the imagery he's creating is amazing and beautiful and leaves you with a visceral emotional response because you know where he's been. You know what he's seen and it's similar to an experience you've had. It's a song about missed opportunities and new loves and building those connections with people and it touches all those places where you immediately start reflecting on your own experiences and you think about your youth and those times when you were new and you thought you were invincible.

I adore this man and his voice and just how it's all done his own terms and just how punk he really is. No apologies. No disclaimers. He's telling his stories and he's blazing his own path and he's glad to have you along for the ride if you want to be part of it. I am in awe, especially considering that I got to spend a bit of time with him way back when and get to know him a bit. Seeing him share space with artists like Sturgill Simpson and The Shadowboxers and create art alongside them was an incredible experience that I'll always cherish. I think I may have bought him a beer and if I didn't I damn sure owe him at least a six pack for all his passion and his unadulterated soul baring he's done over the years. If he hasn't been invited to do NPR's Tiny Desk then they don't know what they're missing and they need to get on that ASAP.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Son of Cabe - Lynwood

We mull things over and over. We obsess over mistakes we've made and we torture ourselves for missed opportunities; especially opportunities to make things right. In the new single, "Lynwood" by UK based artist, Son of Cabe, these thoughts and ideas are explored. Not having the ability to apologize after a grievance is done is honestly one of the worst pains you can feel as you're going to roll it over and over again and you're going to beat yourself up. Son of Cabe says about the song,

“Lynwood’s about trying to say sorry when you can't and the guilt that follows. I messed up and didn’t get the chance to say sorry for something that happened. The song came together after months of reflecting on this and feeling worse and worse about it. I wrote the song as if it was the end of the world which is how it felt for a long time to me”.

I think we spend so much time in our heads when we've made the decision that we've disappointed someone else or ourselves that it's amazingly easy to get trapped in the prison of our own making. To have those feelings presented in a song in a manner that you can relate to is a true talent of a songwriter and he has done an outstanding job of building something that he should be proud of in this track. The synth is great. The percussion is exactly where it needs to be and it drives the song just as it should. I think this is a testament to the home grown producer as it shows that while it's true anyone can make music with the right equipment, it takes talent and skill to make good music and this is better than just good. I like how personal this song is to him because while he's baring his soul to us, it's enabling us to draw closer to him as an artist. I love his vocals and I love how not of all of his accent is normalized while he's singing because that gives him an edge over a lot of other artists that just sound homogeneous. I like how he switches between singing and rapping in the song, again, it adds another level to the song that gives it much more bite.

Much like other artists I feature, I think he's got a lot to offer and I can't wait to hear more from him.

Monday, April 22, 2019

90s Kids - Slow Motion

We tend to get wrapped up in what's viral. You know, that thing that's happening on social media that gives us all FOMO.... the dreaded Fear of Missing Out. But when you step back to a more simple time in your life; before technology ruled the school. Before you were watching people do whatever challenge is going on, you were kicking it with the Fresh Prince and keeping your Tamogatchi alive and it was great. Ed, Edd and Eddy were on the tv and you knew exactly what was All That. Brittney and NSync weren't just Tearing Up Your Heart and Doing it Again, they were tearing up the charts.

Looking back on the 90s not only sparks nostalgia but it reminds you of a time that just seemed so much easier. Columbus, Ohio based 90s Kids want to take you back in time with music that makes you feel young again and helps you escape the hustle of today's tech heavy day to day grind. With the release of their new single, "Slow Motion", they've taken everything that is absolutely great about that decade and wrapped it up in a beautifully crafted song. The vocals are smooth and just make you groove along with them. I'd love to see them on tour with fellow Ohioans, Walk the Moon because I think they're style compliment each other exceedingly well.

This song is just fun. It's a joy to just lay back into it and hear how the harmonies come together and how the synth is used perfectly to encapsulate those funky rhythms and jams that you'd hope would come out on a Hip Clip. I'm a fan of this and love to hear how they've taken all their childhood influences and created a passion project that just brings light to the music industry. I think there needs to be more music out there that's just joyful and makes you smile. It's good to be able to just let everything go for three and a half minutes and reminisce on a time where everything was easier and you didn't have as much to worry about. If we all took more three and a half minute breaks, things may be a bit easier to get through the days.

90's Kids are going to be on the road this summer with EXNATIONS and are anticipating a new music video and an EP to drop Spring/Summer 2019.

90's Kids on the Web

Drona - Space (f. Sancii)

I adore international music. I think we are in a marvelous technological age in which we get the opportunity to hear music from all over the world. You have artists from Bulgaria, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, the Middle East all making waves while staying true to their heritage and culture but providing an entry into their world, sonically speaking. I don't pretend to know everything there is about the various cultures sharing space in the musical universe but I do feel as if I have a pretty solid handle on what sounds good and what makes a good song and the collaboration between singer, Drona and producer Sancii has made beautiful work.

"Spaces" is the latest single from Indian born, Drona (Vaibhav Aggarwal) and it's a play on mental, physical, and outer space all at the same time. I do love this idea because I tend to look at life through moments and experiences. We move from moment to moment building memories with people that matter and the same can be said about spaces; especially how they're using them in this song. Spaces between people, places, events. The spaces in time grow and collapse as we become closer and further away - as separated by space. Space in time and space in geography. It's a brilliant concept that draws you in and makes you think about how you evaluate space and time. How do you see the spaces between people? How do you see the spaces that mark a moment? Do you use music to delineate time and art? Do you use experiences and memories? How do they all tie together and bring us closer to the divine?

I'm a fan of Indian culture. I've consumed a massive amount of cinema from India. I adore how life seems so much brighter and colors more vibrant within their society. I love films from Bollywood and the huge production value that's put into the films and I feel like Sancii and Drona have taken the same care with this single. The production doesn't miss a beat. It's tight and there's not a wasted moment. I love how you can hear a slight cultural feel to Drona's vocals and there's a slight pull into his heritage and life. I love that personal touch to the track as there is an international feel to it without it being a gimmick. I think that these two individuals have created a fantastic song that has staying power and will absolutely bring you closer to yourself as you dive inward in introspection and think about the spaces in your life.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Tiffany - I Think We're Alone (2019 Version)

It was 1988. Acid washed denim. Garbage Pail Kids. A ticket to the movies was $3.50. Transformers were the toy all the boys had to have and two young female pop start were battling it out for supremacy on the airwaves. You had the blonde, Debbie Gibson that was selling puppy dog eyes and 1950s sensibilities and you had rebellious Tiffany with her fiery red hair and sparkling personality fighting to be everyone's number one girl. Tiffany came out swinging with her GIGANTIC hit, "I Think We're Alone Now" and all bets were off. She was everything in my eyes as a young music fan. She was beautiful and she looked like she was having so much fun running through the malls in her video and it made me realize at an early age that pop music was the only way to go.

Flash forward 31 years. Yes, I said 31 years and Tiffany is back with an updated version of her mega hit and let me tell you, it not only hits me in all those nostalgic places it needs to but it never ever makes me feel like she's just trying to monopolize on her past career. It's current and it's fresh and it speaks to those of us of a certain age that have a bit of mileage on them. Those of us that have been kicked around my the universe but still have no plans of behaving. 40 something looks good on us and we're all still those rebellious youths somewhere deep inside. Needless to say, as I'm sitting here writing this I'm a bit giddy as this is fulfilling a pretty long life long fan of hers and pop music in general.

For me, 1988 was when I was really coming into my own taste for what music meant to me. I wasn't
listening to my parents music any more. I was branching away from what my siblings were listening to and I was finding my own way and Tiffany stood there like a beacon guiding me to a whole new arena of music that would become the foundation in which I based the majority of musical interactions throughout the rest of my life. I could talk for hours about "Should Have Been Me" or "Promises Made" or "I Think We're Alone Now". I still to this day know the words by heart and I know I consecrated a cassette to the ground at some point after I wore it out listening to it over and over in my Walkman. It was a glorious time as I was discovering so many new ideas and making my own mind up for the first time.

So, let's talk about the 2019 version of "I Think We're Alone Now". Simply put, it doesn't miss a beat. It's still fresh and current. It's modern but it harkens back to those times when things were so brand new. She sounds amazing. There's not an off note in the track and I think the production team behind the updated version have something to be exceedingly proud of because they've created a fantastic song. She talks about her influences for the update as being, "the Foo Fighters, and maybe a little Go-Go's and Blondie mixed together" and you can hear that clearly. The guitars are a bit heavier. The synth is a bit stronger and it does a brilliant job of representing all that she stands for.

Having a bit of experience under her belt and having lived an incredibly full life she also says about the song, "It incorporates fun and family. They're wearing 'children behave' t-shirts. We're starting a new nation of 'children behavers!'” With a twist, though: "It's an adult version. 'Let's not behave. We've made it to our 40s. We're rockin' it!' Let's have some fun, shall we?" I think we all can use a bit more fun in our lives.