Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Thailah - Joy

First let's talk about this beat. It's very reminiscent of tribal percussion that pull you in and keeps you right where you need to be. It's the perfect vehicle for Thailah (pronounced Ty-la) to float over top of with vocal stylings very similar to Lily Allen or Cher Lloyd and those are two of my favorite young British artists. I like that her voice has swagger and an edge to it. I think aside from her accent sliding out every so often, that's what I like the most, the fact that there's a raw edge to her voice. And I'll continue to say it over and over, there has to be something interesting and new to a voice in order to cut through the noise of ALL the other artists out there wanting attention and Thailah has it. She has it in spades.

Listening to the lyrics on this track makes me think about my own life. Makes me think about people being careless with my time and my emotions because they can. Makes me realize more about me than this afro-tinged bop would when you take a surface look at it. You start thinking about how people use you to make them feel better about themselves and that doesn't lead to anything positive or good. It generally leaves you used and abused in an emotional heap on the floor but there of us out there that do it over and over because in the long run, we kind of have to be there for those people because no one else will.

Finding her has added another set of songs to add to my summer bangers. It doesn't matter if it's this song or her other singles; "Sweet", "Bad Manners", or "Glitch" because this Londoner has created a life long fan in me. The production is slick for the style of pop music she's creating. It's like an overcast day when you're outside and you don't realize that you need sunscreen. It's drinking fruity alcoholic beverages and getting hooked on the sweet before you realize you're already knees deep in a bender. It's that feeling of being delivered a message before you know what's hit you. It's coming back on listen four or five and honing in on those lyrics and relating to the music more deeply than you thought you would.

Liquid Diet - Looking for Love

Subversive, sexy, sultry. This song is so much more than a sexy romp through anonymous sex. This song is about connection on a much deeper level but it's disguised as something super sexy and slick. Liquid Diet has always been one of my favorite groups because they don't play by anyone's rules but their own. "Looking for Love" is a new single off their remix EP, Double Life: Sloppy Seconds and you can get it anywhere but you should click here to go get it. Billy's voice is so suited for this as it goes down just like syrup...it's warm, it's sweet and it's sticky and I LIVE for it.  The most telling portion of this song...the part that takes this from a one night stand to friends with benefits is when he says,

"Blindfold me / Scold me / Don't try to hold me / That was the old me
Pursue me / Subdue me / Just use me til you find the new me"
This is the connection that I'm talking about. This is what elevates this song. It's the meaning behind these words. It's seeing yourself in a manner in which you're growing and learning and needing to be part of something bigger than yourself and you're willing to move from one experience to another as you grow and be part of it all. Even if that means wading through a myriad of Mr and Misses Right Nows. I think we do that a lot. We long for that touch. That electricity that makes us feel alive and in a culture of ordering up exactly what you need via app, it makes it easier and easier to stave off the long, lonely nights at times. We all have an intrinsic need to be part of it all and rendezvous after rendezvous is a way in which we can do that. Sexual liberation is needed more today than ever and in a world of pansexual polyamory, there's no better time than today than to learn as much as you can about yourself.
I don't know if the production design was done this way on purpose but the colors in the video make me think of the bisexual pride flag shifting from reds to purples and I think it's incredible. I like the darkness he uses with the bearded dancer. I think there is a color study in what it means to be sexually fluid and if this wasn't the purpose, then maybe they can take credit for it. We don't live in a binary world anymore and it's so important for that to be represented across the board. Billy is a beautiful soul and this video makes me adore him that much more. The visuals are amazing. From being seduced by his female costar to the bevy of beautiful boys he dances with. I like the spanking bit as I think exploration needs to be normalized much more and the fact that he shares that with both partners makes me smile a lot. I think this is probably one of my favorite tracks by Liquid Diet and if this is the quality of content they're going to put out, I NEED more music from Billy, Jonny, and Georgia. Shit the world ALWAYS needs more Georgia Haege. I damn sure know I do.

Support this group. They're important. They make important music. It's potentially easy to write them off as a gimmick but they are far more than that. Music and art challenges us. It makes us feel and that's exactly what they do. They evoke thoughts, feelings and emotions in us that we may not have thought of. The world is in dire need of more free thinking creative at the helm and it's damn time they release more music.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Iris - Wait

Beautiful vocals with minimal production. What could be better? I've already become smitten with Iris' vocal delivery and how she makes you feel like you've been friends forever and then you throw in some killer harmonies on the chorus and I'm done. She's honestly got one of the biggest voices I've heard in music in a long time. There's a very old soul quality to her that grabs you and pulls you close. I've talked about her previous release, "Crazy" and said many of the same things and I think that speaks volumes about the consistency between her performance and the production. When an artist has natural talent, there isn't need for a ton of post production work and I'm gonna bet there's very little if any clean up after the fact.

"Nothing you can say when you love and you lose / Telling me to leave when I can't even move / No one I can choose when I let go of you / What you want me to do / Stop telling me to
I wish you would stay just to stand in my shoes / It's a little hard just to swallow the truth / No one I can choose when I let go of you / What you want me to do / Stop telling me to wait"
That pre-chorus is pretty devastating when you actually pay attention to what she's saying. When you've put your everything into a relationship and it's crumbled down around you and all you can do is watch it fall apart; that's just about the worst feeling ever. You've invested so much time and energy and you're being placated. You're being told to wait. It's heartbreaking and it sucks. Iris has done an amazingly beautiful job of capturing those emotions and feelings in a manner that we all can relate to and while it can be difficult to hear those emotions manifested, it's one of the best steps toward healing. You have to take the good with the bad so that when the good comes back around, you're able to know just how important it is.
I adore this woman. I adore her production team. They aren't letting her take a single misstep. Her voice is gorgeous. The way they cradle her performance and hold it with the utmost care shows a group of people that know exactly what they're doing and how to best showcase her talent. I want her to be a household name because she's worth every minute of it.

Iris on the Web

Son of Cabe - Lynwood

The official video for "Lynwood" by Son of Cabe has dropped and the oversaturated live performance video is exactly what this song needed. Nothing over the top. Nothing too flashy. Just a live performance of the track in which all the colors being hyper stylized that brings a storybook vibe to the video that echo the washed out feelings of not being able to say you're sorry because you've done something you know you need to apologize for. The indie feel of the video suits Son of Cabe's bedroom production style as well. It's perfectly suited for what he's creating and I think it's genius. If you want to read what I've said about the song previously, you can do so here. This young artist has an innate ability to put meaning and message into his words that's relatable and familiar because we've all been there; at some point in our lives we've felt what he's talking about. We've been faced with similar emotions and hearing them makes it easier to process.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Megan Vice - Super Delicious EP

"I like my man like I like my underwear..... mother fucker, I don't need you at all"

There's something very special about Megan Vice. Something that someone recognized early on and know just how to make the best out of what she has to offer. Her performance quality is nothing but unadulterated start power wrapped up in a pop princess. She's been paired with a production team that knows exactly, and I mean exactly, how to best utilize her talents. There is not a single on this EP that doesn't just coming out banging. She's fun. She's playful. She's not relying on a gimmick. She's doing everything perfectly right and I'm damn glad to be living in a world where she is releasing music. Long Island native, Megan has been enamored with music all her life and would literally perform for anyone that would stand still long enough. And once she started formulating her own lyrics, there was nothing to stop her. She's had some pretty powerful musical comparisons and it's easy to see how people could compare her to the likes of Chromeo, early Janet Jackson, or even Sofi Tukker.
When you listen to her music, you hear an amalgamation of all these styles and influences and it would be easy for an unpolished artist to get lost in the crush of genres. You get a bit of late 80s, big haired freestyle in the vein of Sweet Sensation or Debbie Deb. You get a bit of Minneapolis in the form of Prince and Janet Jackson. You get a bit Joan Jett with her take no prisoners attitude. You get all of these different artists and styles packaged in what I feel is one of the absolute best albums of 2019. Probably in my top 5 of the year right now. I spend a lot of time talking about emotions and mental health on this blog. I talk about how music affects us and how artists are able to pull from all our deepest, darkest places and how much it's important for music to serve a purpose. And I feel that Super Delicious EP does exactly what it sets out to do. It makes you forget all the small stuff that's been getting you down and lets you relax and enjoy a musical journey in 30 minutes or less.
So let's get into this EP.

Super Delicious
Easily and quite simply my bop for the summer. This song is light and airy and full of funk potential (and it lives up to every bit of it). It's crazy how a song about making the same mistake over and over can be so damn danceable. The way the chorus rises up to meet Megan's voice is one of the most incredible things I've heard in a long time. I wrote a whole piece about this single over here so go read it after you finish here.
Hold Up (Be My Lady)
If you're in the mood for a bit of 90s R&B realness, a bit of Xscape or Jade then you're in for a damn treat on this slow-ish jam  with one of the coolest raps in the middle eight that I've heard in a long time. It shows the incredible versatility Megan has and how much swag she's leaning on and it's pretty bad ass. It's a song with a bass line that slaps hard and a groove that hits harder. Her voice is so sultry and full on this track about being hollered at and I'm here for every minute of it. Again, her producers know EXACTLY how to work with her and it's never more evident than it is on this track.
2 Good 4 Me
Again, we're rocking the funk groove here but we're going to step back a bit further in time with a disco inspired track that will make you dance. She's got some falsetto happening and it's an amazing contrast to her smoky voice. The bass is so sticky and funky on this that it makes all the polyester in your closet come to life and pull a John Travolta stroll down the block. This song is nostalgic and it's current at the same time. It's the best of all the influences she's pulled from and I guarantee that this sounds MASSIVE in a dance club.
Dressed to Kill
Here's my take....Megan is chilling in Ibiza and Kylie Minogue comes in and blesses her with all the pop power she ever needs and this song comes out. This is full on danceable gorgeousness and it makes me think of the most amazing up tempo tracks that Kylie has released. And that's not biting her style, in my ears it's a beautiful homage to a pop star with longevity and a proven formula for success. We're not straying away from what works the best with Megan's vocal stylings. We're kicking the funky grooves and beats and giving all her best friends an amazing track to dance to.
Nobody Freakin'
Let's drop back into that slow-ish R&B/funk vibe with this track. It's got one of the best uses of synth on the album and it has a tip of the hat to one Ms. Jackson...if you're nasty and it's great. She's got a way of creating lyrics that hit you and you go....damn..... When she says, "Never ever fuck for the fame".... I was like....Wig, snatched. Acne, cleared. Debts, paid. And I LIVE for it.
This is a heavy contender for my album of the year. I want her to have all the fame possible. I want her to be a household name but I also am super protective of her because of how much I connect with her music. She's incredible and I know she's got an incredible career ahead of her. As long as she's taken care of by her producers, she's going to go a long way and we need more of her music out there in the world. That's for damn sure.
Megan Vice on the Web

Kris Kelly - Cracked Porcelain

Psychedelica. It's got champions in artists like Tame Impala, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Animal Collective and many others. It's pretty amazing to hear an artist that identifies as queer making his mark in the genre. There's not enough representation and we are sorely underserved in this corner of the musical universe but to have Kris Kelly creating music for queer people by queer people in this genre is magical.

"Cracked Porcelain" is a sonically gorgeous landscape in which our artist gets to create a world of love and sex and unconventional experiences. In Kris' words the song is, "the story of two gay men who find freedom in defining their relationship in an unconventional way, but who end up getting lost in the revelry and ultimately drive each other apart. I think the LGBTQ community has a unique opportunity to redefine our relationship with sex within our partnerships. Not having the traditional ways of defining a healthy partnership forced onto us grants us freedom to discover it for ourselves; but it also comes with great responsibility, and I think we often fail. In the song, the two men fulfill all of their personal desires, and get lost with the help of alcohol and drugs, but forget to care about each other, neglecting the needs of their relationship. In that seductive lifestyle, it’s easy for them to use sex, drugs, and alcohol to cover up the issues they just don’t want to deal with. It feels like ‘freedom’ but are they really in control? What are the boundaries that protect the relationship? A careful balance is required in order to nurture both carnal desires and spiritual connection with another human being (if that’s something that you value). When things are out of balance, suffering is inevitable. That’s what happens in “Cracked Porcelain”."

I think that as someone that identifies as gay, this song means a lot more to me than a lot of other tracks I've run across lately because of the implications and experiences it creates and just how easily it is for me to identify with the antagonists in the song. I've been there. I've been swept up in the rush of endorphins and serotonin that's created when you get to get entangled in someone else, especially after so many years of being repressed due to social anxiety, mores, and the overwhelming need to fly under the radar....but when that time comes and you're wrapped up in someone else; bodies exploring, hearts beating together and you give yourself permission to experience all those things - it's intoxicating. It, in itself, becomes addictive and you NEED more and when you can't chase that rush anymore then you find substitutes for those feelings and those wants. It's a slippery slope and we as LGBTQ+ people don't have the most positive role models for helping us navigate those beginning relationships and tend to make all the wrong decisions when we are first encountering choices. But the beauty is that they are our mistakes to make and as long as we have the wherewithal to learn from them they subtly turn from mistakes to growth opportunities.

Kris Kelly has a beautiful voice. He's got a hypnotic quality about him that is perfectly suited for this genre and it's an incredible match. I don't want to hear him singing any other type of music because the Technicolor rainbow of imagery he paints with his voice and artistry is brilliant. His music is the soundtrack to my dreams and it takes me to places I've never been before and I think he's just about one of the most important artists I've had the pleasure of getting to hear in a very long time.

Kris Kelly on the Web