Wednesday, December 14, 2016

argonaut&wasp - Paisley

Yes. Yes. Yes. This is solid. The guitar. The bass line. The funk. The groove. All of the components come together in this perfect storm of amazing music from Brooklyn. The vocals are perfect. The chorus soars above it all. This is a fucking helluva song. And this is why I am so glad the internet exists. I want to describe all the sounds I'm hearing but words are failing. It's a damn good track and it makes life better.

Tom Aspaul - Burnt Out

Funky af! London based artist, Tom Aspaul throws down on this track. It's funky and you bounce along with it effortlessly. You'll be listening to it on repeat. If you're wanting something with an amazing falsetto and just a groove that you can sink into, this is the track for you. Bobbing along with it, I had no idea the song was over when it was over. But it was a damn fun ride!

Scavenger Hunt - Slow Dancing

Slow and methodical. Just easy and magical. This track is pretty incredible. It's warm and wraps you up and makes you feel safe. Just like you're slow dancing with that person that you care about. Just close your eyes and let Jill guide you through this amazingly mellow track. It's a perfect counterpoint to some of the more upbeat tracks that are out on the airwaves.

Great Good Fine Ok - Everything to Me

The sounds I made while listening to this were nowhere close to being human. This song is so good. This is indie/dance/synth pop at its purest, most vibrant and it is amazing. Those vocals against the perfectly crafted track. If you aren't swept up by this song within 22 seconds, you may not have a groovy bone in your body. I found this group as I was perusing Panama Wedding's catalog and found the cover of "Easy Lover" and I'm damn glad I stuck around because these guys are amazing. This track is so freaking poppy and catchy. It'll the be the peanut butter for your ribs all day long.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lectrolips - Heartbreak Siren

I've been writing about these guys for 4 years now. And as long as they keep making synthpop like this, I'll be writing about them for a long time to come. It's a damn good thing when an artist knows how to build a track. The tempo of this song absolutely echoes the lyrics about running. It's fast and frenetic. It has this feeling of leaving it all behind and trying to start new. It's about mistakes and heartbreaks and needing to find balance and security. And it's packaged brilliantly in typical Lectrolips fashion. It's a solid pop track and given the opportunity, I think it will spawn some amazing remixes as well.

Luke Wade - Passenger Side

It's been a while since I've spent time with a Luke Wade track. It seems his trip to the Voice has only served to make him a better artist. The song is massive. The production is gorgeous. His vocals are amazing and this could easily be a mainstream success. It's a song about that feeling you get when you realize you're head over heels for that person that makes you want to spend every warm, sticky summer night with them in your car just doing nothing. It's that feeling of being young and in love that we all strive to experience no matter how many times or how old we are. It's a fantastic track and I want so much amazing stuff for this man. He's doing big things and I think he deserves all the support and love his fan base gives him.

Femmepop - Bright Noise (Preview)

47 seconds. That's all I needed to know that there is greatness in this track. From the beginning of the track to when Maggie's vocals come in, this sample is enough to make me want so much more. That wub wub is just an incredible way to lead off the track. It makes me feel like something David Lynch should use in one his movies. There's a nostalgia to the track and a familiarness to it that makes it super easy to just step into.  I've been a huge fan of Femmepop for a very long time and this makes me appreciate her even more.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Michael Powers - Chandelier (Sia cover)

Let's talk about covers one more time to remind people what I think makes a good one.

1. The artist has to pay homage to the original.
2. The artist has to put a spin on it to make it their own.
3. The artist has to do something a bit different than the original.

Does this cover check all those boxes, hell yes it does. Michael Powers is a Nashville based singer/songwriter that you may have seen on Season 11 of American Idol. He's got a style that's distinctly all his own and it's amazing. It's not that he sings his songs in a minor key but when he does a cover, he strips is down, slows it down and gives is so much personality and gravitas that it's a whole new song by the end of it.

This version of Chandelier is so mournful that it took me a minute to be able to fully wrap my head around it. This is a man that's had almost everything taken from him that the only thing he can do is fully throw everything away and live life without abandon. He's fighting to stay strong but he's getting close to his breaking point. It's more than "fake it til you make it" this is survival. This is coming back from the precipice and doing everything he can to regain control of his life again.  Michael's voice is so grounded in a life well lived that you are wrapped up in it and you are able to draw comfort from him even though he is broken and battered (in this cover that is). There is so much emotion being harnessed that I had to stop writing and just listen to him and appreciate all the nuances in his voice. This man is incredible and should be a super star.

Night Drive - Rise and Fall

One of my favorite things is to have music sent to me from an artist. They have put themselves out there and are kind of standing in a vulnerable place looking for praise and acceptance from a stranger. I think that's how we go through so many interactions in our lives. We put our best out there and hope that someone sees it and likes it. I was pleasantly surprised when I was contacted via twitter by Houston based synthpop duo Night Drive with a simple tweet saying, "We think you'll like this" and they were damn right. I liked the hell out of it. So much so that I've listened to it every day since they tweeted me.  I checked out their bio and it says this, "Night Drive co-founders, Rodney Connell and Brandon Duhon met after a young woman they were both unknowingly dating was killed in a car crash. The tragic event bonded the two, and shortly afterwards they began a musical collaboration. Inspired by sci-fi cinematic landscapes, Night Drive creates modern synth-pop that explores the darker currents of abstract emotion."  Damn. That's a lot. But it gives you a bit of understanding as to where they are coming from and what they are processing through their art.

"Rise and Fall" is the first offering from their upcoming debut LP and it's fucking brilliant. The song is just this amazing piece of music. It's got this quality that grabs you up and you take off running. You kind of have to keep pace with it or you're going to get left behind. It's just so well done in the production that by the time you catch your breath, the song is over and you're ready to start it over.
You can hear a little Brian Eno in the vocals and this is something that Roxy Music would totally get behind if they had a day in which they were feeling a little happier about their experience.

The song is this melancholic event that maps the course of a break up. Two people have grown apart and the snowball has started down the hill and the avalanche is inevitable and all you can do is watch it. There's no way to stop what's been put into motion and you are helpless even though you know it's not what's best. It's heartbreaking and it's horrible but it's part of life sometimes. You can't keep the bad from happening sometimes and we need the bad to happen so that the good is balanced out and we have the opportunity to know what we have lived and what we are experiencing.  You have to temper both sides so that you can stay in perspective.  The beat and the underlying track is gorgeous. It just propels you through the song in a rapid fire delivery that is amazing.  I really love this sound and I love that they tackle the not so easy stuff in life. We need that in our music because life isn't all sunshine and rainbows.

Go to your favorite online music distribution source and buy this track. You won't regret it.

Glenn Stewart - Breaking Boundaries

Here's what we have in this album. One of the most solid country albums of 2014. Yeah, I know that I am about 2 years behind but I've only recently learned about him and I could not be happier to be on the band wagon now. Glenn takes a reverence of old outlaw country and mashes it up with the pop sensibilities of today's market. I think people are calling this type of music "Bro Country" and that may be a potentially valid label but it's merely a reflection of the audience. Music in any genre takes influences from the world and uses them to create music that has an appeal that is timely and easily disseminated to the masses. If Loretta Lynn was trying to sell a song today about birth control, it wouldn't have the same affect it did back in 1975. So the climate of the world has a way of making its way into the art our musicians create.

I don't like pigeonholing an artist as a gay artist because that's not fair. Glenn is a country singer that happens to appreciate the company of a certain cowboy and that's beautiful and it's honest and it's damn important because in a genre that is stereotypically exceedingly homophobic, it's amazing to see an artist living their life out and proud. Now, I would easily put this album up to anything released by Thomas Rhett or Jason Aldean and I think that the quality of the songs would kick their ass hands down. But, because of one little thing about Glenn - he's not going to get mainstream air play on country radio. I think that's bullshit and it's garbage because on one hand that should have no bearing whatsoever about the quality of his music but on the other hand, I NEED to know so badly that when he's singing a love ballad that he's singing to a man. I need that representation in my life because I've spent so many years switching pronouns in songs to make them fit my life and I don't have to with this album because he's representing me and what matters to me on a fundamental level. So yes, I hate the fact that he's not going to be embraced by the country fans as a whole but I don't care because he's my hero.

The album isn't just some "twangy" little country ditty. It's got heart. It's big. It's bold. It's got a lot of rock influence and Glenn's voice is AMAZING. When I listen to male lead country music, Glenn's voice is what I want. Every time. It's reminiscent of Garth Brooks and a storied history of male country artists but it's also very contemporary and now. The way he punctuates certain syllables and his overall presence is just amazing. I can't hear one misstep on this album. It's a solid performance and he and his producers know exactly how to build a song. It doesn't hurt at all that he's not hard on the eyes at all and when you imagine him delivering "Barn on the Rooftop", you can see a mischievous grin and sparkle but then you hear just how much control and love and passion he has when he delivers "Centerline".  This man is simply incredible in his delivery.

A lot of times when you have an independently produced album like this, it can read as hokey or gimmicky. There are a lot of artists that reside in the "gay music scene" that rely on potential components of their fan base to make them more relatable. There are several "bear artists" that come to mind and their songs read as parody because of the content. Glenn doesn't fall into that trap. His songs have a universal appeal that can easily be played anywhere, anytime. There isn't anything niche about this album. It's a country album and it should be revered as one of the best albums of 2014.

I keep going back to this but what he's done is created a songbook that I can turn to my boyfriend and play any of these songs for and they'll matter.  When I hear "Baby You're My Only", I can take any of those lyrics and easily hold them up in my relationship and know that the meaning is what it is and doesn't take any code switching to give them credence. I can hold my boyfriend and slow dance with him and rest my head on his shoulder and know that this is what representation sounds like. It's a gorgeous song and I can't wait to play it for my boyfriend.

I found Glenn because of his cover of RuPaul's "Around Again" and fell absolutely in love with the treatment of the song. I even wrote about it when I saw the video. He took a good song and made it great. The country treatment was perfect for that song. I'd love to hear his take on other dance type songs. Maybe "Dancing on My Own" by Robin or even something like "Partition" by Beyoncé. I don't want him to stop recording originals but I would love to hear his take on pop music. "Around Again" is fun. It's poppy but it's still got amazing country sensibilities to it.  I'm not going to gush on it again because I've already written about it. But that this point, I don't want to hear Ru's version anymore. This is the only version of the song I want in my life.

I can't speak highly enough about these 13 tracks. It's a damn good album. It's a fantastic representation of what country music is and should be. You can hear in his performance that this is what he loves and he treats it with the reverence and care it should be handled with. It's got some mileage on it. Like Glenn and many fans of the album will attest to, these tracks have some life on them. They've lived. They've had their heart broken and they've been kicked around by the universe but they still get up and they still push forward and live their life. "Rock and Roll Cowboy" takes no prisoners and it's believable. It's not like some city slicker in a suit is belting out this song. It's being sung by someone that's lived this life. Authenticity is something that country fans can see right through. If you're not authentic, you're not going to make it. It's one of the reasons that live country performances sound exactly like the album versions because there's little to no post production clean up to the vocals. If they can't sell the performance on their own merits, they aren't going to go very far. And I can't hear any trickery in this at all. It's 100% Glenn and it's 100% country.

"Little Miss John Wayne" is a rocking track about that cowgirl you see in the bar that lives her life for herself and gives no effs to anyone that looks down on her. She's going to do her and she needs no approval from you or anyone. When she walks into the room, everyone knows and everyone can't help but stare. It's a party song and it's fun. It should be on country radio stirring up a storm.

We all know what it's like to get through the week and are greeted with the weekend and a libation or ten and when "Here We Go" starts and you hear the growl in his voice, you know where he's been and you remember nights where you had one or two too many but it's the weekend and it's your time. Another solid banger here.

"Good on Me" is the one song here that is the one that's a bit different. It's the one that seems like he wrote for mainstream radio. Or he's singing about his best girlfriend. We all have friends that are girls that we hang out in that make us look better. It's still an amazing example of what he can do on the mic. He sounds amazing singing about men or women.

There are times when we need to be reminded that there is hope in the world and that when we need that gentle reminder that no matter what seems to be going on that's wrong, you just have to keep your head up and fight the good fight. "Dancing" is that song. It's a beautifully written song about perseverance and hope. We just have to hold on to the good and dance. Even if only in our minds.

You can't sit around and feel miserable about your life if you want to make anything out of it. It doesn't matter if it's occupational, relationship or just life in general. You can't accomplish the things you want in the world if you don't try. That's the message behind "Long Streak of Gone". You have to put yourself out there to get what you want.  Bottom line. Success, love and happiness don't come to those that don't try.

"Bigger Than Life" tells us that it's ok to want more. We all dream of more. Wanting more for ourselves. Wanting more for our family. We want to matter. We want to be remembered for something. We are all trying to cement our legacy in this world and in order to do that, sometimes we have to be "Bigger Than Life" but at the end of the day, we just have to be ourselves and know that as long as we are being our own authentic selves; we will get where we need to go.

And the album closes out with a gorgeous acoustic version of "Baby You're My Only".  This man can do no wrong on this album and this bonus track was the perfect cherry on an amazing album.

This album is literally my favorite thing right now. It beat out the Moana soundtrack and that says a lot. If you're a country fan. If you're a music fan. Go out and buy this album now. It's $9 on Amazon. Spend the money and you'll not regret it. I want to see him perform live now. I have a NEED to see him perform live now. Preferably with my boyfriend so I can sing along with these songs that I can easily tell will mean a great deal to me not just now but in the coming years.  Glenn Stewart is the real deal and I am damn glad that he's shared himself with the world.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Henri Bardot - Giving Up

This is the voice I want to hear when I listen to Indie Ballads. I want to hear mournfulness. I want to hear soul. Portland's Henri Bardot is exposing his deepest feelings with this release. He spent well over a year writing his album in what appears to be a form of exile to dig deep into his heart and make the music he needed to get out of himself. This track is phenomenal. It's got so much depth and character to it. It's got some mileage on it and it's seen things. This isn't cookie cutter kitsch. It's quality and has body to it. I dig this a lot.

Selaphonic - Heartbreak Heartbreak

I LOVE INDIE POP! This is no surprise. I love finding new artists. I love hearing new voices and when the voices are this good I want to gush about them to everyone that will listen. This song is pretty freaking amazing. It's reminiscent of Magic Man, The Griswolds, Two Door Cinema Club and could stand up next to any of those guys. It's a year old and I hate that I have just come across them but this is good. This is very good!!! I will be putting them into heavy rotation.

City Rain - Let You Down (Demo)

Hands down the most commercial track I have ever heard from Ben but I am in no way mad at it. I think it's important that people hear his music and if that means making something a little more commercially available to get him in the door, then he should do it. His voice is amazing and it sounds so freaking good in this track. I can't wait to hear the whole thing because I know it's going to be amazing. Will always be a fan of City Rain and I want them to do absolutely outstanding things.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Doug Repetti - Eternally

Perennial P-Town favorite, Doug Repetti has released a new video and song. I've been a fan of his for years now. I think he's got one of the smoothest voices in the business and I think the music he makes is amazing. I would gladly buy a full length album from him because he commands that much respect in his music. He's smart, he's got an ear for what is needed at that moment in time and he's just a damn talented artist. I really dig the song. It's full of hope and a sense of what we all want in this world. It's about love and how we are all searching for that person or persons to spend our lives with and see all the wonders of this world. It's got a very "Age of Aquarius" vibe to it and I think that's what we need more of. We need more love and acceptance in this world. The visuals in this song are amazing, pairing famous couples through out recent pop culture history with the lyrics of the song. It's bright and vibrant is just fun. Here's to many many more releases from him in the near future!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Dua Lipa - Blow Your Mind (Mwah)

Another artist that doesn't get enough representation in the United States. I heard this song over the weekend on my "Gay Party Radio" on Pandora. I don't know if she identifies as a lesbian and that doesn't matter because this song is dope. It's reminiscent of Charli XCX and I love it. The video is so full of amazing visuals and the women in the video are all beautiful. Hands down one of the coolest videos I've seen in a while.

Tronicbox - Into You (Ariana Grande Dangerous 80s mix)


Taking modern day pop songs and rolling them back into the 80s is genius and producer TronicBox is making my dreams come true. I adore Ariana. I adore the 80s and this is magic. He's taken a song that's already sexy and got some spunk and made something totally new. It's now sultry and steamy without being dirty. There is more of a want and a desire in her voice with the tempo slowed down and taken back to a time before Ms. Grande was even born. I can't wait to hear what else he has on tap for us because it's going to be amazing. Simply amazing.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Raja Kumari - Believe in You

If you don't see yourself reflected in pop culture, sometimes you just have to make a place for yourself. If you are your own true authentic self, it is very possible that you will inspire an entire generation and I think that's what Raja Kumari is going to do. Born in Southern California, this first generation American Indian woman is changing the hip hop game. With a lyrical style unlike any we've heard in the industry so far, Raja is mixing her classical Indian dance and her heritage and culture with hip-hop in a genre she's dubbed 'Bollyhood'. It's exciting to see her passion shine through in everything she does and with talent as great as her own, it stands to reason that she's going to be a game changer.  Her frist EP, The Come Up, is set to debut on November 14, 2016 and I can't wait to hear it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Little Mix - Shout Out to My Ex

20 million views in 5 days. I would like to know how many of those came from the United States. I guess I should be happy they are opening for Ariana Grande this fall so the rest of the country can see how amazing they are and that Perrie is far more than Zayn's ex. It hurts me to type that but maybe it's how they are viewed here. So take a listen to the song, watch the video and be mesmerized by Little Mix. They are gorgeous in this video and it's an uplifting breakup anthem instead of just wallowing in misery.

Bright Light Bright Light - Cemetery of Two Hearts (Hallowe'en Mixtape)

You know I don't review mix tapes often and I generally don't go in on holiday themes but this one is AMAZING.  Bright Light Bright Light has released his Halloween mixtape, cleverly named Cemetery of Two Hearts (thusly named after his single, Symmetry of Two Hearts) and it is good. It's amazingly good. As if I didn't expect anything but from him. 

IT HAS "ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP" FROM THE MONSTER SQUAD. I repeat, he has included a song from The Monster Squad.  David Bowie, Kate Bush, Tori Amos are all here. "Shake Senora" from Beetlejuice.  He's just going out with tracks from all his favorite Halloween type movies.

And can we talk about his cover of "Touch Me" made famous by Cathy Dennis!!!! Rod knows exactly what he's doing and he knows how to properly leverage his platform. This cover is GORGEOUS. It's as if it was written for him specifically. And it is good. It is so good.

This is just a fun mixtape that will make you so stinking happy.

Highway Superstar - Splash

The latest venture into the mega rad world of Retro-New Wave by Israeli producer Highway Superstar is here and it's funky and it's cool and I am always amazed at how modern day producers can put themselves in the frame of mind it takes to make a song sound over 30 years old. This would fit so well in any 80s movie as a backing track to any scene; particularly a driving sequence along the Pacific Coast Highway with the ocean off to the side. I love the instrumental tracks. I think they're awesome. But I love them more when they have vocals. I hope he collaborates with Dana Jean Phoenix very soon.

Eli Lieb - Make Me (Britney Spears Cover)

Criminally Underrated. Eli Lieb needs to be a mega star. His voice is gorgeous. His arrangements, while staying true to the roots of the song, are perfect. He's got matinee idol good looks and he's one of the most sincere artists I've ever had the pleasure of following. He makes all the right choices with this cover of Britney's "Make Me", especially leaving out the horrible rap by G-Eazy. I want to see amazing things for Eli because he's a really cool guy.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Equal - Postcards feat. Sam Island (The Knocks Remix)

Just an easy remix. It's got an amazing flow. It makes you slide from side to side. It's fun and funky and stands up hella well to The Knocks seal of approval. They kill it in everything they do. And I'm glad to hear this remix. It's fresh and gives the song a new sound and face. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Little Mix - Shout Out to My Ex

30 seconds of Perrie singing is enough to brighten any day. It's not every day that a preview of a track can blow my skirt up, but it's not every day the Little Mix releases a preview! You know I adore these women. They are incredible and this song is gonna be so freaking cool.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Roger Jaeger - Start Over

I am in love. The voice. The sitar. THE SITAR. He plays the sitar in modern American music. I can not right now. I am awash with so much amazement especially trying to figure out why he's not a megastar. Forget Gavin Degraw, move over Jason Mraz. There is a new sheriff in town. Roger Jaeger is a Nashville based singer-songwriter and I am so glad that I stumbled across him.

His voice is the voice I want to hear in pop music right now. The timbre, the intensity, the quality of it is exactly what I need. This song is so good and it's criminal that it only has 3k views on youtube. He's singing about a universal feeling that we have all have felt at one point in our lives or another. We have made a decision or series of decisions and we want to do them over. We want a universal mulligan but only we want the knowledge of what came from the decision help guide our hand. And while there is a broad sweeping general appeal to this, we can't have it. We can't get our cosmic do-over and we live with the consequences of what we've done. For better or worse.

To have those ideals and thoughts represented in as beautiful of a manner that Roger has done here is a gift. The use of the sitar is inspired. It gives the song such an ethereal quality and elevates it to a new level. I love instruments that aren't typically used in pop music to have a place in the world. I love hearing how they add a whole new dimension to a song and it makes me write with a fever that is amazing and awe inspired.

I will be talking about Roger more in the future and will get in on his album so I can have more of his work in my life.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Alex Clare - Gotta Get Up

A little less EDM and a little more soul. Swagger drenched vocals have become Alex's trademark sound and he's doing amazing on this track. "I'm pushing square pegs in round holes" he says with an authority and determination that doesn't come around often. There's nothing that he doesn't throw himself into heart and soul and this song is no different. The chorus soars and the bass line and percussion just drive this song forward with a driven purpose.  If this is what we can expect off his new album, a new Alex Clare may be around the corner and it's certainly one that I want to hang out with. 

The Griswolds - High Times For Low Lives

The Griswolds are one of my favorite indie pop groups out there. I've seen them twice. Once with Walk the Moon and the other with Magic Man. They excel at stringing real life in their synth. The music they make has some mileage on it. It's been through some stuff but still comes out the other side with a little more than it started with. This is no different. It's a bit moody and a bit ragged around the edges and yeah, maybe it's seen some better days but it's gonna get through. This track is off their new album coming out soon and it's going be pretty amazing if it's following their current trajectory.

Graingerboy - Enemy Forward

Graingerboy has a way about him that is easy with a twinge of sadness. His voice is one of my favorite male voices in the industry and I just get swept up in him. His spin on pop music is much different than most artists out there right now. It's a bit darker. It's got a languid sensibility that translates into an effortless sense of creation. From the production to the way he just floats above the tracks, you get the idea that this comes easily to him but when you dig into the tracks; they are much deeper. They are much more layered and complex than you give them credit for. You hear how the little nuances and subtle quirks that sound potentially accidental are structured and placed with the deft precision of a songwriter that's been doing this for years.

What you don't know about Mr. Grainger, is that he suffers from a condition commonly known as M.E. or Myalgic Encephalopathy. This is a condition in which he deals with a host of symptoms not limited to debilitating fatigue, painful muscles and joints, disordered sleep, gastric disturbances, poor memory and concentration. This causes social issues. Issues with employment and overall quality of life. So while battling this, he still looked into himself and found the creativity to make this album. I have a feeling that music, however, is like breathing and/or oxygen for him. He can't do without it and it's apparent in the overall crafting of this album. But he is more than a diagnosis. He isn't a poster boy for cause. He's a man that's navigating his life the best way he can with what he's been given.

With it's "La, La, La's" and it's effective use of sound effects and synth mixed with live instrumentation - this is a fun quirky song that kicks off the album and sets the over all tone. It's offbeat sense of direction and self helps bring you in and makes you go... ok, I get it.
I simply adore this song. I wrote a feature on it and I think that months later it still sounds amazing. It's going to sound amazing years from now too. It's just this syrupy mixture of small breathless moments and his voice is so amazing on this. It literally makes me swoon.
The Difficult Lies of Us
Starting with a stutter of electro and the slow delivery of the opening verse makes this song an absolute stand out. When the pre-chorus kicks and the bass line gets a little heavier and thuddier it takes the song up a notch. When your expectations are high and you get let down and people just don't understand where things are in your life and they want you to keep up appearances, there are times in which you just fake it to make it. The human condition is a difficult thing to navigate when you're dealing with fallible people and mistakes and lies and other humans. You've got people that want you to be happy when you know it's not so soldier on - until you just can't anymore.

In the States we call them sneakers or gym shoes but they're trainers in the UK. He says, "You need trainers like you need new shoes. And I need new shoes like I'm needing you." Longing. Desire. Unrequited emotion. Feeling like you're not important. Feeling as if a pair of shoes is more important than your contribution to the relationship. Being relegated to something less than is a feeling that we've all experienced in our lives and it sucks and it's not cool but we have to reconcile it within our own existence or it will fester and destroy us from inside out.

Enemy Forward  
With an almost staccato verse juxtaposed against a melodic chorus, this track is full of surprises. The verses are almost rap like and each word is punctuated with brilliance. I would love to hear a remix of this that focuses on that rap like quality that brings it even more forward. The synth is gorgeous in this song. It's simple and it's got a tinny feel to it that is nostalgic to the bossanova or other prerecorded demo tracks on your first keyboard. To me this track is about picking your battles. It's deciding what's worth your time and where you need to place your energy. Sometimes you just have to walk away from a situation and use that energy to steel yourself against what's coming ahead.

Change. It happens. We can't prevent it. It's part of our existence. It comes and it goes and we can flow with it or fight it but in the end it's inevitable. This song hurts me to listen to because of how close it hits to home. I am plagued, every single day of my life, with sometimes crippling self doubt. I am terrified of change. It fills me with dread and I just can't deal with it. Writing this, this very moment that my fingers are flying across the keys - my eyes have welled up because of how very honest this song is.

"What if I crumble.
What if I fall on my knees.
What if I breakdown, forget to breathe.
What if I fail this.
What if I don't understand, will I still be shadow man"

There hasn't been a more honest representation of how I feel every day. But there is another conversation happening in this song that says, it's ok. You can do all of those things but you will make it. You will survive. One day, it will be a brighter day. Things will work out.  I had to stop writing this for a minute so I could breathe. I had to get back on track as this song just destroyed me. Now, do not get me wrong, when you actually start to hear what the artist is saying and not just take a cursory listen for the aesthetics of a song; you are going to have a reaction and it's beautiful and it's good and it's what music is supposed to do. So I am grateful that he elicited this reaction from me. It helps me look at my life and realize that with patience and understanding and a will to be; I can be more than my own shadow man.

The Deliberate Inbetween 
I needed this song to be a palate cleanser. I needed it to just let me breathe and exist and it did. It was brilliant of him to place this song after "Shadowformerself" because it does give you the space you need to process what had just happened and you're not experiencing sensory overload. Well played, sir. Well played.

Coming back with a vengeance is his ode to the bourgeoisie. But it may be an anthem about the things you fill your head with to block out all the other static and noise. We have the dreams and we have the wants but when the sometimes stark reality reminds us that we won't have the house in Malibu we retreat into our own head and live where the beautiful people are.

This is the culmination of the journey. This is the decompression at the end. The light at the end. It's looking back at what we've done and where we've been and realizing that everything is fine. It's been a journey and it's been hard at times but with the sense of accomplishment that comes when we overcome our doubt and our fears; we can do this. We can be better than we were.

While the album may have an overall mournful quality to it, what we have to remember and pull from this is that if we encounter a situation that doesn't work out in our favor, sometimes the best thing we can do is pick ourselves up, dust off and move forward. It's not that easy sometimes, especially when we feel like we're fighting the fight on our own. But through resilience and perseverance, we can put one foot in front of the other and make our lives a little better a day at a time. I think hope is the overall takeaway from this album. It's the feeling of that long exhale when you've conquered your fear or when you have beaten the anxiety back. It's the relief that comes when you examine what you have put out in the world and despite all that has rallied against us, we know that we have put our absolute best out in the universe and we aren't going to lay down and quit.

Enemy Forward is out today. You can get it at all your favorite online music distribution places. Go buy it. Listen to it and hear where he's been the past two years and see that with hope we can do all the things. Music always doesn't have to be sunshine and rainbows because in between those things is rain. And thunder. And lightning. And it does disturb your calm and it makes you hesitant but when the sun does come back out, so does the rainbow. So we need both in our lives to achieve balance. And when an artist is able to show you both sides of the coin, take it. Use it. Have a cry. Get angry. But learn. Grow. Be organic and never stop.  Graingerboy hasn't and he's got no plans on it anytime soon.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Karaoke Superstar - Will Stone

Karaoke is a funny thing. It's something that most people don't look at as a serious art form at all. It's fanciful flights of alcohol fueled ridiculousness most of the time. It's the girls night out with Gretchen Wilson. It's loud, obnoxious frat dudes doing Chumbawamba. It's the tone deaf local that sings classic rock songs because it reminds him of his glory days. What ever it is, it's something we have all either done or have seen done, badly. But what happens when it's not bad? What happens when the person singing is actually good and doesn't trample all over the song like the bulls in Pamplona? Well you get a new segment we are going to be doing here called Karaoke Superstar. I want your submissions. I want you to tell me where the best karaoke singer you've heard is at. I want to showcase local talent and get some names and faces out there so that the people that need to take advantage of this superstars are.

So let's get down to it. The first entrant into my Karaoke Hall of Fame is a local singer here in Owensboro, KY that goes by the name Will Stone. I don't know much about Will. I know that he does a lot with our local community theater group, Back Alley Musicals and that he has the charm and stage presence of a mastermind. He was most recently seen as Burt in the Back Alley production of Mary Poppins and he absolutely destroyed the roll. He's got a smile that lights up the room and when he's on stage singing he gives it his all. He doesn't just drunkenly ramble through a song, he actually sings the song as if it is his own and he's performing to a packed house.  His voice is amazing as you can see in his performances of "That's Life" in the style of Michael Buble or "Valerie" as made famous by Amy Winehouse.  Now, don't expect this to be some cheesy ass Glee type of rendition of these songs. These are songs that he loves and he enjoys doing. It is apparent as he plays with the audience and he makes these songs his own. He's got knowledge of timing and breath control and can sing like a champ. So take a look at Will Stone killing it in these two videos.

And I apologize in advance for all the not great camera work in the videos. I'll do better next time around and actually record them horizontally and everything.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Antiwave - Holiday Heart

A little mellow. A little laconic. A lot of chill. Just an easy song that you can breath easily along with. It's been potentially classified as shoegaze or trip hop and I can see that. It's got a little Portishead and a little Sneaker Pimps to it but it's not trying to be anything that it isn't. There's this life to the song that is like swinging on a swing at the park and there's that perfect mix of sunshine and breeziness happening. You kind of have to squint because the sun is in your eyes and you're not swinging hard just kind of hanging out on the swing going back and forth just being. It's the ease of the song that makes it so approachable. You end up closing your eyes and going with it. Lazy river floating through it all on an inner tube. No sense of urgency, just existing.

There's a melancholic twinge of remembrance to it as well. Heather Baker, vocalist, says the song “is inspired by the overwhelming feeling I think we all encounter that the past was filled with good times or was easier. This leads to the direct or indirect selective remembrance of moments in our lives. Yet we are products of the great pain and pleasure we endure, whether we know it or not.” And that message totally comes through in the way the song is built. It's just languid and breathy. I really dig this track and Heather's vocals are amazing. I look forward to seeing where they go from here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Kimbra - Sweet Relief

It's new, it's fresh but in the same breath; it's familiar and nostalgic. It's funky and it's all Kimbra.... without a doubt you know it's her. You know she's a mastermind and you know that she's insanely talented and it's crazy to think that she's not a freaking superstar. She challenges conventions and she does things by her own rules. She makes the music she wants to hear and it's poppy and funky and creative and all the things you want the music to be. I dig Kimbra. Have for a very long time and love to see her grow and continue pursuing music as she feels she should.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Karmin - Come With Me (Pure Imagination)

It's criminal how underrated this band is. I don't understand who they pissed off in the industry that's preventing them from becoming the stars they deserve to be. I mean the vocals, the arrangements, the flow of ideas and creativity that come from this group should propel them to superstardom but apparently someone out there disagrees. The use of "Pure Imagination" in this track is done in an exceptionally thoughtful manner. It's a fun track that just takes you out of the world for a minute. I've been a fan of their since the beginning but you don't hear nearly enough about them.  Go out and pick up their new album, Leo Rising and support them because I think they really deserve it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Glenn Stewart - Around Again (DJ Chris Spear Remix)

Take a country cover of a pop song and make a dance mix of it... is it still country or a little bit rock and roll? There's enough Donnie and Marie in this to get you off your ass and moving. We've already swooned over the cover Glenn Stewart did of this song (because it's an amazing cover) so lets talk about how DJ Chris Spear (another long time friend of the blog) took that country cover and made something super cool out of it. The low end hits so freaking hard and it's easily a helluva dance track. Mix this into any party playlist and you're going to have people dancing and giving you that knowing look that they recognize it but aren't completely sure where they've heard it and then when the chorus hits, they will have a spark of recognition and then dance their asses off.

The video mix is by DJ Eric out of Atlanta and it takes some work to get a remix to sync up to a video and have it done as well as he's done here. This is an amazing collaboration by a handful of independent artists that prove you don't have to have the backing of a major record label to make something great. It's a damn good remix that doesn't lose the integrity of the original cover and I think that's something amazing that Chris does. There's enough of him in a remix to put his own stamp on it without taking away from what's already been done. It takes a producer without ego to know how to properly do that. Glenn's voice is still golden and it sounds amazing. The country vibe is still here and it's still got that feeling of amazement that you get when you hear Glenn's version for the first time.

Friday, September 23, 2016

St. Lucia - Help Me Run Away

St. Lucia has become my latest obsession. The music is infectious and makes everything better. It's amazing synthpop with an exceptionally thought out nostalgic sensibility. I hear a ton of Baltimoria in the tracks and in Jean-Philip's vocal delivery. They are just amazing. Their live shows (from the videos I've seen online) are amazingly high energy and just fun. This video is pretty amazing and the concept is brilliantly thought out and matches the song perfectly. If you are in need of an escape, do yourself a favor and spend some time on YouTube with their catalog. It's a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Homer Marrs and the Excellent Adventure - Equinox Party

Homer comes from a very similar place I did in our musical development and to my ears, there are a lot of influences I hear in his performance. Whether it's Evan Dando or Shannon Hoon or Gordon Gano or John Flansburgh, there is a deep rooted sense of history and reverence to Homer's delivery. I've talked before how Homer could be perceived as more of a comedic act but he's so much more than that. The manner in which his music is wrapped in this very approachable blanket of smiles and humor makes it a much easier delivery system for the deeper messages he's putting into the universe.

He says this song isn't mastered yet and I don't want it to be changed. I think it's raw and it's honest. It's pulling from experiences that I think all of us felt at some point in high school and turned to the angsty, honest alternative music and it's got a very nostalgic feel to it. The guitar is crunchy and the drums just drive you forward as you just get lost. It makes me think of my "Jordan Catalano" but I was never Angela. I was always more of a combination of Brian and Rayanne but I really wanted to be Ricky. So Homer has successfully tapped into this small primal place of remembrance that is fuelled by a ton of "could haves" but it's not all bad. Life wasn't a bad place back then. There was plenty of good and even though we never hung out with the "cool kids", I think it all turned out all right.

He's one of the coolest dudes making music today because it's all on his terms and he's doing things unlike so many other people out there. I'm a fan and will be for all time. I feel like I'm a teenager discovering that my voice has been amplified and given weight and value by musicians I will never meet but they know me better than I know myself.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lou Webb - Frenemies

Emotion is what I peddle. I spend hours involved in thinking about it, feeling it, expressing it. Helping others to feel seems to be where I gravitate. So when you have someone that has taken a very raw part of themselves and exposed it for the world to see, I tend to come running like wildfire. Enter Lou Webb. Lou is a British bloke that snatched up a guitar and threw some thoughts and feelings into a song and put it out on the internet to live and breathe and find it's way to me. I'm not even sure if he's a singer in a proper nature or just a dude that needed to get some stuff out into the universe. Regardless, I'm damn glad he did because between his voice and the emotion he's bleeding all over this track; I am a very happy critic. His voice is raw and it's full of feeling. He's experienced some life and has made that the basis of how he expresses his thoughts and feelings. It's gritty and it's roughed up by life a bit and it's good. It's honest and it has no pretense to it.

"Frenemies" is a song that talks about something that comes into our lives more often than we care to potentially acknowledge. People that, for better or worse, are still in our gravity even though they tend to do nothing but bring pain and misery to some level to our lives but we just don't cut them out like the growing and spreading cancer they are. Maybe it's because I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately or maybe it's because I'm just getting older and tired of people's stream of bullshit; but removing these people from my life has never been easier. Either you bring something to the table that's mutually beneficial or you walk away. If we all approached our relationships like that, I think things would be much smoother and much less stressful on the daily.

So Lou is this bloke that sung a song and put it on Soundcloud. He's actually got 2 up there and they're both brilliant. I'm gonna find out if he's more than just singing because he can and find out if there is more music out there. I feel like I need more of what he's able to express in my life and I feel, gentle readers, you all need some of him in you as well. Stay tuned and I'll be back with more.

Jospeh - White Flag

Harmonies. Harmonies. Harmonies. You know they are my jam. And this is my jam. Joseph is a group of sisters from the Pacific Northwest and I know there will be immediate comparisons to Haim but that's a damn good thing. This track is earthy and gritty and got a chewy vibe to it. I dig it. And I am going to learn more about Joseph and bring more music to you guys from them.

K.Flay - Blood in the Cut

One of the coolest artists that I've ever had the pleasure of interacting with is K.Flay. I met her 6 years ago as she was opening for The Limousines and The Sounds in Cincinnati, OH. It was quite literally one of the best shows I've ever been too and getting to spend time with her after the show was a highlight. I've gotten to watch her grow and mature as an artist and the world is finally catching up to where she's been for years. Quite honestly, she is one of the realest emcees out there and her flow is like no other. I can't wait to continue following her career to see where this magic ride she's taking us on leads.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Liquid Diet - My C*nt

Raucous, bawdy, unapologetic. My three favorite adjectives to describe Liquid Diet. In my review of their album, Double Life, I talked about how this song is as much social commentary as it is incredible dance track. Georgia says, "I fucked a DJ and he played my song, cause a record deal takes too long" and it's a fact about our culture today. If you can get the product in then hands of the people that want it in a much more streamlined fashion, aren't you going to? Why deal with the long drawn out process of contract negotiation and haggling over rights....that's not sexy. It's not fast and it's not the Liquid Diet way.

The video takes place in an office where Jonathan is playing the unrelenting tyrant of a boss, destroying all the fun and livelihood in the workplace. Again, not sexy. He relishes his time on screen as the mean queen and does a fantastic job at it. (Insert winky face here). Billy just wants to have a good time and work on his music as he is the most sought after DJ in the land, Mike Hunt and Georgia is seeking the legendary music maker to get her product out to her adoring fans. The atmosphere changes when Jonathan takes a nap and Georgia gets the music out. The office workers transform into their real selves and the party begins.

Yeah, the song is titled "My Cunt" and there are plenty of references to cunt throughout but words are only powerful if you give them meaning and when you take the power out of a word, it's merely that. A word. A set of letters strung together to describe something. While you may believe this song is all about shock value, I see it as something totally different. Like I said, it's social commentary and it's progressive and it makes you talk. Whether you have a positive or a negative opinion, you're at least having a conversation and that's what art does.  It's also giving people the opportunity to see some amazing NYC based talent they may not be familiar with like legendary burlesque star Dirty Martini and Brooklyn based drag artist Jeff Poulin.

Make sure you check out their debut video, "Luminary" and see how far down the rabbit hole you can go.  Pick up their album, Double Life on iTunes and just support this amazingly cool group of people that are taking risks and making music on their own terms.

Alex Clare - Tell Me What You Need

OH EM GEE! A new Alex Clare track!!! It's a bit slowed down. It's a bit melancholy. It's a bit more soulful than his usual fare and I LOVE it. Any Alex Clare is good Alex Clare. He is quite literally one of my favorite male vocalists of all time. His vocals against the EDM is magic. It's quality like not many artists can reproduce. He puts on an amazing live show and I would love for him to tour America again so I can see him live again. This track has got a groove that you just get into and bob your head. I dig the lyrics. It's all about communication and keeping an honest dialog going between two people. Something that we need more of in this world. It's a fantastic track and I can't wait to see what lies ahead on his third studio release.

Adore Delano - Dynamite

I think when it comes down to it, unless you're Adore Delano and a drag entertainer who was on Rupaul's Drag Race; don't release an album. I love Alaska, Courtney, and Willam. They're all amazing entertainers and they've released fantastic albums but as far as universal appeal and pop sensibilities - Adore is the only way to go. "Dynamite" is a single off her second album, After Party and it could easily stand up to anything by Miley, Selena, Ariana or any of the pop divas of choice today. I love this song. The hook is so catchy. The chorus is great. It's a fantastic pop song that just makes you lose track of all time and dance your ass off. The whole album is amazing but I think this is my favorite track off the whole thing. It's that good.

She looks amazing in the video and she's being true to her own aesthetic and showing you who Adore is. I think it's fun and it's sexy and it does the song absolute justice. Another fantastic example of how to do pop music and do it well.

Kenyth Mogan - Unlock Your Heart

This video is super cute. It's fun, it's campy, and it's all heart. Taking a riff on the Oz train, Kenyth Mogan tells a story about love and helping the person you want to be with see more about themselves than they already are. I think that's one of the most important things we can do with the people that are in our lives, we help them to grow and become more fully realized versions of themselves. Other times, we just may need to use a chainsaw. Kenyth is a recording artist from Montana and he's begun to make a name for himself and has garnered some internet celebrity. And when the quality of work is as good as this, it makes sense. I dig his voice and if you want to hear him do amazingly soulful, heartfelt - then I recommend you check out the Stripped mix of his song, "It Was Love" on his Soundcloud. I want to see this young man do awesome things and I think he has the potential to do so.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Two Door Cinema Club - Bad Decisions

These guys are letting their influences be their guide and it's glorious. Being influenced by Prince and Bowie is probably one of the most amazing things that any artist can be because of how freeing their influence can be. And then you take the super cool vibe and style that TWCD already had and you've got a whole new sound. When I heard the track at first, I was like who is doing their best Scissor Sisters and I was immediately hooked. This is such a departure from their other singles and albums, to be fair, and I was stunned. I need to pick up their new album and see just how far this influence goes.  But "Bad Decisions" is anything but.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tone Sith - Nice and Slow (Usher Cover)

You know how I feel about covers. They have to do something special that the original artist didn't do. This Usher cover blew my mind the first time I heard it and it shows a vocal range on a young up and coming R&B star like we haven't heard in a long time. I hear a little Ralph Tresvant, a little Tevin Campbell and a whole lot of amazing in this young man's voice. This is a fantastic cover song and I look to see this dude killing it every day.

Kid Kasio - Full Moon Blue

Pure synthpop bliss. This is good stuff. And it is totally up to par with what Kid Kasio has released in the past. As a matter of fact, it's probably one of his coolest songs to date. The vocals have a disenfranchised quality to them that was so prevalent in the 80s. He's able to express a ton of emotion but at the same time it's almost as if he can't be bothered. That's a vocal delivery talent that not many people can do. Dave Gahan could do it. David Byrne could do it and it's great.

Prides - Are You Ready

Glasgow based Indie pop duo, Prides have a new single out and it's a stunner. The emotion that's being conveyed through the vocals is incredible. Just the breathy delivery and the pained quality that shows there is history and experience that's being drawn from to reach these heights. Not all music has to be peppy and upbeat. As a matter of fact, it's generally the music that delves deep in the emotional realms we aren't super happy to experience on our own are the songs that mean the most. It's a gorgeous song and they are continuing their rise to becoming one of the coolest new bands in recent years.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mila Jam - Britney Spears Glory Mashup

Mila has done something incredible here. She's taken the best parts of the whole album and mashed them up into one cohesive song. I love Britney. Always have, always will but the album as a whole is exceptionally repetitive. It gets old quickly. So when you take the best songs on the album (I would have thrown some Clumsy in there for good measure) and make something even better out of them it is a good thing. My only issue is there seems to be a bit of clipping on the recording. I think a little post production work could clear that up but aside from that, Mila's voice is the absolute star here. She's a new artist to me but I went back and listened to some of her older stuff and she's a very talented young woman. Mila is gearing up for the release of her single, ‘1000 Faces’, and subsequent EP thereafter. ‘1000 Faces’ proceeds will contribute to the victims of The Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL.  So stay tuned and I'll absolutely keep you informed about her progress.

The Casket Creatures - Deranged

Gonna take a pretty huge detour from the music I normally feature but its my site and it's my prerogative so whatever. While I was in Atlanta over Labor Day for DragonCon, I got to meet Ryan Cadaver, the lead singer of The Casket Creatures; a horror rock/punk band based out of Atlanta. Now, as a child of the 80s, there's really not one of us out there that isn't influenced by horror movies of some form; whether it be "Nightmare on Elm Street", "Friday the 13th", "Halloween", "Critters", "Ghoulies", "C.H.U.D" or anything by Troma. Throw in the potential that if you're reading this blog, you may have a bit of nerd in you and you know what I say is true so honestly - talking about a horror themed metal group isn't too far out of the scope of what I do. Plus, it's my blog so I can pretty much write about whatever the fuck I wanna write about.

We talk about music and what music represents. We talk about how music influences is and how music makes us feel. Yeah, we are a feeling blog around here because I'm not educated enough about chord progression or how songs are constructed to get all technical with my write ups and it's fair to say that all emotions are valid around here. We've talked about melancholy and the gloomy stuff. We've jumped headfirst into the super poppy and bubblegummy stuff so why not the darker stuff that some of us deal with in our lives. The stuff that you know you want to talk about outloud but you're afraid because it may alienate you from your people. But if you're familiar with music that makes you feel things and you're familiar with Limp Bizkit's song "Break Stuff", you may or may not have belted out a lyric or two when the day isn't going your way. And that's totally acceptable. It's absolutely fine to be affected by music. It's what we want it to do. We want it to connect us with something that is larger than ourselves and have it express the things we don't necessarily have the words to express on our own.

So a song taps into your darker emotions, your more base, primal need. Go with it. See where it takes you. I think that's what "Deranged" by The Casket Creatures does. Combined with the visuals from the video, it taps into a part of us that we may not necessarily acknowledge on a conscious level. It's the deep, dark that may scare us if we are ready to open up to it. It's the stuff that goes bump in the night and all those other clichés. But what it is, is a catharsis for those emotions and feelings we may be having.  I've been told that there is a story buried in the narrative of the video and from what I see and what feelings it helps me to unlock - it's a story about loss and how we feel after a dissolution of a relationship. Not necessarily a romantic relationship, just one that we held close to us. The confusion and the feeling all knotted up after we've been surreptitiously dumped by a lover, a friend, a whatever they are.

You've got a video in which the members of the band act out scenarios of gore and death on a bevy of beauties. I don't see any misogyny in this video as I am going to assume that the members of the band identify as heterosexual so it would make sense that the objects of their affection would be that of the opposite sex. As well as the majority of their fan base would key into these visuals as well but fear not, dear reader, because the tide shifts at the end of the video. You've got these emotions that you need an outlet for and what better way to process those than through a video like this. No one is harmed and you are left with a feeling of closure.  Yeah, the video is what it is. It's a horror movie in less than 5 minutes. But it is more than that; if you need it to be.  The guys in the band are really badass dudes and they have other videos in their repertoire that are not as graphic as this one so if you're into the melodic metal that they do so well under the guise of horror rock, I say check them out. You don't be disappointed. Also, if you're a fan of The Misfits, The Melvins, The Dead Kennedys then I highly recommend "The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb", "Zombie Werewolves from Outer Space", and "Blood Junkies".

The Casket Creatures on the Web

Liquid Diet - Double Life

When you make the decision to do the thing that's right for you and you neither require nor desire someone else's approval is when life fully starts. That's what Liquid Diet has done with their debut LP, they made the record they wanted to make and they did it in the manner in which they needed to. This album is unapologetic. It's raw. It's what we all should strive to be. It's irreverent and it's going to make an impression. It's brutal and it's all the things that make for an outstanding album. It's brash and unforgiving. But above all that, it's a really well put together album. If the construction of the tracks and the overall flow of the album fell apart, then none of the "no fucks given" attitude would work but thanks to top notch production and near flawless execution of the ideas they set out to express, the album stands as a shining example of what you can do if you do it well.

I think that we need more of this in our life. We need to hear music that shocks us a little. We need to be jarred out of our slumps and we need to be challenged. With out discord and minor amounts of chaos, we will stagnate and there will be no opportunity for growth. I know this analogy is going to go way out in left field but I honestly equate the three members of this group with the Fae from Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Jonathan and Georgia are lording over their domain as Titania and Oberon while Billy runs around spreading mischief as Puck. And in the end, we are all more appreciative and grateful for their efforts to make us see what it is we need to see.

'Double Life' is an album that at first glance appears to be a simple dance/pop album but upon further inspection, it's far more than that. From the way the tracks are ordered to the content of the album to the choices they make in inflection and vocal delivery. Will this album change your life, maybe.... will this album make you stop and think about life and how certain intricacies of your daily interactions with yourself and those around you, hopefully. It's not just an Dance album. It's not just an Ambient album. It's all of the above and it's going to take you to high places and keep you spinning there and then it's going to bring you back down into a chill meditative state with one of the more trance like songs. It's sexy and it's sultry and it's dirty and raunchy and it's unapologetic about all of it. They pull no punches and it works very well in their favor. It's not gimmicky and it's not something that has shock value to just have shock value. There is a fine line between an album you can listen to and take seriously versus a comedy album.

"My Cunt" is one of the more provocative songs on the album but when you listen to the lyrics and actually hear what they are saying, it's a song that speaks mountains of truth. Why waste time getting a record deal and all the headache that comes along with it when you can get your music directly to the people that want to hear it? If that means fucking a DJ, then where is the harm? Everyone gets what they want and as long as the communication is clear then no harm, no foul. It's not a song that's meant to just be there for shock value. It's a song that has a lot to say about the music industry.

The album is laid out so incredibly well. You've got tracks like "Don't You Wanna Know" and "Inside Me" preceding "Writing on the Wall" and they act like foreplay to get you ready for the next track. "Don't You Wanna Know" is a deceptive single in that if you listen to the lyrics as they're looped and sampled, it appears to be a song that is helping people explore their lives outside of the mundane. It's a song that is going to challenge people's beliefs. How do you know whether or not you like it until you try and you're going to try it in an environment that is safe and without judgment. Step out and find out.... you know you want to.

I've written about "Writing on the Wall" previously and it's one of my favorite songs. Not one of my favorite Liquid Diet songs but one of my favorite songs of all time. I think it's clever and it's well executed and makes you keep coming back (pun intended) for more. It's a fantastic song and Billy and Georgia are gorgeous on it. It's got a glorious nostalgic feel to it but it's also very current and modern at the same time.

"Rise" is a very important song that we should become part of our daily mantras. "Best friends aren't always forever"..... that lyric hit me like a ton of bricks and I was like.... You don't know my life, but that's what musicians do. They tell our stories in a way that we can access them and make them part of who we are. Sometimes you have to cut the negativity out and rise above it. It's a hard lesson to learn but in the end sometimes we have to. We have to look at our lives and make the determination that we are going to do better for ourselves. We aren't going to be trapped in the same mess that we have been.

"Looking For Love" is should be a seminal track for anyone that's had their share "chance" encounters. We get in, we get what we need and we get out. It's just a thing. Maybe we try our best to find something more but for what it is, it gives us what we need. And the homage to The Doors is amazingly brilliant. Exceptional choice for this song.

I love the ups and downs in the album. The moments of quiet introspection like "Miami" and "Rearview Mirror". They let you just float along languidly as you let the album take you where you need to go.  But then you are lead to an amazing example of Georgia's beautiful voice on "I Love You All". She does have one of the most amazing voices in music today. It has so much character and can be this raucous party in your ears or something small and demure. Her range and control is incredible.

"Dumb and Hung" makes me exquisitely happy because it, like "My Cunt", doesn't care. It's totally straightforward and doesn't mince words. It's an example of what we can do if we just do away with all the pretense and all the games. Speak plainly and clearly. Enunciate your wants and desires. Don't beat around the bush. Put it out there and you'll get what you need.

The album closes with "Luminary". It's a gorgeous song that is a lyrical journey all on it's own. You should watch the video to see just how amazing this song and the visuals they have created for the song are. And by the way.... you can grab yourself a free download of "Luminary" by clicking here.

The album makes you ask questions about Liquid Diet as a trio. What is this Double Life they've been talking about? Are you experiencing your own version of it? Do you want to watch and see if they are leading their own version of it? It makes you question your morals and desires and leaves you wanting more. Dripping with sweat and satisfaction; Georgia, Billy and Jonathan leave you satisfied and satiated. Doesn't matter what it was you were looking for at the beginning of the album - by the time you completed it, you know more about yourself than when the journey started. Maybe you've opened yourself up to possibilities you never thought you would? Maybe you want to experience things for yourself. Isn't that what music should do? It should challenge you. It should make you want something more...

Get the album on iTunes or Amazon and support this amazing group.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

High Dive Heart - Playground

Youth is wasted on the young. I think that's something we say all the time. One of my favorites is, "Growing up was the worst decision I ever made". And we look back at the times that were more simple and wish to be back there again but life doesn't work that way. We push forward and we make the decisions we need to get along with our lives. High Dive Heart is easily becoming one of my favorite pop groups. They just make good music and I have not been disappointed in any of their singles as of yet. This one is no different. It's a solid pop song that just makes you feel good.

Glenn Stewart - Around Again (Rupaul Cover)

Covers. They're either amazing or horrible. There's generally no grey area. What makes a successful cover in my eyes is the reinvention of the song. Take something that is established and give it a new life and that's exactly what country artist, Glenn Stewart has done and I'm not gonna lie.... I think I almost appreciate this version of the song more than the original. This is a cover of a Rupaul song and I think what he's done is give this a layer of emotion that makes it more than a dance song. It's his inflection and it's the arrangement. It's the emphasis on certain words and how it's got a whole new vibe. I really dig this track and I'm moderately upset that it's taken me this long to find it and get into it.

The passion that Glenn is delivering his performance is amazing. He's fully committed to this song and he's giving you everything you need. It's very cool to see just how into it is, that's a sure sign that he's doing what he loves and he's not half-assing it. I will look more into his music and see what all he has to offer. I am going to bet if his originals are as good as this cover, I am going to have a new favorite independent country artist on my hands.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Delta Rae - Bottom of the River (Indianapolis, IN)

Friday night was supposed to be an awesome night seeing an amazing concert with a band that I have grown to love over the years but nature had other ideas as it sent torrential rains to Indianapolis, a city that doesn't appear to be built to handle that type of punishment. There isn't nearly enough drainage and the water had nowhere to go. So here we are on our way to the venue and it's still raining, the streets are still flooding and we are hoping for the best.  We get to The Vogue and find the members of the band outside taking pictures of an amazing double rainbow over the club. That's got to be an awesome omen, right? Not so much.  The venue had flooded and it was a safety hazard for anyone to be allowed in.  This does not look good for our concert.

3 bands had been contracted to play. Jessie and Amy, Castro, and Delta Rae. The staff at the venue and the bands were working on some compromise so that they could reschedule the concert but no one's schedule would line up properly.  And when you think that Castro drove from Dallas and Delta Rae from Raleigh, there were some people that wanted some opportunity to do what they came there to do. So it was decided that the 2 opening acts would do 2 songs each and then Delta Rae would do what they could for as long as they could.

We knew that they had a ton of new music they wanted to play for us because we talked with Brittany, Eric and Liz. They were excited to share with us the new songs they were crafting for their next record and we were equally as excited to have them play them for us. So Jessie and Amy led the charge with a guitar and cajon and killed with their two songs. This was my first time hearing them and I immediately fell in love with their soulfulness and gorgeous harmonies.  Family band, Castro was up next and they knocked it out of the park with their two offerings. With an album dropping on September 2, 2016 - they were really excited to sing for us and show us what they had as well and they did not disappoint.

The light was fading and Delta Rae rolled out their bass drum, the garbage can, Eric and Ian's guitars and Grant's acoustic bass.  They were super apologetic for having to cancel but the small crowd that packed in front of the venue understood and we were just happy to have them there with us. They sang between 6 and 8 songs, each one of them showing the range and versatility they had and just the amazing ability to overcome adversity and kill a performance. I think that's something that each of these 3 groups did. They showed an amazing amount of professionalism by sticking it out and doing something that a lot of groups wouldn't. They decided that the fans, the people that had ventured out to see them deserved something and it was something that none of us will ever forget. I was amazed at how they gave so freely of themselves and they did it in a way that elevated them even higher. They didn't rely on technology. They didn't have anything but their voices, their talent and their instruments to work with and they were amazing.

We got 2 new songs, "The Wrong Ocean" and a song I am going to call "When Mama Starts Singin" and they were on opposite ends of the spectrum but both filled with so much emotion and love it was crazy. Eric took lead on "The Wrong Ocean" and it was just a hear-wrenching song about loving and longing and finding your place in the world and it's something that we all can relate to on some level. Brittany grabbed the reigns on "Mama" and took us to church. The voice that comes out of this woman is ridiculous on the most fundamental level. She's got so much power and range that you're just awestruck of what she can do. It was a story song about someone's mama and her power to wield a voice that could make the devil cry and it was good and full of energy and made you feel revitalized.

The rest of their set was amazing. I know I am forgetting songs but we got, "If I Loved You", "Morning Comes", "Dance in the Graveyard", "Chasing Twisters", "Bottom of the River", and one of the most powerful and amazing versions of "All Good People" I have ever heard. The raw emotion of that song is incredible to begin with but to have it so powerfully rendered in such an intimate setting was glorious.

So if you get a chance to see this group, do yourself a favor but know, that quite by accident - I have seen probably one of the greatest shows they will ever do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Knaves - Stranger

Sheffield, England based Knaves have been making a name for themselves around England but it's time that they become more of an international household name. When the music is this well put together and lets you escape reality for a handful of minutes, they deserve to be heard around the globe. This is amazingly solid indie pop music with an incredibly wide, mass-market appeal. I believe that even though an artist may be making music to express themselves but without the most people being able to hear it, it's almost like the "If a tree falls in the woods" argument. So let's get them out there for everyone to hear so that they can continue making music and expressing the things we need them to put to music for us. But I digress. I think this is a pretty killer track that will fit in alongside any of the major indie pop acts. I want to hear much more from these guys.

Brenda Bennett - OK Enough

I don't necessarily think that we settle as much as we think we do, we merely rise to the circumstances of our situation and become fine with the outcomes in life. Sometimes we need a reminder that it's perfectly fine to not get everything in life that we thought we would. It may not be exactly the turnout we expected but that's okay too. Brenda's voice is amazing in this video. Her timeless vocals prove that you don't have to be young and scantily clad to make amazing music. You don't have to shake your ass to be relevant. Music documents different areas and times in our lives so having someone make amazing music at any stage of their life is a gift we should be thankful for. I have always been a fan of Brenda's ever since Vanity asked her how they were going to get to the party.  She makes me very happy and sings the songs that we need to hear on the days when the world isn't going our way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Leagues - Alone Together Sampler

We are going to call this a sampler of what's to come off their new album, Alone Together, that drops on September 9, 2016 and if this is what we can expect then the whole album is going to be crazy. These 3 songs are full of electro-synthy goodness that just exemplifies the awesome music that Leagues are able to conjure up with ease. The way Thad's vocals seamlessly work in conjunction with the production work done on the tracks is gloriously effortless. You can hear the palpable chemistry these guys have and a love for the music they are creating.

"Lipstick Coffee" kicks off this playlist and it has this "grunge-y, sitting down on your heels, making a stank face" vibe to it. The bass line and the percussion takes the track and pushes it forward in an almost military like precision. The guitar solo is nuts. The progression of the song is just grimy and good. It is one that deserves to be listened to on repeat. It's such a cool fucking song. I am really, really enjoying this more than I have a lot of songs of late.

"Dance With Me" is a little more straight-forward. It's more indie pop and less an experimental dance pop/indie fusion. I think that it's a solid departure from what you had just heard in "Lipstick Coffee". It has a bit of retro new wave how the build up to the first chorus is designed. There is a bit of nostalgia wrapped up in it. You can maybe hear some Tangerine Dream or maybe a little OMD in the DNA of this song. It shows a versatility that still showcases Thad's vocals and Jeremy's production/programming/general all around badassness in a way that is intriguing and pushes you further into wanting to know more about what they have up their sleeve. It makes me close my eyes and just sink into the groove.

"Slow and Steady" is yet another facet of the gift they are trusting us with. Much more melodic and vulnerable, this song seems to work along it's own methodic pacing. It's a bit softer and more introspective. It's less synth heavy and Thad's vocals really shine as you're focusing on what he's saying and really digging deep into how they have power to make you feel different things with each offering.

I honestly can't wait until this album comes out. Their debut album, 'You Belong Here' is one that is never too far out of my own personal rotation. I think these two guys make a helluva team and they make incredible music.  I want to see them do HUGE things because they can. And can we just talk about that cover art for a second. These are two dead sexy dudes with an incredible glint in their eyes for mischief and shenanigans. I applaud the art director for deciding on this for the art.

Also, preorder the album here and get a free download of these three tracks and "New Money"!!

Adore Delano - Dancing on My Own (Robyn Cover)

So Adore took a song that was already heart-wrenching, slowed it down and made it even more mournful. The unrequited feelings of love, loss, and heartbreak are all carefully executed in her version of Robyn's song. The emotion she's able to inject into this cover is ridiculous and to think that she's not a super star is mind boggling. If she were to release a proper cover of this song, I would buy it in a heartbeat. This is truly an amazing performance.

MisterWives - Not Your Way

Generally I don't blog about the bigger acts but I adore MisterWives and this video is just fun. It's got a cute concept and is very well put together. I don't want to distract too much from the video, just know that it's easily one of my favorites that I've seen in a while.