Monday, June 27, 2016

Keith London - Over the Rainbow (Todrick Hall Cover)

I do not understand why this man isn't a superstar. I don't watch American Idol. I never have. So I didn't get to watch his journey. All I know is that this man has more heart and soul in his heart than the majority of those contenders put together. He sings with passion and he sings with thoughtfulness and integrity. You can look at his face and see that he knows every word that he sings is true and good.

This cover is from Todrick Hall's hour long special, "Straight Outta Oz" and every single time I've listened to Keith sing it, I get chills. It takes something special about a song that touches every single person that hears it. Whether it be Todrick's words or Keith's interpretation, the song is one of the most important that I think I've heard in a long time. It's something that we, young misfits that don't know exactly where we fit in, have wanted to hear for our entire lives. It's a representation of everything we've been told and it resonates so profoundly. I had a hard time watching Keith sing it because you could see how every syllable touched him and he didn't hide an ounce of it.

Thank you Keith for this cover and your voice and your heart and soul. Thank you Todrick for everything that you put out in the universe because you are easily one of the voices of this generation.

High Dive Heart - Wild Ride

Sometimes songs are written to just make you feel great. This is one of those. It's also going to get picked up and used in every commercial and television station promo from here to the moon. There's nothing at all wrong with that, it's just what it is. High Dive Heart has the ability to make songs that connect to everyone. Whether it's 'Vintage' or 'Misfit' or 'Wild Ride' - this band is going to make you feel something. And I am grateful. They are going to be huge and I can't wait for that to happen because it couldn't happen to a greater bunch of people.

Graingerboy - Saturnine (Radio Mix)

I've talked about Graingerboy before and I'll continue talking about Graingerboy. The decisions he makes and the risks he takes are absolutely brilliantly engineered. His voice is fluid and has the most amazing quality that just wraps you up like you're sharing an afternoon with an old friend. The fact that he's not signed to a contract with a label blows my mind. This song is no different than what he's put out before. It's still the amazing production. It's still got the stellar quality to his voice. The lyrics are exceptionally well thought out. It's all just twinged with a bit of melancholy or what some may call saturnine.

This is taken from his upcoming album, 'Enemyforward' and it's good.  It's melodic and just washes over you. It makes no demands of you and just gives you exactly what you need from it. It's very new romantic there's a yearning to the song. There's a longing that makes you think of a better time and place.  These are the songs that we need but we don't know we need them and that's a damn good thing because there are artists out there like Simon Grainger that know how to express moments of human condition better than we know how to. He touches the places we are sometimes unwilling to and he writes them for us so that we can have better access to our own thoughts and feelings. This makes us part of something bigger and I am grateful for that.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Donatachi - Bubblegum (ft. Rosebud Leach)

Wow. Just Wow. The quality of this song is massive. The song is massive and I think this is quite easily one of my favorite things to date. I quite like every thing about this song and I'm not going to babble on about it. Listen to it and see what you think.

Tashka - Upside

Another new artist I've just been introduced to is Tashka, a Sydney native that is killing it with this slow burn of a jam with a chorus that will give you everything. Her voice is incredibly expressive and there is so much character to it that it floats all over this track. 'Upside' is the debut track off of her new EP and it's just got this Retro New Jill Swing vibe to it. It's like she was watching Set it Off and listening to SWV while she was writing the song. It makes your head bob and you get into this low groove where everything just goes slack and you're just swept away by the song. It's got a lot of body to it. There's something you can certainly sink your teeth into. I am going to start digging into her catalog because this is too good of a track to pass up and if the rest of her stuff is this good, it's only a matter of time before she becomes huge. I think that's fair to say especially when the quality of her work is this good.

Bright Light Bright Light - Little Bit

If you don't know who Bright Light Bright Light is by now, I don't think I can help you. This is a new single from his album, 'Choreography', due out July 15, 2016 and I honestly think he is one of THE voices of our generation. He's an amazing lyricist and his arrangements are ridiculously great. Who would have thought to add that saxophone at the beginning of the track but it added an amazing bit of coolness that just rolls into the track. And then again at the end of the track. It's just the coolest thing I think I've heard in a while. I've been a fan of Rod's for a very long time. I think what he does is genius and it's a shame that he's not a household name by now. This song is just beautiful. The arrangement is, hands down, one of the coolest things that I think I've heard in a while. I cannot wait for this new album to come out because it's just going to be more of the fantastic music he's been releasing for years. There seems to be a bit more hope and joy in this song and I hope that's a reflection of where he's at in his life right now. We all deserve the chance to cultivate any ounce of happiness we can.  The way his voice just swells in the chorus makes me swoon. He's brilliant. And I could go on and on gushing about him but I will let the song do it for me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

DJ Brian Maier - Searching (For Your Gods)

DJ Brian Maier is one of those amazing artists that just knows how things fit together. It's more than being able to load some tracks into ProTools and mashing them together or creating a playlist. It's about having a vision that takes you through the end of the project. It's knowing what trip you want to guide your listeners through. It's guiding them where they need to go even when you don't even know their story or where they've been. You're in charge of them for however long the set is and you are leading them through this world you're creating. You've got control over their highs and lows, their ups and downs and it takes more than someone with a laptop and some samples and loops to be able to do that. You're taking a risk and you're asking people to allow you to do this for them. You're defining a world and an experience that you're hoping people will understand and follow along with you. It's more than a playlist. It's more than just music at this point. It's even more than an artist recording an album because at that point, the recording artist may not have an overall feeling or idea of where they want you to go and it's sometimes a discordant grouping of songs they recorded over a period of time.

A DJ set or podcast or however you want to call it is taking all those songs and putting them together in a manner in which the mood you're elevating people to doesn't stop because one unharmonious note can kill it all.  There aren't many out there that do it with the precision that Brian does. Take a listen to this deep house mix and see what you think. Then download it and subscribe to his social media platforms.

Track List
  1. Crookers, Kym - A Place In My Heart
  2. Cristoph - Control
  3. Prok & Fitch - Got Drums
  4. Prok & Fitch - Heatwave
  5. Skober - Keep Calling
  6.  Pig & Dan - Stella
  7. Christian Nielsen - On My Mind
  8. Amtrac - Hold On (VIP Mix)
  9. Dennis Cruz - New Life
  10.  D-Formation - Balkia
  11. Rene Zmesz - In And Out
  12. Isaac Tichauer - Higher Level (Bicep Mix)
  13. Roberto Capuano - Maison
  14. Dubspeeka - K377 Unfriended
  15. Robosonic - Drowning (Dub)

Emeryld - Sweet Amnesia

I was going to blow this track off as just a standard club track but I pressed play and I'm damn glad I did. I don't know anything about Emeryld aside from what I can hear in her music. Maybe she's like Sia that way. You only have the strength of her performance to judge her. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing at all especially when the song is as good as this. It's a pretty fantastic post-breakup song when you're in that space when it's time to just forget all the shit you've been dealing with and just move on with your life. You dig into her vocals and her word choices and the song resonates on a very base level that everyone can relate to. At some point in time you've been where she's talking about. You've experienced this and just want to wash your hands of all that history so you can move on. It's time to wash your hands and you're ready. She's got a gorgeous voice and it goes so well with the production choices that have been made. I'm honestly not sure who Koko is. I don't know if that's a producer or someone harmonizing on the track. It's a kick ass song and I want to learn more about her.

Find her on the web at the following places:

Vulfpeck - Back Pocket

I ran across this band as a suggestion from YouTube to watch their set at Bonnaroo and I was not let down. If you're a fan of funk, if you don't know what funk is but want to learn, if you are in a shitty mood and need to have every part of you lifted - Vulfpeck can damn sure do all of that for you. This song is so freaking good and as soon as I heard it, it made me happy. It's just the coolest thing I've heard in a very long time. It's got clever word play and the bass groove just settles all in your bones and makes you warm and happy. These kids are killing the funk game. It's crazy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

City Rain - Join The Human Race

It's no secret that I've had a long standing love affair with the ideas and concepts that Ben Runyon has put out in the universe. I think he's one of the most talented and unabashed true troubadours of our time. To see him do what he does 'live' is incredible. What artists can do with pedals and software is incredible and this is nothing less than stellar. I'm not going to talk anymore to distract from what he's doing here. Just watch the video and love it as much as I do.

Steve Aoki & Boehm - Back 2 U (feat. Walk The Moon)

Nothing surprising in the production of this Steve Aoki track but Nicholas Petricca of Walk the Moon's vocals elevate this song into something much bigger than it's parts. Since their explosion with "Shut up and Dance", the Ohio based Walk the Moon have lent their talents to numerous projects including The Knocks debut album, '55'. Having seen Walk the Moon in concert twice, there is nothing that Nicholas does that isn't just filled with joy. The man seems to be incapable of having a bad day and it's apparent in this song as well. It's just another fun summer song that will make you feel good at the end of the day.

CHVRCHES - Bury It (ft. Hayley Williams)

Wow.  Huge fan of both CHVRCHES and Hayley Williams and I think this is a gorgeous marriage of both artists in the best way possible. There's a noticeable difference between Lauren and Hayley's vocals as Hayley comes in on the second verse and they share harmonies on the remaining choruses.  I generally leave the big acts to the big news sites to cover but I like this song too much not to talk about it. The intro frames Lauren's vocals amazingly. I really dig the prechorus and the chorus and then we get Hayley. It's a match made in EDM heaven. Fantastic track. I dig it. It's good stuff.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lauren Ray - Man

It's been amazing watching Lauren grow as an artist and to see that she's got an album about to be released on July 1st is just incredible. I first wrote about her 4 years ago and her voice has only gotten stronger and stronger as time has gone by. She's so grounded and earthy in her vocal presentation that makes me think of Fiona Apple or Shawn Colvin with a hint of Karen Carpenter. The earnestness in her vocals just make her so approachable in what she's saying. It's really quite enjoyable to just hear her and a piano with minimal production and she doesn't need much more than that to capitalize on her strengths. She's one of the voices that could sing the telephone directory and you'd be mesmerized with each name.  So go preorder, 'We Will Need Courage' and get ready for it's release. I want to see amazing things for this woman.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

EsQuille - Dancing on the Sun (featuring Bruno Alexander)

Don't know much about Swedish DJ EsQuille or Spanish singer Bruno Alexander other than they makes me feel pretty good in this song. I've said it before that male singers in dance music have to be something pretty special for me to give them a shot because I just generally like my dance music heavy on the female vocals but I like Bruno. I know that English isn't his first language but he does a damn good job on this track. Sometimes when you have someone singing in English it can sound like they're just saying things from muscle memory but I am fully behind this song.

It's a fun track that you could absolutely expect to hear at every beach party in Ibiza this year. It's got a fantastic summer feel to it that's just easy breezy. It's light and the rhythm just keeps you moving. You just throw it on, grab a fizzy drink and dance the night away.  And sometimes that's all you need, to just get up and dance. This song does an amazing job at letting you forget your cares for 3 minutes and some change and I'm not mad at it at all.  Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Remembering P.M. Dawn (Set Adrift On Memory Bliss)

What is it about the death of people we never even met that hit us as hard as it does. This weekend, Prince Be (Attrell Cordes) passed away from complications of diabetes. I was 15 years old when this song came out in 1991 and I remember how peaceful and blissful it made me when it came on the radio. It was, and still is, one of my favorite songs from that time and it just touches a special place in my life. I was coming into my own with my taste in music. I wasn't listening to what my parents listened to, I was breaking out of the shadow of my older siblings and this was that right mix of hip hop and something new that just drew me in.

We have had a horrible year of tragic losses not only in the celebrity world but just in general. I think that we have to look at life as the series of transient experiences that it is and we have to remember that we aren't promised anything so we make the best of what we have and we love as hard as we can. We create memories and we fill our lives with love and hope and leave some legacy to remembered by.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Meet Brightly

Obsessed. I am absolutely obsessed with Brightly. I had the opportunity to meet him in Nashville during the Bingham Cup and got to hang out with him in a very loud bar which made conversation very hard but when he got up and sang, I immediately fell in love. There's a kindness to not only his demeanor but his stage persona as well. He was one of the most humble and down to earth individuals I've ever seen live. It was almost as if he was worried that this crowd of rowdy ruggers would not get what he was putting out there. I don't know if they did but I stood there in rapt attention as he easily wooed the crowd.

His Australian accent is not normalized when he sings which I think is a pretty amazing thing because it gives his music so much more character and differentiates it from the Indie pop scene that he could easily be shuffled into. He's one part Folk music and one part EDM and a ton of just Brightly. I don't do a lot of comparisons to other artists, as you know if you've read my blog for any given length of time and even if I did, I think his style is experimental and edgy enough that there aren't many artists that I would even compare him to. He's just Brightly. And for that I am grateful.

His music videos are experiences. Whether it's "Preflight Nerves" or "Rugby" or "I Will Never Let You Go", his integration of technology into the video sets him apart from so many other artists. "Preflight Nerves" was featured by Google as an amazing example of the melding of music and technology in a mixed media platform. It received over half a million views and won a ton of awards.

"I Will Never Let You Go" is an experience that you have to take on your own. Don't do it on your phone. Find a desktop or a laptop and experience the whole thing. Watching it on YouTube or on your phone robs you of the full experience. It's a gorgeous, moving, heartfelt exchange between he and you and it's well worth every minute.

His latest album, "One for Sorrow, Two for Joy" was released today and I cannot stop listening to it. It's amazing how easily he's able to encapsulate the human existence in this one album. The man has lived more life than most people I know and he's got a beautiful voice in which he shares those experiences with us. There's a melancholy to the album. There's a bit of sadness and it's twinged a little with some morose feelings of longing and loneliness. Those are all feelings that we tend to shy away from but they're integral to make sure that we know the good from the bad. They're the thing that help keep us grounded and when someone wants has the ability to express them for us, it's important for us to listen and hear what they have to say.

Brightly on the Web
Twitter: @wearebrightly

Matt Zarley - Tonight I Wanna Cry (Keith Urban Cover)

It always makes me happy when a cover surpasses the original. I've never been a Keith Urban fan but when I saw that Matt covered this song, I was cautiously optimistic. Needless to say, I'm blown away by this version of the song. He's amped up the emotion and he's made the track his own. He didn't deviate too far from the original but just the fact that his vocal styling is so different than Keith's the track didn't need much at all to sound so different than the original country track. There's pain, there's hurt. There's soul. There's a new life that's been breathed into the track that makes it just a gorgeous piece of work.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

All Saints - This is a War

This is a lesson on how to age gracefully in the music industry while staying relevant (ahem, Madonna....Gwen Stefani). I've been a huge All Saints fan ever since "I Know Where It's At" and to this day, they are doing an amazing job at honing their craft as artists. This is the second single off their new album, "Red Flag" and it's a solid choice for a single. They sound amazing. They are gorgeous and this video proves that you don't need a huge production to make a statement. I like this song a lot and can't wait to hear what's next from them.

The Shadowboxers - Woman Through the Wall

Unrequited feelings are the absolute worst. Especially when you are confronted by the object of your affection on a regular basis. The Shadowboxers have beautifully illustrated that in this track. And those harmonies never ever fail to be impressive. They are quite easily one of my favorite groups and with each release, they just get tighter and tighter in their production and their harmonies. If you're in Nashville, make sure you catch them at one of their local sets before they get too big and you'll have to wait in line to get tickets.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Fitz and the Tantrums - Hands Clap

Michael's new look is doing it for me. I really dig the haircut. You know I love this group. Have for a very long time. And this video is no different than their other videos in stellar production and quality cinematography. Noelle is gorgeous and the dancing is fantastic. I kind of feel sorry for The Tantrums as they just seem like set dressing and I hope they don't feel that way in this video as they are an integral part of the band. And I really didn't need to look at Fitz and go....damn. But he is cute to me in this video. I can't wait for the new album as all the previews have been stellar.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Lectrolips - Daddy Issues

The synth is brilliant, the lyrical content is brilliant. It's a song that challenges you to begin with but then you sink in and listen to how it all comes together and it's pretty spectacular. UK based group, Lectrolips has never shied away from pushing boundaries with their lyrical content and I think they are amazing for making you step away from the headphones and say, "Wow. I'm honestly glad I heard someone say that in a song".  This is a song about relationships and the pain that can be brought on through the course of one. It's about taking a stand and realizing that you don't have to be taken advantage of and made to fee less than. It's about taking your power back and being your own man in spite of your own self. It's walking away from someone that knows exactly what they can do to hurt you and that's an amazing realization on your own. It takes quite a bit to get to that point sometimes when things are done under the guise of love. I am quite glad that this song exists and I honestly hope that people get to hear it because this one track could give someone the courage to end something that needed to have ended a while ago.

Lectrolips on the Web

Twitter: @lectrolips

Graingerboy - Flying Solo (Fugitive's 'Far From Home' Mix)

I generally don't write a lot about remixes or alt mixes in general unless they elevate a song into something it wasn't before. This mix does just that, it takes an already amazing song and makes it better without sacrificing the quality of the original. There is a much greater sense of longing and wanting in this New New Wave song and I love how punctuated Graingerboy's lyrics seem against the almost stark background of the track. The new mix has just a bit of a hint of a feeling like this could be a song that Toto could sing. It has a briefly vagueness that reminds me of "Africa" but much much cooler. The drum track is gorgeous as it just follows along with the almost staccato rhythm that the vocals generate. They're a perfect combination that breathe new life into the track.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Betty Who - I Love You Always Forever

Been a huge fan of Betty's for a long while now. She's got a grace and an ease about her voice that just feels good. This cover is just a perfect fit for her. She does an amazing job at keeping close to the original source material while bringing more out of it than a standard "karaoke" cover of the song. It's fun, it's nostalgic and it just works. A nice, easy song to throw on and just kick back to. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Donny Montell - FLY

I absolutely love a self empowerment anthem. We are generally so mired in strife and conflict in our lives we sometimes forget that we are our own best hero as well as our worst enemy and there is no one better than our own selves to look inward and find the strength to get up and go.  This song is super catchy and just has an amazing feel to it (as anthems of this nature should).  What's even cooler about this song is that Donny is from Lithuania and English is more than likely not his first language so he absolutely kills on the delivery of this song.

Take this song and any number of other self empowerment songs; e.g. "Wildfire" by Bean, "Marchin On" by One Republic, "Hard Out Here" by Lily Allen and create a playlist for when you're needing a reminder that you are completely and totally kick ass and you're golden. I hope this song get some traction because it's good. Really good.  Give it a listen and see if you're not feeling a bit better by the end of the first chorus.

Fitz and the Tantrums - Roll Up

Can this band do any wrong? It seems they can't. Each release from their new album just gets better and better. Michael and Noelle sound so amazing and this song is just damn catchy. It's going to be all over every advertisement and network bumper before the summer is over. Believe that. I am such a huge fan. Have been for a very long time. This album is gonna be bananas.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Kiesza - Broken Heart Museum

Love, love, love, love! This song just jumped right off the screen and into my heart. It's not a secret that I have a torrid love for Kiesza and this song just catapulted her into the stratosphere of pop divas. The transitions, the vocals, the production, the lyrics. This song is gorgeous and she can do no wrong. The build up to that first chorus is equivalent to the first hill on a roller coaster. That's probably the best way to describe this song. It's like a roller coaster and the emotions that it illicits are ridiculous. This is a fucking song. It's just so perfect. I stepped right into it and I can't get enough of it. Hopefully this means we have new music coming very soon as I NEED more of this caliber Kiesza in my life.  Listen to it and let me know what you think!