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
Reverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/thecasketcreatures
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecasketcreatures
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheCasketCreatures

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.