Thursday, May 23, 2019

LegPuppy - Non Disclosure Agreement

1993. I'm a junior in high school and an album has been released that will forever change the trajectory of my musical taste. A small techno group from the UK has unleashed "Music for the Jilted Generation" and my love affair with The Prodigy has begun. Jump ahead to June 4, 1997 - my 21st birthday and I'm in Atlanta Georgia at the Masquerade in a crowd of sweaty techno fans jumping around, dancing and listening to Keith Flint and Maxim spitting lyrics at the crowd as The Prodigy is on their Fat of the Land tour.  Imagine my surprise in 2019 when I am handed an album by another act from the UK that takes me back to a much simpler time in my life and floods me with nostalgia and stirs so many emotions in me.

LegPuppy are absolutely blowing my mind with this new album. Driving beats. Synths that are next to God. Vocals that just take you to another dimension. This group is the group I never knew I needed them until I did. Utilizing Voi Vang on vocals as they do take them to a whole new level and it's good and it's dissentive and it has this whole attitude and vibe that's subversive and you get wrapped up in it. There are moments on this album where I honestly feel like I'm listening to a lost Prodigy album and I don't say that in a fashion that they've deliberately ripped off something that's been done but they're paying homage and they've tapped into the same primal and raw energy that Liam and the boys did all those years ago and it's amazing. The production is spot on and there's not a beat or a synth that isn't exactly where it should be. They've created a world that's dirty and it's sexy and it takes the piss. This album has been created and laid out in a way that the journey they take you on isn't so different than places you've been before, musically speaking as it were, its just now they're pulling the curtain back and showing you the grimy underbelly of it all.

The album starts of with a fully instrumental track, "Truth" and I'm immediately taken to the place I was the first time I heard "Break and Enter / Their Law" by The Prodigy and I'm awash with all those warm nostalgic feelings that continue to get stoked through out this album. Now, don't get me wrong...they're not living in the past. They're not doing something that should have been done almost 30 years ago. This is all current and it's new and it's fresh but it still knows it's roots and where it's come from. We go from "Truth" into "Tears" and we're introduced to Voi Vang. Her voice is pure and it's clean. It's the spot left when you white glove a table that's not been dusted for years. It's part of the whole but it's the part that's bright and shiny and new and it pulls you closer into this crazy world they've created. It's very Sneaker Pimps, very C.J. Bolland; paying homage but never appropriating.

"Nominate 10" comes right where it needs to be. There's nowhere you can go from "Tears" - this is the logical progression. It hits hard with a rap that's bold and it just shakes you back to reality from the siren song that's just ended. That's how I would absolute describe Voi's voice....siren like because you're just lulled into serenity even though it's against this pulsing backdrop of a song. But getting back to "Nominate 10".... it's a fantastic ride from start to finish and I was tapping my foot and bobbing along aggressively. It's not a song that I necessarily want to listen to in my car because it's going to find me driving the city streets at a speed that matches that amazing BPM.

"Speak, Talk, Speak" lampoons our communication and daily life in 2:19. It's like this song is roasting us without even trying because we are living in such a Black Mirror world and this is the background track in a time and space where all things are just wrong. This is kind of a horror story of a track because it holds up a microscope up to our lives and makes us examine them in less than 3 minutes. It's almost like a very broken palate cleanser between "Nominate 10" and "Twit Machine" because "Twit Machine" comes in hard too. This song is aggressive and it wants you to know right off the bat. Again, sticking with the whole communication vibe and social media addiction we've all become part of, this song brings to light all the things we do in between tapping and swiping. When the full on FOMO has set in and we have to make sure our lives are properly documented in the most appropriate Stepford way instead of actually living our lives.

"She's Lost Her Soul - Grade II" is hard. It's just a more sparse version of attack than what we've been dealt in the past couple tracks. It's more methodical about it's approach and the care it takes in spinning you in the web of darkness. The percussion and the beat just penetrate you and go right for the heart of you and it's deliberate. It has a message as well and reminds us that we all need to do our best to support live music. Without that, these artists aren't able to create because so much of the creation process happens in a give and take between the band and a live audience."Puctas Murint" is next and while I don't know the meaning of the title or what the song is fully about, you are still amped up and still keyed into this world they're continually reshaping around you. It's another short song but what it loses in legth, it damn sure makes up for it in content and depth.

"Corgi Stop" is a trippy side quest of a song that makes you feel like you've landed in the poppy field in Oz. Again, a short-ish track, like a corgi's legs. I can't make out the lyrics on it but I do feel a bit alien. A bit like I've done some whippets or sucked helium out of a balloon.

The last track on the album, "NDA" is nuts. They've taken everything they have left, the kitchen sink and all and thrown it at you in this. The beat is bananas. It's got a jungle feel to it. This is where things go off the rails and get primal. This song is sexy as fuck and it's a joyous ride from start to finish. It's a huge track and it's the absolute high note the album HAD to end with. The builds and the swells are matched in intensity with the drops and if you close your eyes, this nearly 10 minute track just fills every part of you.

This album is going to be massive and it's going into heavy rotation in my collection and it proves that you don't have to have full lyrical content on every single song to build an emotional connection. It's brilliant and it's bad ass.  Make sure you pick it up. Preorder this damn thing now!

You can do it here -----> Preorder  <----- p="">

Beware the Bear - Show Me Love (ft. Sean Smith)

You may know Sean Smith from his time with his sister Sarah as Same Difference, the act that reached the final on the fourth season of the British X-Factor but since he's embarked on his solo career, Sean has been growing and evolving as an artist and it's never more evident than on the new Beware the Bear track, "Show Me Love". Sean sounds so much different than he has previously and it's an amazing showcase of his vocals as Beware the Bear create a track that just picks him up and carries him all the way across the finish line. This is one of the most uplifting songs I've heard in a long time and in comparison to the recent trend of the dark, emotives Lana's and Billie's....this track is a bright spot in a very dark night.

It's not so much a plea for affection as much as it is showing that he's open and receptive to what it is you have to offer. He's put himself out there and he's let you know that he's ready and not its your turn to play your part. It's hopeful and it's light and it's everything you need in a solid pop song. It makes you want to be loved and it makes you want to have everything that comes along with it and I don't think there's anyone out there that could deliver a performance better than Sean. He's a brilliant vocalist and I love that we get to travel with him on his exploration of self and I can't wait to see him as he's becoming the most fully realized version of himself because it's a helluva ride.

The LaFontaines - Alpha

This is an amazing rock track with two awesome vocalists. Kerr Okan's rap is fucking amazing. “’Alpha’ comes as result of the losses we’ve had recently in this area from young males, predominately of the ‘Alpha’ stereotype,” frontman Kerr Okan explains.

“I’ve often struggled with my emotions - anything other than aggression was always seen as a weakness and something that should be locked away. ‘Alpha’ marks the point in my own journey where I realised that there was something real to be gained from embracing the spectrum of emotions - whether you’re male or not.”

His voice is designed for it and the amount of swagger he carries is palpable. There's nothing else in this world that he should be doing this this. He was built explicitly for this. And combine that with Jamie Keenan's smooth ass chorus and this song is just fire. I've been sharing it around with a ton of my American friends and not one of them has heard anything like it and they're all beside themselves because they haven't heard this group before. It definitely a song that just sweeps you up and doesn't let go until the ride has come to a complete stop. The way the video is shot in one take is awesome and pumps you up because you know if this is what they can do in one take then any live show they put on will have similar energy and it will be hype. I can't say enough about Kerr's rap. It's fucking brilliant and it's infectious in the absolute best way.

"Alpha" is taken off their new album, "Junior" which will be released on June 14, 2019 and they're currently out touring supporting this single and the new album.

Tiffany - Beautiful

Many people think that Tiffany hasn't released music since the late eighties and they would be wrong. She's been steadily releasing music throughout her career and the music has always been a representation of who she is as an artist. Her latest single, "Beautiful" is just that; an awesome representation of where she's at in her life. She's a bit older. She's got a little mileage on her and she's not making music that's age specific. When she was a teenager, her music appealed mostly to teens; now as a grown woman, there's quite a bit of pop appeal to what she's releasing but it's not for kids and it's not for soccer moms. It's quality pop music and it should be treated as such. A lot of people will want to talk about how her "voice still sounds" and how she looks as an adult compared to the memories they had of her as a young woman but that's reductive and doesn't do any good. She's beautiful and her voice is strong and amazing.

I like how this track and her updated version of "I Think We're Alone Now" have a bit of an edge to them. They're a little more rock and a little less bubblegum. I feel like that's a parallel to how a lot of us have grown as adults, the wide eyed idealism of youth is traded in for a bit of life experience and it gives us more of an edge. It allows us to be able to discern things a little more clearly with more judgment. We don't rush headlong into decisions like we may have when we were younger. It's still unmistakably Tiffany at it's core with it's pop sensibilities and it's a song that is easily accessible to everyone, regardless of where you're at in your life. It's a song about connecting and forgetting everything and everyone except for that person that makes you feel like a kid again. The person that fills your head with cotton candy nonsense and makes all the things just so much sweeter. If she keeps releasing music like this, she has absolutely renewed my faith in what quality, time tested pop music should sound like.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Justin Ferre - drifing into once a day

It's not often that a song makes me stop every single thing that I'm doing and put both earbuds in and give it everything I have but when it does and I'm shaking from the emotions an artist evokes - that's god damn important. Finding artists in this social media day and age is one of the funniest things because they can come from anywhere and today, I was totally blindsided by an artist that took me off my feet all together. Albuquerque based singer/songwriter Justin Ferre is that man. He has come into my life today and wrecked every single emotion I have. My hands are shaking and my eyes are blurry because this song is nothing but a stream of emotional consciousness and there's so much to it that it has touched my heart deeply and more passionately than anything in a long time.

The power that this man has in his voice and his delivery is shocking and it's beautiful and it's good. It's raw and it's honest and I have a lump in my throat because this song is exactly what I needed to hear to day and I don't know how the universe knew but damn it, it did. His vocal style shifting from a soft whisper to a raging torrent of emotion is so awe inspiringly beautiful. I am honestly having a hard time putting coherent thought together because of his delivery. There's no one else in the world. He's singing to me. He has singled me out in a crowd and his words are driving their way deep into my heart and my soul as it makes me feel so real and noticed and loved. The raw edge of his voice is that of a salt of the earth, honest to god man that believes in every single word that's coming out of his mouth and the person that this song has been written for is the luckiest man in the world.

This feels like he's just saying and doing whatever his love and his passion is telling him to say. When you hear his breath and you hear his thoughts come out while he's picking the words to say, you simply can't get more truth in art than this. He evokes so many emotions in me that it's hard to figure out which ones to process first. But safety, security, being wrapped in the words that he's saying makes me believe..... NO it makes me KNOW that whatever it is I'm going through in this moment that there's another human being in the cosmos that is standing there with me. Strong. Secure. Waiting for me to stumble so that he can be there to pick me up and help me on my path. Wrapping his arms around me, holding me; reminding me that I'm not alone and it's wonderful.

The way he shot the video for this is brilliant. It makes you focus on his words. It pulls you into his performance. It is a private, intimate performance and it's just you and him and you're going to be all right. This is the song that I want played at my wedding. These are the words that I yearn to hear from someone as they're holding my hand and helping me shake off the dark days. I don't know if he knows the power he wields but it is good and it's true and fuck..... I'm done. I'm a fan. Bonafide. Will travel to the ends of the earth for this man now if this is the level of work that he puts out.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Iris - Crazy

I get a lot of music sent to me daily. And sometimes it takes time to sort through it all and pick the songs that mean the most to me in order to write about them. If you've been around for any time at all, you know one of my favorite auditory qualities is how a vocalist's voice comes across. The more unique the voice, the more I'm apt to enjoy it. I think it's because unique voices are fewer and far between and they help the artist stand apart from the masses and in a world of bedroom producers, the masses are getting larger and larger. So imagine my surprise when the newest single from Iris, a New Jersey based singer/songwriter slid across my desk and her smoky, sultry voice that's reminiscent of Stevie Nicks swept me off my feet.

"Crazy" is a beautifully, heartbreaking single about love that harkens back to the fourties with it's slow and languid production. Like music from that era, this song spends it's time focusing on the lyrics and vocal performance rather than over the top production. I could easily see this song being played in a smoky, blues club or a USO tour where people are slow dancing and falling in love all over again. That feeling when all your insides are in knots and your palms are sweaty and all you can think about is them. "I'm not crazy. I'm just crazy about you", she says and so many people have been in that place and the universal feeling that this song evokes is strong and powerful. I think back to a time in my life when it just clicked and love fell into place and everything made sense. Iris has a voice that's beautiful in it's simplicity. I checked out the acoustic version of this song and her control is remarkable. If you look how far she's sitting from the microphone, she loses no sound and her voice is still clear and crisp. That's a sign that this isn't over produced and that she's actually delivering a stellar performance.

Her voice just wraps around you, holds you close and you close your eyes and take it all in. You get lost in how she's placing her syllables and the story she's creating. It's one of the coolest songs I've heard in a long time and I'm honestly kind of crazy over it. If you don't feel something after hearing this song, we need to take a trip to the wizard and check on your heart, there Tin Man. She's a helluva performer and I dig the hell out of her.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

SOMA - Slow

SOMA has become one of my newest obsessions. Her voice is melodic. It's angelic. And I adore it. In her latest single, she's seriously channeling some amazing pop/funk vibes and it's sublime. "Slow" is a break up song but it's one of the coolest break up songs ever. She's just got this attitude about her that makes even being broken up with easy. She worked with Tuomo Prättälä, the Finnish grand master of soul and funk and you can hear every little nuance he's been able to bring out not only in her performance but in the production of the track. I love how there are these little staccato sections against the smooth groove of the chorus and the bridge.

It's always incredibly refreshing to hear new voices in pop music and when you get the chance to hear international influences in performance because you get to hear how regional variations in production or subject matter is handled differently. With just two singles, SOMA has made me want to know so much more about her experience and her life. I think she's an incredibly powerful woman and she's got an incredible career ahead of her. The musical divide between Europe and America is so wide because while this track will be considered a pop tune in Sweden or the UK, it will more than likely be relegated to the club charts in America and I think that's doing a grave disservice to it. It deserves wide air play because it's more than just a simple club single. It's got a point of view and it matters.

SOMA is creating a catalog of music that will hopefully help her transcend those boundaries and she'll be able to bridge the gap in musical genres and she's doing it all on her own talent and her own merit. I said if after I reviewed "Don't Believe Them", she's going to do amazing things in this field and I can't wait to see where she goes next.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

SC.Undercover - 7 Rings (Ariana Grande cover)

Ok. Just gonna jump into this. Let's talk about what makes this so much more than just a cover. It's not a karaoke version of the song. It's not an artist just singing a version of the song. It's honestly a counterpoint or an "inspired by" track. It's got the beat. It's got the lyrical structure in the chorus but that's as far as this "cover" goes. This is so much more than just a cover. It's almost like he's sitting across the club while Ariana sings and these are his thoughts and his wants and desires and it just happens to line up with what she's doing. It's dangerous and it's sexy. It comes from such a different place than the original song. Its got attitude and teeth. It stands on its own legs as it's own song and I am here for it. Without a doubt.

His rap at the beginning his genius. His rapid fire delivery makes you hone in on what he's saying so that you catch it all and you pay attention to every single syllable. His accent is gorgeous and when he switches over to singing in falsetto........ damn. I mean damn. His voice is solid. Every aspect of it. The way he balances all the aspects of this song come from such a mature production ear. There is so much to this song. The pre-chorus is dope af and if this is the quality of music he's going to be creating, I'm damn sure about it all. He's creating something that will last and I think he's got an incredible career ahead of him. I want to hear original work from him to see how all this creativity plays out. There's too much here for him to be a one hit wonder and being in Atlanta, he's got access to a whole vibe and a feel that will round out his sound even more and the ability to work with amazing producers.

Shakespears Sister - All the Queen's Horses

 “All the queen’s horses, all the queen’s men, they couldn’t put us together again.”

27 years ago, the world was introduced to Shakespears Sister. After a very successful career as part of Bananarama, Siobhan Fahey struck out on her own and with the help of Marcella Detroit one of the most underrated groups of the 90s was created. Most people are familiar with their single, "Stay" but their sophomore album, "Hormonally Yours" was pretty phenomenal and a huge part of my teen years. Now, all these years later they've mended fences and the rift between them and they're back with a new single and potentially an new album. Their voices are incredible and they sound amazing together just like time hasn't passed. They have amazing stage presence and they do an amazing job poking fun at themselves in video for their new single, "All the Queen's Horses".

There's no hiding the fact there was a lot of strife between them in the past and the fact they split up over their rise to stardom isn't a secret. Siobhan has said in the press that she's been working toward reconnecting with Marcella, she just never thought it would take almost three decades. The lyrics to the single discuss reconciliation and I adore it. The song is being labels as a little bit country but all I hear is a whole lot of Shakespears Sister. I will admit that it has a whole spaghetti western feel to it and Siobhan and Marcella look incredible and sound incredible. The song works on so many levels and the black and white western video only adds to the feel of it all. I am certainly glad that they are creating again and I hope that this is only the beginning of their comeback.

Penguin Prison - The Heat

"And don't you get freaked out / when the voices get loud"

When the groove hits and all else fails, you just go with it. I've been a fan of Penguin Prison for a very long time and he's not let me down yet and this new single proves no different than his previous releases. It's funky and it's cool and it's just got his signature all over it. It's a pretty rad song that just has you bobbing along the entire way through. I think he's got an amazing point of view and a pretty spectacular way of creating music that the world needs more of. This is an incredibly fun track and I'm glad we have new material from him.

To me this song is all about not sweating the small stuff cause in the grand scheme of things, it's all small stuff and despite your best efforts it's all gonna cycle back through. So you take time to take care of yourself and you make sure you're getting enough rest and living your life the best way you can. We don't spend enough time within our own self care and that can be problematic. Music is one of the best ways to take care of all that ails you and when it's music that's this good, it's not a problem to just sit back and let it do what it needs to do.

Jade Million - Escalators

When I wrote about Cloe Wilder, I said that I hope they don't trap her in a box with kind of a gimmicky shtick in the form of the creepy girl. Sure, we've got artists like Billie Eilish, Halsey, Lana Del Ray all working the emotive angle and it's selling millions of records so the formula is proven. But there has to be talent and creativity and something we haven't heard before in an artist to make them stand out and with Jade Million's first single release of the year in "Escalators", I hope we've got something here. Being labeled a trap/pop artist, Jade has the vocal control and innate ability to deliver a performance to help her step out of that box she, too, could be painted into.

"Escalators" is a dope song with a fully realized sense of who and what it needs to be. From the beginning, the glitchy strings set the mood and the ambiance and it takes you on a lazy, easy journey til the end. It's languid. It's slow and sexy and it guides you along on an emotive journey that a lot of artists only dream of being able to create. This young woman is smart and savvy and you can hear it in what she does and how she represents herself. When the pre-chorus hits, a lot of producers would have went in a lot harder and the drop would have been much bigger but there is a lot of restraint shown here as it drops you just as far as it needs to. The ride from start to finish in this track is meticulously planned. It's even and it's a slow burn that you just sway back and forth through from start to finish.

I think escalators is being used as a gateway metaphor to a lot of different things here. Sipping on the serotonin your brain produces as it's happy and satisfied. Being in a place where the people and the atmosphere just bring you to a high point in life. Whether that's chemically engineered or socially. She talks about swimming in the after glow of some good sex and that's somewhere we've all been and it's done in a way in this song where it's not dirty or smutty. That's the sign of a great lyricist because it could border on trash and it doesn't. I like how it's sex positive and it celebrates it in a manner that isn't shameful. I dig the vibe of this song. It's sexy and the slowness of it just adds to the atmosphere. It gets you where you need to go without being in a rush and does it's own thing in it's own time. I am interested to hear her other singles this summer and see just what it is she has to offer more than this.

You can stream the track on Spotify here.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Bengal Lancers - Last Orders

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Finding yourself in the same situation you've faced time and again tends to be a place that we've all been before. And when that situation leads you to looking for salvation, acceptance, forgiveness, love, or just answers in the bottom of a bottle, what you may find may be close to insanity. We spend so much time in this world fighting to better our selves or our station that the stress of day to day living can be too much and self medication is the answer. I've been there. Get a few beers in me and I become the life of the party. People gravitate toward me. They laugh and the revel in the memories we're creating but at what cost? What is it that we're losing when we hide behind artificial courage? Who are we really attempting to impress with our actions and when it all boils down to it, do they really matter in the grand scheme of things?

Life is hard. Being part of it from day to day finds us struggling to make it through and escapism is key. It take the mundane and the wearisome and makes it tolerable. We all find answers through our preferred methods of escape and as long as they're tempered with solid doses of reality and stable places to take off and land, they function as they should - they provide a respite from the grind but when they're the preferred alternative to activities of daily living, then we have a problem and we need to take a step back and reassess the situation. More often than not, happiness and stability are ever so elusive and we do what we think bring us happiness when we are really spending more time overthinking and creating a pattern of behavior that only perpetuates these cycles. Sometimes it takes a reminder to break us out of our rut and help set the course.

I realize that those are two paragraphs that have nothing to do with this single, on the surface, but listen to what Harry's saying in this song. Listen to what he's recounting. How many nights have you found yourself in the exact situation he's talking about. Ten more minutes at the bar and then you have to find a way home. Waking up on the floor, not remembering how you got there or what led up to those choices. I think that we spend so much time on a daily basis searching for something, anything that brings us closer to fine that those choices start to become ingrained in our decision making process. Self medication. Over indulgence. Binging on anything that connects us to people, places, or memories. But there has to come a time when we face reality and realize that these things only serve a purpose to hamper our growth and development into the people we are meant to be and they can be dangerous. We forget how to be happy without them. We forget what it's like to find ourselves pushing through the hard times without assistance and we forget what self reliance looks like.

Bengal Lancers have become literally one of my favorite bands of all time because of what they stand for. They are sharing a message and they are helping people express themselves in ways they may not even know. I've listened to this single twice now and look how much has poured out of me. Look at the introspection they've caused in less than five minutes if indie pop gloriousness. These four men have a unique ability to do what not many other people in the music industry are doing. They're creating conversations and they're catalyzing emotional journeys and that's what music is for. They're just doing so much good in the world and they need to be much more of a household name.

Bengal Lancers on the Web

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

CoCo and the Butterfields - Monsters

"And I will promise to kill all the monsters in your dreams and your head"

WOW. Just WOW. This song is so huge! The harmonies. The production. That fact that it fills the entire room with it's presence and atmosphere. I just been introduced to CoCo and the Butterfields and if this is the quality of their work, I want it all. Every bit of what they have to offer. You know that I love multiple vocalists. You know I love male/female collaborations when it comes to singers. And I am adoring this song. It's uplifting. It's full of positivity. It's very Felix Hagan and the Family and if you've read much of what I've written, you know I love Felix and it seems that CoCo and the Butterfields aren't going to be far behind.

The track is the third to be taken from their upcoming EP, Monsters, following the release of previous singles ‘Animals’ and ‘Puppets’. The EP was previously released as an acoustic collection of tracks and has now been re-recorded as a fully orchestrated representation of the band’s creative evolution since their conception six years ago. The EP is available for pre-order now, including an instant grat of ‘Animals’ and ‘Puppets’. The Monsters EP will be released May 24 and this single will be officially released on May 17.

Tom Twyman and Dulcima Showan come together and their voices blend so effortlessly and it's brilliant. There's a grounded, earthly rasp to Tom's voice on this chorus that sends electricity through you. The amount of emotion that's built in this song is ridiculous and it's hidden behind all the huge production and voluminous orchestration in this version and if you go and listen to the acoustic version of just Tom, Dulcima and a very minimal production - it will quite honestly bring you to a place in your life where all the hopeful love and desire of helping someone realize their potential and standing beside them as they fight their demons. I'm not going to lie, this song has just swelled up in my chest and taken up residence. It's everything I needed right now and it's beautiful. The difference between the unplugged version and the live version is staggeringly beautiful.

The way that these two individuals play off of each other is one of the most amazing things I've heard in a very long time. I am honestly having a difficult time finishing this write up as I am just overcome with emotion and it's wonderful. I wish them the absolute best and a long career ahead of them if this is what they're releasing into the universe. The chorus just keeps coming back and wrapping me in it's arms and driving away all the darkness and this is what the power of music is for and what's it's there for.

For shits and giggles, check out the official video for an even different vibe and an even different place for the song to hit and emotions to be realized. This is incredible and it's magical. The fact that this group has the power to evoke so much emotion is wonderful and I'm sold. A fan for life now. I want to hear everything they have to offer.

SHOR - Gold

A little Sam Smith.... A little "New" New Romantic.... A whole lot of uplifting hope. That's exactly how I'd describe SHOR's new single, "Gold". Believing in yourself is a quality that is in pretty short supply as of late. With everything happening in the world that has the potential to drag us down and weigh heavy on our shoulders, it's easy to forget that there's more to life than simple day to day drudgery. We have to reach as deep down into ourselves and build the best days we possibly can because no one else is going to do it for us. We have to remind ourselves every day that this is the only chance we get to make a lasting impression on the universe and we have to. Every single day. We have to build a life that drives the dark away and makes those around us grow and flourish by simply being in our orbit.

I think that's at the heart of this song. The desire to show every one that had doubts about us that we are more than just untapped potential. We are more than just hopes and dreams. We are more precious than gold. We are who we were meant to be and we are going to continue to strive for every bit of greatness that we can muster.  I really enjoy SHOR's vocals and it seems that he's taken a bit of a minimal approach to single releases and I think that's clever because it doesn't oversaturate the market and make his voice commonplace. I think that absence making the heart grow fonder is more than just an adage as we have time to build anticipation between releases and it makes you savor the nuggets of goodness that an artist shares with the world that much deeper. His previous release, "Sirens" is just that, an incredible exercise in pop music. I believe this young man has a tremendous amount to offer and if he's paired with the right creative team, he could be doing huge things. It would be cool to hear his music on Riverdale or one of the other edgier shows on television as he's got the voice and the production to pull it off.

Friday, May 3, 2019

FLETCHER - Undrunk

“Some things you can’t undo / and one of them’s you.”

Shit. Let me say that again for the people in the back..... How many times have you done something and regretted it? How long have you drug it out knowing that you just need to walk away? How long have you tortured yourself over the idea of something that would have, should have, could have been? This song just hit me in all those places where I knew there were so many things that I need to ask for a mulligan on. Her vocal performance is sublime. It's full of hurt and it's deep and it's expressing all those emotions that Taylor or Kacey wish they could evoke. It's raw and it honestly made me go.....damn. And it's all because it's so damn honest and it's something we've all felt at some point in our lives. The minimal production with the acoustic guitar and the cajon is brilliant. It takes nothing away from her voice and makes you hone in on her voice even tighter.

The lyrics are so powerful and resonate deeply. I think this young woman has an amazing career ahead of her if this is the content she's creating. When she says, " I can unlove you", my heart breaks because you see it in her face just how much pain this has created in her life and how much time she's wasted because she's better than that. We've all been there. We've all had a situation that we knew was just bad from the beginning and we want to take it all back. I am in awe of this song and this performance. It's a pleasure to have this come across my desk. It's a great track and it's going to mean a lot to a lot of people. She's gonna be huge and it's very cool.

Dryden - The Crystal Phantom Album Review

With Garage Band, Ableton, Pro Tools and other software on the market, bedroom pop music has become so much easier to get into and artists like FINNEAS and Bille Eilish are proving that you absolutely don't need a label or a huge production studio behind you to make amazing music. So if you have a passion to do something, you should get out and do it. Up and coming producer Dryden shows you that you don't need anything other than a desire to express yourself in all his magnificent glory with his debut album, The Crystal Phantom. This album doesn't just serve you a bop or two, it is literally everything because he's doing his own thing. He's creating his own music and it's fucking glorious. It's crazy and it's unique and his voice is so strong and powerful because it's totally his and his alone. It's not being controlled by a label. There's no suit on the other end telling him who to be or how to be his most authentic self. This album brings me so much joy and I think that it will for anyone that listens to it. When you listen to his performance on these tracks, you can hear him smile. You can hear him overflowing with passion and joy as he lays it all out there for you to hear.

The Crystal Phantom is bursting with personality and it's beautiful. He proves that sometimes because you can absolutely means you should. Dryden shot for the stars and I think he fucking slays. There's a lyric in the track, "Get It Like That" where he says, "wig on evaporate" and what I don't think he understands is he's snatching all the weaves. Everyone that listens to this track is going to be bald cause it's not just your baby hairs he's coming for. It's the whole head of hair. His voice is so fresh and new. It's not like anything I've heard before and it just makes me smile from start to finish. I feel like a million when I listen to him. He has this swag about him and I think that comes from just being him that you'd never ever find anywhere else. I honestly feel pretty damn invincible when I'm listening to him.

Imma get into this album now....Like the crystals he sings about, this album is organic and it's natural with a vibe that grows around you and fills you with a sense of peace and tranquility against the electro beats he creates. I know I keep going on and on about how uniquely original he is and I mean every word of it. There is no one else out there like him and I am living for it. Every track I've listened to on his album makes me want to hear more and more from him. He makes me think of Big Dipper or Rica Shay when he raps because he's got an incredible amount of control to his delivery and flow and timing and delivery aren't something you can teach. Either you have it or you don't and baby, sis has got it.

The album jumps off with a "Moment for Me" moment, with "My Moment's Here" (how many more times can I say moment?) and I think that it's a damn good way to start out the track list. Taking your moment. Making a stand and saying, this is me. This is my time and you can be part of it or you can walk away cause I'm doing it on my own. Empowerment is my jam and anytime you can bring that to the table, you're gonna get all my coin.

We move from there to probably what I think should be the opening single, "Get it Like That". This is such a cool fucking song. The way it starts off in such a minimal space with just his rap and a small beat and it builds into this super catchy chorus pops off and I am here for it. His attitude during the rap is so fucking hot. I adore this song and I think there's magic in this song. His lyrical content is so strong and he knows how to write. These aren't just throw away songs. There's meat and bones underneath all the shiny packaging and it's phenomenal.

"Take Me Where You Want" is probably my favorite of all of 8 tracks but that's like trying to pick your favorite out of all your favorites because they all hit so hard in different aspects of what I need from them. If I could make one criticism of this song, I think if he would have used a bit more of an exotic string like a sitar or a shamisen, it would elevate this track to such new heights. You know I love hearing unexpected instruments but this song is damn near perfect in it's execution already.

"So High (Lavender Cloud)" has an amazing vocal performance by Dryden. His voice is so cool because it's his and I really love hearing him slip from singing to rapping because he does it effortlessly and this song just makes me close my eyes and go wherever he's taking me.

I never thought I'd say a song about yoga was a fucking banger but it damn sure is. "Namaste" is crazy good and it's got so much attitude behind it. I am here for it. It makes me smile and have a good time like the rest of the album. I never thought I'd be dancing to a track opening my chakras but here we are.

"Labradorite Eyes" just makes me smile like a goon. There's something so pure and innocent to this song. Labradorite is a crystal and it looks like the Aurora Borealis in crystal format so when you imagine that in someone's eyes, it's easy to see how you could get lost.

"Pure Gold" makes me sit down real deep and put on a stank face and just throw so much swag and attitude it's not funny. It's the Regina George of the album because I feel totally emotionally assaulted by this song in the absolute best way.

The album ends with "The Crystal Phantom" and it's so crazy good. Again, I never thought I'd be stoked about a song about crystals but Dryden has a way of making things just cool and funky and I want to listen to it. I want to know more about the crystals he's singing about.

Give this album a chance because it's really, really cool. Cooler than I've heard in a long time. Makes me want to sit at his table at lunch even though I know I really can't sit with him and his crew.... I want to watch him grow and be the artist that I know he's gonna be because he's fucking fantastic. He's bubbling over with talent and personality. He's got a point of view and people aren't going to get him but fuck them. He's not for them. Those people that do get him know exactly where he's been and want to be with him to see where he's going.