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Danelle Sandoval – Say No

This is the first time Danelle Sandoval has come across my radar, but it’s readily apparent that she brings the full package as catchy music and a killer sense of style intertwine for exactly what I want from an artist in 2018. Her newest “Say No” has an array of small touches that give it immediately identifiable character, but it also has overarching pop sensibilities that seize your attention in an instant – in short, she has widespread appeal without sacrificing personal flair. Rising stars like Sigrid, Billie Eilish, and Rina Sawayama all have an intangible sense of authenticity that puts them a head above the rest and Sandoval’s approach is no different.

Thinking about the song’s title, I’m reminded how much growth is required to say no. At the beginning of my career, I accepted an outside project that I felt like I had to take on due to a budding friendship, but it quickly became clear that I wasn’t able to devote attention to anything beyond my main focus. I was saddled with the weight of expectations that I clearly wasn’t able to meet without stretching myself thin, so from there on out, I made a point to not push myself beyond my limits. So many people value endless grinding like a form of currency, but I’m a big proponent of working within the parameters that most comfortably suit you and trust your gut when you’re inclined to say no.

Thoreau – Afraid

“Afraid of never having friends I can trust.”

This track entered my inbox at the perfect time.  I am doing a shit ton of purging lately.  Mostly with friends because I am SINGLE AF, so I don’t have a love interest making my life difficult!  I just don’t have time for the negativity anymore, nor have I ever and I am at a stage in my life where it’s just not cool to be raging every week, picking arguments and acting childish.  I want nothing more than the utmost respect and anything less is out the door.  At a certain point you have to grow up and if your friends, or just any relationship you have in general isn’t following that lead or you are falling off the pages with them, it’s time to move on.  There are plenty of fish in the sea whether it’s with love or friendships, don’t waste your time.  I think we hang on to negative relationships in fear of being alone, as humans whether you want to admit it or not being alone is scary, but you have to be able to understand what being alone is in order to truly conquer your fears.  You can only trust yourself at the end of the day, trusting yourself makes it harder to be afraid of the decisions you make.

I am really diggin’ this track for the chill vibe, talking about a deep message that has meaning for all of us.  I like that, chill, yet deep.  It’s much easier to connect to a deeper message when it’s being delivered with a chill attitude.  Good stuff!  If your week didn’t start off too hot, I believe this will get you on the right track.  Own your life and your decisions and remember you deserve all the best so purge the assholes and move on!


Luna May – Silly Boys

Luna May’s newest marries the forward-thinking with the timeless on “Silly Boys”, a stunning new single that’s simultaneously atmospheric and gritty. She has the vocal poise of a seasoned songstress as she strings along each and every word with a sense of importance that lends itself to a natural storytelling ability. The production is a perfect complement as it’s churning and minimalist, providing a broody undercurrent to an authentic meditation from May’s present self to her younger iteration. From top to bottom, it’s a track that warrants getting lost within on repeated listens.

If there’s a message I’d relay to my younger self, it’d probably be a message of acceptance. Don’t get caught up in possibilities or worries and allow myself to be immersed in the beauty of the present moment. My natural state is trip about the future, so much so that I become drawn into a web of falsities conjured up within the confines of my mind. When engaged with repeatedly, anxieties become your perceived reality, but if you don’t engage with them in the first place, there’s no chance for them to plant seeds and grow. I’m still not perfect at heeding this advice, but it’s wisdom that I think my younger self would’ve liked to hear.

Kaerhart – Losing My Mind

There are individuals who transcend a single medium in favor of a breadth of artistic talents. Kaerhart is no stranger to that notion as the Los Angeles based creative is the founder of the conscious clothing collective Mystic Tribe, an experienced numerologist, and an absolutely stellar pop vocalist. The latter makes its way to the forefront on “Losing My Mind”, a smash of a single that synthesizes her ultra-positive vibes into infectious, unforgettable goodness. Kaerhart’s keen ear for production is essential to the release as she glides with ease atop a nuanced instrumental that’s equal parts summer bop and intricate, sonic introspection.

Viewing “Losing My Mind” through the lens of all of Kaerhart’s endeavors, there’s a spiritual element to the song that’s impossible to ignore. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who’s a spiritual creature from the onset – from what I understand, the road to awakening is prefaced by a breaking point that leads to acceptance and initiates the process of change. Even though she’s singing about losing her mind, the atmosphere is undeniably celebratory as she embraces reality for exactly what it is and engages in an empowering sense of release. It’s a powerful sentiment that leads to Kaerhart’s most impactful work yet.

Honors – X2UO

The dudes in Honors are simply put some of the best in the r&b game and immediately need more shine. They sit somewhere between a band and a collective but whatever you want to call them, the music they put out absolutely slaps. “X2UO” is a natural step into an even catchier direction for them as they deliver a marriage between hook ready vocals and top class production that I’ve come to expect. From the first time I heard “Over” in 2016 I knew these guys had what it takes to make it in the Toronto r&b scene and the international network at large.

Not only is the sound on “X2UO” big, but the lyrics paint some vivid damn imagery. Peep the lines, “You say it’s nothing, but we’re all a slave to something/So you pray for the unknown, and you’ll stay for it all.” That’s not just a song to be mindlessly digested, that’s a story that you can get lost within and imagine the drama playing out in realtime. It’s one thing to make catchy music, but to give it substance is a whole other ballgame and in this instance Honors have knocked it out of the park for a grand slam. I have to give credit where credit is due and there’s plenty of it here!

WITHOUT – Talking Bout Me (ft. Empara Mi)

WITHOUT came onto my radar with “Love Liike This”, a tropical infused single that conjured up the perfect sound to get me through the oh-so-cold Los Angeles winter months (it’s tough living in a city with the best weather in the world)! The duo’s newest is a collaboration with Empara Mi that builds upon their already refined sound with what’s undoubtedly their best work yet. It’s a sleek, smooth production with an intricate percussive approach and subtly swelling synths that blend with one another to make the song a borderline meditative experience. Every moment of the song feels necessary and intuitive as every passing second truly counts.

Empara Mi is critical to the release’s success as well – her vocals are pitch perfect and give a sultry, smokey layer to “Talking Bout Me” that wouldn’t be possible from a purely instrumental perspective. I couldn’t imagine a better fit for WITHOUT’s production here. The bond between and producer and topliner is delicate – so many songs out there feel forced and you can tell there’s just no sense of connection between the artists. WITHOUT and Empara Mi totally avoid that issue as you can feel the pure synergy between them. That’s a notion that warrants returning to this song again and again.

Lucas & Steve – I Could Be Wrong (feat. Brandy)

This one has summer smash written all over it. Featuring an insane talent in Brandy as Lucas & Steve sample her hit debut single, “I Could Be Wrong” hits all the right notes of beach and festival ready house music as purely anthemic vocals are mixed with blissful production. It’s a perfect fit for Big Beat and Spinnin who have the structures in place to make sure this massive single is heard across massive swathes of sweaty fans worldwide. There’s truly nothing to do to this track except dance the day and night away, so I suggest getting to it right away if you’re able!

While I won’t be heading out from my office to dance anytime soon, the views are keeping my spirits high. Palm trees are gently swaying back and forth en masse over Hollywood Boulevard, clouds are dotting the sky like a painting, the houses sprawled across the hills are as striking as ever, Beverly Hills and the ocean are in the distance. It’s another beautiful day in Los Angeles that I need to soak in and not take for granted – it’s easy to forget that I live in one of the most beautiful cities and biggest cultural centers in the world!

Viceroy – Caught Me A Rhythm (Feat. Marc E. Bassy)

I’ve caught myself a rhythm lately. I’ve had arguably the most successful two weeks of work to date, I’m staying in constant contact with the universe around me and have shifted focus from myself to the greater picture, and I recognize the gift of exponential room to grow in my future. That’s a cause to celebrate and fortunately Viceroy’s newest is providing the perfect vibes for the occasion. It’s soulful, it’s sexy, it’s smooth, it’s everything you’d hope for from an artist delivering a summertime smash with an assist from a quickly bubbling vocal talent like Marc E. Bassy. It’s so different from the past Viceroy singles I’ve heard yet it’s easily his best song to date.

All that being said, I still manage to let self doubt creep in. I don’t give myself all the positives in my life recognition – I just assume I should be doing as well as I am, and in turn, can end up feeling moments of stress about the things that aren’t going as smoothly. It’s an annoying little cycle, for sure, but it’s also human nature and I don’t hold it against myself…it just is. Everything in this moment is beyond our control and is thus exactly how it should be. Gratitude isn’t a natural state for most humans, but I practice it daily so that it’ll eventually come to me without a second thought…from there, I can keep catching this rhythm.

Caden Jester – Vacant Love (feat. Blake Rose)

I wasn’t previously familiar with Caden Jester, but this single came through my inbox and quickly caught my attention. Titled “Vacant Love”, it’s a Blake Rose assisted cut that dives into utterly infectious electronic territory. The verses have a traditional main-stage flair that hints at a big-room climax, but the drop provides a welcomed switch up worth multiple rewinds as its propulsive, punchy low-end is draped with gritty synths. It’s the type of innovation that I love to hear in the genre as past and present approaches intersect for a modern sound.

In general, I love how electronic music has looked to the past for uniquely present outputs. Some of my favorites included Virtual Self’s dive into pure turn-of-the-millenium rave candy, Ross From Friends’ lo-fi house, and minimalist bass music that feels like a worthy successor to the early aughts of dubstep. It all provides a sense of familiarity to make the listening experience comfortable while generating excitement around the innovation it provides. Here’s to more music that transcends time and space.

Two Can – Got Habits

Two Can’s newest is an anthem that’s just waiting to blow up. It slowly swells with energy until the production gives way to a stretchy drop and the vocals take the song in its entirety to the next level. They remind me of the balance of sassy and sweet that Charli XCX brings to the table, both in partying-centric lyrics and style. Everyone thinks they have their respective genre’s song of the summer on their hands, but Two Can might actually be in contention for the future pop realm’s finest on “Got Habits”.

Speaking of habits, we all have them. I have a vicious sweet tooth that can demolish a slice of pie or cake in mere minutes along with a tendency to overthink things until I’ve worn by brain out. Both aren’t the healthiest, sure, but sometimes you just have to embrace those habits and allow yourself to have some flaws. No one is perfect and everyone needs some sort of outlet to vent their stress and worries into. That’s not to say you can’t work on them, though – I’ve been cutting down on the late night deserts and working on mindfulness and meditation to ease worries. It’s all about finding a balance!