Skip to content

NJOMZA – Hear Me

Pink and purple are my favorite colors. When I’m stressed out to the point of crippling anxiety, I imagine myself inhaling those colors until they wash over every inch of my body from the point of stress and outward. I’m not sure where my fascination with those two shades began, but I consciously attempt to surround myself with them; the Super Fly poster in my kitchen, the Anjunabeats banner in my living room, the Banks press kit tacked over my bulletin board, all of them resonate with variations of those shades. Even in the film and gaming content I consume, I constantly find myself magnetized to pink and purple aesthetics.

It’s thus no surprise that my eyes were immediately drawn to NJOMZA’s sad for you artwork. Her eyeshadow, her hair, her lipstick, the single-toned background, my idea of visual perfection all wrapped into a meticulously-crafted photograph. In turn, the colors that are visually present seem to wash through album single “Hear Me” like they do through my anxiety-ridden body, each and every note of the track dripping with purple and pink synth-pop goodness.

I’ve yet to hear sad for you in its entirety, but with the experience “Hear Me” has allowed, it goes without saying that I absolutely cannot wait.


Hight – Runway

Oh gosh, we should be taking off, but every time we stop we restart the wrong way.”

At this point in my life I realize how many fish there are in the sea. In my personal opinion there isn’t one person for everyone, there are hundreds, do you know how many people there are in the world that would click with you, A LOT! I used to not think this and shit I could be wrong because I haven’t dated in over two years but the person I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life, I fought tooth and nail for, I didn’t end up with this person, in fact we barely know each other anymore. If we ever met again I assume it would be like meeting a stranger, and would we click like we did the day we met?

Like I said, there are many out there for one person, that’s why now I am watching all my friends, some in failed relationships, some in good ones, some fighting to hang on to something that just isn’t there but I totally understand not wanting to give up, sometimes you just have too.  This track is just the pick me up with optimistic lyrics on the subject at hand helping the doubt to feel ok.  Live a little and get back out there, press play and I am sure this one will get your engine going again if your feeling a bit under the weather.  Speaking of weather, Seattle enough with the rain, California I’ll see your cute sunny ass next weekend!


DivineRule – (CLUE) WHO KILLED 2PAC and BIGGIE SMALLS?

You have the most to lose when you are ahead of the game.  The higher you are in this world the more people want to hate, the haters are always out for blood. Believe me I know this, I have always been a go getter, a really hard worker, I don’t believe in failure and if you tell me I can’t do something I work even harder because boy to I love to prove people wrong and I usually do.  People don’t like confidence because the majority of this world doesn’t have it, so much insecurities in this world, people could actually learn a thing or two from the confident few but they would rather hate, sad but true.  I think it’s just easier for people to focus on the negative, I wish I understood why, I can sometimes rationalize it in my head but I just don’t live in that type of head space.  I know what it’s like to feel like there is just this dark cloud hovering over your head at all times but that’s no way to live, it’s a shit way to live people.

I think the lives of Tupac and Biggie tell a true story of what happens when people live in a hateful head space, when jealousy and rage take over and you can’t appreciate someone else’s hustle.  To much competition since the beginning of time, how do we get rid of that, we probably never will but for a few of us and hopefully more and more as time goes on the word competition can leave our vocabulary. Who knows, all I know is I don’t focus on what everyone else is doing, I focus on my grind and what I need to do to keep pushing forward and eliminate haters, your haters are actually your biggest fans so learn to love them hard working badasses of the world, learn to love em’!

Thanks DivineRule for this jam and a reminder not to be afraid of the hustle, but watch your back if you got somethin’ special!


Maverick – I Know

Maverick describes his newest as an “abstract take on contemporary soul.” While I wouldn’t consider it outright abstract, it’s indeed a disorienting angle to take as he situates the vocals within a filtered haze that feels significantly distant from the track’s core. “I Know” still manages to be an accessible piece of work due to its driving electronics, though, a notion that seems to be integrating itself into the fabric of popular music right now.

PC Music’s infiltration of the pop sphere immediately comes to mind. The collective has taken a sound that was inaccessible to mainstream audiences in 2013 and is now mentioned in the same breath as Rihanna and Charli XCX. I’ve always considered this transition to be fascinating, but a friend of mine remarked that pop fans aren’t suddenly into tastemaker music. Rather, the tastemaker sound of past Pitchfork adoration is simply better aligned with the mood-heavy, electronic sounds that swathes of people now crave.

I, for one, am thrilled at the prospect of more listeners craving the music that’s been bubbling in tastemaker circles for years; not only for selfish reasons to hear more exciting music while out and about, but for the exposure of artists like Maverick who are toying with preconceived notions of how to present a style within the framework of a track that anyone could throw into their Spotify playlist and enjoy. Exciting times are upon us.

 


LYSA – Beats And Battle Drums

Some vocalists have a talent that feels straight up generational and while I’m definitely jumping the gun I’ve gotta say I hear that with LYSA!! There’s so many artists coming out of Sweden right now but she’s one of the first to make me literally stop what I was doing the first time I heard her music…that voice is just so weighty and powerful and doesn’t feel like it’s simply using the beat as a background… She feels at one with the instrumental, like she’s always perfectly in sync with each little drum kick and synth sound.

This song also just makes me think about how fucking much I *love* pop music. I used to be such a snob but I realized that there was a reason why people like pop so much…it makes you feel instead of sit and overthink and that’s something I’ve had trouble with throughout my life! If a pop song can also make me think enough to write an essay on it then that’s great but I try to approach pop by really paying attention to how it makes me feel…each little flutter I get in my stomach, each smile that cracks on my face, every head nod along with the song, all of that makes up the most important part of pop. It’s a test of how much I enjoy a pop song that “Beats And Battle Drums” passed with flying colors, so stop listening to me ramble and listen to LYSA!!


MOONZz x Restless Modern – Navigator

I feel like a broken record with so many references to BLU J as of late, but the duo’s flip of “Goodbye” instantly put me on the syrupy sweet vocals of MOONZz when it dropped last year – thus, it was thrilling to receive a new track from the lady of Luna. Titled “Navigator,” her fresh single is a jubilant outing co-produced by Restless Modern that embraces the trope of romantic joyrides and a more traditional pop approach. While undoubtedly modern in its percussive flair, the track carries a welcoming aura of nostalgia that invokes memories of long-gone road trips and romance.

With that being said, here’s so much value in a track that can tap into deeply seeded sentiments without having direct ties to the past. Most music that I hold in high regard has years of experiences and emotions attached, but most of it made me think forward rather than backward on first listen. Maybe those retrospective instigators were also structured around archetypes of old that were destined to strike a chord with me, but whatever the case may be, there was no denying how rewarding it felt to engage with the past.

Whether those surfaced visions were vivid or abstract, they felt less like foreign ground and more like home, and that notion persists through “Navigator.”


Martin Garrix – Scared To Be Lonely (Medasin Remix)

I’ve always been scared to be lonely. I was one of those introverts who could find themselves in a crowded room amongst friends and still feel utterly isolated. Even during recent years where my social life appeared solidified from an outside perspective, there were countless moments that made me feel separated from those around me.

Over the past few months, though, I’ve applied some serious effort to bettering myself, and that’s naturally included abandoning that selfish, isolated thinking in favor of making more genuine connections that allow me to be the most honest version of me, a version that doesn’t have to worry whether or not I’m connected with my friends. Thus, I’ve found myself thriving like I never have before now that I’m in LA, a city where there are so many people that share a common passion for artistic endeavors while leading balanced lifestyles that I’ve sought. It’s remarkable that I have more friends in two months of living in a sprawling metropolis on the other side of the country than I did over four years of living in a tight-knit town, but it’s no coincidence. I decided I wasn’t satisfied with the life I was living, I made massive changes, and now I’m seeing the results – results that ensure I’m scared to be lonely no longer.

 


CATALINE – Shine Like a Firefly

 

Life is so fucking exciting right now, at least for me it is.  I have chosen to ignore all the bullshit that is going on in the world, ok I realize it’s not all bullshit so you can unclench those fists, but I just personally can’t tune into it anymore, at least for right now.  Everything in my life is really shining at a high potential.  I never want to say at it’s fullest because I always believe there is room for growth or change, and things can always get even better than you thought they could, believe me I know this for a fact.  All my friends keep bugging me about when I am going to start dating again, it’s been two years since I felt affection towards anyone.  My answer is this, I feel content right now, more so than I have ever been and I have been alone and so in control of my life the last two years that I don’t need anyone else, except my little amazing daughter of course, but I don’t have a longing for a companion.  Like I said I am shining, shining “like a firefly” right now and I think I would like to enjoy it a little longer before I take the chance having it put out.  No need for that, when you have that shine people notice, people respect it because they can feel it coming off of your body, it’s a wonderful thing and maybe one of these days I will share this shine with someone absolutely deserving of sharing it with.

This track is above and beyond for me. It’s all I need for this entire weekend to get me moving, the beat, the use of the synths and the effects on the vocals make this an effortless indie/dance pop track.  Lyrically nothing is complicated, just positive upbeat energy and a good message.  I gotta get ready to go sing my ass off tonight so hit play on this gem of a jammer!


Shaun Frank – No Future (ft. Dyson)

So many songs I’ve been hearing lately are about rough breakups where the people involved aren’t sure if they’re making the right decision but this new song from Shaun Frank flips that trend on its head!! It’s called “No Future” and Dyson lays out some serious truth by singing about how it’s so damn obvious that her and her lover have no future together anymore…the sex isn’t the same, the emotions are gone, and there’s nothing left except some phone calls when they’re lonely.

I love how natural her vocals sound cause it makes the whole situation feel even more matter of fact which is how some relationships that are ending should be approached…no drama, just a mutual parting of ways between two adults. And hey I’ve gotta give it to Shaun Frank too, his production makes the end of a relationship almost sound straight up fun!! The song has such bouncy carefree vibes that are *perfect* for the honest and straight forward approach to Dyson’s lyrics. There’s nothing to be ashamed or sad about here, just another part of life to appreciate and even celebrate cause we’re living another day on this beautiful planet we call home!


Jacob Banks – Chainsmoking

Chainsmoking is something I enjoyed *a bit* too much during my smoking days. One cigarette was nice but once I got that buzz and calming relief I just wanted more and more of it (here’s to addictive personalities!!). After months without smoking, I recently picked up a couple packs during a stressful stretch and realized I was going straight back to my old ways…even if I was hanging out with friends and enjoying myself I still felt the need to go chief down a couple cigarettes because they were giving me a buzz that my body couldn’t naturally. That might not seem like a big deal to some people but I know myself well enough to see the path I was going back down…

Fortunately I caught myself and am learning to be content with things that make me feel naturally happy like good company or good music. Jacob Banks’ newest “Chainsmoking” is a perfect example of something that makes me feel naturally great. The guy has a ridiculously powerful voice with so much soul that would sound amazing over classic tracks just as much as it does over this song’s modern approach…I love autotune and vocal effects a ton but damn, it’s phenomenal to hear a dude come through with such a naturally attention-grabbing voice! I hadn’t heard of him til this song came out but there’s no doubt I’m gonna be anxiously waiting to hear whatever he graces us with next!!