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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!!

Darci – Arts and Crafts

You ain’t seen nothin’.”

We all have a guard up when we are unsure of what it is we really want.  Sometimes this comes off the wrong way, I think we all care and want something substantial whether we want to admit it or not, you just have to find your “ride or die”, that one person that gets you.

This track definitely sets the mood for the rest of the weekend to come.  You want to play it cool like you don’t care, you gotta have that swag so she/he thinks you don’t care, but then you glance back real quick to show them there might be something.  Maybe this will be a weekend that comes and goes and you forget everything that happened, maybe it’s one that lasts in your mind and the people you meet last as well.  You just never know but that is the feeling I get from this track.  It’s got that hip-hop beat that makes you want to dance ever so slowly that every curve on your body has it’s own vibration.

The weekend is upon us like weekdays don’t even exist anymore, fuck yes!

Melf – GUILTY (feat. Maja)

Guilty…we’re all guilty of something, there’s no doubt about that! Whether it’s casually fibbing to a friend or making an illegal u-turn cause we need to get somewhere faster there’s likely *something* from our lives that we’re guilty of. It’s great to be able to take a step back and recognize if you might be guilty of these things cause it allows you to become a better person and evolve into your best self…you can’t do it if you think you’re perfect!! On the flip side though, people can feel too guilty for their actions even when they shouldn’t which is something I’m learning to deal with.

As I’ve learned to get to know myself more over the past few months I’ve become in tune with my emotions again which has been a double edged sword…I’m so grateful to start feeling whole again but at the same time my emotions can be super strong since I’m still learning how to handle them again. If I do something I feel like I shouldn’t have, even if it’s just eating way too much greasy food during a day, I take it as some sign that I’m guilty of not doing my life *exactly* how I should be which is just fucking ridiculous! I’ve gotta use some perspective and be happy about the person I am today compared to the one I was, say 4 months ago. I’ve improved so much and I can’t let feeling guilty for a bunch of little things add up into feeling guilty about who I am right now!

I’m gonna continue trying to take things easier on myself, and while I do that, some good music helps. Big ups to Melf’s new song “Guilty” for not only starting this important train of thought but providing a banger for me to enjoy while I work on enjoying life more and feeling less guilty!

Louis Futon – Surreal (Feat. RKCB)

Some smooth sonic porn is what this song is, especially for lovers of post-New Jack Swing early 90’s R&B. Buzzing beatsmith Louis Futon and modern day crooners RKCB team up for a rich, dreamy, Color Me Badd-esque panty dropper that sounds like an instant classic. Every detail is arranged with precision, from the intro vocal chops to the drum roll that leads into the swooning first verse, down to the beautiful melodies that brush over the chorus like a fine gloss. “Surreal” is a perfect way to describe the soundscape that Futon provides here.

Plus, the DNA of this song is fantastic – it reminds me of oh so many R&B legends from 20-25 years ago. Artists like Jodeci, Guy, Aaron Hall, Al B. Sure, Keith Sweat, Bobby Brown. Those guys were lucky to be at the peak of their careers at a time when being a big guy with no shirt on and a soft, sentimental side was a popular thing. Think about 1991 LL Cool J. He didn’t have a shirt in his entire wardrobe, but wore a fuzzy red kangol hat, track pants and 15 pounds of gold chains. He would lick his lips and whisper sweet nothings to all the around the way girls, but he also might kick your ass if you half-stepped. Artists these days are so one dimensional. They’re one thing, and they’re a whole lot of that one thing. Artists of yesteryear could be a whole bunch of things at the same time and not get roasted for it on Twitter. Plus, all of these guys in this era sang on and on about how much they loved women in a way that glorified them rather than treated them like objects, as do most hiphop songs these days. Innocent times, those 90’s.

K?d – Lose Myself (ft. Phil Good)

Between his carefully curated image and colossal sound, K?d is a rising electronic music star that I’ve had the pleasure of following for an extended period of time. His newest continues that trend as “Lose Myself” not only delivers phenomenal artwork, but a sound that’s forward-thinking yet feels comfortably nostalgic. That nostalgia even seeps over into its visual compliment as it reminds of one of my childhood favorites on the Gameboy Advance: Metroid Fusion. I’ll never forget the pure excitement I had picking up the cartridge at a Toys R Us and the years of enjoyment that ensued. I was fascinated by the story of Samus Aran, I was in love with the game’s neon-tinged appearance, and with that, I kept coming back to play it time after time.

Somewhere along the way during my life, though, I lost myself. Memories and feelings I had about things like Metroid dissipated. Living in a hyper-present without any connection to the past was terrifying and I desperately wanted to feel those distant times as vividly as I once had. Over months of working on myself, I’ve fortunately been able to reconnect to my past and the seemingly long-gone memories and feelings have flooded back. It’s a blessing that I haven’t taken for granted, and thus, why I have Metroid Fusion loaded into my Gameboy SP as we speak, ready to set forth on that wonderful journey once more.

Timaya & Electric Bodega – I Like The Way (Electric Bodega Remix)

This track brings me right back to trips I have taken to the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.  Two places I would love to be taking my daughter this summer if Zika wasn’t such a risk. BUMMER!  Hopefully they get a handle in that shit quick so I can go jetsetting ASAP with the little mini me!  I have been in Seattle the past few months and it’s literally been the rainiest Fall and Winter I have ever experienced.  I grew up here until Junior High and it was never this bad so you all can stop your “all it does is rain in Seattle” eye rolls, ya I see you!!

I cannot stop listening to this track this morning.  Timaya & Electric Bodega transport me to the future, just a couple months from now into Summer, I think we are all ready for it, for rays of sunshine, long weekends, outdoor BBQ’s and pool parties, brunches and rooftop shenanigans.  Ya all that stuff that we long for, well unless you live in Cali, but no offense I don’t want all that stuff year long, I want to be able to miss it because then it’s just that much more special and inviting when it’s all finally here.

All I can do is turn up the heat in my house, take off my clothes and dance carelessly until the evening festivities while I pretend I am somewhere else, do the same, enjoy!

The Geek x Vrv – Love Is All Around You

Love is all around you!! Even if you feel like you’ve hit the bottom and your life is at a dead end, there’s still love around you to experience just by nature of being a human on this massive wonderful home we call Earth! Humans can be selfish people sure, but I think it’s in our nature to care for the well being of each other. If you reach your hand out and ask for help, I’m *positive* that someone will be there waiting with their hand out ready to pick you up and help you get back on the right path.

Hell, I’ve experienced that feeling myself for months now. I found myself at a dead end where I was either going to continue ruining my life or seek help from my fellow humans to change my path…low and behold when I asked for help, I was quickly swept up into the most *loving* embrace of people who wanted to see me succeed and be my best self. It’s such a beautiful part of our existence…even when we can’t see the light it’s still there waiting for us. I feel that positivity in The Geek x Vrv’s song…it’s like a hip-hop based celebration of love and joy that I can’t help but nod my head along to and smile. That’s what happens when love is all around you!

SNBRN & Blu J – You Got Me (ft. Cara Frew)

It was just days ago that I waxed poetic about BLU J, a production duo who I consider to be at the forefront of not just future house, but house music at large, in terms of the sound they’ve innovated. Thus, I think I’ll go ahead and take credit for persuading the universe to bless us with yet another new tune from the Vancouver pair. A collaboration with fellow rising house star SNBRN, “You Got Me” finds their styles intersecting as airy deep house and growling, bass-heavy synths seamlessly blend into one another. There are few things that immediately grab my attention more than a BLU J drop, so the addition of SNBRN’s flair makes it virtually impossible to ignore.

As for Cara Frew, she absolutely transcends the role of a featured vocalist with a performance that sounds so wonderfully suited not just for this track and its electronic listener base, but a wide-ranging pop radio audience. Too often featured vocalists feel like an unnecessary addition to electronic tracks, but on “You Got Me,” Frew is outright essential.

I don’t have much of a personal anecdote to apply to this track other than there’s a solid chance you’ll see me blasting it with the windows down on the 101 this spring, so keep an eye out over the next few months, Californians.

Adventure Club – Breathe (ARMNHMR Remix)

I covered ARMNHMR’s remix of “AKIRA” earlier this year, so I’m thrilled to have yet another flip from the Los Angeles based duo to digest. While their take on “AKIRA” was composed of a darker sonic palate, this rework of Adventure Club’s “Breathe” is overflowing with sublime vibes that resonate through each kick of bass and its complimentary synths that reach sky-high.

Beyond the track itself, I’m especially fascinated by its accompanying artwork. I consider visual components to be just as important to music as its sound itself, and in this case, ARMNHMR’s reinterpretation of the original “Breathe” cover makes the remix even more impactful as a whole. The colossal, intergalactic content of the cover combined with its gorgeous purple-and-green dominant color scheme is awe-inspiring and overwhelming while simultaneously human and personal due to the two people looking upon the planetary fusion at the artwork’s bottom. As an absolute Mass Effect fanboy, I get vibes similar to that series’ humanity-and-space explorations alongside a hint of Interstellar.

Regardless of how it relates to my sci-fi fandom, though, ARMNHMR’s remix of “Breathe” uses its sights and sounds to imaginatively come to life with each and every listen.

Crystal Bats – Anyone

I have been pretty uninspired by a lot of music I have been hearing the past week or so, nothing has really sparked my interest or made me feel like writing, but then this 80’s inspired jam fell into my lap and it made me feel really good, I am a sucker for anything that screams 80’s, it’s in my blood, and it was an amazing decade in time.

I watched Passengers last night, that film that is suppose to be sometime in the future where we can travel to a different planet and have a better life. I heard it was bad but was hoping otherwise since I refuse to listen to reviews on movies and I love Chris Pratt and JLaw, but unfortunately the reviews were right and it was not worth the 6.99 I paid to rent it on itunes.  Since I am a writer, an actor, a musician and a life coach I was able to find significance in this movie that made the whole premise salvageable. Two people have each other, and only each other (in a sense the last two people on earth or in space in this case).  These are two people that might not otherwise look twice at each other in the real world but somehow they work well together and find a love with one another that is rare.  This was the part of the movie I enjoyed, the love situation between these two characters in a terrible situation, making the best of the situation, not faking it and actually finding the best in what they have in front of them.

Sometimes we think that there is only one type of person for us, maybe we are always falling into the arms of the wrong person because we are always putting ourselves in the exact same situations.  These two people went completely out of the world that they know and found love with one another, so for someone like me who has been single for 2 years, yes this has been my choice, no sex, no intimacy, and I am realizing when I am ready to find someone it has to be somewhere that I would never expect, I need to run full blast outside of my comfort zone.  You are probably reading this and going, “TWO YEARS”, yup, I know!  But if I am being honest, which I am 100 percent of the time, I haven’t missed it, I needed this long break from intimacy and worrying about another human being besides my daughter.  I needed to heal from years of lies and broken love.  I am healed now, so the doors are open to me and I need to start walking through doors in which I am completely unfamiliar.

Shout out to feel good 80’s inspired music, Summer time, new love and running full speed into unfamiliar territory!