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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!


EVAN GIIA – I DON’T LIKE UR FRIENDS

We’ve all been there – there’s a friend who we love dearly, but patience be damned, we simply don’t like the people around them. Maybe it’s the way they talk, maybe it’s the views the espouse, maybe it’s the way they laugh, maybe it’s the vibe they carry…regardless of the reason at hand, the resentment exists and we’re left to deal with it. It’s easy to let distaste eat away at your core, but I prefer the route EVAN GIIA has taken on her single – scream it from the top of your lungs and let it all out! It doesn’t have to be in the presence of those who you dislike, but it’s cathartic to vocalize your feelings, even if it’s just you in your lonesome, until they subside.

That being said, EVAN GIIA makes it sound as cathartic as it can be on “I DON’T LIKE UR FRIENDS”. It’s an insanely catchy song with a matter-of-fact tone that feels like a rallying cry for everyone to let their resentments go. Personally, I journal out my thoughts these days or talk to a confidant and it provides the relief that she puts on full display. Hopefully this song gives people who have been feeling the pressure from life and all it entails to decompress in whatever way feels the most natural to them.


Pretty Sister – Tension

Pretty Sister is a master of making of sultry music that you can feel the tension through, so it’s only fitting that the Z-Funk pioneer comes equipped with a new one called “Tension”. It’s a perfect summertime jam that demands listening at high volumes with good vibes flowing and no end to the day or night in sight. Him and White Gold provide the perfect one-two punch as Pretty Sister delivers high octane, high stakes vocals with an epic undercurrent while White Gold is cool as a cucumber with a laidback flow draped in audible elegance.

The man known as Pretty Sister caught me attention years ago and has continued to keep me locked in with a sound that’s so uniquely his. It’s funk for a new age that stays true to the genre’s roots while making it palatable for the 21st century listener who wants something fresh and new. It’s a serious talent to be able to attract listeners that wouldn’t otherwise engage with a genre, and to that end, Pretty Sister is owed tons of credit. Let’s give this man a round of applause and get down to the endless dance ready jams he’s providing with some tension, tension, and release.


3rdCultureKid – MTO

Best known as a collaborator with Gorgon City (whose name seems to have truly returned to the spotlight lately), LuLu James returns to her solo roots as 3rdCultureKid. Spurred by a trip to her hometown in Tanzania, “MTO” finds James at a sonically immersive avenue that quickly sets itself apart as one of my favorite songs of 2018. Her vocals alone are such a moving force – it’s impossible to not feel overwhelmed with emotion as the melodies across the entirety of her range are enough to spur a visceral experience. She’s a gifted storyteller who paints vivid pictures with every word uttered across languages – even simple lines like “every day in the river we play” are soaked with picturesque appeal as her stunning voice is backed by a swirling electronic undercurrent.

There’s so much music right now that feels disposable, tailor-made for playlists and ready to be consumed before it’s forgotten once the playlist is updated by its curator with a new crop of sounds. “MTO” offers a counter to that sentiment – James delivers a piece of art that’s grounded in a rich sound that transcends time and space. The intersection between her cultural heritage and her life as an electronic vocalist offers a resulting effort to be appreciated for years to come. It’s a blessing to be struck so immediately like this by a song as all these thoughts have spilled out upon my first few listens; I’ll cherish this moment and continue returning to “MTO” without a doubt.