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TWO LANES – Long Way Home (ft. HYM)

It’s a long way home. I’m a long way from home – 2,175 miles to be exact. Yet there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. I’m in the city of angels working alongside a collective of creatives that have the same forward-thinking vision, a vision that keeps me constantly engaged and excited for the future. I also have the pleasure of an extended creative family who I get to work with on a daily basis and spread their art from London or Los Angeles to the internet masses. And that goes without saying the friendships outside of work that I’ve fostered, where the line between friends and family blurs.

I really dig this track from TWO LANES. It’s a a dramatic, nuanced outing that has layers and layers of electronic touches to parse through witch each listen. I’m also a huge fan of the single artwork – it provides an understanding that there’s some sort of analog touch to “Long Way Home” which frames the single in a refreshing light. The vocals from HYM are also killer – they transcend a typical electronic topline and feel truly intertwined with the production. It’s no wonder this track has me feeling inspired.

Kaerhart – For What It’s Worth

Kaerhart’s “Drain My Love” was one of the most infectious songs of 2017 – the hook “I just wanna fill my cup, cause you drain my love” is a line that’s circulated through my brain more times than I can count. Thus, I’m beyond stoked to hear her return with a moody new single that further extends her artistic range. Its low-end is brooding, its atmosphere is sparse, and the transition into its hook is utterly intoxicating. Kaerhart’s vocals glide over the sonic shift from buzzing synths to dense, trap-leaning production with an effortless swagger that has me rewinding to the moment over and over.

I’m also infatuated with the vocal effects that are sprinkled throughout “For What It’s Worth”. The delayed echo during the hook and the harmonized vocals are equally hypnotic – they’re little touches, sure, but they take the song to the next level of enjoyment. For a reimagining of a mid 20th century classic, Kaerhart makes it to the next level in style. With that, I’ll be anxiously awaiting whatever she unveils next.

Restless Modern – Chasing

I’m readily familiar with Restless Modern from his MOONZz collaboration, but this is the first solo single I’ve heard from the indie-electro artist. “Chasing” continues the flashes of brilliance he displayed on “Navigator” with a production that’s both intricate and infectious. The choppy vocal samples are piercing, the ’80s-esque programmed percussion provides a super nice touch, and his vocals have a casual confidence to them that makes the track feel effortlessly cool overall.

Speaking of chasing, I’ve been chasing a simple goal: feeling okay. Over six months of chronic depression and experiencing a perpetual disconnect from the world has been brutal. Little by little, the frustration with my circumstances added up until it all came to a boil over the past weekend; it was an explosion of heated anger that found me furious about my perceived lack of progress. A close friend explained to me that my progressive frustration from an endless chase of happiness is like fighting against a current – eventually I’m going to drown if I don’t maintain an open dialogue that will lead to acceptance of my situation and the knowledge that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. From now on, I’m going to float along until I’m able to swim back to the shore. There, happiness awaits.

5 & A Dime – Flying High (feat. Yashar Gasanov)

This new one from 5 & A Dime gives me The Knife vibes which is about the highest compliment I could give a song. It has a cold, sparse atmosphere that feels sonically soaked in deep blue hues alongside a strangely body-swaying groove. The trappy percussion is a super nice touch that gives the song a contemporary flair and makes its listening potential versatile – it would sound as natural on a pair of quality headphones at night as it would cruising through the city at night with a car packed full of friends.

The artwork for this single is also killer. The sleek, futuristic approach is fitting as it complements an array of sounds that feel of this world yet ahead of the curve – it looks like it’s straight out of Mass Effect or 2001: A Space Odyssey (5 & A Dime really seems to have his finger on the pulse of all my favorite things). From top to bottom, I’ve found the first frontrunner for my favorite song of the new year. I look forward to many months of spinning “Flying High” on repeat.

LondonBridge – Sound Of The Underground (The Remixes)

I’ve previously raved (no pun intended) about the balancing act that LondonBridge pulls off as one of the minds behind LA’s quintessential electronic night Space Yacht and his work as a rising producer who’s received stamps of approval from killer names like Dim Mak. He continues to build upon his overarching buzz with a “Sound Of The Underground” remix pack that provides three flips of his gritty, bass-down-low house cut that sounds oh so right pumping out of nightclub speakers.

I’ll quickly give you the rundown on each of these remixes. TYPE3 takes the track into heavy, glitchy bass house territory that’s best fit for the midst of a sweaty, shuffling heavy night out. Morelia aims for minimalist territory with a barebones reinterpretation that’s pure unsanctioned rave candy. Last but definitely not least, Zendlo embraces utterly wonky sounds that demand a rush to the dance floor as soon as possible. While each take on “Sound Of The Underground” delivers a different approach, they’re all grounded in a feel-good ethos that stays true to LondonBridge’s original vision. I’ll expect to frequently hear these remixes at Space Yacht and beyond.

Charles Rivers – All I Need

“All I Need” feels like a scientist synthesized everything I love about music into a single song. Its hazy instrumental is an utterly intoxicating backdrop as snares echo and synths subtly swirl along, all setting the stage for Charles Rivers’ soulful vocals. His performance emanates feelings of whiskey-soaked wisdom that comes from a lifetime of emotional experience, not to mention the grandiose vocal effects that extend his range in a fashion that conjures up flashes of Francis and the Lights.

There’s plenty of lesser known artists that show flashes of brilliance, no doubt, but few deliver such a fully realized package. From top to bottom, Rivers has a sound that will quickly resonate with widespread listeners once the moment is right. It’s such a thrilling experience to hear a musician and immediately recognize the exponential potential they possess – it feels like I’m carrying around a secret that I just want to shout from the mountain tops, but I think rather than ascending to the nearest peak, this post will do for now.

Pop Funk – Everything But Ordinary (Feat. Blake Rose)

I love tracks with unique sonic touches. The sound of water swaying back and forth on “Everything But Ordinary” is a perfect example as it bookends the song with a hypnotizing element that also adds an aura of organic life. I’m equally into the adorable vocal sample during the hook that’s in the same vein of Yoshi’s signature yelp as it brings an element of childish nostalgia to the table. They’re characteristics that contribute to the wonderfully melodic whole of Pop Funk and Blake Rose’s introductory statement to 2018, a pop-laden outing that immediately sticks to the brain and refuses to let go.

On a personal note, it’s well documented that the last year of my life was everything but ordinary. I’ve never experienced as many high highs and low lows as I did throughout 2017. That being said, 2018 is the year that I’m shooting for stability. I crave the simplicity of the ordinary – don’t get me wrong, I still have lofty goals for my work and personal life, but I want to be grounded through those pursuits. It’s a resolution that I’m excited to maintain from today and onward.

Kaizen – Sanctuary

My sanctuary is a massive green hill on the coast that overlooks the ocean. I climb up the side and lay all my belongings under a sprawling tree and sit just outside the range of its shade so that I can absorb the rays of sunshine from above. I open up a book or close my eyes and meditate as my senses give way to the nature that surrounds me. Last time I went, I walked across the street and explored the steep hills of a public park that gave way to more inspiring views of the ocean – it’s impossible for me to make a trip there without finding inner peace from my higher power of nature.

Kaizen’s new single “Sanctuary” immediately conjured up those thoughts, not just because of its name, but because of the euphoric rush that encapsulates its runtime. Waves of melodic synths rush over crisp percussion in a fashion that overwhelms the senses – when it comes to modern electronic music, it’s truly top class. His previous single “Bloom” was packed with potential, but “Sanctuary” capitalizes on said potential and positions him as a producer who’s a cut above the future bass pack.

The Ramona Flowers – Strangers

My love of a good ’80s influenced track is well documented – for god’s sake, I have Duran Duran’s Rio artwork permanently etched into my skin! Combine that love with a good Scott Pilgrim reference and you’ve got yourself a recipe for infatuation at first sight. Thus, it’s no surprise I find myself repeatedly spinning this new single from The Ramona Flowers. It’s called “Strangers” and it’s a funky, groovy, new wave influenced cut that feels like the 21st century soundtrack to an OutRun reboot. Palm trees are abound, neon lights streak across the sky like shooting stars, and the top on the car goes down to soak in the ocean air.

Let’s also talk about how “Forget about forever, let’s just be strangers” has to be the lyrical gold standard for a song of this style. Instead of everlasting love, it’s a testament to fleeting euphoria, the thrill of the chase also well documented during the track’s vocoder-soaked verses. Here’s to finding that temporary companion in a hazy room, walking outside into the darkness, and jetting off for a passion filled night that’ll only last a moment but feel like eternity.

Almand – Ride (ft. Tima Dee)

2017 was a fucking ride to say the least. There were crazy ups (working my dream job), crazy downs (long-lasting chronic depression), and everything in between. After living in a haze for years, it was the first 12-month period I was fully present for life and everything it entails. Along the way, I slowly but surely parsed out who I am as an individual – just this week, I’ve begun to fully realize my self image at the top of 2018 with plans for a plethora of tattoos and a new stack of metal shirts that’ve finally brought me back to my comfortable, all-black roots (2017 found me experimenting with anime inspired streetwear, colorful skater chic, and vintage nu-metal pieces just to name a few).

On the flip side, I’m also jaded from all the pain and loss I suffered through over the past year. Both of my childhood dogs died, I watched my parents’ lives slip into chaos, a cherished family friend took their own life, I spent a traumatic stint in the hospital, and my PTSD was a dark cloud that hung over every waking moment. No pain, no gain, though. I’ve set myself up to experience more joy than ever before in major moments like monumental work events and minor moments like hearing a song that touches me – hell, Almand’s new single “Ride” is a good place to start. It’s bouncy, sunny, melodic, playful, everything I want in a track to turn my perpetual frown upside down.

Its refrain also echoes a sentiment I’ve been feeling super hard lately: “I don’t wanna be alone, be alone.” I’ve spent the past year working on myself and I’m ready for someone to enter my life who I want to spend a good portion of my waking moments with. Maybe she’s out there thinking the same thing. Maybe when we’re together we’ll turn up the radio and blast “Ride”.