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Aaron Fontwell – Crystal Coated

This feels and sounds like a song I would have been obsessed with in high school back in the 90’s. Walking home from school listening to this in my walkman, distraught over a girl I like that didn’t say hi today when she walked past my locker. All angsty, but deep down knowing that it doesn’t matter cause I still get to fire up Tecmo Bowl when I get home. Then i’ll watch The Rap City Top 10 Countdown and get super excited when they sneak in a new Show & AG video right before #1. But then after dinner while doing my homework I get all upset again about that girl, and blast “Crystal Coated” to help indulge my frustration and confusion. Then i’ll go to sleep with this song on loop, not getting done any of my homework but telling myself “i’ll wake up super early tomorrow and finish it up” which actually means snoozing past when I would normally wake up anyway.

But back to the present – it’s really tripping me out how Aaron Fontwell has come up with a song that sounds half-Nirvana and half-The Weeknd. His melodies and the overall vibe give it this urban-grunge vibe that i’ve never really heard before, and I love it. Musically, it’s a very graceful and nimble look into the future while bringing back some of the best elements of 90’s rock music. Truly can’t wait to hear more of something like this.

Billie Eilish – Six Feet Under (Jerry Folk Remix)

With leaves beginning to fall toward the Earth and the brisk air becoming more chilled every day, fall is undoubtedly upon us. For this brief lapse of time, nature’s beauty is insurmountable as cascades of orange, red, and yellow permeate landscapes. Yet, just as quickly as it came, the color will soon seep away, nature’s beauty redefined once more.

If there is a proper audible compliment for that transition, look no further than Jerry Folk’s remix of “Six Feet Under.” A barren atmosphere driven by a methodically bleeping synth akin to Kanye West’s “Say You Will,” it frames Billie Eilish’s vocals as a proverbial light within the darkness of an earlier setting sun. As she croons, “Could roses bloom?”, the thought of the cold providing an alternative elegance is seemingly echoed with hints of affirmation. Yet, as a new arrangement of synthesizers and keys blossoms in the track’s closing moments, it becomes certain; even when a landscape is not outright flourishing, there is still allure to be found.

And thus, Folk’s reimagining of “Six Feet Under” will continue to spin as I watch the seasons give way to one another, the Earth’s cycles continuing to unfold.

DROELOE – Bon Voyage

Bon Voyage indeed, as another smoking hot DROELOE track sends you on quite a journey. They’ve really become masters at creating instrumental music that speaks louder than most songs with vocals. Brimming with well-placed synth sounds, perfectly timed drum drops, and eerie chopped up vocals sprinkled on top, “Bon Voyage” creates the perfect template for this groundswell of instrumental electronic and hiphop productions. It’s packed with smart decisions. The drums are oozing hiphop swag, but the arrangements and instruments are pure electro bliss. It’s wonderful balance that pretty much ensures you’ll play this back to back to back to back to back…

The best part is the conflicting emotions I feel from the song. At moments the vocal sample blends with the track and there’s these feelings of desperation, helplessness, and vulnerability. But at the moments when the drums are driving the song, it makes me want to stomp down the street and sock someone in the face – in the most charming and endearing way possible of course. And I realized that those feelings seem to reflect the way America feels right now. Desperate, helpless, yet ready to take things into their own hands if necessary. It’s a weird-ass time, and I love music that compliments the mood of the moment. Keep providing the soundtrack DROELOE!

REYNA – Kill Me


Even the happiest people in the world keep their darkest memory tucked away very deep to remind them what brought them to the light. At any point if you feel like your slipping you are reminded that you now have traction. I don’t believe in letting go of the past, I believe in letting go of the feelings that bring you down but I believe in holding on to the memories because they are what made you into the human being you are standing here reading this right now…

I gave you all
I gave you everything
I didn’t know that love was empty
I keep your poison
oh I keep it close
I take a sip, take a sip, take a sip.”

Tom Aspaul – Burnt Out

Honestly, this is what the future of pop music should sound like. It’s got a little of everything – a saucy house-pop synth bassline that just melts as it flows by. Crisp, danceable percussion that skips around and kicks you in your ass, begging you to move a little. And a subtle R&B undertone that gives it depth and lots of replay value. And somehow it feels classic and timeless. I think I could have heard this in ’92 and said the same thing about it, thinking it’s the future of pop. Even if this isn’t actually the future of pop, it’s definitely not a bad thing to SOUND like the future of pop.

Tom Aspaul’s whole LEFT EP carries with it this depth. It’s sophisticated and and smart, and compliments certain memories really well, whether good or bad. That’s one of my favorite things about great music. “Burnt Out” makes me think of less happy times with a smile, happy to indulge the thoughts using the music as my security blanket. It’s easy for music to get you riled up in the moment, or to feel sad in the moment. But music with true depth helps you look backwards and come to terms with unresolved thoughts, and also helps you look eagerly into the future. It’s your partner as you traverse rocky territory. That’s true art – a tour guide into self exploration and discovery.

Flybear – Lies

This is refreshing. I hear a bit of that late 90’s Timabaland and Missy Elliot swag in here, and it makes me miss how much fun music was then. It all seems so serious right now – reflecting the darker times on our planet for sure – but still. Hiphop is so linear, you’re either in or you’re out. Pop music is all drops and guest vocals, and rock music is apparently hibernating for the winter/year/maybe longer.

There’s awesome stuff out there no doubt, but this funky, groovy, fun, free, wide-open track from Flybear is a reminder that everyone needs a little strutting music sometimes. Doesn’t this song make you want to go outside, saunter down the street, nod at on-lookers and basically carry yourself like you’re top dawg of the solar system? I’m gonna make this song my official theme music, just like how Jack Spade required the services of KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions to accompany him on his strolls down the street. Honestly if you haven’t seen “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka” please do so. KRS and co. actually appear in the movie to play the main character’s theme music as he struts his stuff. D-Nice is wearing a full turntable set-up around his neck for f**ks sake. They even wrote an original song for him/the movie called “Jack Of Spades.” CLASSIC.

But I digress, my point here is that Flybear has taken music back to a fun, funky time that is sorely missed, whether we realize it or not. Hopefully this is the beginning of a revival. The Personal Theme Music Era.

SRNO – Stay Sane (Feat. Naaz)

The album cover for SRNO’s “Stay Sane” invokes the strangest mixture of medieval and surrealist vibes. It’s fitting for a track named “Stay Sane,” sure, but the music itself is the virtual opposite of audible insanity. Moving at a slowly plodding pace, keys twinkle with glee as Naaz gives a whole new definition to ethereal, her vocals delivering a wealth of heavenly melodies.

With that being said, it’s funny how album artwork plays such a pivotal role in how music is perceived. Even with the line explicitly drawn between the song and its visual representation, it’s impossible to shake that surrealist bent when listening to “Stay Sane;” nothing feels out of place, yet something in the back of the mind begs to differ.

To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t imagine most of my favorite albums without that visual accompaniment; the abrasive nothingness of Yeezus, the dark tones of Come Now Sleep, or the colorful glee of 6 Kiss, all working hand in hand with the music. It drives their respective natures intended by the artists home, and when it conflicts with the music to a degree like SRNO’s “Stay Sane,” it makes it all the more interesting.

Glassio – Make Me Feel

I’ve travelled a lot in my day, i’ve stared out of a lot of windows. It’s one of my favorite things to do when passing through a new city – whether looking down from an airplane or out of the window of a train or uber – i love trying to understand the rhythm and pulse of the new place. I breeze by, trying to imagine myself grabbing a coffee in the popular downtown shop, or meeting a friend at a beautiful cafe I saw out of the corner of my eye. Every city has it’s own soul and I always wonder whether it’ll click with mine. Some cities look better drenched in sunshine. Some cities make more sense when it’s cloudy. Some need thousands of people marching through for it to feel alive, but some buzz more when it’s empty. To me, there’s nothing more fun than cracking the code of a city.

The music I’m listening to at those moments has to match too. You don’t want to be in a funk when trying to appreciate a new place, it’s two opposing forces that don’t work together. Something about Glassio’s blazing hot new single called “Make Me Feel” makes me want to go explore a new city. It feels nostalgic, yet bright-eyed and excited. It feels rooted in something older, but ready to embrace something newer. Really the exact same feelings one has when they move to a nice place. And also the exact same feelings you can have about relationships – the way you miss certain things about a past love, while being excited and refreshed by your new love. At times it makes no sense to feel both of those things at the same time, but those seemingly opposite feelings are what being human is all about. This whole universe is balanced by opposing forces – light and dark, up and down, yin and yang. It’s just what it is. So the balance is key – it’s ok to feel both ways about anything, in fact that’s probably what’s truest to our nature.

Beyond the lush production of “Make Me Feel” and it’s obvious attempt at leading our asses to the dancefloor, I really appreciate the depth of this song’s soul. You can feel it deeply, and it feels like the type of song that should accompany these types of thoughts. The push and pull that we humans work out on a daily basis. Proud moments, then regrets. Excited times, then fears. You use the balance of it all to propel you forward. That’s why I want to go somewhere new and use this song as my soundtrack. There is a lot of the day still left…people are probably hungover from Halloween parties….maybe i’ll just slip out for a moment…


Justice Skolnik – You Could Be Down

After a long night of debauchery, it’s essential to afford your body and mind some well-deserved rest. Whether that involves buying a greasy breakfast and torching a bowl or chugging water and kicking back outside, it’s surely a better strategy than attempting to hit the ground running for another round of mass alcohol ingestion.

As I lay on my couch after scarfing down a much-needed plate of huevos rancheros – sans torched bowl – I’ve stumbled upon the perfect musical accompaniment to my day of recovery. A brand new joint from Justice Skolnik titled “You Could Be Down,” it finds the producer reimagining vocals from Brandy in a totally new context. As her performance behind the microphone is sped up and chopped up into exhilarating bits, jubilant synths bounce back and forth at a hypnotizing pace that envelops my mind whole.

It *almost* makes me want to take this entire Saturday easy, but alas, it is Halloween weekend; there’s simply too many strange memories ahead to throw in the towel now. Thus, chances are I’ll be repeating this recovery session tomorrow morning, but at least “You Could Be Down” will be there to soothe the soul.