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Lui Peng – Nocturnal (feat. Che Lingo)

Between electronic music and Soundcloud rap’s domination of my daily playlists, I thought I had finally transcended music with guitars – a truly exciting notion so that I don’t become dusty in this lifetime. Alas, Lui Peng has swayed me away from my stalwart stance against string instruments with a groovy new cut called “Nocturnal”. Featuring rapper Che Lingo, the two show off genuine synergy as Peng’s atmospheric singer-songwriter work seamlessly transitions into Lingo’s agile flow (that’s made even more catchy by his unmistakably British accent).

It’s fitting that my last post concerned my love of intersection between genres; one rare blend that’s always received eye-rolls from me is rap and rock-based music, yet it’s now obvious that the formula just needs a talented songwriter to tie it all together. Thus, my admiration for Peng’s skills are furthered as I consider how he pulled off a sound that I’ve never felt worked. Here’s to more impressive cuts from an artist that I’ll be keeping my eye on.

Darci – Seeing Colors

Darci delivers, no disappointments, thanks Darci!  I always look forward to a Darci track, this one sways a bit different then some of the rest but it immediately had my body moving as I sat at my computer opening music submissions. It’s indie pop, but I am definitely feeling an R&B vibe as well, it’s mixed in so well that you may not notice upon first listen but listen again and you will see what I am saying, FIRE!

I am seeing colors more and more these days.  Obviously in NYC you see colors all around in terms of everything, the people, the lights, the buildings, etc. etc.  But I am talking about colors in the sense of the world just becoming more vibrant for me, more exciting, not dull at all, it’s been a sensory overload since I got back to NY with my daughter and I am embracing it as I find that fucking rainbow with all it’s colors and that damn pot of gold, I am gonna get it I swear, just watch me.  I am staring straight at it and I am not breaking my stare.

It’s crazy that Summer is more than half way over, sorry for reminding you all, not going to lie Fall is my favorite season but this track has me thinking back to beginning of Summer and I’m driving through the memories like a speed racer to where I am right now.  Really feeling this track, I know you will too, so press play and enjoy the weekend!

Kevin Rudolf – Nobody Gets Out Alive

I’m usually not a fan of when acoustic and electronic elements collide, but Kevin Rudolf’s newest feels like the blueprint for a modern ballad. As he croons “we’ll turn a spark into a blaze of glory,” the intonation of his voice is grounded firmly in pop-rock aesthetics, yet the drop that follows doesn’t feel out of place in the slightest. Instead, its bouncy synthesizer barrage feels like the natural progression during a time in which boundaries between genres continue to melt away.

That notion makes me think about a conversation I had with a random acquaintance last night; we discussed how strange it was that fans across genres interact and enter one another’s spaces, when the music scene traditionally felt rigid in its structure only a decade ago. Maybe it’s the democratization of music via the internet, maybe it’s poptimism gone wide, but whatever the case may be, it’s a much different landscape. There’s less juicy intersectional drama between genres now, sure, but that’s a worthy expense for a time in which swathes of fans and musicians alike are breaking down sonic and social barriers for the greater artistic good.

Sinner’s Heist – Up In Flames (Feat. Emma Sameth)

The last time I wrote about Emma Sameth, I was fixated on the relationship between myself, my DTLA abode, and the surrounding cityscape’s breadth of fascinating nighttime sights. Today, I find myself in a much different frame of mind as I’m posted up in Thousand Oaks. There’s a pool and sprawling garden in the foreground of my view, the background accented by rolling hills, all encompassed by an overwhelming wave of heat. Unlike the chill of Sameth’s “2AM” and summer nights, it’s over 100 degrees as I spin her fiery new collaboration.

Produced by Sinner’s Heist, “Up In Flames” is an aptly named track as it swells with buzzing tension until a grandiose drop marks its breaking point while Sameth’s performance serves an equally proper foil. Her vocals are delicate even when the track reaches its peak, always remaining impeccably melodic. The balance of Sinner’s Heist and Sameth’s is thus highly applicable to my current digs; even when surrounded by intense heat, the ever-consistent beauty of bright flowers and towering palm trees remains.

Transviolet – The Hamptons

This track is very fitting for my Summer thus far.  Yes, I have spent almost every weekend in the Hamptons, BUT I am not doing all the typical Hampton activities, honestly it’s a nice convenient get away that costs me nothing, but the gas I have to put into my car.  When you live in NY sometimes you just need to recharge the battery and that can mean just driving an hour upstate, to get that fresh breeze from the ocean and get a slight change in scenery.  If you are a true New Yorker after about two to three days in the country you are missing the concrete jungle.  I am attempting to get my mind in a place where it wants to start dating again, I am a true believer that are entire selfs have more than one mind, we think with different parts of ourselves.  So a part of me is like, girl get your cute ass out there and start dating, then another part of me is like I don’t need the stress of it and I don’t have time, so which part of me is going to win, there are bets being placed so jump right in if you like a good bet, HA!  Tall, dark and handsome (and smart), where are you!? Maybe you are in the Hamptons but honestly I doubt it, I am sure I will stumble across you when I least expect it so in the meantime I am dreaming about you while the Hampton beach breezes lull me to sleep.

I am really digging the vibe and the non-apologetic generosity of images, in the lyrics of this track, so press play and enjoy!

Carrie Lane – California Freaks

I had quite the successful thrift-store haul yesterday; Fergie’s Dutchess, Lindsay Lohan’s A Little More Personal, Rihanna’s Loud, Shakira’s Pies Descalzos, and Hillary Duff’s self-titled record – all for under $10! My lifelong quest to obtain every piece of pop content continues to go smoothly, and with today’s digital discovery of Carrie Lane, that trend only continues as her debut EP California Freaks is a concise package of pop bliss.

The standout single of the EP is undoubtedly “Florida Keys”, a summery bop with modern dance-floor production that’s complemented by bright ukulele work, all working in tandem alongside Lane’s arresting vocals. It finds the perfect balance between contemporary pop sensibilities and tropical stylings that bind the album together as Lane has already conceived a consistent sound through which she confidently navigates from various angles. While “Florida Keys” occupies the steamy dance realm,”Think About It” is the low-key R&B jam and “If I Can’t Be With You” is the pure pop outing just waiting for radio and commercial placement. With that presentation of genuine diversity woven through a defined aesthetic, Lane has an impressive introductory work on her hands that I’ll be spinning on repeat as LA’s summer heat continues to swell.

RYDYR – If This Is Love

As a music critic there’s a place deep down in your psyche that conceals a bleeding heart romantic — it’s unavoidable, too many songs we listen to are written about love. And regardless of how apathetic and cynical I’ve become as a jaded millennial I can’t entirely kill the enchantment.

…But FUUUUCK why do I always write about it?!

Other things in my life are so neat and tidy — business, family, fitness…even sex…I’m relatively on point. Yet the love situation remains bewildering. This idea that ONE person out there will complete me seems so esoteric, so out of reach. I don’t pretend to have a solution, or know where this elusive love can be found. But the beauty of listening to love songs is they keep us feeling positive, hopeful even. They keep the dream alive.

And in that spirit, shout out to Cole Pendery aka RYDYR for the jam that inspired my rant above. Swagged out young boy from Texas with a sweet croon. Not typically my style but something about his tone on that first verse caught me. Look out for the kid.

Autumn In June – Can’t Stop Doubting Myself + Magenta LP

I’ve seen Autumn In June’s name floating around blogs for a while now and have heard singles here and there, but with his debut album MAGENTA out I finally took the time to sit down and give the South Central kid a real listen. After 45 minutes of synthesizer heaven, my days of growing up around my mom playing new wave came rushing back while my ear as someone who writes about music in 2017 was excited beyond belief. His vocals have that authentic sound to them that’s hard to quantify but was so prevalent in new wave, but at the same time they’re laced with autotune that makes them an unmistakable product of the now. And his songwriting? Calling it diverse would be a serious understatement; this guy can write an introspective r&b track that’s driven by keys, a melodic indie ballad, and a funky 7 minute epic all within 3 songs, all of them sounding like the best of their respective styles.

I always talk about the “it” factor for artists that sets them apart from their peers and there’s no doubt Autumn In June has that “it” factor and then some. Not only does he make me feel nostalgic, but he makes me feel like I’m listening to the future as he’s making music that you just can’t compare to any other artist on the scene today. Every song on MAGENTA feels like a unique journey yet they all fit together perfectly for one of the most exciting debut albums I’ve heard in a long time. It’s probably selfish of me but I already want to hear more where this came from!

Thoreau – Bronze Whale x Popeska – Imagine Ft. Tom Aspaul (Thoreau Remix)

This song reminds me of being about 19 or 20 years old and partying at the Rockstar mansion in Los Angeles. My days of clubbing and partying like that are way over, unless of course someone invites me on a special Vegas trip or something similar then I might just have to say YES!  I like to live a life of YES but I think as you grow up a world of saying YES to everything can get pretty complicated.  So now a days I like to “imagine” what it might be like to say yes to everything, do everything sexy smile that comes my way, to every party invite, every adventure.  Wouldn’t that be nice?!

I have to actually remind myself that I need to spend less time imagining and more time doing, doing all of the things my little heart desires.  I don’t believe that there should be anything in this world that holds you back but I think sometimes we all get stuck in the moments of our “priorities.”  I put the word priorities in quotes because sometimes we really just need to rearrange about every few weeks or so before we get so stuck in a routine that our imaginations get lost in the consistencies of life, and that’s no fun!

I am going to put this one on repeat and start living in my imaginations and making them reality, enjoy!

Alexander Lewis & Brasstracks – All of the Lights

I’m usually not a fan of people reinterpreting the work of artists that I see as seminal, but Alexander Lewis & Brasstracks have a gem on their hands with their take on Kanye’s “All Of The Lights”. It’s a (naturally) brass-led jam that could very well be heard pouring out from an SEC college football stadium during halftime or echoing around Bourbon Street on a Saturday night. It sounds phenomenal on a pair of headphones, but this is a joint that feels communal, its overwhelming sense of joy best experienced around a swathe of other people searching for the same level of elation.

There’s something special about a mass group fueled by a shared energy; I can’t help but think about connecting with the raucous crowds when UGA would play Georgia Tech in the fall during my youth, or when bliss permeated through the audience as Big Gigantic had every body in the Tabernacle moving in unison. Whether it would serve as the background noise to the former or the centerpiece of a concert like the latter, “All of the Lights” has the ability to incite a level of dynamism that I hope to experience in the near future.