Categories
Music

TESSA – Bad Bad Love (ft. Terrell Morris)

Formerly known as Hoodlem, TESSA continues to validate the extensive buzz around her with a modern, r&b-infused pop single that harnesses the maturity of a seasoned veteran prepared to make waves throughout the scene. It’s personal yet punchy, sentimental yet self-assertive, cycling through a range of emotional approaches that all fit neatly within one another’s form. The song also features a killer assist from Terrell Morris as he refracts the track’s approach through a rap lens, adding a delicious new layer that shows just how ready-made TESSA’s approach is to coexist with any genre. Dropping a persona in favor of living her truth, TESSA has made her best music to date.

Bad love immediately conjures up images of romantic relationships gone wrong, but this notion applies to friendships as well. I can identify a couple of friendships in my life where they were soured by the inability to foster a mutually loving existence. One of those friendships ended poorly as bad love tends to do, while the other friendship has been reconfigured from my perspective so that I don’t expect the other person to emotionally provide anything more than they’re capable of. We can’t expect other people to bend toward our expectations if they don’t have the capacity – instead, we need to find people who meet our needs. That’s how I see it, anyway. 

Categories
Music

Reva DeVito – Bet You Stay

If you’re looking for a sunny r&b jam, look no further than this exquisite new Reva DeVito single. It has the deep allure of rolling sand with the waves crashing, calling you to immerse yourself until one form of matter gives way to another in a seamless blend. DeVito’s vocals are utterly beautiful, harkening back to the absolute greats of ’90s R&B while the production is crisp and timeless. You could have told me this was a chart-topping hit from that aforementioned era and I wouldn’t blink an eye – it’s just that good.

I have a lot of nostalgia for an era that I’m too young to remember. Funnily enough, most of my memories formed around ’90s R&B are from playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. That game’s West Coast soundtrack exposed me to an absolute wealth of musical treasures, interspersed with memories of taking the flying car cheat code with my best friend and flying over a conjured-up Los Angeles in the dead of the Georgia night in the 2000s. It’s funny how memories work like that, almost feeling like I was a teenager during the ’90s rather than just being born. Regardless, I have a deep appreciation for that style of R&B and feel like I just discovered the next great treasure on “Bet You Stay”.

Categories
Music

Xie – Seasons ft. Reo Cragun

Xie’s return on “Jungle Juice” was the perfect party-pop anthem, but she takes an emotional turn on “Seasons” that’s pure chills-inducing fare. The production is intricately melodic as little flashes of keys and chopped up vocals swirl underneath a wake-up call of a lead synth that awakens all the senses. That all goes without mentioning Xie’s wonderful lead vocals which make the perfect centerpiece, all complemented by Reo Cragun’s fitting assist which adds the perfect amount of swagger to balance out the pure emotions flowing. There’s no doubt that “Seasons” is Xie’s best single yet, so give this one a much-deserved listen.

Seasons change, people come and go, everything moves in cycles. We can track internal cycles, cycles of the skies, and intertwine both as above rhymes with so below, our human bodies mirroring the stars. I don’t think that sentiment makes us predictable, though – we’re still spiritual beings that can’t be quantified, it’s more just a recognition that we ebb and flow like every other element in the universe. There’s beauty to the cyclic nature of the lives we live.

Categories
Music

Dad – Fresher

Dad returns with a third single that’s easily the enigmatic project’s best work yet. Featuring woozy r&b production like kaleidoscopic cough syrup come to life, the accompanying vocals are a beautiful expose of transcending mental health obstacles in the new millennium. The enchanting cartoon character that fronts the project is a picture perfect complement, making her conjured up appearance feel just as authentic as her flesh-and-blood bedroom pop contemporaries. I really have nothing but exciting things to say about Dad, as their first two singles truly intrigued me but this one totally wowed me on impact. I can’t recommend it enough, so go ahead and give it a listen.

A lot of music traverses the lows of depression without ever showing the light at the end of the tunnel. There’s nothing wrong with that because it offers a cathartic approach to make those positive conclusions on your own time beyond the track’s runtime, but I appreciate the sentiments of pure optimism running through “Fresher”. You feel like you’re right there with Dad, celebrating her victory and letting the sun finally shine down on your skin after a seemingly infinite of days cooped up within the darkness. It’s a really nice sentiment as we enter a new decade.

https://soundcloud.com/thatgirldad/fresher

Categories
Music

Xie – Jungle Juice

Xie’s melodic trap sound enthralled me throughout 2018, so it’s a pleasure to see her return to our pages near the end of 2019. With that significant space between releases, it seems she’s been evolving her sound even further as “Jungle Juice” is a densely atmospheric cut that vocally evokes the likes of Purity Ring and an instrumental that feels like the spiritual successor to Skrillex’s Recess era. It’s dark yet danceable, melodic yet gritty, straddling various lines of sounds that never adhere to genre constraints. It’s no hyperbole to say this is far and above Xie’s best work yet as trap and pop and bass all coalesce into an enthralling package.

“Jungle Juice” feels like the dark side of the party. Neon lights are flashing, smoke hovers above the floor like a foreboding haze, vision fading into a blur as your consciousness fades into the atmosphere and your sense of ego is utterly lost. It feels like you’re floating around the room, observing every muted conversation, every drink poured, every pump of bass resonating through your body and back into endless space. It’s a visceral part of the human experience that sends the senses into overdrive, an infinite universe vibrating in unison.

Categories
Music

Marie Lang – Body

Marie Lang has consistently impressed me with a neo-soul approach throughout this year, all of which has culminated into a fantastic debut EP. Singles “Comfort Zone” and “Don’t Wanna Go Back” sound as fresh as they did upon first listen while the other three tracks flesh out her sound even further. “Someday” is a wonderfully optimistic piece, “Driveway” is a perfect slice of minimalistic crooning that taps deep into the psyche, and “Body” is a groovy closer that turns up the passion to eleven and sends out the album on a killer note. From top to bottom, Lang fulfills her potential expressed in the past months and establishes herself as a voice to watch leading into the new decade.

Body feels like sleek, fashionable aesthetics with an organic charm in music form. It has me thinking about my most pristine moments, looking over the bay in Seattle from a classy restaurant to laying down in the park and watching the clouds slowly turn by while the waves lap against the pier with a meditative rhythm. There’s beauty in the obvious, maximalist moments and in the most mundane, balancing each other out like ying and yang, opposites forming into one sphere of light that illuminates our existence. Embrace all aspects of existence and feel the fulfilling rewards.

Categories
Music

Dad – Smash Bros

Enigmatic cartoon character Dad returns with another bedroom-pop single that calls upon the catchiest pop writing elements. All context of the charming branding of this project aside, this is just a wonderful single. The vocals have just the right mixture of swagger with charming sway and the production bounces along with all the right pockets offering maximum impact. From top to bottom, it’s an utterly immaculate cut that’s going straight to my favorites playlist and won’t be losing its real estate any time soon.

The title of this track has me considering how I love the feeling of being totally immersed in a video game. My game of choice this month has been Death Stranding, an experience that transcends the medium it reveals itself as a philosophical exercise worthy of academic study and demands praise as high art. The eternal, esoteric concepts of life and death are weaved throughout its story while the acting from names like Norman Reedus is utterly superb and marks a paradigm shift in what a video game can offer. Hiking through a post-apocalyptic landscape is a meditative practice in its own right and I’ll be diving back in this weekend.

Categories
Music

Marie Lang – Don’t Wanna Go Back

I wrote about Marie Lang earlier this year and she returns with a killer new single. It’s called “Don’t Wanna Go Back” and it’s a stunning indie-pop outing that feels like the genre at its most intricate and intelligent. The verses are dripping in soul, but the chorus feels like Imogen Heap or Dido at their most infectious which ticks off all the boxes for meeting my exact taste. Her vocals are absolutely killer and the production is fine-tuned to the most minute details, leaving nothing to imagine and everything to get lost within. “Don’t Wanna Go Back” is a powerful new statement that hints toward a dynamic debut EP which Marie has plans to unveil at the top of December, a date that I’ll be marking on my calendar and anxiously looking forward to.

I don’t want to go back to the mental chains that bound me. I’ve worked so hard to advance myself mentally and spiritually, so regressing to old trains of thought just isn’t an option anymore. Even when times are a little tough in my head like right now, I lean on the tools I’ve allotted over the past few years, whether it’s breathing and meditating or putting myself in the middle of my community where I can let go of self reflection and focus on the company of those around me. I’m proud of the person I’ve become and will continue to maintain this state of existence while continuing to progress day in and day out.

Categories
Music

Luis Crucet – Current EP

Luis Crucet’s Current EP starts off on a wonderful note that feels more like post-rock than any sort of electronic music that he looks to delve into throughout the rest of the record, setting a stunning tone that informs the atmospherics to come. “Mist”, a single I previously delved into on our pages, sounds even more beautiful within the context of understanding the full scope of Crucet’s vision. On the heels of it comes “React”, an edgier cut that slices through the haze and straight to the center of your brain while still maintaining a mystique. “Lines” reminds me quite a bit of Bonobo with a trappier percussive edge while “Power” closes out the EP with a lighters-up anthem. From top to bottom, Current is a wonderful dreamscape worth immersing yourself in for its entire runtime.

I’ve allowed myself to flow through life’s current without any sort of friction and am finding myself at the most positive point of my existence. I am living with utter balance that echoes the harmonious nature of the universe (as above, so below) and continue to follow the guide posts set out for me. The past year has been an absolute spiritual journey that required intensified efforts and endless repetition until it all finally began to click and become a reflex, whether it’s my morning meditation or pulling oracle cards to better understand what the day has in store. I’m full of gratitude and absolutely thankful. 

Categories
Music

Dad – Alligator

Dad is a brand new bedroom pop project that’ll catch your ears in a flash. The twist is that Dad doesn’t exist – she’s a virtual conjuring of the 21st century style and emotion that’s more authentic than most vocalists playing the industry, Spotify playlist chasing game. There’s some serious pop songwriter talent contributing to this project and you can really feel the catchiness of the hooks woven through an honest, organic lens. It’s such an interesting concept from top to bottom, but when you boil it all down, “Alligator” is one of the best songs of the year with no context needed. Dad has captured my full attention and I look forward to hearing what this figment of our collective imagination does next.

I woke up on the right side of bed this Monday morning, so having a song that makes me smile like “Alligator” is perfect timing. The sun is shining, incense is burning, candles are lit, the salt rock lamp is on, coffee is being sipped, tarot cards have been read, reading has been done, a beautiful day is in total motion. It’s a fresh entrance to a busy week ahead, helping me slow down before philosophy seminars and Halloween festivities begin to roll out with a quick pace. Now, back to hitting repeat on “Alligator” again and again.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/700421692″ params=”color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]