Will.i.am has released a new interactive music video for “The world is Crazy” off his 2013 #willpower album. The Touchcast video is a newscast with WIl.i.am as a newscaster mothing out the lyrics to his song. As the stories of, Eric Garner, protest, and climate change paly on the screen the viewer is able to click or touch the story which directs them to a hyper link of the specific image. This new technology can give new meaning to “protest music” and shed light on things other than big butts and boat loads of money. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Will.i.am uses Bob Marley as an example to the type of music that would have greatly benefited from this the technology. “I wish I could see exactly what Bob Marley was talking about. If he was to have these tools today, he would’ve shown you all the trials and tribulations that he was talking about in the songs.”
The video can be seen on i.am/NEWS or it can be downloaded on the iTunes app store.
This will be a popular series I will begin posting, as I will pick a new artist each week. This week’s artist is CHVRCHES.
The premise behind this idea is that I will recommend new artists for you to listen to based on the original band posted. So in this post I will give you new recommendations that are similar to the sound and style of CHVRCHES. CHVRCHES is an electro-synth-pop band, whose single “The Mother We Share,” is still talking over airwaves. Soon enough their song, “Gun,” will join it on the top charts.
So now to the recommendations:
1) MS MR, a duo from New York, has the same vibe to them as CHVRCHES has. The vocals and composition by Lizzy are beautiful. The lyrics and composition of their single “Hurricane,” are much darker than CHVRCHES, and its evident without the bright synths. But nonetheless phenomenal. I suggest listening to “Hurricane,” and “Bones,” both dark but yet both beautiful when it comes to talent and storytelling.
2) BANKS, a signee of Capitol Records, fresh of her debut album Goddess is making listeners turn heads. “Beggin For Thread,” is a combination of MS MR and CHVRCHES. The storytelling and artistry behind it is similar to MS MR’s style, and the instrumentation is more similar to CHVRCHES. I’ve probably have played her new album over 30 times so far since its release. The second song I suggest listening to is “Warm Water.” It’s a very popular track for DJ’s to remix and for good reasons; her vocals in this song are breathtaking. Less instrumentation in this song, which has a “stripped down” vibe to it, where you need to listen to the vocals and the story being told.
3) Grimes, a Canadian producer as well as artist, takes the chilling vocals that are similar from each band so far listed, but combines it with driving drums, and hints of EDM in her work. “Go,” has a lot of the EDM feel to it, but only when the chorus comes in. Other than that part of the song, it sounds more like a faster pace BANKS. “Genesis” has a lot less of an EDM feel to it. This song makes me feel like all time around me has sped up, and I’m in slo-mo just floating there, watching everything happen normally. No idea why I feel that way, but I close my eyes and that’s what I feel. But the beauty is there’s no right answer. Close your eyes and listen to “Genesis” yourself, and see what it feels like to you!
I’m in love with female vocalists. Radio will usually only play normal pop, cookie-cutter songs with female vocals. Nothing dark, nothing experimental, nothing true. I could sit here and submerge myself into my own thoughts to music like this, but still be able to have a smile on my face and be happy while listening! Let me know what you think of these artists, and here is the Spotify playlist for you to check out!
Movies, and music. Two of the most cherished forms of happiness in today’s society. My most cherished form of happiness in pop culture is the combination of two, specifically music documentaries. There’s just some awesome feeling that comes across me when watching them. Getting that behind the scenes look into my love and passion is so interesting, and rewarding. I learn more and more from each documentary and most importantly I can apply what I learned into my career.
I, personally, can never watch enough music films, especially documentaries. So I’ve decided to write about my favorite three, as well as one upcoming documentary that I’m absolutely dying to see!
The first documentary I’ll write about is Ray. It’s the story of the life and career of Ray Charles, covering everything from the moment he lost his vision, to covering his amazing career. The two leads in this movie are Jamie Foxx (Ray) and Kerry Washington (Della), and both are phenomenal in their roles. At first I wasn’t sure how Jamie Foxx would perform in this role, as I could only see him in comedic roles, but he impressed me a lot. For him to portray one of the greatest musicians in history, and do it so well and accurate, surprised me. I think it was a good idea not to have Foxx, or anyone else, recreate Charles’ vocals for the film, as nobody could do him justice. If you haven’t seen this film, I definitely advise you to watch this one first before the others, because it truly is amazing.
I’ll stick to soul and R&B for my next documentary, which is Charles Bradley: Soul of America. Unlike Ray, this is solely a documentary, and not a biopic. This film is about the rise of Charles Bradley’s career, didn’t hit its peak until 2011, which unlike most careers, is when Bradley was at the age of 62. Nobody expects a musician of that age to really become successful, but he proves everyone wrong with his debut album landing in Rolling Stone’s top 50 albums of 2011! I actually stumbled across this on Netflix one night, without knowing anything about his career, or his music. I went into it with no opinion on him which was great, and let me learn a lot on his career, and the struggles he overcame to get where he is today. If you want to learn something new about a musician’s career, or just love the success he’s shown, go watch this movie. Even if you’re not a fan of his music, there’s no doubt that you’ll become a fan of his as a person.
Now, I get to one of my favorite music documentaries, quite possibly my ultimate favorite. Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap, came out in 2012, and I remember I was sitting in my dorm room when I saw the preview and I became instantly excited. I was turned on to hip hop and rap through my schoolmates at a young age, as a result of going to an extremely cultural diverse school. Now the amount of stars in this film is ridiculous. First, its directed by Ice-T. Awesome, right? Then in the film, it features commentary and film from: Bun B, Joe Budden, Common, Ice Cube, Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Nas, Kanye West, and many many more. Getting to hear from the biggest names in the genre themselves, this film offers great insight on the prominence and rise of hip-hop; not only as a genre of music, but as a culture as well. This film is currently on Netflix, so you should go watch it before it is replaced.
Now, the film that I am most excited for…
Jimi: All Is By My Side, a biopic on the life and career of Jimi Hendrix, is soon to be released, with a premier date of October 24, 2014. This film actually debuted at SXSW this past Spring, and as a music badge holder, I was saddened to hear I couldn’t see this film while I was there. First off, Andre 3000 stars as Jimi Hendrix, which is a perfect casting. Not only does Andre 3000 look similar to Jimi, but Andre’s musical abilities and knowledge are out of this world, something Jimi was always recognized for. Also, starring in this movie is Imogen Poots, who plays Linda Keith, one of the biggest influences on both Jimi’s career and life. Ever since this movie was announced I’ve been checking the entirety of the Internet to find anymore details about this film. Less than a month, this film will hit movie theaters nationwide, and hopefully do the legend justice.
If you have any more documentaries or biopics to check out, leave them in the comments and I can’t wait to watch them!
Kat Edmonson who did brief stint on the Fox show American Idol has moved to on to have her own unique sound. Her song “Rainy Day Woman” and most of her new album The Big Picture showcases more of her own song writing skills. The Texas native’s third album was produced by the accomplished Mitchell Froom who has worked with such names Elvis Castello and Paul McCartney. The album has a jazzy pop feel that sounds like something you would find on a 60′s movie soundtrack and is a nice break from the auto-tunes sounds of the 2000′s.
Be sure to buy your ticket here and catch her performance in support of her new album in Los Angeles,October 23th.
I wrote about Jon Bellion a little in my previous post regarding artists you need to know. It was hard for me not to write everything on my mind right then and there, but I had to wait. His new album, The Definition, was just released this afternoon, and I’m absolutely in love. Last year he released an album, The Separation, which I loved, but his new album blows it out of the park. The Definition, is his fourth free album released, which is rare to see one album given away for free now, yet alone four!
In my previous story, I mentioned Jon has seen a lot of success from songwriting. He wrote the chorus for “Monster” by Eminem and Rihanna. He also co-wrote and produced Jason Derulo’s “Trumpets.” Both reached the top of the charts in the last year and a half. He’s seen great monetary success from these two opportunities, and many others, that allow him to release his albums for free. The money he makes from songwriting gets recycled back into his music, whether it be buying new instruments, new studio gear, or bringing in other musicians, he is making sure to spend the money wisely. In his Reddit AMA (ask me anything) he tells one fan that he’s done making free music. This is pretty exciting because he was improving so much, using money just from songwriting and touring, but now he will have more money to recycle back into his creation process.
Signed to Visionary Music Group, home of rappers Logic and QuESt, Jon brings a nice change of pace to the roster. One of the most unique artists I’ve listened to, combines pop elements and vocals, with picture-painting storytelling, and all combined with the production heard on top hip hop classics. This is why I love his music. He combines every element of music, and makes it his own. He started off producing at the age of 14, and then just recently started singing and rapping on his own productions. If only he had discovered those skills even sooner…
Jon states his top 5 albums of all time are:
Cease To Begin – Band of Horses
Transatlanticism – Death Cab For Cutie
Donuts – J Dilla
Graduation – Kanye West
For Emma, Forever Ago – Bon Iver
You can definitely hear each album’s influence in his music. Imagine the production of Kanye and J Dilla mixed with the vocals of Death Cab, and the storytelling of Band of Horses and Bon Iver (Justin Vernon). So imagine that combination plus much much more, and then you have Jon Bellion, a musical genius. I can’t even grasp how his mind works musically, but luckily, he makes YouTube videos of how he created each song, and is an absolute delight to get a glimpse into his musical mind.
Now I’ll get into some of my favorites from his new album The Definition:
“Pre-Occupied” – The song starts off “Wu-Tang raised me, Death Cab changed me…” both two of his biggest musical influences. This is a very honest song by Jon, he says everything on his chest regarding the music industry. The first verse definitely sounds angry, where he addresses the motives behind most publishers and producers. He then also brings up two more of his influences, J Dilla and Paul Simon. All of a sudden after this angry rant, a very bright and cheerful chorus comes in, where Jon doesn’t hold back his vocals at all, letting all listeners to appreciate his artistry.
“A Haunted House” – The first thing you hear on this song is an electrifying harmony created by Jon’s vocals laid on top of each other. Then comes in the piano and Jon singing about his past loves and current love. He tells a story about a new love in his life, allowing him to feel comfortable and safe in this world. “I’ve been saved, watch them all fall back into the grave.” He is referring to the ‘ghosts’ of his past loves that he would stay in touch with whenever he was lost, and now that he’s found love again, he doesn’t have to deal with his past any longer.
“Ooh” – This is one of my favorite songs because of the mood it puts you in while listening. The instrumentation is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. About a minute into the song, Jon says “these lines won’t make sense,” and while you hear them, you hear Jon laugh. Just a moment for him to be himself and have fun with this song, while still staying true to his creativity and musical talents. Christianne Jensen sings backup vocals to Jon in this song and midway through, you get to hear mainly her sing and paired with Jon’s production, it is stunning.
“Luxury” – This song features Audra Mae, the great-great-neice of Judy Garland, and musical talent definitely runs through their family genes. This is the outro to the album, in complete juxtaposition of the intro “Munny Right.” In this intro Jon is almost bragging about this luxurious lifestyle he’s created for himself, and how his life has changed because of the money. But in “Luxury,” Jon and Audra sing about staying true to themselves and still staying modest despite the success. One of the most beautiful moments on this album is when Audra sings the outro to the song, “don’t let my soul drown in in the luxury.” It gave me chills the first time I listened to it.
In addition to the album, and behind the scenes videos, Jon made an animated short film to accompany his song “Luxury.” It shows the main character, who is an animated version of Jon, become tempted by many different things/people as he grows up. The candle is a symbol for faith and that no matter the temptation, its a must for him to keep his faith and not let the temptations get to him.
He makes it clear that he stays true to himself in all of his works, and I have not yet been disappointed with any of his releases.
Go listen to his new album, The Definition, here: http://open.spotify.com/artist/50JJSqHUf2RQ9xsHs0KMHg
Three decades later and Madonna is still going strong. The material girl has been working on her 14th studio album and some big names have made her collaboration list. Over the weekend Madonna posted on her Twitter that she would be working with with Dj Dahi and Blood Diamond. Dj Dahi is the name behind Drake’s “Worst Behavior” and has previously worked with such artist as Kendrick Lamar, Lily Allen, and SchoolBoy Q. As big as these names are they aren’t the only ones on the list. Diplo, one of the most sought out producers in the EDM scene and has been working on at least 5 of the tracks on the upcoming album. The album is set to release in 2015 and although it has no tittle just yet, we can expect it to be full of hits.
— Madonna (@Madonna) September 21, 2014
As the end of summer is quickly approaching, we have listed some new artists that should be a household name. With genres spanning from folk to synth pop and from hip hop to alternative pop rock, here are eight new artists that you need to know:
How To Dress Well
Tom Krell, also known by his stage name How To Dress Well, is no newcomer in the music industry. Starting in 2009, he started releasing his EPs for free online, and quickly was recognized by Pitchfork as an artist to keep an eye on. Coming off his latest release of “What Is This Heart?” Krell is looking for his well deserved recognition before he sets off on his U.S. tour. The album features soulful and dreamy vocals mixed over upbeat drums and bright synths, but still makes you sit back and reflect on life. Two of my favorite songs on the album are “Words I Don’t Remember” and “Precious Love,” which both will be on the playlist at the end of this post.
At only 16 years old, Shawn Mendes found his success through social media like a lot of young pop stars. Most being found on YouTube, Mendes went a different route and posted covers of pop songs on his Vine account, gaining millions of followers in a matter of months. His top single, “Life of the Party,” has peaked at #5 on the Billboard charts, is absolutely amazing. It reminds me a lot of “Stay,” by Rihanna and Mikky Ekko. A piano driven love ballad, with soft spoken vocals matched with the keys, makes this sixteen year old stand out as an artist to watch.
Jon Bellion isn’t a household name, but definitely should be. You may know the song “Monster” by Eminem and Rihanna, but what you don’t know about it is that Bellion was the writer of the song’s chorus. Most of his monetary success has been from songwriting, but that’ll soon change. He has released a couple mixtapes, and signed to Visionary Music Group, headlined by rapper Logic. This week he is releasing a new album, but what will set this apart from the rest will be the animated film he is releasing alongside the album. The short film was also 100% written and directed by Bellion himself. He is by far one of my favorite artists in music right now, as he fuses hip hop production, into powerful pop and soul vocals mixes with amazing storytelling. His musical talents are through the roof, and continues to impress me along every release. Keep an eye out for an album and film review later this week.
Known for his single “Riptide,” James Keogh, is hearing his hit single across all airwaves. Soon it’ll be more than his one single that America is familiar with, as he just released his debut album Dream Your Life Away. The singer-songwriter released the album on September 9, which peaked at #17 in the US, but topped the charts in his home of Australia. The newest single on the album, “Mess is Mine,” is an upbeat song with a catchy chorus that’ll soon find success that Riptide did. He draws comparisons to Mumford and Sons, mainly because of the common folk traits used by each, but his powerful vocals reminds me a lot of Marcus Mumford’s. “Wasted Time,” one of my favorite songs on the album, James shows his soft side and shows everyone how vulnerable he is when it comes to love.
Afie Jurvanen, known by his stage name, Bahamas, is finding his way to success mainly online through music blogs. I discovered his single “All the Time,” while surfing through my usual blogs. This was one of my favorite songs of the summer, with its slower, electric guitar driven, and falsetto vocals driving the song. What I loved most about the song was that I felt this suspense coming through me for some reason, and then at the 1:35 mark the guitar takes over, and again around 3 minutes into the song. Growing up on classic rock, I heard those guitar riffs and fell in love with the song and more importantly I was won over as a fan. “All Time Favourite,” starts off with multiple voices humming, all in harmony, then comes in with an acoustic guitar and vocals coming right at you. It’s a very honest feeling song, and shows Afie’s versatility as an artist, as he can switch up he styles on the album and still sound great.
You + Me
Now, I doubt you know this duo from the name, but if you hear their debut song “You and Me,” they made sound familiar. Well the duo consists of Pink, and Dallas Green, the lead singer of City and Colour. At the moment this is their only single, but their debut album, RoseAve, is due to release October 14. Not a traditional love song that you would hear on the radio, but still a love song nonetheless, and in my opinion better than the typical love songs. It feels darker than most, due to the perfect harmonies made by the two, paired with strings in the background that makes the song have a mystery factor. I can’t wait to hear their whole album when it releases in a couple weeks.
Norwegian EDM/pop duo of Ketil Jansen and Ulrik Denizou, Lemaitre, is shooting up the charts after their release of Singularity in July. This project only has 4 songs, but each one is so different it fills all musical cravings you might be having. It ranges from piano-pop (High Tide) to old school disco (Wait) to a more traditional electro house song (All I Need). The four song project also features Chuck Inglish, one half of The Cool Kids, and LOLO, an upcoming artist on DCD2 Records, an imprint of Fueled By Ramen. This was a daring move for them to leave their roots of primarily electro house, and start to become more versatile as a duo.
The Madden Brothers
Joel and Benji Madden started working on music as The Madden Brothers in 2011, as a side project of Good Charlotte. They would release a mixtape collaborating with a star studded roster of rappers in 2011. It took them 3 years to finally release their debut album, Greetings From California. This album sounds like its roots were based off of Joel and Benji’s experience in Good Charlotte, mixed with more modern synth driven pop. A couple stand out songs are “Dear Jane,” “Jealousy,” and “Bad.” The album is 2 parts, the first being a more upbeat, Good Charlotte-esque sound, and the second half is acoustic driven, which is my favorite of the two. I automatically think of Good Charlotte and mid-2000s alternative rock when I hear the vocals on each song, but the instrumentation and composition of each song keeps me coming back for another listen.
Here is the Spotify playlist featuring all of the songs covered in this post, I hope you enjoy!
This is the time when the leaves start turning and you can feel a chill in the air. However, if you live in California, sweater weather is still ways away. So as you wait to pull out your boots and endure the last days of this Indian summer, sit back and listen to our mellow playlist that is sure to get you through your hot and sticky day.
Images via Twitter.com
Kendrick Lamar has been busy touring as the opening act on the Yeezus tour and working with Flying Lotus. However, It’s been two years since his debut album good kid, m.A.A.d. city and we haven’t heard any of his solo work since. This morning Kendrick revealed on Twitter the art for the single “i” off his new album believed to drop September 23. According to an interview with Rolling Stone, Kendrick’s new album will be produced by Dr. Dre and Digi+Phonics and he promises to bring “aggression and emotion” to his new album. “I have so much to say! It’s almost selfish of me.”
Pop songstress Lady Gaga has moved on and joined Tony Bennett in jazzier pastures in her latest rendition of “Nature Boy.” In a series of tweets, Lady Gaga explains the origins of the song. “The song was written 1941 by Eden Ahbez, a wandering man from Brooklyn.” It wasn’t till 1947 that the song would be published and eventually recorded by Nat King Cole. Nature Boy is now famously recognized from the movie Moulin Rouge! but as Lady Gaga explains, “Our rendition with the now late multi-reedist Paul Horn is spectacular.” The new track is of her new duet album Cheek to Cheek which will hit stores on September 22.