Tag: Billboard

Lyric Video: JOVM Mainstay El Dusty Teams Up with Tiano Bless on a Sultry Club Banger

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Corpus Christi, TX-based JOVM mainstay producer, DJ and electronic music artist, El Dusty. And as you amy recall, the Corpus Christi-born JOVM pioneer has received attention across the blogosphere as a pioneer of a sub-genre he’s dubbed “nu cumbia,” which features elements of hip-hop. drum ‘n’ bass, house music and samples of classic and beloved cumbia songs in a swaggering, genre-defying and club banging take on traditional border music. 

Not only has El Dusty received a a Latin Grammy nomination for his work, he was named on of Rolling Stone‘s 10 New Artists You Need to Know, Billboard‘s New Latin Act and to Watch and was placed on Pandora‘s Latin Artists to Watch. He’s also played at EDC Las Vegas, EDC Mexico, Ciudad Sonido Festival, Fiesta De La Flor, Universal Records‘ Latin Grammy Showcase, Brisk Bodega Tour, the Mad Decent Block Party, Austin City Limits, SXSW, and others.  And adding to a growing profile, the Corpus Christi-born and-based JOVM mainstay released his full-length debut, last year’s Cumbia City, an album that found him pushing his sound and approach in new directions, further revealing why he has quickly become a highly sought-after producer and collaborator. 

Since the release of Cumbia City, El Dusty has been busy producing original music and collaborating with a variety of artists on releases through his independent label Americano Label. His latest single “El Pescador” is a sultry, two-step inducing club banger, centered around thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a classic cumbia sample that prominently features accordion and Latin percussion and an enormous hook paired with 2012 Rototom Latin contest winner, drummer and vocalist Tiano Bless contributing hip-hop inspired rhymes to the proceedings. 

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With the release of their debut single “Visions of You,” feat. Electric Youth, the up-and-coming Stockholm and Los Angeles-based electronic production and electronic music artist duo ROOM8 — Ezra Reich and Nic Johns — quickly established a reputation for crafting a sound that draws from electro pop, electronic dance music and film soundtracks. Building upon a growing profile, the duo produced, wrote and/or cowrote a series of attention-grabbing singles including Electric Youth‘s “Without You” which was praised by NPR, as well as “No Hard Feelings,” feat. King Deco and “This Place Again,” feat. Polina, which received praise form Neon Gold, Huffington Post, Noisey, Blackbook, Flaunt and elsewhere. “Better Than Music,” a collaboration with acclaimed British electro pop artist Little Boots premiered on Billboard.

Now, as you may recall, this year has been an incredibly busy and productive year for the duo: they produced the score for the forthcoming motion picture Cuck and their latest album Transduction is slated for an October 11, 2019 release. Earlier this year, I wrote about the atmospheric and slow-burning “Only You.” Transduction‘s latest single is the shimmering and nostalgic “Jasmine Nights.” Centered around pulsating mini-moog basslines, shimmering synths and Jesika Miller’s delicate vocals and a soaring hook, the uptempo song manages to be cinematic while nodding at Stevie Nicks’Stand Back” — but at its core is an expression of devotion to a loved one in there time of need.

“‘Jasmine Night,’ was written at a time when a family member was battling a serious illness. Sometimes in Los Angeles, while you sit out at night, there is an incredible scent of jasmine that drifts through the air and canyons,” the duo explains.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Rituals of Mine’s Queer “Space Jam” Themed Visuals for Sultry “Burst”

Initially formed in 2009 as Sister Crayon, the acclaimed Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo  Rituals of Mine, currently comprised of singer/songwriter Terra Lopez and percussionist Adam Pierce have received attention for a sound that draws from 90s trip hop, footwork and  downtempo R&B — and for years of relentless touring up and down the West Coast, playing house shows, DIY venues and basements with the likes of The Album Leaf, Built to Spill, Antemasque, Le Butcherettes, Maps & Atlases, Doomtree and others. Adding to a quickly growing profile, the Los Angeles-based duo’s first two albums — 2011’s Bellow and 2013’s Cynic — were released to critical acclaim. 

2015 was a profoundly harrowing and difficult year for Lopez: her father committed suicide and several moths later, her best friend Lucas Johnson tragically died in an accident. Reeling from the grief of inconsolable and unexpected loss, Lopez in a period of deep reflection felt the need to reassess her life and her work in Sister Crayon. She decided to put the Sister Crayon name to rest, moving forward with a new moniker  — Rituals of Mine. As Terra Lopez wrote at the time, “It was a mantra that I repeated under my breath on a daily basis when the loss I was experiencing felt too heavy at times. Music, the act of creating, performing, touring, writing, singing, experimenting – all the rituals we have created to get through life.”

After years of obscuring her own story and emotions through metaphorical lyrics, Lopez felt a sudden confidence to write much more directly about her experiences and life as a queer woman of color. Lopez began fleshing out the material on what would become her Rituals of Mine debut Devoted with her longtime collaborator and producer Wes Jones, who helped turn her heartfelt writing on her trauma and personal growth into urgent and pulsating electronic tracks. Lopez then enlisted Adam Pierce to play drums, knowing that their background in metal percussion would provide an intensity that could match her own.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you might recall that last year was a very busy year for Lopez and Pierce. They opened for a handful of dates for The Afghan Whigs and Built to Spill’s co-headliing tour, including a Chicago area stop last April. They also opened for Garbage during the multi-plantium Grammy Award-winning band’s US tour. They also went on their first UK tour with JOVM mainstay Geographer and The Seshen. 

Interestingly, the duo’s highly anticipated Wes jones and Neal Pogue co-produced follow-up to Devoted, Sleeper Hold EP is slated for an October 4, 2019 release through Carpark Records — and the EP will include the urgent anti-Trump anthem “No Time To Go Numb,” a track that forcefully reminded the listener that now isn’t the time to slink back from the horrors of a power mad, greedy and hateful administration; that we have to be fueled by righteous anger and fight like hell for the things that truly matter.  “Burst,” Sleeper Hold’s second and latest single is a glitchy and hyper-modern bit of electro R&B that’s centered around stuttering beats, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and Lopez’s sultry, self-assured vocals. And while the track may recall Timbaland’s forward-thinking work with Aaliyah and Missy Elliott, Rituals of Mine’s latest single is driven by Lopez’s commitment to unvarnished emotional honesty.  “I made a promise to myself that I’m no longer going to play small or hide behind metaphors, that I’m going to really lean into self-confidence, self-reliance and take up space,” Lopez says in a statement to Billboard. “‘Burst is the beginning of that.” 

Co-directed by Kris Esfandiari and Colette Levesque, the recently released video for “Burst” features Rituals of Mine’s Terra Lopez playing basketball against a team of evil and monstrous figures. At one point, her younger self appears and helps Lopez win the game. According to the statement Lopez wrote to Billboard, the recently released video represents overcoming past trauma to effectively move on in your life, with the young protagonist representing a younger version of herself. “The opponents all represent obstacles I’ve had to face being a queer woman of color in this industry … this video was a way for me to confront both my childhood traumas and adulthood obstacles through the activity that has always grounded me,” she says. “Also, I just really wanted to create our version of a Queer Space Jam for 2019.”

I’ve managed to write quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, a.k.a Crywolf over the past 12-15 months or so. When Phillips started writing and releasing his own music. he was practically homeless, living in a room roughly the size of a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, Philips has developed a growing profile that has included amassing several million streams across all of the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complexas well as this site.

Now, if you’ve been following this site over that same period, you might recall that Phillips sophomore album widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. Building upon the momentum of his sophomore album, Philips recently started a new series THE OBLIVION [Reimagined], which will feature reworked versions of tracks off widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. The first single in the series featured the Chicago-based producer Mielo tackling “DRIP” — with Mielo releasing an arpeggiated synth-driven, cinematic remix that recalled A-Ha’s “Take on Me” and Depeche Mode while retaining the urgency and frenetic feel of the original. Earlier this week, Seattle-based producer Levit∆te released a glitchy, murky and hyper-futuristic remix of “ULTRAVIOLENT Pt. 2” that retained Philips plaintive vocals.

widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1] album single “QUIXOTE [i am alone, and they are everyone] features Philips’ achingly plaintive vocals floating over a cinematic and glitchy production. Recently, SWARM, a dark, industrial metal-influenced electronic artist released his own take on the song — a take that places Philips’ plaintive vocals within a gritty and jarring, industrial production featuring thumping, industrial clang and clatter, aggressively arpeggiated synths and a soaring hook. Evoking the increasing automation and brutality of our contemporary world, the song manages to pull upon and tease out the dark, gritty psychological detail of the original, placing in a new context without stripping the emotionality or the intent of its creator.

“There is something about ‘QUIXØTE’ in particular that is deepening haunting to me,” SWARM says in press notes. “I could feel my own emotions in every aspect of it, from the cathartic atmosphere to the painfully raw lyrics. In my re-imagination, I wanted to bring the psychological grit to light in a more aggressive way by using my own background in metal and industrial music.”

 

 

Over the past 12-15 months or so, I’ve managed to write quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, best known for his solo recording project Crywolf. When Phillips started writing and releasing his own music. he was practically homeless, living in a room roughly the size of a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, Philips has developed a growing profile that has included amassing several million streams across all of the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complexas well as this site.

Now, if you’ve been following this site over that same 12-14 month period, you’d recall that Phillips sophomore album widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. Interestingly, Phillips recently started a new series, THE OBLIVION [Reimagined], which will feature reworked versions of tracks off widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. The first single in the series found the Chicago-based producer Mielo tackling “DRIP” — and Mielo’s take is a arpeggiated synth-driven, New Wave-inspired remix that’s cinematic and buoyant, recalling A-Ha’s “Take on Me” and Depeche Mode while retaining the urgency and frenetic feel of the original. The series’ latest single finds Seattle-based producer Levit∆te, known for a sound that meshes dubstep, left-field bass and hip-hop taking on Crywolf’s “ULTRAVIOLENT Pt. II [she sang to me in a language strange].” The original is a slow-burning and atmospheric take on industrial electronica centered around stuttering beats, industrial clang and clatter and Phillips’ plaintive vocals. Levit∆te’s reworking features a glitchy production that features harder hitting beats that gives the song a murky futuristic air — while retaining Philips plaintive vocals. “When I heard ‘ULTRAVIOLENT Pt. II’ it immediately resonated with me,: Levit∆te says in press notes. “Carrying notes of wave music, slight witch house influences and intimate vocals, teh song really resembled a lot of my own music. I really did my best to retain the original message and feeling the song gave me, but refine it through my own filter.”

 

 

Over the past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, best known for his solo recording project Crywolf. As the story goes, when Philips started releasing music, he was practically homeless, living in a room the size of roughly a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Interestingly, since then Philips has developed a growing profile that has included amassing several million streams across all of the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complexas well as this site.

Philips sophomore Crywolf album widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1] was released earlier this year,  and the album’s first single was the urgent, frantic and trippy “DRIP.”  Centered around a swooning and wobbling production thumping beats, a cacophony of industrial clang and clatter, a looped vocal samples, and plaintive vocal delivery and atmospheric synths, the song managed to be a dramatic push into a radical new sonic direction. And at its core, the song evoked a narrator, whose mind and sanity have begun to rapidly fray at the seems — and we hear his thoughts, observations and feelings ping-ponging back and forth. As Philips wrote about the new single and of his sophomore album, “one of the themes of this album is the exploration of the shadow – the darker, more difficult aspects of the human psyche. People often think they have one unified ‘personality,’ but the truth is that we are made up of up to a dozen different personalities that are only loosely tied together. We feel like we have so much control over our actions and personality characteristics, but often when we pay close attention and are honest with ourselves, we can see that we can’t actually control or even explain large parts of who we are. ‘DRIP’ is the my process of staring into my brain and being brutally honest about some of the really difficult aspects of what I see there. It might not be, but it’s uncomfortably real.”

Philips recently started a new series, which he titled THE OBLIVION [Reimagined], which will feature reworked versions of tracks off widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. The first single in the series finds the Chicago-based producer Mielo tackling “DRIP” — and Mielo’s take is a arpeggiated synth-driven, New Wave-inspired remix that’s cinematic and buoyant, recalling A-Ha’s “Take on Me” and Depeche Mode while retaining the urgency and frenetic feel of the original.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Meg Myers Releases a Colorful and Childlike Visual for Her Dramatic Cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”

Born in Nashville, the acclaimed, Los Angeles-based indie pop artist Meg Myersspent her formative years in a devoted Jehovah’s Witness household, in which a young Myers dealt with strict restrictions on what she was allowed to listen to. After her parents divorced, her mother married a comic book artist, who moved the family to Ohio, where her mother and stepfather ran a cleaning business. When she was 12, her family moved to Florida, where she spent the bulk of her teen years — and during that period, Myers began singing and writing songs on keyboard, eventually teaching herself guitar. She also played bass in a band that she started with her brother, Feeling Numb.

A few days shy of her 20th birthday, Myers moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. Living in a studio apartment with her then-boyfriend, the Nashville-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist worked as a waitress at a Hollywood coffee shop and played show whenever she could land them. Although her romantic relationship ended, Myers met Doctor Rosen Rosen, who signed her to his production company. Rosen and Myers began writing songs together, including the material that comprised her first two EPs Daughter in the Choir and Make a Shadow and her 2015 full-length debut Sorry, which featured a number of Top 15 and Top 20 alternative radio hits.

Building up on a rapidly growing profile, Myers’ sophomore album, last year’s Take Me To The Disco debuted at #5 on the Current Alternative Charts and received praise from a number of media outlets including The New York Times, the Associated Press, NPR Music, Stereogum, Billboard and a lengthy list of others.  The acclaimed Nashville-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter played an NPR Tiny Desk session earlier this year that included a fairly straightforward and intense cover of Kate Bush‘s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” that brings the song to 21st Century listeners, who may have been previously unfamiliar with one of the great, dramatic pop songs of the 80s.

“Growing up, I was never really interested in covering other artist’s music.” Meg explains, “I always wanted to write my own songs because I knew I could only sing music and lyrics that were truly authentic, from my heart (and also would have to make sense with my deep voice). Well, then I discovered Kate Bush’s ‘Running up that Hill,’ which for years has resonated with my soul like nothing ever before. What if we could experience role reversal? What would it be like living in each other’s shoes? I think we would find a lot more compassion for one another and a passion for kindness and truth. This song to me, represents an opening of our hearts and a possibility of acceptance for all. And to me, this is an important message for the world we are living in right now.​​​​​​​”

Directed by Jo Roy, the recently released animated video for Meg Myers’ cover of “Running Up That Hill” features hand-drawn artwork from 2,130 children from around the country, including many at the Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) school — a non-profit that gives underserved children an equal chance to succeed through a comprehensive array of after-school academic, arts, athletics and wellness programs. As part of their partnership with HOLA, Myers and Roy taught animation classes to elementary school students. The frames they made during the classes were then composited together and used in the video — with the result being a visual that’s brightly colored, childlike, symbolic and ethereal. “The production process for ‘Running Up That Hill’ began with a demanding green screen shoot in which Meg climbed monkey bars, hung upside down, flew using a harness and wires, and performed her first piece of choreography!” Roy says of the video’s production process. “In post, we erased all the rigging, added animation components that were moved around using visual effects (including wings), and put every frame through a photoshop filter to define the ‘coloring book’ lines. Then, the frames were printed off into individual coloring pages which were distributed to 10 schools and various organizations in Los Angeles and Canada for children to color with real crayons also provided. Finally, the colored frames were collected and re-scanned to create one colorful final video made by literally thousands of people!”

New Video: Luna Shadows Celebrates Inclusivity and Californian Skater Culture in New Visual for “god.drugs.u”

Last month, I wrote about the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, Luna Shadows.  The Los Angeles-based artist has developed a reputation for a staunchly DIY approach, as she writes, performs, records, produces, edits and engineers every single note of her work — and for crafting sultry, melancholy pop that Billboard has called “. . . refreshingly soulful and haunting . ..” Her work has also been compared by some as Lana Del Ray taking Lorde to the beach.

So far Luna Shadows work has amassed over 35 million Spotify streams, with tracks landing on tastemaker playlists like New Music Friday, Indie Pop, Weekend Beats and Weekly Buzz, reaching #7 on the US Charts and #18 on the Global Viral Charts.  Building upon a growing profile, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer has also received airplay on radio stations worldwide, including KROQ, BBC Radio 1 and Beats 1 — and she played a sold out, live debut show at renowned Los Angeles indie music showcase School Night. Amazingly, she has done that without the support of a label. 

2019 looks to be a big year for Luna Shadows. She recently began collaborating with two highly-acclaimed, mainstream indie pop producers Now Now‘s Brad Hale and The Naked and Famous‘ Thom Powers to help shoulder the production and editing load — and she signed to +1 Records, who released her first single of the year, “lowercase.” Centered around a sleek production featuring tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, chopped up vocal samples, twinkling keys, Luna Shadow’s plaintive and sultry vocals and an enormous hook, the track was imbued with the bitterness, heartache and confusion of a dysfunctional relationship full of power plays and accusation.

Featuring tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering and atmospheric synths paired with Luna Shadows’ sultry delivery, her latest single “god.drugs.u” continues a run of slickly produced, trap-inspired songs — but at the core of the song is a plaintive and unfulfilled yearning. 

“Sometimes, I find that it’s easier to identify what something isn’t rather than describing what it is. “god.drugs.u” is essentially a process of elimination love song which breaks down my personal experience of love, one which is most often rooted in present moments rather than chemical or spiritual experiences,” Luna Shadows explains. “It isn’t a declaration of what anyone else should feel, it’s simply a personal reflection on my experience of love which is very here and now. I am a person who spends a lot of time stuck in the past and worrying about the future, so the moments where I am truly present best represent my experience of love and serenity. This song is a meditation on the moments where I’ve looked at someone (or some place) and felt a deep sense of peace & fulfillment, if only for a split second.”

Produced by Kitty Disco and Ride or Cry Co., the recently released video for “god.drugs.u” was directed, produced, styled, edited and stars a nearly exclusively female-identifying cast and crew and members of the LBTQ+ community.  Stylistically shot at Venice Skatepark, the video is a celebration of Californian skateboard culture through the lens of fashion, inclusivity, authenticity and diversity starring five local skateboarders — Briana King, Victoria Taylor, Hilary Shanks, Jennifer Charlene and Claire Weaver. “Los Angeles is a place that represents unconditional love to me. This city has been here for me when my whole world came crashing down. Like the other installments in my video series, I wanted this visual to be an ode to an iconic LA location presented in a brand new light,” Luna Shadows explains in press notes. 

“The concept of skateboarding came to mind – a risk-taking, safety-defying sport in which the rider cannot afford to focus on anything other than the present moment – a sentiment that sits comfortably with the lyrics,” Luna Shadows continues. “I’ve loved skateboarding since I was a young girl but always felt excluded from the culture, so this video was an effort to be more inclusive & to showcase one of many versions of femininity which does not conform to the tradition image of skateboarding.”