diana ross, supertonic

diana ross, supertonic

Are you looking for fresh music to play this summer? Look no further because there is a new remix album of Diana Ross singles that will give you the perfect tracks to dance along to in the car. Supertonic, which was mixed by Eric Kupper and produced by Diana Ross herself, turned nine of her classic tracks into a collection of party jams. These songs remixed just add to the incredible sonic atmosphere Ms. Ross has been producing for years. Whether it is “Love Hangover,” or “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” you will find yourself bopping your head, if not full out dancing,  and singing the lyrics you already know by heart.

Earlier this year “Love Hangover 2020” topped Billboard magazine’s Dance Club Song Chart, making it her fourth consecutive No. 1 remix with a song that had been No. 1 for its original release. This only proves further the power and legendary status Ms. Ross has in the music industry. Not only is Supertonic available now, but she and Kruper released Supertonic: Instrumental Mixes which can be found on digital release and cd or crystal-clear vinyl on June 26. Enjoy the magic of Ms. Ross and stream Supertonic now.

cady groves, bless my heart

cady groves, bless my heart

There’s something so incredible about the connection of an artist to their work, and then the work’s fans to that artist. The announcement of the death of indelible singer-songwriter Cady Groves at the tender age of thirty this spring has left a large demographic of both pop/punk fans and country aficionados floored. I, myself, remember the days when she toured with punk banks and I requested her haircut at the salon. (College was a trip, and she has always been gorgeous.) Seeing her name in headlines in my social media feed made my heart stop, and I haven’t heard much of her more recent work. But the world has been celebrating her all along, and her fandom has been wrecked over the news.

Cady spent the last four years of her life writing and preparing new music in Nashville that both reflects her personal experiences, and makes her even more relatable than before. Her EP Bless My Heart was released at the end of May posthumously, and she couldn’t have hit the mark more if she tried.

With a little whimsy, she approaches the collection with the first track “Bartender,” a quirky, honest, beautiful ballad to the carefree nature of a full bar on a hot summer night. Perhaps the reality of political unrest and pandemic make this song feel that much more nostalgic, because we actually felt ourselves tearing up, listening to a song about drinking. The title track comes in quick to justify the tears, however, as Cady addresses personal anecdotes and makes us feel that even those who fall – hard – have the opportunity to be blessed in life. She rips any wounds wide open in this track, and this vulnerable side is going to be the thing we miss most.

“Camo” seems to have a title that is very stereotypical – and perhaps widely indicative – of its audience, but the metaphor prevails as a gorgeous reminder to make yourself seen. “Cigarettes and Sunsets” takes on a rhythm and pace that lure us into the thought that we might be about to watch 1996 blockbuster hit Phenomenon. (That is not an insult in the slightest. We imagine this track sounds like the perfect amalgamation of Clapton-style guitar and the Northern California cowboy demographic that surrounded the cast of Phenomenon during filming. But I digress.) Either way, the track belongs in a film. (Do you hear that, sync friends?!)

Last track “Crying Game” visits personal anecdotes, and reminds us a bit of earlier Cady Groves’ work sonically. The song specifically addresses the deaths of two of her brothers (Casey and Kelly), and the emotions that come along with their memories. It all feels like a way to round back to the beginning, as she takes her final, audible, bow.

To feel as though you have witnessed an entire career in just five songs seems a bit cheesy. But this release makes us feel closer to Cady than ever before.

keffa, victimless crimes

keffa, victimless crimes

Canadian singer, rapper, producer, and songwriter Keffa released his new EP Victimless Crimes on June 1st. Produced by the Multi-Platinum and GRAMMY award winners Ken Lewis and Brent Kolatalo, the EP delves into the melancholia that results from failed relationships, but in a light-hearted way. While the music is classic R&B in many ways, it also includes elements from many other genres such as indie and experimental. Keffa compares it to the controversial 1994 film Bitter Moon which featured similar themes of relationships and heartbreak in different ways.

Each track gives us a glimpse into the types of complicated, failed relationships that one can have.

“Bethlehem” stirs up emotions you may not even know you have deep down inside you. It begins atmospheric, and includes hopeful messages like “It’ll be alright, I’ll be by your side.” But halfway through the clouds clear, the line “pick up a loaded gun” cuts through, and things become more painful. “Bethlehem” exposes the listener to this pain, setting the stage for the rest of the EP.

“Rock You” tackles loneliness, the idea of being with someone only for companionship and not for true love. As Keffa says “There’s no point in loving me, ‘cause I have no empathy,” the hard-hitting bass notes and upward synth gestures in the music sound like slow, steady breaths. It’s as though the music is breathing through the pain, through the loneliness. Immediately after, we get “Twenty Four Days” in which Keffa switches gears and starts talking about how he’s in it for the long run with this girl he loves, although there seems to be a lack of trust in the relationship.

“Disconnect” is a standout track. It deviates from the other tracks as it prominently features dreamy, broken guitar chords and surprising turns of harmony. It deals with space, “disconnecting” from a stifling relationship. “Victimless Crimes” is the most unsettling song on the EP. In essence, it’s about how things that were once uncomplicated can become twisted.

Keffa ends the EP on a cheerful note, musically speaking. “Try Harder” is fun to listen to, with a catchy chorus amidst smoothly rapped verses that just glide on top of the jazzy background music. The lyrics still continue the theme, however, highlighting a one-sided relationship where one person isn’t making as much of an effort as they could.

Listening to Victimless Crimes, it’s easy to see why The Source Magazine hailed Keffa as a “Canadian mastermind” after his second EP release, and why he was featured in Respect Magazine as “Toronto’s Emerging Creative Enigma.” Keffa not only shows how it’s possible to innovate R&B music, but also shows the world what Canada has to offer in the hip-hop genre.