Last week, we prepped for the holiday of lights and showboating with a performance serene and gorgeous as the sound of a flowing stream after a good rain. Allison Gliesman’s voice is one of the most alluring we’ve ever heard, and with both their popular band Mess and their solo project sex ed, we are consistently floored by the quality of songwriting. We urge you to get out to a show, but until then, here are some highlights of one of our favorite performers. Period.
The most invigorating day of my life was probably glimpsing the lineup for Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival 2019. I’ll probably get a lot of flak for this, but The Lonely Island was on the list and I [probably] literally fell to the floor in excitement. This trio entered the pop culture stage at a time when they could really seep into my every day life. My whole family latched on to their brand of comedy from day 1 with “Lazy Sunday” and continued to release gem after gem over the years. “I’m On A Boat” was definitely on my life soundtrack in high school, and even convinced my sister and I to buy my mother a Pashmina afghan with sailboats on it when I lived in New York.
But their hits since are notable as well, and as Andy Samberg’s hair has changed shape from that original boyishly cute triangular shape, we have fallen more in love with his cohorts Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, who are incredible writers with insanely diverse careers.
The evening was absolutely epic. Photographers were packed into the photo pit like nothing I — or many in attendance — have ever seen. And for good reason. Highlights below.
I stumbled upon Larkin Poe in late 2016. I was on a YouTube music spree, as one will occasionally do, and they happened to pop up in my “Up Next” column. It was a Jam in the Van video of the song Jailbreak. The video had been posted in 2014 so it was roughly 2 and half years old by the time I found it. The song had a good pop to it and both Rebecca and Meghan had a good energy for the song. After the video ended, I began to dig into more of their stuff, Don’t, Sugar High, Stubborn Love and Trouble in Mind. Every song I listened to was solid, but the studio recordings lacked that something that separates music you throw on in the back ground from music you throw on to really listen to.
Flash forward to the Garage at Knuckleheads Saloon on a Monday night. I was unsure of the following that Larkin Poe would have, especially with it being a Monday night, in December, in Kansas City Missouri. We got to the venue 20 minutes before the opener was scheduled. I assumed this would be plenty of time to grab a seat, grab a drink and talk before the show started. What’s that they say about assumptions? The venue was packed. We were fortunate enough to find a couple lonesome bar stools in the corner. Other than those, it was standing room only.
It’s important to point out the composition of the crowd for this event. There were plenty of adults in attendance and the usual crowd that seems to attend Knuckleheads religiously, regardless of what type of artist or music it being played. The best part about the crowd for me were the parents that brought their kids with them. Live music is an important thing to support and it’s even better when the band is on fire like Larkin Poe was that night.
When Larkin Poe took the stage, I immediately understood why the place had sold out. The energy they brought with them left the crowd with one option, buckle up and enjoy the ride. Their opening song “Summertime Sunset” brought the house down and it only got better from there. Meghan’s slide guitar outro for Look Away was a good for lesson for any guitar player in patience, tone and control. Rebecca’s vocals have gotten stronger and more confident since I first heard her, and the entire concert was a showcase for that talent.
The show was refreshing and genuine and as a soon to be father of a daughter, it was awesome to see two sisters absolutely dominating the stage. I cannot wait for them to come back around or anywhere close, I will be dragging my friends and most likely a certain family member, you know who you are, to see them again.
New York-based indie pop songstress Julietta is letting it all go with new track “Smooth Sailing”. The whistling certainly brings on the laid back vibes from the onset, though the hard-hitting bass is something of note from the very beginning. The way the instrumentals swell bring the song into a more freeing and interesting soundscape, and Julietta’s light as a feather vocals are expertly layered into the entire thing. It’s an impressive track, with easily relatable lyrics. As Julietta sings about “finding my way,” we just want to sing this track from the top of our lungs in a convertible as we drive down the highway.
After you check the track, you’ll concur. We guarantee it. So allow yourself to expand with a little “Smooth Sailing”.
The sun’s light began to fade across The Gorge as Thunderpussy played to a tight crowd at the El Chupacabra stage on Day 1 of Sasquatch! Music Festival. We got to capture some of the glimmer of the early evening, and Thunderpussy has new fans because of it.
Budding pop artist RAHH has just released her first ever single “Overkill.” When I first listened to “Overkill,” RAHH’s incredible voice stood out to me. She has the type of powerful voice that you may find yourself belting out too as it sparks inspiration. Despite its title, “Overkill” is not that bitter song about your ex. Instead, it’s about giving in to the power of music and letting go. “I can’t stand still, I can’t stand still, this beat is overkill,” belts RAHH. She continues to my favorite line “I need saving, I need saving.” What’s even more chilling is when RAHH gives us a taste of a cappella at the end of the song. “Overkill” puts into words the ways we feel, react, and engage in music. Aside from RAHH’s beautiful voice, the song holds a powerful meaning: that music has the ability to take us over at any time, and at any place.
There is way more to celebrate today than originally planned, as Oakland, CA based rock project Gibby Paul – comprised of its namesake on vocals and guitar, Barrett Wall on guitar, Adam Szyndrowski on bass, and Dan Staublin on drums – releases their full length work So Savage today, April 20th, and we’ve got the exclusive streaming premiere. Originally members of Bay Area favorite dream pop group Mammoth Life, the guys of Gibby Paul changed direction have developed a unique sound together and pushed new levels with So Savage, channeling a rock vibe from the past and pairing it with some new tricks. Their music is mind-bending at times, and perfect to listen to when you’ve got a minute to really sit and enjoy the soundscape. We’re massive, massive fans and we know you will be too!
So Savage is out now. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming tour dates with Gibby Paul here.
The creative rule of thumb seems to be that with great pain and suffering, comes great art. If that’s true, then it would appear that black music and entertainment is in the beginning of a Renaissance period.
From incredible television shows like Insecure and Atlanta, to blockbuster films like Black Panther, and undeniably black albums like A Seat at the Table, Lemonade, DAMN and 4:44, representation is gradually getting better (we still have a long way to go). With that in mind, I set out to create a playlist that transcended genre, and had only two rules: be black and be dope. A lot of the artists featured on this playlist are relatively new and up and coming—that’s intentional. ‘BlackExcellence’ is a playlist created to highlight artists that deserve to be recognized for their incredible talent, and introduce music lovers to names, and songs they may not have heard before.
This playlist is long, and is being added to continually for endless listening pleasure. Having said that, here are a few highlights:
Masego – “Tadow” ft. FKJ – This song will catch you completely off guard with a sleek combination of sensual vocals and saxophone.
Curtis Harding – “Wednesday Morning Atonement” – It’s 1960, and you’ve walked into a small smoky bar where Jimi Hendrix and Marvin Gaye are casually jamming together. Oh, no, sorry it’s 2018 and you’ve been introduced to the genius that is Curtis Harding.
Charlotte De Santos – “It’s Over, Bobby” – Charlotte De Santos makes breaking up sound fun against a Cubano backdrop and vocals as silky as a scarf used to wrap your newly pressed curls.
Celeste – “Milk & Honey” – A minimalist beat reminiscent of James Blake or Radiohead provides the foundation for this sultry single. Celeste has a voice like smoke and bourbon concealed by rose petals.
Brent Faiyaz – “Insecure” – Feeling insecure in a relationship never sounded so sexy. ‘Please don’t think I’m insecure/I just feel safe by myself.’ Carried entirely by Faiyaz’s vocal performance, this track is a cut above most R&B songs permeating the airwaves right now.
Vagabon – “Cold Apartment” – The combination of vulnerability and strength in this young woman’s voice is what epic stories are made of. Subtle, quiet, determined and then all at once, powerful, commanding, and fierce.
Sterling Rhyne – “Remedy” – Music runs through Sterling Rhyne’s veins. It’s evident in the arrangement of this track; the nuances and subtle sounds that she combines to tell a story is pure genius. Not to mention her voice—not that it needs an adjective, but let’s give it one: tranquil.
Sunni Colon – “Little Things”— A classic blend of funk and R&B. Heavy bass and drums set the scene of this single. If Groove Theory, Maxwell and Tony! Toni! Toné! raised a child together, it would be Sunni Colon.
Kadjha Bonet – “Remember the Rain” – Imagine Dionne Warwick, and Diana Ross…. Now, imagine the both of them as one single electrifying entity. Yes, that’s Kadjha Bonet and this track oozes Motown circa 1963.
Abi Ocia – “Running” – There’s something cathartic about Ocia’s voice. Any emotion you’re feeling can be found in the song. Imagine standing alone and perfectly still in a bright white room, and then closing your eyes slowly. That’s what this song feels like, infinite space that overwhelms you and suddenly reminds you of your place in the vast universe.
Justin Michael Williams – “Here With Me” – Words cannot describe the versatility of this amazing singer. This song is only a taste of what he has to offer. The track is powerful and delicate, and his falsetto is otherworldly. Only seconds into the single and you’re blown away; you think you know what to expect from “Here With Me,” but you truly have no idea.
Not only did Philadelphia-based indie folk band Mt. Joy recently announced that they’re playing the incredible Atlanta-based Shaky Knees Music Festival in May, but they also released their self-titled debut full-length album. So while we’re over here saying, “Hell yeah!” repeatedly, we’re also not hoarders of the magic. We are all about sharing the best with you on a regular basis, so check out the thirteen track stunner in its entirety below! (Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments.)
But we’ve partnered up with Mt. Joy to bring you even more joy than you could possibly experience by listening to this album a couple of times. The guys are going to give away a vinyl copy of Mt. Joy to one lucky fan! To enter, follow the instructions below. (More chances to win the more you do!) Trust us, you do NOT want to miss out on the sonic ambiance that Mt. Joy sets, simultaneously raspy and rough vocally, while boasting a soft and beautiful instrumentation that will have you feeling fulfilled almost immediately.