“Fairy” by Zaiden | Song Review

Zaiden is an instrumentalist and singer from Austin, Texas who recently released his debut EP “Wizard Tale” independently. Zaiden’s music has been described as ” a fantasy inspired with cartoonish-like production along with an acoustic blend.”

I was asked to review some of his work and I have chosen the leading single, “Fairy.” Automatically the song starts with a beautiful acoustic guitar solo that is reminiscent of a traditional flamenco dance. This theme comes back into play later in the song to break the repetition of the other motifs in the song.

The “fantasy” feeling comes into play with the synthesizer beats that are similar to most electronica songs, but what makes it different is the melody in the vocals. There are definitely some parts in his voice and melodic tones that remind me of Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots. But don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing Zaiden to Twenty One Pilots, just some similar techniques are used in his songs.

What makes Zaiden stand out is definitely the unique beats, rhythms and sounds used in his music. The repetitive staccato rhythm makes many appearances throughout the EP which makes a claim as his signature.

Although I am not a fan of this style of music, I would recommend anyone who is into psychedelic/electronica music to check out Zaiden and the “Wizard Tale” EP.

If you would like to check out Zaiden, please follow the links provided below.

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*Photo provided by Wendy Ford PR

Songs of the Season | Fall and Winter 2017

Now that spring is officially upon us, even if it doesn’t feel like it in Wisconsin, its time to talk about the songs that defined the previous season for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one that when they hear a song they think of specific time or moment. There are certain songs that when I hear them, I think of a season and year. These are the songs that defined that time of year for me.

The first song up is off of one of my favorite album releases of 2017, and it’s “Where The Mind Wants to Go” by I The Mighty. This whole album really was one that I listened to all the time during the fall and winter so it was hard to pick a specific song. But I kept going back to “Where the Mind Wants to Go” when I needed a song to fill the silence. I would also like to mention that his whole album is a great one to go on long drives with. I took a trip up state playing this album on repeat and it fit the mood of the drive perfectly.

Second song that defined the season would be “Numbers” by The Cab. I noticed, that besides a few songs, the fall and winter season was filled with nostalgia; listening to a lot of throwback songs from middle and high school. The Cab was one of those groups that I felt were very underrated when I was in middle and high school. This song in particular was one that I never really paid attention to until this past year and its a beautiful song that had me singing every time.

“Hero” by Monsta X was my Kpop representative song of the season. Just something about the beat in this song gets my day started every morning. I would specifically play this song first on my playlist to get going in the morning. It was my mood setter, if you will, and trust me when I say this beat will get stuck in your head. If you are a fan of kpop and you haven’t listened to Monsta X before, what are you doing?

Finally, I’m going to end with a new release song as well as a new to me song of the season. The new release song being “Pray” by Sam Smith. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m in love with Sam Smith’s voice and this song was one I had on repeat throughout most of the fall and winter season.

Every season, I like to discover songs and artists that I’ve never heard of before. This previous season that would be Leikeli47’s song “Miss Me.” It’s typically not a style of music that I would listen to during the fall and winter because it is more hip/hop and electronica, but it really stuck out to me and I loved it.

There you have it, the top songs that defined the season for me. Although these are not all the songs that I’ve listened to during the fall and winter months, these are the ones that I listened to the most and that stood out to me the most.

If you want to check out any of these songs, I have linked all the songs listed above. But if you want to check out more or want to know what I’m listening to during the year, I will leave my Spotify playlist for Fall and Winter 2017 linked down below, as well as my Spotify profile so you can follow all my playlists and stay up to date on what I’m adding during the year.

Spotify Fall/Winter 2017
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NEW LANGUAGE | Interview

NEW LANGUAGE is an Los Angeles based group that was started by Tyler Demorest and Matt Cohen. The two have been writing and playing in bands for almost a decade and in 2016 formed NEW LANGUAGE.

Recently the band has released an EP entitled, “Everybody Screams” and two music videos for their songs “Everybody Screams” and “Show Me.” I had the opportunity to chat with Demorest and Cohen about their new releases.

Tell me about your song “Show Me,” what is it about?

TD: We started jamming with a friend of ours and it just grew instrumentally that way. Lyrically, it is about things that I [Tyler] is struggling with. I left it open for people to interpret what they are struggling with. For me [Tyler] its about what goes on around me and like if you’re not raised a Christian, you can still be a good person for example.

Did you come up with the concept for the music video?

MC: The concept itself is just a fun tone with our mascot. It was filmed all in one shot and Tyler did the animations.

TD: We just thought it would be cool to have Richard [our mascot] dance in the streets of LA and have like dancers and confetti canons but not be too over the top or silly.

Explain the meaning behind the title track off the EP, Everybody Screams.

TD: Theres just a lot of yelling from both sides and not a lot of listening. People are just not willing to listen to each other and have an intelligent conversation anymore.

The music video is a little different, what was the concept about?

TD: With the video we wanted to show that concept of the song. So we photoshopped pictures of ourselves with big mouths just covering the whole face. That just represents the concept of people screaming. And behind us are just images that symbolizes what the song was saying and creating a feeling of how big the world is and how many problems people have. Just gives you a sense of humanity, I guess.

Is there a theme or message throughout the EP?

TD: I wouldn’t say that there is a theme or message with our EP, I just write about what I’m feeling or wrestling with at the time. We don’t sit down and say “okay this EP is going to be about this theme.”

Which song off Everybody Screams  would you recommend to a new listener?

TD & MC: Show Me because it just represents what anyone can be going through. Its up to interpretation by the listener.

How would you describe your stage performance?

MC: I would say that whenever we get up on stage we just kind of give it our all. I would call it energetic and inducing. We always like to get the audience involved and we hope that audiences feels the same energy we feel.

Anything set for the future of NEW LANGUAGE?

TD: Yea we have a few songs coming out in the next couple of months and some shows set for us to play in the beginning of May. But generally just more shows, more music and hopefully a new EP in the summer.

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You can check out NEW LANGUAGE’s songs on their Youtube and be sure to stay up to date on NEW Language news you can follow them at their social media links below.

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Photos provided by Bradley PR + Marketing

J-Hope “Hope World” | Album Review

Is it possible for an album to give you the stank face but also be full of puppies and rainbows? I never thought it was possible until I listened to the long awaited mixtape by BTS’ J-Hope.

For over a year now, fans have been waiting for J-Hope to release a mixtape to complete the rap line’s collection of solo albums. The day finally came in mid February when he announced that his mixtape was set to release March 2, 2018.

On the day of the release, the 7 track album went out along with the music video for the lead single, “Daydream.” I’ll be honest, I listened to that song for a solid 30 minutes on repeat after it was released. For anyone that knows J-Hope, or at least anyone who is familiar with his bright, off the wall personality, will understand when I say this is a “J-Hope” song.

The music video along with the lyrics and the beat of the song match perfectly with J-Hope’s personality and vibe. He always brings a sense of “hope” and sunshine to the group and it shines bright with this song. Another song on the album that compliments this match to personality would be the title track, “Hope World.”

But when you get past the puppies and rainbows vibe songs you get songs like “Base Line” and “항상 (Hangsang) ft. Supreme Boi.” These songs are where his true roots show with hard base lines and intense lyrics that give you that “stank face” reaction.

This even blend of hard and soft makes for a mixtape that throws all sorts of emotions in your face and perfectly depicts his style and personality. Overall, I’ve been playing this album on repeat since its release and I’m incredibly pleased and proud of J-Hope for taking his time to release a solid album that he’s proud of.

The album is available on iTunes and Spotify.

Nokay ‘The One I Feed’ | Album Review

Nokay is an East Coast based Indie/Pop/Electronic songwriter who has been featured on Huffington Post, AXS, Tattoo.com and many more. His previous single “Fear” (which has received 50k plays on Soundcloud) made my playlist for the year and was one of my favorite releases of 2017. You can read a short review of his song “Fear” here. Nokay just released his follow up single “Passenger” which is featured on his upcoming debut EP “The One I Feed.”

Being a fan of Nokay’s smooth, rich, voice I was excited to be asked to review his debut EP. As previously stated, “Fear” was a music highlight for me for 2017 and his new single “Passenger” is climbing the list for 2018. There are movements to this song that remind me of being on a boat. The verses are slow and steady like a calm ocean, just floating on the water enjoying the scenery.

But when the chorus kicks in, the waves start to hit. The boat is rocking and you’re holding on, trying not to fall off. The moments of calm and chaos add to the story behind the song and a journey in his life. You can read the full story behind the song on Genius. The length of time it took to make this song paid off, because it’s beautifully composed and executed.

The next two songs on the EP are “Mercury” and “Antares” and the EP closes with “Fear.” One thing that I love about Nokay’s writing is the journey that he takes you on through his words and his supporting insturmentals. His songs have mountains and valleys that emphasize his vocal abilities, emotions and meanings or inspirations for each song.

When listening to music I want to be taken on a journey, feel the emotions of the songs, be wrapped up in the world of the artist, basically get lost in it. Nokay is an artist that allows you to do just that and really experience his music. I am excited to see where this EP will take him and I’ll anticipate more work from him in the future.

You can listen to Nokay’s music on Soundcloud, iTunes and Spotify.

Be sure to check Nokay out on his social media sites for the release of “The One I Feed” and other upcoming events from him.
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*Photos curtesy of Bradley PR + Marketing*

Recent Music Purchases

The month of January meant the month to spend all of my gift card money on iTunes music purchases.

Here are all the purchases I made in the month of January. Some are new releases and some are older. Regardless, there is something about adding new music to my library that gets me all excited.

“Don’t Go” – Vacances (single)
This was a song that I had previously done a review for, I just never got around to buying it until this month. Highly suggest you go check it out as well as his music.

“Flicker” – Niall Horan (album)
Again, this is an album that I had been listening to nonstop on Spotify and mentioned in my favorite albums of 2017. But, it wasn’t until January when I finally took the plunge and bought it.

“Smile, and Wave” – SAINTE (album)
Mentioned before in my favorite albums of 2017, I loved this album and the whole return to music that Tay Jardine had after WATIC ended. An album that I was always meaning to buy but just got around to it now.

“Lower” – Amber x Luna (single)
This was actually a new release that I purchased right away after hearing it. I normally don’t buy a song or album right after its released unless its by a group or artists that I love. But, I made an exception for this song because its so catchy and both Amber and Luna’s voices sound beautiful.

“Welcome Back” – iKON (album)
I just recently got into iKON and the whole fandom surrounding them. So I went a a binge of their music and I can see how the whole fandom thinks they are under appreciated because they are.

“Harry Styles” – Harry Styles (album)
Again, an album that I had been listening to on Spotify since it released, but this is the first time I actually thought to buy it. Also, very happy I did because I am seeing him in concert this June.

“Birthday Gamble” – Jay Park (2 song single release)
I love everything Jay Park does, so naturally, when this released I got it as soon as I could.

As I always do, the songs and albums mentioned are linked so you can check out what I’m listening to and maybe purchase them yourselves.

Songs That Make Me

As we were coming into the new year, I became pretty nostalgic when it comes to music. Listening to songs that meant so much to me that I don’t necessarily listen to all the time. I realized that all these songs are ones that made a huge impact on my life in one way or another.

Each one of these songs brings back a specific memory in my mind that is filled with happiness. We all have them, and that is the beauty of music. It holds a special place in our hearts and holds the power to bring back happiness for just over 3 minutes.

Below are just a few of the songs that “made” me who I am today and hold a special place in my heart. Let me know what your songs are and maybe the story behind them.

  1. I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab for Cutie
  2. Vegas Skies – The Cab
  3. Fred Bear – Ted Nugent
  4. Jamie All Over – Mayday Parade
  5. Only One – Yellowcard

Most of these songs bring me back to a time with good friends. Yellowcard and Death Cab bring me back to a time when I was feeling super low but these songs and groups brought me out of a funk. Ted Nugent (random, I know) reminds me of my dad. Every morning when he would drop me off at my grandmother’s house we would listen to Fred Bear. It was just a happy way to start my mornings for over a year.

As always, the songs above are linked so you can give them a listen.

Upcoming Album Releases in 2018

With the new year upon us, its time to browse through the upcoming album releases and pick out the ones I”m most looking forward to. Since it is the beginning of the year, the first quarter releases are the only ones available to the public. Here is a list of albums I’m most looking forward to hearing.

January

Fall Out Boy – “Mania”

Waterparks – “Entertainment”

The Neighbourhood – “To Imagine”

BORNS – “Blue Madonna”

Charlie Puth – “Voicenotes”

February

Vance Joy – “Nation of Two”

The Wombats – “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life”

April

The 1975 – “Music For Cars”

If you know of any more albums that are being released in the first quarter of 2018 and you want me to check them out please leave them in the comment section. Hope that all is well, and that your new year is a great one.

 

 

 

 

Top Albums of 2017

As the year comes to a close, its time to reflect on the great albums that were released this year. I feel as though 2017 was the year for a lot of my favorite groups to release new music and artists to make triumphant comebacks. How these albums are determined in my mind is not based off number of plays, but by how much I feel connected emotionally to the songs, the artist and the album as a whole.

Below is my list of favorite albums of the year, in order ending with my top pick, along with my favorite song(s) from the album.

Smile, and Wave – SAINTE
This was Tay Jardine’s (previously of WATIC) return to music. WATIC was one of the bands I always listened to every day. So, to hear about their split was a little disappointing to me since I was really enjoying their work. But I now see the members continuing on with music in their own ways and SAINTE is Tay Jardine’s new project and return to music. The vibe is different from WATIC but its still an EP that I’ve been enjoying and feel connected to in a different way than most music.
Released: June 30, 2017
Favorite song: “If You Ever Feel Alone”

Love Yourself: Her – BTS
Wait…what???? If anyone knows me personally, they will know that I’m listening to this album at least once every day (literally). So people would naturally expect this to be at the top of list. Although its a great album and its hard for me to pick a favorite song off the album I wouldn’t necessarily say its my favorite because I don’t feel emotionally connected to any of the songs. None of the songs moved me to the point where I felt it was relatable to some part of my life and experiences. But, its still one of my favorites because I do have it on repeat almost every day.
Released: September 18, 2017
Favorite Song(s): “GoGo” and “Best of Me”

Lovely Little Lonely – The Maine
The Maine is that band that I just lose myself in their music. Ever since middle school when I first heard them I just loved their music. Now especially since their work is more poetic and beautiful with a sense of sadness I just find them to be the best mood music when I’m feeling in a rut. This album, just like their previous ones, allows me to get lost in the melodies, lyrics and find deep connects to the songs. I do find it hard to pick a favorite song as well.
Released: April 7, 2017
Favorite Song: “Black Butterflies and Deja Vu”

Where the Mind Wants to Go/ Where You Let It Go – I The Mighty
This album is another one that I listen to every day at least once. But, unlike BTS, I feel more connected emotionally to this album. I The Mighty really came out of nowhere for me with this album. I was anticipating it all year, but wasn’t expecting it to sound like how it does. There are elements that remind me of early 2000s pop punk but then there are elements that remind me of modern alternative. All together creating this mysterious and haunting essence throughout the album.
Released: October 20, 2017
Favorite Song(s): “Pet Names” and “Escapism”

After Laughter – Paramore
This album is one that baffles me. I never expected to understand an album as much as I do this one. Yes, I have always been a Paramore fan and I was really excited for this release. But once it was out I remember feeling overwhelmed with emotions while listening to it in the car on my way to work. For some strange reason I understood everything Hayley was expressing in the lyrics because I had experienced them as well. Not just me, a lot of people I feel can relate to this album or at least a song off the album because its so raw. We’ve all felt like giving up, we’ve all had self-doubt, we’ve all felt lost and we’ve all lost friends and made new ones. Life is a rollercoaster of emotions and it has it’s great moments and awful moments and this album really expresses them in the realist way.
Released: May 12, 2017
Favorite Song(s): “Forgiveness” , “Fake Happy” , “Tell Me How”

 

Of course there are more albums that have been released this year that I’ve been listening to nonstop, but like I said, these are the ones that made the top of my list for one reason or another. And as this year comes to a close, I look forward to new releases in 2018, so stay tuned in for my most anticipated of 2018.

Boy Hero Interview

Boy Hero is an LA based post hardcore band thats on the rise in their music scene. I’ve done some reviews for them in the past and was pleased to have a chat with singer Dan Rudd to learn more about the group and their music.

How did you meet the other members in the group?
Through different music ventures. It comes down to just friends, meeting people through other shows and bands.

It seems like there was a name change from Kings to Boy Hero? Why is that?
We originally were Kings and we had a logo and everything planned out for that. And what ended up happening was that there was another band that put out a logo that we were going to use right when we were going to launch everything. So we had to come up with something different.

The story behind Boy Hero is that Ben came up with it through a different project name that he never used. And being on the spot we had to use something so we went with it. But as time went on past that point, for me, it took the meaning of going it alone and doing it yourself. Don’t sit there and wait for the phone ring just go out there and make as much happen as you can on your own.

Let’s talk about the self titled EP, what was the writing and recording process like?
The writing process was where I had written a bunch of songs before the band was even a thing. I was kind of getting back into music from stepping away for a year or so. Then Jason, the original drummer, had produced the entire album. It was a thing where we were both new to LA and it just started off just demoing some stuff in my bedroom. It just came together.

You collaborated with Tyler Carter of Issues on the song “Desperate”, how did that fall into place?
That song was from my old band that was never released. So I rewrote it to fit the style of Boy Hero. I’ve been friends with Tyler for like 6 years or so I just asked him if he was interested in doing it and he was all for it.

What are the meanings behind the titles “10912” and “Vivian Grey”?
“10912” is actually a date. If you separate the numbers it ends up being in October and is actually the day my best friend growing up died. That song is my story of what I felt like happened. There are more songs that are about that, but this is kind of the start. I didn’t know how to title that track, because it was a really tough one to write. Its my feelings and I didn’t want anyone to feel like I was being disrespectful in any way.

“Vivian Grey” is definitely a metaphor. It started out as an inside joke. We used it as a way of saying “don’t be a baby” or “don’t be stupid” and the song just took shape around someone who was like that. So it was like a joke that became sort of like a real thing.

Recently you’ve released, “Last One” and “Stay Away”. What are those songs about?
Basically I had an idea to do a Halloween themed EP and I’ve been working on that for the past year and a half or so. We are still in the process of editing and mixing it right now, but I just wanted to put out some new music. So these songs are going to be a little darker, heavier or intense but its still going to fit the music and be fun.

It’ll have moments where, what me and my friends like to call, stank face moments, where you’re just like “oh yeah.” And those songs will be going on the EP, but we are still in the process of editing and getting things mixed and possibly adding more songs. But theres no release date set for it yet but hopefully around October at the latest.

If you could put together a dream tour or collaboration, who would be included?
My dream collaboration would be to write lyrics and vocals with Gerard Way or Bert McCracken. I would love to do work with Matt Good, the guitarist of From First to Last, or something with Ryan Key of Yellowcard. There are so many people that I look up to and would love to just sit in a session with them or work with them. I would take away so much from an opportunity like that.

I would love for there to be a tour of My Chemical Romance and The Used. I would kill to open for something like that. But a dream tour would be to tour with friends of mine. I would love to open for Issues or One Ok Rock, or with my friend Dakota who is in Blindwish. Just to hang out with my friends and play music everyday.

What would you say are the highlights of 2017 for you? What can we look forward to for 2018?
Highlights of this past year is just getting going on the EP. It was a huge step for me, personally, to get back in the saddle because I was kind of in a writers block for a while. I just wasn’t feeling anything, but I found new forms of inspiration from things that I like and started bringing life experiences into those stories.

Next year, I wanna tour and release the EP. I don’t want to set the bar too high, I just want to work as much as I can and try to get out there and get on a tour hopefully. I’m going to try and do some more videos and make that a regular thing, and just try to do as much writing as possible and work on our craft and get better.

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Boy Hero’s current self-titled EP is available on iTunes for purchase as well as Spotify.

You can find Boy Hero at all the link below.

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