Music Video Monday: The Weeknd, "Secrets"

Having just been added to Forbes' list of highest paid celebrities, it's not a surprise to see The Weeknd drop another stunning video. If you've got the money, you best be poppin' out pretty pictures. I almost wanted all of the videos from Starboy to reflect the treatment that "Party Monster" received, but I'm glad in the end that they didn't. I understand that all that wild '80s nostalgia is a bit overwhelming. However, if you're a fan of music from the '80s, you probably will jive with "Secrets" - it rips lyrics from the Romantics' Eighties hit "Talking in Your Sleep" and also features samples from Tears for Fears' "Pale Shelter."

Although the video for "Secrets" isn't anything brand new concept-wise, it's shot well, and I am in love with the scenery (apparently part of it was shot at the University of Toronto). I'm a sucker for anything that's reminiscent of the morphing castle scene in the movie Labyrinth, or might nod its head to A-ha's mind-bending "Take On Me" visuals

If I can't get the '80s treatment on "Secrets" too, I can at least appreciate the fact that the album's cross/crucifix motif appears in this video as well. 

If you like The Weeknd and his work, you can also find another new song/music video he's been featured in from Lana Del Rey: she and Abel get a little illegal by climbing around on the Hollywood sign for her song "Lust For Life."

Tune Tuesday: The xx's new single "On Hold"

When you think of indie music and its rise to hey day level in the early 2000s, fewer groups come to mind as quickly as The xx. As I branched out in music taste in late high school and early college, their album xx was in heavy rotation with the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hot Chip, and Tegan & Sara, just to name a few. They were one of my first forays into electronic music of sorts, and their vocal style is pretty indicative of my preferred kind - clear yet intimate, intense yet soft. 

Following groups closely can be hard to do when they take large gaps between album releases, and their last drop in 2012 gave a lot of us something new to dance to in our bedrooms while getting ready to go to school/work/out. I sure love Coexist, but I didn't really think any song by The xx would have eclipsed "Heart Skipped A Beat" - can any tune ever really grab you by the throat and force you to accept love lost than this?! - until "On Hold" came out. 

Filmed in Marfa, Texas, a desert city of just under 2,000 residents, the video for "On Hold" is an almost nostalgic love letter to small town Americana. Focusing on high school students and iconic cheerleader-football player chemistry, and delving into the bizarrely tight-knit ecosystem that is teenaged community, the video is beautifully shot. The lyrics fit so well with young love and all the dizzying confusion that comes with it, like "My young heart chose to believe/We were destined." 

The xx has always been one of those groups that pulls at all of my heartstrings, all at once. I seem to have an affinity for groups that create music that makes me want to both dance and cry simultaneously, I am fairly sure their new album I See You (due out in January) will not be any different. They recently performed on SNL and I am hoping that they'll make their way through the US late next year while on tour. 

Stay up to date with The xx here: http://thexx.info/

Tune Tuesday: Tycho @ Murmuration Fest

If you peeped my post about Murmuration Festival a couple weeks ago, you'll know I was stoked to take in this new event dedicated to art, tech, and music! My weekend was already rather packed to the gills, so I managed to pop out just in time to spy Tycho on stage on Sunday night - and boy am I glad I stopped by! 

Seeing Tycho was, amongst other things I'll get into, a significant reminder that doing things alone is good for the soul. I don't think I've spent that much time in public in silence. The only time I spoke to anyone after arrival was to order a beloved City Wide from the bar tent. If you're going to do a festival based on elevating and educating St. Louis, it's a smart move to have one of our currently most popular brews available.

I was pleased to see a bit of a crowd forming at the beginning of their set, but by the end, nearly the entire lot dedicated to this stage area was full of people. I've always struggled with Saint Louis' propensity for small turnouts and un-enthusiastic crowds. For a brand new festival, and a show on a Sunday night, I was impressed and pleased to see such a turnout. Tycho, fronted by Scott Hansen. He is the primary creator, writer, producer for all things Tycho, and has a long background in creation and design, which is evident not only in the project's album artwork, but also in the visuals used during live shows. For a festival focused on the intersection of tech, art, and music, Tycho was an obvious choice! Peep a quick clip from my Instagram:

A few weeks back, I went on a winding roadtrip out west to desert and canyon country (I hope to have a fun little recap post up soon enough!). On the drive home, knowing that I'd be seeing Tycho live soon, I listened to the new Epoch album. Tycho's video visuals during their live show last Sunday featured sweeping landscapes that may have actually been Arizona and some of the rocky vistas I happened to spy, and I just about cried in the middle of the crowd. Funny how life works like that. I was intrigued, captivated, and drawn in by the pulsating designs, shimmering effects, and pretty silhouetted ladies throughout their set, and I could definitely tell that the visuals were calculated perfectly for each song. I can't wait to check out some of their older work on YouTube now that I've seen them live!

I'm disappointed that I couldn't attend more of Murmuration this year because I saw so, so, SO many fun, informative, interactive, and interesting activities being shared on social media! I sure hope it returns for a second year - I plan on trying to find a way to help advocate for it next year if possible. Our city is ripe for a recurring weekend of learning and entertainment like this. 

If you're interested in learning more about what this year's Murmuration was about, check out:
- Murmuration's website
- Murmuration on Twitter
- Murmuration on Facebook
- Murmuration on Instagram


This post was sponsored by the Midwest Influencer Network. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Music Monday: Lizzo's "Phone"

There are fewer things I love more than finding a musician that not only makes me dance, but also laugh. If I'm laughing because the topic is relatable, I'm even more a fan. If the musician is a body-positive, feminist, lady rapper - then color me completely smitten. I thought I recognized her name when she popped up on my Spotify a while back - she was featured on Prince's "BOYTROUBLE" track a few years ago. 

Lizzo, which seems to be loosely derived from her name Melissa, hails from Minnesota, and was been named by Time as a musical artist to watch in 2014. She's released two albums already, but dropped her latest tune, "Phone," just three days ago. Outside of music, she's crush-worthy because she approaches body positivity in a way that I definitely look up to. In her interview with the sensational webseries What’s Underneath by StyleLikeU, she mentions feeling "big," but in a way that encompasses her personality, her identity, and her overall appearance. I have always felt that my appearance is directly tied to my personality and confidence - I feel most beautiful when I feel most like myself, and when I feel confident in myself. I think many of us can agree that confidence is sexy! 

While speeding (literally) back from my road trip last week, "Phone" popped up on Spotify's shuffle and I was laughing out loud immediately. We all have had that moment during a night out where our phones appear to have vanished, and we spend a great deal of time looking for them. My lifestyle involves being up till 4am on many weekends after DJing, and lemme tell ya - in the hurry to break down, get home, and get in bed, there have been several times where I have actually said out loud "Where the hell is my phone?" 

The video for "Phone" dropped today, actually, so check it out below! 

The Lou's Newest Fest: Murmuration

Saint Louis has become seriously well-known for its bevy of startups, and for an environment that is ripe with potential. A testament to this city's willingness to explore new ideas, a new festival has sprouted up in the Cortex district of the Central West End-Midtown area. Welcome Murmuration, a weekend dedicated to bringing together art, music, science, and technology. Because I've always been a nature nerd, I personally am stoked that the festival is named after the spiraling, swirling patterns created by a group of starling birds. 

Murmuration is the perfect festival for people who are nerds like me for other things as well - especially the intersection of technology and music. Due to some previous engagements, I'll only be able to attend Sunday's activities and performances, but I lucked out and a few of the talks that interest me most fall on that day! I can't wait to hear more about Gil Weinberg's work with robotic androids that perform music and prosthetic robotics that assist amputees with playing instruments. If you know me "in real life," you'll also know that I'm a circus nerd, studying various focuses over several years as a youngster. I just about squealed out loud when I saw that Calum Pearson, the Vice President of the Resident Show Division for Cirque du Soleil, is also giving a talk on Sunday - "A Look Inside The Technology of Storytelling." A personal project I've been working on is writing, and I can always use some inspiration when it comes to storytelling. If I can *possibly* swing in on Saturday, I'll definitely attend "What's Really Happening On Earth, And What Should We Do About It?" - a talk by Peter Raven, president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 

Outside of the informative talks, music also takes (pardon the pun) a main stage at Murmuration. Three of the acts that I am most thrilled about all fall on Sunday, so I'll be bumping and jiving to the sounds of Tycho, Deerhoof, and Dan Deacon. Tycho especially excites me - for Scott Hansen's use of samples of organic sounds and I'm also interested to see how much of a band he brings along since Tycho began as a solo project. 

I'd highly recommend you join in the fun! Find tickets here

If you'd like to follow along with Murmuration, check out:
Twitter & Instagram: @MurmurationFest
Facebook

Saturday Sounds: Gallant

It admittedly took me quite some time to finally jump on the Spotify train. I joined just a few months ago with the intention of really broadening my music horizons. Outside of being a music-lover through and through, exploring new sounds is vital to a DJ's career - and if there's anything I hate, it's being stuck and stagnant. Spotify has been turning me on to artists right and left, including this incredibly talented young artist, Gallant. 

He's only been around for about 3 years, and I think that's pretty amazing considering he was just on Jimmy Fallon (above) to support his new album, Ology. His smooth R&B sound and vocal range immediately caught my attention, as it did for the Fallon audience. His performance was met with serious enthusiasm from Fallon himself, as well as a standing ovation from the crowd. 

I'm a big "feeler," and sometimes I just really don't want to listen to love songs or breakup songs or songs about getting turnt. Gallant is the perfect medium for those moods. His lyrics lean more towards poetry than you might find on the radio, but they're still accessible. For instance, if you're in a spot in your life where you're not entirely sure where you're headed, check out "Skipping Stones." It's honest, heartfelt, but not entirely too sad. 

Let me know if you check Gallant out!