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! 

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!

Tune Tuesday: Wild Beasts' "Get My Bang"

I've never been the biggest fan of indie rock, to be perfectly honest. I like what I like, and I either latch onto a group or I don't. One group I sunk my claws into several years ago is Wild Beasts, and indie rock outfit hailing from England. I fell in love with vocalist Hayden Thorpe's ringing falsetto, especially on songs like "All the King's Men" from their sophomore studio album, Two Dancers. His voice meshes so well with that of Tom Fleming's, and I love the juxtaposition of how they sing together. 

When I saw the announcement that Wild Beasts had released a new track and would be dropping an album later this year, I about squealed. I haven't followed them religiously since Two Dancers, and need to catch up on their other two albums before the impending Boy King is released, so I'm a bit behind. I'm highly digging "Get My Bang," with the exception of that strange, quiet midsection of the song. Have you listened to Wild Beasts before? What do you think of the new track?

Tune Tuesday: Låpsley

Young musicians continually blow my mind when their sound is full, mature, and mesmerizing. One such artist is Låpsley, who at only 19, has already had Adele attend one of her performances. There's no room to wonder why - her voice is stunning. I immediately fell in love with her video for the haunting "Falling Short." The song is incredible, and the video references religion, art, and performance. It's a tune that you may not find familiar emotions in the lyrics, but it feels like something you've experienced before. Like a smell you recognize but can't place. 

Fans of HAIM, Sohn, Banks, and CHVRCHES will likely love her song "Hurt Me" as much as I do. 

Tune Tuesday: Chloe x Halle, "Drop"

Sometimes YouTube autoplays a song that makes you literally drop what you're doing and stop to figure out what it is. In this case, the tune is actually called "Drop," and it's by two fabulously talented young women. Jumping from sweet songstresses to dangerous, blade-tongued mistresses of mischief, their harmonies will keep you wanting more and more. 

Chloe and Halle Bailey caught the public's attention with their cover of Yo Gotti's "Down in the DM" recently (see below), and I remember scrolling past it being shared on my feeds. I thought immediately that their vocals reminded me a bit of Beyoncé, so when I did some research, I felt justified in thinking that - they're actually signed to Bey's management company, Parkwood Entertainment. I'm excited to hear that, as that means Chloe x Halle will receive the support they deserve in launching their careers. 

Will you be keeping an eye on them too? Let me know what you think!

Tune Tuesday: Parquet Court

"It feels so effortless to be a stranger." Parquet Courts just kinda gets me right now. Their grooving song "Berlin Got Blurry" throws me back to my days of first discovering other groups that bounce between floral shoe gaze and post-punk - think Beck, Rooney, Pavement, Phantom Planet. I particularly love the Western-inspired guitar riff in this jam, which makes me want to drive around with my windows down, bouncing along dusty roads on my way to secluded camping spots. 

They've been around for about 6 years after releasing their debut album, American Specialities, on a limited edition of cassette tapes. If you're curious, I'm pretty positive you pronounce their name "Parkay," like the fake butter! If you need another song to jump around to, try their "You Got Me Wonderin' Now," which answers all your questions about what might be worse than heartache.

Tune Tuesday: Le1f at The Luminary in STL

Even if you haven't heard of Le1f's recent work, he's been around since he produced Das Racist's "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell." If you're not familiar with the song, it was a massive viral hit while I was in college, and you'd fine drunk kids on campus shouting its lyrics every weekend. Who doesn't feel the vibe of being able to order both tacos AND pizza in one location? 

About the release of his recent Riot Boi album, Le1f says, "It's a very pro-trans, pro–clean water, Black Lives Matter record." He's not messing around when it comes to busting down boundaries, thrilling fans, and dropping visually delicious videos. In a world where rap music is generally expected and accepted as overtly masculine, drug-favoring, and violence-centered, Le1f comes around throwing down nerd references ("Wut's" Pokemon masks), shout outs to 90s television shows ("BOOM's" Good Burger knock-off), and throwing around LGBTQ slang I've never heard before. He's clever, catchy, and educational. What more can I ask for in rap? He has also studied dance since his early teens, which means his show tonight will be full-blown performance fun.

I've had his video for "Koi" on repeat all week. Check it out:

If you're down to get dancing with me tonight, head to The Luminary on Cherokee Street!

Le1f + Junglepussy
Doors: 8pm  |  Show: 9pm
Tickets: $17
[Event Link]

Tune Tuesday: Skizzy Mars' "I'm Ready"

Skizzy Mars definitely falls under my list of "Artists to Watch" along with my beloved Kali Uchis from Tune Tuesday two weeks ago. This youngster (he's only 22!) of a rapper has already dropped two mixtapes and an EP. I remember discovering his song "Numb" a few years ago, and I was immediately drawn to the indie-dance beat mashed up with rap vocals. I like rap music, but I'm not entirely well-versed in its history or culture, so when I come across a rapper I like, I try to follow them as much as possible. He's releasing his first studio album, Alone Together, in just under a month. I'm stoked to hear more!

I stumbled across Skizzy Mars' newest release "I'm Ready" just the other day. I love its almost tropical house vibe, and its inclusion of Olivver the Kid, who is The Neighbourhood's former drummer. The altered vocal clips under Olivver the Kid's lyrics even remind me of Daft Punk. 

Check out "I'm Ready" and let me know what you think!