Top Songs of 2017

By pcsanchez7505

It’s that time of year again – lists, lists and lists galore all filled with the best music of the year. In a few weeks, I’ll release my top 10 album list for 2017, but before that I’d like to start by picking my top 10 songs of the year. Artists featured in this list include local bands, international acts and musicians young and old. There has been a lot of great releases in all genres, so I’ve done my best to pick from a diverse group of artists.

10. “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi

The song that swept summer, the rhythmic wonder and total anomaly for me, “Despacito” smoothly danced into the hearts and hips of millions this year, and I can’t deny that I have a sweet spot for the song myself. Singer Luis Fonsi and co. created the perfect storm. The song is sexy, but not overly sexual, it’s fun to dance to and sing to, but also somehow relaxing making a song to vibe to. All of these things contributed to the song’s popularity among all age groups and ethnicities – I myself have seen it used as part of dance exercise for elementary P.E. and for a special dance at a wedding.

9. “Oh Baby” by LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem is going to be on a lot of lists this year. The dreamy synth music that dances across ‘American Dream’ ranges from substance influenced dreams to allegoric nightmares. Both (and every song in between) move you to a feverish saunter as the music jives and shakes like a tantalizing mating call. “Oh Baby” contributes to the tarantella as a gothic romantic exploration. It’s the message you wrote in a fogged mirror, cryptic and fleeting, but impactful nevertheless.

8. “Favorite Song” by Sinkane

How can you not love a song called “Favorite Song?” Sudanese-American artist Sinkane merges a hodgepodge of sounds and genres to make catchy, up-tempo tunes destined to make you tap your toes. Anything from jazz, electronica to Sudanese pop is mixed together in Sinkane’s music making it enjoyable and somehow exotic. Plainly put, “Favorite Song” is a feel good tune that in the words of my partner, “makes you instantly want to roller disco.”

7. “Little Heartbeat” by Cataldo

Indie singer Eric Anderson always has a clear and imaginative vision for his albums, and he has a knack for making his music seem effortless. Earlier this year Anderson’s band Cataldo released ‘Keepers,’ an indie pop collection laced with a very Seattle strain of Americana. “Little Heartbeat” is definitely on the sweeter side of the album with its youthful innocence and bubblegum sound. It’s never cheesy though, and Anderson does a great job making a catchy an infectious song that stands out in a lineup of catchy tunes.

6. “Pure Comedy” by Father John Misty

Sometimes painted as a genius, other times a self-absorbed egomaniac, Father John Misty seems pleased to portray both portraits. Earlier this year, the singer released ‘Pure Comedy,’ tailored for no one and enjoyed by many. The best description for Father John Misty I think, is a dark and satirical bard, and “Pure Comedy” is the creation of such a man. The song sails into a slow and impassible storm, and we listen to it as it crashes with graceful tort. Surprisingly, it’s music to our ears.

5. ”Your Memory Has a Mind of Its Own” by Willie Nelson

Dust off your old cowboy boots, order a whiskey neat, sip and sit back; Willie will take care of the rest. Willie Nelson that is, that old outlaw cowboy country star who, like a fine liquor, keeps getting better with age. His recent album is full of vintage snapshots that capture the humor, genius and candor of Nelson. “Your Memory Has a Mind of Its Own” is a heartbreak tale, slow and somber and true to Nelson’s raconteur style. Like the memories you can’t forget, even the ones you desperately want to, this song is a moment in time, laid down by Nelson for us to enjoy.

4. “Humble” by Kendrick Lamar

Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar hit the world with another rebel rally album earlier this year when he released ‘DAMN.’ With this new album, Kendrick gave us grit, tenacity and one insanely catchy song. “Humble” is one that traps you in a luscious backdrop of drumbeats and somewhat nonsensical lyrics. While the album comes with a parental advisory tag for its adult language and content, I’ve seen people young and old and from all parts of the city shout out a, “Be humble … Sit down.”

3. “One of These Days” by Bedouine

Bedouine is easily my favorite breakout artist of the year. Her self-titled debut album is full of featherweight acoustic arrangements and lofty lyrics. “One of These Days” is a perfect breakdown of love and the endless thoughts that go along with it. Bedouine carries herself with a graceful confidence that translates easily into her music. “One of These Days” will make you feel young in experience and old in wisdom.

2. “Freedom Is Free” by Chicano Batman

East Los Angeles band Chicano Batman released ‘Freedom is Free’ earlier this year with its title track featured as a prominent singles. “Freedom is Free” speaks to the good in humanity and calls for equality, freedom and love for all. Chicano Batman’s Hispanic flare and soul inspired sound make the single a unique piece of work. Lead singer Bardo Martinez pierces through with a voice that’s hard to pin down, and the song shines in part from the band’s relentless vigor.

1. “Transmission/Michaelion” by Ibeyi

French band Ibeyi released one of my favorite albums this year. The band, fronted by French and Afro-Cuban twins Naiomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz, has a depth and richness to their sound, and the twins fill their music with an enticing texture of languages and lyrics. “Transmission/Michaelion” is a seven-minute release of emotion and consciousness. The song blooms over time and washes over its listener like waves. Exerts from Frida Kahlo’s diary are read in Spanish, and communal hymns ebb and flow in the song as it evolves over its seven-minute duration. If it ever were the perfect time to describe a song as “organic,” this would be the time.

Source:: Top Songs of 2017

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OK Go: A Visionary Concert Experience

By pcsanchez7505

Visual innovators OK Go played to a nearly sold out show on Saturday, Nov. 4 at the UCLA Royce Hall. The band, celebrating 19 years together, embarked on a family friendly music video and Q&A tour with a stop in Los Angeles.

OK Go synchronized their lively performance with 20 of their most popular music videos projected onto a large screen behind them. After every couple of songs, the band took a few minutes to answer questions from the audience. Fans young and old reveled in the chance to ask OK Go questions about their music, creative videos, personal life and more.

OK Go opened up with a brief introduction about their very first “music video” and how they formed. Throughout the night, they chronicled their growth as a band and as inquisitive science/visual art nerds by giving brief introductions to each music video. From dancing on treadmills to performing acrobatic moves in a zero gravity plane, the band and audience members delighted in the concert’s nostalgic mood.

True to their playful and quirky nature, the concert also included copious amounts of confetti and a surprise for the audience. Before the concert began, fans who had smart phones were asked to download a special app and to await further instructions. Halfway through their set, the band came out to play a song with musical bells. They then asked the audience to take out their phones and open the app. The app consisted of three buttons with a background that varied in color. When pressed, each button made a different sound, and corresponding colors were projected onto the screen. OK Go asked fans to press each button when it appeared on the screen. UCLA Royce Hall chimed with music as OK Go and fans played a song in unison.

At the end of the night, the band came on for an encore. With no more music videos to play, they ended the night with a cover of Blur’s “Song 2.” Fans under the age of 12 were invited on stage to “go bananas,” and one lucky fan was picked to play a one-stringed guitar with a capo so anyone playing it could effortlessly hit the right notes to the song’s main guitar riff.

The entire concert was truly a lively and unique experience for all. In addition to playing songs in sync with their music videos, OK Go performed dance numbers and even made special instruments to mimic the sounds in some of their music videos.

Throughout the night, the band encouraged fans to be themselves and to explore their interests with fervent curiosity.

“We celebrate diversity here,” said Damian Kulash, the band’s singer.

OK Go’s positive and humorous demeanor made the night enjoyable for fans of all ages, and their recent tour seems to be an ode to all the fun they’ve had as a band over the years and as a thank you to their supporters.

Source:: OK Go: A Visionary Concert Experience

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Fotos Y Recuerdos: Google and fans remember a Tejano Queen

By pcsanchez7505

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If you used Google earlier this week you might have noticed a short video on the company’s search engine page. You might have clicked it, and if you’re like me and many others, you probably smiled immediately as the tune “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” began, and the story of a young woman played out in colorful vivacity.

The short video is an animated biopic of the late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez. It is a collaboration started by Google’s Marketing, Partnerships, & Licensing Lead Perla Campos and celebrates the singer’s life, tragically cut short in the mid-90s. Fans around the world still consider Selena, “La Reina” or the Queen of Tejano music.

I truly believe the importance of Selena Quintanilla-Perez is not celebrated enough, so thank you Google for honoring the life of a beloved and underrated musician who helped to empower young women and break the mold of a very male dominated music scene.

Art work from the Selena museum in Corpus Christi, Texas

Selena began singing at an early age. Her father, a musician in his youth, saw the potential of his daughter even at a young age. Early in their career, Selena and her band, Selena Y Los Dinos, played at restaurants, quincenieras, weddings and small carnivals. In the early 90s, Tejano music was still a male-oriented genre, and their band had trouble booking certain venues and often times were paid less than other acts because Selena was a woman.

Still, they persevered. Selena’s bubbly personality gave the genre a much needed feminine flair, while her brother, A.B., wrote new songs for the band that opened up the Hispanic/Western sound of Tejano music to other genres. Songs such as “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” “Techno Cumbia” and “El Chico Del Apartamento 512” sent fans to their feet, while others such as “Como La Flor” and “Amor Prohibido” were fan favorites to sing along to. Soon, it didn’t matter that Selena was a woman. People loved her and her music.

As a Mexican-American artist, Selena was often reminded of her responsibility to relate to both cultures. She had a huge fan base in Mexico and in the United States and found a way to embrace both sides of her heritage through her music and warm personality. She sang primarily in Spanish, and later in her career she worked on her first “crossover” album with songs in English. Her love for fashion culminated on stage in personally designed chic Western attire that incorporated Hispanic elements and popular fashion of 80s-90s.

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A statue of the singer in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Selena’s true lasting impact lies not only in her music, but in her devotion to being a good person. She served as a wonderful role model for girls and young people everywhere. She gave girls the inspiration to follow their dreams, believed heavily in education and was a huge representative for the Mexican-American demographic and Latinx generation. She made it OK for young girls and multicultural people to feel comfortable with themselves because she was always comfortable with who she was.

Sadly, Selena’s life was cut short at the age of 23 when she was murdered by a disgruntled employee who was caught embezzling money from Selena’s fan club and fashion business. The shock of her murder sent fans reeling, and more than two decades later, we still keep her music and legacy close to our hearts.

Over a decade ago Selena Quintanilla-Perez fell into my family’s life in a big way. It was around that time when my youngest brother, then four, fell in love with Selena.

For what seemed like a year straight, he’d watch the Selena movie (starring Jennifer Lopez) and a DVD recording of Selena’s last concert on a near daily basis. He knew all the songs. He danced and sang along. He even found a small audience during a family trip to Disneyworld – the amusement park played “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” and my baby brother took to an empty stage to sing and dance along. Earlier this week my dad mentioned how my brother ran down the stairs to show him the video Google posted and the Selena gallery that accompanies it.

For me and my family, Selena’s music is emblematic of the love a family shares. For others, she is a celebration of culture, a symbol of feminism and a seminal figure among musicians. Her stamp on Mexican-American pop culture is undeniable, and her music reaches people around the world. Google’s new video and gallery of Selena is a heartfelt tribute to the late singer and her fans.

It’s important, I think, to understand the resonance of a person like Selena. It’s important to be reminded that the celebration of life and acceptance of others is imperative to making the world a better place. For the short time that she was here, Selena used her talents to better the lives of her fans, family and friends, and she will always be remembered as the Queen of Tejano music.

Bonus Photos: A few snaps of my family at Fiesta De La Flor, an annual celebration of the life and music of Selena Quintanilla-Perez held in Corpus Christi, Texas!

Source:: Fotos Y Recuerdos: Google and fans remember a Tejano Queen

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Ibeyi Find Rhythm in Life and Love

By pcsanchez7505

“You are loved little girl, you are,” sing French-Cuban duo Ibeyi in “Vale,” a single off their new album, “Ash,” released Sept. 29.

In a world where there are so many muddled voices shouting over one another, it’s refreshing to hear voices of clarity aimed right at the feminine psyche and conventional thinking.

Ibeyi, a band that consists of twin sisters Lisa-Kainde and Naomi Diaz, take their incredible voices to sing lullabies and rally cries that embrace and empower its listeners, locking us in a rhythmic and entrancing exclamation of love, equality and life.

“Ash” is a pivotal piece of work for the band, and the album washes over you in waves, flowing back and forth, bringing new and intriguing artifacts to fall in love with.

The album starts off with “I Carried This For Years,” a slow and entrancing intro. It sinks comfortably into “Away, Away,” a charismatic expression of happiness and discovery found only by the young (and young at heart).

There are sprinkles of youthful exuberance throughout the album, but Ibeyi also draw from personal experiences to discuss darker themes in vivid detail including the harrowing tune, “Deathless.”

If there is any testament to a musician’s songwriting ability it’s that one almost feels pulled into a Paris Metro train as lead singer Lisa-Kainde recounts a wrongful arrest when she was 16. You feel her fear just as painful and consuming as it was for Lisa-Kainde as she was roughly handled by a police officer who yelled obscenities at her and shook her purse open, accusing her of selling drugs. His only “suspicion” was her afro and skin color. Lisa-Kainde notes in a BBC interview how hesitant she was to write about her experience and what her sister and bandmate Naomi said to help her.

“I remember saying, ‘Why would I write a song about it? My story is nothing compared to what is happening to people every day,’” Lisa-Kainde said to BBC. “Then Naomi said something quite incredible. She said: ‘Lisa, you don’t need to be raped or be killed for it to be wrong. What happened to you was already wrong.’”

Along with personal experiences, Ibeyi carefully choose spoken word interludes to layer over intricate weavings of jazz inspired instrumentals and hip hop beats. The twins sample speeches from former First Lady Michelle Obama in the song “No Man is Big Enough for My Arms,” the title itself is a reference to Jennifer Clement’s “Window Basquiat,” a poetic biography.

“The measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls,” and other exerts loop, taken from a response from the former First Lady to then presidential candidate Donald Trump’s sexist and crude remarks about sexual assault. Throughout Lisa-Kainde and Naomi echo her sentiments “We create … we can fight … won’t stand still … won’t be shamed.”

Other influential female figures take form in a reading from Frida Kahlo’s diary in “Transmission/Michaelion.” This seven-minute epiphany ebbs and flows in harmonic convergence, making it one of the best songs on the album.

Other songs service as a comforting embrace. “Vale” is a soft lullaby that envelopes you in a dark, velvety night sky. It gives into a vulnerability and stands by your side with unwavering solidarity.

Ibeyi aim not only to move our minds, but our bodies as well. “Me Voy,” the girls first song entirely in Spanish, explodes with rhythm and sensuality, sharpened by the inclusion of Spanish rapper Mala Rodriguez.

“Ash” is also a product of Lisa-Kainde and Naomi’s roots. Born to French-Venezuelan singer Maya Dagnino and Cuban percussionist Anga Diaz, a member of the Buena Vista Social Club, the twins are heavily influenced by their parents – Lisa-Kainde was encouraged by her mother to pursue songwriting and Naomi picked up the bata drums and cajon after her father’s death. Ibeyi sing in Spanish, French, English and Yoruba, a Nigerian language their ancestors spoke before they were taken to Cuba as slaves in the 1700s.

While their music pays homage to their family and culture, Ibeyi leave plenty of room for modern influence (Frank Ocean and James Blake to name a few), allowing antiquity and modernity to collide in beautiful fragments.

“Ash” is an album one listens to many times over – different songs jump out in exclamation each time you go back. It sooths, stirs, awakens and offers its hand in solidarity. Like so many of us, it seems recent events in the past few years have heavily influenced Ibeyi. The result for these young ladies, barely in their early 20s, is an astounding album that leaves no stone unturned.

To hear more from Ibeyi, visit their website.

Source:: Ibeyi Find Rhythm in Life and Love

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Bedouine Shares her Perspective on Life and Music

By pcsanchez7505

It took Azniv Korkejian three years of craft, care and a lofty diligence to record her debut album. In that time, Korkejian, who plays under the stage name Bedouine, pieced together a road map of her soul, a sparkling shimmer of nostalgia and self-reflection that leads us to where she is now, nestled in the eclectic neighborhood of Echo Park where the cafés are full of creatives and the music scene has a different vibe every night.

“I think it might be contradictory with the record, with it being more about wandering or this sense of detachment, but I think that might be a collection of things when I was younger,” Korkejian says of her work, noting these days she feels more like a hermit than the nomad her album and stage name paint her to be.

Despite a love for quiet incubation, Korkejian has had a lot of new attention. Her debut work has been critically acclaimed by many, and it has garnered the attention of music icons (Roger Waters just to name one), her local peers and countless Angelinos.

When speaking to Korkejian about her music, she hardly seems fazed by it all. She was soft-spoken, humble and proud of her work. Each answer was slowly delivered, and follow up questions were met with more thinking – a laugh here and there was shared to let me know she was still thinking.

Her album has the same feeling. Moments of her life are revealed over time, building up after each verse. Her adolescence, past loves and temporary detachment make its way through an album that distills the soft spoken nature of 60s folk mixed with the lyrical prowess of classic country.

It’s a striking combination of sound for someone with such a diverse background. Born in Aleppo, Syria, Korkejian moved to Saudi Arabia where she lived in an American compound with her family. The gated area provided Korkejian the safety to explore and a sense of security in her surroundings. That changed, she noted, when her family won a green card lottery and immigrated to the United States.

“I think when I … moved to the states I was very confused about living somewhere that didn’t have boundaries,” Korkejian said. “Where I lived before, it was very insular. It was daunting leaving for that reason.”

In the states, Korkejian felt lost in her borderless surroundings. She developed a sense of detachment and a propensity to explore.

“I was curious. Since I didn’t feel very anchored at home when we moved at a really developing age, I felt that I could go anywhere,” Korkejian said. “It started to feel, well … kind of addicting … to go to a new place on my own, to see who I’d meet and see what kind of social circles I’d end up in. It became kind of exciting. It’s something I can’t really fathom anymore because that seems exhausting to me now.”

Memories of the city she was born in stuck with her though. In the song, “Summer Cold,” Korkejian laments over the loss of the city she once knew. It’s not a political statement or a narrative, she said, rather a means to express her confusion and frustration. It is a distillation of her raw emotions that confront her good memories of the city.

“What I miss and remember most about Aleppo now is just being close to my family because all my cousins were there,” Korkejian said. “We’d all stay at my grandma’s house, and in our culture the grandma is kind of like the nucleus of the family, and so all of our aunts, all of our cousins, they would take turns dropping in.”

Korkejian uses those memories in “Summer Cold,” ending the song with sounds of people walking in streets, distant chatter and other sounds she remembers hearing outside her grandma’s house.

Now, Korkejian has built her home in Los Angeles. She feels more grounded again, and acknowledges the almost accidental transition from sound editor to singer/songwriter.

“I think I never found music as a realistic goal. It’s certainly not what I moved to Los Angeles to do,” Korkejian said. “But after I had been here for [a while] and started meeting professional musicians, or people who were playing music for other people as a profession – they were still doing their personal projects even if it hadn’t taken off yet. That was kind of inspiring to me because I thought, it doesn’t have to be a realistic goal or a sustainable profession. It could just be a hobby of mine. That really took the pressure off of it, and it didn’t matter if it was logistically sound. I think seeing that inspired me. Even if these people were unemployed – not out of their own will – they’d still be chipping away at their project and taking that time seriously. I found that very humbling.”

Writing was always a hobby, as was playing music. In college she’d sit in with the local house band to sing classic country hits.

“I lived in Savannah Georgia where I went to school, and there was this really good scene for outlaw country,” Korkejian explained. “I think those experiences kind of found its way into my writing whether I realized it or not at the time.”

Her hobby quickly turned into a long and winding journey. In Los Angeles, a connection with producer Gus Seyffert (Beck, Norah Jones and Roger Waters) paved the way for her album that would make its way into the public’s psyche earlier this year.

The initial draw to Seyffert stemmed from a desire to record a few songs in tape. Her decision to work on an album with him helped hone the perfect sound for her collection of work.

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“I knew going into it that he would be very knowledgeable and be very specific about the tones of the songs,” Korkejian said. “I think that’s one thing very specific to what he brought – the tones of this record. I think most importantly he left a lot of space in the record and let the songs speak for themselves. He didn’t use a heavy hand when producing which has everything to do with why the record sounds the way it does.”

Recording her record was drawn out over three years. There were no expectations, no time constraints or pressure from record labels.

“The recording process was probably really different for me than for others,” Korkejian said. “The hardest part was trying not to be too precious about it. I think especially when you have a lot of time, you tend to get attached to a song. It’s hard to let go of the wheel a little bit with their production, because they can start to take it somewhere and you’re like, ‘whoa, whoa whoa, that’s not what I was thinking.’ So, the challenging part is to just be open-minded. The easiest part is just showing up. It’s exciting. Most people look forward to it, and it’s often just a good time. With anything, I think about it like, just showing up is everything.”

After showing up consistently for three years, Korkejian now has time to enjoy positive praise as she gets ready for an upcoming solo tour. She is still finding her place as a Los Angeles musician, but she feels confident about what she’s put out so far.

“I felt like I was on to something or something worth exploring when I was,” Korkejian said. “And I was so happy with the product when we were done … I didn’t want to be too affected with the press whether it was good or bad. Thankfully it’s all been really good. It feels like I don’t know, reaffirming or something, like we did the right thing by putting it out.”

Korkejian will be touring under her stage name, Bedouine, this month, with two stops in Southern California, one in Los Angeles on Sept. 28 and one in Pioneertown on Sept. 29 For ticket information, or more news about her music, visit her website.

Source:: Bedouine Shares her Perspective on Life and Music

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Kesha Offers Us a Rainbow after the Rain

By pcsanchez7505

If you told me five years ago that I’d be writing an album review for Ke$ha, well I wouldn’t believe you. Her pop music was never the kind I could stomach – no offense to the person (every offense to the genre). To me, Ke$ha’s music was an audible representation of a glitter coated bottle full of trouble, late nights and regret.

Now, Kesha, on the other hand, seems to be someone entirely different. Her recent release, ‘Rainbow’ is still pretty poppy, but dropping the dollar sign and most of the autotune has done her sound a world of good.

All jokes aside, it’s no secret Kesha has been through a lot the past couple of years including a lengthy and messy legal battle with a truly scummy human being, AKA her former music manager and producer Lukas Gottwald. Kesha accused Gottwald of sexually abusing her, administering date-rape drugs and emotionally manipulating her; Gottwald denies these claims.

A legal battle so public and substantial would be soul-sucking for anyone, but Kesha has done something truly beautiful. She persevered.

Her new album addresses all this, not so much as a battle cry, but more as a ballad, a story of her struggles, one she can release to the world and let go of in her heart.

Her opening track tackles the elephant in the room. “Bastards” doesn’t mince words or leave any ambiguity. Kesha pours her pain into this slow starter, and finds hope somewhere along the way. Musically it’s a complete 180 from the tracks she’s been known for in the past. It isn’t self-indulgent, even though Kesha is speaking about personal matters. Instead it takes her experiences and opens it up to others.

“I’m so sick of crying … I could fight forever, but life’s too short … don’t let the bastards get you down,” Kesha sings.

Her following track pushes the album into full throttle giving fans an anthem song to sing over and over. “Let ‘Em Talk” throws up a middle finger to anyone in her way; past, present or future. She’s not thinking about you, but you will know she is doing better without you.

What follows next are more fast-paced songs to uplift and capture a carefree inhibition. Kesha pours her grit into catchy and upbeat singles ready for radio play and at home on repeat. Songs such as “Hymn” fill a void for the listless and give hope to the aimless.

In “Praying,” Kesha slows things down again to lament her suffering to rise above it, a little scathed but better off nevertheless.

“I’ll bring thunder, I’ll bring rain. When I’m finished they won’t even know your name,” Kesha sings.

“Praying” is squarely directed at Gottwald and his supposed actions, but it’s not a condemnation, rather it’s a reflection.

“I hope you’re somewhere praying. I hope your soul is changing. I hope you find your peace, falling on your knees, praying,” Kesha sings.

“Learn to Let Go” continues Kesha’s self-discovery as she makes peace with herself and the circumstances she faced. This song, and others on the album, serve as a sealed envelope that contains all of Kesha’s fears, regrets and triumphs. She hands it to us unapologetically and gives us a letter opener.

The album doesn’t stay stuck in Kesha’s past though. Songs in the latter half reflect on love, dancing and the finer things in life like the feeling of wearing nothing but your lover. While a handful of these songs cross the line into Kesha’s older territory (too much pop for me), others are downright delightful and sound almost like classic country hits.

“Hunt You Down” is very Cashlike with thumping guitar riffs and lyrics that don’t take itself too seriously. Kesha takes a drip from her glitter coated bottle and pours it over a persona that distills the likes of Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn.

Others such as “Spaceships,” the closing track, are more serious and service Kesha best merging classic country with a modern pop sound, but it’s not quite the pop-country we hear today. It’s better than that, and even calls on classic country veteran Dolly Parton to lend a hand – Kesha collaborates with Parton to cover “Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle to You).”

Overall, Kesha seems adamant to uplift herself and her fans. While her album addresses the pain and struggles she’s been through, its voice is not that of an individual stuck playing the victim’s role, rather one who is done remaining helpless. She uplifts herself through her own volition and with the help of others. She offers her perspective and gives refuge to those searching for their own voice.

‘Rainbow’ can be distilled into a few key points: bad things happen, but it doesn’t always reflect who you are. It doesn’t define you, but what does is whether or not you’re able to overcome the bad things. To here more from Kesha’s new album, visit her website.

Source:: Kesha Offers Us a Rainbow after the Rain

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Creating Change for the Better

By pcsanchez7505

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Chicano Batman is one of many bands to cast a stone in political waters. Their 2017 release, ‘Freedom is Free’ includes songs that advocate for equal treatment of all human beings and some that give criticism on capitol greed.

This is not a political blog, and I never intended to be a political person. Unfortunately, that is a luxury long gone.

Americans have a decision to make, and it’s a pressing one. We can choose to band together to promote the values intrinsic to making our country worth living in, values such as freedom of speech, equality and the absolute intolerance of hate, bigotry and racism. Or we can perpetuate the troubling events happening in this country. Inaction serves to promote the latter, and silence will only allow hatred to breed.

What happened in Charlottesville, Virginia this month cannot pass by without full condemnation, and we cannot let senseless violence to continue. The President refuses to sincerely condemn those who participated in the white nationalist/neo-nazi rally, so we must condemn it to our fullest extent.

Beyond our ethnicities, cultures, religions/non-religion and skin color, we are the same. We are people born to love, and when people are persecuted unjustly, we should stand up for them.

With that in mind, I’d like to share a few songs that promote love, acceptance and unity, and a few that give strong commentary on bigotry and racism.

7. “Brown Girl”:

This song from Aaradhna speaks to those who have ever felt different or been mistreated because of their skin color. In it, Aaradhna asserts her beauty within and without despite what others have said or assumed about her because of her skin color. Her song is a lovely reminder that beauty comes from who a person is, not what color his or her skin is.

6. “Same Love”:

Now, whether you like this style of music or not, “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is at the very least a beautiful tribute to the testament of love felt by two human beings. Its prose is simple and message even simpler; love is love.

5. “One Day”:

Matisyahu’s music speaks to the good in us all. Whether you are religious or not, his music is always inspiring. “One Day” calls for courage in the face of hate. Even in days in confusion and darkness, there is a bigger picture to fight for, a better world that could be ours if we persevere.

4. “The Power of Equality”:

L.A. band Red Hot Chili Peppers have never shied away from controversy or sharing their opinions on everything from politics and injustice to sex and drugs. Their 1991 song “The Power of Equality” follows suit and is not apologetic or ambiguous in its criticism on racial tension and police brutality.

“Whatever happened to humanity?” singer Anthony Kiedis sings in the song’s closing chorus.

While this song may require some parental supervision, it lends its voice to the plight for social justice.

3. “Call It What It Is”:

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals do not mince words in his recent album and song “Call It What It Is” that reflects on police brutality and racism. The song is a chilling reminder that while the United States has made progress, there is still a long journey ahead on the road to equality.

2. “This Land is Your Land”:

I can’t recommend this cover enough. East L.A. band Chicano Batman takes Woody Guthrie’s iconic folk song and gives it a powerful Chicano-soul flare while singer Bardo Martinez weaves in new lyrics in Spanish. The band’s cover not only gives the song a modern twist, they give new purpose to the song originally written in 1940.

“No existe nadie, que puede pararme por el camino de libertad/ no one exists who can stop me from the road to freedom,” sings Martinez.

1. “Man in the Mirror”:

The only way to create change or to promote justice is to first look within. That doesn’t mean to take personal responsibility for everything, but to stand up and create the change we want to see. Using our strengths to work together to stand up for others and ourselves is the only way to preserve our fundamental rights. Leave it to the late Michael Jackson and his powerful song “Man in the Mirror” to remind us that we all have the power to promote goodness in the world.

Source:: Creating Change for the Better

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Four Upcoming Shows to Catch in L.A.

By pcsanchez7505

While summer is winding down, there are still several shows coming up before we hit fall. From newcomers to veteran musicians, the next 30 days will bring a lot of great music to Southern California including local favorites and longtime acts from around the world. Just in case, you need a few suggestions, here are four shows to catch within the next few weeks.

1. Sylvan Esso

On Aug. 25 Sylvan Esso will make a stop at the Hollywood Palladium. The electro-indie due released their sophomore album ‘What Now?’ earlier this year. Sylvan Esso incorporate raw vocals (the band stresses the absence of autotune) and a variety of artificial sound to create interesting pop-inspired music. Visit Sylvan Esso’s website for more information.

2. Fitz and the Tantrums:

Local L.A. band Fitz and the Tantrums will perform at the Forum on Aug. 31. A Fitz and the Tantrums show is always a high energy, inclusive and exciting experience for fans. The band’s discography is full of up tune hits that are easily enjoyed by people of all ages, and each member of the band gives 100 percent of themselves on stage. For more information, visit the band’s website.

3. Thee Oh Sees:

If you’re looking for something a little edgier, Thee Oh Sees will be playing at the Teragram Ballroom on Aug. 31. The Teragram is one of L.A.’s newest venues located just outside of downtown. Thee Oh Sees create a high energy, high-impact collision of sound that propels fans to move in a similar fashion. Visit Thee Oh Sees’ website for ticket information.

4. Together Pangea:

This band is relatively young, but already has three albums under their belt and are on the cusp of releasing a new album at the end of this month. From singles like “Better Find Out” to “Money On It,” the band has a Strokes vibe with a hint of punk. Together Pangea will bring their young, fresh energy to the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on Sept. 15. Visit Together Pangea’s website for ticket info and more music.

Source:: Four Upcoming Shows to Catch in L.A.

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Bedouine Breaks Through with Debut Release

By pcsanchez7505

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Azniz Korkejian performing in Hollywood

It’s hard to believe Azniv Korkejian’s latest release is also her first. The young artist uses her debut album to pack in a breathtaking amount of perspective and wide-eyed wonderment. Love, wanderlust and solitude dominate this retrofitted folk album, and after hearing Korkejian’s debut work, it’s easy to understand why she chose to name her album and musical project Bedouine.

Korkejian is in fact, a nomadic songwriter, taking on the world with an untethered feminine psyche. In her travels and music, she seems to have found experience, safety and purpose.

Although she’s now taken up roots in the vibrant music community of Echo Park (minutes from downtown Los Angeles), her music remains borderless, free to wander, to explore, and even to divulge little tidbits of wisdom.

‘Bedouine’ reflects a modest contentment between the artist and her world that is indicative of Korkejian’s heroine journey.

Our introduction to her music starts off quiet, nice and quiet. Her opening track greets us with soft spoken and shy lyrics brimming with an understated confidence. “Nice and Quiet” moves us past the surface of white noise and ushers us into a consciousness that is undisturbed and serene.

Her follow up track, “One of These Days,” oozes with all the potential of a breakthrough single. It’s a little faster, a little more direct, and highlights Bedouine’s propensity to craft clever prose.

“If I’m talking sweet to you, you know I’d like to hear it too. It’s funny honey, to think it’s a passing phase.”

In “Back to You,” she gives us a peak into her nomadic past. It’s an objective, yet personal account of odd cultural or colloquial factions that shift from one place to another.

The album is filled with these bittersweet moments. From honey in her tea to “dusty eyes” that captivate her, there is a sentimentality in her work that reveals both inexperience and maturity; a prevalent duality that discloses a separation between her age and demeanor.

By the time you get to “Solitary Daughter,” you aren’t surprised to find it reads more like poetry than lyrics. It’s a track full of descriptive verses and metaphors set in motion by subtle guitar riffs. As Korkejian gains momentum, the song becomes as light as air; an expression of solitary exuberance.

“I don’t want your pity, concern or your scorn. I’m calm by my lonesome. I feel right at home. And when the wind blows, I get to dancing. My fun is the rhythm of air when it’s prancing,” Bedouine sings.

The album’s tone breaks away momentarily to include a haunting commentary on current events. “Summer Cold,” a protest song is a lamentation written in reaction to Syrian terrorists using American made weapons. Born in Aleppo, Syria, Korkejian expresses her sorrow and frustration with breathtaking grace.

“Is this the end? I don’t want anything, ever, to do with them …”

“Summer Cold” is an outlier though, and the rest of the album remains sentimental, if not nostalgic. ‘Bedouine’ ends with “Skyline,” a captivating song that ends the album with a soothing punctuation mark.

Her musical prowess shines through in the form of delicate guitar picking and nurturing instrumentals including rolling drums and softened horns. These instrumentals fill up the background while Korkejian woos us with charming vocals.

Korkejian easily becomes the heroine of your wanderlust saga as she invite you into her thoughts. Her music reflects a shifting perspective catalyzed by travel and personal growth where the pace of the music is as steady as her lyrics.

In ‘Bedouine,’ Korkejian doesn’t reinvent the singer/songwriter wheel, but she does smooth the path it travels on.

Source:: Bedouine Breaks Through with Debut Release

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Alexandra Savior Captures a Mood

By pcsanchez7505

When you grow up feeling out of place, you can either run and hide or find a way to stand out.

Singer/songwriter Alexandra Savior has chosen the latter, starting her music career early. By the time she was 17, she had caught the attention of established musicians and professionals including one Courtney Love.

After signing with Columbia records Savior set out to record her debut album. She teamed up with Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner and producer James Ford to create a dusty, slinky slew of an album.

‘Belladonna of Sadness,’ was quietly released in April, and is a moody and brooding collection of work not to be ignored.

Now, it’s important to note Turner’s influence in Savior’s breakout album is very apparent. Heavy bass and haunting chord progressions can be found a plenty in this album, and there are several lyrics that would feel right at home in an Arctic Monkeys or even Last Shadow Puppets (another Turner collaboration) song.

This isn’t to say the album is bad or even familiar. Rather it comes across as a side project of someone else, as opposed to the debut album of a new face. That being said, ‘Belladonna of Sadness’ is a fun and twisted ride. Turner’s cleverness and influence guides the album into a stage of maturity, while Savior’s alluring vocals add an air of mystique.

“Mirage,” the opening track, ushers us into a kaleidoscopic view, one where fragmented shapes and bursts of light shift across our subconscious.

She follows with “Bones,” a sensual breath of fresh air, and one of several standout tracks that reflects Savior’s influence on her own album. The song is slow and understated, and fascination, desperation and desire are all wrapped neatly into a spiraling tune.

Opposite to the almost innocent feel of “Bones” is “Shades,” an aloof observation of how one feels when they know their actions aren’t the best.

“I sort of wish that is was raining, so that I could pull the hood up on my coat/I’m always happy to be leaving/Must be the company I’m keeping,” sings Savior.

“Shades” is the perfect song the change your perspective; as the day goes on, walking home after a night out provides the best time to reflect … if only you could find your damn shades.

The next few songs in the album, “Girlie,” “Frankie,” and “M.T.M.E” sort of blend together as a twisted ode to Los Angeles and the people you find; some you were looking for and others who just appeared.

Throughout the album, Savior finds ways to separate herself from her mentor’s influence. “Cupid,” “Till Your Mine” and “Mystery Girl” all ooze with a sensual, feminine perspective. In these tracks, mesmerizing vocals pull you in as abstract lyrics paint an eerie picture, one that mirrors the set of your favorite horror movie. Savior herself notes she was aiming for a slightly “murderous” feel as well as flashes of a feminine voice.

Overall, ‘Belladonna’ of Sadness’ is just as it is; a collection of hazy desert-rock with a feminine perspective and rambling man sort of vibe. If you’re a fan of Turner, or like music that sounds at home in a mature Halloween playlist, Savior’s debut album is worth a listen.

For more information about Savior and ‘Belladonna of Sadness,’ visit Saviors website.

Source:: Alexandra Savior Captures a Mood

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