THOUGHTS [Written by Kate M.]:
A highlight of the day, and my personal highlight! Who are you, girl!? It’s pronounced “T.K.,” and readers, you should probably remember that – her rapping is pure fire! She killed it! She sings, too. Tkay combines pistol quick rap and EDM sounds, and her performance seemed effortless, which is a unique style trait to her . . . and she sounded like a boss! Sure there are great rappers and rapid fire lyricists (not that many), but Tkay has her own style, too, ingénue-like, commanding, tough and effortless. She is also reminiscent of M.I.A. and Azaelia Banks. At times, Tkay’s tone and verbal rhythm, as well as her elocution and delivery, reminds me of M.I.A., but Tkay’s effortless brand of fierce is different because it’s definitive, hard and commanding, but less aggressive than M.I.A. This artist is able to go from spitting out rap verses to singing verses. Her elocution and delivery is also reminiscent of Azaelia when she puts vocals over electronic beats and I can see Tkay commanding the Coliseum (my measure of an LA Rave). Tkay’s vocals and performance are unaffected, natural and unproduced, like she thought she’d just drop it right now . From Australia, Zimbabwean Tkayo’s debut mix taped was released October 23, 2014. I watched Tkay’s debut video for “U-Huh” and I loved it, but this 18 year old is so good, she doesn’t need all that production. On stage – just her – done! She had her first NYC performance this week and is being picked up by major online publications like Entertainment Weekly and Fader. Check her out – Rap, Pop, EDM sounds, like it’s no problem! S/O to Derrick who knew this artist would be a highlight! I had a chance to talk with Tkay after the show and she was sweet, in the moment and gracious to her fans – stay grounded girl you are about to be a star.
THOUGHTS [Written by Kate M.]:
Pop, rhythm and EDM. Singer/producer Banoffee is an Australian artist whose performance included mixing her own R&B and sometimes Reggae style beats, throwing down versus once or twice, singing and frontin’ the ultimate cool chick persona and musical ability. Her music is chill vibes and heavy, sick synth production. Banoffee’s beats drop with accented bounces and her vocals are a smooth glaze over electronic beats Pop, R&B and EDM sounds. You could say she’s an EDM and sporty Imogen Heap. She includes “Ninja” and “Let’s Go To The Beach” in her performance at The Echo and I included the link to her debut EP whick dropped October 7, 2014 so you can listen to her unique texture of musical styles. She’s been playing NYC venues this past week – check her out!
“[…] The band is fronted by Lee Triffon on lead vocals and guitar and Adi Feher on keytar. Yes, keytar. Bonus points already earned. Approaching the microphone in full-body spandex jumpsuits and Wonder Woman meets Battlestar Galactica jewelry, they both fit the stereotype I have in my mind of a crazy-attractive (and/or crazy, attractive) Tel Aviv woman. The music was pretty intense shit. Heavy electronic pageantry with heavy breaks underpinning Triffon’s strong vocals. At times the whole thing was really hot. At others, it felt like an EDM version of Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks doing the Sweeney Sisters on SNL. Kinda rad but also kinda comical when they break into these eletro beat brown notes, ditch the instruments, face each other, and start gyrating and jerking around as if they were at some post-IDF Koh Phangang full moon beach party. Remember, the venue was the size of a walk-in closet. But that’s part of what’s so captivating about The Kokoro. They seem totally oblivious to the limitations of their surroundings […].”
MUSIC INSTA-BABE: Nicole Scherzinger
Nicole Scherzinger is a singer, songwriter, actress and dancer who first gained notoriety as the front-woman of The Pussycat Dolls (a burlesque inspired recording group) before branching out as a solo artist. Part Filipino, Hawaiian and Russian, she seems to have procured the best of each gene pool. Follow her on instagram: @nicolescherzy.
KILLER COVER: Sam Smith covers Whitney Houston
I acknowledge that Sam Smith has a great voice, but I haven’t been all too impressed with his latest singles. They’re growing on me, but I think the switch still needs to be turned on before I purchase his album (full disclosure, I haven’t heard the entire album) … but when I found his cover of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know”, I was floored. I actually went to iTunes to see if that recording was available on his album. It wasn’t. Let’s just say I would have purchased the album just for that cover.
Since we’re talking Whitney, you should check out the a cappella track from her recording. It’s pretty awesome too.
Think You Know All About Michael Jackson’s Videos?
Rolling Stone Magazine posted a cool video “compilation” of some of Michael Jackson’s best videos. With each of the videos comes a little tidbit that you probably didn’t know about. If you have time to go through 20 of his videos, this read is highly suggested
The Making of OK Go’s “The Writing’s On The Wall”
Since I blogged about their latest video last week, I figured I post this week a “behind-the-scenes: from the trenches” video that they shot simultaneously of them making the video. It’s basically all real time, and really cool.
MUSIC NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
I’m not a fan, and really never have been, of Electronic Dance Music. But the youth these days can’t seem to get enough of it. Well … some have paid the ultimate cost recently when two died after attending the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and dozen of fans were hospitalized during an Avicii show. Personally, I just don’t see the true musicianship in EDM “performances” … if you’re willing to call it a performance. I hoping that it’s just a fad. Something new has got to come along, right? Man, I hope so.
L.A. Weekly (one of my favorite local publications) wrote a great editorial about “How Bob Marley Was Sold to the Suburbs”. It’s a terrific read. If you have the time, and you love Bob, you should read the article.
YouTube is making it hard for independent labels today. Some great artist’s videos (like Adele, Vampire Weekend, etc) may no longer be available to view on their traditional platform. For an in depth analysis of why independent label are unhappy with Youtube’s contractual offerings, you should click here and read this article. It’s not the easiest read, but it will give you perspective.
Rumors are afoot about D’Angelo’s new album FINALLY coming out in 2014. Please, please, please, please, please let this be true.
TMZ reports that Chris Miles, a 15 year old rapper, just signed a million dollar record deal. Apparently, his appearance on “America’s Got Talent” got his videos going viral. Sure, he needs to sell/write records to make that milli, but he did get a $182,500 advance. Is he worth it? Check out the video below and let me know what you thinking he poll.
For the most part, I am not a fan of EDM music. When I want to see “live” music, I want to see people playing instruments, not punching buttons. When I saw the Saturday Night Live, Digital Short, Lonely Island clip, “When Will The Bass Drop” that aired over the weekend, I nearly had the soup I was eating for lunch come out my nose. It is HILARIOUS (especially all of the one-liners the “fans” spout, since I’ve heard those exact words from other people I’ve been around). I’ve always wondered what EDM DJs did behind their consoles. Now, I have an idea. Enjoy!
The surprise set of my Sunday at Coachella was Rudimental; an electronic music, quartet based out of Hackney, London. When I was doing research on them before the festival, I discovered that their first studio album, Home, had reached number one, and was certified platinum, in the U.K., and after watching a few of their live video clips online, I decided to make them a band I wanted to check out at Coachella. I was not disappointed.
Their set was AMAZING! Right from the start, their MC and hype-man, DJ Locksmith, whipped the crowd into a frenzy with his boundless energy, running back and forth across the stage, cajoling the late-afternoon crowd to join him and the band in their fervor. Though internet entries describe the band a a group of producer/DJs, they were backed by a full band and a full set of vocalists; each holding their own performing like their life depended on it.
Their infectious sound, which I would describe as a mix of R&B, dubstep, house and drum & bass, was perhaps the most exhilarating, live (i.e. with a full band), party-music I have heard since … honestly, I don’t even remember. Though I had to leave their set slightly early because I had to catch an act across the festival grounds (thus missing the their Fugees cover of “Ready or Not” and the surprise appearance of John Newman to perform their hit “Feel The Love”) I can honestly say that I was definitely impressed with their live performance, and would no doubt purchase tickets whenever they are performing in Los Angeles in the future.
I didn’t get approved to take pictures of Muse’s set, so I decided to check out the Pet Shop Boys before deciding whether to try catching Nas. By the time the Pet Shop Boys’ set started, the speed of the winds had picked up considerably, and there was dust swirling everywhere. I found it difficult to catch clean snaps of the seminal new wave band from the UK as it seemed that I kept focusing on the dust rather than the band, but I think there are a couple of keepers. I didn’t catch the entire set, but I did hear “Opportunities” performed live, and I figured that that was good enough for me.
After my time in the pit had expired, my feet were killing me, and the amount of dust on my face and in my nose/throat was quite unbearable. Due to my relative inexperience, I made the poorest decision of the weekend by opting to beat the traffic and skipping Nas’ set which turned out to be a historic performance. Major props to the professional photographers were able stick it out until the days festivities has shut down. Maybe I need to email a few of them about what kind of shoes they wear…
It didn’t surprise me that I didn’t make the cut to shoot Queens of the Stone Age’s set, so at the wise suggestion of a photographer from Canada, I decided to check out Empire Of Sun. Wow.
Empire of the Sun is an electronic music duo from Sydney Australia. Having achieved critical acclaim abroad, I was surprised that I had never heard of them before. Their set took place in the Sahara Tent, and I’ll be honest, I tried desperately to stay from that part of the festival grounds all weekend as it was usually overcrowded with molly-popping, inebriated, frat boys pushing their way to get in to rave. It was no exception this time around. Empire of the Sun absolutely packed the tent. Even after my time in the photo pit had ended, it took a good 5 minutes to get out of the photo pit area as security was trying to push back people trying to push their way in.
In terms of the music, truth be told, I really wasn’t paying too much attention to it at the time. I was more intrigued by the costumes, choreography and videos playing in the background. Total sensory overload. After the festival had ended, I looked up more of their music and as it turns out I actually enjoyed what I heard. One of their most recent singles, “Alive”, is really catchy.
On the photography front, being relatively short (5’8′), I noticed, for the first time, how high the Sahara stage was. I found it difficult to snap pics, which was a bit of a shame since the stage production for the band, costumes, videos and all, was pretty epic. I think I was still able to catch a few decent shots. What do you think?