Who You Need: Handsome Ghost

Who You Need: Handsome Ghost

(Image via news.bandsintown.com)

WHO: Handsome Ghost

WHERE: Boston, MA

GENRE: Alternative

TOP SONGS: “Eyes Wide”, “Weight of It All”

 


 

Who have been some of your musical inspirations lately? 

“Phoebe Bridgers has been in steady rotation, she’s a great writer. I’ve gone back to the last Local Natives album a lot for the past couple weeks. I liked it when it came out a while back, but for some reason it’s hitting me really hard right now. I’m on a bit of a Wilco kick too.”

Do you have any favorites off Welcome Back? And why?

“It’s really hard to pick a favorite. Certain songs are more important to me at different moments, depending on what’s going on around me. I like to think that’s the mark of a good album, that any song could mean the most to you at any given time, but I’m not the most objective listener in this case.”

“Reckless Lover” is so raw and honest. What was it like finishing a song like that? Did it feel good?

“It did feel good to write that one on the guitar and then see it progress to what it eventually became. I think one of the goals behind the album as a whole was to try and be as honest as possible with myself in the hopes of making sense of the past. ‘Reckless Lover’ is a good example of that. And I thought if these songs could help me figure a few things out about the last few years, then I’d have a better shot at moving forward. And honestly, I do feel better, like something has changed.”

You recently played a sold-out tour. Did you ever think that would happen? How was it?

“It was great! We linked up with our (now) friends Flor and toured with them for most of the winter. You never know what you’re getting yourself into on a tour, and honestly it’s not uncommon to meet the band you’re playing with on the day of the first show. And then it’s like ‘okay, let’s travel around the country together for the next six weeks.’ But the Flor guys were wonderful people and such great musicians and it made for a great experience all around. The crowds were incredible too, we had a blast.”

What do you hope to accomplish in 2018?

“Right now we’re getting ready to begin The Welcome Back Tour this Spring. We’re doing everything we can to make sure all of these shows are unique, and that the audience leaves feeling like they were part of something special. It’ll be fun to play some songs off the new album for the first time, and to dust off some of the older ones from the first two EPs. I feel confident in saying it will be our best tour yet, and we’re just working hard right now in preparation. Then it’s more writing and recording and starting to plan for whatever’s next.”

 


 

Advertisements

On Repeat: “Better Not” – Louis the Child

On Repeat: “Better Not” – Louis the Child

(Image via billboard.com)

The day before they melted faces at Coachella, Louis the Child released a new single, “Better Not” featuring alt-electro singer, Wafia.

Following suit to most of their vocally driven singles (listen to “It’s Strange” and “Right To It”), this one is just as electric as the rest. Wafia has been garnering a lot of attention lately and is slowly becoming a serious force in her own realm of music. Her soft voice sings loving lyrics; “It’s true love, don’t fake it, you better not, you better not.”

The Chicago based duo have curated their sound to be something so insanely unique to the EDM/pop genre. Keeping a regular pop song structure makes this one radio-ready at any moment. While the drop is meticulous in the coolest way, steel drums and handclaps hover over each verse right before a bouncy drop.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colin Magalong: The Dancing King

Colin Magalong: The Dancing King

This 23 year-old has blown me away with his artistry and blended sounds. Releasing two singles so far this year has put him on the map as someone to watch very closely… Latest single, “Melo” is a retro/funk/pop jam that sickens you with the dance bug (which is exactly Colin’s goal)

Did growing up in San Francisco inspire you?

“San Francisco was very rich in culture and diversity but I actually grew up 15 minutes south of it in kind of a bubble city. So it was a mixed experience with music. My music career there was very small, I tried to do the YouTube thing for a little bit and did covers and that was really fun, but ultimately I took all the videos down. I went to college to really hone my craft in silence in a lot of ways. I kind of just dropped off the face of the Earth, especially the internet and social media. I just wanted to take it seriously.

My parents were making me go to college, so music college was my next best bet. I’m so glad that I did and got the opportunity, because college is where I met some of my closest friends who are now running the label that I’m signed to. We’re all still very young, still learning, and growing together, and there’s been some growing pains without a doubt. But, I’m working with people that I really do love and that’s priceless.”

Who are some of your musical influences?

“In college: Alt-J, Cherub. It feels like all my peers were really into EDM or rap. Disco seemed to be like a really great middle ground where it’s still melodic and people still wanted to dance. It wasn’t such a vein genre, which I really enjoyed and I’m trying to continue to make people dance. That seems to be the best shows I’ve ever been to. That’s the dream show for me, where people are there for the music and their friends and their time, it’s not about how pretty I am, or how pretty I’m not whatever it might be.”

What can we expect this year from you?

“I moved to LA two years ago and have been writing constantly. I’ve been doing so much growing and just as a writer, not even as an artist. The songs that are on this EP have actually been in my dropbox for the last year and a half. It’s such a relief to get them finally out. ‘Bodies’ will be my next single and then you guys will get the rest of the EP and my second EP is already done. I’m really trying to get the music into the right hands and hopefully people enjoy it as much as I do.”

Tell me more about “Melo”? Any significance behind the spelling?

“It was the laziest way to write it which went hand in hand with the song; taking the easy route. Some of my friends thought it had to do with Carmelo Anthony (it doesn’t). It’s the easiest way to spell it. ‘Melo’ is about spending your night the easiest way so that’s how that came about.”

Any significant themes on the upcoming EP?

“There’s a lot of nostalgia for me. The whole EP was really the christening of my young adult life. I feel like a lot of the experiences come from me as a young man in LA trying to find out where I fit in this big city. A lot of them are just my first impressions of LA nightlife and romanticizing things that probably did not mean anything. Everything from growing pains to just being enamored by a look or the smallest things. I could take one little thing and turn it into a huge deal. Musically a lot of nostalgia. I feel like I’ve wanted to touch on a lot of the music I grew up with. My parents were big Motown and funk fans, so I wanted to bridge those two worlds. So, LA and my first couple years here really helped kind of guide these themes that I think people will appreciate.”

On living and working in LA:

“That’s what makes LA special for me, is just the talent. I tell everybody that half of my Uber drivers here are more talented than I am. Writing is really where people from all walks of life kinda get to meet on that same level. I’ve written with people from 60-17 years old – it’s a real great equalizer.

For the longest time my studio was in my apartment. It was a really scrappy bedroom setup that I think any teenager with a laptop could set up. When I’m not in my apartment, I’ll be at other people’s apartments. That’s just how I’ve been working and I know that’s how most people in LA work. Not everybody has the luxury of working at some great studios, but I think that goes to show that it’s really just all about the ideas and the people there. Technology has made it an even playing ground. People would be surprised to find out how many hit records were made in living rooms or bedrooms – it’s pretty remarkable.

I am so incredibly grateful and humbled by the people I’ve had the chance to work with. I think that you are who you hang out with and I’m just so humbled… I really am. In whatever way I can kinda put some of the spotlight on the people who help made this record a reality, I’d love to do that.”


Sabrina Claudio’s New Single, “All To You”

(Image via 2dopeboyz.com)

A half naked woman appears on the single artwork, a tiny dazzling thong covers the front of her. “You” follows suit with the sweet sounds of Claudio’s recent album About Time.

The R&B songstress makes songs sound easy; almost like her mouth doesn’t even need to open for the words to spring out. She exudes sex appeal and confidence in such subtle ways. “All to You” is just that. It’s about pure love and desire through human touch; “desires burning, your hands are sweating, when did this room catch fire.”

The 21-year-old airily breathes out every word in the lyric video accompanying her new poetic slab of lust.

Watch the lyric video below:

 


 

The Curious Case of Hayley Kiyoko

(Image via teenvogue.com)

It feels as though Hayley Kiyoko came out of nowhere. All of a sudden, you hear the thudding beat of her lead single, “Curious” and it pulls you in right away. Who is this girl? And what is she doing to me?! Little did we know, Kiyoko was going to blow us all away with a debut album worthy of all the recognition in the world.

Opening with an enchanting overture, reminiscent of an M83 production, “Expectations (Overture)” leads the album into the extravagant and expressive work of art it is. Strings and chorus-like vocals add euphoric elements that feel almost church-like. Which kicks straight into the funky “Feelings”. A stand out single dealing with the transparency of human emotion. Kiyoko confidently sings, “I over communicate and feel too much. I just complicate it when I say too much.” While the song structure remains basic like any other pop song, the funky guitar adds a new groovy layer.

While the pop scene is supercharged with “boy crazy” female leads, Kiyoko remains true to who she is. She’s a lesbian, and proud of it. “I’m not over-sexualizing my music. I make out with women because I love women, not because I’m trying to be sexy. That’s not to turn heads — that’s my life” she tells Refinery 29. Teaming together with one of the most honest women in the pop/R&B genre proved Kiyoko can secure any song she wants (listen to the fun Kehlani assisted “What I Need”).

Songs like, “Mercy/Gatekeeper” and “Under the Blue/Take Me In” prove Kiyoko’s artistry in a genre that is so often saturated to the point of overconsumption. “Mercy” cranks out dramatic muffled vocals that almost feel like an inner monologue. “All I wanna do is cry and bang my head until I start to fly” spin out of Kiyoko’s mouth as she describes a turbulent time. The song feels like an emotional rollercoaster, up and down, as if she couldn’t decide how the song was going to end. Perhaps mimicking what she felt in real life. The words, “just give me mercy, cause I keep hurting, hurting” repeat throughout the song, adding to its raw honesty.

Each track feels different from the rest in a way that’s indescribable. “Molecules” and “Let It Be” close this album in such a delicate way. “Molecules” deals with a shift in perspective about a friends tragic loss. On Instagram, Kiyoko said “Let It Be” is about “Accepting the bravery to move on, and start a new beginning, even if it’s hard.” She then went on to say, “Sometimes good things come to an end and you don’t know why or how it happened. But there was a reason for that chapter in your life. You grew and learned to love. It’s hard to follow your heart and listen to your gut when you know things won’t work out.”

Expectations exceeded all my expectations. It serves a hot dish of fun, honest, and raw pop. Something the music industry should be admiring and honoring very closely.