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.”

 


 

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.

On Repeat: “Mine” – Bazzi

(Image via pmstudio.com)

“You so f****ng precious when you smile.” Call it modern romance, or just a pop dream. Singer/Songwriter Bazzi is making women everywhere blush.

“Mine” might be the catchiest song I’ve heard in months. For some reason the melody rings in your head over and over begging you to hit repeat. It’s so beautiful, you can’t stop admiring it and singing along.

The mature 20-year-old told Billboard.com the story behind the track, “‘Mine’ was interesting because it was about the way that someone made me feel so loved — so beautiful, so special, so accepted…I knew that I could take that exact feeling and direct it at people, and not just that person. I could make songs to make people feel that love and acceptance. In such a sad, insecure world, I knew the power of what that could do for people.”

“Mine” has more than 190,000,000 streams on Spotify and is currently #15 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it’s way up the charts every week.

 


 

Miguel’s ‘War & Leisure’ Tour!

Miguel drifts around on a tiny stage while his band bangs out every note. He gets the crowd to chant “splish splish”. “Righteous” – he says in return. The War & Leisure tour is peak Miguel. If you’re thinking about seeing him, see him NOW.

A set list of 20+ songs will satisfy the old and new Miguel fans while draining the voice right out of your lungs. 2010’s “All I Want Is You” and “Sure Thing” prove the singer has been mastering R&B for quite some time now. While newer fans can sing to the bouncy “Banana Clip”, “Pineapple Skies”, and the crowd favorite: “Sky Walker”. But pretty much everyone can reminisce over “How Many Drinks?” and the saucy “Do You?”.

The California native managed to pack in everyone’s favorites and then some. About halfway through the set, the singer performed a flawless medley of his song with Wale: “Lotus Flower Bomb”, “Power Trip” with J Cole, and his recent collab with Dua Lipa: “Lost In Your Light”. A steady beat stitched them all together without a hitch.

Miguel’s voice cannot be fully appreciated until you hear it live. Effortless runs and endless vibrato make you wonder how he’s managed to keep that voice so pristine for so long… and how he makes it look so damn EASY.

The show itself was enlightening to watch. A shining array of bright lights echoed every rock breakdown Miguel’s band did so well. The energy was more than the room could handle.

My only complaint? The merch was way too expensive. I will never pay $45 for a t-shirt…

(Image via Variance Magazine)