Archive for February, 2021


Black Rain

The sex you up sound of Rhye is always welcome. When their “Black Rain” single fell upon me, I had trouble sitting still, its sound was reminiscent of a strobe-strewn disco. The thought of pulsing energy, bright lights, the chance to feel the overpowering music encapsulating us is dream-like. A former life it seems. British Columbia’s Jayda G, the piano-house extraordinaire behind “Both of Us”, brings her energy and uplifting devotion to Rhye’s standout single.

She’s cranked the tempo, incorporated Conga-like percussion, and added enough of that Chicago house bounce. Milosh speaks of this version bringing the feeling of summertime. Perhaps he’s referring to the carefree attitude many take during the warmer months, or maybe Milosh knows this version smokes. And there aint much better than a slow cruise with the windows down, the dial just a notch below ear-deafening while the summertime air wafts in and out of your ride. While we wait for the optimal cruise season, queue up Jayda’s re-work and make an absolute ruckus in your kitchen.


Another February, Another Podcast…

While Chicago is living through a February, they also continue to be immersed within a global pandemic. The latter has decimated live music. With more home time than we care for, many urban folks snow stuck, this might be the opportune period to create a podcast. Many would ask, Another podcast? This format is oversaturated many would state. But if you already have the fan base, and you have something to share, this couldn’t be a more optimal time.

Scott Lucas, front man of innovative rockers Local H, is taking a chance on this format with the Lifers podcast. The man is a self-described Lifer. A Lifer is a person who has skin in the game, has determined that this is the life for them. It doesn’t matter if they’re making it, or can barely piece together enough to keep themselves afloat, this is the path they have chosen to indefinitely follow. This podcast is a deep dive into the why and how of people that continue to persevere in their chosen art; music, film, production, all artistic forms are potential topics. This is a Local H podcast but so much more: never heard stories, unique banter, and an opportunity to hear how these inspiring artists continue to thrive when others fail.

At one point I dismissed podcasts as another thing vying for my attention. Where was I going to find the time to experience a two hour episode? But shit, this medium has endless potential. It’s educational entertainment.

When I want to learn more on a topic I will utilize a podcast. After completing a book, I will search for the author on a podcast. This provides the opportunity to sit with the writer, hear their stories, the why into their project and further understand the material. Today I asked myself why am I not doing the same for artists after they unleash a new record? If Episode 2 of Lifers is any indication, this might be where I look first.


But I am down with Prince…

We all want credibility. There is a desire to one up the next guy, be more in the know. This was never more prevalent than when I was coming up as a music fan. I strived to listen to the unknown, wouldn’t waste my time with someone mainstream, and claimed to know more than I truly did. A poseur of sorts, one claiming to be down with something or someone hip to appear hip. London’s Hot Chip, a quintet of laptop totin’ hip-hop lovin’ funk fans simply don’t play that.

On “Down With Prince” they have zero tolerance for fake-ass credibility whores. Frontman Alexis Taylor, in his best you don’t want to step to me impression, states, “I’m sick of motherfuckers trying to tell me that they’re down with Prince/I was just a baby when I heard him playing Vanity 6.” That right there, that name drop of the early 80s female trio orchestrated by Prince is his chest puff, a warning to the amateurs that you can’t begin to step to his long term standing relationship with Minnesota’s most coveted treasure. Alexis’ entourage flexes hard behind his words. There is enough bounce, absolute madness, and body movin’ eccentricities to do the Purple One proud.

Coming on Strong, Hot Chip’s debut from 2005 is seeing a special wax release.


Floorplan’s Right There/Holy Ghost…

At what age do you realize your father is the founder of a musical genre? Some grow up in their parent’s store, their plant, the kitchen of their restaurant, Lyric Hood may have grown up in the club. Consider yourself lucky if your parents were employed. Consider yourself fortunate if they were gainfully employed. Consider yourself hipper than most if your parent created a movement through music.

When your father is considered the founder of minimal techno, and a prolific DJ and producer known throughout the house and techno world, music has been your oxygen. Robert Hood and his daughter Lyric are Floorplan. Far from a misnomer, this funky duo creates foot stomping, move your body dance floor ready bangers. Hood understands what motivates people to move and take action.

Floorplan’s latest “Right There/Holy Ghost” begs you to exorcise all those 2020 demons by musical detox. House music laced with an uplifting spoken gospel is hard for me to ignore. It’s the energy, the pulse, and the adrenaline that courses through the beat. The tempo pushes your intensity, challenges you to try and keep up. It makes you crave a sweaty, packed floor of strangers cathartically healing themselves through music.

When the gates open back up for the dark and smoky club, I know you’re more than ready. Floorplan is prepared to fuel your evening with enough four on the floor propulsion to build that endurance you lost around this time last year…


Deliver Me a Hit…

I consistently receive other people’s mail. If I’m gettings yours, you must be seeing some mine. Perhaps it’s the mail carrier’s short attention span, the inability to focus and slow down to give a shit. Or maybe it’s the lack of worldly experience our carrier has. Over in Minneapolis, their carriers have pizazz, super sex appeal, and a knack for writing a soulful experience worth returning to.

This last year has decimated many industries. Many in the musical arena have innovated and taken chances. Those gambles have perhaps kept them afloat, or at least kept me entertained while I sit shackled in my house. And the artists who depended upon touring and selling merch to support themselves? They turned to alternatives. This era has anyone out of work thinking hard on what careers are recession and pandemic proof. Enter the essential worker, the ones who are reporting to work no matter the situation.nThe soul strutting Har Mar Superstar is moonlighting, perhaps now it’s his music is the side hustle, as the man is now taking over 25,000 steps daily as a mail carrier. Mpls St. Paul has an excellent write-up on his new beginnings.

Thankfully, the man is still an artist and continues to create. His forthcoming record Roseville debuts in March via BandCamp.

“It’s a weird salvation album,” he says. “Melancholy, piano ballad–based. I’m excited to release it in the middle of winter.” 

In the meantime, he’s unleashed two singles, “Where We Began”, with horns a plenty and the perfect complement to a strut down your local Main St. as you walk with that extra pep in your step and just enough swagger to catch the eyes of most onlookers; “Sleight of Hand” has Superstar bring out a full production that creates an easygoing sound around the one that got away.

During these troubling economic times, do artists turn their backs on our major streaming options to exclusively share via Bandcamp? My hope is they don’t, I want to use one app to play music while outside of my home. Regardless, let’s continue to support those that do so much for us.


Natalia Lafourcade gets re-worked…

I won’t be traveling in the near future. In the interim, I can drop the needle on a record for much needed escapism. When I was younger I was fortunate to immerse myself within cities of Latin America. I investigated the music of those countries and sampled their sounds. I wanted genres unique to those countries, music I wasn’t hearing stateside. Spotify is aware of this previous period in my life and continues to alert me.

My weekly Release Radar isn’t giving up on my Latin tongue. This sound, one of upbeat rhythms, a warm aura, and intricately plucked flamenco guitar is temporary bliss. Natalia Lafourcade, a diverse and multi-talented singer from Mexico City, is charming and possesses the ability to whisk me away. A new artist to me, but by no means in the infancy of her career. Switzerland’s Michel Cleis caught inspiration in her 2017 “Tu Si Sabes Quererme” and added an extra bounce.

A remix is hit or miss for me. Some bump, can inject a whole new dynamic to the original. Others fall flat or radically alter the original to the point of why did you bother? But when an artist and their catalog is new to me, and is given the remix treatment, I can objectively listen. The original is moving, Lafourcade’s light and beautiful voice complement the guitar and the song’s uplifting aura. Cleis likes a tribal, rapid-fire tempo, one that incites a benevolent riot amongst the village. His sound is Carnaval meets a hedonistic Ibiza 16 hour rave.

He ratchets up the BPMs, challenges our feet to attempt to keep up with the Latin rhythms, and begs you to move. His sonic signature asks us to keep pace with his tweaks and formidable maracas that make this version shake. If you’re not moving, my hope is your eyes are closed and you’re sitting outside of today’s reality.

Upcoming Shows:


February 2021