Little & Ashley: “It Goes Without Saying”

You know that feeling when you see someone for the first time in ages? Well, I felt that last night but it was a little different. The person I recognized was on a TV show but I hadn’t actually ever met her in real life. I was watching Showtime’s Shameless when a blonde woman stuck her head out of a window on the show and I felt the faintest glimmer of familiarity right then. Amazingly enough, I had done an interview with her and her husband back in 2011. That person was Annie Little of Little & Ashley and she was such a sight for sore eyes.

I openly admit how bad I am at keeping up with people and music updates so you can imagine my delighted surprise when I learned that Little & Ashley had released a full length album just last year. Somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind, I was aware that Marcus Ashley and Annie Little had gotten married and had a daughter but release an album as well? That one somehow got past me. (I guess I don’t have what it takes to be the next Sherlock Holmes.)

But as much as I love Shameless, the best thing that came from last night’s episode was discovering Dreamy Happy Sexy. Listening to this album instantly brings back all of the promise that was in Little & Ashley’s all too short Stole My Heart EP from 2010. What initially captivated me about L&A’s music was this quality of seemingly genuine lighthearted joy that was sprinkled all throughout their songs. So naturally, you can imagine the immense happiness I experienced when I felt that same quality throughout Dreamy Happy Sexy. “It Goes Without Saying” is the prime example of this unique characteristic in Little & Ashley’s music but it also exhibits a clear progression in their sound since Stole My Heart. I’m thoroughly enjoying the album but I’m especially enjoying the fact that Little & Ashley are still creating music.


St. Lucia: “Elevate”

It’s Jean-Philip Grobler’s birthday so in celebration, I’m sharing St. Lucia’s gem, “Elevate,” because why not? I’m also going to use this moment to mention that if you haven’t done yourself the favor of seeing St. Lucia perform live, you’re doing yourself a grave injustice. Especially if you frequent the NYC concert scene, if you pay close enough attention, you may even see Grobler and his wife, Patti Beranek, around at various shows because they’re chill people who support their musician friends. Anyways, happy birthday to you Jean-Philip!


Hands Like Houses: “I Am” Video

The way I see it, there are more upsides than downsides to not having a Facebook account. But I’ve noticed that now that I don’t have a Facebook newsfeed, a lot more effort has fallen on my part to keep up with the musicians that I listen to. (Although Facebook’s newsfeed was never the most sensibly designed thing, I meticulously set it up to show only news and music updates.) Other than missing how convenient the newsfeed was, I’ve *slightly* missed the humor on the social network. Facebook users have typically been keen on memes so seeing this Futurama meme commented on a Hands Like Houses update brought me hearty laughs and warm, fuzzy feelings for the internet’s humor.

From what I’ve seen, reactions to Hands Like Houses’s newest single, “I Am,” have been very positive overall. And while I want to blame my lack of attention paid to the Australian band on my lack of a FB newsfeed, I don’t really have an excuse. HLH thoroughly impressed me with their performance vigor as well as their emotive album, Unimagine, in 2013 so I’m glad that their momentum is still going strong two years later. “I Am” has the same powerful spirit that is so characteristic to Hands Like Houses’s music and it made me jam out as hard as lead singer, Trenton Woodley is doing in the music video. I can’t imagine anyone not singing along to this track’s chorus because it’s so good. And the visuals for the music video? Just perfect.

Hands Like Houses have always been a band whose music and style have impressed me and I’m glad they’ve come back to the forefront of my mind. I’ll be sure to keep myself updated on what’s ahead for this Aussie band from now on.


Ellie Goulding: “Take Me to Church” Cover

I rarely listen to the radio so I’d imagine that’s the reason for why I haven’t gotten sick of this song or of Hozier just yet. I thoroughly enjoy the original version of “Take Me to Church” but I also find Ellie’s voice to be perfectly suited for it too. She adds to the already hauntingly menacing feeling of the song and it gives me chills just listening to it. This cover reminds me of the brilliant Radio 1 Live Lounge covers that are always happening–musicians covering other musician’s songs is mah fave thing.


Empire Cast ft. Estelle & Jussie Smollett: “Conqueror”

I’ll admit that I’m one of those millennials that doesn’t bother with watching TV via an actual television anymore. Streaming online or watching on mobile is more convenient so naturally, I’m a bit behind on which new pilots are worthwhile. Empire has been making the media rounds lately and people have been nagging me to watch the show already. So in my post-all-nighter state of exhaustion, I decided to marathon all current ten episodes and it was not one of my better ideas.

My overall impressions of the show are lukewarm. Around episode 7, I quickly tired of everyone’s shit. I was over Andre’s Grumpy Cat pouts, Hakeem acting like a dumb little shit, and Lucious! That man. I can’t even with Lucious. In a flash, my initial reactions of Empire went from intrigued to irritated to absolutely DONE. But all of this is to be taken with a grain of salt. I completely get why Empire is getting all the praise that it’s getting and deservedly so! It’s a very interesting and smart view into the music industry but it’s also being true to real life issues within the hip hop community like homophobia. Perhaps it was all of the damn Sons of Anarchy commercials I kept having to watch that ruined my viewing experience. Actually… yes, that was it. The last time I got as angry at a commercial was at the Gisele Chanel No. 5 commercial ABC kept fucking playing while I was trying to get my How To Get Away With Murder on. Ugh, this is why I don’t do traditional TV anymore! (Except Cartoon Network–they’re worth it.)

And with that, I’ve totally strayed away from the original purpose of this post which was “Conqueror,” as sung by Estelle and Jussie Smollett. As annoyed as I was with the show, it always held my full attention but no scene stands out for me as much as this one. Both the song and performance blew me away and for a second, I thought I was watching a completely different show. Complex perfectly describes the scene and it was powerful. I probably won’t continue watching Empire but I’m happy to have “Conqueror” as my one takeaway from it.


Great Good Fine Ok: “Something To Believe In”

“Something To Believe In” is everything. It’s big and expansive and its space themed cover art is just so fitting. The track comes from Brooklyn duo Great Good Fine OK, aka the perfect reply to someone’s “How are you” as a means of telling them to buzz off. (Do people still use that phrase?) Back to the point, DAT SAX DOE. With the addition of St. Lucia’s Jean-Philip Grobler, there is just no wrong in this track. Have I said anything in the past few sentences that is conducive to my point of how great “STBI” is? No? Okay, I’ll stop rambling but I’ll leave you with this gif:


Great Good Fine OK is Jon Sandler and Luke Moellman.


Magic Man: “Paris” Video

With the advent of services like SoundCloud and Spotify, I’ve completely forgotten that music videos are still a thing and considering today is #MagicManMonday, I figured I’d share the music video for “Paris.” Perhaps it’s just me but I have a penchant for music videos with plot lines and dancing that I just don’t get, whether or not it’s because I’m simply not deep or cultured enough, I still like ‘em. I watch in the hopes that one day, I will have gathered enough intellectual prowess to understand. In the mean time, the actual music will sustain me.

Magic Man are also about to tour! And I’m too lazy to copy over the dates so check out this photo or this link for more info.

Magic Man is Alex Caplow, Gabe Goodman, Joey Sulkowski, Justine Bowe, Sam Lee.


CRUISR: “All Over”

It’s really quite spectacular how awful my brain is at making connections. I love science and making connections is an integral part of that but the amount of time I spend trying to understand how unbelievably dim I can be would suggest otherwise. I had spent all of last summer obsessed with one song and that was “Kidnap Me” by CRUISR. I had first heard it as background music to one of Top with Cinnamon’s videos and soon enough the song was on repeat and lyrics were memorized. Fast forward to present day and “All Over” is constantly playing around me and yet it took a visit to CRUISR’s SoundCloud page to finally realize it was the same band who created both of these songs that I’d spent hours listening to! I don’t know, man. I couldn’t tell you how I let that one slip past me. I’m hypothesizing right now that my recall ability is quickly diminishing with age (note: I’m 20).

While I still can’t believe I didn’t make that connection, I’m certain that CRUISR’s summery indie-pop songs are going to get me through these northeastern snow storms. “All Over” has the amazing ability to put me into such a positive mindset and want to start jumping when the chorus hits. So I’m gonna do just that. *Closes laptop, quick facepalm, jams out to CRUISR*

Last thing: dear CRUISR, please play another NYC show because I missed out on your Webster Hall show and Verboten is in the middle of bumblefuck, Brooklyn.

CRUISR is Andy States, Jonathan Van Dine, Kyle Cook, Bruno Catrambone.

Tour Dates:
03/10/2015 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Brillobox
03/11/2015 – Covington, KY @ Madison Live
03/13/2015 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
03/14/2015 – Little Rock, AR @ Brooklyn, NY
05/05/2015 – Brooklyn, NY @ Verboten


Kina Grannis: “Oh Father” Video

The music video for Kina Grannis’ “Oh Father” from her ELEMENTS album is just visually stunning. It is equally as beautiful as the song itself and it is so rare that I enjoy a music video. I find myself clicking the replay button on this music video over and over partly because the cinematography is beautiful but more so because I simply love hearing Kina’s voice. She’s like an angel but without wings (finish that quote). To top it off, her covers are just as great as her original music and if you’re new to Kina Grannis, I would suggest this “Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran cover to start with. Perhaps you can follow that up with this “Clean” by Taylor Swift cover because I find it so much more enjoyable than the original.


Ski Lodge: “Trust”

For fans of Ski Lodge’s music, the usage of synths on the band’s new single, “Trust,” is very noticeable from the outset but it’s a shift in a different soundscape that I think fans will still enjoy. I certainly do but then again, I genuinely enjoy everything Ski Lodge puts out. The three month period that “Trust” took to record sounds like a mighty long time so I’m hoping more music is to come out of those recording sessions. (I need it for all the SL shows I keep missing!)

Ski Lodge is Andrew Marr, John Barinaga, Jake Beal, and Jason Weiss.