GARY CLARK JR. // ‘THIS LAND’ – A ALBUM REVIEW

Singer and Guitarist Gary Clark Jr. is back with a brand new album ‘This Land’. The debut single and title track is already impacting radio. Garnering praise from the likes of Keith Richards, Alicia Keys, and even Former President Barack Obama. Gary is taking no prisoners with this album. His unique ability to seamlessly blend so many genres, Soul, R&B, Blues, Rock, Pop, Funk … really too many to name but it all works well together on ‘This Land’.

We begin the journey on ‘This Land‘ with the title track that is at once a soaring anthem and a super personal track about growing up a Black Man in America. Where getting your own it could still change nothing. It is angsty, driven and is devastatingly beautiful. It’s the perfect opening statement for the record. We segue into tracks ‘What About Us‘ which has a slightly slower tempo but is still riding that same bluesy funk rock feel as the opener. On ‘I Got My On Eyes You’ Gary first slips into his falsetto which is featured heavily on this record. This track with all of its old school soul influences has lots of fuzzy guitar shredding throughout. There are also some notable electronic elements peeking in and out. On the pleading and lovelorn ‘I Walk Alone‘ he maintains the falsetto for most of the song with the guitar matching the vibe and feeling as well, harkening back to 60s RnB with just a bit of the Blues as well. Gary picks up the pace significantly with the next two tracks, ‘Feeling Like A Million Bucks‘ and ‘Gotta Get Into Something‘. Both songs are on the opposite ends of the musical spectrum, with ‘Feeling Like A Million Bucks‘ being a feisty, slinky and reggae-tinged track while ‘Gotta Get Into Something‘ being a harder edge bouncy punk influenced song. Yet, they both fit. The reason for this is the signature guitar sound snaking throughout not only these two songs but each and every track on ‘This Land‘. Tracks like ‘Got to Get Up‘ and ‘Feed the Babies‘ have so much Swagger and 70s Funk influences (love the 70s funktastic horns flittering about both songs).

Photo Credit: Frank Maddocks

His latest release ‘Pearl Cadillac‘ is just beautiful and a sweet ode with the guitar softly shredding along not too much but not too little. One of the highlights on the album that is so full of standouts. It is a shame because my least favorite song on the album is right after ‘Pearl Cadillac‘. ‘When I’m Gone‘ is a bit clunky amongst the rest of tracks on ‘This Land‘. While there truly isn’t too much wrong with the track as a whole it’s a pretty groovy song. It doesn’t quite come together for me with this one. ‘Guitar Man‘ is a fun blues inspired track that sounds most like classic Gary. As the song continues you’ll find it’s quite the foot-stomping number. ‘Low Down Rolling Stone‘ starts off with some heavy fuzzy guitar and drums. The track feels like a new age Rock anthem for the broken and indifferent. The heaviness in the instruments and only adds to the soulfulness and emotionality of the track. It’s another highlight for me. ‘The Governor‘ is just straight up blues and rock and roll, with the use of an acoustic guitar. This is just a fantastic track overall. Gary’s vocals have a gruffness we don’t hear on much of the record. Gary does a complete 360 on ‘Don’t Wait Til Tomorrow‘ and brings in strings, beautiful harmonies, and more modern influences, like 90s RnB. His vocals shine best on this track. The album ends on tracks ‘Highway 71‘ and ‘Dirty Dishes Blues‘. ‘Highway 71‘ is an instrumental track that opens on a cool sultry electro beat with the guitar riffing along the top of the beat. ‘Dirty Dishes Blues‘ is just a good old fashioned honky tonk blues jam about heartbreak, a perfect way to close out the album that is ‘This Land‘. This record encapsulates so many styles of music that is America, but also the heart and soul of Gary Clark Jr.

Stream/Buy ‘This Land‘ out today here: https://WBR.lnk.to/ThisLandTC

Favorite tracks: This Land, Pearl Cadillac, The Govenor, I Got My Eyes On You, Low Down Rolling Stone, and Don’t Wait Til Tomorrow.

Gary Clark Jr. Socials:

Twitter: @garyclarkjr

Instagram: @garyclarkjr

Until then,
Brittney x
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TROPIC // SEPTEMBER – A REVIEW

Tropic, the soulful Electro-pop duo I very recently introduced you to just dropped a brand new song and it’s a lit one. The band who I just Interviewed here, have released a sexy cover of the “Earth Wind and Fire” classic “September”. Singer Jo-B Sebastian’s glossy vocals glide wondrously along the slick electronic production from Phuse aka Jarel Hill. Giving way to a super groovy electronic reimagination of the 70s Uber classic jam. The subtle addition of vocal chops on the choruses, adds a fresh new vibe to the track as well. The song is updated just enough to have it fit in with the plethora of today’s electronic-based R&B tracks, while still keeping the integrity of that era, song and Earth Wind and Fire.

“Earth, Wind & Fire are one of the many inspirations we both share, and while no one can do it like they can, we felt the need to show our respect and admiration for one of our favorite artists with this heartfelt cover of one of their biggest hits. We definitely put our own Tropic twist on the track, but we hope it still has the familiarity of a song that everyone and their mother knows and loves.” – Tropic

Stream Tropic // September: https://open.spotify.com/album/3SV0ZYuBKZBnDSS5pyca8i

Tropic Socials:

Tropic Official: http://www.tropicofficial.com/

Tropic // Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tropicofficial

Tropic // Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tropicgrams

Until then,

Brittney W. 🙂

INTERVIEW WITH … TROPIC

Today I’d like to introduce you to a soulful electro-pop duo ‘Tropic’! Tropic is comprised of singer/songwriter Jo-B Sebastian and DJ/ Producer Phuse (Jarel Hill). I got to pick the duos minds on their music (including their latest single) and much more. Check it out below …

I always start out with an easy and quick question. So CD or Vinyl?

Jo-B: Vinyl! My parents kept a bunch of records around the house and firing up the record player was always a big event when I was a kid.

Jarel: I burned so many CD’s in high school. CD’s helped me talk to girls, so I’m gonna have to give this one to them. Thank you CD’s.

So for my readers who don’t know how did Tropic come to be?

Tropic: We met through a mutual friend, We heard each other’s music and both became a fan of the other. We started chatting on Facebook messenger, which led to Jarel remixing Jo-B’s single, and eventually we started working on our first single together, “Breathe Again”. We actually didn’t meet until maybe 4 months after we started working together. We finally met when Jarel invited Jo-B to his birthday party. We started playing with other ideas, one song turned into another, and another until we realized we worked better as a pair, and Tropic was born!

So you just dropped your debut EP “Bittersweet”. Can you tell me more about the creative and writing process behind that?

Jo-B: I actually heard the early sketch of “Bittersweet” before we even started collaborating on “Breathe Again”. Our mutual friend was listening to it one day and I remember thinking, “oh my God, I need to get on this song somehow.” It was just the perfect soundscape, equal parts electronic and R&B, a bit of a throwback without sounding dated. When I brought it up to Jarel, he admitted that he had no idea where he wanted to go with it and that he was considering just shelving the track. We agreed to work on it together and I sat at the piano, put the track on loop, and came up with a chord progression, wrote the lyrics and melody and sent it his way. It’s been the most collaborative and organic process I’ve experienced working in music. Each song containing elements intrinsic to ourselves as individuals, combined to make something uniquely Tropic.

Jarel: All of the songs on our EP started off with a rough draft of something I have been fiddling around with. Once I come up with something that I feel Jo-B can sing to, I send it his way. If he likes it from there, it’s a back and forth process until we’re both 100% happy with it. Whenever I get back the vocals from him, it always changes the way I think about the song. Also chopping up his voice has been a huge part of all the songs on the EP. Jo-B even contributed additional chord progressions, bass rhythms and melodies, so it’s truly been a team effort.

Let’s talk about your new Earth Wind and Fire cover. Why did you choose September? What were you hoping to convey that was new and fresh with this cover?

Tropic: We made this list of songs to cover and this song was at the top of both of our lists so we decided to try it. They’re also one of our top bands of all time so we really wanted to do it justice. It’s the most feel-good song in the world and our EP was pretty melancholic, so it made for a perfect contrast.

What lyric from ‘September’ do you find yourself most drawn to?

Jo-B: “Our hearts were ringing / in the key that our souls were singing”. I like the imagery of heart and soul being perfectly in sync and in tune.

Jarel: “Love was changing the minds of pretenders”.

Where do you draw your biggest inspirations and influences from? In particularly on the “Bittersweet” EP?

Tropic: One of the things that brings us so closely together as musicians is how in sync our musical tastes and inspirations are with each other. We’re inspired by both the new and the classic. New being guys like SG Lewis, Majid Jordan, MNEK, Marian Hill and classic being Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson &, Earth, Wind and Fire.

Which musician would you like to collaborate with next? And Why?

Jo-B: There are so many artists I’d love to work with. It’d be an absolute dream come true to collaborate with Mariah Carey, she’s not only an untouchable vocalist but her songwriting abilities, while constantly overlooked, are just as inspiring to me. On a more contemporary note, I’d love to collaborate with SZA, MNEK, Tom Misch, and SG Lewis.

Jarel: SO many in so many genres! Right now I would love for us to link with a rapper. Goldlink, Amine, Anderson Paak. would be some of my dream collabs.

What lyric have you written means the most for each of you?

Jo-B: “Sun comes up as I come down / never one to say goodbye”. I wrote these lyrics during the tail-end of a relationship. I couldn’t sleep, my head was just racing with all these negative thoughts, I literally had to tire myself out and would finally drift off by sunrise.

Jarel: “Sheets are warm with the smell of you” really sticks out to me. It’s like something Jamie Foxx would say and I LOVE Jamie Foxx.

Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you as a band lately? What music have you guys been digging?

Tropic: NAO, SG LEWIS, Disclosure and Majid Jordan have some new songs we’ve been enjoying. SZA’s Ctrl album is still in heavy rotation. And newcomers Blasko, Moli and Weslee came out with EP’s that we both love. We have also been waiting impatiently for that Bondax album.

Throwing in a fun one here… What’s your favorite ’90s jam

Jo-B: Tough, I love ‘90s music but I think it’s a tie between Mariah’s Heartbreaker Remix with Da Brat and Missy Elliot and Janet Jackson’s I Get Lonely. Can go wrong with Mariah and Janet!

Jarel: Pony by Ginuwine

And what’s next for Tropic?

Tropic: We’re getting out there and playing this new music. We’ve got two music videos coming up from the Bittersweet EP. We’ve got more covers, and some remixes to round out the end of the year. Also we may or may not have started working on our next project 😉

Anything else you guys would like to add? Thank you for your time!

Jo-B: Just wanted to take the time to thank you for having us! Grateful for the opportunity and we hope you all stay tuned. We’ve got big things coming, we’re just getting started!

Jarel: No, thank you! Great questions. Really appreciate your time. Cheers!!

Stream Bittersweet EP below:

Tropic // Bittersweet

Tropic Socials:

Tropic // Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tropicofficial

Tropic // Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tropicgrams/

Until then,
Brittney W.

SAINT CLAIR // ‘D2’ [EP] – A REVIEW

Emma Topolski (Childcare) forms new solo project as ‘Saint Clair’ …

Today I bring you, Saint Clair. It’s the solo project of Childcare Bassist (they recently toured with Bastille), musician and singer-songwriter, Emma Topolski. Her debut EP, ‘D2’ was released today (11/14/18) and it’s definitely something not to be missed.
On ‘D2’ we find Emma combining elements of Jazz, Electro-Pop, and R&B music to create a multi-layered EP that’s filled with soulful future pop gems. It provides for a unique contrast against the jazzy tones in her vocals.
The lead single “I’ll Stay” which showcases stunning production through a beautifully haunting track with richly layered power vocals and forlorn lyrics. All echoing from a bygone era of dimly lit smoky jazz clubs. All of this set against a pumping electronic beat and sultry bass line that feels straight out of a Sci-Fi film soundtrack.

Saint Clair says of the track; “’I’ll Stay’ is about wrestling with your demons, trying to keep a sometimes irresistible urge under control. But also about hope and the promise of victory.”

Stream ‘I’ll Stay’

https://soundcloud.com/iamsaintclair/ill-stay

Stream ‘D2’ – https://spoti.fi/2Ok5zY1

Saint Clair Socials:
Saint Clair // SoundCloud
Saint Clair // Facebook
Saint Clair // Twitter
Saint Clair // Instagram
Until then,
Brittney W. 🙂

INTERVIEW WITH … OCNS BAND

ABOUT OCNS:

OCNS took time. Time allowed growth and change, but most importantly the opportunity to arrive at the right place in the right moment. Six years have passed, and in that time OCNS have grown from three members to six; finally becoming complete. With six unique perspectives, OCNS meld haunting tones of ambience, melodic tones of alt-rock, and top it off with indie-style and pop sensibility. OCNS released their debut single, “If I’m A Ghost” in January 2018 and are currently looking towards the near future. The follow-up single “You,” is a leap towards an ever-growing, ambient, enveloping sonic palette that will become synonymous with OCNS. OCNS is Grandy (Drums), Esdras (Bass), Isaac (Keys), Drew (Guitar), David (Guitar), and Andrew (Vocals).

    –  Behind The Curtains Media

 

OCNS // Band
OCNS // Band

I got a chance to chat with the band about their latest single and much more you can read it all below!

1. Let’s talk about a bit about the new single “You” and the inspiration behind it? Also that epic saxophone part!

OCNS: The saxophone part! We figured incorporating sax really helped with dynamics in the track. So grateful to have had some amazing feedback on it. We wrote “You” with the intended purpose of having a track that really had a running groove. The songs all about movement, and it really feels that way!  From a lyrical aspect, the track digs into how deep infatuation with someone or something can unintentionally become unhealthy for you. In some cases, serving strong feelings and desires for someone doesn’t always end up how you’d expect.

2. I love the lyric video… Can you talk a bit about that? Also can we expect an official video anytime soon?

OCNS: The lyric video was not originally planned, but we’re glad to have put it out! The video really helps in portraying our personality as a band and, I’d say, even complements the music as well. We’re definitely not world class dancers hahahah, but we do hope it got other people moving. As for an official video, it all depends on where we are in the near future with this single. Hope we can!

3. There is a noticeable difference in the soundscapes of your first song “If I’m A Ghost” and your latest “You” yet there’s still that OCNS sound. Was that something you set out to achieve or something that just happened organically?

OCNS: Absolutely! It’s certainly our goal to stamp our own sound to our music. The fact that people are catching on to that concept early on is amazing! Most of our tracks, if not all, are completely different, but we always tend to organically blend them together. We’re just thrilled to sonically have our own mark while exploring multiple genres of music.

4. Since your band has a lot of old school vibes especially with the added use of the saxophone. I wanted to ask what’s your favorite ’90s jam?

OCNS: “Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve was a BOP” -Isaac
“The whole Verve discography is great, especially the A Storm in Heaven album. Gotta say I used to love the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but the 90’s was pure RnB.” -Drew
“90’s was true RnB.” -Isaac
“Yeah, gotta go with some Destiny’s Child or Sade on that front.” – Drew
*No Ordinary Love by Sade plays in the background*

5. What was your favorite band or artist in high school?

OCNS: That all depends on who your talking to in the band! We all had wildly different tastes. Isaac loved, and has always loved Coldplay. Drew was into more hardcore stuff like Counterparts. David was super into Ben Howard. Grandy was all about some Paramore and Explosions In The Sky.  Esdras has always loved Juicy J. Andrew used to be very much obsessed with Mutemath.

 

6. What is everyone’s must have tour item?

OCNS: Most of us technically have never been on tour, despite all our years of playing music together. Andrew (vocals) has some serious touring experience from his previous band, and would probably say to always bring basic toiletries like a toothbrush, deodorant, etc. but the real key is MOIST TOWELETTES. Being able to wipe yourself down after a show or first thing after you wake up and get out of the car after hours of being crammed in there is unbelievably important.

7. Let’s talk about the album cover art for “You”. How did you decide on the cover art for this latest single and how do you think it’s set the tone in terms of the song?

OCNS: We actually had a lot of trouble finding exactly what we wanted for this album cover. Everyone agreed that it should be set at night and have some sort of neon lights in it to capture just the way the song felt to us. Dancey and nocturnal. We came across a few street shots that were absolutely beautiful, but weren’t unanimously agreed upon so we continued the search. At some point, Andrew stumbled upon this photo of the palm tree in front of what looks like someone’s house and it clicked immediately with everyone. Isaac and Andrew did some photo editing and tweaking to create what everyone has seen with the song.

8. What’s next for you guys as a band? Tour? Album?

OCNS: Right now, we are focusing on playing shows as much as the six of us possibly can, play where we never have before, as well as writing new material. We hope to put together a more solid release in the coming months, though nothing is currently set in stone. We are working diligently on a multitude of demos, but the finished piece has yet to even be conceptualized.

9. Anything else you would like to add?

OCNS: Thank you for talking to us, listening to us, and hope to talk again in the future! Y’all ask very fun-to-answer questions.

YOUCOVER.jpg

Listen to OCNS You’ here: https://open.spotify.com/track/0Yz0VKsjXg4xoRds9t9VTZ

Like OCNS on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ocnsband/

Until then,
Brittney W. 🙂 xx