First, I’d like to have a disclaimer that this is my first “music” post since 2017, which is frightful and embarrassing. There has been a flood of great music that I missed writing about. I won’t be able to catch up, unfortunately. We are just going to start now — and enter the present moment. Hope you understand. xoxo – H
Her name is Mikaela Straus. Her essence is King Princess. This Brooklyn-based goddess entered the scene with single “1950,” and has spiraled up into queer stardom now working with Mark Ronson. (If you’d like more intel, Spotify has a really great bio that you are not going to read here, but here.) I’m impressed mostly with her vocals and her attitude of self-producing. She seems to have grown up in a recording studio by result of her parents being recording artists.
After absorbing more of King Princess, I have come to the conclusion that she’s full of herself — to which I think, as opposed to what?What else should she be full of? She ought to be full of herself. We all should be full of ourselves. And this is the magic of KP. Her fullness is not “conceited,” her fullness is focused. She’s focused on being exactly who she is on every level and sharing that with us as listeners. It’s brave and heart-felt. Musically smart, and, just wow. So I’m obsessed.
If you’re not already listening to her, my top 2 starter songs are “Talia” and “Holy.”
September is about new beginnings. Listen to KP for a new beginning in self-love and self-expression. Be unafraid of who you are.
This first video below is King Princess talking with other people about who they truly are, too. (I love this.) And Mikaela, if you read this, can we be friends, like right now?! I’m rooting for you. ❤
One studio album that stood out to us this year was We Are KING, the debut full-length album that emerged from Minneapolis and LA based group KING.
Nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Artist, this all soul, all female group, has launched itself into the same category as Rihanna and Beyoncé. Two twin sisters, Paris and Amber Strother, and long-time friend Anita Bias, make up the dreamsicle pop-like trio who gathered much of their musical prowess and influence from Prince, which shouldn’t come as a surprise once you hear their music.
It was a tough year, they mentioned at their New Year’s Eve show at the Fine Line Music Café in Minneapolis on December 31st, 2016. To lose Prince wasn’t easy when he had been their mentor. They continued to say how Prince’s encouragement to continue writing their music their way was what got them to a grammy nomination. He guaranteed that we would be nominated if we kept doing what we were doing and sure enough we did.
At the New Year’s show I found myself among an intimate crowd of friends and family, and the vibe couldn’t have been more ethereal or surreal. The warm spiritual sounds of synth-pop rose from the stage like tropical vapor. There was so much freshness, vitality, authenticity, and groove in the music. I lost track of time and danced slowly, swaying, child-like. Congratulations to KING for already making beautiful music and for creating a beautiful beginning for their artistry to soar into our ears.
It is with great pleasure that we announce this month’s featured album to blast as Strangers by RAC.
Technically known as Remix Artist Collective, this is the solo-project of a man named André Allen Anjos, originally from Portugal. He works diligently to reinvent artists’ songs for a distinct and fresh sound. He has done a number of quality remixes in his lengthy career with production, sound engineering and the music business. Strangers, however, is the his first full-length album – a product of collaborative genius.
It is perfect timing that this release came in the spring, just as we are itching our legs to stretch, move and dance again as the sun comes out from it’s winter barracks. Featuring artists like Tegan & Sara, Penguin Prison, Tokyo Police Club, Alex Ebert, Karl Kling, Kele & MNDR, the whole album is rich with fresh voices and packed with dance pop.
With lyrics like “we all know you’re made of plastic, you might seem like something classic, but your cheap sunglasses. . . I see right through you,” it has a flair of punk within it’s groovy boogie summer feel.
Our favorite single . . .
This artist is definitely one to notice, given that his work has permeated the airstreams under the radar for so long. Now do him justice by jamming to each track for the rest of May and see how much more joy you’ll have.
December marks our retreat back to snowy wilderness roots – so listening to this traditional bluegrass/folk-rock band originally from northern Minnesota is the perfect music to stream through your headphones.
The music, if you are really listening, will actually flip your heart upside down because it’s dripping with unembellished truth. Once you’re over the biting heart ache that is evoked from the echoing howls in “Hollow” and “Ghosts,” you’ll experience extreme gratitude for the musical skill of the winter craftsmen that created this. You will breathe fuller and love deeper. Raw is the best word to describe its lyrics. Lugubrious (look it up) is the word to describe its tone.
“I’m a monster just like you – I’m an animal, it’s true.”
Listening suggestion:Get out your paint set, find a blank canvas, and turn on “Winners.”
If you’ve heard the Robin Schulz Remix of “Prayer in C” then you’re already familiar with the female vocals of Lilly Wood & The Prick. Nili Hadida & Benjamin Cotto create a cool electro-pop vibe with a twist of funk in The Fight. Unlike popular pop, this has experimental alternative flavors that indicate stale feelings of teen angst. On every track there’s jamming instrumentals paired with brooding contemplative lyrics, like “I’ve been trying to get myself to be quiet / I’ve been trying to get myself better.” The band sings “give me back my youth, my strength, my happiness” as if the album ought to bring them back to a happier place. As avid music listeners and fans, we nod along swaying our hips because we agree with truth when we hear it.
“If you expect too much of things and people in general you can only be disappointed.”
Listening suggestion: Play on vinyl at a holiday get-together with warm beverages and tinseled decorations.
Our second recommendation is Golden Echo by Kimbra.
Kimbra caught worldly attention first with her duet in Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Now on her own album she comes out with surrealist and transcendental vibrations that get you lost in a whole new world. We get lost in her beyond catchy tunes that are just littered with funk influence. You will be transported back to the “heat of the moment” in “Teen Heat” and you’ll feel like “tearing up the streets” in “90s Music”. Our favorite track is (so hard to choose) “Waltz Me to the Grave” because of the three part trip it triggers. The slowed tempo with the echoing high-pitched chorus really dances you “down to the ground.” You’ll enter a place of “love and disarray” as you drown in a psychedelic high from Kimbra’s metallic voice.
Listening suggestion: Blast “Madhouse” during that time between slipping out of the shower and sneaking out of the house.
September marks the end of beachy hakuna matata tunes to a moody “wake me up when September ends” attitude. Autumn opens a realm of transition into winter that will be best paired with FKA twigs’ album LP1.
“I know it hurts, you know, I’d put you first . . .”
Tahliah Barnett’s sound is like a “little lovely gun” dreamily searching for any reason loss or pain has come her way. With lyrics like “so lonely trying to be yours / when you’re looking for so much more,” FKA twigs will carry you through your recent break-up, an unexpected change, or any blue day in September.
August’s album (technically an EP) is Look Like You Love Itby Elliphant, a swedish pop artist whose sound is loud, passionate and engrossing. She embodies a fierceness of a wild sub-Saharan desert beast ready to stomp out any obstacle. Her style is aggressively motivating with lyrics like “fuck tomorrow / we’re only getting younger” and “prison is for you to visit and get out of” — nothing scares the Elliphant. With collaborations between Diplo and Skrillex, her music hits full-throttle in your speakers, demanding you to release your bottled emotions at the same intensity too — “all or nothing.” She can hit darker moods like “I need you to take all my shadows for a walk tonight” from “Down On Life,” however, she stays true to her power stance, uplifting with “You may be poor but music is free / a shitty day but then you press play,” proving that her music is meant to empower.