Now Listening: Solange

Hey dudes and dudettes! I hope you like power house because oh man! Solange is killin’ it with her new album. A Seat at the Table was released a few weeks ago. Just like her older sister Beyoncé, Solange is a queen. She compiles R&B with soul and jazz to eloquently create an album worth talking about.

Solange has beautifully grown into herself as a woman and is shares her art in an exquisite way. A Seat at the Table is soft yet stern. Solange is empowered in her identity and independence. Rich, generous, and honest, this album is already a historical landmark for black cultural and social history.

A Seat at the Table documents the struggle of indignities of the current society in 2016. Artistic and emotionally rich, this album is open and radical. Solange does so all the while opening songs with rich piano solos and jazzy ensembles. Her R&B roots show through in a minimalist way. Beats, bass lines, synths, drowsy horns and trembling guitars, Solange pays tribute to the era and funk and soulful groove.

Impressive and provoking, Solange’s A Seat at the Table is a remarkable album full of power that is brutally honest and tender. It transcends space and time and will be a beautiful artifact from 2016 forever and ever.

Check out a few of the best tracks below. ❃

 

 

 

Now Listening: City Club

Hey Aztecs! Here on Now Listening with Lala I am very pleased to announce that The Growlers have finally released their new album, City Club. I have been patiently awaiting new music from this Southern California band, and am very excited to break it down for you.

The Growlers are typically known for the coined term “Beach Goth”, which is also a music festival that is happening this October in Orange County. Now, this particular band combines garage rock with elements of surf, folk, and a bit of a rockabilly 60’s vibe. Their unique sound is what has given them such popularity in the last few years.

City Club, however, strays from the typical country rock that we’ve seen from The Growlers in the past. Produced by Julian Casablancas and Shawn Everett, this album contains a much more synth funk and retro vibe. Pulling elements from the disco era, the tracks on this album have a more electro pop sound than previous albums from The Growlers.

Not that different is any bad, City Club is side stepping into a direction that the band has not dipped their toes into yet. This album is still fantastic overall, but it just might take a few listens to warm up to the tracks.

A few popular and favorite tracks on the album so far include the first track, City Club. Upbeat and very dancey, this track still maintains that Growler’s attitude, full of reverb, just less synth. In addition, World Unglued is a very good track. Reminding me most similarly to The Growler’s previously folky sound, this particular track talks about just letting go of the world around you and setting yourself free. Swanky and eclectic, The Growler’s really nailed it with this song.

Take a listen to these awesome tracks below and don’t forget to tune into my show, In Your Speaker, from 3-4pm PST on Tuesdays! ❃

 

 

Now Listening: G.L.O.S.S.

Happy Tuesday pals! Welcome to another week of Now Listening with Lala. Today I’ll be sharing a punk band from Olympia, Washington. These badass chicks break norms and challenge society through their music.

G.L.O.S.S., which stands for Girls Living Outside Society’s Sh*t, is a hardcore band consisting of trans-feminist punk girls who bend gender norms and represent queers from the scene. While most feminists promote peace, G.L.O.S.S. promotes getting a little rowdy in order to get their points across. I know, very punk of them.

Having released two EPs, one in January 2015 and another in June 2016, G.L.O.S.S. has received a lot of recognition for pushing the envelope on what it means to be a girl and a non-binary human in the punk world. Their music is loud and angry, but all with good reason. In today’s age, sometimes screaming and fighting and pushing back is necessary in order to be heard.

Their most recent release, Trans Day of Revenge, is aggressive. Portraying the world as violent, G.L.O.S.S. communicates that the only logical and intelligent response is to be angry. Lyrics spit like rapid fire, and indite societal issues that are not exclusive to the trans and queer world. Calling out cops for their excessive police brutality and standing up for black lives, G.l.O.S.S. maintains their hardcore persona all the while embedding politically complex issues into their emotionally unequivocal music. The sensitive details of their music give occasional rhythm and poetry to their otherwise hardcore d-beat sound.

Unfortunately, upon reaching their newfound fame, G.L.O.S.S. has chosen to break up as a band. After declining an offer for a 50K record deal from the major indie label Epitaph, G.L.O.S.S. realized that their fame was unwanted and simply stressed them out. True to the nature of the punk scene, for G.L.O.S.S., it was not about reaching popularity and making it in the big leagues. The punk they care about was intended to challenge themselves and each other to be better people. Which, they achieved. So with that, G.L.O.S.S. will be no more in a very short time. They will be playing the Not Dead Yet Fest in Toronto in October, and additionally a farewell show somewhere in the Northwest, TBA.

We had fun while they lasted, and G.L.O.S.S. will survive in the world of hardcore and queers for a long long time. Check out some tunes from their demo below, and get your hands on Trans Day of Revenge. ❃

 

Now Listening: Best of Summer 2016

Hey Aztecs! Welcome back to another semester of Now Listening with Lala! Even through we’re back on track with school and Fall is just around the corner, I’ve still got sweet sweet Summertime on my mind. With that said, I’ll be sharing the Top 3 albums dropped during the Summer of 2016 that you should be paying attention to.

1. Freetown SoundBlood Orange 

Devonté “Dev” Hynes began making music under the pseudonym Blood Orange in 2011. His most recently released album, Freetown Sound is simultaneously soothing and striking. As he speaks out to the racial injustice in modern day society through his music, the tones of Freetown Sound are melodic and jazzy.

A unique tool that Hynes exercises in this album is the use of vocal clips, spoken-word poems, and narratives. These clips give insight to struggle of colored people and refers multiple times to the Black Lives Matter movement. Songs such as “Hands Up” and “Love Ya” quite openly address the issues of the racial inequality that is occuring in today’s society. While a heavily emotional album, Freetown Sound is intense and empowering. It is uplifting and hopeful for positive change in the future. The sheer rawness of these tracks are what make this album so special. Check out the song “Best of You” below.

 

2. BlondeFrank Ocean

Highly anticipated and probably not so patiently awaited, Frank Ocean has finally released new music since Channel Orange in 2012. Blonde is much more meditative and calming. This album is cozy and emotional. In addition, it strays from Ocean’s previous album, which pursues a more eclectic and funky sound. A clear maturation of Frank Ocean as a person and his music is what can be heard through Blonde. 

Abstract and mysterious, the R&B roots that Ocean came from are hard to find in Blonde. The tracks lack a lot of rythym and beat, replaced with lots of avant-garde melodies. Receiving mixed reviews, Blonde is vastly different from the Frank Ocean most love and know. This new direction is not at all stepping backwards, just sideways. At 28, Ocean is expressing a multidimensional self and the track “Ivy” portrays this well. Percussionless and heavy with guitar reverb, this song reflects on Ocean’s youth and past regret. The stripped down track is one of many examples of the emotion Frank puts forth on the album. Listen to the first track “Nikes” below.

 

3. HOPELESSNESSANOHNI

Formerly releasing music Antony, ANOHNI has authored a radical album that progresses towards change thats is both necessary and positive. HOPELESSNESS is a protest and dance anthem at the same time. Addressing issues such as racism, peace, even climate change, the melodic and peaceful sounds that ANOHNI presents in this album are deceiving. If you listen closely, ANOHNI is hoppingly mad at what is going on in the world today and uses music to express so. Passionately delivered, the tracks to this album are intense and highly emotional.

With such heavy subject matter, ANOHNI is still able to create an album  carrying to a beat that makes the listener want to jive and vibe.The track “Drone Bomb Me” portrays all that ANOHNI is expressing very well. This album is astoundingly melodic, a combination of both jazz and electronic music. Check out “Crisis” below.

 

All of these albums cry out against multiple injustices in today’s modern society. Sweet reminders that we are all human, and kindness is key ❃ You can listen in on my show “In Your Speaker” from 3-4 pm on Tuesdays!