Underrated: Roy Blair’s Cat Heaven

Art is a form of self-expression that requires consistency and patience to perfect. LA based singer/songwriter Roy Blair took his time in creating and releasing his debut project, “Cat Heaven.” Set to release in the summer of 2017, Blair admits the final product’s quality was not up to par with his expectations, ultimately postponing its release. The artistic decision to push back the date was met with recognition and praise, as this project feels personal and nearly perfect.

Roy first hit the scene in 2016 alongside alternative rap boyband BROCKHAMPTON and even provided backup vocals for Kevin Abstract’s solo project “American Boyfriend.” That same year he released his first single “Thunder.” Opening up with mellow vocals and guitar strums, the track crescendos into an emotive and vibrant final production. Produced by BROCKHAMPTON’s Joba and Bearface, “Thunder” depicts the struggles of a teen transitioning into adulthood which sets the tone for the rest of the album.

“Cat Heaven,” released in December 2017, takes an indie-pop approach with a tinge of RnB. He bounces back and forth from his angelic vocal abilities to his upbeat rap delivery. Standout tracks like “Alex,” “Grow Up,” “Switchblade” and “Kansas” show off Roy’s honest lyricism and top-notch production quality through creative vocal effects and samples.

Roy proves he has artistic potential but there is always room for improvement. From the lyrics to the sampled beats, songs such as “Jane,” “Grand Theft Auto” and “California” feel awkwardly delivered. They lack the catchiness and ear-wormy sounds heard in “Thunder” and “Kansas.” They are decent songs but not my cup of tea – a cup I cannot even finish.

New to the scene, Roy Blair has the bold creativity and talent to make it in the industry. With his strong ties to BROCKHAMPTON and other producers, Blair is an underrated artist who deserves more recognition for his work. “Cat Heaven” is a stunning effort from 2017 and I regret not listening to him sooner. His lo-fi style with RnB influences bears a similar sound to those of Rex Orange County and Yeek, yet maintains its originality. I am a big fan and am excited to see his future projects.

Favorites: Grow Up, Alex, Happy, Thunder, Kansas

Least Favorite: Jane, Grand Theft Auto, California

Featured Image from Pinterest.

LED Anniversary VII

Strobe lights flash at you from every angle, bass pounds from the speakers through your body and soul, people are trading everything from bracelets to Snapchats to hugs, and you’re listening to your favorite artists while everyone around you has the biggest smile on their face – this is the epitome of your typical rave.

Specifically, this scenario describes my time at LED Anniversary, which I attended on Sunday, February 18, 2018. Decked out in a colorful bodysuit, fishnets and stacks on stacks of “kandi” bracelets, I walked through the doors of Valley View Casino Center with my two best friends by my side. This wasn’t my first rodeo, though. I’ve been going to raves and festivals for about two years now. While other veteran ravers can claim years and years of shows under their belt, I guess you could say I’m fairly new to the rave scene. However, I’ve been to enough events to know the ropes of rave and festival culture.

I was excited to introduce my friends to the rave lifestyle, and I knew they were counting down the days until LED Anniversary came around; but once we got there, we all knew our lives were about to change. Granted, LED events aren’t the biggest and best shows in EDM, but they’re still a fun and local way to rave.

This year’s lineup featured famous names in the EDM industry such as French DJ Madeon, house devotee Malaa, headbanging Herobust and Swedish bass-house band Brohug. Getter, Medasin and Rickyxsan were also there showcasing their musical talents. I had seen Madeon and Malaa three times before, so I knew what to expect from their sets.

Madeon had added some new tracks in since the last time I had seen him – at Escape: Psycho Circus around Halloween. He opened with a remix of his and Porter Robinson’s famous song “Shelter,” and the crowd went wild as the song built up momentum. I actually FaceTimed my other friend (who’s literally the biggest Madeon fan ever) during most of the show, and we built off each other’s energy, her wishing she was there with me and not stuck at school in Alabama. Hugo (Madeon’s actual name) definitely threw down and I can’t wait to see him at his next performance.

Other crowd favorites throughout the night included Getter and Malaa. I felt bad for Getter as the sound equipment failed not once, but twice, during his set; it definitely was a vibe-killer, but I continued to scream that I loved Getter and his infamous bulldog Budders whenever the crowd went silent. Malaa lit up the room later in the night with some solid house music and had everyone on their feet dancing and shuffling.

Herobust closed the night going hard with fiery and energetic dubstep tracks. By this time, my friends and I had made our way up to the very front, and we joined the line of headbangers breaking their necks at the rail. We danced without a care in the world all the way until 4 a.m., even though we still had school the next day as SDSU does not call off classes on President’s Day (*sigh*).

My third LED event was definitely one for the books. I think I’ve also successfully turned my friends into ravers as they’re dying to attend my next event, Beyond Wonderland, with me in March. Now we’ve just got to make it through the next month of school!

Boomshaka 2018 Music Festival at Valley View Casino Center

Reggae is definitely my thing. If you know me or listen to my 11 a.m. Wednesday radio show, you know this is completely true. When I was presented with the opportunity to cover the largest reggae music festival in San Diego in February I was ecstatic. Boomshaka was definitely a night to remember. This was a JAM PACKED day full of several amazing reggae artists including some from San Diego!

The show opened with Aloha Radio and The Expanders. Immediately there was lots of dancing and plenty of good vibes to go around. The lovely Hirie performed shortly after. If you haven’t heard of her, click here to hear her popular song, “You Won’t Be Alone.” Hirie’s seven-piece band is originally from San Diego and has been nominated for Best World Music at the upcoming 2018 San Diego Music Awards. Let me tell you, Hirie puts on a SHOW when she performs. Hirie and her band danced their entire set. There are not many female artists in the reggae industry, but I could easily see Hirie taking over the scene in the coming years.

The Original Wailers followed. This band was formed by Al Anderson, Bob Marley’s guitarist, and they performed several recognized songs including “No Woman No Cry” and “Stir It Up.” The whole crowd was singing along for their entire performance. Pretty unique to have the Original Wailers perform, because they keep the spirit and legacy of Bob Marley alive.

The legendary Don Carlos was next. You could tell this guy has a blast when he’s performing. He danced as he entered the stage at the beginning of his performance and was constantly laughing throughout the night. He even invited Kyle McDonald from Slightly Stoopid to come on stage and sing with him. The crowd went wild. Total surprise. McDonald and Don Carlos are actually good friends on and off stage.

San Diego natives, Tribal Seeds, came ready to rock everyone’s socks off. These guys are wild. At one point they were rocking out so hard I was wondering if we were at a reggae show or a rock show. They performed many songs from their new album, “Roots Party,” which was released in 2017 and instantly hit the top of the charts. They were awesome.

Stick Figure closed out the show. They opened with “Fire on the Horizon” and their recent single “Above the Storm,” and the bass was turned up so high in the venue that it rattled every inch of my body. Cocoa the Tour Dog also made an appearance. This cute and friendly Australian Shepherd hangs out on stage for every Stick Figure performance. Can’t forget to add that @cocoathetourdog has more Instagram followers than I ever will in my entire life.

Although the concert was held indoors at Valley View Casino Center, the concert managers wanted to give a village-festival vibe to the inside of the venue. There were numerous vendors there, including Cali Vibes, the creators of the “Support Local Reggae” t-shirts –  I was lucky enough to snag one.

Reggae concerts are so unique on their own. Everyone is in such a good mood, vibing to the music… you can’t help but join in on the fun. And reggae concert goers are incredibly friendly. You could practically walk to the front of the stage without bumping into others; everyone’s just loving life doing their own thing. Fortunately in San Diego, we get quite a few reggae artists visiting. If you ever get a chance to go to a local reggae concert, big or small, take it. Boomshaka was held in the month of February in honor of Bob Marley’s birth month. Since this was the first-annual Boomshaka Music Festival, you can definitely catch this event again next year.

If some of these artists are unfamiliar to you, do yourself a favor and check them out… or tune in to my reggae show Wednesday’s at 11 a.m.! I’m always sharing new songs, whether they are local artists or are recently produced.

Attached are some photos from the night. Hope you enjoy. 🙂

 

 

 

Listen to The Ready Set

The year is 2018 and Jordan Witzigreuter, more widely known as The Ready Set, is still not getting the musical recognition that he deserves.

Everyone knows him for his hit single, “Love Like Woe,” which came out way back in 2010. Back then, when trying to convince my friends to give his music a listen, I called him the “Emo Justin Bieber.” This may or may not be important, nor correct about him, or his music. But I was like 13 when I made this suggestion. And I just wanted to share this fun new indie pop music with other 13-year-old girls.

Everything this one-man-band puts out is an honest bop. Starting from his first album, “Temper Tantrum,” to his most recent release. He definitely puts something out for everyone. A lot of his music is considered electro-pop, indie pop, synth-pop and just straight up pop. All of this means that it is perfect for dancing around your room and feeling happy. At least, for me it does.

Not only does he have a lot of good dance music, but, interestingly enough, Jordan has been a part of some other pretty fun releases. For example, in 2010, Jordan released a Christmas Ep. Later, in 2015, came something called the “Celebrity EP.” The latter of these I strongly recommend checking out. It features just four songs dedicated to different celebrities. Some of these including Taylor Swift and Nicholas Cage. You can also find him on a couple “Punk Goes Pop” volumes.

It has been eight long years, and I am still pushing people to listen to what he puts out. Recently, Jordan released a single called “Life in Pink.” The song came out on Feb. 15. I have already listened to it an embarrassing number of times (meaning, on repeat for a couple days now).

This new song weirdly makes me feel nostalgic for a time that I cannot remember. It is like falling in love. If this song were in a movie, it would be that part of a rom-com when the characters start to fall for each other in the middle of an artsy montage scene.

Fortunately, for listeners, old and new, a new EP is coming soon. According to Witzigreuter, a new EP will be released on March 16. If you have not heard anything by him since 2010, I strongly recommend starting now with this new single! Here’s his Spotify, please enjoy!

 

Featured image found here.