Sunday, December 1, 2013

Universal Conquest Awards 2013

TOTU is back! It's time for the third annual Universal Conquest Awards. Due to time restraints, I'm doing things a bit different this year. Now we are going to vote for things in waves. This means that the categories will won't be released all at once, but rather one at a time in order for each participant to get their fair share of the lime light.

Today we welcome in Song of the Year for voting. We have the five chosen songs from across the year, along with two wild cards. The entries are:

Kids Without Instruments - Nausea Nostalgia
Brandon Hilton - Daddy
Kim Smith - Jealous
Dream Beats + Molly - Beneath The Lights
Cascada - Glorious
Levi Kreis - Gonna Be Alright
Natalia Kills - Saturday Night
Giulietta - No De$$ert
Colette Carr - Ham feat Ben J
Adam Barta - Superficial
Hyper Crush - Visions of Coleco (Wild Card)
XELLE - Red Flag (Wild Card)

Who do you think deserves to be the indie music world's best song this year? Voting ends Christmas day!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Song of the Month - Adam Barta "Superficial"

I know, I know. I just did a post on this two days ago. So what? The song of the month is all about the best release (indie pop artists get priority) that was released this month. And go figure -- I'm in love with Adam Barta's new single "Superficial". No it's some cheesey Tan Mom track. This is a real single. And it's hot!

I have been waiting for this moment for literally years. It has been quite some time since Adam's last solo single "Q&A". He has been busy trying to create a buzz by making a song with nearly every psudo-famous person in the world (one of them was someone famous just for looking like Kim Kardashian. I mean c'mon!). Thankfully he's ready to step back out on his own, and "Superficial" is exactly the track he needs to do it.

"Superficial" is a fun electropop track that gets everyone dancing. This was made with club plays in mind, which isn't a bad route to go in this day and age. The track's lyrics give an interesting spin to the tradition views on life. Instead of being ashamed of being superficial, he is embracing it. He would rather be living life and being himself, happy and free, than "deep" and miserable. It's certianly not the common opinion, but it really does give an awesome look in from the other side, showing that everyone is entitled to be themselves.

I've already covered bases with the video, but I have to say two things once more. "Oh lordly that Rebecca Glasscock" and "Damnit, Adam! You still haven't hooked me up with that dancer!". I think that puts everything in order here.

You can grab the new track on iTunes! It's still climbing and we want this one to shoot right up the charts! Love it? Hate it? Love me!? Comment below and share, share, share!

Young London Kicks It Up With New Single

To say that I've been lacking on my Young London updates for you all is an understatement. I missed their last album, and the last video they put out got deleted (mysteriously) from YouTube before I was able to put up a story on it. Thankfully, Sarah and Matt never stop, and they have released a new single for me to ramble on about. Let's check out "Take A Chance".

I don't know if I could ever listen to a Young London song I don't instantly fall in love with. This track in particular, contrary to my initial thought of it being an ABBA cover, is no different. I actually kind of like this song more than the previous YL tracks, because I'm a huge Sarah fan, and she takes control for most of this song. As highly involved as Matt is in the production of the tracks, it's nice to see Sarah take the spotlight now and again.

This is another new song that is not from their previous album Instincts. Young London fans and I are hoping that this is the entry into a new period for them. For an indie band, they pump out music quickly, making this the beginning of their third venture in the short three years they have been active.

"Take A Chance" is a fun electropop romp through the new vibe of Young London. It mixes in a beautiful piano piece, making it feel much more two dimensional than things you would hear on today's radio. The lyrics are not explicitly clear on what they mean, but from what I gather, this song is about taking a chance on love. Go figure.

You can grab the track on iTunes. It's only 99cents. TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Adam Barta's New Music Video Is A Bit Superficial

And I mean that in the best way possible. Today, gay pop sensation Adam Barta dropped his new single "Superficial", along with a killer music video. Anybody notice that familiar face? We'll get to that in a moment. For now, enjoy Adam being damned for all eternity in a mirror. Think that spoiled the ending? No. It didn't, you prostitution whore.

Remember that familiar face I was talking about earlier. Yeah. That's Rebecca Glasscock from the first season of RuPaul's Drag Race, now airing as the "Lost Season" on Logo. She appears as the evil witch that is jealous (?) of Adam in the video, luring him into a mirror world. But never fear, Adam, there's a sexy prince to kiss you back to life from that poison apple. But for some reason he remains trapped anyway. Ok, so the plot doesn't make sense but look at how awesome they look!

It's really not as bad as it sounds. The quality is a huge leap from his past few videos, and the costuming is a pleasure. Rebecca looked like she was having a blast on the set and meshed well with Barta. I do have to say that I'm going to need the name, phone number, and Facebook of the guy dancing on Adam's left during the shots of him and Glasscock on the rooftop. That boy was fiiiiiine.

The song is the best that we've heard from Adam in a great while. For so long now, he has been releasing tracks with reality tv personalities that aren't as top notch as he'd been before. Thankfully now he's teamed up with some of the team behind Kim Smith's album Nova to bring us a true pleasure to the ears.

Team Barta is currently trying to get this song on the iTunes charts. It's steadily climbing, but it needs more support. Head on over and drop a cold 99cents to get yourself a great pop track and support an indie artist who needs a shot at the big times!

Album Review - Fifth Harmony "Better Together"

Fifth Harmony is my secret obsession. I may not have been into X Factor, but I can say that these five girls have some serious talent. They have been all over the Disney Channel, and they are besties with  Demi Lovato, but now is the time for them to shine on their own. Let's check out Fifth Harmony's debut EP, Better Together.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Album Review: Hyper Crush "Vertigo"

OK, I'll admit it. I love Hyper Crush. I mean it should be obvious with as many times as I post about them (and how often I make it a point to say how sexy Preston is), but I thought I should point it out just in case you are incredibly dense and hadn't caught on. Not long ago they released their newest album Vertigo, and of course I've gotta review it!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

XELLE Returns As A Duo In "Red Flag"

My original intention was to not make a big deal about it, but in their latest video, it is extremely obvious. XELLE has gone from a trio to a duo, and Drag Race All Star Mimi Imfurst seems to have taken a leave. The good news is XELLE hasn't changed much in their sound and message, and they are ready to rock your world with a brand new single, lending their voice to a great cause. Check out "Red Flag".

It is so great to have XELLE back in the spotlight. The video premiered earlier this week, and they've already been featured all over the net, including Huffington Post! (hint hint, I'm totally up for writing for them!). The track is a message about the injustices occurring in Russia with their homophobic laws and reactions. To be honest, the lyrics can even be applied to many places in the US, as homophobia is sadly still rampant in our very own nation.

The song is so catchy and fun. I can't help but feel like this was written with Mimi in mind, due to there being a speaking/rap portion towards the end, that would usually be her's. This makes me wonder if her departure was as sudden as it seems, as music takes a while to produce and perfect. Regardless, the track is a fun mesh of current pop and drum line, giving it a real military "umph" that it needed. My only complaint is that the track could come across as too preachy, as they were very frank as to what they had to say. Then again, some things are better left no beaten around the bush.

What brings the whole project together is the video. It is packed full of inspirational quotes on not only gay rights, but human rights in general. It reiterates that homosexuals are people and deserve to be treated equally. It also depicts the two dressed in military regalia (looking STUNNING), and even sporting Hitler staches on occasion. At least they know how to rock it. In true Zach Adam tradition, the video doesn't follow a plot, but instead focuses on powerful imagery to get it's message across, and I think simply watching this video will quickly let the viewer know all they need.

The song is up on iTunes. Grab it now and join the cause!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kevin Mikal Drops Yummy New Video

I haven't had a chance to mention Kevin Mikal on the site before, I could give you a ton of excuses as to why, but you all know why this video is getting attention. It's got Willam. Oh, Willam. I mean, at least I didn't cover their song "Blurred Bynes", right? Check out "Candy Yum Yum"!

Ok, so it's not only because Willam is in it. I mean it's got Honey Mahogany (whom I interviewed! Yay me!) and the lovely boys of Gay of Thrones (if you haven't seen their hilarious take on hit TV Show Game of Thrones, check them out on Youtube!). Jokes aside, this song is pretty addicting. While it's not groundbreaking, it is fun and upbeat, which is something I always love posting about here on Taking Over The Universe.

The song is an over-sexualized metaphor using candy instead of, well, you know. It features Willam heavily as the "video ho", feeding Mikal all sorts of candy and looking stunning on her own. Kevin is very gorgeous, and likes to push the boundaries of masculine and feminine -- meaning he's completely ripped and "manly" but isn't afraid to wear half shirts and booty shorts. Honey Mahogany is only featured in one sequence, and Julian and Jonathan only pop up occasionally. I guess it can be difficult to fit in that many guest stars in as short a time as a music video.

This track comes from his EP Candy Yum Yum released in May of this year. It features four other equally fierce tracks that are worthy of any music collection. Pick it up today on iTunes.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cherie Lily Serves Sex Appeal In New Video "Body"

Cherie Lily has always been one of my favorites. She has been werking her way around the greater California area, but as far as I am concerned (a busy man in the midwest), she has been gone from the scene for some time. Well she's back to remind us all why we love her -- because she's sexy of course!

This video is hot! There's no way around it. It has something for pretty much everyone. It has buff dudes,it has queens that know how to vogue, and it has Cherie Lily, one of the hottest ladies of all time. I mean c'mon! What more could you ask for? There isn't a plot, mostly just Cherie and her ladyboys performing some sick choreography. The whole ordeal is presented in pseudo-wide screen with the "bars" at the top and bottom being close-ups of the muscle hunks she teased us with at the beginning of the video.

I do have to say that "Body" isn't my favorite track from her debut EP. I was hoping for something more along the lines of "Do Your Thing Girl", but beggars can't be choosers. The song isn't bad by any means on it's own. It is a fun track that makes you want to get up and move, and that's exactly what fitness nut Lily is all about.

It's great to have her back in the spotlight and awesome to see her back on the site. I know she has some new music in the works, and if you've seen her live, you've probably got a taste of what she's got in store. As for the rest of us, we will have to wait until she releases the song -- or maybe gives me more information. Keep hope, guys. Cherie isn't giving up. Not by a long shot!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Dina Delicious!

Every so often here at Taking Over The Universe, I like to take the time to recognize the birth of a special someone in the lifespan of the site. Today is a celebration for one special lady who has not only been an inspiring artist, but also a great supporter of the site and myself as a human being. I'd like to give a big warm happy birthday to Dina Delicious!

How can you describe Dina Delicious. I like the words "brave", "original" and "hilarious". I may not have known Dina for very long, but I can say she is an amazing person, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. She's touched many lives with her personality and her life story of striving to be who she feels she really is.

I rarely get personal on this site, but I feel like this needs to be said. A while back, I was in a bit of a dark place in my life. I don't often share on social media, but sometimes I leave cryptic messages for those who pay attention. It came as a surprise to me that out of everyone on my friends list, Dina was one who payed attention. She quickly shot me a message letting me know that I was not alone in the world and that there are always people who care about you and want to see you succeed.

Well Dina, the feeling is mutual. I care about you, and I want to see you succeed, too. Even further than you already have. You're a bright star, honey, and today moreso than any other day, is your shining moment. Live it up and have the best birthday ever!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Check Out Two Pre-Release Hyper Crush Tracks!

I was literally in the middle of writing a story about how Hyper Crush had released a track to get people excited about the new album Vertigo due out next week when they dropped another bomb. Oh, and by bomb, I mean track. That's right, including singles we now have four tracks from the new album and it's not even out yet. Let's check out both the title track "Vertigo" and "Illegal"!

I know I'll be reviewing these tracks next week, so I'll keep this short and sweet. The two tracks "Vertigo" and "Illegal" are both up on SoundCloud as exclusives for different blogs.  Both of the songs are very addictive and show movement in the same direction as both "Visions of Coleco" and "Rage" have been. I can honestly say I'm excited for this album.

To be honest, I feel like "Illegal" is not the best track, but with the other three songs being so close to perfection it can almost be tasted, it's really hard to live up to it. With none of the other songs preview-able on iTunes, this is all we have to go on. I guess we will have to wait until Tuesday to get the full picture on what's going on with this release. Will there be any more misses or will it be an album full of hits?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

John Rowley and Alyce Renee Return With New Single

When we last left Mr. John Rowley, he had decided to make the move from vocalist to full on producer. He has followed through with this plan by releasing another track on YouTube, teaming up once again with high school friend Alyce Renee. This time we have a very disco-inspired tune called "Intoxication". Give it a listen!

This track is very different from their last release together back in August. This time around things are much more upbeat and fun. Whereas "Notice I'm Alive" was dark and ambient, "Intoxication" is fun, flirty, and quite danceable. It's still unclear if the two are just experimenting to find their sound, or just having fun making music among the two of them.

I found a lot of pros and cons for this one, however. "Notice I'm Alive" seemed to have a lot more thought and production behind it. While I really like the style and flow of "Intoxication", it felt far inferior in quality to the previous song. What I did notice is that Alyce has become much more comfortable with recording, as her performance vocally here shows distinct improvement.

These two make a great combo. They have been friends for years, and it really shines through in the way they work together. I think the major problem here was that it may have been rushed. This release came in at just about a month apart from their last release. I would love to see the two of them slow things down and gather together a few strong and polished singles for a full fledged EP release. They have talent, charisma, and youth on their side, and that can go a long way in a business like music.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Delta Work Is Still Hilarious

Oh, Delta Work. Where have you been all this time? Of all of the shining stars that came out of season three of RuPaul's Drag Race, Delta was always the one I could relate to the most. She was big, she was funny, and she was better than you. I mean that's me right there! Anyway, she's emerged from the shadows back into the World of Wonder spotlight with her own shopping show!

Ok, so maybe she hasn't exactly been hiding, but she certainly hasn't been the focal point of the WOW machine lately (as opposed to others like Willam and Shangela who, for better or worse, refuse to go away). Seemingly out of nowhere, Delta is back in our lives, and you should all be grateful.

For her first installment, she is selling her famous faux-skinny shirt that she wore the night she was sent packing back in 2011. She is really out to sell this thing, too. The good news is it's only starting at 100 dollars (or some naughty pics, if that's your thing). I have to say she should focus more on that headband, however, because it is pretty fabulous. In this video, Delta does what she does best -- talk. She gives us all kinds of jokes while remaining oddly informative the entire time... like maybe she was really trying to sell this. I mean she did push that 2014 line pretty hard.

This simply leaves this writer wondering just how many naught pictures she'll be getting.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Single of the Month - Colette Carr "Ham"

Ok, so I covered this song just last week, but honestly I can't get enough of it. This is cCarr's first appearance on this list since we switched from Song of the Week to Song of the Month. Sure the music scene has been a bit slow lately, but 'cmon. Even if it wasn't, how could I say no to Colette Carr? Let's check out her new track with Ben J of the New Boyz, "Ham".

This song is very different from what people may be used to hearing from her. Sure she has rapped before, and had complete songs dedicated to just her rapping, but we haven't seen a song of this caliber since her debut mix tap Sex Sells. This song is fun. This song is polished. This song is exactly what needs to be played on the radio. Not only is it radio-worthy, but it's the same style as what is popular right now. Let's push this track to blast off.

I was pleased to see Colette working with one of the New Boyz again. They were featured on her killer track "Sex". Having big name rappers in at her side certainly is not hurting her career at all. She's also featured Kev Nish from Far East Movement, and electropop icon Frankmusik on her last album.

This track is fresh off the heels of her debut album, The Skitszo Collection, and it proves that she isn't going to slow down one bit. This is the first single off of a new mixtape (which usually means it will be free!) called Going, Going HAM set to be released sometime this year.

You can snag the track off of iTunes now!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

MYPHNH(BS) - The Decoration

If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times. Most of the time I don't find bands, they find me. This is exactly the case with The Decoration. Another Australian duo (damn, I love my Aussies!), these two found me on Twitter and weren't shy about introducing me to their music. And I'm damn glad they did!

I am madly in love with this duo right now. They have apparently been at this for a while (their first release was in 2007), but for some reason I'm just now hearing about them. Their newest single "There With You" is very cute and lighthearted, telling a tale of lovers who simply want to be near each other. Although this comes in a bit short clocking well under three minutes, it still leaves a lasting impression and has me wanting more.

The male/female vocal dynamic has always been a favorite of mine, from my childhood listening to Aqua, to my adulthood rocking out to Young London. The Decoration is made up of two Australian natives, Jake Bosci and Rhian Thomas, who are currently residing in Chattanooga, TN -- which is a hell of a lot closer to me! Haaay. Come play a show in St. Louis, okay? Anyway, they have been busy making music, and they are finally getting some recognition (no, not me having an ego, they actually have almost sixteen thousand views on this video).

Currently you can get their full discography on iTunes. I particularly recommend Me & My Mistakes, a fully acoustic EP that puts their vocals on the front display, and includes "There With You".

Monday, September 23, 2013

Controversey! Have We Heard Britney's New Track Before?

So the never-ceasing Miss Britney Spears released a new track recently called "Work Bitch". As I listened to this song, I got the weird feeling that I'd heard it before. At the end, she repeats "work" over and over in a sort of robotic fashion. Where have I heard this before? Oh yeah. This remind anybody else of Cherie Lily?

Ok, let's be fair here in the beginning."Work" is a common word, and the bit of the Britney track is literally the tail end of the song. That doesn't change the fact that they sound pretty much the same, especially from a vocal standpoint. Both of them repeat it in the same speed, and they both say it in the same static manner with the same electronic effects added to their voice. The only difference is that Cherie came several years before hand.

This video was brought to my attention by Cherie's husband Andrew W.K., so as you can imagine, I wasn't sure if it would be biased -- or even serious. After reviewing it myself, I'm a bit torn. It does have a similarity, but it also could easily be a coincidence. This isn't like Vanilla Ice blatantly taking the exact beat from another song, this is two artists who have seemingly separately created a very similar vocal segment. The other side of me knows Cherie is fierce and many artists probably try and copy her style, so why wouldn't Britney want to be like her?

Personally, I wish the rumors about the track sampling RuPaul's classic "Supermodel" had been true. Unfortunately we've been left with a mediocre track that you'll probably be force fed over the radio. How's that for a soapbox, people?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New Petition: Let's Make Jem Into A Movie

Nowadays there seems to be literally a movie for everything Hasbro related. I mean even Hungry Hungry Hippos and Monopoly are getting big budget Hollywood movies (and something called Action Man?). I think it's about time that the LGBT's favorite cartoon (no, not He-Man. And no, not Thundercats either), Jem and the Holograms, got it's own big budget movie revamp. Well there's a team set up and ready to do it -- all they need is your help to convince Hasbro it's worth it.

You have no idea how much this excites me. The petition has a seriously long way to go, but with the love and out pour Jem gets from fans around the world, and not to mention the hundreds of thousands of views the clips have on YouTube, it seems like this would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, in the initial nine picture deal for Hasbro, only Transformers and G.I. Joe were confirmed, while the others were kept secretive until later, being revealed to be based on board games, the first of which was Battleship. The good news is that due to the huge success of both Transformers and G.I. Joe, they have been looking into more properties to develop into movies.

That's where you guys come in. Jem is a very old title. Sure it has had numerous DVD releases and it even has it's own convention, but it has been virtually untouched since it's cancellation in the late 80s.  The other major Hasbro properties have been revisited time and time again, and kept in the current public eye. What we need to do is prove to the company that the fan base is still here. I know it, and so do you. By signing the petition, even if we don't reach the goal of 100,000, we can still show the support is there, and may still act in a factor for future deals.

According to project head Wayne Smith Jr, many of the original voice actors have agreed to do parts in the movie, and many big budget companies such as Gibson and Harmonix (famous for their game Rockband) have shown interest in products centering around Jem. I personally wouldn't mind seeing the doll line revived, and the t-shirts and other clothing are right up Hot Topic's alley. Basically, this could be a huge success for the company.

All we have to do is prove it to them.

I urge you all to check out the petition and sign it if you believe in the cause. I know that Jem has been a staple in the lives of many homosexuals, as well as thousands of girls (and maybe a few boys -- the metro ones). Let's not just get their attention but demand it. d

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hyper Crush Gets Wet With "Rage" Video

I seriously think it's impossible for me to go very long without talking about Hyper Crush. Even with the limited time I've had lately, I've been keeping my eye out for this gem, as they've been promising it for a while now. Thank the heavens it is now been revealed. Mostly because I get to see Preston again. Shirtless. And wet. Let's move on before I embarrass myself.

What can I say about this video? It may not be their best effort for a clip, but I have to say they really look like they had a damn good time making this. Filmed in scenic Holly's back yard (is she loaded or what!?), the trio are hosts to a pool party where things get a little crazy, and more than once. We have a lot of diving, a lot of wet boobs, and a few cute boys thrown into the mix.

The thing that set me off a bit about this video is the product placement. We see Slurpee logos for 7/11 all throughout the video, and as one clever YouTube commenter noticed, they even tossed in some Flaming Hot Cheetos. But that's about it. No really, that is the only negative thing I have to say here. The video was on par with the song, and pretty much what I'd expected from the track. It wasn't something as crazy as "Bad Boyz" or as sleek and polished as "Visions of Coleco" but it works for what it is.

On the plus side, they have also announced a release date for their new album Vertigo. It will be out October 15, 2013. You can preorder it and check out the track listing now on iTunes.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Colette Carr's New Music Video Is All About Twerking

No, seriously. Her new video is pretty much just about twerking. I mean that's basically all that happens. A lot of twerking. I mean a lot. This time around, she's teamed up with one of the New Boyz (also seen on her hit single "Sex"), for a track called "Ham". And in true cCarr fashion, no time was wasted getting a killer video out. Check it.

For those of you who don't know what "twerking" is, go and watch Miley Cirus at this year's VMAs. Then, look it up on YouTube to see how it really should look. Twerking is pretty much shaking your booty fast and skillfully. Yes, it is a skill, and no I can't do it well. It has become a huge fad spread all over the internet, and even artists like RuPaul in his video for "Peanut Butter" and Todrick Hall in his "Mean Gurlz" skit have picked up on this craze.

Colette wasted no time getting started on new music, it seems. Her album was released over the course of several months, all wrapping up in mid July with the full collection. While she has been known to drop a rap track now and then, they are usually reserved for album tracks while the electro-pop songs take the spots for singles. I guess that's a thing of the past. She states at the beginning of the video that both her and Ben Jelen are there to rap.

The video itself is quite entertaining. Even as a gay man, I'm still amused by ladies twerking (but c'mon girl. Couldn't you have at least one guy up in there shakin' his thang?). Her cake dress was amazingly adorable, while much of the other featured fashion was a bit of a miss for me. I did like her return to the crazy contacts that had been missing lately from her videos. Her eyes always pop in photographs and videos, but the contacts bump it up a notch and make it that much more "bamf".

If you like rocking out to this song as much as I do, pick it up on iTunes.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

An Important Update For TOTU

I come to you today addressing all of my readers not as a reporter or a comedian, as you probably have known me in the past, but as a person. I know that this site isn't the most important thing in the world, but I also know that many of you have come to rely on me for continual updates in both the independent pop music world, but also the LGBT community in general.

As you may have noticed, there has been a real lack of updates lately. June was a planned hiatus that I take every year, but the resulting time after has been a different story. Recently, my life has taken drastic turns, some better and some worse, which have resulted in less time to dedicate to this project. This website takes a lot of time in not only writing and planning, but also researching, contacting artists and management, and advertising. It was a huge undertaking even when I had the spare time to do it all, and now that my free time is dwindling, I feel that the site is going to suffer.

What I can say is there is a positive side. I've reduced my old goal of five posts a week to three. These will be less fluff and more quality about not only new and exciting artists, but also those who you've come to know and love either via TOTU or your own discovery. I will be resuming my Real Housewives review with a triple play later this week to get caught up to the current episode, and will resume my weekly reviews. I also will not be dropping RuPaul's Drag Race from my list of shows to cover. I will also be dedicating time to selecting the perfect choices for Song of the Month, and we will still have Universal Conquest Awards in December. This year I have even more curve balls for you all.

I'd like to also take a moment to once again recognize everyone who's helped me along the way. I've had far too much support, far too many favors called in for me, and beyond far too many artists personally thank me for all I've done for them to give up now. This is not the end of Taking Over The Universe. It's merely a new chapter in the continuing saga. Writing is my passion and I won't be giving it up any time soon. I simply hope my readers can stick it out, and my friends can help me keep my head held high during this rough patch in my personal life. My numbers have grown so much over the years, and I've had so many opportunities arise from what started as a way for me to express my eclectic taste in music.

YOU are the reason I'm not giving up so easily. YOU the reader. YOU the artist. YOU the friend. Thank YOU from the bottom of my heart. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pop Singer Levi Kreis Gives Back

It's a touching thing when artists give back to their community. I know first hand how expensive and exhausting music making can be, so when an artist feels the need to give to charities or work for the people who got them to where they are today, it's always heart warming. Levi Kreis, famous for his work in musical theater and his stint on XM Radio, has now decided that the gay community could use a little love from him.

This single follows in the footsteps of his previous release "Gonna Be Alright", keeping with the more upbeat and disco feel than what he's previously had out. This release is a collection of remixes for the track "Love Revolution" which is a very catchy tune. It is a co-release of two labels, Vision 9 Records and JRED Music, manned by my friend and talented remixer Jared Jones. This version also features a very HIV friendly rap by QBoy. It features remixes by Jared Jones, DeepSoundEffect, Bluetrax, Day.Beat, and more.

From now until November 4th, 100% of the profits from this single will go to benefit a charity called "Positively Living", a not-for-profit service agency that provides housing and care for persons that are homeless and suffering with HIV/AIDS, mental illness, addiction, or physical disability. You can either buy the full thing for ten dollars, or name your own price if you want to donate more. It's for a good cause, and you get some hot tracks in return!

Check out his official BandCamp to snag this gem for yourself.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Shawn Brandon Releases Emotional New Single

Yet another story I've been meaning to post for a while is about the fantastic new single from Shawn Brandon. Originally coming to light for being close friends withe electro-rock duo Blood On The Dance Floor, he's since grown and expanded out to be a musician in his own light. Recently he's posted a new song that has gone far too overlooked. Let's talk about "The Mourning After".

(Note: I couldn't locate a decent image of the cover. Apologies in advance.)

The single most impressive thing about this track is how emotional it feels. It's nothing like anything heard from Shawn before. In the past, we heard him as a catchy and upbeat electro-pop artist. Here we have someone much more focused on the content of his work and the real emotion of what he's trying to portray. The song is much more bare-bones than before, but don't let that deter you. This track is the best from Brandon so far.

The song is about a relationship that has gone wrong. He is still madly in love with someone who has all but forgotten him. The song isn't specific, but it doesn't really need to be. It uses a situation that could happen to anyone and he owns up to it, giving the listener a peek into something raw and untapped that has the potential to expand into something brilliant.

This isn't the best single I've heard, but it has so much potential. I've been quietly watching this artist for a while, and he's finally released something solid for be to brag on him about. He's grown quite a bit since he offered his single "Love Through Your Radio" for free to his fans. I really hope to catch him the next time he goes on tour with BOTDF.

For now, you can snag this heart-string-tugging track on iTunes.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Album Review - Natalia Kills "Trouble"

I have been waiting for this release for practically forever. Natalia Kills has been one of my favorite artists since she first popped up on Space Cowboy's major label debut. Now she's fully evolved into a whole new artist, and she's got her newest album Trouble to prove that to us. All I can really say is go in with an open mind, and if you're expecting what you heard from her first album, you may be in for a bit of a shock.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mimi Imfurst Goes Solo With New Single

Mimi is back! She may not be with her gals in XELLE any longer (for reasons not exactly stated), but she has gone solo and is making it completely on her own. I mean, she did have a rather successful comedy act, but this is a song. Songs are my thing. Thus, we will talk about Mimi again. With love.

It goes without saying that this is a parody of the disco classic "I Will Survive" by diva Gloria Gaynor, but it really ended up being something more. The song has a lot going for it, but sadly it has a lot going against it, too. Let's say that Mimi is certainly not a singer, but I think she knows it. The song isn't about the vocals -- it's about the jokes, damn if she doesn't have plenty of them.

The plot of the song is pretty much a botched hookup. The guy promised her ten inches (yeah, that kinda ten inches), but only showed up with five, or four, or three, or even two. The running gag is that every time she sees his member, it gets smaller. The similes in the writing are really what top the cake here. Every line in this song had me rolling.

What I didn't like was that the video was more polished than the song. The video looks amazing, and yes I did rewind to see those hot tub boys make out a couple of times. The track, however, is not as top notch. It's one thing when a good song has a lackluster video -- you can still jam to it in your car, but when you have to watch a video in order to "truly" enjoy a song, that's where things start to sway in the direction of bad.

"Another Lie" is a solid first attempt for a comedy track. While I may not have enjoyed it as much as other funny queens releasing parodies, I can say that it being to the tune of such an iconic song, it will definitely earn her some brownie points. If I know Mimi, this is only a taste of what she wants to bring to the table. Maybe next time we'll get an original out of her. Imagine that, my friends!

The track is up for grabs on iTunes now!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Myla "Not Kim Kardashian" Sinanaj and Adam Barta Are Not Angels!

I know, I know. Sometimes I get wrapped up a bit too much in psuedo-reality-stars, but when Adam is attached to the project, it definitely gets my attention. This time, he's teamed up with a girl who is famous apparently for not being Kim Kardashian. I guess you can get famous for literally anything these days. Oh well. At least the song isn't bad.

Yeah. That just happened. Well there are a lot of good things and a few bad things. Let's start with the fact that this one definitely isn't a train wreck. I don't know what they were thinking with that last Tan Mom song, but this one seems to be a bit more thought out. I also would like to point out it's nice to see him return to more serious music. I know that this song isn't totally comedy free, I mean Myla is picking fun at herself a bit throughout the song, but at least it's not one big laugh fest.

On the down side it still doesn't feel as polished as his Adam's previous music. If you were to compare this to "Q&A" or "Give Yourself Up", it just doesn't feel as spot on. I also have to say that the quality of the video, as well as it's direction, seem to be hit and miss depending on what time of the video you tune into. Some parts have Myla and Adam rocking it out, looking natural, and having fun. Other times they are awkwardly standing still on a bartop.

Enough negativity, though. The track comes with a message for those who've followed Myla up until this point. She's ready for you to get to know her for her. She's not an angel, but that doesn't mean she's all bad, either. Speaking of not being bad, she's actually not a bad singer, either. This is the biggest surprise to me since, well, Adam did a song with Jersey Shore's Angelina.  Who'd have thought?

Tan Mom still can't sing.

I still love Tan Mom.

You can grab the track on iTunes today!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Album Review - Aubrey O'Day "Between Two Evils"

So I meant to do this review a while back, but I kept putting it off for personal reasons. Now, weeks after it's release, I'm finally getting to post this. Aubrey has been an inspiration to me, and with the recent announcement of Danity Kane being reunited, this makes me even more eager and hungry for more O'Day. Let's check out her latest venture while we prep for the next one.

Danity Kane Is Back In Business!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKK!!!!! I've been debating on whether I should post it, and with a week of it setting in fully I have to say I'M SO EXCITED FOR THIS! Danity Kane has always had a special place in my heart, and with only one of the five girls really active over the past few years, I was starting to lose hope for anything in this direction. Thankfully I was completely wrong, and my girls are back together! Well, most of them anyway.

It's obvious to anyone who's seen one of their music videos that something is amiss with this photo. That's because one of the girls is missing from it. The current lineup of gals are four of the original five, being Aubrey O'Day, Shannon Bex, Aundrea Fimbers, and Dawn Richard. Missing is D. Woods, the first departure from the group back in 2008. She stated officially that she feels she is too busy with other projects currently to rejoin her old group. As far as the public face is concerned, DK is keeping an open door for her if she wishes to return.

The group announced a little over a week ago that they planned to get back together, but fans were still skeptical. To prove it, they all walked the red carpet at the MTV VMA awards to put their fans at ease. The girls assured everyone that things have been settled, and without Diddy in the picture, they will be able to move forward as a group and give us that music we've all come to love.

Along with the reunion announcement came a mention of a new single. The track, entitled "Rage", is said to be coming very soon. They're keeping everything under wraps so far, but they did say that this one will be more rock fueled. The song is being produced by The Stereotypes, who were behind their biggest song "Damaged", as well as many other talented artists such as Dev and Colette Carr.

Let's all hope this sticks. 2013 has seen a lot of reunions for a lot of great bands from the past, but Danity Kane holds a special place in my heart, and they always will. Here's to a great single and a great album to follow. Maybe this time I'll get to see these ladies on tour -- or even interview them!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Song of the Month - Giulietta "No De$$ert"

It's been a few months since I've even heard the slightest peep out of Giulietta. After all the insanity surrounding her last album and the fact that she had her last single produced by T-Pain, it looked for a bit like she was going to let things calm down a bit. Wrong. She's back again with a new single and a hilarious and sexy new video to go along with it (you'll understand which is which when you see it.) Here's my top pick for August 2013 -- "No De$$ert" by Giulietta!

Oh lordy this cover is hilarious. Taken straight from the music video more or less, it depicts the star of the video, aside from Giulietta, getting her dessert. I actually don't understand the name of the track, since "dessert" is hardly mentioned at all. She spends most of the time bossing around whoever the song is written to be towards. She comes off much more cute than bitchy, thankfully, which makes her even more adorable. I know she's going for sexy but look at her bein' cute!

Musically I'm a bit torn. As a stand alone song, I'm in love with this track. It is very Hyper Crush sounding, not being too rap, but also not truly electronic either. It has a traditional rap beat, but the vocals sway far from the genre. As a Giulietta song I'm a little saddened. I'm used to "Voodoo" and "Pretty In Pink" style Giulietta. Perhaps I'll get that back in a future single. For now, I'm running with the flow here, and it's amazing. Unfortunately Taylor Skye's parts of the song were minimal.

As usual for this artist, the song is not up on iTunes. It is, however, available to listen to for free on SoundCloud and YouTube. I can't express enough how ballsy it is to release music regularly for free. The music industry is expensive, so don't take her free stuff for granted. Her last single "No Where" was available on iTunes, but it was also produced by T-Pain, so it was a bit expected.

Check out the official video below for a good laugh or two and see her look amazing!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Reality TV Review: RHNJ Season Five Episode 13

After a trying two and a half seasons, it looks like some of the major issues have been resolved. Who knows if this will open the doors for more issues, but it looks like Teresa has finally got the memo that she's gotta stop blaming literally everyone or else she'll have no friends. Still love you, Tre! Anyway, this is the first part of our obligatory vacation story. We all remember what happened in last season's camping fiasco. Let's hope this one is a bit more tame.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chad Michaels + Liquid360 Make One Hot Music Video

I already posted a bit on how interesting this song was turning out to be, but with missed deadlines and a lack of official anything, I was losing hope for this one. Thankfully Chad is not a lady that breaks promises. We finally have the new music video -- and let's just say that even with the strange timing of Cher and her #1 impersonator coming out with a video at the same time, I've still got my eyes on Chad.

What can I say? This song is hot. Before I had a harder time deciphering which voice was which, so the visual aid helps a lot. Both Chad and Liquid get a good amount of vocal time, making this a true duet instead of a featuring track. The way I interpreted the lyrics was that she was talking about how being the winner of RPDR and getting the crown isn't everything. Simply winning doesn't make you a queen and the crown is only temporary. The main version of the song is produced by Majik Boys, who we have come to know and love in the gay music scene over the past years. Huge shout out to the boys!

When it comes to the video, I have to say I'm in love. The lighting, the colors, the makeup, the hair, even the costumes -- everything is perfect. Seeing Liquid360 for the first time was awesome as well because he's friggen hot. Who needs a video ho when you've already got a hot singer? Chad looked stunning as always for this encounter. I don't know if he's had work done since the show or if the lighting was just that good but she looks even younger than All Stars. I swear to God Chad is aging backwards.

The video tells the tale of a queen who has reached a high level of fame and developed an ego. Said ego gets this queen into a lot of trouble and once her fifteen minutes of fame are up, people start to see the bitch she really is and dump her. Mixed in, as always, are a lot of sexy dance sequence because it is a drag queen video after all.

Did I mention I think Liquid360 is really hot? Can we get more of him?

The track is also finally available on iTunes. There's also a remix album with a far sexier album cover!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Scarlette Fever Has New Lead Single "Sunday Best"

What day other than Sunday would be better to post about a track called "Sunday Best"? I've been keeping a close eye out on Scarlette over the past few months as she preps to release her new EP, and I have to say this single has got me amped once again. And even better -- it may be a genre you wouldn't expect from this site. Prepare yourself for more country-pop. It's the good kind, I promise!

I have to say that Scarlette has continued to impress me. She started out as a bit middle of the road, and has now settled nicely into the country-pop blended genre as a standout of the forthcoming artists of said sect. This track is fresh from her recent stint recording in California, and it shows a distinct improvement in quality and vocal strength. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing an artist realize their potential, even if there's always room to grow.

The track itself is much more Reba than Taylor Swift in regards to the archetypes. Her vocals are so perfect for this style of music, and she isn't afraid to belt out those notes towards the end. What I really love about this song in comparison to other country tracks is that it isn't just walking your through a story while holding your hand. Sure, there's a story to it, but she has it wrapped up in metaphors and other poetry, making it just as mysterious as it is heart-felt.

"Sunday Best" is the lead-in single for her upcoming EP Single White Female. The EP is due out October 23, 2013. The EP consists of two versions of "Sunday Best" as well as two other tracks recorded live. That's not much of a wait for us all, which makes me even more excited. According to the mailer I got on this latest single, it is also a nice taste of what's to come for her full-fledged album Attack Of The 6ft Woman, due out early next year. No word yet on if the album will contain studio versions of the live tracks mentioned before.

Currently you can listen to the track on SoundCloud and pre-order the single on iTunes due out September 29.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Reality TV Review: RHNJ Season Five Eisodes 11 + 12

Here we have another two-fer. I decided that since neither of these episodes were very groundbreaking or shocking that I'd add them up into one post. I think it worked out. Now, there may not have been any huge cat fights, but that's not to say nothing happened. Don't believe me? Well let's take a look, shall we?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Alyssa Edwards Has Still Got Secrets

In a world were internet shows come and go more quickly than you can click a link to watch them, it's nice to see that one show I actually have been enjoying has stuck around. I know I've already posted about this recently, but I feel like I need to reiterate -- Alyssa Edwards is amazing. There. I said it. Check out another amazingly funny video she's got as part of her "Alyssa's Secret" video webseries.

The blog has been awfully focused on music and housewives lately that I thought I'd remind you all (well most of you) of how you got here in the first place. Ok, so to be fair that have been a lot of drag/trans posts in the past couple of weeks, but this one is not music related, so that counts right? I just wanted to post about Alyssa Edwards, Ok!? Stop judging me!

Anyway, it is a relief to see that at least one of my drag favorites still has a show. While it may not be as hilarious as Willam's Beatdown, it still has a charm to it that only Alyssa could deliver. She seems to go into all of these gigs unscripted, and rambles on and on about whatever topic they throw at her that week. And here's the catch -- she's always hilarious! I don't even know if the funny is intentional, which is what gets most of my laughs. Most of the time she seems so completely serious that it's hard to tell if she's playing a character, or if she's just spacey.

I'll take her either way.

This particular episode had me rolling. It was all about sex in drag. Contrary to what many might think, most queens, or at least those I've come into contact with, aren't really into sex in drag. Alyssa hits the nail on the head with an intriguing story about being the prettiest girl in the room. She even goes as far as to say you better not come to her house empty handed. And no, they didn't edit out the prostitution joke. Sorry bout it.

Be sure to check out all her other hilarious videos and keep this diva on the air. Well, the internet anyway.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sorry I Missed It - Wendy Ho "Public Place"

I'd like to say that I don't cover parody songs often, but when it comes to drag queens, it's sort of unavoidable. Thankfully, most of the time they are good. The case is no different when it comes to faux-queen/comedy genius Wendy Ho. Although she is best known for her original tracks, anyone in comedy knows that parodies are huge and often hilarious. For this round, she's chosen pop megastar Rihanna to prod at. Maybe prod isn't the right word.

Wendy Ho, you are always hilarious to me. I had originally heard this track back in December of 2012 when she graced my lovely city with her presence. Back then, the song wasn't completely finished, so it was vastly different from the version that is currently up on iTunes. The version I heard was much closer musically to the original track "We Found Love". Instead of the pulsating electro beats, she's opted to go for a more acoustic sound and more flowing vocals.

The subject matter of the song, as are most of Wendy Ho's songs, is NSFW (I mean c'mon. Her last name is Ho, after all). How do I phrase this as politically correct as possible? Well, she apparently wants to give you a blowjob in every public bathroom in the city. No, really. The track is all about her quest to give oral in public. Too bad she's not a dude. They can just hit up the nearest park for that kinda thing.

What I like best about this song, other than it giving me the most laughs I've had out of a song since Pandora Boxx released "Cooter", is that Wendy is really singing here -- and singing well. A lot of the time she only raps, giving us just a taste of her vocals during a select few choruses. Here, we get a full track of some of her best vocals to date. And here is where I was going to make a joke about Rihanna having after effects on her voice to sound better, but I don't need any more hate mail, ya dig?

You can grab the track on iTunes, and be sure to check out a special version of her performing the track in her home studio below.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lady Gaga Teams Up With Drag Race Divas For New Single Promo

Well that title is a mouthful, but it really tells you exactly what you need to know. Earlier this week, Lady Gaga's new single in what feels like ages (after having a new one every week back in 2011/2012) "Applause" was released on the internet, and it has blown up since. Her official lyric video features some very familiar faces, too, from our favorite reality tv show (competition, as not to offend our housewives) RuPaul's Drag Race.

"But GaoSalad," you plead, "You hate Lady Gaga." No, that's not true. While I can only tolerate maybe three songs from her last album, I have to say she does have a knack for making good pop music. It's just that she is so overhyped that I try to give other acts attention over her and other headliners. But this is RuPaul's Drag Race we are talking about here. I can't just leave this alone. This has to be known.

In the video, Gaga is actually the camerawoman, and is filming various drag queens perform to her new single, which exploded all over the world last week. In said club (which I have no idea the name of), many Drag Race alumni made the scene to perform. Among the crew were Shannel from season one, Shangela of Season two and three, Morgan McMichaels of season two, and Detox from season five. There was even a two second clip from backstage of Willam hogging the spotlight again.

God I love Willam.

On a positive note, I have to say I like this song's feel far more than the previous era of Gaga. If this is any indication of what we are getting with Artpop (and remember, I'm skeptical because "Hair" was supposed to be a preview for her last album, but it turned out to be the only outstanding track for me) then I will be happy. I wasn't too crazy about the subject of the song, being a bit simplistic to be coming from a writer who has sewn many innuendos and interpretations into her music in the past, but it's so damn catchy that I can't help but enjoy it.

Right now the album is shrouded in mystery. It's available for preorder on iTunes, but all that is revealed is that it's coming out November 11, and there will be 15 tracks in total. As of now, "Applause" is listed as the final song, but that is also subject to change. Even the album artwork is simply the single cover for "Applause." Tomorrow is supposed to shine even more light on the situation, but I couldn't let my Drag Race faves get passed up another minute.

UPDATE: The official music video is out now! I personally wasn't crazy about the direction they went in. What do you think? Better with or without Drag Race?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Dina Delicious Moves On Like A Black Widow

Dina has been promising me this song for what feels like forever now. In reality it's only been a month or two at most. She's been talking this one up a lot though, and she's definitely followed through with all her promises. Saucy and dark is the game, and it's name is "Black Widow".

My only complaint is that this song feels like to goes by so fast! In reality it's the same length as most radio-ready tracks are, but it's just so new and fresh feeling that it feels like it should go on much longer. Everything about this track feels perfect. No really, everything. Dina turned heads with her last single, an updated version of 80's hit "Two Of Hearts", and now she's keeping them all looking with "Black Widow".

The feel of the track is something I've not heard of. It mixes a lot of reggae and modern techno with some drum beats that are off kilter, making it feel much more energetic. The song is all about a toxic relationship where the person is all sweet until you get to know her and she sinks in her teeth. It seems to be a warning to keep the toxic people at bay and not let someone into your life so easily.

Originally she said the track was going to be free, but as of now, the track isn't available for download. It is, however, free to stream at any time on SoundCloud. Usually the download function of the website allows for up to 100 downloads, but it doesn't appear as though this option is available to us yet. Perhaps she's trying to gauge the public's reaction to the song before fully releasing it. It doesn't even seem to have an official cover art yet. Time will tell on this one, but at least we've got something new and hot to dance to.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chad Michaels Joins The Drag Race Music Club

I can't say for sure, but for some reason I think I saw that Chad had once said he didn't plan on doing music. Well, I guess things change, because she's had a track brewing on the DL for us all lately, and if you haven't been following her closely over the past few weeks you may have missed it! She's teaming up with a friend by the name of Liquid360 and is about to release "Tragic Girl".

First of all can I say how amazing this cover is? Everything about it is perfect -- Chad's face, the posing, the colors, EVERYTHING! I wouldn't expect any less from top contender of season four and winner of All Stars. Chad has always personified perfection. She has even been criticized for being too perfect. I mean is that even a real thing?

The track was supposed to come out yesterday, August 13, but it looks like it may have been pushed back a bit. No reasoning has been given from any of her official social media, nor on her website. In it's place, a 30 second snippet of the track was released. The website still has August 2013 as a release date, but no day has been solidified since it's missed projection yesterday.

The snippet shows a bit of the chorus, focusing on high energy club/dance music. I didn't get enough of the lyrical content to truly analyze what the song is about. What we do know is that there will be at least three remixes packaged with the release, as well as a music video. The extent of Liquid360's involvement in the project is still unconfirmed, although he is slated to be in the video.

We will update on future release dates as they become known.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tan Mom And Adam Barta Release Another Song

Yeah. You read that right. They've released another song. The first song and video went viral and was all over the media, being blasted as a huge trainwreck (I loved it, personally, but I'm pretty wreck-y myself). These two had the balls to come back with a second strike -- and this time they have a lot more to say. Well, kind of. It's easier to show you than explain.

So this song here... I have to say is not anywhere near as catchy as the first. That's not to say that it's not fun, but it's way too hard to top "It's Tan Mom, bitch." The song starts off with a Katy Perry lyric, and moves on to be a bit more mess music wise then I was hoping. I don't keep up with gossip, but why is Tan Mom trashing Farrah from Teen Mom? Anyway, the song is just a list of things she and Barta have done over the past few months, mostly due to her previous song, such as being on Howard Stern... or dropping her top on the beach. She also calls Adam a pop tart.

The chorus comes in to remind us that this song has a name. "Life of the Party" or something.

The video is the up side this time around. Tan Mom looks like she's much more in her own mind (and she even makes it a point in the track to boast about her sobriety), and the over all quality was upped. The video is helped out by Adam Barta, so obviously it's very gay friendly including rainbows and cute boys. Patricia looks like she's been taking makeup tips from the real housewives (which is a mix of a good thing and a bad thing, moreso depending on who you are).

Things one can learn form this song:
Adam Barta is not her toy.
She is writing a tell-all book.
She kissed a girl.
She's licked Adam Barta.
She still is autotuned to hell -- and we wouldn't have it any other way!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

John Rowley Teams Up With Alyce Renee For New Single

It's been a while since we've seen John Rowley. He has been stowed away overseas in Australia (damn I love my Aussies!) working on some new material. This time around, he is taking the David Guetta route and taking the back seat vocally to focus entirely on production. He's enlisted his good friend Alyce Renee to take over singing for the time being for the two's new single "Notice I'm Alive".

This song is definitely something different from the pace we've been moving at here at TOTU. The song is slower and much more experimental sounding. It is much more ambient sounding than anything I've heard from this past year. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of a lot of 90's underground music, taking a throwback to how the indie music scene used to be in the past.

"Notice I'm Alive" is also a different direction for John. He has focused entirely on producing the beat for the song. Previously he has taken the vocals, although I'm not entirely sure if he produced his own stuff at the time. The song sounds very professional and polished, and choosing Alyce for the vocals was a great move.

Both John and Alyce are 19 years old, and have been friends since high school. The two of them bonded early on in their school lives, and have been together ever since. It's unclear as to whether he will be inviting Alyce back for another track (it's still early on, the song just came out after all), but what is clear is that he is going to continue this trend of taking the back seat to produce instead of sing. He has stated clearly that music production is his passion. He wants to continue on this path, which seems to be something he's got quite the talent for.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Reality TV Review: RHNJ Season Five Episode 10

With the first major story arc for this season out of the way, it was starting to look like we would get a little down time. Nope. There is no such thing as down time for New Jersey. These housewives are always freaking out over something. It looks like loose ends with Jacqueline need to be tied up, and we get to see if the breakthroughs Teresa and Melissa's families made over the last few episodes will last. Let's check out another episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey!

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Australians love me, and I love them. Every now and again I get an email from a new act, or even a veteran one, from the great Land of Oz (that's not a racist term, right?), and most often they are amazing! This is no different. Today we will get to know EMPiRE LIVE via their newest single and video, "Stop Time".

Straight out of Melbourne, Australia, EMPiRE LIVE is made up of two incredibly talented youths. Nic Noble is the one making the sounds, and Katherine Tanner is the laying the vocals. They have been known around their local area for the high energy shows they put on, but with their newest single, they are ready to take over the world.

"Stop Time" caught me from the very beginning. I'm not sure whether it was Katherine's Cher-esque vocals, or Nic's pulsing beats, but something drew me into this track immediately. The entire song is a exploration of many turn of phrases dealing with time such as "killing time" and "time to heal". Stopping time is impossible it seems, so now is the time to act. This dance track manages to get across a strong message while still being incredibly fun.

The video may be pretty basic on the surface, but that doesn't stop it from being intense. Katherine spends much of the time looking you dead in the eye while singing the vocals, and Nic is shown playing various instruments that fit into the feel of the song. There are a few visual effects, but too much laid onto it, making it come across more powerful.

EMPiRE LIVE have a great start into the international scene with this song. While it may not be genre-changing, it certainly does set a standard for indie artists everywhere.

As a special bonus, the band have agreed to offer "Stop Time" as a free MP3 download to all the TOTU readers. Grab it while you can and enjoy! Download it here!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sorry I Missed It - Courtney Janae "Accelerate"

It's been a while since I've done a "Sorry I Missed It" segment. Not really because I've been staying on top of things, more because I keep forgetting this segment even exists. Luckily for Courtney, I was reminded, so now I can go back and highlight this amazing track and video. Wanna check it out? Well here it is.

Fist off, I love this song. The track was brought to my attention a while back, and it has been a steady playlist regular since. It's beat is slower and pulsating, but it doesn't feel like a ballad or a slow song of any sort. Instead, the steadily pounding beat gives it a hard driving force that I haven't heard pulled off well since Queen's "We Will Rock You".

This song is actually one of the four songs from her EP, Uncovered, which came out in the last quarter of 2012. The video is from around the same time, making this an almost year long miss. The song may actually be familiar to some, as it was featured on the wildly popular Oxygen Channel Show Bad Girls Club, known for featuring tons of talented indie artists and getting may new vocalists exposure.

The video itself is another story. It's a tribute to the classic scifi movie Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome. Visually the video looks amazing. Unfortunately due to the fact that it's going on ideas that have been done over and over since the 80s, it feels very dated and cheesy. I love the scenes of her and her gang driving down the highway on motorcycles, but the scenes with them fighting in the biker bar were a bit too much. I can say that the video is incredibly well done and polished looking, making her stand out much further than artists of her caliber.

You can pick up "Accelerate" on her EP Uncovered on iTunes.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Brandon Hilton Has A New Song, Video, And Movie!

Holy hell, Brandon Hilton has been quite busy since we last saw him on TOTU. He may not have put the finishing touches on his new album (tentatively titled JUDGMEnt), but he has finally seen one of his biggest projects to date come to life. We are talking about his long awaited movie, Midnight Cabaret as well as a song and music video to go along with it. It's a lot to take in, but I'm sure you guys can handle it.

This video is for the track "Almost Forgotten", the theme song for Midnight Cabaret. It is a slower track than what we are used to from Brandon, but it does showcase his range quite well. While not all of the notes are on point vocally, it does show a bit of vulnerability and emotion that brings the movie's character (portrayed by Brandon) to life. The track is all about that one person who gives him hope because they are the only one who is still there for him.

The video is a mix of footage from the film and new footage shot specifically for this track. Since I have not yet had the chance to view the film (hint, hint Brandon!), I will have to use the official website's synopsis for the film. Please note I will do a review as soon as I can get my hands on a copy.

"Meet Adam, a geeky college senior who only wants to feel accepted. An encounter with Jason, his bully from high school, triggers a painful and disturbing past: an abusive, alcoholic father; his mother who committed suicide; and Todd, his older brother who's up for parole. Inspired by the goth drag queen Eve who performs at Midnight Cabaret, Adam decides to change overnight from geek to chic. He then is befriended by a few troublemakers who introduce him to a wild lifestyle of drugs and crime, sending him into a downward spiral and an unexpected journey in finding who he truly is" 

Well it has drag queens, so obviously I'm going to be all over this one! For now, the DVD is available directly through the official website. I will keep you posted for if/when it pops up on any other retailers. This movie has been a long time in the making for Brandon Hilton, and I know he's been dying for it to be fully released since we met over a year ago. It has been viewed on the big screen on several locations, but this marks the first time it is available for home viewing. Grab it while you can!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Reality TV Review: RHNJ Season Five Episodes 8 + 9

So I skipped last week. So what? These two episodes went pretty hand-in-hand, so I'm not feeling too bad about it, and it meant that I got to cover the full story instead of just half of it. I can say it was a crazy roller coaster, but it ended on a positive note. After two seasons of nothing but catfights, things are starting to look up -- and for real this time. Let's hope things stay this way. I mean, it's reality tv, but it's also these peoples' lives. Here's to wishing for the best!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Song of the Month - Natalia Kills "Saturday Night"

Did this really surprise anyone? Actually, it might have. In my review for the song, I noted a few things such as it not feeling like a full single or not being as strong as her initial tracks for the new album. I was wrong. "Saturday Night" is one of my favorite tracks, and it has grown on me an insane amount. That is why this song is July's Song of the Month!

I can't exactly put my finger on what it is that makes this song so amazing. It isn't the typical pulsating and growling type of track that Kills has shifted her focus to. Instead, this piece is a shining example of how a true story can make for a powerful song. Natalia has come out and said that many of the tracks from her new album are events or memories from her life, and this is no different. "Saturday Night" in particular is based off of her experience as a young teenager having to bounce from home to home as her wealthy parents shuffled her around the globe. It all seemed surreal, and all she wanted was a taste of normalcy.

What is really great about the song is that if you hadn't known about her life, you could still piece together what happened without her outright telling you. The power of lyrics is an amazing thing, and well written ones don't have to come out and spell everything out for the listener. This shows a definite change from her first album, which did have more complex writing, but was about more superficial things (pun intended).

This looks to be the last taste we will get of her new album Trouble before it's September 3rd release. Thus far, between this song, "Problem", and "Controversy", it's looking to be a well rounded sound, and seems to be staying true to her promises she made for the album. Now all we can do is wait... and listen to this song over and over for another month.

The song is up on iTunes for your enjoyment! Grab it now to tide you over until the full album.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Natalia Kills New Album Info Released

Finally! I've been on the lookout for this info for months, but she had been keeping everything secretive for so long. It's about time she threw us fans a bone and gave us what we want. What we craved was simple: a release date. Well she's given us that. She's given us that and much, much more.

CherryTree Records, the label for Kills and many other of my favorite artists, released the floodgates today with info on Trouble. Let's start with the obvious. Above is the official album artwork for the release. I have a bit of mixed feelings for it, because she seemed to shift her style recently to a more dark glamor style, but the cover comes across as a bit gothic and over-shopped. That being said, I really like the use of pinks, and how all the items they crammed into the picture really fit with the lyrics of the singles that have been out so far.

Next, we got a release date. Are you ready for this one? Her second album, Trouble, is due out September 3rd. That means we pretty much only have a month to wait. No bull like with the last album where she says a certain date, and then it turns out to be a Europe only release date. This time we are getting it, too.

Last? Oh, last we have the full track listing. Wanna see? Well check it out! (Note: When listed on the CT website, they were not numbered, meaning the order may be subject to change.)

“Stop Me,”
“Boys Don’t Cry,”
“Daddy’s Girl,”
“Saturday Night,”
“Devil Don’t Fly,”
“Out Of Time,”
“Rabbit H***,”
“Watching You,”
“Marlboro Lights”

I can't even tell you how happy I am "Controversy" made the list. I know it should have been obvious that it would be there, but since it was released so early on, it could have easily been a promotional single. We have both of the other singles, which isn't a surprise. I, for one, am excited to hear the title track, as well as "Daddy's Girl" which may explain more of what we saw during the events of "Saturday Night"s music video. On a side note, does anyone else know what "Rabit H***" is going for? The only word I could think of would be "hole" but I'm not sure why that would be censored.
There you have it. We got a lot of news on Natalia today. Maybe it will pop up as a pre-order on iTunes or something so we can preview the tracks. You can expect me to hop on a review asap for this one. We've been waiting, and now we don't have much longer to go.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Abi Ann Can't Stop Daydreaming In Her New Video

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times. Abi Ann is totally adorable. I had mentioned her new single "Daydreaming" once before, but now we have something even better -- a video. There's nothing like seeing a song that you've grown to love come to life, and having the wait in between might have even made this moment even sweeter. Let's look at the romantic little tale known as "Daydreaming".

This video has a lot going for it. It is cute (see above), it's believable, and it's relatable. I honestly think that every girl has been there (and most gays, too). There's a cute boy from across the room that you have next to no intention of actually approaching, but you sure are going to imagine the hell out of what it would be like to have him. Think of it as Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" video, but without the awful twist ending.... that I kind of loved.

In the video, Abi spots a guy from across the library, and proceeds to imagine herself with him. What's really sweet and captivating is that she doesn't imagine things in your typical "we're in love now!" sort of way. One of her daydreams focuses on the two in Bonnie and Clyde outfits, riding away in a car with crayon drawings for backgrounds. Another one of her imaginings is the two of them bonding on a ranch. They aren't what you are used to seeing in music videos (unless maybe you're a huge country music fan, then you can shut up).

As for the negative, I have to say that it does end up feeling a bit Taylor Swift-y. It wasn't the implementation that felt odd, it was the idea itself. I feel like I've seen this entire plot before in a Taylor Swift video. You know, the one where she calls the guy's girlfriend a whore and ruins their relationship for her own gain? But at least here the guy is presumed single. Though the idea seems overdone, she does bring a different light to it, showcasing sweetness over sex appeal, which I believe will set her apart in the long run.

Yeah, don't even try and tell me you don't perv over CRJ. You'd be lying.

If you love the song as much as I do, grab a copy on iTunes! (Note: This version of the video is apparently the "Deluxe Country" version. I kind of like it better. Don't tell the pop Gods I said that.)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Clare Maguire Stuns With New "Paper Thin"

It's been a long while since I've heard anything out of Clare Maguire. As a matter of fact, I'd almost forgotten I'd signed up for her email list. Thankfully she didin't forget I had (or rather her website's automated system didn't) and it informed me she'd put up a new track on SoundCloud. Oh lord did she ever. Check out "Paper Thin".

This song is so emotional and soulful! Running a bit longer than most singles these days, it has more ups and downs than any track I've had come my way in a long time. It starts out as a slower piano piece, with simple electronic drums and a repeating piano part. Slowly, it evolves into something more, and even gets more uptempo and poppy at the end.

What really makes not only the song, but Clare herself stand out is that she has an amazing soulful voice. She reminds me of other famous British voices such as Adele and Amy Winehouse, The song isn't the most moving thing on it's own, but Clare makes it moving. The bit she repeats towards the end "I couldn't get through to you" has her voice shaky, raw, and real. There aren't effects added on in post production. She doesn't need them. She's got talent -- and the views to prove it! (I'm talking 10,000 in just two days).

To be honest, this isn't the first track she's posted since the last time we've seen her, but it is the most promising. This is the most polished of the four on her Soundcloud, and the only one not marked as a demo, which gives me hope that we may get an even more stunning version of this song as her next single. It's about time she throws out a new single. We've been waiting, lady. Please deliver to us soon!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Chelsea Korka Is Back!

Oh my god. I can't believe I missed this last month. I am the world's worst fan ever. Chelsea Korka is an amazingly talented singer that was once part of one of the greatest unknown girl groups of all time. Now she's solo, and it's been a good while since she's released anything solid. Thankfully we have "Save Me" to, well, save us.

First off this cover is gorgeous. I was hoping that it might be a music video tie-in, but it's not looking overly likely due to the gap between it's original release and today's date. Fortunately, we did get a lyric video with a bit of footage shoehorned in, so it's almost like having a music video. Her last EP deserved a video or two, but nothing came of it. Hopefully things will start to change for her.

This single fits right in with her sound. She doesn't seem to be budging from her pop/r&b mix that she's developed. What I really like about the song is it's constant tempo changes. One moment it will be slower and mild, and when the chorus kicks in fully, it speeds up and gets much more upbeat. About half way through the song we get that distinct C. Korka roar as she picks up the vocals to another level. That is exactly why I love her.

Story wise, it's pretty simple. The track is about being far too enthralled with a boy and needing to be rescued. I believe it's about being in a bad relationship, and having another guy come along to pull you out of the madness and return you to normalcy. It may not be the best message to send, but it is a viable option for some. Honestly I could care less what the track is actually about, as long as I get to hear her amazing voice.

You can grab the track from iTunes. Also check out the lyric video below!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ellie Goulding Drops Single Version Of "Burn"

Here's a secret for you guys. I love me some Ellie Goulding. I was very shocked when her album didn't really go anywhere... until way after it's initial release when it completely blew up for some reason. Regardless, she's a big deal in the US now, and she's determined to make her latest album Halcyon just as much of a success. Check out the latest single from the album "Burn".

I am very glad to see this turned into a single and video. This was one of my top picks off of the album, and with three other tracks chosen before it, chances were looking slim for it to get picked up. Lucky for me, it did, and it has a beautiful music video to go along with it.

The track is a mid-tempo track, focusing heavily on her light vocals, while tossing in a lot of voice effects. It is all about positivity in being yourself and shining on your own. I like her approach to it as opposed to other mainstream divas such as Katy Perry or Ke$ha in that the song can be interpreted, but she doesn't exactly spell it out. Yes, it's a song about individuality, but it's a bit more complex than "Baby you're a firework" or "We are who we are".

The video is a gorgeous addition to bring it to life. While not exactly the most exciting thing on the internet, it does it's job well of showcasing Ellie, and after a half-album full of singles, it looks like this is her track to wind down with. That being said, it's not like she's giving up on Halcyon. "Burn" is looking to be the lead-in track for the redone version of the album called Halcyon Days, which apparently features re-recorded tracks, as well as some that were only available previous in deluxe editions.

For now, you can grab the track on iTunes.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Todrick Hall And Pentatonix Give The Wizard Of Oz New Life

Let's face it. Todrick Hall is a freaking genius. First the gay Disney princes video, then the ghetto version of Mean Girls, and now he's redoing The Wizard of Oz as "The Wizard of Ahhhs" (not to be confused with the similarly titled EP by Black Kids). It's like he's crawled into my brain and made everything I've ever wanted from YouTube spring to life -- and this stuff isn't getting taken down for copyright infringement!

Basically this is a melody of famous songs, both old and new, but remixed together to make them one long song. Songs include "Wide Awake" by Katy Perry, "Can't Be Tamed" by Miley Cirus, and "Damaged" by Danity Kane. Oh and Kelly's "Shoes" is tossed in there for good measure. All of the songs are fit in so they seem to be talking about the plot of the movie, which is really genius. Some of the selections have minor tweaks to fit them in better lyrically, but overall they fit insanely well.

The production values on this were insane, too. The costumes look amazing, and both the visual and audio qualities are amazing. This must have taken a long time to prepare, and with over two million views in a week, things seemed to have payed off. The members of Pentatonix have some amazing voices, and they fit together very well.

The best part of the video has to be the wrapup at the end. Most of the comments on the video agree with me that including the clips from the original movie at the end was a very nice touch. The very Rent-esque bare-set vocalists-in-font-of-a-curtain ending was very risky, but it payed off and made the video complete. There's not a lot to talk about plot wise, because everybody knows the plot of The Wizard Of Oz, but the few spins they did put on it, such as the much more elaborate and confident Wizard (I mean it was played by Todrick. You really think he was going to be timid?), were nice, but not enough of a separation to really make a fuss over.

As of now the track is not up on iTunes. This is actually something I would want in my collection, so I'm hoping they put it up, but since it's a mashup of covers, I don't know if they can do so. For now enjoy the YouTube version and wrack up more hits for this amazing and talented artist.