Thursday, February 28, 2013

Song of the Month - Brandon Hilton's "Daddy"

It is quite refreshing to do a song of the month as opposed to a weekly gig. It makes the stakes higher, and the competition tougher. As you know, I don't focus much of mainstream music, so in the grand tradition of Taking Over The Universe and the Universal Conquest Awards, we will continue to pick indie artists for this distinction. This month, Brandon Hilton has released a new single that has this blogger doing a double take.

I know what you are probably thinking: I talk about Brandon too much. Yeah, that might be true, but when an artist grows as much  and as quickly as this one, I can't help but brag about him. This time around, he has switched things up, moving from 100% pop to dabbling in R&B. While it's not a huge change, it still marks growth, and shows us a different side of him.

The song itself is about his life with his dad. Things get a little ugly, as his history with his dad is complicated. He has not publicly went into details of what happened, but the song does shed some light onto the situation. This also marks an interesting turn as it's his first song to have an explicit warning label, which can be contributed to his bitter feelings about the whole ordeal.

There have been mixed feelings about the song thus far with his fans. I, for one, like this change, as it makes him into a more diverse and deep artist. He has cleared up the confusion a bit online saying that this was an experiment and will probably not a style of music he is going to pursue in the future, but it was a story he felt needed to be told.

You can preview and buy the February Song of the Month "Daddy" by Brandon Hilton on iTunes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

RuPaul's Drag Race Recap - Snatch Game Season Five

To be honest, I was a bit down after last week's double elimination. This means that not only did two of my favorites go home, but it opens the possibility for having a situation where nobody goes home, and it will probably be during a week where there is someone who really needs to get the boot. Oh well, life goes on, and so does Team GaoSalad.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Drag Race Season Five Cast-Off Roundup Part One

It's that time again. Every three weeks, I'll be posting a before and after of the queens who have been told to sashay away. I will be taking my first impressions of the girls, based on this post right here (based on the casting announcement interviews), and comparing it to how they really did on the show. There will be laughs. There will be tears. There will be blood. Well, only if your nose starts to bleed from excitement. Let's get started before I look even more weird!

Penny Tration

"This girl won the fan pick for the show, otherwise I'm not sure she would have made the cut. It looks like they were going for pure fish this season, and that is far from what she is serving us. Her makeup looks bad, her hair looks bad, and I'm just not feeling it. She claims to be the big funny one, but I wasn't laughing. It's a shame."

Penny, oh Penny. This just isn't the year for big girls. She joined on the wrong season, it would seem, and it looks like the fan-vote went to waste with her going home first. Honestly, as disappointed as I was with her taking the lead in the votes, I don't think she was the first deserving to go home. That being said, she was never meant to last long.

Serena ChaCha

"Gotta give love to a gal who accepted my friend request on Facebook! Holla! In the face she reminds me of Ongina. I'm not digging the hair, but I love the androgyny of her outfit, and the fact that shes one of the few queens not wearing a breast plate. She seems very personable, and the small outtake towards the end where she asks if she was doing the interview right was hysterical. Definitely one of my top picks!" 

So the big question is do I regret saying she was one of my top picks? No. From the interviews she was phenomenal. On the show, however, she turned out to be less than stellar. I don't know if it was due to her age (I believe we are the same age, actually), or if it was because she was from a different background and had a different take on drag. Either way she flopped the first week and had a wardrobe malfunction the second week. Most queens don't get two chances, so she got the boot. 

Monica Beverly Hillz

"I know a queen named Beverly Hillz already, so this girl is going to need to impress to get on my good side -- to which she doesn't. She looks busted, and has the worst piercing combo I've ever seen. Her dress is bad and her hair is bad. This one is probably my least favorite queen for this season, especially since she is calling other queens busted. That being said, given the results of last season, having the most busted girls stay so long, I expect her to go far."

Regret number one is saying anything bad about Monica. Sometimes I am quick to judge. Plus the statement "least favorite queen for this season" was a flat out lie because we all know who that title belongs to. Monica turned out to be very talented, but also very insecure. Seeing all that fish around this year would make anyone who didn't fit that mold to a T uncomfortable. I hope to see more of this lady in the future.
Honey Mahogany

"Finally a queen from San Fran! It's about damn time. Too bad the first wasn't Mama Pollo. She looks gorgeous and has some amazing hair in this look. She says her name comes from the makeup she wore when she first started, which is kind of amusing. She talks about how different the SF queens are from the rest of the world, which is true, but she seems pretty unique. She even gives us a taste of her singing voice -- to which she's already announced her debut single. Damn and the show ain't even started yet!"

Although her single "It's Honey" hasn't made a whole lot of waves, it is still a solid release that I can dig. Honey was one I had such high hopes for, but wasn't given a chance to shine. She made Drag Race history as being part of a duo to be the first double elimination. I wish she had stayed longer and gotten a chance to show what she had, but I have to agree with the judges about her runway looks. Thankfully she rectified the situation with her new music video!

Vivienne Pinay

"My favorite queen based on the pictures was the last to get an interview (they are alphabetical, at least). I always fall in love with the Asian queens. She seems like one of the most polished girls this seasons, and she comes across as a very nice person. She says she's not been doing drag long, but this girl ain't no Shangela. She also confesses that she is very inspired by Juju, which is pretty obvious, too."  

No shade, but Vivienne was the best looking queen this season. The fact that she was "boring" for them (the same reason last year's top notch queen Princess got sent packing) was a poor excuse. I can understand why she got frustrated with things, but I wish she had pushed a bit harder so she didn't get sent home so early. Thankfully, after the first episode, she didn't get compared to Juju any more. Good job, my queen. May you come back stronger and fiercer. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Album Review - Frankmusik "Far From Over"

Oh, Frankmusik. How you never cease to amaze me with your music. After returning to his original stage name, after a brief stint as Vincent Did It, he has put out his first release. This EP, entitled "Far From Over" sends out a message that should be clear from the title -- Frankmusik isn't going anywhere, and his music is here to stay.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Awesome Posts: Isis And Coco Review Drag Race

I know, I know. You guys are probably getting sick of all the Drag Race posts, but I just can't help myself. This season is just getting better and better, and this week, given that there was an extreme situation, I don't think just one review is enough. So here I bring you Drag experts Isis Mirage and her girlfran Coco Ferocha review both Drag Race and the companion series (which I conveniently ignore) Untuckeed. And how dare you claim this is just a ploy to butter them up for letting me do a call in for one of their videos. How insulting of you!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Kim Smith Bursts Out With Sexy Debut Single

Kim Smith may not be a huge name yet, but he is about to turn a lot of heads with his debut single "Jealous". This Australian is taking a stab at electropop music, and he has got my attention. Soon he will have yours, too.

"Jealous" is Kim's debut song, and it makes a solid impression. Running in the same veins as artists like Brandon Hilton and Moses, he brings high energy to the game, while delivering a song that sexy and entertaining.  For his debut, he collaborated with Erik Gold and Mans Ek to bring this to our ears.

There isn't a lot of info out about Kim Smith just yet. He has been making name for himself in NYC, but outside of the New York bubble, he is a bit of an unknown. I guess that's where I come in, right? What we do know is that he is no stranger to performing, and judging by the previews on his SoundCloud, he isn't giving up on the pop music scene any time soon. Oh, and he's pretty hot, too (but then again, most Australians).

This hot track is actually a remix version of the song. The remix, by Vibekingz, is currently the only version of the song that has been publicly released. It is currently unknown if the original mix of the song will be made available in the future. A video is in the works as well, but all that has been posted on that is a couple of hard-to-see videos.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Honey Mahogany Releases Sticky "It's Honey" Video

Every year, more and more queens for RuPaul's Drag Race turn to music to not only express themselves, but cash in on their new found fame. This season took me by surprise, however, when one queen in particular started releasing songs from the day the casting was announced. And now, fresh off her controversial elimination, she's released her first video. The song is called "It's Honey" and, yes, it is pretty sticky.

There is so much going on in this video. We see her as a dominatrix, we see her as an Amazon warrior, we see her as a campy bride. She is a chameleon in this video, and it probably has a lot to do with her Drag Race stint. She was most criticized for not showing off her figure enough, and this video is all body, body, body.

Also, as a treat for the viewers, other Drag Race divas fan-favorite Jujubee and season three winner Raja appear in a couple of scenes across the board. These two are becoming regular video hos, aren't they? I mean that in the best, most loving way possible. Raja's my bitch. I'll interview her one day, just wait and see.

Back to Honey, this video is a bit all over the place. While I like seeing all the different sides of her, it does create a bit of a mess. Does she look gorgeous? Yes. Does the video have any sort of order or plot? No. The video is made up of a bunch of different scenes, each with different outfits, each with her lip syncing to her song. Usually this isn't a bad thing, but here, none of the looks flow together, aside from showing all of her various looks that she can pull off. This serves as both a positive and a negative for the work as a whole.

This one thing is just me nitpicking. The video as a whole, especially for a first attempt, is very well done. She obviously was aiming to make something of quality that fans could enjoy, and seeing as the song is her theme song, she definitely accomplished what she wanted. This video will please the fans she's already got, and it just may change the minds of those who doubted her on the show.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

RuPaul's Drag Race Recap - Black Swan: Why It Gotta Be Black?

I have no words for this episode. OK, so that is a lie, but to be fair I wrote this review as I was watching it. Now that I've seen it, I have no words. Well not after this opening statement. You knwo what? Let's just start the damn thing already.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Colette Carr News: New Video + Upcoming Hints

Sometimes I feel like my I might as well just make TOTU into a Colette Carr fanblog as much as I talk about here. But alas, she is a very talented, young lady who has been producing music at a rapid pace. It can be hard to keep up with, so I'll do my best to fill you in today. Let's start with her new video.

Yup. That just happened. This video seems to be something to tide over the fans to keep us interested until next month when the third part of Skitszo comes out. Thankfully, this track, a promo song she had released in 2012, is pretty hot. The video is a mix of the style from her debut video "Back It Up" mixed with the over the top sex appeal from her newer videos such as "Like I Got A Gun". The sexiness makes sense given that the song is overly hyped with sexual lyrics.

The perfectly timed release of the video for "(B)A$$" leads me to believe that it may be a part of the Skitszo Collection, probably part three that is coming out in less than a month. To be fair, this is just my take on the line-up of events, but it would be a great addition to the list, especially seeing as the remix used in the video was fantastic.

Another "confirmed" track is something you'd have to pay attention to her social media closely to even catch. According to her Facebook, she will be shooting the video for a new song called "Never Gonna Happen" on March 4th. The track is produced by CherryCherryBoomBoom (so it's obviously going to be amazing) and Fernando Garibay. Sadly there seems to be no other info available just yet on it. I'll keep you posted. You know I will.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Album Review - Cherie Lily "The Dripping Wet EP"

It's been too long since I've seen Cherie Lily around the TOTU block. This fitness guru turned pop star (and did I mention she's married to THE Andrew W.K. ?) released a hot single last year called "Dripping Wet", driving me crazy with it's sexy video. Now, after an extended absence from my radar, she is back with a steamy new EP. Get into "The Dripping Wet EP".

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Willam Is Still Funny

Who'd have thought? After all this time (actually, for most of America she's only been in the spotlight for a year, right?) Willam Belli is still the funniest person ever. No really. Don't believe me? Get a load of this. Emphasis on "load".

Do you believe me now? Do you really need more proof? Good. Let's just accept that Willam is one hilarious bitch and move on.

Apparently The Stylish, a popular YouTube creative channel and team have decided to give breakout star from Drag Race Season Four Willam Belli his own show. Each week, Willam will be picking apart the worst of the worst from YouTube's archives of makeup tutorials. And he isn't shooting just for the small fries, he goes directly for the big name, including Jenna Marbles.

She goes through each video, serving up the gay, drag version of Tosh.0. He spends most of his time hitting on the guys in the video, and commenting on things in the background that you probably didn't notice or care about. Somehow, probably due to the fact that he can make anything funny, this series just works. Don't go into this expecting to actually learn anything about style or makeup, but you will be guaranteed a few laughs along the way.

The series, now up to nine episodes, updates every Friday. Subscribe, Goddamnit!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Kat Graham's Video For "Wanna Say"

Kat Graham's EP has been out for a while now, and just when I thought there wasn't going to be anything else to come from her last EP, "Against The Wall", another video falls out of the sky. Unlike most of the people on this site, she has a record label and a pretty big budget. Let's see what they came up with, shall we?

This video has a lot of good with a bit of bad sprinkled on top. The good is that she looks gorgeous, and the video is visually appealing. The majority of the video is a few different sequences of her dancing, which is definitely her strong point. After seeing footage of her dancing live, I know that she has got talent when it comes to that area.

My favorite parts of the video are when the ballet bar lights up. Her short hair paired with the perfectly timed dancers was a great way to express the feeling of the song. The art direction for the whole video was superb, and both her makeup and hair were spot on for (almost) the entire video.

Why the (almost)? Well there is that awkward part that keeps showing up over and over again. What part? Well, my friends, did you notice her eyebrows in the part with the top hat? Yeah, whoever's idea it was to give her big glittery eyebrows needs to be fired. This is the one blemish an otherwise amazing video, which is becoming a rare thing for mainstream artists.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

XELLE's "Hologram" Video Gets Release Date

Dear lord it is about time. After being in production for over a year and being postponed time and time again, we are finally going to see what all the hype is about. Yet again, and hopefully for the last time, I'll post this trailer. The next time I talk about it will be when it comes out. I swear. Like seriously. It's happening.

March 5, people. This music video is coming out March 5th. It had better come out March 5. This has got to be one of the longest music video productions I've ever heard of. They have been working on this epic for over a year, and the fans are scrambling to find out all they can. Unfortunately, they are keeping much of it under wraps. Actually, the only solid info we have to go on currently is a short quip taken from band-member Mimi's Facebook page:

"For those of you wondering when the XELLE music video for HOLOGRAM comes out. We're very excited to announce officially that it comes out March 5th. It is the world's longest music video and first ever chose your own adventure music-movie."

They are calling it the "world's longest music video" and creating a new genre of "choose your own adventure" video telling. This causes even more confusion, as to how they would even go about it. Perhaps it is something you watch up to a point and then select which part two you want? Who knows, but we will find out in a little less than a month.

The video is being premiered live in NYC, but it's a tight fit to get people in, so they are asking for RSVPs on their various social media accounts.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

RuPaul's Drag Race Recap - Draggle Rock

Last week was a bit obvious as to who was gonna bite the big one and sashay away. Now it's starting to get to those who have what it takes, and every little error is can be the downfall of a talented queen. Who will go home this week? Well, you'll just have to keep reading to find out. Or you already watched it and want to see how hilarious I am.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

MYPHNH(BS) - Spray

It's back! Music You Probably Have Never Heard (But Should) is back, bringing you the most underrated artists around! This time we have a UK duo known as Spray. Their name may be strange, but their sound is anything but. Let's get into this hot dance group.

I bet you are wondering what the hell is going on in that picture. Well, to be honest, I'm not sure. I do know that it coincides with their biggest single to date, "Everything's Better With Muppets". The song is a catchy romp through the world of electropop, and it came back in 2010 before the market became over saturated with the genre.

What really astounds me is that these two have been going at the music scene for over a decade and have yet to blow up. They have all the right ingredients for an amazing musical act and they've released a string of amazing albums, but still fall shy of five hundred likes on Facebook. Not even I, the one who scours the interent for days upon days to find obscure and interesting music, knew about this group until they were brought to my attention by a friend.

Spray has become rather notorious for their odd song titles. If you thought "Everything's Better With Muppets" was strange, you should check out titles like "Sparks Called And They Want Their Ideas Back", "You Gotta Belieeeeve" and "Squabble At The Rotary Club". See what I mean?

Recently, they have released a new song entitled "You Can Always Come Home", a slower electro-ballad. The track is a very sad song, but in a good way. Instead of dwelling on the bad times, the track is all about letting them go while letting them know they still have a place in your heart. This song is by far one of the most realistic songs I've heard in a while, giving the listener an honest reaction to a very real situation.

The bottom line is that Spray has been a hard working group for years, and it's about time they got featured on your favorite blog, Taking Over The Universe. Can I get an Amen?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

RuPaul Gags Everyone With His Peanut Butter

RuPaul has finally dropped the music video to his single "Peanut Butter" that was released this past summer. It may have been a sleeper hit at the time, but now that it has been featured on Drag Race, it's sure to take off. The video... I have no words for.

No, really. I have no words. I mean what is this? I know we are talking about RuPaul, here, but still... what? This video, the one that has been teased to us for so long now, is not only completely bat-shit, but also not even the full song.

Confusion aside, I'm pretty sure this is one of the best things I've ever seen. Not to freak everyone out with a complete 180, but this is just the right level of crazy. It's got overly "plump" boys shakin' their thangs, Big Frieda flowing like a pro, and RuPaul with an ass that would make real ladies jealous. Ru looks perfect. Frieda looks perfect. Those guys' asses look perfect.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it took watching it about five times for it to truly sink in. Do I think this is for everyone? Hell no. Do I think this is for me? Probably not, but I'll play it on repeat for the next few hours regardless.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Album Review - Holly Elle "Leopardess"

You better believe that I am going to be all over this EP. The lead single "Predator" made it's online debut right here on Taking Over The Universe, and it made a big splash. Holly has switched it up, and is moving forward with her music. "Leopardess" is a testament to her growth, and she is taking no prisoners.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Brandon Hilton Shows You His Best (So Far!)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know you are probably thinking I talk about this character a bit too much, but when someone is doing something they are passionate about, it really shows. This is exactly the case with Brandon Hilton, and to prove it, he's released the culmination of the past three years of his hard work. New this week is Brandon Hilton's new album "The Best of Brandon Hilton... So Far!".


This release may not be all "new" exactly, but it has it's purpose. Brandon has been teasing his fans about having a new album come out for a while, but due to the woes of being an independent artist, it has been pushed back yet again. In it's place, he has given us a way to catch up on the fan favorites from over his entire career -- oh and a little bonus for those who have been keeping up with him.

The album is a mix of old and new. It has songs dating back to his starting days, including his most popular track "Glamour Zombie". It also includes his newest songs, "Frozen" and "Dance Til I Die". His best of album is a great thing for both fans old and new, especially since all of his older material has been taken off of iTunes and other online retailers as an effort to maintain his new quality standards. The songs that did make the cut are the obvious picks, and the newer and blend well with the previous songs.

The album isn't just for those who are new to Brandon. Even if you own all the songs on the list, there are a few surprises in store for you. Every track sans "One" comes paired with a remix. Each one of them adds a new flavor to an old favorite. The "Heartbreaker" is the best of them all, turning a middle of the road song into a dancefloor anthem.

Brandon is a hard working artist, and this compilation proves it. As it climbs up the iTunes dance charts, it has become clear that his fans are here to support him in the long run. Either that or there are a lot of people who haunt the new releases lists and love those SICK remixes.

Check it out for yourself on iTunes.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

RuPaul's Drag Race Recap - Lip Synch Eleganza Extravaganza

Another day, another episode. Well, I guess I should say another week. We are down to thirteen queens, the number it usually starts with. This may be when the real games begin -- or it could just a a glorified clip show. You decide!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ugly Kids Club Release New Music

It's 2013 and synth group Ugly Kids Club have wasted no time. They kept busy all throughout the past year, and they are showing no signs of slowing down now. With the new year of course comes new music from this top notch indie group. Get into their double A-Side single "Rain and Bones".

Don't be fooled by the frightening cover, this group is certainly not something demonic or satanic. The group seem to have decided to drift from their original plan of being an electronic group, and are now exploring more rock venues, and it really does work for them.

"Bones" is the harder of the two tracks, featuring heavy guitar riffs and intense lyrics. Both vocalists come off very strong in this track, but the guitars and drums often drown out the voices, making the real meaning behind the song hard to understand. I am not sure if this was intentional, as I am sure the song was meant to feel intense.

The stronger of the two is certainly "Rain." This song may not be as pounding and driven as the other, but it is all around a much stronger song. The song will drawn in fans of groups like Evanescence and Lacuna Coil, mixing together a flavor of ambiance with their edgy rock sound. 

This dual release really threw me for a loop. I had expected more of their mellow synth pop that they had been releasing before. "Magical", their last single, seemed to be the bridge that I had missed somewhere along the way, mixing both the electronic and rock pieces, while "Rain and Bones" is flat out rock-n-roll. I, in fact, like both versions of the group, and hope they continue to do more mixing of the genres until they find their own perfect harmony.

The singles are up for purchase on iTunes here.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Liz Primo Unveils "Margarita"

Imagine my delight when new fave Liz Primo announced via Facebook that she was releasing a new video and single. She didn't waste a lot of time after teasing, either, as the video popped up a few days later. Titled "Margarita", this song is far from what you would expect given her previous musical library. Is it good? Well check it out.

The big shock factor for this song is the most obvious part about it. Liz has made a name for herself releasing radio-ready electro-pop tracks. It's obvious only seconds into this song that something major has changed. In it's place is a new vibe that is set solidly in the genre of Latin music. Upon my first listen to the song, I wasn't too impressed, but as the past few days have gone on, it truly has grown on me.

The song can be a lot to take in at first. She sings the verses of the song in English, telling a story about how she ended a relationship with a guy due to a lying frienemy. The chorus, however, is sang entirely in Spanish. I may have taken a few classes on it in high school, but that was long ago and I didn't give a rat's ass about the class either. From what I gather, though, she wants this guy back.

As far as the video goes, it isn't the most interesting bit. It uses a lot of extended takes of her without any cut-aways, leading for the viewer to become easily distracted. I did like the art direction with the Cinco De Mayo skeleton face, as well as the cute hand drawn pieces such as the heart, but over all, it makes a much more interesting song than a video. Probably my main complaint would have to be that she didn't release a video for "Beautiful Whore", which is my favorite song right now.

The track is available for download on iTunes as well.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Album Review - No Light! No Light!

It's been a while since we've heard from Mykal Hoare. He released his single "Heart Attack" last year and has since gone underground. Recently, he's resurfaced with a new EP entitled "No Light! No Light!" to show the world exactly what he's got, and lucky for you, he made sure this came to my attention so that I can get on it right on the front lines.