Sunday, June 30, 2013

Song of the Month - Levi Kreis "Gonna Be Alright"

Imagine this: I was writing up a story on this artist, Levi Kreis, about his new single "Gonna Be Alright" when the media splashed with the news that DOMA had been stricken down. Homosexuals can now get married (where legal, obviously) and not have to call it something like "domestic partnership". This is for real. "Everything's going to be alright," I said. Awkwardly enough I was singing along to this track when I said that. Point is, this song fits so perfectly with this month, that I've dubbed it June's song!

This track isn't exactly new. It's actually from Levi's 2009 album, Where I Belong, but it has been redone to a point that it's nearly unrecognizable. The vocals have been updated, the beats are pulsing, and it has magically become a club banger. Another odd thing about this song is that there's no "real" version of it. By this I mean there are a lot of mixes, but no original version aside from the '09 one. For the time being, the "Jared Jones 2k13 Radio Mix" is being used for the basic analysis of the track.

What I love about this song is that it really is an anthem for LGBT Pride -- which is the month of June by the way -- and this combined with the recent triumphs in the US Supreme Court -- really make this song have a much more special meaning. It is a message of hope to the community (whether or not that was it's original intention) and it gives us what we all want: Something to shake our booties to. Someone back me up here!

With both the choosing of this song, as well as it's message that I hope to continue sharing, I wish everyone a Happy Pride! I have worked hard at TOTU to point out as many of the positive aspects of LGBT in today's music and television. I hope everyone, LGBT, straight, or otherwise, can see what positivity the homosexual community has to offer.

You can also grab the track on iTunes now!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Album Review - Naia Kete "Fire Breather"

Does the name Naia Kete ring a bell? Well it should. She was in the national spotlight, albeit for a shorter time than she should have been, on the critically acclaimed television reality competition The Voice. She has decided that being booted from the show wasn't going to dash her hopes at making music, and now that she's got a great team behind her, she's released her debut album. Get ready for the easy-listening-yet-oddly-addicting EP that is Fire Breather.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Reality TV Review: RHNJ Season Five Episode 4

Oh my lawd. Sometimes when I agree to review TV shows, I get started and a few weeks in I already wanna give up. This time it's mostly because NOBODY ON THIS SHOW IS SANE. Well maybe Kathy (except for when she's drunk). Then again, I guess that's what makes this show so fun. We get to watch people be complete hot messes which is what makes reality TV what it is. So without further ado: a giant mess.

(Note: Due to time restraints and limitations of media, dates for future reviews may fluctuate.)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Album Review - Frankmusik "Between"

I can't believe we have a new Frankmusik album out. After all the drama that happened over the past couple of years, it is a huge relief to not only have him back, but have him making a full album (as opposed to EPs and singles). Though his video and single release schedules have been hectic, this album was well thought out and released right on schedule. Welcome to Frankmusik's newest masterpiece Between.

(Note: This post was scheduled for June 23, but due to technical difficulties it was delayed. I apologize for this and hope to correct such issues in the future.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gay Rapper Cazwell And Rising Star Luciana Team Up

Cazwell is one of the best known gay rappers. Luciana has already made a name for herself in the gay community by enlisting Betty White as a partner in her debut track. What do you get when you take two rising stars of the LGBT flavor? You get a sexy track and video called "Guess What?"

I have to say this song was much better than I had expected. I've not payed a lot of attention to Cazwell thus far, and I might have skipped over this release had Luciana not been attached to it. I'm actually glad I checked it out, because it is pretty catchy. Cazwell is a great rapper, and has a lot of quirky gay tweaks to throw into his flows (such as bringing up Craigslist). Luciana is just fabulous no matter what she does.

The track is very fun and upbeat. I found there to be a couple of things that were odd about the track. Apparently Luciana feels the need to constantly remind people that she is both hot and from London. Also the fact that the song is called "Guess What" is a bit confusing, seeing as the main hook from her last track was "Guess what? I'm still hot."

As for the video, it makes for an interesting watch. The two are seen running amok in an abandoned flat in NYC, having fun. What makes it visually appealing is the use of pink colors throughout. The only awkward part is when Luciana is in the cat suit with her tail floating above her while she does some weird back arching thing. The best part for me was the cameo shoehorned in at the very end. Tammie Brown is the voice of the emergency broadcast system. Love that crazy lady!

You can view the video here on YouTube (embedding seems to be disabled?) and you can grab the track on iTunes.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sorry I Missed It - BearForce1 Lead Goes Solo As Circuit21

It's been a while since I've done a segment for "Sorry I Missed It", but with all due respect, I have been doing my best, more so than ever, to stay on top of my game. This one, as a matter of fact, is in some weird limbo between something I missed and something that isn't even out yet. Don't understand? Well I guess I'll have to explain, won't I. For now, check out Circuit21's debut single "Love In The Shadows".

The singer look familiar? Well that's because he was in the uber popular YouTube sensation Bear Force One. Sure, their song was silly and they didn't do too much to further gay culture, but they did educate a lot of people on what bears are, right? Well the lead singer has gone solo under the name Circuit21 and is here to serve you 80s pop. Straight up.

What I mean by that is the track is actually a cover. It's a classic 80s track by E.G. Daily. This version is a much more amped up and techno-fied version, but the core lyrics and vibe are certainly there. To his credit, he picked a great song for his voice, even if it isn't a song I would expect from a member of their group. I can say that I like that he's taking a more serious approach to music this go around, and I hope it works out for him in the long run.

The video, however, has left me feeling a bit mixed up. It is good, don't get me wrong. It has a lot of great effects, and has a great sort of juxtaposition to real vibe of the song (though the lyrics balance it out a tad), but I can't help but think I've seen this before. I feel like I've seen all of this in a move called Repo: The Genetic Opera. The cyberpunk vibe, the electronic eyes, and the hologram projecting the singer are all things I've seen before, and I can't help but think it is track that could have had a much different and more original video.

What I meant earlier about it kind of being new, too, is that the song itself hasn't been released yet. The video uses a special remix of the track by Cahill, and the real version will be available July 28. It is also worth mentioning that his debut solo album "Eventually" is set to release towards the end of the year.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Album Review - Kim Smith "Nova"

Oh, Kim Smith. How you have popped up out of nowhere in the pop music world and have stolen my heart! Kim has been steadily releasing tracks for a while now, and it has all added up to an amazing album full of polished gems. Let's take a closer look at "Nova" by Kim Smith.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The New Futures Go To The Ocean With New Single

I'm so clever with titling these things, aren't I? Oh, how I amuse myself. Now is the time for Summer music, and here is yet another song that is going to get you in the mood for the season, but in a bit of a different way than songs I've posted about in the past. Why, you may ask? Because it's The New Futures and they are hardly conventional. Well not 2010's conventional, anyway. Check out "Ocean".

Remember how I said that it would put you in the mood for a different kind of Summer? Well it is a Summer song, but it's more of a 90s Summer song. Don't get what I mean? Well it brings back memories of the golden era of the late 90's feel good easy going rock. Think Sugar Ray and you'll be on the right path to what these guys sound like. The point is, I'm loving this song. Plus there's a pretty sweet jazzy saxophone solo in there. Don't see that every day.

The song is a bit hard to understand. It seems to be about a guy who is trying his hardest to convince a girl that he can be her everything. There are many comparisons and metaphors to beaches and the ocean, given the title. The only problem is that the chorus is a bit hard to make out. The lead singer's voice is great, I just find the mix, along with the higher note he hits, to be a bit distracting as far as the actual lyrical content goes. Other than that, I'm completely digging the song.

This is their second single set to be on their first major release, an EP called "Radioactive" due out July 2. This means that there are three more tracks left to be heard. What more can they have in store for us? I certainly hope that "Ocean" gets a video. Mostly because it's Summer themed and they might be shirtless.

Oh, there I go being awkward again.

Grab this track on iTunes, and be sure and pre-order the EP while you're at it!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reality TV Review: RHNJ Season Five Episode 3

Hey look! I'm actually following through with something for once! I know it's shocking, but you'll have to keep yourselves together. I mean it's Drag Race downtime and I have next to no regularly scheduled weekly events any more, so why not show my New Jersey girls some love? This week the drama gets a little heavier, and I have to say that I'm re-re-rediscovering why I love this show so much. Let's see what happens!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

April Kae Releases Summer Smash "Love Bomb"

It's been a bit since we've seen April. She's been busy working on even more new music for all of us, and thankfully she's picked summer to unveil her newest track. "Love Bomb" is everything you could want from a summer song and more. Let's drop this pop bomb on the world and see what happens, shall we?

April has always been about girl power, but this song sets aside that notion for a moment to deliver a raw track about how much love can hurt. Here, the love is almost literally a bomb, leaving shrapnel and scars on her heart in the aftermath. As with all of the songs she brings out, her vocals, combined with the cleverly written lyrics, create a song that nearly everyone can relate to. The song is real, and that's what makes it lovable.

But depressing or not, it still has that slow moving, car-top-down-with-the-breeze-in-your-hair feel to it. This is a summer song plain and simple. I love this vibe for her, and it's perfect timing with warm weather here and summer coming up very shortly. It's a bit slower paced than I had imagined, and has a lot more R&B flavoring to it than I'd hoped, but it all works.

The track is up on iTunes now. Let's hope that she gets a video out for this one. It certainly deserves it!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Seth Storm Releases Raunchy "TeKilla" Video

What can I say? Italians love me! This video was sent to me by a producer who worked with another Italian singer that I've covered before. What's the difference? This guy is a little less gay. Ok, so he's is a LOT less gay. Anyway, check it out below. It's "TeKilla" by Seth Storm.

(Warning: blurred nudity)

This video marks a huge improvement over his last, at least production wise. The video looks great. It's one big party complete with a guy dressed as Bane wrestling with a guy in a Sin Cara mask. What more could you ask for? Lesbians kissing. Got it. Topless women? Well if you're here, you probably weren't asking for that BUT YOU GOT IT ANYWAY! See what I mean about less gay. I mean, at least you get to see him in a Rocky Horror gold speedo. That was a treat, right?

Unfortunately the lyrics are very hard to understand. The song is in English, but due to him not being a native speaker, some of the words get lost in the mix. It also doesn't help that his voice is processed to hell (though I do feel like it gives the song that party feel he was definitely going for). I am pretty sure he says at one point that he is going to "drink the fxxk out of you".  Take that how you will.

What I gather is that the song is about a girl that he compares to tequila, a reference that makes far more sense after you hear how he pronounces it (more a long e sound that the short i sound you'd expect). It's a pretty fun romp through the world of Europop. This is a much more raw and indie take on the scene over there, being a stark contrast to what I've showcased in the past.

Oddly enough, the track is up on US iTunes. Grab it while you can!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Live Music Review: Frankmusik In St. Louis

Wonder where I've been lately? Well I spent my evening at a concert in St. Louis this past night. What was I doing? I was meeting Frankmusik, one of the greatest songwriters of my generation. He surprised me in many ways tonight, and I'll have to detail it all below. Are you ready to hear about one of the greatest intimate music showcases this city has seen?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Chvrches' Trippy "Gun" Video + Album Release Date

Oh, Chvrches. How I have missed you. Their music, sans one EP, has vanished from iTunes and Amazon, leaving me high and dry as far as their music is concerned. Luckily they are kind to their fans abroad (and not just here in the US, but in the rest of Europe as well) and the newest video "Gun" is available to watch nearly everywhere. Check it out, but be prepared -- it's crazy trippy.

What I really like about this video is that it's pure art. There's no storyline and there's no real flow. It just is a constant movement of colors, images, and people. They are often times green-screened into each other, one being the backdrop and the other being the foreground. It makes for an interesting watch, and is one of those videos where you can watch it several times in a row and always find something new in it's intricacy.

The really good thing this video has done for me is give these guys faces. Even on the band's Facebook page, they don't have many pictures of what they actually look like. That being said I guess I never put a lot of effort into it, but with them never appearing on their EP/Single covers, it seemed a bit refreshing and eye opening to see what the members look like... Even if they were often smeared or chopped up by digital effects.

Paired with this, they also announced both the title and release date for the debut album. "The Bones Of What You Believe" will be out September 23rd in the UK and September 24th in the US. That is a long ways to wait, but I'm sure it will be worth it. A certain other elctropop artist has released an album that should keep me plenty busy until then!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Alyssa Edwards Has Her Own Web Series

Ok, so calling it a "series" may be a stretch. The videos are only 30-45 seconds long and there are only a couple out so far, but they are damn funny! Why? Because it's Alyssa Edwards! Duh! She stole my heart during the last season of Drag Race, and seeing more of her is exactly what I need in my life. Check out an example below.

Each minisode is set up as a question for Alyssa to answer. The first part is her straightforward, more rehearsed answer. After, a "shhhhh" splash goes over the screen followed by some outtakes or more candid answers to the question. For example, she was asked to choose Lindsay Lohan or Amanda Bynes. She chooses Lindsay, only to reveal at the end she had no idea who Amanda Bynes was anyway.

I know we had a lot of comedy queens in the past, and I know that Alyssa isn't exactly one of them, but what makes her funny is that she isn't meaning to. She says some airhead things that could have been avoided if she'd stopped to think. The goldmine is that she doesn't have that filter and she will blurt out anything and everything -- and it's funny!

Unlike Willam's (now canceled) weekly installments, these episodes seem to be coming out whenever they feel like coming out. Who knows if we will even get more than what we have so far, but God we can hope. Alyssa, in my opinion, is one of the girls who got let go before her time. Was she a winner? Probably not. Was she deserving of all the negativity and the early send off? No.

I love you Alyssa! Keep up the laughs and you'll always have my heart.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reality TV Review: RHNJ Season Five 1 + 2

I've been promising for over a year that I would get more into reality tv. Every time I plan to review a show, things happen and I am not able to do so. In an effort to show I'm not full of crap, I'm going to be reviewing every episode (to the best of my power, anyway) of Bravo's Real Housewives of New Jersey Season Five. Let it be known that this show stresses me out like no other. I know it's a TV show, and I know that not all of it is exactly "reality" but it does pull at my heart, and some of the people on the show really get to me. Without further ado, let's jump in. Im a couple weeks late, so this time you get a twofer! Enjoy, everybody!

(Warning: Spoilers. Also, this is for two episodes, so it's a loooong post.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Side FX Is Back With Two New Tracks And A Video

It's been a hot minute since I've seen Side FX around the net. They released their latest album, "Spin Me Ever After" and have been on tour ever since promoting and touring. Recently, they released a dual A-Side single called "Still Spinning". I knew better  to hop on the train right away, because a little birdie told me they would have a video to go along with it. And today, this is what we found:

Can I take a moment to say that it is incredibly impressive that this video has gotten over 37,000 views in less than 24 hours. I knew that Side FX was a popular group, seeing as they've been on Billboard Top 40 multiple times, but I didn't know they had that kind of pull! Color me genuinely impressed.

The video consists of two songs, "Not Into You" and "A Little Bit In Love". The two songs are mixed together to form one continuous mix (although the video version has yet to pop up on iTunes). Both songs share a similar vibe, but are about completely different topics. The first, "Not Into You" is all about trying to let a guy down gently because he's not exactly her type. The second, "A Little Bit In Love" is her sort of coming to her senses and realizing that she is falling in love and it's something she can't help.

The video really helps get the message across. It features Kim (who looks STUNNING!) trying her best to lose a guy, only to realize at the midpoint where the song shifts that he is actually the man of her dreams. Both songs share a sense of reluctance, which is played up on screen. Can I also say that Kim has great taste in guys, as her male lead was not bad on the eyes at all.

Personally, even though I like "Not Into You", I think it works best as a total package. I was a little surprised to see that the video mix wasn't for sale anywhere. Perhaps it will be included in some kind of deluxe package, or posted to another site exclusively. Who knows? All I can say is that they've caught me by surprise yet again. What will they come up with next?

Grab "Not Into You" and "A Little Bit In Love" both on iTunes!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Raja's New Track Goes Zubi Zubi Zubi

Ok, Taking Over The Universe is BACK! June hiatus is over, and we are ready to bring you the latest in music and drag queens yet again! Well today, we have a story that covers both those fields. This one is about RuPaul's Drag Race season three winner Raja and her new song "Zubi Zubi Zubi" and no I don't get it either!

Oh, Raja. You always give us something different from what you've released before. "Diamond Crowned Queen" was a far throw from "Sublime" and now we have "Zubi Zubi Zubi", which is not only nothing like what we've heard from her before, but not anything like I've heard before period. This track brings together Indian influences with classic disco beats to make for an interesting ride. Sprinkle in a little electric guitar and you've got something only Raja could come up with.

The lyrics are a bit hard to understand. I listened to the song on a couple of occasions, and I still have little idea what it's actually about. The pre-chorus uses vocal effects that distort the lyrics, and the rest seems to be a strange collection of her thoughts. Also, is "Zubi" even a word?

What's great is that the Heathers seem to be falling in line. There's been rumor that they've been cooking something up together (though I've not got a straight answer from any of them yet), but this release is pretty interesting, especially since fellow Heather Manila Luzon released a similarly themed track called "One Night In Bangkok" last month. It may be a coincidence, but I'm going to keep my hopes up for a collaboration.

The track is up on iTunes!

It has also come to my attention that Raja's birthday is tomorrow (June 11), so from your long-time fan and TOTU lead blogger GaoSalad, I'd like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAJA!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Interview: Dina Delicious Is Truly Outrageous

Yes, that is a Jem and the Holograms reference. Yes, I do understand that as a 21 year old male, I shouldn't even know what that show is, but get over it. No big deal. We are actually going to talk with Dina Delicious today. She's taking New York by storm in the nightlife and all over pride month. She got two hot singles and another to come. She is the definition of outrageous, and I can't get enough. Soon, you won't be able to, either.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Belmont Lights To Be Featured On MTV's The Real World

Lately, MTV has made a habit out of finding lesser known music, getting the rights to it, and broadcasting it to the world. They've gotten a lot of my friends attention by featuring the songs in their shows, and I'm hoping that it's not different in this case. The latest season of The Real World, this time set in Portland, OR, will be featuring one of my favorite indie bands -- Belmont Lights!

Now if only the guys themselves were in the episode. I love these guys, and I'm excited to see them move in this direction. They have a very current sound, being more light and flowing rock that is all over the radio today. The song selection itself, "Don't Touch" took me by surprise a bit, as I didn't think it was necessarily a song they were pushing (especially as a single), but it's not a bad choice at all.

I honestly can say I haven't been keeping up with this season of The Real World (although I usually do). I guess things got too busy and it was lost in my scheduling somewhere, but just knowing they are giving my boys a shot makes me wanna watch it all from the beginning. I've been wondering what reality TV shows to cover in the Drag Race downtime, and maybe I may have found a new home?

But it will probably be Real Housewives. Of New Jersey. Oh my god I love how psycho Teresa is all the time.

Regardless, if you've got MTV and you love some indie rock, check out the newest episode of Real World Portland and catch "Don't Touch" by Belmont Lights as part of the show! It airs June 5th at 10/9 Central! Check out the lyric video below for the full song.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Friend Slash Lover Go Pro-Health With New Single

Ok, so it's not exactly a song you'd hear your doctor singing, but the song is called "Hellthy"(Fun Pun, right?) and it's a bit of a step away from what you might have heard if you'd been listening to Friend Slash Lover in the past. The song actually covers something a bit darker, but still has a sense of positivity to it. They've struck again, and this time, I'm here for the scoop.

As the banner says, it's available on Spotify. This track apparently takes the group in a new direction. Unfortunately, this is my first experience with them, but I think I'd prefer the new electronic sound. It has a sound that I can only compare to Death Cab For Cutie, but still that doesn't seem like a fair comparison. Their vocalist has a light and airy voice, their sound is relaxed and flowing, and the vocals are layered in a way that can be interpreted in many different ways. Short answer: It's a good track.

"Hellthy" is one of the most relatable tracks I've heard in a good while. It deals with a relationship that is toxic, and the only way that the person can get better is to leave. Like most people, however, they resist change and stay because it's comfortable. I can't say everyone has been through this, but I know a lot have. It's left purposefully vague to allow people to meld it to their situation. It doesn't say why the relationship was bad, it just says it was.

The mastermind behind Friend Slash Lover, Josh Mintz, is hosting his own art show in conjunction with the single's release. The show, "It Was My Idea To Steal That Idea" is a collection of visual and musical arts that started out simply being postings via Josh's social media accounts. It has since grown into a huge project and will premier at the NOMAD Art Compound in LA June 29, 7PM to 12AM.

For now, you can grab the single on iTunes.