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!