Review: The Surround Me Tour

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Sweden has produced an abundance of talented individuals ranging from Tove Lo to Lykke Li to Avicii, and so on.

Considering my family originates from Sweden, I always take great pride in artists who share the same origins. The sense of connectedness makes me root for them that much more.

On October 21, I had the pleasure to see the indie-pop artist from Sweden, Léon, perform live at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall.

Continue reading “Review: The Surround Me Tour”

The Best Albums Of 2017 So Far

2016 blessed us with incredible new music. From Kanye’s The Life Of Pablo, to Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book, and to in my opinion, the greatest album to have ever been produced, Frank Ocean’s Blonde, it was just a great year for music.

We’re three months into 2017, and the new music is starting to pour in. The year is still young, but here are some of the best new albums that have been released so far:

American Teen – Khalid 

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Khalid’s debut album, American Teen, is just the very beginning to the successful music career glowing in front of him. At only 18 years old, Khalid has made huge waves with his single, ‘Location,’ which can be found on American Teen. This album is emotionally crafted with soulful 90’s vibes and smooth vocals. American Teen is one of those rare albums that you can listen to from start to finish, without skipping any songs, and you’ll never get tired of hearing it. Highlights include: ‘Saved’, ‘Location’, and ‘Shot Down’

Mansionz – Mansionz

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Mansionz is a new duo featuring singer-songwriter, Mike Posner, and singer-producer, Blackbear. The self-entitled album consists of electronic-based hip-hop and R&B pop. It’s a unique combination that deserves more attention. The transitions from each song are flawless, and blends perfectly. Highlights include: ‘The Life Of A Troubadour’, ‘I’m thinking about horses’, ‘nobody knows’, and ‘My Beloved’

CollXtion II: Unsolved – Allie X

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Canadian singer-songwriter, Allie X, has been working on her second studio album, and it’s for sure a bop. Her sound can be described as edgy electronic pop, and it’s just different than anything else. Highlights include: ‘That’s So Us’ and ‘Too Much To Dream’

I See You – The xx

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I See You is The xx’s junior album, and in my opinion, their best. The xx have always been known for their calming and soothing vocals, and they lived up to expectations yet again. The production of their third album has been a step up from their past work, and it’s honestly beautiful. Highlights include: ‘Lips’, ‘Brave For You’, and ‘Performance’

Process – Sampha

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Heavy emotions can be found in Sampha’s debut LP. Process contains R&B roots, and vocals that sound almost haunting. Sampha rediscovers himself through his work, and you can hear the vulnerability in his LP.  Highlights include: ‘What Shouldn’t I Be?’, ‘Plastic 100ºC’, and ‘Take Me Inside’

I can’t wait to hear what else is yet to come in 2017, and I do have high expectations

Troye Sivan: The Suburbia Tour

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If there is one thing about me that is no secret, it’s my love for Troye Sivan.  I am completely and utterly in love with that boy, and I have been since 2011.

I have had the honor in the past to see Troye preform live several times, and even meet him. On Tuesday, November 1st 2016, I was reunited with my favorite person as he made his stop in Chicago for the “Suburbia Tour.”

I arrived at the venue at 5 in the morning, sounds crazy, I know, but I was determined to get first row. I spent the next 13 hours drinking tons of coffee, exploring the area with my friends, and even got to meet with Troye’s parents for a bit.  It was a great way to spend my Tuesday afternoon.

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photo taken by myself

6:30 finally came and my adrenaline was through the roof. The doors were opening and my friends and I were first in line, and I NEEDED to be on the barricade. So, once our tickets were scanned, we ran.

Just as I hoped and prayed for, I got the first row, right at the barricade. I was in the perfect position to be in direct eye contact with Troye, and experience the show with the best view.

A young and very talented musician named Astrid S, opened the show for Troye. Her vocals were angelic and she was absolutely amazing. I highly recommend everyone gives her a listen.

Finally, it was time for Troye. The lights dimmed. His band began to play and smoke was rising from the floor. 5,000 people were waiting in anticipation for Troye to walk on to the stage and then, a lengthy, beautiful Australian boy with big blue eyes emerged on stage, and sang into the mic, “TRYING HARD NOT TO FALL,” as he opened with, “WILD,” and purple lights were flashing everywhere. The crowd went insane.

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photo taken by myself

The “Suburbia Tour” consisted of Troye singing 12 of his own songs. The order of his set list put his audience on a rollercoaster of emotions. There were songs such as, “BITE” and “FOOLS,” that were total bops and truly hyped up the crowd. Then, Troye took it down a few notches with heart-aching songs such as, “Talk Me Down,” and the saddest of them all, “BLUE.” Yes, I cried my eyes out during “BLUE,” and I am not ashamed.

One of the most important moments of the night was when Troye performed his song, “HEAVEN.” He dedicated that number to the LGBTQ+ youth, and said, “get your pride flags out because this is the gay song!”. That song hits close to home for the people in the LGBTQ+ community, so many people in the crowd were shedding tears in that moment.

Throughout his entire show, Troye showed off that he possesses a real talent. His vocals were outstandingly beautiful, and full of raw emotions. It was powerful.

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photo taken by myself

Another thing to note about the “Suburbia Tour,” was the sophisticated lighting Troye used during each song. The lights were dramatic and intense, and set the mood for each song. It was fun, and different from other shows, and I guess you could say, “it was lit!”

Overall, the “Suburbia Tour,” was more than just a concert. It was a place that felt like home. A place where you were safe. Troye did an overwhelming good job at connecting with his fans and he put on one hell of a show. I cannot wait till the next time I see him. Thank you for an incredible night that I will never forget, Troye Sivan.

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photo taken by @rrevolutionists

Jessy Lanza on Noteworthy

 

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Ivan of Noteworthy here (Mondays, 6PM-8PM at uicradio.org). In addition to playing music from all kinds of genre on my show, I also have guests from time to time. On this past Monday’s show, I talked briefly with Canadian electronic artist Jessy Lanza ahead of her show on April 6th at Metro opening for Junior Boys. She co-produced her debut album, Pull My Hair Back, with Jeremy Greenspan of that group and the result was a sensuous slow burn of an effort heavy on midnight synths and classic R&B drum patterns. Her next one, Oh No, will be released May 13th on Hyperdub and promises to pick up the pace on the dance floor if the early songs are any indication. Listen to the interview below and check her out at jessylanza.com and on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Pharrell Williams 2015 CFDA Fashion Icon Award Winner

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Pharrell Williams is the winner of this years CFDA Fashion Icon Award! The Hip Hop mogul and co-founder of both The Billionaire Boys Club and ICECREAM, has an extensive resume within the fashion industry. From his collaboration with G-Star Raw, helping in creating environmental awareness. To his collaboration with Louis Vuitton for Blason Jewelry, which also displayed as an extension to his transition in taste in jewelry. To his most recent collaboration with Adidas, supporting 50 shades of individuality with the Superstar Supercolor Pack… Williams has been busy making waves within the fashion industry… just to name a few!! And with his recent opening of BBC & ICECREAM Flagship store in London, Skateboard P has no plans of slowing down, anytime soon.

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This year’s CFDA Awards, the Council of Fashion Designers of America has announced they are honoring Pharrell Williams with The Fashion Icon Award. CFDA honors individuals that have made a most powerful impact on popular culture, on both a national and international scale. Other artists that have been recipients of the CFDA Fashion Icon Award are Lady GAGA and Rihanna. Sean “Diddy” Combs was the recipient of the Menswear Designer Of The Year Award in 2004. June 1st, the CFDA Fashion Awards will be at the Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center in New York, NY.

Thanks for ROCKIN wit me!!! Roc4Chi_City
IG @rockwitb_roc @4chi_cityradio

Feel Friday : My Pain Goes Away

After sending a ripple throughout the music scene with their debut earlier this week, NYC duo Refs certainly has a future ahead of them. Featuring Zachary Andrew of Black Light Dinner Party, it’s clear where the duo  finds its roots.

Easing you into a somber burial of thought, you might expect this song to accompany a funeral procession. Just when you think you’ve died, the beat kicks in, and its simplicity carries lively vocals accompanied by chime like keys.

Call me anytime you want
Cause my pain goes away

It’ll probably get thrown into that “sad” category on the first listen, and can definitely bring down your mood a bit. But being down means you can only move up, and the song gives a sense of empowerment and hope. Much like Chicago winters, pain also eventually goes away.

Pain Goes Away just might get you over the syllabus week ending blues, and it fits in nicely with the grey clouds these days. They’ll be there for a while, but with aspiring artists like Refs, there’s always a silver lining.

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Production Series with Laghima, 5ummer 7ime

Music Production is as frustrating as it is entertaining. Some days it can even be relaxing and rewarding.

 

This month, I worked with the talented Laghima. His newest releases comes from a Flying Lotus from an alternative timeline. We called our track 5ummer 7ime (Summer Time)

 

We went into the track knowing we can’t compromising each other. Laghima has an excellent work flow when it comes to the music he makes. I’d argue that maybe mine is lacking in comparison. We both make some sort of Hip Hop oriented electronic music. The one thing that sticks out to me for sure is the Yeezus flow of the beat we made. When making the track, we threw some chords together to make sure we weren’t lacking in the sound spectrum.

When it comes to mastering, it was a real pain as the kicks clipped with just about everything else. Laghima and I were able to make sure that in the end the French vocals at the end were flavored correctly to the stuttering high hats at the end.

 

 

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It’s a “Rebel Era”

With a bass driven, electro-soul, and future funk feel, Griz has surpassed my expectations for his newly released album. His “Rebel Era” album falls nothing short of amazing and, even better, is entirely free. If you haven’t discovered this artist yet, I highly recommend checking out this album and his last.

This innovative album has pieced together elements of different genres very nicely. It flows well, it inspires, and it’s refreshing. With a total of eleven tracks, songs include snippets of hip hop, funk, bass drops and electronic vibes.

What really struck me about the album’s release, however, was the note that Griz wrote for his audiences to introduce the album. The progressive mindset that this artist has, as well as his hopes for change in the coming years really helped me understand why this album is so different, so uplifting and creative. This artist has molded his hopes and his voice into an album that I’m sure many people will find just as expressive, and for that reason I have so much respect for him and his work.

To download or hear his entire album visit his official website.

“In a time where words and phrases like the occupy movement, personal freedom, the NSA, riots, elections, and war are on the tips of everyone’s tongues, I can feel a shift in global energy. This is a time where classism and competition is tearing a rift in society. A time where imperialist democratic capitalism is fighting its way to dominate cultures and separate people into selfish consumers. A time where people are turning against the powers that be and are speaking out against these values. A time that is inspiring people to seek change. Its the time that we live in, an age that we created.

I wrote this record over the past year in many different states and phases. From tour busses, to bedroom studios, from green rooms full of friends and scenesters, to planes thousands of feet flying through the sky. I’ve met and worked with so many new people through the creation of this album and pushed my limits as a producer to create something challenging and dynamic. Taking every single moment that I wasn’t on stage and dedicating it to developing ideas of sound; at times, left me breathless and laid out on the floor of my room with songs on repeat – anxious thoughts melting away into space.

But thats the thing. I’ve found that music sets me free. Its up to us to use that which is most compelling and manifest a new reality. One free of apathy. A world of compassion, empathy and cooperation. A world of action of and love.

This is Rebel Era.”

– G

Welcome Back to School!!! UIC RADIO Covers North Coast Music Festival.

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Welcome back to school boys and girls!
For some of you this is a complete bummer, no one said taking Calc, chem, bio or any elective classes is going to be easy.
However, here at UIC Radio we are stoked to be back in action!
Why?
Because we get to share some awesome music experiences from killer music festivals to exclusive artist interviews anywhere from Kendrick Lamar and Morgan Page to local celebs like Rude Gentlemen, Phero, or You Are Here

This week we are covering the North Coast Music Festival all three days.
We are keeping a watchful eye on Passion Pit, Claude Vonstroke, Afrojack, Mac Miller, Nas, and Wu-Tang. We are also very excited to come back for NCMF ‘s fourth year. It certainly seems as if every year they put out a bigger and greater show with top notch headlining artists…. I mean who would want to miss out on AFROJACK this year?!?!?!

Stay posted for any updates on the NCMF exclusively at UIC RADIO and Rock on!!

Spring Awakening Music Festival 2013

Spring Awakening is coming to Chicago and bringing an array of must-see DJs for a 3-day festival of electronic house that any house music junkie can fill their fix for a year! It is without a doubt a blessing to be taking place in Chicago’s very own Soldier Field on June 14-16, 2013. The line-up includes Calvin Harris, Bassnectar (headliners), and a few of my favorites, Flosstradamus, Felix Da Housecat, and Boys Noize plus many more!

If you love the upbeat, energized atmosphere that these artists bring to the stage its worth checking out the 3-day long ‘dance til you drop’ party–How much you say? The 3-day package ranges from $150-175.

Also a unique twist to this festival is the DJ contest (LISTEN UP ASPIRING DJS!) that will offer  one lucky DJ to open on one of the four stages (plus VIP tickets) of this massive music festival. For any DJ’s out there, check out the link below for further details and the fierce competition.

Out of your budget? No worries, there will be after parties featuring DJs from the festival that won’t break your pocket!

For more information about the line-up, tickets, contest, and after parties check out: http://www.springawakeningfestival.com

I’m excited, let’s go!