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Music News

Life is Beautiful Lineup Out Now!

One of the first music festivals to release a new lineup since Coronavirus cancelled shows everywhere in 2020, Life is Beautiful is ready to get going again this fall in Las Vegas.

To kick it off, Life is Beautiful just dropped their star-studded lineup for the fall edition of the festival. Some of the headliners include Billie Eilish, Tame Impala, Dillon Francis, Haim, St. Vincent, and more.

Check out the lineup below for the full list of acts. It seems that music might be back soon!

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Music News Reviews

Dancing With Nobody: NOTD

With its rhythmic beat and the anti-drop in the chorus, “Nobody” is an electronic dance song through and through and that is expected from Swedish production duo NOTD (pronounced noted). Known for their energetic songs that cause their listeners to want to get up and dance, NOTD have had massive success with 1 Billion streams on Spotify and a nomination of Best Dance Song at the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards.

For this track, they team up with new artist Catello, who is as mysterious as his spotify biography suggests:

Out of chaos came light.

Out of will came life.

Stemming from The Egyptian Book of the Dead, this quote with the depiction of a man with a canine head directly invokes the impression of Egyptian god of death, Anubis. Another little detail that we admire is the fact that Catello derives from the word “Catulus” meaning young dog.

Now you may be wondering why we are discussing “Nobody” when it was released three months ago, and that is because we had the pleasure of receiving the music video of Nobody in advance!

The video itself depicts a man reflecting on his failed relationship with a woman and regretting his actions in the past. Much like the genre that NOTD is known for, the couple’s relationship is illustrated through the medium of dance and this allows the music video to portray the more sorrowful tone that is present in the lyrics of the song.

Something that is notable is the use of color. The use of red to represent passion along with the more heated emotions like anger. This contrasts the use of blue cutting between the man and his anger and instills feelings of forlorn. Finally ending with white, a color that is stark, cold and isolated.  

Thank you to NOTD and the team at Island Records for sending us the music video in advance! 

And be sure to watch and listen to the song yourself!

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Music News Reviews

Killed by Rock and Roll and The Pretty Reckless

The Pretty Reckless released their fourth studio album on February, 12, ending a several year wait for new music. Titled Death By Rock And Roll,” I knew that I and fans of The Pretty Reckless would not be disappointed. With 12 tracks, an average length of four and a half minutes per song, and features with Tom Morello, Matt Cameron, and Kim Thayil, Death By Rock And Roll is here to provide us with an incredible amount of rocking out.

The album kicks off with the title track, which we are all familiar with as it was released as a single previously. Somehow this means that “Death By Rock And Roll” may end up being only one of your many favorite songs on the album. So get excited.

Mixing soft, haunting melodies and tolls with headbanging drums and guitar solos, the music of Death By Rock and Roll is going to stick with you. Constantly touching on themes of life and death and with passion emanating from all of Taylor Momsen’s vocals, the album tells a story and could easily be the soundtrack of its own movie.

The Pretty Reckless graces us by turning it down for a couple of songs. One of them is “Got So High,” which both makes you want to cry and scream the lyrics joyously at the same time. And then they throw in a little interlude with “Broomsticks” that’s a little Halloween fun and sets us up for “Witches Burn.”

So what’s worth living for? And what’s worth dying for? Is it love or rock and roll, or is it nothing at all because the world is so messed up? Take a listen and you might find out for yourself.

Take a listen to Death By Rock and Roll, and then join me in impatiently waiting for The Pretty Reckless’s rescheduled tour dates to finally happen.

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Music News Reviews

Nightly’s alternative EP night, love you.

Nightly, an alt-pop band based in Nashville, released an EP today that re-imagines a few songs off of their previous album night, love you. which came out last year. This alternative EP shares the same name, so don’t get confused!

The tracks on the EP include a stripped down version of “Not Like You,” acoustic versions of “So Sly” and “Summer,” and a live version of “Older.” To the average listener, these alternative takes might not sound all that different to you. “Summer (Acoustic)” is the one that stands out the most and invites you to learn how to play the song on the guitar. But upon a couple of listens, you may grow to really appreciate the nuances between versions, especially in “Not Like You (Stripped),” just as we did.

If you’re already a fan of Nightly, you’ll be disappointed that there are no new songs, of course. But if you’re new to Nightly, night, love you (alt ep) might be the perfect bite-sized introduction to the band you need! And then you can dive headfirst into the rest of their discography, starting with the album night, love you. We know we’ll be following them and waiting on more music!

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Music News

drivers license // Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo drops her song, drivers license and that’s all we can talk about…

I’ve been a huge stan of HSMTMTS since it came out. And with all spinoffs, I was so skeptical, but this show had just the right amount of teenage drama and love triangles and enough homage to the O.G. High School Musical series that I couldn’t help but watch. But, what really caught my attention was the music. 

The music truly is top tier and that reflects well on the cast as the two main leads are all anyone can talk about nowadays. Majority of it being, singer-songwriter & actress, Olivia Rodrigo, who gained some buzz on Tik Tok from her first HSMTMTS-related and self-written release, All I Want, the sad anthem for sad teenage girls, but now she proves to be more than just a product of Disney, with her latest explicit song (only one cuss word but still counts), drivers license

On January 8th, 2021, Olivia was said to have ‘saved 2021’ as superfans called it. 

Here are some worthy tweets since the release: 

  • @chartdata – ‘‘@Olivia_Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’ earns the biggest weekly streaming debut for any song in US Spotify chart history (30.433 million).’’ – 10:53 AM – 1/15/21
  • @amazonmusic – ‘‘Congrats to @Olivia_Rodrigo! ‘drivers license’ broke the record for the most requested song ever in one day on Alexa globally + the biggest first week streaming debut ever globally on Amazon music.’’ – 2:47 PM CST – 1/14/21
  •  @spotify – ‘‘@Olivia_Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’ now has the most record for most streams for a song in a week on Spotify’’ – 3:04 PM CST – 1/15/21
  • @billboard – ‘‘We’ve never seen anything like this’’: @Spotify reacts to @Olivia_Rodrigo’s recording -breaking ‘Drivers License’.’’
  • Olivia also became the first Asian American Woman to reach #1 on Apple Music Charts and U.S. iTunes – according to @womenpowhermusic on instagram.

But the moment we all knew she won was when the one person she looks up to the most, acknowledged it. 

Now what makes the song so special? 

It pulls from experience. And, we can all relate to that. The song has been said to hint at a possible relationship between her and HSMTMTS castmate, Joshua Bassett, and all the theories come from – none other than, Tik Tok. From clues that I’ve gathered prior to the release or have to recently come to discover, I would believe the theories are true. In one example, Olivia’s original demo that she posted on instagram originally had the lyrics:

‘And you’re probably with that brunette girl’

Which in the official lyric was changed to:

‘And you’re probably with that blonde girl’ 

Who people believe to be Joshua’s potential new girlfriend, Sabrina Carpenter. 

I’d suggest to do some more research and come up with your own interpretation, then we can discuss! While we have no real confirmation that any of this is true, we can still appreciate the song that holds true to Olivia’s musical inspirations, Taylor Swift, and Lorde. I mean, this song is literally the love child of the two. And respect that she is killing it in the music industry at only 17 years old.

Anyways, stream drivers license and let us know what you think about the theories, the song, or if you’re crying in your car too!

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Music News Reviews

Spencer Sutherland: Indigo

Alt-pop artist Spencer Sutherland released his EP titled Indigo last Friday and gave us a music video for the title track. I really enjoyed the style and direction of his music video for the previous single “Wonder,” so I was excited to watch and get another taste of this EP.

The location of the video is the same as the cover of the EP: a barren desert landscape. The space behind Spencer is colored purple, the sky a bright blue crossed with flashes of lightning, and the corners in the foreground are tinted with pink. Spencer struts down the dirty path in pure white shoes, passing objects of affection along the way. While the concept of the video is simple and is taken in one shot, it never gets boring to watch because Spencer’s performance, movements, and emotions keep you intrigued.

I also want to note the several seconds of black at the end and commend this editorial decision because YouTube’s autoplay can be detrimental to the viewing experience. The black gives you time to absorb and appreciate the artistry that was put into “Indigo.”

Check out the link to the video below, and then continue on to listening to the rest of the EP. And Indigo isn’t the last of the news from Spencer Sutherland. You’ll be able to see him starring in Afterlife of the Party, an upcoming Netflix film slated to come out in 2021.

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Music News Reviews

KiNG MALA introduces herself in GEMiNi

Areli Castro, better known as KiNG MALA, released her debut EP GEMiNi this month. After several singles were put out in the last two years, we finally have a collection from the alternative soul artist!

“I realized that as different as each song is, the whole EP is just 2 sides of the same coin playing out over and over again, 2 versions of the same character. So that is the reason I chose the name gemini, to represent the balance and chaos between two halves of the same thing,” says KiNG MALA. With that as an introduction to the EP, I was more than ready to dive in.

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be “If I Try to Find You,” which was released as a single earlier this year. The song weaves us through mellow verses with a simple beat but overlaid with haunting background vocals, and then erupts into a passion-filled chorus.

We get three songs on the EP that we haven’t heard before: “B4U,” “Give Me,” and “Funeral.” In all of the songs KiNG MALA shows us her badass, confident side, but then flips and shows us someone who wants to stay home or escape the life she’s living. And while both of those sides seem so different, she shows us that in life and in music, they are in balance.

Take a listen and let us know what you think of GEMiNi!

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Interviews Music News

Artist Interview: katie MAC

It’s a foggy October day and pop artist katie MAC and I grab a table outside of a coffeeshop in Nashville. While we wait for our teas to cool down to a reasonable temperature, we have plenty of time to discuss her new EP Self Sabotage. It’s been months since either of us have had an in-person interview, and we both laugh about how we aren’t sure how to do this anymore, but we take a stab at it anyway.

CROWDSURFER MAG: Your EP just came out this month! How does it feel to have your second body of work out there?

KATIE MAC: It’s different than the first for sure. To have the songs out felt like a turning point, like a change in the chapter, more personally than musically for me. It felt very cathartic and satisfying to finally have those songs out for other people to listen to.

CSM: What does the EP mean as a whole to you?

KM: It felt like an examination of self. I felt like my first album was very outward looking as far as my relationships with other people, whereas this entire thing felt like a step back and kind of an introspective examination through the lens of the way that I interact with other people.

CSM: Why did you pick “Self Sabotage” as the title track?

KM: I think when I finished that song, I was like, wow this is the phrase that feels most true to me in this phase of life. And then I started putting the project together and realized I had been creating that as a theme in my writing without even knowing it. So it just kind of clicked and made sense for that to be the title track.

CSM: So we know the title track, but do you have a favorite track?

KM: I do this thing where I am most obsessed with a song for a couple of days and then I hate it for a couple of days and then I like it again. So it changes. But currently, my favorite is the last song, which is called “Worried About Me.” I think I like it so much because I made it with my two best friends here.  It’s special to me because it’s not about boys or whatever, it’s about my relationship with myself and with my work and my career.

CSM: Self Sabotage follows up your album Tears Like Glitter. You said the content has changed since the album, but what else has?

KM: Tears Like Glitter felt like coming of age for me. Now, as more of an adult, I feel like there’s a sense of maturity in this one that was missing from the first one. Sonically, it felt like the sounds on Tears Like Glitter are very similar to this one, it’s just that Self Sabotage feels more exploratory. That willingness to try new things as far as production and vocals and is unique and characterizes me as a person

CSM: Tell me a little about your writing process.

KM: For me, it changes depending on the song. But it almost always starts out with an experience that happened to me or someone I’m close to. And then we either start with a title or phrase or melody, and if it’s just me writing, it’s usually a thirty-minute process and then a song just comes out. But when I’m with really talented writers and producers, we take our time and mold the story, and we’ll normally get the track ready the same day we right the song. A lot of times that’s the only day I’ll be in the studio for the song, and it’ll just be done at the end of the day.

CSM: Do you have a preference? Writing by yourself or with producers?

KM: I don’t have a preference! I think there are some stories that come out better when it’s just me because I’m not afraid of anyone’s opinion of what I’m saying. But then being in the studio with people I love and respect is so much fun and we get the most awesome ideas I’d never be able to come up with myself.

CSM: What kind of impact do you hope to have with your music?

KM: What I always come back to is I would like to make people feel less alone in the way that they experience things. If I can make people feel they can express what they’re feeling and that they’re not alone, I think that I’ve done my job.

CSM: So you’re from Kansas, and obviously music brought you here, but why Nashville?

KM: I really wanted to move to California when I was 17, but my parents wanted me to go to college. I hated all the places I visited, and then we visited Belmont University. We got there and I loved the school, I was like, you’re telling me I can spend four years learning to write songs? Sign me up. And I never looked back.

CSM: What’s next for you?

KM: I have some collaborations coming up that I’m really excited about!

CSM: We’ll keep our eyes out for those! And, it’s October. Do you have a favorite Halloween movie?

KM: Ok so apparently Halloween movies is a genre, and I didn’t know this. I think I’ve seen maybe two Halloween movies in my life. My roommate is making me watch Halloweentown tonight, actually.

CSM: A classic!

KM: I’ll let you know how it is!

You can take a listen to Self Sabotage here!

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Music News Reviews

Sound Of Kalima releases “6789ten”

Here’s a duo to pay attention to. Sound Of Kalima is made of up Pete and Sal, two young musicians from Vancouver. They captured the USA’s attention with their single “Wild Trash,” an urgent commentary on the destruction of our planet. Self-described as having “no respect for the limitations of genre,” Sound Of Kalima is here to give us electronic music that holds a human element. Today, the duo released their latest, “6789ten.”

“6789ten” is a song filled with variety. The electric guitar and percussion make you want to jam, there’s prevalent anger, and yet some element makes you want to dance. The refrain of “6789ten” is easy to get stuck in your head, but my favorite part of this song are the verses. The melodic contrast with the chorus grabs your attention and the lyrics run deep.

In this world I’m not an equal / that’s not heartbreak to you, why should I bother?

“Wild Trash” showed us that SOK isn’t afraid to write about controversial topics, and “6789ten” is no different. The lyrics address prejudice based on skin color, racial injustice, and lack of faith in the system, and the siren that seemed like a fun sound effect on first listen takes on a new meaning as you pay attention to the words.

I’ll be keeping tabs on SOK, eagerly awaiting to see what they have to say next. Until then, take a listen to “6789ten.”

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Music News Reviews

Leo Varella has a “Pocket Full of Change”

Brazilian guitarist, singer, and songwriter Leonardo Varella has a new single out, and it’s going to make you feel good. “Pocket Full of Change” has a retro vibe that makes you wish you were on a beach, grooving to the music. The chorus is easy to learn, and the verses tell you to stop stressing, and don’t worry about all the bad things that happened to you today. And of course, that nearly 30 second guitar solo is something you didn’t realize you wanted, but you’re going to listen to it again!.

Along with “Pocket Full of Change,” Leo Varella has two other singles out for you to take a listen to, and collaborations across the globe. Each of his songs show his influences of jazz, hip hop, rock, and Brazilian music. We’ll be sticking around to hear his guitar-playing!