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Deep Tropics 2021

Nashville danced all weekend long during the Deep Tropics music, art, and style festival, paying no mind to the sweltering heat. It was a collective agreement that we were all grateful to be together, sharing love and sweating it out on the dance floor after a year where we were all so far apart.

One of the coolest parts about Deep Tropics was that it was set to be the greenest festival in the world. If you were there you noticed there were zero trash cans. That’s right! Everything was compostable or recyclable, including all the cutlery and even free ash try pouches. The commitment to being sustainable was refreshing to see, and it was incredible to see so many attendees who were passionate about the environment as well.

The Friday lineup included Clozee and Whethan on the Meru main stage, and the amphitheater was packed for both of their sets.

Hourglass kicked us off on Saturday. The crowd was slowly trickling in, but she had everyone up and dancing and ready for Day 2 in no time. Cassian and Young Bae followed on the main stage while people flaunted their outfits and much-needed fans.

And let’s not forget about the Congo Soundsystem stage! This stage was close to the heart of Tennessee. Memphis-native Qemist performed, as well as several hip-hop artists from Nashville such as A.B. Eastwood, $avvy, Brian Brown, and Tim Gent. The energy around this stage was always a vibe no matter who was playing!

As the night rolled around, more and more people streamed in. Bubbles filled the air, the VIP section was bouncing, and folks were captivated by the poi spinners around the park. Unfortunately, Moon Boots had to cancel on Saturday, whom I know many fans were looking forward to. But CharlestheFirst and Claude VonStroke kept the spirits alive, so any momentary sadness at that news was soon forgotten.

Deep Tropics was an incredible way to close out summer and celebrate the return of music festivals. Hopefully this helped pave the way to making all festivals sustainable, showing that we can do all of our favorite things while saving the planet, too. See you all next year!

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Reviews

Concert Review: Dean Lewis

There’s an allure that concerts have. Maybe it’s the palpable excitement in the air, maybe it’s the magnetism that draws your eyes to the artist on-stage. No matter what it is, it’s an allure that we miss in these pandemic stricken times but online concerts have an allure of their own. 

April 30th, 2021.  The artist playing is Dean Lewis. If you don’t know Dean Lewis, you’re almost sure to know his song “Be Alright” that was released back in 2018. It reached 10x platinum in Australia and 2x platinum in the US.

It’s a smaller, more intimate setting decorated with Edison lights and lights that color the stage depending on the mood. Opposed to the distinctive artist and band facing the audience, concerts are known for, they face each other and through this arrangement we see the connection and communication that an artist has with the other musicians on-stage. 

The first song that plays is “Waves,” which begins with Dean and his guitar but gradually progresses to something with more impact when the band comes in to supplement. 

Another song he plays is “Used to Love” which is the first time that it has been played live. A charm of the live version is the bass line coming through and the use of a shaker. The song builds up with the sounds of an orchestral and eventually comes to an end.

The middle of the concert becomes slower with Dean moving to the piano. A memorable moment is when the band leaves the stage and Dean is left on stage alone to sing “Half A Man”.

The second to last song comes around and Dean is again at the piano and this time to play “Be Alright”. The emotions of the song are tangible even through the screen of a computer.

The last song finally comes and it’s his newest song “Falling Up” and it is a new sound from Dean Lewis. The song touches on the negative emotions that he is feeling but combats them with a sense of optimism.

Listen to “Falling Up”!

Big thanks to the team at Island Records for giving us the chance to see this concert!

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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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Reviews Videos

Cat & Calmell: dramatic

Emerging in 2020 with their single “dumbshit”, Newcomers Cat & Calmell have just released their second single “dramatic” and impresses with this snappy pop song.

The song employs a strong bass line and light background vocals that often mimic the melody lines which create an interesting echo effect. Something else that was captivating about the song is the contrast of Cat’s deep, rich vocals with Calmell’s almost airy tones. 

The chorus inspires the inner cynic with the lyrics:

Shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds me

But you’re not the man

And when I stick it to you

We’ll see who’s dramatic

The pair also does not disappoint when performing live as seen in their Bedroom Live performance on their YouTube where they perform an acoustic version of “dramatic”, “dumbshit”, and a cover of “Clueless” by The Marías.

Be sure to watch their music video which contains an interesting story along with an entrancing segment which depicts delirium with incredible visuals. 

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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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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!