Working steadily towards her own career in music, Dawn, the artist formerly known as Dawn Richard puts her own spin on the already record breaking Adele hit single “Hello” taken from her latest album ’25’. Produced by Swagg R’Celious, the completely transformed cover version is just a taste of what’s to follow for her upcoming album ‘The Red Era’. The former Danity Kane and Diddy-Dirty Money singer has been dabbling in creating a new look and sound for herself – blending electro-r&b beats with sassy uptempo vocals. Dawn has come a long way since broadcasting her debut while auditioning for P. Diddy’s Making The Band 3 in 2004. So far, it’s a good look for her and look forward to discovering more from Dawn who’s making waves with her own movement as a vibrant, rising talent.
Hailing originally Argentina, fashion designer Marcelo Burlon now based out of Milan, Italy creates graphic fashionwear for his line County of Milan. Burlon, who relocated to Milan over twenty years ago started out in public relations then spawned a successful DJ career based on his undying love of music. Through those channels he was able to launch a very well known underground party scene with a club night called ‘Pink is Punk’ where it was his first true dabblings with t-shirt design. Initially inspired by his native Patagonia and club culture, Burlon met and began collaborating with graphic designer Giorgio di Salvo for what started out as a line of club friendly printed t-shirts that sold extremely well to their surprise. In 2012 County of Milan was officially born and since then has exploded into a full-fledged streetwear brand that can be found at top retailers like Opening Ceremony and Harvey Nichols. Most recently Burlon introduced a womenswear element to compliment his mens focused line which now consists of a growing range of stylish looks featuring his signature pixelated diamond logo, graphic t-shirts, luxe hoodies and sweatpants, outerwear, caps, bags, iphone cases and some killer footwear styles all for Fall / Winter 2015 – a steady mix of cool activewear meets streetwear using bold monochromatic palettes of black, white, and red. County of Milan also has a strong celebrity following ranging from Sports figures like LeBron James and Lewis Hamilton to Hip Hop artists Drake, Future and A$AP Rocky. Checkout a few of his stellar looks for Fall / Winter 2015. Must. Have. All.
I can’t believe I’m just now discovering 17-year old singer /songwriter Claire Rachel Wilkinson, who makes quirky, witty electro pop music under the moniker Clairity. The Tennessee native reintroduces us to a heavy dose of 80’s by sampling Yazoo’s (Yaz if your in the USA) 1982 classic dancefloor hit “Don’t Go” while adding her own cheeky charm to “Velcro” making this song so incredibly catchy that it’s on repeat. Taken from her debut EP, ‘Alienation’ on Lava Records, Clairity is into taking digital pop music into the future using vintage throwback references to create a fun and alternative sound to her music – Check out the lyric video for the track.
Recently I discovered the haunting artwork from Romanian born, Hungary based artist Zsolt Bodoni while browsing the web for research on a pending trip abroad. Bodoni, who creates oversized art pieces based from oil and acrylic on canvas relates his work to Eastern European myths and the icons of power and war that stem from the trials and tribulations of his homeland. In past works, he’s kept a dark and muted color palette to get the point across but for his most recent works, as seen at his second showing with the Green Art Gallery in Dubai, Bodoni uses bright splashes of vivid color, bringing a lightness to these stories of dance with a mix of Eastern and Western historic references on life and culture. Here are a few of my favorites from the most recent show in Dubai where Bodoni explores the physical lives of symbols from the nude female and male forms to images of horses and various other animal figures hidden within each multi-layered piece. Bodoni has had solo exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, London, Brussels and Budapest and in 2009, Flash Art chose Bodoni as one of their “Top 100 Emerging Artists.
Just one day away before H&M’s biggest shopping frenzy kicks off! The long anticipated Balmain x H&M collaboration hits November 5th and sold at select H&M stores around the world. If you haven’t yet seen what’s in store, here’s a glimpse of what to expect. The advertising campaign featuring Dudley O’Shaughnessy and Hao Yun Xiang shows off the line in true Balmain form in just a few of the stellar looks. The Swedish based company over the years has redefined high end and has brought high fashion to the masses, making this collaboration their most accessible. Adding to the mix of great fashion houses, Balmain’s latest Creative Director, Olivier Rousteing joins Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Vesace, Alexander Wang and ex-Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz to their flawless list of designers. After seeing the styled images, we all could look like bad ass rock stars for a fraction of the cost. The line showcases 30 menswear pieces that are a range of heavily military-themed looks that include structured a few basics, jackets, coats, jumpsuits, boots, accessories and lots of leather with embellished detailing. Looking forward to checking this out in person.
After some time away I’m back on track and ready to post more newness here at Matterart starting with the discovery that one of my favorite male vocalists is back after a four year hiatus. UK based, London crooner Jamie Woon returns with a brand new single “Sharpness” and a freshly released album, ‘Making Time’. Woon, who appeared out of nowhere in 2011 when we was a featured vocalist on PMR Records label mate Disclosure’s debut album ‘Settle’ where he took us to the dance floor on the uber house ready track “January”. Soon after he released his own well crafted electronic soul album ‘Mirrorwriting’ which was very well received and came with much critical acclaim. “Sharpness” is a sexy, jazz inspired Marvin Gaye-esque groove that’s infectious. Woon, who worked with Robin Hannibal of Quadron and Rhye fame takes the sultry route here with his delivery; pairing soulful falsetto vocals with a layered chorus that works smoothly against simple keyboard progressions and tight, well recorded live percussion that make “Sharpness” unforgettable. The album which was produced by Woon with Lexxx (Wild Beasts, Darkstar) features guest spot contributions from Willy Mason on ‘Celebration’ and London vocalist Royce Wood Junior on ‘Lament’ are just two of the ten standout tracks. A must have in my book and already in my top best ten albums of 2015. If you’re into James Blake, Jamie Lidell or Jessie Ware, check it out.
JAMIE WOON – SHARPNESS
Although it’s way too hot to fully embrace the fact that back to school and the end of summer is fast approaching, take a peek at Coach’s newly invigorated Fall/Winter 2015 mens collection “Military Wild Beast” that kicks off a new direction with Stuart Vevers’ tenure as creative director. Drawing inspirations from a cinematic vision of the American landscape, lookout for urban military themes across very masculine looks. The reimagined, re-vamped label is the brand’s first ever ready-to-wear menswear collection featuring shearling coats, bomber jackets and a lots of camo along with their knack for well made totes, backpacks and footwear. A very wearable collection that also looks pretty badass!
Check out this amazing new video from Paris- based pop singer, Jain. The clever chanteuse just released her four-track EP titled ‘Hope’ last week and I’m hooked! Her stunning and uber catchy first track and video for “Come” is a twang heavy song paired with an equally playful video that’s captivating and fun to watch. Directed by French video producers Greg + Lio over at Quad, the video features Jain’s quirky, happy self in a mix of funky camera tricks and angles. In a similar vain as Jem or Lily Allen, Jain is for sure one to watch for in 2015!
So excited to discover news today that a new soon to be released track from my number one, best album of 2013 is out on the web! Almost two years since Hot Natured graced dancefloors and radio with pop friendly house music (Benediction) from their debut album ‘Different Sides Of The Sun’. The band consisting of Jamie Jones, Lee Foss, Luca Cazal and Ali Love return with a new, catchy song called “Off World Lover”. It’s a calmer dance track that features Ali Love’s smoothed out vocals and that Hot Natured sound we’ve come to know and love. “Off World Lover” is the first taste from the outfit’s second album, which is slated for a release early next year.
The newly released video for the English electronic house duo, Disclosure just hit the web and it’s off the hook! Brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence team up once again with Sam Smith for this new club banger, “Omen” off of their soon to be released and highly anticipated sophomore effort, ‘Caracal’. Smith worked with the brothers Lawrence on their debut album, ‘Settle’ which introduced them both to international exposure with “Latch” a song that quickly skyrocketed both into successful music careers in the electronic and pop radio circles. The track was co-written by Disclosure and frequent collaborator Jimmy Napes and takes their work to whole different level of house. Directed by Ryan Hope, the video continues with the storyline from their official first single “Holding On” that featured Gregory Porter. The scene takes place in a slightly futuristic Mexico City with an outlawed underground dance party. Smith, who is looking quite svelte and almost George Michael-esque on the dance floor croons to the moody house track while drama ensues. Check it out…
It’s always a good day when a new Robyn track hits the airwaves! Check out the latest from Swedish pop princess Robyn and her new music project, La Bagatelle Magique, which features longtime collaborator Markus Jägerstedt and the late producer and friend, Christian Falk. The song “Set Me Free” is a fun, high energy banger that kicks in true Robyn form! It’s the second taste of what’s to come and follows the already stellar first single release “Love Is Free” featuring Maluca. Both songs have received exclusive release treatment from Annie Mac from Radio 1 in the UK and has been flooding the internet and music sites with massive exposure. The five track mini album (ep) is said to include new tracks like “Lose Control“ and the Arthur Russell cover “Tell You Today” from the most recent Red Hot tribute album. The ‘Love Is Free’ album is set to be released August 7 through Robyn’s label via Konichiwa Records / Cherrytree / Interscope…Can’t wait!
ROBYN & LA BAGATELLE MAGIQUE – SET ME FREE
BLUE AND ORANGE
SILVER AND BLUE
YELLOW AND BLUE
A few months ago I stumbled upon the electrifying work from Scandinavian artist Henrik Simonsen. Born in Denmark and currently living in the UK, Simonsen studied art in his native country before venturing off to study in New York and then at Exeter College of Art and Design. His nature based themes ring strongly throughout his work of vivid imagery which start out as freehand sketches that are then developed into highly constructed paintings on canvas. Simonsen is said to be inspired by ‘Rococo’, the 18th century French art and design movement of the time which was fueled by ornate and overly elegant tapestries that were basically over the top florals filled with an organic flair. His work is fascinating and beautiful, taking elements from that era and creating his own fairytale world infused with multi-layered color, some appearing to sprout live on canvas while weaving in and out of each other. Simonsen has exhibited in group shows in the UK and continues to show stateside as well as in his homeland with more shows to be announced.
After taunting us with a great, fashion forward video teaser via Instagram and Twitter last week, Rihanna finally released her crazy video for “Bitch Better Have My Money”. The sassy track that hit some airwaves back in March, features RiRi in front of as well as behind the camera showing off her directorial skillz (paired with Megaforce) and has said the concept of the video came to her eight months ago. It’s a dark, action packed seven minute piece á la ‘Resevoir Dogs’ / ‘Wild At Heart’ styled mash up of glam looks, excessive drinking, drugs and bloody violence. It even features Eric Roberts as the curious sheriff poking around. All in all, it’s the song and that very last shot of RiRi that makes the video. This will indeed have the press and media critics in a frenzy since the video hit the web at midnight on July 2nd. Check it out and see for yourself.
The internet is a fluttery buzz today with news of brand new Janet! Just this morning, Ms. Jackson secretly introduced us to her soon to be released single, her first in seven years “No Sleeep”. It’s a laid back track much like “That’s The Way Love Goes” from her mega chart topping record ‘Janet’ back in 1993 and features her trademark come-hither vocals paired with a no-nonsense r&b groove. Produced by longtime collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, “No Sleeep” takes us back to all the things we love about Janet Jackson songs…sultry, smooth jams about love making (all day and night) with that special someone. Many may think that a harder, more dance driven track should have lead the way for being the first off her yet to be titled album but this here is a perfectly sexy track that hits the spot; definitely leaving fans, like myself wanting more! Check it out…
JANET JACKSON – NO SLEEEP
Take a moment to discover and enjoy the latest single and stellar video from the one and only Roísín Murphy for “Evil Eyes”. This time around Murphy appears behind and in front of the camera on her directorial debut and breathes life into another complex female character in her second video from the brilliant ‘Hairless Toys’ album. The groovy electro-pop track whispers hauntingly along before growing into a funky, disco-crescendo. In the video, Murphy pays homage to classic 1980’s foreign film where she takes on the roll of a mundane housewife who’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown (Sweden’s Dusan Makavejev’s ‘Montenegro’). Murphy also features iconic camera references (think Ingmar Bergman’s ‘Persona’) while trying to stay that devoted, yet hysterical matriarch looking to stay connected to her husband and family. A must see for sure!
Let’s talk about a splash of color! Check out these fun Adidas Original ZX Flux kicks for Spring / Summer 2015. Over the past few months, we’ve seen various versions and colorways of the popular ZX Flux silhouette that screams vibrantly playful! “Color Splash” is the most recent footwear release that features a simple white base and grey cage at the heel, while the toe box comes decked out in a multi-color paint splash graphic. A sleek addition to the ZX shoe family, these slimmed-down men’s sneakers have a sporty design with a single mesh and vegan upper, welded with the signature Adidas three stripe trademark. Fresh!
At only 19 years of age, London neo-soul singer / songwriter Billie Black is on her way to world domination. Just out is her second EP, ‘Teach Me’ a self-released effort on her very own label BBLK Records which includes her brand new single “Going Under”. The track starts out like a sweet serenade before building to a funky, flirty track with stand out lyrics and the heavy flutter of smoothed out UK house beats. The EP introduces six new tracks that are dipped in honeyed soul and electronic r&b influences. As a huge fan of her first EP ‘000 100’ which held the captivating “I Don’t Need Another Lover”, Billie Black began her singing career as a kid after hearing a wide range of music styles from her mother’s records at family parties. In her early teens, Black joined the National Youth Jazz Orchestra where she began working with producers Imposters & John Calvert on tracks that combine her roots in jazz, bass and dance mixing classic vocals with electronica. If you like Jessie Ware or Disclosure, Billie Black is a sure bet!
BILLIE BLACK – GOING UNDER
Pharrell Williams is back with a new fashion collaboration for Adidas Originals. Hitting stores May 30th, The Pharrell Williams x Adidas Originals Jacquard Pack is sure to drive Adidas fans crazy. Handcrafted in Germany with fabric inspired from a trip to Paris’ renowned Marché Saint-Pierre, Williams sourced just two beautifully stunning, vintage floral prints for the line. Applying the luxe look to two items only – the best selling Adidas Stan Smith silhouette and the very popular Superstar Lil’ Jacket are unisex and will carry the lavish print designed with a European sensibility. Arriving in turquoise with gold and pink embroidery and the other in beige adorned with red, gold and green, the Pharrell Williams x Adidas Jacquard Pack is limited 200 pairs per style each at Adidas Originals stores, Addict, Barney’s New York, Madison Avenue, BBC NY, Politics and a few other choice retailers – Want!
So excited for the return of Crazy P formally known as Crazy Penis! Their new album “Walk Dance Talk Sing” marks their seventh studio album and is jam packed with a mix of what we’ve come to love from them. The Manchester/Nottingham-based group, now a trio, embarks on a fun filled journey bringing deep house, funk, soul and disco back to our ears. I’ve chosen today to highlight one of the best tracks on the album, “Witch Doctor” which is playfully executed and builds with Danielle Moore’s sultry vocals, a groovy bass line and top notch production and eight minutes of disco goodness! Check out the track and get this record!
CRAZY P – WITCH DOCTOR
Loving the new Spring / Summer 2015 collection from British menswear brand Hentsch Man. Inspired by summer nights in South America, designer Alexa Hentsch features a very fresh and wearable collection of summery items ranging from lightweight jackets, suiting, and graphic tees to drawstring slacks and Cuban style button up shirts all available in an array of pastel and bold tones with a mix of leafy florals, prints and stripes. One of my favorite looks is the full on head to toe, matchy matchy combos that seem effortless and easy breezy but bravely styled to emphasize color-blocking and the mix of patterns – Kinda cool!
Just out this week, English singer / songwriter and DJ, Little Boots aka Victoria Hesketh, posted a brand new track from her soon to be released and heavily anticipated third album ‘Working Girl’. “Better In The Morning” is a funky 80’s throwback track that screams party and sounds a bit like Tom Tom Club’s mega hit “Genius of Love”. Produced by Ariel Rechshaid, “Better In The Morning” is a charming, mid-tempo ditty with bubbly sing-songy lyrics. This super catchy electro-pop is the perfect hymn for the summer – crank it up!
Spring has sprung and what better time to look sharp at the office or while out and about town. For this season, Italian menswear brand Brioni takes Spring / Summer 2015 to the past for a collection of vintage inspired menswear. Creative director Brendan Mullane was clearly inspired by 1950’s Hollywood and its streamlined tailoring of suits and casual wear. The “Mad Men” corporate look is strong featuring a collection of boxy top shapes paired with tapered and slightly cropped slacks. Mullane also collaborated with Los Angeles-based photographer James Welling to create digital California floral prints and exaggerated houndstooth patterns that are applied to classic looking suits and blazers, golf polos, bomer jackets and shorts. Favorites looks are the bold colorful suits, houndstooth plaids, herringbone weaves and of course the florals. Colors for the season range from bright jewel tones like purple, blue and green to dark navy, tan and slate grey.
Bells Atlas is a brilliant Oakland, CA based band that’s headed by singer / songwriter, Sandra Lawson-Ndu. Her witchy, enigmatic vocals are captivating on “Bling” which I recently discovered and wondered why hadn’t I heard of them before? Needless to say, I quickly added it to my monthly playlist. “Bling” is one of four tracks off their new soon to be released ‘Hyperlust’ EP, is a mix of heavy percussion, soulful vocal harmonies, grinding guitars and an eclectic blend of other musical influences and tastes that Lawson-Ndu holds with band mates Derek Barber, Geneva Harrison and Doug Stuart. The song is like a chaotic walk, skip and run in the park…and I’m so into it! Their Afro-Indie sound incorporates hip hop, samba, r&b, rock and even a pit of good ole pop that’s sure to ring well with diverse audiences. If you love Little Dragon or Zap Mama, this band is for you and a great definitely one to watch!
BELLS ATLAS – BLING
Take a peek at the amazingly whimsical abstract works from Jack Vanzet, a twenty-four year old creative director, graphic designer, illustrator and multi-talented artist based out of Melbourne, Australia. I stumbled upon his artwork by chance as I’m an avid fan of the Future Classics music label which is home to a great line up of bands including some of my favorites: Classixx, Flight Facilities, Seekae, George Maple, Chet Faker and Woolfy. I discovered that not only does Vanzet create beautiful art and visuals, he also creates glitchy, atmospheric music under the guise of Thrupence. Very Cool!
“All In The Value”, one of my favorite tracks from 2014 was birthed from the newly formed London-based duo HONNE which translates loosely to “your true feelings and desires” in Japanese. The sultry track about the break down of a relationship was so infectious that it was on repeat daily. Now the pair consisting of Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatchehave share a new brilliant single and video for “Coastal Love”, an upbeat pop track about a transatlantic long-distance relationship. Deliciously smooth with soulful vocals and an ultra cool beat, “Coastal Love” features guest vocals from Tamsin Wilson of Wilsen. Check it out!
EXISTENCE NO. 28
EXISTENCE NO. 30
EXISTENCE NO. 43
EXISTENCE SMALL SIZE STUDY #1
EXISTENCE NO. 21
EXISTENCE NO. 41
EXISTENCE NO. 11
Check out these stunningly beautiful works from abstract artist Shang Ma. Ma, who was raised in Hangzhou, China and now resides in San Francisco creates faceless nudes, landscapes and contemporary portrait pieces full of mystery and depth. From his very brief bio, Ma’s ‘Existence’ series stems from his personal experiences in dealing with his own existence in the world and how that relationship is expressed through his painting and moods. The paintings depict a wide range of emotions: pain, suffering and struggle while still retaining hope, in addition to creating atmosphere. Each piece ranges in color from highly saturated and high contrast to more muted and subtle variations.
Check out this bangin’ new track from UK based DJ, producer, singer / songwriter Lewis Shay Jankel, aka Shift K3Y. “Name & Number” picks up where last year’s top 3 UK dance hit “Touch” left off. “Name & Number” hits hard with its infectious beat and radiant vocal hook. A house anthem that’s on point and sure to get you groovin’ – Happy Friday Yeah!
SHIFT K3Y – NAME & NUMBER
Check out the fun and super casual men’s slip-on kicks from Zara’s Spring/ Summer 2015 collection. Easy and stylish, Zara continues to offer great style that won’t kill your wallet. For this season, the Spanish label introduces three colorways: the textured navy embossed croc, the printed blue tropical and the printed white tropical slip. At $80 a pop it’s easy to grab all three – maybe.
Having just debuted her latest single yesterday on the Annie Mac show for BBC Radio 1, English folk / soul singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas is back with a deliciously smooth and soulful anthem called “Unstoppable,” a moody track that pairs her soaring sky-high vocals with broad, lush strings and synth arrangements with a slight touch of Prince thrown in for good measure. Such a great first taste of what’s to come for her second studio album ‘Blood’ which is set for a mid summer release and is said to have contributions from Aqualung, Jamie Lidell and Disclosure. “Unstoppable” is the perfect Spring / Summertime track that’s just so catchy! Can’t wait to hear more from this beauty!
LIANNE LA HAVAS – UNSTOPPABLE
Gucci brings us up to date with gorgeous florals and plant motifs for Spring / Summer 2015. The new Flora Knight collection for men is a mix of happy, joyful prints paired with a black background creating a fresh look for this season’s hottest accessories. Check out a few brilliantly shot images of the new men’s canvas and leather backpack, tote, clutch and there’s even a travel bag and suit case that ties in well if your man enough to rock a non-traditional pattern. Bag it up!
The French creative director Olivier Rousteing is heating up the design world yet again with his bold new Spring / Summer 2015 collection. Inspired by downhill and Formula 1 racing, the collection stands out strong by combining activewear with formal / fashionwear. The Balmain collection is beautifully shot on top male model Dudley O’Shaughnessy, who represents the collection well with a rebellious flair; sporting black, white and red stripes paired with lots of white, navy and a bit of orange, yellow or denim thrown in for good measure. Also featured this season are a mix of badass leather jackets, slouchy pullovers, tuxedos and double-breasted blazers. The most stunning, stand out piece is a killer Navajo-inspired jacket that screams “Try Me.”
Super excited to read and hear the latest track from the extraordinary Roisin Murphy today. The former Moloko singer shared a taste of what’s to come this week through soundcloud and it’s infectious. After taking a break and having a baby, it’s been eight years since her last album, 2007’s ‘Overpowered’ mesmerized fans and set a tone unprecedented in music and fashion. It is said that “Gone Fishing” and the new album ‘Hairless Toys’ found Murphy drawing inspiration from Jennie Livingston’s documentary on race, class, gender and sexuality in America, Paris Is Burning. The moody track and album is slated to explore the “dark disco of European house music.” Hairless Toys is set to be released on May 11th and follows last year’s brilliant “Mi Senti” EP which was a collection of classic Italian pop songs done extremely well! Pretty much everything Murphy does is golden but I am most curious to learn what ‘Hairless Toys’ exactly are! Check it out…
Check out this fantastic new video from London based electronic wizard Andy Smith, aka Lxury. Taken from his latest six-track EP ‘Into The Everywhere,’ the video for “Square 1″ features the sublime vocals of Deptford Goth. It’s a catchy dance track with an atmospheric, glitchy beat paired with Goth’s soulful drawl. The digitally animated video features CGI hands twerking and twisting with sign language dance moves across the screen. Beautifully directed by Mau Morgo, it’s said to be an “homage to the narrative we find in African funeral rituals, where the relationship between dead and alive is made through and dance not words.” If your into Disclosure or Gorgon City, you’ll love this – Very Cool!
Kylie Minogue fans rejoice! Just out is the latest from iconic Italian disco producer Giorgio Moroder from his soon to be released album, ’74 Is The New 24,’ his first album in 30 years. “Right Here, Right Now,” takes the disco legend into the future with an uber pop track glistens with Daft Punk-esque sound and features the one and only Kylie Minogue on vox. The perfect marriage between the two is sure to be a massive hit worldwide! The record is said to also feature Charli XCX, Sia, Britney Spears and Mikky Ekko and is slated for a Spring 2015 release! Check it out…
GIORGIO MORODER – RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW FEAT. KYLIE MINOGUE
Check out this new and super stylized video from Montreal-born dance/producer & founder of Turbo Recording, Tiga. Released late last year, the amazing video for his latest single “Bugatti” screams vintage 80’s fashion with hints of techno glitchy Prince talk and Andy Warhol / Guy Bourdin imagery. Directed by Helmi from Division Paris, this sexy dance track bangs with its addictive chorus and quite the infectious beat. It’s totally weird and totally good!
FUSION OF ELEMENTS
THROUGH DIFFERENT EYES
THE BEAUTY WITHIN
ALL IS METAMORPHOSIS
THE SEASONS UNFOLD
WHAT CAME BEFORE THIS
While surfing the web for interesting visual content to present I always find an image that peaks my interest immediately. From that one image I’m lead to another and that then one takes me to yet another stunning image…and presto! something new and different is found.
Abstract artist Rick Stevens started painting at a very young age learning the ways of landscape painting through scenes of nature and its natural surroundings. Later on, Stevens fine tuned his skill to receive his degree from Aquinas College. While seeking solace and artistic clarity and awareness through meditation in the woods with music and his surroundings, he discovered and now crafted many years of highly visual abstract works all inspired by nature itself. His fondness of forests, trees, orchards, fields and streams are strongly present in his colorful oil and canvas paintings and pastels. Stevens has celebrated solo exhibitions at the Muskegon Museum of Art, the Brauer Museum of Art and Valparaiso University.
One of my favorite new artists from 2014 sprouted out of nowhere, well not really. Melbourne musician Nicholas Lam has recently set out on his own after being part of a wide mix of killer Aussie acts over the years (Owl Eyes, Lisa Mitchell and The I’lls). His solo project as DXHeaven released a six track EP entitled ‘Aftertouch’ late last year. A moving debut with a mix of sounds, I stumbled upon its most stellar track called “All The Time” that grabbed me and destroyed me with its sultry downtempo yet somewhat jazz inspired beat. Lam’s voice is crisp and is slightly reminiscent of early George Michael. Hovering above a bed of smooth production and slinky synths, this song will move and soothe you! Enjoy!
DXHEAVEN – ALL THE TIME
After a very long long long break, I’m back with so much goodness to share! 2014 was a great year of many accomplishments and challenges but here we are! 2015 is off to a great start and first up are a pair of blinged out kicks…Up and coming rapper, Meek Mill has linked up a sweet collaboration with footwear mega brand PUMA to launch The Dreamchasers Collection, a special edition release of two classic PUMA silhouettes – 24K Gold Suede Mid followed by a 24K White Gold Suede sneaker. These versions stay true to their sport heritage and roots in hip hop but feature fresh materials and design. Each shoe is detailed with distressed suede uppers, a translucent midsole and a gold and silver patent formstripe. Meek Mill will be releasing his first signature Puma sneaker on January 17th at select PUMA locations and other hot spots like Sneaker Politics, Foot Action, Villa or other online retailers.
It’s now trendy to draw musical inspiration from 80’s and 90’s r&b and early alternative / electronic bands from that era but not everyone can get it right and do it proper! Take UK’s Adam Bainbridge aka Kindness who has just released his follow up to 2012’s ‘World, You Need A Change Of Mind.’ ‘Otherness’ is a continuation rich with jazz, soul and those vintage beats that were oh so heavy in the past. This record is an easy listen since it features a number to top notch guest spots from Robyn, Blood Orange (Devonte Hynes) and the luscious Kelela and Ade. Take a listen to “Who Do You Love” which is a sweet standout track that features everyone’s favorite Swedish pixie, Robyn on vocals. Pretty much anything with Robyn on it is gold – Love it!
KINDNESS – WHO DO YOU LOVE FEAT. ROBYN
Fall 2014 is shaping up to be all about big, bold color! Check out these stunners from Gucci as they unveil this exclusive collection of trainers. Designed in soft leather with a logo-embellished optical white rubber sole, the kicks reveal a familiar sport shape with contrasting leather effects that are available in three glowing neon colors – green, yellow and orange. Very excited to see something different from this label that’s more playful and accessible.
Check out this fantastically epic video from Ten Walls aka Marijus Adomitis. Adomitis a Lithuanian producer and DJ who also records amazing electronica-laced dance music as Mario Basanov, states that his new project as Ten Walls is a “darker and more experimental alter-ego” for him and it doesn’t disappoint. “Walking With Elephants” is as big as any track can get paired with this stellar video that’s sure to captivate! Take a peek and enjoy! Looking forward to more from this talent and hopefully catching him on tour this season!
If you haven’t already ran out to get your copy of the new Kimbra record, make it happen! This wild and slightly psychadelic sophomore effort from one of New Zealand’s most talented singer / songwriters is set to grab your attention this year! “Miracle” is a catchy track with big pop potential and is one of the most radio friendly songs on ‘The Golden Echo.’ Her debut album ‘Vows’ was one of my of my top 20 albums from 2010 and here she’s breathed new life into her artistry by changed it up big time. Throughout the album, Kimbra purrs and koos like she does, showcasing her amazing vocal range while her band really goes above and beyond creating new takes on modern electro-pop, r&b, jazz and soul music. A super diverse album, Kimbra must have gotten bit by the Prince protege bug since most of this album feels like his Purple Badness had to have some kind of influence secretly producing tracks under one of his many monikers…and that’s not a bad thing. It really does have a ‘Around The World In A Day’ feel to it. Take a listen to “Miracle” and tell me what you think!
KIMBRA – MIRACLE
LOST IN SPACE
BLUE GARDEN 4
EVERY MORNING OF THE WORLD
Spanish born artist Francisco Jose Coca Gallego otherwise known as Fran Coca, seems to keep a low profile, creates explosive visions of color! Coca, who received his BA at at the University of Salamanca just outside of Madrid, has an eye for abstract, vivid imagery that’s captivating and dreamy. Although a seasoned professional in his craft, I can’t help but draw similarities to vintage Vaughn Oliver / 4AD album artwork but with more twists and turns birthing a palette that is much more rich and diverse. Fran Coca has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions all over Spain and today continues to produce new bodies of stunning work.
One of the most successful and influential female artists to come out of the UK is back after a two year hiatus. Adele returns with a new single and album slated for an Autumn release. The new track, “You’ll Never See Me Again” is good and somewhat familiar sounding, taking cues from her previous catalog of love lost and pro girl power anthems. But the new album, ’25’ does boast of a showcasing a newer side to Adele who brought back her winning team of writers but also is working with London’s Naughty Boy aka Shahid Khan who took us there with his fantastic debut release ‘Hotel Cabana’ last year which featured progressive tracks with Emeli Sandé, Ed Sheeran and his number one UK hit “La la la” which featured the then unknown “Male Adele,” Sam Smith. ’25’ is said to be filled with shocking surprises and should be quite different. Let’s see how much more she can elevate her level of awesomeness!
ADELE: YOU’LL NEVER SEE ME AGAIN
Getting some great press and blog coverage for their stellar remix of Shura’s amazing track “Just Once,” the London based duo Honne have their own mega hit in the making. “Warm On A Cold Night” their debut single is infectious blue-eyed British soul. Much like Chet Faker, Citizen Cope or Brad’s Shawn Smith, Honne serves up a sexy chilled out track that goes down smooth just like a nice scotch! Not too much on the next about these fellas yet but there most certainly will be! Check it out!
HONNE – WARM ON A COLD NIGHT
Finally! The Swedish/Australian twin sister duo Say Lou Lou are gearing up to release their long anticipated full length early next year after a slew of dreamy, electro-ballad driven singles. The foxy Kilby sisters debuted a sassy new track called “Games For Girls,” which pairs them up with Norwegian Lord of space-disco Lindstrøm. The result – a flirty new style and sound that works. The track will appear on Say Lou Lou’s forthcoming album “Lucid Dreaming.” Check it out!
SAY LOU LOU – GAMES FOR GIRLS
The future is now! Nike introduces it’s latest creation the Nike Blazer Mid Premium Iridescent High Top for Men and Women. Definitely on the flashier side of fashionable footwear, this kick features a leather upper with white detailing on the outer sole and its reflective, multi-colored look is cosmic! The Blazer was originally released back in the early 70’s and was Nike’s first basketball shoe. It also was one of the first Nike shoe to get a women’s specific version. Available online and at select retailers launching August 16th – trés futuristique!
Norwegian DJ / producer and king of retro house music Todd Terje got a sexy new remix of his nu-disco hit “Inspector Norse” from UK singer / DJ Little Boots and all I can say is it’s Hot Hot Hot to simply put it. The ‘Little Bootleg’ features Terje’s infamous spaced out disco beat with new vocals by Little Boots that’s gives it a sultry, sassy take with it’s catchy “Why you gotta be so hot?” lyric that will indeed be heating up the dance floors this summer. It’s track three on Little Boot’s latest mixtape for THUMP Records (So good!) and is available by free download on her site or via soundcloud – Get it. Love it!
TODD TERJE – INSPECTOR NORSE (LITTLE BOOTLEG)