AppleMusic

JR JR: MUSICAL GENIUS WITH A SIDE OF GOOD VIBES
February 2, 2016 11:20 pm

Detroit natives Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein make up the indie-pop band JR JR. They come from humble beginnings in Daniel’s basement, circa 2009. To give you an idea of the type of people that Daniel and Joshua are, when asked why they originally named their band ‘Dale Earnhardt Jr.Jr.’, Daniel replied, “the name for us was just a way to identify that our crazy new project that had no limitations. People have no idea how we are going to sound, and so it gives them a reason to actually take some time to listen to the music.” They managed to do just that, people listened.

Today JR JR has quite the following and it’s only getting bigger, with appearances on shows like Conan and The Late Late Show with James Corden. This past September they released their new self-titled album through Warner Brothers Records. If you haven’t had a listen yet be careful because hits like “Gone,” “As Time Goes” and “In The Middle” will take your earbuds hostage.

This is an album that is for playing over and over with it’s cheerful funky indie pop energy. Check out their sweet video “Gone” below and check out their soundcloud page for more.

 

LIGHTS, PHASES AND THE MOWGLIS. OH MY!
November 19, 2015 2:58 pm

Wednesday night. 6:30 p.m. A crowd begins to fill up Irving Plaza to see Lights, Phases and The Mowgli’s. Time quickly fades to 7 p.m and a woman walks across the stage before the curtain has fully raised. All you can see are shiny golden shorts, longs legs and black velvet boots. Her hips begin to sway back and forth with a Jessica Rabbit type finesse, making everyone drool while simultaneously making them want to dance before the music has even begun.

The curtain raises even more revealing a stunning Elizabeth Berg (Z-Berg) backed by her incredibly talented and handsome band. It felt like a 70s disco that I couldn’t get enough of. They performed hits such as “I’m In Love With My Life,” “Betty Blue” and ended their set with their hit “Cooler” to which Z-Berg jumped off the stage to dance with the crowd and kiss an over-joyed fan on the head. There is no question that Phases set the tone for the night.

Following Phases was The Mowglis. Everyone raved and applauded as they casually walked onto the stage and unexpectedly went right into singing “Say It, Say It.” They surged all their music and vibes into the crowd performing hits like “I’m Good and “San Francisco.” I had never really heard the Mowgli’s before but after seeing them perform I wanted to learn everything about them while downloading all the music they’ve ever made.

Time strikes 9 p.m and the crowd gets wild as they realize that LIGHTS is about to come on. A purple glow envelops the stage, illuminating the silhouettes of each band member. Valerie Poxleitner (lead singer) walks out emanating everything a rock star should be emanating. Her tank, baggy, cut-up boy friend jeans and Calvin’s were just the tip of the bad-ass ice berg. Playing the synth while executing insane dance moves, she goes right into singing “Muscle Memory.” She shouts, “Feel free to dance and vibe!” This is exactly what happened.

A few songs and many dance moves later, a stool and some acoustic guitars were brought onstage and I was shocked. I had only seen this band do pop-electric videos with synth and pop ballads galore. This was my favorite part of the show. Valerie’s voice collided with the acoustic vibrations in the room and I became an eternal fan then and there. No questions asked. As a few pieces of loose confetti drifted through the air and onto an entranced crowd, I realized that we were all a part of a giant meditation. Everyone, in that moment, became blissfully aware of the raw talent exuding from the stage. No synth. No catchy tunes. Just a divine voice and sound that we all had the privilege of experiencing.

Lights finished off the show with insane electric guitar solos, immortal vocals resembling a musical lovechild of Ellie Goulding, Paramore, and Jewel, insane dance moves, crazy beats, stage jumping and all around electric frequencies at every second. Not to mention a cellphone getting thrown center stage to which Valerie responded by picking it up, and recording herself yelling, “Fuck yeah New York!!!”before throwing it back to the owner. Irving shook with excited applause and an envy towards the owner of that phone.

Lights, Phases and The Mowgli’s presented a show that was so special and endearing. It was full of light, love, hope and positivity; things that are desperately needed in this world right now. The line of the night was from LIGHTS when she said, “Sometimes you just gotta say fuck the madness and enjoy the moment. When we’re kids we don’t recognize the madness as much. And now that we’re older we just got to take moments like this and let them live.”

SPOTLIGHT ON: MUSICOVERY
October 28, 2015 8:55 am

In an internet radio world dominated by big players like Pandora, Sirius XM, Apple Music, Google Play and Spotify, the little guys have a lot to prove just to keep up.

Musicovery is an app that integrates mood-based listening with online radio. It does so in the Songza vein; however, in a much more simplified fashion. While Songza boasts twenty different moods, Musicovery selects the big four: “Energetic,” “Calm,” “Dark,” and “Positive.” The four moods are set up like a grid with the “Energetic” and “Calm” on the North and South poles and “Dark” and “Positive” on the West and East poles. The user selects an area on the grid and the service plays a song based on both where the selected area falls on the mood spectrum and additional genre preferences the user can select.

Sometimes less is more. Other times, less is just less.

While Musicovery’s inclusion of only four moods certainly lightens the workload of the listener, it does not provide the ultimate experience that a more complex service like Songza provides. The few mood choices make the listening experience haphazard and difficult to listen to if you are a listener who has specific taste. Additionally, Musicovery’s lack of activity-based customization reduces the overall efficacy of the platform. If a user isn’t feeling in a particular mood but is doing a particular activity, the user cannot utilize the platform. Finally, the abundant technological setbacks, like not having an app with iPhone compatibility and bugs on the desktop site, make the user experience a frustrating one.

Amidst the more negative analysis, there is a silver lining to Musicovery. I have never seen a more diverse and global approach to the online radio listening experience. Musicovery is a go-to for a listener with a wide range of musical interests spanning every genre and every country of origin. For a World Music lover like me, this app is a great destination for a more globally focused listening experience.

At the end of the day, Musicovery’s globally focused listening experience cannot compensate for its lack of mobile accessibility, glitches on the site, scarce mood options and lack of activity-based listening. While I would love to root for the little guy, I find myself sticking with the big guns like Songza (acquired by Google and integrated into Google Play) and Spotify… at least for now.

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