Tuesday, July 31, 2012

MySpace Fame Never Dies.

Jeffree Star is hotter than most girls I know.
Being a staunch supporter of most "celebrities" that gained prominence via social networking sites like MySpace and Buzznet back in the mid 00's, I couldn't help but jump right in her glitter and ecstasy-filled pocket. A special-effects makeup artist turned model turned singer? She's far from your average California dream girl:
Photo credit: unknown photographer

Pink hair.

Pink lips.

Pink heels.

It's like Barbie and her Malibu Beach House met an atom bomb of profanity, makeup and hair extensions:

The most impressive thing about JStar, and her peers, is how she fashioned a simple stage name and her personality into a marketing frenzy so quickly that my prepubescent head spun. I was immediate brought into her Hello Kitty meets Club Kid world, where hard drugs, raunchy music and all night dance parties were not a thing of legend, but a lifestyle.

Basically, Jeffree Star is a lot to handle.

With the help of her vulgar, in-your-face personality and obvious no fucks given approach to life, I found myself wanting to actually play audience to her career--which is still solely based off her popularity on a website (and now, years later, it's several websites).

But after seeing her perform at the 2009 Vans Warped Tour in Camden, NJ, I found that JStar is, musically, the real deal.

She can work a crowd.

She can work a mic.

Photo credit: Tamlyn Koga (obvs since the water mark is there ;3)
And more than anything, she can write a hit or two.

The thing I appreciate most about JStar is that she has worked her tattooed little ass off, sweating it out on outdoor stages alongside veteran punk, metal and hardcore bands during Warped Tour and several of her own national tours.

She's an electronica singer with all the work ethic of any other band you'd find on the interwebs. 

Literally, if you don't respect anything else, you've got to respect this chick's hustle!

After penning various self-distributed EPs and albums, Star signed a major label deal with Akon's imprint label, KonLive (which has spawned Star's own imprint label, Popsicle) which was responsible for Lady GaGa who has certainly paved the road for a transgendered musician like Jeffree--who, to me, is the future of pop music.
Photo credit: Austin Young Photography

And as if the stars weren't already aligned for this celebutaunte, they just got a whole lot linear with the release of several tracks from her latest release, the Virginity EP: an electronic release that will make the pop and trance worlds come to their bony little knees.

Especially now that it's summer time: we need singles to dance all night to.
 And I mean the Katy Perry Teenage Dream-California Girls one-two punch of "this is what my entire summer will sound like!"

But will JStar deliver that?
Of course she will.
She's the queen of grime-core, trashy techno, queer pop:

Now Playing: Virginity's title track:

And the latest single, "Blow Me."

For more on this diva extraordinaire, check out: her Official music webpage, her Tumblr and Facebook pages.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reveling in Royalty.

If you’ve been busy living under a rock or so absorbed by all things punk that you’ve forgotten that other genres existed, this is that once in a blue moon break from the norm.

Childish Gambino, better known as “actor, writer, rapper” Donald Glover (or “Troy” from Community) has released some killer tracks in the past, most notably “Do Ya Like” for which he sampled Adele’s “Melt My Heart To Stone” to create a moody, sexy hip-hop track, “Bonfire” and “Heartbeat” (for which he has been nominated for his first VMA Award). 

After signing to Glassnote and releasing his label debut, CAMP (which is his 3rd full-length album, if you don’t count all the mixtapes and EPs prior to its release), Gambino had some downtime between writing for various TV programs, touring all through last spring and summer and production and studio engineering engagements he’s involved in.

To say he’s busy is an understatement but not nearly as much as doubting his ability to serve up a dope album, which is actually what I did in my review of CAMP last fall.

(Please note: I have since learned from my mistake.)

After hearing “Unnecessary” (featuring ScHoolboy Q and Ab-Soul), for the first time late in spring, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of Gambino dropping another mixtape on July 4th. It’s so far away from the nerdy hipster rapper we grew accustomed to through Poindexter, Culdesac and EP.

But once I got ROYALTY in my possession, I didn’t listen to anything else.

CG manages to create a seamless record filled with all the characteristics we praise him for: no auto-tune, conscious lyrics, excellent song features from music industry veterans (Beck, Bun-B, Ghostface Killah, RZA) and rookies alike (Chance the Rapper, Danny Brown, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul).
CG’s flow is harder and less prone to awkward structures.

But don’t fret: the metaphors are still as obscure, culturally relevant and introspective as his previous works.

The samples and instrumentals transcend everything else the industry is producing these days, easily solidifying Glover as one of the best producers of his generation.

Even fellow awkward comedian Tina Fey’s guest spot on album closer, “Real Estate” isn’t out of place (or anything less than hilarious).

Basically, with songs ranging from mellow (“Make It Go Right”, “Silk Pillow”) to introspective (“We Ain’t Them”, “Black Faces”) to summer car ride anthems (“One Up”, “Toxic”) will pacify any music listener.

Now Playing: Royalty | Childish Gambino

Recommendations: "Make It Go Right" feat. Kilo Kush | "Silk Pillow" feat. Beck | "Shoulda Known" 

For more on Glover’s music, go to Childish Gambino Lyrics where you can find download links for nearly all his albums, follow Donald on Twitter, or keep an eye on his personal website/blog.