Music: Featured Spotify Playlist, “Funkysexydownnow.” By @andreakcastillo

Funkysexydownnow

Hello friends!

Yes, it has been a minute and a half since I have updated the blog. In my pursuit for racking dough and musical playlist perfection, I have not updated in a few weeks. Now that I am back, I have a little treat for you. I am delving more deeply into playlist making as for me, it is one of life’s great joys after eating a delicious meal, and jumping into the sea on a scorching day.

I originally created the Funkysexydownnow. playlist a few months back, inspired by the heavy Disco and Funk stylings of LA-based Gavin Turek’s track, “The Distance.” It was literally a one-song “playlist” for weeks. After playing on repeat, I figured out where I wanted to go, and what I wanted to include. My whole vibe is sexy music, so I knew that had to be there. Funk pushes me forward, so I had to include that. Cooler autumn weather translates to downtempo beats (for me), and I wanted all of the tracks to sound fresh and current.

After  many weeks of adding, deleting, and rearranging tracks, I present to you, Funkysexydownnow. Eighteen sexy, funky tunes that you will have in constant rotation all season.

Press play above to wind it down with a funky groove! Be sure to follow as I more than likely will add a few more tracks to extend the chill vibes.

 

*Photo & Graphic by Andrea K. Castillo

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Saturday Sounds: “Tyrant” Kali Uchis Feat. Jorja Smith (Music Video)

Kali Uchis Screenshot

Kali Uchis in the “Tyrant” Music video

Kali Uchis has been a favorite rising star of mine for the past few years. Her 2015 release, Por Vida, which I covered on the blog, really put the Colombiana via Alexandria, Virginia on the map, via her unique vocal stylings evoking doo-wop, soul, and indie stylings, at the same time. Since then, she has toured, co-directed the majority of her music videos, and served up some fashionable looks to get the people going.

Her latest single, “Tyrant” featuring soul songstress from the UK, Jorja Smith was released in late May, with the gorgeous music video offering which dropped late June. I would have posted this earlier, but life get busy sometimes, you know? The song is giving me proper slow whine/reggae vibes, and if you are really into this music thing, you can hear that it would perfectly blend into “Clubbin” by Marques Houston feat. Joe Budden (because guitar licks).

Visually, I see lots of Missy Elliott references in the music video, specifically “The Rain.” Super-saturated coloring and late ’90s styling (bikini tops, plaid, bigger hair) along with a good amount of sunflowers. Press play up top to get into the vid, and slow whine proper! A must for your summer playlist!

Saturday Sounds: “Boo Boo” Toro y Moi (Album Stream + Short Film)

Toro y Moi "Boo Boo"

Boo Boo album cover

My favorite awkward, musical, Blasian boo Chazwick Bundick AKA Toro y Moihas blessed us with a new album on 7/7/17 entitled Boo Boo. It is his first studio album since 2015’s What For?, and is perfectly sunny and summer-ready. Me being me thinks this album was made for me (bad English, but this is how I FEEL).

For one, it is released in July, my birthday month (7/24 HOLLA!), and secondly, the name of the album is Boo Boo. You know what else is named Boo Boo? My iPhone. See exhibit A below.

Boo Boo - iPhone

My hype escalated on Thursday evening when I found the album stream on YouTube. As Chaz is for the people, the stream isn’t your basic flat album art with a continuous play of music, it’s a full on short film, set for the most part during a road trip. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you dig a nice chillwave compilation for your summer days and nights, you gotta put this album in rotation.

Press play above to hear it for yourself, and let me know what you think. Happy listening!

Music: Featured Spotify Playlist, “SunsetLab” by @Safari647

SunsetLab

Jahmal Sang AKA Safari647, has been a friend of mine for many years now. Along with Fire4Hire Soundsystem (shout out Regent Street and DJ Pete Funk!), he has introduced me to a slew of international tunes, originating in Canada, the UK, France, West Africa, and the Caribbean. It is with his ear that I was hip to a lot of British, Caribbean, and African artists years before Drake decided to exploit them.

SunsetLab, a selection of tunes from both sides of the Atlantic, is inspired by the party of the same name that Safari hosts along with guest selectors in Lausanne, Switzerland. Musically, it combines the genres of Afro, Dancehall, Urban, and Remixes. As the playlist description says, “We experiment when the sun goes down.”

Press play to get into the chunks dem, and make sure to whine it up as the songs are proper for a dancefloor (or kitchen) near you!

 

Jahmal on Twitter -> @Safari647

Jahmal on Instagram -> @Safari647

 

*Photo & Graphic by Andrea K. Castillo

Music: Featured Spotify Playlist, “Vibes” by @RayIsSoul

Summa summa time is officially upon us, and you know what that means? Time to kick back and kick it to some new tunes! If you have been reading for a minute, you know how much I love music, especially highlighting new artists and hot tracks. I admit I have slacked a bit on the playlists (be patient with me!), but my ears are always open to the playlists of my homies. My girl Rachel (@RayIsSoul on Twitter) shared her Spotify playlist entitled “Vibes” with me the other day, and it’s literally all I want to hear to start off the summer season! There are tracks to slow whine to, to unwind with your boo (or potential boo, bc summer), and not to be trite, but over three hours of tracks to vibe out to.

Press play to get into the list’s 57 tracks, and stay tuned for more featured playlists!

Rachel L. on Twitter -> @RayIsSoul

Rachel L. on Instagram – > @ray_la

From A Fan’s Perspective: The Internet Presents “The Internet Tour” @ Webster Hall

Matt Martians

Since the 2015 release of their critically-acclaimed third studio album Ego DeathThe Internet has been on a musical whirlwind. Nominated for a Grammy in 2016 for Best Urban Contemporary Album, and touring for Ego Death for approximately over a year, the band has been building global acclaim while branching out to focus on solo projects. In the past few weeks to date we got The Drum Chord Theory from Matt Martians, Fin from Syd, and Steve Lacy’s Demo from  Steve Lacy just today.

To showcase their musical works as a band and as solo artists, they kicked off The Internet Presents The Internet Tour. The first date was at the newly launched Soulquarius R&B festival in Santa Ana, CA last week, with the first headlining date right here at home in NYC at Webster Hall in the Grand Ballroom. The sold-out show had no openers, starting just after 8:30 PM.

Steve Lacy

I have been cool with the band for a few years now, so perhaps this column should be entitled “From A Homie’s Perspective”, but you catch my drift. I rushed to Webster Hall after getting off of work at 8 PM, pressed as I believed I would miss the first song. Thankfully once I arrived, there was a very short line, and I was given my wristband quite quickly from the artists’ list. I sped up to the VIP balcony for the Grand Ballroom, and found my place as close to the stage as possible. With my camera in tow, I was ready to experience an evening of grooves and new tunes.

I tested out my camera right before they hit the stage to ensure I had the proper settings, and once the lights went down, it was on.

Patrick Paige II performing with the band cheering him on

The crowd roared, and there appeared Matt, Syd, Chris, Steve, and Patrick on the stage in front of a huge screen which alternated between a huge graphic of “The Internet” in red bubble letters, and an illustration by Matt of all the band members. As The Internet, they performed a slew of songs from Ego Death including “Gabby”, “Special Affair”, “Girl”, “Just Sayin”, and “Get Away”, and “Curse”, which they had never performed live before. I have been to many of their shows over the years, and it was really great to see them perform in front of a sold-out crowd in my hometown, that knew ALL THE WORDS to the songs!

Robert Glasper on the Keys for Syd’s “Insecurities”

Steve Lacy was first up to perform some solo tracks, which included “Looks”,”C U Girl”, “Dark Red”, and “Some.” Up next was Matt who performed “Diamond in da Ruff”, “What Love Is”, “Southern Isolation”, and “Dent Jusay” featuring Steve and Syd. Patrick was up next, performing an unfinished song he wrote for his sister sans bass, with smooth rhymes. Chris followed with an incredible drum solo.

Syd closed out the solo performances, with new tracks from Fin, including “Shake Em Off’, “Know” (MY SONG THO), “All About Me”, “Body”, and the body rolling chune that is “Got Her Own.” A very special guest in the incredible Robert Glasper accompanied Syd on keys for “Insecurities” as he is featured on the studio version.

Syd

The show ended with a very hype rendition of “Just Sayin”, where the crowd chanted in unison “YOU FUCKED UP.” Such a highlight of the night. Scroll down for more photos.

Sold-out crowd at Webster Hall

Chris Smith signing drumsticks

 

*All Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

Saturday Sounds: Mattie Safer “Whenever You’re Ready” (Music Video + Audio)

As we quickly approach the middle of November (ALREADY) after an anxiety-filled presidential election, I wanted to musically smooth it all out for you guys with a nice soulful tune & visually appealing music video. Let me introduce you to Mattie Safer, the DC-bred, bi-coastal crooner whose EP All We Are is sure to make a fan out of you!

His latest single, “Whenever You’re Ready”, evokes a feeling of 70’s soul, reminiscent of Marvin Gaye, but fresh enough to be played in 2016. The song lyrics are a confession to a lover. Mattie explains that he will be available to love the object of his desire whenever she is ready, and not rush her into something that she it not yet prepared for.

The track’s music video, directed by HXLT (formerly Hollywood Holt, for the real ones), is a simple visual told through a multitude of hanging bulbs, with Mattie as the center spotlight. Peep it below.

Digging it? If so, and you live in NYC, he will be performing live on Monday, November 14th at Berlin Bar in the Lower East Side. Check out his website for more info, including his glorious bio written by yours truly. Happy Saturday!

 

Photo by Christelle De Castro

Saturday Sounds: Steve Lacy “Some” (Music Video + Audio)

The youngest member of my favorite band The Internet, Steve Lacy, is here to bless your ears with bouncy guitar-driven soul. The 18-year old musical phenom-in-the-making released his first solo music video for his feel good tune, “Some.”

The music video, directed by Matthew Castellanos, gives us a bit of nostalgia of teen romantic-comedy films. The young man with a speaker in front of the object of his affection’s home, posted up to serenade her, and ask her out to prom. This story, however, ends a little bit differently. Check it out below.

The video is tight right? But you are probably asking, where’s the audio girl? The track is on Lacy’s SoundCloud and the player is below. Like it, play it on repeat, and vibe out.

If you were lucky to snag tickets, you can catch Steve Lacy perform live with The Internet at the now sold out Camp Flognaw Festival on Sunday, November 13th in L.A. His solo debut is on the way, so hold tight for more tantalizing grooves!

Saturday Sounds: Kaytranada feat. Syd “You’re The One” (Music Video)

Earlier this week, my best friend in my head, Kaytranada, dropped the much anticipated music video offering for his single “You’re The One” featuring vocals from Syd. Directed by Shomi Patwary, the visual is colorful and fun, referencing various movies and TV sitcoms from the ’90s, like Martin and Coming to America.

The bouncy tune and equally carefree video are sure to be the base for a great Saturday. Press play below.

Kaytranada kicks off his 99.9% Tour today in Seattle, wrapping up on November 12th at the Camp Flognaw Carnival in Los Angeles (that I am still trying to get to this year). Check out his website for all dates and ticket info. He rocks NYC on October 5th at Terminal 5, so keep us posted if you are going to the show!

Event: Target First Saturdays Celebrating Caribbean Culture @ Brooklyn Museum 8/6/16, Feat. MeLo-X & Majah Hype

MeLo-X. Photo by Hannah Sider

With the recent celebration of Emancipation Day in many Caribbean nations on August 1st, the Brooklyn Museum will be celebrating Caribbean culture in all forms this weekend at their monthly Target First Saturdays program.

The full line-up which you can see below, features film, storytelling, crafts, and live performances by choreographer and dancer Blacka Di Danca, comedian Majah Hype, and musician (and my friend!) MeLo-X.

5-9 pm CaribBEING House: Mobile art center caribBEING House stops by our Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden. In our galleries, contribute to an interactive wall map of Brooklyn’s Caribbean heritage, tell us stories of your #MyCaribbeanHeritage, and see photos from the classic film Rockers.

*6 pm Film: Watch Rockers (Theodoros Bafaloukos, 1978, 100 min.), a documentary celebrating reggae culture and sound systems in Jamaica.

6-10 pm Backyard Bashment: Join choreographer Blacka Di Danca in a dancehall workshop at 6 pm, hear comedy by Majah Hype at 7 pm, and enjoy music by MeLo-X from 8 to 10 pm. All programming takes place in our outdoor Beirgarten in the Steinberg Sculpture Garden.

6:30-8:30 pm Pop-Up Gallery Talks: Enjoy short talks about Caribbean and global masquerade traditions in the exhibition Disguise: Masks and Global African Art.

*6:30-8:30 pm Hands-On Art: Create your own Caribbean-inspired musical instrument.

7-8 pm Community Screening: Join artist Rusty Zimmerman in a presentation and discussion of his Free Portrait Project, a portrait painting series that captures the diversity of Crown Heights. Learn more about the project through #WeAreCrownHeights.

7:30 pm Book Club: Danielle Brown performs musical excerpts from her book East of Flatbush, North of Love: An Ethnography of Home, which chronicles Trinidadian music from Brooklyn.

*8 pm Film: The film Bazodee (Todd Kessler, 2016) captures the power of Trinidad’s soca to overcome cultural barriers. For the film’s opening weekend, the screening will be followed by a Q&A with actor Machel Montano, writer Claire Ince, and producers Susanne Bohnet and Ancil McKain.

9 pm Performance: Disguise: Masks and Global African Art artist Alejandro Guzman performs Ganggang: Creative Misunderstanding Series. Featuring Abigail Deville, Christopher Manzione, Clifford Owens, Elan Jurado, Geraldo Mercado, Jessica Gallucci, Marcus Willis, Sam Vernon, Tre Chandler, and William Villalongo.

All events that are starred are ticketed, with tickets available in the museum lobby before showing. As always, EVERY TING FREE, so come through and whine it up with me!

 

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052

From A Fan’s Perspective: Yuna Wows at #UberSummerSeries at Hotel Indigo in NYC

On the evening of Monday, July 18th, I had the pleasure of attending #UberSummerSeries at Hotel Indigo in NYC’s Lower East Side. The event series is a partnership between Uber, Perrier USA, and Hotel Indigo to highlight the music industry’s brightest talent in an intimate live show at sunset. Last month hosted the souled out sounds of Jhene Aiko, and the July edition featured none other than my favorite Malay songstress, Yuna. For those that have been following the blog and my various social media channels over the years, you would know that I am a HUGE Yuna fan. She is the first artist that I have covered in a From A Fan’s Perspective review twice, and rightfully so, because she deserves it.

Held in Hotel Indigo’s rooftop restaurant & lounge Mr. Purple, the evening was a mix of industry folks and fans alike, who were able to win entrance into the show through requesting “YUNA” in their Uber app between the hours of 6 – 7 PM. Refreshments were provided by Perrier and bites including hand-rolled sushi & kale salad were provided by Uma Temakeria. I was invited super last minute by my buddy Jay from UMG, but was super excited to see Yuna perform tracks from her new LP, Chapters.

Yuna touched the stage minutes after 7:30 PM for a set that was about 30 minutes long. Although many in the audience were a bit loud in their conversations, Yuna’s soothing voice soared over the noise. Not only did she perform songs from Chapters, but from her previous projects Nocturnal, Decorate, and her self-titled debut. I sang along to every word and joked with my friends that I would be available to be a back-up singer if necessary. The acoustic renditions of her songs were perfect for the time of day, featuring guitar, upright bass, drums, and percussion.

My favorite moments of the evening? Performances of the tracks “Lanes” (FAVE), “I Want You Back”, “Crush”, “Decorate”, and oldie-but-goodie “Live Your Life.” Wait, that may have actually been her entire set, with the exception of a song or two. Another key moment of the evening was when my bud Jason, who was there filming for Vibe, handed me his camera and told me to take photos; the ones that you see throughout this post. In my quest to become a better writer, especially music writer & journalist, I oftentimes push my photography skills to the back burner, as my camera is a bit outdated. Working with Jason’s fancy Canon Mark III was definitely a confidence boost, and I hope the photos show that.

In concluding her performance, Yuna was whisked off to conduct interviews with various media outlets that were present. Guests that wanted to hang a little longer were treated to a DJ with the most fire Drake set, more cocktails, and a GORGEOUS sunset.

As I am days away from celebrating my 30th year on this Earth (July 24), I am super grateful for moments like these. Way to start off the festivities right!

*All photos by Andrea K. Castillo

Saturday Sounds: ROM “I Just Want You To Know”

Music discovery is one of my favorite pastimes in life, and one of my favorite places to discover new music, aside from the suggestions of friends, is SoundCloud. Although their new set-up as a paid service with commercials is not the best for inquisitive listeners like myself, I am still able to find a fresh bunch of producers, beat makers, vocalists, and DJs with ease based on their suggestions for me.

Case in point is that of this week’s Saturday Sounds offering, ROM. As per his SoundCloud profile, he is a 20-year old producer and multi-instrumentalist from Birmingham, UK. I saw that one of my friends had added a track of his to their collection, so I decided to take a listen. I am glad I did. The young musician flips a lot of popular R&B tracks, including a few produced by my favorite guy, Pharrell.

The track “I Just Want You To Know” is a flip of Snoop Dogg & Pharrell’s track “Beautiful”, solely featuring the vocals from Pharrell on the hook. Of course it caught my ear. Listen below and enjoy your Saturday.

AFROPUNK BROOKLYN Announces Their 2016 Line-Up, & It’s Great!

Living in a time where there is conflict in the idea of being young, gifted, and Black, the AFROPUNK festival celebrates all of these things, and the people who are often labeled as other. I have been a longtime supporter of the movement, having attended my first fest back in 2007 when they had set up shop in the little skate park in the triangle outside of BAM (RIP as a new high-rise is currently being built in that space).

Last summer, I had the opportunity to go back after a few years, and it was nothing short of magical. Never have I been in a space filled with so much love, acceptance, and happiness, a safe space for the young, gifted, Black other. Today, the summer 2016 lineup was announced for Brooklyn, and boy does it deliver. Peep the video re-capping bits of last year’s jaunt, and check the full lineup below. I have put stars next to my favorites. Will I be seeing you there?

AFROPUNK BROOKLYN 2016 LINEUP
Ice Cube
TV On The Radio
Tyler The Creator*
CeeLo Green
Flying Lotus*
Janelle Monae*
The Internet*

SUPERJAM
Featuring Members from
Bad Brains
Fishbone
Living Colour

George Clinton*
Earl Sweatshirt*
Skunk Anansie
Skye & Ross from Morcheeba
Young Fathers
Benjamin Booker
Saul Williams*
Angel Haze*
Kelela*
Trash Talk
Shabazz Palaces*
Thundercat*
Sango*
Esta*
Gallant*
Prayers
Radkey
Seinabo Sey
The Suffers*
Sir The Baptist
Sate
Downtown Boys
Roman GianArthur
Joe Kay*
The Whooligan
SPZRKT*
Eden Hagos

AFROPUNK BROOKLYN will be held at Commodore Barry Park on August 27-28. Tickets may be purchased here. Act soon before prices rise!

Saturday Sounds: MeLo-X “Curate” EP

It has been a minute and a half since I posted a “Saturday Sounds”, but sometimes you have to wait for the perfect moment, which is now. My buddy, multi-media artist, musician, and producer MeLo-X released new audio heat this week in his EP Curate. The six-song offering is perfect for the fall, comprised of synth heavy production with vocal complexity, and warmth. Features include the likes of Little Simz, Raury, and Kilo Kish.

In addition to the music, Melo released an accompanying interactive app which pairs each song with a 3D geometric figure. When hovering over the figure, you can distort the sound of each track, perfect for the audiophiles! Get into it.

Ovation TV Presents “On The Record With Mick Rock”, Sundays at 8 PM EST In August + West Coast Hip Hop Spotify Playlist!

As a lover of all things related to musicians and photographers, I was tickled to hear about the premiere of new series On The Record With Mick Rock. The Ovation TV program follows famed British rock & roll photographer Mick Rock, who is best known for shooting musical greats in the 1970’s, including the likes of David Bowie, Blondie, and the Sex Pistols.

In each episode, he follows a different musician in their hometown for a candid interview amongst the sites, people, and things that inspire them. The series premiere on Sunday, August 4th at 8 PM ET kicked off with Josh Groban in his native Los Angeles. The show runs through August 23rd, with remaining guests including Kings of Leon, Flaming Lips, and Patti LaBelle.

Mick Rock Speaking on his love for Snoop Dogg

Rock is still a quite sought-after musical photographer, Snoop Dogg being one of the artists he works with currently. Upon watching the video above, I was inspired to create a Spotify playlist of West Coast Hip Hop songs that I grew up listening to, including Snoop and his contemporaries. Check out my Spotify playlist below, featuring 90 minutes of gritty jams.

*Editor’s note: the playlist is completely uncensored, please play at your own discretion.*

spotify:user:andreakcastillo:playlist:1zeEImmR7okNKsz7PyVJKp
 

*This is a sponsored post