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INsiders Guide: Big Kill, Sage Bava, Theo Tams, Red Bull SoundClash, Kami Kehoe, YASHAR, ROSIE, BIA, James Gillespie, Cuffed Up….

BIG KILL is a destructive pop and production duo headquartered in the basement of a warehouse in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Their genre-expansive sound is rooted somewhere between experimental and hyperpop, synthesizing the unique sonics from a range of influences, moving from commercial pop to noise to drill to Eurodance. As producers, BIG KILL’s early credits include their work on Debby Friday’s latest Pitchfork-approved single “Runnin” as well as several in-progress collaborations that lean on a new signature sound.

“BIG KILL represents a forceful push into a philosophical, online, oppositional, inclusive, empathetic, self-empowered communist utopia driven by the internet” muses band member Andrew Huculiak.

“In our present, BIG KILL is the antithesis of toxic masculinity and fear of self expression. We’d like to present a healthy male friendship that’s deep and playful and vulnerable as an example for other people like us. And hopefully, those not like us will find amusement and power in the exploration. In a world of identity groupings, it feels good to be frank with where we see ourselves and what our experience is, not telling any story but ours, with as little regard as possible to the social consequence.”

Sage Bava strives to envelop you in a healing space through her dark folk/R&B style with hints of Latin undertones. Originally from Odanata in Upstate NY, she spent her childhood surrounded by many different species and nature on a farm, instilling her with a passion to stand up for creatures without a voice and protect our natural world. Hence the name Bava (bad.ass.vegan.advocate). She has solo backpacked all over the world after earning a scholarship to go to a performing arts school in the UK. After working in theatre and living in NYC for a few years she is now going back to her nomadic backpacking ways as a songwriter, musician, creator and yogi. Her music is about overcoming darkness with stories of socio-cultural power dynamics and touches on moods of Neuroplasticity and healing from trauma. She hopes to create healing sounds and share stories of overcoming and growth. Music is a powerful healer.

Her latest single “Stronger” opens with a gathering of sultry, soft vocals over a Latina style guitar riff exuding a totally idyllic and exotic atmosphere. Bava’s velvet vocals give a calm and composed aura, while the production has alt-folk moments wrapped up in a bright bubble of R&B. With flushes of jazz, the guitar dances across a catalogue of wavy notes. “Stronger” is a reminder to the songwriter of her inner-power and strength despite life’s hardships, as she says, “Stronger was written in a time of unravelling of my mind of years of tightly wound coils of trauma, systemic beliefs and my own doubt and guilt.” 

 With rich, tropical, fluid soundscapes feeling both delicate and grounded, it comes as no surprise that Bava grew up surrounded by a utopia of nature and animals. With her nomadic spirit and love for exploring, the Brooklyn based artist takes inspiration from strong female artists sharing, “I love female artists that have created their own sound. I am working towards being able to say I do that. Artists like Kimbra, Lianne La Havas and Sabrina Claudio who speak on women’s strength through the dichotomy of softness/sensuality and strength/grit.”

Theo Tams is rediscovering his identity as an artist. With his upcoming EP, the Canadian singer/songwriter demonstrates a remarkable command of R&B-laced pop music, his silky tenor the unwavering guiding light. As evidenced on lead single, “Therapy,” a sticky mid-tempo jam, Tams slides across the melody with an enrapturing charm, and his vulnerability is as much on display.

Two years since his last record, 2018’s Call the Doctor, what is most evident is his fearlessness to cannonball right into fresh sonic waves. “I knew that I really wanted to just dive into this evolution and a different sound. All the new music was an exercise in the spirit of saying yes to new things,” he says. “There’s so many times that I feel the industry or public perception put me in a box. Going into this project, I realized regardless of whether they put me in a box, it was my job to burst out of it.”

Red Bull SoundClash U.S. Lineup:

November 30: SHELLEY FKA DRAM and Westside Boogie bring the heat to Atlanta

December 2: Tank and The Bangas face hometown heroes The Suffers in Houston

December 9: Bren Joy and Special Guest bring the future of R&B and Pop to Nashville December 15: Rico Nasty and Danny Brown take over Chicago

 

Purchase tickets and get more info here: win.gs/SoundClashUSA

Red Bull announces the return of Red Bull SoundClash to the U.S. for the first time in 10 years, with 4 shows this Fall in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and Nashville.

Red Bull SoundClash creates a once-in-a-lifetime live music experience, featuring two artists competing across two opposite stages, with the audience deciding the winner. The unparalleled event series will bring audiences and artists together for the chance to participate in an experience unlike any other. This is not a concert. This is a Clash.

 

Red Bull SoundClash enables artists to push their musical boundaries through exploring music styles, battling, repertoires, and artist collaborations while empowering the audience to become more than spectators to decide the winner. Inspired by the culture of competing soundsystems originating in Kingston, Jamaica, Red Bull SoundClash is set over multiple rounds as bands and artists musically duke it out with the recipient of the biggest crowd reaction (captured on a decibel meter) to be crowned champion. While these artists may be competing against each other at every turn, SoundClash is ultimately a celebration of the power of live music, collaboration, and creative empowerment.

 The 2021 Red Bull SoundClash U.S. series kicks off in Atlanta on 11/30 with SHELLEY FKA DRAM vs Westside Boogie; Houston on 12/2 with The Suffers vs Tank and The Bangas; Nashville on 12/9 with Bren Joy vs Special Guest (TBA), and Chicago on 12/15 with Rico Nasty vs Danny Brown.

 Find full event descriptions below:

 Atlanta // November 30: A Love Renaissance Special:

SHELLEY FKA DRAM vs Westside Boogie

Ticket Link: https://www.axs.com/events/414174/red-bull-soundclash-shelley-vs-westside-boogie-tickets

Red Bull SoundClash teams up with Atlanta-based independent record label, management and multi-media company, Love Renaissance (LVRN), for one special night at The Eastern. In celebration of the Love Renaissance collective, R&B singer-songwriter SHELLEY FKA DRAM and Compton-born Westside Boogie will face off in a live, head-to-head clash for the ages.

 Houston // December 2:

The Suffers vs Tank and The Bangas

Ticket Link: https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/3A005B4506D466D5

Red Bull SoundClash joins forces with The Suffers vs Tank and the Bangas to celebrate the art, culture and musical genres of both headliners while showcasing their abilities in a ‘Queens of Gulf Coast Soul’ themed four-round face-off, featuring co-hosts Paul Wall and Big Freedia, special guests, and other familiar faces from the Texas and Louisiana music scenes.

 Nashville // December 9:

Bren Joy vs TBA

Ticket Link: TBA

Nashville gets ready for Red Bull SoundClash as Nashville native, Bren Joy brings the rhythm against special guests (TBA) as they go song-for-song in the ultimate face-off at Marathon Music Works.

 Chicago // December 15:

Rico Nasty vs Danny Brown

Ticket Link: https://www.axs.com/events/414244/red-bull-soundclash-rico-nasty-vs-danny-brown-tickets

The 2021 Red Bull SoundClash US series run culminates with two distinct and unparalleled hip-hop talents, both of which will descend on Radius for what might just be a show for the record books. D.C.’s lauded hyper-pop rapper Rico Nasty will clash with Detroit’s acclaimed “Hood Hipster” Danny Brown. These two artists are sure to create an indescribable energy.

Las Vegas based artist Kami Kehoe fuses old and new soul to create a sound that transports you to another universe. Somewhere where time and place doesn’t exist and you can simply indulge in the mesmerizing R&B, alt pop sounds of this 18 year old artist. With her soulful, unique vocal style and ability to craft a sound which dances between genres, Kami has cooked up something which is undeniably special. 

 Introduced to music by her parents, Kami has been playing the drums since she was just three years old. Quickly developing an affinity for the instrument, this propelled her through her early teens where she would perform in a band with siblings for several years. Now, Kami writes, produces and performs everything herself, taking complete creative control over her sound, resulting in an honest and distinct delivery. Her relatable music sees each song narrating a story, told to show others that they are not alone in their discomfort. 

 Her latest single “LOVESICK” is a playful track which tries to uncover your true feelings for someone. We’ve all experienced love-hate relationships and Kami presents that to us through a familiar lens. The songwriter shares, “I hope this song makes listeners feel strong, and feel like they’re able to leave a toxic relationship if it’s hurting them. Or on the flip side, make someone feel it’s okay to feel a certain way, whether what they’re doing is toxic or not, and realizing it could be coming from a place of pain and trauma; they don’t know how to let their guards down.” She continues, “understand that however you feel, it’s normal because anyone’s feelings are valid.”

 Sonically, “LOVESICK” is somewhat raw and skeletal in its soundscape, however highly built and textured in the twists and turns of the production decisions. Using vocal harmonies to create a barrier of haunting tenderness, the track moves in and out of dynamic beats. Clean-cut, intellectually simple and stimulating, the song captures Kami’s stunning vocals and animated melodies.

With the desire to bring new sounds and new perspectives to the world, Kami Kehoe is poised to be one of the most exciting new voices of her generation.

YASHAR’s new release “Fallin” is first and foremost a solid House inspired bop where the track builds slowly, climaxing with a lush combination of hard hitting future house and electronic euphoric influences. The song balances between a radio ready banger to a progressive dance number. The producer has made his intentions for listeners clear here. To create a track that encourages listers to move to the beat of this transfixing entry whilst enabling us to relate to the themes of love and longing. Amazingly it almost feels like it could go on and is over before the listener truly wants it to be, making for a great repeat value selection.

What you see is what you get with 21-year-old singer-songwriter ROSIE— no filters, no Facetune, no VSCO, no makeup, no bullshit. After capturing the hearts of millions with her clever, heart-wrenching songwriting, ROSIE is now ready to share her much-anticipated debut EP, ‘20mg of Happiness,’ releasing today on Arista Records.‘20mg of Happiness’ includes fan-favorite tracks like “Never the 1,” “Retail Therapy,” “to get over you” and “Sad Sad Sad,” as well as 3 brand new surefire hits, “Screaming Underwater,” “All my favorite songs” and “Idk you at all.” The EP is an exploration of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Each of the 7 songs on the EP represents a different stage of grief or the transition from one stage to the next. Balancing meticulously between her own heartbreak and the universality of emotion, ROSIE chronicles love and loss in all of its complexity. Grief never leaves you entirely and there is no way to contain it or to arrange it neatly, but this record is an exercise in moving through the lingering pain in order to see a life beyond it.“‘20mg of Happiness’ was extremely emotional to create, because I wrote all of these songs alone in my bedroom during the pandemic, as I was living through each stage of my own grieving process,” says ROSIE. “My intention behind this EP is to raise mental health awareness by releasing a project that is deeply vulnerable and honest, and I hope it provides some form of catharsis for others. I want these songs to help those who feel misunderstood to feel understood, and those who feel unseen to feel seen. Let these 7 songs serve as a friend, providing a safe space and a sanctuary to all who listen.”

multi-platinum-certified Boston-born and Los Angeles-based artist BIA unveils For Certain Deluxe Album. Get it HERE via Epic Records. She reupped, recharged, and reinvigorated her acclaimed debut EP with six brand new tracks.

Among those, she recently shared “Besito” [feat. G Herbo]. Right out of the gate, it generated 5.7 million streams worldwide and over 2 million views on the music video. Reeling in critical acclaim,  Billboard touted it among “R&B/Hip-Hop Fresh Picks of the Week” and claimed, “The ‘Whole Lotta Money’ singer is as braggadocious as ever in her G Herbo-assisted single ‘Besito’.” Complex observed, “A whole lotta eyes are on BIA right now, and she’s delivering.” E! included it on “The MixtapE!, and  Remezcla described it best as a “Bilingual banger.

Additionally, her breakthrough smash “WHOLE LOTTA MONEY” just received a platinum certification from the RIAA. The original and Nicki Minaj Remix grace the Deluxe Album as well. Not to mention, she lights up “CAN’T TOUCH THIS” with razor sharp rhymes and no shortage of attitude and delivers a seductive bedroom jam on “FREAK IN THE NIGHT.” Then, there’s “BIG DEAL” [feat. Sevyn Streeter].

Quietly explosive UK artist James Gillespie releases his latest slice of introspective pop with “Money Money”. Listen on all streaming services from 22nd October here.

Following on from his previous Eg White-produced-delight “Foolish Love”, this newest offering blends nostalgic soul influence over a bed of snappy percussion, a playful jam balanced by heartfelt lyricism – as James outlines the notion of finding true, spiritual love. Driven by his signature raspy vocals and triumphant brass-fuelled production, “Money Money” is set to further solidify James as a significant new name in the global landscape – continuing to showcase his penchant for curating polished pop bangers with a twist.

“Money Money is about realising that they are NOT with you for the superficial. And that you don’t need to try and impress them with fancy things. It’s about the person and the way you live with them. They are just happy to be with you. No matter what you’re doing or where you are. Once you realise that – everything changes.”

CUFFED UP share their urgent and vital new EP, Asymmetry, on Royal Mountain Records.
 
The four track release arrives alongside a video for “Terminal”, starring Brian Aubert of Silversun Pickups.

 

WATCH: CUFFED UP’S “TERMINAL” ON YOUTUBE
On the track, vocalist Ralph Torrefranca explains, ““Terminal” is the most personal song I’ve ever written. I suffer from serious health OCD that is borderline crippling at times. I wanted to write a song that projects the anxiety & irrational thoughts that my body & mind go through during my worst “episodes”.
On the video, he adds: “”Brian had such a great vibe to be around! He turned our long shooting day into a really fun hang and played the doctor perfectly. Between his cameo and Ben Mehlman’s unique direction for the video, we’re proud of how it turned out!
 

Formed in 2019, LA-based Cuffed Up were born out of a search for “self acceptance and self-realization”. Amidst a shared affinity for the ever-expanding global post-punk scene, vocalist and guitarist duo Ralph Torrefranca and Sapphire Jewell, bassist Vic Ordonez and drummer Joe Liptock breathe fresh life into the resurgent genre. 

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

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Written by Neill Frazer

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