SoundCloud Binge #3 featuring: @ELHAE, Tuxedo, The Internet & More

Here’s my third SoundCloud binge, and I feel like I should be congratulated for my consistency with this *pats self on back.* For this binge, something really, really great happened--let me explain. I’m not sure if you caught my previous binge with a playlist from my Girl Crush Hannah Faith of Soulection, but she made this incredible mix with this song that I loved. The song has a crazy Michael Jackson “Rock With You” sample, and great production and a really tight rapper flowing all over the track. It’s one of those songs that makes you want to two-step sensually with your boo, bae, or love whatever your preference. I was like man, this is my shit, however, I couldn't find the name of the track for NOTHING in my life.

But bruh.

Today I found it and I lowkey want to cry.

Patience is a virtue.

Be patient young grasshopper.

I’m hella dramatic, but I’m pretty pumped up like Joe (get it?)

But that’s what happened with ELHAE “Halfway Love.” I love, love this song.

Listen to the binge below, and make sure to check the other ones here and here. I will post another one next Tuesday.


Get Productive With These Apps

Again for a productivity post--as we know, many people are attached to their phones. People are constantly playing with their phones, checking email, taking photos, texting, and etc with their phones. Although I’m one of those people who tries to detach myself from my phone by taking off all notifications and having my phone on silent 24/7, I still use my phone for some organizing + managing.  Below, are some of my favorite productivity apps. Hopefully, you’ll find some to be useful. Also, if you have some apps that you love, please feel free to put them below in the comment section as well.

 

Any.Do
Any.Do is one of my personal favorite apps because it’s pretty, and has a nice sleek interface. This app has great functions like a daily planner for everyday use that syncs with every device you have--computer, phone, or tablet. The app also allows you to create lists and subtasks for every area that you may need to focus on. For me, I have subtasks categories for all of my work functions, plus blogging, writing and even a grocery list. You can also set up reminders and notifications for this app, as well as recurring tasks which is a function that I really like.

Cal
To go along with Any.Do, why not try out Cal? Made by the same company as Any.Do, Cal is my favorite calendar app. I will admit, the new calendar app on iOS is great, but this app is better because it’s more visual. You can add events for you and friends, and their photo will show up as well as any notes or directions to where you guys are meeting. I once I had an interview in the city and I was lost. I used the Cal app to collect the address, and directions there as well. Also, anything you have yet to complete from your Any.Do will be added to Cal so these are a great duo pair.

Postmates
I have to blame my friend Teresa for getting me hooked on this app. If you are planning an event, setting up a meeting and/or just lazy and don’t feel like going out to get a bite to eat, Postmates is the perfect app for you. This app allows you to request a courier for anything you may or may not (Papalote’s Fried Chicken Burrito which I really, really wanted) need. I used this app for work for our Adopt-a-Family gift delivery and it went by really easily. Just love this app.

HotelTonight
The other apps I mentioned on this list are very specific and geared towards professional needs and this app really isn’t. But, if you’re a person like me, traveling is a form of productivity. Whenever I take a trip, I meet new people which improves my writings, change my surroundings which helps my writing and sparks my creativity, and I’m more productive when I return back. Last summer, this app was so clutch for my travels in New York. My friends and I did an AirBnB in Bed Stuy and sadly, the adorable home that we scouted months prior had violent and quite abrasive cockroaches so sadly we had to leave quick fast and in a hurry. A friend of mine Jas (HAY GIRL HAY), told me she planned her trip via HotelTonight so we did this too which is how we were able to get a hotel room for a cheaper rate. The productive kicker for this would possibly be that I got to meet/drink and celebrate the birthday of Lianne La Havas with Lianne La Havas in the flesh and her posse.  

Evernote
Evernote will always be on the list of productive apps, and now with the updates it’s definitely going  to always have a home in my heart. This app, is a great way to organize you to do list, as well as make separate notebooks for whatever it is that you nee to do. There are also additional sections and attachments on Evernote that are great “Evernote Hello” which helps you store contacts that you meet. I use this function/app to store contacts I meet who I want to keep in contact with and/or send an email to keep a conversation with this person going. There’s also “Evernote Food” which I want to dabble and play with a little bit more. Both Hello and Food, sync with the actual Evernote app which is great.  

Google Drive
uh. Google Drive is my most favorite app and/or website. I’ve been going little crazy on Google Drive and making lots of spreadsheets--color coding turn up. I don’t have much to say about this app, but it’s great to say the least. I use it on the computer and on my phone and iPad.

To-do List
Again with to-do list apps is an app with a title that complete alludes to its function. This app has a nice and sleek interface and lets you collaborate and assign tasks to multiple members in your team. You will get notifications on your phone when tasks have been added to the list or comments on collaborative lists. A cool extension to this app is To-Do List Karma which has a graph to show you how productive you and your tasks have been. Pretty cool app. I could be wrong, but I think this app is made by the same creators of Any.Do and Cal--they have a similar style, and function.

Mint
If you’re trying to get your finances in order like myself, Mint is a great app. With this app you setup your accounts and can easily check and see where you are spending most of your money. I even put cash in this app to see how much I’ve spent at certain places. In 2014, a lot of my spending went to Starbucks or Peets. Now however, since I am no longer a coffee drinker (16 days strong with no headaches) I’d be very interested to see where my money is going. For more financial apps and information, my friend made a great post on her new blog that you should check out here

SoundCloud Binge Number Two

As promised, I'm back with my second SoundCloud binge. Today's installment once again includes a mix by Hannah Faith of Soulection - I'm pretty sure she's my "Girl Crush." The mix also includes some other jams that you should check out, one of which happens to be my favorite song from Jazmine Sullivan's new album Reality Show, which is out today.  

Also as an added bonus, if you're my friend on Twitter/Facebook I made a post of my super tight (toots my own horn) playlist. You can check it out and/or subscribe here


SoundCloud Binge Number One

I saw a friend of mine post on Facebook about how music these days is terrible. Although I agree with her to extent because a lot of music is trivial these days to me, I can not say that I wholeheartedly agree.  

In previous decades, I think the foundation of music was a little different. Instead of attempting to ride the wave of popularity it seemed like a lot of the artists were trying to create timeless music--music that you can listen to decades down the line and it still would make sense. With artists like some of my favorites: The Isley Brothers, Frank Beverly & Maze, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Wee, Roy Ayers and more, music was crafted to speak to you whether it was through lyrics, instrumentation or overall feeling and emotion. 

These days, that's a little rare but there are definitely artists who live and breathe this today: John Legend, Jazmine Sullivan (has pipes look here), Emeli Sande, Lianne La Havas, I could go on. Also, let us not forget, D'Angelo just released Black Messiah, at the end of 2014 which oozes with all of the necessary timeless elements - lyrics on point, instrumentation beautiful, overall feeling, beautiful ("Another Life"- chills).  

That being said, to show her that she was being overly dramatic, I thought why not start this new weekly project--a Soundcloud binge. I've been on Soundcloud consistently for the last few weeks and finding some really great music and if you are my friend there (shameless plug @bellametaphor) I apologize. I'm going to do a post weekly documenting my ten favorite finds for the week. Hopefully, I can put you on to some gems and hopefully, you can help me out too. 

There are some pretty good tunes here like Tuexedo's AR Mix. If you're unfamiliar, Tuxedo is comprised of producer Jake One and singer/songwriter Mayer Hawthorne. Last year, the pairing released their self-titled three track EP which featured some gems that I still enjoy today. On March 3rd, they will be releasing their debut album via Stones Throw and let us just say, I am overly excited. In the meantime, I spotted this gem on their Soundcloud and BRUH, it jams so hard. This mix is comprised of classic soul and is easily something you can play from start to finish. Another song on this mix is one of my favorite tracks for the last few weeks, Nao's "Adore You." Everything about this song is perfect in my opinion: the production. Listen below, the tracklisting comes via SoundCloud. 


34 Books to Read in 2015

34 Books to Read in 2015

 

Happy new year everyone. It’s a trip, it seems like it was just a few months ago that I was counting down the days until my 26 birthday (I was doing that) and now, it’s a brand new year. Hopefully, you have a good grasp on some of the things you want to do in the new year, I know for me it would have to be - more traveling, building more connections, and stop procrastinating. Also, after my new year’s aftermath, I’m doing a 100% alcohol detox (never drank that much, but going to be more conscious of that in the new year).  

 

I did a lot of reading in 2014 - some of the books I read were good and some were bad, but in 2015 I want to do way more reading for sure. I’ve made a vow courtesy Goodreads to try to read 60 books in 2015. I also finally started a book club combining two of my favorite things: books and brunch. If you’re in the Bay Area and would love to attend our meetings, please message me. Also, if you’re not in the Bay Area, let me know as well - I can invite you to our group on Facebook as I plan on incorporating Google+ or Skype in the near future.  

 

Below are the books I plan to read in 2015, perhaps you should read them too. The first book is the book we are currently reading for the book club, others are some that I want to read. Also, some of the books are books that I have read but didn’t really understand or find interesting want to give them another go around.  

I’ll add this as a PDF at some point as well, so never fear.

Book List 2015

  1. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

  2. Happiness, Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta

  3. Love is Power, or Something Like That by Igoni Barrett

  4. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

  5. I Loves Yous Are For White People - Lac Su

  6. When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories From a Persuasive Man by Jerry Weintrauth

  7. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

  8. Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson

  9. Manchild In The Promiseland by Claude Brown

  10. Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black by Bell Hooks

  11. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Alborn

  12. Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer

  13. NW by Zadie Smith

  14. The Cross of Redemption by James Baldwin

  15. Far from The Tree: Parents, Children and Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon

  16. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

  17. Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair

  18. Nigger by Dick Gregory

  19. Jesus Land by Julia Scheeros

  20. The City of Devi by Manil Suri

  21. A Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate

  22. They Poured Fire on Us From The Sky by Benjamin Ajak

  23. Dark at The Roots by Sarah Thyre

  24. Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer

  25. I Put a Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone

  26. Fairyland by Alysia Abbott

  27. The Love-Charm of Bombs by Lara Feigel

  28. All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu

  29. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

  30. The Narrow Road to The Deep North by Richard Flanagan

  31. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

  32. Driving The King by Ravi Howard

  33. Butterflies in November by Audrava Olafsdohir

  34. God Loves Haiti by Dimitry Elias Leger

 

Gorgon City Lets You 'Go All Night' with New Mix #GoAllNightPartySoundtrack

In October, Gorgon City released their mainstream debut and LP Sirens. The project, for me, is still steady in rotation as it’s a combination of soul, and house - two of my favorite things. The album featured not only great production, but also great features one of which came courtesy the powerhouse singer Jennifer Hudson in the form of “Go All Night.” 

In my review of the album which you can read in it’s entirety here, I described the song as an epic dance-floor banger.  

As soon as the song begins with minimal production, Jennifer’s voice commands full attention. As the song continues and the beat develops, Gorgon City create a song complete with traces of the legendary Cece Peniston in her heydey. This is a song that will easily be an anthem in gay clubs or House music parties around the world and for good reason - it captures a feeling and makes you dance uncontrollably (I have a little sweat forming as I write listening to this song for the sixth time in a row). 

The pairing recently released the video for the song, and now, to celebrate the official release of the single Gorgon City created this bomb 1-hour playlist, ‘Go All Night’ mix. It will be the perfect addition to any holiday party or just if you want to turn up at your desk, which I am currently doing. 

Also, Gorgon City will begin their tour soon check the dates here. I saw them in San Francisco earlier this year - I danced so hard, and met some really cool people.  If you want to purchase Gorgon City’s LP Sirens, purchase the album here via iTunes

Tinashe's Debut Album, Stellar Effort or?

As a woman, I make mistakes and I am woman enough to admit to those very mistakes. One of those errors of judgement came on October 7th – the day that R&B singer Tinashe released her debut album Aquarius. I wrote a tweet about how great her album was – I don’t know the exact verbiage I used and I assume since it was Twitter I could find the information out by looking at my timeline, but I am lazy, distracted and eating Tater Tots with Fish with an excessive amount of Hot Sauce and a side of Lemonade – digression. But yes, I prematurely said that I loved the Tinashe album in so many characters when realistically, that’s not the truth. The album which Tinashe herself is the executive producer of, features production from Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), DJ Mustard and Mike WilL Made It, just to name a few.Aquarius has it’s high points but on the sixth full listen, I realized that the album became background music.

Tinashe has a good voice especially in the sea of autotuned non-singers or oversexualized singers with repetitive subject contents. But for me, what those albums have that Tinashe’s album lacks is the ability to keep listeners invested (kind of like the J.Cole syndrome). At times, I forgot that I was actually listening to the album perhaps because the lush, sex music vibes doesn’t captivate my short attention span. Also, aside from the lead single “2 On” featuring Schoolboy Q, the album production wise doesn’t really change up – everything is slow, saucy and cuddly.

That being said, as a whole Tinashe’s debut is leaps and bounds better than I expected. The songs on the album really allow Tinashe’s voice to play the lead role as she seamlessly goes between FKA Twigs-ish vibes on certain songs, and Janet Jackson in others.

Highlights on the album come in the form of the Future assisted “How Many Times.” Although Future kind of messes up his main part with a series of tribal chants that sound more Tourette like than necessary, this is subjectively speaking, the album’s best song.  For the song, Tinashe flips the classic Janet Jackson track, “Funny How Time Flies” from her 1986 classic Control, and makes it contemporary and sensual. “Cold Sweat” follows in terms of highlights as Tinashe sings about friends, foes and all things that are synonymous with becoming a star. This song also shines a light on one of Tinashe’s strengths – her vocal versatility.

Overall, the Tinashe album is a nice debut album. I wouldn’t say that it is something that I will consistently play, but it was leaps better than I expected – just not gas-worthy like I said.

Video: @HaimTheBand - "My Song 5" ft. A$AP Ferg

Los Angeles based sister trio, Haim, had one of my favorite releases of 2013 with their debut effort Days Are Gone.  With the effort, they showed not only are they bad ass musicians with a healthy hair of locks, but that they are versatile.  The versatility of the group was shown once again with their latest collaboration.  From the album, my favorite song hands down was "My Song 5" it's crazy.  The lyrics are captivating, and memorable.  The guitar, the drum - in love.  Earlier this summer, the band released the updated remix version featuring A$AP Mob counterpart A$AP Ferg.  

Typically, I hate when people feel they need to put a rapper on a song because more times than not, it doesn't fit the flow or just seems like a marketing plow.  However, this collaboration I enjoy and it doesn't bother me at all.  I won't say that it made the song better because the song was great by itself, but it definitely added a different energy.

The pairing are finally releasing the video for the track and it's hilarious.  For the video, they created a daytime talk show exposing some weird circumstances and cool cameos like Big Sean and Ke$ha.

Grab the single here, and make sure to cop Haim's album here as well.

Video: @KimbraMusic - "Miracle"

Today, one of my favorite singers, New Zealand bred singer Kimbra, released her highly anticipated sophomore album, Golden Echo.  It is in my hopes that I am able to finish my album review before I head out of town for AfroPunk because the album is crazy.  Not only does Kimbra have a knack for writing great songs - she also does these real interesting and quirky things with her voice shown with her new single "Miracle." The video which premiered on Refinery29 this morning, is interesting and fun, two things that have become synonymous with Kimbra.

Check out the video and make sure to cop Kimbra's new album here. Also, make sure to check Kimbra out when she heads out on her tour (which begins on my birthday so you know where I'll be) check the dates below.

10/20 San Francisco, CA The Independent 10/23 Los Angeles, CA The Roxy 10/24 Santa Ana, CA The Observatory 10/25 Las Vegas, NV Life Is Beautiful Festival 10/27 Salt Lake City, UT In The Venue 10/28 Denver, CO Sherman 10/30 Minneapolis, MN Fine Line Music Café 11/01 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall 11/06 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom 11/07 Philadelphia, PA World Café Live - Downstairs 11/08 Washington, DC U Street Music Hall 11/09 Allston, MA Brighton Music Hall

Video: Sasha Keable - "Living Without You" (Live Vevo DSCVR)

So although I am a terrible blogger, my last posts on here have been about UK based singer Sasha Keable, who is my favorite right now. I first got introduced to Keable with her feature on one of my favorite projects of 2013 - Disclosure's Settle LP for the track "Voices" which she was a featured artist on.  I loved how her voice had so much soul, yet control and power and kind of stanned out for her with her debut EP BlackBook.  The EP was crazy - and so is her latest effort Lemongrass and Limeleaves. Here we see Keable singing the lead single from the EP in the form of "Living Without You" for an acoustic set with Vevo DSCVR and man doesn't she sound amazing.

If you're not up on Sasha, please get up on her ASAP.