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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Discover: Kev - "No One Around (ZDJ Remix)"
by John MacNeil - 0

ZDJ ramps up the energy in his new remix of Kev's "No One Around" 

LA-based producer ZDJ released a remix of Kev's "No One Around" Monday morning. Born and raised in Northwest Indiana, ZDJ met New York producer Kev at the Berklee College of Music, and they reconnected from across the country after graduating.

With driving builds and drops that are sure to get you moving, ZDJ ramps up the energy level from the slow-burning original track, firing off a booming remix that will get your blood pumping and your feet off the ground.

Check out the new mix on SoundCloud, and be on the lookout for more new music from ZDJ and Kev!

Follow ZDJ on SoundCloudFacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube for more updates and new music!
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Apollo Chorus of Chicago Celebrates 144th Season, an Interview with Conductor Stephen Alltop
by Kyle Kenyon - 0

(Photo Courtesy of Apollo Chorus of Chicago)
This year the Apollo Chorus of Chicago is celebrating its 144th season, making it one of the oldest volunteer choruses in the country and the City of Chicago's oldest musical organization. When the chorus takes to the stage this year to perform the distinguished and time honored piece, Handel's Messiah, it will be for the 136th time. The chorus has been with the windy city since the "Great Fire", and performed with many respected groups such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, appearing on Oprah's last show, performing along venerated artists like Josh Groban and Jackie Evancho. I had the pleasure of interviewing the group's director and conductor of the past seventeen years, Stephen Alltop.

Kyle Kenyon: You’ve been with the Apollo Chorus, the oldest musical group in the city of Chicago, for seventeen years, what have the past seventeen years been like working with the Apollo Chorus?

Stephen Alltop: It has been a journey, a progression, I would say we’re constantly moving towards higher standards and a broader identity as a musical organization. I think the chorus standards have risen quite a bit. It’s been quite an honor.

The Apollo Chorus is celebrating 144 years this year, making it one of the oldest volunteer choral societies in the country, how does it feel being the conductor of such a prestigious ensemble?

It’s an honor I feel as though being the music mentor of Apollo has constantly challenged me to become as better musician. The world of choral music is a highly international one and that’s been such an honor working with so many renowned artists, like our soloists for this year’s Messiah. It think it’s such an honor that in 144 years I’m only the ninth director. It’s because it’s been such a wonderful journey, and because we keep getting better it’s like every year its new adventures.

What can we expect from the choir this season?

This season we have a mix of great classical music, of course we’re doing Messiah, which is a mainstay of our season because it’s part of our identity, and we can provide a very dramatic performance, we have a very distinguished soloist including Amanda Majeski. We’re doing another mainstay which is Elijah and we return to these great masterpieces because its part of our identity. Something we’ve never done before is Broadway, and we’ve been venturing into other types of music, so why not Broadway. We are doing some very nice arrangements and that the central aspect when we venture into these realms we look for arrangements that are challenging for the choir.

What lead you to pick the works for this season?

The Broadway decision had been on our radar for a while, because we have a number of members of the chorus who love musical theatre, and the success of our Beatles and Friends presentation kind of sealed the deal, we did a very large ranging musical season last year, so this year we’re doing Broadway and next we’re we doing something new something that Chicago has never heard before. What determines our choral pieces is our collaboration with our orchestras like the Elmhurst Symphony, which I’m also the director of and it makes it easy and productive to collaborate with both groups.

In December, you’ll be performing Handel’s Messiah at the Passenger. This year will be the chorus’ 136th performance of this work, it’s somewhat become a staple in city tradition, on the website it says “We know this year’s Messiah will be the most memorable to date”, what can we anticipate to make it “the most memorable to date”?

Well I mentioned the solo quartet because they’re really distinguished artists, and over the years the chorus has begun to sing more of the piece by heart and it creates a sense of ownership for the chorus.  When the chorus does that, it makes a very deep connection with the audience during the least amen chorus, seeing them sing this mesmerizing work just makes this incredible impact on the audience.

Where do you see the group heading into future seasons? What can we expect to see for the 2016-2017 season?

Well those plans are very much under discussion right now. I can say with confidence we will have something old, something new, we will have a great choral master work there and probably something very new that Chicago hasn’t hear before, hopefully something American. Apollo has really broaden its activities and has been hired on many occasion to work with many different people. We’ll be singing Milner’s Second Symphony at Millennium Park at the end of this season. We never know completely what’s going to happen, but exciting things always seem to come along

This season will certainly be exciting, I for one am excited to attend the December 19th performance of Handel's Messiah, you can purchase tickets here, tickets start at just $18. You can also listen to a recording of the chorus' performance on WGN here. Be sure not to miss out on these wonderful performances by the oldest musical group in the great city of Chicago! 
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Friday, November 13, 2015

Missy Elliott releases long-awaited "WTF" music video in full
by Kelly Pyzik - 0

After teasing the video on Twitter for weeks on end, Missy Elliott has finally gifted the world with the full-length music video to her single, "WTF (Where They From)," which features Pharrell Williams.

The video is shot in New York and features a lot of cityscape and urban life, but the visuals are also very glamorous and feel somewhat futuristic with all the colliding wild patterns, shining rhinestones and a jumpsuit entirely decked out in mirrored tiles.

There is a hip hop core (in sound, dance and style) to all that Elliott does which she will never lose, but it's heartening to know that she's keeping everything fresh. "WTF" has a pounding beat and insistent flow like coupled snare and bongo drums which emulates the "jungle" sound that has become popular (i.e. Jack Ü) and the Latin syncopated percussion that is driving a lot of club styles right now.

Since 2006, Elliott has only released singles here and there, but has been involved in behind the scenes production and feature work on a number of projects, including albums from R&B singers like Faith Evans and Monica.

For a number of years, Timbaland has been alluding to "WTF"'s arrival as the first single off a new Elliott album. He told Rolling Stone in 2014, "It's on her. She got the first single, it's just a matter of when she wants to do it. We got the hollow-tip bullet in the gun. We have the game-changer right there."

Having heard the game-changing sound, we're eager for the full album to drop.

A screen capture from "WTF (Where They From)," Missy Elliott's new single.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

St. Lucia "Dancing On Glass" and North American Tour
by Julia Merryman - 0

Courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/stlucia/

Today happens to be a huge day for us St. Lucia fans and in general. After a week full of teasers revealing which characters each band member would play and their respective "addictions" they are being treated, their official music video for "Dancing On Glass" dropped at last. It shows the band at their goofiest and you can tell they had the time of their lives creating this. 

That's not all! Finally announced are both the dates for their North American Tour and the title of their upcoming album: Matter. 

Two whole years ago this month was the last time they graced us with an official video for their hit "Elevate." As the first single off the new album, "Dancing On Glass" is exactly what we needed to satisfy our St. Lucia withdrawals. Containing dance inducing beats and a chorus you find yourself belting after just one listen, prepare to obsess over this tune and counting down till the new album's January release date

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