Popdust Presents

Popdust Presents | CXLOE Breaks the Mold for Pop Superstardom

From 'The Land Down Under,' the pop newcomer offers up inspired, quirky songwriting.

CXLOE will show you her true worth.

September 19, 2018 | CXLOE is not necessarily anti-establishment, but her brand of pop is dipped in dyes of alternative music, playing with expectations of rhythms and vibes. And it's always soaring, as you'll witness with her new single "Show You," which bends around a quirky Sigrid-like vivacity and a Felicity kind of height-defying sensibility.

Of course, she certainly can compete with the likes of Sara Bareilles, Julia Michaels and Tove Lo, while also make her own kind of off-beat, left-of-center moves. "I saw in you / A light that read 'go', uh huh / So I followed you / But your body read 'no,' so stop," she acknowledges, before extending a full-stop proposal. "Am I being clear? / I could show you if you want / 'Cause I want what you got."

On the pre-chorus, climbing between the cracks of synths and building that unhinged tension. "Don't be polite, on your side / Not making moves / Say you can't tell my vibe but I'm holding on tight," she sputters, situating his lack of assertiveness against her more aggressive nature. "Come over tonight, what would you do? / Can't read my vibe, are you gonna make your move? / I can show you, if you like." Already, the song is closing in on nearly three million streams, her biggest viral hit to-date.

CXLOE Breaks the Mold for Pop Superstardom on Popdust Presents

During a recent promo stint, CXLOE stopped by the Popdust office to sit down with host Brent Butler. In the session, the pop upstart discussed writing anti-pop songs, bringing in "big crunchy bass" into her work, opening for Maroon 5 this coming February, navigating the music business and other topics. Watch the interview above.

Watch "Show You" | Live & Acoustic

"Show You" follows the admirable success of such pop gemstones as "Monster" and "Tough Love," which have collected a combined one million and change in Spotify streams. From the 'Land Down Under,' a native of Sydney, she braids personal insecurities, darkly-laced vulnerabilities on love, loss, and misfortunes and gleaming production. The song's accompanying visual, filmed in a basement in downtown Los Angeles, takes those uneasy feelings to the extreme.

The Studio Version

"The Jade Collective and I wanted to use lighting as the main vehicle to convey the sporadic and intense emotions behind the song. The color palette is very dark and ominous which reflects the dark and sensual thoughts behind the lyrics but also the chaotic changing colors give it a sort of playful vibe, as well," CXLOE says. "It also cuts to complete blackness a lot to symbolize the cat-and-mouse game of showing and hiding your feelings."

Watch "I Can't Have Nice Things" | Live & Acoustic

CXLOE's debut single "Tough Love" became a No. 1 hit on the Spotify Australia / New Zealand Viral Hits streaming chart, an achievement that has set an entire career in motion. The mood-stricken and satisfyingly haunted jam "was written from a place of angst and frustration. I've had this song boiling in me for a while. I have felt that my kindness gets mistaken for weakness, often leading to being underestimated and misjudged," she says in a press statement. "So in essence, when it gets tough, get tougher."

She transforms her agony into pop songs that go so against the grain, it hits you like a firestorm across the eyes. She later paired the original version of "Tough Love" with an equally electric acoustic version, of which she says, "The stripped version of this song uncovers the vulnerability behind the lyrics and transforming all angst into hurt. I wanted to reveal a different side to not only me but the meaning behind the lyrics. As an artist, that is the most exciting part – getting to show the many sides of our complicated hearts and brains."

CXLOE Popdust Presents

Follow CXLOE on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Jason Scott is a freelance music journalist with bylines in B-Sides & Badlands, Billboard, PopCrush, Ladygunn, Greatist, AXS, Uproxx, Paste and many others. Follow him on Twitter.



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COLUMNS

Ready To Pop | Taylor Grey & More Lose Touch with Sweeping New Tracks

Also, Thomas Abban & Roosevelt let the music guide them into rich soundscapes.

Heartbreak can make you do crazy things.

Ready to Pop gets lost between delicious waves of new essential pop tracks. From dizzying synths that shock the system to vocal power that's both commanding and vulnerable, the latest lineup is sure to quench your thirst. Below, check out our latest obsessions, rated on a (slay) scale of "Super Chill" to "Shook" to "Wig Snatched."


Taylor Grey - "Back to Bite"

Taylor Grey

If you haven't gotten the memo, Taylor Grey is positioned to take pop by storm. "Back to Bite" is a fierce, uncompromising club banger that drives an empowered social message between each gummy beat. "I wish I could key your car / Or just total it," she spins hard-candied gravel on the verse. "Guess I don't have the guts 'cause I was raised right / Unlike you who never learned how to treat a woman / With basic human rights..."

Grey plays both roles as the voyeuristic onlooker and karma itself, turning the song into not only a forlorn manifesto but an underdog anthem. She sings on the second stanza, letting her exact motives to be known, "I could write a letter / To all of your ex lovers / All the future ones too / Tell them your secrets / All the signs you're cheating / But I guess this song will do."

Slay Scale: Wig Snatched

Follow Taylor Grey on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Roosevelt - "Losing Touch"

Roosevelt

Synths bang off each other like star-like orbs scattering 'cross the darkness and against planetary cycles. Roosevelt's voice glues each one together into a dazzling cluster, his fingertips grazing each lyric before letting them fall away like dust particles into the ether. "Call me up / Did I fail to notice from the start / Hit me up / Can we talk it out when I'm home," he pleads, the production melting around his towering shoulder blades. "It's been too long / Since I've been around in this old town / All along / I thought I'd come to terms with my past..."

He at least confronts his own flaws, which come to a fevered pitch in the gooey chorus. "I'm losing touch / Come back wherever you are / Yeah I'm losing touch / Let's go back to the start / Guess I'm losing touch / Come back wherever you are...." Then, on the second verse, he reflects on becoming trapped inside his own head, further endearing the listener to his plight. "Pull me out / Save me from the voices in my head / Take me out / To the places we used to go / It's been too long / Since I've been around in this old town / Here's a song / To the dreams we lost on the way."

Slay Scale: Shook

Follow Roosevelt on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Thomas Abban - "Sinner"

Thomas Abban

Angelic but brutish, Thomas Abban's "Sinner," perhaps the most remarkable entry on his new album, A Sheik's Legacy, is drenched in a distinct alternative style. It's a little bit rock, a little bit classic singer-songwriter and a whole lotta avant-garde. Ancient rhythms and strings work against each other, often feeling orchestral and larger-than-life, but the next second, the song dips into the ruins of a lost soul grappling with reality, disastrous and a bit unnerved. "Though our time was short / Memories maintain a life of a sort," he sings, digging up every skeleton bone. "And reflect all our fears / And infect all our tears..."

He continues, scrawling religious parallels, "So, baby don't you come back home / And I'll stay on my throne / Instead of feeling like a sinner in the arms of an angel..."

Slay Scale: Wig Snatched

Follow Thomas Abban on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Jason Scott is a freelance music journalist with bylines in B-Sides & Badlands, Billboard, PopCrush, Ladygunn, Greatist, AXS, Uproxx, Paste and many others. Follow him on Twitter.


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Popdust Presents | Royal KhaoZ Blesses With Good Faith & Heart

The reggae band talks roots in church, the story behind their name & what's coming next.

The Jamaica-born group aims for the heavens.

September 12, 2018 | Royal KhaoZ know a thing or two about, well, soothing the sometimes overwhelming chaos in the world. Through a bluesy fusion of traditional reggae music, combed from their early beginnings in Jamaica, and a more traditionally-slicked approach, the band -- made up of lead vocalist Jermaine Williams, Andre Hawthorne (on keyboard and also serving as producer), Kavi Forgie (bass, guitars), and Niel Brown (drums, percussion) -- the band offers a sublime message of unity and freedom.

"No revolution will be had without chaos, no change without disruption. From the crumbled standards and forms, a royal way of thinking will rise," reads the band's official bio, a thoughtful manifesto for these trying times. With their most recent project, 2016's rigorously potent Release the Pressure EP, Williams' voice is as a bird with an olive branch, weaving up into the clouds and through the sunlight's tender rays. Make no mistake, they do their fair share of brazen honesty and pointed criticism of the world. But it's all within the scope of compassion and reaching out a hand to their fellow man.

Popdust Instagram

Earlier this month, the band stopped by the Popdust studio to hang with consummate host Deascent. The quartet discussed early roots in the church, the meaning behind their band name, how their latest EP came to be, and what's coming next in the pipeline. Watch the interview above.

Now all New York City staples on the local scene, hustling and bustling to their own tune, Royal KhaoZ officially founded themselves as a collective back in 2010. Over the course of eight years, they've grown tighter and stronger together had have released one other project, 2012's full-length debut record, aptly titled Life: The Journey. In addition to showing remarkable force on various stages around the booming metropolis on their own gigs, they've shared stages with the likes of such musical giants as Toots & The Maytals, Sister Nancy, The Wailers, Luciano, Third World, dancehall's Kranium, Yellowman, roots percussionist of Chronixx, and the Zincfence Redemption.

Watch "Children of Zion"

In creating such a lush and full sound, they've managed to cement their own kind of legacy, one built on recharging the craft with a bit of energy and heart. Essential cuts like "Roots" dazzle in coolness, allowing the composition to float on the breeze with loose weight, and "Jam Rock and Roll," which hits a bit harder, blending in frothy tones of ska music, a late '50s style of music, the precursor to traditional reggae and rocksteady. Regardless of the proliferation of styles, the outfit is a chameleon and slithers effortlessly within and between varied vocal phrasing, production elements, and playing.

Watch "Walk With Jah"

The band is currently hard at work on a new collection of songs. Stay tuned!

Royal KhaoZ/Facebook

Follow Royal KhaoZ on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Jason Scott is a freelance music journalist with bylines in B-Sides & Badlands, Billboard, PopCrush, Ladygunn, Greatist, AXS, Uproxx, Paste and many others. Follow him on Twitter.


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