Monday, January 31, 2011

Rated XXX

"If you can't fuck to it, it ain't music," says Eric Chavez, otherwise known to his dozens of fans as XXX. "I thought of that name, XXX, I made it up! Obviously, I want to shock my fans and right-wing America. You know my upcoming album "XXX" has already been BANNED in China and France! I mean they just can't handle me, cha know?"

Chavez, or XXX, 21, was born in 1989. "I'm very young, and quite innocent to tell the truth, but that doesn't mean I can't CHALLANGE what the world has to think about SEX." And he has. His first singles have blown up on the charts in New Zealand and Hawaii. Now about to make his first show, "SEXXX in the City," which will give the public a fly-on-the-wall-view of XXX and his life. "This show will be full of DRAMA. Mark my words people, my life is CRAZY. Everyday is a new day and I just can't help but get myself into drama."

When asked to describe his sound, XXX sits back and thinks for a minute, playing his fingertips on his forehead. "Look, my music is new, it's fresh. It's very edgy and different and very, very sexy. It's dark, but at the same time very good, I mean many people call it deep, and I know that's true. I am very deep."

His sound is said by Time Magazine and Vogue to soon change the world of music, but even XXX has his icons he looks up to. "I have so many influences, I mean obviously Madonna is a big one, since she invented sex, and Sade, because I love sexual sounds, and Prince, because he opened the door for a man to be sexual. Him and Marvin Gaye.And Daddy Yankee, because his music drips with sex. I think you can see how good my influences are in my music, because it's well, amazing."

On the other hand, XXX isn't shy about who hasn't influenced him. "Katy Perry to me is the musical equivalent of going soft, it's just shit music. Her and Akon, and don't forget Usher, Kanye West, Taylor Swift. You can't fuck to their music. I mean shit. My music will change sex, their music will decline it."

Aside from artists, XXX says he gets his artistic needs fullfilled in other ways. "I get a lot of my influences from my ass. It's just so firm and round. I'm very nalgon and everyone knows it, everyone. Sometimes I like to play with my ass and then write songs with the very hand that was in my hole. I've written some of my best songs like that! "SEXXX" and "Wet Dream" were written AS I was playing with my ass. The very same moment!"

Now, his ass and himself, a sex symbol, XXX is seeing the pressures of being a star. "As soon as I started putting my songs out on the radio, all the Latino hunks came out wanting to be with me. I mean Daddy Yankee, Oscar De La Hoya, Jaime Camil, Jerry Rivera, and tons more. It was sad seeing Enrique Iglesias cry over me, but I told him to dump that tennis player for me. But the money, you know?"

Chavez, a Mexican-American, speaks on his heritage with pride. "I'm very proud of being Latino, of being Mexican. All the Mexicans love me. I will do a Spanish version of my debut album. Only I think I will call it "Nalgas" to push the sexual boundries."

XXX will push those boundaries on his album, tackling such taboo subjects as s&m."No one has ever written about s&m before, and I wanted to bring this underground sexuality to the mainstream, I wanted to shock everyone and make people see how avant garde that I am. Rolling Stone called it an 'emotional tapestry'."

Already donating his time to teaching the world about sex and lust, XXX has made his Hollywood friends through various charities. "My best friends in the business are now Victoria Beckham, Madonna, and Oscar De La Hoya. I just went to lunch with La Toya Jackson and Janet Jackson the other day. Both were so nice and Janet kept telling me how she knew all along that La Toya was the one with the talent."

It hasn't all been fun and fetishes for XXX since he got signed, record execs have given him some issues. "I wanted to show my ass on the cover. In a leather g-string or jock strap of course! With my body against the wall, one arm up. It was so sexual that the HOMOPHOBES at Warner Bros. could not handle it! That sexual photo will be on the back cover now, but the front is just as erotic: it's my face in an s&m mask. I just want the world to know that sex exists, and that gay Mexican males are just as sexual as the rest of the world!"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Roseanne Brings Roseannearchy to Atlanta: Talks Politics, Music, and More

The 'Domestic Goddess" is back and at it again! Hot off the heels of the release of her new book "Roseannearchy: Dispatches From the Nut Farm," Roseanne is making her rounds on a nationwide book tour. Since one of her biggest fan bases is located in Atlanta, the former sitcom star made her way to Atlana's own OutWrite Bookstore and Coffe House on January 19th for a reading and a signing of her new publication.

Is the book any good? If the response from the audience as Roseanne read aloud from her her new book, the answer is an astounding: HELL YES. The New York Times Best-Selling author explores various topics from hypocrasy to marriage in the only way she knows: a sharp wit and humor.

Always a woman who has always pushed for charge, Roseanne explained at the book signing "i'm for the legalization of hemp, so that we can have some cheap fuel, housing, food, clothing for pennies." and that "as soon as they took hemp out of women's hands, this world went to shit," says Roseanne.

With nine seasons of Roseanne, it would be quite a feat for the actress to pick her favorite show of the bunch, "there's not just one..I have to think about that," Barr responded. Music was always a part of Roseanne's sitcom, and when it comes to the authors personal favorite, she replies "oldies, rhythm & blues, soul, I like rap, too." On whether her and her former co-stars will ever get back together for a television special, Roseanne reponds "yes. I do think there will be a Roseanne reunion."

In her show, Roseanne was always tackling taboo topics such as gay rights and discrimination, and Barr explains why she chose that route. "I did and I'm very proud that I did it, and I always say I did it because I have a gay brother and a lesbian sister who i always saw what happend to them growing up in Salt Lake City. Very right-wing. My brother had his nose broken nine times by the time he was nine years old. Of course they always have their other reasons, but we knew what it was. I just always knew it was so wrong, it really pissed me off, says Roseanne."

Never one to shy away from touchy topics, Roseanne also spoke about how to avoid the negative aspects of menopause. "Nobody knows! It's very hard. I think meditation helped me most to stay calm. Don't pick up that ax and kill that family, even if you really want to! Just know that your body is turning on you, and you're gonna be dead soon," Barr reponds.

One of the most controversial moments of all time wasn't when Roseanne was on-set, but off. The actress caught major flack when she sang "The Star-Stangled Banner" off-key before a baseball game in 1991. Even President George H. W. Bush called the perfomance "disgraceful". Showing her ability to laugh at herself, when asked if she would ever sing the national anthem again, Barr reponded, "I would, if I had, what, tone-harp? And start in the right key for a change"

The Five Best Artists Atlanta ISN'T Playing

For such a city to be so diverse, with cultures from around the world populating Atlanta, the music being played on mainstream radio and popular night clubs is rather bland. Fortunately, there are a handful of artists out there, who, while may not be mainstream, will put some spice into your iPod.

5. Collective Efforts

The freshest group in the hip-hop/rap genre. Relying more on smooth, chill beats and politically-conscious lyrics much more than rims and hoes for their music, this Atlanta-based crew have taken rap to a higher level. While this band does have a strong cult following, their musical efforts, currently, haven't cracked any top 40 charts, yet.

Download: Tunnel Vision

4. Incognito

The U.K.-based band has given a new face to r&b by breathing soul into the genre and allowing it to take shape with funk and acid jazz. Putting talent first, not image, the band have yet to find their audience here in the States. While their hit-single "N.O.T." did get moderate play on Atlanta's smooth jazz radio station, as most know by now, that station is now de-funked.

Download: N.O.T.

3. Amr Diab

As big as Madonna in the MIddle East, Amr Diab adds some pop flavor to the irrisistable sound of the desert. With a career spanning over 25 years, Diab has had his collection of hits. He's maintained his successful career by adding some serious heat to the Middle Eastern sound. Diab can go anywhere from sexy to serious within a span of a single song, but it is his voice, which is as hot as the Sahara, that makes him a legend.

Download: Allem Alby

2. Samantha James

Her music drops slowly into your soul. With ripples of rhythm flowing towards the listener song by song, word by word, Samantha James has found her sound by mixing waves of lounge with sprinkles of electronica, making one of the most surreal, yet mesmerizing albums of the past ten years. Solely by listening to the artists latest LP, Subconscious, one cannot help but let the luscious lyrics, vivacious vocalsand mellow melodies dive deep into your subconscious. While other new female artists (cough, Katy Perry) rely too much on nursery rhyme-like lyrics and bland melodies, James dives deep into her soul.

Download: Rise

1.Los Amigos Invisibles

The kings of clubs all over the world, this band is by far the best underground group, well, ever. With a recipe of latin rhythms, disco funk, and smooth jazz, Los Amigos Invisibles have created some of the freshest, and funkiest music out there. The current state of Latin music, with its autotuned, vulgar-but-by-no-means-sexy lyrics by the likes of Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull crossing over onto the pop charts, is in dire need of a new direction and the boys of Los Amigos Invisibles are out to lead the way and make it funky!

Download: Una Disco Llena

Kween of the Night


Like the cover itself, everything about nerkween’s music, from the structure to the lyrics, is somewhat of a black swan. Never conforming to, well, any sort of convention, Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Monica Arrington, also known as nerdkween, is back on the scene with her sophomore album. With a semi-strong local cult following from the success of her debut, Synergy, nerdkween has made quite a name for herself in Atlanta as both an artist and a live act. But the question remains, can the artist avoid the sophomore slump?

An album defined by the sound of dissonance, this LP isn’t for everybody, but there are some fun spots. “Bird Twitters” gets the prize sweetest melody of the bunch, and with its minimalistic sound and the different-but-still-fun strum of the banjo along with her distorted vocals, makes for the singer’s most interesting moment. On the other hand, with no progression in the song, even though it clocks in at 3:29, the sound loses its initial punch after a while.

Hitting a dark point on the album, the track “Drown,” with lyrics like “I can’t bear these days,/You and I aren’t safe, to chase the haze away/Let’s just be who we are, even if we fall,” could either be about a spiritual rebirth or suicide. Even “Such Grace,” a lyrical love song, combined with the lo-fi, minimalist sound, is just as disheartening and weary as “Drown.”

To be frank, with only seven songs on the record, it was an odd choice for the singer to include short, instrumental tracks on the LP. Perhaps there is an attempt to include these tracks as a segue-way between songs and as a cool-down ending, but similar to other interludes on other albums, these by no means hold the interest of the listener. What is really disappointing about the final track. “…a year of the Dragon” lies within the fact that is if the album’s most innovative, fascinating production. One can only imagine where nerkween could have gone with the song lyrically.

As limited as nerdkween’s vocal range is, when it comes to the album itself, vocals take a back seat to the art. Even with its slice of pretension, the album does come off as real and valid by exploring different aspects of life in stark-naked confessional manner. It’s that alone that makes this artist worthy of more profit, than loss.

A Greener Motive

Ulterior Motives

With its distinct, haunting qualities, Ulterior Motives, the new EP by citizenGreen could be one of the best Atlanta-based produced records of the year. Not the typical southern sound of rap or indie rock, citizenGreen ventures off into a space of minimalist electronica. And even though the album isn’t quite lounge, there is an “after dark” club feeling to the entire record; something to listen to after a night of dancing.

The EP starts off majestically with “Follow Me,” a dark, dramatic production which combines the electronic sounds of the ’80s, the ’90s and the ’00s to make what proves to be one of the most memorable, if not infectious, moments on the record.

If any of these tracks could be called radio-friendly, that title would go to “Motive6732.” While not a conventional Top 40 track, this is the only track on the album with a clear lyrical structure throughout the song and the electronic flute that touches the track throughout makes it for a captivating downtempo-electronica moment on the EP.

The album peaks with “Greenhouse Effect,” with its mix of drungy percussion and euphoric trance-like production. “No Tomarrow” is another highlight on the EP, with its infectious minimalist production. “Foiled the Ruse” sticks out as the only track on the EP to be more influenced by hip-hop than electronica, bearing little resemblance to anything else on the record.

“A Clever Ruse” ventures off into the darker scene, while “Float3r” floats onto a smoother wave of music, perhaps being the closest track resembling current day lounge/electronica artists such as Samantha James and Late Night Allumai.

Only 100 physical copies were printed (though there are unlimited digital copies available), but like the website of the EP’s record company says, it’s homemade, so you know it’s fresh. Even though the record is definitely not your stypical sing-a-long-to-the-hits EP, there is something intriguing about the album, especially at a time when electronca is in full swing with many underground artists (such as Samantha James) beginning to reach fame in their own right.

Atlanta-based producer Chris Amell, AKA citizenGreen, may not reached stellar sales with this EP, but perhaps that isn’t his goal. If his goal were to make an impressive EP with interesting electronic arrangements and an ecclectic mix of smooth, dark, edgy and euphoric tracks that all somehow transition from one to another smoothly, then mission accomplished