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Showing posts from August, 2015

Jess Glynne's 'I Cry When I Laugh': One of the Best Pop Albums of 2015

2015 should go down in music history as The Year of Jess Glynne. After making a name for herself by vocally appearing on Clean Bandit's Grammy-winning "Rather Be" and "Real Love" and Route 94's "My Love," three of the best tracks to come out of 2014, she's finally releasing her debut album, the magnificent I Cry When I Laugh . (Now avail in the UK, but my fellow Americans, you'll have to wait until September 11.) Early 2015 gave us the airy and shiny house groove of "Hold My Hand" while this past summer delivered the uplifting "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself" and the Tinie Tempah collaboration "Not Letting Go." All three of these tracks appear on the album, and all three sound as if they were born out of a 1995 jam session. (To clarify, that's a very good thing.) Of course, all of this praise could be attributed to 90s nostalgia, which is all the rage as we move further into the 2010s. B

DO NOT DISTURB: The Bedroom Playlist

It's baby-making time. Well, not quite. But I have curated a soundtrack designed to get some of you a little hot and bothered. Calling this The Horny Sessions would just be plain crass, no? @TheFirstEcho

Summer of '15: REMIXXED

Before we bid adieu to the Summer of 2015, let's celebrate some of the songs that made this season what it was...with some badass remixes. @TheFirstEcho

Today in "You're Old"

I Survived a Grape Jelly Bomb on National Television

Yes, that's me praising the game show gods for helping me answer a sports trivia question correctly (almost) on the August 13 episode of  BOOM! on Fox. Accompanying me on this road to 15 Minutes of Fame ( well, actually, we had 20 minutes of camera time ) were my good friends Tim and Matt. And those uniforms we're wearing? We're proudly representing our kickball team, the Scream Queens -- not to be confused with Ryan Murphy's upcoming horror-comedy of the same name (coincidentally on the same network) starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts and premiering on September 22 . (I swear this isn't a publicity ploy. The team was formed over a year ago!) Tim and Matt cheering me on, silently thinking, "Don't fuck this up, Hiko." I mistakenly selected Tim Tebow after eliminating Bruce, Lance, and Peyton, and the consequences for yourself: @TheFirstEcho

An Open Letter to John Burk (and Other Body Shamers)

Army veteran John Burk, a self-proclaimed “fitness motivator” from Georgia, racked up millions of views on a July 2015 video rant in which he called overweight people “repulsive” and “disgusting.” Needless to say, he made headlines and sparked a heated online debate on whether or not he was justified in what he said. (Chicago Tribune fitness columnist James Fell bestowed Burk the title “Fitness Douchebag of the Week” on his blogsite ) Here’s my response... Dear Mr. Burk, Hiko Mitsuzuka here, American soldier in the Battle of the Bulge since…let’s say, sometime in the late 1980s. I just wanted to take a few minutes of your time. Your video was quite the watch. From the looks of it, I assume you just finished a great workout that really got your endorphins flowing. (Congrats on all of your accomplishments, especially those veins in your arms and chest.) Your animated speech must have been the result of an intense pump. I get it. Despite my current body mass

Shameless Plug: Movie Review Alert

Just a reminder: I'm still writing movie reviews for the folks at ScreenPicks. Most recently, I shared my thoughts on The Diary of a Teenage Girl (above) as well as... ... Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and... Ant-Man . Enjoy. @TheFirstEcho

POWER: The 2015 Summer Playlist, Vol. 5

Okay, so I lied. Volume 4 wasn't my last. Turns out there's even MORE music to share and enjoy before this season comes to inevitable conclusion. Another Disclosure collaboration with Sam Smith? Who knew? A nu-disco jam from Redfoo? It's true! A One Direction song that sounds like The Police? Say it isn't so! Sadly, Spotify (nor iTunes) doesn't have some of the songs I'd like to include here, so you'll have to sample them separately -- further below. "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" by Foxes: "Why Me" by Jess Glynne" @TheFirstEcho

Passport Alert: I'm Going to Japan and Singapore

I am now less than 2 months away (7 weeks, to be exact - not that I'm counting ) from my next international adventure. I haven't visited Japan since 2004, back when Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Girls were all the rage, but it had been for a funeral... so that wasn't the best trip . Now that I'm older, wiser, and more open to new experiences, I know I'll appreciate the hell out of this visit to the land where half of my roots originated. Then, it's on to Singapore to visit some friends and stay at the gorgeous Scarlet Singapore for 4 nights. (I hear the airport there is exquisite.) Lots of flying, lots of exotic cuisine, lots of opportunities to catch up on my reading, and lots of chances to find some new music along the way. Like... Or maybe not. Either way, my Instagram feed is going to blow up this fall. @TheFirstEcho

Song of the Month: August 2015

What better way to prepare for the end of summer than with a song called "Over"? My favorite tune of the moment is from GOLDHOUSE (a.k.a. Grant Harris), a DJ-composer-producer-vocalist from Chicago who has crafted what has to be the most energetic break-up song ever. This one-man machine has delivered a late-summer jam that mixes hypnotic vocals with a traditional, four-on-the-floor beat and some great kiss-off lyrics: "I wanna press rewind, go back in time. I wanna break your heart,  so you can't break mine. I wanna be the one  to say it's over, baby. I wanna make it hurt,  every single word. I wanna strike that match  just to watch it burn. I wanna see your face  when I say it's over, baby." Press play. Then repeat: @TheFirstEcho