Posts tagged Kenna
#skoaradio 10/24/2015 liner notes
artist rendition of my convo with Alex from Kingswood after I shut the mic off

artist rendition of my convo with Alex from Kingswood after I shut the mic off

Hey fam!

Things refuse to slow down in SKOA HQ, but I'm not complaining! I wrapped up CMJ with a day in Aussie Heaven where we interviewed KINGSWOOD prior to watching them totally kill it. I can't believe how much fun I had. Kinda wish it had never ended tbh. Oh well. Time to prep for Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, which is coming up super fast. I've got a couple of new tracks on this week's show. As always would love to hear your thoughts so @ me bb if you liked what you heard!

See you next week!




[Listen] Kenna - "Sleep When We Die"

The musical journey that Kenna has taken fans on in the past 12 years has been a long and winding road. There have been sharp turns, dips, and even a bit of off roading along the way. For those of us who have managed to stick it out and not rage quit when things like leaks, switching labels, or hard drive failures have deterred the success he rightfully deserves, it appears that the tides are turning and our favorite underdog may finally find his place in the sun. 

After releasing a series of videos that detail the story behind his EP series, Land 2 Air Chronicles, Kenna unveiled a brand new track, "Sleep When We Die"  from his long anticipated third full-length, Songs For Flight, which premiered on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 show last week. In a message to fans on Facebook regarding SWWD, "This song was meant for you to rally, be happy. And take on the adventure ahead."

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to rally on to the next phase of this adventure. 

Word on the street is that he has more in the works in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout for updates. 

#SKOARADIO 07/18/2015
me going through all the new music this week

me going through all the new music this week

Oof. Really stoked for this show and because I submitted it late it was a little borked airing. You didn't even get to hear the last two segments. :( All good though! There's always next week (not to mention the podcast that will be attached to this show shortly). But yeah, trying to get back to digging out those little diamonds in the rough that I enjoy supporting. Plus HELLO NEW KENNA!! *praise hands emoji* A lot to be excited about. Expect more posts in between this show and the next with more info on the bands we're featuring.

As always feel free to let me know what you thought of this week's show either by dropping a comment here or hitting me up on Twitter.

Until next week!





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[Interview] Hidden In Plain Sight: (Re)Introducing Kenna

It wasn't until I was preparing for my interview with Kenna that I finally sat down and did the math: I have been a fan of his music for over a decade now. This summer it will be 11 years since the day I first encountered "Freetime", from his 2003 debut, New Sacred Cow. I remember the day well. I was sitting in my parents house watching MTV2 with a notepad on the coffee table. This was my ritual when my friends were out of suggestions for new bands to listen to. Every few months, I would sit for about an hour and take note of any bands that were worth possibly buying CDs for and then go out and buy them, but only after quizzing myself a few days later when I would look back at the notepad and try to remember anything about the artist. "Freetime" easily passed my silly test. Soon after picking up New Sacred Cow, I set myself on a course that, unbeknownst to me at the time, would lead me to writing the words you are reading today. After moving to NYC in 2006, I would spend random lonely Friday evenings on my laptop, checking up on any bands in my 3rd gen iPod that hadn't released new albums in awhile. This is how I ended up on the Kenna message boards, which is where I met Rocko shortly thereafter, and around 3 years later, SKOA was born.

As a fan, it has been borderline infuriating to see such a talented individual as Kenna not get the recognition he deserves. Also during my MTV2 years there was another song that I remember taking note of, "When I Get You Alone" by the artist  eventually to be known as Robin Thicke. Back then, he had long straggly hair and went only by his last name, but he's been at this game just as long as Kenna, if not longer. Although Kenna has gained a lot of recognition in many musical circles, even receiving a Grammy nomination in 2009, it's hard to not go bonkers that both haven't seen the same level of mainstream success to date. Granted, I thank the universe daily that there is nothing comparable to the notorious twerking incident at last years VMAs synonymous to Kenna's reputation. Even still, I don't know how much longer I can handle introducing people to someone who has simply been hidden in plain sight for a decade now. Take for example that video for "Freetime" that I saw long ago. Typically, debut albums mean a lot of exposure for the artist, their faces are supposed to be plastered everywhere humanly possible. In the case of Kenna, the first and only time you see his face in this video is practically at the end of the song.

Fast forward to mid-November 2013, a month before my interview with Kenna, when I see this familiar-looking face while I'm waiting for the L-train.

Imagine my surprise that the man who can't seem to effectively get in front of a large audience to save his life is suddenly staring back at me like this. A month later, I anxiously got on the phone seeking answers. I had to know, how could someone who seemingly didn't want anyone to know who he was all of a sudden have such a dramatic change of heart? Why had he been hiding all of this time? After a nice chuckle at my reference to waiting for the subway with him that day, the artist I thought I had all figured out very calmly explained, "I wasn't hiding as much as I was mitigating. I wasn't keeping myself from everyone as much as I was waiting to be introduced." He noted that I didn't quite understand what he meant at first, but he went on to explain, "If everyone had song that represented them, mine would be 'Where The Streets Have No Name' [by U2], because it has an incredibly long intro. I'm just getting to the first verse of my life." He added, "As many things as I've done in my life, I've been present, I've been aware, I've been available, but I've also been selective. I think it gives me an opportunity when a lot of my peers have really run their course, reached their pinnacles, and have done really well. They now are left really trying to, like, reinvent constantly. I'm able to come with a fresh perspective, make something that I believe is important, and actually present it because of all the music and artists that have come since that have started to, "pave the highway," if you will, for what I'm going to create next."

"If everyone had song that represented them, mine would be 'Where The Streets Have No Name' [by U2], because it has an incredibly long intro. I'm just getting to the first verse of my life."

That's the thing about Kenna that people take for granted. He'd rather patiently wait for people to come around to the music he's been creating for nearly two decades now before he'd consider compromising what he stands for. Even after losing literally every idea or completed song including his Land 2 Air Chronicles EP series slated for release throughout 2012 to a hard drive crash, he took it in stride.

 According to Kenna, “The fact that I was willing to make a shift and be open to the message that the universe was clearly sending my way” actually led me to make better music in the long run”.  He added,

"I also felt like it was also a signal to me that I needed to work harder, that the universe or god wasn't going to let me put out something that wasn't to par and that maybe at that point that I had resigned a little bit. Even as the [releasing the L2AC series based on Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay, "Self- Reliance"] idea was the reason why I was making this EP series, to bring this dream into a reality, I think I resigned to a little bit to the fact that there might be a chance that I wouldn't reach my destination. When that happened I just kind of decided, 'Even I won't have control over this destiny, there's something greater that me happening here, and there's something more important than me in this process. It's all the things I've been doing, whether it be philanthropic, clean water, technology, and music. All the areas that I work in, they all are comprised of so many individuals and so many powerful beings that allow me to be great at what I do. I think in that moment I had to realize that I can't do this alone, that I can't climb this mountain by myself again, and that I have to really pull together my allies. That's when, 'Nothing Is Greater Or Less Than Us,' really started to take hold in my world. I just kind of wanted to reiterate that in my actual life as an example."

I had assumed that he re-recorded the songs that he already had planned to release, but in addition to the previously mentioned hard drive crash, he writes his music asymmetrically. As he put it,

"Sometimes I'll be writing a song purely from a melody standpoint and not have any instrumentation and I'll have to build around it. Where I'm not as familiar with is how the organization of how the music was to that melody and then I have to re-devise it because it's not actually complete, like programmed in any way. That's what makes my music so special. It really is one of a kind and it's not something that you can really replicate without having the actual files and so that was the most difficult [about the hard drive crashing]…Those [old/unfinished] songs were great but I had to put away some of those ideas because I didn't remember them, you know?"

Since Kenna was presented with a clean slate for the EP series, he took the opportunity to amplify some of the components of his music. One of the key elements that he decided he wanted to change was his voice. "My voice coach became a critical and pivotal person in my life because I decided then to work really heavily on my voice and build my voice and make it so it was a lot stronger than it was on the first two records."  He admitted to having a "weak" voice. "When I say weak, I don't mean that I can't sing," he said, "I'm just not like Jennifer Hudson, you know what I mean? I don't have a natural voice that just comes to you." He recounted how in his youth that he was practically tone deaf. "I had to work to have a [good singing] voice…" he explained, "I almost couldn't hear things. I just forced it. I just taught myself how to hear keys and notes and I spent a lot of time training my voice." The incident with the hard drives shifted a lot of the way he approached things. "I thought, 'There's no reason why I can't have an epic voice," he said, "there's no reason why I can't have an epic album. There's no reason why I can't have an epic moment. There's no reason why I can't do it for something greater than myself."

This mindset would converge into what we now know as the first two volumes of the Land 2 Air Chronicle series. In their pre-hard drive failure inception, the series was broken into 3 “Volumes”/EPs based on Ralph Waldo Emerson's, "Self-Reliance" essay. Now in their new form, he’s taking advantage of the clean slate in order to more effectively introduce himself to newcomers as he preps for what is sure to be a big year for Kenna.

His latest in the L2AC series, Volume 2: Imitation is Suicide spans 3 Chapters in the form of EPS, which showcase his refined voice and his longstanding ability to write songs about, as he put it,  

“us…. journeys, the human condition, love, confusion, the search for self, [and] social conditions. I write songs about ‘us’ and how we are in all of those situations and how we perceive ourselves, how we perceive others, how perceive family, and whether or not it really is the journey vs. the destination. Sometimes for me it’s the destination and I forget the journey. Sometimes it’s all the journey and I could care less where I’m going. I write songs hoping that it represents, and this sounds really grandiose, the totality of mankind because I’m everybody and everybody’s least I hope.”  

To get better acquainted to Kenna, you can befriend him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Feel free to have a listen to Land 2 Air Chronicles Vol. 2: Imitation Is Suicide (Chapters 1-3) below. If you enjoy it, consider picking them up on iTunes.

[2013 Year In Review] Shey & Kibbe's Picks From 2013

It's always hard at this time of year to put together an end of year list. Last year we opted just to not do a list at all. This year we thought we'd do share our personal favourites and stand outs from 2013. None are in any particular order and by no means are we snubbing any who aren't listed. These selections simply represent the records we've constantly had on since their release. Albums that we've truly championed. We considered ranking a vat of albums that would include ones we didn't care about, but it doesn't feel very "us" to do that anymore. Each come with a little tid-bit about why we've put them in our top 5. We also have a few honourable mentions, because narrowing down the albums we've listened to most over the year was tough. So without further ado, make the jump and check out our picks for 2013. Or don't, I think between the rising popularity of Buzzfeed and the time of year you all may be suffering from list fatigue.

Shey's Pick: Biffy Clyro - Opposites

Biffy Clyro made 2013 their biggest year to date. The release of their double LP, Opposites, launched them into the stratosphere of rock royalty. Headline sets at numerous festivals. An army of fans, new and old flocked to their first ever arena tour, and night after night they delivered some of the best shows you could hope for as a music lover. Not many albums can hold your attention for the 9-12 tracks they offer up. Biffy created a double album of none-stop bangers (before Miley, too) that has a broad range of emotionally poignant track with building bridges all the way to riff heavy tracks with a hat tip to their roots. 20 tracks of their best work to date. The albums title track "Opposite" tells a tale of a broken man. "Baby I'm leaving here, You need to be with somebody else." The lead single that came mid-2012 "Stingin' Belle" sounds just as huge now with the bagpipes as it did 16 months ago. The recording process nearly tore the band apart but the album shows their solidarity as a band with it ending in a perfect arena sing-along of "Picture A Knife Fight" rattling around as it fades out with the lyrics, "We've got to stick together, we've got to stick together!" ending the 20 track jaunt perfectly. They've come a long way since 2000. I can't really say enough positive things about this album and it pleases me that a band who've slaved for over a decade on the live circuit are now up their with the rock royalty. Dave Grohl's been a fan for years and I think a lot of people realised why he was so fond of them in 2013. Let's see if they can top in years to come. They've already been announced as the headliner of The Isle of Wight festival in 2014. The future of Biffy Clyro is looking brighter than ever and I can't wait to see what it brings. This album is my top album for 2013. Well done boys. 

Kibbe's Pick: Washed Out - Paracosm

 Prior to the August afternoon when my ears had their first taste of Paracosm, I was really only familiar with Washed Out's popular single, "Feel It All Around" from their 2010 EP, Life of Leisure, but that was because Portlandia uses the song as the show's intro/theme song. I was hesistant to try it out because there is really only so much chillwave one can take in a lifetime before you end up accidentally putting yourself in a coma, but thankfully my curiosity got the best of me. I knew within seconds of the opening track, "Entrance", that this was going to be a different kind of experience than I had initially imagined. I think what I appreciate about this album the most is how seems to elevate every mood imagineable. Insanely stressed out at work? Songs like "It Feels All Right" and " Paracosm" will slowly wash away all the worry in your brain. Having an awesome day? "Don't Give Up", "All I Know", and "Falling Back" will make you feel like your insides are glowing and the smile on your face will be warm and bright. I could go on with other examples, but you get the picture. While I wouldn't consider this to be a terribly complex record, I think this is one of those "less is more" type situations. That said, the amount of programming and live instrumentation was crafted with a steady hand because they consitently work in tandem - one never overpowers the other.   My only complaint is that the album was released at the end of the summer and not the beginning of it. I can't wait for warm summer days in the city with "All I Know" pumping through the speakers in our apartment with the windows open and the sun shinning on my face.

Shey's Pick: Queens of the Stone Age - …Like Clockwork

As with Arctic Monkeys return, Queens of the Stone Age's had me getting my knickers in a twist for all kinds of reasons. Firstly, the guest spots that were to be taking place on the record; Alex Turner, Trent Reznor, Sir Elton John, Joey Castillo, Nick Oliveri, Mark Lanegan, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, and James Lavelle of UNKLE. Them debuting "My God Is The Sun" live at Lollapalooza Brazil way back in March got everyone excited and before long their ominous and dark sounding album …Like Clockwork would come packaged and it was a show of song writing at its finest and musicianship from the gods. The opening seconds of "Keep Your Eyes Peeled" sets the tone for the album with a shattering of glass and then the gut rumbling bass drones let you know what is in store. The aforementioned huge names that feature on the album, do just that, they feature in the background and if you were to have never been told they were there you'd be none the wiser for the production and prowess of the artists involves keeps the limelight firmly pressed on QOTSA in the present form. It doesn't use the artists involved to steal away the focus from the story arc inside. …Like Clockwork delivers an older, wiser, and more rounded out album from a band that have delivered some of modern rocks go to staples for quality. They can add this to that list now too. Sheer brilliance.

Kibbe's Pick: Studio Killers - Studio Killers
You guys, being a fan of Studio Killers is so much fun. This is not the kind of band that you ever gloat about discovering first, they're the kind of band that you rush to get others around you to join in on the party the second you come across them. This virtual band's debut self-titled album is an energetic dose of sugary electro-bubblegum pop. Although the group has been stringing their audience along since 2010 with their debut single, "Ode To The Bouncer", I would say the finished product was well worth the wait. The bands bright dancy tunes are a fun ride from start to finish, leaving you wanting  more. While I appreciate the peppy synths, the uniqueness of the vocals and the vocal performance is really what keeps me coming back to this record. I can't get enough of it. I think the key to both the band and the albums successful execution is the anonymity of the musicians involved. Although there has been much speculation about the identity of the members of the three-piece from both critics and fans, none of the identities have been revealed, allowing the band to truly have a life of its own without the characters being tied to their true identities, which in turn creates a new kind of experience for fans. As the internet continues to embrace virtual bands like Studio Killers and the others that came before them I'm anxious to see what they have planned for the future. If they can keep their current momentum, I see them really going places.

Shey's Pick: Arctic Monkeys  - AM

When Arctic Monkeys first started playing a few new tracks back in June, it was hard for me not to get excited. They've been on elf my favourite bands since I first saw them play in Sheffield on a school night back in 2005. Fast forward to 2013 and they're one of the biggest bands on the planet, filling arenas on a nightly basis. It's always a scary moment when one of your favourite bands release a new album. What if it sucks?! Well, Arctic's ÂM definitely delivers a sexy, hear on its sleeve ride from the opening thumps of " Do I Wanna Know?" to the closing line of "I Wanna Be Yours" that rattles into the distance, much like a statement of intent front he album as a whole. It can definitely be mine if it wants to 'cause AM has shown yet another growth from the band that used to sing about getting pissed on nights out in Shef, to a band weaving together an album, which to me, seems to be a tale of Alex falling in and out of love with a wonderful Lady from start to finish. I'm excited to see what more the newly styled band have up their sleeve for the future, for now, AMwill be getting heavy play for the foreseeable future. Long live to Monkeys. 

Kibbe's Pick: Kenna - Land 2 Air Chronicles Vol 2: Imitation Is Suicide: Chapter 2
I was going to group all three EPs together as one write up because when the Land 2 Air Chronicles were first announced Volume 2 wasn't supposed to be a three part series, but for some reason that felt like cheating to me. Either way, of the three, this by far was the one that I kept coming back to again and again. Even though the opening track, "Long Gone" had been released before Kenna's hard drive crashed, causing him to rethink and rework the L2AC series, additions "Heaviness" and "Love Is Still Alive" both sound as though the trio of songs were initially cut from the same cloth. The reason why I always come back to Kenna's music is his ability to deliver such tenderness in his voice, which comes through loud and clear in his delivery on "Heaviness", all the way down to the way choice moments where he audibly exhales during part of the heaviness of the subject matter. He closes out the EP with, "Love Is Still Alive", which rounds out the EP and leaves it on a higher note, reminding you that it's better that it's "better to love than to never". I'll admit, I wasn't the world's biggest fan of Volume 1: Chaos and the Darkness, but it's apparent throughout all three chapters of Volume 2 that Kenna has found his footing again. I can't wait to hear what he does next.

Shey's Pick: Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip - Repent Repenish Repeat

I seem to have a thing for pairings in recent years and the return of Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip kept that trend alive in 2013. Following up from their last release together, The Logic of Chance, the extremely talented story telling skills of Pip, and the genial beat making skills of Dan come together like a perfect sunrise. Filling the sky with a brightness and emotions you didn't know possible. From the huge sounding "Stunner" and Flux Pavilion featuring "Gold Teeth", to the slower, ever growing and huge climactic Christmas single, "You Will See Me". These two manage to offer up a throughout provoking album that one minute will have you jumping and dancing around the streets to the next minute wanting to go and hug a loved one for the emotional buttons Scroob pushes in his story telling skills. I will always look forward to releases from these two and Repent Replenish Repeat is one of this years standouts for me.  

Kibbe's Pick: Anamanaguchi - Endless Fantasy
The easiest way to explain how this stands as one of my favorites of the year is that I'm not sick of it after how often Mark binge listened to it. Nothing against the guy, but we enjoy new albums in different ways. I tend to listen to albums more sporadically and do my best to switch to something else for awhile so I don't immediately get burnt out. Mark, on the other hand, will put something on repeat for days (sometimes weeks) and then go without listening to it for months. That's not to say I've never had albums I've loved so much that I ended up listening to them incessantly, I am just not very good at being a camel when it comes to music. All of that aside, Endless Fantasy takes your ears on a crazy fun magical journey that no other album was successfully album to do so in 2013. Unlike standard albums these days, this one clocks in at over an hour in length. By the time you get to the end, however, it's hard to not want to start it over. This is especially the case when you're driving/traveling for any extended period of time. It's one of the few heavily instrumental albums that can keep my attention to the point where I savor every last note/blip of it, especially with songs like "Akira", "Pastel Flags", and "In The Basement". My other obvious favorites from the album were "Prom Night", "Meow", and title track, "Endless Fantasy", which range in levels of goofiness and awesomeness. Side note for you vinyl lovers out there: this was one of the most beautiful vinyl records our household has ever acquired. Clear vinyl with pink, blue, and yellow marble?! Yes please!

Shey's Pick: Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels

Ever since R.A.P Music dropped, anything involving Killer Mike and El-P in a single entity has had to be in my ears within seconds. Run The Jewels was no different and the paring delivered once again. Yet it was a little different. The albums as aggressive and hard hitting, with wonderful production and beats you'd hit repeat on happily until the years end. The two veterans of the scene push each other to their limits and all the while we get to see a wonderful chemistry evolve in front of our very eyes. It even comes packaged with a festive track "A Christmas Fucking Miracle". Seriously, how could I not put this on my end of year list? What's even better is that they're planning another release next year under Run The Jewels. Hallelujah, praise the baby jesus. RTJ are here to stay and they've firmly placed there cards on the table and they are definitely not bluffing about the hand they've been holding. 

Kibbe's Pick: Disclosure - Settle

I'll admit, I was totally late to the game on Disclosure, but I took to them almost immediately. The English electronic duo have been releasing songs and EPs since 2010, but I only stumbled across them a few months ago. For those not well acquainted in the garage/house universe, Settle is a great gateway drug into the genre with tracks like, "White Noise", "Voices", "January",  "Help Me Lose My Mind", and my personal favorite track from the album, "Latch". With every spin of this record I find a new reason to love it. Each track is dynamically different from the next, but not to the point where it doesn't come across as one cohesive album. In addition to all the wobble and fuzzy bass that one could ask for, the featured vocalists on the album are all exceptional selections that really compliment their respective songs. Highlights of the guest artists include: Jamie Woon, London Grammar, Sasha Keable, AlunaGeorge, and Sam Smith. Fair warning though, like I said on air during BBC Radio 1's Review show, pretty sure this album can get you pregnant. I'd say it's definitely worth the risk, but you have been warned.

Shey's Pick: Bring Me The Horizon - Sempiternal

This was a complete curve ball for me. I've been aware of Bring Me The Horizon ever since they started playing shows in Sheffield back when they sounded rather different. A lot heavier. And they seem to have gone through that transition that a lot of bands do, and they've changed their sound in the past 10 years. It's natural and on that journey they seem to have annoyed some fans and gained a hell of a lot more. I've just never been into them and wasn't expecting to enjoy their latest offering Sempiternal because they Lead single "Shadow Moses" attracted my attention via a rather cool looking glitchy video, and I needed an album to kick me up the arse in the morning sat the gym. I thought, "heck, let's give this a full listen". Opening track "Can You Feel My Heart" was nothing like I expected with electronic elements filling our the track giving it a far more dance orientated sound than I'd of expected and throughout the album they delivered surprises for me. Maybe it was the going into it with no expectations, and expecting it to underwhelm me which is a sucky attitude I'll admit. Fast forward to December and this album features on my gym playlist every morning and hasn't left it since being added back in March when it leaked. They've converted me into fan, even if their older stuff was never to my liking.

Honourable mentions:


Creating top 5's is hard, and Shey failed and accidentally wrote 6, I could write 50 but who wants to read that? I'll be surprised if you're still reading now so here are a few I loved that would feature should the list be longer.

The 1975's self titled debut was a triumph and for a 16 track release it manages to hold your attention throughout and it rocketed them from bar shows to academy shows in just 12 months. They've got a bright future.

Dead Sons long awaited debut, The Hollers & The Hymns, was the first album and last album I listened to this year and last. Dark, twisted and a ride through a riff filled desert. Perfect driving music. I'm extremely excited to hear more from them in 2014 after their new teaser "The Rain". Chance The Rapper seemed to appear from the outskirts to become a figure head this year and his release gets better and better every listen. He's sure to come back fighting on his next release.

Kanye's Yeezus was a great album but I feel the highs, as perfect as they were, came along with some big lows too. I skipped tracks regularly and for me, "Black Skinhead", "Blood on the Leaves" and "New Slaves" far outshine the rest of the album. 

Deafheaven were another surprise for me in 2013. A band I had never heard of arrived, having released material before, but having no preconceptions, they blew me away with Sunbather and they seem to have done the same with everyone else too. Stunning and nothing like I've heard before.

The return of Arcade Fire and Daft Punk had everyone excited but both left me wanting more. That's not to say that both albums weren't brilliant in their own special way, they just didn't strike the same chord they had on previous releases.

The only reason St. Lucia's debut full length, When The Night is an honorable mention and not amongst my 5 favorites is because I feel like it's a cheap move to basically re-release an EP with extra songs on it, especially when you're so well acquainted with the EP that the first few spins of the full-length constantly confuse you because you're already used to a different track listing. All of that aside, I loved how huge this album feels in terms of the depth of sound they were able to create. It almost sounds like they played in a large empty stadium or something. There isn't a single song that I would ever think of skipping over, although admittedly, "Elevate" is probably my favorite of the newer material included on the album.

I also thorougly enjoyed Tegan & Sara's poptastic Heartthrob. It was really different from their previous albums, but I happily enjoyed every synthy note of it.

Like I could go a whole year-end review without mentioning Beck at some point!? Yes, it wasn't a full album, but the three songs he dropped were certainly a good time.

Like Shey said, I tried incredibly hard to lose my mind over the new Daft Punk album, but it just didn't connect to me the way I had hoped. Although I do thoroughly enjoy "Doin' It Right", but who doesn't?

I was pleasantly surprised by Panic! At The Disco's latest effort, although there were a few songs on the record that I don't mind skipping over.

The debut full-length from Lucius was a proud moment for me, considering how long I've been cheering those ladies on. That's certainly a must listen.

[Listen] Kenna - "Politics (prod. by RJD2)"

I don't know why Kenna has been sitting on this track for so long. No doubt that since Election Day here in the US is around the corner the timing is fitting, so I guess I'm staring at the answer write in the face. Either way, it could not have come at a better time for me, considering how rough this week has been for me and everyone in New York City.

"Politics", produced by RJD2 and featuring Joanna Levesque on backing vocals, is poised, powerful, and earnest. Through the muck of vapidity that has been slowly trying to devour the music industry, Kenna rises to the occasion and delivers a performance with the sophistication from his New Sacred Cow days. It speaks to all of us who are so burnt out on what politics and much of our society has become. As you carefully focus in on the actual words coming out of Kenna's mouth, it's hard not to agree with the majority of what he's saying (and I say majority only because I haven't spent days dissecting through the song at multiple levels). The delicate phrasing and tenderness in his voice for this track and throughout the rest of his catalog are where Kenna shines the brigthest. Having said all of that, RDJ2's contribution to this is equally as important to the equation. Despite the obvious minor synthetic tweaks, the overall feel of the song is very warm and organic. This song leaves me daydreaming of what a whole album with this kind of approach would sound like. Maybe not necessarily all at this subdued state, but you know what? You definitely wouldn't hear me complaining.

Land To Air Chronicles II: Imitation Is Suicide, the second of the three part EP series is due out at the end of this month (November). After hearing this song, saying that I'm incredibly anxious for it to drop would be an understatement.

[Watch] Kenna - "Long Gone" (Official Video)

After much anticipation last week Kenna finally unveiled the video for "Long Gone", which is the first single off of Land To Air Chronicles II: Imitation Is Suicide, the second of three EPs in the LTAC series. There will also be a full length called Songs For Flight, which is slated for a late spring/early summer 2013 release.

Kenna has also decided to offer "Long Gone" as a free download, which you can grab in exchange for your email address over on his website.

[SKOA Presents] Kenna - "Static (Unplugged)" Live @ Tainted Blue Studios 5/5/2011

Last Thursday I had the priviledge of attending a private party featuring a very special performance by none other than SKOA founder favorite Kenna. In addition to taking the time to play through his latest release, Land 2 Air Chronicles: Chaos & Darkness, he also shared some back story on a few older songs. One of which was the tender track from his 2007 release Make Sure They See My Face, "Static". He took to the piano and gave what was probably one of the most intimate perfomances of the song to date. You can check out the performance above.

Land 2 Air Chronicles: Chaos & Darkness is available on iTunes.