Heels & Picks: Picking a pregame soundtrack

Aug. 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

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BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser

In need of some new music to listen to? Don’t worry; I’ve got your back.

Here at Heels & Picks we talk fashion and music, so it occurred to me that it might be time to toss out a few ideas for songs to listen to while getting ready to go out. What songs will help you pick the perfect lipstick hue? Which bass line will make you want to strut in your stilettos? What vibe will make a gentleman want to confidently toss a blazer over his shoulder?

Here is my top five list of current singles that will make you fashionably late for any event as you jam them at full volume in your car. Rock, R&B, film-noir, hip-hop and electro-pop — they’re all here.

What are your favorite new tracks to help get you ready for a night out? Feel free to share in the comments.

ALESSIA CARA – “HERE”

Alessia CaraNever has teenage discomfort at a party been so deftly summed up in song. Alessia Cara, a 19-year-old Canadian with an Amy Winehouse soul, goes through the specifics of being stuck at a lame party with people you have no interest in being around on her summer smash, “Here.”

Her control over the nuances of her R&B vocals is well beyond her years, and lyrically she is on point.

I watched her breakout performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this past month, and was wowed by her the power that comes from this unassuming girl in a T-shirt and jeans. Expect big things from this one.

GRACE POTTER – “DELIRIOUS”

Grace PotterOn “Midnight,” her first official solo effort independent of her usual project with The Nocturnals, Grace Potter delivers an assured collection of 1970s- and ’80s-inspired confident femme fatale-themed songs.

But it’s not all legs and desire – the girl has heart. She bares her softer side on some of the album’s tracks, wondering how to best find the way to get a lover to let her “fill up (his) empty heart” and going through the realization that a man’s “mind moved on, but (his) body didn’t know.”

Crunchy guitars blend with keys and minor synths to provide the unbreakable backbone for this album, where Potter’s controlled, Joplin-esque wail reaches new heights.

One of the album highlights is a song called “Delirious”, partially because of an earth-shattering note that hits hard after a quiet moment in the song. It will leave no head unturned.

METRIC – “THE SHADE”

When this single from Metric’s upcoming album, “Pagans in Vegas,” was released, my friend and I listened to “The Shade” on repeat in the car, all the way from Ko’olina to Kailua.

MetricThat is roughly an hour, people.

I am admittedly a huge Metric fan. Their darkly poetic, incessantly catchy electro-pop is some of my favorite music of all time.

Though some fans bemoan them becoming more “mainstream” over their 17-year career, I find them to always have one foot in art school cool.

I hadn’t considered it, but my boyfriend said upon hearing this song for the 87,000th time, “This song is so girlie. It’s the perfect sing-along song.”

He’s right. The chorus is a bright and sunny slice of synth heaven, wherein vocalist Emily Haines sings, “With eternal love, skies above, all there is and ever was, I want it all.”

Yes, yes we do.

Metric’s new album drops in September. I, for one, can’t wait.

WHITEHORSE – “DOWNTOWN”

cover170x170Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland are a married couple who are old friends of mine — I remember the choreographed dance they did to “Fever” at their wedding years ago — and their fire and compatibility comes through on their newest album, “Leave No Bridge Unburned.”

This band is quickly becoming a Canadian institution, and there is no question why.

The Bond-theme-gone-roots sound of “Downtown” showcases their clear vocals and Doucet’s prodigious guitar work. It deftly takes a look at life in the city, with nods to Toronto’s mayoral debacle and the bizarre mess that is Rob Ford. It also makes you believe that you too, can run in heels.

The entire album has a film noir vibe and makes for a great listen, all the way through.

SUPER GROUPERS – “EDGE OF A NEW FRONTIER”

Super GroupersFrom their brand new album, “Learn to Swim,” Oahu-based rappers Super Groupers get the party started with some fast-paced rhymes on the single, “Edge of a New Frontier.”

The driving guitars, mixed with a laid back, ambient vibe make for the perfect track for getting ready for a night on the town in paradise.

References to surfing and the “Pacific garbage patch” squarely place the song as local, yet the spirit and performances suggest worldliness far beyond our island shores.
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Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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