12 over 6 is a new single from New Zealand-based artist, Rosegang. This unique blend of Spanish-style guitars and smooth hip hop makes for a memorable listening experience. Rosegang’s no-nonsense delivery style juxtaposes nicely with the exotic musical backdrop. Authenticity and “being real” are heavily emphasized themes in the lyrics, indicating that the artist places a high value on those attributes. He also talks about the struggles of life and the importance of perseverance in overcoming personal adversity.
Musically, this is a melodic and almost relaxing song. The backing music is smooth and emits tropical vibes. Rosegang’s passionate and expressive vocals give the song an added emotional jolt. He demonstrates a commanding stage presence and proves to be a capable rapper. 12 over 6 is a flavorful jam, Rosegang has carved out a distinctive hip hop niche for himself here.
Star is a new single from artist, Katrin Butt. The track is available in both German and English language versions. This is a lively, upbeat jam with groovin’ guitars and friendly vocals. Katrin really does have a cool singing style. There’s a lot of personality in her voice as provides poetic monologues and melodically hip, atmospheric vocals. Musically, it makes for a classic, 1960s lounge ambiance. Though it has a fun and casual vibe, Star is also an empowering song, as Katrin’s performance beams with confidence. Not to mention, with lyrical gems like “I drive my golden Cadillac to the party with Steven Spielberg,” you can’t really go wrong. The backing music features some great vintage guitar tones and keeps the action rocking.
The Shadow is a new single from Nashville-based duo, Drifters In Vellichor. Interestingly, the band originally formed in California in 2005 as a trio called AutoDefe. This slightly dark and surreal track actually does have a hint of California desert vibes. Technically it’s indie rock, but it has a somewhat brooding and sinister feel. Spiritually, it’s closer to modestly paced metal but with more sultry and metaphysical undertones. The recording is polished and slick. These guys definitely have production down, and the performances are really clean. There’s a lot going on musically, even for a rather minimalist mix. The sound is surprisingly dynamic and never boring. It’s just very “alive.” The charismatic vocals are especially good, and provide The Shadow with much of its emotional character.
Shackles is a new single from Seattle-based electronic duo, Sugar Addikt. This isn’t your typical indie pop pairing though, as Sugar Addikt is actually a mother and son teaming up to make music. Shackles boasts an avant garde ambiance, which combines with energizing synth beats to create an exotic sound. Poetic, spoken word monologues enhance the song’s artistic flair, while building toward climactic choruses. This futuristic jam is highly danceable and psychically intense. This single is from a 5-song EP, Phoenix. The song Shackles fits within a broader narrative arc of the album, stressing that the first step to removing shackles is recognizing that they are largely of our own making, a product of our current mental state.
Shruggin’ Off The Feelings is a new album from New Chums, an indie rock’n’roll band from Phoenix, Arizona. Given that I’ve lived most of live in the Phoenix area, I have a special appreciation for the local scenery on display in the video (which is professionally shot) for the track, The Ride. The music is just classic indie rock, with robust guitars and an organic sound. The production quality is solid, without detracting from the artistic cred of the performances. There are some pretty groovin’ rhythmic interludes, with elements of rockabilly or 1950s style. I don’t keep up as much with indie music in the valley like I used to, but this is definitely one of the better up and coming Phoenix bands. Keep you eyes peeled for Shruggin’ Off The Feelings, which is schedule for official release on June 4th, 2021.
Grudge is a new single from artist, Gozie Ukaga. Blending elements of pop, hip hop, and chill, this synth-backed track packs a lot of musical variety into its brief, two minute runtime. Against the backdrop of a futuristic beat, the lyrics have a confessional quality, as the artist ruminates on why a relationship has gone sour. Gozie Ukaga gives a sincere performance. We can sense in his voice that he really does feel the emotions he’s expressing. Style-wise this is actually a pretty unique pop song, with an atmospheric backing creatively juxtaposed with fairly straightforward, sentimental pop vocals. This is good stuff, real and personal.
Moving Time is a new album from soul, funk and gospel-infused R&B group, The DK Effect. Featuring a bright and colorful sound, this release is an absolute classic. It has a soulful spirit, with delightful melodies and stellar vocal performances. This almost feels like it’s from another era. If you randomly heard this without knowing it was a contemporary release, you might assume this was a record that went solid gold back in the day.
It’s almost impossible to overstate just how good these recordings are. The songs are rich and full of life. The backing music consists of everything from smooth, groovy rhythms to inspirational gospel tracks. The mix does a great job of showcasing the real star attractions, which are the powerful voices that carry these songs.
Location is a new single from DMV hip hop artist, King Ceekay. This jam has a dreamlike and surreal vibe, with King Ceekay’s delivery fluidly interweaving with the ambient backing. This artist’s style is refreshingly melodic and musical. He doesn’t merely “rap” but makes the effort to actually sing his rhymes. The result is a recording which may have achieve significant crossover appeal with R&B and pop. King Ceekay has mastered the art of the single. He’s been releasing them left and right, while his debut mixtape has racked up more than 250k global streams. The video for Location is professional and (true to its title) features some terrific urban scenery. The cinematography is well-done, and King Ceekay gets a chance to demonstrate his lively stage presence.
Tik Tik Boom is a new single from TRUF, a hip hop artist from Carson, CA. Combining classic West Coast rap with blues and R&B. this track is robust and hard hitting. TRUF has a charismatic presence and no-nonsense delivery style. His voice has an authoritative quality, while maintaining a consistent flow throughout. He gives a lively performance that balances leisure with professionalism. The chorus phrase is catchy, and with a little bit of strategic marketing, one could easily see this jam becoming a viral sensation.
Musically, TRUF really does manage to capture the tone of classic California hip hop, with a production is slick and polished. This is honestly legit enough to be put out on a major label. The video for this track is entertaining, utilizing actors and creatively interweaving a narrative/storyline. TRUF is currently working on over 30 songs in preparation for the release of a commercial LP.
MKED, Vol. I is the debut EP of MKED (the project of Milwaukee-based artist, Mike Dentice.) The collection of songs is the result of a collaborative effort between Mike and a diverse group of artists from around the country. I actually grew up on the east side of Milwaukee (I attended grade school in Shorewood), so the tribute song Back to Milwaukee is relatable on a personal level. Sonically, these tracks have elements of pop, rock, R&B and electronic music. The colorful and upbeat jam, Wake the Dead has an almost EDM vibe. It’s synth-driven, bright and features some electrifying vocals.
The songs on here are well-written, with catchy, pop friendly hooks. MKED, Vol. I is a high quality production. Despite there being a multitude of artists working on it remotely, the EP remains impressively cohesive, both musically and thematically. This is definitely a working formula. Keep it up.