Atlanta based artist King Saylee has a new EP out, titled “Elevation.” The second track “Saucin” is the prominent single of the album. Saylee’s style is very vocal oriented, with the backing music and aesthetics lending itself to an almost psychedelic style of hip hop. Vocals are cleverly and smoothly layered to create a “hearing voices in my head” effect, adding the the cerebral nature of the song. King Saylee flows nicely, and there is some good potential here.
Florida based solo artist Nate Utley has a new single out titled “What Up,” off his new EP, “Infinite Potential.” Utley describes his music as “a combination of Rock, Reggae, RnB and Pop.” He also sports a rather impressive full beard, which is worth noting in itself. Though his music is acoustic guitar oriented, after listening to “What Up” I would have to concur that Nate’s artistic style is a blended one, which is more flavorful and peppy than what one would expect from the typical acoustic driven song. The track starts off making you believe it’s going to be a straightforward, Earthy vibed indie rock song, but it slowly intertwines elements of RnB and even light hip hop. It does this very skillfully and more importantly subtly through delivery and attitude so that nothing feels forced or out of place. The acoustic rings with a full, bell like, “chimey” tone and the backing drums give the song a substantive framework, that more minimalist indie guitar jams often lack.
The video is colorfully and beautifully shot in areas like Flagler Beach along the Florida coastline. Nate has clearly worked very hard on this release and accompanying video, and it all comes together nicely. If the rest of the songs on his new EP are even half as effortful as this one, it will be worth picking up a copy.
Wow and Flutter is a new album from Amilia K Spicer, a well established songstress with quite a few accomplishments so far in her career. If I had to describe her style it would be something like avant-garde country. Her music is very organic even while being flawlessly performed. The first track, “Fill Me Up” sets the bar pretty high for the rest of the songs on the album. Musicians often lead with their best foot first, but in Amilia’s case every song on the album is just as good as the opening one. There’s plenty of variation and some pleasantly creative surprises in these songs as well. This isn’t just your run of the mill “girl with an acoustic guitar” album. There’s some genuine artistic genius floating around in these songs. You just have to listen to them. She has a uniquely precise style of picking that creates a distinctive sound. My favorite track on the album is probably Windchill, which was so good it literally gave me goosebumps.
If you’re looking to catch a live performance, Amilia is currently on tour with John Gorka in Michigan from June 1-5 and in Massachusetts on June 9 and 11. Check out her website and social media to stay up to date with her upcoming performances.
Former American Idol contestant Jerome Bell is still pushing forward. He has a new single out called “Helpless.” The singing is as good as you would expect from someone who was able to pass through the rigorous and brutal audition process of a network talent show. Wisely, Bell limits the musical backing to some minimalist piano playing, allowing his well trained voice to lead and carry the song. Jerome’s vocals are brimming with complexity and emotion, creating a top shelf quality soul/pop ballad. Good stuff here.
On iTunes: https://itun.es/us/65jhjb
Jordan York from Pittsburgh wants you to put down your phone. That’s literally the message of his new hip hop song “Put Down the Phone,” where he laments the de-personalization of social interaction with the advent of modern technological gadgetry. Personally I like the way tech allows me to avoid interacting with people I have no interest in communicating with (of which there are many,) but I will admit it can be annoying hanging out with someone who is texting nonstop or obsessed with obtaining validation on social media. The aesthetic of the video is well done, with the boardgame scenes being highly effective at communicating the artist’s message. Of course there is some irony in the fact that this public service announcement is being promoted in a Youtube music video, but better to use the machine against itself than throw a note in a paper airplane that no one will read. York is a capable rapper and it’s a pretty good song overall. My guess is that many people will find it refreshing and vocally applaud the sentiment while ultimately not putting down their own phone.
Some impressive synths on this new track from “Daku Lights,” a London based band in the UK. It’s interesting that the band members are wearing shirts that say Miami in their photos, because my first thought when listening to this was that the music gave off kind of a 1980s Miami vibe, combined with a newer more EDM oriented Miami sound. The production quality on this release is excellent and the vocals are all solid. The band should consider releasing a separate version of this that’s all instrumental, as it would make great soundtrack music.
London rock trio “Magazine Gap” has a video out for their new single, “Ran For Cover.” Their style draws from an eclectic variety of influences. This particular track has an overall jazzy feel to it, with some elements of alternative pop and adult contemporary. Basically this is like what pop music made by intelligent people sounds like. “Ran For Cover” is pristine and professional while managing to retain its organic quality. This is much harder to achieve than one might think. There’s no effects “smokescreen” or deficiencies that are being masked here. The production simply accentuates what would already be a solid song, even if it were recorded on 4-track. The horn parts are catchy and memorable, and I found myself looking forward to them on repeated listens. Shoutout to Binker Golding on saxophone and Jeffrey Brown on Trumpet, for contributing what I think is a crucial component to this song.
The video appears to be mostly footage of traveling around the streets of London but edited in a way that somehow manages to create an artistically poignant video. Great ambiance. There’s too much talent associated with this band and their production team to be able to talk about it in a review of this length, but honestly their music pretty much speaks for itself.