Artists like Zehero and his co-collaborators are helping to keep the Flint, Michigan hip hop scene thriving. One of their latest tracks is “Whoa,” which has some rather memorable opening lines to say the least. This is a good clean recording and stylistically it is crisp but chill. The rapping in some parts has a very organic quality to it, almost like they were recording freestyle. Also notable is that they do a good job matching the tone of the delivery with the “spacey” backing music. This is apparently all part of Zehero’s aptly titled mixtape “Spaced Out 2,” (the sequel to Spaced Out.) These jams are sure to keep you entertained.
Samantha Rochford’s “So Easy” represents one of those rare opportunities where I get to review something I would actually listen to. One thing that caught me immediately was the style of the video, which refreshingly brings back the sort of playful and innocent aesthetic one would see in indie music back around 2004-2005 (think of the intro song and opening credits of the film Napoleon Dynamite, if you’re wondering what I mean.) The guitar work is excellent and Sammanages to achieve a beautifully bright and sweet tone. She’s a terrific singer as well, much better than one would need to be for this particular genre. Early in the song, there’s a point when she delivers the line “it’s a workout, but it’s never been so easy.” The musical hook at that moment of the track is where it really kicks in that you’re listening to an exceptional song. Suffice to say that I very much enjoyed this girl’s music, and hope that she makes a lot more of it.
“Dance Into the Party” is a new dance release from artist Ari B, which blends an eclectic mix of funk, pop and dance. The production quality on the video is excellent, a professional shoot with clearly a solid team involved on this project (Wayne Isham is credited as the director.) “Dance Into the Party” actually features some well choreographed dancing both from Ari B and her supporting cast (including breakdancing.) Ari B showcases some genuine singing ability here as well. Her voice is able to stand on its own, and the producer thankfully didn’t ruin it with overprocessing or unnecessary autotune effects….an wise choice which puts “Dance Into the Party” in a higher class of music than hundreds of similar songs by other artists in this genre.
Sky Gandy has a new track out featuring 2 Mellow. It’s called “Pictures” and the emotive and positive hip hop vocals are backed by a terrifically bright and minimalist musical number. The backing music reminds me of something you might hear on a classic NES game like Bubble Bobble, even though it’s a complete different genre of music. It just has the kind of tone. The rapping is also precise and impressive and its ability to alternate between fast and slow without missing a beat throughout the song. This is a very professional track with a lot of talent spread around.
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San Francisco based musician Maxwell Powers has released an indie synthpop EP titled “6 Things.” When I read that apparently it was recorded in the “corner of his living room,” I was expecting something that sounded like it came from a 90′s Fostex 4 track. However, the production quality strikes me as better than a standard indie lo-fi creation. Another element which differentiates “6 Things” from standard indie pop music would be the unique application of effects to the vocals. Synthesized and metallic, Maxwell’s vocals themselves become a kind of instrument in the songs, adding a dimension not typically found in this genre. I wasn’t sure how to feel about it at first, but he somehow makes it work. “6 Things” is a quality debut, which has characteristics that allow it to be approachable to both mainstream normies and indie pop fans.
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