BUCK50ENT presents “Rollin,” a new single featuring OG Kaylyles, C Dollas & Get Right Sour. I have to say that the cover image is pretty pimp tight and looks like something out of a Grand Theft Auto game, even though the song itself is low key and chill. For a 3 minute jam, Rollin packs a lot in and makes the most of the track. The rappers manage to successfully create some harmony together and play well off of each other. Rap tends to be a very individual driven and sometimes ego driven medium, but these guy do a great job of making it about the song and the crew rather than themselves. There is some impressive lyrical flow, but it functions as part of an actual melodic song. This is a nice, laid back jam for cruisin…for people that aren’t about the drama.
Rhett Retko’s “And I Told Her So” (From the EP Thnx For The Ride) fuses classic rock’n’roll with contemporary style. This is impressively achieved without coming off as a throwback or “retro” novelty band. The musiciansmanship here is excellent, and the band works well together as a cohesive unit. It’s almost like they held a casting call / audition like The Monkees and got the best people they could find for each available spot in the group. Both performatively and aesthetically, they all seem to be on the same page, too. The music comes of as a cross between 60′s garage rock and 90′s alternative, with some contemporary influence as well. “And I Told Her So” features charismatic performances and quite nice technical guitar work. The vocals are on key and fairly dynamic, right where they should be (and I’m even basing that on the live version.) The energy and enthusiasm of Rhett Retko are contagious.
Kentucky based hip hop artist “YOUNG C” has released a video for his new track, “STAYD DOWN.” It appears to be set primarily in Lexington (Kroger Field is one of the locations.) The song is about someone recently released from prison after having served some time. People can have a change of heart in prison, sell out their friends, or transform themselves into something crazy. However, YOUNG C reassures his homies that he’s still the same guy and has stayed true to himself and the crew. STAYD DOWN seems to me to be about doing what you have to do to survive but also maintaining your integrity.
Musically, STAYD DOWN is surprisingly well constructed. A lot of indie rappers just throw some shit together and call it a song, but this track has structure and YOUNG C seems to have a natural talent for lyrical narrative and timing. His experiences give the song a personal touch. This jam is a good example of what can be achieved with a little bit of effort and passion. The repetitive chorus is also pretty damn catchy.
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“All Falls Down” is a new track by John J off his new album, “Still Howling Too.” It’s a high energy, action packed, little jam. The video reminds me vaguely of a tricked out version the opening title sequences to James Bond films. The song itself is a top tier production. For someone not particularly well known, John J shows surprising skill as a rapper and manages to put together a solid collection of songs. His assertive but measured tone gives the music a “life of the party” vibe (particularly in “All Falls Down.”) John J’s vocal delivery is noteworthy for its power and clarity. The beats and backing tracks add an ambiance of excitement and high drama.
Some of the other songs on “Still Howling Too” like “It’s the F*ck it In Me” and “5 Star 2.0″ have a bit harder edge to them, almost like the kind of mid 90′s rap you’d hear people bumpin while driving around in the golden days. “Faded,” the last song on the album, is probably my favorite. It serves as a mellow, laid back finale (and appropriately features actual howling noises in the intro.) It just seems so much more melodic and sparkly than some of the other songs. “Still Howling Too” is a worthy album and solid, authentic effort by John J.
“Dark Matter” is the fourth album from Nega Blast X (a trance, techno and industrial music project formed in 2010 by Burbank Music Arranger, Author and Digital Artist Dominic R.) The album gets right down to business with the opening title track, which is high octane dance music, with an edge. It is a solid club jam, the kind of song that makes you feel like you just downed an energy drink and are off to hit the dance floor.
The album stays fairly consistent throughout, with a few nice twists. “Cutter” for example is one of those more uplifting techno songs that’s a little more cerebral, yet just when you think you have it figured out, the track transitions to some NES-like, chiptune music. I can’t explain how or why it works. It just does. “Electric Rain” has a more serious quality to it. It opens like an epic opera would be very good for a late night chase scene in a film. “Fire Bomb” and “The Fifth” are the darkest songs on the album. They’re just plain badass.
What impresses me about this album is the way the artist is able to generate emotion, mood and ambiance without lyrics or vocals to direct you. I mean maybe it helps if you have an imagination, but there’s no denying that these songs make you “feel” something and tap into your central nervous system. There are some powerful forces at work here, dark forces. My favorite song on this album, is probably “Electric Rain,” which is a beautiful musical composition and adds another dimension to this project.
“ELUSIVE” is a new track from experimental, Paris based singer/songwriter, TENNIN. It is minimalist in nature, with just a slight percussive backing and could probably work even if it were just spoken word. TENNIN has an excellent voice and makes creative use of pacing and and cadence to lend the song an avant garde feel. The tone of the song is delightfully hypnotic even with the somber atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed it. ELUSIVE will appear on TENNIN’s EP titled HOMNI, which it set to be released in early 2018.
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New single available from rapper, “iLLy,” titled On 4 Sum. It’s a pretty straightforward hip hop song, which utilizes some moderate vocal effects processing and overall is pretty smooth. iLLY has a pretty good flow and transforms his voice into a prominent instrument. The backing music is melodic and easy on the ears. It kind of has the feel of a late night, laid back radio jam. The backing vocals add an extra dimension to the song giving it a fullness and complexity to push it to the next level. This guy’s music will likely continue to get better as he begins to experiment more with the sound.
Hip hop artist “Shifty Eyes,” from Alberta, Canada, certainly has an eye for theatrics, as is demonstrated in the recent video for his song, “Beast.” He is a highly entertaining and lively performer, and the aesthetic of his video vaguely reminds me of 90′s horror movies like Wishmaster. Production quality (on both the video and the song itself) is top notch. I’m not gonna lie, this video is pretty awesome and much more creative than one would expect from contemporary hip hop videos. Rather than cast aside hip hop cliches entirely (sexy women, over the top assertiveness, fake teeth etc,) he manages to incorporate them into his style, in a wildly unique fashion and demonic supernatural setting.
Something must be said about his actual rapping, which is solid and delivered confidently. He is the product of a genuinely troubled background, which allows him to practice his craft with a degree of authenticity that’s not commonly found among so many LARPing artists that are just looking to make a name for themselves. We’re starting to see more and more inventive hip hop artists from Canada, and Shifty Eyes is one of the better ones up and coming.
Black Bluebirds describe themselves as “an electrifying power trio from Minneapolis, Minnesota.” One of their newest tracks is titled “Love Kills Slowly” and is featured on their new album “Like Blood For Music.” The style and sound is low-key reminiscent of Bowie or Freddie Mercury, but darker, more avante garde and overall a little less flamboyant. The song features some really impressive singing, with the vocalist really going all out in ways that would have given Iron Maiden a run for their money. The whole thing is a nice eclectic mix of synthpop, indie rock and (glam?) metal, performed by some real professional musicians that know what they doing.
Well well well, what do we have here? Boulder based indie hip hop artist “Foolish Ed” doesn’t present his music with a lot of slick packaging and cheesy marketing, but he does deliver in the a e s t h e t i c s department. The video for his new LoFi jam “Never the Same” features some old school anime, through a lens of retro vhs effects. The song is also quite good (though I will admit it is odd to hear someone rapping while watching these visuals.) The backing music is excellent, with the piano giving the song a rather dreary artistic appeal, while Foolish Ed’s witty honesty and melancholy delivery is refreshing and makes him strangely likable. Foolish Ed does not appear so foolish after all, as this release reveals him to be a rather heroic artist. Perhaps it is not an and/or proposition.