4 Wheel City – Spiritual

spiritual

Spiritual is a 16 track mixtape from 4 Wheel City, a rap group featuring two charismatic motivational speakers and hip hop performers (Namel “Tapwaterz” Norris and Ricardo “Rickfire” Velasquez.) The twist is that they are both in wheelchairs as a result of gun violence. As you might ascertain from the title, Spiritual is geared to inspire. Their stated mission is to “use hip-hop music and culture to create more opportunities for the disabled and inspire people not to give up in life,” but this release isn’t just for the disabled. It could really be helpful to just about anyone who needs a little encouragement and motivation, or even anyone that just enjoys listening to hip hop music.

What’s striking about this release is the fullness of it. It contains 16 unique tracks, each filled to the brim with lyrical substance and musical depth. Even the spoken word intro, the thinnest of the tracks, serves a vital function as a piece of the puzzle. There are some attention grabbing samples, such as those in Noah.
The backing music is very ambient for a hip hop album, occasionally even resembling Native American style music, (which is somewhat fitting for the album;s message of finding peaceful determination and courage from within oneself to overcome adversity.) There is quite a range even here though, with other songs having more conventional house beat backing, and still others featuring groovy, retro analog vibes. One of the best tracks on here is Disabled Lives Matter. It has a hypnotic, old school hip hop feel. Lyrically it goes deeper than you might expect for a song with a bumper sticker slogan title. The song in explicit detail captures the feeling of “not being able to escape,” which is something I hadn’t really considered as being central to a disabled person’s struggle. The sentiment, conveyed very well here, can be taken literally and figuratively. Being disabled makes it physically more difficult to evacuate or get out of harm’s way. Psychologically, one must come to terms with the fact they cannot “escape” their condition. However, Spiritual inspires disabled people to confront their conditions in a positive way, and reminds everyone that each of us has physical and mental barriers that we must overcome to achieve our dreams.

For more info:

http://4wheelcity.com/pages/

https://open.spotify.com/album/7cAQ4weypxBXWeGlODp967

https://soundcloud.com/4-wheelz-ent/sets/spiritual-4-wheel-city

https://tidal.com/browse/album/91704158

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Mucho Dinero – Book Me For a Show

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Book Me For a Show is a brand new solo mixtape from Erie, PA based artist, Mucho Dinero. At 11 tracks, the listener is sure to get their time/money’s worth out of this release. It comes jam packed with all sorts of flavorful jams like Day 1 and No Snake Zone. What jumps out at me about Mucho Dinero is that he has a distinct sounding voice, which will make him recognizable. He’s soft spoken and has a laid back delivery, but the actual tone of his voice is very unique. A lot of indie rappers sound almost exactly the same as one another, but I really can’t think of another rapper that sounds quite like Mucho Dinero. That is something that works in his favor. I’ve reviewed quite a few mixtapes before which had featured multiple artists, and it can be difficult to tell the who’s who and what’s whats. That’s not the case on Book Me For a Show. The pacing of the songs is somewhat varied. The opening track, Have Ya is chill and subdued, almost coming across like spoken word poetry at times. Other tracks like 2 More are a little more peppy and fast paced. Anyway, this release should definitely be enough to get this dude booked for some actual shows.

For more info:

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/album/id1382113719?ls=1&app=itunes

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3YHgWPPgQoII4af5oKJGQt?si=rNsXPADlQjOtYoBSLjVOvw

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDqm8i_iv6hoSLWJtXQHyyx37z1rPvg18

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The Blankz – (I Just Want to) Slam

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It was only recently that we wrote about The Blankz’  instant Arizona classic,  White Baby  The impressiveness of that release set the bar pretty high. Bands often change, experiment and grow, which isn’t always a good thing if what they already have is working.  So when I discovered I had something new to review for The Blankz, I was curious if they had retained the magic that was captured in White Baby.

Thankfully, their brand new EP, (I Just Want to) Slam wisely sticks with the same formula of weirdo pop punk + synth, which won them some small scale critical acclaim. The first thing that came to mind when listening was that (I Just Want to) Slam would have been a perfect for one of the obligatory slam section parts of  just about any 90′s skateboard video.  It’s kinda too bad they don’t really make those kinds of skate videos anymore, and it’s all pretty much on youtube now (or maybe they still do, and I’m just too old and out of touch to know about it.)

One thing which defines The Blankz’ songs is how catchy they are. Even after only a single listening sesh, I find myself repeating the choruses in my head over and over. Hell, i’ts been almost a month since I heard White Baby, and that’s still annoyingly stuck in my brain. Time will tell what kind of mental staying power (I Just Want to) Slam has. It’s like they put drugs in these songs or some kind of MK Ultra style, subliminal mind control messaging. Anyway, potential listeners beware: these songs will stay with you.

I suppose I should talk about the actual substance of the music here. The title track (I Just Want to) Slam is fast paced right from the opening bell and maintains the same level of energy throughout. The vocal performance is among the better I’ve heard for this genre of music. Vocals are clear, on key and delivered with balls. What more can you ask for? This is music for moshing, just letting loose and having a blast in the pit….but of course it can be a metaphoric anthem for how to approach other areas of life.

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There is a second song on the album, called Baby’s Turning Blue. It’s a short but punchy jam which gives a brief and peculiar narrative of a punk rock “baby” growing up to fall victim to drug abuse. The guitars in this song are awesome, tonally and technically. The timing here is great, with frequent breaks and pace changes which all go off without a hitch. This band is tight. Everyone is on the same page. If I have one criticism it’s that I wish this song was a bit longer and elaborated more on the interesting lyrical premise. The vibe of Baby’s Turning Blue reminds me of early 90s Orange County or San Diego punk music, even though there is nothing explicitly retro about this music, and I can’t think of any specific examples of bands these guys sound like. It’s more of a feeling.

Listening to The Blankz is like if you were to resurface a fond memory of being at the Warped Tour sometime before it started to suck. The good news is that The Blankz are in the here and now… and continuing to crank out cool stuff. Cover art has a great aesthetic by the way.

For more info:
http://theblankzband.com/
https://soundcloud.com/theblankz
https://www.facebook.com/theblankzband/
https://www.instagram.com/theblankzband/

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Caesar Osiris – Más Allá

caesar_osiris

Más Allá is a new single from Los Angeles based artist, Caesar Osiris. It was created with the intention of inspiring environmental awareness. The song’s aquatic ambiance and sea breeze aesthetic illustriously showcase the beauty of the oceans Osiris seeks to preserve. Musically the track could pass as a fairly decent pop single, bio-fueled by Caesar’s more than capable singing abilities and some energizing tropical synths. The production value is very good, on par with a professional label release. The video also features some choreographed dancing as well as some creative costume choices. This is a solid effort by a determined artist, and it’s for a great cause. We all need to do a better job of taking care of our oceans. Not only is water necessary for our lives, the sea creatures do not have anywhere else to go if we ruin their home.

For more info:

https://www.caesarosiris.com/
http://www.facebook.com/caesarosiris

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Console Clone – Rewind Mankind

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Cover Artwork by Leah Davis Art

Console Clone is a synthwave electronic music artist from the United Arab Emirates. The jams from his debut album Rewind Mankind wouldn’t seem out of place on the Cherry 2000 film soundtrack in 1987. What that should tell you is that this guy does synthwave very well. The title track, Rewind Mankind, is the archetypal, action packed synth sound. It’s one of the most straightforward songs on the album, high energy and engaging to the max.

The album features a lot of samples and references to science fiction, which listeners may or may not pick up on. For example, The Video Dead contains well placed samples from the film, Night of the Living Dead. Klendathu is presumably titled after the bugs’ planet in Starship Troopers, while Electric Sheep is a nod to Philip K Dick. You get the idea. Almost all of the songs are fairly fast paced and maintain a consistent level of cinematic intensity. Yet, musically there is a lot of variation in terms of sounds utilized, as well as the often unpredictable structuring. You really are not quite sure what you’re going to get with each track you click on. You just know when you push play that it’s going have that familiar, darkly energetic ambiance in some enticing new form and that it’s going to be good. These recordings are just phenomenal. They sound very 80s but authentically 80s, unlike when a store tries to bring back some old clothing style but everyone who was around then can tell it’s just a tad off. This guy has the genre and aesthetic nailed down and also manages to incorporate some structural originality.

The album can be purchased here:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G68JRK7

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Brielle Monique – Hallucinate

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San Diego born singer Brielle Monique’s new single, Hallucinate (scheduled to be released on August 31, 2018) showcases her classically trained and well curated vocal abilities. Her voice certainly doesn’t have anywhere to hide in the mix. Musically, Hallucinate is a very minimalist jam, and Brielle’s vocals really do carry the tune. The track slowly builds from a near acapella beginning and blossoms into a sprightly intricate pop song. It’s a trick to maintain the balance between displaying soft emotion and demonstrating vitality, and Brielle Monique manages to accomplish this both lyrically and musically. What instrumental backing there is does an excellent job at complementing Monique’s voice rather than obscuring it.

For more info:
https://www.instagram.com/brielle.music
https://www.facebook.com/officialbriellemusic

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Cody Daniel – Breaking Away

codydaniels

Breaking Away is a pretty smooth and straightforward pop song from up and coming vocalist, Cody Daniel. It comes from his EP, The Calm. Cody has a few releases under his belt already in which he has already established some talent. Breaking Away hits all the marks in terms of what makes a contemporary pop song a hit. It’s catchy, competently produced and performed by an artist that fits the mold of a pop star while retaining some stylistic originality. Cody Daniel’s energetic yet laid back persona gives his music both a relaxed and upbeat feel. The quick witted lyrics flow nicely,the whole song just has a nice ring to it. The only missing ingredient here is a label to back this project with some heavy marketing (and money.)

For more info:
http://www.cody-daniel.com

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