The Night He Came to Town is a new single from critically-acclaimed country/folk recording artist, Luanne Hunt. The song itself was written by Canadian songwriter Dave Ward. Hunt is already well known for her previous hit, Christmas Without You. One doesn’t have to listen for too long to be able to tell that she is a phenomenal vocalist. Her crystal clear voice carries the song from start to finish. Luanne’s voice reminds me a bit of Sondra Locke’s. It’s just very delicate and pristine. The track has a storytelling narrative as well, almost like you’re listening to a musical audiobook or fairy tale at times. In fact, I could even envision an expanded version of this song being performed as a short musical. The song features some very professional guitar work (credited to Joe Eiffert) as well as a lively fiddle performance by Christian Ward. Everything about this recording is top notch. The stellar performances combined with the creatively quirky elements of the song should propel The Night He Came to Town to the charts associated with its targeted demographic range.
Copper Queen is a new single from Mark Winters, a rock musician from Sugar Land, TX. Nothing fancy here, just a guy who combines poetry with guitar and does so quite well. I really like the production on this recording. In particular, the guitars have a very pleasing tone, with a nice delay type effect that’s fairly distinctive. It almost reminds me of psychedelic music if you were to combine it with southern rock vocals. The mix does a great job of transforming Winters’ organic and relatively minimalist style into a full and powerful sound. Winters also has a decent voice. He claims that his grandmother taught him how to write poetry, but he clearly has fine tuned his vocal abilities as well over the years. Winters presents himself as very humble and ordinary, but there is nothing amateurish or hobbyist detectable in this recording. This is top of the line stuff.
Maverick Wav. is a new album from Christopher Baltz, a Christian hip hop artist from Easton, Maryland. The album is richly packed with 13 songs. Christopher’s faith obviously is a big inspiration in these tracks and features heavily thematically, however, there’s enough focus on the musical aspect that one can enjoy the album in a casual capacity if they so choose. Delivery wise, Baltz has almost a spoken word slam poet kind of style, which is very stream of consciousness. The songs also function as motivational exercises, both for the artist and the listener, as Christopher frequently comments and reflects on his own situation. It all makes for a very introspective work. We see the artist assessing and addressing various criticisms and exploting self-doubt. At the forefront though, he is always building things toward faith and what he refers to as “big wave” status. The beats on this album are excellent. They have kind of a surreal 80s-90s retro feel to them. In fact, without the rapping, these songs could be released as instrumentals with different aesthetic packaging as part of a completely different genre. Maverick Wav. is above all, a heartfelt and sincere release, that’s worthy of a listen.
Remembers is the latest song from the artist, “Devish.” It’s a synthwave jam, action packed from start to finish that pulsates and dazzles like an electric light show in audio form. It combines speed with an ambiance of high drama to really get your heart racing. The track is consistent but contains enough variation and musical dynamicism to remain interesting throughout. Remembers is entirely instrumental. There are no vocals, but it manages to do just fine without them. There’s not much else to say except that this is a lively and etheral dance track that’s sure to satisfy a club crowd.
Algo Nuevo is a new single from an artist known as “Bryson Briight.” It’s a ambient jam that falls somewhere in the realm of dreampop, and it is in fact very good. The song is mellow and meditative but with enough energy that it won’t put you to asleep. Listening to this reminds me of the hypnotic feeling one gets while driving late at night when it’s snowing and the snowflakes constantly stream into your windshield. It’s hard to explain. The vocals are really beautiful and well done, without any autotune or annoying processiong. Everything about this song is pure and lovely. Algo Nuevo is an authentic indie pop gem, which sadly will probably never reach the widespread audience it deserves. That’s okay though. Those who do manage to find their way to this song will be richly rewarded.
Dispirited is the third single/video in a continuing series by musical artist and former marine, Ian Hendrix. It was produced by Ian Hendrix and Robert Eibach, while a video credit is given to Juan Guillermo Cano – WTH Productions. This third episode is consistent with the first two. Once again we’re treated to stellar, professional female vocals which drive the song. Really it’s just a beautiful, crystal clear voice, definitely better than anything you’ll hear on the radio. The video animation is top notch. We see continuity in style and aesthetic from the previous episodes. The desolate space and barren planetary surface convey an emptiness which sets the emotional tone.
The actual narrative is enigmatic, with strange elien creatures in homeostasis/incubation containers on a strange spaceship. We get the sense that this is foreshadowing to something which will be revealed later. Really though when it comes to this song/episode, it’s not so much about the intricate details of the story but about the overall ambiance. The mood and the emotion are what the viewer connects with in these pieces.
In terms of the actual music, I have to say that so far this is the best song of the three. It’s just really dynamic and the romantic lyrics resonated with me. Seriously the vocals are just dreamy. Dispirited also takes us further along in the storyline, as we can finally get a sense of the overarching framework developing. It will be really cool when all the episodes are finished so we can watch the entire story unfold in succession.
Bad Bad Dinosaur is a new album from a band called “The Jolly Pops.” First off let me just say that aesthetically this sort of thing is right up my alley. It’s indie, avant garde and quirky. Very difficult to pigeonhole into an actual genre though. The songs aren’t fluffy indie pop. They’re more rock ‘n’ roll, with the heaviness varying from track to track. The songs feature oddball lyrics, animal noises (with tracks like I Want a Puppy,) etc. This album is just plain wild. The technical musiciansmanship here is also excellent. Often times artists who make humorous or “fun” music will sacrifice technical proficiency for entertainment, but that’s not the case here. These musicians are pros. My favorite song on the album is probably Morning Swim, but I wouldn’t even know what to compare it to. It has a kind of lounge-pop feel to it. Anyway, be sure and check out this album if you like bands like The Aquabats. This band doesn’t sound like them, but the music gives off similar vibes.
Apollo Asteroids is a new single from longtime musician, Mohican Joe from Sweden. He’s mostly known for making hard rock music over the past two decades but has recently branched out to create retro synthwave.
Apollo Asteroids is aptly titled, as it blends 1980′s electronic dance music and Atari-like sounds. This is one of the clearest and most vibrant sythwave songs I’ve ever heard. While many have hopped on the bandwagon of the genre, Mohican Joe has managed to capture the authentic 80s sound as I remember it. This track would not seem out of place in any sci-fi club scene or ambient action sequence in an 80s film soundtrack such as Cherry 2000. The song uses an interesting gimmick by calling out various years (“1982,” “1977″ etc) in ways which often correlate with transitions and changes in sound dynamics. Though Apollo Asteroids on the whole has more of an 80s vibe, it does contain a lot of Buck Rogers style, retrofuturistic disco elements as well. There’s not much else to say, given that is is just a single song, but it’s clear to me that for someone who supposedly just recently ventured into this genre, Mohican Joe has achieved a relative mastery of it, compared to many other artists whom have less of a grasp on the precise ambiance that they are seeking to emulate. This guy gets it.
Abracadabra is a new jam from hip hop artist, HeadKrack, featuring Big Steve. The music video doubles as a short film (directed by Michelle G.) At first glance it might seem like an ordinary hip hop song/video, but there is actually a fairly in depth and creative narrative at play. Abracadabra centers around the story of a magician named “Kracko the Great” (described initially as a “street hustler”) who is attempting to perfect that elusive trick of creating the perfect woman. The twist at the end is that he never noticed the girl was already there all along. So it’s basically like a magical hip hop version of 80s movies like Teen Wolf and Weird Science (this film is actually listed as one of the inspirations.)
The cinematography is very good. I’m not sure what the budget was for this video, but I’d say they got their money’s worth. It’s really a lavish production, comparable to videos which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make. Musically speaking, the song is very catchy and more experimentally structured than most hip hop songs. It’s almost like a narration, intertwined thematically with the film but occasionally transitioning into more straightforward hip hop territory. Really this song and the video are artistically a cut above. This strikes a nice balance between entertainment and the avant garde.
G STAR is a new album from Gio, a Los Angeles based artist who’s originally from Kansas City. The album blends elements of hip hop, pop and R&B, with various tracks taking on characteristics of one style more than the other. The songs are primarily vocal and harmony driven, as Gio doubles as both a rapper and singer. The album is very top 40 friendly. It actually sounds like the kind of contemporary pop you’d hear playing in clothing stores. Gio is a capable performer, but what I find really impressive about G STAR is the selection of beats. The backing music is colorful and genuinely top tier. Nearly every song has a light and grooving intro that just sparkles. This debut album is well produced and has some genuine potential to make waves.