Bloom is a new EP from Devin Sunshine, a singer/songwriter based in Orange County, CA. The songs on this release are refreshingly creative. In addition to writing, recording and producing her own music, Devin truly has her own unique sound. Her brash and conversational delivery style gives the songs a slam poetry performance quality. Occasionally when rapping against the light, synth driven back beat her voice takes on a more hypnotic and mesmerizing tone. Frankly I’m kind of amazed by how advanced these songs are. They are unconventionally structured and grab you on another level psychically.
My favorite track on this release is Selfish and Blue Pt.2 (Like Flowers) which is minimalist but pretty and sentimental. The title track Bloom also has some potential as a single for the way the intensity in Devin’s voice builds poetically throughout, almost as it really is emualting the process of a flower blooming. This is really an artful album does a fine job of avoiding the trappings of common hip hop cliches and hype. Devin sticks to what’s real: poetry, emotion and music.
Therapy is a new release from Man From Object: R525L (Diac Immortal Records.) It’s slated for advanced release on Sept 27, 2019. There are a couple different incarnations and mixes of this track. The “Loud Energy” version (credited to Man From Object: R525L) is a classic, high octane jam that wouldn’t seem out of place at a 90s warehouse rave. It has a technofuturistic sound with mechanical and robotic elements. My favorite part though is when it slips in some ambient synth melodies to spice the song up with pretty musicality around the 3 minute mark. The “Deep Rebellion” mix (Ben Rebel) ups the hypnotic intensity a bit with louder vocal samples and a more synth oriented beat. Both of these mixes have a truly therapeutic vibe. A bonus track is Warp 9 Message (also by Man From Object: R525L) has a very percussive sound. It’s very minimalist machine-like, as if you’re listening to the inner engine workings of a spaceship that’s stationed in some remote part of the solar system. Expect more good stuff from these artists, who continue to crank out decent dance tracks at a prolific pace.
What If is a new full length album from YT Suns, a duo based in Kent, WA. I’ve never really heard anything quite like this. It’s like if you mixed hip hop with Nintendo 64 style music. The backing synths are just very bright and fun. Really awesome. In fact, I would probably listen to even just an instrumental version of this album. The rapping is notable for the excellent timing, which is all the more impressive given that the delivery is set to irregular beats and unpredictable sounds. Featuring 14 full tracks, this release is extremely comprehensive and contains a wide variety within the parameters outlined above. My favorite song on this album is OMNITRIX which sounds like perfect music for an hip hop ice skating scene in a fairy tale movie. These guys obviously have some great songwriting talent. This is one of the better full length albums I’ve heard this year.
Pops Named Me Emperor is a new project from Harlem based rapper, Emp Tafari. This ambitious release contains 8 full tracks. True to the title, the emperor motif is consistently revisited throughout and incorporated into the lyrics. The musical backing usually features a dramatic, piano driven beat, which keeps the action at a moderate level of intensity. Emp Tafari’s delivery is laid back and unique. You can just tell he’s having a ball performing these jams. My favorite track has got to be Chicken and Biscuits, which is incredibly catchy. More importantly though, the song is creatively mixed, using some clever vocal structures that I have to admit I wasn’t expecting. This is a lively release and Emp Tafari deserves some credit for putting together this epic project.
Taste of Heaven is a new single from Dirty Snowman Society, a rock outfit based in Copper Mountain, CO. The song features clean guitars and brooding vocals. The singer has a fairly deep and mysterious voice, giving the track a darker, alternative-like quality. The production is at a very high, audiophiliac standard. Whoever mixed and mastered this recording really knew what they were doing. It sounds better than what you hear from most major labels these days. Taste of Heaven starts off like a mellow rock jam, but the song really amps up for the chorus and goes full power. It alternates this way throughout. Stylewise, the sound reminds a bit of the 90s classic by Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You, (which appeared on the Empire Records soundtrack.)
These guys are obviously professional musicians, and this is a terrific release.
Blu Ray is a new single from Tampa based rapper. She linked up with producer “Supply” to concoct this latest jam. RAKZ4K has a crisp and clear voice, delivering her lines confidently in a very “matter of fact” tone. She also manages to pack a lot of lyrics into a song that’s roughly only 2 minutes. She has one of those dolphin-like delivery styles where she can rap almost nonstop for great lengths of time without needing to come up for air. When does this girl breathe? The backing beat consists mostly of a pleasantly monotonous chime, which has a hypnotic quality to it and provides a nice backdrop to RAKZ4K front and center vocals. Blu Ray is a solid, hard hitting track that doesn’t drag on too long or overstay its welcome.
Akuma II is a new full length album from NRW Records (short for NewRetroWave.) The album features a few different artists, mainly “Alex” and “Tokyo Rose.” The sound is similar to 80s vaporwave…with a deep, hypnotically intense electronic ambiance and Japanese late night metropolitan vibes. Song titles like Mean Streets, Danger City and Unleashed correlate with the dark tone and “edge of your seat” suspense which permeates the music. It’s a powerful achievement whenever you can compose music which is capable of conveying something without words, and this album does just that. Even if you were just driving around aimlessly late at night while listening to this, Akuma II evokes a sense of mission and urgent purpose. It definitely put me on heightened alert.
Brilliant Jerk is a new single from Greg Hoy & the Boys. Greg is an established artist, (currently operating out of San Francisco) and has had a number of songs appear on shows like “One Tree Hill” and MTV’s “Made.” The music is difficult to classify. It can best be described as soulful rock’n’roll with a hint of punk, containing a sound that falls somewhere between 90′s indie (think artists like Coyote Shivers) and older, classic rock bar bands. Greg’s vocals on this track are loud and boisterous, delivered with attitude and flashes of wit. His voice really displays that classic sassy rock’n’ roll frontman charisma. The video for Brilliant Jerk is exceedingly professional, as good as anything you’d see on MTV (back when they still showed videos anyway.) In fact, I recommend you watch the other videos as well, as they are all studio quality and contain complex narratives (the one for Brilliant Jerk even features a “virtual reality” bit.)