Blame It on the Goat is a new album from Denver-based artist, White Devil. Supposedly the album is technically still in demo form and waiting on some post-production finishing touches, but I would have never guessed that from listening to it. It sounds very professional as far as avant garde and experimental releases go. I’m not even sure how I wuld classify this music as it blends elements of electronic, hip hop, and metal in creatively interesting ways. It’s kind of like a darker, and more socially provocative version of Treasure Mammal. As you might ascertain from looking at the album cover, the ambiance is delightfully demonic and intentionally creepy. The songs are very collage-like, utilizing a range of samples and vocal processing effects. Of course, actual guitars and drums are being played, and lyrics are being sung/rhymed/spoken as well.
Most of these tracks are highly entertaining and occasionally humorous, but they still maintain their edge and offer a kind of abstract form of social commentary. There are racial themes being subtly explored in these songs (even in the title). The artist mostly leaves the interpretation for the listener, but songs like let’s face it (the word) demonstrate his refreshing commitment to simply dealing with these subjects openly and honestly, one way or the other. One could easily visualize this album being staged as a performance art piece.
It must be noted the actual backing music is quite enjoyable, too. The styles range from rocking to smooth beats to 80′s aerobics dance music, all of it performed up to par. Blame It on the Goat will absolutely get your attention. My favorite song on here is definitely white sour. I can’t really explain why, but you’ll understand when you listen to it. It’s just epic.
Let’s Party Let’s Roll is a new single from DJ Kosho, a trailblazing pioneer of the West Coast Breaks scene and original founder of Club RED in Los Angeles in 2000 (until 2009). He also ran Club RED San Francisco from 2009 to 2010 and more recently founded iRED Recordings in 2016.
As the title suggests, Let’s Party Let’s Roll is characterized by its nonstop, pulsating dance party energy. It’s not all “laser light show music” though, as the retrofuturistic synth backing is thick, funky and contains a mildly booming (when it really kicks in) percussive bass. This jam hits hard and hits fast. DJ Kosho’s lyrics spare no time for anything that isn’t party centric, and as he demonstrates in the amazing music video associated with this song, the man himself is ready to bust a move at all times. It’s easy to see why this guy is a longtime veteran of the club scene. He’s good at what he does and clearly enjoys being a part of the action. I like how down to Earth he is too, unlike so many artists and DJs whose music videos project some phony “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” image. DJ Kosho walks the walk! Let’s Party Let’s Roll is actually pretty catchy, too. I listened to it like 3 or 4 times as I was writing this, and it’s stuck my head now. That’s usually a good sign.
The Line is a new single from Matthew And The Arrogant Sea (a well known indie band from Denton, TX that has been around since 2001). There’s actually a film called Nosebleeders which documents this band’s early days. It’s available on the their website, makeamericaweirdagain.com
For an indie production, The Line sounds highly refined. This isn’t a Lo-Fi or homebrew recording, just a crystal clean and non-abrasive sound, probably better than what comes out of most contemporary major label studios. Performance wise, you really get the sense right off the bat that these are seasoned professionals who have been playing their instruments for a long time. It’s difficult to even classify this style of music because it isn’t trying too hard to fit into any niche or “project an image.” This is honestly just good old fashioned, avant garde indie rock, with maybe a hint of alternative and a touch of twang. The pacing is mellow, and the ambiance is brimming with reflective sentimentality. Don’t be fooled by the subdued and contemplative atmosphere, the guitars still rock, and the singer passionately belts out the lyrics with the best of his peers. Musical intensity slowly builds as the song plays, correlating with the escalation in emotion. Overall, this is a very artful and effective song. There’s not much more to say about it, as it’s obvious these guys know what they’re doing. Just trust me, it’s good.
For the full effect, I recommend watching the video for This Line, which was shot on location at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO and was directed by acclaimed director, Cole Mitchek. This excellent video is visually stunning and creatively edited. I can see why they wanted to use this historic setting, which looks like something out of The Shining.
Matthew And The Arrogant Sea is also set to release a new EP next month titled A series of dreams #2 —But..Who are you now? I suggest you check it out.
Typical Glo is a new single from up and coming hip hop/pop artist Wynter Glo. Born in Germany and raised in Texas, Wynter Glo lives up to her moniker as this jam radiates with pure unadulterated energy. Her performance is characterized by a vibrant and no-nonsense delivery. Backed by a futuristic, synth driven beat, her lyrics are catchy and expressed in a well-timed fashion which subconsciously encourages listeners to sing along. The action moves at a moderate and deliberate pace, all the while brimming with determined intensity. Typical Glo has a slight edge to it, yet will appeal to pop sensibilities. This artist is all about getting things done and putting first things first.
Oh God is a new single from Canadian-based band, Peace Spirits. This beautifully performed and spiritually satisfying song aims to help people find their peaceful center. Featuring religious sentiments expressed in their purest and most sincere form, the music is carried by truly stellar vocals and backed by a theatrical backing sound. This is powerful and moving stuff. The lyrics never veer into preachy or judgmental territory. Rather, the song consistently promotes a message of kindness, hope and goodwill throughout. OH GOD was written by singer/songwriter Kyla Lynn Vezina. The production is very professional, creating an atmosphere of cinematic quality. Laszlo Koós is credited on bass guitar, and drummer John Lovaghy provided additional backing vocals. Oh God by Peace Spirits is a free download that is available to anyone through Bongo Boy Records, here.
T R A V E L S is a new single from Los Angeles based artist, LEHUA. A collaborative effort with her associate Brock Liles (Tombstone), this song is the second release off her three-track, self titled EP. This avant garde song features experimental beats and propagates a desolate Saturnian ambiance. The vibe is positively mechanical, in a sense that the music literally sounds the inner machinery of a haunted moonbase. It’s what one would imagine an astronaut or space colonist would hear in the background while conducting their daily experiments. An unpredictable collage of samples, sythns and totally unidentifiable noises, T R A V E L S is brimming with eerily delightful atmosphere. I’m not gonna lie, there’s a little bit of uneasey suspense in this jam as you almost feel like a creature might jump out at you at any moment. Bottom line is that T R A V E L S is darkly uncomfortable, artistically interesting and pretty cool.
Ships Sail is a new single from NY-based artist, LongliveMoses. This incredibly unique, avant garde hip hop jam features ambient backing music and creatively structured vocal delivery. The music takes the listener on a “Final Fantasy like,” meditative odyssey. Ships Sail is just very artful and ethereal. With its melodic beat and cerebral vibe, this music will elevate your consciousness as you allow yourself to get lost in the sound. The vocals are pleasant to listen to and somewhat hypnotic. This is a true indie hip hop song in that feels more like a genuine work of art than a consumer product. Even the cover art conveys this aesthetically, as it resembles more of an arthouse indie pop or new age album cover than a hip hop one. Production is smooth, and the mix is softly oceanic. This track is really a cut above.
As a musician, producer or content creator, it can be frustrating to find backing music and beats online to use for your projects. There’s usually some gimmick associated with services that offet beats, or you simply get stuck with the same basic, crappy presets that can be heard in a zillion other songs. The beats (and I listened to quite a few of them) at FreeBeats.io are of label quality and suitable for professional recording projects. Nothing, cheap or “homebrew.” They are also available right there on Youtube and simple to browse. You don’t have to go mining the depths of some obscure, buggy database to find these jams. Many of the beats are hip hop oriented, catering to a plethora of moods and sub-genres, but there are also some pop and EDM adjacent instrumental backings as well. They even have a pop punk, Blink 182 style track, which does in fact capture the authentic pop punk sound. There’s not much more to say. Just check out their channel and listen to the beats for yourself. Make sure to read the fine print and respect their guidelines if you decide to make use of any of their music.
Let’s Ride is a new single from Salt Lake City based artist, J.T. Hiskey. Haters can say what they want about this jam, but it has all the ingredients of a viral hit in the making. First off, the production is clean, and the audio is very high quality. The song blends elements of country, alternative and hip hop but does it a way that’s more mellow and laid back than something abrasive like Kid Rock. The ambiance here is closer to 90′s Beck. This is one of those songs that people will claim is super annoying while secretly singing along to it. The catchphrase “Let’s Ride” is repeated to an almost comical degree (though clearly J.T. has done this with a “tongue in cheek” self awareness) and will absolutely be burned into your brain. The song’s brief runtime (1:37) and macarena-like verses make Let’s Ride an instant pajama party classic. Hiskey clearly has a lot of talent and knows how to write a catchy song. I’ll ride with this guy anytime…Let’s Ride!
LAPTOP AND A MIC is a new full album from Miami-based hip hop artist, 2millie. Featuring 11 salubrious tracks, this release is brimming with energy and electric vitality. The beats are mostly synth driven, with an atmosphere ranging from “bright and uplifting” to edge of your seat intensity. The musical sound is very cinematic and could almost hit like EDM if this were strictly an instrumental recording.
2millie (whose moniker is a reference to a car accident he survived when he was young) delivers his rhymes with pure dedication. Vague and Ambiguous song titles like You know and Yeah I know conceal lyrics which actually go into great detail about personal pain and life struggles. His delivery style would best be described as “stream of consciousness.” As he allows his deepest thoughts to play out in his head, they are converted into the form of a rhythmic monologue for the listener to enjoy. Many of the songs express romantic sentiments, dealing honestly with subjects such as longing, conquest, jealousy and heartbreak.
There’s an element of voyeurism when one listens to this album, because we get the sense we’re overhearing messages meant for certain people specifically. It’s like listening to someone read a letter they wrote before sending it out. If there’s a consistent theme throughout LAPTOP AND A MIC, it’s one of perseverance and personal resilience, of overcoming obstacles and pushing forward.
Assuming the title of the album relates to the gear he’s working with in creating LAPTOP AND A MIC, production quality is quite good, all things considered. The mix is tight and overall the audio is ambient and non-abrasive. The title also serves as kind of metaphor for the artist’s minimalist and substantive approach. Nothing too flashy, just a guy “riding alone,” the engine of his creativity fueled by raw passion. My favorite types of indie hip hop albums are the ones that are intensely personal and sincere. This one definitely falls into that category. 2millie doesn’t attempt to emulate rap superstars or construct some cardboard, “larger than life” persona as a facade. He does not even seem preoccupied with being perceived as stylish. Rather, the focus here is on realism and facing the curves that life throws at you.