Taboo is a new single from pop singer/musician, Alana Rich. Musically, this track is rich with colorful melodies and boasts a lively sound. The synth and piano-driven backing beat is energizing, primed and ready for the dance floor, while the funky bass enhances the mood. Alana Rich has a dynamic voice, and her tone is extremely pleasant. She’s actually a solid singer, right up there with some of today’s most iconic pop stars. Her passionate, romantic and powerfully sensual vocals carry the song. Just listen to the way she hits those climactic high notes. This is a highly professional production and Alana Rich clearly means business.
Transcendental Cowboy (Acoustic Demo) is a single from artist, Phil Robinson. The video for this jam is for a worthy cause. Associated with the hashtag #SaveOurStages, this benefit video expresses support for NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund, which is geared to help struggling venues stay open after the pandemic. The song itself is swell, too. Phil Robinson gives a lively and jovial performance. You can even tell from the video, that this guy just loves live music and he lives to perform. He plays the guitar and harmonica simultaneously, making it look way easier than it is. Transcendental Cowboy is an invigorating crowd-pleaser, but it also does have a meditative, surreal quality. Pay close attention, because according to Robinson, there may even be a secret message hidden in the video.
Ain’t Afraid is a new album from musical duo, Aint Afraid. Blending elements of hip hop, pop, and R&B, this album is pure poetry in motion. The songs are artful, upbeat and pretty. Listening to these jams just makes you feel inspired and optimistic. The production quality is quite good, evidenced by a colorful mix that sparkles and shines. What really makes this album though are the performances. Not only do these artists have a positive message, but they can actually sing well. Their voices are melodic and the hip hop portions are delivered with precise timing. Ain’t Afraid is truly unique in both style and form.
Yes is a new EP from Because Villains (a “genre bending rock project” led by artist/songwriter Travis James). Blazing guitar riffs and dynamic vocals make this mini album an instant classic. Seriously, the guitar tones are killer. While Yes contains only 3 tracks, these songs are powerful and packed with emotion. The vocals are really excellent, much better than most of what you hear nowadays. There is a certain swagger and confidence in the performances, which really capture the timeless spirit of rock’n’roll. The final track, The Feeling has more of an emo or reflective quality while maintaining the same musical intensity. Even for just being an EP, this release is formidable.
Slated for release on May 7, 2021, Keep On Climbin’ is a new album from West Side Joe & The Men Of Soul. This is one of the coolest and funkiest little rock’n’roll/blues releases out there. Rhythmic and catchy, these jams will knock your socks off. Some tracks like Easier Than You Think have a mellow pace and groovin’ vibe, while other songs like Vacate My Heart have a wild, old school rock’n’roll energy. Still, the sound offers even more variety with such bluesy gems as Colorado Mama and Raindrop Don’t Care. The sound is totally professional, and these guys obviously have a lot of experience with their instruments (as is fairly common with this kind of music). The album is top-tier, but West Side Joe & The Men Of Soul also manage to keep things fun.
Blown is a new single from Nigerian hip hop artist, JEDA. His moniker comes from his middle name, “oluwajedalo.” It’s hard to believe, but JEDA only got into making music about a year ago, while in a freestyling sessions with friends during quarantine. His most recent track, Blown, features a rich, full mix and a robust beat. JEDA actually does have a talent for rapping. His flow is very natural, and he projects confidence in his delivery. The lyrics mostly center around themes of life struggle, persistence and spirituality. JEDA lets the listeners know he’s determined to thrive in this world. This music is surprisingly advanced for an artist who is relatively new. The production quality is absolutely solid. JEDA has a workable formula here going forward.
Happy is a new single from Brooklyn-based artist/band, Gift of Tongues. Gift of Tongues is the project of David Johnston, and strives to create works which blend “performance, motion, graphics, & original music.” Johnston also collaborates with various NY musicians and has been known to use masks and costumes to conceal his identity when performing.
This latest track is a peppy and energizing jam, that will really get your juices flowing. Featuring electro-percussive and synthwave elements, the melodies are dynamic and sonically appealing. The vocals are passionate and charismatic. At certain climactic points the harmonies actually made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Though the pace is fairly modest, this is synthwave with an intensity and a little bit on the darker side. It has a slightly retro-80s quality to it, but that’s more of a case of this just being very authentic and high quality. The backing music really sparkles. Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming release of Gift of Tongues’ second album, The Perfect Son.
Lucky is a new album from Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter, Colin Roy Monette. The sound actually reminds me a bit of Simon and Garfunkel. It just has a very organic feel. The songs have those great hooks that make for instant classics. A variety of styles are fused together, such as: Americana, pop, folk, rock, blues and jazz (just to name a few). Monette always keeps you guessing. He’s obviously an accomplished musician. His guitar playing is delicate, groovy and meticulous, and these recordings are without modern gimmicks.
The vocals are what really drive the action though. He has a sincere voice, which captures the contemplative spirit of the open road. Lucky has a timeless quality to it. If you didn’t know anything about it, you might think this came out in the 70′s or the 60s or the 90′s or ten years from now. Lucky is a top tier release, musically and artistically. It’s a songwriter’s dream.
Consumption is a new album from NYC-based songwriter/band, Comfort Cat & Friends. Scheduled for official release on May 8, 2021, this indie “folk” gem is a colorful masterpiece. It’s actually difficult to categorize this music, because some songs have a passionate intensity, more in line with punk, avant garde lounge and even performance art. While some of the mixes are minimalist (consisting mainly of acoustic guitars and vocals), others feature a broader array of instruments and backing voices.
At times these recordings have a theatrical quality, like music from a stage production. Ultimately, Consumption is highly poetic and the performances are delicately precise. This is definitely not amateur hour. The lyrics are also creative, diving deep into some rather interesting subject matter on tracks like Free Bleeding. The pre-save link for the album is available below.
Fantasy is a new single from the THRILLCHASER, an “alt pop” band from the East Coast. The song is from their album, It Was Always Gonna Be Like This. Retro-futuristic aesthetics combine with a bright, synth-driven ambiance to create an artistic sound. The dynamic vocals and rich harmonies even manage to incorporate elements of R&B. The backing music features engaging synths, conjuring imagery of a high end 80′s night club.
Fantasy actually has a relatively uplifting tone. It’s pretty, positive and inspirational. On its surface, this is somewhat of a feel good jam. However, the lyrics remind us that when we get worked up with romantic excitement, we can get ourselves into trouble, because often our euphoria is really induced by a fantasy. Great song from a band that’s not afraid to experiment with different genre components.