New Orleans based artist 1stDegree’s has a new EP titled “DDay” out. He has one of those delivery styles that is laid back and unassuming, yet you can tell he means business. There are some memorably classic lines like “y’all stick to that JNCO.” What I like about these tracks is the backing music, which have a delightful chimey tone to them. They are very smooth and retains just the right amount of analog tape hiss to give the album a bit of an old school flavor. These mixes are extremely well put together, and 1stDegree has a professional and distinctive style that will have appeal with a wide variety of listeners.
New single/video out from artist Andrea Chiapparo, featuring Max Kleinz and produced by Cosmophonix. Video quality is very impressive and professional, with actors helping to convey the mood of the song through brief romantic interludes. It also incorporates some incredible sky views and ocean scenery. The song has a light and poppy, 90′s style dance beat and an overall bright tone to it. It’s a pretty cool summertime dance track.
Hussy, an alternative rock artist from Boston and signed to Pace Recordz, has a new single out titled, “Karen.” In the song Hussy refers to Karen as an “old friend,” but it seems clear from the lyrics that they were more than just pals. The music has a very 90′s alternative feel to it and would not have been out of place on a Party of Five or Melrose Place soundtrack. Hussy’s vocals do an excellent job of carrying the song, which is very minimalist. The tone is sometimes reminiscent of groups like Sebadoh or Modest Mouse. This is a terrific track and certainly not what I was expecting from an artist that goes by the name “Hussy.”
JP.Kazadi’s debut single is a surprisingly positive and uplifting song that instructs you to “Keep pushing on” through adversity. The video utilizes a lot of bleak and depressing everyday imagery, the kind we can all relate to when we just don’t know if it’s worth it to get out of bed and leave the house. It is very subtle though. The combination of the slow pacing of the song and upbeat message is highly effective. There’s no phony cheerfulness and fake smiles here, just a guy going through the daily grind and continuing to pursue his dreams. JP is a good singer and brings with him an authenticity that’s rare to see in these times.
Hip hop artist NatStar’s new track “GIMME” is a fast paced ride all the way through. The video for this song was “shot directed and edited by EE Clark.” NatStar’s jams have gotten him a rather large following on youtube for an indie artist. Stylistically, “GIMME” is mostly just straightforward contemporary hip hop, although it has elements of soul and a pretty sweet electronic backing. NatStar’s quick delivery and larger than life personality helps to drive the song where he wants it to go.
Artists like Zehero and his co-collaborators are helping to keep the Flint, Michigan hip hop scene thriving. One of their latest tracks is “Whoa,” which has some rather memorable opening lines to say the least. This is a good clean recording and stylistically it is crisp but chill. The rapping in some parts has a very organic quality to it, almost like they were recording freestyle. Also notable is that they do a good job matching the tone of the delivery with the “spacey” backing music. This is apparently all part of Zehero’s aptly titled mixtape “Spaced Out 2,” (the sequel to Spaced Out.) These jams are sure to keep you entertained.
“Dance Into the Party” is a new dance release from artist Ari B, which blends an eclectic mix of funk, pop and dance. The production quality on the video is excellent, a professional shoot with clearly a solid team involved on this project (Wayne Isham is credited as the director.) “Dance Into the Party” actually features some well choreographed dancing both from Ari B and her supporting cast (including breakdancing.) Ari B showcases some genuine singing ability here as well. Her voice is able to stand on its own, and the producer thankfully didn’t ruin it with overprocessing or unnecessary autotune effects….an wise choice which puts “Dance Into the Party” in a higher class of music than hundreds of similar songs by other artists in this genre.
Sky Gandy has a new track out featuring 2 Mellow. It’s called “Pictures” and the emotive and positive hip hop vocals are backed by a terrifically bright and minimalist musical number. The backing music reminds me of something you might hear on a classic NES game like Bubble Bobble, even though it’s a complete different genre of music. It just has the kind of tone. The rapping is also precise and impressive and its ability to alternate between fast and slow without missing a beat throughout the song. This is a very professional track with a lot of talent spread around.
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San Francisco based musician Maxwell Powers has released an indie synthpop EP titled “6 Things.” When I read that apparently it was recorded in the “corner of his living room,” I was expecting something that sounded like it came from a 90′s Fostex 4 track. However, the production quality strikes me as better than a standard indie lo-fi creation. Another element which differentiates “6 Things” from standard indie pop music would be the unique application of effects to the vocals. Synthesized and metallic, Maxwell’s vocals themselves become a kind of instrument in the songs, adding a dimension not typically found in this genre. I wasn’t sure how to feel about it at first, but he somehow makes it work. “6 Things” is a quality debut, which has characteristics that allow it to be approachable to both mainstream normies and indie pop fans.
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Italian-Spanish born artist Giorgio Hofmann has a video out for his new track “Ready Now.” The production quality and artistic direction of the video is impressive (it was directed by Directed by Daniele Testi.) Some really great film making here. If you didn’t know any better, you would think this is a video for a major label release. Giorgio’s musical style is basically contemporary pop / club jams with some Italian flair and high fashion. He kind of reminds me of an Italian version of Marky Mark but with more class and a better wardrobe. There is a lot of energy in this music which is bound to attract people. This formula just works.
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