Evil Loves is a new single from LUNA13 from their album, Wicked Gods. This lovably demonic black metal track features a lush and robust sound despite the band not using stringed instruments or samples. They have the aesthetic and musical ambiance down for this genre, while still managing to innovate and create their own distinct niche. The visuals of the video are powerful, with effective costumes and editing. It actually reminds me of old MTV shows like Headbanger’s Ball when metal music videos were actually exciting and creepy and you would actually look forward to them (I was a metalhead in middle school in the early 90s.) Lyrically, the song consists of an incarnation of “evil” tempting the listener with the offer of liberation and unconditional acceptance. With lines like “My hellfire frees you” “No god can judge you” and “come be the real you” it would seem that you can’t lose! Delete your Tinder app, and instead break out the oujia board. This is horror music at it’s finest.
Ebb is a new album from Attxla, an artist from Houston, TX. The album leads with its best foot forward as this performer really has an amazing voice, and we hear it right at the opening. As far as the sound, it’s a combination of R&B and electronic. It’s not fast paced and pulsepounding though like some frenzied EDM music. The musical backing on these tracks is more ambient and surreal. Yet the beats still manage to have enough life in them so that they would be suitable for dancing, if you know how to slither and slide gracefully rather than just hop around. The songs are very meditative and demonstrate depth, while offering up a delightfully aquatic ambiance. My favorite track on the album is probably Doldrum which features some darkly jarring synths that give the song some added vigor.
Rolex is a new single from King Femi, a hip hop artist based in Atlanta, GA. There are so many rappers coming out of Atlanta, the hip hop scene there must be really thriving. As you might guess from the title, Rolex is a song about entrepreneurial dreams, with lines like I just wanna wear it on my wrist. King Femi has that classic deep south delivery, with a melodic drawl blends with the music to give it an almost psychedelic effect. It’s a pretty straightforward single that clocks in at about 2 minutes. There’s no filler though. It’s nonstop flow throughout the recording, and the jam has some style.
Blue Roses is a new single from Katrina Stuart, an artist originally from Toronto who now lives in Los Angeles. Musically, the song is bright and upbeat, reflecting the artist’s desire to spread optimism, even when the lyrics deal with the bittersweet topic of bad relationships. With lines like “You can take your pretty flowers and burn ‘em up,” it’s hard to imagine how the song could give off positive vibes, but it does. The honestly of admitting that a relationship isn’t working out can be empowering. Katrina has a beautiful voice, and this jam is as catchy as any pop song on the radio. Katrina worked with a Grammy-nominated producer (Trevor Muzzy) on this track and it paid off.
7 Days A Week is a new single from JustUs (Paula Michelle Denise McCall). Another gem from Diac Immortal Records, this one is set to be released Sept 27. There’s a lot more vocal action on this track than what’s typical for this genre. Smooth and melodic, 7 Days A Week has a definite disco/house feel to it. The repetitive lyrics are beautifully sang and never seem to get old: I feel like dancin..seven days a week. This song strikes me as an anthem for anyone who’s stuck in the daily grind at the office and just wishes they could be out cutting loose on the dance floor. As you can tell by the cover, this music has an authentically groovy, solid gold retro vibe. I have to say that the mix and recording quality on the tracks from this label are really top notch (credit Ben Rebel as producer for this particular song.)
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.