When You Gone is a new album from hip hop artist, Heat Szn. The beats on this release are hypnotic and high intensity, particularly in the aptly titled first track, Blacc Magicc. Darkly futuristic, the tracks have a full bodied and almost industrial feel. Backed by Earth shattering bass, Heat Szn’s delivery is formidable, straightforward and even philosophical.
One of the songs is amusingly called Low Quality Freestyle but is actually on of the most booming jams you’ll ever hear. It’s probably my second favorite jam on this EP. Even though there’s a lot of musical and instrumental variety (guitars, piano, synths), Heat Szn definitely has a consistent style and has cultivated his own distinct sound. The title track, When You Gone is creatively structured and features an attention grabbing intro. Heat Szn’s performance is packed with power and cosmic energy.
Kamala is a new single from artist Darrell Kelley, released through Viral Records. This R&B/soul track pays respect to Kamala Harris commemorating her ascendance into the role of vice president of the United States. It’s a sincere homage that reflects the jubilation many across the world feel about this event. The backing music is vibrant and energized, while high octane fueled vocals drive much of the action. Boosted by a robust and stylishly synthesized beat, this dedicated anthem would make a worthwhile addition to our contemporary time capsule.
Hardship is a new single from hip hop artist, Yhung.Sammy. The stunning and dramatic duet also features Chloe, who is responsible for the “hook” of the song. It’s a wild, roller coaster ride of emotion and romantic tension, maxed out like a credit card. Characterized by melodic harmonies and a swift, surreal flow, this jam is smooth as molasses.
The open communication and expressions of vulnerability make this recording a refreshingly sincere endeavor. From a musical standpoint this is an underrated song with a lot of potential, and the conversational action is stacked with passion and sensitivity. For his part, Yhung.Sammy mentions the name “Kathy” to emphasize that he’s finally found a loyal girl. The vocals are excellent and there is great chemistry throughout the recording. This song hasn’t been officially released yet, but keep your eyes peeled. This one is a gem you won’t want to miss.
Way Down (feat.jaxxon) is a new single from Australia-based Vyblektro. Powerful and effective, the explosive emotion in this synth-driven track has an epic, almost 80′s quality. Oscillating between moments of passionate intensity and mellow, sentimental interludes, Way Down revels in its dynamicism.
The vocals are belted out with charismatic determination while retaining sensitivity. Suffice to say that the singing is just very impressive, especially when considering this is a genre with a high degree of difficulty. The chorus is especially satisfying, as the vocals culminate in a dreamily euphoric escalation. Backed by a robust beat and sparkling elements, this track electrifies the atmosphere. It is both uplifting and thought provoking. I’m actually convinced that this artist can credibly perform almost any style of music. I highly recommend the accompanying video for this song as well, which features highly professional visuals, avant garde vibes and adds a worthwhile dimension to the listening experience.
AM2PM is a new album from hip hop artist, Sxee Finesse. Sparking and surreal, this is one of the more imaginative hip hop releases in recent memory. Enveloped within a futuristic aesthetic, the synth-driven sound is abstract and experimentally structured in a dreamlike fashion. The thematic synergy between all the elements is allows the listener to appreciate the artist’s cohesive vision, which is ultimately one of love and creativity.
Sxee Finesse’s delivery is fast, smooth and free floating. His casual and reflective demeanor matches perfectly with the tone of the music, while the layering effects create an other worldly atmosphere. These recordings almost feel like a window into someone’s inner thoughts. Thankfully in this case, these thoughts are brimming with euphoric sentimentality and positive vibes. The performances (including those of guest artists Trill Will & SMG-Zear) are all really on point.
Some tracks like ZAZA! make effective use of classic anime samples. The samples are magnetic and engaging, yet one also has to marvel at just how well they fit with the ambiance. Snippets of this variety can either enhance or disrupt a song, and in the case of ZAZA! they dreamily accentuate it. My favorite jam on here is probably ANTI-POP! which features an incredible chiptune-style backing. It’s like when you’re playing a video game, and you really enjoy the music in a certain level or area of the game, and you just want to keep playing over and over.
Apparently, this album has been a long time in the making. Though it only has 8 tracks in total, AM2PM is epic in all the ways that matter. It’s romantic, sincere, musically competent and artistically innovative. Sxee Finesse has managed to cultivate his own distinct style, and it’s a sonically and aesthetically pleasing one at that.
Dinah Might is a new single from iconic band, Electric Peace. Fronted by infamous lead singer Brian Kild (who had some interesting run-ins with Kurt Cobain and Rick James back in the day) Electric Peace blends elements of its garage/punk/psychedelic roots with a mature and vibrant sound. This latest track features aquatic vibes and surf rock style instrumentals. Passionate vocals drive the action in this electrifying anthem. Kild’s voice runs on pure charisma. The song’s structure is dynamic and fluid, taking a lot of creative twists and turns. Dinah Might is packed with powerful psychic energy and offers up a genuinely groovy listening experience.
Metele is a new single from Buenos Aires-based artist, Solar. This is high octane dance music at its finest. Featuring a pulsating beat, the sound is exotic and intense. It has an almost mechanical, deep space quality. The mix itself is extremely smooth, staying within the most sonically pleasing frequencies. I guess you could describe this style as an eclectic blend of house variants. It’s futuristic and other worldly, while retaining the fundamentals of standard electronic tracks. This jam will light up a dance floor, but it’s also mind expanding and will activate the outer regions of your brain. Meditate to this song and astral project to the stars. Metele is a clean and professional release, with enough melodic charm and imagination to stand out artistically.
Something is a new single from Massachusetts-based acoustic pop artist, Jake Tuvek. This avant garde and sentimental track is mesmerizingly entrancing. Featuring lush reverb, colorful harmonies and a bright acoustic mix, this song emits feel good vibes for the duration of its compact runtime (just over 2 minutes.) The minimalist structure is thickened and enhanced by vocal layering. The concentrated presentation gives Something an intimate quality, allowing the listener to appreciate the track’s subtleties.
The tone is soulful and spiritual. While the pacing itself is mellow, the song offers up some emotionally climactic moments, where Jake Tuvek manages to hit some impressive high notes. This is one of those indie gems with broad appeal. It could work as a commercial pop hit or a coffee house classic or both.
Like You Do is a new single from Florida-based R&B/pop artist, Markeisha Ronae. The sound is in the same style as Whitney Houston, Brandy Norwood and Destinys Child (Markeisha also cites influences like Mali music, Jonathan McReynolds and Tank). Anyone can recognize it though. It’s just that deep and delightfully soulful R&B. Few vocalists have the skill or bravery required to sing this kind of music, but Markeisha’s voice is up to the challenge. Her performance is both powerful and delicately sentimental, brimming with thoughtful sensitivity.
From a technical standpoint she’s equally impressive, demonstrating the sort of exceptional vocal maneuvers that one just can’t fake. The backing music is fresh and vibrant. It’s melodic and colorful, but in a creative way that gives the track a distinct personality. Markeisha Ronae really has her own style, blending the timeless and contemporary. Like You Do is definitely a chart worthy song.
Pawns & Giants is a brand new album from hip hop artist, YoRel. This guy is an indie hip hop legend. He’s been in the game for decades and originally built up a following the old school DIY way, by marketing CDs and cassettes to people in person. While he now takes advantage of 21st century distribution channels, his music still has that organic and real feel to it. A factoid I remember about YoRel from reviewing one of his previous releases is that he is the nephew of co-pilot Leroy Homer (one of the heroes of Flight 93 on 9/11).
YoRel’s recent album, When Ink Turns To Blood was massive and contained 24(!) tracks. The release was probably most memorable for the iconic song Crossroads II (featuring Krayzie Bone and Justin Moore), as well as the soulful mini-hit, Gods & Devils (feat. Ekaterina & Arianna Celaeno). There was so much material I didn’t even get a chance to cover it all in the last article. Crackpot-Jukebox was another noteworthy song, with its exotic, almost medieval-style backing music, and theatrical dialogue. Many of YoRel’s songs have a conversational presentation. At times it’s like your listening to the soundtrack of a hip hop musical or stage production.
Pawns & Giants, YoRel’s newest album includes songs which he didn’t have space for on the last one. Don’t let that fool you though, these jams are every bit as good. He incorporates a lot of spoken word narration, creatively intertwined with robust hip hop. YoRel also offers up a lot of casual social commentary, making references to current events, often in subtle and humorous ways. He doesn’t beat you over the head with his message, but rather challenges you to think about what it is he’s getting at. His lyrical style is very cerebral, and even when he’s seems cynical, there’s always an inspirational theme swimming around in the undercurrents.
That being said, there are some real powerhouse tracks on here. Often times, YoRel draws you in with a cozy narration intro and then bam! The hard hitting action kicks in, and his delivery comes at you full throttle. He really makes excellent usage of sound effects and background ambiance. The song Black Opps for example, plays like a thrilling A-Team adventure. The title track Pawns & Giants lays down straight up real talk about how the world operates…taking no prisoners. Yorel also proves once again that he’s a master of retro pop culture (Steven Seagal references, etc), and some of his most clever similes and analogies may whiz right over listeners’ heads if those individuals are below a certain age. It won’t matter though, because these jams are wild.
This is top tier entertainment honestly, party central. My favorite song is probably Grandma’s Soup. It’s very well put together, and serves as a window to YoRel’s sentimental side. Overall, Pawns & Giants is an intelligent and thought provoking release. There’s a lot of good hip hop out there now, but this album is a reminder of just how advanced some of the more experienced hip hop pros are. This is big league stuff right here.