When I first heard I was going to be reviewing someone’s cover of Don Henley’s 80′s hit, “The Boys of Summer” I groaned a little bit and wasn’t particularly looking forward to it. I’m not a huge fan of the 80′s adult rock genre, except maybe to sing along with ironically on road trips or put on blast as a guilty pleasure in traffic.
To my surprise, I was absolutely blown away by rock/metal guitarist “Xander Demos” and his cover of the song. He reinvents “Boys of Summer” into more of a heavy metal jam. Henley’s track was released in 1984 and had that kind of cheesy power pop/rock vibe. Xander’s version has more of a 1989-90 feel to it, a sort of polished metal with epic guitar solos like Iron Maiden. It is an amazing recording, and the vocals are flawless. To call it a cover song does not to it justice. I dare say that this is actually even better than the original. Xander is obviously a total pro guitar player, and this is top notch in every way.
New York-based R&B singer/songwriter Wadena is celebrating her birthday with the independent release of her back-to-school dance single “Let’s Get It” on Aug. 31st, 2015. All the R&B, Hip Hop and Reggae lovers will enjoy Wadena’s birthday release. You can pre-order “Let’s Get It” now at www.wadenapyatt.com
Wadena’s birthday single, “Let’s Get It” is a Southern styled mix of R&B and hip hop. The female vocals that kick in around the 35 second mark are highly impressive and one of the highlights of the jam for me. The song as a whole comes across as very polished, rhythmic and well produced. It achieves the ideal sound for this genre and hits all the right buttons.
A young Californian girl who goes by the moniker “Masked Misiz“(which I presume is pronouced like Mrs. and not the Italian way that it sort of looks like) has a well produced single recently out called, “I Do What I Like.” It’s a relatively straightforward pop jam with a little bit of spice and some “halloween-like” backing music. The melody in the background is fairly hypnotic and sets the mood of the song. Masked M’s rapping is faster and more aggressive than you might expect from looking at her photo. One of the better elements of the cadence in the song is the back and forth switching from fast to slow. It kind of reminds me of a female member of Bone Thugz to be…or maybe if TLC had made a Halloween special. Give this song a listen and make up your own mind.
At first glance at her aesthetic I was expecting Soo Han to be some kind of mainstream, dance pop artist. So it was great to discover that she’s actually much more advanced than that. Her music is decidedly jazz influenced, and she reminds me of those talented lounge singers from the early half of the 20th century.
Soo Han’s latest jam is titled “I Don’t Want You Anyway,” and it’s quite impressive. The song title and the bitingly spiteful lyrics give the listener the distinct impression of a girl that “doth protest too much.” We get the feeling she is trying to convince herself(that she doesn’t want the man described in the song) moreso than convince “we the listeners.”
An accomplished and well studied musician, Soo Han clearly knows how to compose and construct a quality song. She’s a highly capable singer as well. The rich piano backing gives the music an elevated mood that would never have been achieved by some generic dance beats. This girl is extremely talented, and I’d like to hear more from her in the future.
New single out from an up and coming group called “A&L.”
According to their bio: A&L is a new act made up of two seasoned industry professionals: Anthony Casuccio and Lana Marie. Anthony is a 20 year music veteran whose production work has been nominated for three Grammy awards, been featured in major music publications and topped the music charts. Lana is an award winning vocalist who has been a long-time force on the East Coast music scene and voice to many jingles on radio and television.
It’s not surprising that the two of them have so much experience when you listen to their music. It’s professionally crafted and performed artfully.
They characterize their latest jam as being “an upbeat, Pop/Rock song with catchy hooks and killer guitar riffs. The in-your-face vocal will have you singing along. With a vocal style that sounds like The Pretty Reckless meets P!nk, Lana delivers a vocal performance that demands your attention.”
The best way I can describe “Onto The Next Heart” is that it is vaguely reminiscent of of the kind of pop/rock music that would be playing at a high school dance in a mid to late 80′s teen movie. That’s quite a good thing actually, and I would hope to see more pop music head in this direction. That isn’t to say that this is a “retro” song by any means. It’s only retro in the sense that pop music has been so horrible in recent years that any good music somehow invokes nostalgic sentiment by default. Would love to hear more from this duo.
Decked Out Boys, an emerging rap group from Mississippi, has put out a fun new jam called “Boppin’” The video features some pretty dank, old school automobiles intercut with scenes of the group dancing(boppin’ presumably)with fans and friends in a park. The video production quality is very good, and the song itself is quite catchy. Probably my favorite component of this video is the guy who is randomly rocking the “meow we’re talking!” t-shirt with the giant cat on it.
My particular notion of boppin is based more along the lines of 1950′s sock hop nostalgia, as articulated in Elton John’s, Crocodile Rock. According to Urban Dictionary though, the term has several possible meanings in modern society. Decked Out Boys are a talented and energetic young group. If this single catches on, their version of Boppin’ could become a popular thing. The song is available on their website.
Checked out a new single from a passionate young rapper from Fort Lauderdale, “Absoloot.”This latest jam is titled “Watch Your Words.” His “speed alternating” delivery style clearly reminds me of mid 90′s Bone Thugs, though not quite as fast(does anyone rap that fast?) Absoloot’s actual voice has a jovial clarity, which gives it a bit of an old school, 80′s MC quality(some of his other songs have more an R&B feel to them.) He uses some interesting layering and echo effects with the vocals, which seem to give his verses a unique sound. The chorus, “Be careful who you serve…Watch your words” feels like it gets repeated in the song about 50 times. I listened to this song only 2 or 3 times, and that phrase was stuck in my head for days. If there is a recurring theme in his songs, it’s that Absoloot is a fairly suspicious fellow, along with being a dreamer. He tends to promote progress and cautions against banksters as well as generalized greed(he actually has songs which are titled “banksters” and “greed.”) “Watch Your Words,” with it’s crisp piano backing, is clearly the best musically and the catchiest of his songs. I recommend you give this a listen. Regardless of the situation, watching one’s words is nearly always good advice.
When I first saw the following statement in the bio of the band, “Them Howling Bones,” I’ll admit I was highly skeptical:
Their blues rock approach to music will take you back to the glory days of rock ‘n roll, when groups like The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and Cream were the backbones of rock music.
That’s setting the bar pretty high. Make no mistake though, the music of “Them Howling Bones” is badass. Incredibly, they weren’t bluffing. They really do capture the mid to late 70′s classic rock sound. One of their best songs, “Luci,” would not have seemed out of place on the “Dazed and Confused” soundtrack.
The song is just very well put together, with dynamic vocals and radical guitar solos. The energy conveyed makes it clear that these guys live for music and enjoy what they’re doing. It’s kind of a shame that popular music of today is such garbage, because if this was 1977…any kid who thought disco sucked would be listening to this(I happen to enjoy disco actually, but I like classic rock as well.) The good news though is that people who truly love to play music care little about money and fame. The process of creating jams such as these is it’s own reward. Everything else is just a bonus. These guys deserve a bonus.
The thing that stands out the most to me in “Sammattick The Rebel’s” album, “Rebelution” is the beautiful piano music that serves as a backdrop for some of the songs. It’s as though he could have released a separate album with just instrumentals, and it could have been used as a soundtrack for some kind of sentimental film. As for the rap in general, the style has a very early 90′s feel(a good thing.) Being a fan of the original 60′s show, my favorite jam is probably the second song “Holy Batmans,” which happens to feature a sample from the hit folk tune, “Reach Out In The Darkness” by Friend and Lover. It’s impossible to come up on the 12th track “Man In The Mirror” without thinking it might be some new rap version of the Michael Jackson classic jam of the same name. The two songs are nothing alike though.
Overall, this is a pretty decent collection of hip hop songs with enough variance in style that anyone should be able to find something they like. Sammattick definitely has some speed skills as a rapper, and some of the retro themes he incorporates seem to work with his style. Despite the album’s cover photo and the title, “Rebelution,” I didn’t really pick up on any heavy political sentiments that would turn people off to listening to it.
As much fun as it is to explore things outside my element, I love when I get the chance to review something that is in the realm of what I would actually listen to, which is why it was refreshing to hear the jams of “Rory’s Insomnia,” a New York based rock group led by female Israeli singer, Rony Corcos. Her voice and music have a kind of mid 90′s alternative/Indie film soundtrack kind of vibe. Her vocals remind me of Sarah McLachlan, but the backing instrumentation is more modern, and he songs softly energetic like The Cranberries. My favorite track on their newly released album, “Count To 10,” is the 7th track, “Emerald City.” It just seems to be the catchiest one with the most potential. All 10 of these songs are good though. They are meticulously put together, elegantly performed, and themed nicely. Take the time to check them out.