Motor Honey (Peace) is a new track from Heavy AmericA, an alternative hard rock band out of Boston, MA. These guys definitely have some chops. Their sound reminds me of the late 80′s early 90s hard rock bands I remember growing up with, the kind that would appear on the soundtracks of cool horror movies and late night HBO action flicks. There’s nothing really “retro” or gimmicky about the song, but listening to this jam makes you remember how great it was before autotune and heavy processing became the industry standard. The song has a good clean sound, and the band members play their instruments very well. Motor Honey (Peace) is a testosterone fueld, pulsepounding adventure tune. The video visuals highlights the racing theme of the song, which I guess could be taken literally and/or metaphorically in the romantic sense. The music has a high power level, and the singer has the perfect voice for this genre of music. Singing well at this level of volume is way more difficult than most people realize, and this guy pulls it off. The performance here is very charismatic, and while this song will certainly get you pumped, there is a sentimental subtext to it that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Ease Up (Into Love) is a new single from Jay Elle, a NYC based singer, songwriter and guitar player. His style falls within the realm of adult contemporary/country pop. One thing I was really blow away by was the guitar tone on this track. It’s so crystal clear and has the perfect sparkling chime to it. It’s the first thing that hits you and really leaves an impression, like you already know the song is going to be good. The vocals are really what give this jam its pop flavor. Jay has one of those bright, summertime voices that leaves you feeling upbeat and optimistic. He also employs some nice echo and reverb, giving the track a slightly dreamier ambiance than what we’d normally associate with country. This song is definitely chartworthy, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it playing in a commercial during a football game or something. It’s well crafted, professional, and a top tier representation of its genre.
Singer/songwriter Brandon James has released a music video for his recent single, So Emotional. The video is crisp and professional, with image quality on par with a television studio or indie theatrical release film. This R&B jam is ultra smooth and Brandon’s visual expressiveness matches the level of his soulful delivery. The video is mellow and not too flashy, keeping with James’ motif of substance and sincerity. It is very difficult to perform this kind of heartfelt material in front of an audience, let alone on camera. Brandon James is a true professional. The video has a light romantic narrative which intersperses with footage of James and his backing musicians performing. Both the song and the video for So Emotional radiate with class. The best part is that it just seems to come naturally for this guy.
Shattered is a new single from singer/songwriter Mason Roberts. The appears on his recently released EP, Bittersweet. Mason’s vocals are primarily what drive the action, and that’s a good thing because this guy can really sing. There’s no aggressive autotune or annoying processing. Mason’s voice is strong enough he probably could have even made it past the judges on American Idol. This music is too good and sincere for that though anyway. He sings in a way that’s heartfelt and emotionally expressive. The backing music is bright and full, with a somewhat uplifting ambiance (despite the title of the song.) Shattered has a certain dreamlike and surreal quality to it. The pacing is light but there’s still enough powerful energy in the song to get your pulse going. Shattered is a fine example of a professional vocalist doing his thing. I hope this jam gets some traction, cause it contains a solid performance.
You’ll Be Okay is a new album from Canadian based group, Northeastbeats. Clockinh in at 16 tracks, it is a full album, gargantuan even. The sound falls somewhere between hip hop and trip hop. One of the most impressive things about this album are the retrofuturistic backbeats, which wouldn’t seem out of place on the soundtrack to Logan’s Run or some other 1970s scifi film. The rapping style also is surprisingly original, incorporating elements of alternative and vocal effects which would normally be more associated with indie rock. The delivery frequently transitions from a mellow and chill pacing to quick witted and adrenaline fueled. All of the songs on here are very full, and it’s really amazing just how much lyrical substance and elaborate storytelling are packed into this release. My favorite track on here is probably Old Cartoons, mostly because I just like the beat. Every song on here is distinct and has a worthy identity of its own. Check these guys out. They’re more creative than the average hip hop outfit.
Pick It Up is a new single from hip hop artists Voss Soss and L-Shadaii. The two rappers’ styles complement one another well. Voss’s delivery style is mellow, low-key and hypnotic while L-Shadaii’s is quick witted and biting. It’s a crisp combo. This jam is haunting and intelligent with a leering backbeat. It’s chill, but the listener can definitely sense the underlying seriousness and suspense. Both of these talents have distinct and memorable voices, and their performances progressively increase in intensity through the duration of the song. The timing is on point, especially apparent in the more complicated lyrical portions of the track. For his part Voss Soss displays presence and a quiet charisma. This is indeed an entertaining track, which even includes an unexpected reference to David Beckham
Virtual Prison is a new single from HeroSoul, the project of Christian hard rock and metal artist, Austin Hale. This isn’t your typical Christian rock release though. It contains elements of electronic, industrial and makes use of some futuristic vocal effects. The mix is very full and layered, giving the track a very substantive sound. The biblical references and narration are enveloped in melodic guitars and a pulsepounding backbeat. Vocals on this recording are hypnotic and easy on the ears, and the bible passages are real (such as Luke 16:22.) Wisely, HeroSoul focuses a lot of energy on making high quality music, which will make people more receptive to the message. The song would be enjoyable to listen to even if someone wasn’t religious and was just into Nu-Metal. As the title suggests, Virtual Prison relates to the troubled world of confusion we all live in, and the artist offers us one path forward toward finding peace and saving ourselves.
Production on this release is very good for an indie single. The sound is very clear and professional, as good as anything you’d hear on a prominent label. Some of the guitar work is also pretty rad. It’s very technical and epic at some parts. Metal guitarists can always seem to shred so impressively. I really don’t know how they do it. Incorporating the electronic sounds and the vocal digitization gives the song a 90′s industrial vibe, while the guitars keep it in the realm of metal/hard rock. All in all, this is a very powerful release, both musically and spiritually. This guy created a song worth listening to, so check it out and maybe his message will resonate with you. If not, it’s still a far out jam.
VOL. II is a new album from hip hop group, Pomagranite. They’re actually based out of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and perhaps their name is a reference to New Hampshire being known as “The Granite State.” The album however, was written and recorded while the group was on a recent trip to Los Angeles. VOL. II is an impressive release that just oozes with style. They utilize unconventional beats that are phenomenal musically and often sound like something out of a 60s sci-fi film or old Twilight Zone episode (particularly the case with FUH BIDDEN and SMART DOLLAH.) You get a sense of Pomagranite’s talent right off the bat with the first track, DUFFLE, which is probably my favorite song on here. The delivery is quick and precise, indicative of rappers that are really skilled verbal acrobats and not just going through the motions busting rhymes or posturing. These guys also make creative use of production, experimenting with some interesting processing and vocal effects I honestly haven’t really heard anywhere else. This album really does capture the cool and out there vibe of Southern California ambiance. The whole package of this release comes together quite nicely. It has a great album cover to live up to, and the music won’t let you down.
Crazy is a new single from TonAsh and Judah the Lion, two artists from the Bahamas. The song has a fresh analog style intro complete with vintage guitar, crackle and tape hiss before the track kicks into full effect. One can detect some subtle Caribbean vibes in the backing beat, accented also by a unique whistling sound. Musically the song has a very summer afternoon groovin feel. The vocal delivery is very light and peppy yet genuine, making could usage of vocal layering for the backups. The front vocals come across as lively, energetic and surprisingly sensitive. The repetition makes the song very catchy, with the phrase “I feel like I’m going crazy” getting stuck in your head within the first listen, and I can certainly relate to the sentiments. Crazy also has an excellent little outro (again featuring the whistle.) This jam should have a nice, balanced international appeal.
Kingdom of Moments is a new single from Astroblue Express, a band from New York. The spacelike, ethereal ambiance is fronted by some absolutely dreamy female vocals. It’s like if you combined Erasure with Olivia Newton John or Princess Chelsea. There’s enough of a backbeat that you can dance to this. I can only imagine elevated level of consciousness one would experience if hearing this in a club setting. The song is very abstract and lyrically and spritually helps separate the listener from the material world, taking us on a journey to a kingdom with more to offer. I really enjoyed this jam. The vocals are hypnotic and practically magical.