Singer Christopher Vincent has recorded a cover version of The Chainsmokers’ hit song “Don’t Let Me Down.” Vincent’s vocals take center stage in the song, steering it it toward more of an R&B and gospel sound, while retaining the Caribbean elements as well as the track’s dance club appeal. He draws from an eclectic range of influences, from Motown to hip hop and can be difficult to pin down into a genre. Vincent comes across as a professional in his singing, clearly having some formal training under his belt. The production quality of the video itself is also very good.
Hip Hop artist Baltimore Ledge has a new single and video titled “One High.” The song is fast paced and flows easily. It mostly manages to avoid a lot of rap cliches seems to aim for a higher artistic quality. The cinematography for the video is particularly good and illustrates a level of professionalism and seriousness that’s not usually seen in these types of videos. This release strikes me as something that is as good or better than most hip hop you’d heard on the radio. It’s definitely more genuine.
Artist Stig Gustu Larsen has a new album out called “Lifelines + Echoes.” It’s a very personal album which contains several songs and deals with losing someone close. Though the songs grapple with sadness and have a slow pacing, they don’t come across as depressing. The tone is actually very uplifting. The style of music is sort of an adult contemporary pop, acoustic “singer/songwriter” variety. His vocals are on point and a good fit for this genre. Stig’s many years of musical experience are evident in the overall high quality of the arrangements. Everything here sounds very professional. It’s good music for a rainy day.
Hip hop artist Mel has a new jam out called “Late Nights.” It’s very smooth and the jazzy background grooves actually do give the song a feel of being on a late night drive through the city thinking things out. The production quality is very good and Mel’s delivery is measured and easy going. A lot of times, a rapper’s tone or volume doesn’t fit with the mood of the music. This isn’t the case with Mel, whose style lends itself well to the theme and vibe of the music behind it.
You can find more info on Mel and listen to some of his tracks here.
As of midnight tonight, Queens artist Mikey Shyne has a new single out titled “I Really Want.” Mikey describes his music as a “blend of pop,rock, hip hop and urban” genres. “I Really Want” comes across as a very upbeat and energetic track. Parts of it almost seem to have a Caribbean pop vibe. These are probably my favorite portions of the song. The production quality is top notch, as professional sounding as anything you’d hear on the radio. You can find more info about Mikey Shyne’s music on his website, here.
Big Chris wants you to know he’s returned after being out of the scene for a few months. He released a mixtape a few years ago called “In One Hand,” which some people might remember. His latest single is called “F the World,” which despite the bleak title, is intended to be motivational and promotes the idea of overcoming the adversity life throws at you. It has an RNB/hip hop club vibe. It has a radio pop quality to it, but the vulgar lyrics would probably preclude it from being played at your local mall’s background music. The track is available to listen to on Spotify, here.
You can learn more about Big Chris and his upcoming album “Good Timing” at http://www.bigchrisrnb.com/
Los Angeles based songwriter and guitar player Kal M is releasing his second EP, “Kalmworld.” It contains six songs, but the standout track to me is City Nights, for which a pretty solid video was produced. One thing that makes this song work so well is how it perfectly captures the ambiance as implied by the title(of both the track and the EP.) With it’s clean production and mellow pacing, “City Nights” has a calming effect. You get the feeling of driving around the city late in the evening, when the nightlife has died down and you’re just cruising and thinking. In that sense, it’s almost a futuristic R&B, like if you mixed rhythm and blues with something like vaporwave. Other songs like “I’m ready” and “Hands Out” are more peppy and energetic, but have a similar vibe. Kal M is a very talented songwriter and deserves some more recognition.
The song “Shine On” delivers its message in a refreshingly upbeat manner. It’s performed by Darick DDS Spears, Natalie Jean, and Dennis Sy, an unlikely trio, with each coming from different musical backgrounds. They bring it together to create a positive sound which mixes light hip hop with elements of jazz and with a bit of Caribbean flavor. It reminds me somewhat of late 90′s pop classics like Vitamin C’s “Smile,” only with more substantive content. The song conveys its subject matter in a unifying and friendship seeking tone, which should allow listeners to be more receptive rather than feel instantly alienated the way they would with less tactfully presented material. The performers all balance each other very well, and nothing seems out of place. Musically, “Shine On” hooks you in right away with it’s funky and festive intro and is never boring. The only downside to this jam is that it’s just a single. It’s a good one though.
Herman Martinez, a self described singer/songwriter/multi-Instumentalist from N.J, has a new album out titled, “Solopsi Radio.” It was produced by Ahmed Mahmoud. The songs have an experimental quality to them that seem to mix different rock genres, while including obscure samples and defying traditional song structures. The very first song, “Phonic Chronicles” is a good example of this. It’s very hard to classify but still rocks just the same. A lot of the songs vaguely remind me of variations of 90′s indie experimental music. The track “Sculptor” has an alternative feel to it, reminiscent of old school Sebadoh. One element that seems to work really well is the way each song continuously builds momentum. Often they begin with very minimal guitars or quiet samples/noise, but slowly work their way up toward bellowing, blended chaos and a darker, fuller sound. With 11 songs total and nearly an hour of music, this album delivers a great variety of content. I’d recommend this album to anyone who is looking for music that isn’t boring. It leaves you with a great feeling of not knowing what to expect.
An alumni of the Berklee College of Music, Coreena proves herself to be a more than capable performer and songwriter as well. Her upcoming EP, “She, Myself and I,” is set to be released on August 24th. Though she writes and produces her own material, the finished product sounds remarkably professional. Her new EP aspires to be a “conceptual album of her different musical personalities.” The song “Sugar Love Glow” has kind of a mellow, ambient dance quality to it. “Apocalyptic” can be described as a unique mix of 1950s lounge singer vocals with a tribal techno beat backing. I was blown away by all the songs on the EP, but my favorite has to be “Ex-girlfriend.” It is energetic and upbeat, with a synth driven chorus that really carries the song. When it kicks in, you get that feeling like “Yes! I’m way into this.” I recommend you buy this EP when it comes out. This music is much better than anything you’ll hear on the radio. Pure class.