All posts by brandon adamson

Brielle Monique – Hallucinate

Brielle_Monique_artwork

San Diego born singer Brielle Monique’s new single, Hallucinate (scheduled to be released on August 31, 2018) showcases her classically trained and well curated vocal abilities. Her voice certainly doesn’t have anywhere to hide in the mix. Musically, Hallucinate is a very minimalist jam, and Brielle’s vocals really do carry the tune. The track slowly builds from a near acapella beginning and blossoms into a sprightly intricate pop song. It’s a trick to maintain the balance between displaying soft emotion and demonstrating vitality, and Brielle Monique manages to accomplish this both lyrically and musically. What instrumental backing there is does an excellent job at complementing Monique’s voice rather than obscuring it.

For more info:
https://www.instagram.com/brielle.music
https://www.facebook.com/officialbriellemusic

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Phteven Universe – Space Parachute

phtevenuniverse

A while back I reviewed the single, Space Parachute which had initially been released by Francis Nally under the moniker “King Trode.” Well, now the song is officially out in the form a the title track of a new EP, falling under the umbrella of Nally’s Phteven Universe project.

There’s no point in re-reviewing the song Space Parachute, since my original remarks on it still stand:

What a sparkly little synth hook this jam has! It’s as if someone threw something together really quick, chucked it at a wall and it bounced in my direction and stuck in my head like a superball to the brain. Basically, this track is the little orphan Annie of hidden indie pop hits. King Trode’s Space Parachute is exactly what it would sound like if you took Sega Genesis video game music and added vocals that sounded eerily similar in style to those of Dal Winslow of The Trashmen singing the 60′s classic, Surfin Bird (aka “The Bird is the Word” song.)

However, it’s worthwhile to discuss the other content included on the EP. The second track, Ralph Was a Homosexual is an electronic dance jam based around a sample taken from a bizarre 1961 PSA titled Boys Beware, which warns against the dangers of “homosexual predators.” There are no lyrics to speak of other than the voice from the sample saying “Ralph was a homosexual” at various speeds (and sometimes abbreviated.) It reminds me of techno songs from the early 90s, which used samples from old movies during a brief break in the music, followed by the beat kicking back in. L.A Style’s hit, James Brown is Dead is a classic example of this, as well as Euphoria’s I like Noise. However, Nally’s song is more of a laid back, hypnotic space synth than any kind of intense opera techno. My favorite part of the song is the Simon Says / Close Encounters styled synth that makes an appearance at the 1:36 part. I wish it had come earlier in the song, but it’s worth the wait.

The next song, MACH!NEZ is a brief one, clocking in at just less than a minute, but it makes good use of panning and the beat is impressively memorable. I could actually see MACH!NEZ being used as some kind of techno-futurist or transhumanist national anthem, to be played before animatronic basketball games someday.

The EP rounds out with a 9 minute live recording of Phteven Universe performing at The Sound Hole in Philadelphia, PA. For a live venue performance the music comes through surprisingly crystal clear. I was expecting it to sound kind of shitty with a lot of drunk normie voices and feedback in the background. So, even though this EP is technically four tracks, it actually includes several “bonus” songs within the live performance track, each of which are of excellent listening quality.

Space Parachute is a solid EP in its totality, but it is worth it even for just the opening song.

EYES ACUTE, SPACE PARACHUTE,
WAS WONDERING, IF YOU LIKE TO DO IT AGAIN!

Yes, I think I will listen to this again. Don’t mind if I do.

For more info:
https://choamcharity.bandcamp.com/album/space-parachute

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Chedda Cheese – Growing up in the 90s

chedda-cheese

Canadian based rapper “Chedda Cheese” came out with the song Growing up in the 90s a few years ago. It should have been a huge hit but didn’t really get the attention it deserved. It’s a “backwards alphabet” styled song, which lists things which were popular in the 90s, incorporating them lyrically into the track. I’m more of an 80′s kid, but I came of age in the 90s so I can relate to most of this stuff (whether or not I actually “grew up” in the 90s or ever for that matter is up for debate.) Also there is some decade overlap here with certain items like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Metroid, Unitards and Zelda, each of which first gained popularity in the 1980s (though unitards actually achieved a level fashionability in the late 1970′s.)

Anyway, I heard this song a few years ago when it was first released, and it was so catchy that I still have the chorus in my head frequently, even though I’ve barely listened to this song since:

The snapbacks with those rims so shiny
in track pants watching Friends is where you’ll find me
This is what it’s like growing up in the nineties

I never was a fan of the show Friends. In fact I hated it, and I don’t recall ever sitting through a full episode in the entire run of the series. However, I did wear the shit out of plenty of pairs of Adidas track pants back in those days. Nowadays if you rock tracksuits, people assume you’re LARPing as a Slav (especially if you’re prone to squatting.) Not so in the 90′s. Almost everybody sported such attire. Enough about my personal wardrobe history and television show preferences though (for the record I watched Melrose Place and Party of Five.)

Bottom line, Growing up in the 90s is a rad jam and should have made the Billboard Top 25 at least. Chedda is a talented guy and deserves some recognition for creating this underground, retro-thematic classic.

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The Blankz – White Baby

BlankzCover_white_baby

You wouldn’t know from their music that The Blankz (a Phoenix based band) formed as recently as 2017. Their new EP/single, White Baby, is so tightly put together musically that if I had been too lazy to read the group’s bio, I would just have assumed they must have been playing together for at least a decade. Their music falls somewhere within the realm of “weirdo pop punk.” It has a very 90′s vibe to it, not in a gimmicky kind of way, it’s just that you’d almost have to go back that far to find this style of music being put out at this level of quality. In a deeper sense though, White Baby brings people back to a more innocent era, the pre-9/11 days before confrontational politics and war dominated the discussion in our everyday lives. I’m talking about those 105 degree summer nights spent skateboarding and loitering at suburban Phoenix strip malls (yes I’m from here as well,) when our most heated arguments were over bands and girls. Our tense confrontations were mostly reserved for our interactions with the security guards about to kick us out of the same spot for the millionth time.

White Baby features solid playing, quirky lyrics, and perhaps most importantly…substance. Yes, wrapped up in White Baby’s musical bundle of joy is a theme about the songwriter’s identity. Tommy Blank is white but was apparently adopted into a Mexican family. The song subtly relates his struggles with identity growing up within this unconventional familial arrangement. It is all presented in an upbeat, fun and energetic musical context. The lyrics are extremely catchy, and if you listen to this song even once, the chorus will stick with you. The video for White Baby takes on a kind of desert rockabilly aesthetic, interspersing vintage home movie footage with present day shots of the band around town.

theblankz

There is a second jam on this release as well. The song Sissy Glue boasts some killer synth, the vibrato of which resonates throughout the song. The tone is reminiscent of action oriented battle music in old school games like Double Dragon. Sissy Glue contains lyrics concerned with huffing, but really the track is about so much more. It’s sort of a coming of age story told in a very creative way. The synth on this EP is notable because it is what separates the band’s sound it from so many other bands in this genre.

White Baby/Sissy Glue is quite simply, badass. Living in Phoenix, this is easily one of the coolest current bands in the valley, and I’m kind of surprised I haven’t heard anything about them until now.

For more info:

http://theblankzband.com/
https://soundcloud.com/theblankz
https://www.facebook.com/theblankzband/
https://www.instagram.com/theblankzband/

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King Trode – Space Parachute

manticore

What a sparkly little synth hook this jam has! It’s as if someone threw something together really quick, chucked it at a wall and it bounced in my direction and stuck in my head like a superball to the brain. Basically, this track is the little orphan Annie of hidden indie pop hits. King Trode’s Space Parachute is exactly what it would sound like if you took Sega Genesis video game music and added vocals that sounded eerily similar in style to those of Dal Winslow of The Trashmen singing the 60′s classic, Surfin Bird (aka “The Bird is the Word” song.) Yes, Space Parachute is awesome all right. With a decent video, there would be some real potential here.

For more info:
https://soundcloud.com/kingtrode

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Ezra Jordan – 10 Miles a Minute

ezrajordan

Singer/songwriter Ezra Jordan’s latest single 10 Miles a Minute almost defies categorization. It has elements of indie pop, funk, mainstream pop, soul, with the background music at times giving the song an almost Caribbean, tropical vibe. Jordan’s clearly a skilled vocalist, with his voice demonstrating some impressive dynamicism at certain points of the track. In spite of the song’s title, the music starts off at a slow pace but builds into a funky and energetic little dance number. This is a respectable recording with a solid vocal performance. I’m most impressed with how well the song is put together. There are a lot of musical components to it which are delicately placed in the mix. This song is a complicated piece of musical machinery, and somehow nothing seems out of place.

For more info:

https://www.ezrajordan.com/
http://www.facebook.com/EzraJordanMusic

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Grayson Erhard – Earthship – EP

Grayson_Erhard__Earthship_cover_art

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but they never said anything about albums. When I saw the aesthetic artwork for Grayson Erhard’s new EP, Earthship I already had a good feeling about the music. It’s pretty straightforward indie folk / alternative but very well performed and produced professionally. This is not lo-fi coffee house music. It’s interesting that the EP is titled Earthship as the music itself has an earthy quality to it, like the artist is in tune with nature (which could be explained by his growing up in a small Colorado town.) The video for his song I Will was filmed on location at Great Sand Dunes National Park. What’s memorable about his style is that his songs often start out mellow, to where you think they will be quiet, with soft spoken vocals and acoustic strumming for the duration, and then everything slowly builds and kicks into high gear, both emotionally and musically, where it all rocks hard.

For more info:

https://graysonerhard.com/
https://facebook.com/graysonerhardmusic

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Summy – Sus

summy_sus

Rising popstar “Summy” (aka Summer Ferguson) has all the ingredients to reach the next level. She’s pretty, has a great voice, use a catchy one word name as a moniker, all of which she combines with some very well produced pop music. This girl is just oozing with star quality and has more substance to offer than most artists currently on the radio. Summy’s new single Sus differentiates itself in a subtle, yet brilliant way. Summy’s lead vocals come through crystal clear, without being hampered or drowned out by annoying effects processing. The effects are instead applied to background and “side vocals,” which in effect act an additional synth instrument.

Summy’s versatile voice carries the song well with impeccable timing. This song also has a seductive quality and is filled with jealousy and sexual intrigue. People will connect with this jam, and Summer Ferguson is going places. Forget voting for Pedro. Vote for Summy, and it will be summer all year round.

For more info:

https://fanlink.to/summy
https://www.instagram.com/summerferguson/
https://twitter.com/summysideup

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