California group Africali’s “You Don’t Love Him Quite Like You Love Me” has a pleasant 1970′s folk aesthetic. The percussion elements and musical backing contribute to creating a really authentic ambiance. I would love to hear how this sounds on vinyl. It would make an excellent track to relax to on a summer afternoon. You can listen to it here on Soundcloud.
Valley Joe, a rapper from Vallejo, CA has a new single out called, “If I Got Rich.” Like the title suggests, the lyrics mostly about what he would do with the money in the event he accumulated a lot of it. The production is good, and the eerie backing is well chosen. Valley Joe has an assertive style and tone to his delivery, which gets the point across clearly and plainly to the listener. I recommend you check out his music if you are into contemporary West Coast hip hop / NorCal style.
Hailing from Greensboro, NC, Jerrel Moore has a new mixtape out, titled, “Dear Nas.” It seems to be somewhat personal and autobiographical as the songs attempt to convey various aspects of his personality, experiences and outlook to his son(the first sample is one of a baby crying) He has a mellow, echoey kind of delivery style. The production and sample integration seems to fit well. The lyrics are more personal than you would expect from this kind of recording but often interesting and unpredictable. You can check out Jerrel Moore’s mixtape here:
Jreasn, an artist from Buffalo, NY has a new single out titled, “That Way.” Jreasn seems like you’re average rapper at first, but what’s especially impressive about his music is how he manages to avoid falling back on hip hop stereotypes and cliches and is able to create something genuinely new. “That Way” has an artistic musical quality to it which explores the feelings of a woman hurt by the past. The song flows smoothly and has character. It steers clear of the smug aggression and superficialities which are so common in other indie hip hop. Give Jreasn’s music a listen here.
A longtime musician hailing from Scotland, Dave Bremner is releasing a new single, “Gentle Healing” with Shine On Records. As one of the first to get a listen to the song, my immediate impression is that Bremner’s music is incredibly genuine and heartfelt. The craftsmanship in “Gentle Healing” is apparent from the beginning, and the production quality is excellent. The guitar playing and singing is flawless throughout. There’s nothing amateurish to be found in this recording. Dave Bremner is a total pro. What’s interesting to me is that though he hails from Scotland, the song has almost a country western feel to it, something I wasn’t really expecting but was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. I’d recommend “Gentle Healing” to anyone who enjoys adult contemporary rock. It delivers in this genre but with a sincerity and uniqueness that propel it beyond stereotypes.
Blue Moon Harem(a band featuring members of a popular 90′s band from Boston called ‘Requiem’) has just finished their third studio album. It’s titled “Deep Into Blue.” It is extremely well put together and has kind of an alternative pop feel to it. Listening to these tracks made me nostalgic for times when good music was still played on the radio. The arrangements and production quality are top notch, but not in the overproduced, overprocessed, effects ridden way most music is today. This comes across as a very professional album, made by people who take their craft seriously and have spent decades working on it.
The vocals by Jonathan Bix particularly stand out as terrific. He has an excellent range and wisely doesn’t drown out the sound with a lot of unnecessary effects and filters. A good example of this is on the track “Lucky,” which was my personal favorite.
I recommend checking out their website and social media sites for updates on their new album.
Was floored by this incredible song from Dan Mclean Jr. If this track is any indication of the level of quality for his upcoming album, then I predict it will be extremely well received. He’s an incredibly gifted singer, a real pro. Also, unlike many other performers in this genre, Mclean has a great sense of aesthetic and an avant garde style, as is evident by watching the video for “I’ve Seen Love,” which features an assortment of classic tv clips, put together in an artistic fashion.
Rich Newly is a rapper from Fontana, CA. His songs have kind of a mellow classic 90′s California style. The beats and samples bring to minds old school analog stuff like Tribe Called Quest. Rich’s song with the best aesthetic in my opinion is probably “Run It.” It’s catchy. The flow is smooth, and the jam has a killer intro.
Indie singer, songwriter “STV” has another new album out called SOS on Hembot Records. It’s every bit as good as the last one which I reviewed sometime ago. STV describes himself as a multi-instrumentalist, and that’s definitely evident here. SOS features arange of different synth and guitar sounds throughout the 9 tracks. STV’s music seems to skillfully combine elements of chillwave with a sort of dark, brooding indie alternative style. The impressive vocals and complex lyrics both help to illustrate STV’s storytelling ability.
Based in western Connecticut, Catalina Shortwave spends a lot of time in the New England woods, and it shows in their music’s refreshingly organic tone. With their new album “Radio Voodoo – Songs From the Dark End of the Soul,” you get the idea right away with the opening jam, “Your Old Letters.” This is just good old fashioned, homegrown rock n’ roll.
The best way to describe their sound is that it would not seem out of place on the soundtrack to any mid to late 80s horror movie(think “The Wraith” with Charlie Sheen.) That is of course, a good thing. Connecticut and New England bands tend to trend toward indie or hipster aesthetic. Catalina Shortwave give off more of a veteran, musician vibe. The vocals stand out in particular. The singer, David Rizzo, can really sing. I’m talking Iron Maiden quality here singing here. You won’t find a bunch of autotune or pitch correction on these recordings. The guitars have the perfect amount of distortion and have achieved that tube-warmth tone every audiophile is on a quixotic quest for.
My favorite track on the album is Darkstar, an action packed track which perfectly encapsulates this style of music.