Detective Blue is a new single from Grand Rapids-based singer-songwriter, dancer and producer, DRE. Fresh off the presses, this peppy track is brimming with 80′s inspired vibes. Featuring a retro synth-pop backbeat, Detective Blue is a stylish gem that’s sure to stand out in a good way. The vocals are dynamic and expressive, as DRE. belts out the lyrics with stylishly emotive delivery and genuine passion. If this had come out in 1985 there no doubt in my mind it would have been featured on a popular movie soundtrack. Taking inspiration from real icons, this guy is operating at a very high level artistically, and he could run circles over most contemporary pop stars, even just in terms of taste.
Detective Blue is a catchy song, and in a just world this would be in the summertime Top 40 radio rotation. It definitely deserves some recognition. Excellent songwriting combines with quality execution and charismatic energy. The result is top-tier entertainment for your listening pleasure. People will be dancing in their room to this.
If I Were is a new single from artist, Purple Tone Flower (the solo project of Mauricio Flores Sánchez). This reflective track was apparently inspired by the artist’s experience running an errand in the city with his 2 year old son. He noticed his son’s expression of both overwhelming awe and a bit of fear as they maneuvered through the rush hour crowd. So the song basically takes a look at the world through that perspective.
Musically, the song is excellent. Blending elements or rock, funk, pop, and a host of micro-genres, If I Were has a polished and groovy vibe. The guitar work is meticulous and professional, with a sonically pleasing, vintage tone. You can hear every note in its delicate, delightful detail. The ambiance is bright, and the action moves quickly. The emotive and dynamic yet subdued vocals are just the right for this adult contemporary style of music. While the song subtly possesses some melancholic undercurrents, the melody has a nice, bouncy pop to it. Overall, the track cultivates a carefree and inspirational outlook, offering the listener a brief relief from the everyday pressures of city living.
Horas Traviesas is a new single from Damien Knight, who enlisted the talents of fellow artist G-LUCID for this reggaeton banger. To give you a taste of the content, in English the title translates to “naughty hours.” Featuring a captivating intro and exotically melodic backbeat, the song is crisp and catchy. The vocal delivery is tight with the rhythm, while the mid-paced beat is danceable and fresh. This crowd-pleasing club jam is sure to get the juices flowing. The production quality is solid, with a compact and punchy mix. Keep your eyes peeled for Damien and his team: ACTHEKiDFROMSPACE and G-lucid, as they continue to crank out new music releases for the world’s enjoyment.
I’m Wit It is a new single from Cincinnati-based hip hop artist, Pablo Saucekay. One thing that’s striking about this track is that there is very little musical backing. Demonstrating his confidence and capability, the song is almost fully driven by Pablo Saucekay vocal delivery. His performance is quick-witted and engaging, like an amplified version of spoken word slam poetry. While the beat is minimalist, it definitely gives the song a rhythmic, bumpin’ structure. At the times when the music does kick in, it is utilized to great effect to provide a dark ambiance. This is just raw and authentic hip hop, (not surprising, given that the artist lists NWA as one of his primary influences) without any smoke and mirrors or “tryhard” hype. Pretty good stuff.
Wasted Away is a new single from artists Drew Ramz and Alex Scott. The song cultivates a tropical, summertime ambiance and lyrically pays homage to the classic Jimmy Buffett hit, Margaritaville. Giving things a contemporary twist, the track chronicles the modern experience of leisurely club culture. There are elements of nostalgia and reflection. Musically, the song is casual and melodic, with bright, oceanic vibes. It has a bit of an early 90′s, retro feel even though the lyrical content largely relates to the 2020s. Wasted Away is catchy, quirky and fun, while the tone implies an underlying sadness. It manages to enjoy the fruits of derivativity while creatively establishing its own identity. The brief hip hop interlude adds another nostalgia-activating dimension, reminiscent of the light, once prevalent summertime pop songs of yesteryear. Wasted Away is scheduled to be released officially on August 21st, 2020.
Reflections is a new album from Manchester-based singer/songwriter, David Cummins. Inspired by legends like James Taylor and Roger Waters, David is a veteran musician, who honed his craft during a late 70s and early 80s golden age period of UK classic rock. After a lengthy hiatus, he recently returned to making music as a way to come to terms with the death of a love one.
A powerful album, Reflections immediately brings to mind comparisons to Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues. This isn’t surprising, given that David collaborates with guitarist Calum Robertson, whose work makes an appearance on several of these tracks. A surreal and synth-driven atmosphere gives each song an epic, orchestral aura. Meanwhile, rocking guitars and engaging vocals constitute the heart of the music. The vaguely psychedelic ambiance is entrancing, allowing the listener to take a meditative mental journey. This music has cinematic, almost fantasy quality. Indeed, one such mesmerizing track is even titled It’s Like Living in a Movie. One of the darker songs musically, Save Our Soul, opens with a synth intro that sounds like something you’d hear on a John Carpenter film soundtrack. My second favorite jam on this album is Caterpillar Eyes, which features funky guitar work and some penetrating lyrics.
Perhaps what’s most impressive about Reflections is the level of depth. This is a true “full album,” and it explores a vast array of subject matter: romance, spirituality, angst, societal struggles…the list goes on. The lyrics don’t take any superficial shortcuts either. The lyrics (often abstract) are rich with detail and symbolism. There’s a voyeuristic element here, as the listener often feels like they’re eavesdropping on someone’s private thoughts. It’s almost finding a diary or a stack of deeply personal, yet profound letters. The final (and title) track, Reflections clocks in at over nine minutes and contains probably the best vocal performance. This song is absolutely outstanding and is truly a cut above. David Cummins clearly has a passion for the material and is a very cerebral songwriter. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s always great to see someone inspired to get back into music and manage to produce work of this caliber.
A debut self-titled EP will soon be available from singer/songwriter, Walking Apollo (the stage name of Fort Worth-based artist, Buddy Taccolini). Slated for official release on August 8, 2020, this indie folk
gem features sentimental lyrics and a quietly rocking melodies. Reflective tracks like The Apple Falls cultivate an ambiance that’s reflective and naturalistic. Vocals and acoustic guitars drive much of the action, blending elements of folk, rock and Americana.
Though the artist describes his recording equipment as “rudimentary,” I have to say the production quality is quite good. From a sonic standpoint, these songs are practically commercial grade, which may not be what an independent folk artist is aspiring to achieve, but the performance leave plenty of indie cred to spare. The meticulous, delicate guitar playing is rich with detail and even contains a hint of twang. The minimalist mix allows the listener to fully appreciate the caliber of musicianship, as everything is out in the open. There is nowhere to conceal or obscure any potentially weak links in the chain. Female vocals appear often and their complementary effect helps to accentuate the album’s folk charm. Though the album has a compact and open feel, it does incorporate some effective layering to give things a bright, full sound. There are romantic undercurrents in some of these songs, but they take on a subdued, innocent form. The mood here would best be described ad the musical equivalent of a landscape painting.
It’s difficult to standout in a genre this crowded, but that’s largely a marketing obstacle. Taccolini has proven himself to be a more than capable songwriter. If this guy was around in the 70s, he’d probably be a household name by now. The songs on this EP are indeed very good, combining heartfelt sincerity with technical ability. There’s potential for this project to go a long way, but even just the artistic purity of it will brighten the listener’s spirits a bit.
Amethyst is a new EP from artist, “Kev, Just Kev.” The ambiance is bright and casually uplifting, as these songs are performed in the spirit of promoting change and well-being. Blending elements of pop and hip hop with a light, tropically futuristic vibe, the music is poignant and enjoyable. This album has a jovial and innocent quality, inspiring people to push forward with a positive attitude. It makes for a very pleasant afternoon listen. The backing beats are colorful and pretty, really setting the mood. Kev, Just Kev’s vocals are laid back, quietly sentimental and occasionally profound. He has a knack for writing clever lyrics, which he often delivers in creative and unpredictable ways. My personal favorite track is probably Aura, which has a vaguely retro 1960′s pop feel. It’s just very cool and classy.
How’d I Get Here? is a new EP from Southern California-based hip hop artist, Kris Greer. His delivery is tight, and the flow is off the charts, especially in the attention-grabbing first track, Losin’ Control. This fast paced and multi-dimensional jam impresses on many levels, as it incorporates complex songwriting structure and vocal choreography. Everything is just very well timed. Black Roses has more mellow, minimalist and ambient backing music, with Greer’s vocals up front driving the action. He has a sharp and quick cadence when rapping normally, but his freestyle takes on a more “stream-of-consciousness” style vibe. The final two songs are the most melodic and feature elements of pop and R&B. They also show a little bit of the artist’s sentimental side. On these tracks he goes beyond rapping and demonstrates that he’s a fairly capable singer. This little album is fresh, and the performances live up to the polished production and stylish beats.
Savages is a new single from French multi-genre musician, composer,writer, artist and producer, DALMAS Emmanuel. This guy is something of a musical warlock, as he seems to be incredibly proficient in every genre and can shapeshift at a moment’s notice. This latest track is a hip hop piece. The song is well choreographed, and the vocal delivery maintains precision timing even at impressive speeds. The lyrics are rich with clever creativity, and the artist manages to pack a lot of words into the 3:09 runtime. Featuring a high intensity backing beat that will keep listeners engaged from beginning to end, (with some allowance for taste/mood) this jam is about as close as you can get to a “perfect” hip hop jam. While his talents may already have been well known in his locale, with Savages, DALMAS Emmanuel has revealed his power level to the wider world.