Category Archives: Reviews

OneUp Duo – Let Me Come Home

jerome bell

Let Me Come Home is a new single from OneUp Duo, a musical pairing (and real life couple) recently known for appearing on season 15 of The Voice. The largely minimalist pop song is piano driven on the backend and fronted by some incredibe vocal performances. It’s easy to see how these guys secured a spot on The Voice. As someone who has reviewed a zillion indie artists, the skill level on display here really stands out. Setting aside the technical aspect, the lyrics are delivered with intense passion and emotion. The group has a marketable backstory, but that only gets you so far. Fortunately, the vocal talent these guys have should take them the rest of the way.

For more info:

http://instagram.com/oneupduo

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Forest Robots – Times When I Know You’ll Watch the Sky

forestrobots

Times When I Know You’ll Watch the Sky is a new album from Forest Robots (the musical project of Fran Dominguez), scheduled to be released offically on November 1, 2019. However, you can pre-order it on Bandcamp here.

For those unfamiliar with Forest Robots’s style, it basically combines elements of orchestral futurist music (synthwave, etc) with the organic ambiance of nature in various forms. In opting for seasonal themes, the first two albums dealt with spring and summer. while the latest, Times When I Know You’ll Watch the Sky, pays homage to fall. The songs on this album typically feature a brisk and breezy analog style intro that often sounds somewhere in between record player crackle and a gust of forest wind. It’s a highly effective precursor to when the beat kicks in and envelops you in the enchanted musical ambiance.

When most people think of “nature” music, they imagine new age style stuff that you would hear playing in the background at a store that sells incense and crystals. This isn’t like that. It’s not mellow meditation music. It’s fun, upbeat and you can dance to most of these jams. Yet, the vibe is still cerebral enough to where you could enjoy some contemplative reflection if that’s what you’re looking to get out of it.

Another way this album plays against type is with it’s focus on the sky and the stars. Though the theme is autumn, you won’t find cliches about pumpkin spice and raking leaves. The titles of the tracks mostly relate to the moon, the sun, the rain etc. The emphasis is on what’s happening in the sky (and beyond). This keeps with the space/futurist/nature combination that’s central to the artist’s brand. The tracks are all instrumental of course, so the titles serve as clues to what is being conveyed.

The more I listen to it, the more I think this album would work well as a soundtrack to some kind of role playing adventure video game that takes place in a forest and mountain setting. Bright, lively and emotive, the songs also have an eerie and suspenseful component to them (Of Rivers And Rivers Of Light being a good example of this). All in all, this album is an avant garde and refined near-masterpiece that has me looking forward to what’s in store for winter.

I should also mention that there’s an accompanying film being released in tandem with this album, titled All Things Grow Faint With Great Adorn In Autumn. I recommend viewing it for the full listening experience. Influenced by the work of David Lynch and Salvidor Dali, the surreal visualizations supplied will allow your mind to dive deeper into the music for those who are willing to go there.

For more info:

Website: https://www.forestrobots.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/forestrobots/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/forestrobots/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/forestrobots

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Speaker Child – High on Wheels

Speaker Child_1

High on Wheels is a new full length album from Seattle based hip hop artist, Speaker Child. The songs are surprisingly melodic, recapturing some of the musical magic of 90s west coast hip hop. Speaker Child’s mellow and laid back delivery is enjoyable to listen to, and he never loses his cool or sounds like he’s trying to prove something. Making use of a plethora of guest artists (both male and female) there’s a ton of variety on here, but it all keeps with the same vibe.

There’s just so much musical substance here, and the production cleverly incorporates “answering machine” style messages into certain jams, amplifying the retro feel of these recordings. The track Halfpipe Party is also filled with skateboarding references. People still skateboard of course, but the association between 90′s hip hop and skateboarding culture is iconic and will be recognizable to any 90s teenager. It’s this kind of attention to detail that makes this album authetically phenomenal. Speaker Child achieves everything he sets out to do with this album. Polished and professional, High on Wheels is an instant classic.

For more info:

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Elina Laivera – Alchemy

alchemy

Alchemy is a new album from solo artist, Elina Laivera. Even if I hadn’t read her bio, it’s obvious from listening to these songs that Elina has had many years of musical training and vocal experience. She demonstrates a meticulous mastery of her craft. Avant garde and quietly sentimental, this album is brimming with class and stays above the fray, never descending into a cheap pop sound. She has a uniquely dynamic vocal delivery that really shows off her multi-octave range. Wisely, she keeps her voice at the forefront, where it drives these songs and defines their essence. The backing music is light and eclectic, almost minimalist but still containing enough variety to keep things fresh. Alchemy is a powerful album that delivers on every level.

For more info:

iTunes: https://music.apple.com/us/album/alchemy/1481303180
Website: http://www.elinalaivera.com/
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/elinalaivera/
FB https://www.facebook.com/ElinaLaiveraOfficial

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Clover 10585 – Normal

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Normal is a new track from UK based hip hop artist, “Clover 10585.” His delivery blends well with the piano driven beat to create a theatrical, almost orchestral listening experience. The song is actually incredible, both from an avant garde and technical standpoint. Clover’s tone and speed both keep pace with the music as it builds and heightens in intensity throughout. You can sense very early on that he has a really high skill level and is very meticulous in his delivery. Normal is very professionally put together and musically it has a dramatic flair. I could see this song being used on a film soundtrack. It has one of the better beats I’ve heard on a hip hop song, and Clover 10585 makes the most of it, demonstrating excellent artistic vision and taking this jam exactly where it needs to go. I recommend checking out the rest of this artist’s EP, Sector 29.

For more info:

https://open.spotify.com/artist/5WCDAeYYUUm4iW67hvHf4s?nd=1/

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When The Sunrise Comes (featuring Jethro Alonestar Sheeran)

Readers may notice that we already reviewed Stephen Rubinosky’s new single, When the Sunrise Comes a few weeks ago. However, there is another version, set to be released Oct 11, on all platforms. This one is notable in that it features famous hip hop singer/songwriter Jethro Sheeran, who performs on the track. The incorporation of Jethro’s rhymes into the mix gives the song more of an urban pop feel. An expert at fusing pop and hip hop, Jethro’s presence adds a new dimension to the song and elevates it overall. Sheeran clearly has the light pop/hip hop formula figured out. The song is bright and beautiful on its own, but when Jethro’s rapping kicks in it just seems to spice things up a bit and hit you with some unexpected flavor. His folkish verses maintain a tender yet upbeat tone as they touch upon subjects like loss and yearning. Musically, these two artists seem to be on a similar wavelength and their distinctive sounds merge well with one another. It would be cool to see some more collaborations involving these guys in the future.

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TK MAC – The Living Room

the living rom tk mac

The Living Roomis a new single from Boston born, South Jersey raised artist, TK MAC. The song combines a bright, smooth groovin’ background with a deep bass that kicks in periodically to remind you you’re listening to a beat with some power behind it. With elements of hip hop, pop and EDM. The Living Room plays for a versatile audience, without seeming too niche. TK MAC’s delivery is a capable mix of singing and rapping, with some vocal processing to blend it effectively into the amalgam of tracks. What I really like about this song is the beat. Despite the song not being particularly aggressive, you get the sense this jam would seriously bump if you were listening to it in a car. My advice would be to crank up this tune when you’re rolling through town and just cruise down main street. There’s definitely some potential here.

For more info:

https://soundcloud.com/tkmacmusic
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Y5NKNN3

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Young N’ Selfish – Sittin Loe

young n selfish (1)

Young N’ Selfish is a new single from California based rapper, Sittin Loe. The song features a cool retrofuturistic backbeat that sounds like something out of a late 1970′s horror movie. Sittin Loe’s delivery is swift and biting as he channels his inner angst over experiences with fake friends and life struggles. Ultimately though it’s an optimistic message, one which promotes self-improvement and self-reliance. This is one trippy hip hop song and you have to hand it to Loe for being willing to lay it all out on the line. This jam has a lot of meat to it for being under 2 minutes long.

For more info:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rickeybeenon/
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3UMxg8xCiRv6FieHJYFBFz

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Monsieur Shwill – Fuga (feat. Monica Mussungo)

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Fuga is a new single from Barcelona based artist, Monsieur Shwill.Featuring the delicate vocals and lyrics of Angolan singer, Monica Mussungo, the song presents as a softly avant garde escapade. The musical backing, with it’s crackly tape hiss intro has a classy and old time feel right from the start. Atmospheric and thought provoking, the music matches the aesthetic of the cover exactly, as it captures the ambiance one associates with a mysterious and quiet old building. Monsieur Shwill takes trip hop in a new direction, one which combines traditional music with the subtle rhythmic pleasures of hip hop. The best part is that he has the intuitive sense to take the best qualities and leave out the worst. His musical idealism shines in this recording, which sets a higher standard for trip-hop music. It’s great to see so many indie hip hop artists from Europe moving away from the commercial and superficial stereotypes associated with these musical styles and toward a more high minded and graceful artistry. Monsieur Shwill clearly sees himself more as a symphony conductor and composer than a flashy producer, and Fuga is an orchestral mini-masterpiece.

fuga

For more info:

http://monsieurshwill.com/
https://www.facebook.com/mrshwill/
https://www.instagram.com/mr_shwill/
https://soundcloud.com/mr-shwill/

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Dar.Ra – New Kinda Normal

newkindanormal

New Kinda Normal is a new album from Irish born artist, “Dar.Ra” on the Kusha Deep Music label. The album is driven by its high intensity and melodic musical backing, which incorporates a wide variety of power instrumentation. Filled with wall to wall action, these recordings bring to the table a resurgence of assertive rock’n’roll. It has a very 80′s hard rock sound but mixes in some futuristic synth elements as well, putting a fresh spin on things. The musicianship is solid, while the slick mix boasts a classic vibe with just the right levels of “bar room reverb.” This album contains 13 full jams, and I have a couple of favorites. Rock Steady has the most magical melody on this record, just really a great tone. The song also features some memorably creative vocal delivery (when he sings the line “my place is a mess,” the word “mess” is drawn out into nearly 5 syllables.) Another track, Heavier Than Rock’n’Roll opens with an Apocapylse Now style helicopter intro before cranking into some heavy duty rock. Diamonds N the Shadows (retro future remix version) strikes me as the most synth-rock oriented number and seems to be one of the more emotive and sentimental songs.

As a whole, New Kinda Normal has a very charismatic aura about it. This album is epic, and clearly a lot of work went into this project. Hopefully with a good push it will get the visibility it deserves.

For more info:

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