Love Fool is a new EP from artist, Matty Marz. The album relates to the subject of love, captured from various angles (represented distinctly in each song.) The music is very dynamic, with complex beats and a unique structure. At times the songs contain so many musical components pieced together that they feel like art collages. It is essentially a pop album, but I’ve honestly never heard anything quite like this. Matty gets points for bringing creativity and originality to a genre that has largely become formulaic. As a singer, his voice gets the job done, and he performs with a lively charisma, adding his own personal touch and improvisational quirks to his lyrical delivery. This is a more interesting release than I expected, and one has to admire the artist’s genuine expression and his willingness to “lay it all out there.” He wears his heart on his sleeve, and isn’t afraid to show us more than just the good parts.
Fall For Me is a new single from 12 Signs 21 Sounds, the musical project of LGTB artists, Sachi and Sarka. It’s an indie pop song, with some wonderfully clear vocals that don’t have any annoying effects or unnecessary processing. Really just beautifully sang. The song oscillates between meditatively ethereal romantic mood music and vibrantly assertive dance pop. There are some rap/hip hop elements here as well. The music is very dynamic, with the tone and pacing frequently changing. The backing is mostly ambient synths, but a solid beat makes an appearance from time to time. Ultimately the underlying message in this jam is to let your guard down and allow yourself to fall in love. These two hope to release an album in the future. I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t. Just keep going.
Tell Me is a new single from VAN KING, an artist originally from Toronto (and currently based in London.) The song blends R&B with pop. It’s a little bit more flavorful and hoppin’ than your average R&B jam, demonstrating VAN’s penchant for artistic experimentation. Complementing the slick beat is some light ambient background noise, giving the track an ethereal quality more along the lines of what you’d expect from an EDM song, but it works. VAN definitely has a good sense for timing, managing to stay on point even with this irregular and highly dynamic beat. The catchy chorus takes this song a long way. I found myself singing along to it, which is the mark of a pop song with potential.
Late is a new single from artist Anea Michelle. The track combines jazz, soul and R&B but is first and foremost driven by Anea’s stellar vocals. The minimalist mix boldly puts her voice at the forefront, and it pays off. Her vocals are creatively layered in a dreamlike, conversational style. This is almost like a spoken word poetry jam. As the title suggests, this beautiful song is about Anea always being late, though it obviously serves as a metaphor. As best as I can tell, the song is about how she loves being with her significant other, which causes her to be late for everything else. She’s “on time” only when on her way to be with her love. Late was written to celebrate her wedding day, and you can hear wedding bells softly ringing along with the light piano backing. This release has a very unique and memorable narrative on its own, and Anea’s voice manages to carry it to the next level.
Don’t Tell is a new single from Micah Willis, an artist who divides his time between Los Angeles and his hometown, Salt Lake City. Stylewise, this song is within the realm of music from The Weeknd. It’s deep and ambient pop with a heavy dose of emotional expression. You get the idea. The mellow, synth backing works like a dreamlike echo chamber. Occasionally the song shifts to a more bouncy, dancepop oriented jam. What’s amazing is how much musical variety there is in just this one track. It’s like you’re getting 5 songs for the price of one, though it all meshes together rather fluidly. Micah has an impressive voice. This guy can hit highs that would make some opera singers blush. I have to say that this song is incredibly relaxing, but there’s enough energy floatng around in this recording to induce you to dance if the mood was right. Micah is a well established vocalist, with a long list of impressive credits. From a quality standpoint, Don’t Tell is on par with the music of some of the big names Willis has worked with. The only thing preventing this song from hitting the mainstream is that it just hasn’t been seen by the right person yet.
L’Enfer is an EP from underground French hip hop artist, Sauveur Eloheem. It was originally released in 2017. Some of the songs on this album were produced under the (rather clever) alias of “Bob Snob.” This album has much in common with other releases from Eloheem, fitting snugly within his well established aesthetic, which features wildly creative, unusual and often creepy beats fronted by his casually hypnotic voiceover. The pacing is slow and methodical throughout, creating subtle tension and a sense of impending doom. Interestingly, there’s even an ambient and ethereal song which appears to be a statement against Scientology, J’enc*le la Scientologie (apparently means “Fuck Scientology,” so Eloheem clearly does not have much regard for the authority of Xenu. The most conventional hip hop track is J’suis High, with it’s peppy beat and straightforward delivery, it comes about as close as this artist gets to mainstream friendly material. My favorite jam on this album is probably Cuttlefish Music, which sounds like something from a black magical, sparkling underwater fairy tale. The album’s outro Toast Killers is a crisp English language treat with an unexpected female introduction. I’ve reviewed several of this guy’s albums, and Sauveur Eloheem has got to be the most unique hip hop artist in France right now.
In the Light is a new album from Radio Drive, an alternative pop band largely driven by artist and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Gullickson. Right off the bat, the album leaves a good impression as it opens with some great vintage guitar tones, plenty of warm distortion and crunch, reminiscent of classic rock groups like Badfinger. In the vocals department, we get more of a 90′s alternative vibe as Gullickson sings melodically and manages to hit some pretty high notes, though even there one can detect shades of classic influences such as Led Zeppelin or perhaps Queen. With a lot of “alternative” style music the artist can get away with subpar singing being part of the aesthetic, but this guy really is a terrific singer. If I had to describe his voice I’d say it reminds me bit of Neil Tennant, the vocalist for the Pet Shop Boys.
While the opening jam First Time has a straightforward rock’n’roll structure, other songs on the album like One Life To Give and Take Hold incorporate extensive usage of keyboards, almost drifting into 80s synthpop territory. There’s an impressive level of musical versatility on display here. Songs dynamically change, and yet everything sounds pristine and professional. There’s some potentially award winning music here. If the music industry cared about quality, this is the kind of music we would be hearing on the radio.
Boytoy is a new single from Ritz Murphy, an artist originally from San Diego. He’s a former member of the popular band, “Rare Blend,” which had songs which appeared on the soundtracks of the films Coyote Ugly and Angel Eyes. Murphy’s latest track Boytoy features a lively and unconventional, attention grabbing backbeat. It almost reminds me of an organic, fast paced beatbox. The song also demonstrates Murphy’s masterful vocal ability. This guy is a professional pop singer and just shows how it’s done, with his dynamic voice effortlessly hitting notes all over the place, seemingly at will. What I also like about the song is how fast it is. This music is supremely danceable. In some ways this jam is a throwback to a better era of pop. The production on this track is pristine and the recording allows us to hear Murphy’s intact voice without ruining it with a lot of unnecessary processing. It’s good to see an artist keep pushing forward in a long career.
Royalty Fees is a new album from KiNg EmErY, (a rapper from Dallas, TX) and fellow artist N’less Fee. The songs typically feature intense, piano driven beats which provide a dramatic backdrop for KiNg EmErY’s and N’less Fee’s laid back and conversational delivery. The two complement each other well, alternating in speed and style and working well as an artistic duo. The best track on the album is probably Texas Hustle with its complex structure, methodical vocals and impeccable timing. It just really commands the listener’s attention. All in all, this a chill little album where two guys rap about relationships and casually tell stories in an entertaining way.
Don’t Panic is a new EP from Datastar, a songwriter/producer team based in Queens, NY. One of the tracks, Blackheart, features a darkly retrofuturistic, scifi synth sound, similar to that found on soundtracks for films like The Thing and Saturn 3. The backing beat is mid-paced, ambient and dangerously hypnotic. Other songs like Nardo have a different feel. Nardo is brighter and more colorfully contemporary, something you’d expect to hear at an EDM festival. The title track, Don’t Panic combines elements of all the other songs. It’s easily the standout track on the EP, with its sleak and “Rad Racer” style beat and ultra catchy vocal phrases. The EP closes out with Just Like That, a softer, slightly less dark number that otherwise is comparable stylewise to the first song. It gives off the same retro vibes but with a whispering, lower intensity. This is a solid electronic EP, and Don’t Panic really is a catchy song and has some potential to make its way around the club circuit.