Far From a Rich Kid is a new single from North London-based hip hop artist, Basseline. This slick track combines elements of afro-swing with a tight beat and tropical springtime vibes. The backing music has a groovy, lounge quality to it. It’s just a very smooth jam. Basseline’s delivery style is sincere and casually charismatic as he raps about overcoming his childhood struggles and inadequate family support. It’s a timeless tale of perseverance, graduating from the school of hard knocks and coming of age. Basseline has a natural flow that works synergistically with the beat. Production wise, the mix is well-proportioned and professional. Far From a Rich Kid is a solid song with clean and precise execution.
Feel Good The Way You Are is a new single from Gliffo, a rock/pop artist from Germany. This track is bright, colorful and radiates positive energy. The music has a groovy, retro feel, with its flavorful guitar riffs and pretty vocal harmonies. It’s difficult to categorize this song, because the “feel good” message of self-acceptance is designed to appeal to almost anyone.
Spiritually, the mood is sunny and tropical. The sound falls somewhere between Yacht Rock, Funky Pop and New Age. There are no negative vibes whatsoever, just budding spring spirit and sweet summer optimism. Feel Good The Way You Are is professionally performed, and the recording is well produced. This jam is primed for radio, and its unique, catchy hooks make you want to sing along and smile.
Wait is a new single from hip hop artist, NatStar. Backed by an ambient and ethereal beat, NatStar’s delivery is assertive and direct. He raps with confidence and straight up tells you how it is. Stylistically, The song gives off a kind of “stream of consciousness” vibe. Spouting lyrics like “my attention to detail got me addicted to retailm” NatStar seems refreshingly reflective and self-aware. In most respects, this is a fairly straightforward hip hop jam, that progresses methodically and deliberately. There are no gimmicks or funky quirks. The futuristic synths which drive the beat are pleasantly hypnotic, and listening to this track can really get you into the zone.
She Who I’d Call Queen is a new single from artist, Morgan James Gavin. Blending elements of R&B, soul, and hip hop, this heartfelt song describes a situation with an ex. It was apparently inspired by a conversation Morgan was having about it with a friend, where Morgan had been struggling to find the right words to articulate what was going on. So he wrote this song, to more accurately convey how he felt.
The track has an avant garde, almost “stream of consciousness” style. Musically, the ambiance actually reminds me a bit of classic groups like The 5th Dimension, (if one were to add a bit of alt hip hop flavor). The backing just has that dreamlike, 1960′s feel. There’s an experimental quality to this recording as well, and the kind of artistic distinction and afflicted sincerity on display here is exactly what has gained Morgan James Gavin a substantial cult following online.
She Who I’d Call Queen is filled with genuine expressions of vulnerability, regret and romantic longing. It’s as though we’re being allowed to listen in on someone’s inner monologue. The song functions as an artistic collage of thoughts. Morgan’s delivery often presents like spoken word poetry or perhaps even a love letter or singing telegram. Though he doesn’t overuse it, he actually has a fairly high power level as a vocalist. There are a few climactic moments in the song where he really croons hard, channeling the spirits of Bobby Darin and Dean Martin. The term “soulful” gets thrown around a lot, but you can tell Morgan James Gavin really did some serious soul searching when he was creating this. This is the genuine emotional artifact, as real as it gets.
Morgan James Gavin is a prolific songwriter, with a large catalog of releases. I highly recommend checking out his Soundcloud, which is a treasure trove of insightful and introspective indie jams.
Wins And Losses (feat. J.See) is a new single from Chad Nathan, a hip hop artist from Walterboro South Carolina. This song really has a nice, swift flow. The delivery is casual and composed, with timing that manages to stay on point even when the speed is dialed up. In fact, though the artist doesn’t present as aggressive or arrogant, the skill level on this track is rather high. This isn’t surprising, as performers with a background in freestyling tend to be better rappers. The piano-driven backing beat is exquisite and has a jazzy, rather sophisticated feel.
While the mix is fairly minimalist, harmonies strategically thicken things up, and the ambiance correlates well with the reflective subject matter. Chronicling personal “wins and losses,” the lyrics are rich with substance, anecdotes (often involving experiences with women) and are peppered with pop cultural references (007, etc). This is lowkey a high quality hip hop jam. There’s real talent here on both the performance and production side.
New Dangers is a new EP from Nashville-based band, Beyond Here. This album consists of solid and straightforward alternative rock tracks, featuring full, emotive vocal harmonies and brawny guitars. The melodies are dynamic and colorful. This isn’t the depressing or melancholy style of alternative, rather the atmosphere is one of invigorating intensity. It’s actually somewhat motivational, with theme centering around the pursuit of personal improvement. The performances are competent, and the songs have enough structural creativity to stand out. My favorite track on the album is probably, Young One which is memorable and feels like it could be a sleeper hit.
My New Head is a new album from Fredo Viola, a singer and audio-visual artist splitting his time between Upstate NY and Texas. This avant garde release was actually designed to be listened to on vinyl, with six songs on each side. (It is slated for an official release on April 9, 2021.) The songs really do have a kind of HiFi or “audiophiliac” quality. While the opening track consists entirely of instrumentals and has an innocent, childlike ambiance, other songs feature powerful, cinematic vocals.
This is almost like listening to a musical soundtrack of a major motion picture. My New Head is an epic production (I’ve listed the plethora of credits below). The atmosphere is largely driven by symphonic instruments, while the vocals put a touch of human emotion into the mix. My New Head is technically superb and reaches a level of artistic purity few could ever dream of.
CARL ALBACH, trumpet
BARRY CRAWFORD, flute
BRENT FOLLIS, drums
JUSTIN GUIP, drums
ADAM MARKS, piano
LUIS MOJICA, additional vocals, additional percussion
ADRIAN MOREJON, bassoon
IKE STURM, upright bass
LIUH-WEN TING, viola
KYLE TURNER, tuba
Recording Engineers – JUSTIN GUIP, RYAN STREBER & ALEX VENGUER
Music coordinator – LIUH-WEN TING
Mixed by FREDO VIOLA – final mix adjustments by JUSTIN GUIP
Mastered by DAVE MCNAIR at Dave McNair Mastering
Mastering Coordinator DANIELLE CRISAFULLI
Rojo is a new EP from rock band, Drawing Arrows. Combining an unusual array of influences like Australian rock, US grunge, flamenco guitar, Britpop and punk, the sound is positively trailblazing. The vocals are technically impressive and passionately belted out, almost reminiscent of the glam and hard rock heroes of the 80s. The harmonies really enhance the tone, especially in the opening track, No Remedy. Assertive guitars, strategic feedback and and authoritative bass make for a robust musical backing. These mixes are powerful, and the guitar effects are employed in creative ways. Rojo is a solid rock’n’roll release with its own personality.
Dark Seas is a new album from Nashville-based indie rock band, The Pink Dust. The synth-driven tracks are ambient and surreal, blending retro-futuristic elements. The sound reminds me a bit of the band, Of Montreal, but with a slightly darker (as the title implies) energy. Enveloped by atmosphere which straddles the fine line between dreams and nightmares, the vocals have a captivating quality. Sonically, these recordings are very smooth and pleasant to listen to. The mix just hits all the right frequencies. Dark Seas is one of the better contemporary indie rock/pop releases I’ve heard in recent memory. It’s reassuring to know this kind of music is still being made out there. This album is scheduled to be officially released on April 30th, 2021 but is available for pre-order from the link below.
Last Time is a new single from The Silent Boys, (from their album, Tilt-A-Whirl). It’s a fresh twist on good old fashioned quality rock’n’roll, with a hint of psychedelia and post-punk vibes. This song just has really great energy. The hooks are well positioned in the song’s structure, making this jam surprisingly catchy. There’s a lot of sincerity in the vocal delivery, and the guitar-driven bridge rules. On the band’s website, they describe themselves as “willfully obscure since 1986.” This band really deserves a lot more attention. They have a professional sound and the sort of “down to Earth” attitudes that makes you really want to root for them This single rules, and you really can’t go wrong with an album that’s named after the greatest carnival/fair ride of all time.