Because I Turned You Down is a new single from vocalist Sarah May, who can actually sing. Her smooth voice charms the listener even as her straightforward lyrics give a thorough scolding to the male target on the receiving end. The fact that there’s minimal music only serves to reinforce the confidence in Sarah’s delivery. True to the theme, there’s nothing to obscure May’s voice, and her singing is good enough on its own to carry the entire song without any tricks or production gimmicks. That’s not to say the entire song is done a capella. On the contrary, the song kicks into high gear revealing a club worthy, danceable beat and dialed up vocal intensity. A brutally honest song that’s bolstered by authentic musical merit.
Edward St. Martin’s new track, Lullaby combines classical elements with pop to create a symphonic ambiance. The orchestral into sets the tone for high drama as the song transitions into a sparkling, dreamy synthpop escapades. The best way to describe the sound is cinematic. The dynamic female vocals emotionally engaging backing music conjur up powerful visuals in one’s imagination. This song feels like it should be part of a soundtrack of a movie we haven’t seen yet. Lullaby maintains a certain softness while turning up the emotional intensity. It’s a worthy pop song that breaks away from contemporary mass market music cliches and goes off in its own unique direction.
One of the more creative releases I’ve come across is HELLTOWN’s faerytalesaretoorealtobear. This surprisingly avant garde jam blends hip hop with indie alternative music to create a truly unique sound. If you just casually heard this song playing somewhere, you might assume it’s just emo coffee house music, but if you listen closely it’s actually hip hop which is adapting a certain aesthetic. The song is slightly creepy but in a good way. The romantic undertones present themselves as a kind of sick love, a madness screaming for more. This is one of the better hip hop songs I’ve had the chance to review. It’s kind of a shame something this artful will likely be relegated to obscurity, but hey that’s the real sickness of the world we live in.
Waves is a deep house / electronic track from music artist, “MusmeD.” Though it’s electronic music, it has a very organic, instrumental feel to it and doesn’t sound mechanical at all. Waves is actually a pretty descriptive title for the song. The hypnotic beat and soothing vocals make this experience the electronic equivalent of listening to the ocean through a seashell. It’s not quite synthwave, not quite vaporwave but represents an electronic “wave,” brimming with deep ambiance all the same. The vocals on this song are incredible and take the track to another level, but even as an instrumental, Waves could still stand on its own.
According to MusmeD, he’s currently working on his debut album of electronic music, while also mixing and mastering for a number of artists in his spare time.
Rapper Nick Nittoli (whom despite the name… may or may not actually be Italian) has a new release out, called Gimme Da Money. It is a fairly straightforward and pointed song. Frequently repeating the title mantra, Nittoli maintains a laser-like focus on what it is he’s after, throughout the song. He wants money. The song gets a deeper truth in that really money is what matters, and too often people are willing to accept flash and style as a substance for something they actually need. Nittoli won’t accept this con. He flat out states that he wants money, and isn’t interested in any BS. He’s also also a pretty solid rapper with a good sense of timing, and the song itself is quite catchy. The repetition works here, and I found myself humming this tune a few hours after listening to it. It would actually make a great subliminal motivational recording for aspiring entrepreneurs. Just pop this bad boy in the tape deck when you go to sleep and wake up the next morning ready to secure those bills
Hip hop artist “K Tuck’s” unmistakably southern background clearly plays a large role in his musical endeavors. His latest track, Larry Bird Pt 2, makes good use of K Tuck’s southern drawl and laid back delivery, creating a larger than life persona that’s almost instantly likable. Like most good rappers, he mixes casual seriousness with unexpected humor, peppered with pop culture references (ie Mr. Miyagi, Rocky etc.) He even takes a moment to dish about his own underwear. The musical backing for this song is incredibly chill, almost hypnotic. It almost reminds me of the darker music from 70′s Burt Reynolds action movies like Gator and White Lightning. True to the actual content of both the track and the video, Larry Bird Pt 2 is a kick back song, ideal for sitting in a backyard drinking 40s with your bros. Aside from being a mischievously clever poet with a knack for catchy pop lines, K Tuck has a decent stage presence and a charisma about him. You get the sense that this dude is laid back, low drama and throws a good party.
Set to appear on their upcoming EP titled Somewhere in Between,Wrote You a Song is a recently released single from Netherlands based band, “The Limiters.” The sound falls somewhere between alternative and adult contemporary rock. Had I listened to this song without knowing where the band is from I would have never assumed they were from the Netherlands. It could easily pass for American rock ‘n’ roll. Frontman Leslie Warendorff has the kind of vocals that were made for this style of music. His voice has a subtly refined ruggedness to it which combines with some exceptional singing ability to create a warm and gritty rock sound. Wrote You a Song is ultimately not boxed in by genre and will appeal to a wide range of listeners. It features high level performance and production quality while retaining the artistic credibility of an indie song.
In what amounts to a highly creative musical interpretation, musicians Stephan Weber and Oliver Soerup have produced their own derivative adaptation / homage to the famous Led Zeppelin song, Kashmir.This acoustic epic, titled Short Trip To Kashmir certainly does the original song justice. One area I would immediately give credit to is Stephan Weber for the vocals. It’s not easy to recognizably emulate the voice of Robert Plant, one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time. Weber’s performance isn’t perfect, but it’s damned good, and he performs at a high enough level for the song to be effective in its purpose.
The acoustic guitars and other instrumentals (bass, percussion, bagpipe-like keyboards) are all phenomenal, played with delicate precision while retaining a gritty, authentic sound with minimal effects and analog-like production values. In fact, tonally and largely due to the instrumentation used, I would venture to say that this version captures slightly more of the Arabic / Middle Eastern / Indo-Pakistani musical vibe (which influenced the original song) than the original song itself did.
Also worth noting is that Short Trip To Kashmir is also accompanied by a lengthy animated video. In a sense, it could almost be classified as a short film. The quirky and well done animation helps give the track a contemporary flavor making the music accessible to wider audiences. It also adds a visual component of fun and adventure to the music, giving the viewer a glimpse at the illuminating spirit of living life, while at the same time the musicians reveal a lighter side and remind us that they don’t take themselves too seriously.
All in all, Short Trip To Kashmir is an impressive endeavor. I could actually see this playing in some film festivals, if the Weber and Soerup don’t run into any copyright snags. While derivative in nature, there’s enough depth and substance here to qualify this as a work of art in its own right.
Fresh new single, hot off the presses today is I Can’t by Angelle. It’s bright and upbeat R&B pop song. The backbeat has a colorful, candy-like charm to it, and Angelle really can carry a tune. Her powerful and dynamic vocals quality as an instrument in and of themselves. I Can’t is essentially a love song, where Angelle broadcasts to the world how amazing her experience with this particular romantic interest is. She sings with passion and the recording is crystal clear. There’s no autotune here or processing tricks, just a good clean sound production that showcases Angelle’s talent in its organic and lovely form.
Finally something useful for a change. Samplified, a music production company produces sample packs (loops, sounds, etc) to assist musicians in making music. Their latest sample pack, Lo-Fi Hip-Hop & Drum Kit Pack ‘Lost Sessions’ (Production from legendary lofi producer ‘Fat Jon’ and sound engineer/designer ‘Meeke’) delivers pretty much exactly what the name suggests. It features some choice analog sounding, deep cuts complete with subtly crackling tape hiss and all the goodies you want in Lo-Fi samples. While this pack is advertised primarily for hip hop, upon listening to it the pack seemed to me to have plenty of genre crossover appeal. The surreal, often eerie, synth driven ambiance of many of these samples and loops would be suitable for a wide Variety of EDM and vaporwave-like projects. Regardless of what you plan to use them for, buying one of these packs can save you a lot of time you’d otherwise be spending poking around google and youtube collecting weird snippets of random stuff.