Infrared is a new release from Sonic Radiation, (the name for the musical project of Dallas based artist, Todd Last.) It’s electronic dance music, blending trance and techno. The beat pacing is quick and the song has a crystal clear sound. I would characterize this track as being somewhat retro-futuristic, with its spacey ambiance and robotic control room vibes. The music has a very machine-like quality to it, as if you’re listening to the inner mechanical workings of a supercomputer. It’s also very high octane and action packed. Someone would get a pretty good workout by dancing to this jam. From what I understand this guy, has been doing this since 2003, and it really shows. In a genre where the barrier to entry is fairly low, this whole recording is very meticulous and professional. The artist also manages to incorporate imagination and a tangible theme into the music. He clearly has a “vision” at work here beyond just simply wanting to make people dance, and he succeeds at elevating the track into something more.
Coming of Age is a new EP from artist, Jenae Ailia. The songs have a pop/R&B feel to them but are a little more on the artistic side. The music is low-key, and mellow, with a vibe of dreamlike innocence that’s both ambient and ethereal. Jenae’s voice is refreshingly soft and pretty compared to most contemporary pop artists. This album is brimming with a romantic tenderness which will tug on your heartstrings. My favorite track on here is probably What Are We Running Away From, which has a beautiful retro synth intro. There are a ton of aspiring young recording artists these days, and this artist is relatively unknown, but I was pleasantly surprised by just how good these songs are. This girl really has something.
Lonely is a new single from Echoglass, a fairly well known indie outfit with an established international following. The band is from Blackburn, Lancashire and is heavily associated with the Northwest of England scene, an area which has historically been brimming with artistic talent. Lonely is difficult to classify musically. It’s obviously under the indie/alternative umbrella, but that alone doesn’t tell you much. Atmospherically, the track is dark and brooding, beautiful in a haunted way. The ambiance is reminiscent of songs from artists like Leonard Cohen and Radiohead. It’s deep “soul searching” music. Obviously with a title like Lonely one would expect the mood to be a bit of a downer. The lyrics reflect this, with the theme of “a love that curses itself,” yet the music is strangely uplifting. By the end of the song I felt more energized than depressed.
The pacing is slow and methodical, but the dynamic musical changes throughout the song keep you engaged with the story. The backing is mostly piano and synth, and at certain critical times the emphasis shifts to the vocals (and vice versa.) Speaking of the vocals, the singing on here is definitely well above average for this genre. It also isn’t ruined by a lot of unnecessary processing or autotune type crap. In that sense, this almost feels like a retro recording, if only for it’s shining authenticity and genuine expressiveness. In fact, the voices are ultimately what drives the song’s emotionally haunting aesthetic, whilc the synthscape provides the ethereal backdrop.
The video for the song is professional and does a nice job of bringing the story to life visually. We see the characters’ quietly tumultuous relationship and lonely despair play out. The fact that it’s shot in black and white contributes to the dreary, rainy day atmosphere evoked by the song. We see the unhappiness in the characters’ expressions, activities and mannerisms, all of which exude loneliness and despair. That’s okay though because after all, that is what the song is about.
Obviously this band is achieving a lot of success and has already “made it” to a large extent. So, a lot of people are aware that they’re good. I’m not discovering some secret here and revealing it to the world when I tell you that this is an excellent song. It’s great to see a band making music as good as this and getting some recognition for it for a change. That must indeed be a lonely feeling.
I Don’t Know Em. is a new single from Houston based artist, Platinum B LOvE. The video for this pimp tight jam is very professional and has some impressive cinematography. Platinum B LOvE’s delivery style is assertive and charismatic. While the artist is well traveled and has lived all over the world, he remains true to the distinctive southern/Texas hip hop style. His wild fashions and tricked out low rider bike accentuate his persona.
This track is in your face and hard hitting but still pretty fun, thanks to the artist’s antics and the flavorful vibe. Ultimately this song deals with themes of someone not getting the recognition they deserve and when they finally make it, they will act like they don’t know the people who didn’t support them. Platinum B LOvE is a hungry and up and coming artist in the Houston area, and people should expect to be hearing a lot more from this guy. If this high quality video is any indication, he means business.
Embodiment is a new (soon to be released) EP from hip hop artist, Free Dios. First off, the production is very good. Everything in the mix sits right where it should be. Most of the tracks feature a layered conversational delivery style, giving the music an avant garde, voyeuristic quality, as if you’re eavesdropping on someone’s thoughts. The songs make good usage of samples and intros, which are often attention grabbing and give each track its own distinct vibe. Lose Money Not Time and Shine are probably the most stand out tracks to me. Musically they seem to flow the best and are the catchiest/most memorable. I’m a big fan of conversational delivery style in hip hop, and one thing Free Dios does very well is strike a balance between streey toughness and a willingness to express vulnerability in his lyrics. The way the album is produced makes me think of old school hip hop. It has a warm, analog sound and raw energy. Be on the lookout for this artist and release.
Fire is a new single from an artist known as “Savesomeone.” The song has a deep and dark ambiance. It’s very avant garde, at times almost seeming more like performance art or a poetry reading. There are frequent tone and pacing changes, which contribute to the song’s unpredictability. The music has a slightly retro feel to it (as the pixelated cover art suggests.) The cool synth intro gives off that old school vibe as well.
I’ve really gotta hand it to this artist as this is one of the more genuinely unique and experimental hip hop song’s I’ve heard. There are times when the music disappears and the song transitions into spoken word. These parts offer a brief, hypnotic interludes before the song kicks back in full gear. Fire is a minimalist and highly engaging recording.
Translation is a new single from Miami based artist, Darshae Kiér. The song is an upbeat pop song with some reggae undertones. With a pace that’s swift and dynamic, you can dance to this jam. The synths accent the beat nicely, giving it a futuristic feel and enveloping the reggaeton vibes in a contemporary sound. Darshae’s vocals are fresh and poppin, and he makes full use of his voice. He often does more than just sing, as his improvised vocalizations also function as an additional instrument. The track successfully incorprates a lot of complex layering as well. This isn’t something that was just thrown together. Translation is a well crafted song, and Darshae’s romantic optimism drives the music in the right direction.
Let’s Get Woke is a new single from Baltimore based artist, Josh Christina. You don’t have to listen very far to recognize that this guy has what it takes to go far. With his youthful, hipsterish appearance, and brash and lively piano playing, he almost seems like a throwback to the charismatic stars of the 1950s/60s, such as Bobby Darin and Jerry Lee Lewis. I’m actually blown away by Josh’s performance. On this track, he shreds the piano like it’s nothing and just seems to be having a ball the entire time. His vocals fall somewhere between country and 1950s rock’n’roll. He can really sing, too. He belts out the lyrics with a voice that seems unexpectedly powerful. Josh Christina is a prodigy, a freak of nature. Let’s Get Woke is catchy as all get out and has the potential to be a hit. If you ask me, this should be the new Monday Night Footbval intro jam.
ChillHigh Music is a musical style cultivated by ALOL a producer/composer/DJ/remixer based in Switzerland. He describes this genre as a mix between “Chill, Trap, Hip-Hop and Electro.” The first thing that comes to mind when I listen to it is that it has the energy and intensity of EDM but at a more modest place and without the thumping, pulsating beat. The track, Do You Wanna Be offers an excellent example of this. The music is avant garde and ethereal, exhibiting a dreamlike quality but not something that will put you to sleep. It’s compatible with a party atmosphere while remaining subdued. While not being explicit, the music is sexually charged and emits a tasteful, sensual vibe. This particular song is also very dynamic as well, with frequent changes and unpredictable electronic twists and turns throughout. There’s a good chance we’ll hear more about this style of music, as I think it fills a certain niche and seems to parallel other trends.
I’m So High is a new single from Boston born musician, Darrell Kelley. The song deals with marijuana obviously, but the music takes on a certain ethereal, spiritual quality rather than being strictly a party jam. It is almost more of a meditation on the experience of being high. Kelley is jovial and laid back throughout the performance, just living it up and basking in his casually charismatic persona.
It’s a hip hop song technically, but Darrell sings as well, adding quite a bit of melodic musicality, and he mostly stays within his limitations. This track is pretty catchy actually, making good use of repetitive phrasing and Kelley’s memorable personality largely drives the action. I’m So High is fun, slightly spiritual and not overly flashy. Be sure and check out the video, which is fairly professional, (and they managed to get some attractive girls to show up as well.)