Dance to Sleep is a genuine and captivating new song from SJ, off of his EP, Nikki. It’s a well crafted, adult contemporary acoustic rock song. The vocals are clearly what drive the track and SJ’s voice manifests as the perfect balance between working class charisma and romantic sentimentality. He is actually a very good singer and doesn’t employ any production tricks to mask deficiencies in skill (because there are none.)
Stylistically, the song gives off some light bluesy vibes while retaining a slightly upbeat and positive message. Dance to Sleep seems to slow time for us at a particular point, to give us a break to enjoy the moment. As the lyrics suggest:“For now we’ll just dance to sleep.” In the future there will be excitement and adventure and who knows what, but for now let’s just enjoy the quiet moment. Dance to Sleep is ultimately a kind of meditative lullaby for the soul. Not the kind of lullaby that will actually put you to sleep, but the sort which will lull you and your partner into a shared state of momentary reflection, giving you each the chance to appreciate what’s right in front of one another.
YaBoiM.OE’s music is alive and well with a trailblazing entrepreneurial spirit. One of his latest singles 9 to 5 demonstrates how lessons learned while paying his dues in the workforce have enhanced his character and increased his power level. His delivery is oozing with a sense of earned confidence and charisma on this track. Lyrically, he flows synergistically with the chiming back beat while displaying great instincts for timing. 9 to 5 also makes strategic use of echo and layering for emphasis of key points within the song. It’s a good effort from an artist who’s clearly focused on what’s ahead and on overcoming the obstacles to get there.
Bass is Pumpin is a house track from up and coming artist “BlackLight,” who’s based out of Omaha, Nebraska. The song is a classic dance party jam, vaguely reminiscent of the golden era of early 90′s techno songs. It’s well structured and filled with hypnotic, positive energy. Finding just the right balance between repetition and musical dynamicism is difficult with a house track like this, but BlackLight manages to achieve just that by utilizing a wide variety of samples and implementing subtle adjustments in the backbeat throughout the song. BlackLight characterizes his music as being the product of his “sonic vision, kaleidoscopic vision and style.” Bass is Pumpin is a legit release by an artist that is clearly well versed in the art of creating dance music.
The first thing that came to mind when listening to Rikke Norman’s Fragile is that stylistically, Rikke represents a kind of avant garde, indie pop equivalent of artists like Vitamin C, though perhaps Princess Chelsea would be a better comparison. Fragile consists of a quirky, superball bounce beat, swell guitars, midi-like synth sounds and some excellent, twee vocals. The song also features grammy award nominated singer, instrumentalist and songwriter, Jarle Bernhoft. It’s a pretty pop song that just gives off really good vibes. The video matches the delightfully innocent tone of the song and mixes in some groovy, psychedelic visuals. Rikke has plenty of releases under her belt, and this one is terrific. Why doesn’t someone like this ever win Eurovision?
Taken from his latest album, RainWater Project,Jonah Melvon’s new single, What’s Good For You kicks off with an artful piano intro. It leads into a loungy number with elements of soulful jazz until finally metamorphosizing into a full blown hip hop jam. The seamless blending of all these components is what makes the whole a good song. The artist here really seems to take pride in his creation and revels in the prospect of advancement of broader community goals. Issues like culture and identity are never far from the surface here. What’s Good For You has an elegant aura about it which elevates the track musically and intellectually above standard hip hop fare. This recording serves as a great representation for the Oakland music scene.
Only Love is a single from Charlottesville based band, Pale Blue Dot, from their album Anatomy. Really just an all around good production here. Only Love at first glance has a pretty straightforward progressive rock sound, based around the solid songwriting talents of Tony LaRocco and musical craftsmanship of the other members. What really distinguishes this particular track is the trumpet (credited to John D’Earth,) which accentuates the song and gives it a soothing, jazz-like quality. Only Love combines passionate, serious lyrics with a cerebral, dream state ambiance while giving the listeners a boppin’ backbeat and rhythm they can still get down to on the dance floor.
I Don’t Care is a club banger from southern style hip hop artist, Marcus Christ. The single makes use of echo and dramatic synths to create an escalated sense of excitement throughout the song. Marcus’ delivery is characterized by a laid back and methodical demeanor, like when someone speaks slowly but with an intensity that tell you they absolutely mean business. It’s a pretty straightforward and high quality club jam, but I could picture people enjoying this on a late night drive through the neighborhood with friends lookin’ for the next kick back and just having a ball. One gets the sense that stylistically there is some 90′s west coast influence. What began as a hobby for Marcus has evolved into an illustrious career. Previous time spent in jail has only served to be a source of renewed inspiration for this determined and seasoned hip hop artist.
The term “freestyle” gets thrown around a lot nowadays in hip hop and is frequently misused to refer to “freedom of thought” or simply “free form” such as unstructured, free verse poetry. However, rapper Thuggizzle freestyles in the true, authentic sense in that he raps without pre-written lyrics. He simply delivers lyrics off the top of his head on the fly. Creating coherent hip hop songs in this way is a kind of a lost art and has always been seen as a metric of credibility. So it’s great to see Thuggizzle embracing it. His new jam,Get Cha Hustle Up has a smooth flow and makes creative use of vocal layering. The backing music consists of a synth driven, groove-shakingly danceable beat of light drama and medium intensity. It’s a solid release with better production than what you’d expect with most indie hip hop songs. The song mixes 90′s style musical artfulness and authenticity with contemporary production values and futuristic flavor.
Well, this sort of thing is right up my alley. Indie, DIY, avant garde cover art and great overall aesthetic. Close Enough to Fix is an EP released by Color School, an indie rock band from DC. The sound is classic garage pop but with a bit of a twist. Camille Miller’s vocals are delightfully perfect and add a bit of folkish sparkle to the mix. The members of this band are longtime veterans of underground music going back to at least the eighties, (having played in groups such as Velvet Monkees, High Back Chairs, Young Caucasians, Dream Kitchen, The Dispensers, Revellaires.) Their experience shows. The songs are peppy, polished and well written….really just beautiful. The lyrics are lightly romantic and genuine. The album actually reminds me a lot of 90s indie albums in that the recording isn’t dressed up with a lot of unnecessary effects and processing. It sounds very clean and authentic, and the musiciansmanship on here speaks for itself. In fact, the track Own reminds me of the sort of song they would have used as the theme song / intro in early 90s teen tv shows like “California Dreams.” Listening to this EP has actually made me want to check out some old releases from the bands these guys were in.
In a Minute is a single from Mobile, Alabama based hip hop artist, Brazil Hill. Though In a Minute is classified as a hip hop song, it should be noted that Brazil Hill does more than just rhyme when she delivers her lines, she sings. She has good vocal timing, which helps the sound pop and bounce neatly. Lyrically, the song chronicles the strain and genuine longing involved in long distance relationships, something that should resonate with a lot of people in the internet age. The song’s romantic content combined with the melodic vocals and groovin back beat make this a solid all around release.