Dating back to around 2015, Atomic Rebel is a well known youtube channel that features a plethora of remixes and original music, with a focus on trap. Seriously though the channel is massive and has racked up over 11 million views. There are literally hundreds of videos. Some of the jams appear to be artist submitted while others are releases from Atomic Rebel. The channel is somewhat enigmatic. There isn’t a lot of background info or hype. That’s okay, because the music does the talking, and there is a lot of it here.
The very first vid I checked out was the recently uploaded Cradle Song, and I was immediately impressed. It is in fact the actual cradle song you’d hear in a baby’s crib, but reimagined as a trippy, high octane dance track. Surreal, memorable and creative, this one is an instant crowd pleaser, and right away it becomes obvious we’re clearly dealing with a professional operation here.
Another standout jam is Glass Slipper, an ambient and futuristic tune. It incorporate both colorfully sofy musical elements and mechanical, assertive sounds to create a quasi robotic mini masterpiece. One thing I really like about these Atomic Rebel songs and remixes by the way, is that they are relative short and condense. A lot of dance music/DJ stuff typically is very indulgent and has exhaustingly lengthy runtimes. Atomic Rebel’s tracks get right to the point, pack quite a musical punch and never overstay their welcome in your ears. Most of them clock in at around 3 minutes or less. There’s no fluff, filler or drag.
Piranhas In the Waterfall is an energetic and high intensity dance track, with an erratically enamoring beat and a subtle sexual energy brimming just below the surface. This song offers a jarring and suspensefully brooding intro entrances you and pulls you into the action. What begins as hypnotic syhths, builds and transitions in and out of euphoric, ecstatic peaks.
There is honestly just a ton of content on this channel. It’s just wall to wall music, and over 4 years worth of it. There’s a lot of primo trap/dance music here, and quite a bit of variety in terms of artists and style. Atomic Rebel is definitely worth a sub.
Not Alone is a new single from DJ Forrest Houston, featuring Kelsey Edwards (who is credited with the vocals and songwriting while Forrest is responsible for the beat.) The song is a peppy and colorful pop/dance jam with an optimistic and comforting message. Basically the lyrics reassure listeners that despite what they may be going through, they are not alone. It may seem like a simple concept, but we’ve all needed to hear that at some point. The voice of Kelsey Edwards carries the song well as she belts out the lyrics emotively and with sincere passion. It helps that she can really sing, too. Her performance rivals major label pop artists.
The beat is dynamic and refreshingly complex. It’s melodic and fast paced while maintaining a calming aura, and there’s still enough energy in the track to light up a club dance floor. This isn’t just some throwaway, filler backbeat, there’s real musical substance there to provide a proper framework. The sound changes throughout, always keeping you on your toes. The “must see” video for Not Alone is visually stunning. Really high production quality for an “indie” video. It also does a fine job of visually conveying the lyrical narrative of the song, taking on the role of a short film. The song and the vid complement one another effectively to create a complete artistic package.
FreebBeats.io is one of those sites that offer royalty free beats for artists to use to help construct their songs. I’ve always found these types of services useful, particularly for finding shott samples and backbeats as filler or when I want to focus on writing lyrics. FreebBeats.io actually offers one major advantage relative to similar services, and that is that their beats don’t require you to give producer credits and use tags. You can use these beats free with, for the most part, minimal restrictions, and upgrade prices are totally reasonable (for one particular beat I checked out it only cost 4.95 for a licensing upgrade). The beats they offer actually are high quality, too. There’s no homebrew stuff or pots and pans. It seems they focus mainly on hip hop/rap/R&B beats, but there are also pop and club jams available if that’s your thing. Check out FreeBeats.io in the link below.
Neon Gold is a new single from musical duo, N2BLÜ. The song combines elements of pop and EDM to create an energetic and passionate club jam. The vocal training of New Orleans native, Jonathan Arceneaux really shines through on the catchy chorus, which is in fact, pure gold. The beat (courtesy of Russian born artist Konstantin Smorodnikov) is powerful and uplifiting, providing a lively and melodic framework for the track to succeed. Both artists come from different backgrounds, with Jonathan coming from a pop singer/lyricist’s world and Konstantin earning his stripes on the DJ/Club circuit. The group was additionally cultivated and developed in part by producer Loren Israel. The technical quality of this song is stellar. It’s very clean and sonically pleasing, without being overly processed. There’s a lot of clarity in the mix, and all the best ingredients are accentuated. Neon Gold is a professional and high octane release. Some top notch songwriting here.
Roman Revolutionaries: Beach Day is a new album from Los Angeles artist and all around creative mogul, Brad Geiger. This eclectic release blends elements of multiple genres to create a collage-like, avant garde tour de force. Songs like Say and Elapses give off organic and powerfully neo-psychedelic vibes. Musically the sound is mildly reminiscent of indie rock experimentalists like “Of Montreal,” though the ambiance here is a little more raw (though that’s what happens when you’re not backed by a major label). Far from being minimalistic, the tracks on this album manage to condense a lot of unique sounds, the result being a strangely cohesive energy, often reminding me of 60′s classics like Defecting Grey from The Pretty Things. A more contemporary comparison would be some of the lo-fi indie projects that came out of Portland and Olympia (before the scene became cliche.)
Brad’s vocals seem to be built for indie and just seem to have that natural indie pop tone. They are usually subdued in the mix, audible and enjoyable but not placed at the forefront. The focus here is typically on the instrumentals, which are loud, melodic and strangely danceable. Synth elements and cool, retro noise samples give some of these recordings an almost new wave feel. Other jams like Waking have more of a 90′s alternative, pop punk aesthetic, reminiscent of groups like The Smoking Pokes. Now that I think about it, Geiger’s voice sounds a lot like the singer from that band (which I suppose is a pretty good compliment). I honestly love the production on this album. It sounds very analog and is mixed in a way which highlights the artistic qualities, and overall it’s just very pleasing to the ear…especially when one considers all the potentially abrasive experimental elements being thrown into the mix to spice things up. Brad isn’t afraid to make bold creative choices and is willing to risk ruining a song to add some interesting ingredient or musical afterthought. In every case here, it pays off. At 14 songs, jam packed with passion and humble talent, this is a full length album in every sense. No ego, no posturing or empty hype to get in the way. Some good stuff here, folks. It’s real.
Wadd Up Doe is a new single from Pittsburgh hip hop artist Blacc Cuzz. This pimp tight jam has the official World Star Hip Hop stamp of approval, so you know it’s legit. The video for this song is larger than life and makes a point of showcasing a rather impressive Mercedes Benz, which must have cost a pretty penny.
Production is very good, pretty much at the level of a major label. With an intriguing backstory and probably a lot more street cred than the average up and coming rapper, Blacc is the real deal. The vibe is a mix of old school substance and contemporary musical innovation. The song combines elements of hip hop, trap and EDM, all centered around Blacc Cuzz’s conversational and reflective delivery. He excels at storytelling and lyrically comes across as motivational and aiming to inspire. In that sense Wadd Up Doe is upbeat and always leans in a positive direction. The artist has a charismatic presence, and the video for this song is already approaching 200k views, (despite being out less than a month). I could see this guy making some real waves nationally.
Whistleblower is a new single from Puerto Rican artist/producer (based in New York) Andres Javier. It’s a pretty straightforward anti-Trump hip hop jam. If you’re a Trump hater you’ll love it and if you’re a Trump supporter you’ll probably hate it. It doesn’t pull any punches. However, it stands on its own musically. Production quality and performance are top tier. Andres has a solid delivery and consistent flow. The track isn’t an amateur endeavor. Javier’s classical training is evident on the recording, as the songwriting structure and framework envelop the vocals nicely in the mix. Lyrically, the artist makes the case clearly and in relative detail for why he wants Trump out. This song definitely gets its point across and has the power to get people amped up for the election one way or the other. The accompanying music video utilizes a montage of Trump tweets, photographs and headlines, which are synced up with the track. There are a lot of them packed into the video to go with this tune (which has a runtime of just under 4 minutes). The best part of this song is the eerie synth bridge which comes around 3/4 of the way through, which gave me a chuckle as it was visually matched to Trump’s expression as though he were making the sounds. Whistleblower is available on Spotify.
Goth God is an ambitious new single from goth trap artist, FHEDESH (which I believe is supposed to be pronounced like “fetish.” This horrifyingly majestic jam is actually quite beautiful. The hypnotic intro gives way to a low key, goth opera and later treats the listener to some ambient piano. A delightful surprise, the piano arrival pulls everything together and allows us to realize the artist’s vision. I’ll admit I never heard of “goth trap” before and wondered just what in the world (or netherworld) kind of new spin on dance music could possibly exist. Once you listen though, you will get it. Darkly orchestral beats with a hint of demonry combine with a piano recital of the undead, courtesy of our maestro, FHEDESH. This song really does have goth vibes, not in the angsty 90s “mall goth” way, but as in like actually gothic. Soon to be playing at a cathedral near you. I recommend checking out the video for this song for the full experience. It delivers the goods visually and fits well with the music. Also, it’s worth noting that FHDESH owns a downtown Los Angeles “vampire” club called Drac’Haus where you can see him perform live.
I’ll Be Your Lighthouse is a new release from award winning UK songwriter, Alex Kyle. This passionately performed adult contemporary jam features dreamy, theatrical reverb and stellar vocals. The mellow and minimalist intro slowly builds until the song kicks into full orchestral rock opera. The power will surprise you. Dynamic and melodically complex, I’ll Be Your Lighthouse is simply a dazzling recording. Alex’s voice brims with emotion as he belts out the lyrics like there’s no tomorrow. Accentuated by 12 string guitar goodness and enveloped in symphonic ambiance, the vocals are just awesome. The mix is well balanced and has a clean professional sound. This track is better than almost anything played on the radio in 2019. I don’t normally like to write such a glowing review, but honestly just listen to this song for yourself, and you’ll see. For the full effect I recommend watching the accompanying avant garde video. There’s some real talent here.
If you’re looking for a snazzy gift this holiday season, A Pop Punk Christmas Carol would be the perfect stocking stuffer. This compilation album from Gutter Pop Records features 18 tracks worth of pop punk covers of your favorite Christmas classics. Not since the Shirley Temple DVD box set have we seen an offer this difficult to pass up. Seriously though, this album rocks. It contains song contributions from bands all over the world, countries such as Italy, Japan, USA, Russia, UK, Germany and even Canada. You might think that including artists from so many different geographic areas would negatively affect the consistency of the sound, but that isn’t the case here. It sounds remarkably cohesive and emits a relatively pure pop punk vibe across the board. These bands have got this sound nailed down to a science.
The opening track, O Holy Night leaves a solid impression and sets the standard for what to expect. The vocals of Jen Buzzkill are enchantingly angelic. It’s refreshing to see female punk performers who aren’t merely caricatures doing cosplay but who can actually sing and have their own style. Her dynamic voice carries the song and gives it an avant garde flair. Her performance (and those of others elsewhere on this release) elevate the content, allowing the listener to realize this isn’t just a novelty album. Another track, Silent Night from Black Russians (who I’m going to go out on a limb and guess aren’t actually black) is an instant hit and one of the best jams on the album. It’s probably the catchiest tune on here. Black Russians also recently released their own full length album Death By Communism, which is sure to resonate with millions of people, living or otherwise.
Everything on the album is clean, crisp and tight. High quality production is maintained throughout. It’s also interesting to see how the different groups incorporate their own creative twists on what we recognize as familiar holiday songs. Vindictives’ rendition of Jingle Bells effectively utilizes a pace which oscillates between lightning fast and caterpillar slow. Frosty the Snowman (“The Beatersband” from Italy) is another standout track. Fronted by the superb vocals of Donatelle Guida, this is probably my favorite song on the release. It has some great vintage guitar tones and the subtly tender ambiance just fills me with the Christmas spirit.
It should also be noted that Joy to the World is a collaborative effort which combines the talents of Jason V from The Jasons, Jenny and Zac Buzzkill From Radio Buzzkills and Mirko and Aleksander666 from the Black Russians. Rumor has it that these people will be working on more music together in the future, though we don’t yet know the final form of this supergroup. Pop punk aficionados might also be pleased to know the Jay Prozac (of The Prozacs fame) makes an appearance on this release with his powerful version of, Angels We Have Heard On High.
A Pop Punk Christmas Carol may be a fun Christmas album, but it also showcases some serious talent and offers a glimpse at a plethora of the up and coming bands in a genre that’s been quietly reemerging.