Hip hop artist “Shifty Eyes,” from Alberta, Canada, certainly has an eye for theatrics, as is demonstrated in the recent video for his song, “Beast.” He is a highly entertaining and lively performer, and the aesthetic of his video vaguely reminds me of 90’s horror movies like Wishmaster. Production quality (on both the video and the song itself) is top notch. I’m not gonna lie, this video is pretty awesome and much more creative than one would expect from contemporary hip hop videos. Rather than cast aside hip hop cliches entirely (sexy women, over the top assertiveness, fake teeth etc,) he manages to incorporate them into his style, in a wildly unique fashion and demonic supernatural setting.
Something must be said about his actual rapping, which is solid and delivered confidently. He is the product of a genuinely troubled background, which allows him to practice his craft with a degree of authenticity that’s not commonly found among so many LARPing artists that are just looking to make a name for themselves. We’re starting to see more and more inventive hip hop artists from Canada, and Shifty Eyes is one of the better ones up and coming.
Black Bluebirds describe themselves as “an electrifying power trio from Minneapolis, Minnesota.” One of their newest tracks is titled “Love Kills Slowly” and is featured on their new album “Like Blood For Music.” The style and sound is low-key reminiscent of Bowie or Freddie Mercury, but darker, more avante garde and overall a little less flamboyant. The song features some really impressive singing, with the vocalist really going all out in ways that would have given Iron Maiden a run for their money. The whole thing is a nice eclectic mix of synthpop, indie rock and (glam?) metal, performed by some real professional musicians that know what they doing.
Well well well, what do we have here? Boulder based indie hip hop artist “Foolish Ed” doesn’t present his music with a lot of slick packaging and cheesy marketing, but he does deliver in the a e s t h e t i c s department. The video for his new LoFi jam “Never the Same” features some old school anime, through a lens of retro vhs effects. The song is also quite good (though I will admit it is odd to hear someone rapping while watching these visuals.) The backing music is excellent, with the piano giving the song a rather dreary artistic appeal, while Foolish Ed’s witty honesty and melancholy delivery is refreshing and makes him strangely likable. Foolish Ed does not appear so foolish after all, as this release reveals him to be a rather heroic artist. Perhaps it is not an and/or proposition.
Vocalist Cody Daniel is a somewhat unique artist in that his music combines elements from unlikely genres, such as alternative, R&B, pop soul. Others do this, but Daniel seems much more conscious of his eclectic influences. It’s not surprising. Younger musicians today have been exposed to many musical styles in their lives through, whereas artists in the past were often limited by whatever was popular in their geographic area or what was on the radio. Cody has released a video for his song “The Night.” Shot on location in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, the video is clean and professional, on the level of what you’d see on Mtv these days. A clearly talented singer, Cody Daniel’s voice propels the song as the listener sits back and watches the action unfold. It can be difficult to tell at times what is going on at times, but a night of romance and relationship drama it surely is. This music is very marketable and Cody has the potential to go very far with the right people backing him.
Just a heads up, popular artist “Kaseeno” has released a teaser video for his catchy single “Antonio Banderas” (the song is also featured on his latest album, Trap Party Vol 1.) True to it’s name, it’s a fun party jam. Kaseeno delivers the Spanish lyrics well, managing to keep things tight even with the song’s complex pacing. Kaseeno’s laid back and easy going style combine with his energetic vibe to make the track a real pick me up. If the official video lives up to the quality of the song ( and all indications are it will as the teaser features Kaseeno getting out of a live helicopter) then it has a chance to be epic.
“Heart of a King” is a collaborative hip hop effort featuring several artists. It is a smooth and fairly laid back jam. In line with one of the creators, the song utilizes a chess analogy and that of claiming one’s birthright as the rightful heir to the throne. Despite the talk of “kings” the lyrics are delivered with a low key and humble attitude (perhaps like an honorable royal) rather than boastful and aggressive. “Heart of a King” is also a melodic enterprise that displays more musical versatility than one might expect in this genre. It is in every sense a coherent musical composition, and rises to something much more than a mere collection of rhymes.
Los Angeles based group Luna 13 is an interesting band in that they manage to combine the ambiance of black metal with EDM, incorporating avant garde performance art qualities along the way. Recently, the band was allegedly shut down mid-performance at the Artisan Hotel in Las Vegas after some brief nudity on stage as part of a blood ritual (Vegas sure has become prudish since the days of Showgirls.)
Luna 13’s new EP “Devourer of Light” lives us to the darkness in its name. You get the idea right away with the first track, “Long Pig,” which kicks off with a cute little xylophone style intro before unleashing the gates of hell. “Long Pig” reminds me a lot of 90’s horror movie music, but in this case it is more artistic and creative and doesn’t come off as cheesy. It’s also strangely danceable, despite the unique title. “Tick Twitch Bang” is a little bit more metal, at times almost sounding like a mix between industrial, black metal and maybe even screamo,(although without any of the whiny emo lyrics.) The chorus, “Tick Twitch Bang, lost your brain, all these voices call you insane” actually manages to be kind of catchy. “Decimate” has a hypnotic quality to it. Even with a lot going on musically and some serious loudness, the vocals are somewhat soothing. I almost felt like after listening to this track like I had just been programmed to do something bad and was ready to carry out my orders. Just listen to it, and you’ll understand. The final song on the EP, “Be Your Own Master” has the best intro (and outro,) which consists of creepy circus-like music.
This band would be great to see live, particularly in a venue where a lot of unsuspecting normies would be held hostage to the performance. It would be fun to watch them twitch and squirm and then slowly, begin to enjoy it. At the end of the day, this is pretty good music that the whole family can enjoy.
Dutch band “Lou Patty” has a new 4 song EP out and has released a video for one of the tracks, “Hostile.” The first thing that struck me about “Hostile” is that the synths are just radical. I mean seriously the opening synths are awesome, and this trend continues throughout the song. As someone who has owned many synthesizers over the years this was like synth porn to me. Top quality gear and excellent usage. The band claims to have some 80’s and 90’s influences, and I must say the vocals do have a nice kind of 80’s analog vibe. The singer seems comfortably charismatic and has a fairly dynamic voice for this style of music. The mix and production quality here are also phenomenal (produced by Lou Patty & Marlon Wolterink – White Noise Studio, assistant recording credit to Freek Philippi.)
Other tracks on the EP like “Kings and Servants” or “Minute of Peace” are more guitar driven and remind me very much of late 80’s / early 90’s hard rock, with a lot of precision guitar work at alternating speeds and a kind of brooding atmosphere. The last song, “Molly Ray” almost sounds alternative musically. It’s a little lighter than the other songs and gives the vocalist a little more room to play around with.
You don’t have to listen to these recordings for very long to realize this is a professional band of seasoned musicians that know exactly what they’re doing. This entire release is excellent both technically and artistically. If you don’t believe me, give it a listen for yourself.
“Feather Haiku” is one of Marie Helen’s most recent poems. She is becoming known for her seasonally themed poetry. Though short in length, this haiku is nonetheless thought provoking, offering the reader a silver lining in the changing season as we head toward the coming winter. The remnant from a bird gives a subtle reminder of summer memmories and that spring will appear once again.
Marie Helen is also a songwriter who founded the Los Angeles based band “Lyrics of Two,” (which consistently held the #1 spot on the Deli Music Charts in the category of mainstream pop in Los Angeles.) She has recently completed a book of poetry titled “Celebrating The Holidays And Seasons With Poetry And The Smaller Things In Nature.”