Underneath the Willow Tree is a music video from indie musician, Matthew Browning. I must say that judging by the production quality and cinematography here, they really pulled out all the stops for this one. This video is of major label quality and looks just as good as some vids I’ve seen which have cost over a million dollars.
Timewise, Underneath the Willow Tree clocks in at nearly 8 minutes, qualifying this as practically a featurette film. What really makes the video is the setting. It was shot in the “Jean Roach Dry Lake Beds” near Las Vegas, NV. With the desert wind, wide open space, and mountains in the distance, the scenery is simply epic. This backdrop matches well with the music, which is a well performed blend of post-progressive rock and ethereal soundtrack ambiance. You really can’t ask for much more than this. Powerful and maxed out on every level.
Vibe Children, Vol 1 is a new album from Dont Die Lei, a hip hop artist in Richmond, VA. Most of songs have a wonderfully dramatic, orchestral musical backing to accompany the beat, creating a sound that’s reminiscent of the soundtracks of mystical fantasy films. Only difference is we have the artist charismatically delivering rhymes on top of it. He seems to have a natural voice for hip hop monologues. His vocals are deep and commanding without being overbearing or monotonous. In fact, this guy could probably create a spoken word poetry or self help cassette album, and it would still be enjoyable to listen to.
The music here gives the songs an added meditative quality, and enhances the emotional aspect of some of the more socially conscious, “motivational” elements of the album. While some tracks are orchestral and “epic” in nature, others like End of the Day have more of a quietly groovy, soulful vibe. The collection of supporting vocals (male and female) give the songs a rhythmic, conversational feel and just blend very nicely. Production is professional studio quality while retaining vocal clarity and authenticity. Really this is a very fine album without a lot of frills and attitude. It will both relax and energize you at the same time.
Intoxicated is a new single from Neon Radiation (the musical project of London Based artist/producer/songwriter Gary Blake.) The track utilizes ambient synths with a subtly dark sound, fronted by soft yet charismatic female vocals. Intoxicated has the feel of a contemplative, late night drive through a city’s downtown and gives ‘after hours night club’ styled atmospheric vibes. In fact, “atmospheric” is a great way to describe this music. The synth pacing is slow but very full and energizing. The vocals are very hypnotic in that “indie pop” avant garde kind of way. The singer has a beautiful natural voice and the production here does it justice by not ruining it with effects and unnecessary processing. The reverb/delay effects which do exist actually enhance the sound and intertwine it nicely with the synths. All in all, this song is a solid entry and is probably only limited by the challenges of getting people to actually listen to new music when there’s so much out there. The song is slated for official release on Jun 21, 2019.
1000 Grams is a new single from GiDS, a rapper/producer from Tustin, CA. His delivery has an excellent flow, and he showcases an ability to reach impressive speeds when he wants to. The dramatic piano driven beat plays in the background while GiDS’s distinctive, slightly gruff vocals provide the action. This is one of the more technically skilled rappers I’ve heard in recent times. He really has a gift for letting the rhymes roll off the tongue in quick bursts, keeping in perfect time with the beat. The song also contains some choice lyrics like “no matter how much I spray Febreze I can’t cover up and start changin’ me.” This is a solid jam. Be sure and watch for GiDS’ upcomng album Impermanence.
View of the City is a jam from well known Atlanta based hip hop artist, David Lyric. The song has already amassed over 55,000 streams on Soundcloud (one of David’s other tracks Meantime has passed the one millon mark.) Lyric’s delivery style is casual, light paced and easy going, while retaining an emotional intensity that allows you to understand he’s a man with conviction, serious about what he says. View of the City has a crisp, piano driven back beat, with occasional synth ambiance to coincides with the song’s metropolitan nightlife vibes. In this song, he lays it all on the line and makes an offer to give the subject he’s communicating with, just what the title suggests, “a view of the city.” The suggestion here is essentially that if you’re with him, you can have it all. As someone who’s been around the block and knows all the secrets, hotspots and shortcuts, he’s willing to put himself out there if you agree to join him as a partner in crime. It’s a romantic track of course but can also be read as a metaphor: for if the listener rides with him on this musical journey, the music can make them experience something emotionally overwhelming and really take them somewhere. The chorus is catchy, and ultimately this song has a lot of pop crossover appeal. View of the City’s optimistic and uplifting tone the potential to resonate with a wide audience.
After a long hiatus, the humble yet iconic Norwegian musician “Janco” is ripe for a mini comeback. He has been involved in a wide variety of musical endeavors over the years. Janco also released an indie classic album called Pumpingstein(featuring Rob Alien & Torine Brunton) back in 1999/2000. This album is really a gem. The music was way ahead of its time. With elements of EDM, Industrial, rock and darkwave, it has a very Euro-futuristic sound. It’s quite appropriate for both the dreary post apocalyptic vision people had for y2K (as depicted in films like Strange Days) as well as the actual social dystopia we live in now. The Skybreaker for example is a powerfully emotive jam with slightly spooky accents around the edges. It has a very full and passionate sound. The deep guitars really enhance the electronic backing music, giving the sound some added weight and emphasizing the emotional gravity of the lyrics. Janco doesn’t consider himself a terrific singer, but he sings with heart on these recordings and the vocals here are well above average and certainly get the job done.
Janco also offers a service which provides musical backing tracks for songwriters who may have a limited budget, may not play an instrument or simply want to focus mainly on the lyrical or melody aspect of their song. The advantage of using Janco’s service over other “royalty free” music libraries is that you can add your own content to the song and then release the finished song as your own. These guys are clearly prolific musicians so I would imagine the songs in the library are comprehensive and top of the line.
Human Nature is a new EP from Halogyns, an all girl band from St George, Utah. This album is a wonderful little indie gem. The sound ranges from organic acoustic rock, at times almost neofolk to a more avant garde kind of synthwave. There are quite a few young girl bands which fall into these genres, but what’s notable here is just how good this band is and how much personality they bring to the table. The music is very well performed and arranged. This isn’t some trendy fashion statement “jam band.” I might add that some of these songs are surprisingly peppy and energetic, even wall retaining a quiet, contemplative sensitivity. My favorite song on this EP is Love Drug which sounds like an indie cross between The Cranberries and Olivia Newton John. The vocals are lovely, better than anything you’ll hear on the radio, and they really manage to leave an impression, (especially on the final track What You Want.) This band really has the potential to go far if they stick with it.
Raw Talent Volume 1 is a new album released by two French producers based in London. The album features a plethora of artists from all over the world. With performers from over 6 different countries, this is truly a global musical endeavor. The whole project seems well organized and has been building momentum for quite a while.
The beats are darkly ambient and quite futuristic, taking hip hop in a more advanced and somewhat innovative direction. Raw Talent is an apt title for this collection, as most of the songs capture the gritty spirit of the urban nightlife. Tracks like Metroboy’s Energy combine elements of retro synth, meditative vocals and urban vibes. The production quality on the album is impressive in that it manages to maintain a sense of cohesion, while pulling together a variety of artists and styles from a wide range of countries. Raw Talent Volume 1 bridges the minimalist with the maximalist and the fast paced with the slow. A good example is DroCole’s If You Know Me, which features a groovin backbeat. DroCole’s quick and constant delivery has a hypnotic quality which meshes well with the album’s broader framework. The overall spirit of the album is definitely on the serious, more cerebral side. These aren’t goofy summertime songs about picnics, super soakers and lemonade, though you could still boogie down to these jams if they happened to spin at a late night pool party, especially the tropical Treat You Right, performed by Don f6
Dirty Diamondz certainly delivers with this compilation. It’s avant garde and thought provoking, rich with substance. The individual artists for the most part leave their egos at the door and put their best foot forward musically. Some really great quality stuff here. Keep your eyes peeled as this album should be available everywhere on June 14th. In the meantime, you can pre-save the album here.