New Kinda Normal is a new album from Irish born artist, “Dar.Ra” on the Kusha Deep Music label. The album is driven by its high intensity and melodic musical backing, which incorporates a wide variety of power instrumentation. Filled with wall to wall action, these recordings bring to the table a resurgence of assertive rock’n’roll. It has a very 80’s hard rock sound but mixes in some futuristic synth elements as well, putting a fresh spin on things. The musicianship is solid, while the slick mix boasts a classic vibe with just the right levels of “bar room reverb.” This album contains 13 full jams, and I have a couple of favorites. Rock Steady has the most magical melody on this record, just really a great tone. The song also features some memorably creative vocal delivery (when he sings the line “my place is a mess,” the word “mess” is drawn out into nearly 5 syllables.) Another track, Heavier Than Rock’n’Roll opens with an Apocapylse Now style helicopter intro before cranking into some heavy duty rock. Diamonds N the Shadows (retro future remix version) strikes me as the most synth-rock oriented number and seems to be one of the more emotive and sentimental songs.
As a whole, New Kinda Normal has a very charismatic aura about it. This album is epic, and clearly a lot of work went into this project. Hopefully with a good push it will get the visibility it deserves.
When the Sunrise Comes is a new single from pop artist Stephen Rubinosky, whose roots run parallel to those of Ed Sheeran. This track is bright and uplifting, with beaming guitars and upbeat sentimental vocals. With its natural, morning dew vibe, I get the feeling this song would be perfect to be used in a commercial that feaures any kind of outdoorsy setting. The music is surprisingly dynamic, with the framework changing throughout the song but blending cohesively. Even in this one single, Stephen demonstrates a lot of versatility as a performer. This makes sense because he spent a lot of time playing his music outside, following around the tours of Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran and can probably pick up and play anything right on the spot. When the Sunrise Comes is really a decent pop song and Stephen Rubinosky definitely has a solid grasp of the genre he’s breaking into.
As Nice As, As Cute As is a new single from Poingly, as part of the upcoming album, Make Yourself into a Machine The release is notable for its incorporation of AI and deep learning into the songwriting process. The experiment seems to be going smoothly so far. By combining analog aesthetics with cutting edge programming, the result achieved is a 21st century retrofuturist gem. With it’s hypnotic blips and beeps, the music treats the user to a delightfully chaotic mathematical ambiance. Several different mixes exist for this song, each with its own individual “personality.” My favorite version has to be the “deep learning mix.” It just seems to have the most bounce to it. There is a video available for this track as well, which utilizes a type of rotoscoping effect, similar to the 80s classic, Take On Me. As Nice As, As Cute As apparently isn’t 100% AI though. There was some manual input on the the performance side of things. As this technology inevitably improves, so will the music. Though not the first, Poingly will be recognized as one of the artists who was at the forefront of the transhumanist music scene. I know that he’s off to a good start because I wouldn’t have been able to detect that this was AI music if I hadn’t known ahead of time.
Empty-Handed is a new single from artist Derek Lai, who claims the single was made at a “creative low point” for him. This is reflected in the song, which adopts a melancholy tone in the beginning and slowly blossoms into a more optimistic and uplifting anthem. The intro is mellow and somber, while the middle portion gets more and more lively and the last third of the track simply rocks. Derek sings with passion throughout, in a way that you can tell this is a deeply personal song. There’s nothing empty about Empty-Handed. This is a musically full and powerfully passionate pop song.
Karats is a new single from Trap/R&B artist Carlos Cortez. One thing that stands out about this recording immediately is the slick synth beat, with its aquatic reverberations. Carlos has a unique and memorable delivery that manages to pace itself in step with the pauses in the beat. The echo applied to the vocals also blends nicely with the ambiance of the music. His voice is relatively soft spoken, and he alternates between a laid back conversational style and sincere emotive singing. Pretty decent single overall. It’s very chill and relaxing but still has enough power behind it to work as a club track.
Her Loss ft. Dmxn is a new single from Luclover, a 14 year old rapper from Houston, TX. Apparently he got into music after losing interest in playing basketball. The song is surprisingly advanced production wise, with a professional sounding, pop mix. The beat, which blends elements of mellow video game music and pop is especially pleasant to the ears. Luclover’s delivery is notable for its great timing, keeping with the erratic and unpredictable rhythm. He also actually sings the lyrics, rather than being content to deliver his rhymes like assertive spoken word poetry. This guy is only 14, but this recording already has a lot going for it. He has the fundamentals down. If he sticks with it he could really be a prodigy in a couple years.
7letter4ever2 Grateful is a new album from hip hop artist, Horsey SUN GOD. The backing beats on the opening track (Open Doors) feature some powerful theatraical music, which boosts the intensity of the songs and gives them a dramatic flair. Other songs like B Movie Actors have more of a golden age 90s backing, with crackle chime and analog tape hiss, reminiscent of vintage 2Pac, Mobb Deep and even Wu Tang. Horsey’s style seems to combine the laid back west coast sound with the east coast substance and grit. The more I listen to these songs, the more impressed I am with the variety and breadth of content. Every one of these songs has an elaborately distinct sound. My favorite aspect of this album though is Horsey’s delivery and the way it’s handled production wise. A lot of newer rappers ruin their songs by overdoing autotune and vocal processing. That Horsey’s rhymes comes through clear and crisp, is one of many elements it shares with classic hip hop.
Grandma is the debut EP from Hazansky (real name Joseph Matveyenko). A recipient of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame College Scholarship, Hazansky demonstrates on these recordings exactly why he was the right choice for such an honor. These songs are absolutely fantastic. They have what I would consider to be an authentic 60’s sound, with dreamy reverb and warm analog tones. The music reminds me a bit of Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66, as well as groups like Dino, Desi and Billy. Occasionally it takes surprising turns in more jazzy and soulful directions, while at other times transitioning into piano driven lounge music. Everything is blended together well, and no matter what angle you look at it from, this album is pristine. My favorite song on here is the title track, Grandma, which accurately captures the essence of an old sound while infusing it with a fresh theme and creative sentimentality. I also have a soft spot for this jam because I was always a bit of a “grandma’s boy.”
Evil Loves is a new single from LUNA13 from their album, Wicked Gods. This lovably demonic black metal track features a lush and robust sound despite the band not using stringed instruments or samples. They have the aesthetic and musical ambiance down for this genre, while still managing to innovate and create their own distinct niche. The visuals of the video are powerful, with effective costumes and editing. It actually reminds me of old MTV shows like Headbanger’s Ball when metal music videos were actually exciting and creepy and you would actually look forward to them (I was a metalhead in middle school in the early 90s.) Lyrically, the song consists of an incarnation of “evil” tempting the listener with the offer of liberation and unconditional acceptance. With lines like “My hellfire frees you” “No god can judge you” and “come be the real you” it would seem that you can’t lose! Delete your Tinder app, and instead break out the oujia board. This is horror music at it’s finest.
Ebb is a new album from Attxla, an artist from Houston, TX. The album leads with its best foot forward as this performer really has an amazing voice, and we hear it right at the opening. As far as the sound, it’s a combination of R&B and electronic. It’s not fast paced and pulsepounding though like some frenzied EDM music. The musical backing on these tracks is more ambient and surreal. Yet the beats still manage to have enough life in them so that they would be suitable for dancing, if you know how to slither and slide gracefully rather than just hop around. The songs are very meditative and demonstrate depth, while offering up a delightfully aquatic ambiance. My favorite track on the album is probably Doldrum which features some darkly jarring synths that give the song some added vigor.