FHEDESH – Goth God

fhedesh

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.

For more info:

https://www.fhedesh.com/

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Alex Kyle – I’ll Be Your Lighthouse

Alex-Kyle-Lighthouse-Cover

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.

For more info:

https://www.alexkyle.co.uk/

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A Pop Punk Christmas Carol – Gutter Pop Records (Various Artists)

apoppunkchristmas

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.

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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.

For more info:
https://gutterpoprecords.bandcamp.com/album/a-pop-punk-christmas-carol

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Revisiting Trey Wonder’s Lingering Ghost

treywonder

It’s been exactly one year since Trey Wonder released the album The Ghost of My Father, (which was previously reviewed here.) The album has also reached another milestone, as it has racked up over a half a million streams on Spotify, which is an impressive feat for a rather personal, indie release. In the meantime, the prolific artist has been busy, managing to release four singles as the album continues to gain steam.

Trey Wonder - Bat

Trey’s blend of occasionally quirky lyrics intertwined with sincere themes within an organic musical components is a recipe for success. The songs are inherently catchy. They manage to retain an avant garde and poetic quality while keeping the musical music relevant and pleasing. The vocal ambiance reminds me a lot of Modest Mouse, casual and detached cool yet able to tap into sentimental emotion. Upon revisiting this album, I have to say upon revisiting this album, I especially enjoy the track, Building Up which is lively, melodic and features some radical tones. Another jam I didn’t pay much notice to the first time is the aptly titled My New Spine which seems to rock hard out of nowhere, after following the mellow opening track. Everything syncs up quite nicely and the sound is what you would call “tight.”

One year later, and the album is still going strong. I guess the goal will be to have people remember it in 10 or 20 years. If Trey continues to consistently crank out musical output of this caliber, people just might.

For more info:

https://www.instagram.com/trey.wonder/

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IDO – NYC To Tel Aviv (ft. Romy Wave)

ido

NYC To Tel Aviv is a new single from Israeli based EDM songwriter, IDO. The song’s intriguingly exotic, James Bond like intro immediately piques the listener’s interest and gives the track an organic, avant garde quality that’s often lacking in EDM releases. Moments later, when the song kicks in, we’re treated to a cascade of colorful emotion and musical fullness. Bright, melodic and jam packed with positive energy the music would seem to be able to stand on its own. However NYC To Tel Aviv is further elevated by the stellar vocals of iconic singer Romy Wave. She definitely delivers the goods. This release does a swell job of capturing the upbeat spirit and loving vibes of EDM, while also managing to incorporate some creative elements at the margins to give things a bit of flavor. It’s available on iTunes, here.

For more info:

https://www.instagram.com/idomontaniez/

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Gregory Suarez – Around the World

aroundtheworld

Around the Worldnis a new single from singer/songwriter Gregory Suarez. This bright and colorful indie pop jam is brimming with optimism and romantic innocence. The title can be taken both literally and figuratively, as either the tale of a couple getting ready to travel the world together as faithful companions or as that euphoric “over the moon” feeling when two people rediscover what was once lost and decide to give things another try. Gregory’s vocals are impressive. At a technical level, he actually sings much better than what is typically expected for this genre. He manages to pull off this stellar performance without sacrificing emotional expressiveness or sincerity. I could easily see this sentimental song being used in some kind of commercial. It’s professional and heartwarming, with the sentiments likely to resonate with a wide variety of audiences.

For more info:

https://www.instagram.com/gregiepoo/
https://twitter.com/GregSuarezMusic

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Shawna Roxanne – Lies

shawna_roxanne_lies

Lies is a new single from Pittsburgh based R&B vocalist, Shawna Roxanne. She’s a veteran musician with a lengthy resume of live performances and a number of past releases under her belt. This latest jam features a futuristic and surreal backbeat. Melodic and minimal, the music allows Shawna’s vocals to take center stage where they flow in sync with the irregular yet playfully hypnotic beat. There’s some light vocal processing but not enough to detract from the artist’s dynamic and beautiful natural tone. As the song kicks in, the catchy chorus and danceable rhythm make this peppy track ideal to groove to. There’s an unexpected rapping interlude midway through the song (Gallo Locknez,) adding another dimension to keep things fresh. Despite the subject matter, which deals with dishonesty in relationships, the musical vibe is positively upbeat and energetic, as the aesthetic cover artwork suggests. Shawna definitely delivers the goods with this single. It’s professional and hits all of its target marks, musically and emotionally.

For more info:

http://www.shawnaroxanne.com/

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West of Corey – Course of Things to Come

West of Corey cover (1)

Course of Things to Come is a new single from the Minnesota based trio, “West of Corey.” The sound is an organic blend of acoustic, blues and rock, with hints of psychedelia. Production wise, the recording gives off a warm analog vibe and has a vaguely avant garde 1960s quality to it. With a mix that’s fairly minimalist, the song sparkles and surprises with some enchanting effects. Skillful vocalist Janine Taft’s charismatic voice drives the action against a deeply melodic guitar backdrop. Janine belts out the lyrics with a passion and power reminiscent of the some of the more iconic folk/blues/lounge singers. Exotic guitar riffs and a haunting, Jefferson Airplane style backbeat round things off nicely. Course of Things to Come is a quietly professional masterpiece, positioned neatly under the radar.

For more info:

https://westofcorey.band
https://www.facebook.com/WestOfCorey
https://twitter.com/WestOfCorey

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Magic Wands – Teenage Love

magicwands_teenagelove

This contemporary classic from over a decade ago remains one of my favorite tracks from Los Angeles based dreampop duo, Magic Wands. As far as I know, there are two versions of this jam: the original and then the one which actually appeared on the EP (Aloha Moon.) Both are incredible, but I prefer the original for some reason. It’s slightly more minimalist and haunting. It has more of that vintage cassette sound and slightly deeper bass…though that may just be my imagination. I love the lyrics of this song, especially the chorus (Our love is blue..all hearts are blue…) which really resonates with me and corresponds with my longstanding abstract identification with the color blue. This song really does capture the spirit of its subject matter, teenage romance, which is conveyed with strikingly accurate realism. Maybe it’s kind of pathetic that I still relate to these kinds of emotions and relationship dynamics as old as I am, but listening to this track will re-awaken the forsaken madness of youthful passions in listeners and lovers of any age.

For more info:

https://magicwandsband.com/

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SLUG THE SICKO – Sicko EP

sicko

Sicko is a new EP from trap metal artist SLUG THE SICKO. He’s a enigmatic performer who leaves a lot to the imagination, which I like. Very little is known about him other than he’s been creating music for about 4 years. The songs on the EP are dark and hypnotic, with backing music that takes on mechanical and industrial sound characteristics. It’s like you’re overhearing performance art at an abandoned haunted factory in the rust belt. The vocals utilize a 90′s style metallic horror-like processing, reminiscent of Folk Implosion’s Daddy Never Understood and Natural One. An expressive anger dominates the delivery and emotional ambiance, though the track Like You departs from this, demonstrating a softer and more vulnerable side. Overall, this is a good creative effort. The artist’s personality really manifests itself in the music. I think this would make a good cassette release.

For more info:

https://open.spotify.com/artist/67P76eXVhhP5PEqJRE06L0?si=mIQCX5atR8Wy0whXQqydJA

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