Last Night Was Hell is a new EP from LVSTNIGHT. First off, let me just say that I love the awesome, retro album cover art. It’s the best I’ve seen so far this year (I realize it’s still only January but I see a lot of album covers). Thematically, this release is coherently structured, with consistent track names like Potion, Yellow Pills, Lock Jaw, etc, it’s like a musical trip to the drugstore after a wild night out. The style is minimalist, with sparse but engaging beats and LVSTNIGHT’s casual delivery driving the action. His vocals are noteworthy in that he utilizes his voice to make creative sounds while spouting lyrics, giving him a dinstinctive and memorable persona. This album excels in style and aesthetics, and the lyrical substance lives up to the imagery. While this is technically classified as an EP, it does contain 8 fun filled songs and satisfies like a full length album.
Tundra is a new single from Canadian singer/songwriter, Goldie. The song is a prelude to the artist’s upcoming album Blind!, (which is available to pre-order and is set to be released on March 23rd of this year). With an uplifting tone and bright guitars, Tundra impresses as a well executed adult contemporary song. This remarkably peppy and organic acoustic rock jam is fronted by Goldie’s capable vocals. This isn’t your typical “coffee house” style track. There’s a clean and energetic rock’n’roll vibe. The natural ambiance and feel good sentiment makes me think this song would work well in a commercial. Its catchy chorus leaves the listener in a refreshed mood and ready to take on the great wilderness of life. Tundra is professionally produced, proficiently performed and ready for prime time.
XI:XI is a new album from avant garde artist, Annabelle. The Roman numerals XI:XI (11:11) take on a personal meaning for the artist, symbolizing that she is precisely “where she needs to be.” The music itself displays an elevated consciousness, brimming with spirituality throughout. Often minimalist and meditative, these quietly sentimental tracks kick into high gear periodically, dialing up the intensity. Annabelle’s vocals are magnetic and comforting. In fact, this artist could probably make excellent ASMR videos if she wanted to. She has a great natural voice that takes the listener along on her delightful spiritual journey. Tender and sincere, this is indie music in its purest form.
Quantum Helix: Fractal Galaxy is a new album from New York based, artist, Menes Rebazzar Kedar. This multi-dimensional musical odyssey transcends traditional categorization, blending hip hop, soul, blues, electronic dance music and rock. The beats are often fast paced and futuristic, like something out of the Terminator, while Kedar’s vocals are dynamic and soulful. Some tracks like Ya Never Know give off a surprisingly groovy rock and roll vibe. Most of the songs have a high octane and spirited youthful energy, contrasted with a mellow intro or mid-track interlude. As a whole, Quantum Helix: Fractal Galaxy strikes me as a creative and imaginative epic, really a grand project that the artist put a lot of thought into.
I’ll Pray For You is a brand new single from the indie band Stereosight. It literally just came out a few days ago. The band’s style has often been descibed as “cinematic.” In fact this jam does have a very theatrical feel to it and would fit well on any contemporary, avant garde film soundtrack. The sound is classy and atmospheric, while the ambiance is brimming with emotional energy. Expressive vocals and softly dramatic synths drive much of the action. The song maintains a moderate pacing throughout. While the lyrics touch upon some delicate subjects= matter, the tone is uplifting and never overwhelms the listener with excessive intensity. The vocals are powerfully and passionately delivered but sit neatly blended into the mix, not too far out front. I’ll Pray For You is a great example of next generation indie rock, which combines elements of emo, alternative, rock and synthpop, but in the end manages to carve out its own distinct and professional manifestation. This song is artistic enough for the indie crowd but musically accessible to mainstream audiences.
UNBREAKABLE is a new full length album from artist, Dejhare (pronounce deɪ-Jhar). The release blends a variety of musical styles and is difficult to classify in terms of genre but could best be described as avant garde, professional pop. The tone ranges from upbeat and danceable to quiet and sentimental. While many tracks feature a peppy, optimistic ambiance, others are more delicate and express a sincere longing. Dejhare is an incredible singer. Her voice is so impressive it could stand alone even without any backing music at all. Really just a flawless vocal performance throughout the entire album. There’s plenty of creativity on display musically, with a ton of variety in these songs. No two tracks sound the same. The synths are often dreamy and ethereal, reflective of the artist’s hopeful outlook and persona. My personal favorite track is What is Love. It has a catchy, sparkling beat and all the ingredients of a hit in the making. The Best We Have Now is another memorable number and contains a first rate chorus. I can’t think of anything to constructively criticize about this album. It’s just excellent and very well put together.
Days of Our Lives is a new single from Kentucky based artist, Philly Blocks (aka “The Team 563 Boss”). Though he was born in Louisville, he uses the moniker “Philly” because he was heavily influenced by east coast rappers and often spent a great deal of time in Philadelphia with relatives who lived there.
The song chronicles the thrills, trials and tribulations of Louisville life. Production quality on this track is excellent. There’s great clarity in the mix and sonically the whole thing is just very pleasing. Philly’s vocals are at the forefront and his updeat delivery drives the action. He has a powerful stage presence which you can feel through the recording. This guy absolutely knows how to write a catchy rap song. His lyrics are both serious and entertaining, peppering memorable pop culture references here and there (Hulk Hogan gets a mention!) The backing music features light synths, occasionally intensified for dramatic effect, with occasional backing vocals adding an air of mystery to the ambiance. Days of Our Lives is a solid hip hop jam.
Denial is a new single from Philadelphia based pop artist, Fawaz. The song deals with the emotional fallout resulting from a girl leaving him for another guy. Influenced by artists like “The Weeknd,” this sentimental and heartbreakingly sincere track remains musically energized and upbeat throughout, despite the bleak subject matter. Fawaz isn’t afraid of revealing his vulnerabilties, which is refreshing for an artist in a genre with no shortage of huge egos. His vocals seem form fitted for pop/R&B and the backing music has a dynamic dazzle to it. Even if this song isn’t enough to win the girl in question back, the expressiveness conveyed will resonate with others and should ultimately prove to be psychologically satisfying.
Eruptions is a new EP from Minnestor centered group, Emerald Suspension. While it incorporates a number of genres and subgenres, the best way to describe this is “experimental DIY music.” Initially, I assumed it was going to be simply indie experimental electronic style music that’s darkly futuristic and utilizes mechanical sounds. However, there’s a lot more going on here. The songs make use of “guitar, percussion, vocals, samples, noise, effects and DIY instruments.” At times it almost reminds me of one those halloween sound effect cassettes they used to sell when I was a kid. I can’t even detect all the instuments used here. The opening jam, Level Ground is out of this world. It’s like if Donald Duck was reading a spoken word poem against a backdrop of a 90s indie horror movie soundtrack.
So basically this release is weird, but it’s weird in the best ways possible. Unlike so much “experimental” music, these recordings truly stand out as being creative and memorably interesting. Another track, Eruption sounds like what I would imagine a struggling air conditioning system to sound like on a desolate spaceship. This is where the industrial influences creep in, but in a minimalist, avant garde fashion rather than the pulsepounding, big production style of bands like Orgy and Nine Inch Nails. All of the songs are very distinct. Just when you think you’ve got these guys pinned down musically, they throw you an unexpected curve ball. No two tracks are alike. The bizarre and unpredictably psychedelic General Random is probably my favorite jam on here, though I couldn’t really tell you why (it’s just a vibe.) Be sure and stick around for the last song, Your Eurorack, which nothing I would write here could prepare you for.