HOLLYWOOD is a new single from Los Angeles-based pop/folk artist OLYA K. This bright and energetic synth pop track is pure retro-futuristic electricity. There are some elements of 80’s pop (even the idealization of Hollywood glamour has a fondly nostalgic twinkle). OLYA K combines classic, quality vocals with pulsating EDM backing music. The melodic, emotional delivery and sensory intensity it represents a kind of disco-like passion.
OLYA K is a teriffic vocalist, and she doesn’t hold back. She belts out these lyrics with everything she’s got. The City of Los Angeles should consider using this song for a tourist promo. When she says “Everybody’s favorite vacation, everybody’s favorite location…Hollywood” the place sounds positively magical, and you’ll be ready to board the next plane out of Podunk and visit. Indeed, I used to live in Hollywood myself, and I quite enjoyed it. OLYA K was born in Bulgaria and there is a hint of Europop in this recording, which in my opinion greatly enhances it. HOLLYWOOD is a fantastic and fun pop jam that will put you in a good mood.
Underground Soul is a new solo album from Washington DC-based artist, God Jani. This avant garde release blends elements of soul, hip hop, experimental and go-go to create an experience that is fresh and psychedelic. The backing music is unique, and songs such as Like That (ft. Tolliewood) have an almost dreamlike collage feel to them. Underground Soul defies genre stereotypes and is a fine example of what can happen if a young artist allows curiosity to broaden his tastes when growing up. God Jani is clearly an artist who’s willing to take creative chances.
These songs are very smooth and ambient, but not in the sense that they will put you to sleep. There’s a meditative vibe here that really takes you into the zone. God Jani sings well, and is something of a “jack of all trades.” His vocal delivery adapts to the different styles, tones and pacing of each song. My favorite track on the album is probably Get Me. It flows magnificently, contains excellent layering effects and the rapping is just totally on point. Underground Soul is available on Apple Music, and there’s a video for the lead single Like That, which you can check out below.
PAIN is a new single from Brooklyn-based artist, GAZBE DEBONAIR. He also happens to be Haitian, and the Caribbean vibes in his delivery enhance the song, giving it a melodic and natural timing that blends effortlessly with the backing music. There’s just something about the combination of his performance and the mix that seems to flow very well here (COOK AKA COOK MONSTA is credited with the production side.) The sound is hypnotic and GAZBE seems totally relaxed and in his element. Where this track really shines are the points of emphasis on certain words and phrases, which really hit home. The pacing is stylishly more mellow and modest than most contemporary hip hop jams but GAZBE’s voice makes effective use of it through emphasis and musicality. This guy is one of those rappers that seems this all just comes natural to him. You should check out the video for PAIN as well (filmed by SIXRAYSPRODUCTION). It’s high quality and GAZBE rocks a pretty sweet Calvin Klein hoodie while he performs this number.
Planet Suicide is a new single from Johnny the Hobby Artist. This clean and crisp apolactypic jam combines elements of hip hop, EDM and spoken word poetry with armageddon fueled anime visuals. This unique blend stands out, mostly owing to the commanding vocals and powerful delivery. Johnny the Hobby Artist (a native Texan whom is also known as JRS3) is a talented poet. The lyrics have a coherently creative structure to them and flow smoothly. Johnny has some oratory skills and would actually do very well as a narrator or voiceover artist. While the tone of the track initially appears ominous due to the aesthetics and subject matter, the message is actually a hopeful call to action as Johnny the Hobby Artist offers up his prescriptive vision for a path out of this mess. Believe it or not, there’s enough high octane energy that you could still dance to this music. I think it would be interesting to see this live as a performance art piece, complete with props and set design. Some cool stuff here. I’d like to hear more from this guy.
Be There For You is a new single from singer/songwriter, Red Tan. The song was written for her son while Red Tan was alone for a period of time in Southampton during 2019. The vibe is bright and optimistic, with a colorful and snappy synth backing. Blending elements of light EDM and pop, the song is ultimately driven by Red Tan’s delicately passionate vocals. Her voice combines sincerity with sentimentality, the tone conveying personal strength while retaining its softness around the edges. Red Tan proves she can really sing, too. Her vocals are prominent in the mix and can hold their own.
Lyrically, Be There For You reinforces the bond between mother and son, but the song will also resonate with anyone who has ever cared for someone deeply, whether a friend or family member. The reassurance of the commitment to mutual safety and security between two people is one of the central themes. Danny Hall is credited as the sound engineer on this recording, and it must be said that he does a fine job of capturing the spirit of what the song is trying to accomplish.
How can I is a new single from Dallas-based hip hop artist, Dom3stic. This song is a touching tribute to his late uncle Manuel, but the sentiments will resonate with anyone who has lost a loved one. Dom3stic’s vocals are honest and gritty, as emotion reverberates through every word. One has to believe that his uncle would have been proud to be on the receiving end of such a deeply moving homage. The song is well made, too. It features a suave, synth driven intro, and the beat has a groovy ambiance. The song maintains a modest and respectful pacing, escalating at certain points as the emotional intensity culminates. As the title suggests, How can I ultimates deals with the challenge of finding the strength to go on when you’ve lost someone you care about. Dedications like these and artistic expression of heartfelt emotions can be a great step in the right direction. RIP.
Double Down is a new single from hip hop artist, Misfit. The song is vocally drive, with Misfit’s formidable delivery front and center. Backed by thick southern bass and a minimalist melody, Misfit chronicles and celebrates series of accomplishments, vowing to continue pushing forward in pursuit of his dreams. He has a commanding vocal presence and lays everything down in a very straightforward manner. One thing that shouldn’t be overlooked is his storytelling ability. He relays these personal anecdotes in vivid detail rather than vague platitudes. You really get a high resolution picture of these events he describes, giving this song a substance that makes it stand out among similar tracks from other artists. The production is clean and clear. This is fairly solid hip hop jam that gets the job done without trying to be flashy.
Earth Without Art is a new track from singer-songwriter, Nick Davies. This timely track is about as immediately relevant as it gets, since it deals with the subject of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the song is to inspire artists to continue creating in this uncertain age and resist the inclination to be discouraged. Nick wants you to keep making music and pursuing your artistic goals. The arts are now as important to society as ever.
Earth Without Art is an impressive single in its own right. The song features an electric piano/Wurlitzer style backing which builds into a wider array of brightly symphonic pop instrumentation. This guy is a phenomenal singer. He’s so good that I’m surprised his music isn’t playing in grocery stores everywhere. Excellent radio quality production and a performance that ranks up there with Billy Joel and Michael Buble. Whether you’re currently involved in the arts or not, Give Earth Without Art a listen, and maybe it will inspire you to create something. It’s a strong message bolstered by an equally powerful performance.
Power of Praise Vol. 1 is a compilation album released by Palmdale-based record label, Elmark Music. This inspirational gospel album features 15 uplifting tracks, aiming to set people on the right path in their lives. The songs combine themes of empathy and struggle with the promise of salvation. What makes this album astonishing though is that from a musical perspective, it defies stereotypes normally associated with gospel music. I have a ton of respect for traditional gospel music (and those who can perform it,) but I have to admit this is groundbreaking. Power of Praise Vol. 1 is high energy and downright futuristic, blending elements of synth-driven disco, EDM and soul. Melodic and fast paced, these songs offer listeners a bright, pulse-pounding ambiance that will appeal to a wide demographic of people. Having music that’s this accessible and fun is a great way to open up people to being receptive to a positive, spiritual message.
Circle up the Wagons is a new self-titled single from Venica (CA) based duo, Circle up the Wagons. This soulful and contemplative Americana song dives down deep. Filled with introspective lyrics that deal with struggle, optimism and vulnerability, the track is quietly inspirational. The production quality on this release is among the best I’ve seen from this genre, which typically trends toward a more lo-fi orientation. This however is on par with mainstream, major label productions. It still maintains the raw emotion and grass roots charm though. The best of both worlds. While the ambiance is mellow, the lyrics have an intensely personal feel. Circle up the Wagons is a beautifully performed piece that captures the spirit of reflection.