Heartstrings is a new single from artist, R U D I. This heartfelt and emotive song features the clarity and production quality of contemporary pop, without any of the posturing or ego that typically gets in the way of enjoyment. Not only are R U D I’s vocals passionately delivered, but the guy can actually sing. His voice drives the action here, and as he competently belts out the lyrics, we can sense that he really means every word of them. The song is also well crafted, with a chroeographed build-up to a wildly catchy chorus. Thematically, Heartstrings combines elements of hopefulness and disappointment, the tone often oscillating between persuasion and despair. As the title implies, it’s a romantic song, but a refreshingly honest and all too realistic one. Mainstream friendly and memorable, I could see this release gaining some traction.
The Water is Dead is a new single from Flame of Life, a group which decsribes themselves as a lazer-band. The sound is experimental and eerily provocative. It’s likely to confound people who have been corrupted by normie tastes and contemporary pop garbage. However, I like it. It reminds me of a lot of obscure 90s Lo-Fi and cassette oddities that one would read about in popular indie zines or occasionally find in random bins at long gone record stores. The vocal delivery is unlike any I’ve ever heard. It’s like if you were to combine grunge, punk and the delirious ravings of someone in a santitarium. So yeah, I guess you could say it’s pretty cool. Even the cover has an aesthetic, retro screenprinted vibe.
If this had come out 25 years ago, it would have made a good candidate for the soundtrack of the Larry Clark film, KIDS. One of my favorite things about The Water is Dead was seeing the reactions of listeners on Soundcloud, many of whom had no idea what to make of it. More of this please. Flame of Life is currently working on a new album, so be sure and keep your eyes peeled for that bad boy when it comes out.
Too Little Too Late is a new album from hip hop artist, A$H McFarland. In this full-length release, A$H documents his artistic progression and reflects on how his Minneapolis roots have shaped his identity. The songs are brutally honest and hard hitting, yet contain elements of sentimentality and nostalgia. Mcfarland’s stream-of-consciousness delivery style gives the tracks a personal and realistic feel. While the music is fairly well produced, it isn’t overly polished. The emotional rawness lends charm and indie credibility to these recordings. Almost all of the songs have one-word titles, which capture their individual essense. Together as a whole, these components create an engaging musical narrative and personal story arc. Too Little Too Late is available for purchase on Apple Music.
Go is a new release from Brooklyn based artist, T@ne. Together with his bandmates, T@ne cultivates an eclectic and somewhat jazzy sound on this 3 track mini-album. The music is an experimental blend of saxophone, keyboards, guitars and much more. GO’s vibe has a lot in common with other smooth and groovin’ releases, but manages to work in a bit of roughness that gives things an avant garde, slightly rocking edge. These songs have intellectual appeal and would be ideal for usage in any kind of performance art piece. GO is a pretty cool and interesting EP. I’d love to experience this music live in a lounge or modern-day speakeasy.
Camaro is a new album from New York-based rock band, The Tristones. The cover art pretty much says it all. These guys capture the authentic sound and spirit of 70s rock goodness. Brimming with sweet and soulful summertime vibes, the album subtly blends contemporary lyrical content (“First World Problems,” “Trump,” etc.) with a classic ambiance. Not only do the vocals and instrumentals deliver on the technical front, but the recording is blessed with that all powerful analog warmth. Camaro’s lyrical ventures and appeal to relevance take this collection somewhere beyond retro territory. This is just a solid, enjoyable album. Pull out the blanket and kick back under the evening stars while you listen to these smooth jams.
VNBlind is a new album from Brooklyn based, Swedish multi-instrumentalist and composer, Perfect Society (real name Andreas Borg). This rather unique release combines various acoustic string instruments with analog synths, resulting in an ambient and retrofuturistic sound. The vibe is positively ethereal, with occasional aquatic elements (in tracks like Broken Ulysses Pact) creating an atmosphere that feels a little more in tune with nature than the average contemporary synth-driven output.
While these songs are crafted meticulously and ultimately present as avant garde, there is also a new age component. I found VNBlind to have meditative and therapeutic value, though the the music is of the energizing variety rather than the type to put you to sleep. The occasional “analog tape hiss” and crackle add a plesant warmth that would be lacking in a strictly digitized version of this. My favorite jam on here is probably The North Star, which is engaging and has a killer beat. Overall, this album is quite enjoyable. It’s intellectually satisfying, yet doesn’t come across as pretentious.
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Gratitude is a new single from hip hop artist Troy Remedy. Also featuring iconic rapper Bizzy Bone, this high octane track is melodic and sentimental. Clearly, Bizzy hasn’t lost a step in all these years and brings that distinctive vocal magic and “Micro Machines” tier quickness he’s globally recognized for. For his part, Troy’s earnest and robust delivery strikes just the right balance between charismatic and humble. He raps with a lot of heart. The two of these guys actually have pretty good synergy on this track, as Bizzy Bone’s pleasant musicality contrasts nicely with Troy’s starightforward, rhyme realism.
As the title implies, the song is relative upbeat and positive, promoting thankfulness while encouraging people to be real about themselves. The backing music is delightful to listen to, much more ambient and ethereal than that of the typical hip hop song. Gratitude is a teriffic track, and I highly recommend that you check out the video for this jam as well.
Freak of Nature is a new single from Texas-based hip hop artist, YELLA YELLA. Also featuring “Sauce Walka,” this spicy and salacious track is brimming with intensity. YELLA YELLA’s delivery is clear, confident and assertive. She describes her music as “raw and more on the freaky side,” and I definitely concur. It’s also very fun to listen to, even in its no-nonsense approach. Production wise, the recording is clean and slick. Audio quality is really nice, and there isn’t a bunch of annoying autotune or processing to get in the way of the vocals. The backing beat has a feverish and slightly sinister quality to it, providing an appropiate backdrop for this fresh content. Freak of Nature is a solid jam that gets the juices flowing.
The Warped Glimmer is a new single from Colorado-based duo, Vivian. The single is from the album title of the same name. I have to say that the geometric cover art is right up my alley. It’s a gorgeous, colorful and aesthetically pleasing modernist design. I took one look and knew this was going to be good. The music is in the style of dream-pop (which I love) but also with an interesting twist. The ambiance here is mellow and almost haunting at first, and then the beat kicks in and you can feel the deep energy of this song, which could power a force field. Alana Rolfe has a teriffic voice, a much better singer than one typically finds in this genre. The backing music is dynamic, darkly futuristic and full of surprises. The Warped Glimmer makes creative use of every moment of its 4:31 runtime. I honestly love this band.
Such a Waste is a new single from 32 Below, a band which describes themselves as “a collection of hard working rural boys from the midwest.” The song is a bright and passionate rock song that blends elements of rock’n’roll and country. This track really does have that classic “heartland” feel to it. Featuring bellowing guitars, vibrant vocals and an all enveloping sound, Such a Waste overwhelms the senses, hitting you with everything its got. Production quality is excellent, yet the track still retains the gritty, authentic realism that’s so crucial for credibility this genre. This is a solid and straightforward jam that’s sure to be embraced by its target audience.