Fitch Means – 2AM Drive


2AM Drive is a new EP from Pennsylvania R&B artist, Fitch Means. Written after a breakup, the album is inspired by the artist’s late night drives, which Fitch claims help “clear his mind.” I can certainly relate, since I often go on long walks in the middle of the night for the same reason. From both a technical and artistic standpoint, Fitch can really hold his own as a singer. There’s no question about that. What further elevates these songs however, are the hooks and the excellent songwriting. The title track 2AM Drive has one of the most perfectly choreographed choruses in recent memory. At the moment it hits, you just nod your head and realize, “Yes, this song really has it.” Other tracks like Pretend incorporate some creative and unexpected sounds into the background. All of the songs manage to capture a nighttime, Blade Runner style ambiance of desolation, solitude and quiet reflection (but in a positive way). The music is smooth and the performance is stellar. 2AM Drive is a solid EP, and clearly a lot of thought and effort went into this project. You know what they say, “you get out of something what you put in.”

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AYAM – Piano


Piano is a new single from AYAM, an artist from Clearwater, FL. This song was actually written by her older brother. They obviously make a great team because both the backing music and the vocal performance are phenomenal. The musical backdrop (which features much more than just piano) is exquisite and even groovy at times, in a slightly retro kind of way. It has a very “elegant lounge” vibe. AYAM can absolutely sing. In addition to being solid technically, her vocals also convey emotional sincerity and contain a haunting, expressive quality that really connects with the listener on a deeper level. The song is also artistically interesting, as the “piano” in this instance serves as a metaphor for being mistreated in a relationship. “You’ve mistaken me for something you can play. I’m not your piano.” The lyrics are creative, well-written and empowering, and AYAM’s vocal delivery gives them the treatment they deserve. Piano is a terrific song at every level.

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Jace Heyman – Drunk Text

drunk text

Drunk Text is a new single from Jace Heyman, a Pop/R&B singer from Hertfordshire, England. The song is a “turnkey” crowd pleaser, as it deals with club dynamics and evening interactions that are relatable to most people. With a danceable beat and sexually charged party atmosphere, Drunk Text captures the spirit of contemporary club-goers. The video is a professional job and very well put together. It’s also very affective at constructing a visual narrative that brings to life the lyrics of the song. For his part, Jace successfully captures the dual elements of confidence and desperation that are associated with drunk texting. Musically, this track is pretty straightforward pop and R&B, just as advertised. Drunk Text lands on all its target marks.

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KING S – Dear Love


Dear Love is a recent album from Pensacola-based artist, King S. Having performed at iconic locations such as Shrine World Music Venue in New York as well as newer spots like the Urban Culture Music Festival in Augusta, Ga, King S. has clearly made his presence known. His musical style is in the realm of R&B and pop influenced by artists such as Usher, Beyonce and Aaliyah. The vibe is smooth, and to say the songs are “vocally driven” would be an understatement. In addition to him being a fabulous singer, the vocals themeselves are so dynamic as to represent instruments in their own right. His voice is powerful and doesn’t rely on gimmickry or production tricks. The backing musical alternates from elegant piano to fresh beats. It isn’t just the lyrics that are charming, the overall tone is magnetic and emotionally expressing. The pacing is versatile enough for you to dance at your own chosen speed. King S. has put together some real nice tracks here. This guy is definitely not a pretender.

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Marquette King – Lose Control

lose control

Lose Control is a new single from Scottsdale-based artist, Marquette King. Originally born in Georgia, Marquette categorizes his music as “pop-hop,” a style which fuses elements of pop and hip hop. Interestingly, is well known to the public as an NFL punter, having played for the Raiders and Broncos.

This latest track is a high energy party jam, lively and vibrant from start to finish. As the title implies, the song really makes you want to let loose on the dancefloor and leave your frustrations at the front door. The beat is full and adrenaline fueled, while the vocal delivery gets the crowd pumped. The production quality is nice, too, with good clear vocals and a professional mixdown. On every level, Lose Control pushes you to shed your inhibitions and just get up and have a good time. It’s a solid pop (or pop-hop rather) song that is exactly what it advertises itself to be.

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Majeur – Tha Ceremony


Tha Ceremony is a new EP from Cincinnati-based hip hop artist, Majeur. This release is definitely on the darker side, as the somewhat “haunted” tone correlates with the artist working through difficult experiences. At times, the songs resemble late night confessions, just an individual dealing with his emotions alone amidst a shadowy, atmospheric backdrop. Is he talking to someone who is really there or merely working out what he would say if they were?

The synth-driven beats are ambient and smooth, with voices layered to enhance the dreamlike vibe. Majeur’s delivery is hypnotic and distinctive. He frequently utilizes repetition to hammer certain mantras home. If you’re going through a rough patch in life, you might find some comfort in listening to Tha Ceremony, which is a darkly energizing and low-key inspirational mini-album.

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Brando Bogart – What’s the Point


What’s the Point is an upcoming EP from classic rock band Brando Bogart and is slated for release on August 1st. So far I’ve only heard the title track, but it makes enough of a statement to tell me all I need to know. Blending elements of classic rock and new wave, this music strikes me as being slightly more vocally driven and emotive than some of their other songs. The singing is phenomenal actually, and this is the kind of technically oriented genre where you can’t get away with faking it. Classic rock musicians and connoisseurs can tell immediately if you know what you’re doing, because they’re well versed in fundamentals. The guitar melodies for their part demonstrate delightful complexity, and the recording quality allows the listener to appreciate every sonic detail. Guitarists spend a lot of time and money to achieve this kind of tone, and this band just makes it look easy. While the pacing is on the modest side, this jam rocks hard.

There’s enough contemporary flare here to carry the band beyond the realm of merely a “retro” or “throwback” label, too. The more I listen to it, the more I think What’s the Point whould make a great intro song to a Party of Five style televison drama (or whatever the modern Netflix equivalent of such a program would be). Be on the lookout for the full EP when it’s released. It’s gonna be legit.

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Brando Bogart – Shadows of the Past


Shadows of the Past is a new album from Brando Bogart, set to be released on June 1st, 2020. An interesting thing about this group is that Brando Bogart was the name of the band they played together in as children, and they’ve somehow managed to reunite the members and give it another go as adults, which is definitely something I can relate to. Shadows of the Past is a full length LP. The musical style is fairly straightforward in that it’s classic ’70s and ’80s rock influenced and easily recognizable. Let me tell you something though, these guys do it very well. They really do capture that sound accurately, as well as embody the spirit, attitude and essence of the era. In fact, one of their songs Last Time is a cover version of the Rolling Stones’ hit, and this version actually sounds better and more refined than the original. The best way to describe it would be that it’s like if you mixed The Rolling Stones with The Cars’ sound. My favorite track on here is probably They Say We Only Do It For The Ladies, mostly due to it’s lively and vibrant guitars.

These aren’t a bunch of weekend warriors reliving their childhood fantasies after a few beers. We’re talking top-tier musicianship and instrumentation. Production quality is excellent and has the “audiophilic” ’80s stero sound. The guitar tones and vocal clarity are especially worth noting. Shadows of the Past is totally professional and fulfills its artistic mission perfectly.

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Cruz Milan – Bad


Bad is a new single from Miami-based (though originally from Akron, OH) artist, Cruz Milan. Rather than it being a song about the singer himself being cool or “bad,” the track is like the audio of a love letter to someone who treats you poorly and who you know is bad for you, yet you still love anyway. Terms like “cold” and “ice” function as metaphoric motifs throughout the song. Milan’s vocals are heartfelt and expressive, as he artfully articulates his case. Though it’s a romantic track, his delivery is smooth, and the beat is fresh enough to give the song a lively edge, even if one isn’t invested in the narrative arc. Musically, Bad blends elements of chillwave, pop and a touch of hip hop. The ambiance is mellow, with deep reverb emphasizing the lonely vibe. I really like the beat, has a tropical quality to it and features sparse and pleasantly sweet synth sounds. Bad is a good and honest song, combining cold romantic realities with budding young talent.

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DJ Raw B – Uncorrupted

Uncorrupted is a new album from hip hop artist, DJ Raw B. A seasoned veteran of the underground hip hop scene, his experience in the industry dates as far back as the early 1990s, when he served as DJ and co-host of the San Francisco-based show, Beat Sauce. Uncorrupted has an avant garde quality to it (even the watercolor style cover art manages to convey this). The album really does have that early-90s, golden age feel to it, back when DJs didn’t merely push buttons on laptops but relied on manual dexterity and physical craftsmanship when making music. Whether that ambiance is being simulated here or not, this guy has clearly spun and scratched a few records in his day. These songs have a veterans touch. The music has a “haunted,” eerie tone, the kind of thing you might find yourself skateboarding to on a fall night. The rapping itself is superb, with focused delivery and rhymes that culimate at just the right moments. Uncorrupted is a classic West Coast album with timeless appeal. More people need to know about this guy.

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