Gianluca Gallo – Susanna


Susanna is a new single from Italian singer, composer and music producer, Gianluca Gallo. This catchy track combines orchestral/big band elements with Eurodance, lounge and even disco. The horn driven beat adds a distinctive dimension to the song. Infectious and sophisticated, this jam will induce you to put on your best dancing suit (or dress). Beautiful, reverb drenched vocals (which alternate between male and female) give this song a stylishly mod vibe. Susanna incorporates the best of retro while retaining its appeal to 21st century audiences through recording quality and musicianship. Everything about this release is professional and meticulously put together. Gianluca Gallo proves himself to be a seasoned musical craftsman with this fun, clean and classy tune.

Gianluca Gallo

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Forrest Hill – River of Stars

River of Stars is a new album from singer/songwriter, Forrest Hill. The songs combine elements of folk, pop and alternative rock to cultivate a catchy, contemporary incarnation of a classic sound. Musically, the style strikes me as reminiscent of vintage Simon and Garfunkel (in their more upbeat and polished moments). Tracks like Million Miles and New Horizon are characterized by an organic euphoria. This album impresses on all fronts. Production is clean and clear, with a quality level exceeding that of most major labels. Hill is also an excellent singer, successfully taking vocal risks that many would not even have the courage to attempt in this genre. The songwriting and instrumentation form a complex ecosystem, which the artist makes the most of. Dynamic, melodic and memorable, this is just an excellent release. Absolutely fantastic.

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Maki – Atlas Hacked


Atlas Hacked is a new album from Seattle-based artist, Maki. A lot of releases can be vaguely classified as “avant garde” or “experimental,” but this one truly is. Featuring eerily ambient synths and provocative monologues, the songs make for an enjoyable listen but will also nudge you out of your comfort zone. While some tracks like Are You Normal are vocally driven and deal with the shattering of sacred cows, songs such as Lights Out convey their themes in a more abstract and instrumentally theatrical fashion. The overall pacing is light and meditative, yet offset by a persistent cinematic intensity. One might expect an experimental, artistic project like this to be a Lo-Fi production endeavor, yet the recording quality is highly professional. These mixes are as good as anything you’d hear on a contemporary film soundtrack.

The album does a good job of calling out fakeness in various forms, while leaving things open enough to interpretation that it forces the listener to think about these things for themselves, rather than just soak in the artist’s ideology. This is honestly one of the more creative and interesting releases I’ve heard this year. It communicates its message at its own frequency, and it’s up to you to decide whether to tune in or just chill and enjoy the ambiance. Atlas Hacked is a meditative album for people willing to venture into the less comfortable corners of their mind.

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Nasir Da Great – Never Fall Apart


Never Fall Apart is a new single from Atlanta-based hip hop artist, Nasir Da Great. His lyrical delivery is tight and crisp, while maintaining a fluid, conversational flow. He has a very sincere, stream of consciousness style. Refreshingly, the song is brimming with hopeful and optimistic messaging. It’s all about overcoming adversity and keeping together the people and things which are truly important. The video for this jam is visually stunning, with very high quality images and settings which prominently feature young people in various settings, just active and loving life. Everyone in the video is smiling and having a ball. Never Fall Apart is a solid, homegrown hip hop song that will brighten up your spirits and leave a pleasant aftertaste.

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Rex Rayne – Power Pack


Power Pack is a new EP from hip hop artist, Rex Rayne. Inspired by Rex’s recent visit to Asia, this compact 2-track mini album. The songs are punchy and melodic, with quick pacing and a concise beat. This is futuristic hip hop that retains a bit of an edge. Rex’s delivery is harmonious and dynamic, managing to assert itself without overwhelming the ultra fresh backing beat in the mix. Power Pack is actually a very apt title, as the tracks hit you with an electric jolt. It’s pure unadulterated energy in the form of a neat little musical package.

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Chuckola – How Do I Begin


How Do I Begin is a new single and music video from artist, Chuckola. In this heartfelt track, he reflects on the toll the pandemic has taken on people’s lives. Apparently, the artist even lost one of his own relatives to the illness. Though the tone is somber and sentimental, How Do I Begin ultimately carves out a positive and hopeful message, as Chuckola aims for a way to pick up the pieces and get on with life. From a musical standpoint, he pours his heart into his vocals, which provide the pulse of the song. The pacing is mellow and the backing consists of minimalist synths. Overall, I think How Do I Begin captures the mood of a lot of exhausted people out there looking to get back into the swing of things.

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Keller – Heart on Ice


Heart on ice is a new single from DMV-based artist, Keller (also known as known as Kellzie). This track blends elements of hip hop and avant garde spoken word poetry. It has an ambient, performance art quality to it. Set against a hypnotic, slightly ethereal backing beat, Keller’s vocal delivery quietly reverberates as he spouts verses filled with romance and sentimentality. The raw and organic production style of the recording enhances both the artistic credibility and sincerity of the performance. There’s not a lot of unnecessary flash here. It’s as if we’re listening to a tape recorded confession or love letter. At times it feels almost voyeuristic, knowing the expressed sentiments are directed toward someone else. Brimming with emotional intimacy, Heart on Ice stays true to its title, as Keller seems willing to wear his heart on his sleeve for the duration of the song and for the benefit of his audience.

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The Side Deal / Goldie Records – I Can See Clearly Now


In conjunction with the end of the COVID-19 lockdown, Goldie Records and band “The Side Deal” have partnered up to release an uplifting music video. This “visualizer” or montage, utilizes the iconic song I Can See Clearly Now with the intent of bringing a sense of optimism back to the public after what has been a rather dreary time. On that front it certainly does deliver, at least to a degree. The quick paced editing helps to maximize the amount of positive imagery, of which quite a lot is packed into the three and a half minute runtime. One thing the video really manages to capture is the spirit of action or activity. In recent months, people have gotten used to a lifestyle which consists mostly of just sitting around in their living rooms playing Monopoly or watching Netflix. This video presents images of people being active outdoors again, not to mention social. Perhaps most significantly though, is that everyone in the video is smiling. They all look so happy and are lovin’ life. It may be a little while before people are willing to go out again in full force, but this vid will definitely activate the endorphins and get you in the mood to do something.

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Neicy Redd Da Gawdess – Lonely At The Top


Lonely At The Top is a new single from artist, Neicy Redd Da Gawdess. The track is driven by her bright and softly dynamic vocals. Style-wise her delivery is reminiscent of iconic R&B singers like Brandy. The music has an approachable feel, and thematically it’s the type that will appeal to pretty much any demographic of people. Her voice has a certain tenderness and sentimentality to it. I don’t really know how to describe it, but you can just sense the positive energy. The backing music has a smooth, slightly retro R&B vibe. Refreshingly, the focus is on quality songwriting and vocal performance, and the recording is free of any hype or smoke and mirrors production gimmicks. Though she refers to herself as “Da Gawdess,” her actual music is actually very down to Earth and presents much more humbly than one might expect.

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ShayBreezy – True


True is a new single from hip hop artist, ShayBreezy. This delightfully retro and groovy track captures the spirit of classic hip hop. ShayBreezy’s delivery style is soulfully engaging and charismatic, and the song contains all sorts of lyrical gems like “you’re whole style sweet, you got candy bars.” This jam is catchy and infectious. The backing music is like a fresh blend of late ’70s and early ’90s. It just has that classic, analog record sound. ShayBreezy’s confident display is backed up by her impressive performance. The vibe may be cool and casual, but the natural talent here is well above average.

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