I’ve Gotta’ Get My Freedom Back is a new single from composer, producer and recording artist, Michael-John. To call this a mere song would be an understatement. This is a rock anthem. Though I wouldn’t necessarily classify this as retro, it channels the spirit and energy of those powerful 80s rock classics from your favorite iconic film soundtracks. The music is vibrant and polished, with Michael-John’s vocals soaring like an eagle on the 4th of July. As the title would suggest, the song expresses what has been a common sentiment in this rather strange and cumbersome year: the yearning to be free again. This jam is the musical equivalent of a stress ball that will relieve your tension. It’s a rock’n’roll pressure valve. If you’ve been cooped up in your apartment for the last 6 months, this song will make you feel like you’re cruisin’ in a convertible on the open highway.
The lyrics are sentimental, and Michael-John is clearly a socially conscious individual. Don’t let that fool you though. This song rocks! Having participated in several musical endeavors and played in numerous bands, Michael-John is a veteran musician and knows his way around the billboard charts. The video for this song already has 100k views. Michael-John’s debut solo album, Phenomenon is scheduled to be released later this year.
BAE is a new single from hip hop artist Eugenio Oliveras. The track also features an appearance by BigChildSupport. Eugenio’s hard hitting, no-nonsense delivery style is balanced nicely by an ambient, synth driven backbeat. He has a decent flow and maintains a tight sync with the bet. The lyrics are assertive while the tone reflects a mellow vibe. Usage of echo and delay effects temper and blend the vocals into the ethereal landscape of the music. The beat itself is crisp and boasts a bass that’s not overbearing yet powerful enough to feel through my laptop. Cranked up in the right car stereo this jam would make a bold statement. It’s a solid single that accomplishes what it sets out to do.
Summer Beach House is an EP from Calgary-based artist, Yaseen. Containing 8 tracks, this release almost reaches full album territory. Among Yaseen’s prominent influences, he cites Majid Jordan, as well as the Canadian group, Hades. Yaseen’s music doesn’t seem limited to a particular genre, but the best way to describe the sound is that it combines contemplative and sentimental pop vocals with an organic, avant garde synth backing. The mix has a warm, outdoorsy analog quality, with subtly audible tape noise and a natural background.
The tracks seem intensely personal, as tracks like Old Civic feature nostalgic references to people, places, and things that presumably have meaning to the artist. Ultimately, that’s what makes this release a little more special than the average pop release. The artist takes you to a particular place and time. Even just the titles will offer listeners a vivid image of the setting. He sings with sincerity and utilizes some ambient vocal effects to accentuate the abstract, dreamlike vibe. Yaseen saves the title track Summer Beach House, and it’s definitely worth the wait. It has an awesome, retro-futuristic beat and is the best song on the album in my opinion. This EP is definitely heartfelt and represents a noble debut.
Midnight Taboo (Tropical House) and Hula Ce Soir (Hula 2 Nite) are two fresh new singles from Waikiki, a singer/songwriter and entertainer (currently based in Norway and the South of France) who is originally from from Maui, Hawaii. She’s an established artist with a lot of impressive musical accomplishments already under her belt. Just to give a couple of examples, she was once signed to EMI Warner, where her single Maui No Ka OI made enough of a splash in France (and other parts of Europe) to be featured in an episode of Baywatch Hawaii. Through a deal that was brokered through EMI & BMG (her publishing company) with JVC Records in Tokyo, her song Paradise was another international success. That’s barely even scratching the surface of Waikiki’s comprehensive, global list of impressive credits.
The sound of Midnight Taboo (Tropical House) can best be described as “tropically futuristic.” That is to say that it combines carefree, tropical music vibes with futuristic synths and cutting edge house beats. It has that bright, euphoric quality that’s associated with EDM and just makes you want to smile. The song emits beams of pulsating, dreamlike synth waves that both energize your spirit and uplift your mood. The chorus is super catchy, and I found myself already singing along when I was only halfway through the first listen. It’s a very professional and distinctive song and has all the ingredients to become a dance club favorite. In the hands of the right DJs, this track should get a fair number of spins.
The track Hula Ce Soir (Hula 2 Nite) has received a substantial number of streams on Spotify. While Waikiki’s #1 audience is technically the US (especially New York), this track has also received airplay and recognition in Europe, in countries such as Germany, England, the Netherlands & Spain.Hula Ce Soir (Hula 2 Nite) has even gotten the attention of the music media in Brazil & Latin America. Having just now listened to this jam, I can see why. This song has a beautiful intro that builds into an elaborate garden of organic tropicality, fresh synths and sparkling vocals. The aquatic vibe feels so invigorating, fun and free that this almost reminds me of late 90s summertime pop songs. It has a wonderfully innocent and escapist feel. Really it’s the perfect antidote to the crazy times we live in. This is my favorite of the two new singles. Hula Ce Soir (Hula 2 Nite) is a chartworthy song that is ready to make some big moves.
These new songs are great, but there are a lot more where they came from. I highly recommend taking some time to explore Waikiki’s earlier musical endeavors. There are a plenty of other worthy gems in this artist’s catalog.
Midnight is a new single from hip hop artist, Lostbrobigbro. The synth-driven backing music is ambient and ethereal. Lostbrobigbro’s delivery has a very dreamlike, stream of consciousness quality to it. His voice is mellow and contemplative. The song is very relaxing. It’s like listening to someone collecting their thoughts in the middle of the night, hence the title. The mix demonstrates that Lostbrobigbrois a little bit more humble and musically conscious than many rappers. The vocals aren’t way out in front, and the music is given a prominent emphasis. Sonically, Midnight is very pleasing to the ears. It hits all the right frequencies. There’s no abrasion. The sound is fluid and smooth, but not flashy or slick. Overall, it’s a reflective track that will definitely transport you into higher level meditation mode.
A Portrait of Man: Part I is a new album from NYC-based Indie-rock/alt-pop band, Rebel Kicks. The group is fronted by two brothers: Anthony and Steven Babino, (a full breakdown of musicians credited on this release are listed below). I’m not even sure where to start. Wow this music is good. These guys are really phenomenal singers. I guess being in New York requires you to really be at the top of your game. The first full track Fall of the American Dream sets the standard right away, and you realize this if going to be a pristine listening experience. Alt-pop really is the best way to classify this music. It’s extraordinarily well produced and has a major label-tier quality of professionalism, but at the same time has a little bit more indie credibility. It’s mainstream friendly but doesn’t have any of the elements of the garbage, manufactured consumer pop that’s so prevalent today. This album is just so much more soulful and alive.
Each in its own unique way, these songs all deal with the subject of growth. However, the growth isn’t always linear, and thing’s don’t always grow in a positive direction. There’s a lot of lyrical substance on this album as well as subtle and in depth social commentary on the state of the country. Oxytocin Junky for example vaguely relates to Opioid epidemic, but on a more personal, human level. My favorite track is probably Strange Animals which actually reminds me a bit of The Doors classic, People Are Strange. It just has a similar vibe. As an album, A Portrait of Man: Part I is so rich with content that it’s difficult to even do it justice in a write-up of this length. The songwriting is imaginative and dynamic. The vocal performances are authentic and technically superb. The backing music is energizing, melodic and vibrant. If this album falls into the right hands, these guys are going places.
Anthony Babino – lead and backing vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, bass, keyboard, synthesizer, drums, percussion, programming
Steven Babino – lead and backing vocals, bass, guitar, keyboard, synthesizer, percussion, programming
Daniel Bradley – drums
Jimmy Greco – keyboards and programming
Russ DeSalvo – guitar
Abe Dertner – keyboards and programming on tracks 2 & 6
W.Y.W. (What You Want/Right Here) is a new single from artist Evin Gibson. This smooth track blends elements of pop, R&B and soul. Studio quality production, brings the song to life with an impressively clear and loud mix. The synth-driven beat has a nice bounce to it. Even listening to this jam while I was dead tired in the middle of the night made me feel like dancing a little bit. Evin has a very fluid delivery, and his voice has a nice range. You can definitely feel the energy and emotion when he sings. He also makes good use of backing vocal layering to add a bit of harmonic richness and complexity to the track. This is solid pop songwriting that’s hits all the marks for its target genre. Evin is currently signed with SANS entertainment, so be on the lookout for his upcoming projects.
YOURS TRULY is a new EP from hip hop artist, Sxee Finesse. Featuring an ambient, entrancing back beats, these songs promote a chill and contemplative vibe. As far as the delivery, Sxee Finesse has a mellow yet flawless flow. His moniker is actually appropriate, as he raps with a delicate finesse. His voice is just naturally smooth and softspoken. There’s nothing abrasive about it at all. A couple of the tracks contain guest performers like Trill Will and SMG-Gear. They manage to add another dimension to the songs they appear on while seamlessly integrating with the album’s atmospheric tone. The lyrics are reflective and highly imaginative. There’s a lot more detail and specificity than you typically find in mainstream hip hop. I’ve listened to thousands of hip hop releases, and Sxee Finesse has come up with metaphors and anecdotal similes I’ve never hear before. The lyrics in LUH WAYNE are particularly memorable. As an album, YOURS TRULY demonstrates that Sxee Finesse has carved out a niche for himself and maintains the artistic discipline to consistently stick with it.
His Name is Wibby White is a new EP from Miami-based artist, Wibby White. Wibby has been in the game a long time and is a bit of an underground pop icon, with releases (including vinyl) dating back to the early nineties. His latest musical endeavor blends elements of synthpop and disco to create an invigoratingly groovy sound. The recording has a rich, melodic fullness that’s hard to find in other contemporary pop releases. Wibby White gives a lively and dynamic performance, his voice just brimming with vitality. This is disco, as raw and authentic as it gets. The backing music features some incredible retro synths, straight out of an episode of Buck Rogers or Battlestar Galactica dance scene. The songs themselves have a pureness and sincerity to them as Wibby White’s vocals are fueled by unrestricted passion. A name like “Wibby White” has a built in star quality to it, exactly like something you’d find on a obscure classic record. His Name is Wibby White is a fresh new album from a living indie legend.
Championship Ring is a new single from hip hop artist, Santa Sallet. I don’t even know where to begin. This song is so pimp tight. It just rules. Combined with a beat that’s both minimalist and futuristic, Santa Sallet’s vocals take center stage and represent the real story here. The best way to describe his delivery is that it’s like an audiobook cassette narration in rap form. His clever, poetic lyrics and natural storytelling ability absolutely steal the show. There are a few really choice lines in this song, (that I’m not going to repeat here but which you’ll know when you hear them). This guy plays it mild and mellow, but he really can rap. Just as importantly though, he has his own distinctive style. A lot of rappers make that claim, but in this case it’s actually true. Championship Ring is a memorable song, and Santa Sallet is an artist to watch.