KL GRAY – i hate, or leonard


i hate, or leonard is a new album from KL GRAY (the name for a collaboration between producer KLJ and Layne Gray.) This slick opening tracks, waiting for the moon (fool in line) features one of the coolest beats I’ve ever heard in a hip hop jam. It has a retro-futuristic, almost video game music quality to it. My other favorite songs on here are olympus [mt] and floor, i’ve become. This is like old school hip hop but with a fresh and experimental twist.

In terms of delivery, the flow is very fluid and the ambiance is smooth. This is an artfully classic release that’s musically very pleasant to listen to. The vibe is chill, but it keeps a brisk enough pace to always keep things exciting. KL GRAY definitely has some skills, and I dig the aesthetic.

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Chrystal Copland – EP

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New York-based singer/songwriter and model, Chrystal Copland has a new self-titled EP out. The songs on this release are beautifully haunting. Against a guitar driven backdrop, Chrystal’s sentimental yet confident voice captivates on tracks like Run (No One Will Save You). Her vocal style finds just the right balance between avant garde and pop appeal. She goes beyond the superficial layers of emotion and isn’t afraid to explore the darker aspects of her inner monologue. Other songs like I’m Not Broken feature a modestly paced synth backing.

The relatively minimalist mix gives the music an almost spoken-word poetry quality at times. Chrystal’s voice is pleasant enough to listen to that it can stand completely on its own. The music is just a bonus. Her lyrics are reflective, abstract and refreshingly honest. This is a terrific little EP, and Chrystal Copland has a genuinely unique sound.

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Christian Brothers – MR.HEISMAN (Woodson Tribute)


MR.HEISMAN (Woodson Tribute) is a new single from Christian Brothers (a duo comprised of rapper Sean Chris &
producer/engineer King Mega). This release is a tribute to Charles Woodson, an NFL legend who was recently inducted into the pro-football hall of fame. As the title implies, he also won the Heisman Trophy in 1997 while playing for the University of Michigan.

The song itself blends elements of hip hop and R&B, with the lyrics effectively incorporating football related lingo. The backing music is is smoothly ambient and downright dreamy. It perfectly captures the surreal atmosphere of sports stardom and a playing career that’s so remarkable it almost feels like a vivid dream. A groovy and upbeat jam, MR.HEISMAN is also worthy homage to one of the NFL’s most memorable athletes.

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Soziales Hetzwerk – Hetzer


Hetzer is a new single from German band, Soziales Hetzwerk. This Deutsch Rock/Punk release is a precursor to the upcoming album, Provokateur (which has purportedly been made with “support from musicians all over the world”). The lyrics Hetzer are entirely in German, but the song rocks so hard that the music will resonate with anyone.

Invigorating guitars combine with an assertive vocals and a robust drum beat to create an intensely enjoyable sound. The action is powerful and the pace will get your adrenaline going. Definitely not for the feeble or faint of heart. From a technical standpoint, the musicianship is excellent, clean and meticulous, especially for this metal-adjacent genre. While much of the focus is on the guitars, it’s worth noticing that the vocals are impressively melodic, making effective use of harmonies.The performances are solid. Hetzer is a strong release that will immediately grab your attention and hold it throughout the duration of the song.

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30ROLLIE – Highopes


Highopes is a new single from 30ROLLIE, a Puerto Rican hip hop artist from New Jersey. This release is part of an upcoming project called BENJIWRLD (presumably an homage to 30ROLLIE’s late brother, Benji). In Highopes, the artist gives a couple of shoutouts to Benji, but this particular song was also inspired by 30ROLLIE getting off probation for a stabbing incident and successfully beating a weapons charge.

30ROLLIE has a stream of consciousness delivery style that’s lively, fresh and upbeat. He actually has a unique vocal technique and utilizes his voice in creatively distinctive ways. This guy really does have his own sound. The lyrics are reflective and 30ROLLIE isn’t afraid to get personal sometimes. Overall, his demeanor presents as one of resilience and determination. The beat is crisp and the backing music provides a chill atmosphere. The production has great clarity and is much better than what you would expect for an “indie” hip hop jam. Highopes is a worthy single, musically and artistically.

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Slow Burning Car – Projection


Projection is a new album from Los Angeles-based rock band, Slow Burning Car. This group has apparently released four previous albums together (and also toured internationally), which explains why the sound is tight and cohesive. The guitars are assertive and polished, providing a robust framework for the songs.

At first glance it might seem to be a rather straightforward LA rock, but there is a lot of creativity employed with the vocal delivery and effects. Ultimately, this gives the album an avant garde quality, and the overall aesthetic is slightly futuristic. The lyrics are peppered with biting social commentary and occasional humor. My favorite track is probably The Quantum Mariner, a masterpiece in songwriting that is performed to equal perfection. Projection is a top-tier release, artistically and technically superior to almost anything being produced on major labels today.

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Birthpush – Sh!t Like That (feat. Big Meeg & Rogie)


Sh!t Like That (feat. Big Meeg & Rogie) is a new single from artist, Birthpush. This high octane jam blends elements of hip hop, alternative and dance. Bumping along at a peppy pace, the mix is fresh and thick, making effective use of vocal harmonies, layering and a thumping beat. The lyrical delivery is brimming with expressive intensity. With completely different instruments this track could almost have an emo vibe.

This is a quintessentially contemporary track, containing numerous references to social media. The chorus is creatively structured in a way that makes it quite catchy. In fact, the songwriting in general on Sh!t Like That is more dynamic and impressive than initially meets the eye. The combination of timing, tone, and energy give this song the potential to become an underground mini-hit on the dance floor.

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Dario Tartagni – Stories, Love and Disarming Beauty

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Stories, Love and Disarming Beauty is a new album from Dario Tartagni, a a professional composer and sound Designer from Italy (but currently based in Oulu, Finland). The compositions on this release are absolutely enchanting. Often they begin with delicate piano melodies, which slowly build into bold, orchestral climaxes. Tartagni weaves a beautifully complex web of emotion.

Even from a technical standpoint, this music is professional as it gets. Everything is performed at an exceptionally high skill level, and the songs themselves are well-choreographed. The mix captures the subtle intricacies of the piano, while also managing to capture the wider moments of symphonic ecstacy with vivid clarity. This album has all the qualities of a studio soundtrack. Stories, Love and Disarming Beauty contains a coherent narrative arc. It is moving, enjoyable and inspirational.

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WARNING SHOT (5 of 5) (SUICIDE KID FREESTYLE) is a new single from hip hop artist, Comatose Red Ivy. The track has a suspenseful and dark ambiance, with its crisp beat and ominous backing music. This artist has a truly unique, stream of consciousness style delivery. He combines rapping with avant garde narration and storytelling in a way that’s surprisingly sincere. The lyrics are introspective and the pop cultural references (Pet Sematary, Kurt Cobain etc) juxtapose nicely with the song’s vibe. WARNING SHOT manages to strike just the right balance between madness and artistic genius. It’s a solid jam.

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JAEHARPER – Low Fashion


Low Fashion is a new single from artist, JAEHARPER. Blending elements of R&B and hip hop, this jam is smooth. The sound is reminiscent of iconic artists like Drake (who may have been a musical influence). The pacing is modest and the ambiance is mellow, but the vibe is deep. JAEHARPER’s delivery is sincere, as he conveys his dreams and aspirations in this soul searching song. It has a very sentimental quality as he outlines his romantic, financial and artistic ambitions. The backing beat is melodic and jazzy. Listeners might want to dim the lights and slow dance to this eloquent mood music. Despite its title, Low Fashion is actually a rather stylish and thoughtful song.

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