Blown is a new single from Nigerian hip hop artist, JEDA. His moniker comes from his middle name, “oluwajedalo.” It’s hard to believe, but JEDA only got into making music about a year ago, while in a freestyling sessions with friends during quarantine. His most recent track, Blown, features a rich, full mix and a robust beat. JEDA actually does have a talent for rapping. His flow is very natural, and he projects confidence in his delivery. The lyrics mostly center around themes of life struggle, persistence and spirituality. JEDA lets the listeners know he’s determined to thrive in this world. This music is surprisingly advanced for an artist who is relatively new. The production quality is absolutely solid. JEDA has a workable formula here going forward.
Happy is a new single from Brooklyn-based artist/band, Gift of Tongues. Gift of Tongues is the project of David Johnston, and strives to create works which blend “performance, motion, graphics, & original music.” Johnston also collaborates with various NY musicians and has been known to use masks and costumes to conceal his identity when performing.
This latest track is a peppy and energizing jam, that will really get your juices flowing. Featuring electro-percussive and synthwave elements, the melodies are dynamic and sonically appealing. The vocals are passionate and charismatic. At certain climactic points the harmonies actually made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Though the pace is fairly modest, this is synthwave with an intensity and a little bit on the darker side. It has a slightly retro-80s quality to it, but that’s more of a case of this just being very authentic and high quality. The backing music really sparkles. Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming release of Gift of Tongues’ second album, The Perfect Son.
Lucky is a new album from Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter, Colin Roy Monette. The sound actually reminds me a bit of Simon and Garfunkel. It just has a very organic feel. The songs have those great hooks that make for instant classics. A variety of styles are fused together, such as: Americana, pop, folk, rock, blues and jazz (just to name a few). Monette always keeps you guessing. He’s obviously an accomplished musician. His guitar playing is delicate, groovy and meticulous, and these recordings are without modern gimmicks.
The vocals are what really drive the action though. He has a sincere voice, which captures the contemplative spirit of the open road. Lucky has a timeless quality to it. If you didn’t know anything about it, you might think this came out in the 70’s or the 60s or the 90’s or ten years from now. Lucky is a top tier release, musically and artistically. It’s a songwriter’s dream.
Consumption is a new album from NYC-based songwriter/band, Comfort Cat & Friends. Scheduled for official release on May 8, 2021, this indie “folk” gem is a colorful masterpiece. It’s actually difficult to categorize this music, because some songs have a passionate intensity, more in line with punk, avant garde lounge and even performance art. While some of the mixes are minimalist (consisting mainly of acoustic guitars and vocals), others feature a broader array of instruments and backing voices.
At times these recordings have a theatrical quality, like music from a stage production. Ultimately, Consumption is highly poetic and the performances are delicately precise. This is definitely not amateur hour. The lyrics are also creative, diving deep into some rather interesting subject matter on tracks like Free Bleeding. The pre-save link for the album is available below.
Fantasy is a new single from the THRILLCHASER, an “alt pop” band from the East Coast. The song is from their album, It Was Always Gonna Be Like This. Retro-futuristic aesthetics combine with a bright, synth-driven ambiance to create an artistic sound. The dynamic vocals and rich harmonies even manage to incorporate elements of R&B. The backing music features engaging synths, conjuring imagery of a high end 80’s night club.
Fantasy actually has a relatively uplifting tone. It’s pretty, positive and inspirational. On its surface, this is somewhat of a feel good jam. However, the lyrics remind us that when we get worked up with romantic excitement, we can get ourselves into trouble, because often our euphoria is really induced by a fantasy. Great song from a band that’s not afraid to experiment with different genre components.
Far From a Rich Kid is a new single from North London-based hip hop artist, Basseline. This slick track combines elements of afro-swing with a tight beat and tropical springtime vibes. The backing music has a groovy, lounge quality to it. It’s just a very smooth jam. Basseline’s delivery style is sincere and casually charismatic as he raps about overcoming his childhood struggles and inadequate family support. It’s a timeless tale of perseverance, graduating from the school of hard knocks and coming of age. Basseline has a natural flow that works synergistically with the beat. Production wise, the mix is well-proportioned and professional. Far From a Rich Kid is a solid song with clean and precise execution.
Feel Good The Way You Are is a new single from Gliffo, a rock/pop artist from Germany. This track is bright, colorful and radiates positive energy. The music has a groovy, retro feel, with its flavorful guitar riffs and pretty vocal harmonies. It’s difficult to categorize this song, because the “feel good” message of self-acceptance is designed to appeal to almost anyone.
Spiritually, the mood is sunny and tropical. The sound falls somewhere between Yacht Rock, Funky Pop and New Age. There are no negative vibes whatsoever, just budding spring spirit and sweet summer optimism. Feel Good The Way You Are is professionally performed, and the recording is well produced. This jam is primed for radio, and its unique, catchy hooks make you want to sing along and smile.
Wait is a new single from hip hop artist, NatStar. Backed by an ambient and ethereal beat, NatStar’s delivery is assertive and direct. He raps with confidence and straight up tells you how it is. Stylistically, The song gives off a kind of “stream of consciousness” vibe. Spouting lyrics like “my attention to detail got me addicted to retailm” NatStar seems refreshingly reflective and self-aware. In most respects, this is a fairly straightforward hip hop jam, that progresses methodically and deliberately. There are no gimmicks or funky quirks. The futuristic synths which drive the beat are pleasantly hypnotic, and listening to this track can really get you into the zone.
She Who I’d Call Queen is a new single from artist, Morgan James Gavin. Blending elements of R&B, soul, and hip hop, this heartfelt song describes a situation with an ex. It was apparently inspired by a conversation Morgan was having about it with a friend, where Morgan had been struggling to find the right words to articulate what was going on. So he wrote this song, to more accurately convey how he felt.
The track has an avant garde, almost “stream of consciousness” style. Musically, the ambiance actually reminds me a bit of classic groups like The 5th Dimension, (if one were to add a bit of alt hip hop flavor). The backing just has that dreamlike, 1960’s feel. There’s an experimental quality to this recording as well, and the kind of artistic distinction and afflicted sincerity on display here is exactly what has gained Morgan James Gavin a substantial cult following online.
She Who I’d Call Queen is filled with genuine expressions of vulnerability, regret and romantic longing. It’s as though we’re being allowed to listen in on someone’s inner monologue. The song functions as an artistic collage of thoughts. Morgan’s delivery often presents like spoken word poetry or perhaps even a love letter or singing telegram. Though he doesn’t overuse it, he actually has a fairly high power level as a vocalist. There are a few climactic moments in the song where he really croons hard, channeling the spirits of Bobby Darin and Dean Martin. The term “soulful” gets thrown around a lot, but you can tell Morgan James Gavin really did some serious soul searching when he was creating this. This is the genuine emotional artifact, as real as it gets.
Morgan James Gavin is a prolific songwriter, with a large catalog of releases. I highly recommend checking out his Soundcloud, which is a treasure trove of insightful and introspective indie jams.
Wins And Losses (feat. J.See) is a new single from Chad Nathan, a hip hop artist from Walterboro South Carolina. This song really has a nice, swift flow. The delivery is casual and composed, with timing that manages to stay on point even when the speed is dialed up. In fact, though the artist doesn’t present as aggressive or arrogant, the skill level on this track is rather high. This isn’t surprising, as performers with a background in freestyling tend to be better rappers. The piano-driven backing beat is exquisite and has a jazzy, rather sophisticated feel.
While the mix is fairly minimalist, harmonies strategically thicken things up, and the ambiance correlates well with the reflective subject matter. Chronicling personal “wins and losses,” the lyrics are rich with substance, anecdotes (often involving experiences with women) and are peppered with pop cultural references (007, etc). This is lowkey a high quality hip hop jam. There’s real talent here on both the performance and production side.