Broken is a new single from Hayward, California-based artist, Yhung.Sammy. With his latest song having already nearly hit 20k views on Youtube, Yhung.Sammy is quickly establishing himself as one of the primary up and coming artists in the city of Hayward. Musically, Broken isn’t easy to classify, as it blends elements of hip hop, pop, emo, chillwave and various other genres. Featuring some slick guitar riffs, an ambient beat, vocal layering and a rap interlude, the song manages to pack a satisfying sound variety and complete narrative into its brief, two-minute runtime. The ambiance is mellow and—as the title suggests—the lyrics express an endearing level of emotional openness. Yhung.Sammy has released several singles already, just in 2020. If he keeps releasing notably creative music at this prolific pace, not only Hayward but the rest of California may begin to take notice.
Petra is a new single from 23-year-old French speaking composer, Ray Chillout. He specializes in EDM/ambient house music and began his music career in 2019. Ray also created the #petrachallenge on Tik Tok, in relation to his song, Petra. It has amassed 2 million views on the platform.
Musically speaking, the song is impressive and I must admit I enjoy the style much more than “standard” house music. The beat has a bouncy, retro-futuristic quality. It actually reminds me of 80s synth-pop, with its emotional intensity and polished, action oriented sound. The female vocals are soft, mesmerizing and have an avant-garde edge. Petra definitely captures the urban nightlife ambiance with all its intimate, hypnotic energy and shadowy, uncertain atmosphere. This is a very high quality release. It’s hard to even believe that Ray Chillout has only been making music professionally since 2019. If I hadn’t known, I would have assumed this came from an established independent or major label. With this song making the rounds on Tik Tok and other social media sites, it won’t be long before it becomes widely recognizable among people of a certain age.
See It Thru is a new single from hip hop artist, Chito Boii. He cites Trill Will as being a mentor and was inspired by artists like Boosie, Webbie, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, e40, and 2pac. The song is essentially an anthem of struggle, hard work and perseverance, as overcoming obstacles in life and “seeing things through” seem to animate the artist’s passions. Chito has an intense and no-nonsense delivery style. He comes across as very focused and determined. The backing music has a fresh, “chimy” rhythm, and the bass is crisp. I was only listening to this on my laptop, but I could tell if this jam was cranked up in the car, the beat would have a cozy boom to it. Family is obviously very important to Chito and the center of his struggle. He refers to the music he makes as being “pain music,” not painful to listen to obviously but more along the lines of facing, dealing with and overcoming pain. See It Thru is motivational, passionate and well-produced.
Wanna Fly is a new single from Fox in Oil, a singer/songwriter based in a small corner of northern Russia. this groovy, dynamic and retro-futuristic track has an energizing bounce and tantalizing pop flavor. The synth-driven musical backing blends elements of R&B, future-disco and pop to create a stylish and satisfying sound. The mix is rich and melodic. Fox in Oil is also a highly skilled vocalist, and when she belts out the lyrics she reveals the true power-level of her voice. This isn’t your typical, generic and light pop song. It’s actually kind of electrifying. With a song titled Wanna Fly one would expect that listening to this jam would induce a state of euphoria, and on that account it certainly delivers. This is a solid and worthy single, with global appeal. There’s a lot of talent here.
Spotty Coverage is a new EP from Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, Charlie Christmas. As the title coyly implies, the songs included are all covers of famous hits. Tracks ranging from Our House to You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet will be instantly recognizable to anyone older than a zoomer and who hasn’t been living in a bomb shelter for the last 50 years. The angle here is that these songs are given a bit of indie, avant-garde flair. For example, Our House incorporates some robust guitars and almost takes on a pop punk quality. Musically, Charlie absolutely does the original songs justice, as he captures the essence of the sounds you know and love, while delivering them in a form like you’ve never heard them before. The standout track on the album is I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry. The fast paced and authentically twangy instrumentals are performed to meticulous perfection, and the song left me wholly impressed. It also has an organic, “earthy” feel and the genuine expressiveness in Charlie’s vocals elevates the song into something beyond a mere “cover” tune. He makes it his own. Nothing spotty about this EP. It’s a good one.
Happiness Together is a new single from singer/songwriter, UTE. This sentimentally uplifting anthem features bright, melodic guitar tones, delicate piano and soft spoken vocals. Cultivating a spirit of togetherness and a celebration of the positive aspects of human relationships, the song is truly heartwarming. UTE is an excellent singer, and her voice has an emotionally intimate quality, reminiscent of classic adult contemporary artists like Yvonne Elliman and Karen Carpenter. The backing music has a mellow, jazzy feel and induces a subtle state of euphoria with its quiet power. Production quality is extremely professional and the mix is sonically pleasing.
Lyrically, the song emphasizes the notion of togetherness by consistent declarations like “I’m the one for you” and “you’re the one for me” as well as expressions of hopefulness regarding the future. As such, Happiness Together is overwhelmingly centered around positivity and optimism. This is a celebratory track that is certain to people who have found love and companionship at last and are primed to start looking forward to a future together. It also captures the sense of adventure and excitement one feels at the beginning of a new relationship. The authenticity and romantic purity in this jam is off the charts. The positive and somewhat reassuring message is highly relevant in these tumultuous times we live in.
Happiness Together has already surpassed 1 million plays on youtube. UTE is a prolific artist with a plethora of respectable releases in her catalog, most of which incorporate inspirational themes. You should also keep an eye out for the documentary Music Makes Me Fly, which goes into depth about her incredible story as well as her passion for making music. The concept of the “journey” seems to be a recurring motif in her music, both symbolically and literally. It’s clear from Happiness Together and her other songs, that UTE loves the journey of life and delightfully revels in all that it has to offer.
Mr. 17th is a new EP from Louisville-based artist, Philly Blocks. Interestingly, each track on this 6-song release lists a different producer, yet the album maintains a consistent, coherent sound throughout. The synth driven beats have an engaging intensity, while a mellow, laid back ambiance appears here and there. Philly Blocks’ delivery is passionate and formidable. The songs are rich with autobiographical narrative and storytelling as Philly Blocks waxes nostalgic in tracks like Clinton Era (my personal favorite on the release). Another jam worthy of mention is Movie, where he combines forces with fellow artist, Cino Fresh. Philly Blocks makes use of creative structuring in his songs, and the layers of sound and backup vocals come at you hot from multiple angles. This is a good “party” album with a lot of vivacious energy, but there is an underlying sentimentality and substance to it all. Be sure and follow Philly Blocks on Twitter and IG to keep up to date with his musical endeavors.
Grow Up is a new single from Alexandria, VA-based hip hop artist, Woazy. Woazy has a decent flow and youthful delivery, while his lyrics are clever, catchy and engaging. Featuring a mellow, end of summertime vibe, the ambiance is chill. The pacing is still has enough juice to where you can dance to this jam if you’re in the mood. I really enjoy the beat, which has a very old school and pleasant tone. It really frames the track nicely and matches Woazy’s reflective, stream-of-consciousness style. Grow Up takes some creative twists and turns, incorporating some rather choice snippets and samples about 3/4 of the way through the song. Woazy has a lot of releases under his belt. He has a memorable name, and his authentic and unassuming demeanor will win over audiences who prefer enjoyable, artistic songs over superficial hype.
Eleven Women is a new solo album from artist, Steve Kilbey. The songs feature some unique musical backings, which oscillate between melodically bright and broodingly mysterious. It’s difficult to even characterize the overall tone. It’s just very enigmatic and thought provoking. In terms of mainstream comparisons, the “ambiance” is adjacent to that of artists like Chris Isaak or Leonard Cohen. It’s not quite alternative but not quite pop rock. Eleven Women has more of a polished, post-punk feel, yet with a mellow, coffee-house rock pacing. As the title suggests, the album features content-rich songs about 11 different women (give or take a woman). The artist is best known as the singer-songwriter and bass guitarist from an Australian band called The Church. He’s also a poet, writer and painter, which explains how these songs contain such fascinating and coherent narratives. He really hooks you in, and I found myself wanting to listen to this album multiple times to gain a deeper understanding of these women and their situations.
The Sand Reckoner is a new album from the group, Last Charge of the Light Horse. First off, let’s just take a moment to appreciate the beautiful album cover, which caught my eye immediately and is a genuine work of abstract art. I would hang this album cover in my living room. Musically, the album has a classic rock’n’roll vibe. The vocals are reminiscent of garage rock legends like Lou Reed, while the guitars are organic and have a slight “bluesy” and occasionally psychedelic quality to them. Last Charge of the Light Horse basically blends the heart, spirit and songwriting talent of iconic 60s-70s rock albums with improved production values and a 21st century, approachable sound. The performances are strong. This is one of those albums that college radio DJs would fall in love with. It’s a great, grass roots release that has enough creative surprises in store to distinguish itself stylistically from its inspirations and influences.