You Don’t Fit In But You Belong is a new album from Ete AhPing, a singer/songwriter based in Park City, Utah. The songs are colorfully uplifting and Ete’s acoustic guitar playing is clear and bright, really pleasant sounding to the ears. The songs have a very intimate feel to them, not just lyrically, but it’s as if you’re watching someone perform these songs a few feet away from you next to a fireplace. The opening track, For the First Time In a Long Time is a fairly straightforward but lovely acoustic guitar track, similar to artists like Bright Eyes. After that the tracks move into more rockin’ avant garde territory, making use of electric guitar, piano/synth and some interesting psychedelic vocal effects. The various recordings do a nice job of displaying Ete’s versatility and keeping your attention. The lyrics all express positivity and encouragement. They’re motivational but not in an obnoxious motivational speaker kind of way. The ambiance here is more subdued and sentimental. My favorite song on this album is probably Ghosts, which has an excellent mix and contains one of Ete’s best vocal performances. Anyway, You Don’t Fit In But You Belong is a solid indie pop album. You should check it out.
Easy is a new release from Dallas based artist, TexMex Shaman. It’s a cover of The Commodores’ song, Easy, although I would apply the term “cover” here somewhat loosely, mainly because TexMex gets so creative with his version that he might as well be given credit for a whole new song. This is what you might call derivative art. TexMex Shaman is one of the more memorable artists I’ve reviewed on here previously. His musical style and associated artwork are so distinctive, he really stands out (and I’ve easily done write-ups of over 1000 musicians.)
Anyway, back to Easy. This version differs from the original in that it’s basically all instrumental. There are no vocals, though this artist is very abstract and deep so maybe they’re layered in there subliminally somehow. I don’t know. What I will say though is that I actually like this version better than The Commodores’ one. It’s just very psychedelic in that refined late 70s early 80s cocktail party kind of way. This would have fit right in on the Boogie Nights soundtrack, perhaps for one of the mellow and reflective, lounging around scenes.
I’m not even sure what level of player he is, but TexMex knows how to get just the right tone from his guitar and amplifier. His technique, gear and effects used make this guy’s guitar playing really pleasing to listen to. Forget ASMR vids. You should be listening to this recording if you want to be chilled out to the max. Just about one and a half minutes into the song though, things spice up a bit as the music kicks into a higher gear. It then alternates back and forth from mellow to rockin’ the rest of the way. Stylewise, some of the guitar on this jam reminds me a bit of Edward Bear’s Last Song (if that song had been an instrumental.) This is ultimately more of a groovy, psychedelic smooth jam. It’s difficult to classify though due to the dynamic changes that occur throughout. In that sense it’s similar to collage style songs like The Pretty Things’ Defecting Grey. One minute it’s soft rock, and the next it’s high octane 70s psychedelia. I’m sure that a lot of people have covered this song before, but I guarantee you this guy has done it with more originality. He does The Commodores’ song justice while making a distinctly worthy creation of his own. It’s not as easy for most people to be as creative as TexMex Shaman makes it look here.
The official release is set to occur in the next couple of weeks, and you can expect to find this track on streaming services in the beginning of August. Keep your eyes peeled.
I Am Not Alone is a new single from SoRi, a very famous artist and entertainer from Seoul, Korea. The song was produced by Folded Dragons, an NYC based EDM producer. I Am Not Alone a lively pop song, and the video features some pretty impressive dance choreography. The dance routines are tasteful, energetic and avant garde. SoRi’s a professional obviously and her vocals are top of the line. The video seems to be shot mostly in one area, but the setting is used creatively in different ways throughout the video, and the main focus is where it should be, on the performers. In fact, SoRi really gives it her all, and her performance has a heroism that makes you really want to root for her.
Thorium is a new album from Los Angeles based rapper, Oluse. A Nigerian-American, lists his musical influences as Tupac and E-40. When listening to these recordings I expected Oluse to have some exotic foreign accent, but nope. He sounds fully American to me. He does have a charismatic and lively delivery though. His voice is very dynamic, and he’s able to alternate tones and change diction at the drop of the hat. Really though, this guy doesn’t just go through the motions. He delivers these lines with spontaneity and moxie. The backing music is retro and groovy. It really gives off some smooth vintage hip hop vibes. The album consists of 9 full songs. Each of them is very colorful and distinctive. My favorite track on here is probably Boiling Point 4788C, which has a trippy and memorable intro.
Worth The Price is a new single from sibling duo URBANO in a collaborative effort with UK producer and DJ RM4K. The music combines elements of EDM, pop and hip hop to create a high energy dance party jam. It’s hard to even describe how much youthful vitality this song has. To say that it’s wild, fast paced, and delightfully chaotic would be an understatement. The brother’s quick witted hip hop delivery juxtaposes well with his sister’s passionate and powerful vocals. Seriously, the girl’s voice is huge. The video for this song was directed by Joseph Graves, and it does a terific job of capturing the electrifying energy of the song and getting it across on screen. This is just a really solid contemporary pop song, and ther artists clearly have found a formula that works.
Infrared is a new release from Sonic Radiation, (the name for the musical project of Dallas based artist, Todd Last.) It’s electronic dance music, blending trance and techno. The beat pacing is quick and the song has a crystal clear sound. I would characterize this track as being somewhat retro-futuristic, with its spacey ambiance and robotic control room vibes. The music has a very machine-like quality to it, as if you’re listening to the inner mechanical workings of a supercomputer. It’s also very high octane and action packed. Someone would get a pretty good workout by dancing to this jam. From what I understand this guy, has been doing this since 2003, and it really shows. In a genre where the barrier to entry is fairly low, this whole recording is very meticulous and professional. The artist also manages to incorporate imagination and a tangible theme into the music. He clearly has a “vision” at work here beyond just simply wanting to make people dance, and he succeeds at elevating the track into something more.
Coming of Age is a new EP from artist, Jenae Ailia. The songs have a pop/R&B feel to them but are a little more on the artistic side. The music is low-key, and mellow, with a vibe of dreamlike innocence that’s both ambient and ethereal. Jenae’s voice is refreshingly soft and pretty compared to most contemporary pop artists. This album is brimming with a romantic tenderness which will tug on your heartstrings. My favorite track on here is probably What Are We Running Away From, which has a beautiful retro synth intro. There are a ton of aspiring young recording artists these days, and this artist is relatively unknown, but I was pleasantly surprised by just how good these songs are. This girl really has something.
Lonely is a new single from Echoglass, a fairly well known indie outfit with an established international following. The band is from Blackburn, Lancashire and is heavily associated with the Northwest of England scene, an area which has historically been brimming with artistic talent. Lonely is difficult to classify musically. It’s obviously under the indie/alternative umbrella, but that alone doesn’t tell you much. Atmospherically, the track is dark and brooding, beautiful in a haunted way. The ambiance is reminiscent of songs from artists like Leonard Cohen and Radiohead. It’s deep “soul searching” music. Obviously with a title like Lonely one would expect the mood to be a bit of a downer. The lyrics reflect this, with the theme of “a love that curses itself,” yet the music is strangely uplifting. By the end of the song I felt more energized than depressed.
The pacing is slow and methodical, but the dynamic musical changes throughout the song keep you engaged with the story. The backing is mostly piano and synth, and at certain critical times the emphasis shifts to the vocals (and vice versa.) Speaking of the vocals, the singing on here is definitely well above average for this genre. It also isn’t ruined by a lot of unnecessary processing or autotune type crap. In that sense, this almost feels like a retro recording, if only for it’s shining authenticity and genuine expressiveness. In fact, the voices are ultimately what drives the song’s emotionally haunting aesthetic, whilc the synthscape provides the ethereal backdrop.
The video for the song is professional and does a nice job of bringing the story to life visually. We see the characters’ quietly tumultuous relationship and lonely despair play out. The fact that it’s shot in black and white contributes to the dreary, rainy day atmosphere evoked by the song. We see the unhappiness in the characters’ expressions, activities and mannerisms, all of which exude loneliness and despair. That’s okay though because after all, that is what the song is about.
Obviously this band is achieving a lot of success and has already “made it” to a large extent. So, a lot of people are aware that they’re good. I’m not discovering some secret here and revealing it to the world when I tell you that this is an excellent song. It’s great to see a band making music as good as this and getting some recognition for it for a change. That must indeed be a lonely feeling.
I Don’t Know Em. is a new single from Houston based artist, Platinum B LOvE. The video for this pimp tight jam is very professional and has some impressive cinematography. Platinum B LOvE’s delivery style is assertive and charismatic. While the artist is well traveled and has lived all over the world, he remains true to the distinctive southern/Texas hip hop style. His wild fashions and tricked out low rider bike accentuate his persona.
This track is in your face and hard hitting but still pretty fun, thanks to the artist’s antics and the flavorful vibe. Ultimately this song deals with themes of someone not getting the recognition they deserve and when they finally make it, they will act like they don’t know the people who didn’t support them. Platinum B LOvE is a hungry and up and coming artist in the Houston area, and people should expect to be hearing a lot more from this guy. If this high quality video is any indication, he means business.
Embodiment is a new (soon to be released) EP from hip hop artist, Free Dios. First off, the production is very good. Everything in the mix sits right where it should be. Most of the tracks feature a layered conversational delivery style, giving the music an avant garde, voyeuristic quality, as if you’re eavesdropping on someone’s thoughts. The songs make good usage of samples and intros, which are often attention grabbing and give each track its own distinct vibe. Lose Money Not Time and Shine are probably the most stand out tracks to me. Musically they seem to flow the best and are the catchiest/most memorable. I’m a big fan of conversational delivery style in hip hop, and one thing Free Dios does very well is strike a balance between streey toughness and a willingness to express vulnerability in his lyrics. The way the album is produced makes me think of old school hip hop. It has a warm, analog sound and raw energy. Be on the lookout for this artist and release.