Lonely At The Top is a new single from artist, Neicy Redd Da Gawdess. The track is driven by her bright and softly dynamic vocals. Style-wise her delivery is reminiscent of iconic R&B singers like Brandy. The music has an approachable feel, and thematically it’s the type that will appeal to pretty much any demographic of people. Her voice has a certain tenderness and sentimentality to it. I don’t really know how to describe it, but you can just sense the positive energy. The backing music has a smooth, slightly retro R&B vibe. Refreshingly, the focus is on quality songwriting and vocal performance, and the recording is free of any hype or smoke and mirrors production gimmicks. Though she refers to herself as “Da Gawdess,” her actual music is actually very down to Earth and presents much more humbly than one might expect.
True is a new single from hip hop artist, ShayBreezy. This delightfully retro and groovy track captures the spirit of classic hip hop. ShayBreezy’s delivery style is soulfully engaging and charismatic, and the song contains all sorts of lyrical gems like “you’re whole style sweet, you got candy bars.” This jam is catchy and infectious. The backing music is like a fresh blend of late ’70s and early ’90s. It just has that classic, analog record sound. ShayBreezy’s confident display is backed up by her impressive performance. The vibe may be cool and casual, but the natural talent here is well above average.
Trap Club is a new single from New Orleans-based hip hop artist, Country Gold. In this track, the rapper reflects on what he refers to as his “glory days,” when an establishment known as The Trap House was at its pinnacle. The production quality is very high end for an indie hip hop song, with excellent clarity and a clean, punchy mix. Country Gold has a straightforward, rhythmic and no-nonsense delivery style. He also low-key demonstrates an ability to switch speeds on a dime, hinting at his true power level at various moments throughout the song. The backing beat is synth driven and somewhat theatrical in nature. Overall, this is a solid, energetic and worthy release.
Golden Hour is a new album from Los Angeles-based indie band, The Moonshoots. This 7 track EP is scheduled to be released on June 8th. With a folkish and somewhat psychedelic feel, the songs represent the best in innocent, indie goodness. The vocals are clear, harmonious and brimming with sentimentality. The melodic backing music has an organic, vintage quality and the percussive elements are suprisingly robust, giving the tracks a little bit more potency. Another aspect of this album I really enjoy is the wurlitzer-style electric piano, perhaps most delightfully utilized in Window Open Wide. Ulimately though, this album is vocally driven and fortunately, both members of this duo can sing fairly well. Even setting aside the technical aspects, their voices are just extremely pleasant sounding and emotionally reassuring. Not exactly minimalist, the overall sound on thie recording is actually full and vibrant. While Golden Hour presents aesthetically as light, indie folk fare I found that it rocked harder than I anticipated.
Heartstrings is a new single from artist, R U D I. This heartfelt and emotive song features the clarity and production quality of contemporary pop, without any of the posturing or ego that typically gets in the way of enjoyment. Not only are R U D I’s vocals passionately delivered, but the guy can actually sing. His voice drives the action here, and as he competently belts out the lyrics, we can sense that he really means every word of them. The song is also well crafted, with a chroeographed build-up to a wildly catchy chorus. Thematically, Heartstrings combines elements of hopefulness and disappointment, the tone often oscillating between persuasion and despair. As the title implies, it’s a romantic song, but a refreshingly honest and all too realistic one. Mainstream friendly and memorable, I could see this release gaining some traction.
The Water is Dead is a new single from Flame of Life, a group which decsribes themselves as a lazer-band. The sound is experimental and eerily provocative. It’s likely to confound people who have been corrupted by normie tastes and contemporary pop garbage. However, I like it. It reminds me of a lot of obscure 90s Lo-Fi and cassette oddities that one would read about in popular indie zines or occasionally find in random bins at long gone record stores. The vocal delivery is unlike any I’ve ever heard. It’s like if you were to combine grunge, punk and the delirious ravings of someone in a santitarium. So yeah, I guess you could say it’s pretty cool. Even the cover has an aesthetic, retro screenprinted vibe.
If this had come out 25 years ago, it would have made a good candidate for the soundtrack of the Larry Clark film, KIDS. One of my favorite things about The Water is Dead was seeing the reactions of listeners on Soundcloud, many of whom had no idea what to make of it. More of this please. Flame of Life is currently working on a new album, so be sure and keep your eyes peeled for that bad boy when it comes out.
Too Little Too Late is a new album from hip hop artist, A$H McFarland. In this full-length release, A$H documents his artistic progression and reflects on how his Minneapolis roots have shaped his identity. The songs are brutally honest and hard hitting, yet contain elements of sentimentality and nostalgia. Mcfarland’s stream-of-consciousness delivery style gives the tracks a personal and realistic feel. While the music is fairly well produced, it isn’t overly polished. The emotional rawness lends charm and indie credibility to these recordings. Almost all of the songs have one-word titles, which capture their individual essense. Together as a whole, these components create an engaging musical narrative and personal story arc. Too Little Too Late is available for purchase on Apple Music.
Go is a new release from Brooklyn based artist, T@ne. Together with his bandmates, T@ne cultivates an eclectic and somewhat jazzy sound on this 3 track mini-album. The music is an experimental blend of saxophone, keyboards, guitars and much more. GO’s vibe has a lot in common with other smooth and groovin’ releases, but manages to work in a bit of roughness that gives things an avant garde, slightly rocking edge. These songs have intellectual appeal and would be ideal for usage in any kind of performance art piece. GO is a pretty cool and interesting EP. I’d love to experience this music live in a lounge or modern-day speakeasy.
Camaro is a new album from New York-based rock band, The Tristones. The cover art pretty much says it all. These guys capture the authentic sound and spirit of 70s rock goodness. Brimming with sweet and soulful summertime vibes, the album subtly blends contemporary lyrical content (“First World Problems,” “Trump,” etc.) with a classic ambiance. Not only do the vocals and instrumentals deliver on the technical front, but the recording is blessed with that all powerful analog warmth. Camaro’s lyrical ventures and appeal to relevance take this collection somewhere beyond retro territory. This is just a solid, enjoyable album. Pull out the blanket and kick back under the evening stars while you listen to these smooth jams.
VNBlind is a new album from Brooklyn based, Swedish multi-instrumentalist and composer, Perfect Society (real name Andreas Borg). This rather unique release combines various acoustic string instruments with analog synths, resulting in an ambient and retrofuturistic sound. The vibe is positively ethereal, with occasional aquatic elements (in tracks like Broken Ulysses Pact) creating an atmosphere that feels a little more in tune with nature than the average contemporary synth-driven output.
While these songs are crafted meticulously and ultimately present as avant garde, there is also a new age component. I found VNBlind to have meditative and therapeutic value, though the the music is of the energizing variety rather than the type to put you to sleep. The occasional “analog tape hiss” and crackle add a plesant warmth that would be lacking in a strictly digitized version of this. My favorite jam on here is probably The North Star, which is engaging and has a killer beat. Overall, this album is quite enjoyable. It’s intellectually satisfying, yet doesn’t come across as pretentious.
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