PMF is a new EP from Portland-based singer/songwriter and rapper, Natnikole. The title is a twist on Big Meech’s BMF (Black Mafia Family), with the P representing Portland in this case. You get the idea right away with the opening track, Mama Stay. It’s peppy and melodic hip hop that’s brimming with personality. The distinctive, entrancing, and synth-driven backing beat gives the sound a surreal quality.
Claiming influences like Eminem and Mac Dre, artist Natnikole’s delivery is crisp, charismatic and occasionally witty. Creative employment of vocal layering and echoing effects creates a conversational atmosphere and enhances the avant-garde quotient of the songs. Both the lyrics and the persormance are very contemplative, even conveying elements of expressive sentimentality, particularly on Dead Presidents. One wouldn’t expect much from a track called Outro, but I was pleasantly surprised by how substantive and biographical it was. Don’t be fooled by the fact it’s labeled an “Outro.” It is very much a complete song.
There’s a lot to appreciate about PMF. Natnikole has created something sincere here. This 3-track album qualifies as a compact package of personal reflection, poetry, and solid rapping skills.
Green is a new single from 22-year old published novelist, musician and aspiring doctor, Shoilee Banerjee. Backed by a hypnotic, colorful and highly danceable beat, Shoilee’s emotive vocals take center stage. Her opening line, “I’m out of sad songs” is the listener’s first clue that they’re in for an energetic and driven performance. Consistent with the title, the color green serves as a recurring motif throughout the song (“emeralds on my chain, the color you turn when you see him with me,” etc). Green can of course symbolize jealousy/envy, but it also represents other things like money, the beginning of something new and fresh, naivete, innocence and so on.
Ultimately, this track seems to be about moving on from a past relationship and all of the emotions that entails. The lyrical narrative is very well-crafted, as Shoilee’s writing and storytelling ability reveals itself. The listener can really visualize the situation and the characters. Shoilee’s a fine singer. Her expressive voice connects just right with the hooks, really bringing out the climactic points of the songs. Green also features some creative electronic interludes that I wasn’t expecting and which enhance the experience.
Believe Me is a new single from German-based rock project, Joe’s Groove Huddle. The project was born out of the pandemic lockdowns, as musicians found themselves having to adapt to the inability to perform live. (Many DJs I know struggled with nearly the same dilemma). Bass-player Jochen “Joe” Kinzig decided to write songs and record them through long distance correspondence with other musicians such as Eric Castiglia (vocals), Benedikt Staud (guitars), Christian Fier (drums).
You’d never suspect that it was recorded over distance by listening to Believe Me though, because the sound is tight and organic. Seriously, these guys sound like they’ve been touring together for twenty years. The music is a hard hitting blend of Rock’n’roll, funk and metal. It’s pure action from start to finish. The vocals are charismatic and the guitars have a nice crunchy tone. There is indeed a “groovy” retro 70s-80s quality to the music, which somehow adds to the authentic feel.
One could easily enjoy this jam on the level of it being a solid, high energy rock’n’roll song. However, it actually has a little more intellectual depth and meaning. There’s a political subtext relating to the influence of lobbyists, and how we’re living in time when the critical decisions we face will greatly impact our future. Essentially, the song’s message is that people should resist the temptation to accept simple answers and instead seek out more complex and substantive solutions.
SuperFreakMe is a new single from Fluid Dynamic (Scottish DJ Ross Valentine) and Pepper Gomez (Owner of the label Wake Up! Music). This delightful Nu House track features a crisp, highly danceable and crystal clear mix. The beat has a fresh, retro-futuristic bounce to it. I was instantly impressed with the audio quality on this recording, which is brimming with sonic detail. Melodic and expressive vocals add an emotive, human element to the song, allowing it to ascend from the strictly mechanical realm.
SuperFreakMe is sleek, high energy and professional. Pepper Gomez considers this release to be something of a follow-up track to Electric Baile, an 80’s dance hit she sang on that remains popular to this day. There’s a lot of skill here. These artists both appear to have plenty of releases and experience under their belts, and it shows.
So High 22222 is a new single from Orlando-based hip hop artist, 1sPlace Poet. Let me just say straight up that this recording is smooth. 1sPlace Poet’s delivery flows naturally. Peppy pacing blends with melodic tone to make it crystal clear that he is not just a poet but is well versed in the art of musicality. This is especially impressive in that the actual beat is fairly minimalist. 1sPlace Poet’s voice ultimately carries the song, though strategically incorporated backing vocals add a bit of fullness and enhance the sound.
You might assume that a song with a title like So High 22222 would be some kind of fun, novelty track, but be prepared to be caught off guard, because this is in fact a high quality piece of hip hop music, with hints of R&B and soul. The artist has another recent release called Can’t Nobody. When comparing the two tracks in a recent interview, he stated that “one is for smokers, and one if for lovers.” However, in my opinion both of these jams are for anyone who can appreciate decent music and chill vibes.
Touch is a new single from Dallas-based singer-songwriter and recording artist, Shannon Burchett. Featuring robust guitar melodies and an epic orchestral ambiance, the track has already amassed nearly 10k streams on Soundcloud. Touch blends classic rock’n’roll energy with a sophisticated, sensitive sound. With the aid of a delightfully full mix, Shannon’s prodigious performance manages to convey an impressive level of emotion. The song is aptly titled, as Touch truly does activate the listener’s senses and will leave them tingling.
The release of Touch comes hot off the heels of Shannon’s recent album, Lucky. One standout single from that EP is Nirvana, a blissful, romantic jam with pop sensibilities. Nirvana has a peppy, flavorful beat and tropical vibe. It’s quite catchy and demonstrates Shannon’s ability to crack into the mainstream zeitgeist. The melodies are smooth, groovy and surprisingly complex. Shannon Burchett is obviously a skilled keyboardist and guitarist and seems to be capable of cranking out quality releases at a prolific pace. He has already carved out a small stylistic niche for himself in this industry. With the right connections, he has the potential to go pretty far.
44 Rhythm is a new single from New Orleans-born hip hop artist, Hustle Sinista. Featuring a tight, methodical beat, this slick track really has a nice kick to it. While inconic influences like Outkast, Mystikal, UGK, Biggie and Tupac are detectable in the sound, Hustle Sinista demonstrates a distinctive style here, as he melodically integrates flavorful elements of 60s-70s pop and soul into the mix. Don’t let the laid back delivery style fool you either, there’s a lot of energy in the vocals, and the artist actually has an impressive singing voice. While he definitely has a firm handle on things in the flow department, there’s a lot more than just rhyming going on here, musically.
Currently living in Atlanta, Hustle Sinista is clearly a highly motivated artist. He believes his strong work ethic separates him from a lot of others in the industry. The production quality is pretty impressive (especially the mix levels), so it seems the effort is paying off. Keep your eyes peeled for his next single, Everybody Hate Me, which is sure to be just as lively. The new single is slated for release sometime in the near future.
Just last month, Phoenix-based artist Brandon Adamson released a mid-century modern inspired NFT series on the Proton blockchain. The initial 12 pieces sold within the first 24 hours. Titled “Mod Commodities,” these NFT works are being made in the same style as the abstract, retro-futurist and modernist paintings the artist has been painting for 20 years.
On a recent episode of The Stark Truth podcast, Brandon explained that due to his minimalist living situation, he decided to create the series because he no longer had room to store large physical paintings. He also found the cumbersome shipping process involved in selling large abstract paintings online to be impractical.
As of this current writing, there are 28 NFTs in the collection, and 13 have sold. According to Brandon, “Most NFTs that people are making right now are pixelated characters or cartoon animals, which is fine. I love pixel art, but I wanted to put together a collection that was something distinctive and which was in line with my own artistic style. I didn’t want to just opportunistically mimic whichever style was currently selling big. Also a lot of people buy NFTs specifically designed to be profile pics. I’ve had a buyer who told me that Mod Commodities NFTs would be ideal to be used as banners or header images for profiles. Indeed they are, He purchased one for that reason, despite my never having marketed them as such. Perhaps I should.”
The Mod Commodities is currently available on ProtonMarket. In an article on CoinSlot, the artist mentioned that one of the main reasons he chose Proton was that it had the most user friendly wallet and NFT minting interface out of several blockchains he tested prior to launching the collection.
Moonlight is a new single from artist, Raféu. Born in Berlin (yet of South Asian , Middle Eastern and Oriental descent, Raféu holds nothing back with this latest sensual and fun-filled track, which is already getting some action on Spotify. The colorful and laid back club beat sets the mood for Raféu’s vocals. The song is actually quite catchy and the lyrics are brazenly and perhaps refreshingly honest. Incorporating elements of romance and intimacy, Rafeu’s casual, direct and propositional delivery style gets right to the point, making this a true party jam. Moonlight is quite memorable, and there is definitely an audience for it, for those who are in the right frame of mind.
I Say No is a new single from Canadian artist, Garcia Douglas. Backed by a soulful and elegant, synth driven beat, Garcia Douglas sings with a heartfelt sincerity that’s guaranteed to make listeners feel something. Her voice has a certain beautiful innocence to it that lends an emotional purity to the music. It’s expressive and conveys real emotion, while also being soothing. Though the lyrics don’t shy away from revealing emotional vulnerability, I Say No has an underlying inspirational and ultimately empowering vibe. You can tell that Garcia Douglas loves performing and the deep, creative process of songwriting. That gives the song an added layer of charm.