Friday, November 27, 2015

Aida, On the Cusp of Shining Like a Beautiful Star

The Cusp of Beauty, Opening guitars howl and piano notes gently drift off the soundboard creating an optimistic environment for the beat to drop and hammer hard. Looking inward Aida explores the consciousness of an artist and where conflicts seem to be a daily grind. Powerful backing elements create the scape for an epic title track. With electric guitars grinding in the background they contrast well with the piano work to create a “Fire and Ice” juxtaposition. On “Grasp of Beauty” Aida creates an uptempo smooth track with beautiful choruses sung that will put air under your wings encouraging you to fly. The beat has a swinging feel that makes you want to hit the road and get something done today. This song would work well in an inspirational movie. Aida has truly grown with this release as it shows on every track. This song in particular is hook heavy and shoots for the stars. Opening strings on “Progressive Journey” imply a tender side of a warriors heart. Contrasting his hard vocal approach on lyrical rhymes, the soulful female vocals in the choruses and the winding melodies floating in the background do well push the release even further. While the soundscape breaks down from time to time it rebuilds very strong with pro songwriting chops. The low-fi opening of “Progression” makes you feel like you are lying in bed listening to an old radio as the sound blossoms and creates a beautiful bouquet. The verse tag team action with Choric Lumina adds yet another dimension that takes you on a fuller and deeper journey. The electronic elements on this track help mixup the tone flow and activates different pallets that will make you want to dig deeper into each song.  With opening vocals singing in an Indie Rock vibe, the track “Burn Like Fire” makes you feel you are stuck out in the rain ready to shake off the cold wet blues and become a soaring Phoenix. The contrasting melodic sung verse and choruses with Aida’s signature vocal flow authentically replicates what it feels like sometimes to be stuck in a conflicted relationship. The acoustic guitar work is placed really well in this song in unison with the strings in the chorus create a powerful track that drips with passion. Opening vocals lines on “Mirror’s Reflection” reach deep into a rejected heart wanting to love. Clean electric guitars evoke visions of broken hands reaching out for love and understanding. Pounding beats feel like a world beating down that doesn't understand. Growling bass guitar lines pose as the Mirror that is relentless and unforgiving. As the tune “Cry Out For Help” unfolds you find yourself starring face to face with a desperate man. Piano work creates textures that are true beauty in motion. The beat takes the back seat and provides a solid back bone, but the haunting hook vocal is that which rain clouds release for. While sounding a bit over processed the hook line serves it’s purpose and makes you wonder if someone is laying on the floor amidst the shards of broken glass. Electric guitars create a tension that makes you feel like a storm is brewing on “Fade Out”. Bass notes provide a flow that feel like a cold breeze which is trying to steal your soul. With spirited vocals slamming the tag team nature helps the song evolve and keeps the sparks flying. Female vocals sweetly weaving through the choruses are the light that keep the strongest dreams alive. The cadences employed here on the varying vocal deliveries are that of true pro status. I would call this cut a true stand out track. With the funky piano groove on “Feel Good” you cant help but get your pants out of the chair and shake your skin till it shines in the sun. The samples are laid with excellent position. This thick track has the goods and is an awesome way to round out such a deep reaching album. I would recommend this release to anyone that likes true emotion on display. Those that like Pop, Rap and Hip Hop will especially find jewels here to enjoy for weeks to come.  With Aida on The Cusp of Beauty his star has only begun to shine. Hopefully he will not rest on what he has created hear and continue to push the boundaries with more emotionally energizing tracks to be cut in the future. 





Michael
Music Reviews


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Matt Maher, Leading the Way With His "Firelight"

“Firelight” - As I press play on the single “Firelight” , guitars wind out of my speakers and into my mind. I feel like I am being propelled back in time to a point in my life where everything was on the line. Notes selected bring a rising tension to the number as vocals plead for a better day. Soul and true desire are on full display, like a man hungry in the desert. Beautifully pleading Mr. Maher unleashes his desires like the kick drum that drops beat after beat like the world does so well to beat you down. As the song opens to the chorus I feel the urge to open my arms and welcome Jesus in. This is the typed of stomping song that will have you wanting to get out of your seat and run to the new day, and become all that God wants you to be. Electric guitars have a gritty charm to them and represent just how dirty the world can be. In contrast the organs swell in background with angelic beauty and push this song's emotion to a higher level. Percussion textures lay a driving beat that will encourage the soul to put one foot in front of the other and walk past the door of doubt and fear. They serve the backbone of the song well and help provide the power with a swinging beat. Bass guitar notes pulse and curve through this cut with a low-end growl that act as a concrete podium that will help raise your spirits into the heavens where you can reach your full potential. At the 2:36 mark the vibe of the song cuts to a delicate and tender moment like that of a true beating heart waiting to unleash all that can become. As the song rebuilds with vocals sung straight from the gut Matt allows this track to take flight even higher. I would recommend this song to those that like Pop, Rock, Americana and Christian genres. With the world so cold and dark anymore this is one of those songs that will serve as a “Firelight” to help the lost souls find their way to be saved.





Michael
Music Reviews


Friday, November 20, 2015

Dylan Ruiz, Bringing the Sunshine With This Life

“This is My Life” - This is one of those songs that talk about the dark-side of life, but unites with music that is rich in character and will leave a hop in your step. An inspirational song that has an infectious beat, this is great to put in your ears when you are about to take on the world. Production is top notch, I really like how the construction of this song has plenty of open air so that all the elements have room to breathe. It allows the message come through, and keeps the track from being overly claustrophobic. Piano work rings through you mind like past memories and regrets. They hang in the air to be absorbed and enjoyed. Bass clef notes ring far in the background like memories that haunt, but give power to the song. They remind you of how far you have come, how better you are and foretell what wonderful opportunities lay ahead. The percussion work is nontraditional and serve the song well. They help the tune break out of the common Pop model. Guitar work that dances around the choruses are like butterflies of hope that will rise the spirits of any dark day. I would recommend this track to those that like Pop music. This song is a ray of light in a dark world obsessed with  feeding personal addictions. While “This is my Life” is a song personal to Dylan Ruiz it also can serve as an inspiration to what we can all strive for. 




Michael 
Music Reviews


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Boston Shakers, Rocking You into a Flow of Bliss

The Boston Shakers Demo - When the opening drums start pulsing in my ear I feel like I have either drank too much coffee or that I actually woke up in another dimension in a dream where slow motion is 500 bpm.  The drums pound, the guitars are fuzzed and overdriven, bass guitar notes pulse like a teenagers pelvis after staring at a cover of Cosmo for an hour, and vocals swagger and flow like a cat in heat out late at night. “Plastic Bag” embodies true Rock n’ Roll attitude and lays it down like seasoned veterans. “Black Magic” continues the flow and rocks a tempo that sits left of center. It fits the song well. The Boston Shakers rock the rap/rock thing like a real rock band would and flows like a poet truly in the zone. If this is the things a demo from the The Boston Shakers are made of then the authentic release is sure to be a sizzling shot of artistry to the brain. With hooks that will have you humming the songs for weeks TBS take your ears by storm and will tantalize your brain with picturesque lyrical lines.  Rounding out the selections for my tasting was the cut “Best Things in Life for Free”. The bass grinds like a pair of jeans wore so tight you will see the goosebumps rise as the music climaxes. This is truly an infectious song that will have the audience clapping and singing along. With guitar and vocal hooks in toe you have here a classic anthemic song. I would recommend this to those that like Rock, Alternative, Rock/Rap and Underground Rap genres. The Boston Shakers live up to their name shaking up the musical landscape with a set of songs that were born to rock. 








Michael
Music Reviews


Friday, November 13, 2015

Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate, Killing the Code With a Twisted Release

When the Kill Code Fails - With the opening winds flourishing in your ears you will immediately be taken away to a land that hides in the dark recesses of you mind. The bass guitar resonates larger than this earth. Guitars jangle like the chains trying to be broken. You might just find yourself sliding out of you chair into an alternate dimension. The percussion work is far off in the background. This isn't your average rock band singing about wine, women and song. Closing my eyes I see the gentle swaying of yellow tulips on a warm spring day with a  cold thunderstorm rolling in. As the blue skies fade to black and the lightning crashes Hats Off... take you on a journey that you will not soon forget. “Broken Wave” stirs the imagination of purity gone a rye with ominous synth work brooding over shimmering tones. This is definitely an album for the headphones. With so much to absorb and feel you won’t want to loose a note to ambient atmosphere. Small droplets of passion are transformed into notes creating rich waves of powerful sonic landscapes. This serves as a wonderful transition track into the cut “Layers”. Here on display is a traditional rock format. With vocals sung from the gut you can picture the mic stand having a hard time standing still. HOGIA create a dynamic within their band that has elements which each have their own story, but yet come together in a beautiful tapestry. Drums lay a solid, thick beat with an attitude full of snap and wit. Bass guitar tones grind with the right amount of mid range pop. Guitars cut though the mix like an additional voice breathing the spirit of freedom in this song. Key work adds the extra elements of atmosphere that would the song lost at the gate without it. Cutting back to more of an electronic vibe “Connections” make you feel as if you have been sucked into the Matrix where you are surrounded by a mass of people. Everyone is talking but you cannot hear a word. Ominous tones raise an uneasy feeling and you feel like you are in the middle of a trap that is about to be sprung. The flow and transitions of this piece make the sound which evokes a vision of a long curly haired red-head. It just sounds like trouble, but too good to look away from. Before you know it you are sucked in and cant get out. Snapping you out of a trance with one crack of the snare, the song “Head in a Jar” wakes you back up and brings you into the true reality. Overdriven guitars rage like a fire at 500 degrees Celsius. The waves of fire dance and snake through this track as the bass notes do the best they can to tame the snake of fire. With power and precision they lock tight with the beats off the drum kit and cage the piece all together so that it doesn't get out of control. Vocals beckon to your better senses and plead for your attention. Melodies roll off the tongue like spikes of venom wanting to kill the lies in humanity flourishing today. “Link” dives back into the electronic realm with an uptempo beat that makes you want to move, actually run. The high fluttering notes with make you feel like your feet are unaffected by gravity leaving you to be swung around by the bass clef work into a dance of sweat nearing a lust like nature. Flute lines amongst the slinky guitar tones in “Going Down” make you wonder which voice you should listen to. HOGIA have great Rock n’ Roll facet to their being. You could almost imagine that if this band played solely traditional rock tones they would be a force to be reckoned with. The electronic journeys add an additional dimension to this release. The only downside is that the sharp back and forth between the two can be a bit confusing. With “I Still Remember You” they blend the two sides a bit and create a beautiful sonic sandbox to play in where you are surrounded by castles and pyramids. It’s not so much that the electronic element is alive here but the flow and burn transform the dynamics into something fresh and interesting. The phrasing in textures around the 3:12 mark are those of musical bliss. The audiophile side of my brain came completely unwound. As bass notes ring and reach for the sky in the song “My Clockwork Heart” guitars work to pull you up to a different plain where vocals lay out a story straight from the heart. I feel like I am walking a tightrope of clouds high in the sky. With a mild fear of falling this song winds and weaves across the heavens around the world. Just as in life you may fall, but with songs like this you can be lifted and transported away from the daily pains life can bring. One of my favorite cuts was the number “Freerunning”. It has a vibe that just brings true joy with an infectious beat, dazzling key work and bass notes that hit like a sledgehammer. The overdriven guitars do bring a bit of a metallic flavor to the song, but its a strong instrumental number that will make you feel like you mainlined a pot of coffee. A blues guitar vibe takes center stage on “Solace” that simply sounds like a broken heart plugged straight into an amplifier. Drum work is rather subdued and allow the track to unfold into its own beauty. Keyword that frames it all in is right on point. Bass notes pulse like a heart trying to carry on. Like a graceful dancer this song will spin through your ears like poetry in motion. Vocals take the song over the top and give the guitar a true run for its money in the passion department. “Glass Lithium” embodies elements that make you feel like you are being asked questions through music. If you can talk through musical notes I would check out this track. There is a brilliant discussion going on here. With raunchy Rock n’ Roll on full display “Alive” has the gut, sweat and groove that will make the staunchest prude move. Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate have delivered an interesting release. I almost hear this as a double EP from two different acts rolled together and smoked releasing a “fire and ice” type pleasure. I can only wonder what kind of sensation would be had if the two vibes were married more closely in each song on the next release. Cause yeah, this is band that you will want to hear more from. I would recommend this to those that like Rock, Electronic, Industrial, Experimental and Progressive genres. When the Kill Code Fails truly delivers and this is code for, Get and listen to this now!





Michael 
Music Reviews



Monday, November 9, 2015

Last Chance City, An Epic Release That Delivers A New Beginning

A New Beginning - With swirling sounds opening this release Last Chance City open a world for you that will entice the sonic senses and open your mind. With an electronic backbone this Rock outfit hits hard on all five tracks of this release. As you soar to the heavens with their cut, “Life and Love” guitars push you to the edge of your seat while the drum work propels you to move. Bass guitar pulses and winds through the background instigating a passion in your heart that you will not let go easily. Vocals weave through this sonic jungle and reach into your heart and will sure to enflame a passion that will make you sweat. Last Chance City has the ability to craft epic songs that build tension and release like a dam blown wide open. On “Fire Your Guns” the band layers textures that peel back like an onion but stay sweet as morning dew drops kissed by angels. With twist and turns from sweet and nice to naughty and dirty you will feel as if you are on a rollercoaster through the artistic collective that embodies LCC. As the ride pauses around the 3:15 mark the mellow doesn’t last long. Cranking emotions back up like true rockers, you are taken one last go around before the sun sets on this track for good. With opening swells and delicate notes rolling into your ears the song “Rising Flames” sets in front of you like a campfire on a cold night. As the track unfolds that campfire blossoms like a raging bonfire that will leave every inch of your skin alive with electricity. This is the type of release that you would want to put the headphones on and turn off all the lights and lay still so that your imagination can take over and go for a ride. At 2:55 mark “Rising Flames” pulls back with bullhorn vocals that command an epic chorus to follow. These are songs that were made for inspiration. Rounding out the set is the cut “Behind the Hidden Sky”. Driving rhythm guitars cut to an eerie staccato run and you almost feel like you are lost in a fog cloaked autumn forest. As you run to find your way out the song builds and guides you to an escape before the fog can envelope you. Coming to a clearing you see the sky above and you are pulled by a force only this music and propel you with. I would recommend this to those that like Rock, Alternative, Electronic and Pop/Industrial genres. If you are in the mood for a journey through music then I would recommend this release. For A New Beginning is at hand. 


Michael 
Music Reviews


Bogart, Letting Loose Like a True Artisan

“Let Me Be The One Freestyle” - Freestyles are always interesting because you hear an artist working on the fly. Musically the compositions can be rather limiting because you generally hear one beat looped over and over. The upside though is that the length is short enough to keep the monotony at bay. With some electronic fluttering over a thick snare/kick combo Bogart flows about aspirations rather than bragging about what pretends to be or have.  At the 1:17 mark the music morphs as this talented artist cranks it up a notch and really starts to cut. The track wraps up around the 1:30 mark and you are left only wanting more from this artist. The spin is fresh and disposes largely with Rap cliche’s of late. You don’t hear about how he has tons of great weed or how he nails your girl in front of you while he is counting his millions getting drunk. On display is a true talent willing to crack the door open so you can see the man behind the mic. More is sure to come from this poet and you would do yourself well a favor to check out this cut. 




Michael
Music Reviews