I Am - One thing about any album that can be frustrating is when your mind is on shuffle but you don’t want to keep hitting skip or scan. Diztord is an interesting in that respect. While the core of this studio metal project is Bjarne Gudmunsson (drums), Chris Goldsmith (bass, guitar and vocals) and Tord Bäckström (Diztord) they bring in different artists on each and every song. Each song has a common sound with a rotating chair in vocal spot making this the type of album that you can put on and not get bored with. Let me say that for an unsigned project this collection of songs sound as professional as you can get. The lead single and title track “I Am” opens with a synth pulsing and male vocals that are as smooth as silk though they waste no time getting down and dirty. The guitar sounds are HUGE they grind with precision and definition. Bass guitar sounds are massive, thick and have just the right amount of grit in true metal fashion. Drum work on this album just slams. The ebb and flow behind the kit used to help build these songs is absolutely beautiful. Wether spraying a hundred beats a second or laying back with the natural groove the drum work is perfect for each and every song. With this many vocalists I kept waiting for a low moment but each and every vocal performance captured the melody of an angel or a screaming demon. The entire cast on this document deserve 5 stars. I wouldn’t recommend this album, I would DEMAND that if you like Hard Rock, Heavy Metal or Industrial music that you stop right now and get this album. Every track is stellar. I don’t care who you are “I Am” telling you right now this is a contender for Metal Record of the Year.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
…& Friends - With the cracking of thunder on the opening track “Ready to Fly”, Lenny comes out swinging. On this Rock/Pop album he crafts a set of epic numbers that inspire the soul straight from his heart. Even passages that barely seem to whisper like the opening of “Impossible”, rein as giants with massive amounts of emotion. Track after track Lenny …& Friends create a dense soundscape. From the powerful drumming, rich guitars, grooving bass, elegant key work to Lenny’s heartfelt singing this album has it all. The particularly interesting grooving track “Black Woman” struts with true blues-rock fashion where Lenny reflects how “they are all the same” unlike his style. Even on the snappy acoustic number “Way Down to Moscow” Lenny’s guitar prowess and song crafting sensibility shine. One thing that is evident is that this is no one trick pony show. On “System Breakdown” the tasteful drum loop and synth work employed keep your ears in tune and interested. At the core of all the songs though is Lenny’s trademark vocal delivery. You know it’s him as soon as he starts to sing. The guitar takes quite a journey from mild electric through searing leads and mellowing occasionally with acoustic slap. The bass guitar work grooves, slides, winds and weaves just like the passion on display. Key/Synth work is tasteful and supports the songs without distracting. The drums just thrown down and take these tracks over the top. Production on this album is absolutely beautiful. With so much going on in each song it’s nice that all the elements have their own home and moments to shine. I would recommend this album strongly to anyone that likes Pop, Rock or Alternative genres. With “friends” like these Lenny can’t go wrong and you won’t go wrong putting this on for a spin.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Of Heroin And Harlequins - As I spin this release I close my eyes, and I can imagine myself running through wheat fields feeling free in my heart and mind. In All Honesty is a trio from Rockford, IL that plays acoustic, coffee-house style pop/folk. Lead vocals sung so sweetly from Naomi Allen spin tales of the heart that will warm the soul. The guitar playing from Michael Allen acts as a great counter point for Naomi’s vocals and anchor the tracks in solid song craft. Key work from Anna Smith add the right amount of backing flair and spice up the songs helping them each be their own character. The songs are produced well, though while some of the key work on “Polio” seems oddly timed, it helps underscore some of the tense feelings projected lyrically. Perhaps it should have been more of a subtle texture, though it does serve the song well. This collection is great for a journey. Wether walking, cycling or on a drive you will get to wherever you need go while also searching your heart and soul. The stand out track “Hold On To You” is a wonderful tale of lovers with a bond that will never seem to break. With the lighthearted playful song “Tentatively Yours” I feel a delightful skip which hopes for better days, but is happy to have someone to share bad ones with. I would recommend this release for those that like Pop/Folk genres. Wether you are feeling bold or quiet as Of Heroin And Harlequins take the time to listen to this release and feel the weight of the day fade.
“All This Time” - Most of the time when I hear Acoustic Singer-Songwriters they are all mellow and drone on about leaves falling on an Autumn day and drinking tea in their pajamas. That is NOT what Richard does. With “All This Time” he hammers right out of the gate. While there is a bit of heartbroken remorse in song it has a great hop in its step. It’s rare that solo artist and their guitar sound so full. This track is produced rather well. The guitar tone in right up in your face and clearly defined. His playing is very well executed. The vocals are produced a bit tight. I wish they had been allowed to breath a bit more because Richards style of singing is so robust. He really belts it out on this one you can tell he is the type of artist that doesn’t need autotune or fancy effects to get his poetry across. I would highly recommend this track to those that like Acoustic/Singer-Songwriters/Pop. If you have been waiting “All This Time” for a song that’s beautiful and from the heart then be sure to check out this track from Richard Rands.
Die Ethan - With the opening bit of comedy on this release I find my heart opening and saying yes. Out of my speakers stretch the guitar grind that is indicative of classic rock tones. The Horse heads write songs that are reflective and make you want to open your soul. While most music anymore has the vocals up in your face, Die Ethan allows their music to breath and be a voice along with the lead singer. With true rock ’n roll attitude this release speaks from the heart and bares it all for anyone to see. Guitars grind with true passion. The bass guitar lays a layer of low end so thick with attitude that no one gets aways clean. The drum work on Die Ethan ,though shifting in tempo from time to time, suit this band really well. You can feel the attitude swinging away clearing anything that tries to stand in its path. The lead guitar work exemplifies the attitude and texture that the rest of the band throws down. There might not be a million notes a minute played, but it is played honest and from the heart. The Horse Heads singer won’t get a vocalist-of-the-year award, but few sing as passionately and write as honestly. True poetry reaches the heart and The Horse Heads execute well. I would recommend this band to those that like Rock/Punk/Post-Punk/Alternative/Indie/Garage Rock. These guys write true and honest music, so while some may pump their fists in the air and chant, “Die Ethan” hopefully The Horse Heads don’t die out anytime soon.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Devoured by the Comfort Zone - With opening track lush sounds of world music roll out of my speakers. Like a beautiful woman Mind Orchestra entices me into their world with seductive sounds. While invigorating the style of M.O. is still rather laid back. You could easily close your eyes and envision yourself traveling to every far corner of the earth. The songs are produced very well and the mix lets all elements breath and pulse with natural energy. With so many different instruments it can be challenging to balance them all and not loose focus, however Mind Orchestra’s songs wind through your ears and take you on a rather organic sonic journey that has one voice. While the opening track “Nomad” rings with true emotion and passionate vocals M.O. also has a wonderful talent of writing instrumental jams that set the soul on fire. The track “Little Spirit” summons the sound of Pink Floyd to visit and executes with precision. This is the type of music that would be great for those wanting to listen to something inspirational but allows your imagination to run wild. If you are a fan of things country western Mind Orchestra takes a sharp turn with Spirit Walk. While this track sidesteps rather sharply, and normally I would recommend putting this track on another album, it does break up the scene for your ears. With traditional twang they execute this song with excellence and put their own spin on the country fried. Considering that this collection times in at about 96 minutes the track does well to help break things up. Double albums are always a lot of information to process but Mind Orchestra changes flavors on the following tune as well with “Enjoy the Nature (it’s nice)”. It reminds me of something that the Beatles might have put out if they were still making music. Spiced with plenty of ear candy and a playful mood M.O. turn yet another page in their encyclopedia of sounds. I find my soul searching for hope as “Moonlight” wraps it acoustic guitar tones beautiful throughout my mind. There is truly some expert playing on this collection. It sounds as if it has all been executed by a dream team of seasoned professionals. With such an epic debut one is only to wonder what Mind Orchestra might do to break out of their “Comfort Zone” and tackle on their next release. If you like music you will definitely find something that you like here. I recommend this collection to those that particularly like World,Experimental,Psychedelic,Folk. So if you are ready for a journey pack your lunch and take a trip with Mind Orchestra right now!
“I, Me” - With this release 6O4 has done it again. With high quality production and sounds he lays down a thick sound scape. I could see this easily landing in a video game in a transitional level before things really start to get soaked in action. With the opening cello’s things seem rather ominous but the skipping glitch like work with the rolling snare textures keep things playful. I think that the glitch sounds though are maybe a bit overused however with the track only coming in at 3:07 it doesn’t reach the point of being overplayed. The backing textures change and help the mood swing. 6O4 has the talent of making tracks that stay within standard pop time limits but don’t get monotonous. If you like great instrumental music to get you through the day and love EDM/Trip Hop/Pop then I recommend this track.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
“Fuck ‘em” - One thing missing in a lot of music I hear is attitude. If you are looking for a song that is all sunshine and rainbows then steer clear of this act. With a creeping bass brass CWIL ready your mind to throw down. They don’t hide it, they are full of attitude and are ready to dispense with anything fake or weak in their way. A Rap act hailing from Detroit they have had enough, and their music rolls telling you to get out of the way. Most times with Rap I hear a ton of special effects that act as ear candy but CWIL keeps it about the ideas. They do an excellent job of using the pop songwriting structure to create thick hooks. There are moments where the use of delay muddies up the vocals and makes a couple of lines difficult to discern, but CWIL keeps things on point and in your face. If you like music with attitude, Rap/Hip Hop/Pop then I would recommend checking out this song. Either way CWIL shows no signs of letting up of fading out anytime soon. For all those that try and nay say CWIL will overcome and just say, “Fuck ‘em”.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
“The Fallen” - The opening guitar chords remind me of those times when I wake up and I know that the day is just going to be epic and I’m up to no good. This song slinks across my speakers and into my ears like an evil seductress. Ash Wednesday is the greasy kind of rock n roll that was made famous by the likes of the Rolling Stones only with more attitude. The guitars have that middle finger in your face grind with solos that don’t need a million notes a minute. Instead they favor for groove and feel and the guitar leads become another voice for the band. The bass guitar is well defined and lays down a solid groove factor for the band. Drums, done perfect for this band. Fills aid the peaks and valleys of this song and drive it into reckless abandon. Vocals are dripping with attitude and heart. XXX can’t help from pushing it as hard as he can. If you are the type of person that likes pretty little safe Pop songs then Ash Wednesday is NOT for you. This band has a real crossover appeal. If you like rock/hard rock/classic rock/alt rock/punk/grunge/garage rock this is the band for you. They have the attitude and the skill to deliver solid grinding rock ’n roll. So get your face out of your tired, played out music and listen to this now.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Choke Him Son - I aint gonna mess around, YOU HAVE TO CHECK OUT THIS TRACK! Nuff said, but really this is an interesting one. I could easily see this track going into a horror, suspense or a modern detective type movie. 6O!4 has nailed an awesome track that is down right creepy while still fun to listen to. I feel like I have someone watching me in the dark right now listening to it. 6O!4 does an excellent job of building tension and release moments with keeping solid crawling tempo. The layers of sound that bob and weave in and out of your ear are a delicacy for your ears. If you want to have something that will help you pulse through your day, go! Just check this clip out now. I highly recommend this one to anyone that like EDM/Trip Hop/Industrial/Instrumentals.
Idfwu Freestyle - Freestyles are always fun cause you can see art in its raw form. Watt$ definitely has talent and make sure you check out this track so that you can have the pleasure of saying, “Yeah, I knew about that guy before he blew up.” This will be like one of those rare sought after baseball cards after Watt$ goes platinum. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you like Rap/Hip Hop check this out.
“Shadows” - A Thick EDM beat thumps as this song rocks it out of my speakers. Sally is a sultry new Pop talent and with her song “Shadows” she is ready to get the room bumping. This is a great balanced Pop song that takes you halfway around the world on a holiday of a good time. The track has an awesome mid-tempo bounce. Heavy synth work is done very playfully. A nice thick beat anchors it all and lets Sally work her vocal charm. Be careful she will seduce you with her eyes, art and heart. You can almost feel the fun in the sun that Sally is having while out on the town. Whether cruising the town or dancing on the beach this track will put a smile on your face. I recommend this track to those that like Pop/EDM music.
Waiting on Go - I am not going to lie to you I am a rock guy. I love raging guitars and pounding drums. Hearing a vocalist singing nearly screaming at the top of their lungs gives me goosebumps. Amy Gordon is the exact opposite, that being said I was shook in my seat as her songs began to roll out of my speakers. At first listen I had her music on in the background to get an idea of what kind of artist she was. From the opening track “One Door Opens” I was pulled in. Her music has a hop in its step with optimism and hope for a better day. The album is really well produced with all the elements balanced and breathing like a true professional. With this collection of songs Amy shows that she is no singer-come-lately but a true talent. Amy’s vocals slide out of her soul and into my ear opening my heart. She has the talent to take personal stories and relate to her listeners on an intimate level. While her vocals float around the room the notes of her music dance and do an excellent job of painting a background for the story. If I had any complaints I would say that the percussion work is a bit too laid back but the attack fits her style well. Key and xylophone work are played well, and with the same great passion that is in Amy’s voice. While some moments on this disc are bouncing and playful others are quite smooth and peaceful in reflection. Each song takes you on a journey through her heart that isn’t boring and predictable but rather calm yet adventurous. This is the type of album you would want to put on first thing in the morning when you wanted to create a calm and inspiring mood. I would recommend this album to anyone who like Pop/Indie/Singer Songwriters. While Amy maybe Waiting on Go you shouldn’t wait a moment and pick up this uplifting album.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
CREEPSHOW - Usually when you think Hip Hop/Rap you think of moog sculpted soundscapes, Heavy synth work or beats from the 70’s Disco. On CREEPSHOW Musfasa truly creates some creepy tones and backtracks to vocally flow over. Lyrically Mufasa is a breath of fresh air. As a wordsmith he is a true poet and stays away from current cliche’ MC trends. This album has a gritty underground vibe, something that you would only play when your parents weren’t around. He isn’t your typical Rap artist he is more of a poet than a verse/chorus/verse. Over the 19 tracks he explores a variety of soundscapes and ideas. If you are looking for an artistic, different and out of the box Rap artist then CREEPSHOW is the record for you.
3D - Opening with the song “New Day” Bobby Danger writes music that you just want to turn up as loud as you can. He has the talent of writing songs that make you want to sing along with on first listen. As pop/rock acts go Mr. Danger has plenty of rock in his mix. The guitar leads just flow and make you want to play air guitar. The drums and bass throw down a nice groove and have musical hooks that make you want to dance. Bobby as a vocalist sings right in the pocket. His harmonies and lead vocals make you want to hum along to the verses and scream along with the chorus. 3D is a showcase of true talent. If you are a fan of Pop/Rock/Alt Rock then I would highly recommend this album. In his 3rd release Bobby shows that his star is in no “Danger” of fading anytime soon. So if you are tired of plastic one dimensional bands then check out this 3D experience.
Social Strife is straight up a great rock band with punk attitude. I really don’t want to call this a punk band because nowadays when people hear “punk” they get the idea of watered down pop rock with guys covered in tats and piercings or music that is so rank that it makes your ears bleed to listen to it. SS has the attitude of a great punk band but crafts songs that swagger and breathe. Vocalist Sean Farro gets right in your face. He sings great and from the heart with attitude. Terry Doucette’s guitar riffing is catchy and top notch. His guitar leads lend another dimension the songs exemplifying the tension and emotion in each song. The whole thing is held together by Mike’s hitting of the drums. Slamming down on the skins he helps build the peak and valley moments in each song allowing each to explode when needed. Jcon lays down the low-end thunder on bass guitar. He is lockstep with Mike and with his tone keeps things rather snarly. If you like rock ’n roll with attitude then Social Strife is the band for you. Wether you want to lay back and chill to the vibe on “Alien and Freaks” or crank the rock at 11 with “Reign”. SS has an epic sound on rockers like “The River” and “Wish I Could Be” and solidly place themselves as condensers in the rock world. Artists that can bring the noise and the attitude of true rock ’n roll are in high demand and Social Strife prove with Friends Like These… that they are ready to step up and fill the void. Get this album and crank it!