Monday, April 28, 2014

The Chariot Unleashes All Out Chaos on The Fiancée

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LEL Brothas Roll Through Hip Hop Supremacy on The Epidemic and Beyond

I caught wind of LEL Brothas and was shocked that these guys aren’t bigger. They should be on the radar of every single person’s hip hop collection. I’m surprised with how the beats are done here, very clean, and to the point. The rapping is solid, rhyming through lyricism that you’d expect from the best MC’s in the game. You will sing along, bounce your head, and hit the switches on your low rider to the tracks on this record. From the intro which mixes news and media into a hip hop intro, to the track “The Drank Game” you get a feel for the sound that the LEL Brothas bring down with relative ease.

Things flow well through the first few tracks, and then track 6 starts to really triumph as “Killa Cali” drops with an emphatic flow that you’re going to be wanting to hear again and again and again. All in all, The Epidemic represents a very good record that you’ll find to be on par with anything that is being released in the mainstream right now. In fact, the beats and the diversity of the mc’s vocals are enough to make them one of the better duos I’ve heard in a while. You really get contrast here, which is not often seen with hip hop teams. The production is incredible as well, and definitely shows the power of the producers and dj’s on the recording.

LEL Brothas are going to be making moves soon, as they have a new record coming out, and they’ve been gaining fans around the world. They were featured in Rockband 3 with the track “Hatas”, and have the honor of being the First American hip hop group to play in Saudi Arabia. With their new album “Pandemic” coming out just around the corner, “The Epidemic” is a record that will be a good taste of what’s to come. Stand out tracks on their current release include “Hatas”, “Drunk In Da Club”, and of course my favorite “Killa Cali”.

Overall, there is a lot of talent represented here, and something that all hip hop fans should hear. You’ll be impressed with the way this record ducks, dives, and hits you with that iconic hip hop sound. Check out the official LEL Brothas website here, and watch out for their new record. For now, pick up their current release “The Epidemic” and see why these guys are destined to be a household name soon enough.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rancid And Out Come The Wolves Still Genius After Nearly 20 Years

It astonishes me how old I’m getting, especially when I listen to some of my favorite records and realize that they are nearly older than my younger sister. Rancid released “And Out Come The Wolves” In 1995, and I was only 12 years old. I purchased the cassette tape from Epitaph Records. They had a catalog that they mailed people, and I filled it out in pencil, put a few dollars into an envelope and next thing you know I had a new cassette tape, some stickers and a sampler. That was how it was done back then, now? I don’t know what happens now, people just download stuff I guess.

Rancid’s rise to fame was not something that happened over night, they pushed and pushed through the Bay Area punk scene until it hit big. This record is by far one of the top selling albums in the punk world, and one that everyone probably already has in their rotation, and if not, what’s wrong with you? From the opening track of “Maxwell Murder” through the singles that you probably heard on the radio one hundred times, this album still has some incredible songs. 19 tracks of blistering punk rock that is not only true to the genre, but also features a lot of melody and some of the greatest bass lines that you’re going to hear today.

Of course you’ll probably have your favorite tracks, but for me, “Roots radical”, “Junkie Man”, “Daly City Train”, and “Avenues and Alleyways” present incredible songs with lyrics that remind me of my past, present and future. There’s no pretense found on this record, it’s just the band at their best. They have released a lot of records since, but when you start to hear the new stuff, you will be reminded of the roots of the band’s break out hits.

Rancid’s “And Out Come The Wolves” is an inspirational punk rock record that should never stop being played in your collection. I know I will never stop playing it, as this really is one of the infest pieces of modern punk rock. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, click here and get it, it’s seriously good.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The One2s Produce An Instant Alternative Classic With EP One So Watch Out!

The booming percussion comes through first on “EP One” and some of the most compelling guitar and bass lines trump through before you get the full scope of what The One2s have to offer. I was immediately blown away by the opening of “Wide Awake” and then as things progressed, it just got better. This EP is another prime example of how you can create lavish, guitar driven, percussion laced alternative rock without having to turn too much pop on the draw. The vocals and guitar work all drive home an incredible sound, one that is not too far off from bands like Denali, Sonic Youth, and others.

What starts with a bombastic manner, dives into more melodious rhythms and rock sounds through the course of the release. Each track stands alone as a single in my view, with each one getting better than before. You get a mix of vocal options, and you get an incredible sound that is definitely nothing you’ve heard recently, and that’s perhaps what draws me to love this one. The use of bass and drums amidst rock guitars and companion vocals is definitely the highlight here. The way it all comes together is not disorienting, it just flows through melodic rock style.

The one2s definitely hit their stride with “Running Out of Time”, like a shot of espresso with all the sounds that you could possibly want out of a rock record. As an EP this definitely does the job, leaving you wanting a lot more out of the whole experience, but only delivering a taste. This rock outfit is definitely one to watch out for, because they have the polish and the precision to make it big. I could definitely hear this on modern rock radio, as it definitely works well on so many levels. This EP is just the beginning, mark my words, they are going places, and you’re invited to join in on the fun.

You can learn more about The One2s by going to their official website here, checking out their music here, and of course checking out their video below. I highly recommend a listen, it’s one of the best alternative rock offerings I’ve heard this year. It’s really good. I can’t say enough about this one.

Filthy Racket Bring Out Raw Energy on Their Latest EP

Filthy Racket has definitely done something powerful with the release of their latest EP “Raw”. The powerhouse band brings forth a bit of raw punk energy, mixed with garage band noise and produces a fine example of pure rock energy. Not nailed down by one genre, they possess the kind of influx that you would expect from the 1990s alternative scene. Melting together power chords, fuzzy bass lines and clever vocals to create a solid release.

With the release of “Raw”, Filthy Racket does a good job of presenting themselves as pure rock enthusiasts. Instead of relying too much on one sound, they just throw a lot out there and it works for this short release. Out of the 5 tracks, you will have a hard time picking your favorite because they all have something different to showcase. Whether it’s piano, bass, or guitars, you’re going to find that there’s a lot to be found here.

Stand out tracks are definitely “I’m On My Way”, “When There’s No One Else Around”, and “Been Drinking To My Death”, but again, this is a solid effort with a good deal of energy. You’ll definitely be comparing the sounds to Butthole Surfers, Sonic Youth, and a little bit of Replacements for good measure. However, they break the mold here, and it’s definitely a good release, and a precursor to what very well may be coming along the way from the band.

This EP is rocking, and it’s energy packed, so don’t sleep on it. Check out Filthy Racket at their official website here, and listen, support, and check out this alternative rock band that is definitely dishing out some quality music. I like the release, and recommend it greatly.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Crowe Drops One of The Best Independent True Rock Records of 2014

When it comes to rock, there’s a lot of genre shifting. Crowe definitely has a lot of monikers that you can throw at them, but one thing is for sure, they are staying true to the core rock formula that introduced the world to an alternative to the jazzy sounds for the 1930s and 40s. This is like a time capsule to the birth of rock, classic or not, “Crowe 2.0” puts on a display of true rock sounds that you will be hard-pressed to compare with other bands right now.

From the first moments of “Afterglow” through the rest of the 8 total tracks, you’re going to get hit with that distortion and bass that comes through the rock pathos that you’ve come to love today. It’s rare to hear an independent record with such heavy rock influence without trying to shift into all sorts of genres. This band doesn’t need that, it is rocking from the first track to the last, and it shows.

Some of the standout moments include “Afterglow”, “Swallow a Gun”, “liquid”, and “Unbreakable”. However, as is my custom, I listened to the whole record and can truly say that it’s a complete release with no need to pick a favorite. Often times, you’ll find yourself listening to one track more than others, but that’s going to be hard with this one, because they all pose a serious sound that you don’t get often. The vocals are solid, the guitars swell, and the bass drives you through what you would expect from pure rock music.

Out of all the rock bands you may have heard before, this is going to be one of the better solutions. It’s rare to hear a band play this sound so well and still be independent. I’m certain Crowe is going to get picked up by a label, the music is tight, well played rock music that doesn’t have any sort of pretense. It’s excellent. I recommend it.

You can learn more about Crowe, on their official website here. You can also download their album “Crowe 2.0” here, and see what pure rock sounds like today. I loved it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ash In October Come Back After 25 Years and Shock The Musical Landscape

The first few notes of the latest release from Ash In October are enough to wake up the jaded music fan in just about anyone. This Australian band works with electronics, and after a hard road of trying to get noticed back in the 1980s scene, they faded away. 25 years later, with a whole new purpose, they have come back and recreated their original release with an all new recording of epic proportions.

The sound that you get from their new recordings is nothing short of poignant, and very much in the arm of the 1980s. You will swear that you’ve heard these songs in movies, on MTV and radio. If you’re as old as I am, then you absolutely remember the pathos that are created with both “Greater Crime” and “Sex Machine”. The band puts together a good mix of rhythm, and bass, mixed with cool electronics and solid vocals.

The originals are interesting, but they don’t have that power that the freshly recorded options do. However, they do have that “Weird Science” type of electronic section that made Oingo Boingo so popular in the 80s. You will have a hard time deciding which one you like better. The 1980s new wave fan is in love with the 89’ version of the tracks, but my modern day music fan likes the new recordings. I don’t know, I’m torn, and that’s a great thing.

Ash In October deserve as much praise and notoriety as they can possibly get. They are an underrated group that needs more listeners. If you like the 1980s new wave sound, and love electronic music, here is a slice of the past, done very well. I’m impressed.

You can check out the Ash in October’s release by going to their band camp HERE, and check out a cool video below.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Matt Simon Punches In The Best Guitar Rock Record You Haven’t Heard Yet

Matt Simon is a guitar player that should be incredibly famous. He should be shredding with the likes of Slash right now. I haven’t heard a record come out with this type of precision guitar work in a long time. I listen to a lot of rock music, but nothing compares to the components that are found with the release of “The Scepticle Testicle”. This is a shining recording of pure guitar genius. I truly believe that if this record came out in the 1980s, Simon would be on top of the rock world, because he puts on a clinic of musical categorization.

With a lot of guitar records, you end up getting just one style, but Matt Simon’s genius goes through all different styles of music here. He plays on metal, jazz, funk, and fusion. With serious attention to the elements, you are going to get a ton of great instrumental sounds here. I have to stress the fact that this is a full band recording, and not just a dude playing guitar in his living room. The production value is very high, and the instrumentation is incredible. You get more than just a wailing guitar, you’re getting some very detailed picking, riffing, leads, and follow through. For those that play guitar, you’ll pick out what he’s doing, and for the rest of us, it pummels you with excellent sound design. There’s nothing left to the imagination but to imagine your favorite guitar player accompanying the pieces, because Simon is on a level all his own.

Through the 27 minutes of musical landscape, you are given examples of everything you could possibly want in music. Stand out tracks include “Sack Attack”, “Lush”, “Midnight Gooch Marinade”, and “Rubiks Pube”, but you are going to be hard-pressed not to listen to this one whole. It’s another “whole” record that you need to pay attention to as a whole. It’s an incredible example of musical ingenuity. I love it, you’ll love it, if you just listen. Check out more about Matt Simon, this release, and more, by visiting his official website here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Giant The Artist Throws Down Some Sick Rhymes on HiberNation: The MixTape

If you’re following my reviews, you know I love a good hip hop record, and every week I seem to get word on more and more records being pushed out by people that are looking to top the previous releases that are getting popular, and here we go again, another release and another shot at the crown. Giant The Artist releases a mixtape that drops some incredible rhymes, and beats from Sinima Beats and I’m impressed. Blown away from the intro, to the drops and pieces from movies, television shows and more. Not since Esoteric and 7L released Czarface have I loved a record this much. I think it’s one of the best things to come out recently, and it is a tough contender, going hard in the paint. (Sorry, had to say it)

Giant The Artist’s flow on “HiberNation: The MixTape” creates a compelling flow from the start, dropping beats with samples that you swear are familiar, but are truly unique to this mixtape. The first thing that struck me was “Now or Never” an emphatic hit that should make any listener bounce and enjoy. Sinima really does well with the beats here, but more importantly, Giant The Artist comes through with flow that is just on point. From there, the tempo slows a bit but the words are poignant, going through feelings, thoughts, and bravado you would expect form rappers, but with a conscience from the past. You’re not getting the traditional, but rather an introspective approach that is definitely something to appreciate.

The mixtape flows really well, providing you with 16 tracks of hip hop glory that is hard to nail down. Stand out tracks include “Now or Never”, “Person I’ve Become”, “On My Own Grind”, “36 Hours” and more. This is a solid release, full of life and rhymes that are personal, and come through with positive mannerisms. This is a great entry, and you’ll definitely want to check it out.

Giant The Artist really progresses on this release, creating a stand out mixtape that should be heard by all hip hop fans. The beats are solid, the flow is not contrived, and everything comes together in a very good package. I recommend it, and it’s perhaps going to launch Giant The Artist to a bigger audience, he deserves it, especially with this one. Check out the limited edition mixtape HERE, and make sure you’re keeping an eye out for this up and coming rapper.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Brothers From Above Us Is The Best Hip Hop Record I’ve Heard This Year

Believe me, I have heard a lot of hip hop records this year, and I have so many records to go through, that I sometimes miss out on posting the reviews here because I’m working on something else. This one blew me away from the first line and continued to represent some serious elements. Progress and Antidote bring down the house with incredible beats and more importantly, a flow that is shocking.

Listening to the lyrical assassination and combination of flows is impressive here, and the two are able to flow through sounds that are compelling, intrepid and just impressive to say the least. “BFAU” completely blew me away, and I was floored. Not since Murs and Fashawn have I heard a record with two rappers that can flow with such poetry and still maintain differences, and be united. Sure, Grouch and Eligh put a great record out, but Progress and Antidote rise above theirs this time around. I’m completely impressed with the production value up front, I didn’t expect that all.

I’ve been around the world of Christian music before, and when I was coming up in the record industry around 1999, the rappers weren’t very good. In fact, I heard more terrible rhymes in the name of Christ than anything else, and it was an awful time. Now? These conscience hip hop stars are on par with anything you’ll hear in the mainstream. Guys like Lecrae and Trip Lee may get big stadium shows, but these guys deserve that too.

“Them Jays (feat Wontel)” should be the next big radio hit in my opinion. I just got a new speaker system and was impressed with the sound design here, and the tracks just kept getting better and better. “My Friend Mic (feat ChrisRay)”, “Independence Day”, “Going Home (feat CST)” and “Mascot” all stand out fresh on my mind right now.

I’ve heard some terrible mc’s this year, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from “Brothers From Above Us” but was definitely surprised. This is talent, this is good music, this is real music with a message that is interesting. They don’t beat you up with doxology, they don’t try to force rhymes into their ideas, and they flow with a simplicity that you can’t possibly miss out on. This is awesome!

Check out “Brothers From Above Us” from rappers Progress and Antidote. The poise they have is stellar, their flow is smart, and while some may not want to see past the religious tone, you can’t deny these guys are pure talent. This is true hip hop, and for that, I am naming this record the BEST of 2014 so far. Get this, turn up the bass and listen up! I loved it. Check out the album by clicking HERE and support this record, they deserve it.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mark Morrison Returns With a Whole New Album of High Quality R&B

Mark Morrison has been one of the bestselling and most reversed British singers for quite some time. Just one search online for his music and you will be hit with remixes, releases, and a lot of collaborations that features his intricate vocal style. Mixing R and B and hip hop with pop sensibilities makes Morrison’s voice stand out amongst a lot of different singers today. With the release of “I AM What I AM”, you get 7 new tracks of great music. Early reviews have touted the music to be very good, and quite interesting.

One listen to the opening track and you’ll be hooked with the way the beats, production, and sound all work together to form a nice setup for Mark Morrison. It’s been a while since I’ve heard anything from Morrison, but remember his single “Return of the Mack”, which was a highlight of my collection in the past. This latest release coming out in May is definitely worth a listen.

Stand out tracks include “I Am What I Am”, “My Life”, “Father Forgive Them”, and more. Even though it’s only 7 tracks, you get a good deal of music here. You will not want to miss this one, as Morrison definitely puts it down on this release. You’ll not only get that classic Morrison sound, but you will also get collaborations, and tunes that you will definitely want to listen to over and over again. This record also features Crooked I (Slaughterhouse), DMX, and more. You will not go wrong here.

If you’re a fan of hip hop, R and B and pop music, this is going to sit very well in your collection. The Mack is most definitely back here, as Mark Morrison creates an instant classic here. I was able to hear this one today, but you will need to order it from ITUNES (PRE-ORDER NOW), and enjoy a very good pop, hip hop, R and B crossover.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Stew Dixon Creates Compelling and Unique Songs on His Release of The Animals

Stew Dixon may be young, and may not be on the top of radio charts, but if you listen to his latest release “The Animals” you very well may think he’s on his way. Mixing equal parts Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan, and a bit of modern rock and folk, this young songwriter from Ireland is doing something that others aren’t, he’s creating eclectic music. The music on his latest work is stripped down, to the point, acoustic in nature and sounds quite amazing.

You will get that taste of the Celtic roots as he strums and sings through this record, and really is something to behold. Not since I first heard Dashboard Confessional, have I heard something played quite well, with so much passion and emotion. It’s simple here, and that’s ok, you don’t need to have bombastic delivery, you simply need one man, a guitar and a heart. If you are a fan of modern rock, you will definitely find that this acoustic EP fits so well with what’s being promoted on rock radio today. Mumford & Sons would easily have this guy open up and fans would enjoy the mix of finger strumming and thriving vocals.

Often times when you get an EP you don’t get fluidity in sound design, but that’s not what you get here. With the tracks, “The Animals”, “The Times”, “Raise It Up”, and “Old Friend”, you get enough of a workspace to enjoy Dixon’s signature style. It’s an EP that really is meant to be listened to as a whole, instead of just a few songs and then forgotten. Too many other artists only put out their best single and a bunch of throwaway tracks on an EP, which is why I like Dixon’s “The Animals” so much better. It’s eclectic, warm, and heartfelt, the way music should be.

Check out more information on Stew Dixon, his release “The Animals” and his many performances via Facebook here.

Alize Levy I Can Be Shines Light On True Talent

I was recently pointed in the direction of the latest single from Alize Levy and I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I sat down to listen, it started with a pop sound, and then her words came in and the voice over music really took me a new place. Upon closing my eyes, it seemed as though this incredible singer was singing just to me. It’s a visceral experience that you don’t always get with pop music, and specifically R and B music. It’s too easy to take shortcuts and make something fake, but that’s not what you get with “I Can Be” as it is definitely one of the better songs I’ve heard in a long time.

I had to listen to the song on repeat for a while to truly get everything, as the song is that good. It’s a carefully crafted musical opus that features the vocal talents of Alize Levy and I for one am impressed. I love the sound, and love the lyrics. Her talent rises through the ranks and definitely presses the listener to take notice with a sultry emphasis that you’re not going to find with other artists right now. I can’t even really compare it to anyone, because it is unique and well worth your time. I’m surprised that this is not the #1 hit on the radio right now, it’s a good feeling song, and it’s structured well around Levy’s unique vocals.

If you have a few minutes, you have to listen to Alize Levy’s “I Can Be” and really pay attention to what’s going on around you. Close your eyes and allow the sultry lyricism and beautiful sound infiltrate your mind’s eye, it’s worthwhile. Click here to listen, and check the youtube video below for a music video that will showcase even more talent from this incredible singer. I love her voice and overall style. You can also check out her music through itunes here, youtube here, and reverbnation here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Monster #Tha Monster EP {14’} Shocks With Jazzy Good Times

My eye was red, I kept rubbing it like crazy underneath my glasses, while I turned on Monster’s latest release, #Tha Monster EP {14’}. With one eye open I managed to get the record to play, and then fell out of my chair as my eye kept bugging me. What greeted me, aside from my own body’s warning signs that I need to put some visine in them (I’ve been writing since 3 am today), was a mix of music that is definitely worth listening to. I was pleasantly surprised by the layered approach to the music here, which is a mix of classical introductions, audio sound clips, and beats that intrigue as much as please.

The compelling nature of the music here is mixed with what I can only label as hip hop, but it’s not really hip hop. Ok, it is, but it’s not. It’s not MURS rapping about mid-city, and it’s not SLUG talking about his depression, it’s something a bit left of center. It’s more jazz than anything else. It’s as though Monster has found a way to create layered jazz music, like you would expect from Tribe Called Quest, but in a very unique manner. This is not sampling in the traditional sense, and it feels very organic, amidst the speech and rapping for all I can muster up.

You’ll find that from the opening track, mixed with the sounds of rain and atmosphere, to “Boy W. No Name”, “Tenesha”, and even “Gyspy Gold” you get a sense of purpose from this artist that you don’t really get from a lot of other artists. The genre bending is very interesting, intricate, and yet it feels so much simpler than I can put into words. I found myself impressed with the sounds, production, and tracks that just seemed to flow with creative energy. This is not an ordinary release, and it’s this type of nuance that makes me a music fan. I recommend it, it’s very different, unique, and well put together. Monster’s #Tha Monster EP {14’} may in fact be the most unique thing I’ve heard this year. Check this record out here, and be amazed by the creativity, I can't put my finger on it, it's that good, check it out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Grieves Winter and The Wolves Feels Like Brother Ali’s Little Brother

winter grieves
Grieves put out a record that quickly shot up to the top of the iTunes hip hop charts. I took note and decided to give the record a shot, since I’m a fan of Rhymesayers and am always looking for new music to review. What you get when you invest in “Winter and The Wolves” is an album that has some heavy hitting lyricism, beats that flow from traditional to abstract and an interesting record that makes me feel like Brother Ali trained a new guy to jump in while he’s working on other stuff.

Grieves rhymes well for the most part, but there are times when he jumps sentences and rhymes in a forced manner. He’s not running out of air, but it sounds like he’s reaching hard for the next syllable and it just doesn’t work that well on the first listen. Hip hop is like that though, you have to find a way to compel yourself to listen more than once, or you’re going to get lost in a hail of words that are painting you a picture.

The great thing about this record is the beats. There’s a very “underground” feel to everything. You are not bombarded by blips and marks from electronic digital arrangements all the time, and you aren’t getting auto tune hitting you with smoke and mirrors, instead, you get a live dj in the studio mixing several layers together. You even get live instrumentation, here and there and you when Grieves sings, you start to make comparisons to Slug. Speaking of Slug he shows up on “Astronauts” which is one of the best tracks on the record. It leads you in with a good intro and then bounces you around different thoughts on life, past and future.

“Winter and The Wolves” comes into it’s own by track 7 or 8, and slowly grows on you. It’s like a snowfall, little flakes fall and accumulate before you start to appreciate the whole album rather than just individual pieces. I don’t think it’s the best hip hop record of 2014, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the better ones that have come out thus far. Buy this one and see what all the hype is about. I don’t think everyone’s going to like it, it just doesn’t flow quite well in spots, and that can hurt the longevity of this recording. It’s good, not great, but good enough to plop down your $15 in my opinion. Click here to purchase the record, and keep your eye out for Grieves on tour.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mack Benton Drops An Incredible Single With Secret (Banger!!!!)

I’m not always up on the latest singers, or hip hop acts, I’m behind at times, but it’s always refreshing to see new talent releasing music. One such artist that I just caught wind of is Mack Benton. Benton’s vocal style is nothing new, but the way he pushes the lyrics and sounds through a mix of hip hop beats and instrumentals rings true to something incredible. In fact, I had to put the track on repeat, because it was that catchy.

The latest single from Mack Benton is titled “Secret (Banger!!!!)” and if you hear it, you’re going to swear that it’s the latest from a larger act, or it’s the next big thing, because it’s that solid. From the moment you hear the beat come in, to the point where Benton starts to sing, you’re sold. If you move forward through the chorus you’re swaying from side to side, and you are in complete R and B mode, because it’s a solid track.

If you are a fan of rhythm and blues, hip hop, and modern music, this is going to be right up your alley. It’s one of the better releases, and it’s definitely on par with some of the latest slow jams being played on radio today. Benton has a bright future if he continues to drop singles like this. It’s going to definitely get stuck in your head.

If you want to hear more from Benton, especially this single, go to his official soundcloud page here, and listen up. Get your girl, it may very well put you in the mood. I recommend it.
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