Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sono Vero Fuses Reggae With Melodic Style on The Release of Their Roses are Reckless EP

When it comes to reggae and ska, I’ve listened to it all. I’ve heard good and I’ve heard terrible, and whenever a band claims they are playing this style of music, I get a bit nervous. Sono Vero, however, completely floored me. They are solid, well produced, and know how to fuse the best parts of rock, ska, and reggae to follow through on the traditional but put their own unique spin on it. This is exactly the kind of power that Sublime was able to call upon, and the same kind of influence that Dirty Heads are doing on KROQ. However, Sono Vero is doing it differently, they have a certain intangible quality that makes this release shine among the others on the market today. “Roses are Reckless” represents the finest fusion of modern rock, reggae, and melody I’ve heard in a LONG time.

The band has been getting serious airplay, and has been getting requested on radio today. The hip hop portion of this band is clean, amidst the island sound, which is definitely a highlight of the record. The soul of the sound is so much deeper than the genres that they are pushing, which is something that I definitely appreciate. This is “feel good” music, and it’s done with such precision and style, that you swear you’ve heard this before, but it’s all new. The group really scores on this release, and it’s easy to see why so many are falling in love with this eclectic blend.

Just when you think you’ve gotten the best of the group, they pull out a track on the EP that completely changes things up. “Back and Forth” is that track for me, and really is one of the better mixes of reggae I’ve heard in a while. The 5 track release is stunning and powerful, it’s solid, and it doesn’t pull punches. This isn’t a bait and switch, this is fully influenced alternative, reggae, island, hip hop, that is done with a very careful measurement. They take time to ease you into things, and don’t hit you over the head with the style. I love the way it is presented, and while it’s only 5 songs, it sure feels like it’s more.

I can’t wait to see what Sono Vero has coming up. They are truly influential here, and are going to stun you. “Roses For The Reckless” is by far my favorite reggae/ska album released thus far this year. It may not have heavy horn sections, but the bass lines, keys, and vocals will make up for any detractors out there. I love it. You’ll love it too, so check it out.

You can listen to Sono Vero on their soundcloud page here. You can learn more on their official website here, check out their photo updates on instagram here, follow them on twitter here, and check out their Youtube page here.

Queen City Heist Takes On Several Genres With Swagger and Grace

Queen City Heist is a band that you will immediately fall in love with. From the vocal style of the singer to the music mix, you will find that they bring about passion in every step of their musical saturation. They mix genres from rock to blues and even a bit of soul. But just because they are in the arena of all those genres, doesn’t mean that they have forgotten what makes them all work so well, and it shines through their tracks. I was amazed at how the production works within their sound, and trumps a great deal of demos that I’ve recently had to trudge through and haven’t updated on the site yet. I try to focus on the good, but some of the recent offerings to come across my desk have been far beyond repair. By the time I heard Queen City Heist’s music, I was ready for something grand and they truly deliver.

They’ve released an official EP and so far it’s a solid break through. The song “Let Me Love You” is my favorite of the EP so far and I love the highs and the lows. The mix is solid, with the lyrical soul coming through in such a powerful way. It grips you, and Queen City Heist’s singer seems to be speaking to just you. Or in my case, just me, as it flows through a sort of seduction that is hard to pull off in modern music. She does it well enough and captures my imagination through the lyrical progress.

The other tracks, “Lies” and “Tangerine Dream” are also solid numbers, and really showcase how well the band has come together for this initial offering. The mix can be rough, but you get the power of the vocals, and the genre meshing throughout, which is a breath of fresh air. I like it a lot, and really appreciate the vocals and sound mixing here. You never feel like one is overpowering the other, which is usually the problem with independent releases. You’ll find that this record fits well with many other genre meshing bands, but really stands out on its own accord.

Queen City Heist has started a fire here, and one that is definitely getting my attention. I can’t wait to hear more from the band as this is definitely a good stepping stone to greatness.

You can follow them on twitter here, catch them on facebook here, and keep up to date and listen to them on their official website here.

Celebrating Dicky Barretts Birthday – Top 10 Mighty Mighty Bosstones Songs EVER

This week Dicky Barrett turned 50 years old and everyone in Boston must have been proud of the Bosstones singer. I know I read about a lot of different things that were done in celebration, including Jimmy Kimmel flying out to throw him a bash. For those of you that love ska, then you know how much the musical influence has come through each decade to bring noise and quality sounds to stereo systems the world over.

With the celebration of the singer, I have decided to throw down the 10 best Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ songs ever! That’s right, the best songs from the guys out of Boston and one of the best ska artsists of all time! Even though Dicky may never read this, congrats on 50 years! Here we go, 10 of the best from the Bosstones.

“Don’t Worry Desmond Dekker” from “Medium Rare” (2007)

Desmond Dekker is the king of ska, and this song appeared on the 2007 release of B-sides and more from the Boston ska group. This song is classic tones, and it presents a horn heavy song with melody at the height of the track. Desmond Dekker’s influence is felt here with the way the band moves through the reggae section that is truly jazz with the horn sections doing a great deal of the lifting on the track.

“Kinder Words” from “Question The Answers” (1994)

I was only 11 years old when I got my hands on the yellow artwork cassette tape that had the
Bosstones in true skacore form. I was blown away by the mix of punk and ska elements, but more so the raspy and deep vocals of Dicky on the record. This was a hard hitting album for me, and it featured all my favorite styles rolled into one. “Kinder Words” really is a standout track that is on par with the best #1 tracks on any ska record ever. That’s right, I said EVER!

“Simmer Down” from “Ska-Core, The Devil and More” (1993)

Just an EP but still awesome, this cassette tape was worn out within a few months that I received it. I bought this one and was immediately floored by the way the band threw together fast, and slow songs into one collection. It’s not a long album, but the stand out track is definitely the cover of “Simmer Down” doing the Skatalites and all other first wave ska groups proud. It’s an awesome blend of traditional and Bosstone flair.

“Haji” from “Devils Night Out” (2006)

The bass line that runs and walks through this track is one of the finest I’ve ever heard. “Haji” has a mix of fast, slow, and all sorts of core elements that remind you that The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were skacore first and pop later on. This is a much harder track and overall record than you would expect from the band after their major label hit that would make them millions. (Or so I Think) This song is a stand out on the plaid heavy record and one of my favorites, even if it is only a couple of minutes long.

“Pictures To Prove It” from “Question The Answers” (1994)

Classic break up song, and one of my favorites in regards to my personal break ups and beat downs. Since 2011, this is a classic song for me and my divorce, and still makes me feel grand. It’s a break up song that punches through the wall with emotion and ska-reggae fire that is just classic. The guitar, horns, and message all point towards an incredible story. Shed a tear, grab a beer and heal from the loss. Fast, slow, fast, and jazzy moments make this an instant classic from 1994.

“Someday I Suppose” from “Ska-Core, The Devil and More” (1993)

Listen to the podcast from Adam Carolla and you’ll get hit with this iconic intro every time. It’s jazzy, it’s poignant, and leads into one of the most memorable songs from The Bosstones. I love the intro, love the beginning of the song, and the lyrics. The horns stand out here but the bass line really drives the point home, featuring some of the best work from the Tones.

“Disappearing” from “The Magic of Youth” (2011)

I got a divorce, but the reason why I love this song in light of that event in my life was that The Bosstones released an album that year. The reason why I love it, was not necessarily because it was them, but because I was living in Los Angeles when this was released. The previous Bosstones record was released when I was living in Moscow, Idaho and could not for the life of me find it anywhere in the city. I went to ALL of the stores, and it wasn’t to be had. So I was sad, depressed, and hated the city. I still think it’s a hell hole. Los Angeles, however, had it and many copies and I bought mine at Amoeba with a friend. (Natalie, what’s up, I never hear from you) Anyways, this record has this iconic track “Disappearing” and it rocks hard. The lyrics are right on par with what I think at times about church, and life, and well Dicky nails it with an iconic ska mix.

“A Jackknife To A Swan” from “A Jackknife To A Swan” (2002)

By the time people started to walk away from skacore and the Bosstones sound that made them huge hits on MTV, they were signed to Side One Dummy and they put out an independent record. Boy was that record awesome, and it’s this one, with the title track coming in on this countdown. The band really hit a good stride here and through their classic choruses and punk sound they made more of a melodic record than their previous work. It wasn’t radio friendly, or at least KROQ didn’t play it, but it was solid and this song really brings on a great sonic boom of ska fundamentals and Dicky’s signature sound and lyrical message.

“The Impression That I Get” from “Let’s Face It” (1997)

Man I’m old. “Let’s Face It” brought The Mighty Mighty Bosstones to the mainstream with their string
of hits from this record. The whole album is amazing, and one of my personal favorites. However, it was the one song that was repeated often on rock radio, MTV, and more that made this record a million seller and iconic for the band’s career. “The Impression That I Get” is one of the most influential ska songs ever recorded and to this day is a top draw on rock radio. It isn’t my #1 but it’s damn close.

“Where’d You Go” from “Where’d You Go” 7” (1992)

The #1 song from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones rings true every time I hear the iconic story line. The video is awesome, and the song is just a Boston classic if you’ve seen the video. The band really pushed the ska core button here, and the song fills the room with bass, horns, and so much more. I had the 7” single of this record with awesome B-sides, and CLEAR vinyl. I sold it to a record store in Moscow, Idaho as I was getting the hell out of that shitty town. If I ever go back, I want to spit on it. This song is the best though, and even if it was featured on the “Clueless” soundtrack, it’s still one of the best songs ever from any skacore band ever! “Where’d You Go” can’t be topped, and Dicky really showcased greatness here, along with the rest of the Bosstones.

If you're interested in hearing, buying, downloading, or getting any of the music mentioned, check out the hyperlinks in the song titles above, and get yourself familiar with Dicky Barrett and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Ship it up to Boston! Happy 50th dude.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mark Morrison Brings Forth A Powerful Single on 2Morrow

Mark Morrison’s latest single pushes the boundaries of hip and R and B with one of the best singles I’ve heard in a long time. Morrison’s vocals are as bold as ever, and are paired with Erene, Devlin, and Crooked I. He brings about an inspirational push here, and it’s something that is going to be an anthem for those that need a push in esteem and confidence because the lyrical content is uplifting and unique.

From the opening beats through the midsection of this track, you are treated to a myriad of styles with a flair for the beauty and grace that comes through on the lyrical vision that is given to the listener. Around the two minute point this track truly gets incredible and brings about a fusion of hip hop and R and B that works on a lot of levels. The rapped verse brings an incredible point, and you truly get roped into the whole thing.

Another verse comes in at around the three minute mark and you seriously start to bounce. The lyrical balance here becomes a mainstay and it fits so well here. This mixed with the Morrison signature, and the continual layering of the beats makes this an iconic, impactful song that will stay with you no matter what you’re going through. This should get Morrison a great deal of recognition as it is truly a powerful, on point song of epic proportions. You gotta listen to it, once, twice, maybe even more, it’s my jam right now, that’s for sure. Be sure to pick this up on Aug 18th via iTunes, it's a solid hit.

Check out the song below:

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Hiding Explores Creative Emotional Music With Run City Run

The Hiding is a band I recently caught wind of and was blown away by the layers of their music. They are an indie rock band that has a great sense of melody and rock enthusiasm, but it’s done with a soft touch, like a true artist. Their latest offering “Run City Run” is a song that certainly captures the emotional connections of the independent music scene, and the alternative world all in one. You get that emo vibe a bit, but it’s on par with bands like Lakes, Delta Spirit, Ocean Is Theory, Statistics, or even a bit of Mute Math to boot. There are layers here and that’s what matters to me as a music fan, you don’t just have one thing going on, you have several.

Listen closely and you get the sounds of guitars, drums, bass, and perfectly timed and themed vocals. It’s a song that really catches you off guard as it moves through lyrical connections that you are going to find compelling overall. There are so many bands trying to do this type of music and failing to capture the elements correctly. What you get here is a band that knows how to mix their emotions with lyrical contemplation, driving bass lines, and unique elements that make them stand out amidst a tired genre.

The Hiding definitely brings a lot of great sounds here, and it’s on par with many of my personal favorites from Jade Tree (records), and I am definitely enjoying the sound they are creating. It very well may be my favorite new song right now, as it has a certain intangible quality. I’m not sure what it is, but it works. My new kitten Ronnie dug it enough to fall asleep in my shoe as I blasted the song. That’s the sign of a good song, it has soothed the savage beast. (Ronnie is named after Ronnie James Dio fyi)

If you’re interested in learning more about The Hiding, check out “Run City Run” via their official website here. You can connect with them on Facebook here, Twitter here, and check out their music video below, you’ll regret it if you don’t.

Friday, June 13, 2014

J.P. Kallio Draws You A Picture of Life, Love, and Struggle on Read Between The Lines

J.P. Kallio’s latest record “Read Between The Lines” takes a powerful approach to music. It’s a classic gem of acoustic and folk, done with a sincere voice that you’re not going to find with other releases. I found this one to be eclectic, and quite melodic in nature. From the first track “Apple” I knew I was in for an emotional ride. Take the power of Frank Turner, and mix in a little Chuck Ragan with the honesty of Pedro The Lion and you’ll start to see what J.P. Kallio has to offer on this recording. It’s not a sappy acoustic record, it’s more of a grown up, sensible record on par with even Johnny Cash’s early work. Although, this one is not about killing a man in Reno or having a few minutes left to go before they’re hung. The point is you get an eclectic mix of songs on this, and all of them seem to paint a portrait of any man’s life, but more importantly, J.P. Kallio’s poetic writing style.

There’s a bit of a country tone at times, as you get a twang here and there, although it’s not abrupt or genre defining. There’s just such an introspection to the lyrics that you feel as though this is a much larger record, but it’s an independent one with a lot of attention paid to the lyrics. Right when you figured it out, J.P. Kallio brings you a track like “Back Home” and you start to think about your own life along the sounds and sentences well placed throughout the picture that you’re painted.

This is quite the release, as you definitely get a feel for the style of music J.P. Kallio brings to the present. It’s full of life, and full of hope at times. It’s a record that definitely will pair well with a cup of coffee and a sunset. It’s this kind of record that is missing in the mainstream, in my opinion. I definitely enjoy it. Stand out tracks include, “Apple”, “Back Home”, “Read Between the Lines”, “Knocked Down”, and “Cardboard Box”. It’s an important record, and one that should be heard by everyone out there. Give this one a spin, you won’t regret it.

Learn more about J.P. Kallio’s music by clicking here for his official website. You can also follow him on twitter here, and check out his official facebook page here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tamela D’Amico Makes You Fall In Love With Exquisite Vocals on Love and The Gun

In the 1990s, soundtracks meant the world to me. Heck, they still mean the world to me, and you can usually find me listening to a lot of soundtracks to movies. As a former video store clerk, I live in the movies at times, and go through my life picturing the nuances that I go through in comparison to the glory that comes with the images on screen. Sometimes the soundtracks sell the movie, and in the case of Tamela D’Amico’s “Love and the Gun”, I’m once again enthralled with the music and must see the movie now. Tamela’s vocals amidst an orchestral backdrop lends credence to the fact that you can fall in love with a singer’s voice. That’s what happens when you listen to the song, as you are whisked away into dream land with Tamela D’Amico singing of love and more.

This song is part of the “Rob The Mob” soundtrack, and the official music video showcases scenes from the film with Tamela’s vocals moving you through a variety of moments of the movie. It’s truly a visceral experience, one akin to the promotional elements that made the 1990s cinema experience so vibrant compared to modern musical accompaniments. It’s not often that you get a soundtrack that is amazing, but in recent years there have been a couple of examples. I firmly believe that this song can carry the film’s score and soundtrack, as it is definitely one for the ages.

As soon as you hear the flowing vocals of Tamela D’Amico, you will become a true believer. “Love and The Gun” feels iconic, warm, and something that transcends your average pop song or ballad. There’s something intangible here, something that engraves the quality of the tune into your mind’s eye. Upon listening to it, I had to listen again and again because there’s so many layers to the vocals, it’s exquisite, truly exquisite.

As far as songs are concerned, Tamela D’Amico’s “Love and the Gun” is one of my current favorites. The music video gives it some more power, but close your eyes and listen to Tamela’s vocals, they truly make this song so incredible.

Check out the music video for Tamela D’Amico’s “Love and the Gun” below:

Pick up this track online by clicking here.

Photo credit: Barry Druxman

For further information on “Rob The Mob”, the score, composer, and more, take a look at the following links: (film director and lyric writer of song) (film composer and co writer of song)

Stan G Creates An Iconic Track For Cinematic Glory on Little India - Oola

When Stan G’s song “Little India – Oola” remixed track my whole world turned dark for a moment. Not in a bad way, it was because I could see this fitting in an iconic cinematic manner. The sounds that come through at first are incredible, harmonic, eclectic, beautiful, and utilizes the best aspects of electronic music in a manner that completely stunned me. I feel that this is definitely one of the strongest electronic tracks that I’ve heard in a long time. Then comes in the vocals and this is better than the first time I heard The Postal Service or Kavinsky.

I was completely impressed with the way the song moves from iconic rhythms to softness, vocals that are strong, melancholy lyrics, and an area of thoughtful perception towards the end. It is a track that flows through several different aural states and puts you at ease throughout. Regardless of what genre of music you like, this will draw you in with a sense of spiritual design. There’s an eclectic nature to this, one that can fit easily into Japanese animation, or even RPG’s from the 32-bit era, FMV style. There’s just so much that works here on a cinematic level for me.

In the end, Stan G remixes this one into a wonderful display of precision sound, electronic rhythms, and beautiful vocals layered across several audio channels. I definitely enjoyed it, as it feels so much larger than just one track. It truly feels as though it belongs in an iconic sequence in a movie, my movie, my life, I love it. Check it out.

You can hear “Little India – Oola” Remix by clicking here. You’ll love it, I know I did.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Matthew James Allen Combines Poetry and Melody on Don’t Let Go

Matthew James Allen is going to be a name that you want to remember. Write it down, as you are going to be hearing great things from him. This singer/songwriter is from Texas and has brought together a sense of poetry and melody in his latest single “Don’t Let Go” that sends a true shock to the heart. It’s an introspective track that is on par with what you would expect from the likes of Pedro The Lion, Damien Rice, and Sufjan Stevens. Even though you can feel similar vibes coming from those artists, this is all new, and something that has the creative spark that you don’t always get from acoustic music. There’s a good mix of emotional complexity with the musical notes that comes across as sincere.

In some ways it reminds me of Coolfield, Copeland, or even Brandtson, as the melody moves through the emotional connection of the lyrics to create a very nuanced approach. It’s this type of song writing that made the emo genre so tangible for me in college, but not to the parody level that many people want to pull the idea into. It’s not “emo” in the sense that it’s weepy, but rather powerful in an emotional manner, and yet it’s only a single. That’s what makes this quite interesting, as you’re getting a taste of the artist’s musicianship in just a taste.

Pay attention to the date of June 17th, 2014 as you’ll be able to get this single released from Artistry Entertainment Group. The track is produced, recorded, and mixed by Frank Pryor (Award Winning Producer by the way), and you know what, it’s a good one. I had to listen to it several times because just when I thought I had it nailed down, I found something new. It didn’t hurt that my new cat digs the song too. Oddly enough, my kitten (4 weeks old) isn’t much of a metal head, despite her name being Ronnie (after DIO). That’s ok, because Matthew James Allen somehow found a way to soothe the savage beast. I like the track, I think the artist is going places. If you’re into acoustic, folk, pop, rock, or any genre for that matter, give this one a spin.

You can learn more about Matthew James Allen on his official Facebook page here, and get the record as well as more info from Artistry Entertainment Group by clicking here. I’m digging the sound, and style of this song. You will too.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Relient K Release a Perfect Pop Punk Record in Collapsible Lung

I’m floored. I hated when Relient K put out “Collapsible Lung”. It sounded awful to my ears, and I was running through a lot of heavy music. New releases from Trivium, Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, and so much more filtered through my playlist and I just didn’t like this record. Then on a hot afternoon, I gave it another try, and realized something incredible, this is by far the best Relient K record to date. I know, bold statement from me, but I really do feel it’s their best record and more people should be listening to it on a regular basis.

I’ve seen Relient K in concert a lot. I saw them as a teenager, and I saw them a couple years ago as an old man. They’ve managed to create a good overall following and an incredible live show full of energy. Even though they have roots in the Christian market, they have completely eclipsed that label and are just all around great in terms of performance and song writing. With the release of this record, they turn on the pop sensibilities and create a lavish performance piece that most people didn’t really listen to. Then again, I don’t have a lot of friends so perhaps I am isolated in saying that.

“Don’t Blink”, “Boomerang”, and “Lost Boy” are some of the most iconic tracks from this band. “Boomerang” especially should have been the #1 song on radio, as it does everything that a lot of pop acts do right now. It has a good overall pop sense to it, even though there’s a tinge of punk ethos in the formation of the other songs.

Call me immature, call me whatever you want, but Relient K seems to have tapped into a whole new wave length with this one, and though it took nearly a year to grow on me, I’m glad I finally am listening and tapping my feet. I don’t know when I’m going to get the second track out of my head, it’s that darn catchy.

Check out more from Relient K by downloading the record here, or see them on tour. I’m going to get back to listening and day dreaming.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Saul Behan-Dunne Warms The Soul on You Keep Me Warm

I’m a fan of acoustic music, and Saul Behan-Dunne brings out one amazing single on “You Keep Me Warm”, his latest work of magic. The song utilizes a very unique style, relying on finger picking on the guitar, which comes out clean and poignant as the vocals come in. The lyrics are what you’d expect, but the way they are performed and mixed in with the guitar work is just amazing. The song carries you through several emotions, and delivers a solid mix of folk and rock melodies with a stripped down feel.

You could easily see yourself enjoying a hot cup of coffee while listening to this in the background of your morning routine. Whether you’re at a coffee shop, or you’re on your porch, you’ll enjoy the song. It feels so much larger than an independent release, giving off a sense of professionalism that is sometimes missing from independent releases. The attention to details with the song structure and vocals makes this a good song from Saul Behan-Dunne, and it’s definitely going to stick with you long after you listen to it.

Imagine some of the same ideas that Dashboard Confessional broke out with a decade ago and you begin to feel the emotion here, only with a far more technical guitar frame. I like the song, it comes across sincere and well worthy of your time. I recommend you taking note, as this is most likely the beginning of something grand from this artist.

You can listen to “You Keep Me Warm” and other projects from Saul Behan-Dunne via Sound Cloud here. You can also check out his official twitter page here, follow on facebook here, and check out this Youtube Channel in anticipation of a video for this song and more. This is a good start to a great acoustic record, that’s for sure. Oh, and don't forget to check out the official Saul Behan-Dunne page here, and keep up to date with the latest music.

For Saul's other projects, you can check out The Sigh Company.
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