Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Marty McKay Shatters The Perception of The Rock Genre With Sin’s Disciple

A lot of people talk about genres of music as a singular thing, one genre that defines an artist and that’s a rough thing to do. You are going to find that with the release of “Sin’s Disciple” Zurich based concept artist and musician Marty McKay creates a lavish example of what you can do with creativity on a whole new level. At first glance, you are going to be hard-pressed to call this rap rock or hip hop metal or something that fits McKay in a box. That’s not what you get here, instead, you get a kaleidoscope of genres that mix so well, you’ll swear you’ve heard this before.

I can reassure you, you haven’t. McKay has found a way to tap into creativity in a way that most musicians can’t. He’s blended visualizations, literature, hip hop, rock, and pop into a portrait of what he’s thinking. A new world concept with bouncing moments, hard hitting rock tones, and a lot to explore on this release. From the start of “Emptiness Returns” through “Sunder City” and across the board of the tracks featured on this release, you can’t pinpoint where he’s going, as he has a lot of ideas and keeps throwing new ones at you musically.

I like the release, and find that there are a lot of different moments on this record that you’ll find to be compelling, and right on par with what you may have heard coming through other artists, but in a new way. Mary’s vocals flow easily with the music and you never feel as though he’s trying too hard. Some artists in the genre meshing have a hard time flowing from rock, pop, to hip hop and don’t know how to layer singing in there with it. Often times it feels a little clumsy, but that’s not what you find here. Marty McKay really does well on vocals, and continues to flow through all sorts of rhymes, lyrics and themes.

This is a project that encompasses many genres of music, and many genres of art. Visual, sound, writing, and more are all found with the release of “Sin’s Disciple”. Check out some songs via soundcloud.com, and then look at his official web page here. You’ll be blown away, just like I was.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Zawles Drops Serious Rhymes on Battlemode

Zawles really pushes the limits on this one, rhyming through a ton of different points, themes, on “BattleMode”, and right when you think this song seems to be going in a linear path, it completely changes as the beat complete breaks apart into a new world of creativity. It bounces, it squeaks, it drops, it rises, and Zawles creates lavish lyricism alongside it.

The best part about this song is the way Zawles doesn’t lose his timing at all, he doesn’t cut words to try and rhyme them, everything feels organic. It feels as though he’s telling you a story in a very rhythmic way, and doesn’t seem to be taking a breath, but not in a bad way. The flow is so smooth that you’ll completely be impressed with the delivery system found here. I was completely blown away by how he develops thoughts, places them on top of the beats, and flows through natural and unnatural rhythms. Often times rappers that aren’t that good will try to cut in and out and flow with the music, bouncing on octaves that aren’t that good, or trying hard to really push the boundaries, but that’s not here, it’s done with such a sense of simplicity that you’ll be blown away.

It starts steady, and then completely shatters your perception. If you listen, you will become a believer. I can’t wait to hear more from this talented artist. Killer beats, impressive swagger, and authority on the words brings Zawles out of the underground and into the prime time, at least in my view. I love this track, you will love this track, and you’ll definitely be impressed at how the flow works amidst the sounds.

You can listen to the song by clicking here, and it very well may be your favorite song for a long time. Zawles does well here, and I love it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jason Mark Yates Mixes Folk With Pop Sensibilities In Beautiful Compositions

Jason Mark yates is a singer and songwriter that does both things in a very eclectic way. He does so through the union of poetry and music, unlike what you would expect. Mixing elements from the 1980s and fusing emotional connections through lyricism and steady melody, Yates introduces the listener to a cycle of different moments that truly are captivating.

When you listen to some of his songs, you truly get different layers of sound, and style, mixed into his vocal style and musical steps. This is most evident in his UK Songwriting Contest Finalist song, “Reachin Out” which blends the power of David Bowie and adds U2 flavor to a steadier and heart felt song that is neither one of the two but rather something altogether unique. It’s this incredible attention to both sound and lyrical design that compels me and every other music fan to listen to music in the first place.

On other tracks like, “The Answer is You”, and “Curse The Moon” represent a much more soft side, and differentiate themselves from the previous sounds with more melody and softer tone. The guitar work bridges the gap between words and sentiments, and really dives into a much broader spectrum of ideals. It’s really an introspective solution to songwriting and one that is definitely grand. Think Pedro The Lion, but with a simpler manner at times, and a voice that carries notes just as well as they can emotional connections.

Jason Mark Yates really does a good job putting together different elements and coming out with something exquisite. To find out more about his work, music, and what makes him such an interesting artist, check out his official website, by clicking here.

Check out the song "Reachin Out" below:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Striped Bananas Create Lush Art Through Psychedelic Rock Music

There are a lot of bands in the independent world that are trying to make a name for themselves, and few are doing it as well as The Striped Bananas. At least when it comes to fusing genres, and art all into one easy to swallow capsule. On their second full length, you get a sense for something grand, and it starts to stick to your ears within a few minutes of hearing their mix of sounds of discord, and subsequent unity.

I want to compare some of their work to Sonic Youth, but The Striped Bananas do something beyond the framework of the iconic alt-rockers. They stick to the psychedelic symbolism like the furs, but they do it with a little bit more flair for the surreal. The stand out tracks include “Dark Peace”, “Wednesday Morning”, and “Oasis of Time”, at least on the first listen. As you listen more, you start to fill in the pieces, and get a distinguished sound that is equal part noisy, and yet harmonic at the same time.

The pacing is nice, flowing through 12 tracks doesn’t take forever, but it also doesn’t feel like it’s too fast. The instrumentation is great, and the experiments work for the better throughout the record. I found their daring attempts to fuse rock, indie, and psychedelic notes to be substantial and well worth your time to explore. It’s not an album that you’ll want to listen to once and then put on the shelf. It’s something that deserves exploration and something that will definitely find a home with alternative fans of all ages.

The Striped Bananas create a good layered rock record here, and it’s definitely one to look out for. You can listen, download and find out more by clicking here to their official bandcamp page.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Midnight Red Take Me Home is Catchy As Music can Possibly Get

My cat snuck a peak of what I was doing from the window sill, and it was all because Midnight Red’s song “Take Me Home” came on. She chirped a bit before she went back to her business. It’s a contrast in styles from what usually blares through the Sell out Records music player, but there’s something to this song. The single, which is getting a lot of media attention is actually quite good, and catchy. It’s a pop song that has everything you’d want in it, and the tune will forever be engraved you in your head.

I’ll admit, I’m sometimes hard on pop music, but if you put things into context and you understand the bigger picture, than you know what is good and what isn’t. Midnight Red does something quite well, and there’s no denying that they are talented. I’m not a big fan of the genre, but when credit is due, credit is most certainly going to be given. These guys are talented, and the song is by far one of the catchiest songs you’ll hear in a long time.

Skeptics will be quick to agree, after one or two listens of “Take me Home”. Try it on for size with their official video below, and you too will be singing along. I don’t know if my cat likes it though, she seems indifferent. Her name is Sid, and well, she prefers the Sex Pistols, but that’s because she’s old school.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dropkick Creates Rich Layered Electronic Music on Trapdoor

I like a lot of music, you can see that through the posts on this site, and one thing that I’m always surprised to see is the amount of creativity it takes to do electronic music. I can’t do it, I’m a traditionalist and can play bass guitar, and read music. I couldn’t layer my way out of a paper bag, even though I took classes in pro tools when I was in college. That being said, Dropkick takes on their moniker with the release of their “Trapdoor” EP. It is a punch of cool to a genre that is very much hit or miss. Not only that, I love a well-placed Dropkick in pro-wrestling so they get my vote just by putting out a cool name.

The music on “Trapdoor” is rhythmic, it’s dance heavy, but it’s much more than just an electronic release. There is a good sense of rhythm, bass tones, percussion and so much more. It’s layered and works well on a lot of levels. I liked the first tune’s use of the band name and the progression definitely cycles through a lot of different elements that I couldn’t pick up on the first time I listened to it. A few listens later and I started to pick up different instruments and sounds, which is a testament to the band’s ability to create layered sonic music.

Each tune is the original done in all sorts of mixes. The first track, “Original 77 Mix” is by far my favorite, but that’s not to say the other mixes aren’t as good, as they all have their own dancehall vibe to them. It’s an eclectic mix of sounds and definitely far out and relevant to electronic music sounds. I love it. It’s outside of my traditional wheelhouse, but sounds so cool amidst my writings. As a writer I’m always looking for a little boost of energy, and this works well for me, and gets my cat curious as to the sounds coming from my computer.

Dropkick creates a cool EP here, and it’s well worth investigating further. You can listen to the record and buy it here, and you can definitely check out a bit more with the video below, but first make sure that you check out their Facebook page here.

Hollywood Drunks Smash Through Genres With Precision on Swell

There’s something familiar about Hollywood Drunks, and yet I can’t figure it out. With their album “Swell” they go through a spinning wheel of genres and remind me of so many bands, and yet they are all alone on their platform of cool. At first you want to try and compare them to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, but they shake that vibe by the second track, and then take you on a course of catchy, rock infused tunes right before they drop you into a world that sounds all too much like television. That’s not a bad thing, it’s comforting, like a warm blanket on a cold day, it’s refreshing music and it’s got a lot to offer.

The first track that struck me greatly was “That Age” as it has such a classic sound to it, modern rock, adult contemporary, jingle ready, commercial appealing, and full of melody, guitars, bass, and just “good” music. It took me back a little to the first time I heard The Roots on a skateboard video, because their sound plays so well with so many other talents, and it’s a testament to the deluge of music that is coming out without enough ears to hear it.

Commercial appeal aside, Hollywood Drunks play many sides of the musical fret board, offering fans of blues, rock, jazz, and even a little bit of funk something to smile at. I found their musical set changes refreshing, and really enjoyed going through different emotions. Eric Winzenried’s vocals stand tall amidst driving bass lines, keyboard tunes, and guitars that are equally crunchy at times as they are bluesy and more. This is a good record, full of layers, and interesting lyrical components that you don’t always get with popular acts today.

By the time you hear “Swell” you’re sold on the record, as I was totally into it by that point. I like the melodies, the song structure, and the lack of pretense that sometimes riddles genre bending records. If you want to listen to this album, check out the Hollywood Drunks official webpage here. It’s a good record, and definitely deserves more attention.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Vortex Ascent Produces A Beautiful Mix of Sounds on Shine A Light

For those that know me, you may recall my fist in the air punk rock record label. Had I known of this type of electronic music, I may have added a few artists to the roster that can put together such incredible pop sounds. Vortex Ascent’s latest release “Shine A Light” mixes what you would expect form “The Postal Service” in a whole new manner. It’s dreamy, but not to the annoying point that “Owl City” can end up having. It’s like playing the Sega Saturn game “Panzer Dragoon” or an iconic RPG like “Final Fantasy” because the flow of sounds is very much beyond the scope of just one genre.

For those that like electronic music, this will sit well. It’s not dance, it’s kind of poppy, but it’s beyond that. Vortex Ascent creates a tapestry of rich music, singing, and delightful tuning that is better than most of the independent artists in this genre. At first listen you’ll assume that this is another Radiohead clone, but it’s not. It has deeper layers than “The Bends” and it has some interesting moments including the ones found on the opening track, “Dodging Bullets”. From there you get pulled into a whole new soundscape with “This Unknown”.

The release carries you through various song structures, and styles. I wanted to label it as just one, but it’s not fair. The collective artistry shining through here is an eclectic mix of pop art, synth, dream pop, and song structures that you will definitely find appealing. When I say electric music, I don’t mean that it’s bouncing up and down or club mix driven, it’s more in the line of Joy Electric’s “Unelectric Album” or the “Brothers Martin” as you really get a feel for the resonance that is put out. At times I am reminded of “Marshmallow Ghosts”, especially on the track “Shine a Light” which mixes so well with a lot of ethereal RPG’s and games I can think of from the early 32-bit era.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not video game music, although composers would definitely be able to fit this into a lot of those games as some of the sounds lend themselves quite well to the layered progression that Squaresoft was pushing with some of their beloved series. “Shine a Light” is a good overall mix of music, and it’s not just within the electronic, rock, or even dream pop genre. It’s more so, and that’s what definitely makes this one worth paying attention to. I found it to be a good one, and you may find yourself drifting away through the emotional drawings that it pulls out of your ears. It’s eclectic aright, and definitely worth checking out.

Find out more about this release by visiting the Vortex Ascent official page here, and purchase the music here.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dreamgrl Steps Into A New Era of Pop With Heavy Sin

For me, pop music has been done a million times before and there’s nothing new under the sun. Then comes along new artists that shatter my perception, and this is another release that has done that to me. Put your preconceived notions aside and listen to this incredible record by Dreamgrl. The EP release is called “Heavy Sin” and it’s my favorite since Kavinsky put out “Outrun” last year. Friends and readers will remember how much I talked about “Outrun” last year, and this is definitely my favorite pop record so far this year.

This independent release goes through various stages of sound, blending together smooth transitions, electronic music and vocals that are very interesting, to say the least. At times you feel like you’re playing a video game, and at others you feel that you’re flowing through a trip of sorts. This dreamy collaborative art piece puts together so many layers that you will definitely find yourself wondering what’s going on. From the intro through “Dawn of the Internet” to “Heavy Sin” you get a feel for this interesting collaborative effort that is far too good to be missed.

This mix of songs from Dreamgrl is definitely a great and influential piece of pop music. It’s fascinating, it’s dreamy, it’s pop, and it features a lot of nuances that are relevant to those that are into synth and electronic music as a whole. As I said, not since Kavinsky’s release have I found something so interesting in this genre. Dreamgrl delivers on this EP and you owe it to yourself to listen to it. You can learn more about this release and others from Dreamgrl by clicking here for their official bandcamp page, and check out the video below:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

3 Major Reasons To Avoid Buying An Expensive Bass Guitar

fender precision jazz bass 1970s rare
Fender Jazz bass
One of the biggest pet peeves from experience musicians is simple. It happens all the time, a newbie receives an expensive bass guitar. It happened to me, and I got ridiculed a lot, even though my electric bass was not the most expensive in the store. When I was a teenager, I received a Fender Precision/Jazz Combo. It was a Mexican bass, and the experienced players around me were all laughing at the fact. One friend even took the neck and tried to break it, or adjust it. He then railed against the spotty craftsmanship that Fender started to be known for.

I was devastated. However, as I learned to play better and look back on the experience, I can understand the sentiments of many experienced bass guitar players. It’s with that in mind that I’m crafting this quick note about the reasons you may want to consider for skipping out on the expensive bass purchase.

Reasons #1: You Don’t Know How To Play Well

If you don’t know how to play the instrument, then don’t spend thousands of dollars on it. Instead, buy an entry level option, or a lower cost solution from amazon here, and spend thousands on lessons. That’s right, get lessons instead of purchasing a nicer instrument. While you’re learning, you do not need that vintage 1950s Fender Jazz bass. You just don’t. Learn how to master the instrument, and make sure you really want to play and even join a band or be a studio musician before you buy something that will sit in a corner somewhere.

Reasons #2: Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean Quality

There are a lot of expensive bass guitars out there. You can spend upwards of tens of thousands on a good bass guitar. However, you will be saddened by the fact that it may sound awful. If you want to get a rich sound, you will need to do some research and avoid spending money frivolously. You may hear some brand names that sound great, but when you finally break down and purchase one online or in stores, you will be broke, and will not find a lot of buyers that will pay full price for what you have. My Fender sounded good, but did it sound great? Nope. It was 900 dollars at the time, and while it was a good investment for me personally, it ended up selling for $600 less than 2 years later.

Reason #3: You Don’t Have The Money

One of the worst things you can do, at least in my opinion, is to purchase an expensive electric bass guitar on credit. Unless you have 0% interest and you know that you can pay off that one option you’ve been staring at, avoid it. If you can’t pay cash for the instrument, don’t. It’s better to wait for the money to come in than to spend thousands of dollars on a solution that will not pay back. I know, this flies in the face of fans of this instrument, but it’s practical advice that you will thank me for later.

In the end, there is nothing wrong with spending thousands of dollars on a bass guitar. I spent $900 on one in 1999. Will I do it again? I would, but I know how to play it, and despite what some people may think, I would love to get my hands on a vintage solution and join a punk band. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to frivolously spend on a collection or anything like that, unless I know how to use it.

What about you? Do you really need to spend $5,000 on an electric bass guitar? Be honest with yourself. If you say you do need to, then at least save yourself some money and go to amazon.com here, and get a discounted option delivered to you. You’ll be surprised with their selection.

Figures of Light Feedback Music Fascinates With A Flood of Controlled Chaos

Feedback may seem like an intro or ending for songs and concerts. For some bands it’s a way to produce a good deal of noise and for others it’s a way to experiment with creativity. Modern bands like Sonic Youth, Refused, and even Drawn Close have played with this notion, but they are not the first to attempt it. Figures of Light pulled out the electronic music vibe back on January 24, 1971 when the original members of the band Wheeler Winston Dixon, Michael Downey, and Phil Cohen presented a concert of feedback music at Brecht West Theater in New Brunswick, NJ, pushing the limits of what was thought to be music, and perhaps embarking on one of the first pieces of controlled chaos in live music history.

Figures of Light takes the sound of feedback and shoves it through a kaleidoscope recreating the 50 minute opus on their disc “Feedback Music”. Punkers seem to miss the fact that the absence of rules is what drives the moniker, even though a lot of music writers and fans will grimace at the notion of electronic feedback music, instead of 3 chord repetitions and snotty vocals. The spirit of anarchy is placed into what may seem like anarchy on this Figures of Light release, and it’s very much an impressive thing to hear. You’ll have to put your mind into a different place, because it’s like nothing you’ve heard before, a purely experimental take on music, without borders and without compromise.

For those that may be thinking Lou Reed’s 1975 release “Metal Machine Music” did the experimental feedback thing first, you’d be wrong, because the guys in Figures of Light did it 4 years earlier and pushed the limits. Had the tapes from the concert not been lost, this could’ve been one of the major talking points in music history, or at least in the history of noise, punk, and experimental music. Better yet, this IS a major talking point for audiophiles, so take note.

On “Feedback Music” Dixon and Downy recreate the concert experience with different tunings on the guitars, pattern shifts, and creating a layer of sounds that you will definitely find to be creative. The deluge of noise knocks you down after around 5 minutes of listening, and flows through 50 minutes of what some may very well find to be the most compelling piece of art and music ever put to media.

This modern classic was recorded at Barrel House Studios, engineered by Chris Boecker and Zacharry Cokeley. It features mixing by Wheeler Winston Dixon and Chris Boecker, original members of Figures of Light and the guitarists that create a semi sonic cool flow on this release.

You can get the record on FOL Records via amazon, iTunes, mp3 download, and a cd. Check out the video below and turn it up, so you can get a taste of this experimental musical madness that is found on “Feedback Music”. It’s guaranteed to be your favorite electronic album, as it’s the most creative thing you’ll hear all year. Bank on it!


Figures of Light - Feedback Music (Excerpt) from Figures of Light Archive on Vimeo.
A recreation of our 1971 all - feedback concert. Figures of Light was an American music band founded in 1970, which disbanded in 2015. This channel features some of their videos as a permanent archive. Check out our website at http://www.figuresoflight.com

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Buy Before You Die Sneak Preview Track From Figures of Light

Figures of Light are ready to unleash some more music on the masses, and they’ve been kind enough to provide us with a sneak peek of the upcoming record with “Buy Before You Die”. That classic punch of punk rock ethos and solid rock rhythms are once again present here, and it’s a cool tune that you’re going to definitely start singing along with in a matter of seconds. It had my feet tapping and repeating the lyrics within a minute and it will definitely have you doing the same.It's steady, straightforward, and has a sensibility of pop to it without losing that iconic Figures of Light sound. It's a good preview of what is to come for sure.

From a basement in New York comes the ultimate example of punk rock ethos in song. This title track from their upcoming CD entitled “Buy Before You Die” was recorded at Barrel House Studios in Nyack, NY, and with guest Andrew Nicodema on drums and bass, Alex Berserker on lead guitar, Wheeler Winston Dixon's vocals, and Michael Downey's rhythm guitar, this song is most definitely another instant classic from Figures of Light.

Engineered by Chris Boecker and Zacharry Cokeley, produced by Figures of Light, and mixed by Nathan at Matrix Audio, this very well could be the start of one of the best releases yet from the proto punk kings. The upcoming record is set to be released in 3 weeks, so mark your calendars. Don’t even think about calling yourself a punk fan without getting this one.

Check out the very catchy song below, and make sure that you’re paying attention, these guys are set to rock the world yet again.


Figures of Light - Buy Before You Die - (Lyrics Video) from Figures of Light Archive on Vimeo.
Figures of Light was an American music band founded in 1970, which disbanded in 2015. This channel features some of their videos as a permanent archive. Check out our website at http://www.figuresoflight.com

Linzi Stoppard and FUSE Violinists Shatter Expectations on Ignite The Fuse

FUSE had me second guessing this one at first glance. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and then I watched and listened. I am in complete awe of the whole thing, this music video is the single from FUSE entitled “Ignite The Fuse” and it presents a sonic boom of cool. In the description of the video you get an incredible view of the 50,000 crystal violins, which are incredible. You haven’t seen or heard anything like this, and it’s incredible. Electric violinists Linzi Stoppard & Ben Lee perform and blow away the audience with incredible sound.

The single is a mix of dubstep and electric violin and leaves you completely floored. I didn’t expect it, and you probably won’t expect it either. Just listen and pay attention to what’s going on, it’s a passionate performance piece that is just impressive. I don’t know how else to describe it.

Check out the video and listen to this incredible single.



For more information on FUSE and this single, check out the official FUSE page.

Mike Z Band Pushes A Mix of Country and Blues Into A Solid EP With Talk To Myself

I admit, I’m new to the country world, but not as new as some of my compatriots in the alternative music world. I guess I started my journey into that market from the beginnings, and if you track it along music history you’ll find that out of jazz and blues, comes rock and country. Or rather folk, or something along those lines. To me the genres are somewhat uncharted territories, but not to say that I don’t have my favorite country albums. Mixing the two is hit or miss for me, but when it works, it really works. Mike Z Band on “Talk To Myself” does what most can’t, makes a compelling mix of genres that is rooted in blues, has country feel, and still rocks. In fact, it’s a surprise how interesting the Ep actually flows as a whole.

I immediately thought Bryan Adams, but that’s because I always try to compare and contrast vocal and music styling, and that’s kind of what you get on this release. The songs are well structured and offer something for everyone. Opening up with “Wrong Way” is a good choice, as you get a feel for Mike Z Band’s mix of genres. It never feels like they are trying really hard to put themselves into one genre, and that’s perhaps the best thing to denote about this release. With “Just About To Lose Your Clown” you start to really appreciate the sounds of the record, and with “Settle Down” you realize that Mike Z Band may very well be on to something with “Talk To Myself”.

Mike Z Band’s latest EP is a good mix, and a testament to independent music yet again. Those that are new to the genres, or aren’t quite sure just need to listen to their tracks one time to be convinced. Expect to hear more from the band.

Click here to check out more on Mike Z Band and pick up the EP today.
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