Strangers Of Necessity – “Abundance” – dripping with jazzy soul!

Every once in a while, there comes a track that arrives out of the left field and takes people by surprise. One that can prematurely declared an instant classic and actually lives up to the title. I love all types of music, but my taste is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that the single, “Abundance” by Midwest duo Strangers Of Necessity, will be considered great years from now. The track speaks to a generation of people struggling to prosper and find harmony, in a confusing, stressful modern environment. The duo bring forth their mindset and experiences, with immaculate flow

The Love Theme – “Hold On” – one mighty swirl of dance-floor groove

“Hold On” is a groovy cauldron of electronic shades and textures. Part dubstep, part soul, part funk, pretty much all breaks; there’s a rhythmic melting pot attitude that runs through the track, which ricochets off the walls with crusty slapping drums and long-dark-tunnel basslines. This is the latest track by The Love Theme – the brainchild of producer Dominic Owen on his Smokersblend record label. The cut is taken off an upcoming album, out later this year. “Hold On” is an absolute monster of a tune with soulful vocal chants, and some funky bluesy guitar throughout. As with a lot

MACKENZIE NICOLE’S TEDX TED TALK ‘MYSTIC: A MENTAL HEALTH ODYSSEY’ IS NOW LIVE

NEW ALBUM MYSTIC OUT NOW VIA STRANGE MAIN/STRANGE MUSIC NEW VIDEO FOR “GOODBYE” With authentic storytelling and varying sounds, Mackenzie Nicole bares her soul and shares her most intimate emotions, thoughts, and struggles throughout the songs on her new album Mystic out now on Strange Main (the pop music division of Strange Music.) “It’s a story I needed to tell,” Mackenzie explains. “I’m not the only person who’s been through this. I’m not the only person who has broken down and felt like the only one in the world.” With a desire to reach others who are struggling and further

Matthew J Van Howe – “Emergent Narrative” – a deluge of his sonic palette!

You could call this ambient, experimental, drone, avant-garde, cinematic or simply electronic music, the fact is “Emergent Narrative”, is so impactful it’s like it’s its own genre. It’s as if some new musical form has been created from retro synthwave sounds, and ultra-modern avant-garde motifs. I was stunned by the textures, and the moods that got stuck in my head, along with the intensity and dynamic depth. This is an album to hear again and again. Loud, raucous, serene, gentle, stretching, insistent, melodic, dissonant. It is a collection of 12 musical pieces with simple one-word titles. Meaning, the Chicago composer,

Andy Pett – “Back Again” turns hurt into art with great results on this song

Experience with adversity builds exemplary character and a spirit of resilience that allows artists to deliver great music. Their personal stories provides them with original ideas and profound insight to rap or sing about, creating a relatable feeling of vulnerability that fans emotionally connect with. Many prominent artists from today’s culture have battled through adversity to become widely accepted and beloved. There is an interesting argument – and quite a lot of statistics lean toward this theory – that adversity is necessary to become successful.  The bottom line seems to be that many artists lack the ambition to succeed because

Onicks – “High” is a deep slow-burn

With its enigmatic beauty, intoxicating depth and intense emotion, the follow-up to “High” is one of the most intriguing records of the year so far. The lyrics are elliptical and fragmented, touching on addiction, identity and eroticism. The track’s mood is druggy, dislocated and tortured – there are frequent metaphoric references to substances and psychedelics – the shape-shifting structure of “High” will capture your attention from top to bottom. Snapshots of elusive love and fleeting lust are scattered throughout – for whom, or for what, is where you need to read between the lines. Born and raised in the San

Midwest Hiphop duo Strangers Of Necessity drop their new single “Abundance”

Strangers Of Necessity are an American hip-hop duo, based in the Midwest, consisting of prolific producer, CoryaYo and veteran lyricist, Fooch the MC. They linked via Twitter and quickly became friends, sparking an immediate chemistry and need to make quality music together; hence the name Strangers Of Necessity. They instantly began recording music and doing shows locally, generating a nice buzz in the area. Their sound is best described as a fresh take on that golden era of hip-hop, blending tasteful jazz and soul samples, crisp snares, boomy kicks on wonky patterns with a soulful delivery, dense schemes and potent

Kilo M.O.E. – ‘Fly G’z and Palm Treez’ – serves as the perfect canvas for the rapper’s elite lyricism

The Baltimore-based producer, songwriter, rapper, Kilo M.O.E.’s evolution over his past three albums has been inspiring to see. I’ll always admire artists who push themselves creatively, and that’s exactly what, Kilo M.O.E. has done on his fourth studio album, ‘Fly G’z and Palm Treez’, and it pays off in leaps and bounds. Each instrumental is rich and developed, serving as the perfect canvas for the rapper’s elite lyricism. Something that this recording and Kilo M.O.E.’s recent albums have done well is allow him the freedom to rap for the sake of his craft within the confines of the album’s larger

Jim Wyly – “You Took Me” – It’s rhythmically tight, warm and edgy

Texas singer songwriter Jim Wyly is back with another soul-stirring track from his “The Artisan” album. Over 40 years deep into his craft, the Austin troubadour sounds like a home-cooked meal. He deals out comfort food for the head, heart, and soul. All of this serves his finely drawn guitar lines, bourbon-stained-like vocals, and funky acoustic-driven grooves as thick as molasses. A subtle blend of blues, country, folk and southern rock runs right down the middle of “You Took Me”. “Musicians’ musician” is an overused term. Why wouldn’t anyone with two good ears appreciate Jim Wyly? As Jim doesn’t cater

Hanen Release Brand New Video For The Song “Breathe”

It’s never been easier for artists to stay independent. Of course you can get good music producers, good visual directors for videos, good rappers and good singers to feature on your track without a great budget, but you have to search the world over to find deals you can afford, or convince creatives to work with you. Texas born artist, now living in the LA area, Hanen, somehow got it all together on his latest track called “Breathe”. He sings soulfully and raps with an urban edge all by himself, backed by an atmospheric slow-burning, and ear-warming beat made by

Hollywood Drunks Christmas: This Album Will Knock You Off Your Feet!

The selection of songs is good, the arrangements are wonderful. Your favorite artist adds his unmistakable touch. You love Christmas music and have hundreds of CDs by a wide variety of artists. But do you ever ask yourself why you continue to buy more? Answer: “I love the individual voices and arrangements.” But the songs are the same…every year! And so are the “individual voices and arrangements!” It just your favorite artist adding another bell and whistle to a rehashed arrangement.

Well this time around you may be right. It looks like the “individual voices and arrangements” thing is going to stick for the first time. And no thanks to Susan Boyle, Kelly Clarkson, Barbra Streisand (yes, again!), Martina MacBride, Neil Diamond, Il Volo, Johnny Mathis, Mary J Blige, The Piano Guys…and the list for the 2013 Christmas music releases is endless, and I could go on forever. So I’ll just give you the news straight off, about whose made the Xmas album with the best and most original “individual voices and arrangements”. It’s the Hollywood Drunks! Yes, them!

I know that you already knew! But I just wanted to confirm the news, that Galen Shostac (Keys), Sebastian Sheehan (Drums and Percussion), Mark Drews (Bass), Lloyd Stuart Casson (Guitars, Bass, Vocals, Keys) and Eric Winzenried (Vox), together better known as Hollywood Drunks, have done it. They have released the album Hollywood Drunks Christmas. The album was produced by Lloyd Stuart Casson, Eric Winzenried, and Jason Roberts, except “Winter Wonderland” which was produced by
Sebastian Sheehan, Eric Winzenried, and Lloyd Stuar Casson.

I hate Christmas music so much, I find it tough just spelling out the song titles, never mind listening to the tunes. However my job dictates that I have to do both, rather explicitly. So I press play, lo and behold (ho ho ho!), the first track that jumps up at me, of the available eleven, is “Looks Like Christmas”. Well it certainly doesn’t sound like it. This is more like Iggy Pop & The Stooges with a little more groove.

I must have the albums mixed up, I’m thinking, so I hit track two. The title leaves no doubt. It’s the classic, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. No…it’s UB40 slipping some sweet melodies and harmonies into their well-known reggae rhythms. Wow! By the third track, “Do You Hear What I Hear”, I’m funking, slipping and sliding across the lounge floor, with the stereo at peak volume. Bear in mind that I’ve never ever gotten past track two of any Christmas album to date!

The reviewer Spokesman Speaks said, “This might be the best Christmas cd release of the past decade…” I beg to differ; I think Spokesman Speaks is totally wrong. With all due respect, and modestly speaking Hollywood Drunks Christmas might be the best Christmas cd release ever…period!

Out of the window go the melancholic and melodramatic, mistletoe musical arrangements and so too does the sugar coated fruitcake voices that are normally delivering this genre. In come the Hollywood Drunks with their urban, pop, rock, reggae, and alternative sounds. And boy do they rock, from “The First Noel” through to “Carol Of The Bells” and everything else before it!

Over and above the hype folks, Hollywood Drunks Christmas does, indeed, capture a very nice range of styles and sounds, to just take away enough of that ‘over-sweetened’ taste normally associated with Christmas music. Leaving you light-hearted and totally refreshed.

The album is definitely not something I was expecting to hear when I first pressed play. All of the songs have a contemporary pop-rock-reggae feel to them, mixed with the traditional lyrics and tunes that most people are familiar with. I found these new arrangements to be refreshing and unique, and is now probably the only way I’ll be able to appreciate Christmas songs from here on out.

Here is the tracklist, if you’re aching to see the album contents:

1. Looks Like Christmas

2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

3. Do You Hear What I Hear

4. We Need a Little Christmas

5. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

6. Winter Wonderland

7. Let It Snow

8. We Three Kings of Orient Are

9. Here Comes Santa Claus

10. The First Noel

11. Carol of the Bells

If you’re after something that’s reflecting Prayer/Praise music or traditional hymns found in a church setting, this is definitely not for you. But if you’re after a combination of time-honored Christmas songs mixed with contemporary styles in an eclectic and original way, then this will knock you off your feet.

It’s a question of ‘old-school’ and ‘new-school’. The Hollywood Drunks have just introduced us to ‘new-school’ Christmas songs. Now you can really have yourself a merry little Christmas!

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