J Tizzle: “The Chill Zone Vol 3” – The taste is smooth and distinguishable!

As living things, we need a steady supply of certain ingredients to survive. In music, the formula is undeniably similar. A song requires both rhythm and pitch. For the musically hungrier amongst us, these ingredients are not enough. We need to add extras, such as mood, atmosphere, emotion and groove. Unfortunately, even with the proper ingredients and extras the results are not always as expected. Stagnancy spreads within the craftsman, as well as a lack of skill or emotion. Luckily one, by the name of J Tizzle (Jeffery Townsend Sr.), avoids these annoying traits. Within his songbook exists all of

Heavy AmericA: “Motor Honey (Peace)” – It’s rock. Pure and simple.

A couple of years ago, the bands to emulate in modern rock were those that flooded the radios with wickedly catchy upbeat power pop tunes. Then came the neo-metal-driven climate, where even the tame end of the spectrum became heavier. On their new single, “Motor Honey (Peace)”, Boston based three piece rock group Heavy AmericA, proves themselves among the best in the alternative rock genre with a track loaded with hooks for mainstream appeal, but with an energy and drive that keeps them from sounding like mere imitators. The new release which has all the potential to climb the rock

Scotty Seed: One of the more original and thoroughly enjoyable alternative listens of the year!

Proud of his Italian heritage and his role in the LGTBQ community as a queer artist, Scotty Seed is a musician based in the East Village of New York City. Obsessed with art, including fashion and music, Scotty, originally a Jersey boy, started taking songwriting and production seriously in his twenties. Influenced by elements of industrial, pop, grunge, PC music, electronic, and screamo music, he counts artists like Crystal Castles, Marilyn Manson, Hole, David Bowie, Madonna, and Depeche Mode among his inspirations. Fighting an ongoing battle with bipolar disorder, making music provides him with an escape from his mental health

Suburbs: “Sound of the Sea” – a rewarding new project

Suburbs is an indie rock band from Scheveningen, Netherland launched in 1995. The band that has its roots in the eighties and nineties achieved national exposure when they won the national contest “De Grote Prijs van Nederland” (The Grand Prize of the Netherlands), the largest and longest-running music competition in the country.  As of the summer of 2013 Suburbs has started a new chapter. Lead singer Arie Spaans and 2 early band members set to work to bring their old sound back. The following year they started dropping singles and video clips leasing to their mini EP “Masters” in 2016.

Martone: “Erogenous Zone” keeps the adrenaline and emotions flowing!

It was 5 years ago that pop superstar, Sam Smith, stepped up to the plate and showed the world that love songs don’t have to be heteronormative to be beloved. Smith came out publicly, stating that he wanted to be clear on what his album was about. “It’s about a guy and that’s what I wanted people to know.” He was also completely aware of how important his success is to the public narrative. Hearing your humanity represented and validated by pop culture is important, and many LGBT supporting musicians have since been stepping up to share their experiences. The

Red Tan: “Don’t You Dare!” – Vocally anchored and soulful!

Red Tan is a young widow and single mom. Living in an unfamiliar environment while suffering depression and anxiety has been a challenge that she was able to put into music on her single “Don’t You Dare!” It’s an inspirational anthem meant to help others overcome their struggles and difficulties, and achieve their goals. In the meantime it has been a healing medicine for the singer-songwriter herself, helping her to become a stronger and better person. Red Tan’s ability to create deep thoughtful music, her timeless voice, and her capacity to be so introspective, makes her extremely relatable to any

Albert J: “Grow” embraces both aural diversity and true inspiration

Albert J (formerly known as f.o.c.u.s.) is an American hip-hop recording artist residing in Tampa Florida. Moving through Maryland, DC, Virginia, NC, California and now Florida, Albert J got to experience a lot of diverse music and inspirations. From bands ranging from Sigur Ros and Coldplay to Linkin Park and Incubus, as well as many Hip-Hop influences from DMX, Kid Cudi, Mos Def and Busta Rhymes, Albert J grew up with a wide palette of sound. His 3 mixtapes “Youth Religion” (Dec 2013) “Remember” (March 2014) and “YR2” (April 2015), garnered serious attention in the Hip-hop scene, finally leading up

Knarly Jones: “Redemption” takes us on an epic journey

“Redemption”, is Detroit-based EDM producer, Knarly Jones’ second drop in a series of four releases this summer, preceded by “Atonement” which was released in June. After spending time away from music to study mathematics and physics, Knarly returns to the electronic music scene with a refined cinematic style and a slew of new releases. “Redemption” combines cinematic scoring elements with classic electro-house feel and heavy drops to create a unique sound for 2019. Knarly goes into his bag of tricks and creates an enlightening, varied soundscape that unleashes bass all over your face. With all of this to dive into, it’s

Maxime: “The Honest Me Pt.1” – a unique piece of work!

Maxime Boublil was born in Paris, France, into a musical theater family. His father Alain, wrote the musical adaptation of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, his mother was the first Cosette in Les Miserables in France. As a child Maxime played the cello and then went on to study photography Academy of Arts University in San Francisco, but he discovered what he really wanted to do, when he picked a guitar in a friend’s dorm room. After studying Music in Visual Media, Maxime went on to pursue a career as an engineer at Furstock Studios with three-time aria award-winning engineer

Absolute Doubt: “When Nightmares Become Dreams” – extreme melancholic chill!

John Francis, known by his artist name Absolute Doubt, is an up-and-coming rapper with a talent for freestyling. He works with a number of artists and producers on his latest EP “When Nightmares Become Dreams”, including Lucki, Jay Storm, and Downtime. The project imbues most of the tropes in contemporary swaggy rap music with an omnipresent breeziness that feels endemic to a luxurious daydream. The 2-song release consists of mid-tempo, gently forlorn hip-hop, padded out with New Age trap gauze. The music is pervaded by an all-embracing sonic fog. Absolute Doubt is best when he is pitted against gently fibrillating

Diablo Flamez: “Duct Tape & Coffee Grounds” is the upper echelon of street hip-hop music!

Hailing from Zone 18 East Baltimore, songwriter and lyricist, Diablo Flamez set the city of Baltimore on fire a few years ago with his single “Jail Flick”. The song became the lead single to the Nonesuch/Warner Music Group release The Wire and all the pieces that matter, the official soundtrack to HBO’s groundbreaking show The Wire. Darkroom Productions discovered Diablo Flamez some time ago and have been his production home ever since. After a ton of hard work and multiple promo singles Diablo, nw the label’s lead artist, has just released his debut LP “Duct Tape & Coffee Grounds”. The first official single & video for the project is the hood anthem “Titanic”.

Diablo Flamez

Diablo Flamez

Despite the incredible creativity of hip-hop, its ability to throw up new styles, to morph and reinvent itself, it’s not every day that something genuinely fresh drops in front of you. Welcome, then, to “Duct Tape & Coffee Grounds” the debut album from Diablo Flamez. Drawing on the music of his hometown, Baltimore, Diablo makes something genuinely unlike most hiphop records you’ve heard before. Of course there are antecedents, but Diablo Flamez has managed to reconfigure the musical landscape around him by being catchy, clever, fearless and most of all, innovative while remaining deeply entrenched in the hood with his sound.

The album features Royce Rizzy, Jelly Roll, Lil Mook and Supa Blanco, with production being handled by Manny Man, Rizzy Beats, and the award winning Darkroom. I’ve never been one of those people who likes to divide artists into stupid categories the media usually places them in – pop-rap, gangsta, hardcore, East coast, whatever. If it’s good music, it’s good music and that’s all that matters to me. “Duct Tape & Coffee Grounds” is damn good music. Period!

The album back cover

The album back cover

All the beats are excellent and they cover a lot of ground – from the stripped-down drum-and-clap beat of “Come Outside” to the synth-laced “Same Way” or the eclectic guitar groove of “It’s Your Turn”, all are winners! Obviously the star of the show is the hood anthem “Titanic”, produced by Manny Man & Darkroom, whose knack for making decent rappers sound good and good rappers sound great is more than evident throughout the album.

But make no mistake none of this would work without a great rapper on the mic. Grinding, simple, raw and tight, Diablo Flamez tears up each of the eleven tracks, plus the bonus one – “What You Think” – with a mix of pervasive braggadocio and tempered humility, showing that he can flow!

“Duct Tape & Coffee Grounds” is the upper echelon of street hip-hop music, featuring great production and hardcore raps. Diablo Flamez comes out from the intro, “Motion Picture”, and just starts spitting rhymes without talking any bullshit. This can be listened to, front to back without skipping any tracks!

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