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

The Applebutter Express: “Handguns and Hammocks” – strictly highly distinctive non-rock instrumentation!

Most people may have discovered The Applebutter Express through their song “Hey My Brotha,” which is featured in the Ron Howard film “The Good Lie” starring Reese Witherspoon. However, the band’s story began in 2004, when Kyle Biss met his future wife Shannon while working at a record store in Bradenton, Florida. Still a focused bass player, Kyle picked up a ukulele in 2010 and began to write songs, with the idea of singing with Shannon for fun on the couch. Pretty soon they became a duo doing open mic community, then got married and added Joe Trivette (fiddle) and Matt DeSear (bass) to the band.

Since then, The Applebutter Express has performed at such prestigious festivals as Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Hulaween, Suwannee Springfest, and many others. Now the 4-piece outfit, who call their music ‘Ukelele Funk’, have released “Handguns and Hammocks”, which I believe is their 3rd album.

the album cover

the album cover

The album gets 5 stars because the music absolutely calls for it. The tunes are dynamic and interesting and they’re even dynamic and interesting in different ways from song to song. The lyrics are thought provoking, fun and deliver very memorable tales of everyday life. They are not just a vehicle for Shannon’s crystalline voice; along with the Kyle’s Ukulele, they carry the songs and are very nearly the 5th member of The Applebutter Express.

I haven’t heard any of the The Applebutter Express’ previous albums, so I’m not prepared to debate how “Handguns and Hammocks” stacks up to any of them. What I can say, though, is that this is one enjoyably bizarre and quirky listen. These guys (and a lady) didn’t leave anything on the field for their latest release – this is about as ambitious an album as you’ll hear from a band without any corporate backing. The Applebutter Express draws from an expansive range of seemingly disparate root influences and incorporate strictly non-rock instrumentation, and the result never fails to be highly distinctive or at the very least extremely interesting. I’ve heard very few modern bands that bring together simple acoustic elements and vocal harmonies, and make them all fit together into such catchy, highly accessible upbeat songs. The Applebutter Express’ eclectic approach is just the thing for those seeking something outside the indie-music norm.

The Applebutter Express

The Applebutter Express

For the most part, the album sees seemingly straightforward, foot-tapping tunes splitting time with more foot-tapping tunes, all of it highlighted by the band’s emotive brogue and intricate arrangements underlain by the rock-solid, funky Ukulele rhythms. The Applebutter Express totally avoids the triteness or sap that so frequently accompanies the various subgenres of acoustic root music. There are no tedious slow-burning ballads to be found here. Right from the opening title track, the album “Handguns and Hammocks” ignites a spark, fuels the flame and then jumps between the fire and a frying pan from track to track!

If your weary soul is searching for peaceful solace, try Iron & Wine instead. However if you need to uplift your laden heart and rekindle your spirits, The Applebutter Express is exactly what the musical doctor would prescribe. Clean-cut vocals and melodies, sharp harmonizing and sprightly instrumentation, make songs like “Just Add Water”, “Start A Fire”, “On The Run”, “Do You Wanna Know”, “Riley”, “Wha Da’ Ya Got?” and “Little Ol’ Drunken Me” awe-inspiring and utterly unforgettable, in that so little, production-wise, can deliver so much, both emotionally and musically.

It would be elementary to say, that being led by a husband and wife team, The Applebutter Express have easy access to complicity within their music, and partly that would be true – but only on an emotional level. There can be no substitute for quality musicianship when delivering a cohesive piece of musical art at this level.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITEFACEBOOKTWITTERITUNESAMAZON

About The Author

Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.