Dan Friese – ‘Jane Songs’ is something to be treasured!

Dan Friese is an Oregon-based songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist. In April of 2020, he released his debut EP, ‘Happiness’, a collection of self-reflective psychedelic indie-folk tracks. His first full-length effort, ‘Jane Songs’, was released on September 18th, and is available on all major platforms, along with the singles “Streetlight” and “I Can’t Say”. There’s a lot to appreciate on the new album, and Dan’s voice is arguably the most attractive aspect. Moreover, his vocals are often enhanced by inspiring songwriting and raw emotion, not to mention a wealth of down to earth acoustic guitar strumming. Dan Friese has an organic,

INTERVIEW: C.E.N. – the voice of the people

Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and currently a resident of Dallas, Texas, C.E.N’s natural proficiency over poetry allowed him to produce meaningful and profound lyrics. Although he initially took the initiative to become a music artist for fame and fortune, he later realized that all he desires as a musician is to be respected and valued for the art he brings to the table. His music is deep lyrically and spiritually. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started? C.E.N.: I was born in Oklahoma City, OK, and was raised in a

Hitrocker – “Project One” – breathtaking sound design!

Hitrocker is a German based producer who creates mainly within the EDM subgenres of House, Electro and Deep House. His first album, entitled “Project One” was released at the end of July, while “Project Two” is also out now. When I clicked on the playlist of “Project One”, I was met with song titles that were merely numbers – such as “Project 1.1” or “Project One.Four”. This falsely led me to expect generically themed instrumentals, simply meant to rock the dancefloor. Wrong. Well not totally. They do rock the dancefloor. But they also do a whole lot more. These are

Rashod Holmes Announces New Single ‘The One’

The soul singer relives how he met his wife and started his family on a tender new song. Rashod Holmes is known for bringing romance to life with his evocative voice, but he has never told as personal a story as the one he tells with his latest single. ‘The One’ is a true life love story that acknowledges the struggles and triumphs that go into building a long-lasting relationship. “I found the one for me” Rashod sings. “She is the girl of my dreams.” While Rashod is convinced that he has found the perfect partner, there is much more

Billy Ray Rock – “Get The Funk”- hitting up all the classic tenets of funk

Washington State Singer-Bassist, Billy Ray Rock, plays more than 10 instruments and produces and performs every instrument you hear in his music. From Rock to R&B and Dance, Billy delivers them all. His single “Get The Funk”, simply adds another delicious flavor to his sonic menu. His unearthly bass chops, resonant vocal wobble and inner funk DNA is scorching hot, while it straddles the genre’s trademark grooves. Blaring horns and slapping drums accompanies the party-styled adlibs, as the track treads its momentum. If you’re looking the glossy high-tech dance-club funk perpetuated by bands like Chromeo, then this is not the

Vincent Krennerich – “Verlassene Stadt” – plenty of delicate aural color

Vincent Krennerich is a composer, songwriter and pianist from Germany. The artist, who has featured on our pages before, has released his double-side single, entitled, “Verlassene Stadt”, which translated, would mean ‘abandoned city’. The second track, contained in this set, is called “Morgengrauen”, which in English, would mean ‘dawn’. However if you heard these compositions, there would be no need to translate them, as Krennerich’s music describes itself rather poignantly. Though stripped back and basic solo piano, the key to the success of both these recordings, is the propensity Vincent Krennerich has in composing subtly fine melodies. Both tracks have

Hybrid Blues fuses stellar musicianship, heartfelt songwriting and soul-stirring vocals

Out of Aotearoa (New Zealand), Hybrid Blues are a 4-piece band, made up of Mike Everard (guitars, vocals), Adam Pendred (bass), Mark Schaumann (drums) and award winning front-man, singer-songwriter Roy Hudson. The band signed to SGNB Records USA, has just released its self-titled blues-based album. No two songs on “Hybrid Blues” sound the same. The record not only showcases Roy’s abilities as a singer and a songwriter, but also highlights the wide range of influences that have impacted on his music. The album takes you in so many different dynamic directions that it can feel a little dizzying, while the

Marshall Artz Productionz – “Go Missing” ft. SeanQ – is incredibly hypnotic, with crystal-clear production

Released Aug 28th, “Go Missing” Prod. by Marshall Artz Productionz, is the producer’s 3rd single release since June. The track will be featured on his upcoming 2021, self-titled LP “Marshall Artz Experiment”. The song features singer-songwriter SeanQ, from Dallas, Texas. The producer’s blend of R&B-inspired neo-soul and smooth chill sounds becomes its own entity within the hip-hop and urban music world. Marshall Artz Productionz work should gain high appraisal through its colorful and subtly amped vibes that play to any genre lover’s ears alike. After listening to this track, I expect that the outpouring of demand for more of the

Evie Calabasas – “STARGIRL” – strong, sensitive vocals and soul-baring songs

Evie Calabasas is a 20 year-old singer and songwriter. She started playing guitar at the age of 6 and started singing at 15 years old. After attempting to be part of band on numerous occasions, Evie finally opted for a solo career. Her first solo project, the 3 track EP “STARGIRL”, has its title inspired by the first song she ever played live.  It is a tempered and exceptional record. It shakes, rattles and rolls with minimal, almost absent percussion, a dominantly strummed acoustic guitar and occasional keyboard interludes. Above all, is Evie Calabasas’ voice, which delivers an untethered, sweetly

Baby Lu releases her first single “Bad Stuff” on all major streaming platforms

Luna Elisabeth Jezebel Pool aka Baby Lu was born on February 5, 2002 in Frankfurt, Germany. Lu began singing and songwriting in her early teens and went to several music auditions where she was rejected because of her young age. She then decided to start making her own music after graduation in 2018. As she didn’t have any connections yet she wasn’t able to produce something properly. In 2019 she met the producer Austin Asiegbu (2aBeaatz) and started to produce her own songs. Pool has cited Adele and Demi Lovato as her major musical influences. Her other influences or inspirations

Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins – pummeling power chords, lilting arpeggios, and soaring solos

The aural acrobatics of Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins features some of the best examples of daring riffing and acrobatic melody the metal genre has had to offer since the 80’s; even what you may consider the album’s weakest track, thrusts, dodges, lunges, and parries with proud cunning. Every composition on this self-titled album as a whole could not have been written in any other way. Mike LePond, the bassist for Symphony X set out to make a metal record that captured the sounds he was nurtured on while growing up. With Silent Assassins, he has not only succeeded, but totally exceeded all expectations in recreating what classic metal was all about in the 80s.

The album cover

The album cover

We’re not talking about just any album here. We’re talking about a ‘tour de force’, a ‘magnum opus’ or any other cliche that denotes sheer perfection. The core Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins sound finds its influence in a diverse blend of rock idioms, from the expertly performed classic metal circles to the edgy and incisive sounds of progressive metal rebellion. Blend in a pinch of theatrical power metal and the listener has transcended the run of the mill, stagnant musical forms that occupy a good deal of current playlists. Yet Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins manages to defy the conveniences of category, presenting an arsenal of sounds and moods that frankly put many of their contemporaries to shame.

The vocals of Alan Tecchio (Hades / Watchtower / Seven Witches) are inspired and sincere, unlocking the deepest emotional meaning in the passionate lyrics. Tecchio employs his stunningly melodic vocal gift to inspire the fiery insurgency on each track. Tecchio’s limitless vocal range has the keen ability to locate the melodic heart of a lyric. Suffice it to say that Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins features brilliance not only in the vocals, but also in the guitarists extraordinaire Michael Romeo (Symphony X) and “Metal” Mike Chlasciak (Halford / Testament / Sebastian Bach).

Mike LePond

Mike LePond

Virtuosos Romeo and Chlasciak unleash pummeling power chords, lilting arpeggios, and soaring solos as if their very lives depended on it, forging a sound that grips the listener and fits like a silken hand inside the velvet glove of Tecchio’s vocals. The fullness and clarity of the sound and the mastering reveals the excellent rhythm guitar tracks that form the bedrock for technically and melodically gifted solos. A sound legendary eighties metal bands could only dream about.

The depth of the layers of melody here are cemented by a persistently rumbling bass courtesy of none other than the man himself, Mike LePond (brilliantly exemplified across the album’s nine tracks), an ever-audible bass that adds more than just a rhythmic foundation to the symphony of guitars – how many 80’s metal albums do you remember being marred by a nearly invisible bass? Today, Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins turns that theme right around. Rounding out the rhythm section is the drumming, featuring cymbal crashes and fiery snare work, a combined assault that not only provides a rhythmic pulse but also a melodic compliment with a fine employment of the ride and hi-hat cymbals.

Countless metal trends have come and gone, but art in its most sincere form is able to defy the fickle tastes of those who listen merely for the latest fashion trend shrewdly marketed through the vehicle of a musical group. Mike LePond worked on this album for two years, while on tour with Symphony X, setting lyrics to music, for which he did all the writing. The result is a cohesive work that delights on many levels of lyrical, melodic, technical and emotional resonance.

Mike LePond

Mike LePond

And its brilliance is immediately apparent from the opening track, “Apocalypse Rider” which lets you know that you are going to be in for one of the most emotional, energizing and eye-opening metal experiences you’ve ever had. Now slot in “The Quest” with its nuanced acoustic guitar and string intro and wait until all hell breaks loose, then move onto “The Outsider” and the power ballad “Masada”. The final 3 tracks, “Ragnarok”, “The Progeney” and “Oath of Honor” are probably the pick of the bunch for me.

If you pride yourself as being one who appreciates good music regardless of its airtime or popularity, this is the album to get. To truly recognize the magnitude of Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins, you must examine the current state of metal music. This entirely blows everything else around it out of the water. Musically, it can’t get much better than this!


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