EsZ: “If You Didn’t Get This Message, Call Me” – an audacious creative effort

On his new album, “If You Didn’t Get This Message, Call Me”, EsZ aka Erron’s Attic comes out swinging from the first song, a great balance between classic Hip Hop and modern. As usual EsZ gets well thought out ideas through his songs in innovative ways; you definitely get the feeling he has the lyrical substance he wants to express. Although we’re in a dismal era of Rap currently, this could be one of those instant underground classics. EsZ catalog is filled with parables, fables, morals and lamentations, forms of storytelling that compress people and experiences into neat, digestible lessons.

Luna 13 – the solid foundation for gut-ripping synths

The award winning Los Angeles band Luna 13 is forging a new genre of music they call Black Metal/Bass Music. Their brutal yet groove based electro-metal incorporates elements of electronica, death metal, and industrial rock – all done with electronics, which means no string instruments. Music maker Dr. Luna, creates a metal sound with synthesizers and by wrapping heavy distortion around sub-bass. Luna 13 who has been performing live for a few years now, opening for death metal/industrial and electronica projects alike, came into its own when Lilith Bathory joined in 2015. Since, Lilith, the band’s front woman, has been booking modeling jobs

Dezzyano: “Hello World: The Renaissance” – a cohesive feel and tone throughout the album

Now I’ll be honest, before this album was released, I didn’t know much about Dezzyano, the rapper raised 5 mins from Atlanta on Six Flags Dr. I decided to give it a go. And I became a very unlikely Dezzyano fan. The 16 track album, “Hello World: The Renaissance” starts off strong with ‘Anita Baker’. It has an extremely catchy refrain built on a bass and horn driven soul soundscape. This sets the tone for the album, which sees Dezzyano finding different ways of telling his story with catchy hooks and intense verses. From a critical standpoint, this album has

Sick.Life: “Dreamers” – showcasing the diversity and talent of the roster

Sick.Life a collective of artists and an independent music label based in El Paso, Texas. A couple of months back they released their critically acclaimed album, entitled “Contagion”. Now off that album comes the single “Dreamers” produced by NZO, and featuring Josh Brown on the chorus and bridge, while the verses are handled in order of appearance, by Sonny Weston, Lavoe, C.Notes and E$ BFNE. For hip-hop fans growing up in the 21st century, the Sick.Life collective is simply a perfect match between raw lyrical muscle and dynamic production. I listened to the track last night with the intention of

Cassie Holt and The Lost Souls: “Curvy Girl” makes a strong statement

These days, it seems anyone can make an R&B record. However, recording a soul track takes that special intangible element that not all have. Cassie of Cassie Holt and The Lost Souls, offers cadences that move in an affable manner as she declares her sense of self-worth on her latest single release, “Curvy Girl” which tackles the theme of body positivity. She never rushes the pace. She intones in different ways to let the song build in complexity. Think of it as the aural equivalent of a Lego set. One can use the simple bricks in different styles and colors

Bloomer: “Good Morning, It’s Breakfast Time” – washed away by sunlight and a downpour of musical ideas

Bloomer is a rock band from Baltimore, MD created by musical partners Luke Boardman and Matt Zorzi. The band’s sound emerges from a mix of 70’s & 90’s Rock, Soul and American Roots Music. “Good Morning, It’s Breakfast Time” is contemporary indie rock at its finest. The music is sprawling and psychedelic. The mood can range from rocking to mellow. Bloomer is a band that has great song writing abilities and expressive improvisational abilities. Depending on the given song, the band moves effortlessly between straight rock and psychedelic infused jam-band grooves. This 4 track EP showcases both the band’s alt-rock

“Final Curtain” represents yet another progression for Roger Cole

Roger Cole is anything but predictable. Other than the fact that excellence flows in abundance from his river of musical and artistic expression, his music (usually together with his partner in crime Paul Barrere) is always engaging on an emotional level. Here on his solo effort, the single, “Final Curtain”, Cole is not content to repeat himself, nor is he afraid to confront difficult subjects or at least ideas that many artists don’t frequent. This time around there is this ongoing tug-of-war between moving on and living in the past. The time when someone needs to say no, and the

Pauline Frechette: “Always Lover” (feat. David) works its magic

Not so much a singer as a sublime song stylist, Pauline Frechette returns to release an impeccably performed love ballad simply entitled “Always Lover” (feat. David). Avoiding any pretense or extravagance, Pauline stretches her breathy voice to gently embrace the lyrics, as she brings out the ultimate best of her vocal and piano artistry. Pauline wanted you to hear the instruments, the vocals, and the emotion in the breathing etc., instead of a sonic rush of noise. She does this by allowing some ‘quiet’ in the recording. Pauline is blessed with a great voice, a distinctive and beautifully frayed tone

Lyndon Rivers: “Nothing I Can Do” creates a celebration in your head!

For fans of Lyndon Rivers who love dance music, house, and techno, this is not an EDM single. It’s not the house music that we know Lyndon Rivers to have made, with filtered sampled loops, drum machine-programmed beats, and electronic harsh noise. It’s not any of that that. You can’t fist-pump to this music; you can’t go nuts to it. Well you can go nuts, but in a different way you’re normally used to in the club. So when you listen to “Nothing I Can Do”, the new single by Lyndon Rivers for the first time, go into it with

An Old Friend: “I am, I was” reaches for stratospheric heights

An Old Friend is an upcoming Alternative Rock band based out of Long Island, New York, they have been said to be significantly ahead of most contemporary peers in their stylistic niche; they show an ability to stray from the norm and focus on truly innovative fragments, as opposed to one linear hook yearning for radioplay. Founded in 2011 An Old Friend continue a career of sustained excellence, the new 6-track EP, “I am, I was”, bursts out of your speakers and infects your heart and mind like few other modern-day recordings. Not only is the production quality of the music

Justin Llamas: “Gold” – ease into these gorgeous melodies and enjoy!

Originating from the Bay Area, Justin Llamas first emerged online in 2010 when he started uploading covers to YouTube.  In only a few years he gained over 2 million video views and a loyal fan following.  His most popular video to date, a cover of Sia’s “Chandelier,” gained so much attention that it was even shared by the original artist on most of her social sites, gaining over 700,000 views. Justin even caught the eye of Vena Brewer, previous manager of Grammy-nominated artist Keyshia Cole.

Justin Llamas

Justin Llamas

Now, Justin is releasing his debut EP entitled “Gold”.  The EP’s title song features vocals from multi-platinum artist Amina Harris, while the EP’s title itself was inspired by the California Gold Rush and the “journey” those make to follow their dreams – something he considers a necessary step in his own life.

“Gold” blends the most immediate instrumental and lyrical details with an elaborate web of elegantly balanced musical roots dripping in pop. The result is a fully realized collection of songs that take you on an artful journey, with the highest of highs. On the surface, someone looking for a casual listen could just ease into some of these gorgeous melodies and enjoy, but why would you leave it there? Even the deceptively simpler songs have unexpected joy for the most jaded listener.

As a lover of words, lyrics can be the absolute cincher for me. Once I started hearing these songs, there was no going back. A literal free-fall of swooning ensued. Justin Llamas tackles relationship concepts that are not new and could easily slip into the ordinary in less skilled hands, but with Justin they never do. The simple, straightforward lyrics take these themes and bring them straight to the soul, and close enough to touch.

The slick beats and sparkling production are par for the course, as Justin comes out with a winner of an EP. There so many good songs on here and each one is a potential great single. His voice is strong, with so much emotion while also showing his tender side, like on the soaring ballad “Figure Things Out”.

Justin Llamas

Justin Llamas

But right from the opening track, “Got It Out For Me”, Justin shows that he is a jewel in the pop music crown.  These songs are generally introspective, yet we can all relate to what they are saying, mainly due to the way Justin communicates them. His vocal abilities amaze with his range and perfect control, even on a simple mid-tempo melodic song like “Last In Line”.

However this EP surpassed all my expectations when the opening bars of “Tile Floor” kicked off. Justin’s voice, the lyrics and the music, blend in an incredible edgy pop mix that complements each other to perfection. This of course totally prepared me for the EP’s lead single, and title track, “Gold” featuring Amina Harris. The bouncing beat and catching chorus will have you nodding your head and tapping your toes.

No doubt Justin Llamas really and truly knocks it out of the park with his debut release. He will make you groove, shake your butt, nod your head, hum, smile, and lift you higher…and you’re going to love every second of it!  Watching the pop artistry of Justin Llamas expand and mature is going to be a privilege, but right now, “Gold” presents us with 5 brilliant, emotionally-driven and melodically soaring pop songs which are not to be missed!

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