Dakú Lights: “Illuminate” – a consistent palette of genre-melding pop offerings

London based alternative pop band, Dakú Lights, was formed in April 2016 by the three band members who are represented by their own distinct color to match their personality, with Bhavini being red, Haiiiro as pink-orange and Panda as purple. They have a unique blend of music which incorporates Pop, Kpop, EDM and Urban influences. Currently pursuing a record deal, the band is focused on producing high quality music and building their stage presence for international audiences. Dakú Lights recently released their 5-track EP, entitled “Illuminate”. The title takes a cue from the band’s name, as Dakú means ‘dark’ in

Henry Metal: “So It Hath Begun” will grab you by the balls with a cruel squirrel grip

Henry Metal might have a fine veil of satire embracing the project, but he makes just about the best tribute to the excess of the 80’s and 90’s hard rock and metal genres ever. He has just released his 9 track album, entitled “So It Hath Begun” which contains great songs, which are very easy to bang your head and sing along with. The tracks all have a grooving and slamming feel, plus cool shredding and solos. In fact Henry Metal sounds no different to any of those legendary rock and metal bands from the golden era. You either get

Aeronaut: “Skara” – excellent progressive buildups and rhythmic backflips

Aeronaut can be described as Progressive Rock, Post-Rock, Indie, or simply Alternative Rock, but that doesn’t really matter. All I know is that this project delivers very interesting, fresh, and well-rounded music. Aeronaut has a huge dynamic range, from extremely fast and heavy with smooth, powerful vocals to very relaxing and atmospheric. The music is very melodic, clear and well-produced, the song “Skara” flows and changes to new and exciting ideas. The guitars are very lush and full sounding, during both heavier and mellow parts, while the bass and drums thump and bang in all the right places. Aeronaut is

Eric Hausmann: “Soaked” manages to tap into a very specific emotional core

Eric Hausmann is a multi-instrumentalist and film composer. He has produced music for a number of Malaysian films, in addition to scoring for a variety of New York film productions. He performs live as a guitarist with Portland’s Tres Gone, and Malaysia’s Space Gambus Experiment. He is formerly a member of The Gone Orchestra and Brainwarmer. Hausmann recently released “Soaked” a seven track recording which is described as “A cross-section of Asian dub-fused rock n’ roll with deep India influences.” But it’s probably more than that, as I’m hearing post-rock, world fusion, and ambient rock influences injected into these tracks. Eric

MOOD: “The Wave” is in the right lane!

Hip-hop has changed – there’s no debating that – but change isn’t always indicative of something bad. That being said, it’s refreshing to hear more rapping, with the exception of one or two bridges, versus the continual rap/sing mix that’s permeated mainstream as of late. You’re allowed to appreciate more than one way of creating music and while a lot of rappers have the notion that they should be singing as well, there’s a place for it all, especially if you don’t have a decent singing voice. You obviously can’t disregard one lane of Hip-hop while claiming to be a

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

Setto: “Fvck With Me” – rising from nowhere to captivate the world!

Setto has been carefully and steadily garnering supporters, with a string of hit singles and the much-heralded debut mixtape Coming to America under his belt. Born Trevor Osagie in Edo State, located in western Nigeria, young Setto moved to the States at 14 with his father and settled in the Atlanta suburb of Dacula. “When I first came here, I could speak proper English but I wasn’t strong in my English. I still had that African accent so people didn’t accept me for who I was. That was a battle I had to fight,” explains Setto.  “Somebody tried to clown my culture, calling me ‘African booty scratcher’,” Setto recalls. And fight back he did, eventually earning his respect.

One aspect of American life that needed no adaptation for Setto was with the music. He discovered his natural musical abilities while visiting his aunt and uncle in Boston one weekend. Introduced to a local rapper, Setto ended in a booth inside a studio, to record a verse.

Setto

Setto

When he got back to Georgia, Setto set up his own studio in his uncle’s basement and began recording his own music as well as other aspiring rappers in the area. This led to his first single, “Swag Still Killin Em” in 2009, followed by his debut mixtape Coming to America in the same year.

The current laws of fame mandate that if you’re wanting to be popular or a part of something popular, then you better stay active and produce for the public, and that is exactly what Setto does. Since relocating to the Bronx, New York, Setto has released a string of singles leading to last year’s smashes, “All of These” produced by Diego Ave, and “GO Hater” produced by Pierre Medor. In 2016 Setto has dropped a series of Freestyle tracks leading to his latest piece “Fvck With Me” produced by KashBeats.

It’s clear that this latest release is lyrically a personal track as Setto tackles life’s problems head-on with his pen and paper. He deploys his voice much like an instrument rather than a sound effect. Where other rappers find themselves stringing along halting, chant-like lyrics, often paired with jarring transitions, Setto’s songs are effortlessly melodic and composed with an obvious attention to hooks, bridges and verses; he knows when he needs to snap into his flow before delivering the goods in the chorus, while his verses are just as much felt as they are understood.

Setto has stayed true to himself, his story, and his style. To me, that’s what a true artist does and he deserves respect for this.  His narratives in his songs is a clear reflection of who he is as a person and his experience of having a hard time, and being comfortable with himself and his identity.

Sonically, Setto has always had great taste in beats, but he has noticeably stepped it up with the production on his newer projects.  Step by step, he is moving forward towards finding the perfect balance between using superbly composed musical productions and firm, uncompromising vocal delivery.

Each year we watch acts like Setto rise from nowhere to captivate the world with their infectious music. His narratives prove why hip-hop is one of the most exciting and unpredictable genres in music. Where he goes from here depends largely on how the industry interprets his talent.

With that being said the fact that he is only 24 years-old, gives him a lot of time to experiment with his sound and create an album that is of absolute quality, and which will shock the market out of its current state of lethargy.

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