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

Joshua Lane: “Woke & Rambling” – a strong underground feel

Joshua Lane is a 22 year old artist out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Lane is a man on a mission, as he explains: “I’m focusing on making my own kind of music in hip hop that has consistent, in depth knowledge about what’s going in my life as well as everyone else’s reality as well. I moved to D.C. to promote and network for the past 8 months. I want to use my platform to give back to ones in need and help our communities out so there’s less hostility and more love in the world.” To put on a Joshua Lane record is to commit to a certain amount of intense collective energy. Anything much more than that—left-field lyricism, hooks that sink their claws into you, a collection of beats that cohere into some loose future-is-now synthesis of hip-hop—is a bonus, if an expected one.

“Woke & Rambling” takes everything that is great about hip-hop and makes a shining example of it. The beats are tight and fresh; the lyrics, as expected, are deep and creative, and just off kilter enough to give it that alternative signature. It also takes everything that is less than desirable about hip hop and manages to make these topics and conventions exciting, too.

Different genres affect me in various ways. A solid Metal album can make me feel like I should be a Viking, a great Indie Rock album can make me want to bob my head to the self-produced goodness, and a gorgeous Post-Rock album can conjure up images of incredible landscapes. Hip-Hop is simply refreshing. A

great Hip-Hop album is like drinking a perfectly-cooled glass of water after a day of being thirsty. “Woke & Rambling” is that glass of water.

Apart from blowing everybody for being innovative, mind-blowing, and just goddamn refreshing, the jazz and soul influences in the production come out at the right times. The lyrics are introspective and intelligent, but not too much to digest such that it’s only an album for specific moods.

It’s got a strong underground feel without seeming like some crappy mixtape slapped together with equipment from the 70’s. This album goes great as something to listen to in those moments of introspection. The songs can be listened to as standalone tracks, but the overall feel of the album from beginning to end is just as good.

On “Woke & Rambling”, Joshua Lane has created undoubtedly an immediately catchy work, with some memorable choruses and insightful wordplay that is easily a career high for this artist. Joshua Lane redefines himself as a very certain type of artist. For the most part, his lyrics, ideas, and themes feel very insider and close to his heart, which is what makes him standout.

What does Joshua Lane hope to accomplish with “Woke & Rambling”? This isn’t a rhetorical question or an attempt to chide: I’d like, sincerely, to know what it is he was seeking when he began cobbling this album together and how that goal might have changed in the recording process.

To the average Joe, the closest one comes to being as cool as a Hip-Hop artist is by turning up the beats, cranking the windows way down in a pumped up car, while rolling down Main St. The new album, by Joshua Lane is not only deserving of cruising glory – but should be high on the list of any Hip-Hop connoisseur.

From track one, “Dear Hiphop” and other outstanding tracks such as “Relapse”, “Journal”, “Rambling”, “One World” and “Are We Alive”  effectively create a complex, layered symphony of sounds, melodies and dynamics which leaves the listener in a pure state of Hip-Hop satisfaction.

Joshua Lane exhibits an astounding sense of timing, never allowing the listener to grow tired or disinterested, but rather continually chasing the next high until the song reaches its conclusion.

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