Richy: “#RichySeason” – seething tone seals the beats together!

Upstate rap artist MBK Richy from Auburn, NY has released his album “#RichySeason”. The album starts with a bang with the lead single, which is also a video, “Talk That Shit feat. Leedreamer” it’s totally unrelenting and is a good foreshadowing of what this high energy album is going to be. Richy has a great choice in beats that separates him from the herd, and forms part of that specific trait that runs across this entire album – he will do anything to keep you interested – from the beats to the rapping. Richy has a very good vocal range for an

Mr. Flames: “Local Kingpin – EP” – mastering the role he’s developed for himself

Scartobe Galantae Flames aka Mr. Flames is of African American, Cuban, and Italian descent. Originally from the east side of Cleveland, Mr. Flames currently live in Dayton, Ohio. Growing up was rough for Mr. Flames due to being a part of the typical struggle for an African American family, so he went to the streets in search for money. As time progressed through his hustling days, Mr. Flames moved up in reputation as the local kingpin. He then decided to pick up the microphone and give rapping a shot. After losing both parents, he came up with the name ‘Scartobe

Kiki Sire: “Rutina” – exciting rhythms and smooth vocals

Kiki Sire is a Singer/Songwriter, Musician, Composer and graduate of the Matanzas School of Musica in Cuba where he studied alongside many great Cuban musicians by day and performing salsa music in the festivals and clubs of Havana, Varadero and Mantanzas by night. Kiki who has performed with many great musicians, has made regular appearances on TV and Radio and won many awards and talent contests for his singing. “Rutina” is a salsa album composed, performed and produced by Kiki Sire containing 8 original compositions. Kiki Sire is undoubtedly well versed in the art of musical conversation, as he is

Owl Company: “Horizon” carves out blistering rhythms

Owl Company is a band from São Paulo, Brazil that combines hard rock influences from the 70s to the 90s with modern rage and brutality, creating a sound that is fresh, aggressive, and engaging. Launched in 2015 the band has built a strong presence in São Paulo, playing all the premier venues in town. Their first single “Condescend,” quickly grabbed attention locally and now the band is setting its sights on crashing international borders. Owl Company’s chosen vehicle to get them where they need to be going is their full-length debut album “Horizon”, set to drop July 14th 2017. The

Harmony Drive: “Be There” – fresh, upbeat and vibrant music!

Most times you can gauge the potential quality of a creative project just by gazing through its credits. In this case, the single by Norwegian band Harmony Drive – “Be There”, was recorded in Denver, Colorado. With help of production duo Glenn Sawyer & Rich Veltrop (Tom Petty, Ozzy Osbourne, Macy Gray), and Dave Elitch (Mars Volta, Killer be killed) on drums. The music video, filmed in Norway and the Philippines, features the multi-talented Supermodel, TV-host, and Surfer Mona Lisa Neuboeck. Of course for the potential quality to transform into effective quality you need a stunning song and band. Lars

Delta Station: “An Unexpected Turn of Events” – the experience is more epic and cinematic

The little 14 year old Australian genius who goes by the moniker of Delta Station, has a new album out. And, somewhat predictably, it’s another utter and perfect treat. Before you listen to Delta Station’s latest album you really should leave all preconceptions at the door. Despite the connotations of the album’s title, “An Unexpected Turn of Events” is a joyous affair. It is an album that is warm, exhilarating, and incredibly uplifting and it is his greatest piece of work to date. Delta Station has only been in the production craft since June 2016, but has already released two EPs, previous to this album.

The Valium: “Amazing Breakdowns” – walking the high-wire intersections of visceral punk-rock expression and high art perfection

The Valium hooked me as soon as I heard the first track “Too Many Dreams Of Rock N Roll” from freshly released album, entitled “Amazing Breakdowns”. This was an album that hit me in the gut and instantly dragged me along for the ride. After listening to it, I must say that this is one of the most unique, interesting and high-energy bands I have ever heard in the alternative rock scene of late. Though taken from a myriad of influences, their sound is completely their own and every song sounds unique to their band. I can’t really imagine some

Newborn: “Honey Trap” – something of a perfect alchemy

The Coney Island, Brooklyn-based band Newborn was formed by  high school friends Allen James (vocals/guitar) and Eric Weglicki (guitar/bass/vocals) and a love of rock spanning from Metallica, Nirvana, to Muse. After many years of jamming together they decided to form a band. Newborn played their first show December 2014 which was followed by the release their debut EP “Broken Virgo”. The band has since evolved musically, adding drummer Dave Goldenberg, and going from strength to strength, culminating in the release of their latest single, entitled “Honey Trap”. The song features Newborn’s most diverse lyrical palette to date. The result is a cohesive,

Gloom Influx: “First LP” – looping the listener into a nostalgic yet futuristic world

Montréal-based musician Luc Leclerc, aka Gloom Influx, delivers a unique and powerful blend of metal and synthwave, influenced by 80’s movies and video game soundtracks, heavy metal, and contemporary artists like Justice, and Carpenter Brut. Sometimes you need to listen to music that makes you feel like you are in the future in outer space and somehow the 80s never ended. And sometimes you want to add elements of robots, monsters and fear. When you want those things, there are few better than Gloom Influx . Whether you come at this album from the perspective of someone into synthwave, darkwave

Jigsaw Man: ‘No Home’ – a self-produced EP with strong stoner overtones

The 4 track ‘No Home’ EP is the debut release from Jigsaw Man, the moniker under which singer-songwriter Steven Faulkner is releasing original material. “It’s nice doing things under a pseudonym because you can be more personal about the lyrics, and because you have that separation,” said Faulkner, continuing: “In my head the lyrics belong to Jigsaw Man, so I can be more honest and personal. I can write far more honestly and I’ve certainly done that on this EP. In the past I’ve always looked for metaphor or simile but this EP is very honest.” Playing since he was a

Astroblue Express: “Quarter to Somewhere” – Five stars with no hesitation!

Astroblue Express is a new indie band that fuses electronic music with experimental R&B and soprano vocals, dream pop, trip-hop, orchestral and soundtrack music. “Quarter to Somewhere” is their debut album. I consider this one of the best albums that I have come across in its genre, though I haven’t yet decided which genre! It represents the perfect marriage of avant-garde experimentalism, sugary dream pop and baroque electronica. The music is driving and propulsive at times and slow and hypnotic at others, but never oppressive, always maintaining a certain playfulness.

The instrumentation throughout the tracks is unique and while seemingly uncomplicated in some instances when listening to any isolated element, it is layered and mixed in such a manner that an unpredictable complexity ensues. The female voice is sweet, haunting, and searing in equal measures and the singer wields it with absolute mastery. It truly is as close to a perfect album, in its intent to both challenge and soothe the listener, as I have heard in years. Five stars with no hesitation.

Throughout “Quarter to Somewhere”, Astroblue Express have taken each new track as a stop alongside a winding path, finding a wrinkle to their sound (be it triphop, shoegaze, dream pop, lounge chill, or what-have-you) and following it a few steps further.

A straight 12 tracks of excellence, the first few listens through the album almost overwhelm the listener, there is so much to listen for and enjoy. The album opens the with the haunting, spacey string strikes. As the light percussion, bass, and textural chords come in playfully, this is when “Quarter to Somewhere” begins and never let’s go.

The tender and surreal vocals float airily over the subtly pulsating band behind it on “Catch Me”, while the tender melody is the primary focus. Lyrically, Astroblue Express sings rather poetic and sometimes cryptic lyrics. “Type It” would probably one of the catchiest tracks on the album, if you could at all call this type of mood-inducing music, ‘catchy’.

The band has created a sound that is all their own. You won’t hear this mix of keyboards, swirling orchestral arrangements, and precise percussive interludes anywhere else – Especially adding their fractured spectral harmonies, as can be heard on the outstanding warm glow of “Midnight Drifter”. These vocals take you on a journey with its high soprano – pure glorious beauty.

Placed nearly in the middle of the album, “Origami Princess”, further pushes the boundaries of the band’s textural experiments and ambiguous sound. Despite the texture and ambiguity of their style, Astroblue Express has nothing to hide in their songs. The concrete bottom of the songs, their chord structure and rhythmic articulation, are just as fantastic as the overall product.

The tight-rope-walking band excels in the exotic art of experimental electronics and intoxicating dream pop, thriving on a diet of lush majesty. But here, on “Into The Beyond” the stripped-back informality – meticulously executed, of course – proves to be absolutely charming.

Something they repeat on the following track “Electronic Morning”. As much as “Type It” is catchy, “Boundless” has to be the most accessible track on the album. It has a well-defined beat and chorus which would endear it to radio programmers. The album closer, “Blues Fields”, is full of ethereal charm with its wonderful strings, and gorgeous instrumental flourishes.

I can’t emphasize enough how much I like this album. It provides some much needed change and fresh air in today’s music scene. This surely will end up on my shortlist of favorite albums of 2017. I just need to work out which genre I’ll file it under…

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