“HAZEY (The EP)” finds a way to highlight every element of its artistry

Hazey aka Yung Doowee is a 19 year old producer and artist from Dallas, Texas. He moved to Portland 2 years ago and has devoted himself to his music. His latest EP release is the 10 track self-titled “HAZEY (The EP)”. Hazey oscillates between extremes of exhilarating and surreal, through the album, both musically and lyrically. There’s plenty of wheedled and growled phraseology, as well as temperate and tuneful melodic singing, too. Hazey, makes the eccentricities of “HAZEY (The EP)” sound like embryonic visions of a future, calculating take on trap music. The results are something to behold. In its

Flexico Deeskie: ‘Leanin’’ falls within trap’s ever-expanding parameters

Flexico Deeskie comes out of Dallas, TX, to where he moved from Kansas City, MO, in 2005. Fresh on the grid, he became an active artist in July of this year, and has been steadily dropping singles to build his catalog and fan base. Flexico’s emphasis on a positive attitude and grinding, pops up regularly as does his commitment and dedication to his craft. These trademarks of his personality and style, are of course very much evident in the single project, ‘Leanin’’. Trap music’s roots date back quite a few years, and it’s been a presence in rap’s mainstream in

“Trump in the Trunk” attacks political, social and cultural issues

From Backwards is a master at creating high quality music with low quality satire. The only thing more surprising than how well those two aspects mesh, is how well he performs them on stage. His genius, however, lies within the fact that while he will laugh at (not with) almost everything he does, his audience will nod and move in sheer appreciation that someone is able to articulate the frustrations they otherwise are unable to deal with. From Backwards is the much needed fifth of whisky to last year’s presidential debates. Hip-hop and politics have been together for a long

Alien Skin: ‘1980 REDUX’ takes synth-pop to a different set of limits

There aren’t many synth-pop bands that I deem buyable today. I could probably count them all on my left hand. And if I only included the bands that actually played authentic 80’s analogue-driven synth-pop, I’d probably be left counting my stiff middle finger.  Sure digital and sampling can mimic just about any sound today…if you know what to mimic of course! Our current generation of electronic heroes can knock up the most devastating beats, create massive drops, and stirring buildups, so synth-pop might seem like the simplest form of electronica to them. Technically that is. Because musically we’re talking two

C-Los N.S: “Ye-Tape” features a wide range of thought-provoking lyrics

Songwriter and Rap Artist C-Los N.S (Carlos Ruelas) was born in Santa Rosa, California (East L.A.), and raised in Racine, Wisconsin. He recently released his mixtape, entitled “Ye-Tape”. After listening to it three times, I must say that this album is a mature product. C-Los N.S sounds like he has graduated from the rap game. He has an intelligent narrative that goes along with the music, while the experience is filled with more emotionally charged singles rather than club bangers. The production created is haunting with each song bringing about a different mood but it fits the messages masterfully. Beginning

Third Realm: “The Suffering Angel” – a bold and compelling addition to the group’s growing legacy

Recently signed to Distortion Productions, Third Realm is the eclectic dark electronic project founded in 2000 by Nathan Reiner of Buffalo, New York. The danceable darkwave band with powerful industrial tones, is known for their shadowy, sexed-up blend of synth rock and intense vocals. On their brand new album, “The Suffering Angel”, the collective spends half the time perfecting their gritty, driven sound and the other half eclipsing all expectations of their efforts. The result is an intense listen with tremendous highs, and outstanding performances by members, Nathan Reiner (Lead Vocals/Music Production/Songwriter), Arrow Fitzgibbon (Guitar/Keyboards/Backing Vocals/Sampler), Melanie Beitel (Keyboards/Backing Vocals)

Nika Starr: “Connection” – succinct, sassy, and sincere

Nika Starr, female Soul/RnB singer from Toronto, is currently working with her mentor DT the Artist for Artist Development from the ‘Ground Up Program’. Her latest single is “Connection” which was produced by ClevaMix Records with an instrumental from ShamGodBeats. Being a woman in a male-dominated music industry, means they always want to back you into a corner and force you to wear a label. Unfortunately, that means you either fall into one of two categories: sexy or cute, and maybe lust or love. Now more than ever people need to be reminded that women can be in more than

Liam Merrigan: “Broke Beyond Tomorrow” – a high sense of life and perception

Liam Merrigan is 29 year old singer-songwriter from Kintbury Berkshire UK. The 10 track album of original songs, “Broke Beyond Tomorrow” deals with Liam life experiences – either lived first hand or witnessed. I enjoyed the intimate nature of the recording, which sounds as if Merrigan was playing a beat old guitar on a stool 10 feet in front of you. Totally stripped down, this album demonstrates the great craft of the songs, as well as Liam’s expressive voice, and of course his acoustic guitar. Liam is the English equivalent of rejuvenated Neil Young in his observational skills. Liam Merrigan puzzles

Etop: “Masterworks” is ground-breaking and innovative

Etop is not your typical electronic artist. If someone says to you that Etop plays electronic music do not go thinking that he plays heavy beats and dance songs. Well he does, but not quite the way you’re thinking. Etop is everywhere. He can go to a bubblegum electronic pop tune, to a groovy dance song, all the way over to a depressing ballad. And then he can do something better than just about anyone else…go back in time. No, this is not another installment of Return To The Future. He really goes back to the past, and out of

Andre Gimaranz: ‘Supermoon’ – a rare jewel!

After 15 years as a session musician, Brazilian guitarist, singer and songwriter, Andre Gimaranz’s first solo album, ‘Handmade’, was released in 2015 gaining instant attention from the industry and fans alike, resulting in Gimaranz being considered one of the best new live acts in Brazil. In 2015 and 2016, Andre was a nominee in the categories ‘Song of the Year’ and ‘Artist of the Year’ at the IMEA Awards. He recently dropped the highly acclaimed single, ‘State of Rage and Fear’, and has now followed that up with his brand new full-length album, entitled ‘Supermoon’. Every once in a while, after making

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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