“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

Shadow Puppet Theatre: “Nightvision” – maturity and willingness to experiment musically

Shadow Puppet Theatre (SPT) is a rock band from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, established since April 2016. The Band members consist of a group of friends with different musical backgrounds but a common love for rock music. Any hype on behalf of this band is warranted as their EP “Nightvision”, is a thoroughly recommended debut which contains excellent songwriting, strangely charming vocals and very good musicianship which will have you rocking, tapping your toes and singing along.

As if to hammer the point home, the opening track, ‘Insomnified’, is an absolutely cracking opener. Immediately hooky, the first minute showcases impressive instrumentation as well as effective vocals. Structurally, the song is better for its soaring chorus and brief soloing bridge.

Yet things get even better when another EP highlight ‘Wise Man’ rollicks along next. An mid-tempo cut that includes great bass-playing, passionate drumming and effective guitar-work, this track sees the band at their grungy best as dirty hooks frequent the song.

Musically, the rhythm section of the band is astonishingly good. Drummer Chris has had formal training and bassist Chip was the last man to jump onboard. The bass drives many of the tracks efficiently and is mixed perfectly, while it is clear to see Chris puts in his all behind the kit. Elsewhere, Dzul and Yazzer’s guitar-work combine well as a team, to lift the whole unit to a totally outstanding level. Out front, Dzul is one of those vocalists that simply creates magic with his all-embracing range. The track ‘Pink Panther’ at the mid-point of the EP is the perfect example of this.

Despite the seeming adherence to a tried and tested method, what really stands out here is the maturity and willingness to experiment musically. “Mystery Girl” is a laid-back psychedelic wig-out, while “Bonita” is an angular and ominous reggae-styled ballad that ends proceedings nicely.

This is perhaps proof that there are no egos allowed on board Shadow Puppet Theatre and shows a positive attitude; if there is something that can be reworked or made better, then don’t hold back. Commendations should be paid towards the group as musicians too. There is a sweet strand of diversity, subtle or otherwise, permeating the record and points towards the coming together of comfort and talent.

Something’s been missing lately from rock n’ roll music lately – namely smart, quality music made with guitars, drums, bass and vocals. Everything is pop and robot voices these days, which is fine but bands that play rock music are increasingly rare. I’m glad to report, that “Nightvision” is a solid rock n’ roll recording, front to back. It’s both raw and refined at the same time somehow without being overproduced.

The catchy radio songs that first get your attention slowly unfold to showcase more complex progressions and lyrical depth. The recording engineer and producer also need to be hugged endlessly for providing these sounds. So just pop it in and let it play. While listening to Shadow Puppet Theatre, you’ll likely realize that this is a band that is fine-tuning its skill set and using all of the tricks they’ve learned so far to create some wonderful music.

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