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

Grant Maloy Smith: “DUST BOWL – AMERICAN STORIES” – musical snapshots of real life

When we listen to award-winning Americana singer-songwriter, Grant Maloy Smith, we often hear a shrug, a battered heart, and the steely reason of hard-earned wisdom all bundled into a single powerfully ragged voice that resonates rather extraordinarily with the plight of mankind. Smith has a gift for articulating the predicament of the downtrodden and misunderstood. A knack for stepping inside his fellow man’s shoes and feeling the wear on the sole, the dirt between the treads, and the awkwardness of the fit. Explaining the making of the album “DUST BOWL – AMERICAN STORIES”, Smith stated: “The songs spell out an arc from the pastoral beginning, when wheat prices were high and times were good, through the darkest days of suffering and struggle, and ultimately to redemption – when finally the rain came down.  Dust Bowl has been a labor of love for most of three years now. As much as I created these songs, they have changed me, too.” 

I’m beginning to think Grant Maloy Smith is a genius. It’s one of the ironies of the music business that he is not hugely, enormously, grandiosely big. Smith is every bit as talented a songwriter as any latter-half-of-the-20th-century roots music composers I can think of.

Smith is one of the few who makes you understand, appreciate and enjoy the undeniable link between music, people and nature. “DUST BOWL – AMERICAN STORIES” makes a clear case for this link without ever sounding like any other singer-songwriter I know of; another testament to his outstanding songwriting and performing talents.

Grant Maloy Smith’s songs are like musical snapshots of real life. The songs run the gauntlet of emotions, from anger to joy, from melancholy to heartened, from love to loss. “DUST BOWL – AMERICAN STORIES” has it all.

It amazes me how Smith can blend the various song styles into a recording that flows so effortlessly, as he moves though Bluegrass, Country and Folk themes – All naturally held together by his extraordinary voice and range.

From the moment I put on the first cut, “Old Black Roller”, I couldn’t believe how the music saturated me, and how I wanted to hear it again, catching the words, and the intonations before going on to the second cut, “Lily Of The Valley”, which was even more addictive than the first.

Though Grant Maloy Smith is brilliant on just about everything he does on this album, to my mind, he is exceptional when it comes to the slower songs. His voice has that heartrending broken tone that squeezes every bit of emotion out of the lyrics.

Hence my fervent attraction to songs like “Isht A Lhampko (Have Strength)” – probably one of the most captivating tunes on the entire album for me.  But he is just as moving on “All The Long Way”, “Daddy, If You Have To Go” and “And The Rain Comes Down”. It helps of course that the list of instrumentation and players on this album is almost endless. Injecting a warm luscious sound into the recordings.

If you have a predilection for rhythmic, upbeat numbers to stomp to, then “So Far Away”, “Me Time” and “I Come From America”, will do nicely for you. All the songs on “DUST BOWL – AMERICAN STORIES”, however, are skillfully written and instrumented, crossing roots genres and throwing a healthy bite of social commentary in your face to remind you that Smith is nobody’s top 40 wimp.

There are only a small handful of artists on this planet at any given time worth listening to musically. Grant Maloy Smith is definitely one of them.

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