MAKI: ‘Waking Up With The World On Fire’ – truly majestic — grandiose, slowly unfolding, and extremely cinematic

The world is a fragmented place, with fear and hate giving rise to isolationist movements around the globe and huge portions of the population turning inward rather than outward towards each other. As such waves of bigotry spread like wildfire, the music scene becomes extremely important, not just because it means more great music, but because it connects us all together on a wavelength that hits the human heart, soul and mind even harder, faster and deeper than anger can. A creative constant in the field of communicative contemporary Instrumental music, is MAKI who focuses his ample talents on a

3 Phase – ready for genre domination!

The names Chirag Shah, Prasham Deliwala and Melvin Saldana may in themselves not ring a familiar bell in your ear right now. Probably, neither will the moniker ‘3 Phase’, nor their 6 track self-titled EP. It’s logical, it’s the law of the industry’s hype machine – cast a light on the big label clones, and leave the independent creatives in the shadows. Luckily the internet has a different set of rules.  On hearing the 3 Phase EP, the lofty ambition, the focus and dedication of this creative collective of producers, songwriters and vocal talent, makes sense – its six tracks

Sy: “Get Out Of My Dreams” – grab this R&B and Soul extravaganza

The singer, songwriter and author, Sy, releases a brand new single produced by Rueben Wood. The track “Get Out Of My Dreams” is the first single release written by the artist in 2018, since writing two self-help books, “A Swan Among Ducks” and “Saying Yes to (No): Learning the Power of (No) before the end of 2017. This track soulfully captures the spirit and feel of the emotional journey of grown womanhood. It is juicy, dynamic, soulful, gorgeous, and it is nourishment for the soul…and mind, as it examines the intricacies of a relationship built on want and lust. As

IJK: “Johnny & June” – sounds invigorated!

Alternative rock artist Imad Jack Karam, known by his initials and stage name IJK, is a Dubai-based, Lebanese singer-songwriter, who has released critically acclaimed songs and recorded with internationally known music producers in prestigious London studios. Both his singles “Space Odyssey” and “Dancing Shadows” garnered a positive reception from fans and critics alike. IJK has a style that can move between edgy modern-day alt-rock and sixties rock n’ roll crooning.  He recently published his latest single and supporting, fully animated video, for the song “Johnny & June”. So, how does this new offering cope? Very well, in truth. “Johnny &

TRVP HIPPI3Z: “On Lock” – no lack of muscular skill-flexing!

TRVP HIPPI3Z is a Canadian rap duo who just dropped their latest single entitled, “On Lock”.  Listeners beware. This product has been known to blow up and cause fires in a variety of stereo systems, due to the super-hot fire provided by this crew. TRVP HIPPI3Z is a team-up that has risen as great exemplars of righteous chaos. Their supersonic sound and hard-nosed imagery gives them a mysterious sheen, but the duo have grounded themselves via booming production, and a sonorous verbal presence, coupled with their willingness to fuck you up. Their chest-beating bravado is explosive on “IDGAF (Prod. THZ)”,

Eddy Mann: “Simple Things” will leave you breathless and in a state of euphoria

At first as a musician, I created music, then as an A&R executive I challenged it, now as a music reviewer, I explore it.  Of the three, the latter is the most difficult. Criticizing or appraising somebody else’s creation is no easy task. Enjoying it is one thing, understanding it another, and translating it is even more arduous. The funny thing is, I’ve always hated describing music. It’s such a volatile and subjective art, that nobody should really have the authority or the presumptuous audacity to judge the level of enjoyment or emotion any one piece of music is capable

Kitson Lau: “Be By Your Side” – an expressive paean to love’s transformative powers

Kitson Lau wears many hats – a musician, songwriter, singer and graphic designer, he is also a medical graduate. Initially without any musical background, Kitson became inspired by Norwegian record producer and DJ, Alan Walker. This passion drove him to learn music and song production. And soon, with dedication and focus Kitson Lau hit the top of the China Kanjian ING 10 Charts with his Mandopop albums. Since signing to Sony Music Entertainment Malaysia, Kitson has been encouraged to record English songs, so now he is making his official debut via Sony, with the song “Be By Your Side”, which

Earpiphany: “Ultraviolet Dreams and Other Songs” – multi-faceted emotions

Dan G.Hagerman aka Earpiphany is a songwriter, arranger, composer who writes many genres, including his latest pop-rock offering, “Ultraviolet Dreams”, done with Aubrey Whitfield, a talented female music producer from the U.K. who also does the vocals. The track is taken from the “Ultraviolet Dreams and Other Songs” EP. Dan lives near Los Angeles with his lovely Japanese wife of thirty-five years, Reiko, and his daughter, Holly. “We love Japan, sushi and Huskies!” affirms Hagerman. In any potential mythology built up around the music of Earpiphany on “Ultraviolet Dreams”, Whitfield may represent an irrepressibly sanguine voice and Hagerman the barbed

Emmanuel Dalmas – a natural ear for a good melody!

Emmanuel Dalmas is a multi-genre music composer from the South West of France. A company founder and high level executive in the scientific industry he started composing in late November 2016 as a weekend hobby, and continued feeling an intense growing pleasure in learning more and progressing in music composition. Dalmas has since been consolidating both his craft and catalog, with a series of single releases that move between Pop, Easy Listening, EDM, as well songs in his native French tongue. From his home studio Emmanuel produces instrumental and vocal tracks, engaging talented male and female voices to complete his

J-Carter: “Time to Shine” is more than quality flows, rhymes, and beats

J-Carter is based out of New Jersey. Motivated by a plethora of hip-hop artists who have appeared on the scene during the past 30 years, Carter began his musical journey by writing lyrics at the age of 13. “Time to Shine”, his debut album, has been in the works for nearly 2 years now. “And now it’s here to hopefully shed light on all aspects of the world we live in,” says J-Carter. The Deluxe version of the album includes 19 tracks and features Cateasha Carter, Jasmine Carter, Aaron Carter, Jacee Carter and Janiya Harris. “Time to Shine” is a

Shutterwax: ‘Disappointment’ defies pop culture with another breakthrough recording

I first encountered the music  of Shutterwax during 2014 with their album ‘Dig Me A Well’, and then had the pleasure of reviewing their EP “Hurricane in 2016. On both occasions I was blown away, especially when considering this band’s modus operandi. The brainchild of Jeffrey Brayne (Guitars, Vocals, Drums, Synths, Lyrics) and Mark Rufino (Bass, Synths) – and with full-time jobs and families – Shutterwax can only find the time to get together once a year to write and record as much material as possible over a 5 or 6 day stint in the studio. Hence Jeff, Mark and the rest of the line-up which includes Jessica Brayne (Vocals), Frank Diorio (Drums), Harvey Brice (Guitar and Vocals) and Zach Onett (Keyboards) get together annually, for what they call “an exercise in self-indulgence.”

They develop each song within a 4-5 hour time-frame and then record instantly what they’ve cultivated in that time. This obviously leaves very little time for re-thinking or reimagining a song, so I think what we’re getting with Shutterwax’s songs, are the purest, closest versions to the writers’ hearts as possible.

‘Disappointment’ is the third full album from Shutterwax and features songs all recorded in the aforementioned manner. The band describes the pervasive theme of the album as “a journey to Mars, picking up perhaps where Major Tom left off in Space Oddity.” If you’re looking for another album to sing along too, or craving that shower-time special recording, you might as well keep looking because you aren’t even close here.

Not because you couldn’t sing along to some of this stuff, you could. Especially the catchy and upbeat “Dreams Fall Away” or the lusciously soaring choral section in “Bristol Anthem”…it’s just that you just wouldn’t dare! Why would you want to screw up something this beautiful?

Always defying pop culture with breakthrough recordings, Shutterwax takes another leap forward on this album, in its quest for… well… whatever it is that Shutterwax has been searching for each summer in Jeff’s carriage house studio.

Let’s face it; Shutterwax is not your normal band, so why should they release a normal album? ‘Disappointment’ takes your usual alternative record and turns up the artistic liberties by about 100 notches as they move from progressive rock flavors to retro pop piquancy and psychedelic zest.

The most amazing thing about this album is that initially you are more likely to be in awe of it rather than be in love with it. But there will be a moment that it begins to become something you cannot do without. That happened for me instantly on the hypnotic and funky title track ‘Disappointment’. Jessica’s intoxicating voice disrupted my testosterone levels for hours with this song, as she did with “Hurricane”.

And it took a brilliantly atmospheric art-rock ballad like “Nothing Left But Breathing”, to break Jessica’s spell on me. I think this is the most emotionally stimulating experience that Shutterwax have bestowed on me…if not, this song is damn near the closest they have ever come. Especially with me being a Bowie fan!

Of course the sheer rocking dynamism and dirty guitar riffs of “Cinnamon Girl” won’t leave you indifferent either, and nor will the juxtaposed acoustic sounds of “Life Lessons For Kids” that closes the the 9 track album. Sincerely folks there are few indie bands that can touch Shutterwax.

With each release, they set new standards for themselves, in writing, engineering, arranging, performing and producing. And they do it in less than a week. Can you imagine what Shutterwax could be capable of if they played together every f*cking day!!

Full Credits for Shutterwax:
Jeffrey Brayne – guitars, vocals, drums, lyrics
Jessica Brayne – vocals, lyrics
Harvey Brice – guitars, vocals
Frank Diorio – drums, percussion
Steve Kelly – engineering, mixing, percussion
Zach Onett – piano, organs, synths
Mark Rufino – bass, synths
Additional performers:
Keith Bonner – vocals on Hurricane and Disappointment
Kim Snyder – saxophone on Dreams Fall Away

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