Exit 22 Music: “Last Goodbye” – one of the finest musical acts in the pop-rock underground

It seems almost impossible that an artist that has been around this long – 20 years in Chris Calamera’s case, can keep making records that stand up among the best that he has ever done. Let’s be clear: “Last Goodbye” is a great song. It’s poppy, with a big melody and an insistent rock rhythm, and it’s catchy as hell. Sounds like authentic Exit 22 Music to me. This is pure Calamera from his pop-rock songwriting style standpoint, and pure Exit 22 Music, considering the breathtaking vocals and high production-value quotient. The perfect, power-pop formula. Exit 22 Music has been keeping

Lake of the Lion embodies embody emotive sounds and textures

Lake of the Lion is the brand name and moniker for Luxembourg music composer and producer, Daniel Kohnen, who is steadily building up his catalog and increasing his fan-base with regular new releases. In recent years, ambient instrumental and soundtrack scores have been following a certain trend. Composers seem to have this motif of creating overblown pieces with harsh lead instruments blasting out from the blue and background strings creating suspense with their melodies. Sure it was fun for a while, but within that little span of time listeners were just begging for it to stop because composers had this

Natalie Jean and Levi Moore: “The Letting Go” speaks the language of the ordinary person

A good duet, in our modern age, is a rare thing. There are plenty of features, guest verses and co-writes, and the cameo drop-in is a dime a dozen. The number of genuine duets, where vocalists share verses and tell a story together in the space of a song, is very small. If your optimism fails you, as you wonder whether there are enough great acts to keep hit radio stocked with worthy pop music duets, it’s reassuring to find that Natalie Jean and Levi Moore have a first-rate single to carry us through the next few months, all by itself. The

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

Steady Work: “Identity Theft” – full of sonic gems!

Dallas Schwake aka Steady Work, is an independent music artist based out of Colorado Springs, CO. Originally a Mississippi Native, Dallas moved to Colorado in 2012 where he attended the United States Air Force Academy. Instead of continuing a career in the military, Dallas – a multi-instrumentalist – voluntarily left the service towards the end of 2013. For the past few years, he has worked in several different industries and positions while simultaneously honing his music abilities in order to support his dream, his wife, and his son. This month sees the release of Steady Work’s debut album entitled, “Identity Theft”.

Previous attempts to blend hip-hop, country, rock and blues have ranged from good, to amusing, to corny, and just downright embarrassing – and I won’t mention names, but now someone has finally done it right. There’s nothing gimmicky about Steady Work’s debut album; he’s blending genres not to be cute but to serve the fistful of terrific songs he’s written.

Steady Work also defies the biggest taboo in rap by dropping the macho pose to acknowledge any personal errors, issues or weaknesses. He gets away with it because he never whines and always accepts his share of the blame. He is also not afraid to share his religious beliefs and the strength of his faith and how this helps him overcome any difficulties.

In today’s many well-defined fields of music, only seldom someone comes around to create something that can claim to put a new style breaking twist on things. And that’s not even discoverifullng new areas, but just managing to stray away from the same old ones.

With “Identity Theft”, Steady Work creates an effort like that, as he combines Americana and Rock with a Hip hop point of view, touching the preaching and introspective, to provoke the listener with glimpses into situations that people usually hide behind blinds.

One hell of a lyricist, an incredible singer and a rapper to boot, Steady Work is a powerful songwriter and an even better storyteller, one capable of evoking an emotional response at each and every turn. This is a real life record, one that reflects the trials and tribulations we all may face along the pathway of our lives. Plain and simple, the lyrics, the words, and the thoughts heard throughout these tracks, are relatable.

“Identity Theft” is an under-the-radar record that you’re much better off experiencing rather than simply reading about. No matter from which end of the album you start the change in style and feel from track to track is radical. From the lush Americana, acoustic-driven track “So Much More”, to the deep, dark and edgy bass booming rap-rock of “Dazed For Daze”, and the throbbing percussive hip-hop themed verses of “Hold The Line”, Steady Work lays his full throttle powerful gravelly vocals out for all to hear.

His singing soars and emotes with the same visceral energy he rhymes through the rap verses. There is hardly a notable difference between his ability to execute one or the other form of perpetuating his storytelling lyrics.

When it comes to forging sonic gems containing strong melodies, smooth rapping and powerful singing, the album standouts for me, besides the aforementioned tracks, have to be: “Identity Theft”, “Never Had Much”, “Full Spectrum” and “To You”, with a toss up for the absolute album diamond, between “Hold The Line” and “Dazed For Daze” – easily among the best songs of any genre I have heard all year so far.

These days, with so much bad music constantly being shoved in our face, it’s suffocating. Steady Work brings a breath of fresh air with “Identity Theft”. It’s one of those albums you can actually listen to all the way through…without even worrying about genres, they’re all inside here!

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