Free From Gravity: “Step Into The Sunlight” – a unique and definitive identity

I’m not sure about how much a mature, well-oiled and well-travelled band can improve or grow artistically and technically, but this is exactly what UK band, Free From Gravity, have achieved on the brand new album “Step Into The Sunlight”. With this album, the band still uses catchy music and ear worm melodies, only this time to deliver more complex and profound ideas. Led by founder and front man Vince Barnes, and completed by Philip Estell (Drummer), Urszula Filipowicz (Keyboards/Backing Vocals), Roger Cooper (Lead Guitar) and Andy Stratford (Bass Guitar), the band has a knack for combining dark lyrics and light melodies, while the soundscapes move between dreamy pop

Close up with Rocker Rick Shaffer

Prolific recording rock artist, Rick Shaffer, is a founding member of the Philadelphia band, The Reds©, whose first self-titled album on A&M records, was produced by David Kershenbaum. It highlighted a blend of Rick Shaffer’s guitar and Bruce Cohen’s keyboards. The album was supported with live appearances with The Police, Joe Jackson, Blondie, The Ramones, The Psychedelic Furs, and Public Image. Shaffer has also done plenty of studio work and features on the Marianne Faithfull album (Island); Hilly Kristal’s, “Mad Mordechai” (Stereo Society); Peter Murphy’s, “Holy Smoke” (Beggars Banquet/BMG); and Marc Almond’s, “Fantastic Star” (Some Bizarre/Mercury); as well as writing, producing and

All Atomic: “Destinate To Radiate” harnesses its wild dynamics gloriously

Bristol, England’s All Atomic brings a variety of styles to his new EP – his second release for Pink Dolphin Music. “Destinate To Radiate” covers all varieties of electro music and shows a progression from his label debut earlier in 2017 “???? (Track With No Name)”. Everything is extremely well produced and fits together like pieces in a puzzle. It’s also incredibly diverse, but not all over the place. Songs jump from standard electronic tunes to blaring club bangers and glassy-eyed soundtrack-styled compositions at the drop of a hat. It sounds exactly like a collaboration effort by diverse producers…except it’s

Henry Metal: “Metal O’Clock” – an absolutely brilliant hard rock recording

Henry Metal debuted in late March of 2017 with the release of 2 singles which was then followed by the albums; “So It Hath Begun”,   “Wizard Vs Demon” and  “The Maestro Abides”. “Metal O’Clock” is Henry’s fourth collective offering is again an extremely engaging, epic and anthemic recording which never loses its caustic tongue-in- cheek, confrontational edge as it  investigates government ineptitude, consumerism, drug abuse and cosmetic surgery, as well as and pays homage to the Swedish Viking gods Odin and Freyja. Henry Metal is, to put it simply, stunning. His singing is melodic, yet has just enough grit and low

The Bach and Beethoven Ensemble’s CHICAGO STORIES Project – October 14/15

The Bach and Beethoven Ensemble’s CHICAGO STORIES Project brings the city to life on a personal level through new music written by Chicagoans, with and about Chicagoans and Chicago communities. Through Chicago Stories, the audience learns about the Alvarez Brothers and their renaissance efforts to revive the Pilsen Latin jazz scene. They are then taken on a journey through the harrowing escape of members of the Assyrian immigrant community, who finally found refuge in the neighborhoods of Rogers Park and Lincolnwood. Finally, they scale the wall along with a group of minority women in executive leadership roles who crushed their

Vizualye: “Hunger Games” ft J Schick – delivering wordplay lined with context

Vizualye, born Rajaee Grey presides over his tunes with an old world grace and steely strength that feels oddly calming in these uniquely turbulent times. Given how unorthodox 2017 has been and how much more unorthodox things are going to get, we need someone who has been fighting for a while to tell us the importance of continuing to fight. The rapper knows his duty to educate and inspire the public, and “Hunger Games” feat J Schick is one of his best records since his debut release. The record is produced by Taye Legend, and is steeped in a muscular, economical

Boostman Family: “I’ll Be There For You” – tricks pulled from the very catchy electro-pop toolbox

The electro/pop band Boostman Family, founded in 2012, is composed of different artists from the same family, of which Amy and David are the visible part. David Boostman sings, plays keyboards and drums, as well as being the band’s producer. David has been an arranger for big names in France and has composed movie soundtracks played in European theaters and on TV shows. He speaks fluently English, French and German. Daughter, Amy Boostman, sings, plays the guitar, and also shares in writing some of the band’s music and lyrics. Uncle Jo Flash comes from the European underground electro scene and

Sunerian: “I’m Not Worried” – genuine emotion, and positive energy abounds here

Singapore- based EDM Producer Sunerian, who has a preference for Tropical House and Chill Music, has released his 3 track EP entitled “I’m Not Worried”. Sunerian’s EP doesn’t fit the old overnight success adage, which is all for the better—he prefers his bright, electronic melodies drenched in sunlight. Brimming with sun-kissed flavors, the recording hinges on spring-break nostalgia for glistening bronze skin, sand snug between the toes, and young love and lust. It is the perfect September soundtrack for those clinging to the final scraps of summertime. When done right, an artist can invoke nostalgia without losing their purpose or

Emilio Crixell & Border Soul: “Music People” – exploring all of the possibilities within musical hypnotism

There is an essence of allure that exudes from the content of “Music People”, the new 11 track album by Emilio Crixell & Border Soul. The music is jubilant, with a mesmerizing melody that entices the listener into a sensation of musical ecstasy. We open with “A Face in the Crowd” featuring soulful songstress Leeann Atherton, immediately it induces a entrancing atmosphere to set the mood, a seductive horn blowing ambience decorated in a sensual percussive mysticism. And just as the music has us succumbing to its will, when we give up all restrain and let our senses sink deeper

Nina Kotova: “TCHAIKOVSKY” – outstanding technical detail

Born in Russia, Nina Kotova belongs to the third generation of a family of musicians—most notably her father, the renowned virtuoso double-bass player Ivan Ivanovich Kotov. At the age of seven, she was accepted into an adult cello class at the Moscow Conservatory. At fifteen, she won First Prize at the Prague International Competition. And at nineteen, having graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, she left her homeland to continue her studies in Germany and the United States, where she now resides. Kotova has been the subject of numerous features in Time, Newsweek, Vogue, Elle, the Wall Street Journal, and The

Sam and the Black Seas: “SILVER” – a world of shifting emotions

The combination of easily assimilated melodies, intelligent lyrics, acoustic driven rhythms, creative composition and a rather intangible phenomenon brought by the cello nuances set Sam and the Black Seas apart from most for me. In general, it’s extremely difficult not to succumb to a feeling of strange but unbridled euphoria when listening to their bittersweet tunes. Sam and the Black Seas possess a sound which is at once hypnotic, intoxicating and liberating and their debut album “SILVER” perfectly encapsulates these qualities. Although the lush organic instrumentation will draw a few comparisons to some other groups in the folk and alternative pop genres early on in your listening experience, Sam and the Black Seas’ songwriting has a unique, enigmatic quality that keeps the music both supremely engaging and undeniably unique.

The band that has been enthusing London crowds since 2016 consists of Samuele Rampani (lead vocals/guitar), Andrea Bianchi di Castelbianco (guitar), Mattia Boschi (cello) and Stefano Tedesco (drums). Currently preparing a more extensive UK tour, Sam and the Black Seas has already released 4 singles from their 9 track album. Each single has also been supported by a video clip, which has been attracting a growing set of viewers on YouTube.

When I first started listening to the album, I thought the style of music suited driving down tree-lined highways quite well. It was laid-back and pleasant to listen to, reminding me of sunny days and gentle breezes, with just the slight threat of overcast skies in the faraway distance. However, the more I listened, the more I picked up on the lyrics, and it was the lyrics that blew me away and made me fall absolutely in love with the album.

The lyrics are skillfully and poetically wrought, and every verse of every song paints a vivid image in the listener’s mind. This is especially apparent in songs like the apprehensive “Something Went Wrong”, the upbeat reflection of “Lately”, and the sociological curiosity of “The Love We Owe” in which the lyrics explicitly spell out specific scenes for us. More often than not the lyrical themes of these songs, affront a man’s typical strategies interrupted by a world of shifting emotions and events, as his skeptical mind attempts to understand its motives.

Just as lots of good description in literature pulls the reader into the pages of a book, so Sam and the Black Seas pull their listeners in by weaving colorful images in their lyrics. They use their songs to tell us a story, but more importantly, want us to ponder the deeper meaning.

Again, this is evident in tracks like “Heaven Gave Us A Blessing” and “Within Me”. With this full album release, “SILVER”, Sam and the Black Seas have found their voice, their stories, their optimal cadence, and best choices for instrumentation to convey all of these.

The album, for me, is the aural equivalent of a massive floral arrangement placed in the middle of the room – it’s sheer colorful beauty and gorgeous fragrance is overwhelmingly inebriating, but if for one moment we consider that the flowers’ have been brutally cut from their roots we may begin to discover the fleeting sadness which exists in such beauty.

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