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

Devil’s Holler: “The Dusty Road Stumble” – unassuming, visceral and genuine

Devil’s Holler is a project from multi-instrumentalist and Pittsburgh native Rob Gray, who performs acoustic-based Americana roots music infused with slide guitar, bass and stompbox. Gray has released 5 albums, including his latest, “The Dusty Road Stumble” and has shared the stage with a host of local and national artists. If you enjoy books that take you into unimagined lands, foods that surprise and please, and effortlessly intriguing conversation. If you enjoy allowing yourself to discover parts of life you didn’t know you liked, Devil’s Holler new album is an opportunity to expand yourself into an eclectic, unassuming, visceral and

Sam: “(still) think of you” – Nothing feels in excess here

Singer-songwriter Sam has the sort of clean-cut, genial, edgy but never-too-edgy image that gets people excited. His is soul music for the new generation – immaculately executed, and with a lashing of instantaneous, four-minute emotion. On a song like the melancholic “(still) think of you” he exhibits a clear understanding of fundamental personal truths – “I was just a shell of a person, who craved every form of attention” – and it seems as if he’s going down his own path exploring sounds and sonics that we never could have expected.

There’s something so image-filled and atmospheric about this record and it really dives deep into the topics at hand. The chord progression in the verses is flawless, with Sam soft and silky vocals sliding against the piano like water. The chorus is infectious; with some of the most on point honest lyricism I’ve head.

It’s relatable, while still keeping a piece of sentiment toward something that speaks to the artist’s life. He’s a blooming artist who can present his feelings in a manner that many major artists have a hard time doing. There’s a dark vibe to this song, but it’s strangely coupled with these airy vocals that bring us as listeners into the light.

Sam’s music has this air to it that’s just unexplainable. But this one takes the cake. Smooth and sexy, this song is one of those late night jams. The slow chord progression and pitter-patter of the percussion is so timely done that I can’t even imagine how he put that together; how he simply put together the perfect blend of melancholy and euphoria in one song.

The lyricism is introverted and mono-conversational, but the way it’s executed makes it reach listeners with ease. Nothing feels in excess here. It’s a very big song, but still keeps its subtlety and elegance.

There are very few artists that can single handedly prove their strengths while being so honest and open. This year, there have been so many new artists emerging and some of them fell short of their hype. Sam isn’t one of them. This track travels through so many moods, but it has one constant and that is the overall tone. It’s an airy, yet heavy mixture of both sadness and cool joy.

The high moments still remain grounded, while the low moments still coast on a level that’s not melodramatic. The production is flawless throughout and there’s something about Sam’s writing style that fits him like a glove. I don’t think, under the circumstances, he could’ve done any better with “(still) think of you” and I’m thrilled to be able to have heard it.

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