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

MBK Richy: “Enriched” – vibrant stories worth hearing!

Auburn, NY artist MBK Richy is back with his brand new body of work “Enriched”. This mixtape is the follow up to “#Richyseason” that dropped in March this year. This is a recording that needs to be heard from beginning to end to truly be appreciated. This is a “mature” mixtape and has the best production he’s ever had for one of his projects. It proves that he is on top of his game. The lyrics have always been there, but he takes it to another level with this mixtape. The production too, is top notch. I’m very particular about the hip-hop I pay attention to nowadays, with there being so much to listen to on a daily basis. For me to actually be enchanted by something, it has to be a “press play and listen”. “Enriched” is just that.

This is one of the few hip hop mixtapes from the last year that I can listen to all the way through and not have the urge to skip a track. There are more worthwhile themes and subject matter on “Enriched” than your favorite rapper’s last three albums combined, and they’re presented in a focused, fleshed-out fashion. This mixtape is even more “ambitious” than Richy’s previous project.

He doesn’t seem content with merely finding hot beats and rapping his ass off anymore, which is admirable because he could feasibly ride that career path. Here he’s got all the necessary components for the magnum opus he may have wanted – a vibrant mind, a story worth hearing and stellar production.

From the “Intro (Enriched)” he’s in the lab improving on his formula and making the proper tweaks to insure that this project packs the necessary wallop. All of the variables are in place, the hypothesis is tested and proven, as track after track Richy works his way towards perfecting the equation, which he already nails with the second track “Hear More (final)”.

The first mixtape standout comes in the form of “Loud (Ft. LIT)” which consistently provides thought provoking bars, a palpable rap narrative, and a unique style of delivery that differentiates him from the stylistics of many contemporary rappers.

MBK Richy’s take on the hip-hop aesthetic is reminiscent of street dialogues: hard, abrasive, and quick-witted verses that flaunt his lyrical finesse, and is easily evident on “I Gotta” and “Fast Life”. Listeners need to keep a close ear to every line of Richy’s lyrics as he peels back the layers of his street psychology, his earnest artistic ruminations, and his intellect on “Cool Guys” and “No Hate”, probably the best two tracks on the album.

In between, you can also savor tracks like “Stuck In My Ways” ft. Bri Mack and “Ballin” ft. LeeDreamer, as Richy uses his craft as a platform to vent and find meaning.

The candor of MBK Richy’s stories is a reminder of the urgency with which some rappers deliver their lyrics to their listeners. For artists like Richy, hip-hop is not just a popular music genre, but a platform for thinkers to explore and develop the lost narratives of the street life, and a cultural landscape that considers the circumstances of all people in relation to their own personal experiences. I look forward to hearing the continuation of MBK Richy’s powerful sonic narratives.

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