Berani – “Cut And Taste” strikes an incredible balance of disparate elements

Berani is an electronic beat maker with a diverse sound spectrum and a tendency to produce bouncing rhythms or spacious and relaxing aural experiences. In a short time span, this emerging artist out of Byron Bay in Australia, has discerning music fans and casual listeners paying attention. The sound design throughout his latest single “Cut And Taste” is what we’ve come to expect from this creative top tier producer: popping percussion, basslines that melt like butter and a healthy dose of twisted horns to make everything bump in a soul-like fashion. Sprinkled around the track are sonic effects that keep

EsZ – “Liquor & Emotions” – introspective and emotional

Hip-hop has been cranking out bangers and high energy anthems for decades, but the average genre historian is well aware that dark or emotional thoughts on a chill backdrop is not a foreign concept for the game. After all, profound moodiness feels rather natural for a culture that grew out of urban plight and the trauma of purposely disenfranchised people. It makes sense that at least some mellow tunes in the genre, reflect deep-thinking speculation, in what artist EsZ, describes as thoughts on “life, growth and fake friends” in his track “Liquor & Emotions”. The song is a drunk text

Quad – “Love” embellishes each track with his personal revelations

Based in the south of Chicago, Quad started making music when he was around 14 years old and started taking it artistically seriously two years later. He produces, records, mixes and masters, using only a Blue Yeti microphone and FL Studios. So far Quad has written over 300 songs and released 1 EP, 1 Album and 8 singles. Currently training as an audio engineer at SAE University in Chicago, Quad explained that his latest album “Love” describes his personal understanding of the sentiment. The album “Love” was written and recorded over the course of 2 months after Quad was electrocuted

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Watching Acemattz & Bipha perform in any of their videos is like watching friends realize they’re onto something big time. They are accomplished rappers individually, on their own terms, and as collaborators, as a unit, their styles gel perfectly. They’re not just comfortable performing together—they are feeding off of each other, refusing to be one-upped, beaming and grinning and head-bobbing as they take turns impressing one another. By the end of each of their performances, their formation into a real show-stopping combination seems inevitable. In the new wave rap scene, there is plenty of talent to go around, Acemattz &

FuzzKill – “The Get Better” reaches all the expected heights!

FuzzKill is a four-piece rock band that started in Boston, MA. Introduced to one another through musical theatre, the band’s sound is firmly rooted in early 2000’s pop-punk influences. They released their debut studio album, “Happen”, in early 2019, and their sophomore album, “The Get Better”, just dropped on September 19th 2020. We have all heard the biggest punk bands of the 90’s and early 00’s. Their music mainly consisted of driving drums, distorted pop-punk guitar work and a set of memorable lyrics to go with the angst-filled high energy vocals. Today punk bands are a rarity, and any good

Dan Friese – ‘Jane Songs’ is something to be treasured!

Dan Friese is an Oregon-based songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist. In April of 2020, he released his debut EP, ‘Happiness’, a collection of self-reflective psychedelic indie-folk tracks. His first full-length effort, ‘Jane Songs’, was released on September 18th, and is available on all major platforms, along with the singles “Streetlight” and “I Can’t Say”. There’s a lot to appreciate on the new album, and Dan’s voice is arguably the most attractive aspect. Moreover, his vocals are often enhanced by inspiring songwriting and raw emotion, not to mention a wealth of down to earth acoustic guitar strumming. Dan Friese has an organic,

INTERVIEW: C.E.N. – the voice of the people

Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and currently a resident of Dallas, Texas, C.E.N’s natural proficiency over poetry allowed him to produce meaningful and profound lyrics. Although he initially took the initiative to become a music artist for fame and fortune, he later realized that all he desires as a musician is to be respected and valued for the art he brings to the table. His music is deep lyrically and spiritually. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started? C.E.N.: I was born in Oklahoma City, OK, and was raised in a

Hitrocker – “Project One” – breathtaking sound design!

Hitrocker is a German based producer who creates mainly within the EDM subgenres of House, Electro and Deep House. His first album, entitled “Project One” was released at the end of July, while “Project Two” is also out now. When I clicked on the playlist of “Project One”, I was met with song titles that were merely numbers – such as “Project 1.1” or “Project One.Four”. This falsely led me to expect generically themed instrumentals, simply meant to rock the dancefloor. Wrong. Well not totally. They do rock the dancefloor. But they also do a whole lot more. These are

Rashod Holmes Announces New Single ‘The One’

The soul singer relives how he met his wife and started his family on a tender new song. Rashod Holmes is known for bringing romance to life with his evocative voice, but he has never told as personal a story as the one he tells with his latest single. ‘The One’ is a true life love story that acknowledges the struggles and triumphs that go into building a long-lasting relationship. “I found the one for me” Rashod sings. “She is the girl of my dreams.” While Rashod is convinced that he has found the perfect partner, there is much more

Billy Ray Rock – “Get The Funk”- hitting up all the classic tenets of funk

Washington State Singer-Bassist, Billy Ray Rock, plays more than 10 instruments and produces and performs every instrument you hear in his music. From Rock to R&B and Dance, Billy delivers them all. His single “Get The Funk”, simply adds another delicious flavor to his sonic menu. His unearthly bass chops, resonant vocal wobble and inner funk DNA is scorching hot, while it straddles the genre’s trademark grooves. Blaring horns and slapping drums accompanies the party-styled adlibs, as the track treads its momentum. If you’re looking the glossy high-tech dance-club funk perpetuated by bands like Chromeo, then this is not the

KAVA: “Shikaakwa” Is Just A Phenomenal Album!

KAVA does what comes natural to three Chicago music veterans when writing, rehearsing and performing together. Ryan Behling (bass/vox), Wilson (guitar) and Marshall Greenhouse (percussion/electronics) first met while forming AfroZep, a national touring act that fuses African influences into Led Zeppelin covers. The trio clicked from the start. It quickly became obvious that it was time to move away from strictly arranging together and start writing original music.

So they packed their cars with as many instruments as they could fit and headed far out of the city where they locked themselves up in a cabin for the weekend and experimented. The result was about 20 hours of recordings that included tightly composed odd time grooves in the vein of The Mars Volta, to 15+ minute minimalist jams which featured drones supplied by the Juno and Kaossilators.

KAVA has since continued to hold retreats, toured the country, performed local shows (often fully improvised), recorded 2 studio EPs plus an experimental improvised EP and in the summer of 2013 released their first full length album entitled Shikaakwa.

Every now and again a band capable of not just capturing the spirit of a bygone era but portraying it with uncanny authenticity and accuracy arrives, and in an era where music lovers seem increasingly ravenous for psychedelic-inflected, stoner rock, Chicago’s KAVA are precisely that act.

Shikaakwa is just a phenomenal album. I have not heard any contemporary record that so strongly fits the 60’s psychedelic rock vibe, yet perfectly represents modern rock. That said, this recording sounds like it was transplanted from that era – in tone at least. Something sets it apart, however, because if it were straight up 60’s, it would sound dated and stale.

The rhythms are hard, driving and pulsing without being fast. The sound is mesmerizing, hypnotic and there is an effective drone to the music. Ryan Behling, the lead vocalist, is a great compliment to the music, while the variety of guitar licks by Wilson, that supplement Marshall Greenhouse’s rhythms and drones, are sprinkled throughout. There is occasional dissonance and distortion which enhances the retro experience.

The music is blues-infected; the lyrics are plaintive, informed, and emotionally conscious. There is a depth of symbolism in some songs and a more overt meaning in others. And despite the fact they can best be categorized as stoner-psychedelic, there is a lot more going on. This is a very talented group and Shikaakwa is such a very solid recording. Dim the lights, turn it up, and let the music wash over you.

This group and particularly this recording are tremendous finds. If Jim Morrison had ever gotten depressed and joined Robert Plant in a psychedelic hard-rock/blues band, then the result might sound something like KAVA. Who in turn sound like a mix somewhere between Led Zeppelin and the Queens Of The Stone Age with a huskier Steve Perry on lead vocals. I told you they were a tremendous find!

Of the seven tracks I was most blown away by “Keep It Alive”, “Tornado Eyes”, “Warroom” and “Staring Into Fire”.  It takes a little while for the tracks to fully sink in, but like the effects of a good wine, when it does, this haunting rock music is simply intoxicating.

All through Shikaakwa,  KAVA plunge into taut blues-rock, ghostly hard-rock, fuzzy bass melodies, cycling electric guitars and other supernatural dirges. In a nutshell it’s dark psychedelic rock that’ll have you checking your calendar to see which year it is. I can’t wait to hear what they do next!

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