Jona Da King – “Roots Of Love” EP – balancing rhymes, and soulful crooning|

Jona Da King is a hip-hop artist from Toronto, Ontario, based in Edmonton, Alberta. Jona is set to release his EP “Roots Of Love” which is scheduled to drop September 30th 2020. The artist has an eclectic musical palette which is colored by Hip-hop, R&B, Pop, as well as Jazz and Rock tones. We checked out his prime tracks in anticipation of the EP, and if the goal of this release is to make a breakout statement that Jona Da King is getting seriously started, he’s succeeded, delivering some of the smoothest, most mellifluous urban sounds we’ve heard in music

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

Acemattz & Bipha shine on “Tshanana”

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

The Applebutter Express: “Handguns and Hammocks” – strictly highly distinctive non-rock instrumentation!

Most people may have discovered The Applebutter Express through their song “Hey My Brotha,” which is featured in the Ron Howard film “The Good Lie” starring Reese Witherspoon. However, the band’s story began in 2004, when Kyle Biss met his future wife Shannon while working at a record store in Bradenton, Florida. Still a focused bass player, Kyle picked up a ukulele in 2010 and began to write songs, with the idea of singing with Shannon for fun on the couch. Pretty soon they became a duo doing open mic community, then got married and added Joe Trivette (fiddle) and Matt DeSear (bass) to the band.

Since then, The Applebutter Express has performed at such prestigious festivals as Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Hulaween, Suwannee Springfest, and many others. Now the 4-piece outfit, who call their music ‘Ukelele Funk’, have released “Handguns and Hammocks”, which I believe is their 3rd album.

the album cover

the album cover

The album gets 5 stars because the music absolutely calls for it. The tunes are dynamic and interesting and they’re even dynamic and interesting in different ways from song to song. The lyrics are thought provoking, fun and deliver very memorable tales of everyday life. They are not just a vehicle for Shannon’s crystalline voice; along with the Kyle’s Ukulele, they carry the songs and are very nearly the 5th member of The Applebutter Express.

I haven’t heard any of the The Applebutter Express’ previous albums, so I’m not prepared to debate how “Handguns and Hammocks” stacks up to any of them. What I can say, though, is that this is one enjoyably bizarre and quirky listen. These guys (and a lady) didn’t leave anything on the field for their latest release – this is about as ambitious an album as you’ll hear from a band without any corporate backing. The Applebutter Express draws from an expansive range of seemingly disparate root influences and incorporate strictly non-rock instrumentation, and the result never fails to be highly distinctive or at the very least extremely interesting. I’ve heard very few modern bands that bring together simple acoustic elements and vocal harmonies, and make them all fit together into such catchy, highly accessible upbeat songs. The Applebutter Express’ eclectic approach is just the thing for those seeking something outside the indie-music norm.

The Applebutter Express

The Applebutter Express

For the most part, the album sees seemingly straightforward, foot-tapping tunes splitting time with more foot-tapping tunes, all of it highlighted by the band’s emotive brogue and intricate arrangements underlain by the rock-solid, funky Ukulele rhythms. The Applebutter Express totally avoids the triteness or sap that so frequently accompanies the various subgenres of acoustic root music. There are no tedious slow-burning ballads to be found here. Right from the opening title track, the album “Handguns and Hammocks” ignites a spark, fuels the flame and then jumps between the fire and a frying pan from track to track!

If your weary soul is searching for peaceful solace, try Iron & Wine instead. However if you need to uplift your laden heart and rekindle your spirits, The Applebutter Express is exactly what the musical doctor would prescribe. Clean-cut vocals and melodies, sharp harmonizing and sprightly instrumentation, make songs like “Just Add Water”, “Start A Fire”, “On The Run”, “Do You Wanna Know”, “Riley”, “Wha Da’ Ya Got?” and “Little Ol’ Drunken Me” awe-inspiring and utterly unforgettable, in that so little, production-wise, can deliver so much, both emotionally and musically.

It would be elementary to say, that being led by a husband and wife team, The Applebutter Express have easy access to complicity within their music, and partly that would be true – but only on an emotional level. There can be no substitute for quality musicianship when delivering a cohesive piece of musical art at this level.

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