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

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

Vincent Krennerich – “Verlassene Stadt” – plenty of delicate aural color

Vincent Krennerich is a composer, songwriter and pianist from Germany. The artist, who has featured on our pages before, has released his double-side single, entitled, “Verlassene Stadt”, which translated, would mean ‘abandoned city’. The second track, contained in this set, is called “Morgengrauen”, which in English, would mean ‘dawn’. However if you heard these compositions, there would be no need to translate them, as Krennerich’s music describes itself rather poignantly. Though stripped back and basic solo piano, the key to the success of both these recordings, is the propensity Vincent Krennerich has in composing subtly fine melodies. Both tracks have

Hybrid Blues fuses stellar musicianship, heartfelt songwriting and soul-stirring vocals

Out of Aotearoa (New Zealand), Hybrid Blues are a 4-piece band, made up of Mike Everard (guitars, vocals), Adam Pendred (bass), Mark Schaumann (drums) and award winning front-man, singer-songwriter Roy Hudson. The band signed to SGNB Records USA, has just released its self-titled blues-based album. No two songs on “Hybrid Blues” sound the same. The record not only showcases Roy’s abilities as a singer and a songwriter, but also highlights the wide range of influences that have impacted on his music. The album takes you in so many different dynamic directions that it can feel a little dizzying, while the

Juan Donovan: “Merlot & Marijuana” – a brilliant compendium of styles and luxurious production

As one half of the production duo Darkroom Productions, Juan Donovan has produced with his partner Jamal Roberts some of today’s hottest artists. That list includes R Kelly, Wale, Young Money, Maino, JellyRoll, 24Hrs (Royce Rizzy), Brick Squad, G-Unit, Bad Boy, and more. The duo also won multiple awards for its phenomenal work on HBO’s classic hit series “The Wire”, which garnered them featured in major publications such as FADER, The New York Times, VIBE, and dozens more. It’s not surprising then that Juan Donovan would want to drop a record that’s as much a personal statement as a collection of stunning songs. His long anticipated debut album entitled “Merlot & Marijuana” conveys a sense of summation, as Donovan deploys a lavish roster of all-star talent in a broad overview of R&B, and urban music flavors in general.

There is no stylistic redlining on Juan Donovan’s block, where contemporary R&B, RnBass, Soul, Trap, and Ambient all get credit – sometimes in imaginative combinations that occupy the same song. The album’s main strengths are a thorough smattering of variety that guarantees almost infinite replay value, and a plethora of stylish vocal thrust to go with Donovan’s brilliant compendium of styles and luxurious production touch.

Wonderful musicality says an awful lot –as Donovan doesn’t make beats as much as he produces songs – and the high points on “Merlot & Marijuana” are brimming with it. The opening song “Work” (feat. Devon Hill), which drops in after the intro, is a slow, bracing, potentially influential amalgam, in which Donovan weaves yearning choral motifs, around and over busy hi-hats and pianos, then turns up the melodic juice with some soulful crooning by Devon Hill. Donovan’s role on this album can be likened to that of a high class tailor who chooses the cloth then cuts it to perfection.

He shines with his ability to not just make human voices sound enticing, but ensures that together with the music they become irresistibly captivating. With his eyes, heart and musical mind always fully focused on the project, the occurrence of a perfect match between vocals and instrumentals, is repeated on every track on “Merlot & Marijuana”.

Both “Presence” (feat. Tatmancoop x Shayla) and “All Over Me” (feat. MKHL x Aliché) are such brilliantly constructed pieces of music. The melodies are infectious as the vocals transport you to a world of slow groove with some awesome arrangements.

Every element of “Fireworks” (feat. Aliché) has been carefully thought out. Every frame of its construction from the synth interludes, the vocals, and the ability to let the song simmer in its instrumental with Aliché putting in a stellar vocal performance.

Juan Donovan is able to arrange and compose songs to fit any sort of mood. His musical knowledge is all on display with this project, and can be savored on the piano-driven instrumental “Arturo Fuente”. Chrxstal’s mesmerizing vocals are in full force on “Running On E” (feat. Chrxstal). This mellow groove is pretty intoxicating with its finger-snapping beat.

For me personally, “Roses” (feat. Adria Jenée x KenTheMan) is one of the album’s absolute highlights. The instrumentation, especially the bass lines and thumping kick drum are intensely manipulating on the senses. The track also has an edgy urban flavor as the rapped lines perfectly contrast the soft melodic vocals and lush production.

To be fair, “Lost In A Minute” (feat. Danni Jackson x M.A.V.), is pretty much locked into the same hierarchy. It’s hard to imagine anyone listening to this downtempo groove on replay and not attempt to sing along with the chorus at least once.

Juan Donovan clearly wanted to bring together some of the finest voices in the game as well as compose and arrange some fantastic pieces of music. Many songs here play testimony to that fact. Sometimes he allows those voices to reach out on their own, as on the smooth and soulful “Win Your Love” (feat. Danni Jackson).

Even as I listen to the closing instrumental track, “Indulge”, I can appreciate the amount of work that has gone into these 11 tracks, in what is one of the most listenable R&B and urban music albums I have heard in a very long while.

Overall these tracks present a treasure trove of skills sets from Juan Donovan and his collaborators. It may take a few listens to fully grasp the source of each groove, the choice of voices, the song structures and the arrangements, but you will connect to it on the very first listening. And that’s a sign of great music – something which captures you instantly, and then allows you to unpack and unfold it for deeper, sumptuous and endless listening pleasure!

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