Reviews (75)

Thursday, 06 August 2015 00:00

Kenya - "Let Me"

Kenya's "Let Me" is a refreshing testament to the power of skillful vocals, solid songwriting, and experienced production.  "Let Me" is an song that invites its listener to become part of its energy (versus intruding on one's personal space.)  Kenya's silky voice playfully hides the apparent talent that lies beneath.  When enjoying Keny's vocal approach, it becomes clear that she has the ability to match her vocals to what a song (and its writing) needs - in the case of "Let Me" that would be a hide 'n seek, confident, soulful woman who need not ask for approval--rather one who offers you the rare pleasure of her presence. Kenya's is a voice that would equally translate to a host of musical genres and traditions - jazz, neo-soul, gospel, blues, R&B, and....(you get the point!)

 

BGVs echo the strength of womanhood in all the right places.  The musical score is solid with a groove that can last for hours without becoming boring or distracting. By contrast, the groove evokes familiar feelings of 'grown-folk love' and not the childish baby love often experienced in adolescence.   Sometimes, a song and its vocalist are aided by the power of its music video.  No doubt, "Let Me" is complimented by the engaging videography of its well done video. To that end, it is not held hostage to it.  Whether enjoying audio or video, "Let Me" holds true to great artistry.
 
Check out Kenya at her website!
 
Contributed by Tony Johnson

 

Friday, 24 April 2015 00:00

Akira - B'day Girl

"Artist Spotlight"

Akira means intelligent, bright, clear. Having said that, independent hip hop artist Akira's mission is crystal clear: he wants to take his mixtape swag, overlay it with commercial appeal, and segue his musical brand to the masses. 

He hopes that his single "B'day Girl" is one step toward doing that. "B'day Girl" features a stylish production, an easy-to-sing-to-hook, a danceable beat, and, of course, Akira's rapping. 

The song's theme isn't new. He wants to get a girl into her birthday suit, and then quickly get into his. Still, it's an extremely radio-friendly song that deserves to be heard. So credible that the Grammy Rap panel named it number 24 best rap in 2014.

Some independent artists sound ... well ... independent ... still honing their crafts. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, every artists must continually improve their skills. Nevertheless, some independent artists sound like they should be in heavy rotation on the radio. And that's how Akira sounds. Hopefully we will hear him there soon. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015 00:00

Side FX (EP) - Denitia & Sene

Denitia & Sene have love on their mind (cue Natalie Cole) on their 4 track EP entitled "Side FX." When love is at its best, it's wonderful and reciprocated. When it's not, when it breaks down, when it's over, we write edgy songs of painful angst. On "Side FX," Denitia & Sene experiene both facets of love. They get their hearts broken, as well as break a few hearts.

They're on the losing side of love in "Running," the opening track, as they plead with a lover to stop "Running." Lovers need to reason, to talk, to work things out, because "we couldn't fail, unless we tried." 

"Side FX" is my favorite. Here Denitia is almost flippant toward the feelings of the lover whom she has seemingly moved on from, for as she puts it "nothing lasts forever." The love was intense, full-throttled, and messy. But she's willing to toss it off. "It's the side-effects of hurricanes." (That could be literal. Too many hurricanes have been known to result in sloppy-short-lived-love-making.)

The beats on the album vary from electronic and synthesized, sparse and haunting, and sounds that are akin to chiptunes. As always, Denitia's vocals are crystal clear and compelling, and the lyrics packed full of metaphors and imagery.

Drums drive "The Fan," where for a moment, Aphrodite seems to have blessed the love; and the song oozes happiness. But clearly, the love is temporary because on their final track, "Because We Are Fools," they question the whole business of falling in love. 

They aren't the first singers to try to answer the question, why do fools fall in love? And they surely won't be the last. But few will craft it as stylishly as Denitia and Sene have on "Side FX."

Check out the "Side FX" - the single - below:

 

 

 

 

Friday, 10 April 2015 00:00

Infliction

"Infliction," the dark and disturbing assembled footage documentary of two brothers' 2011 murder spree in NC, is now available via DVD, VOD, and digital HD. 

Jack Thomas Smith, award winning filmmaker, directed and produced the film. Of the movie, he says, "It left me troubled and haunted. It left me thinking about people's action ... and the inevitable domino effect." In fact, the movie has often been described as "character-driven study" of horror. 

"Infliction" is avaliable at most major retailers, including iTunes, FYE, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Best Buy and more.

Stay tune for our upcoming interview with Smith. To learn more about the flim, visit "Infliction."

Thursday, 09 April 2015 00:00

Set It Straight - B. Right Feat Drew Helix

Personally speaking, as a BIG HIP HOP HEAD who's had the opportunity and privilege to interview some of the BIGGEST HIP HOP stars, I still have the desire to listen to fresh NEW and unsigned artists. And with a title like, "Set It Straight," not only did I expect fresh and new, I anticipated that I'd hear hot lyrics, flow, or storytelling.

Unfortunately, B. Right's "Set It Straight" lyrics are little to basic with nothing memorable about it to make you want to COP IT!!! The beat never caught my attention and the production sounded dated, as if the artist hadn't given it enough attention. There so many rappers and artists who are hungry, you have to be ready if you wanna step out and stand in the BIG LEAGUE. That isn't to say that this artist doesn't have potential. But I feel like he needs to get in better touch with what's driving him as an artist, improve his writing skills, and maybe even find a mentor. Then come back stronger and harder.

"Don't be mad at me, I'm just the messenger."

Special Contribution by TV Host and personality Marty A. Johnson

For more interviews and segments with Marty A. Johnson, check out his Youtube channel.

Wednesday, 08 April 2015 00:00

Trip.Fall. - Denitia and Sene

There's so much bad music out there that sometimes the good music gets overlooked. (I know, you weren't expecting that, huh? You were expecting me to say that's there's so much good music out there ... And there is. Still, there's more bad than anything. But I digress ...)

I hate when I miss a good song. But with the tons of music that's distributed every year - independent included - how could I not? So I particularly appreciate when anyone turns me on to a good song. Having said that, my best friend had this "bumping" in his mini-cooper (a body-builder in a mini-cooper? go figure!) this past weekend and within about sixty seconds I was nodding along. By the end of the first play, I knew I had missed a great song that deserved a stellar review. 

Trip.Fall. is groovy down-tempo house, and if you know anything about me (and since I'm a nobody, you probably don't), you know that down-tempo house is my favorite genre. Groovy, sparse, chillout with emotionally resonant vocals ... 

By the fifth play, I found myself trying to determine who had tripped and who had fallen. Or perhaps I had. We all have, tripped, fallen ... into love ... unrequited. Burned and but bitter. That's how Trip.Fall. feels. 

A ton of remixes exist of this song. I've uploaded one of my favorites. But if you like a more chill version, check out the radio edit. 

Wanna know more about Denitia and Sene? Check out their interview with Interview Magazine.

Monday, 30 March 2015 00:00

Loud Places - Jamie xx (feat. Romy)

"Didn't I take you to higher places you can't reach without me?" so Remy questions a loss love on the song "Loud Places." And while she may have taken him high, she's come to realize that it wasn't enough. Consequently, the object of her affection continues to search for more. Gentle and angst ridden, Jamie xx and Remy have collaborated on an ethereal sounding down-tempo house groove that demands repeated plays.

Quite frankly, the song could be about anything "illicit" - sex, love, drugs. But being the romantic that I are (yes - I are) I choose to think it's not about losing love. But about coming to the realization that it's lost.

Remy says that she won't be around when he comes down. But you and I will be, playing this song over again and again.

Loud Places is the type of song that deserves airplay. As I understand, it's also on the debut release of Jamie xx. Here's looking to what else Jamie xx has in store musically for us. 

 

Thursday, 19 March 2015 00:00

Keithra Morely - All we need is prayer

Nah ... it's not music. But it was pretty damn funny. So I had to share. If we learn nothing else, we know that prayer will always get us through ...

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 00:00

Snoh Aalegra - Emotional

 

Wanna know what's in heavy rotation on my iTunes? "Emotional" by Snoh Aalegra. This may be in part because Notion Magazine calls it, "the best single they've heard all year." That's a mouthful. But to tell you the truth, the words aren't far from wrong.

Swedish by ethnicity but apparently soulful from birth, Aalegra's vocals have been compared to Amy Winehouse. And while they both have a smoky element to their voice (and Amy remains one of my favorites), Snoh Aalegra's voice is uniquely her own. It's a fusion of jazz, soul, and blues as she mulls on her latest song, "what if he hurts me?"

The track was produced by RZA and together they are clearly a formidable duo. The ditty is enough to make Aalegra claim that she feels "a fever coming on." One listen to this perfect concotion of mid-tempo funk and you'll feel it as well. I can't to hear what else she has in store for 2015. 

Got any doubts? Check out what Okayplayer and Revolt.tv have to say about Snoh Aalegra. 

GET IT ON ITUNES

Tuesday, 17 March 2015 00:00

Tamia - Sandwich and a Soda

If you wanna ride these curves, hop in your chevy nova ... so Tamia proclaims in her latest single "Sandwich and a Soda."

I've never been a huge fan of Tamia. Love her voice but never loved her song choice. At least, not until "Sandwich and a Soda." The song has the retro feel that has become popular in the last few years and Tamia works it well. From the lyrics, to the performance, to the music, the song oozes sex appeal.

I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that I love when women sing in their lower register - l get all weak for that earthy-more gutteral sound. That's what Tamia is doing here, and it's a good look on her. 

Tamia is offering to fluff your pillow, and then bring you a sandwich and a soda. Make mine a turkey sandwich and a 7up, please. Now if I can only find my keys ... 

For an additional review, check out the review by CedricCed on FDRMX. 

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