Disillusionment is not a rare state these days, and that seems to go double for those with any aspiration, creative ability or personal drive. With so many supposed opportunities having been skewed by COVID-19, it’s not surprising that artists such as Kydd Jones have continued to thrive. As Left Earth demonstrates, Kydd has always been one to thrive in spite of obvious opportunities like hustling, street culture or drug selling. Over an interestingly manipulated, organic element-based beat (it’s hard to explain, but give it a listen), we find Kydd spitting a short set of lyrics talking about why he will continue to thrive regardless of the state of things for those held down by gravity (the Earth‘s, or otherwise). If you need a shot of inspiration, this one is for you, so definitely check it out, support if you can, and spread this word far and wide.
Even as the world makes small steps towards opening itself in some sort of normal sense after the waves of COVID-19 we face, musicians are exploring old and new alternatives to keep their fanbases satisfied. The San Antonio-based live outfit Stereofiend recently decided to go the route of an old industry standby by dropping a live album, but with most venues closed during the period of time they decided to do so, they opted for the next best thing : live from the studio. The result, in this case, is an intimate view of Stereofiend in the moment and in the pocket with one another, minus the distractions that come with a live audience, resulting in what feels like a jam session put together especially for the listener. The songs we all know and love are there, we get a small view into the inter-band banter that those familiar with Stereofiend are used to, and until we’re allowed to enjoy one another’s company again, this will be the closest we get to a live show for a while. Definitely check it out, support if you can, and share it around for all to enjoy.
As we hit the 2/3 range of one full year under the shadow of COVID-19, many of us are wondering if there will be a return to normality, and what that supposed new normal will look like. Many creatives, like BoomBaptist for example, are working on trying to keep things as normal as possible by finding inspiration in the madness. According to BoomBaptist, COVID The Earth is ‘a little surprise release comprised of songs inspired by this insane once in a lifetime experience we’ve all been facing through the pandemic.’ For those seeking some sort of sonic remedy to take their mind off of everything, I highly recommend this instrumental journey. Check it out, cop it if you can afford to, and spread it around for others to experience.
As October came to an end, the homie Evolve decided to bless the masses with a pair of connected projects : SIDE A: CONVERSATION PIECES and SIDE B: SINNER’S PRAYER. On top of both having stellar album artwork that is immediately striking, EVOLVE‘s hardline observations can be found all over both projects, with his deliberate and proud delivery of truth coming at the listener relentlessly. Both albums have a somber feel to them, although CONVERSATION PIECES relies on more introspective, lush, piano-driven beats, while SINNER’S PRAYER definitely has the more sinister sonic edge. With a production line-up consisting of Shots Dupre, Jony Escoe, Junk Room Beats, Purple Villian, Jones Got Music, The Process, Awdazcate and Lord Damage, these two distinct audio feels have enough variety amongst themselves to carry you through both projects. For those with money burning a hole in their pocket, this is definitely worth supporting, but even if the money is tight, these albums are certainly worth your time, attention and shares, so be sure to support however you can.
Everyone’s favorite trope exploring, politically radical, rhythmically gifted rap crew is back for election season. Dem Beach Boys figured the best way to wrap up Donald Trump‘s recent term would be to drop No Place Like Home, a damning examination of how the cultural temperature has shifted from warm to well past the boiling point over the last four years. Be it racial divides, denying immigrants basic civil rights, or the gradual growth of a police state, Dem Beach Boys check all the hot button boxes with clever, biting lyrical darts. This one isn’t for the satirically-challenged, so if you’ve got a thick skin and aren’t smooth-brained, check it out, leave a like and a comment, and kick up some dust by sharing it around.
Singer/songwriter extraordinaire Boone Graham is never one that lacks ideas and creative drive. His latest project, Magical Objects, has some of the best lo-fi, garage-rock style vibes that I’ve heard in a long while, and this is purely off the strength of the lead single, I’m Ready. All of the positive energy I’d expect from a Boone Graham song is there, including a recognition of the present state and a desire to improve inwardly and outwardly, and with the high energy musical backing propelling things, you feel included in the growth as a listener. Definitely check this one out, and follow Boone Graham‘s Magical Objects on social media as well, because I’m sure this is just the beginning.
I’ve always trusted Cory Kendrix, so if he posts about new music I’m generally checking it out immediately. Therefore, when Cory lumped in a music recommendation with his recent label signing announcement, I knew that he must be extra hype about it. The track, a Jonny Jukebox track titled BetterThanDrugs on which Kendrix features, is definitely a banger, with slight The Weeknd vibes, but more of a lean towards the hip-hop side of things than the R&B side. Topically, the lyrics are solid, with the obvious connection of love addiction and drug addiction used as a setup to true love serving as ‘the plug’ rather than ‘the drug’. This track could definitely make some noise with the right placements, so I recommend you check it out now before it blows, cop it if you can, and share it around regardless.
“This cassette photo is wildly substantial and I know she (Yadira Brown) won’t talk about it, so I will. This year she unearthed a wealth of knowledge about herself and her history, one of the items being a self-made cassette from when she was a child (I want to say 7 or 8 years old). The cassette was labeled Yadira: School is Cool and consisted of R&B freestyles she recorded on the tape. Her singing was advanced : she would indicate where backing vocals belonged, where nuances in the writing should change, and how the songs should have repeating sections (choruses). Topics ranged from needing love to being reunited with someone. Listening to it, I realized Yadira was always meant to be a writer/singer and at that age, she was so innately drawn to it, that she could imagine every section of the vocal, fully. In the spirit that is Yadira, she wanted to turn the attention away from herself and give the gift of a new album back to the world, however, she’s the actual gift and I’m honored to love her everyday. So, everyone who knows her, reach out to her today and jam this incredible mixtape!’
The homie Curbside Jones is becoming a sonic jetsetter right before our eyes. It was just this July that he dropped Gyakusou Vol. 1, a collaboration with Japanese producer Ballhead, and here we are three months later looking at a collaboration similar in spirit. Floating In Between, a collaborative effort with Japanese producer Dhrma, finds Curbside Jones covering a surprisingly vast array of sounds and feelings within the span of three tracks. When you go to check this one out (which you most definitely should), don’t forget to check out the insight Curbside Jones provided into each track, and while you’re there, cop it if you can, and share it regardless so others can enjoy it.
In my never-ending quest to express my creative drive and desires in as many ways as possible, I have released a new short film. LANIE is the story of a young woman making a mid-travel stop at an air b&b location, only to discover that the location holds much more in store than she could ever imagine or bargain for. Making this one was a blast, as Moira McCulloch and Colton Ferguson delivered wonderfully strong performances, and the homegirl K Death was gracious enough to allow me to use some of her older tunes as score material. My short films and music videos generally don’t do major numbers, but the reception to this one has been a joy to behold, so if you find the time, please check it out, leave a like and a comment, and share it around for others to experience.