On May 5, the independent electronic artist MACHINEFIEND will release his latest studio effort, a compelling double single entitled ‘Bottom of the World.’ The opposite side of the hauntingly beautiful jaunt through atmospheric musings is ‘Pieces,’ an equally fascinating endeavor. Released on ALTOSPIN Records, the single also includes a remix of its title track by Lefrank, another artist on the label.
On April 13, the powerhouse independent hip hop artist So Suede released his compelling new studio effort, a single entitled ‘Blessed.’ The assertive but intensely edgy track is a remarkably well produced journey through So Suede’s unique sound and prowess as a performer and songwriter. The song is available now to stream and download on all major digital music platforms.
‘Code Noir’ is a very soft-spoken record. Even from the opening notes of ‘Another Chance,’ Lundy croons in a surprisingly deep, bellowing voice that seamlessly wanders about a sparse jazz soundscape. This is dark, evening club jazz - the kind of music you’d find in a dimly lit piano bar in the late hours of the evening. ‘Another Chance’ is a compelling introductory number as well, I’d argue, because it’s somewhat less digestible than the track that follows it.
Las Vegas, Nevada - Last month on March 20, the rising independent artist and producer Kian released his debut studio effort, an album entitled ‘The Genesis.’ The record, which is now available on all digital music platforms, is an elegant culmination of years of experience in music performance and production on behalf of Kian. The songs defy genre classification, effortlessly hopping through an array of influences with complete tact and versatility.
Going on a third year now, I receive new music on a near-annual basis from Hooyoosay, a bubbly pop rock outfit with a penchant for infectiously catchy melodies and jingling soundscapes chock-full of synthesizers and vocal harmonies. The project is especially interesting because the band doesn’t offer their names publicly; they want their music to speak for itself. They’ve got a new EP out later this year, ‘Mountain Air.’ How does it stack up against their previous work? Let’s find out!
The indie country scene is an enigmatic beast that’s difficult to break through or tame, I’d argue, especially since acts have a tendency to fall into one of two categories: trope-driven monotony or pretentious pseudo-traditionalism that loses focus of what the music is all about. By and large, Lynch and company defy both of these categories on ‘Mending Fences,’ which is remarkably refreshing.
First and foremost, the production of ‘Savages’ is impressively solid for an indie hip hop artist building his early repertoire. The studio work is slick and suavely executed, but avoids sounding sterile or too “over-produced.” In particular, ‘Savages’ has hints of world influence, perhaps even African or Rastafarian vibes in varying capacities. It’s certainly a contemporary hip hop track that has an inherent pop sensibility to it; the production will capture your attention notably better than the majority of indie hip hop artists.’
Houston, Texas - Shannie Ross, the independent pop songstress that is quickly becoming an integral part of the Houston music scene, is preparing to release several new studio endeavors this summer ahead of a tour outside of the state of Texas. Her current single, a dynamic track entitled ‘The Low,’ features OG KIDD and elegantly combines Ross’ suave performance style with KIDD’s powerhouse hip hop. Since its release, ‘The Low’ and its corresponding music video have accumulated over 60,000 spins.
‘Whiskey Melody’ opens the album with Woods’ most celebrated song, given the single landed him Entertainer of the Year and Song of the Year at the Nashville Universe Awards when it came out. Now, the song does check off pretty much every stereotype box a cynical critic may levy against modern country music. There really isn’t a verse that doesn’t muse about various drinks, and Woods sings a whole lot about driving down country roads in trucks.
‘Moving On’ boasts very similar production quality to Ameln’s previous work. It’s well mixed and mastered and that’s further complemented by strong instrumental performances. In the grand scheme of Ameln’s catalog, ‘Moving On’ is likely the most simplistic track we’ve highlighted here on the Spotlight. It’s soft-spoken and the music doesn’t ever overpower Ameln’s vocals. He’s the forefront of this single with the exception of a small electric guitar interlude toward the end of the song.
The following is an exclusive Independent Spotlight interview with Brandon Menard, the frontman and lead singer of the rapidly rising alternative rock outfit in Louisiana, 3AM. The group culminates some of the strongest musical talents in the Acadiana music scene to perform classic music from the 80s and 90s.
Dublin, Ireland - The rising independent artist DJ Roy Cohen is preparing to release his first full length studio endeavor as a solo act. Previously best known for his work in the duo JIVE64 and producing for the likes of Marq Aurel and David C, Cohen has become increasingly well known as a versatile, multi-faceted talent. The second single off his upcoming record, ‘Take Off,’ is available on all digital music platforms now!
This April, the rising independent hip hop artist Wizdom Mriminthere will release his latest studio endeavor, a single entitled ‘Savages.’ The track, which is due to be released on the artist’s own indie label, Pretty Dirtball Records LLC, precedes his full album due out this summer. That album is set to be called ‘RaDiCal Minds,’ and every track, including ‘Savages,’ boasts production and writing by Wizdom Mriminthere.
On Thursday, August 17, the Passion4Arts Project will host a benefit for the ‘Helping Children Worldwide Foundation,’ a non-profit organization that helps transform communities in Sierra Leone by providing opportunities for education, health care, and more. Tickets, which are available now at an early pre-sale discount, include access to the visual art exhibit and four subsequent hours of live music!
Right out of the gate, ‘Run Away’ is much more electronic-tinged than its predecessor. The soulful R&B nature of ‘On My Own’ has been traded out for a much more punchy, infectious, even danceable sound. It’s laden in bright, jingly synthesizers and copious reverb as Anzi sings about eloping with a significant other. Thematically, it’s certainly a departure from ‘On My Own.’
Hailing from Stone Mountain, Georgia, The McClinton Experience has become one of the most recognizable and eclectic live bands in the independent music scene. Comprised of a group of versatile veteran musicians, the Deblynne Petty-McClinton led outfit elegantly traverses a massive catalog of tunes. Digging deep into Motown, soul, funk, jazz, and more, The McClinton Experience will often be found performing songs from the likes of Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, the Supremes, and more.
‘Thought,’ as Voice in the Attic describes it, is “a little think piece.” Thus, it’s certainly steeped in traditional early 1970s singer songwriter introspection. This can often be treacherous territory for independent artists because they run the risk of entering the realm of cliche, but Voice in the Attic navigates away from that especially well, as he has done in the past. His performance feels intensely personal and passionate, which gives it an aura of authenticity.
‘Leaving,’ a tune featuring female vocalist Madeline Wise, exhibits a strong chemistry between the two lead talents. At times, Wise’s croons enter Lucinda Williams soundalike territory, but the two lead vocalists bounce off one another well in a lush pop landscape of punchy percussion and electrifying lead guitar. Lyrically, the track is often forgettable, but the vocal harmonies between Aly and Wise and very strong.
The songs on ‘Piano Works’ are inherently different in execution than ‘Winter’ and ‘I’m Still Here,’ the two songs we explored here on the Spotlight last weekend. These four tunes are essentially live recordings. There are no overdubs and the songs were recorded live in one take. All four are original compositions that were also recorded and produced by Campbell. Thus, there’s a more raw atmosphere to ‘Piano Works’ than those other two singles.
On Tuesday, April 25, the independent acoustic country outfit Blackkiss will perform at Taos Mesa Brewing in Taos, New Mexico. The desert-born act’s sound draws its roots directly back to the heart of the Navajo-Indian reservation. In his early years, Blackkiss founder Pete Sands was raised on a healthy diet of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and other wholly authentic, outlaw country acts Blackkiss is reminiscent of.