Sometimes we face challenges in life and these struggles tend to be portrayed negatively or stereotyped. Artist DanCroll is no stranger to the feeling and is upfront about how mental health has affected his life, showing the struggles he has faced. “Hit Your Limit” emphasizes the need for each of us to offer empathy to anyone who has run out steam. Now, artists are more open about their struggles, but not many tend to tackle these issues in their songs like Croll does. Not only does he give us these songs, but he has a Dial Dan line which provides an outlet for those who need help easing the pressures of loneliness. Embracing his emotions has created such a positive environment for not only him but for a whole community of people.
Croll’s soothing voice makes for easy listening, in addition to the light instrumentals. The track sounds like it could be a part of a coming of age movie when the main character is reaching their breaking point. “Everyone succumbs, everyone’s got their point/everybody bends and breaks/believe me when I say it’s as clear as night and day / you’ve hit your limit” These personal, yet encouraging lyrics are meant to calm people’s fears. Everyone needs this reassurance, especially in a time like the one we are in right now.
Rapper ToBy is back with his new six track EP, THE OUTSIDE. ToBy incorporates daydreamy lo-fi beats mixed with booming trap sounds, similar to the likes of Travis Scott, in this release. He is not afraid to dive into his personal life and create something completely true to his style. He explains, “It achieves unity through specificity … In the hope that my life and my interests resonate with the next artistic soul or creative pundit trapped inside the every-man; yearning to escape, yearning to taste life’s cool breath, yearning to finally go outside.”
Inspired by Frank Ocean’s “Pyramids”, “Osiris” dives straight into the EP and ToBy’s style.
With a natural soundscape, the rapper’s flow fits perfectly and complements the different sounds. The track chronicles the mythic tale of betrayal and murder of the Egyptian god at the hand of his own brother. Meanwhile, his track “New Car” deals with freedom and yearning. The flow is more relaxed here, where his voice floats through the song. In an attempt to escape monotony, he comes out strong with the productions and vocals in this track.
Coming from dangerous upbringings can be a struggle, but if you do take on success, there is a psychological toll it can have. “Southside” is a think-piece about all of this, tackling issues that typically aren’t covered in music. But, in “Play Out,” ToBy’s single off the EP, he glorifies all things that come with the high life. Whether it is sex or money, he praises the fun lifestyle. With a constant flow and a well-rounded beat, ToBy has a hit on his hands. “Cascades” has a similar sound that you might hear from Rex Orange County, showing his versatility. It feels intimate and poetic, a switch up from some of the other tracks on the EP. Finally, “Wishes” is a solid choice to end the collection. Written and recorded on his 26th birthday, ToBy opens up about death and the fears he has relating to it. When you open up like this, there is nothing anyone can have, but respect for honesty. His thoughts may be in the clouds, but he brought his a-game here.
Blending tranquility, chaos and dystopia, ToBy has created his best collection yet. Dealing with a mix of emotions and other feelings, his tracks contain many different layers. Take a look into his life by giving this album some of your time. Take a walk outdoors.
There are always tons of artists putting out new music every day, but what makes someone stand out from the crowd? Their ability to put themselves into their music. Up-and-coming artist MalikOnMusik did just that with his debut EP SparringSessions. The EP consists of six tracks that show the Philadelphia native’s true vocal ability and music ventures. With inspiration from artists like Whitney Houston, Kehlani, and John Legend, MalikOnMusik is ready to pave his own path.
It’s always hard to start out an album because most people tend to judge a book by its cover. “Don’t Think Too Much” and dive into this EP. The track is your first impression and you easily can appreciate his vocals. Followed up by “I.W.M.H.B”, which stands for I want my hoodie back, one of the singles off the EP is based on his real experiences. The production on this track could be the best out of this collection of songs. Each of the songs is different in its own way, but one thing that remains the same is the quality of MalikOnMusik’s vocals. With a similar sound to Miguel, his voice floats effortlessly from start to finish.
In his most personal track, “Consolation”, the pop/R&B artist goes deep into his life. We take a look into his soul and how he is all about being real. “Kicks (Bruce Lee)” and “Me And My Musik” have beats that will get you vibing with all your friends. Although the two aren’t very similar, they somehow seem to fit together and each chorus could easily get stuck in your head. “Saw You In My Dreams” has the most pop elements and stands out from the rest. All the elements in this track fit together just right and give off a happy vibe, a fitting ending to the EP.
These six tracks are what set him apart from other artists in the genre. He is honest and putting his all into his dreams, and it shows. Step out of your comfort zone and check out an artist like MalikOnMusik, who you might not have listened to before.
Electronic duo DivineAstronaut released their new single and music video for “Voices”. This is the group’s second track off their debut album, Made Not In Berlin, set to release sometime in 2020. Inspired by artists such as Radiohead and Bjork combined with the absence of electronic acts, the duo came to fruition in August 2019. Their music is downtempo, alternative electronica with trip-hop and industrial elements weaved in. The track has a menacing feel with airy vocals and deep guitar riffs.
With toned-down colors, singer Livvy Holland walks around an ominous castle. The video was actually shot at Dracula’s Bran Castle in Transylvania, Romania, capturing the haunting nature of the track and the mythology of Dracula. The duo tackles how haunting our own voices and inner demons can be. As Warm Audio Featured Artists, DivineAstronaut are partnering with the pro-audio manufacturer on the release of the track to give audiences a chance to win a Warm Audio WA-47JR microphone. The microphone is featured multiple times in the video and you can sign up here for your chance to win. Don’t forget to take a look at the “Voices” video now.
Neo-soul artist Ego Ella May released her debut album Honey For Wounds, an album of honest lyrics backed by smooth instrumentals. A year after the release of her debut EP, So Far, this comes as the first release off of John Boyega’s UpperRoom record label. The album has a solid foundation to be a hit with May’s effortlessly warm vocals taking you through a journey of pain, love, and power. The South London artist took to Instagram to share her feelings about the release saying, “I made it to heal myself, but in turn my intention was and is to provide music to heal to for you as well! I hope I’ve done so. I hope it helps you feel validated, and held.”
“Alright” featuring Theo Croker is a great introduction for what is to come on the album. There are few vocals, but they stand strong alongside the delicate sounds of the trumpet. It is the most calming track off the album, although they all have this similar relaxing vibe. “Tonight I’m Drowning” is the end of a relationship, but still missing that person. The steady click of the drums keeps the song moving against the lyrics. Similar to “Song For Bobby” with light melodic patterns, May faces changes and deals with running through memories. Like many others after a relationship, there are these past memories that are haunting. Her vocals effortlessly float through lyrics like, “Raindrops, minimal light, and Etta James / Always the cure when you leave / You show up out of the blue, I cloud you with green / This distant thing still haunts me.” Not only does she reference Etta James, but in “Give A Little” she mentions Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”, “Joni said You don’t know what you got / Til it goes away.” In the midst of her lyrics, she shows some of her music taste, while remaining graceful. Here May is trying to navigate a neutral ground and find her footing, after being down a familiar path of heartbreak.
However, she is not afraid to sing about things other than relationships and heartbreak. Both “Girls Don’t Always Sing About Boys” and “How Long Til We’re Home” bring up current societal issues like environmental pollutants, problems for same-sex couples, and with the government and media. Songs about love and breakups might be easy and what sells, but May is not afraid to go beyond those and she does it effortlessly. If one doesn’t listen closely to the lyrics they might end up liking the song without realizing the messages weaved into it. “How Long Til We’re Home” is a perfect example of creating a beautiful song with an important message, but not having it overpower the song. “In The Morning” is a fresh start, indicating the struggles of women with lyrics like, “Reading about trauma In our daughters / Has got me shook I got things to learn, / I got fears to burn … Been here before, kinda sick of myself / But also quite proud / It’s hard, being at the mercy of man / And dealing my cards with my wrong hand.”
“Never Again (Marlissa Interlude)” showcases May’s sweet vocals, with a repeated set of lyrics throughout. It echoes the struggles and feelings she has put into the other tracks. In “Science” the lyrics are very poetic and a personal look into her life. Mentioning little details like a blue Cadillac and her roots in Igbo, provide a clear background about memories in her life. “Table For One” might be the best song on the album. With all the right elements packed into a six-minute track, it shows her vocal range and unique style. May shines here brighter than ever before. She finds her way through all of this on “For Those Who Left”, coming out with lyrics at her most confident. It is simple, but a fitting ending to all the emotions in the tracks before it.
Honey For Wounds already is catching people’s attention and recently was Tidal’s Rising Album of the Week. The production on these 11 tracks is strong with graceful touches of horns and drums to match her delicate vocals. Ego Ella May released a powerful record that comes from navigating and experiencing the ups and downs in life. If you are looking for something new to listen to right now make sure to check out this album, you won’t regret it.