Nashville-based duo, The Danberrys, are back with their third full-length album Shine. The twelve-track collection strays from their traditional sound, but comes full force with all the stops. There is a bit of a dark atmosphere throughout with graceful combinations of rock, blues and folk incorporated. Dorothy Daniel and Ben DeBerry created an enchanting record that you’ll catch yourself playing on repeat. It’s one of those records that every time you listen, you will find new meanings behind the lyrics or different instruments like an electric guitar or drums. The duo spoke about the meaning behind the album, “Shine represents a major shift in our sound, moving away from our acoustic-centric past while staying rooted in our love for the song and the groove. By venturing outside of our comfort zone, sonically and process-wise, we were able to make an organic record that we’re excited for the world to hear.”
Immediately, we are introduced to this repeated idea of looming darkness with the title track. “Sometimes darkness may roam / shine, shine wherever it goes”, reminding us that the dark is only a way to find the light. It could be used as background music for a movie scene where a character is almost just breaking out of their struggles, similar to something you might have heard in the tv series Sons of Anarchy. Similar to “The Mountain”, which was the first single off the record, the themes continue: keep growing from your past, don’t let it take you down. The sound in this track was inspired by New Orleans traditional second-line rhythm and blues.
There are lots of stories incorporated into these songs, especially with“Francis” and “Never Gone”. Daniel’s vocals guide through these compelling narratives, conveying the pain behind the words. “Never Gone” is based on their friend’s father who battled a chronic illness and said goodbye on his own terms, breaking the hearts of his family in the process. Although there are some darker tracks than others, “Love Conquers War” teaches a positive message of wisdom. Not only do the lyrics radiate this message, but the instrumental backs it. With the closing track, “Rain”, Daniel and DeBerry sing together and bring back this theme of worry and darkness. In the end, success comes through deep beliefs and unity. The sound is reminiscent of Margo Price and is easy on the ears. The Danberrys are back and they’re ready to have their messages heard all around the world.
Joshua Ackley released his debut single, “Working Class”, which is a part of his upcoming album Dark Arts. After moving to New York at the age of 19 to follow his music dreams, he has been on the scene in different bands such as the art-punk band The Dead Betties and rock band Teen Vice, with Tammy Hart. This album was recorded following a major skiing accident that caused him a 4 month recovery post-surgery. In a makeshift studio he recorded Dark Arts,which is the singer’s first solo album.
Ackley’s mystical voice fades in and out of the track on top of a light melody. The lyrics when you listen closely are much darker than the song sounds, but not in a bad way. There is some trouble being faced here between Ackley and another person. The lyrics that really stand out are, “Did everybody run away and leave you with nothing but shame? / did I treat you wrong, by staying way too long / I should’ve run away, I was so scared I had to stay”, and, “You want me to take your name / you want me to wrap my arms around you / you want me to have your back / but you treat me like a punching bag.” The Brooklyn-based singer really digs deep into these intimate issues, while presenting them perfectly. As the song buzzes through your speakers, make sure to pay attention to Ackley’s storytelling because his execution is on point.
Philadelphia-based duo Dom & Jesse share their latest single “Can’t Help Myself”. It is a mix of pop melodies with soulful rhythms, destined to be a song used in the next TikTok trend. In a time like we are in right now, you want to break all the rules to be with the one you love and that’s what the duo is trying to convey here. Sometimes there is just a magnetic connection that is so hard to resist, it will pull you in.
Produced by Grammy-nominated producer Dilemma, they were able to create an upbeat track that is perfect for their sound and will pull in new fans. Blending current styles and classic storytelling, Dom & Jesse have a similar style to artists like Liam Payne, Charlie Puth, and the Jonas Brothers. It is easy on the ears and would be a great addition to a pop workout playlist. Their vocals float through the track with a beat that will keep your head bopping. You won’t be able to help yourself from playing this song on repeat, so dive into the sounds of Dom & Jesse now.
Beabadoobee, one of music’s most talked-about artists, dropped her new single, “Care”. The track is from her highly-anticipated debut full-length album Fake It Flowers, which is set to release later this year. “Care” is all about rejecting sympathy from people who aren’t interested in really getting to know and understand her. A cathartic, to-the-point chorus is a new and explicitly vulnerable direction for her music.
Bea Kristi, beabadoobee, gives fans another bedroom pop song to jam out to. You can feel the real emotions and the anger behind the lyrics, without overdoing it. Some of the first lyrics in the song that stand out are, “I need some help to forget about it / I don’t want your sympathy, stop sayin’ you give a shit / ‘cause you don’t really / care”. Everyone can relate to this feeling at some point in your life and can connect with the frustration felt in this type of situation.
Accompanied by a music video full of outrage and different trippy graphics shot in quarantine, it makes the song more personal. It’s the type of music video that you would love to see premiere on MTV in the early days. Talking about the track and the video, Bea explained, “This song has end-of-a-90s movie vibes, like you’re driving down a highway. It is pretty much me being angry at society, or people around me who I just don’t think know me and don’t care. I don’t want you to feel fucking sorry for me. I just want you to understand what I’ve been through. I never expected to be making the first video from my album during a pandemic! I was so lucky to be locked down with the bedroom guys, it feels like it turned out as one of the most personal, real videos I’ve made.”
“Care” is another great addition to her repertoire and the fans are all for it. The song is brutally honest and exemplifies her struggles, but shows how she still is the same person she’s always been. With praises from Rolling Stone and NPR along with her feature in the worldwide chart-dominating hit “deathbed (coffee for your head)”, which includes a sample of her song “Coffee”, beabadoobee really is something special.
Laraaji is cracking open a new chapter in his music with his latest project Sun Piano. The twelve-track album reveals a whole new side to his sound for longtime listeners. From an early age, he had been playing music originally imitating his favorite piano players, such as Fats Domino or Oscar Peterson. Since the late 1970s, Laraaji has been a loved cult-icon based in New York City This is just another chapter in his story, so take a deep dive into Sun Piano.
Sun Piano begins calm, easing you into the album. “Hold On To The Vision” is soft and beautifully composed, the perfect track to play in the morning while you get ready for your day. Throughout the album, Laraaji picks up speed on tracks like “Shenandoah” and “Moods & Emotions”, with various tempos and style. “Moods & Emotions” stands out the most among the others. Through the notes of hard hitting keys, there definitely are tons of moods and emotions on this track. “Resonance” is almost six minutes long, weaving in and out of different keys and showing a range of emotions. The sound, especially on this track, is very rich and doesn’t even come close to falling flat. Closing out with “Embracing Timeless” wraps everything up and returns to a familiar calming sound introduced in the beginning. The uplifting are sure to soothe your soul.
His instrumental accomplishments are unmatched and show the craft has evolved, growing stronger with every release. Listening to this album is sure to put you in a relaxing mood and you can truly appreciate Laraaji’s talent. The rhythm and varying textures is a skill that he has perfected since the 80s. This is the first release in a trilogy all tracked at the same session. The companion LP, Moon Piano, will follow sometime later in 2020.
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.