Danjul – ‘Origin of Times’

album_cover_pic__180711034225Hailing from LA, Danjul released the album  ‘Orgin of Times’ on 29th November 2017. We are a little late to the party in hearing it but, it was well worth the wait!The album opens with ‘Origin Intro’ which is mysterious in sound, enable by a piano ladened with heavy reverb, backing vocals and a gorgeous cello. The cello echoes the piano’s phrase beautifully. We hear Danjul’s spoken word too and we found the entire track a brilliant introduction and representation of what is to come. ‘City of Chaos’ quickly follows, it is futuristic sounding with a slow building of synths until the genre changes completely. Strong rock guitars are then to be heard, which are filled with sensual distortion along side luscious electronic instrumentation accompaniment. The staccato rhythm changes the feel completely and the vocals, key changes and attention grabbing snares all make for layers of texture and a compelling listening experience. For us, ‘Chapter of Love’ is a stand out track in this extraordinarily high standard album filled with hit singles. It begins with mysterious and haunting footsteps, followed by wind chimes and the sounds of a book being opened. All of these small touches are effective and unique to Danjul’s sound. The gorgeous piano is accompanied by rising synths, dark in mood and compelling in nature. The reverb is extremely thick on the melodic vocals and the harmonies make the vocals shine further. There is also low spoken word which creates  an interesting texture. The industrial percussion on the chorus is another unexpected and absorbing turn. There is also a brilliant video which accompanies ‘Chapters of Love’. It is another piece of well executed art in itself. The audio and the visuals work seamlessly together. The video is a beautiful representation of the audio and the Danjul’s vocals shine as brightest star in the piece. The entire album is stunning from start to end and it is difficult to pick one defining track. We very much enjoyed ‘Story of She’, it has big stadium sounding drums and Brian May style guitar in the beginning. The kick drum on the verse feels like a heartbeat and Danjul’s hypnotising spoken word voice is a magical addition.This wonderful album was produced by Matthew A. Nelson and Danjul himself, which just showcases his talents further. ‘Origin of Times’ had a lot of elements and the glorious production enables them all to fit together as one. The production also allows Danjul’s voice to be heard to its full potential. It is smooth and textured all at once. His vocals are comfortable in many ranges which is incredibly impressive. Danjul’s vocals remind us of Michael Jackson, mixed with Prince and a sprinkling of Josh Franceschi’s too. Simply Beautiful.‘Origin of Times’ is music which needs to be heard! Amazingly, this album is free to download and the link can be found at the bottom of this article. We fully recommend you have a listen today!Reviewed by FVReviews July 2018https://soundcloud.com/danjul/sets/originsTwitter.com/storyofdanjul Instagram.com/storyofdanjul 

‘Round 2’ – Itch 

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Itch are an exquisite band hailing from Serbia. Formed in 2010, their latest album ‘Round 2’ is simply divine. This wonderful album encapsulates their love of different genres of music and unites them in in one perfectly formed piece of work.

The opening track ‘Prison Disco’ has a funk style opening with high hats filled with top and a funky bass line to catch your ear. The electric guitars shine throughout. The lead vocals and harmonies are lush and exuberant in their tone and delivery. This song is most definitely music with a message. There is a heavy political message running through it but paired with a catchy melody which all makes for a stand out opening.

Our other favourite tracks are; ‘Yura’, the genre feels like Ska when the vocals kick in and the musicianship is top notch. You can feel from first listen that the band members know each other inside out. Their parts weave in and out of each other like a dance and make for compelling listening. The bass particularly shines on this song. It is not only an accompaniment but it adds another dimension and keeps drawing your ears back to it. 

‘Despotic’ remind us of Frank Zappa with its unusual semitone opening. The vocals are very unique too, doing a question and answer session with themselves through the verse and the instrumental feels Asian in influence. There is Spanish counting in there and the slap bass adds star quality to an already elevated song. 

‘Rere’ has the most gorgeous harmonies to open with and it really lets the vocal performances shine. The final track ‘The Sun Will Rise’ feels Russian with the rolling, marching snare. There are so many elements to be heard and they work together in a culmination of musical brilliance. There is also a special vocal part where whispers are heard but they have been mixed in separate speakers and make you feel included, being swept up in the magic.

We have been trying to decide what our favourite thing about ‘Round 2’ is and we have concluded: the unexpected genre changes. Normally, you hear different genres on a record being introduced from song to song. Itch are very different. They cleverly and seamlessly glide from one genre to another within the space of a verse, chorus and instrumental and it really works! You never know what is going to come next and this makes for an exciting and exhilarating listen. This technique which they have perfected is used on a number of the tracks but it never feels old as the genres are always different. 

Trust us when we say, listen to this album! It will feed your soul more in its 33 minutes than anything else and will leaving you feeling fulfilled all day long!

Reviewed by FVReviews July 2018

http://itch-band.com

https://www.facebook.com/theitchmusic

https://www.instagram.com/itchband/

https://twitter.com/ItchBand

‘Along the Road’ – Dirk Schwenk & The Truth 

dschwenkHailing from Annapolis, Dirk Schwenk & The Truth are a phenomenal band specialising in the rock/alt-country/roots genres. Their latest release ‘Along the Road’ was released on 15th June 2018 and we believe it is an instant classic. 

Having a sound which is chilled and hard hitting all at once, this EP is very special indeed. The opening track, ‘Table Set for Two’ begins with two guitars, accompanied by drums, playing different melodies and complimenting each other completely. The lyrics are heartfelt and relatable. This song really introduces the listener to what a magnificent songwriter Schwenk is. He has the great ability to make the listener see everything he sees, to hear what he hears and feel what he feels. This is not a given with songwriters however, Schwenk executes his skill to perfection.

‘The River’ comes next and has a gorgeous slide guitar in the opening. The kick drum is present and constant throughout and provides the heartbeat to the song. There are added additions of a tambourine and harmonies galore. Later, during the instrumental the slide guitar is an absolute masterclass of how to add intensity and emotion to a song with an instrument. World class.

‘I am Graced’ sees the addition of a mandolin in the opening. There is also an piano to be heard for the first time which add a different texture to what we have previously heard. Schwenk’s vocals shine in this song, they are rich, warm and effortless. Always emitting emotion in their delivery, this love song hits the mark on so many different levels. 

Next we hear, ‘Along the Road She Comes’ which showcases Schwenk’s songwriting ability again. There is a major ascending chord progression in the verse which changes to a staccato rhythm with minor chord changes in the chorus. This is great juxtaposition and provides interest and intrigue. 

The final track is called, ‘Flag on the Hill’. It is a strong, patriotic and heavily political song. It is very different to what we have heard previously. The marching snare echoes the military feel and the ‘Stand Up and be Counted’ messaged also reiterates this. The harmonies and slide guitar give the track further substance and fabric.

Appearing on the EP we hear; Dirk – vocals & guitar, Chris – guitar and vocals, Kevin – bass & vocals, Mike – drums and vocals and Joe – guitar. This group of musicians really understand their craft and have produced an all round superb EP.

The EP has something for everyone, it is heartfelt, political and catchy all at once so check it out today!

Reviewed by FVReviews July 2018

https://www.dirkschwenk.com/

https://twitter.com/DirkSchwenk

https://www.facebook.com/dirkandthetruth/

https://soundcloud.com/dirkschwenkmusic

‘Along the Road’ – Dirk Schwenk & The Truth 

dschwenk

Hailing from Annapolis, Dirk Schwenk & The Truth are a phenomenal band specialising in the rock/alt-country/roots genres. Their latest release ‘Along the Road’ was released on 15th June 2018 and we believe it is an instant classic. 

Having a sound which is chilled and hard hitting all at once, this EP is very special indeed. The opening track, ‘Table Set for Two’ begins with two guitars, accompanied by drums, playing different melodies and complimenting each other completely. The lyrics are heartfelt and relatable. This song really introduces the listener to what a magnificent songwriter Schwenk is. He has the great ability to make the listener see everything he sees, to hear what he hears and feel what he feels. This is not a given with songwriters however, Schwenk executes his skill to perfection.

‘The River’ comes next and has a gorgeous slide guitar in the opening. The kick drum is present and constant throughout and provides the heartbeat to the song. There are added additions of a tambourine and harmonies galore. Later, during the instrumental the slide guitar is an absolute masterclass of how to add intensity and emotion to a song with an instrument. World class.

‘I am Graced’ sees the addition of a mandolin in the opening. There is also an piano to be heard for the first time which add a different texture to what we have previously heard. Schwenk’s vocals shine in this song, they are rich, warm and effortless. Always emitting emotion in their delivery, this love song hits the mark on so many different levels. 

Next we hear, ‘Along the Road She Comes’ which showcases Schwenk’s songwriting ability again. There is a major ascending chord progression in the verse which changes to a staccato rhythm with minor chord changes in the chorus. This is great juxtaposition and provides interest and intrigue. 

The final track is called, ‘Flag on the Hill’. It is a strong, patriotic and heavily political song. It is very different to what we have heard previously. The marching snare echoes the military feel and the ‘Stand Up and be Counted’ messaged also reiterates this. The harmonies and slide guitar give the track further substance and fabric.

Appearing on the EP we hear; Dirk – vocals & guitar, Chris – guitar and vocals, Kevin – bass & vocals, Mike – drums and vocals and Joe – guitar. This group of musicians really understand their craft and have produced an all round superb EP.

The EP has something for everyone, it is heartfelt, political and catchy all at once so check it out today!

Reviewed by FVReviews July 2018

https://www.dirkschwenk.com/

https://twitter.com/DirkSchwenk

https://www.facebook.com/dirkandthetruth/

https://soundcloud.com/dirkschwenkmusic

The Mezcaltones – ‘The Mezcaltones Second’

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The Mezcaltones describe themselves as “Tex Max Tarantino Rock” and we whole heartedly agree. The Sydney based band have released their album ‘The Mezcaltones Second’ and it is simply wonderful.

The opening track is an instrumental song with nods to the ‘Rawhide’ theme. It is fun and sets the scene for what is to come. ‘I Know my Rider’ is the second and a standout song. The vocals feel rocky and the backing vocals produce layers of enjoyment and interest. There is also an addition of a tambourine here, adding a toe tapping quality.

‘Humble Pride’ is yet another stand out track. We hear a Hank Marvin style guitar producing warm and catchy riffs. The bass and drums are true partners in crime on this song. You can hear them feeding off one another, driving each other along and providing the backbone for the rest of the magical instrumentation. ‘Short Change Hero’ has gorgeous harmonies at the beginning and the female vocals really shine through. The male vocals remind us of Nick Cave – never a bad thing! We also loved the closing track ‘Let love Reign’ for the drums and the use of the toms producing a backbone rhythm in an interesting way.

Throughout the bass, drums and guitars drive the songs along. The guitars offer separate parts always complimenting each other and the solos are divine. The vocals are full of character, both lead and backing and the composition and arrangements of the songs are beatific. Finally, the mix, production and mastering is brilliant. We felt the overall sound is full, spacious and ticks all of the tones you would want to hear. 

The Mezcaltones are comprised of; Col Porter, Neralyn Porter, Dan Mauger, Luke Orhan, Shane Craney and Melinda Nassif and each band member are excellent musicians in their own right. They are very tight when playing together and you can feel the positives vibes between the players. Their musicianship is an extremely high standard and this is what makes the Mezcaltones stand out from the crowd. 

The overall feel of the album is fun and upbeat. During our research we visited The Mezcaltones’ website and saw a video of the track ‘Humble Pride’, it is fun and upbeat to match the music but also carries a deeper message showing another side to this versatile band. We do not wish to carry spoilers so, to see what we mean please check out the video yourselves, it is well worth doing!

Their Facebook states their influences to be ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘Once Upon A Time in Mexico’, and ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’. The Tarantino feel can be heard on ‘The Mezcaltones Second’. It can also be seen in the brilliant album artwork which accompanies the release. 

One thing is for sure, The Mezcaltones are an extremely exciting band. Check out this wonderful album today!

Reviewed by FVReviews July 2018

https://open.spotify.com/album/66C638IQRfUiu5w4OExTEp

https://the-mezcaltones.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TheMezcaltones/

‘Bail It’ – Ejima 

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‘Bail It’ is the brand new single from the brilliant twin duo, Ejima. Originally from Edenton, North Carolina and currently living in Los Angeles, Ejima fuse R&B with pop and have created a wonderfully catchy and mesmerising track which has all the ingredients to be a big hit for summer 2018. 

The track is heavily catchy with tantalising hooks and from the get go. The listener is drawn into it’s hypnotising qualities and unforgettable melodies. The vocal performance from the two female singers and later the introduction of a male rapper, are the main stand out elements of ‘Bail It’. The 3 separate vocal performances weave in and out of each other, always complimenting one another and enhancing the layers of depth. 

Lyrically, ‘Bail It’ is extremely relatable on many different levels and ages across the spectrum. It has an appeal for everyone. The line which particularly stood out; “I am not guilty and everyone makes mistakes” has an appeal for all. It certainly did in our office. We believe ‘Bail It’ is a metaphor for heartbreak and loss. The sung parts, harmonies and spoken word all create depth and a constantly changing and interesting textural sonic scape. The lyrics resonate and are deep at the same time as being catchy R&B Pop. This is very difficult to do but Ejima deliver it to perfection. 

The mix, production and mastering on the single are of an extremely high quality. The layers of vocals have been blended superbly. There is use of an extremely long delay on the verse vocals which facilitates words to fade away gently into the distance. This creates a wide perception of space and depth, each element owning its own territory. The use delay and compression are used in perfect measure too. 

There is also a video which has been released in support of the single and it compliments the song divinely. You see the women dressed in orange jumpsuits throughout and is  thoroughly enjoyable piece of work. 

Our favourite thing about Ejima? They are reinventing and innovating a preloved genre for the 10’s. We hear influences from The Jacksons and also the 90’s band TLC but they are just that, influences. They are formidable artists in their own right and when their song comes on, you will know instantaneously it is them. 

‘Ejima’ comes from the Nigerian word for twins and these pair are most definitely a duo to watch out for. With a groove as smooth as silk and voices adaptable to any style, we can not wait to hear what comes next from these brilliant artists!

Reviewed by FVReviews July 2018

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‘Colours of Hate (No More)’ – Buddhi de Mal 

CD_Cover_Front.jpgBuddhi de Mal is an exquisite singer/songwriter originally born and raised in Sri Lanka and currently living in Los Angeles. His latest release ‘Colours of Hate (No More)’ is a wonderful introduction to his political and unifying single. 

The track starts with sparse instrumentation and slowly builds. There is a guitar strumming chords on 2 and 4 of the beat, then the vocals, drums and bass kick in. The rhythm nods very much towards a reggae beat with a chilled, relaxed tempo and welcoming mid tones. 

The chorus is catchy and each time it reappears there is a added element. This all builds character and textures. Before the second verse there is a female vocal to be heard which is a great introduction to a new dimension. The harmonica addition is another unexpected but enhancing element. We loved the guitar break, there are two solos one after another, the first is a rich tone filled subdued offering and the second is a extravaganza of a squealing stadium solo. The song is thought provoking and serious. However, there is a really nice part in the accompanying video, juxtaposed to the serious nature of the track the first solo guitar is playing then the second guitarist scoots him out of the way and plays his solo. This addition of humour shows layers of thought and detail which has gone into making such a competent piece of work.

Buddhi de Mal’s vocals are a major positive selling point to this single. His roots shine through in his very present Sri Lanken accent. This adds charms and depth to his writing and makes ‘Colours of Hate (No More)’ stand out from the pack. His tone is simply delicious and it will have you coming back for a listen time and time again. 

With times, attitudes and the political landscape as it is, ‘Colours of Hate (No More)’ is a breath of hope and a change of the tide. The outro lyrics hold a powerful message of new way forward; “No more colours, No more winners, No more sinners, No more killers”.  They creep up on you and will have you singing along in no time. Music like this can influence attitudes and make social changes.

The artwork which accompanies the single is stunning, as is each element which is related to the project. The video is of an excellent quality and expresses and highlights the brilliant musicianship that we hear. There is very apparent message of equality, regardless of race, sexuality or age. ‘Colours of Hate (No More)’ was recorded at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and it includes participation from students and teachers from all colours and races. The folks who worked on the stunning project are as follows: Producer – Zoe Pelloux, Director & Cinematographer – Benjamin Gabriel Schultz, Editor – Alexander Rodriguez-Hernandez, Album Artwork – Natalie Soysa, Audio Mix & Master – Rob Harkness.

There is also a really interesting and detailed documentary which tells Buddhi De Mel’s story. It’s a fascinating watch and we fully recommend it. It explains why he writes from such a political standpoint after his upbringing in Sri Lanka in times of Civil war and unrest. 

To watch, follow the link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddUMviELdlQ&t=1s

Reviewed by FVReviews June 2018

https://www.buddhidemal.com/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/55NASZnQotEilLB7yA7qVj

https://www.facebook.com/bdemal

https://www.youtube.com/user/DeTheMal