Artist Recommendation – Tes Swanks

tes-swanksWell, I am back. I gave myself a week, and my first inclination to write was about RnB up-and-comer Toni Swanks, otherwise known as Tes Swanks. Swanks’ presentation as an artist strikes immediate comparisons to Tinashe’s style, especially vocally. Her sound is soulful but catchy, much similar to that sound Beyonce.

The music of Swanks shows great instrumental influence and she finds a way to balance her voice with the beat. The effects production add to her voice are presented well, especially when high notes comes so natural to her.

My favorite songs come from her lone debut album, Heart Stringz. These include “Under The Influence”, “Won’t Turn Down”, and her first recorded song, “Who Am I”. Her music is perfect for any RnB fan and I highly recommend it.

Overall, I would rate her music at:

9.5/10

You can give her music a listen by checking out her bio on MuzicNotez.com by clicking here:

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Artist Recommendation – Brandyn Kaine

Brandyn-KaineWhen hearing Brandyn Kaine’s music for the first time, I found myself almost immediately comparing his sound to twenty one pilots. The singer/songwriter/rapper/producer/entrepreneur/super-artist is able to create a variety of different designs to music and write relevant and complex verses without needing to be a duo. His singing skills are even almost caught up with his Hip-Hop expertise.

While residing in Nashville, Tennessee, Kaine finds the chance to work on his upcoming debut album Nashville after a number of mixtapes while being CEO of his own music collective, Varce City. Despite only being a few months older than me, this dude makes my success look like a kindergarten drawing with crayon marks outside the lines compared to his Mona Lisa. I have not even written about how impressive his own solo music is yet.

Among Kaine’s discography are Carpe Diem, his first collection of music, which released on September 5, 2014. This was followed up with his EP Trade, capping off the year 2014 with an end-of-the-year release. Despite being a producer himself, Brandyn Kaine has worked with plenty of experienced producers to make hits such as “Terrible” with iNControl, “Struggle” with Malik On The Beat (No, not Zayn), “Gone” featuring a verse by RyM and produced by JAYSILL, and more hits. Of these, my favorite has to be “Gone” and I recommend that song the most.

Overall, I would rate Brandyn Kaine’s music at:

9.25/10

Brandyn is still only 18 years old, so his voice may still be developing. Another key factor is that this artist has only just begun within the last year and made major strides in the music industry. His voice is edited just right in each song and this gives him the ability to do anything with his voice, despite a higher tone from his pure vocals (Then again, that never stopped a younger Eminem, did it?). Production is always professional and his features are not overbearing but can make some of his songs even better. Brandyn Kaine’s new album Nashville will drop on March 23, so save the date.

You can get more from Brandyn Kaine through his official website here. I recommend at least checking out my favorite songs listed above in the link below, as well as giving his Trade and Carpe Diem tapes listens:

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Artist Recommendation – Years & Years

years-and-yearsElectro-Soul band Years & Years have quite an impressive list of recommendations, among them from Ellie Goulding. A tweet by the British singer was the only reason I noticed the young band, who currently have multiple EPs (Take Shelter, Real and Traps), a  and a recent single title “King”. The London-based group puts together complex but rhythmic music that conveys a sense of being separate from the earth when listening to it.

While that may be a bold claim, the sound of Years & Years is Soulful while exciting, passionate, and tailored for anywhere from an upbeat clubscene to a one-man dance party where you hope your parents don’t return home early. The vocals are presented in a high and absolutely smooth tone that sounds similar to The Weeknd. At times, the high pitch and instrumentals do not feel like a match when both try so hard to be unique, but “King” does a superb job of showing an awareness for that and finding the right match.

Speaking of “King”, that is my absolute favorite song by Years & Years and one of my favorite songs currently. Other favorites include “Memo” and “Desire”, which are some of their more popular songs (For a reason, of course). The EDM-portion of the music is more apparent in “Desire” while a sense of Soul is portrayed in “Memo”, so that gives some balance for both audiences of the genres.

Overall, I would rate Years & Years’ music at:

8.25/10

Expect a lot of sound layered upon more sound in the music by Years & Years, and the Pop-EDM vibe is always somewhat apparent. For some (like myself), this is more appealing than to those searching for a mellow EDM-Soul combo (such as MNEK).

Regardless, you can check out my favorites (and more) below. You can also purchase their music on iTunes here. Now go enjoy the entrancing and hair-flipping music of Years & Years:

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Artist Recommendation – J.R. Holmes

JRHolmesWhen it comes to Indie music, RnB can have some of the best hidden gems. Among them is R. Kelly-like (without the creepiness) singer J.R. Holmes. Holmes originates from Brooklyn and has been performing and producing music for quite a while now.

Holmes has been performing since age 7, from singing in choir to swooning with sensual lyrics. The biggest asset to his sound is how appealing it is to so many senses and how much it sets the mood. While the vocals can come off a bit shakey, his harmonies can balance out any voice cracks and his sound is pitched very well.

My favorite songs by Holmes are “Cloud 9”, the EDM-based “Remember Me” and his new single the follow up his Hold On EP, “The Truth”. Overall, I would rate his music at:

 7.25/10

J.R. Holmes does RnB/Soul quite well, and can even pull off Hip-Hop and EDM. However, his voice shows signs of weakness and this may hold him back most. “The Truth” shows how well he carries a deeper note and how much good just a teaspoon of autotune can do without outdoing talent.

You can check out his music below. I recommend at least listening to my favorite songs. Check out his full biography on ReverbNation here and on MuzicNotez.com here. Enjoy the smooth RnB of J.R. Holmes below:

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Artist Recommendation – Equals

EqualsEDM meets Soul in the musical duo hailing from East London named Equals. James Low and Ade Omotayo (which has to be one of the coolest names I have ever forced myself to utter out loud) come together to make music that finds a way to focus on both thick vocals and complex beats.

The blend is hardly standard but has a sense of familiarity for me, mostly due to the similarities between this group and fellow Brit MNEK. These two are not inexperienced in the music industry, however, as Omotayo has worked with the likes of Mark Ronson, Basement Jaxx, Amy Winehouse, and recently moved to teaming up with Low to create a mellow and entrancing style of music.

Equals released an EP titled Single Soul, whose tracklisting included two of my favorite songs by the duo: “Trap” and the title track, “Single Soul”. However, their new release “Black On Gold”, which goes in a more upbeat direction, feels to me like their best song to date and resembles the vocals of Aloe Blacc.

Overall, I would rate the sound of Equals at:

8.25/10

The music seems to be developing still and finding its balance between focus on vocals and the beats’ intensity. The songs all have a catchy yet elegant tone to them, and provide beautiful harmonies. While the transitions from Soul into pure EDM can be a bit too quick on Single Soul, “Black On Gold” seems to be a step in the right direction when it comes to resolving that issue while still tempting me to go from a foot-tap to a full-body dance-out.

You can check out Equals on SoundCloud to hear their Single Soul EP and new single, and learn about the duo’s collaboration history since their formation in the summer of 2013. I recommend at least checking out my favorites below:

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Artist Recommendation – The House United

The-House-UnitedLet’s talk about me for a minute. If you have not realized it by now, I like talking about me. We can talk about the people that aren’t me later. Ain’t no word count limit.

I write for Infectious Magazine every week, where I cover news and new music by your favorite Rock, Punk and Pop acts. Amongst my favorite features of the site is the guest blog policy; Namely that instead of featuring new bands through news and songs, the site has these up-and-coming artists write their own articles about subjects ranging from favorite albums to how to manage creating a music video for an affordable price.

Welcomed as a guest writer was Carmel Buckingham of the band The House United. The post was called Top 10 Teen Angst Anthems, which gave a good preview of what to expect from the writer’s musical style. I would say it is safe to assume the list is scarily accurate. Just reading it made me hate my parents for no viable reason for a couple of minutes.

So after reading and going through some of the angst themes I had yet to hear, I finished off the article with a FATALITY. Wait, no, actually I listened to their hottest single, “Emergency”, at the bottom, which would end up being my favorite song by the group. Other songs I enjoyed include the title track of their album, Made Of Matches, and “Catastrophe”. Also, “Girls Who Can’t Have Fun” did make me feel empowered as a wom – man, pure and utter man.

Each of the four members come from different corners of North America but find a common place in their punk-based sound and “united” as The House United in Nashville. Buckingham’s voice can go from raw to a more tuned contrast, the latter of which I prefer. At times, some long notes go a bit awry and are just carried on, but cause the vocals to require to stay in a deeper range. However, each song starts out strong and this does not affect the music’s quality much. There is also a great emphasis and care taken for the instrumentals and production, most notably on guitar.

Overall, I like this group and Buckingham’s voice immediately reminds me of Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, lead singer of PVRIS. Members cite Angels & Airwaves, Muse, and more as their influences. I would rate The House United’s music from their debut album at:

8.75/10

So go out and support the group if you like you some Pop Punk like I do. Hey, are we talking about me again? You can purchase the Nashville-based band’s debut album Made Of Matches on iTunes here. The group plays loads of shows across the United States, so check out their official Facebook page for more information on that here. And lastly, go play “Emergency” below:

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Artist Recommendation – Tony Collins

tony-collinsStraight out of New York City comes Tony Collins, an up-and-coming RnB singer whose often piano-based and soul-inspiring love ballads can be quite impressive. I discovered Tony Collins around the time I first heard Eric Bellinger, so I have known about his music for a while. I am glad to finally be getting to the calm and delicate sound of Tony Collins’ music.

Collins is notable for writing most of his own music, an impressive feat, especially for the level of beauty that his lyricism and songs contain. The vocal range of Tony Collins is outstanding and his voice can go from a loud and high pitch to a low and seductive tone. It is basically everything that I hope to sound like when singing the shower. What is most appealing is that can transition from rapping (though not my preference) into a melodious sound so quick. His music resembles that of Usher’s quite a bit, but more so his RnB-based sound.tony-collins-last-night

Of his music, which is mostly contained on 10-track album Last Night, my favorite song is Love Someone. Others that I enjoy include In The Mood, Everything Changed and Take It Off. While I was disappointed that the first part of his album started with a voice that was not his, I did enjoy the album overall and what it had to offer as a contribution to RnB/Soul.

Overall, I would rate the artist’s sound at:

9/10

Tony Collins has an incredibly unique and trained voice, though a few of his songs just feel like failed ventures to change up his sound. While I appreciate a change in song design, Collins is at his best when he sticks to his RnB-Pop music and its harmonious qualities.

You can check out his SoundCloud below and at least listen to my four favorites cited above. You can also find his album Last Night on iTunes here. Go ahead and enjoy the music below:

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Artist Recommendation – Sleeping Wolf

sleeping-wolfOftentimes I write about bands with a lack of publicity, but sadly this can lead to cheap sound. However, I was seriously impressed by the Alternative-Pop sound of Los Angeles band Sleeping Wolf. The duo of Jake Newton and producer Steven Solomon come together to make exciting music that features both upbeat rock and complex Pop beats.

Sleeping Wolf is working hard and finding their music slots in Netflix films for promotion. While working on their debut album, which is slated to be released anytime now, Sleeping Wolf has released plenty of excellent new music.

The songs have a Rock-influenced design and sound thanks to Newton, while each also has unique production and lyricism that can be often credited to Solomon. Together, these two make enjoyable music that can be quite the great pump-up to cause hype for anything. Hell, this stuff could make an accounting firm business party become a Rock-out-fest.

sleeping-wolf-2

My favorites by Sleeping Wolf are topped by Blindfold, which is one of my favorite tracks currently. Other favorites include one of the group’s bigger hits, Jennifer, and Come And Get Me. There is yet to be a song release that I do not like, and I have to chuck Sleeping Wolf into one of my favorite all-time artist recommendations.

Overall, I would rate the sound of Sleeping Wolf at:

9.75/10

The music is highly appealing and I would not hesitate to show anyone this group, though in a couple of songs either autotune can be a bit apparent for some tastes or would not hurt to add to high notes. While the vocals can have their ups and downs at times, the music as a whole is quite remarkable and I would highly suggest keeping an eye on this band with me as I write about them in the near future.

You can check out their SoundCloud and at the very least check out my favorites below:

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Artist Recommendation – Pigeon Park

Pigeon-ParkBeing honest, I cannot remember where I first found Pigeon Park. Regardless, their Rock-based sound is enjoyable and seriously worth sharing. The Vancouver-based group grew up together and formed their own brand of non-formulaic Rock (sorry, stole that phrase from the biography on Pigeon Park’s website, which you can view here).

When each member shares influences such as Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Funkadelic and The Raconteurs, there is definitely opportunity. The band formed in 2008 and has created its own original sound that has turned into two albums. Out of their music, the songs I would recommend most are Black Widow, Come Down Slow and Feel The Rain. Their Rock-and-Roll sound is great for pump-up music before sports events or motivation.

When I heard Rock music, I used to do that head-bob thing with my long hair, but since I have cut it I kind of have to find my own trademark “listening to cool music but you can’t hear it because I am wearing headphones” look. Someone should give a recently short-haired fellow a bit of advice on how to do so in the comments below.

Overall, I would rate Pigeon Park’s sound at:

9/10

Their original hard-rock-like sound is great, though some songs tend to appear a bit too similar. The lyricism also comes off as a bit sloppy in a couple of songs, though that is hardly the focus of Rock music. Regardless, at the very least my favorites are worth a listen. I will leave those below and you can find more on Pigeon Park’s YouTube channel here.

Go ahead and check out the best songs by Pigeon Park:

-Austin Heath

Artist Recommendation – Troye Sivan

trxyeTroye Sivan may have a bit more acclaim, but I only heard his music for the first time today. His sound reminds me of Mystery Skulls (except a bit less exciting), who I have raved about before. His sound is much more diverse, however, making his experimentation in his music intriguing and risky. These kinds of risks are regardless very noble and his ventures in EDM as an Indie artist are quite remarkable.

The South-African singer is also a rather famous YouTuber, known for his videos with Tyler Oakley. I’m going to end this paragraph there so you can cover this bit of text up if you would rather not know about his association with everyone’s favorite Tumblr icon.

There is obvious talent in Troye Sivan’s music, and his debut EP TRXYE is currently out. Out of all of his songs, my favorites are Happy Little Pill (his most popular track to date), Touch (my #1 pick of the three) and Fun. Gasoline and Fault In Our Stars are slower but still beautiful love ballads. I recommend at least listening to my three favorites, but if you get the chance you should listen to the whole project. Each song has a unique tune and is quite entertaining to listen to.

So if I were to rate the artist’s sound, I would give it a:

9.5/10

The ever-changing music that Sivan performs is quite enjoyable, and while some of these ventures can be risky due to lack of appeal, obviously he hit the right spot with Happy Little Pill. You can listen to my three favorites below, but I recommend checking out the other two named above if you want to hear some slower and deeper love songs.

Go ahead and check out my favorites on TRXYE:

-Austin Heath