Album Review – Tyler Carter, “Leave Your Love” (EP)

leave-your-love-tyler-carterTyler Carter has the ability to make some excellent and diverse music, ranging from Pop to Metalcore. The lead singer of Issues released his new EP, Leave Your Love, earlier this week to stream on YouTube. The album has a bit more of a Soulful Pop tone and includes only one feature.

So how does the solo work of Tyler Carter compare to that of his popular hits with his band? Let’s break down this album track by track and find out:

1. Sophisticated – The beat is rather basic and the vocal production feels a bit subpar, but Sophisticated is an enjoyable song. The hook seems to just go on for too long, though. I can nitpick this song quite a bit, as little aspects just feel overlooked. It focuses more on the hook than anything else, which while catchy, reaches a point where it is not as enjoyable and just makes the song feel shorter than it actually is. There is something about the song that makes it easy to listen to, however, and Tyler Carter’s voice sounds passionate and flows well with the beat.

7.25/10

2. Leave Your Love – The title track of the EP is a bit more mellow and soulful than Sophisticated, showing the diversity of Tyler Carter’s music.  Leave Your Love‘s tone reminds me a bit of The Weeknd but has a bit more vocal editing and extra notes behind lyrics. These can be a bit excessive, but otherwise the song is enjoyable. The end of the chorus is especially catchy and the fade out instrumental is beautifully composed and executed.

9.25/10

3. Georgia – Already reviewed this song here. Sidenote: This song has become incredibly catchy due to its simple lyrics and soulful sound. Though the rating was not incredibly high, it does deserve a listen.

7.5/10

4. So Slow – Despite starting the musical aspect way too late, So Slow actually becomes a great listen. The song sounds similar to Chris Brown’s F.A.M.E. sound. You know, amazing RnB? The flow in the second stanza is a bit off at times, but the whole song is a great pace and my only wish it that it had ceased the talking part earlier. Though the random pitch sounds for a bridge could have been dealt with any other way perhaps.

6.5/10

5. Tears On The Runway (Pt. 1) ft. Nylo – Two-parters are always interesting, especially when lined up together. Sadly, this one will not get a part two for a while. The duet is rather low-key and features heartfelt lyricism. The chorus is a bit brief, but it is enjoyable. This is my first encounter with Nylo, and her voice is unique, though not very ranged. Tyler Carter’s synth-based and tuned vocals sound a bit too much like the Jonas Brothers for me on this song, but it is still a fine listen.

7.25/10

6. Find Me – Find Me caps off the album decently, as the song capitalizes on the mistakes of the previous songs by adding a bit more emphasis on the points put into the verses. The song is a bit explicit, but feels more emotionally connected with Tyler Carter. The vocals are a bit rough, but have points where they are more impressive. The song is a bit average and hardly stands out as making the album great, but is not difficult to enjoy.

8/10

So overall, the EP averages out to a score of about:

7.75/10

The EP is a bit messy in its sound quality and composition, but the songs are diverse and interesting to hear. There are plenty of catchy melodies worth hearing and I would say listening to the EP in full is not a mistake, but is not necessarily going to be considered a “slept-on album” if it does not get the attention it was made to receive.

I still enjoy Tyler Carter’s solo music quite a bit, though this EP had its flaws. I just want to see these flaws practiced on and a full EP released with a couple of features and better faith in Tyler Carter’s voice. I have seen mixed reviews, and mixed is exactly how I feel about these six songs.

You can stream the EP below on YouTube, along with pre-ordering it on iTunes for its January 2015 release here (So I don’t feel like such an industry killer by only sharing the stream and have Taylor Swift show up at my door):

-Austin Heath

Album Review – rumHoney, Home Again (EP)

rumHoney are a London-based Alternative-rock group that have a bit of experience in the music industry. I was going to make this an artist recommendation, but I was particularly fond of their Home Again EP. Of all of their music, this soulful EP seemed to have the most character and encompasses the band’s sound best.

So let’s break down this short EP track-by-track:

1. Home Again – The title song for the EP is a good preview of the group’s music. Home Again seems to be one of the group’s more popular hits, and I could not pick a more fitting song. The pace is smooth and increases without being too abrasive, and the vocals compliment the instruments perfectly. Very solid start to the EP and an excellent song. Fades out nicely and lasts a while. 9.75/10

2. Bitter Love – Bitter Love features a progressive Rock sound that appears to have played with Country music a bit. The clash works well, though the vocals are a little drowned out by the instruments. The sound is consistent throughout and includes one of the catchiest hooks on the EP. 9.25/10

3. Wildest Dreams – I immediately got a vibe of 1970’s rock when hearing the intro to this track. This song proves more than any that this group could be appealing to any audience. The lyricism is sweet and romantic while not being too gushy, and though the hook is a bit hard to spot as there is not much change of pace. I enjoyed the emphasis on the vocals on this track. 9.25/10

4. Only As Good As The Last Kiss – I was not expecting the ride-out of the EP to be a slow love ballad, but rumHoney surprised me. The brief project closes out with an emotional love song with background vocals adding to the atmosphere. The main vocals are a little rough, but improve especially on the bridge. Despite being slower than the previous tracks, this one still retains a catchy sound. 9.25/10

So that averages out to slightly above 9.25/10. I find this group’s sound similar to Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the mellow Alternative music can be quite enjoyable. Definitely one of my favorite bands I have written about, rumHoney is worth checking out. If you liked this EP, you might also like their other short albums East To West and Da Swishlish, which contain a similar sound.

Go ahead and check out this EP below, and go ahead and listen to rumHoney on their SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/rumhoney

-Austin Heath

Album Review – Tech N9ne, Klusterfuk (EP)

This has been a rough couple of days for me when it comes to new music. RnB is dead right now (I’ve listened to everything from the last week), Hip-Hop has been more of the same (except for a few tracks I am re-reviewing to write about) and I can never find good Pop music. I might as well go back to 2012 and pick out one of my favorite Rap EPs, Klusterfuk.

The entire album was produced by ¡MAYDAY!, who have always had a good relationship with Tech. So let’s break down the album song-by-song keeping that in mind:

1. Klusterfuk ft. Sassy- The album opens with a song named after it, which happens to be my favorite. Tech N9ne actually sings the first few lines, and goes on to rap. The listener really gets a good idea of Tech N9ne’s childhood and I find it an open track. The talking in the end is something you may have to get used to as there are blips of simply talking during a beat throughout the album, but it’s brief and the finale of the song is worth waiting for. 9.5/10

2. Blur ft. Wrekognize – The second song on Klusterfuk starts with what sounds like a phone call between Tech N9ne and Wrekognize. Nothing truly memorable about this song, the hook is decent and Tech sounds impressive. The song is generally focused on living crazy and not remembering it the next day. 8.75/10

3. Can’t Stand Me ft. Krizz Kaliko – I always thought this was a very underrated Tech N9ne song. I thought the raps were rather solid and the hook was always catchy, from both Tech N9ne’s parts and Krizz Kaliko’s brief vocal appearance. This is a typical “Haters hate me” kind of song but it had some excellent flow and a sold hook. The bridge is a bit off-pace from the song, but I would rather hear Krizz than more phone calls or just speaking. I have to say the song does end rather abruptly though, could use some extra length. 9.5/10

4. Ugly Duckling ft. Aqualeo – With another anti-hater song, Tech N9ne brings on Aqualeo on the hook. I was surprised at how long it took for the hook to start, and when it did I guess my hopes were a bit too high. I just don’t really like the chorus by Aqualeo all that much (though is rap verse is pretty excellent). I do like the beat a lot though, I think it goes incredibly well with Tech N9ne’s verses. You can tell there is a lot of passion in this song, which is always refreshing in a rap song. 8.75/10

5. Awkward – I think that ¡Mayday! producing this album makes the difference of whether or not this EP stands out from other Tech N9ne albums. I am a sucker for EPs, as I feel as though more effort is put into each song. I was impressed with the effort put in by both the production and Tech N9ne in this song. Nothing super memorable about this track, but it is an interesting rap song that shows Tech N9ne’s talent even on a chorus. More stories though, but it is more relevant to the song than the others. I actually found it amusing, but I would never play it over and over again. Spoiler Alert: Tech has no tools, he’s got God and angels with him. Now you have to listen to the song to know what I’m talking about. 8/10.

6. D.K.N.Y. ft. Krizz Kaliko – The song starts with that whole talking thing, which again is my biggest complaint on the album. I think the rap starts off strong, and overall the song is solid. It combines rock and rap pretty well. If it didn’t waste the first part of the song narrating, I think this song could be one of the best on the album. 9/10

So overall, that averages out to about somewhere between 8.75 to 9/10. And I do think that is an appropriate area, as the album is pretty consistent and shows some of Tech’s best verses but the unnecessary narration is so uncalled for. My point of writing this was to bring the very unknown Tech N9ne EP to attention. Unfortunately, I don’t have a link to the full album, but I’ll leave the first track on the album below and if you like it I at least recommend listening to my 9’s and above (though it is easy enough to listen to the whole thing):

-Austin Heath

Album Review – Brendan Ciccone, Brendan Ciccone (Self-Titled EP)

I was going to introduce this artist’s music as a whole, but I was really impressed by the quality of his self-titled EP. The 5-track project is features vocals only from him with plenty of Indie-acoustic and electric guitar instrumentals. His voice is put on display to admire as he reaches high and long notes throughout, especially in the hook of It’s You.

I shall now break down the album song-by-song to explain the EP:

1. It’s You – This is definitely the right track to start the EP with. At first everything sounds very acoustic and calm, but after the electric guitar solo bridge, it picks up until the very end. The transition is well but unexpected. I really like this song, probably my favorite of the five. 9.75/10

2. Don’t You Ever Go – The next track slows down a bit, and reminds you of a typical Indie love song. The ballad is lyrically sweet and the guitar adds to the mood. I love the idea of putting this one on a date-night playlist, as it is appealing to plenty. A bit repetitive despite being, but still a great listen. 9.5/10

3. Not Even Death – I really appreciate this song as it reminds me of Bastille, who I praised a few weeks ago for their sound. The verses sound a little rough between words, and the hook comes and goes before you realize it. I do like how the album picks up pace after the slower previous track, and the bridge is very enjoyable. It’s a solid, though short, track overall. 8.75/10

4. Words – The more reality-based Words is an explanation of Brendan’s side of a breakup. While it starts out a bit bland, the passion really comes out at the hook and afterwards. The pauses between lines in the second verse can feel a bit elongated and awkward. This is probably my least favorite of the five, but still a good slow breakup track. 8.25/10

5. Relief – The album ends with a 5-minute song with long notes on words every sentence. However, the instrumentals in the background combined with the hook give the sound serious resemblance to Coldplay. I love the alternative sound in this song and hope that it continues similarly again in his next works. 8.75/10

So overall, that averages out to a perfect 9/10. The songs are all very melodic tones and the first two start out very strong. I would keep an eye on his work for the next few months. I recommend at the very least listening to the first two tracks, and if you like those give the rest a hear below:

-Austin Heath

Music Review – Album – Ne-Yo, 3 Simple Rules (EP)

I’ll be honest, Ne-Yo is one of my favorite artists. I started listening to him a little bit after Libra Scale was released and instantly loved his music, in particular one of my all-time favorite songs, One in a Million and Making a Movie. However, I want to focus on his most recent album (if this even counts as an album), 3 Simple Rules.

This EP focuses on, you guessed it, 3 simple rules, to focus on when in a relationship with a woman. With an album, I prefer to break it down by song, so I will do so here:

1. New Love – Really like this song due to the Motown sound of it. It sounds passionate, authentic and quite frankly, very good. Starting with any of the other two songs would have been a mistake as this reels you right in to listen to the rest. The background sound is catchy in itself and the lyrics are much like Ne-Yo’s other tracks. The climb is a little disappointing, which would be my biggest complaint for all three songs, being honest. This song is very catchy and similar to Ne-Yo’s popular hits over the years. 9/10

2. Bigger Than This – My favorite song of the three, this sounds the most like the real Ne-Yo. His voice is very smooth and the harmonies are superb. All he’s saying is that the stupid fight that they are having is not worth it compared to their relationship as a whole, which I seriously relate to. This track is very catchy and elegant, despite the less-than-impressive climb and ending. Still an excellent song, 9.25/10.

3. Gotchu Right – This song felt more like modern RnB than any of the three, though I can’t really explain why. Despite this, it is my least favorite track. This is due more to my appreciation for New Love and my love for Bigger Than This. This song is just a little too graphic and less subtle. Not much to say about this one except that it is a good song, just not as good as the other two and more focused on sex. 7.5/10

The Outro is short but good, nothing very noteworthy though. I’ll just skip that part. In the end, I give the album a 9.25/10. I still listen to it after first hearing it over 6 months ago, helped me a lot while I did small tasks and I still find the songs very catchy. Go ahead and give it a listen below, enjoy:

-Austin Heath

Music Review – Album – Kevin Ross, Dialogue in the Grey (EP)

Another RnB recommendation goes to Kevin Ross, an up and coming artist already working with well-known music talents including R. Kelly and Usher. Recently released EP Dialogue in the Grey showcases the singer’s talent and features Ne-Yo and TI. Ne-Yo even gave the EP a shoutout on his Facebook fanpage a couple of days ago. While short, the four-song album is worth breaking down by each song to understand it completely:

1. Don’t Say You Will ft. TI – Solid start, a whole lot of talking for the first minute but his voice is worth the wait. TI puts down a smooth verse, and transitions well from song to rap and back to song. If you could cut out the beginning talk introducing the song, it would be near perfect. Catchy beat as well, I say 8.5/10.

2. Overrated ft. Ne-Yo – Definitely the best song on the album, Kevin Ross explains the sucky parts of living single and why he wants love “over nights of being single.” Unable to cope, he sings passionately and firmly and gives the floor to Ne-Yo for stanza 2. This part, while good, sounds very Ne-Yo-y featuring the “uh huh” and talking about making a girl feel special. But what can I say, I’m a sucker for Ne-Yo’s music, then and now. Ends with a phone call record of some woman. However, besides this, awesome song with a good hook, 9.25/10

3. Money Over Love – The last two songs are solo-records, and this one gives us a good idea of his talent. We hear much less auto-tune, and the song is very smooth until a little after a minute in, where we get that deep rap voice going “Make that money.” I guess we’ll have to block that out. Feels like it ruins the song, the first minute is so incredible and if it just continued in the same direction then this song would be #1. The songs continues downwards and isn’t worth listening after the first minute and a half. Good start, but only gets 5.5/10 for lack of consistency.

4. Dream – Much better than the previous track, Dream provides the higher frequencies of Ross’ voice. The lyrics feel more authentic and the sound has a souly feel to it. Close behind Overrated for best song, but loses out due to the DJ’d “Dream, dream, d-d-dream” segment. Piano melody is calm and does not dominate his voice. Solid song, really showcases the best parts of his singing and music. Ending is a little disappointing but not a song-ruiner. Better to be put at the end than in the start of the song. 9/10.

So overall, Kevin Ross’ EP features catchy songs and impressive guests, but ultimately does not showcase the real skills of Ross’ voice as it should. The few new, unrecycled beats and love songs seem to be all the same thing. Worth a listen, may appeal to others but me, not so much. I do enjoy listening to a couple songs off of it though. Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Go ahead and listen below:

-Austin Heath