Album Review – PVRIS, White Noise

I have so many albums that I still have to review, but I felt as thought PVRIS’ White Noise had to be shared first. The group’s debut album just released nationwide today and definitely requires a recommendation. The album is extremely well-balanced and focused, yet each song is interesting in its uniqueness and individuality. I have a lot of good things to say about this album.

With every review comes positive and negative like peanut butter and jelly (okay, bad example, both are delicious), but let’s save the fun (and not-so-fun) stuff for the track-by-track breakdown:

1. Smoke – Smoke starts the album with a bit of an attitude in the emotion of the lyrics. The song identifies with Alternative music but adds a touch of synth-pop that does not outweigh it’s purpose. Smoke provides a good preview of what several songs on the album will sound like, but leaves room to wonder about the upcoming music. 8.75/10

2. St. Patrick – I have been listening to this song several times in the last couple of weeks, and while the song has the Alternative feel of the rest of the album, St. Patrick is defiant and grittier than most of the pieces on White Noise. I always get fooled by this song into thinking it ends earlier than it actually does, as the bridge sounds like it would make a better closing out to the song. This song marks a difference in the rest of the music I tend to enjoy, and gives me a sense of attitude and pride when I hear it. 9.5/10

3. My House – Along with St. Patrick was My House in the group’s original singles, followed by the White Noise single. My House has a similar sound to St. Patrick, but conveys more vulnerability than dominance like the previous song does. While defiant and righteous, My House is inspiring for anyone suffering in a relationship and is probably the most relatable song on the album. The words do feel a bit muffled out a lot though, which takes away from an otherwise enjoyable track. 9/10

4. Holy – Holy shows off the slowed-down parts of the album. This track is much more reflective than the first three and emphasizes the lyrical presence by distorting the guitar and percussion and focusing on the voice of Lyndsey Gunnulfsen in the first two stanzas, and especially in the bridge. The change in pace on the hook is a bit abrupt, but otherwise a solid song. 8.75/10

5. White Noise – White Noise was released only a couple of weeks ago, but really embodies the whole sound of the album in one song. It has the slow, reflective Alternative sound while encompassing synth-pop effects and presenting emotion in every lyric. The bridge gives the other bandmates some limelight to fade out the song and transition into the final hook, which is fine and dandy except is is practically empty. While this could be the best song on the album, its empty bridge makes it repetitive, and takes away some points from the song’s rating. 8.5/10

6. Fire – Probably the “popiest” song on the album, Fire cannot seem to figure out what it wants to sound like. It goes from slow and calm to angry and loud to repetitive and pop-y. I still appreciate the song, but the whole thing just feels indecisive. Otherwise sound, though Lyndsey’s voice sounds a bit rough at times. The guitar and drums on the bridge sound incredible though, I would just recommend for that portion. 8.5/10

7. Eyelids – At five minutes long, Eyelids is one of those songs that could be playing in the background and you would probably not notice it. I mean that in the way where you work and listen to music at the same time. It chimes and slowly shifts into electric guitar on the hook, and does not seem to quicken the pace too fast. The track is genuinely easy and smooth listening, yet it still captivates the listener and is worth listening to in full. 9.25/10

8. Mirrors – I immediately thought of CHVRCHES when I heard this, despite trying hard not to make the comparison. Of course when bands share genres, it will be easy to compare, but PVRIS has always had its own uniqueness. However, if you like CHVRCHES, I would doubt that this would not appeal to you. It is low-key and synth-y (for lack of a better word), and the bridge only proves it. I absolutely enjoy it though, might be one of my favorites on the album. 9.25/10

9. Ghosts – I said in the beginning that the album is very well balanced, and this song proves it. The pace switches from Alternative to Synth-Pop to the almost Indie-pop sound of Ghosts. This song really kept me listening and has a mellow sound. Then, all of the sudden, it switches up and goes crazy. The transition is rather abrupt, but the listener can keep up and it does not go any stronger than any of the other songs. 9/10

10. Let Them In – Similar to St. PatrickLet Them In is tough and conveys attitude. It ends the album with a note of “we’re not stopping here” and is the defiant sound of PVRIS that I enjoy most. It does not do what St. Patrick does, but it is a great way to end the album and makes me want to hear more soon. 8.75/10

So that averages out to just slightly under 9/10. White Noise is an excellent start to the Lowell, MA band, but it is hard to tell what sound the band is trying to convey. At times it is reflective and distorted, and other times it is defiant and self-righteous. I like both but I would prefer the stronger, independent attitude than the first. Any comparisons to Paramore or even CHVRCHES on the other songs seem a bit pushing it though, as they are very original and provide an enjoyable album for both focused listening and background music.

In the end, I have to admit that I cannot wait for more. I would recommend to any music fan listening at least to anything rated 9 or up. Go ahead and stream the album below:

-Austin Heath

Album Review – Logic, Under Pressure

Whoa, look at me going all mainstream and posting about one of the best-selling albums of the year. How about those who have not had the time to listen to a whole album though, is it worth the buy? On my last album review, I was pretty extensive; but this time, I do not think I will have to break down the album that hard.

“Wait, so you’re saying this will be a brief review?” Hell no, in fact, I have a lot to say about the Maryland-based rapper and his debut album (though not his first release, quite a few mixtapes before this). However I can say with confidence that this review will not have to be too extensive unless I want to get excessive. The album has a similar sound in every song, therefore making each song description short, as I cannot use the same synonyms for every track on Under Pressure.

I consider Logic the child of J. Cole’s rhymes and rap style and Kendrick’s flow after their first honeymoon. It is really hard to say anything bad about his rapping skills, and there is some evident talent. Calling this album of the year is a bit much though, but let’s save it for the track by track breakdown:

1. Intro – The highlight of this album, believe it or not. Samples the album’s sound and features some hard verses by Logic in his introduction. These subjects of the raps though will appear again soon. Reflective start though, really pulled me in. 9.75/10

2. Soul Food – I love the original beat of this song, and the soul-vibe. Of course we should expect that with a name like Soul Food. Right away Logic breaks out, and really drops some of the strongest lines on the album. Definitely one of the more stand-out products of the LP. 9.5/10

3. I’m Gone – A bit similar to Soul Food except this song tells more of a story. This is where Logic begins to really open up, and I like the life breakdown of I’m Gone. The hook is subtle, though repetitive, and it sticks with you. The raps are not as hard and impressive as the previous tracks, but they still show his skill in verse. I also really like the supporting vocals by whoever that woman is. 9.25/10

4. Gang Related – This song is, you guessed it, gang related. I do appreciate the honesty of Logic’s verses, and more of the story-telling I started to like in I’m Gone. This song does what I’m Gone could not and spits strong rhymes while still informing the listener of growing up in the hood. The beat is very original as well, though it almost stands out so much it takes away from taking in the lines of Logic. Regardless, this is one of the best tracks on the album. 9.75/10

5. Buried Alive – This is the first time we actually get a glimpse of the singing voice of Logic. I wish we could get it more, as this is where he reminds me most of J. Cole (who sounded golden on Work Out and Can’t Get Enough). The editing over the verses to emphasize phrases also channels Kendrick Lamar, so this song really appeals to me. Another favorite on the album, though the rap verses is similar to the previous songs (especially Soul Food and Gang Related). Still feels perfect in my eyes, best song on the album to me. 10/10

6. Bounce – Right away I was terrified that this song would have a sexual tone that would throw the album into wack. However the song is true to the album’s focus, the story and upbringing of Logic. Definitely one of the most upbeat tracks on the album, which I definitely like. It does feel like the song gets lost in the chaos towards the end, but catches itself by the end with a smooth ride out. 9.25/10

7. Growing Pains III – More opening up of Logic, but wow I felt like it was forever until we could actually hear Logic start. I don’t mind snippets of conversation, but this just lasted a long time. When it starts, there are some incredible rapping going on. Almost reminds me of Eminem, and the sounds actually add to the song’s atmosphere. However I use my similar sound complaint, with some serious Gang Related material and subject matter applied. Also saddening when there is a lack of hook. 9/10

8. Never Enough – A huge shoutout to production on this track, golden work. The opening hook was not very appealing, however. These were some of my favorite Logic verses and the added-in sampling from the woman singer (I cannot place the song though) along with the nod to Kid Cudi’s Pursuit of Happiness (One of my favorite Cudi songs) were superb. The song really improves and end up becoming one of my favorites after a minute in. 9.5/10

9. Metropolis – More storytelling, which I do not mind. The song does sound like previous works though, and does not seem to attempt at creating a hook. Good story and an enjoyable listen but perhaps my least favorite song on the track, despite quick and hard raps by Logic. The dialogue feels uncalled for as well towards the end of the song. 8.25/10

10. Nikki – Named after his child’s mother is the track Nikki. I do hear a lot of emotion in the words of Logic and is refreshing to see the love from a rapper to who they are with. While the song’s lyricism is incredible, the song itself is not as enjoyable of a listen as some of the preceding tracks. 8.5/10

11. Under Pressure – The song named after the album is usually given the most attention, unless there is a strong collaboration (stay tuned). This track is over nine minutes, and if you’ve liked listening to Logic’s verses in the last few songs, you will enjoy this. More of the same sound and raps it feels, but I have to give him credit for rapping hard for so long. 8.75/10

12. Till The End – Interesting production, though I was not very amused. Logic stays on focus while telling his struggles of entering the music business, which is a heavy story. The hook is also really catchy. Decent song but the beat almost weighs it down. 9/10

13. Driving Ms. Daisy ft. Childish Gambino – Here is one of the most listened to songs on the album, Driving Ms. Daisy. Now that we are beginning the deluxe version songs, we have to keep in mind that these songs cost some extra, so they will have a lot more pressure on them. I liked Gambino’s verse, almost sounding like classic T.I. Logic sounds similar as before, but this is actually one of the best songs on the album for the low-key production and emphasis on rapping. 9.5/10

14. Now – Now featured some heavy production from big names, including 6ix and Arthur McArthur. The hook is hard, and most Hip-Hop fans will immediately like it. These are strong raps by Logic, and seem more original than the others. I found it hard to keep up with this song, and the track overall was very impressive. 9.75/10

15. Alright ft. Big Sean – This song includes some of my favorite lines on the album, especially with his mention of Danny Devito, which gave me a good laugh. Of course Big Sean will help make this the most-listened-to song on Under Pressure, but Big Sean was a bit disappointing. The verse was solid but unfocused, though the whole song feels like that. 9/10

So that averages out to exactly 9.25. It was hard to keep it brief, in fact I could not. However my point of lying in the beginning was the emphasize that the same sound is used often, and if you’ve heard one you’ve heard the next four or five. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Hopefully Logic has more up his sleeve for his next project, as he will run out of ideas if he uses the same technique over and over again. I would love to hear more singing and vocal-work from him.

In essence, this album is complete Hip-Hop. It channels some of the best rappers and gives Logic the potential for a right future. So go ahead and ignore my rant on the whole thing and give the album a listen below (At the very least, I recommend the songs rated 9.5 or more):

-Austin Heath

Album Review – Dillon Francis, Money Sucks Friends Rule

I have written about Dillon Francis before, namely because he is achieving great success as a (not so much anymore) up-and-coming disc jockey. He is also time-wastingly hilarious. I decided immediately to give his album a review/recommendation after hearing the first few tracks. My biggest compliment towards Francis would be how incredibly balanced the album is. The EDM is evident throughout but several other genres are made compatible with the tracks (including Hip-Hop and even Reggae).

I have plenty to say about the LP, mostly good but I will offer all of my opinions. With that out of the way, let’s break this album down track by track:

1. All That ft. Twista and The Rejectz – Already broke this song down here.

2. Get Low ft. DJ Snake – Turn Down For What guy makes another club-hopping dance-inducing twerk-busting hit. Dillon Francis has shown some serious pride in this song, and it was one of the album’s preceding singles. The lyrics are pretty much the same throughout, being “Get low, low (x279 or so)” then “Get low when the whistle blows” and everything just goes crazy. The hook is definitely the best part though. I actually do like this song a lot, though I would not say the whole album sounds like this, so do not let the Get Low fool you. 9.5/10

3. When We Were Young ft. Suitan + Ned Shephard, The Chain Gang of 1974 – Oh yeah, I can without a doubt say this is my favorite track on the album. If any song was going to go big, this would be it. The lyrics are actually meaningful (unlike many EDM songs sadly) and the vocals are incredibly solid while the bassline and beat are catchy and interesting. I have no complaints about this song, and it reminds me of so many different sounds of multiple artists. It captures several genres, and I doubt I will find a listener who does not like this song. It is quite perfect to my hearing. I have seen a lot of anger with this track for no reason and I have to testify by saying that you’re mad and go sit in the corner. Even if it is meant for radio play or not the usual Dillon Francis, it is one song and an experiment in which he succeeded. Rant over, rating start. 10/10

4.  Set Me Free ft. Martin Garrix – Garrix and Francis seemed to establish a great connection and I would hope to see these two work together again. People have said this song sounds basically like any other Garrix track, and I have to say – well, you’re right. But we still like it, right? I find this a purely vocal-less EDM piece that I can actually enjoy listening to. The hook seems to change direction midway, which feels just a bit off. I wish it had stuck with one aspect instead of going from one type of beat to a completely different. The second stanza is basically silent from the crazy upbeat hook, and the transition is a bit quick at times. I’ve harped enough on stupid stuff, still an awesome song and worth a listen. 8.75/10

5. Drunk All The Time ft. Simon Lord – Well, this honestly did not surprise me. At all. Actually this is really an amazing song. Simon Lord sounds superb, and keeps up with a very complex beat. In fact Francis almost dominates his voice at times, but the bassline and his work is so complete it sounds remarkable. A truly incredible song that gets you hyped, calms you down, that just brings you right back up. 9.75/10

6. Love in the Middle of A Firefight ft. Brendon Urie – Yes, he even brought in Panic! At The Disco. Well not everyone, but he brought Brendon Urie. When I said there was something for everyone on this album, I was not lying. Urie’s voice feels like it’s about to crack at times, which is a bit cough-inducing, but the song is catchy and upbeat. Any punk-pop fan will immediately act like they do not like it because they are non-open-minded little fu – fully opinionated people. The hook is not as exciting as the others but still gives you the Dillon Francis you love (yes you love him now, if you do not stop listening and move on please). 9.5/10

7. Not Butter – “Dillon Francis, we have you cornered. Now, alone, make us art!” Well, I will give him serious points for being original. Not Butter is just not what I was expecting from Francis’ first solo track on the album. There are some enjoyable parts, and even the sexual tension between Siri and “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” is pretty fascinating if not a bit creepy. The hook is disappointing, mostly due to the lead into it that just gets you so pumped. I know this is what people like most about Francis’ music, so I won’t say too much against it. I just feel a bit lukewarm towards it, like a bag of skittles at 8:00 AM on a school day. Is that the taste in my mouth I want from Francis? That came out wrong, let’s just rate the song and move on. 7.75/10

8. I Can’t Take It – I find this song much more interesting, and Francis proves that even when alone, he can make good music. I Can’t Take It is exciting and somehow has some insanely edited/slowed-down/attached to a defibrillator. This time the hook is really innovative and sounds like Dillon Francis without being skip-worthy. Not much else to say, sounds like an EDM junkie’s dream though. 9/10

9. We Are Impossible ft. The Presets – The bass throughout the verses can be annoying as anything, but the hook is incredible and lyrically inspirational. This is another radio bait-type song, but it works on me. I actually feel like without Francis this song would be really amazing too, props to The Presets for making this song great. 9.5/10

10. We Make It Bounce ft. Major Lazer and Stylo G – Basically Get Low 2.0, but there is a bit more of a reggae vibe to it. I’ve passed 1000 words so I won’t say much about it, except this stupid hook has been stuck in my head all day. Bounce, bounce, bounce…Get it out. Francis’ end also provides well on the hook, though I feel like the word “bounce” is mentioned more than the Black Eyed Peas say “Boom Boom Pow” at a middle school dance (Sorry forgot it isn’t 2008 anymore). 9.25/10

11. What’s That Spell? ft. TJR – A thing that annoys me is when artists do not put question marks in song titles that are questions. So thank you Dillon Francis for doing this. Extra points for you. Sadly the song is most likely my least favorite on the album, and while the hook really does well (though it sounds similar to a few of the others, namely Not Butter) it is just not enjoyable to listen to. It’s basically living out a concert, which can be fine and dandy for most, but to me the track did not live up to the hype the other songs set. At least the bassline is pretty catchy. Bum bum bum, bum bum bum (x245). 7.5/10

12. Hurricane ft. Lily Elise – And we are back to amazing songs again. This resembles Benny Benassi a lot, I almost starting singing Beautiful People, but oh well. It still is its own song, and the sound seriously sounds like Zedd’s Stay The Night. Francis is good at being original while learning from hits. There is hard to argue against this song other than its lack of originality a bit, which it actually is as the song progresses. Another one of my favorites on the album for sure, and an awesome way to end the LP. 9.75/10

So that averages out to somewhere around 9.25/10. Sadly a couple of songs really anchor this album’s score down, but Dillon Francis has truly made some incredible music here. His collaborations are really great, but I do feel like his own works alone could use a little work. There will be improvement in new sound and originality over time, as Francis is young and only just hitting success. I cannot wait to hear more and seriously recommend listening to at least anything with a 9 or above. Or better yet, stream the whole thing below:

-Austin Heath

Album Review – Kiki Rowe, Kiki Rowe (Self-Titled LP)

I have written about/worshiped the ground of Toronto RnB singer Kiki Rowe, whose self-titled album just released this afternoon. I have been on the edge of my seat waiting for her new music, and figured while listening I would review her works.

As neutrally as possible, I will break down this album track by track. However, Kiki Rowe hits home for all of my favorites from music (solid production, RnB, Hip-Hop vibe without overdoing it, etc.) so I will be a bit biased towards her songs. That being said, let’s go through each song on Kiki Rowe:

1. Go Getta ft. Maino – Go Getta is a mellow RnB/Hip-Hop piece that is smooth and calming. The hook does not pick up the pace to the point where it goes off-key, but there is something about the chorus that is so well executed that it makes the song entertaining throughout. Maino does a great job of staying with a hard beat to rap to, and the rapper caps off the verse before it starts to get old. It’s a well-rounded song overall and gives a great idea of what the album will sound like. 9.5/10

2. Trust Issues – Already broke this song down here.

3. Too Good To Be You – The empowerment of Too Good To Be You is, if slightly gender-biased, still very motivational and inspiring. It basically goes with the “go with your gut” vibe in a relationship, which I understand from experience is a hard decision to make.  Sometimes you are chronically disappointed in the relationship and Kiki Rowe delivers this message, though it becomes a little more spiteful than I had hoped. The vocals sound great and production is subtle while still playing its part. The song is cut a little short, at only 2:38 long. 9/10

4. Be Alright – This was the song I was originally going to write about. Be Alright was the first Rowe song I heard, and while I find songs like Come Through better (Where was this on the album?) this was a great first impression. The unique sound and RnB flow of the song is melodic, and again I love production on this (though it does dominate the vocals at times). 9.25/10

5. Need You Now – Now we begin to hear the new stuff. This is the first song produced on this album by The Avengerz, who have a huge part in delivering this album successfully. Need You Now has a more pop-dance sound to it (similar to Jazmin Sisters), and I actually love it. If a song were going to be a breakout record for this artist, it would definitely be this one. It still retains an RnB feel but keeps the song exciting, making it my favorite on this album. 9.75/10

6. Always – The second song produced by The Avengerz is Always. The track picks up pace a bit too quickly into the hook, but the RnB sound and consistent beat make the song interesting throughout. Though the song is short, it’s the right length for the song it presents, pulling off only 2:40. 8.75/10

7. Saddest Song – Cancer, death, hunger, and more despair-causing topics are actually not the subject of Saddest Song. Kiki Rowe explains that she has changed her outlook on life and no longer considers herself “The saddest song.” I really like the message and Rowe’s voice in this song, and while there are times that the beat feels conflicting with her voice, it catches on to the unique sound of Kiki and really defines the song. 8.5/10

8. Painted Chains – The lyrics don’t quite stand out to me, but this has a beautifully complex beat and an amazing chorus. The start of the song originally pushed me away but the track really appeals to me by the end. For a while you just kind of play mad-libs with the phrase, “Painted Chains on the _____.” The bridge ends this sequence and sounds how the first two stanzas should have. 9/10

9. Be Alright (DJ Phresh Remix) – Some songs were not meant to be sped up, and I feel as though Be Alright was one of them. It truly is a sped up and more club-based concept of the track. The hook-beat is actually really impressive though, making the song worth a listen. The house music in this album switches up the sound of Kiki, which I can appreciate. Therefore, despite my disappointment with the mixing of Rowe’s voice, I will rate it better for originality. 8.25/10

So overall that averages out to exactly 9/10, which is pretty satisfactory to my standards. I was impressed by Rowe’s debut and quite liked a few songs (and cannot wait to hear more again), though I am a bit bitter that we could not get Come Through on there. But I will stop whining and recommend that you simply go over to earmilk.com to hear the mini-album on Soundcloud.

-Austin Heath

Album Review – D. Edward, Love Is

From Oakland, California is Jazz/RnB group D. Edward. Love Is, there second album after Little Red Box, is an LP full of smooth Soul music. I was given an incredible chance to listen to this album about a week before today, the day of release, thanks to Angela Mastrogiacomo, creator and head of Infectiousmagazine.com. She has been incredibly helpful and has given me one of the best album recommendations I have heard!

Love Is has some incredible songs on it, and features some big names on vocals. Now, let’s break this down track-by-track:

1. Waiting – The start of this album right away previews what we’ll hear from D. Edward throughout the rest of the album. The soft percussion and instrument support of the vocals right away provides great listening, with Waiting being one of my favorite songs on this album (and the song I think will be most popular on the album). The Rock/RnB sound of this track is definitely a great combo and makes this one an excellent listen. 9.5/10

2. Show Me ft. Jenna Lavoie – The piano and soothing chimes surround the vocals to make a beautiful mellow sound. The hook requires a bit of a wait, but the harmonizing on the chorus is perfect. It almost feels like this song was pulled out of an older time, but is still given a modern twist with the passionate vocals of Jenna Lavoie. 9.75/10

3. Hold On Intro ft. Laura Sullivan – The brief piano of the intro to Hold On, my other favorite album song next, is a 30-second window of a soothing melody. Short interlude is all this really is, but makes for a nice adjustment to the next song. Pulls off the transition very well. 9.75/10

4. Hold On – The harmonizing on the hook immediately made this song stand out for me, which helps make this such an incredible song. The long notes are so smooth and give the song a beautiful RnB sound. The individual skill of each member is apparent in the instrumental and vocals on this song, especially in the bridge. 9.75/10

5. One for the Money – The vocals start almost immediately and sound similar to the previous sung tracks, with a Jazz influence heavy here. The hook is a bit disappointing with the cheer after saying “One for the money” and random crowd noises at the end of every hook. The verses are smooth and combine an excellent RnB/Jazz sound together well. 8.75/10

6. Mesmerized – The instrumental in the first couple of seconds is actually incredible, and the sound appears more in the hook. The song is a great mood-setter and will leave a listener, well, mesmerized. It’s incredibly smooth and features heavy RnB and Jazz influence. Bridge is a bit short and more like another hook though. 9.25/10

7. Don’t Say – I really love this song, especially how a part of the hook introduces the subject of the song. I feel like this provides substantial evidence of a story throughout the album. The high pitch of the instrumental can be a little much at times, almost like a Pokemon Town theme in Red/Blue. I sincrely hope I will be forgiven for comparing this music to Pokemon, but it’s still a beautiful track. 9.5/10

8. I Love The Way – Right away when I hear the intro to this song I think of 70’s Soul. The influence on this song, and the whole album at that, is most evident in this song. The Jazzy piano reminds me of something taken out of a good Elton John song. The harmonizing on the hook is excellent and the song is very passionate. 9.75/10

9. Pretty Eyes – I do enjoy this song a lot, though it seems a lot more off-pitch from the instrumentals and out of sync. The hook is similar to the previous tracks, but has its own twist. It’s a very smooth song and has some more RnB in it than the others. 8.75/10

10. Mighty Love – This is another one of those Rock influenced tracks that seems to be taken out of a different time. I love the instrumental to start and the lyrics. The hook is a bit corny but it is catchy and entertaining. 9.25/10

11. Love Is – The finale to the album is named after the LP itself. It pretty much sums up the sound of the whole album in one track, especially in the hook. It is smooth but Jazzy and has Rock and RnB influence throughout. Another one of my favorites, the song is upbeat and passionate yet not distracted from love. 9.75/10

In the end that averages out to about 9.5/10. That is a considerably high rating for an album, but the sound is so incredible with a perfect combination of several genres and an older influence that it deserves it. If you like the first couple of songs, you’ll like the rest. Same goes for if you don’t like the first few, as the sound is consistent throughout. I recommend a listen to all of them, but if that is too pressing you should at least listen to my three favorites: Waiting, Love Is and Hold On.

-Austin Heath

P.S. You can also buy the album on iTunes; after all, it just released today! You can also find the group on Twitter, Facebook, etc. under their band name. Little Red Box has a similar sound so if you like this album give their previous a quick listen.

Also, here is the music video for the first single for the album, Love Is:

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 – Minor Soul, Tiger

A few days earlier I wrote about Indie-Pop group Minor Soul, whose second album Tiger just released yesterday. The album is full of soothing melodies filled with acoustic sound. The brothers follow up their first album with some beautiful tracks in Tiger. Let’s break down the album track-by-track:

1. Nothing At All – One of the group’s singles for the album was Nothing At All, which ends up being my favorite of the album. It is upbeat and catchy, though it does not give a great idea of what the album will sound like. The song is pop-y and contradicts the calm sound of most of the other tracks. I still like the song a lot, just don’t expect the other songs to be similar. 9.5/10

2. Summer Nights – I am amazed by the vocals on this song, and would not be surprised if this became the most popular song on Tiger. While I like listening to Nothing At All the most because of its upbeat tone, this one is a beautiful acoustic masterpiece. Without a doubt the best song on the album. 9.75/10

3. Charlie Chaplin – Another single, and one of the most popular Minor Soul songs, is Charlie Chaplin. It’s a catchy track that picks up pace at the hook. The deep harmonies aren’t as impressive as the proceeding tracks, but it is an enjoyable song. 9/10

4. Running Home – I was truly impressed by the complexity of this song, and it was close to being my favorite on the album. The verses between the hook are not as exciting as the chorus though, except for the brothers’ harmonies together. I could see this also being a big hit song though. 9.5/10

5. Scissor Fingers – I can feel a change of pace for the LP in this song. The acoustic sound is more apparent and the vocals show heavy influence from Soft Rock. The pitch gets a bit too high sometimes in the verses, but the hook is smooth and cute. It is definitely one of the catchiest tracks on Tiger. 8.5/10

6. Old Shoes – Guitar dominates this song, similar to the rate of the previous song. There is a lot of passion before the hook, which is interesting to hear from the smooth vocals of Minor Soul. The bridge sounds a lot like Owl City, not sure why but it reminds me of them. It’s slow but very enjoyable. 9.25/10

7. Cards – From what I hear, this song is pretty popular already. It’s no surprise either. Despite the almost Country-sound of the first stanza, the song picks up pace and leads into an almost Alternative hook. It has a similar complex chorus to Running Home, but with a more consistent pace. 9.5/10

8. Walls and Ceillings – I was surprised by the beat to this song, which is much different from the rest of the album. It does prove, however, that this group knows how to change their sound up a bit every album. That says a lot about a group, and the Pop-sound of Walls and Ceillings, though not exactly my favorite, stands out as different and initiative. 9.25/10

9. High and Low – Right away this song leads to a slow love ballad. If you like a slower Indie sound, this track will be up there in your favorites. The long notes on the hook is incredibly soothing and the calm nature of this song is definitely achieved and consistently carried out. 9.25/10

10. Babylon – Similar to High and Low, Babylon first appears to be a slow ballad. However the hook picks up quickly and transitions into a passionate piece. The next stanza is a bit higher paced and the change is pulled off well to make the song still enjoyable without being too exciting or too calm. The music is similar to a Bastille or One Direction song, who I have praised since the beginning. I could see a track like this being a good model for newer songs from Minor Soul for its band-like sound. The bridge is fun and catchy and works well with the complex song. 9.5/10

11. Tiger – The final song is named after the album itself. The song is a slow and smooth track, explaining their inability to change a woman into what they want, just like they could not make a tiger change its stripes. I like the message, but the sound is basically just vocals with little instrumental. The voices sound great but just feels a bit like an empty shell. 8.25/10

So, that averages to about 9.25/10. The album has some very good songs on it and it is currently one of my favorites. Minor Soul deserves way more recognition and I think the top-rated songs in this review at least deserve a listen. No matter what music you like, it will be easy to find a song you like on here. You can buy their album on iTunes now, and find them on several social media outlets. So enjoy Tiger and if you like it, go back and listen to their debut album, Home Is Where You Are:

-Austin Heath

EDIT: I had forgotten Cards was produced by Ajr, so I’m sure that has something to do with it being a good song.

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

Album Review – CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe

CHVRCHES released their debut album slightly over a year ago, and the Scottish band left their mark on the music industry. Unfortunately, they are not very widely known in the United States. A British friend of mine and fellow administrator on Brickimedia.org introduced me to the album, and though I am usually skeptical on listening to whole albums at a time, I was glad I did not skip over this one.

The Bones of What You Believe is probably one of the most well-rounded albums in current pop. There are so many albums with huge singles while the rest of the tracks feature little effort or passion. CHVRCHES really showed off their musical talent in this LP and I have listened to it several times over to confirm that. The Bones of What You Believe had a long build-up but seems to be worth the wait to me, with its sound reminding me of early 2000’s hits.

I want to go through each song briefly and rate them, so here we go:

0:00 – The Mother We Share – The start of the album, The Mother We Share gives us a good idea of the sound we will experience in the album. It was also their first single, released back in late 2012. Song is confusing lyrically but catchy and sounds excellent. This is one of my favorites on the album. 9.5/10

3:12 – We Sink – This was the final single, added after the album would dropped (months later) for FIFA 14. I like the utilization of all vocals instead of simply Lauren Mayberry, though the bridge is way too edited and robotic. Sadly the bridge is just disastrous to me. Not the best way to end the releases for this excellent album. 7/10

6:46 – Gun – Gun was the third single and, despite feeling a little rushed at parts, is a good song. Catchy phrases and nice lyricism, band all-together sounds excellent. 9/10

10:40 – Tether – Tether is the first non-single song on the album, but does not disappoint. Electric Guitar is utilized and Lauren Mayberry’s vocals are smooth as they echo throughout the song. Seriously though, this one features a lot of echoing. The hook features a successful build-up and the song is a decent length at almost five minutes. It rises as you get further through and keeps the listener’s attention as it drops again at the [repetitive] bridge, then picks up with a huge hysteria of instruments and autotune. Psychologically it makes for a good song, and is very entertaining throughout. 9.5/10

15:27 – Lies – Single #4 would be Lies, released after the original album came out. It is super catchy and I love singing it. Despite more rushed transitions between sentences and a beat that gets a little old after the first verse, the song is very fun to listen to and has a higher pace than the previous songs. 8.75/10

19:08 – Under The Tide – Under The Tide actually excludes Lauren Mayberry’s vocals for the most part, but the group pulls off the sound quite well. Though the sound gets a bit boring after a bit, the track is still impressive. Despite different singer, the song retains the same sound or the band that you come to enjoy at around this point of the album. Unfortunately my only complaint is that the hook is a little bland and repetitive. 8.5/10

23:40 – Recover – This is most likely my favorite song on the album. Recover was single #2 from the band and, though chaotic, is a very good song with excellent lyrics and a great sound. Not much to say but good about this one. 9.75/10

27:26 – Night Sky – Another one of my favorites, Night Sky really brings out the talent of all the vocalists on the team. The song has a solid hook and calm bridge that, though is out of pace with the track a bit, does not last too long. 9/10

31:16 – Science/Visions – Not so sure about the name, but more spaced-out echo-y Lauren Mayberry is common in Science/Visions. The hook is interesting, I can’t say I hate it but I feels like an experiment to see how listeners respond to the muffled sound. 8/10

35:15 – Lungs – Sounds similar to Gun, first couple of seconds are a little odd but the flow of the vocals are consistent. The beat-drop is pretty intense for about ten seconds, but I like it. Not a song I would get excited about, but still a good song. 8.75/10

38:18 – By The Throat – I really like the hook to By The Hook, sound is similar and gets a bit boring at this point of the album but the track definitely keeps up with keeping your attention with rises and falls and more rises. It ends quite nicely to me, definitely one of the nicer songs on the album. 9.5/10

42:27 – You Caught The Light – On to the last one, which slows down even more than the slower songs on the LP. You Caught The Light caps the album smoothly with little vocals and shows off the bands instrumental skills. Not much Lauren Mayberry, but the song still says goodbye in the CHVRCES style, but reminds me seriously of Coldplay. Melodic and calming before we finish up. Placed well in the album for sure. 9.5/10

So overall, that averages out to approximately 9/10. Solid, well-rounded album, just a little skeptical on how edited some of the verses are. I definitely recommend a listen 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