Combining raw honesty and emotion with Hip-Hop, Trap and Alternative J-Era crafts a brutally blunt LP. ‘Through The Wandering’ sonically fuses Alternative Rock, Trap, and Hip-Hop with production that sets a somber tone with distant distorted guitar riffs, rapid fire hi hats, thunderous 808s and crisps snares. J-Era alternates between flawless flows and emotionally delivered sung choruses and hooks. Not only is the project cohesive sonically but stylistically the vocal performances are an equal amalgamation of genres and influences. ‘Lost Myself’ ‘I Was, I Am’ and ‘Faded’ display a candid picture on heartache, pain, and perseverance. This tone is the foundation for the LP and J-Era crafts more melancholy anthems, delivering memorable heartfelt tracks with an innate knack for commercial song structure and melody. ‘Wanderlust’ is an amazing display of J-Era’s ability to make any grand existential topic into an instantly relatable hit. ‘Fencelines’ continues this outstanding streak. ‘I Told You So’ blends in elements of Pop Punk and boasts J-Era’s profound personal storytelling. ‘Broken’ puts Trap and Nu Metal into a sonic blender and the outcome is a fiery song with J-Era’s faith on full display. ‘Through The Wandering’ is a refreshing album, a light at the end of a tunnel of uninspired rehashed music, a light that is a dual metaphor and a much need beacon for both directions.
London based rap artist Houdini Komplex releases his energetic ‘Sonnets From The Trap’ EP. Exploding open with the sonically enormous ‘A Lions Share’ Houdini quickly displays his wit and lyrical dexterity with a spacious flow that sits perfectly over top a dark haunting Trap infused instrumental. ‘C.B.D’ immediately follows and shows a switch in subject matter and mood though the soundscape is still ominous it matches the brutally honest introspection. Houdini flips intricate rhyme patterns and lyrical puzzles in the beginning of ‘Plugs BNM’ before even starting the first verse. Within the 5 tracks on ‘Sonnets From The Trap’ Houdini Komplex displays his lyrical prowess, expressive flows, tremendous wit and outstanding ear for instrumentals. The dark Trap sounds he selects all fuse together but retain their individual identities on each track. ‘Pound A Pop’ finds him further flexing his braggadocios rhymes and ’10k’ finds the overall tone reach a sort of ease and release. Finishing on a soulful ambient instrumental and a distorted sung vocal delivery Komplex concludes the project by expanding his sound and makes a final statement that leaves the listener craving more.
With a pop infused folk sound, Turfseer transports the listener into a not-so-distant world that parallels our present time. With turn of the century wild west imagery and metaphors, Turfseer delivers a bold allegorical message, a parable, over driving drums, alternating toms, a haunting harmonica and electrifying guitar solo. Featuring eight strong verses, the “Virus” chronicles how an old western town is swept into slavery by a mysterious contagion, “discovered” by dubious scientific, medical and local governmental authorities, and claimed as truth. Like all good protest songs (reminiscent of Bob Dylan), Turfseer’s ‘The Virus Is My God’ takes on a relevant-to-today, apostate, minority position, which echoes the lamentations of the prophets of old and Biblical tales of underdogs taking on the powerful, akin to David & Goliath. He brilliantly makes his case musically while simultaneously weaving in intricate story telling. ‘The Virus Is My God’ is an artist’s valid, heartfelt plea, to right the wrongs of today’s world as he sees it.
Manu Francois’ musical palette consists of a vast array of vivid colors. In his ‘2020 Medley’, a 5 minute preview of his new album ‘Ten Of A Kind’ with LIPSKI, he starts with stadium-level Pop anthems with memorable hooks and chants. The next song has a similar spirit but a slightly different sonic soundscape. Extended vocals are sung in a deep reaching delivery over Dance heavy drums and Trap accelerated Hi-Hats. Manu Francois jumps from genre to genre while maintaining an authenticity and signature vibe. World Music, Electronic, Hip-Hop, Down Tempo and Trap all seamlessly blend together for a perfect backdrop to reach an expansive audience with his message of dedication, perseverance, spirituality and optimism. Manu Francois is at home singing catchy Pop choruses or spitting rhymes over Trap beats that are subtly infused with 90’s style Jazz Boom Bap like on his single ‘Nest Egg’. Though he hails from Christchurch New Zealand, his omnipresent nomadic approach to music makes mentioning any specific location almost meaningless. True art in any fashion surpasses any limitations given by genre or name, but the boundless natural authenticity of Manu Francois’ art seems to automatically multiple his limitlessness by never having a box to be put in in the first place.
Betyljoos bring their brand of Pop infused Hard Rock and Alternative Metal with their latest single ‘Back In Time’. Beginning with hard riffs, snare rolls and playing with silence ‘Back In Time’ builds up tremendously before dropping into a soft lull for the start of the first verse. Detailing a relationship that never fully blossomed and now ‘lives only in my mind now because we never said goodbye’ fits perfectly with the stark transition in music and abrupt silences the band purposefully plays with. Sonically representing the ephemeral nature of love and combining catchy choruses and stadium level sing along sections Betyljoos creates an anthem that is relatable, metaphoric and excitingly fun.