http://www.d4am.net/2015/12/d4am-top-picks-of-2015.html
With the end of 2015 comes the beginning of next year's D4AM top picks. This was the first year we were able to show off the very best of what we display every month, a tally you could keep track of by following D4AM on Facebook or Twitter. This year-end list is for those of you new to the fan base, or for those of you ready to revisit the best in show.

Not every month is golden in the music industry, and not every top pick was an obvious decision. Below we'll show off the top picks and the runners up.


January


The very first post of the year was also the first top pick of the year. Iain Woods' trash-pop was such a memorable collection of genre's layered into one, that I'm genuinely surprised his following isn't larger. Someone needs to shine him some spotlight.

Runners up:

Art Hirahara
Libations & Meditations was an excellent piano jazz album to start the year off. This was one of those odd albums that creep out of nowhere.

Ryan Hobler
The Elusive Yes is still, in my opinion, one of the better singer-songwriter albums of the year.


February


Norwegian popped out psych-rock band The Switch graced our ears with one of the few albums I'm aware of to pull off the oxymoronic genre so well. It might be a little hard to find, but it's one of those gems worth looking for.

Runners up:

Tulalah
It was insanely difficult not making Selma / And Yet It Moves the top pick. It became a wait for the eventual full length, which later on in November took the Top Pick crown anyway.

Lunivers
Happy Route was a legitimate switch from your average trip-hop effort. It could be a little overwhelming sometimes, but consistently came through with talent.

Gabriel Garzón-Montano
His effort is another one I hoped would boom much more than it did. Maybe it's the awkward title, Bishouné: Alma del Huila, or maybe good artists need more help marketing themselves. Either way, it was a great effort and your ears deserve what he's offered.


March


This was a beautiful downtempo rock effort by the Swiss sextet. A quick glance at the video and an over-the-top listen is all you need to disect the quality, and that's just because it's oozing out of the effort like sand down an hourglass. March was full to the brim with quality music, but Phantom Garden was still the obvious choice.

Runners up:

The Raah Project
Coming in close second was The Raah Project's Take Me Elsewhere. The effort is just about as well produced, if not slightly more commercial, than Len Sander's stroke of genius.

Loyle Carner
A Little Late ended up becoming one of my personal favorite hip-hop EPs... ever. What's best, it actually propelled the English rhymes-man into the international limelight, and it's all very much so deserved.


April


I remember paying a small fortune to have this vinyl shipped from Sweden. No regrets so far. The alternative indie pop (punk-ish garage rock with Euro-flair) they came up with was almost overthrown by the other Top Pick contenders, but held its ground with the album's consistent quality.

Runners up:

Marena Whitcher's Shady Midnight Orchestra
Ghostology was probably the best avant-garde jazz album I heard all year, which is mostly due to Marena's amazing talents, but also has a lot to do with her Swiss all-star lineup.

Akroyd Smart
Introvert is among my favorite free hip hop albums of the year, not that the list is very long in 2015, but it's an impressive effort just the same.

Birds of Night
The self titled rock and roll effort caught my attention, and still receives regular play on my library. It's a good clean fun album, in a sea of musical concepts that can't maintain purity while being traditional.


May


Yeah, great psych-rock, good band, and a clear month's Top Pick selection, but I can't help but think if May had been a little more musically active The Lammas Tide would be a runner up. It's got its faults, is all, but it's still a very well portrayted classic psychedelic sound.

Runner up:

Dirtwire
I think it was the first time I heard so much potential in electronic world-genre variants. It was a really close call between Dirtwire and The Lammas Tide, and I think at the end of the day, this one was purely about preference.


June


June was a great month, but Outlines was the unexpected twist of psychedelics and synthesizers. The effort is memorable, and has the potential to become iconic with minimal attention. This is another one I hoped would get more attention, despite it being far from a failure.

Runners up:

Thunder & Co.
For a minute there, I considered the Portuguese outfit the next best synth-pop band, and now that I think of it, it's pretty hard to deny. It's a real shame these guys didn't boom, they've got all the potential.

Nite School Klik
DJ Shadow and G Jones made one of the better bass heavy electronic EPs of the year. It's a tad more experimental than the average crowd expects, and it's excellent for letting it drag you to different universes.

The Expanders
I haven't heard a better American reggae album all year. Hustling Culture should be a staple for the genre's future, if its to continue to evolve into something more people can grasp.


July



July was probably the most difficult Top Pick month with so many amazing efforts coming out at the same time, and DPS just barely made it to the finish line. The competition was harsh, but the prog-punk band deserve the top spot.

Runners up:

Tame Impala
I could barely believe anything beat out Tame Impala's Currents, such a complete effort where finally some evolution came across through synth and an '80s flair that I and many others could fully appreciate.

Poema
Indie-pop is the in thing right now, so I rarely expect much of it. Switching things up and doing it right are sibling duo Poema with their Pretty Speeches EP. I'm still looking forward to whatever comes next.

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment
Surf is one of those albums that was nothing at all like what I expected, and still came through as sweet ear-nectar.It's a weird alternative hip-hop pop thing which was largely put together by the band's trumpet player, Donnie.


August


I thought it was better. FW14 is a great trap-based album, but it could be a little more versatile after long-term play. It deserves its spot on the Top Picks list, but sometimes you have to admit that after a while, some things start sounding less amazing. I don't know why I'm nitpicking, the effort still receives regular play in my library.

Runners up:

Tom Misch
I waited long months for Misch's Beat Tape 2 to arrive, and once it released I was as happy with it as I was expecting. Versatile, honest, clean beats over excellent guest vocals.

Falcons
Terra is one of the better Trap EPs of the year to have come through D4AM's radar. A little overwhelming if the genre isn't your usual cuppa, but still of superior quality.


September


All it took was jazz beats to win over September's Top Pick with Grumby's stunning production work. The duo came a long way, but there's much more waiting for them. This is another one I hoped would receive a little more recognition than what it reeled in.

Runners up:

Branko
I called it EDM because nothing else made the right kind of sense. Atlas was an excellent and versatile electronic album.

Andrei Eremin
I think Pale Blue was marketed the wrong way, because since its release it's been a favorite with frequent plays in the library. They should've just told me from the get-go it was downtempo.

Mike Love
Love Will Find a Way isn't the best reggae album of the year, but that's because it's only half reggae (otherwise it bags it.) The singer-songwriter vibe is strong, despite obvious Rasta influences in every little corner.

River Tiber
When the Time is Right was an original sound, it was so original I forced a new genre onto it. We're calling it digitally slow-cooked soul.


October



Powers brought back disco with this one, and only two of the four songs actually sound the part. It's great because it sets a precedent for themselves as well as other bands on a disco high.

Runner up:

Little Red Lung
Beware is an alt-rock gem, relying a lot on delicate sounds to pop out the raw details.


November


On the lookout for this one since February, but it was so worth it to hear a stunning jazz-folk album from this impressive Australian band. It's too recent to call this the album of the year, but it's definitely up there.

Runners up:

Boat To Row
The best folk album of the year definitely goes to Boat To Row with their extremely well produced I Found You Here. Loving folk and not listening to that masterpiece is a mistake you wouldn't want to make.

Cool Uncle
AKA Bobby Caldwell and Jack Splash, teaming up for a killer producer/singer duo from distant decades. They meet in the middle and make the funkiest blue-eyed soul I've heard in years.

GoldLink
One of our more anticipated hip-hop albums of the year was GoldLink's And After That, We Didn't Talk. Hot off the heels of his tour alongside Mac Miller, GL made a realistic and honest effort for the masses without selling his artistic soul.


December


Electronic folk is rarely so well composed. Glass Face put all the pieces together in just the right doses, keeping clear from monotony and using technology to aid every detail necessary.

Runner up:

Gideon King & City Blog
There's been a few great jazz albums this year, but jazz fusion fell short on a very general scale. Here to save at the last minute is City Blog, an album dedicated to classic jazz fusion sounds with quality original ideas.


Here at D4AM I think I've learned not to wish for a good musical year, but to appreciate the one that's passed. 2015 was excellent, I'm proud to have helped represent such amazing music over such a long period of time, and I'm already eager to see what's in store and what's to be appreciated for 2016.

See you next year.

Enjoy the music.
This gem by psychedelic trip-hop outfit Doprah was released way back in November, but the beautifully directed video came out just this past December 14th. The single alone is a wonderful piece (I'm actually frustrated I didn't catch it sooner,) but the video does give it a different degree of magic.



The concept this video displays along with the eerie tranquility of the track makes for a captivating experience. The video was directed by Julian Vares, and if you find yourself enjoying it as much as I did, you might want to consider checking out his website for more videos of similar quality.

Audio quality's gonna be a little better on the Soundcloud link unless you up the video quality to full HD, but you'll get more than just the gist of it. If you like the track as is, engulfing yourself within the audio later on will be just as rewarding an experience.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/12/doprah-lucid-visions-free-single.html
Stream/Download @ Bandcamp
You can snag the single for free on their Bandcamp page, with the option of donating some spare change if you feel it's worth it. If you'd like to support but the giving season has your arms tied, don't sweat it. Lucid Visions is the first single from the upcoming debut full length album, "Wasting".


Connect with Doprah on

Or read more on
Psychedelic rock had its peak long ago, and people keep trying to bring it back as if they understand it. Most people understand the greats and figure they'll build on that, but even the greats had to build on something, on an essence, and that's what All Them Witches build on.



Most of the album isn't freely available online, and Dirt Preachers might not be the best representation of the album, but it does have a lot of accurate points. There's a repetitive base that you'll hear throughout the effort, it's that base that allows improvisations and solos to roam openly. There's also a hard progressive turn half way through, but that doesn't quite live up to the way the instrumental tracks completely warp your perception of the album.

Dying Surfer Meets His Maker is emotionally accurate. I haven't analyzed it enough to see if it fits together lyrically, but the feel of the music can feel like that kind of story. The instrumental tracks are complicated, layered, intricate but rough.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/12/all-them-witches-dying-surfer-meets-his.html
iTunes | Amazon
If I were to complain about anything, I think it's production. In a live setting, repetition makes a lot more sense. There's also a not-so-subtle garage rock feel that works as a double edged sword for their overall sound. If you overworked their sound, though, odds are you'd ruin the flair, and there's really not much they should fix.

You can stream the effort in full on Spotify. You can also download a free (ish) sampler from NoiseTrade, or follow them on socials.

Connect with ATW on
Beautiful, intimate lyrics, weren't what captivated me the first time around. The subtle press of quality musical composition was, and even then it seemed like it had its shaky moments. In reality, those moments were honoring the written poetry. It didn't take me long to admire that finesse, and it didn't take long after that to fall entirely into the music.



Click play, let Roses wave into your ears, and if you can, take a few minutes to let every component sink in. My mistake was listening solely to my favorite part, the musical composition and the quality of its production. It's incredibly well produced, this effort should be the kind of effort we see on vinyl, but for now you can download a high quality digital version on Bandcamp and listen to that on the best speakers you've got. Trust me, it'll be worth it.

After I heard the words, after I understood them, after I saw how they were placed alongside the music and all its components, after the magic became clear and I was able to appreciate the effort to its fullest potential, I heard it all over again. Over and over in an everlasting loop. It was beautiful.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/12/glass-face-you-are-nowhere.html
Stream/Lyrics/Buy @ Bandcamp | iTunes
You Are Nowhere isn't quite perfect. It's close to the idea of the perfect release, but those shaky moments I mentioned earlier are still there, few as they may be. They only happen because the album's focal point seems to be the lyrics. Four of the six tracks include lyrics, but that last track shouldn't really count, it's an outro to end the EP correctly without ruining Wild Wood as a single.

Underkept II is a stunning display of musical talents, and it's because of the display that I felt there could have been more of that scattered throughout the album. It's odd for me to be nitpicking on a dream pop album, but those details were the ones that almost left me with a lack of appreciation for the release. I doubt I'm the only one, so I know they're important.

I want to see Glass Face's evolution. I want to see what comes next, or what other ideas they have as they push themselves forward, but they're also one of those bands that I wouldn't mind having fall apart and reconnect into other projects. You Are Nowhere is so well done that I don't need more from them. That might seem rude, wrong, or mean, but I feel it'll live, and as artists, what more could they want?

Maybe money and fame or recognition and support. That's where the fans come in. If you're as curious as I am, be one.

Connect with Glass Face on
Instagram


Glass Face was one of D4AM's Top Picks of 2015 for this effort.
This is (supposed to be) the last time Emoh and Flume collaborate under What So Not, so this is one of those exciting electronic EPs with just the right kind of diversity and charisma. It's also technically free, unless you really want to pay for it.



I dig the intro, the lead up to the ever memorable title track. The EP has its moments too, but it's a little awkward how it transitions from trap to dance and back and forth between genres. There's decent drops, weird segues, sci-fi tones, and its ultimate completion. By the time it's finished it'll have made some sense.

Oddity, that final track, is the game changer for me. It's got an OST feel to it, taking advantage of the sci-fi influence and the amount of time you've been listening to heavy bass tracks to sweeten the end of your listen.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/12/what-so-not-gemini-ep.html
Stream/Download/Buy @ whatsonot.com
There's a bittersweet moment when you let it sink in that the future of What So Not is just Emoh now, that the collaborative end between these two comes to a halt beautifully to allow something to evolve further. I can't wait to see what comes next. If you're as curious as I am, you should keep up with WSN on socials.

Connect with What So Not on
I'm not used to four track EPs making it past the 20 minute mark, but Zaflon pulled it off. He used every trick he could find to comfortably lengthen the songs, and did so tastefully. That first track is far from the downtempo trip-hop flow, but it's also very honest. The lead single, today's feature track, does a much better job of letting you know who he or LDP is trying to be.



Nightmare Division isn't the fastest most captivating trip-hop song you'll ever hear, but it's a shapely track, and the first look at featured artist Gilan_Music. It's quick to start with odd details, it introduces the bass excellently, and has a really well thought out vocal switch technique. The way they play with the composition is the base of the LDN EP, the only thing you can consistently expect is talent, and even that is subject to the listener's interpretation.

It gets weird. Even for me, and I like trippy psychedelics, minimalist electronics, and the genres people often don't even consider music. I have a particular curiosity with his bass influences. I heard some drastically varying techniques that were played out in different ways to routinely reel the track into an attractive circle. Making such different emotions blend into the same EP is pretty impressive in my eyes.


We don't normally put up reviews like this before the release date, but Zaflon's team is about as eager as a preteen at a sweet 16 to get the effort out there and onto the listening public. Whether or not it's for good reason is up to you. I'm not personally sure I'd buy the album, but there's something there. The two tracks featuring Gilan_Music are easy to digest, but his own instrumental productions also hold up. They hold up differently, but they work.

You can find the full EP stream on Soundcloud. It's recommended if you enjoyed Nightmare Division. If you like it, the album is slated for release February of 2016.

Connect with Zaflon on
Australian beat-smith Charles Murdoch has released his debut LP, and it sounds almost exactly like what you'd expect. Almost. There's a certain level to his music that goes beyond what you hear, and demands attention from other senses. I noticed I could hear the entire album with nothing but contentment, but I loved it that much more when I saw the short film trilogy.



The first part also features one of those songs. You'll listen to the LP and think it's the track the artist left there for himself, or for a smaller niche following than the rest of most listeners, but no. Straws is simply one of the tracks that works better when you introduce another sensation to it. The video is your hint, but try walking around with the song on your headphones, or leaving it on as you go about your day.

Teil is German for Part, a detail left in place because the German creative collective Jünglinge were in charge of directing the videos. If you're a fan of quality cinematography, you might want to check out the other videos:


http://www.d4am.net/2015/12/charles-murdoch-point.html
iTunes | Amazon
Point is not everybody's album. On the contrary, it takes an open mind to admit that music doesn't have to be a purely aural experience. Sometimes it's the detail that makes a different sense a better one. For everyone else, there's a good half an album full of talented guests and common musical ideals.

You can hear a couple of other odd songs from the album on his Soundcloud. You can stream the effort in full on Spotify. Alternatively, show your support on socials.

Connect with Charles Murdoch on
This EP had my mind bouncing through genres, from trip-hop to downtempo and acoustics. Les Gordon found his own happy medium with a fusion that fits him with undeniable comfort, and in the process he's made an album not easily forgotten.



Brume is the lead single and one of the more rounded tracks on the release, so consider skipping to that one if you're in a hurry. It shows the trip-hop tendency and the strong bass influence in a balanced light. It's not overwhelming, it's not difficult to listen to, and it's just subtle enough for you to notice the little changes without warping your first impression. This single shows exactly why the EP is a success.

The rest of the album fluctuates between the degree of each influence. It's charismatic about its transitions, and because of that flair it also works great to expand the average EDM listener's mental library. This isn't just electronica; this is a thought out composition and a bright display of how well string instruments can be incorporated into the genre.

Les Gordon - Kitsuné: Atlas
iTunes
Kitsuné: Atlas lasts about 18 minutes, and I can't imagine it lasting any differently without ruining the experience. I could see it being played on repeat just the way it is, but with a change of track list, as an effort, it'd feel incomplete. The way the album plays out feels organic, fluent, or serene. There's nothing there to change, there's only promise for equally impressive future releases.

If for whatever reason the Soundcloud stream isn't working for you, the only other place to find the album (to the best of my knowledge) is Spotify. Consider the purchase and support for the French producer on the rise. Alternatively, tag along via socials.

Connect with Les Gordon on
You could ask yourself who Gideon King is, and you could ask yourself who City Blog are, and they would both be great questions with, honestly, amazing answers. There's no shortage of talent on this band, which means their jazz-rock fusion is of that superior quality one often hopes for. What might be a little more impressive is the titles under their belts, but that's nothing you couldn't imagine from just hearing any small chunk of the album.



City Blog, the title track, is the only publicly available song from the album. You the listener should only be thankful that it's an accurate representation of what's in store. In any case it might be a little easier to market, and in certain aspects it could be considered a little charismatic, but generally it's got an awkward (read: jazzy) side that wouldn't normally see the masses. As far as this one's involved, my only concerns lie within the "pop" tag they somehow found suitable for Soundcloud. I just don't think so.

All nine remaining tracks make up an excellent album, which in the case of the jazz-rock genre means they're rarely ever alike. Yeah, City Blog represents the general sound well because you can hear individual talents, the chemistry between the artists, the passion within each instrument, and a very over-the-top view at the style of the composition. There are, however, beautiful moments divided through those tracks to show versatility and maturity. From the very best ways to portray vocal jazz, to the intricacies hidden ahead of empty spaces, and so much more.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/12/gideon-king-city-blog-city-blog.html
iTunes | Amazon
It can't be without its flaws, of course, but they're minimal and easy to overlook. The lyrics can sometimes humor more than the sound leads on, or in cases like Down (and solely in my opinion) also hypocritical. The music doesn't always connect melodically, and sometimes I just wish there was some more individual freedom. I feel like at certain points they made themselves hold back, and I can't help but wonder what the album would play like if they hadn't.

For right now, what they made is great and there's no reason to stop enjoying it, but I'm eager for another album to see if any more evolution can come from this. If you're as curious about them as I am, you'll wanna keep up on socials. You might also want to hear clips of individual songs on Soundcloud, or go through a little extra effort and stream the entire album on Spotify.

Connect with Gideon King & City Blog on
They've come a long and unexpected way since last I heard them. Yeah, Pet Sun still have a garage rock sound, but it's kinda like they decided to embody rock and roll. They got that rebellion in them now, like if someone told them they should clear up the distortion on their sound so they laughed and amplified it. I think my favorite part is how they learned to use their key sound outside of routine use, to better showcase their value as a band.



Listen to it yourself. Go give Feel Like I'm Going Away a quick listen, and compare it to what they've just created. Their current vibe is dramatic while maintaining that fun garage-bred side. The catch is sometimes they take it too seriously themselves, but at least for these 12 minutes, it works. How they intend to follow this is beyond me.

Dark Planet is the key track, the opening statement. It's a complete shift from what they'd previously released with signs of instrumental love that run for practically half the song. Zenifer is quick to follow with that '90s alt-rock vibe and over saturated distortion. Mrs. Warp was my least favorite track, but the EP is short and needs something quick and direct like that to finish it all up.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/12/pet-sun-shade-driver.html
iTunes | Vinyl
Shade Driver is well composed, in fact it's so well composed that it feels finished. Everything from the final production details, to the lyrics, to the album art that defines the effort so well. I can't imagine the hard work this all took, and it pays off. This kind of dedication is the best way to gain a genuine following.

Join their evolution, purchase the reasonably priced vinyl, and tag along on socials for the latest news, info, and events.

Connect with Pet Sun on
Earlier this year, back when his name was just Pause, I heard Pausemc's No Small Order. The album was built on quality. It found a sweet spot between the charisma of the rhyme and music production that worked really well. The potential was obvious, and the effort felt like a success.

Blue is the most recent EP, and while the quality of the rhyme is great, and the musical production is far from bad, it doesn't feel like they connect as well as they should. The lyrical content is well composed, but the base of his messages sometimes seem empty, and the musical production has an obvious appreciation for radio listeners. It's not a bad thing, but his style isn't meant for the average listener.



It starts off pretty well with Wait Until I Drop. The reggae influence is awesome, but I immediately fail to see a true connection between music and lyric. The important thing is that as soon as the EP starts, it works, and that it kinda maintains that same energy through until the end.

I think it tries too hard. Hip hop is meant to be honest, and while a lot of the rhyme content is extremely personal, I can't help but feel it was tailored to sell. It's frustrating, but I understand. At least I hope it's an experiment, and that the next full length effort will use this as a stepping stone to build a better sound.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/12/pausemc-blue.html
iTunes | Bandcamp
I don't blame the production for my opinion, in fact the production is pretty awesome. I blame the chemistry, or the state of mind. I blame not being able to meet in the middle for who knows what reason. If you separate the components of this effort, you'll find how well done everything is. It's when you put the pieces together that something doesn't fit quite right.

Stream the album and see for yourself, your state of mind might better suit the effort than mine did. If you like what you hear, consider the purchase.

Connect with Pausemc on
You start listening to an EP and you tend to think you know where its going. In Frameworks' case, you listen to Branches and you think it's your regular old downtempo album with a bit of an overproduced flair. It's only after you let it sink in for a couple of minutes that you realize there's far more depth. The content is evolving, it's dedicated to a mood, and though you might have to be in that mood to fully appreciate the effort, it doesn't take a state of mind to appreciate the talent. In fact, it might even alter your state to better suit its own goals.



You'll start off with the deceptively well produced title track. Just for this one, I recommend listening all the way through. It's subtle, but over its five minute duration you'll understand the evolution. A very similar evolution takes place at greater scale throughout the EP, with the same kind of magic that'll leave you relaxed and satisfied.

Downtempo is a pretty open genre, this is specifically the feel-good stuff. The bright uplifting kind of slow production that likes to twirl. Its the music that allows your head some bobbing space without forcing you to groove too much. It's as comfortable a listen as it feels it was to produce, and its within that link that artist and listener connect; it feels amazing.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/12/frameworks-branches-ep.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
It's too short. No seriously, I normally love an EP because everything fits just right, it stops before it gets boring, but the vocal track before the ending is the perfect switch-up to get you going for at least an extra four tracks. I could repeat this one for hours (and I did) in a completely tranquil state of mind. Granted, I couldn't do that any day of every week, but given the right mood, the effort is close to perfect.

If you like it as much as I do, consider the purchase. Otherwise, tag along for the ride and watch out for future releases.

Connect with Frameworks on
Facebook
Twitter
Typically when someone says "watch out for this 22 year old upcoming Swedish producer!" you expect someone at least attempting to be the next big party starter. WoodzSTHLM is much more mature than that. With the exception of Underwater, which could easily fall under downtempo, the EP is mostly a genre-less slow production. It sounds nice, constantly, with nothing but great vocals and talent being featured on every single track.



Go ahead and listen to Underwater first, you won't be deceived, you know beforehand the EP doesn't sway in that direction, but you do get some refreshing downtempo electronica your way. Otherwise, start from the beginning and hear the slow fade. I couldn't help but consider it the future of motion picture soundtracks, plus vocals. It's nearly ambient but it's got more production stuffed in there to give it substance, yet without the vocals it'd probably only suit best for the background. I'm real curious to see how Woodz would handle a completely instrumental track, just to see if there's any change in style or substance.

Much like the title track, Lighthouse feels short, and it's probably because of the way the composition unfolds. It's captivating without much of the rush, making it a hassle free and relaxed listen. Frankly, 15 minutes isn't enough. It's a great EP with an excellent grip on its waves of quality, but a few more waves and it could be an even better album.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/12/woodzsthlm-lighthouse.html
iTunes | Amazon
I look forward to a future full length, but I'm not sure I'd keep paying attention after that point. I'm not seeing the kind of versatility one often expects from an EP, and right now I'm not sure if that's purely for aesthetic reasons, or if the talent he can provide is limited. I'm eager to find out.


Connect with WoodzSTHLM on
The sad love song can be the cheesiest cliche on the album, or it can be a beautiful source for inspiration. Club Kuru's Layla can most easily be defined as the latter. You'd think a four track electronic EP can only hold so much heartbreak before it bores you, but this was really well made. The array of influences help bring it out, the quality of the written word does its part as well, but really, I think it's the honest emotion behind it. Downcast moments like what CK is portraying aren't always a single solid shade of blue.



I love that the effort starts with the very source of the inspiration. Layla is a great opener for a collection of songs that work well with each other regardless of track list, and it works well because it presents the idea without beating around the bush too much.

We've also got a very clear view of the musical trajectory. I hear a lot of influence from recent decades, especially when it comes to percussion and synth. There's not really a fixed era, though. One moment a detail can seem very '80s, the next you're hearing psychedelic breaking points and smooth jazz influences. The base will always be very clear, synth electronica with well mixed vocals.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/club-kuru-layla.html
iTunes | Amazon
The synth on the effort pretty much defines the pop essence, but not Club Kuru. Now, this is peculiar, because that means that despite what we very obviously hear, CK is more than just that. The essence lies within the style, within the portrayal of emotion and the artistry of the lyrics.

Enjoy the stream, it's 14 well divided minutes for a certain mood, that can somehow be applicable to other moods. You'll get it when you start loving it. Some of you might find there's something missing, like the album's good but something keeps it from burying itself deep in your subconscious, and I think CK, as a producer, understands that too. I think there's room for evolution, I've seen it, and I look forward to the next steps to see if its taken advantage of or if it's left to settle.


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Yeah, you're not gonna pronounce it right for a while. The good news is the album's good enough to keep around, and within a matter of months, I'm sure the alternative funk-pop band will have forced you to pronounce the album title enough for you to spout it effortlessly.




They start quick with Tap Out, a fast-paced funk-on-cocaine kind of song with extremely catchy pop vocals/lyrics. The speed with which they attempt to capture the audience is stunning, more so because it actually works. If you're not feeling the music run through your body within a minute, Venkman might not be for you. You'll be singing along shortly after that, otherwise.

The remaining three tracks have that fast-forward kind of feel to them. It's almost like they tried to cram as many BPMs as possible into their compositions while keeping the rounded off funk essence. It's not exactly my favorite display, but they've made their own sound, I respect that. To be honest, it still has a ton of replay value.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/venkman-kakorrhaphiophobia.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
The off-kilter funk isn't always pure, they stray to rock ideals every now and then, especially when it comes to progressive melodies and rock star charisma. Their sound is essentially the best they know how to do, and they do it really well. The EP shows 13 minutes of dance-worthy funk-rock experiments, and you'd be foolish not to give it a stream at the very least.

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Selma and And Yet it Moves are such amazing songs that, even now, nine months after their release, I'm still addicted to that math folk-jazz sound. I'm not alone. Those two tracks have built a following outside of Australia, and now with the rest of the album available for purchase, I hope to see that following multiply dramatically.

I was curious to see what they'd do, how they'd present a completed effort, how their sound would fill in the blanks on a full length album. It's magical. They know how to transition from melodies and emotions with different vocals, instruments, and techniques. They understand when to deviate from their own created norm, and they use that knowledge to make a 13 track record that listens all the way through, effortlessly.



The surprise track for me was I, Fantasise. It played out in clear directions I wasn't expecting, it created its atmosphere and felt snug with their surrounding effort. This was probably the strongest moment for me, but these moments of bliss happen frequently throughout The Flood. It's not uncommon to suddenly tune into the listen and realize how amazing some random detail is, and it's just as common to doze out of it and let it control your sensations.

I find myself admiring the way they've blended the genres. The folk influence is minimal, but I hear it clearly with the vocals. The jazz tones are scattered, which is appreciated because jazz isn't jazz if it can't swing in surprising ways. Finally, the last bit isn't rock as much as it's knowledge. All nine of them hold complete control over their instruments, and they understand each other well enough to build stunning sounds together.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/tulalah-flood.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
The quality of this effort is enough to have me seriously considering the vinyl release. It's a limited edition double LP and while it's not unreasonably priced, it's not cheap either. I can only imagine hearing the soft tones and less-than-subtle details on a groove, and I can only hope my infatuation with the band remains reasonable after that point.


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Tulalah was one of D4AM's Top Picks of 2015 for this effort.
It's hard for me to connect so well with folk music because it's based on tradition, which often means repetition and in a certain sense monotony. Boat To Row's I Found You Here is so much more than just the standard folk album. It's art. It flows, it explores, it becomes curious with the listener, and ventures across beautiful soundscapes.

I have a personal connection with Time and Time Again, so naturally I recommend it. I'm fully aware the connection is mine, and that not everyone will feel what I felt with that song. The odds are, if you welcome the genre at all, some song on the album will touch you the same way Time and Time Again did for me. It helps that its qualities are similar with the rest of the album. Excellent production, very well composed lyrics, and the kind of musical chemistry one rarely finds within a capable studio.



Two years. It took two years to produce and execute this debut album. It's with that much time and dedication that something so delicate can provide a completed sound. The mixing is where I really started appreciating the effort; the audio quality is exquisite, perfect for the vinyl release they're offering. Folk loving audiophiles, rejoice.

Try to digest the effort slowly for best results, rushing it doesn't do it justice. If you're just checking by real quick, I can recommend a few songs I find just slightly more magical. Try out: As The Day Is Long, Passing Thoughts, and Sylvia.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/boat-to-row-i-found-you-here.html
Bandcamp | iTunes
For me, this is the folk album of the year so far, and it's November. Be sure to let me know if you disagree because I'd love to find something more pure and better produced than this. It's not that it doesn't plateau, either, all great efforts need moments of rest, it's just that the way it fluctuates in melodic quality begs to be replayed.

You can find the vinyl and CD releases on the Bandcamp link above.


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It has been long months since I first heard El Gant, I heard his rhymes in Raw and understood the potential. Verbal prowess, true talent, and 42 Keez's production is the recipe for the five-track EP. It tastes pretty good. It's not without its faults, and though I felt they were pronounced they're also pretty easily overlooked. I didn't warm up to 42's constant self-recognition, and I really feel El Gant could work on his subject matter a little more.



The coolest part about the album is how every song can maintain itself. You can hear each track individually and, as long as you can appreciate quality rhyme and beat production, you're gonna enjoy it. It's a double edged sword, because every aspect remains the same for every song, the good and the bad.

You can stream it free on Bandcamp, so enjoy that and hear the finer aspects. Specifically, I recommend you pay attention to the rhyme flow. Pay attention to the speed and how easy he is to understand despite it. Clear, charismatic, and very swift.

Buy the album on Bandcamp.

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It was confusing at first. It's got a bit of a dance vibe, a distorted R&B vibe, and some obvious electronics that don't quite fit into the EDM mold, so this is pretty much a grab bag of things that have their own sounds but don't really get to exist as themselves. They exist as Chris Savor's Intro, a seven track EP that'll confuse and delight the curious listener.



You can start anywhere on the album, on any song that catches your eye, but I do recommend you start at the beginning and stream it through to the end. It transitions pretty well, and I imagine it'd be a little extra hectic if you tried the EP on shuffle. That last track is especially discordant, it makes a shift to an uplifting house base that, well, works, but feels a little odd after everything that comes before it.

One thing that stays pretty clear throughout the album is the very unclear vocal distortion. I dig it, it takes some concentration to understand and I think that adds value. He, and in half the cases producer spctra, know how to work Chris' sound into the music really well.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/chris-savor-intro-free-download.html
Free Download
Let's just say it's downtempo with heavy R&B/soul influences. That's probably about as accurate as you can get without offending genre snobs. It's worth the stream if the idea of it sounds nice, and it's worth the download if you like it, because it's free. Minimal hassle, but free.

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The Grammys between Jack Splash and Bobby Caldwell alone, made this an album to keep an ear out for. I didn't have to dive in blind, I understood what I was getting into. Quality production, seriously, with the good kind of blue-eyed soul. The kind of soul that takes advantage of melodies and calculated risks. The kind of melodies that form jazz standards for vocal performances. The end result became a blast from the past with the wonders of modern production. It doesn't always work, the self titled album isn't quite perfect, but it's pretty damn close.



It's with the marketing that I start to get upset. The three tracks easily available through Soundcloud are some of the best the album has to offer. That's an excellent strategy when you want to sell something that you know is incomplete. There's no need to sell this album. It has its flakey moments, but it's the kind of effort a music connoisseur will buy. Let the people hear the worst there is to offer and see how they'll appreciate that even the lowest bar exceeds your average standards.

When you realize how much you like what you're hearing, stream it on Spotify or something. Listen to Mercy which features CeeLo Green. In my opinion, Mercy is the lowest low; it feels like cheap soundtrack music with an average spin. Miami Nights tries to be tropical and kinda wobbles, and there's a song or two that try too hard for the '80s vibe. This is as negative as it gets, the album is actually a funked out effort with classic lyrical and melodic values. That's a fancy way of saying it makes your booty shake and you'll sing along, too.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/cool-uncle.html
iTunes | Amazon
I have a lot of hope. I hope that since they gave themselves a name, they also intend on releasing more in the future. Hopefully that future release will show an increase in chemistry between the duo. I hope the album brings fresh light towards the musical standards of the youth, and that the artistic values regain some recognition among a broader public. I hope Cool Uncle's debut self titled album becomes a hit; it could be the start of a musical revolution.

Again, stream it. If you can swallow it (because it does get a little too pop for me at the end) you'll wanna consider that purchase. There's no better way to make an artist stand out and tour farther.

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Its an intriguing idea just to write it down. Jade the Moon have made an album where they've spliced together near-pure experimental ideas, with the beginnings of pop production. If someone had told me this, I would've fought it. I would have built negative bias and surrounded myself in the frame of mind where certain things can't happen, and I would have been wrong for it. It's because of what could have been that I appreciate the way JtM handled the press and first time listeners for their debut album.



My first experience was with the album opener, an experimental song which displays their key value: honesty. The single was made for the perceptive listener with true emotions in mind, something that I'd later find was the base of the completed effort. This wasn't just randomly put together, their methods are pretty much scientific, in search of sounds until the correct ones were understood and put together.

I came to understand that the process was far more experimental than the actual sound. The pop influence might be their goal, but the way they get to it distorts it enough to make it completely original. That's where they succeed, though sometimes even with that segue I hear the production a little more commercial than I can personally appreciate.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/jade-moon-habits-and-hindrance.html
iTunes | Amazon
As eerie as the album can get sometimes, in reality it's just honest. Nobody is always happy, there's always a dark thought or pessimist undertone to every day life, and they've managed to show that kind of humanity through the Habits and Hindrance. Between the occasional heavy song, and through the use of their interlude-like Stereo tracks, we'll either see our reflection or an intense slap of empathy, and all while swirling in musical ideas that are rarely touched when compared to your average listening experience.
I'm not sure where I stand with the album, but I think it should be heard. I think it should be noted among music lovers. This is the kind of album that can make you aware of the monotony in your daily listening experience, and that can be unsettling, but it's a reality and we can expand our horizons much more easily if we face it.

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I was expecting more. I've been hearing Typ for a while now and the veteran/rapper had shown promise. Coupling that with Statik Selektah's production on the entire album, I was really expecting something to blow me away. Instead I found some technical faults on both of their behalves. My problem isn't that they're imperfect, no artist is perfect, my problem is that they show moments where they don't complement each other as well as they could. The album has its moments, the album is of superior quality to most of the modern hip hop albums currently being released, but I have an inkling feeling it could have been so much better had the effort been thought out a little bit more, between both Typ-iLL and Statik Selektah.


Courtesy of Diamond Media 360

Here's the rundown. Statik is amazing at the technical aspects of production. He pulls off every fade, and nails the times and synchronization. He starts falling short with the creative process. On a personal level, it works great, but there are moments combined into Typ's rhymes that I feel could have pulled together a little better.

Typ-iLL shows signs of self-awareness. He understands his style and has molded it into something that sounds great despite some out-of-the-ordinary circumstances for a rapper of his caliber. He's managed to cut down how obvious his choppy style is by rhyming in ways that work to his advantage. There's an occasional lack of chemistry with Statik's beats, though, and I feel with a little extra work he could close that gap entirely. For me, it's all about the creative process and how willing both of them were to meet in the middle. They did an excellent job, undeniably, but those little moments where my let down.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/typ-ill-veterans-day.html
iTunes | Amazon
Veteran's Day was released on Veteran's Day, and I can't help but think that maybe the release date had a little to do with those final details. On the other hand, it was the perfect date. The album has shown me the point of view of a true military hero; from the good to the ugly. If you focus on the actual content, it's hard to deny that Typ's written word is not only hard to beat, but hard for other writers to achieve. He's able to explain himself in such a way that the listener can easily understand a foreign concept. That's art.

Purchase the album if you feel it's worth repeated listens to you. If you're digging their style, connect with them.

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They call it soul, or try and play it off as some indie R&B stuff, but these labels are no way of defining their sound. The Suffers are a ten-piece band that understand how to compose a song to squeeze the emotion out of an idea.

Find the full EP stream below. I highly recommend starting at the beginning; the title track is a wonderful mix of all their finest components, but you also have to acknowledge that they offer a lot more in individual amounts throughout the effort.



For example, Stay shows their genre flexibility when they introduce classic reggae vibes, and Gwan really shows off that bongo/percussion work. The seven-minute finale is a bit on the slow and sensual side, and it's difficult to mention anything besides "awesome" without spoiling some of the fun.

Make Some Room is a stand-out effort. I kept focusing on the brilliance of the vocals and the quality of the musical composition. It's the kind of effort you know other bands aspire for, but aren't equipped enough to pull off. In that sense, what we're listening to here really is a rare gem.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/the-suffers-make-some-room.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
Buy the album and help support them if you can, there's no better way to help such a huge musical collaboration than by letting them know their work is worth paying for. Otherwise, share them off. You can currently find the EP on NoiseTrade for the price of any donation you can afford.

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