I call it imitation lo-fi. Robert Loveless doesn't really have a set name for it, and maybe it's better that way. In the end it's an experimental band with talents outside of the norm and an ear for well crafted empty spaces.

The self titled effort sounds really different the first time around. Thankfully I remember that initial hook, and know that the best way to introduce anybody to the effort is through the first track, Following Fellow Flowers of Society.



At first glance this song craves attention with its bluesy intro, and then kinda sways itself to a down-tempo rock ballad. It also shows the ability to blend different genres without turning them into each other, and the progression and time changes that'll be present on just about every other track on the album.

If you're like me and you like to carefully analyze good albums, stop reading right now and continue your listen. These words aren't going anywhere. The rest of you get to bask in the idea before it happens, in that the album stresses the illusion of increased minimalism from track to track, but in reality the only difference is the medium in which we hear the sounds.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/robert-loveless-and-loveland-band.html
Stream/Download @ Bandcamp
That first listen was bitter sweet, for me. I heard magical moments, followed by what was initially disappointment. All I needed was to understand the components of the music in order to appreciate it, but I'm sure many of you will be in the proper mood right off the bat and understand the effort for what it is. Savor it.

Go ahead and give the stream a listen at the Bandcamp link above. The album's officially out February 16th, so if you dig the music and fancy yourself a cassette collector, don't forget to pre-order. Otherwise you can snag the album as it's already a name-your-price release.

If you're ready for more, check out Robert Loveless' personal Bandcamp page, his Facebook, and his Twitter.
New York City based family-oriented reggae band, New Kingston's latest album shows both talented ideas and their faults in what initially sounds like a very organic collection of tracks. It won't take long to hear overproduced backgrounds and under-worked lyrics, but it's the essence that ultimately creates Kingston City.

First impressions last long with these guys, which is why I was so shocked to see Easy Star Records only featured one track on their Soundcloud. It's not even one of the better songs, just an overproduced mass-catcher. Instead, today we'll be featuring one of the songs from the more relaxed side of the album.



Mystery Babylon features what you imagine when you know the band's background. Jamaican origins,and big city fundamentals. It creates a well rounded sound without trying too hard to imitate something else, neither pop nor traditional reggae.

The rest of the album aims that sound into the realms of radio-friendly success. Whether or not it gets there relies mostly on the listener, so before you head on out and give the album a try, know that the album is pretty much three parts reggae, two parts pop, and one part modern-production.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/new-kingston-kingston-city.html
iTunes | Amazon
By no means does that make this effort bad, it's just not the band at their peak. I hear some fluidity problems concerning their track list, and just a little more pop than I'm usually comfortable with, but that's what you get when you mix Jamaican reggae roots with the American side of the genre.

You try it out for yourself. You can hear the album in its entirety on Spotify, or a handful of the effort on New Kingston's Youtube channel. Once you've heard all you need to, if you like what they offer; go and keep up with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
This one hasn't even been out for two weeks! As soon as I heard it I knew how infectious it'd be, and effectively so. What we're getting is a funk-filled hip-hop with enough synth to keep young minds interested, and enough musical talent to keep the snobs just as pleased. You're gonna want more when you're done.



Click here and sign up for their mailing list to get the track free. You could go ahead and re-listen to that all day, or you could check out the EP the single is following. Released late last year, the six track effort is still fresh. It's a real shame too, it deserves more exposure.

Their Bustified EP might not be as instantly infectious to everyone who's digging today's single, but it is a solid effort in its entirety. Instrumental sections will add all kinds of flavor, but the hip hop origins stay true. One of my favorites, PS I'm Pregnant, is entirely instrumental.



The beauty here is in the captured emotion of the written message. Ecstasy, delight, joy, and a range of emotions between those are all there. It takes nearly six minutes to show it off, but the end result is one extremely well crafted song.

If you end up hearing both of today's featured tracks, you'll have a pretty good idea what the EP should sound like. There's definitely some great instrumental areas, but the lyrics also play a key role. Luckily they take next to nothing away from the music, and vice versa.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/busty-and-bass-right-kind-single.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
If anything, sometimes, some songs on Bustified feel a little under-cooked. It's very slight, and it feels like it's just shy of being complete. However, with less than excellent live quality recordings that end up amazing, you can tell whatever's missing isn't talent. In fact, they'll probably sound better live than they do recorded.

If you feel like maybe catching them live, or just keeping up in general, check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Otherwise, let the EP console you and allow their mailing list to keep you as up-to-date as possible.
Australian artist management/PR/consultancy/events/mixtape-makers Wondercore Island ended 2014 with their fifth mixtape, Summer 2015. They've got a lot of unheard talent; from smooth vocals and modern R&B enterpretations, to acoustics, instrumentals, and chilled out electronica. It's so much more refreshing than every other end-of-the-year mixtape out there.

I guess there's no better place to start than at the beginning, but only if you follow through with the next couple of tracks. It'll start off with sleek vocals over a classy Bond-esque background with Kadhja Bonet, which will make room for Queen Magic's relaxed electronic poetry.



From here, every following song will work well with the next, all while varying in genre, style, and emotional layout. There's always going to be a relaxed and breezing undertone, but as a playlist, Wondercore's Summer 2015 deserves a medal. Or money, or something.

The icing on the cake is how very incredibly free it is. You couldn't pay for it if you wanted to (but if you do want to, you could always support the artists individually.) Go ahead and stream this 21-song keep-your-cool mixtape, and when you're done, go ahead and download it guilt-free.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/wondercore-island-mixtape-5-summer-2015.html
Stream/Download @ Bandcamp
Just in case you're feeling hesitant, there's a moment here for everyone. There's more relaxed house-y background tracks, and songs that would fall best with your uninterrupted attention. The only thing that doesn't sway much is the mood. This sounds like the night after a comfortable nap by the sea.

The free download comes with a subscription to the Wondercore Island mailing list. You could unsubscribe if you feel the need to, but the odds are you'll be happy when they tell you about future mixtapes anyway so it's almost a win-win.
Evoke's debut album, Withdrawal, is far from a perfected piece, but it does show his foundation well. Pop vocals over bass-influenced electronica. Dubstep-y trap-y glitchy tones will resonate throughout the album in moderation, as to never overshadow the key vocals.

The vocals don't stand out to me, personally, but I understand their importance. The written lyric is nearly half of the effort; the stories are as much art as the production. However, for me the production is what settles the effort as a completed album.



Waves will start off with a smooth ambient intro, before the bass and squeak kicks in. The digital details are mostly constant, which adds a more organic feel to a very controlled environment. Add the story and you'll have the rest of the album's flow.

Withdrawal isn't exactly predictable, but it doesn't take much to understand the general composition layout. That's only a bad thing if you're paying way too much attention to the details, for most part the album makes the right kind of changes right in the nick of time.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/evoke-withdrawal.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
Evoke claims there's highly emotional vocals and heartfelt lyrics. I won't deny these ideas are in place, but if that's his aim I see some room for improvement. The vocals feel very similar, albeit very emotional, from track to track. On a similar note, the songwriting style sounds less intricate than it reads. I've no doubt a future release will work better than this one, but this is still a great effort.

After you've heard the album through, once you know you'd like to keep up with future releases, be sure to tag along. You can find him at Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
I'm not one to start envying the talent of the artists I write about, but Ryan Hobler is testing my limits with his stunning song-writing. This indie-folk effort is down to earth and rich in a variety of sentiments, it's like hearing the emotional diary of someone who's recently experienced everything.

Ryan shows he's capable of it all; from love songs, to musings of loss, to anecdotal beauties. My personal favorite is the first single I heard, and it's my favorite because of the shift in perception. Today's featured track is from the bad guy's point of view. The boulder.



A subtle guitar and a well placed percussion will serve as musical base for the story. The strings and symphonic atmosphere are near as subtle as the guitar plucks, but help aid the beauty of the story. What could easily have been a gloom-filled single is now one of the most misleading compositions on the album.

You can expect similar songwriting style and Americana-based musical composition as well. It's mostly folk, but that occasional bluegrass-y or country-leaning track will pop up out of nowhere and change the dynamic just enough for you to pay attention.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/ryan-hobler-elusive-yes.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
A dozen songs later and The Elusive Yes becomes one of those pieces that wins over your heart and mind. Some songs admittedly were just shy of my comfort zone, but in this case I think it's good. Coupled with his masterful songwriting, it's been able to open my ears to sounds I'd normally turn down.

If you can, give that album stream a listen. Not only is it a smooth listen, but on Bandcamp you'll find the lyrics to every song. If you prefer higher quality streams, you can also find it on Soundcloud. Once you've fallen deep, you can keep up and make it to his live shows by tagging along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
I've just heard David Gibson and his trombone on his latest effort "Boom!" and it's been a lot to take in. He and four other extremely talented musicians have made a memorable jazz album for the modern jazz enthusiast, but whether or not its magic holds up against the upcoming albums of this year depends on much more than your first impression.

Let me introduce you to your first impression, the only publicly available single, The High Road. It's a quick bebop-y single with erratic displays of talent from all of the quintet, especially the trombone. The piano will ease you in but the pace is quick to escalate and drag you along with it. The beauty is in how subtle the transitions are.



Beautiful progressions and shared spotlights make this a very fluid single. You can't feel an ego, and you can barely taste the chemistry because they're all so well tuned into each other. My only problem is how completely different The High Road is to the rest of the album. In that case its name makes a lot of sense, because everything else takes a much lower, slower, and smoother route.

The only other song that livens up as much as today's feature is probably The Cup Bearers. If you're enjoying The High Road, be sure to check that other one out somehow. Otherwise, expect slower tempo with equally erratic melodies on the rest of Boom!.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/david-gibson-boom.html
iTunes | Amazon
Very strong, sound bass lines, together with David's zig-zagging trombone, make the brunt of the effort. The keys are top quality, the percussion is versatile, and the accompanying trumpet will add intricate details one rarely encounters on such an album. It's a real shame more of the release can't be admired without committing to it entirely.

Despite this, I recommend it. If jazz brass is usually to your liking, I'm sure this effort will fit snug with your collection. Expect no one to step across overpowered lines except for David, occasionally, as he strengthens his presence. It's all ends quite beautifully, really.

You can keep up with David Gibson at Facebook if you feel like catching him live, or need a reminder to buy the album later on.
When I first heard Boxed In's alt-pop I knew I'd be writing about them soon. I had little to go on, but I heard it, clear as day: talent. It's been a few months and I just got around to hearing the complete release yesterday. The most interesting detail to note was how the album swayed drastically from my expectations without altering the talent at all.

There's definitely no better place to start than the debut single, Foot of the Hill. It's easily the most commercially perfected production on the release, having equal parts freshness and hook. Most importantly, you'll get a real good idea of what the bass has to offer.



It just sticks. You can hear the pop, you can hear the monotone voice perfectly accompanying the pop percussion, and the repetitive bass working through it regardless. To keep you from boring you'll hear a grand selection of tiny details. It's like dining hors d'oeuvres in place of a meal.

And then there's the rest of Boxed In, a kind of swaying palm tree unsure of the weather surrounding it. I say that in place of both the album and the band itself, and it's important to know that just because it seems a little confused, by no means is it negative.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/boxed-in-and-their-self-titled-debut.html
iTunes
The album is 45 minutes of playful experimentation over a pop base. Where they've succeeded is creating that pop-experimentation without hurting the talent much, and in creating a strong and seemingly fearless playful air that separates the effort from dull expectations. Even when you leave it as background music, certain moments refuse to go unnoticed.

If you like the sound so far, you should probably give the entire album a listen on their Soundcloud stream. Once you've heard their varieties and come to understand their extremes, you might feel like at least sticking around for more. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter.
First to hook my ear early this week was Galimatias' remix of Tora's Jaigantic, a smooth and playful take on an already solid track. The resulting art piece creates memorable lapses of time surrounded by ideas that will leave the smooth-electronica junkie in a state of nirvana.



My first instinct was to immediately post this up on D4AM socials, but I held back. I let the music sink in and allowed curiosity to overwhelm me. That's when I decided to seek out Tora's Eat the Sun. This "EP" contains seven back-to-back quality songs of similar nature to today's remix. They're smooth, catchy, and transcendent when compared to the bulk of today's electronica.

Since pretty much every song is made of creative gold, it's hard to pick out that one track that's gonna win you over. Truth is any of them should, so why not just start at the beginning? Sugar Snap starts with a lull, and will kinda just snap into a groove. It's a lot of fun; check it out.



That perfect blend of smooth sugar and hyper activity is found all throughout the EP. You can feel the transitions, you can almost smell the inspiration, and it's all so very fluid. Nearly effortless, feeding off the idea of matured artists.

Six songs later and not only do you feel completion, but they reach a peak that leaves you eager for more. The very last track is even more wonderful within the album's context than it is on its own, and it's one awesome listen on its own.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/galimatias-remixes-tora.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
I'm late to this party, but this is one of the best chillwave efforts I've heard in months. It's concise, it explores, it shows range. If I could show more love for what's been done I might explode, but then my mood might have to do with that. I've been feeling for what these guys have so easily displayed. I've been feeling, I guess, passive-enthusiastic.

If you can afford half an hour of your time to feel relaxed, go ahead and give the album a stream when you can. If you haven't heard these guys before, you can catch older releases on their Bandcamp, and if you feel like keeping up with future releases you can find them on Facebook or Soundcloud.
New York based solo art-rock/post-rock project The Black Atlas has finally released his debut EP for the public, though I admit the release is a little out of the ordinary. The EP has been out for quite some time already, but has only recently been made available for download. More than anything, this tells me that the contents of this release are from the mind of a true artist. Whether or not that's a good thing is up to you entirely.

To start things off at the beginning, give The First Step a listen. It's the shortest of the three songs, which means it focuses more on the point or the sought emotion. It sets the mood pretty quick, and by the time the first riff ends you'll know exactly what you're in for.



His magic lies between the passive aggressive post-tone and the evolving musical composition. It's a stunning feat coming from an artist who taught himself how to play the guitar, bass, and piano in eight months. That also explains the seemingly generic tones you'll hear from time to time on the song and throughout the effort. It's still impressive, it just explains more than I'd like it to.

That being said, the remaining two songs are probably more musically elaborate than The First Step is. It's nothing extremely out of the ordinary, but it's a collection of good ideas put into a musical project along with some hooks and catchy lyrics.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/the-black-atlas-other.html
Stream/Download tracks: 1 | 2 | 3
I felt very differently about this album a month ago. With time I've realized it accommodates itself to you. You start acknowledging the more interesting details, especially with percussion and vocals, and that kinda helps the release stand out.

Keeping the release is a different story. It's all name-your-price, but each track is available for download separately. It's as if he didn't really want people to re-listen to his music. If you like what you hear so far, you can stream the effort in full at his Soundcloud.
Robin's Egg Blue have brought back the classic side of pop music, the side that isn't saturated by a literal pop sound in the beat. Their debut album, Circlefield, is real music. Genuine emotion, a connection to the listener, and an organic listening experience.

The Japanese born duo show their roots; sounds of J-pop heavily influence the end result, but the true twist comes with the incorporation of their variety of instruments with their fantasy-based backing composition. It's an awkward delight, often remaining a little too joyous.



They Do I Do technically starts the album off, it's the first complete musical experience you'll hear. It shows everything I'm talking about rather well; the culmination of sounds and the weaving of different styles to create an air of bliss.

And then it'll end with that electronic homage. It's not unsettling, it's just unexpected. What's even more unexpected is how they make it work at grand scale. Within the song it kinda fits, but as part of an album with occasional industrial references and other electronic twists, it feels complete. It creates the anticipation of a feeling that you still can't fully prepare for.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/robins-egg-blue-circlefield.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
The rest of the album will follow through similarly, though with less shocking twists separating their own songs. It feels like the greenest rain forests and magical natural moments were the inspiration for the music, while the lyrics slowly revolve around that backing musical magic. It is a contained, non-intrusive sound, that can just as easily be left playing in the background as it can leave your imagination to musings.

Go ahead and give this gem a stream. If you like it enough, you might want to consider the physical CD. If you considered that, you should definitely find them on Facebook and Twitter where you can learn all about their release show February 28th in New York City.
Remember Swedish grunge/psych-rock lo-fi band Dog, Paper, Submarine? It seems their front man, Martin Månsson Sjöstrand, felt like making a name-your-price solo effort. His project's debut EP runs four tracks in length, or about eight minutes of fuzz rock goodness.

Leading the effort out is Selfish Food, a quick yet elaborate single with various hints at larger possibilities. I think the punk aesthetic gets a bit lost here, but it's not really a punk effort. This is the first song that sneaks up behind you with homemade talent.


Stream/Download @ Bandcamp

The swaying mantra of an intro barely prepares you for the energy that closely follows. The song fits as a story better than it does as an album, but that isolated feeling from track to track also gives the album its own soul.

Whether or not that soul is to your liking is entirely up to you. Know that the only predictability is based on the fundamental lo-fi style, which means that the actual genre can change and mold itself just as well as the emotional whiplash you'll hear from one song to the next.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/this-heel-ep.html
Stream/Download @ Bandcamp
The contrasting styles aren't too exaggerated, but they are pronounced. You'll hear different ideas from a single mind and its imaginary friends. It makes for a really fun, really short listen. To be honest, I'm not sure it'd be as fun if it were any longer. Time will tell.

The great thing about a name-your-price release is you needn't worry trying it out. Give the stream a chance and see if it hooks you. If it does, go ahead and download it. Pay whatever you can if you can, and share it with your friends regardless of your purchase. If you feel like keeping up, check out Martin's blog and Twitter.
Piano isn't boring. Art Hirahara takes the organic foundation of subtle keys and harsh melodies, and blends them together with a modern jazz touch along with some friends. You'll be hearing Linda Oh on bass, John Davis on drums, and a lot of chemistry.

There's only one song made publicly available from the album, and it's pretty great all on its own. It's a quick bebop based jam that only lasts a good two minutes; but it'll give you a clear view at what can be in store, if nothing more.



Give this one a listen, and then maybe repeat the listen. Let your ear wander around all the talents forming one single piece, and that's what you can expect from the album. You can almost hear the joy, you can understand the relationship they have with each other and their instruments.

Now, this single is just misleading. It's the stuff just about everyone should enjoy, which means that this is just slightly more commercial than the rest of the album is intended to be. This isn't bad, it's just sad that this is the only song right now. Besides catching Art live, how will a true jazz aficionado understand the depth this man and his band can achieve?

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/art-hirahara-libations-meditations.html
iTunes | Amazon
I guess that's where I come in. You should expect a slightly more erratic display of talent, some fluid progressions, and a lot of relatively smooth original work. Out of the 11 tracks, Only Child by Bill Evans and Karatachi No Hana (traditional Japanese song by Kosaku Yamada) are the only non-original compositions.

If you enjoy the talent, this album is most definitely worth checking out. If you enjoy the pace, I'd recommend staying away. This is best left for wandering ears in search of new jazz, and for piano jazz enthusiasts.

Be sure to keep up with Art on Facebook and Twitter to show your support when you end up loving the effort.
Starting the new year with a batch of experimental instrumental post-rock is Mikie Daugherty and his most recent Nanaki effort. It's been over a decade since Nanaki's last LP, and you can tell with this listen that it's been worth the wait.

You'll be able to hear musical maturing between the tracks. This means that sure, some songs will contain an elevated level of talent, but the play from one song to the next becomes that much more exciting. This'll make moments of gold.


Stream/Download @ Bandcamp

I wouldn't say this is my favorite song on the album, but it's up there. It's a slow entrance, and it adds different elements just as slowly. It almost sounds like a quality DJ with true control over his guitar. By the time the song reaches its peak, it ends.

These auditory jump-starts are key to the album's success, though you shouldn't expect them all to be so abrupt. In truth there's many little kicks hidden in there for a more perceptive ear to capture and enjoy. If anything sounds wrong for you, it'll be between those displays of anomaly.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/nanaki-dying-light.html
Stream/Download @ Bandcamp
The album isn't perfect, but for an instrumental effort revolving around electric strings it is pretty good. At the very least it's worth a listen, and from there you can decide if you want it and how much you want it for. The Dying Light is a name-your-price release.

You can find out more about the album here, or keep up with any potential future ventures by checking out the Nanaki Facebook page.
I rarely look at a headache inducing name and think "wow, this is gonna be great", but N0RTHRN.LGHT5 makes the exception. Matthew Kammerer (aka Mkaio) came up with the trap/house/electronica alter-ego after losing the latest Mkaio project thanks to a computer crash.

The rise of this phoenix comes with a party-starting bang. One of my favorites ended up being 4U70M471C, which really isn't as heavy as some other songs on the effort, but still manages to pick a bone with the EDM movement.



It starts off half decent. It allows you sight at its own defects, allowing it to sway back and forth easily; until you get to feel the progression. The way the track weaves in and out of ideas is still being mastered in the digital music world, especially in the realms of more popular genres, but they're being pulled off here with grace.

I cannot take songs like 4U70M471C back-to-back for too long. The action of the melodies clutter up and leave a dull residue to wash it down. Luckily, N.L made an album with clear differences and multiple personalities. Just before something becomes too much, there's a change of pace.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/01/n0rthrnlght5-gr33n4ur0r4.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
I personally find the effort maybe two songs too long, but that's coming from someone that usually prefers the Mkaio side to Matt. Still, it's safe to say that it's a solid debut for N.L and a great buy for the active EDM fan. If Bandcamp's not your thing you can grab the effort on iTunes, but the stream comes with a true deal on Bandcamp.

If you like what you hear, keep up with it. You should check out the N0RTHRN.LGHT5 website, Facebook, and Soundcloud.
Psychologist is Iain Woods' debut EP. It's considered pop, or in his words "trash pop", but I feel it's more of a disgruntled rock that wants to make people dance. Regardless what you end up calling it, this is the stuff we want in our lives. Real music, genuine emotion, and enough talent to make the effort stand on its own.

We should start things off with his latest single, Fiend. It's one of my many favorites from the release, but it's also probably the best single the album has to offer. It just feels right. Just as soon as it's started it's hooked you. By the time the music actually starts you're already in the mood and everything will flow perfectly.



Now you might not expect the music the first time around, but that doesn't mean your mind won't. There's a preparation to the lyrics and the funky sway of things. The groove's functioning state is the proof that the idea has been mastered.

Most of the album functions similarly, just not always with such a sprint. The album as a whole is an even better listen; often leaving a barely noticeable trail of breadcrumbs for the listener. It inspires me to ask Iain, who or what is the psychologist here?

iTunes | Amazon
I also have to wonder what the story behind it is, and how important the portrayal is to the lyrics, but I'm sure that will gradually become clearer the more I listen to the album. If you like pop and the gritty way certain kinds of rock sound, I recommend the Soundcloud stream. Give it a shot and see if it suits you. You'll be able to dissect it and understand the influences with an understanding ear.

If you're not quite up for a purchase right now, but admit to the genius behind Psychologist, you'll at least want to keep up with the rising talent on social mediums. Find the Tumblr and Facebook for the latest.


Iain Woods was one of D4AM's Top Picks of 2015 for this effort.
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