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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I noticed GoldLink at a time where I was starting to give up on hip hop. There's talent out there, but the artists that are actively improving the craft are so few that you start to grow tired of the genre. Out of nowhere you get someone like this, someone who knows what to sell and what to keep untainted, someone who can adapt to the right now without having to act it.

New Black is, in my opinion, one of the most well-rounded songs on the album. I love this album because the musical production is top notch and the GoldLink style is unique in talent, but this track shows that he's got a serious side and something to say. The object of his inspiration doesn't have to be sexual or mainstream in order for him to express himself, and I can't help but admire that.



If you follow D4AM on socials you might have seen the more commercial side when he released Dance On Me. That's where the magic started brewing for me, and its because of the songs with learning material that I grew attached to the artist.

The album is mostly commercial in the sense that the general production and aim of the album is to talk about romantic encounters. Musical production, lyrical style, and chunks creativity, are the main reasons I could overlook the bulk of the content.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/goldlink-and-after-that-we-didnt-talk.html
iTunes | Amazon
Subjects that everyone raps/sings about usually bore me, this is the main reason commercial music doesn't have a hold on me. At least for this effort; the way he writes these common ideas is extraordinary. The talent shown displays potential, and though I can't wait to see more, I'm also mentally prepared to squeeze the juice out of AATWDT until that future project arrives.

If you're a fan of these more abstract lyricists on the rise and of quality modern production in your hip hop, you're gonna love this effort. You can stream it in full on Spotify, and you can hear a couple of extra tracks on his Soundcloud.

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I've been a fan of Emancipator's trip-hop-y work for a while now, and I'm happy with the changes and ideas on his latest, Seven Seas. I just wasn't expecting any of it. I wasn't expecting a mostly ambient-influenced album, not this intensely, and I also wasn't expecting the variety of blended genres.

My favorite example of the blended genre is with Oasis. It was when I heard that song that some more obvious influences clicked with my ear, and it was after realizing that that I found the much more diverse side of the album.



I hear reggae. Now, it's real easy to just skim over that thought because it's just reggae. Electronic artists use reggae influences all the time, so what's the big deal? It's impressive because the genre doesn't become reggae at any point. It remains downtempo electronica, you can hear the influence, it's obvious, but the sound is 100% Emancipator.

Though by no means is Oasis the worst track on the album, it also doesn't over-hype it much. Seven Seas is the kind of album that teases the very edge of beyond-amazing potential, and kinda just stands there with its seductive aura. This is all just an elaborate way of saying that I wish there were stronger moments scattered through the effort.

 http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/emancipator-seven-seas.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp | iTunes
I find it molds and sets to a somewhat specific mood. It feels to me like a relaxed but productive state, or an environment free of stress but not Utopian. Mix that with genres and musical ideals from all over the globe, and you start to see why the album's attractive.

If you like that kind of downtempo feel, I highly recommend the stream either on the above Bandcamp link, or on Soundcloud.
Twin producers Two Short released their Torch EP which some people are saying is their most accessible work to date. I'm just sitting there like, there is so much more to say about the six tracks that compose the trap album. Granted, there is a lot of room for improvement, but the ideas they're carrying are different. It's not necessarily the most original electronic EP out there right now, but it shows aspirations of quality, and I don't think it takes much to notice that.

There is no "best" track on the album, the track list is almost an ideal evolving shade of melody. The lead single, Still Got It, is pretty great on its own, so if you're in a rush go ahead and start off with that one. Otherwise, you'll find you can appreciate the album a little bit more if you hear it the way they laid it out for you.



Again, I definitely see room for improvement. Some tracks have the right idea in place but don't work as well with their neighbors as I think they were aiming for. It's nitpicking but there's a lot of competition out there, and even so, this effort's showing me they're capable contenders.

Charisma, I think, is what they need an extra dash of. Something to make each song pop out without the necessity of resorting to pop. If you get attached to the effort, if you hear it through and let it grow on you, it doesn't become a guilty-pleasure listen. It's meant to be comfortable.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/two-fresh-torch.html
iTunes | Amazon
Follow through with the stream and you'll hear the ups and downs yourself. Replay the stream if you're doubting a bit but still feel attracted to the music, you'll probably latch onto it and realize the potential. Worst that could happen is you become a fan. If you do, connect with them on socials.

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Grupo Fantasma came out with this Latin multi-genre album just a bit ago and I personally feel that this one is weird. Weird doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. Weird can be awkward, sometimes more intriguing than usual, and in this case, a lot of fun. I can't say I love the album in its entirety, some of those weird dips lose me, but I applaud them for what they've done because aside from being weird, what they're doing is also ridiculously difficult to pull off.

Roto el Corazón was my first listen, and it was a great first listen because it prepares the rest of the album pretty well. The single has some awkward moments, but it also carries that slightly progressive flow that makes you wanna shake.



The other publicly available single is Sólo un Sueño which might be worth checking out if you're curious about the variety. If you dig it, you might wanna find the album stream. I found it on Spotify but I'm sure it's elsewhere on the internet.

What I ended up loving about the album is that there's songs on there that are way better than Roto el Corazón. The Afro-percussion is of quality, the Latin influences are varied and strong, where it starts to lose me is with the lyrics, but that's mostly because I understand Spanish and I see how different these lyrics can be when compared to the genres they're bringing back to life.

http://www.d4am.net/2015/11/grupo-fantasma-problemas.html
iTunes | Amazon
I put Problemas somewhere between albums you need to hear, and efforts that could have been significantly better with a little more insight. To the average listener this is one of those catchy albums that you don't wanna play too often, but you love to put on regardless.

Find it on Spotify or wherever you might find it, enjoy the stream, become a fan, and support them with a purchase if it feels right.

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