On one hand you have the soul of a musician wandering an uncharted genre, you achieve purity this way. On the other, a lot of these songs sound like educated movie themes. They don't make music like this anymore. 


Some songs don't even have a dominant theme vibe, like the above Black is Black by Im & Dave. Now, you're getting a dated release stream here, but the actual reissue has a far superior sound quality. It must be a beautiful thing to listen to this on a brand new LP with today's technology.

I don't know about you, but my ears are ready.

As far as the track list is involved, everything is quality within the constraints of the era. I'd like to criticize the fact that they made a 10 track compilation album using only 4 artist variations, but it's 1970 and it works.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/08/money-maker-reissued-studio-one-reggae.html
LP/CD/MP3 @ Studio One
Who's on the album?
  • Im & Dave
  • Lloyd Williams
  • Jackie Mittoo
  • Coxone Dodd, aka The Boss

Studio One is kind of a founding father-label, a first stir, a helping push towards ska, reggae, and their sibling genres. This compilation is from a rising peak in Jamaican music history, released in 1970 with artists that directly influenced that relaxed tropical vibe we still can't get enough of.

Like what you hear?
Look. Them. Up.

Maybe it was better back then. Maybe they've fixed the flaws and created other ones. Debate aside, Money Maker is a feast for reggae loving ears.

You can stream the entire album on Spotify.
It takes snooping to find music like this.

Polish beat-maker Emapea came out with this effort early this year, I just now found it and I have Jazzy to thank for that. The track's been made a little easier to find than most of the album its on, and for good reason.

Jazzy gives you a clear view of the main theme, lounge jazz turned beats.



Seeds, Roots & Fruits sounds like an effortless nod at relaxed creativity. It's very intricate, though. Very well composed beats and samples all layered to sound as organic as possible.

It's important to note they're still beats so repetition is inevitable.

Sometimes the repetition is more noticeable, It's gonna depend on the vibe of the track and the jazz samples infused into it, but there's rarely a boring moment regardless.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/08/seeds-roots-fruits.html
Stream/Buy @ Cold Busted
I recommend starting at the beginning and letting it run. The album title comes into play a lot more dramatically than I was expecting, and that was both a nice surprise and something I wouldn't want to spoil further to anyone who's gonna make the most of it.

There are still some limited edition vinyls on the store. I'm gonna see if I grab one of those when I can, but there's also a couple of CDs and cassettes if that's more your thing. Cold Busted uses the Bandcamp platform to distribute their music, so the digital files can be downloaded in sweet lossless goodness if you can appreciate that.

Connect with Emapea on
Jaunt made a cute pop rock sound, applied it to an entire EP, and demonstrated that you can be fluffy and inspired at the same time.

It's not like it's impossible, and it's not that it hasn't been done before. It's just that when you listen to a track like Hello, the album's opener, you don't normally expect a dedicated work of art. It's a wonderful surprise when that's what you end up with.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/08/jaunt-chat.html

I can see Chat painted on a canvas in bright colors with emotionally complex silhouettes.


Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp

Lyrics and titles can help guide you, but it's so heavily reliant on how tangible a beautiful sound is, that I found myself lost in the effort before it was finished.

I didn't really love track 2, Gentle Reminder, but the way I see it, 5 out of 6 is amazing. Even if I wanted to nitpick, the fact that this is the kind of album that exceeds my already high expectations kinda makes up for a lot of non-existant flaws in the EP.

If you're feeling it the way I'm feeling it,
you might wanna connect with Jaunt on
Singer-songwriter Nao released this little gem a few days ago. After listening to Fool to Love and foolishly discarding the artist, it's now that I was able to embrace the entire album and understand what's going on.

Fool to Love was probably the best introduction I could have had, because its now months later and the track seared itself on my mind when it played on the LP.


I can almost smell the '80s influence, but it's very faint on Fool to Love. Other tracks like Inhale Exhale, Trophy, and Give Me A Little have a much more pronounced influence. Tracks like DYWM made me feel like modern Justice took a spin at producing something for her, and that's where the retro and the modern really meet. This is where Nao's coined wonky funk comes into play, and it's pretty much what the album's made up of.

What caught me was more than just music production with '80s influence done right. Her vocal melodies are pop, but classic pop. Pop with melody, with direction and grace. I have to love it because as someone who prefers production to vocals and verbal stories, she makes me enjoy listening.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/07/nao-for-all-we-know.html
iTunes | Vinyl & CD
Finally, tracks like Blue Wine show that she can be powerful while being delicate. And here, maybe, we see how the backing production can help influence her vibe. You can't have one without the other on this album, so I'm real curious to see how she plans to top it.

My interest if I were her?
Make this album resonate for years.

The material is all there, but a lot of the best tracks are already singles. At best she could pull three more out of it, And if you were wondering why you'd never heard her before, I don't know what to tell you, guys. I don't know how she hasn't boomed more. It's our own fault; listening to whatever else.

This is the good stuff.

Connect with Nao on
Electronic production duo Bells and Robes have been active on the D4AM radar for a few months now, and with this EP we can finally truly understand their direction. If you're in the mood for that everything-in-between kind of sound, you're in luck. How Could We Have Known? aims to capture an eclectic array of emotions and styles.

For the most part, it works really well.



My problem is specifically with the introduction and ending. It feels like a statement to me. I could be wrong, but I hear them say they're production that doesn't need vocals. Tracks one and five are the most instrumental and if they're trying to say they work instrumentals just as well, I have to disagree on this effort.

Tracks two, three and four could all be singles for their respective featured artists, and they could probably get a lot of airplay and a nice following, too. My hunch is that the duo know how to manipulate production to show the best of the featured artists, and in that sense I have to praise them.

It's not every day you get an entire EP with just the right amount of strong bass with relaxed electronica.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/07/bells-and-robes-how-could-we-have-known.html
Buy the album
I'm really excited about this duos future. I mean, it could go either way, it happens so often I'm forced to consider it, but the way this EP is layed out gives me extremely high hopes for a future effort.

If you're feeling it too, connect with Bells and Robes on
Wildflower is definitely headphone material.

I've read a lot of mixed opinions and I was curious what I'd think for myself. The way I see it, The Avalanches made an album that would've struck a lot stronger if they'd released it back when people heard albums all the way through.

Frankie Sinatra is a great single, but it sounds way better within the sound of the album than it does on its own.


The way the album works really sounds more like a recorded DJ mix than an album, so I put it on while some friends murdered hundreds of innocent people on some online first person shooter game. Wildflower fit incredibly well. I mean sure, occasionally you get a stare or reaction, the ambient occasions really place you in the story so it can be a little awkward for people not expecting it.

In the end I found that The Avalanches did their best to have a little something for everybody.
They succeeded.

Quality hip hop rhymes, songs that scream happiness, songs that move your slow-jam needs, and some extremes, too. Colours, for example, is the kind of track hipster Spongebob would listen to right before some trippy jellyfish catching.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/07/finally-listened-to-avalanches.html
iTunes | Vinyl
The first few days of its release I tried to find it on Spotify to no avail, and now after really getting the effort, I understand why. This isn't the kind of project you'd want to listen to with ads every few songs, and it's definitely not the kind of album you should listen to on shuffle. It's up for online stream now, though; just proceed with caution.

Connect with The Avalanches on
Solto Por Jeri is everything I hope for when presented with a Brazilian album. It's a music optimist's dream. It takes seconds before you hear beautiful melodies mixed with a variety of instruments for a nice breezy and dance-enticing tropical sound.

I mean the flute, and there's an accordion in there? It even goes full salsa on Elas.


There's something about the intro and the follow up that reeled me in. You get to hear some very choro 49 seconds and then you rush into Elas like that. It's beautiful.

I hear the traditional influences. You can hear it in the percussion, in  the style of vocal melody, and in the essence of the lyrics to each song. They've created this soundscape for mass appeal, without selling out or restricting their base. The sound will never be so foreign that you won't be able to sing and dance along, but they've also kept it at home. It's pretty cozy.

Stream/Download @ Bandcamp
If you're into it so far, check out their video of a live performance for É Proibido Cochilar. It shows they're pretty amazing live, too. If you're around their areas, they're doing live shows right now. Look up the dates on their website.

Connect with En Canto on
If you've been a fan of Tom Misch before this release, you've been a fan of his acoustic-based production. The modern beat over delicious licks has formed his signature sound. But Reverie is here to show you a glimpse of the future. Tom works amazingly as a singer/songwriter/producer, and this EP has been long overdue.


Crazy Dream gives you a clear idea of what you're getting, but nothing beats the full stream.
What am I missing, though?

Alright, the album starts with Crazy Dream featuring Loyle Carner. This is the only track where Tom's vocals are only heard for the chorus, but that doesn't matter because Loyle brings gold. I'm not sure there's a better hook on the EP, though the next few tracks sure try.

That one's followed by Follow, a fan favorite that sticks to you. Then you get I Wish, another acoustic beat produced exquisitely. Finally, Watch Me Dance ties everything together. From the mood of the album to those last confusing details. Watch Me Dance could explain Reverie on its own, but the experience comes from the complete listen.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/07/tom-misch-reverie.html
iTunes | Amazon
I've been singing these songs in the shower. I've had them roaming in my mind just as I wake up and right before bed. If this is indication of what the debut album's gonna sound like (Tom's words) then I can't wait for its release.

Connect with Tom Misch on
This is completely instrumental jazz fusion, with tons of talent, enough obvious improvisation, and more complicated themes than your every day coffee shop jazz album.

It's fronted by Ryan Carraher, guitarist, but I'd barely call this guitar jazz.


Equuleus does a great job of letting you know kinda-sorta what you're in for. The track you'll wanna pay close attention to is Valantis. You could call it bipolar; I find it honest. It's a rush of emotions that felt confusing initially, but later turns into one of those tracks you need. A blueprint of possibility to better acquaint you with what's in store.

You can just leave it on and do your own thing, that's the D4AM recommendation.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/07/ryan-carraher-vocturnal.html
Stream/Download @ Bandcamp
Vocturnal is for anybody who listens to jazz, which probably explains why it's listed as one of the best selling jazz albums on Bandcamp.
Whether you're a fan of dissecting the music, letting it play in the background, or anything in between, this album's for you.

It's a name your price release so do the guilty thing if you're short on time and grab it for free. After you've given it a listen, consider a donation. This is a sophisticated release and deserves recognition and support.

Connect with Ryan Carraher on

The band is
Ryan Carraher - Guitar
Steve Wilkinson - Drums
Evan Waaramaa - Keyboard
Brandon Wilkins - Alto Saxophone
Greg Toro - Bass
Two songs into the album and I knew it was a gem.

Psychedelic band Sugar Candy Mountain came out with the lead single and title 666 not too long ago, and it was a pleasure to the mind and ears. It's not every day you expect angst-driven metal and happen to hear a breezy enjoyable psychedelic indie rock.



If you're not in the mood for breezy rock with a fair share of psychedelic solos, maybe you should wait until you are. It's part of the appreciation, you have to admit they nailed the sound but you gotta give it its fair listen when you want that psychedelic indie sound.

I find most of the album extremely memorable. From Windows onward, just about every track has the D4AM blessing. Its replay value is about as high as listening to the effort for 6 hours straight, and though you could grow tired of a couple of tracks, most of the songs contain that top quality inspired-band production you hope for from a psychedelic album.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/07/sugar-candy-mountain-666.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp | iTunes
A few D4AM favorites include:
  • Windows
  • Change
  • Atlas
  • Tired
  • Time
  • Eye On You
And it's important to know the album is only 10 tracks long. Every track missing from the list deserves an honorable mention, especially 666 that works as a lure during those initial listens. Long term, 666 could've been developed better, but that's what live performances are for.

Speaking of live performances, they intend to spend the majority of the year touring the US and Europe. Make sure to connect with the band and catch them when they're near you.

Connect with Sugar Candy Mountain on
It's not every day you get something this good for free.

I'm not gonna say the album is perfect because it's far from it, but it does have a signature sound, it does an amazing job of hooking and reeling you in, and most impressively, it's music of conscience.



It starts right, but it won't take more than a few songs before you hear the first monologue. It's cute, and a great way of getting to know and connecting with Jamila and her music. It just gets old after a few listens. Actually, the only reason I wouldn't replay the project is because of the constant self-reflecting stories. They're incorporated directly onto a handful of songs, so you can't skip/eliminate it from your library once you get tired. As someone who's heard the album over a dozen times already, trust me, you can get tired of it.

I've spoken the worst of it, but there's a bright side.
Take a listen to the end of In My Name, you'll hear children chant a beautiful message. The way I see it, when a good album is so freely available, maybe the point is just for people to listen. Even once.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/07/jamila-woods-heavn-free-download.html
Free Download
We could put all that aside. We could have this same album with no monologues and no conscience, we could not hear a sentence in relation to black lives in our era, we could hear nothing about discrimination and injustice, and this would still be a pretty great effort.

It feels like it's natural to her. Her voice is beautiful and strong, and the production she sides with on this project has a relaxed aura to it most of the time. Even when it doesn't, it all works excellently on the album.

Give it a stream, take advantage of the free download. Share it with friends.

Connect with Jamila Woods on
Busty and the Bass just released an EP fit for live consumption.

Really, you listen to this little gem and it's great, production is stunning and talent is anything but lacking. What might be lacking is a hard-ass producer making sure the studio work sells, and though I much prefer listening to a performance live, that one detail is the only place where I can acknowledge the album needs some work.



They work around it!

Stages (I Don't Know Why) is one of the catchiest songs on the album, and it's also their lead single. It shows what they're really made of, from the funk soul backgrounds to the heavy brass imprint, all with their signature Busty sound.

Stages is one of my favorites, but I also really love their Macy Gray cover for I Try. We posted it on socials a while back, and Macy Gray herself praises the version. The video is pretty great, but I'm happy the song can be bought on this EP.
http://www.d4am.net/2016/07/busty-and-bass-lift.html
iTunes | Amazon

I recommend leaving yourself a little reminder for this one.
Give it a stream once on Spotify or wherever you find it, but come back for it. You'll be surprised all the lyrics and melodies you'll have embossed in your mind.

It's that hook and their energy that I think makes this one of those albums best understood in person. You want to share this with other people who get the music, you want to hear this when the band is feeling it for you. Trust it.

Connect with Busty and the Bass on

I felt connected. You know when you listen to a song that first time and it captivates you? It's not necessarily an amazing first listen but you want it again, and pretty soon you wanna keep listening to it in the future. It's the dreamy keys and the thick synths combined with those beautiful smokey vocals.



The blend, especially with Miranda Realino's jazzy vocals, is a success for the dream electronica sound, and it was everything I was hoping for from the EP, How Could We Have Known. Fortunately, it's not just this thick airy ideal, but a blend of chilled electronics with a number of friends lending support and character to the effort.

You can stream (some of?) it on Soundcloud.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/06/bells-and-robes-dreamin-track-feature.html
I don't know where you could buy this
The duo are currently working on a future album that won't be out until at least the second half of next year. Enjoy this on the meantime, get used to the guests and the chill/bass driven sounds, it's to be expected for that future release.

Connect with Bells and Robes on
Off The Ground is Aaron Cohen's latest release. It's produced entirely by Kemal and the combination of both their talents is why this hip-hop EP deserves your attention. Think dark bass influenced music production with honest quick-witted rhymes.



The more I listen, the more attached I get to the tracks. Still, I know a lot of people that wanna get to what's good immediately, so a few D4AM track picks include:
  • Off the Ground
  • A Cosmic Sense of Humor
  • Grey Soul
It might take a little more hip-hop appreciation to understand the depths Aaron's exercising, but for the most part these tracks are good for anybody who likes rhymes and urban moods.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/06/aaron-cohen-kemal-made-solid-ep-stream.html
iTunes | Amazon
I think it's safe to say this album couldn't be closer to expressing its mood with any other duo. During those few times where Aaron's lyrics allow you to drift off, Kemal is right there making sure you want to listen to what's next. When Aaron goes a little too far with impeccably rapped truths, Kemal is there making sure the production is up to par.

What I'm getting at is it's an impressive EP.

It's eight tracks long at just 24 minutes in length, and its replay value is high. Stream it (Off The Ground is available on Spotify) and you'll see what I mean. Every replay is giving in to your Aaron Cohen addiction. Enjoy.

Connect with Aaron Cohen on
What do you get when you mix modern R&B with a quality urban background? And who are The Pheels to be presenting something like that?



likeWise is an enchanting experience. It's honest, and it sometimes coats ugly truths with quality production to make you fall into it. Thick bass lines, smooth musical transitions, and lyrics with nods to some amazing inspiring talents. A personal favorite example are Tupac lines on RnS.

There's a couple of tracks I'm not crazy about, but the rest of the EP has so much replay potential that I started singing along anyway.

I think they really nailed it with the track list.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/06/the-pheels-likewise.html
iTunes | Amazon
It works in a way that the tracks compliment each other. The result is an EP you want to stream all the way through. It's not the same listening to your favorite tracks without their surroundings, though the better tracks can definitely hold being played all on their own.

So, who are The Pheels?

I don't know, man. Atlanta natives making fresh music for a very wide audience.  I recommend remembering who they are, likeWise feels like it's just the beginning.

Connect with The Pheels on
This gem of an EP has been out for about 10 days now, and I've been listening to it since day one. Six tracks make up the list, and all of them connect with me. Novaa is great on her own, she'll offer lyrics with depth and beautiful melodies. Moglii focuses on production, smooth, natural, relaxed, and more often than not, upbeat.



Before Down Under, the German duo were solo acts, but it's not every day separate acts debut together, and it's even less frequent that it works so well. Just listen to the title track open the EP for you.

You'll get it.

It's wise to roam about with the music, leave the stream on a while. Different songs strike differently at different moments. As you pay attention, and if you like awkward electronic music, I'd have to recommend Same for an early listen.

Same features excellent bass and sampled vocals.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/06/moglii-novaa-down-under.html
iTunes
I hope there's more. This EP is a great way to spread their individual talents out into the world, and when you go to Moglii or Novaa's Soundclouds, you'll hear they don't really need each other. It's such a nice combination, and the EP is so well done, that I'd love to see what a full length effort would sound like anyway.

Connect with Moglii on

Connect with Novaa on
I was hesitant. I've been focusing on Butterscotch's Youtube videos for a while now, and the way I saw it the EP could either grow into something stunning or remain an unpolished gem.

I wasn't let down. The beatboxing singer-songwriter provides growth, beautiful melodies and trip-hop attitude.



The magic of it is something doesn't sound like everything you hear in a weekly basis, but it's also hard to put your finger on it. Think of a clean R&B sound, and then think of the beat boxing completely matching with some great musical production. Think of silky vocals making it seem easy, and you'll have an idea of what the EP is made up of.

What's best, the entire EP flirts in the same kind of quality. Nothing ever goes wrong, there's always something to pay attention to. That's not to be without some really stand-out tracks, but the reason I find preference over some songs feels purely biased.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/06/butterscotch-scotch-tapes-vol-1.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
I recommend the stream, it's quick and will most likely bend to better suit your day. You'll see.

Connect with Butterscotch on
I wasn't impressed at first, but after a few tracks (and then a few replays) you start to get where the production is going. It was only after I started to admire the work that I found out Blue Book took two and a half years to create.

What is it?



Tor's produced a very relaxing, almost ambient trip-hop. Unless you consider sampled or minimal vocals otherwise, the album is completely instrumental. Some might say it's excellent background music, but I think the album is much more attractive on its surface.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/06/tor-blue-book.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
If you wanna skip around a bit, a few personal favorite tracks include the lead single Days Gone, Myth, and Sunyata, but all the other tracks hold their magic, too. I realized upon re-inspection that much like a good movie, you go back and hear different things in different ways with each listen. Hear it out at least once and you'll see what I mean.

Connect with Tor on
What are we listening to?

Jasmine Rodgers is a singer-songwriter who's really good with folk and alt-rock. Her latest double A-side Sense / Icicles displays a little bit of both worlds, and the Icicles remix is there to demonstrate her voice suits multiple genres excellently.


Icicles isn't really my favorite track, but I admire how well produced everything is. I really do mean everything. From the music to the video to the bare poetry of her lyrics. Icicles was a decent start, and I just barely like it more than the drum and bass remix (which I still recommend you check out.)

Then there's Sense.



Sense is exactly to my liking. It's the alt-side of her music baby, and I personally felt it to be a lot more contagious. I'm listening to intricate acoustic work, pop fundamentals, and an excellent segue into Icicles.

I think I love that her music fits together. It's two songs, but it's still like fitting a puzzle together with random colored pieces.

If you like what you hear, these tracks will be out June 17th, and there should be a full album release sometime in September.

Connect with Jasmine Rodgers on

It started with potential when I heard singles here and there with solid rhymes.

Then I finished it. It starts off wirh Morning Sex, a three minute intro to the iiiDrops experience. I thought I was about to be stunned. You'll hear it. It's quick wit and educated rhymes over layers of experience in a single incredibly well produced song.



About halfway through I started to feel it getting stale. I was wrong in a sense, but the idea of it deteriorating somehow is something I still hear pretty clearly.

The mixtape is basically a lot of potential and a few pretty good ideas, wrapped with his own experience and understanding.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/06/joey-purp-iiidrops.html
For the most part he does an amazing hype job. Listen to tracks like Photobooth and you can feel it out for yourself. It's those moments that build the iiiDrops base. Everything else is mostly solid with a lot of room for greatness.

I'm not sure where I stand. I love the hype but I'm not feeling the lyrics of substance. I really don't like the moaned verses, but they work to the mixtape's advantage so I sucked it up and made peace with everything else.

Maybe the point went over my head. Maybe I'll listen to my favorite tracks in a couple of months and realize the iiiDrop references or something, or maybe nothing happens until Joey combines wit, charisma and substance on a future release. I'm ready to find out.

Connect with Joey Purp on

Ever since I remember Yuna, I've respected her.
I just couldn't finish an album until Chapters.

Changes in production style make her latest stand out. It feels more modern, with deep bass and modernized RnB influences to balance the harsh pop base her style was built on. Balancing both worlds really well is her latest single Crush featuring Usher. Check it out.


I thought Usher was gonna hype the track more, honestly.

The fact that he kept it at mostly Yuna's vibe was the first impressive shot to me. The rest of the song and its dreamy downtempo goodness works well all on its own. It also features the weakest point of the album, which is the common every-track-is-a-romance, but it works, especially if you listen to the deluxe version of the album.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/05/yuna-chapters.html
iTunes | Amazon
The Malaysian singer-songwriter always had vocals and creative song-writing to her advantage, and it doesn't fall short on Chapters. The three extra tracks on the deluxe version give the album a completely different spin that I can't recommend enough. It goes from ending on a sentimental ballad, to ending on a sentimental truth. She goes in depth talking about how she got to where she is and the struggles she faced along the way on Time. I highly recommend at least that song if you're liking what you're hearing so far.

While you're checking the Deluxe out, check out another personal favorite, Places to Go. I'm not sure how, but lacing a heavy hip-hop beat immediately after the album's original ballad ending is the perfect way to slap you awake again. It almost makes you wanna replay the album.

Connect with Yuna on
The ugly truth is B for the Beast is the only reason I heard this album. This, The Switch Album, isn't  even a bad album, it's just lost in a sea of indie pop-rock albums with psychedelic twists. I like it because I can go to the library and play The Switch and I know what the mood's gonna be, and they have more than just a couple of great tracks. Even this album has some pretty awesome material in there.



Golden nugget #1 for me was Hangtime. Check that one out if you get the chance.

So what are the Norwegian pop-rockers offering us?

I thought they fixed their sound from their prior We're Fooling No One, Really, what they're doing is modernizing. They've found their own indie sway full of dreamy melodies and airy vocals. It works really well for them, I just have a personal affection for their psychedelics.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/05/the-switch-album.html
iTunes | Amazon
There are other tracks you can't stream on their Soundcloud yet that I really got into.  I can't help but sing along to Girlfriend Material. Gilgamesh is a decent opener, though, and if you like it you might want to look into She Is the One and Narrow It Down.

I wish it were more particular in style. The album's catchy, it's running circles in my mind, but it's music I'm used to, or music that despite being brand new, I hear often. But maybe it's just me.

Connect with The Switch on
I could nit pick, but if you're being honest about every important aspect, it's a solid hip-hop album.

Maybe the quality of the content could reach a higher level, but you gotta be realistic about these things. You get about two lyrically fulfilling hip-hop albums a year if your standards are up there with mine. This isn't one of those albums for me.



It doesn't feel like a guilty pleasure, though.

Actually, it feels just right. It's just catchy enough to rap along if your lungs can take it. It's got enough artistic variety to keep the haters at bay, too. We're talking about a giant crew of musical talent being featured on just about every other song. It looks ridiculous on paper but it works out pretty smooth.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/05/chuck-inglish-blended-babies-ev-zepplin.html
iTunes | Amazon

Blended Babies killed the production on this effort. If you're gonna analyze every track you'll notice the work put into each beat is excellent, but they also know how and when to pull away. Nothing is ever overdone, giving it a classic feel while maintaining all those great production tricks they've got up their sleeves. Just wait 'til you hear those instrumental sections; it's beautiful.

What about Chuck Inglish?

Well, he was exactly what I was expecting him to be. Really good. You can't deny the quality of his rhymes, the wit and charisma. Again, I could nitpick and say it didn't exceed expectations, but he set his own bar high enough. The album works.

Connect with Chuck Inglish on

Connect with Blended Babies on
I try not to write negative reviews

It’s a system. I like a variety of sounds so I focus on the best and worry less about the worse, and in the process of not worrying I come across hundreds of musical efforts. Somewhere in that pile of efforts was Voluma. I paid attention.

Voluma felt like it was in the worry-less area. There was a few good tracks on the effort but the album itself never caught me. I discarded the effort. It’s a week since I heard it now, and I hate the thought that I’m missing out on Mar just because the album isn’t up to my admittedly high standards.


Mar is fucking beautiful.

It’s got all kinds of rock and ancestors in there. Beach sways and a hint of bossa really engraved in. It feels like peace. It’s not pushing you anywhere but you wanna sway with it.

Mar translates to Sea. If you’re taking it literally, the song is an ode to how the sea cleanses and relaxes, together with the horizon sun revitalizing the soul. It’s a song about distance from the asphalt jungle.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/05/mar-by-leon-larregui.html
iTunes | Amazon
There are other good songs on that album. If I heard the album over I’d probably be glad I did. But the only one I couldn’t stand not hearing again was Mar. You can check it out yourself and see if there's something else for you by streaming it through Spotify.

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And if you really like his voice, find him with Latin-Grammy award winning Zoé.
At first I thought maybe it was deep. It's so complicated it becomes confusing, and sometimes the point of the confusion is so minuscule you might wonder if it was worth listening and understanding.

It's overly complicated rap, but it sounds really cool.


So why did I stick around?

Raf Riley. We're talking quality back-to-back music production. It's that dark English stuff, from the grimey floor to smooth transitions. He made progressive beats that help AV's more poetic moments flow in the right light. Regardless of what the point of a song is, it sounds the way you know it's supposed to.

Together they made a better than average album. Understanding everything lyrically definitely won't be for anybody (Genius helps.) It helps that you can focus on transitions and general ideas. I love the way certain tracks introduce the up-comers.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/04/avelino-fyo.html
iTunes | Bandcamp
After a while I got into understanding the Avelino style and point of view. I really like when one listen is enough for me to understand the whole picture, but this guy's cryptic. The puzzle becomes fun, even if the finished result is nothing spectacular. 

I would have loved if the point of a particularly difficult track were something equally as complicated. But this is a good start. It's a lot to ask for, but maybe a future album will complete the circle I was hoping for.

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Do you know why I love Karikatura?

I mean I thought it was their use of Latin spice at a time where those influences are pretty much dying. Eyes Wide showed me that capability and I'll never forget my seat-dancing. Now it's something else, though.

Now it's about focusing on sounding good, and how it just so happens that their dominant inspirations are Latin.


Alright, so that first track is the EP's lead single and it's a great start. It features Akil B. Strange on rhymes, and it paints a darkened powerful picture to go with the theme. In fact, the entire EP is focused heavily on justice (or lack thereof) and the realities many of us have to face.

It's an extremely political effort, and its production does nothing but support it.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/04/karikatura-speak-now.html
Bandcamp | iTunes
A defining moment for me was with Miesto. For a while I kept thinking it went with the Latin theme. The music fit, the style worked, but I couldn't quite pin those vocals. After considering Portuguese and kicking myself about how wrong that guess was, I found that it's Russian lyrics with extremely Latin music.

And it works!

Dima Kay (think guitarist) has roots in Ukraine, which ends up making a Latin beat with the subject of identity struggles in the Ukraine, sung in Russian. Saying it feels almost as fun as hearing it.

As for the EP as a whole, it's bitter-sweet. I think it's overly lengthened with the addition in the end of a technically longer but censored radio edit of Ghost Town. The production for each track works wonders as an overall listen, though.

If you're looking for something a little less serious and a little more fun, they recently started shooting the Suitcase Series while they're out on the road. So far, covers include Stevie Wonder, Major Lazer, and Aaliyah.


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Consistency.

Captain Supernova has been a consistent force of retro electronics with the modern production of today, all wrapping his signature space travel stories. In his latest, Doors of Perception, I hear a lot of vocal jazz incorporation, and he's managed suiting it together with his synth base quite wonderfully.


Doors Into Doors leads you into the album, and if you're new to Captain Supernova it makes for a majestic entrance. Everything is a little too classic, though, and as an instrumental track I feel it does little to explain the fresh direction he's taking.

Skip to track 2, Only One

Only One is a personal favorite because it shows a lot of flexibility. It shows the direction and reminds us which album we're listening to. I look at it as the defining moment in the album's style.

http://www.d4am.net/2016/04/captain-supernova-doors-of-perception.html
Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
There's seven tracks in all, and only two of them are instrumental. All vocals are female, which pretty much goes best with the style, I think. I'm curious to know how male vocals would fit into the CS style, but I'm in no rush to find out, either.

I'll take whatever the Captain dishes our way and feast with it.

There's also a really cool music video for Searching for Forever I recommend you watch if you're digging the sounds. I have a hope that it's the first in a series, and that we're all in for the Captain's more visual side of his story.

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