I was ready to ignore this release. To be completely honest, even though I've loved T-Z's production since I've known of it, I wasn't sure how much farther it could be stretched. It's always a pleasant surprise when your expectations are beaten.

Teck-Zilla upped his game with this release. It's not an ode to Michael Jackson, it's a view on the Jackson kids' upbringing, and it just so happens that MJ takes a lot of that spotlight.

Listen to it start and consider the effort put into the details. Maybe it was luck, maybe the bits and samples were random— nah. From the very name of the title, a Jeru the Damaja line from "Whatever" that can be heard on J.J. Kids' Theme, to Nas' Illmatic clips in Human Nature, and even the sliced up interviews placed together to let us see where the inspiration came from; the entire effort, all ten tracks, were very precisely put together for a reason.

If you can't respect what's been done, look away. Don't ruin it for those of us that appreciate a fresh idea when it's been blanketed by quality hip-hop production.

Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp
It's ten tracks but it's a pretty short and extremely addictive listen, at least for those of us that appreciate a good beat. These beats are packed with details, though, making it a little awkward to imagine with outsider rhymes.

all of T-Z's instrumental work has that better-than-beats feel to it.

So maybe it's time I appreciated him more. Son of Sade still plays regularly in my library, and I do get excited when I hear he's been producing something. If you're getting into the same fan-grounds as I am, you might want to consider tagging along.

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What does indie electro-rock sound like?

Or what is it supposed to sound like? I'm not sure what I was expecting but it's weird, and not because it's an animated band. There's some classic pop influences in there that shift things about, and there's a synthesizer base that gives a sound of the future without sounding too '80s.

It's not as easy to explain as it is to listen, so give the lead single a shot. It's When It's Tasty and you might want to consider full-screening the video.

It's easy to hear someone say animated band and assume you're gonna hear something like Gorillaz. Just, no. You can be original and hide yourself or use a mask to better portray your music. The way this album works, feeding off other artists to complete the EP, being physically anonymous is great help.

Weird is still the fundamental component, though. Just the same as watching a 2D face on a legitimate human body, the music will have concepts and ideas that don't seem like they could fit, but do in the end.

There's one track I don't appreciate, it comes at the very end of the album, and it's titled Doin Stuff. The title has a lot to do with it for me, too. It doesn't seem very creative. The music isn't that bad, the lyrics are of better than average quality, but I get stuck with the fact that the rest of the album is pretty elaborate and then this literally says doin stuff during the chorus. I feel like I'm singing along to a children's adventure program when I sing along, and I can't help singing along.

This is pretty funny because the track immediately preceding Doin Stuff is one of my favorites. Theme for Theo is the most out-of-the box track on the EP, guiding the listener to understand the why of the album.

It's refreshing to hear an album made purely for the music.

The band's lead, Matt White, is responsible for the purity, seeing as the composition, musical arrangements, and lead vocals are all him, all the time.

The two other permanent members, Jack McGehee and Rusty Dodd, are responsible for maintaining that image with some amazing talents and individual spices.

The EP is due out February 25th, but you can grab a free track by visiting their website. You can also stream the effort in full on Soundcloud, and just in case that drops off the face of the earth upon album release, it will be available for stream on Spotify and Tidal.

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It's the debut, so who are Dirty Revival? Who are they to be manipulating what you hear, all of a sudden? Alright, the band is solid for one, they're the ones incorporating funk into the mix, and Evan Simko is awesome aside from that because he plays the guitar and spins rhymes really well.

But the soul, at least for this album,
is 90% Sarah Clarke on lead vocals.

Watching her on their debut music video is like going back in time and experiencing soul the way it was meant to be. Listening to her on the album is even more fulfilling. And it's not like she carries anybody, she doesn't have to, the entire band is amazing, but she sticks out, and we as listeners can't help but notice.

This track as a single is amazing. It's the first music video, technically the first single, and it's the first track on the album. This is the first time you get to know them, and it does an excellent job. Cons? Well it's a little overproduced, but so is the album at times. It tries to overshoot but that's not possible, they hit where they aim, they just don't have to try so hard to impress. They are impressive.

Since you're not going to know that right away, they overcompensate, slightly, with the kind of track that literally tells you they won't be satisfied until you're in the party mood. Some of us need that push, especially in person. With charisma and musical talents combined, Dirty Revival will guide you to a place you'll want to stay in.

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The band's artistry also flows outside of the actual music. The video even holds a chunk of the last song at the beginning, making it so much more pleasing for someone who knows what's going on. As someone who knows what's going on, I can also say that last song is just as impressive as the first track, ending things on a feel-good note so you'll crave more as they finish.

 Also bananas and jokes and things. They're so human they're hard to hate. You can try, really, go for it, because they're gonna grip you from somewhere. Be it with their songs of criticism, their stories, the individual talents involved, I mean,

how often do you hear a guitar solo on the same track with vocal soul?

It's not the norm and it doesn't seem they're interested in being normal. I see a bright future for the band, and an amazing future for Sarah, albeit more distant. We're in no rush.

If you dig the sound you'll wanna give the full album a stream on Spotify or keep up on socials.

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I couldn't determine what their original factor was, or even if they had one. The psych-pop duo use dream-genre influences to ease listeners into their sound, and know to distort the basics just enough for you to set them apart.

The album was released back in November, though. The reason they've been circling back to our ears is because of the latest music video. Robert Crispe is responsible for a beautiful stop motion display that took about a year to make.

We recommend watching it full screen.

Die Slow is a nice track but it's far from my favorite. It's hard to compete with the video, though. I think my preferred track is Sleeps Well On Knives which also has a video you should check out. The track shoots closer to pop and seduces you into enjoying the odd little details.

There's only six tracks on the album so if you like those two, the stream should be an inevitable yes. It's a quick and enjoyable listen for those more focused on dream-pop, while maintaining enough psych influence for lovers of more classic rock sounds.

Songs like In My Labyrinth Mind show you how easily they can make you dance in your seat, while just about every track on the album shows off peculiar use of bass and vocal melodies. That's their hook, really.

That and that they want you to grab the album for free.

No really, they want it. Go download it, pay anything if you're willing and able, but if you like it at all go snag it before they change their minds. Tell your friends, but be quick, it was supposed only supposed to be free for a week and that week ended three days ago.

Stream/Download @ Bandcamp
I mean, maybe it has to be free in order for masses to pay attention.There's a few other bands out there with very similar sounds. Having an album this solid might not be enough to win new listeners over. After you've downloaded the effort, after you've replayed it three or four times (easier than you'd think) you start to grow attached with what defines their sound.

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The idea of avant-jazz suits this effort well. Sometimes it sounds a little more like excellently composed pop, other times it sounds like a new industrial-rock sub-genre.

It's the jazz that defines the effort, though. Its free form, abandoning the idea of pre-guided train of thought.

That might be a little awkward for some people to adapt to, but that doesn't matter. If you take the time to listen to the album in full, you'll see for yourself how they make the process easy for the listener. It's a soft caress of the ear at first as they plant the seed. By the end of the album you'll have reaped the fruit.

That first track, The Girl, The Beat, is the most misleading track on the album, and probably one of the more catchy tunes on there. It doesn't get this playful and at ease again, but it builds on components that this song sets in stone. This song is the seed.

The rest of the album can grow into dark gloomy corners or experimental and often unexplored areas. Immediately after the first track you'll hear the far more difficult Sugar Drops, and immediately after that you'll get to one of my favorites, Electric Eel.

Stream/Buy @ Bandcamp

Electric Eel is like taking jazz and all the years and hard work it's taken to play with sounds, and then playing with that.

It's one of those songs that really allowed me to understand what they would be capable of through the album.

I have to admit there's a chunk of songs that sound nearly entirely garbled to me, and that's probably due to the lyrics and the message of each song. When you put it all together and analyze the big picture, it might just be part of the album's message, and it might be crucial to the Moonlit Bang Bang harvest.

Finally, just before the album ends, you get a Hendrix cover. It's probably the oddest most original version of Manic Depression I've ever heard. I wouldn't say I prefer it to the original, but only because it's an entirely different piece.

The album is almost literally bittersweet to me. Between the tangles that I need to listen and re-listen to to understand, and the excellently produced jazz base, there's a constant back and forth playing after I hit play. I just understand already that it gets better with each passing listen.

If you get it, you'll want to tag along on Facebook.
Odds are, even if you do (and you probably don't) it's been a while since you acknowledged it. The truth is, by what I've heard, that they gave the era's funk and psychedelic base a very soulful alternative view.

Why are we talking about this now, all of a sudden?

After a decade of research, Now-Again Records have come up with two albums and books to bring life back to a dead genre. Our first look off the compilation is below.

It's Ify Jerry KrusadeEverybody Likes Something Good

It's really good, but in that classic way. In that way where you know their resources and knowledge was limited, but they did the best and it was good. The same kind of good that came out of Jamaica's reggae scene for the very same era, because of the same kind of soul and love for music.

The best part is there's more, your awaiting dose of '70s Nigerian rock is just a few months away.

You'll be able to grab each volume as either a hard cover book with a CD, or a double LP with a soft cover booklet within a 12 x 12 book holder. Vol. 1 should be out April 15, with the second volume coming through late in May.


Wake Up You! The Rise and Fall of Nigerian Rock, is gonna be one of those key collectors items with enough unheard quality in it to start making minuscule changes in the music of our day to day lives. I can't wait to hear and read more, just to confirm it.

If you don't think you'll remember to check back by April 15th, or if you want to keep yourself as updated as possible in fear of somehow forgetting this exists, your best bet would be to follow Now-Again on socials or their feed.

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It's usually difficult trying to define an entire album through just one single, but this time, on Gavlyn's Make Up For Your Break Up, it's extremely easy.

The single is Black Cherry Kool-Aid and it's produced by Sef One and Lou Koo. The production is pretty awesome, it takes you by the ear and drags you through an elaborate modern hip-hop setting. Then there's Gavlyn, an excellent rhymes-woman who rhymes so well that following her train of thought is usually a little more difficult than my tastes would prefer.

From a gender-centered point of view, this is an excellent release. It sets the bar high for female rappers and gives them something of quality to aspire towards.

There's an awful lot of male rappers out there that can't do what Gavlyn does.

I'm not sure if the release is trying to push the male listening public away, or trying to get them to understand some common hardships of your every day woman. This isn't a big deal, it's not difficult to listen at all if you like rhymes to begin with, but the way the lyrics and interludes present themselves, sometimes, could be a double edged sword.

Buy the album
I think the best part of the album is how diverse it is. Hip-hop lovers can divide themselves by the quality of the lyrics, quality of subject matter, quality of music production, and by the voice of the rapper.

Make Up For Your Break Up is about as well rounded as you can be when considering each of those factors.

In the case of this album, a lot of moments that could have been better were left as you hear them, to better ensure it's enjoyed by more people. I can admire how it was done; it's not easy making an album that everyone will like without sacrificing a ton of quality. Instead, I just wonder what'd be of the effort if it were made with a clearer point in mind. If the lyrics were easier to dissect or had a clearer goal, or if the rhymes would have flown more poetically more often.

It's still a solid effort and a great listen if you have the time for it. I'm not sure I'd purchase it myself, but with each passing listen I grow more attached to more of her songs. In the end, it might all be about understanding her style and coping with it.

You can stream the effort in full on Spotify.

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Here's the scenario:

You spent last night writing about a genius 12 year old piano jazz prodigy and a live show he he had a couple of years ago until 5 am. You wake up around midday and make brunch while listening to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. You may or may not have replayed Blue in Green because it may or may not be an amazing chunk of album. After going on about your day for a few hours, you eventually take the time to listen to the 12 year old genius' Grammy nominated album, expecting nothing, but hoping for the mood of excellent jazz to continue. It fulfills.

At no point does the album bend in quality. In fact, it makes a realistic attempt to surpass itself.

The album is named after one of the most playful tracks on the effort, but somewhere between the Thelonious Monk praise and his own personal composition (Ma Blues) you start to understand the authenticity of this release. I have nothing bad to say about Joey Alexander's composition, style, or emotion. The only slightly negative thing I can say about the album regards a couple of awkward moments with the drummer, and that's pushing it.

It seems quite obvious to me that everyone involved in the production of this album knew exactly what their role was and how to execute it to make the best album with the talents involved. This was really clear to me during this studio version of It Might As Well Be Spring, at first I thought the live Copenhagen version was significantly better, then the track progressed and I saw just how much more stunning it emerged from the studio.

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I don't even want to imagine how many times the songs were played to get such amazing results, because I know Joey's free form style strays from repeating the same details twice. That was an aspect I paid a lot of attention to during one of his recent interviews, I kept thinking of how Jimi Hendrix was another one to rarely sound the same twice. It could just be a common characteristic in excellent improv.

But what's the album layout like?

That's probably the best part. It's eight standards (or more if you get the Deluxe Edition,) some of them not quite as classic as others, and an original piece which might just blow your mind more extravagantly if you stop to consider the age of its composer. It starts with classic Coltrane, Giant Steps, quickly showing off skill and diversity. It keeps a general sway of momentum, and ends on an emotional note as he plays Somewhere Over the Rainbow with no additional musicians to aid him. The video of the studio performance can be found below.

We recommend watching it full screen.

I've mentioned his emotion already, but it's probably the most important and impressive part. It's with this song that I feel we can clearly see musical wisdom and knowledge. You can't put feeling on paper, and it's the best part music has to offer.

At a point in the album, it stops being all about his age. Like, yeah, child prodigy is a a big part of why most of you are reading this right now, that's the hook, but the album would be just as impressive from a 30 year old Berklee College graduate. It's just possible it'd get significantly less attention.

You can stream My Favorite Things in full on Spotify.

If you like what you hear or can't wait to see the work Joey's gonna be crafting in the future, tag along on his socials.

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A Swede, a Dane, and an Indonesian child walk into The Standard Jazz Club during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in 2014. I highly doubt anybody there will ever forget.

The child is Joey Alexander, a piano prodigy who's recently been featured through the mainstream media and has also  been playing live for years. His music could be found on the Billboard 200 just this May of 2015.

The following video is an entire performance by the trio, which is comprised of Swedish bassist Mattias Svensson, Danish drummer Anders Mogensen, and Joey Alexander on the piano.

We recommend you watch it full screen.

Or skip ahead at the track list if a standard catches your attention.

  1. Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise
  2. Eclypso
  3. Lush Life
  4. Inner Urge
  5. Contemplation From a Mountain Top
  6. Round Midnight
  7. Giant Steps
  8. It Might As Well Be Spring
  9. Cherokee (Encore)

There's a kind of hope forming inside of me after watching this session. Jazz isn't dying, but its market is narrowing. Without the demand, the listeners suffer, but people like Joey Alexander could halt this. The genre can spark new life just because of the passion. You can see it in his face. The concentration, the human connection, and the satisfaction.  I have to admit, during Tommy Flanagan's Eclypso, I felt Joey a little more distanced than the rest, but there is nothing but full concentration at every point, in every song and every quick break.

The remarks between songs, the human gestures and eye contact, they show you that this artist is still just a child. I don't feel he's being exploited, but I see his potential and I could understand needing a break at a future point in his life. Maybe I'm eager, but I can't wait to see what becomes of him after that point.

Joey's "My Favorite Things" album was nominated for these upcoming 58th Annual Grammy Awards.

It was nominated for best instrumental jazz album, and best improvised jazz solo.

So I guess it's supposed to be pretty good. I think I'll be checking it out soon, myself. Other stuff you might wanna consider doing is randomly skipping through Youtube videos of all the live and studio footage the kid's got.

This is a pretty good video to start with, but you know,

only if you like Duke Ellington or that kinda stuff. There's varied material so just roam about, you'll see.

It'd be a nice gesture if you're considering showing some appreciation, so tag along.

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