Rebelution Vibes Out On The Breezy and Consciously Smooth "Free Rein"

  ℗  2018 87 Music / Easy Star Records

℗ 2018 87 Music / Easy Star Records

With those breezy and conscious Cali-Island rhythms, Rebelution's new album, Free Rein, is a perfect record for those blazing hot summer days to keep you vibed out and chill.

The Santa Barbara-based band released their seventh studio album last month and it’s a fantastic acoustic/reggae-dub record that showcases the veteran band’s authenticity, lifestyle and care-free living.

Rebelution takes on a very acoustic and slow-jam approach with tracks such as, "Healing" and "Constellation," which are perfect for those on-the-sand acoustic sessions by the Pacific. On "Healing," Rebelution offers listeners with a gentle acoustic and tranquil vocals that would have the likes of Peter Frampton and Eric Clapton smiling. On "Constellation," the cali-based band tones down the temp further with smooth moonlight energy, Americana vibes and a moody approach.

"Healing” - Rebelution off their new album, Free Rein. Available Now on 87 Music / Easy Star Records.

Yet, Rebelution keeps to their trademark sound and reggae-So Cal roots with songs such as, "Celebrate," "City Life," "Settle Down Easy" and "Patience." These gems are perfect for this summers backyard bbq's, late afternoon beach tanning, and of course, passing around some Mary Jane around the bonfire. 

Their reggae roots are truly shown on "Celebrate" and "City Life" with positive lyrics, vivid storytelling and a refreshing ocean kiss that grasps your spine with iced out vibes and island grooves. "Settle Down Easy" and "Patience" are other reggae-centric tracks that keeps the Mary Jane bright and relaxing rythms to ease down your day.

Rebelution's authenticity, positive attitude and laid-back antics, with both a reggae and indie rock feel, is why this band remains a primary go-to when you need to cheer to the good life.

Add Rebelution's, Free Rein, to your beach house playlist this summer!

 

Rebelution

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Kid Cudi and Kanye West Confront Their Own Demons On "KIDS SEE GHOSTS"

  ℗  2018 Getting Out Our Dreams II, LLC Distributed by Def Jam, A Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

℗ 2018 Getting Out Our Dreams II, LLC Distributed by Def Jam, A Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

Kanye West and Kid Cudi released their long-awaited collaborative album this month under the project, KIDS SEE GHOSTS, highlighting their strong chemistry, unapologetic honesty and distinctive approaches. 

With both artists dealing with their fair share of mental illness, the seven-track record is a complex account of both artists’ honesty, self-reflection, doubt, confessions and rehabilitation. 

Through Ye’s candid lyricism and innate storytelling the legendary producer shines with one of his finest works. Along with Cudi’s crooning melodies, emotional depths and vocal truths, the album symbolizes a turning point for both artists and an impressive account of how we tackle some of our deepest demons. 

Our fav tracks on this one: ‘Reborn,’ ‘Free,’ ‘Kids See Ghosts’ and ‘Cudi Montage.’ 

Add to your weekly playlist today!

 

Kid Cudi

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Nas Battles Social Unrest, Political Upheaval & Gun Violence on "Nasir"

  ℗  2018 Mass Appeal Records LLC, distributed by Def Jam Recordings

℗ 2018 Mass Appeal Records LLC, distributed by Def Jam Recordings

As today’s fragile society & divisive politics disintegrates into chaos each day, it’s fitting that hip hop guides us back to one of its most prolific storytellers and curator of urban social issues. 

In his 11th studio album, NAS’s new project is one of the most anticipated albums of 2018 and the 4th installment of a series of produced works by Kayne West in June. “Nasir” showcases both artists current critique of today’s increasingly vial social issues that span from police brutality, gun violence, domestic violence and the means of success. 

Nas and Ye waste no time on their thoughts on the police brutality epedemic with the Slick Rick sampled, ‘Cops Shot The Kid.’ The album also opens with a powerful protest song, ‘Not For The Radio’ feat. Diddy, that highlights the power of Black America through historical truths and tribulations. One of our favorite tracks, ‘Everything’ Feat. The-Dream & Ye, tackles success and self-reflection on how such blessings play a role to make a change in society. 

With an incredible production from Kanye and a powerful lyrical and curating account of today’s issues by Queens Bridge’s finest, Nas proves once again that he stands among the greats to have ever wielded the mic. 

Add “Nasir” to your playlist this week.

 

Nas

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Drake Draws Emotion & Raw Vulnerabilty On Scorpion

  ℗  2018 Young Money/Cash Money Records

℗ 2018 Young Money/Cash Money Records

In one of the most anticipated albums of 2018, Drake released his fifth studio album, Scorpion, last month in the midst of controversy, success and a scathing diss track from Pusha T that revealed Drake was hiding a child. The beef between Pusha T and Drake provided the ultimate prologue to what would become one of the central themes in Scorpion that had gossip blogs, newsfeed trolls and the entire hip-hop community buzzing.

On Pusha T’s, “The Story of Adidon,” the veteran emcee ripped Drake by claiming the OVO boss hid the existence of his son to make him the cornerstone of a marketing campaign for Drake’s new Addidas clothing line. The out-of-left-field allegation not only affected Drake’s credibility as an emcee (a diss track that hardly any rapper can come back from), but also Drake’s charming image, business accruement and the public persona - as simply - one of the “good guys” in a genre still filled with lust, glamour and violence.

Despite the backlash on his early fatherhood, Drake’s 25-track opus is a prolific account of the Toronto emcee’s/singer’s egotistical vulnerability, brutal honesty, unapologetic protection with success and the moral and psychological makeup of bad decisions with women. On top of these general Drizzy themes is an album that’s backed by one hell of a production helmed by Noah “40” Shebib, Boi-1-Da and other young production greats that helped give Scorpion its opulent and engaging sound.

The records gorgeous texture, and musical depth, is masterful woven with 40’s moody and euphoric compositions, smooth Afrobeat and a soulful kick reminiscent of Drake’s earlier works such as in Take Care and Nothing Was The Same. The doubled sided album displays two of Drake’s primary musical palettes - hip-hop and R&B – that he helped pioneer as a single genre: one where the synthesis of rapping/singing are the benchmark to his keys of success.

On side A, Drake’s riveting lyricism, signature metaphors and melodic approach expresses the emcees consistent style and mic-gripping execution that’s rich with an anxious charm, savvy punch-lines and provocative hooks.

On the album’s intro, “Survival,” Drake makes an impression entrance with blistering wordplay and ice-cold bars to display his frustrations from an already gruesome month. “Who’s giving out this much return on investment?” he flaunts with prolific conviction. On “Nonstop” and “Elevate,” however, is where that 40 and Drizzy connection works perfectly with club pounding beats, raw & distinctive flows and clean-cut melodies perfect for those summer night vibes.  “They been trying me, but I’m resilient, for real” Drake raps with authority on “Nonstop.” “I can’t go in public like civilian, for real.”

God's Plan (Official Video) - Directed by Karena Evans, Executive Producers Director X & Taj Critchlow & Produced by Fuliane Petikyan For Popp Rok. © 2018 Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records

Drake stunningly admits to having a son on the album’s 4th stint, “Emotionless,” over a refreshingly soulful sample of Mariah Carey’s MTV Unplugged performance of “Emotions.” “I wasn’t hidin’ my kid from the world,” he boasts. “I was hiding the world from my kid.” Drake further acknowledges his son’s existence with a brief semi-response for Pusha T on the audaciously smooth and soulfully addictive, “8 out of 10,” taunting, “Kiss my son on the forehead then kiss your ass goodbye. As luck would have it, I’ve settled into my role as the good guy.”

In addition to the chart-topping and philanthropic visuals of “God’s Plan,” Drake’s DJ Premier collaboration in, “Sandra’s Rose,” is another soul-sampled and mic-personified beauty that’s icing on the cake for an already eye-opening record. Here Drake’s expertise as a lyrical technician blossoms with Premier’s vivid production and classic sound.

Yet, on Scorpion’s side B is were Drake’s singing and soulful influences come into play with a more haunting and moody feel to the 90-minute record. Drake’s harmonious approach to the album’s second half is juicy, sensually smooth and painfully romantic – deeply influenced from his taste in classic soul and vocalists such as Sade and Phyllis Hyman.  

On the sudden slow-jam, “Peak,” Drake brings the tempo down to a hazy candle-lit forum with massaging beats and seductive harmonies. His song’s “Jaded” and “Finesse” are other pulsating tracks that Drake delivers with feelings of late-night cognac, passionate despair and steamy bedroom vibes.

The Toronto emcee also brings out a little puppy love with “Summer Games.” A song about a short-lived summer romance that’s fueled with razor edged synths perfect for dusks at the boardwalk.  Another interesting track on Side B is the posthumous feature of Michael Jackson on, “Don’t Matter To Me,” which has a mid-tempo rhythm and euphoric vibe that’s fits masterfully around Michael’s soulful and feathery vocals.

“Nice For What” (Official Video) - Performance by Drake © 2018 Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records

The club centric tracks “Nice For What” and “In My Feelings,” added a contrasting touch to the latter half of the album that revels in New Orleans bounce and tropical vibes. “Nice For What” has already seen a significant chart-topping success as the record’s second single and “In My Feelings” wouldn’t fall far from the tree. With a decadent hook, craving melodies and bars to knock to – “In My Feelings” is side B’s leading track for Scorpion.

Drake ends this odyssean 25-track album with “March 14” that touches upon his fatherhood and experiences of being raised with parents from a failed marriage. The song also dives into his current grappling with his son’s mother, adult film actress Sophie Brussaux, as well as his self-analysis of becoming a better parent.

Throughout all its toxicity, Drake winds back the clock on Scorpion by giving his fans a rubric of what made his career so compelling and universal in the first place: the bad-boy loving punch lines, lyrically precise mind and expressively glowing melodies that reverts back to the aesthetics of his freshman and sophomore albums.

Drake illustrates emotion and raw vulnerability on Scorpion. This time around, as more than its predecessors, Drake's new album relies on a self-examining honest approach that revels in shortcoming tones and bustling fragility. This delicacy of Drake's lyricism and musical style illustrate his own admission of the truth and his definitive role as a young father. It’s one of the many reasons why Scorpion is such an intriguing record in which Drake challenges himself like he's never done before.

 

Drake

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J. Cole Tackles The Consequences of Addiction on "KOD"

  ℗  2018 Dreamville, Inc., Under exclusive license to Roc Nation Records

℗ 2018 Dreamville, Inc., Under exclusive license to Roc Nation Records

J. Cole's new album, "KOD," is a profound critique, and tailored exploitation, on the consequences of addiction in our society.

The North Carolina emcee, whose transition from hip-hop hitmaker to hip-hop activist, followed up 2016's, "4 Your Eyez Only," with a superb record that accounts for Cole's experiences with addiction seen through the windows of his own personal struggles.

Across this 12 piece epic, however, Cole also finds room to tackle some of America's other controversial and polarizing subjects – including the government's response to gun violence, depression/anxiety and the hypocrisies of Black America & urban culture. There's even room for a "lil" beef with today's trap stars and emo-rappers, as Cole also addresses the state of hip-hop with the genre's future artists.

On "KOD" (or depending on how you wish to decipher the acronym - "Kids on Drugs," "King on Drugs" or "Kill our Demons"), Cole encourages listeners to steer away from drugs through the polarizing storytelling and expressive lyrical ability that harbors his own personal battles with addiction during his childhood and adult life.

On "Once an Addict (Interlude)" Cole's vulnerability takes whole when he opens a window for listeners to view some of the emcees most intimate challenges. The song speaks on his mother's addiction with drugs and alcohol and their frictional relationship during his upbringing. Cole also addresses his own addition, both personally and professionally, on "Breakdown;" while also poised with relying on drugs to escape from his opportunistic friendships on "The Cut Off."

J. Cole - ATM (Official Music Video) - Directed by Scott Lazer. © 2018 Dreamville, Inc., Under exclusive license to Roc Nation Records

Cole also touches upon his success in contrasts to the misfortunes that surrounded his former circle on “Friends.” He combines this concept of guilt and blessing with a stance on how success can be misleading. On “Brackets,” Cole enlightens listeners to re-think about the fruits of their labor and the effects of taxation on our urban communities. Cole offers us a little humor, however, where he references one of Richard Pryor’s old stand-up skits at the beginning of the song, offering another perspective on how money is viewed in our society. While on, "ATM," Cole shows us his own perspective on money and it's lack of importance due to its a temporary void.

And what’s a Cole world without songs about love, sex and infidelity? On “Photograph,” Cole’s swag and tenacity on the mic discusses the mirage of love in the digital age where online-dating sites and matchmaking apps remain apparent. Cole also issues an exposition on infidelity and selfishness with, “Kevin’s Heart,” which is titled from Kevin Heart’s cheating scandal. The song dictates the lack of appreciation men have for a faithful woman and the emotional consequences that are conveyed.

J. Cole - Kevin's Heart (Official Music Video) - Starring Kevin Heart. Directed by J. Cole & Scott Lazer. © 2018 Dreamville, Inc., Under exclusive license to Roc Nation Records

At the album’s conclusion, Cole’s song, “1985 (Intro to “The Fall Off”),” set’s off another heated commentary and lecture on hip hop’s mumble and emo-rap culture. This critique is specifically geared to the longevity and sustainability of emcees set in a genre-trending sound. With warnings of fiscal irresponsibility, a falling off sound, and ultimately, the lost of an audience, J. Cole’s shots at today’s youth speak to his experiences of how rappers have risen and fallen over the course of his career. With Cole’s on going feud with this new form of hip hop, this song allegedly aims at such charting trappers such as Lil Uzi Vert, Smokepurpp and Lil Pump, who have also had words for Cole in the last year.

J. Cole mastery on “KOD” illustrates again how persistent Cole’s dominance has been in the game today. With enduring storytelling, daring vulnerability and profound empathy, the Dreamville emcee forces us to reflect on the gifts that we take for granted.

From the painful consequences of America’s drug epidemic to the hypocrisies that are endured throughout our urban communities, Cole’s activism, through lyrical brilliance and prolific expression, makes “KOD” one of the most daring and intriguing albums of 2018 so far.

Along with stern commentary on today’s rising emcees in the trap/emo-rap space, as well as an onslaught on man’s infidelity, Cole continues to be the exceptional voice for today’s hip hop generation.

Listen, steam and download “KOD” on all digital streaming platforms today.

 

J. Cole

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Alison Wonderland's "Awake" is an Electro-Pop Gem Perfect For 2018

 "Awake" - An EMI Recorded Music Australia Production;  ℗2018 Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.

"Awake" - An EMI Recorded Music Australia Production; ℗2018 Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.

Australian producer/DJ, allison wonderlan, released her latest record, “Awake,” on Friday and we’ve been digging this album throughout the weekend. 

The record is an electro-pop gem for listeners as Allison utilizes her steep drops and electrifying beats to guide us on a journey through self-reflection and anxiety. 

Some of our favs off this one include, “Church,” a song that illustrates reflection on Alison’s self-worth; “High” where Allison teams up with emerging hip-hop artist Trippie Red on a numb and anxious feeling record and “Easy” a song about the artist’s past and dark memories.

With an electro-pop sound filled with pulverizing beats, lyrical honesty and tales of depression, anxiety and reflection - Alison Wonderland’s “Awake” is a perfect fit for 2018. Add to your playlist today.

 

Alison Wonderland

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Water Seed Redefines Funk & Soul With "We Are Stars"

 

Water Seed continues to establish themselves as the essence of contemporary funk and jazz hailing from the streets of New Orleans. Progressively authentic, yet innovatively versatile, Water Seed has adamantly blended the genres of soul, gospel, funk and blues that adhere to their complex musicianship and tender dexterity.

Founder Lou Hill (drummer, composer & vocalists) cultivated Water Seed out of Atlanta, where they toured extensively across the country to develop Water Seed’s an emerging resume.

With a variety of performances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans Essence Festival, The Richmond Jazz Festival, New York’s renowned The Apollo Theater, Tipitina’s in New Orleans and a three month residency in Russia – just to name a few – the band obtained a national following through it’s funkalicious grooves, smooth keys, early 60’s soul and gospel-esque melodies that have mesmerized audiences. Flautist Cinese, along with lead vocalist Berkley the Artist and vocalist Shaleyah, have also propelled Water Seed to establish its unique genre binding sound along with preservation, keen artistry, and composition.

The band’s extensive discography has stacked to over 250,000 downloads, album sales and music streams. Their last two projects, “Water Love 1” and “Water Love 2,” have debuted in the top 20 iTunes album charts.

Along with an immersive fanbase, Water Seed continues to emerge as one of the best independent funk/soul bands with the release of their fifth studio album “We Are Stars.” Water Seed’s latest project constitutes a musical journey that’s packed with soulful melodies; a mix of classic jazz and seasoned Orleans-esque sounds straight from the Bayou. With songs such as the album opener “Open Sesame,” early 60’s island groove “Work It Out” and the hit lead single, “Bollywood,” Water Seed resonates a sound that continues to grow among audiences to get on their feet and dance the night away.

Water Seed provides funkier elements on “We Are Stars” with songs “Arithmetic,” “Simple Truth” and “Funktamis,” accentuating late 70’s synths, elaborating horns and energizing grooves. The album itself elicits more of Water Seed’s funkier compositions and progressive songwriting that elevates the band’s music identity and effective sound.

Water Seed’s continued focus on strong musicianship and innovation, allows this band to redefine the sound of contemporary funk and soul, while finding new grooves for fans and audiences to get funky. . 

On June 29th, we’ll be offering two free exclusive tickets to see Water Seed perform their new album, "We Are Stars," at The Bitter End, one of the oldest music venues in New York City, with a signed copy of their album. The show will be apart of Water Seed's spring/summer tour, kicking off next month.

Make sure to catch Water Seed live in a city near you and download/stream, “We Are Stars,” today! Tour dates and locations shown below.

 

Tour Dates

6/2. Cafe DaVinci. Deland, FL

6/3. The Atlantic. Gainesville, FL

6/7. 1904 Music Hall. Jacksonville, FL

6/8. Vinyl at Center Stage. Atlanta, GA

6/9. AM Booth's Lumberyard. Huntsville, AL

6/10. Blue Canoe. Tupelo, MS

6/16. Chop Shop. Chicago, IL

6/17. Two-EE's Winery. Huntington, IN

6/18. Player's Pub. Bloomington, IN

6/19. Be Here Now. Muncie, IN

6/20. Urban Artifact. Cincinnati, OH

6/21. Nighttown. Cleveland, OH

6/22. Spirit. Pittsburgh, PA

6/23. Livery. Benton Harbor, MI

6/24. PJ's Lager House. Detroit, MI

6/27. Sauf Haus. Washington, DC

6/28. Tipping Chair Tavern. Milldale, CT

6/29. Bitter End. New York, NY

6/30. Plough & Stars. Boston, MA

7/1- World Café-  Philadelphia, PA

7/2. Emilio's. Richmond, VA

7/4. Town Pump Tavern. Asheville, NC

7/6. Preservation Pub. Knoxville, TN

7/7. Acme Feed & Seed. Nashville, TN

7/13. Seven. Santa Barbara, CA

7/18. Hotel Utah. San Francisco, CA

7/19. Crazy Horse. Nevada City, CA

7/20 through 7/22. Peppermill Casino. Reno, NV

7/23. Lagunitas. Petaluma, CA

7/25. Winston's. San Diego, CA

7/27. Pour House. Oceanside, CA

7/28. Hotel Cafe. Los Angeles, CA

 

Water Seed

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Logan Vath Speaks of Long Journeys and Missing Home on "Better Man or Ghost"

 

Logan Vath is the kind of artist that doesn’t require anything. You hand him a guitar, a place to sing, and soon he’s made that place a concert, and the guitar his band. He’s a folk singer, but more than that, he’s a writer; Logan uses words and imagery to create a tone on his album which are as simple and harsh as coming home.

On his debut album, Better Man or Ghost, he takes you on a long, quiet journey as he looks back on his past and reminisces about his home. On tracks such as “This Far From Home” and “Still Me” you can hear the distance in his voice.

Vath is a solid vocalist who uses his own guitar skills as the foundation of his songs. The combined efforts of his acoustic guitar and the raw sound of his voice are soothing and smooth as he dances with ideas of death and loneliness.

Buy, share, and download Better Man or Ghost on Bandcamp today. The lyrics are also available to read on the site, which make for a touching read, full of strain, strength and truth. 

Like Logan Vath on Facebook for all upcoming shows, events, and upcoming music.