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Album Review: “Change” by Mystic Roots

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Being a born and raised California boy, I am always happy to find bands that represent our state so well. Mystic Roots falls into this description so well, as the Chico, CA natives carry the reggae tradition with respect while putting their own spin on it. The band considers dancehall, Hip-Hop, EDM, pop, and rock as musical influences, and every track has some flavor of these styles sprinkled on the main reggae sound. The smooth grooves and melodies along with positive vibes makes Change a perfect summer album. It’s no secret then why they reached #1 on the Billboard reggae charts with the album.

This band is kind of like No Doubt meets Matisyahu meets 311, hard to explain but they are really worth your time with this release.

Change can be found at major music distributors like iTunes

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Album Review: “Samatta” by The Corrupting Sea

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The Corrupting Sea creates a sound that is rooted in the free space that ambient music provides. Not bound by rigid time signatures, the music on Samatta allows for melodic and harmonic expressions that slowly draw you into a dream-like state. The contrast of the melodious textures with static droning and other sound effects allows for a multi-dimensional experience. Jason Lamoreaux, the brain behind The Corrupting Sea, set out to create “personal emotive moments in his work, creating themed albums made of delicate, often times, stripped down pieces.”

I think he accomplished his goal thoroughly.

Samatta can be found at https://somewherecoldrecords.bandcamp.com

Album Review: “Sports Car Illusions” by The Paul Swest

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Free jazz is still, decades after its inception, a massive point of contention for some jazz fans. The freedom to create on the fly in any key with total melodic and harmonic freedom with often frantic rhythms can be hard to digest for the uninitiated. But for a musician and composer like me who is well acquainted with the avant-garde and the atonal; I live for the freedom that an anarchistic approach to melody and harmony creates.

It is in this that we find the music of The Paul Swest, who I have reviewed once before. Everything that this group does well is present once again, and I can without hesitation recommend this record to fans of the previous or free jazz fans looking for a new obsession.

Get Sports Car Illusions at https://thepaulswest.bandcamp.com/album/sports-car-illusions

Album Review: “Valenti” by Valenti Funk

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Dallas-based Valenti Funk creates music that is cross-genre, expressive, and ultimately a reflection of not only him but all of the musicians that he creates with. The tracks on Valenti are a blast of funk (with special nods to George Clinton), reggae, and jazz. Every track is filled with powerful energy that invites you to dance or to chill the hell out. In either case, you can tell that Valenti Funk has honed his craft as a musician and songwriter to the point that it seems effortless (even though some of the lines, both rhythmic and melodic, are quite complex). It is a true pleasure to give this record a listen, I suggest you do the same.

Valenti is available on iTunes

Album Review: “Runnin’ For The Ghost” by Big Mean Sound Machine

Big Mean Sound Machine works as a unit to create music that is a nod to its influences (including Afrobeat, Dance, Experimental, and Funk). They respect and clearly have a deep understanding of the traditions they hold up while also creating a sound that is all its own. Their talent got the attention at one point of Tony Allen (Nigerian pioneer and co-creator of afrobeat with Fela Kuti and the Africa 70), whom they had the honor of playing with. The grooves, the harmonies, the ambient effects, the experimental melodies, and ultimately the spirit behind the music on Runnin’ for the Ghost results in music that you feel in your core. The songs call for you to get up and move.

So move!

Runnin’ for the Ghost can be found on iTunes

Album Review: “Coping Strategies” by CARES

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The music created by the Toronto experimental artist CARES is best described as jarring. From the very onset of Coping Strategies you are presented with a blast of distortion and dissonance. From that point you are brought to a beautiful ambient track that is distinctively opposite to the rage-fueled dream of the opening track. This theme continues through the EP.

It is these sharp contrasts that makes CARES’ upcoming release so brilliant. It is not for the faint of heart, but if you allow the music to challenge your senses, you are left with an incredibly unique experience. I highly recommend you step into the world of Coping Strategies for yourself.

Album Review: “ReEvolve” by 9 Mile Roots

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The Baltimore-based group 9 Mile Roots describes their music as “hard rock riffs, hip-hop flow, and thick syncopated horn lines.” This is all on display brilliantly in their upcoming album ReEvolve (releasing May 19). There is plenty of laid-back rock/reggae fusion that hearkens back to groups like 311 and Sublime, and that is the greatest strength of ReEvolve. You can tell that the band is there to have a great time and make catchy songs along the way. 9 Mile Roots play a tight sound, with every instrument never seeming out of place. Especially with Summer fast approaching, this may be a record you want in your collection.