Brandon James – So Emotional

On So Emotional, Brandon James is able to link together a tremendously charismatic set of vocals with taut instrumentation. The song brings in hints of soul, funk, and 1970s R&B with James impressing his own unique vocals into every note. The dynamic between Brandon’s vocals and the horn is the focal point of the single’s second minute before a more contemplative sound begins to dominate. We’re absolutely in love with the chunky bass that plays at the bottom of the track, which provides a solid counterpoint to the higher register that Brandon hits at around the three minute mark. A twinkling production ensures that each element is able to work alone or as a contributor for something much greater than the sum of the song’s constituent parts.

We first took a look at Brandon James back in 2015.

Brandon James – So Emotional / Domain / Facebook /

Jasper “Jazz” Myers

I Meant To Tell You I Loved You is completely engrossing in the sheer vocal range that CoCo lays out here. There is a cogent story that is weaved through this composition that is highlighted through a very laid-back, Prince-infused synth. The vocal and instrumental elements during the track push each to a higher level than if they were alone; by the end of the time I Meant To Tell You I Loved You concludes, listeners will be on the edges of their seats.

How Much Longer is another strong track from Jasper “Jazz’ Myers. The presence of a pair of vocals – male and female – and the numerous dynamics that are established between them and the twinkling backing beat will keep listeners finding new twists and turns even five or ten plays in.

Special Kind of Lover is a focused R&B track that needs little more than a sultry set of vocals and a Spartan sort of instrumentation to have listeners perk up. This erotic, seductive track parallels lovemaking in its deliberate approach, allowing listeners to hear how much control that Myers ultimately has over his own musical output.

My Heart Wont Brake is an effort that feels destined for radio play. The in-your-face percussion, the more touching vocals, and a considerable amount of range shown fans by Myers are all indicators of primo quality. With a bit of bass playing at the background, this is an effort that will continue to shine as listeners put more time into it.

Im Still a Believer in Love is absolutely amazing. During this track, Myers steps back just a bit and allows a funky bass line, plinking pianos and a robust instrumentation to bring listeners to the promised land.

Top Tracks: I Meant To Tell You I Loved You, Special Kind of Lover,
Im Still a Believer in Love

Rating: 8.4/10

Jasper “Jazz” Myers / Domain /

SynthetikReal – Vaya Con Dios

Vaya Con Dios provides a heck of an introduction to SynthetikReal. The track soars on its engaging arrangements as well as a hopeful, Latin-inspired flair that calls forward comparison to Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin. With nods to both the traditional and modern pop genres, SynthetikReal is able to create a crossover hit that feels equally at home no matter whether on the pop, dance, or Latin charts. A robust production ensures that each side – the electric-tinged drums, very traditional strings, and shuffling, jingling sounds at the periphery of the track – is able to shine alone or as part of a unitary element. The presence of Monet Esbee and Matias to the mix further increases the replay value of Vaya Con Dios while maintaining a considerable cohesion to the cut.

Ready To Go begins with a bit slower of a tempo, but has
SynthetikReal continue to ramp up the momentum with sweeping synths and a drop that will appease all the festival goers this year. The vox laid down by Deja Settles are able to pull double duty here in that they can tell a coherent story while providing further complexity to the instrumentation. With nods to Rihanna, Leona Lewis, and Nicole Scherzinger in her own unique style, Deja makes this effort shine.

Fight Of My Life is touching and draws back upon the soaring vocal style of the early 1990s. Monet Esbee is again able to put SynthetikReal’s composition into the stratosphere. Assertive, epic drums are paired masterfully with Esbee’s choral-meets-R&B style to give that much more gravitas to the effort. This trio of songs is precisely what is needed to give listeners some semblance of education about SynthetikReal, all while stoking up fans’ desires to hear more from the performer.

Our recommendation: Fight Of My Life

Rating: 8.6/10

SynthetikReal – Vaya Con Dios (featuring Monet Esbee & Matias) / 2019 Self Released / Bandcamp / Instagram

Chyrstian Lehr – Friends / Hit My Line


Chyrstian Lehr comes forth on Friends with a tremendously intense R&B track that touches upon the last 20 years of the musical style. That means that there are hints of Jodeci present alongside Jason Derulo, The Weeknd, Neyo and Trey Songz. In this cut. Chryrstian is able to both weave a cogent narrative and add mightily to the overall melodies established on the track. The tempo rises and falls during the track, ensuring that listeners are on the edges of their seats until the last note. A booming bassy drum keeps fans firmly focused on the track. Coming forth with such confidence during this cut bodes well for Lehr; one could easily imagine Friends garnerning massive airplay and playlist placement.

Rating: 8.1/10

Hit My Line

In terms of pure passion and raw sexuality, Chrystian’s Hit My Line may be top of the heap. It is during this effort where listeners will hear the rich vocals and tremendous range that Lehr has developed over the course of the last few years. During Hit My Line, the backing beat flitters in the background and continues to highlight Chrystian’s vocals at all points. While Hit My Line runs just up against the 3:30 mark, the energy of the track will make the song seem much, much too short. Repeat spins may be required to get one’s fill of Lehr during this outing.

Rating: 8.4/10

Final Thoughts

Taken together, Friends and Hit My Line will introduce listeners nicely to the innovative performer that is Chrystian Lehr. For additional information about Lehr, samples of his music, and any further updates, visit his social media and main domain. Let us know what you think about the pair of songs that we have covered in this piece in the comments section below.

Chyrstian Lehr – Friends / Hit My Line / 2019 Self Released / Domain / Facebook / Twitter /

Rossa McCann – Talk To Me

On Talk To Me, Rossa McCann is able to make a rocking track that ties together 1980s hair metal with harder-edge emo rock. The resulting track is catchy as all get and musically impressive. The dynamic between the track’s guitar, bass, and drums is nothing less than special. There are so many things happening at any one point during Talk To Me that listeners are virtually required to play the single a number of times (preferably with headphones on) before they can hear everything that is placed within. The production of this single is nothing less than impressive. Each note is able to be pulled out an examined, all while the guitars, bass, vocals, and drums are able to have their own minute in the spotlight.

A special accolade has to go to the sizzling guitar work that listeners will hear scattered throughout the entirety of Talk To Me. This guitar pushes the song to an entirely higher plateau, while sounding absolutely at home with the rest of the track. The vocals link together influences as wide-ranges as Geoff from Queensryche and Adam from Taking Back Sunday. It is a nice change of pace to hear the bass line put in such a prominent place during Talk To Me. Taken together, these constituent elements are able to make a song that will appease even the most jaded fan of rock music while performing admirably on any Spotify playlist or radio rotation.

Let us know what you think about Rossa McCann’s latest by listening to the embedded track below. Keep an ear firmly placed to the ground for any more new tracks by this Australian act.

Rossa McCann – Talk To Me / 2019 Self Released / 3:12 / SoundCloud /

Hoozbah – ‘Kneel to the Power’

On Kneel to the Power, Hoozbah is able to make a tremendously engrossing rock track that builds upon Frank Zappa and Bennie and the Jets-era Elton John to create one of the deepest and most emotionally complex tracks we’ve heard. The backing instrumentation rises and falls with the shifts in momentum enough to firmly lock listeners to their seats. The charisma of Hoozbah’s vocals are paralleled quite nicely with the keys and drums that begin at the 2:20 mark. Kneel to the Power is technically amazing, catchy as all get out, and the song’s lyrics will enter one’s mind never to leave. Give it a spin below and let us know what you think about Hoozbah’s latest.

Hoozbah – ‘Kneel to the Power’ / Facebook / Instagram

Hogz in Dandyland – Dr. Grimm’s Parade

Dr. Grimm’s Parade is the latest effort by Hogz in Dandyland, following up on some of the themes and styles initially broached on 2009’s
Across a Miracle. Leafhopper begins the album, showcasing a measured and sedate approach that is able to tell a story through the instrumental interactions that wash over listeners. A focused guitar line and brooding sound pulled out of 1980s goth imprint a certain set of expectation for listeners. The vocals that are front and center during Clock-Eating Dragon provide a further layer of depth to the cut, bolstered through instrumentation that draws upon The Replacements and The Mekons.

Elephants Strolling has a bouncy beat urged on through the presence of a pair of vocals. With a constantly changing backing instrumentation, fans will be ferried into a place that is considerably different from where one was at the beginning of the song. Kite Without A String ties together Bauhaus and the Violent Femmes with Brad’s vocals standing boldly front and center over the composition. Trace My Thoughts is extra-ordinarily strong given its late-album placement. The highlighted vocals initiating the track gradually give up ground to a thrushy, dense instrumentation that will require listeners to strap on their headphones to hear every dynamic, each interaction, and everything that the band has secreted away here.

Dr. Grimm’s Parade (the track) concludes the album, having a bit of an edge to its sound. Guitars reverberate loudly while the bit of echoing vocals imprint the track with just the slightest hints of Bob Dylan and alternative rock. All in all, what Hogz in Dandyland have here is a song that is a bit Lou Reed, a bit early Goo Goo Dolls, and a whole heck of a lot of fun.

Top Tracks: Kite Without A String, In the A.M., Trace My Thoughts

Rating: 8.2/10

Hogz in Dandyland – Dr. Grimm’s Parade / 2018 Self Released / 10 Tracks / Domain / Facebook /

Tommy Botz – Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear is a perfect example of a song that draws mightily on the country and western sound of the mid 1960s. The tremendous vocal quality of the track calls comparison to Tammy Wynette and Reba McEntire. The backing instrumentation of Teddy Bear is alluring with emotive slide guitar, on-point piano, and tremendous pathos presented through the bass line that is weaved through the track. There is a vibrancy to Teddy Bear that resounds through decades of country and country-pop genres; delve in deeply if you want to hear the genre done up right.

Tommy Botz – Teddy Bear / Facebook / ReverbNation

“Magic Carpet” by Ricky Rebel

Ricky Rebel’s Magic Carpet is an energetic effort that possesses hints of Latin and middle eastern style, all while calling back to the pop style of the mid-oughts. The eclectic sound that Ricky Rebel crafts here will bury itself deep into the minds and hearts of listeners. We’re particularly impressed at Ricky Rebel’s ability to both tell a story and add an additional level of depth to the backing instrumentation. With a truly international style presented here, Ricky Rebel has ensured that the widest possible swath of fans will be able to find something to love here.

“Magic Carpet” by Ricky Rebel / Domain / Twitter

Ira Kaufman & Velimir Srića – The World is Broken, We Need to Fix It: Path to Strategic Harmony

The most notable facet of this book, for me, is its lack of a dogmatic or partisan point of view. Ira Kaufman and Velimir Srića’s The World is Broken, We Need to Fix It: Path to Strategic Harmony acknowledges and examines the many challenges humanity faces nearly twenty years into the 21st century, but it never latches onto a particular school of political thought, but rather takes a broad-based humanistic approach. The book’s introduction lays this out with a clearly written and authoritative tone, but there’s never a hint of hectoring or preaching in the book’s “voice”. Instead, they sketch out the work’s thesis and prepare readers for what is to come.

The authors do an exceptional job early on of fleshing out the book’s central idea of “strategic harmony”. Some may greet the idea that what we think, do, feel, and hope for is a simplistic framework for restructuring the world as we know it today and realizing genuine change, but the writers build their case convincingly without ever viewing the world and their ideas through “rose colored glasses”. Moreover, they often back up their argument with well-chosen research further buttressing their arguments. Again, it is a hallmark of this thoughtful work just how well delineated such moments are and it strengthens the book as a whole. Even those readers who either disagree or remain skeptical will acknowledge the passion and, above all else, the intelligence behind Kaufman and Srića’s presentation.


I like how the writers preface each chapter with well chosen epigrams from a variety of source and how they systematically dismantle a series of what they deem to be “myths” in our modern society without ever taking on a sour tone. The main body of the work goes on to break down each of the author’s underlying ideas without ever immersing the reader in a wealth of needless detail. Some of the terminology they adopt, words like “catalytic” and “catalyzers”, are not inaccessible to the casual reader – rather they illustrate how the proposed values should be synthesized into a multi-threaded approach towards transforming every aspect of our modern world. They provide, at key points, illustrations further elaborating on their ideas and many readers will find those helpful.

They bring the book to a satisfying conclusion by decisively tying the aforementioned threads together. Everything matters – the economic, socio-political, political, technological, and they note how their ideas can and will, if pursued, reshape each of those elements. The same lack of hectoring or high-handedness present in the beginning of this work remains strong at its conclusion and demonstrates the overall balance characterizing Kaufman and Srića’s style. Despite being a relatively lengthy work, even readers with a cursory interest in the challenges faced by humanity today will find The World is Broken, We Need to Fix It: Path to Strategic Harmony an illuminating read, but those who are truly engaged with those challenges will take a step further – they will find this book to be essential reading and return to it again and again.

Mindy McCall