Renee Cologne’s – Coverlings

Renee Cologne’s – Coverlings, is an album you’ll be talking about for a while if you get wind of the majesty to be heard on this release full of precious gems that she put her stamp on with effortless magic. Her voice isn’t exactly unknown but as an indie artist she’s making her own footprints, and she has written or performed for stage, dance and film, including M&M’s and other well-known commercials. With three independent releases and much else behind her, this fourth album is a milestone that will go the distance. The choice of music to cover was nothing short of a masterstroke and Cologne’s input is over the top.


“Jersey Girl” starts off with one of, if not the most accessible cuts on the disc, but that’s only because she makes it that way from an otherwise well-known but not extremely consumed Tom Waits piece. The track itself isn’t what you’d call a pop tune, but now you can add that tag because Cologne managed to make it her own. And it doesn’t end here, as most of the songs reach that goal, assuming it was one. And there are also a few tracks without that about them, but for the most part it’s her using them more as vehicles for her own magical voice.

“Landslide” has been done a lot, I know, but don’t gloss over it because if I were to compare it with the Fleetwood Mac original, I would at least call it as good, if not maybe even better if it lasts with due time. But it’s also worth noticing “I Believe” by Stevie Wonder for the same reason because it’s probably the most reinvented song on the album, and one of the best too. She just makes so many of these songs her own without making you forget where they came from.


“Let It be” is done with such fabulous texture and modernization that you just have to give Cologne all the credit in the world for hypnotically drawing you into another cover of a Beatles song without giving you the static norm version in the process. After hearing that I realized I was listening to one of the most mesmerizing voices I’ve heard in many years. It leaves you battered and begging for more of that beautiful whisper she weaves, it’s not a sound you hear every day. This is a premiere pop vocalist and songwriter.

“Get Here” and “Up The Junction” keep the album going with more variety and the usual share of Cologne’s re-arranged magic, which brings just as much to the release as anything else on offer. Her voice seems to cut through just about anything it touches, so a second volume of Coverings wouldn’t be a case of overkill for me because she does the business so well it’s a no-brainer to want more of this type of thing from someone who makes it sound like a soothing walk in the park. And you even get “Wichita Lineman,” the Glen Campbell classic which takes the overall prize with Cologne’s voice carrying for miles.


3D Friends – Happy (We’ll Never Be)

On Happy (We’ll Never Be), 3D Friends are able to create a laid-back dance track that ties together Savage Garden, Depeche Mode and mid-oughts emo music into a delectable package. The charisma of the band’s vocals stands out above the taut instrumentation. This blending of masterfully arranged synths, chunky bass lines, and a smooth production makes it easy to imagine the single garnering heavy airplay. The bit of an instrumental section observed at the 2:15 mark is precisely what is needed to refresh listeners and have the track ending as emphatically as it began.

We previously covered 3D Friends’ Summer Break EP back in 2014.

3D Friends – Happy (We’ll Never Be) / Domain / Facebook

Ryan Zimmerman Interview

Today, we are speaking with Ryan Zimmerman. We previously covered his Ephemeral As A Kiss EP back in January.  Give us some of your story.

I grew up in Southern New Jersey and  started out on saxophone when I was in the second grade. I liked it but it didn’t stick. My family had a piano and I would mess around on that but then gravitated toward the guitar when i was 12 or 13. My friends were musicians and their older brothers as well, so i got taught some stuff , the basics and took it from there. I never had any formal guitar lessons. Played in Local bands in High School and started writing. I was asked to leave home when I was 19 and moved to Atlantic City for a few years and “played out” here and there and worked in restaurants to support myself. I ended up bartending and playing music on the side with bands up and down the jersey coast but nothing ever was going in the direction I wanted. About 4 years ago I started doing solo stuff and hiring hired hands to help with recording and live shows. It just worked better for me and my present work ethic.

You have just released a new single/video, Solitude Blues. Who all was associated with the creation of the song? Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?

Speaking of hired hands! Yeah there were a lot of people involved in making that track happen. I wrote it earlier this year and after I finished it the first thing that popped in my head was “It needs a female vocal on the chorus”. I called my friend Sahara Moon, a talented local songwriter, and asked her if she was interested. Thankfully she was and we headed to the studio with some other great musicians I got on board. My buddy Erik Krammer from Philadelphia is on Stand up bass, Josh Werner, another talented Jersey musician played Dobro and mandolin and my bud Chase McShane is on drums. I played guitar on the track. We laid it down at Little Eden Studio in Asbury Park New Jersey owned by Pete Steinkopf of The Bouncing Souls. He produced and mixed the song.My friend Joey Heir at Crystal Clear Studio in Philadelphia mastered it. Everyone was very pleased how it came out. The video was shot at a live show we did in Philadelphia at a great venue called Kung Fu Necktie. My friend Brendan Walsh from Oak Leaf Media filmed the video.

How does Solitude Blues compare to your previous music?

The song has a haunting country vibe to it which is different from some other stuff I’ve done in the past but would like to explore more. I originally wanted to put lap steel on the track but Pete and Josh thought it would be a better idea to use a Dobro since every other instrument is not plugged in. They were right, and it still got the same “slide” effect I was looking for! Not one instrument on the track is plugged in. Everything is recorded acoustically with mics, not one amplifier. I’m a sucker for a sad song so I would like to do some more like this in the future.

What does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite tools)?

Man, I have so many but the firsts that come to mind are: Ritchie Havens, Mark Sandman, Vic Ruggerio, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, Leo Kettoke, Michael Hedges, Tom Waits,  Anders Osborne, Beck, Levon Helm, The Rolling Stones, Jimmy Page, Phish, Steely Dan, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Jerry Garcia, I could go all day……

Which artists are the greatest influences for you and your music?

I think Social Media is great for Independent musicians. I use everything I get my hands on for promotion. Obviously Facebook and Instagram, Ive have done well with those. It gets kinda head spinning after a while with so many popping up and people saying “this is the one” you need to use. Live streaming is pretty cool. I haven’t dove to deep into the “YouNow” and other platforms like that but I plan too. I try to focus on being on the road and playing live which I really enjoy. With that being said I think those sites are great for getting the word out and I want to explore them more but for me nothing will beat a live music experience. If I’m not performing, writing, promoting or booking shows most of my free time is going to shows. I love everything about it. Just getting there, some good food at a spot near buy, some local beer, hanging with friends…its just heaven for me.

How has the radio/Pandora/Spotify/other online response been for your music?

Not bad, and I’m still working on getting stronger but I enjoy the process. I had a single from ” Working Musician” on a local Jersey Shore station. Im getting plays on Spotify Internationally and still trying to navigate those waters, I know right now getting on playlists is the way to go. Im not on Pandora, It seems to me to be a bit harder to knock down that door. I believe this last single Solitude Blues had like 3,000 plays on Sound Cloud. Still doing the Band Camp thing as well. Ive been getting spins on some other internet radio stations. Its crazy to see this change over in the music business. I know there was the vinyl, to 8 track, to cassette, to CD succession but that took decades. This whole change over  seems to be happening so quickly its hard to keep up.

Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with? What about these online services are different from the traditional face to face meeting and performances that musicians utilize? How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of your music?

Best place is my official website . You can download everything there mostly for free. Also on there are links to all my social and streaming sites. Better yet…come to a live show and buy a CD or Vinyl form me and we can hang!!

What does 2019 hold for your music?

2019 I got a ton of things happening that I’m really stoked about. Im working on putting out an album of some older songs and demos that I have collected, I also plan to get back in the studio to work on new material probably in the spring/early summer. Also, I’ll be doing a bunch of touring. Right off the bat in the new year Ill be in West Virginia  and Nashville. Going back to Virginia for a string of dates and Pennsylvania as well. Excited to get back up to Vermont for some shows in February and I’ll be heading to the Florida Keys in March to play at Blue Heaven which I’m excited about.

Thank you so much for your time.

Ha Phuong “Memories of Love”

Memories of Love is a mid-tempo track that establishes Ha Phuong as a formidable performer. The look back towards the 1990s does Memories of Love well, as Ha’s vocals are able to rise and fall upon a supporting Latin/world-music beat. When Phuong moves into the chorus of Memories of Love, the presence of a secondary set of vocals is more than enough to keep the track energetic. Blending the pop style dominant in this single with a more rap-tinged flow keeps fan interest in the effort high until the track concludes.

Ha Phuong “Memories of Love” / 2018 Self Released / Domain /

Andrew W. Boss “Avengers”

Andrew W. Boss has just released his single Avengers (video is above). This effort calls back to the rap-metal of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Hints of Limp Bizkit and P.O.D. can be heard here; a sick flow lays on top of crunchy guitar riffs and intense drum beats. Boss’s vocals draw upon the tortured, furious sound of Freak on a Leash-era Korn. Together, the instrumentation and Boss’s vocals combine to make for a track that will kick your ass as you sing along. Avengers is easily a track that could make it onto rock radio rotation.

Andrew W. Boss “Avengers” / Facebook

DYK “Trashcan”

Dyk’s Trashcan is a rock track that builds upon the style of U2, Audioslave, and OneRepublic with hints of a harder rock style (e.g. Jane’s Addiction, Chris Cornell, Queens of the Stone Age). The environmentally-friendly message is present at all points during the single. A more jam band guitar line enters in at points, providing a wonderful counterpoint to the harder edge that began things. Contemplative, musically proficient, and with hooks sharp enough to bury themselves deep into the minds and hearts of fans, Trashcan is our choice for bringing in the new year. Let us know what you think of Dyk’s latest single.

Dyk – Trashcan / Domain /

Lucas Ray Exp “Reveries”

On Reveries, Lucas Ray Exp takes listeners through a tremendously intimate journey through his psyche. Initially starting out with a more sedate sound, LRE is able to gradually add in technical guitar riffs and booming drums to the mix. Of the course of this nearly-five minute single, Lucas Ray Exp is able to establish one of the most detailed instrumental compositions that we have ever heard. Effortlessly moving through progressive, technical metal, and power metal formats, Reveries is one of those songs that will stick around one’s brain long after the last note ceases to play. Reveries is a tome of a track, deep and detailed, and one any fan of voluminous texts should search out.

Lucas Ray Exp – Reveries / Facebook

Stealth 600 (Turtle Beach)

The Stealth 600 headphones by Turtle Beach are a must-have for anyone that is looking for a middle-price head set that has a good build quality and a solid set of features. The design of the head set keeps one’s head comfortable with a big, thick band and comfortable ear cups. The ear cups are covered with a mesh to wick away perspiration. The positionable mic is tiny to hide away when its is not needed, but is able to accurately reproduce one’s voice even in its smaller-than-normal state.The wireless aspect of these headphones makes it easy to find a comfortable position further away from one’s Xbox One or Windows PC (either through the Xbox Wireless Adapter or through the OS). Continue reading “Stealth 600 (Turtle Beach)”

The Posies – Amazing Disgrace [30th Anniversary Re-Issue] (CD)

In 1993, The Posies turned in one of the finest power pop records of the decade with “Frosting on the Beater.” So, it was almost a given that it’s follow-up wouldn’t stray too far from that formula. And thankfully it didn’t. The 14-track “Amazing Disgrace,” was just as accessible as it’s predecessor, if a little less optimistic in tone, likely a result of troubles within the band (drummer Mike Musburger and bassist Dave Fox left before the recording of this one), and disagreements with their label at the time.

Omnivore Recordings has just re-issued “Amazing Disgrace,” the final in a trio of the band’s DGC albums getting the re-issue treatment this year. This two-disc set includes the original record and eight bonus tracks on one disc as well as a bonus CD with an additional 15 tracks, mainly boasting demos and alternate versions of earlier songs.

The album, their last for DGC, is easily one of their best efforts, second only to “Frosting on the Beating.” Though there wasn’t an obvious hit single in the U.S. from “Amazing Disgrace,” the record still managed to become their biggest seller in Europe up to this point. Songs like Throwaway”” and the fantastic “Ontario” compete just as well as most of the tracks off of “Frosting on the Beater,” but the album inexplicably didn’t pay off as well here as it’s predecessor.

This re-issue, just like “Dear 23” and “Frosting on the Beater” serve as a great second chance for people to rediscover these three extraordinary albums from one of the best power pop bands to emerge from the 1990s. And thankfully the band that is just as vital today as when these albums were first released, still touring and releasing new music.   

The Posies – Amazing Disgrace [30th Anniversary Re-Issue/2 CDs/Omnivore Recordings

John has covered The Posies a few times in the past. Take a look at his coverage of Failure and Dear 23/Frosting on the Beater .

Miguel Estrada – Christmas In The Desert

Christmas in the Desert is a touching, sedate effort that allows Miguel ample opportunity to showcase his songwriting skills. The track is able to succeed because Estrada pulls double-duty, telling a story as well as adding a further level of depth to the sleigh bells and backing instrumentation. The smart usage of silence provides further gravitas to the composition.

I feel that Christmas in the Desert is able to be placed among the pantheon of holiday tracks as it draws upon a traditional (almost classical) pacing and sound.  The song is dedicated to anyone in service to our country that would be away from friends and family. Check out the single, let us know what you think, and purchase a copy for yourselves (a CDBaby link is below). A portion of the proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Miguel Estrada – Christmas In The Desert / 2018 Self-Released / 3:52 / CDBaby