Built on Principle – The Modesty Martyrs EP

Built on Principle begin their Modesty Martyrs EP with Duh. The track utilizes a groovy backing beat inspired by 1970s psych/guitar-led rock. The feature (Myka 9) on this initial track ensures that this is one of the most heady introductory efforts we’ve heard. Fans will need to play this cut a number of times before hearing every line and dynamic that issues forth.

There is a mid-1990s NYC sound to Smooth Unison (an effort which features Vast Aire) that will have listeners sailing away on a chill, electronic-tinged beat. There is just the smallest amount of mid-century modern jazz drums that are interspersed during the effort. We’re particularly in love with the vocal hand-off that occurs during just after the first minute. It’s this spontaneity that makes The Modesty Martyrs EP so strong. Fans will be always on their toes; the only constant here is that the resulting material is strong.

Devolution goes even further back into the crates with some impressive scratching (done here by Scratch Johnsonic). Hypatia’s Son’s opening is nothing less than amazing. The repeated sample immediately draws attention, while the rapid-fire flow that rises to prominence tattoos the track deep into the psyche of anyone listening in.

Run of the Rosicrucian is one of the most unlikely rap tracks we’ve heard. There is a big band / 1920-30s jazz sample that inserts a bit of the traditional / Great Gatsby-esque pomp onto the later registers of the release.

Without Water has a haunting backing beat which draws upon the tradition of Wu-Tang or The Gravediggaz. Blending this 1990s approach with a bit of early-oughts Rhymesayers acts, it’s no surprise that Built on Principle is able to end the release in a wholly unique fashion.

Top Tracks: Smooth Unison (featuring Vast Aire), 
Run of the Rosicrucian, Without Water (featuring Main Flow)

Rating: 9.2/10

Built on Principle – The Modesty Martyrs EP / 2018 Self Released / 8 Tracks / Bandcamp

Joe Miralles Trio – Narrow Path

Glorious Night is the first track on Narrow Path, the new album from Joe Miralles. The hopeful vocals and taut drum, bass, and guitar arrangements makes for a track that is equal parts 1990s alternative and 1970s singer-songwriter. While this introductory single would easily make its way onto radio  / playlist rotation, I feel that the backing instrumentation far outstrips the quality of the average radio track. There is a density to this arrangement that will ensure listeners continue to find new twists and turns even five or ten plays in.

Blue has some impressive guitar work that begins the track, after which the bass and vocals rise up into prominence. The act is able to whip in more of their influences during this second song on the EP; bits of Bon Jovi and Springsteen can be heard during this outing.

Narrow Path is an absolutely epic track that looks to the halcyon days of progressive rock and John Denver-esque storytelling to make for a cut that will resound loudly with listeners long after the EP ceases to play. It is during Narrow Path where the vocals take a focal point; standing boldly above the instrumentation, these vocals are able to easily connect with fans.

I Owe You has a traditional sort of sound that succeeds to a bouncy bass line, charismatic vocals, and on-point piano and drums. A bit of strings added into the mix establishes I Owe You as a late-album track that is nigh-perfect.

Break would be a great track to introduce fans of Umphrey’s McGee or NRBQ ; there is a bit of jam band mixed into a funky 1970s rock backdrop. The tracks on Narrow Path provide a solid introduction to the Joe Miralles Trio. Make it a point to check out their main domain or Facebook for more samples of their music and updates/news from the act themselves.

Top Tracks: Glorious Night, Narrow Path

Rating: 8.4/10

Joe Miralles Trio – Narrow Path / 2018 Self Released / 5 Tracks / Domain / Facebook

DPB – Feel So Good Today

Feel So Good Today is a positive-rap track that blends together Ne*Yo and Flo Rida to effortlessly skirt pop-R&B and rap styles. The sunny backing beat is partially island rhythms mixed in with EDM. DPB’s rap style is polished, contributing more than the lyrical content. The cadence of his rap style during this single adds a further layer of harmony. One could easily imagine Feel So Good Today slotting on pop radio rotation or Spotify playlist. The bit of a breakdown at the 3:00 minute mark allows for a strong promotion of the song’s message along with building up the momentum of the last minute.

DPB – Feel So Good Today / Facebook

Mz Rockastella – Who We Are

Mz Rockastella creates straight fire with her latest single, Who We Are. We’re quite impressed at the rapid-fire flow that she lays down here.  The intricate wordplay ensures that listeners will have to play the single back multiple times before hearing everything that has been contained within. The synth and percussive elements of the song’s backing beat provides a robust backdrop, rising and falling to properly highlight Mz Rockastella’s flow at all of the right points.

The production of Who We Are is crisp, making it easy for each of the elements – the backing beat, Mz Rockastella’s flow – to shine alone and as part of a greater whole. For additional information about the performer and for the latest information about any upcoming music, make it a point to go to her social media and see what is going on.

Mz Rockastella – Who We Are / Youtube / ReverbNation

Ryan Zimmerman – Solitude Blues

On Solitude Blues, Ryan Zimmerman is able to tell a dense and detailed story with little more than his guitar. There is a rough-hewn sound that imparts further realism to the track. Ryan’s vocals have that same dusty, experienced sound that will call forth comparisons to Chris Cornell and Waylon Jennings. Effortlessly moving through country and western, blues, and rock styles, Zimmerman is able to make his Solitude Blues into something that will stick around listeners’ brains long after the track ceases to play. The presence of a secondary set of vocals at opportune points further increases the depth of the composition.

Ryan Zimmerman – Solitude Blues / Domain / Facebook /

We previously covered Ephemeral As A Kiss back in January of 2018.

The Colours of Kings – The Truth is in Me

Reckoning is the first experience that listeners will have with The Colours of Kings’ new album, The Truth is in Me. The track blends in equal amounts electronic and alt rock, touching upon the style of the Goo Goo Dolls and Dishwalla while bringing in bits of U2 and Owl City. A more wondrous sound continues into Fight the Future, where the band utilizes the X-Files as a frame of reference. With bits of dusty soundscapes and an industrial / Nine Inch Nails sort of vocal delivery, The Colours of Kings are able to have another hit on their hands.

Questions for Clyde Bruckman is an effort that refreshes the Brit-pop of the mid-1990s with just a hint of Vertical Horizon. The vocals sit above the track, shining brightly as the bit of fuzzy guitar work and drum beats make for a stable jumping-off point. Monster of the Week’s percussion is the first thing listeners will happen upon with the cut, before The Colours of Kings drop the momentum a bit and adopt a style that builds off of Smash Mouth, The Newsboys and even Se A Vida E-era Pet Shop Boys. The Truth is in Me ends with two “volumes” of All Things. The tracks can be enjoyed on their own, but have a wholly different feel when one plays the efforts as a cohesive entity. The slower, more deliberate sound of the first part of All Things is allowed to meander in the concluding part. Fans are sent off with strings in the same realm of a Bittersweet Symphony. The bit of pop-facing vocals that are present in this final track provide a different context to The Colours of Kings than previously experienced. This has the effect of ending the album as emphatically as it began.

Top Tracks: Fight the Future, Questions for Clyde Bruckman, Monster of the Week

Rating: 8.1/10

The Colours of Kings – The Truth is in Me / Domain / Bandcamp

Fox and Bones – Better Land

Little Animal begins Fox and Bones’ new album, Better Land. The bouncy alt-pop that immediately issues forth blends together the vocal stylings of Cat Stevens and John Popper. With a robust instrumentation that will have listeners’ toes tapping after the single’s first play, Fox and Bones are able to continue on to Love Me Like A River. 

Love Me Like A River whips in a bit of country and blues styling, with each shuffling drum beat and twangy guitar riff tattooing its melody deep into the minds and hearts of listeners. The two-part (male/female) vocal harmonies imparts additional depth upon the single, providing further momentum for this release. Reckless has a honky-tonk sound that whips in just enough in the way of gospel music to make the track effortlessly bring in fans of the widest possible swath of music. The keys and spontaneous-sounding drum fills on Reckless further separates this cut from the rest of the music garnering airplay today. Better Land is a late-disc single that calls back to the Melloncamp / Meatloaf ballad style, replete with robust drums, guitars, and a haunting set of keys.

Any Of It With You is the penultimate track on Better Land; the effort showcases where Fox and Bones may ultimately go on future recordings. Soulful, laid-back, and timeless in its sound, Any Of It With You will be that effort that you’ll be singing along with long after this CD ceases to play. The contemplative guitar lines that comprise the backing beat work well with the funk-infused horns. Welcome Home concludes things with just enough Mumford and Sons and Dylan to make old new again; this vocal-heavy composition is intimate and ends things with tremendous beauty. 

Top Tracks: Love Me Like A River, Any Of It With You

Rating: 8.6/10

Fox and Bones – Better Land / Domain / Facebook

Jared Dymbort – Rearrange

Jared Dymbort’s Rearrange immediately hits listeners with a soulful, slightly-bouncy take on Ian Curtis or Robert Smith. The track is able to benefit with a number of twists and turns that places listeners in a much different place than they began. While the instrumentation takes a backing spot during Rearrange, the music that is crafted through the inclusion of synth, guitar, bass, and drums is intricate and fulfilling to parse. The dynamic between instrumental and vocal elements changes over time, keeping fans focused on this cut until the song’s last few notes. Jared is able to make a track that works as well in 2019 as it would’ve in 1982. Check out the video for Rearrange.

Jared Dymbort – Rearrange / Bandcamp

Holy WOW! – Nebulas

Holy WOW!’s Nebulas is an effort that will stand up to repeat plays. The sheer depth of the single’s arrangements keeps fans from hearing everything that the band has laid out down here. Hauntingly beautiful vocals call back to the days of Bauhaus and 45 Grave. The taut instrumentation that comprises the backing to this single kicks ass; the bass is dense and brushy, while the synthesizer punctuates the song. A sizzling guitar acts as a secondary set of vocals, further highlighting the main vox at all of the right points. There is a current and comtemporary sound with Nebulas that restores 1980s rock and goth to their proper heights. 

Holy WOW! – Nebulas / Domain /  

The Imaginaries ft. Maggie McClure & Shane Henry “Merry Christmas, Baby” and “First Thing On My Christmas List”

The Imaginaries have released a pair of holiday tracks. On Merry Christmas, Baby, the duo is able to make something drawing on blues, pop, and country that makes a play at garnering plays on Holiday playlists. Intelligent vocals, fulfilling bass, and a pair of smooth, capable vocals are all that listeners need to sail away with.

Merry Christmas, Baby

First Thing On My Christmas List

First Thing On My Christmas List is a laid back track that showcases technically proficient instrumentation and a timeless pair of vocals. Building upon both early 1980s soul (e.g. Michael Jackson) and 1990s pop (e.g. Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson), The Imaginaries make a touching and fun effort.

The Imaginaries ft. Maggie McClure & Shane Henry – “Merry Christmas, Baby” and “First Thing On My Christmas List” / The Imaginaries / Maggie McClure