Social Justice in Music: Emerging Indie Artists of the Pandemic

By JD Brant // Contributing Writing By Saliek Ruffin Hip hop has come a long way since the OG days of “Rapper’s Delight.” The track was the first hip hop song to reach Billboard’s Top 40 at a time when music by young black musicians was easily misunderstood. Now, almost 40 years later, hip hop still dominates Billboard charts. Streaming numbers have nudged the genre, yet again, into familiar hybrid pop/rock territory (Does anyone remember Blondie’s “Rapture”? That’s where it all started).  At its core, hip hop is a political movement, and contemporary artists’ attempts to smash the status quo … Continue reading Social Justice in Music: Emerging Indie Artists of the Pandemic

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SINGLE STREAM REVIEW: So Kindly – ‘The River’

By Katie Powers Zimbabwe-based songwriter So Kindly first emerged in 2017 with his debut EP “Warmest Place,” which earned him praise for his vulnerable storytelling and warm arrangements. On May 28, he made his triumphant return to the music scene with the release of his latest single, “The River,” where he sings about the distinctly human problem of being faced with a tough decision in love and the accompanying emotional fallout that follows. The track showcases So Kindly’s earnestly charming vocals and innovative sound, which blends electronic and indie rock influences into an effortless and inviting package. “Down by the … Continue reading SINGLE STREAM REVIEW: So Kindly – ‘The River’

ALBUM REVIEW: Forty Feet Tall – ‘A Good Distraction’

The best distraction can convince a person to leave their worries behind for a while and get caught up elsewhere. By Katie Powers Forty Feet Tall’s A Good Distraction is a gripping and fast-paced sonic journey that offers compelling storytelling and high-energy psychedelic rock with a pop-punk flare. The album explores a range of sounds and stylistic choices, but the Portland-based alternative rockers hold a steady command over every track. Perhaps most importantly, each track effectively permits its listeners to get lost in the overwhelming and sometimes defeating world detailed on the album. Forty Feet Tall, which features Cole Gann … Continue reading ALBUM REVIEW: Forty Feet Tall – ‘A Good Distraction’

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SINGLE STREAM REVIEW: Benjamin Elias and Soul Special – ‘Reflections’

By Jake Sabers Foreign hip hop fans are in luck: Benjamin Elias and Soul Special released their first official collaboration titled Reflections off their record label, Mad Talk, out of Tel Aviv, Israel. Benjamin Elias, born in Denver Colorado but relocating to Israel at the age of 13, and  Soul Special, an Israeli artist and producer who left high school and went on to graduate from the Rimon school of music, add multiple layers of unique perspective and experience to their latest undertaking. The track was mixed by Brendan Ferry, a grammy-nominated mix engineer who has worked with YBN Cordae, … Continue reading SINGLE STREAM REVIEW: Benjamin Elias and Soul Special – ‘Reflections’

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ALBUM REVIEW: Tha Capital G – ‘I Wouldn’t Trade Being Black For Anything’

By Debesh Suvat As an ally in the struggle for equality and against discrimination and bigotry in all forms, perhaps the most beneficial thing I can do is listen and learn from the struggles of others. I Wouldn’t Trade Being Black For Anything (produced by UrBan Nerd Beats) from Tha Capital G (out of Boston, see also Giddy) is a great piece of listening for other non-black allies who could do well to sit down and pay attention to someone with lived experience. “If The Police Kill Me” handles the disturbing truth of the precarious nature of survival unique to … Continue reading ALBUM REVIEW: Tha Capital G – ‘I Wouldn’t Trade Being Black For Anything’