Vajra is a name I am very familiar with in the New York area. Also making their rounds on Sirius XM, playing SXSW, countless NYC venues and more, the band is taking off in a whole new light. Formed by Annamaria Pinna while she was in India, a bit of self discovery brought to life Vajra. Pinna is an accomplished composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist. The group have just released their latest single “Blind (Blood Mix)” at the end of this Summer, and the track is just as strong, a couple of months down the line. The haunting and dark undertones are hypnotically laced, as it recalls Eastern Indian themes. Pinna’s voice is captivating and strong; an unstoppable force crawling out of the musical bed. While heavy hitting and dark the band proves to be very accessible, especially with the addition of Pinna’s smoky and seductive vocals.
Vajra is Annamaria Pinna (Vocals, Composer, Keyboards), Kevin Jones (Bass), James Rosenberg (Guitar); and John Keener (Drums, Percussion).
Listen “Blood Blind” https://soundcloud.com/vajratemple/blind-blood-edit-mp3
I have been a long time fan of the Blues, first becoming interested in the genre during my college years of studying music history. Recently I have had the chance to check out Tomas Doncker’s latest release, Big Apple Blues (True Groove Records), which features legendary poet, Yusef Komunyakaa.
This is the second record the two have collaborated on, and they have recently officially introduced the album during the Dodge Poetry Festival. Doncker has been making his name in the music world for quite a while, as he started out in the ‘no wave,’ scene in NYC in the 1980s. Fast forward into 2014, when his music has taken a more intricate and enticing turn, with standout songs such as “The New Day,” which is featured on the record. The accessible tune is a musical journey all of its own. The mixture of Doncker’s stunning musicianship and Komunyakaa’s use of words is unstoppable and breathtaking, stirring philosophical lyrics.
Track after track on Big Apple Blues, definitely do deliver the goods. Opener “Big Apple Blues,” brings the album to life immediately, which ebbs and flows throughout the record without missing a beat. This unique record is uplifting, heartfelt, and flawless. One I have had on repeat since I first discovered it. A great discovery indeed.
Listen to “Big Apple Blues”: https://soundcloud.com/tomasdoncker/01-big-apple-blues
Critically acclaimed Chuckie Campbell is making major waves in the music scene. His unique brand of hip hop has captured the ears of outlets such as Huffington Post, Young Hollywood and Buzzfeed. Recently releasing his latest single, “All I Meant (feat. Cole Jonique), from his album More Die of Heartbreak, the in-your-face track makes Campbell a prominent name to watch out for. The new record features Wu Tang members Cappadonna and Solomon Childs, as well as Cole Jonique, Block McCloud and Erin Breeding. Impressive? I think so!
Hailing from Buffalo, NY, Campbell is an all around jack of trades. Not only does he write music, but he writes stories and poetry as well, and is also the founder and editor of the online and print Arts journal, Sunsets and Silencers. His unique and smooth lyrical flow makes him standout from the rest, as does his knack for writing intriguing lyrics.If you dig artists such as The Roots, Macklemore, Nas and Dead Prez, than Chuckie Campbell is DEFINITELY for you.
Watch “All I Meant”, directed by Steve Pyne, on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WRUoyGyJmQ
Julian Rhine is a Brooklyn based hip hop artist to watch out for. Critically acclaimed by such outlets like The Source, Rhine will be performing Friday evening during CMJ (Fri, Oct 24, 11:59pm, at The Bitter End). Recently he has released his new album, An Excuse to Riot, which came out the tail end of the Summer, and has quite an impressive repertoire. This is Rhine’s third year playing CMJ, and he has also played SXSW, as well as opening for Macklemore, Diddy and Mobb Deep.
Obviously his live show is killer, just like his latest release and video for “Excuse to Riot.” Channeling the likes of Beastie Boys and Linkin Park, Julian brings his own impressive brand of hip hop to the table. Swirling guitars surround his lyrical flow, which is smoothly done. His music also packs a heavy message touching upon the government and other important issues. His in-your-face brand of hip hop is truly impressive and will leave a lasting impression in your ears. Watch his new video for “An Excuse to Riot,” below.
Watch “Excuse to Riot,” Video HERE
Get tickets HERE for the Bitter End CMJ Show
Syre & Fresko is quite an impressive duo, who create a brilliant combination of electro-indie, that will draw you in immediately. Along the likes of artists such as Chairlift meets Foster the People, the group who hail from Australia, provide us with a stunning EP titled Gonna See Miracles, which was released this week. Syre & Fresko have been having quite a big year already. Recently they were 1st place in the National/TripleJ Run competition, which allowed the band to represent Australia in the Annual Spring Gala for Chinese New Year in Beijing (with over 600 million viewers in over 70 countries!). Syre & Fresko’s intricate sounds are a vibrant burst of energy and heavy drums which come full circle which are noticeable on Gonna See Miracles. Give a listen to the EP below!
Listen to Syre and Fresko “Gonna See Miracles”: https://soundcloud.com/syreandfresko/gonna-see-miracles
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a sucker for alt-country based music. Upon first listen of Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders’ latest release, The Last of the Originals, I was immediately a fan. Hailing from Australia, Billy Roberts and co. are far more than just another band.
Their sensational brand of country mixed with indie folk shed light on influences such as Neil Young, Wilco, Johnny Cash and even the Black Keys. The first piece on the record, “Mrs. Jones,” hits you with a breath of fresh air. Swirling guitars and a whirlwind of melody are striking as they are accompanied by bright keys and on-point harmonies. This is a theme that carries throughout the record. Tracks such as “Never Know,” offer a softer side of the record, while personal favorite, “No More Mr Nice Guy” provides an in-your-face punch. Roberts’ vocals are gritty yet smooth, and perfectly fit the sound of the songs. “I Was Young,” reminds one a bit of early Ryan Adams’ Whiskeytown in vocals and musicianship. The accompanying violin is a beautiful touch. “Not That Special,” is a touching and intricate piece that is one of the highlights of the record. Roberts’ voice is definitely made for this music and is something that I have been enjoying more and more with every listen.
Purchase Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders’ l The Last of the Originals: http://billyrobertsandtheroughriders.bandcamp.com/