Exclusive Artist Review: Byron Bank – “Change II: A Dreamer’s Reality” Album

Emerging from the musical landscapes of Houston, rising rapper/producer Byron Bank began hitting the ground running eight years ago in the Hip Hop realm and since that time has manifested into a versatile and multifaceted artist with his own signature sound and stylization; putting out several prominently well-received albums, EPs and singles since 2013 which has garnered him an insatiable street buzz and critical acclaim since emerging into the market. Now, in 2021, Byron has hit the studio once again to diligently self-write and self-produce his most recent effort ‘Change II: A Dreamer’s Reality’, a sequel record to his previous release ‘Change’.

Comprised of 13 anthemic tracks with a handful of impressive feature artists, ‘Change II: A Dreamer’s Reality’ from start to finish showcases Byron Bank’s crucial witty lyricism, smooth and swagger flow and top notch production value that isn’t heard often in today’s independent artist spectrum. Byron’s vocal execution on each of these songs is crafty, witty and really shines a light on his ability to write hits. Opening tracks “Y’all Trippin’” and “Another Level (feat. Dro Frazier)” are direct demonstrations of this and really set the tone for the rest of the album when it comes to Byron’s musicianship factors, production value and artistic merit. These well-crafted tracks diligently parallel a nostalgic 90s aura with a more modern sensibility that balances equal parts originality and familiarity; giving the listener a taste of something fresh yet still identifiable. Another note-worthy number on this album is the anchor single “Heavy”. A hypnotically visceral track with an ominously haunting beat structure and atmosphere. This track showcases a whole different angle of Byron’s craft and is just as effective as its predecessors. His flow kicks it up a notch and really brings his lyricism dynamics to the forefront full circle, giving us another window into his songwriting structures and execution.

One last notable track on this record is “Fire & Desire (feat. Mani Starz)” which has an intelligently placed R&B texture that really adds to the visceral listening experience throughout this album’s duration. Feature artist Mani Starz delivers a next-level vocal melody that parallels the innovative rhythmic bars that Byron unleashes on this number; serving up a more-than-solid collaboration that brings additional realms of versatility to the album, as well as tastefully blended multi layers and textures. Overall, ‘Change II: A Dreamer’s Reality’ is an unmatched anthemic record with its insatiable originality, nostalgic beats and visceral vocal deliveries from both Byron Bank and the notable feature artists. Old school Hip Hop fans and modern fans alike will love the bangers on this record, but will also find themselves impressed with the nostalgic callbacks in some of the beats, including a piano implementation of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”. The album is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms. You’ll be more than glad you gave this a listen – you’ll easily find this record on your favorites of 2021.


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Exclusive Artist Review: Tony Manley – “Another Night In Hollywood” Album/LP

West Virginia’s Tony Manley has been hitting the ground running since the age of 8 when he started playing guitar, and has been writing songs and manifesting his signature sound ever since. Known for his distinctively catchy style and insatiable affinity for the Rock & Punk genres, respectively, Tony’s diligently blended style touches on several Rock elements with innovative musical landscapes and a modern sensibility that truly makes him a multifaceted and multi layered standout of his calibre. And his newest 20-track juggernaut ‘Another Night In Hollywood’ is direct evidence of this.

Accompanied by several feature artists with next-level production value paralleling the strong performances on the album, ‘Another Night In Hollywood’ is an ambitious record that showcases several crucial angles of Tony Manley’s musicianship factors and artistic merit in a way that shines a bright light on his collective levels of talent. It’s an album that diligently balances originality and familiarity, giving the listener a taste of something fresh yet still identifiable. Opening track “I Miss You Here In Hollywood (feat. Zach Cook)” is a direct example of this and really sets the tone for the rest of the album. Tony’s mid-to-high range vocals are brilliantly written and structured with strong melodies in a way that’ll garner your undivided attention throughout the record’s duration. Zach Cook’s verse is very well placed, well paced and really adds a layer of depth that enhances the visceral listening experience, something made apparent from the moment this track starts. It’s a very strong opener that brings Tony’s signature stylization to the forefront in a way that is both effective and articulate.

Another notable track on this album is the more upbeat “Not Sober (feat. Rep)”, an acoustically anthemic number with a Dashboard-esque feel that really brings out the best of Tony Manley’s melodic vocals both lyrically and structurally. This one fits in perfectly with the rest of the album but also explores a whole other angle of Tony’s musicianship factors – bringing his versatile songwriting ability to the spotlight. Feature artist and rapper Rep spits some dynamic bars on this tune that parallels lyrically with the Tony in a way that not only works, but enhances the song’s concept as well. Tony especially brings his vocal A-game to this track, delivering a more charismatic performance that is engaging and crafty. Follow-up track “Chicago (feat. Saint James)” has a similar delivery but is more rhythmic with a swagger that even has R&B textures implemented into the structure. This is another song that explores the multi-genre angle of the album while still remaining true to the record’s signature style and tone.

One last highlight on this album is the more energetic “My Dear Poison (feat. Marissa Silva)”. A guitar-driven Rock infused track with a female feature that serves up excellent duel-flavors and atmospheres. This song is another anthemic effort with brilliant vocal melodies and story-telling lyrics that accompany the melodic guitar progressions and leads. This is definitely one of the stronger feature tracks as well as one of Tony’s stronger performances on the album. It’s also a song that dives deeper into Tony’s versatility as a songwriter as well. Overall, every track on this record ties the album together and really showcases Tony Manley’s distinctive melody structures, songwriting ability and performance execution. It’ll entice you to dive deeper into his discography, career as well as his future subsequent releases. ‘Another Night In Hollywood” has strong staying power, where it’ll stay with you even long after it’s over. The album is currently available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and several other digital music streaming platforms. You’ll be more than glad you gave it a listen, and it won’t be your last time doing so.


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Exclusive Artist Review: Craig Ball – “Content In Bed” EP

Emerging from the Minneapolis music scene in Minnesota, Alt-Folk recording artist Craig Ball began hitting the ground running in the music world over 20 years ago when he began writing songs and playing local shows. Known for his distinctively catchy signature sound, Craig garnered an insatiable buzz and critical acclaim with his debut single “Kind Things” last year. This year in 2021, he has followed up that single with his debut EP ‘Content In Bed’, a 6-track record of anthemic folk tunes with the wittiness, charm and catchiness that makes Craig Ball the uniquely versatile artist that he is today.

This is an excellent debut EP that really shines a light on several crucial musicianship factors. Craig Ball displays a passionate craft on each song and really plays his heart out in a way where the listener can resonate with the messages he conveys through the power of his music. Opening title track “Content In Bed” and follow up track “I Can’t Quit” brilliantly open this record with anthemic goodness that showcases Craig’s gifted songwriting structures and story-telling lyrics. Both songs have smooth acoustic guitar progressions that parallel beautifully with Craig’s mid-range vocal melodies, delivering a uniquely crisp Alt-Folk flavor in his very own multifaceted style. He has a signature sound that is completely in his own realm, but also diligently balances originality and familiarity in a way that is fresh yet still identifiable. He performs with that classic Folk aura but still manages to implement a modern sensibility that can captivate a younger crowd as well.

Another highlight on this EP is the song “Good On You”. A more upbeat anthem that has a Bad Moon Rising vibe with additional flavors and textures reminiscent of other industry heavyweights like Ireland’s Flogging Molly. This upbeat number is one of the most catchy of the EP and will easily become a favorite from this record. “Everything looks good on you” will definitely stick in your head! One more crucial highlight on this EP is the atmospheric and ambient “All The Way To Mars”. A more innovative track on the record with beautiful piano flutters and a spacey keyboard lead that really sets a modern tone on this song. It’s another additional angle to Craig’s signature sound that showcases his talent in an effective way, just like the other songs on this record. Overall, ‘Content In Bed’ is an EP of classic folk songs that will inspire the ear, soothe the soul and entice you to dive deeper into Craig Ball’s career and subsequent releases. His brilliantly crafted sound has staying power that will satisfy any fan of the folk genre and will easily become one of your favorites in 2021. The EP is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms. You’ll be more than glad you gave this record a spin.


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