Artist Review: FRND CRCL – “Famous” Single

Review by: Justyn W. Brodsky

It’s refreshing when a band like FRND CRCL hits the scene to remind us that melodic pop/punk is still alive and well. This articulate quartet of professional musicians not only have a solidified signature sound that is raw and melody-driven, but relentlessly fun and energetic as well. And their newest single “Famous” demonstrates their ability perfectly.

Accompanied by a colorful official music video with some clever meme-themed editing, this song launches into a dangerously catchy chorus that will have a very hard time leaving your head. Combining an indie pop-punk sound reminiscent of genre juggernauts like Blink 182, Alkaline Trio, Neck Deep and others of a similar caliber, FRND CRCL hones a unique style that is memorable, personal and elegantly crafted. The four musicians blend diligently and really showcase a type of self-awareness that most bands lack nowadays. Despite the song title, this band is humble and doesn’t portray an arrogance that leads you believe that they’re out just to chase fame. These dudes have fun with what they’re doing, and this song sends that vibe pretty much instantly.

With a pounding rhythm section, crunchy guitar chops and dual vocal melodies at the forefront throughout the song’s duration, “Famous” sets the bar high for the band and really delves into the band’s ability to write a catchy riff with melody choices that fit like a glove. The verses have a punchy groove and really gives you that rare feeling of intrigue when it comes to tightly knit songs angled more towards the newer era of pop-punk, but still maintains that wit and charm the genre has been known for since it started exploding back in the mid-to-late 90s. Overall, FRND CRCL puts forth a balance and composure that showcases each member’s influence in the band, conjuring a solid rock sound that sustains both originality and familiarity. “Famous” from the very first listen will be very difficult to get out of your head: and will stick with you long after it’s over.

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Artist Review: Potok Philippe – “Not The Same (feat. Dre Prada)” Single

Review by: Justyn W. Brodsky

Today’s millennial heatwave has been taking the industry by storm since the explosion of the 2010’s, and many independent artists of this era have been paving their way to grab the attention of music listeners from many walks of life, especially those geared more toward the Rap/hip Hop caliber. One artist that has been making some noticeable noise in the game is Toronto-based Rap/Hip Hop pioneer Potok Philippe with his new fresh single “Not The Same”. A song that demonstrates not only Potok‘s musical and lyrical sensibility, but his insatiable swagger as well.

“Not The Same”, accompanied by an official music video which includes feature artist Dre Prada, is a solid banger from start to finish. From distinctive melody choices to clever lyrical punchlines, this club-worthy single comes out swinging with today’s more charming side to sing-songy Hip Hop narratives and really showcases Potok‘s charisma as well as artistic merit. He reels you in with solid hooks that are viscerally satisfying and lyrically hypnotizing. It’s one of those tracks that proves that it’s not what you’re saying, but how you’re saying it. His well placed verses are nostalgically driven, the beat structure is a force to be reckoned with and the signature sound throughout this track’s duration touches on equal parts originality and familiarity; giving his listeners a taste of something that is recognizable to the modern ear, yet holds its own in its own right.

Drawing notable influences from undeniable Hip Hop heavyweights ranging from the 90s including Tupac, Notorious B.I.G. and Nas, to today’s more modern leaders of the game including Drake, Future, 21 Savage, Lil Pump and many others; Potok‘s signature sound offers up a tasteful blend of old school charm and today’s more prominent production value as well as lyrical execution. He’s an artist that is real, self-aware, and really brings his musical energy to the fold of the forefront with an effective formula that draws you in; and this single definitely reflects it. “Not The Same” is a single that not only brings Potok‘s craft out into the playing field, but also has a solidified production value that is top-of-the-line and a gold standard among today’s Hip Hop scene.

With this single already making waves throughout the music community at large, Potok Philippe also proves that he is quickly becoming a crucial, vital voice to the genre entirely; and “Not The Same” is direct evidence of this in every way. You just can’t go wrong with this one.

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Artist Review: Wolfe Black – “Runaway” Single

Review by: Justyn W. Brodsky

When it comes to natural beauty, unwavering talent and insatiable passion for her craft, Wolfe Black is quite the trifecta. And it really shows on her newest atmospheric single “Runaway”.

Originally hailing from the landscapes of Australia, Wolfe Black has been establishing her musical foundation in the Montreal music scene in Canada, and so far has hit the ground running. Armed with this first single, a regional buzz and word of mouth, Black has been laying down the groundwork for big things in her horizon and “Runaway” is direct evidence of this.

Drawing a nostalgic reminiscence to award winning artists like Enigma, Sia and those alike, Black really focuses on bringing forth an atmosphere that is magical and musically sensual. Her vocal range is showcased very diligently and shines bright on every element this song conjures up throughout the duration of this single. Her melody choices are effective, her vocal approach is authentic and natural, and the overall production value of this song really shines the spotlight on Wolfe Black‘s signature exotic sound.

This is not only a song, it’s an emotional journey; one of those tracks that you can feel as it plays out. Black has one of those voices that can guide you, and she really takes the lead on this fresh single from start to finish. Another important component of this song is the consistency; there is a vibrant edge that touches on melodic swells, subtle simmers, as well as buildups that never let you down. It has a structure that is more adventurous than it is formulaic; which gives it the charm it needs to retain the staying power all hit singles should possess.

This is not your average single, and Wolfe Black is not your run-of-the-mill Pop singer. She truly breathes life into her music and harbors a passion that immediately draws you in. “Runaway” is one of those songs that will soothe the body, the mind, and remind you that you can get lost in the moment at any time. Just close your eyes and let this song absorb into you – you’ll see (and hear) exactly why Wolfe Black is an artist to be keeping an eye out for.

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Artist Review: BiGG$ – “Marijuana Memories (prod. by Novmber)”

Review by: Justyn W. Brodsky

Get ready for a feel-good track with a fresh new vibe, because on-the-rise Hip Hop pioneer BiGG$ is doing big things for the vital future of Hip Hop. And he continues to push forward in his career with the recent release of his popular single, “Marijuana Memories”.

As a track that draws in both old school and modern sensibilities, this is a song that has insatiable passion, clever punchlines, and a feel-good aura that delves you into what BiGG$ is all about – creating effective and addictive tracks that stay with you far after the first listen. Carrying an ambient beat that is more subtle, well-paced and at-times nostalgic, the flow from BiGG$ dynamically crafted lyricism really shines in the forefront and never waivers from the song’s identity and self awareness. It’s a laid back track that lets us know to enjoy life a little more, and to relax with a good quality doobie.

The production value is notable and impressive; putting a visceral and modern spin on old school flavors that mix together like good weed and fine wine. BiGG$ has an established and direct approach in his vocal delivery, yet still knows when to incorporate that subtlety in all the right places to make “Marijuana Memories” the gem that is really is.

His lyrical structures are intact and never attempt to outdo/overdo itself in any way. The post production offers more magical touches than anything else – keeping a level ground to walk on throughout this track’s duration. We’ve heard many marijuana concepts in many Hip Hop tracks, but this one is a definite standout and could easily get a Snoop Dogg approval. BiGG$ is doing big things, and it’s tracks like “Marijuana Memories” that is helping pave the way for the rising artist. You will not regret putting this song on repeat.

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Artist Review: Leaving Zero – “Get Your Body Moving” & “Coming Back For More” Singles

Review by: Justyn Brodsky & Bethany Stephenson

Some bands know how to grab you by the ears from the very first listen. They say first impressions are the most crucial ones, and can make or break a career when attempting to launch. In this case we have Memphis-based Hard Rock quintet, Leaving Zero, who immediately has hit the ground running.

For a band just starting out with their first two singles, these guys are an absolute mind blow. Their first single, “Get Your Body Moving”, does complete justice to the song title. It’s a heavy concoction of frantic guitar progressions, fierce tones, a heavyweight rhythm section, and a masterful vocal approach that steers the track into mid-to-high range ferocity. Drawing reminiscence to influential rock bands like Shinedown, 3 Doors Down and Stone Sour, Leaving Zero combines many versatile elements that deliver up a signature sound that is recognizable and original in their own right. Chris Autry’s vocals are authentic, full of attitude, and really delves into the band’s overall artistic merit as the cog of the machine. With a dangerously catchy chorus at the centerfold of the song, “Get Your Body Moving” does exactly what it advertises.

Moving on to their subsequent single, “Coming Back For More”, we get the same punch and precision as the predecessor, but this time with a more driving tempo and upbeat key signature. This one has a little more adrenaline but sustains the same amount of charm as the first single. Focusing more on the technical skill set of the drums and guitar work at the helm, this tightly fit track is comfortable like a leather glove and never lets up on the insatiable energy. Autry comes out swinging once again with more tasty vocal melodies that soar through each verse and reach a climactic feat by the time the chorus shows up. It’s a perfect follow-up to the last track and continues to showcase the band’s signature sound and each member’s influence on the overall execution of each song.

One of the most notable factors of these singles is the high quality production value. For a band honing their craft with a prominent hard rock sound in this modern era, the pre and post production is beyond the norm and exceeds expectations for a band just starting out. It sets the bar high for the band, and they are more than ready to reach those heights very few bands in this era really do. Both of these songs have mainstream potential and Leaving Zero is definitely a band I can see labels taking an interest in.

I’ve been in many bands for the last 23 years, and this is the type of group I’d love to write/jam/perform with. And trust me…I’m picky. Leaving Zero is just starting out, but not without a bang. Fans of this band will be impatiently waiting for a full length album, just like we are. You won’t regret giving these guys a listen.

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Artist Review: Alpha Circle – “Circles” Single

Review by: Justyn W. Brodsky

It’s a breath of fresh air when we come across a band or artist with true authenticity. A collective group with a nostalgic signature sound that brings us back to the good old days when good old fashioned quality songwriting was on the priority list. Alt/Rock quartet Alpha Circle is one of those cases, and for good reason.

With ambient reverb-accompanied guitar swells, a groovy rhythm section and intelligently crafted clean vocal melodies, this band’s newest single “Circles” is a massive sigh of relief in comparison to what we hear in today’s music market. This quartet of professional musicians come together to deliver a track that is not only effective, but sustainably catchy in its own right from the very first listen.

Alpha Circle is a rare find, a group that is true to themselves in a way that brilliantly reflects on their music in a way that shows the band in its forefront of artistic merit, musicianship quality, and versatility all wrapped up into one tastefully catchy package. With clean and crisp vocals driving the song forward from the very second “Circles” begins to play out, this track truly demonstrates the collective cog of the machine between all four musicians that bring their own diverse additives to the table. The rhythm section is tightly knit and cruises through each measure, the dueling guitar tracks are very effective and deliver their own standout when it comes to the track’s atmospheric textures, all topped off with vocal melodies that are especially strong in the chorus – which is definitely the highlight of this song.

One thing that is made apparent throughout the duration of “Circle” however is atmosphere – a feel-good vibe that not only carries the song, but pieces it together perfectly as well. It’s the type of song that never gets old. It utilizes an almost oldies sound, more reminiscent of 90s Indie Rock, with the perfect touch of today’s more favorable rock-infused touches. It’s a tasty combination that truly delivers up a sound that is flavorful, eloquent, and original in its own right as well as familiar to the music listener in search of nostalgia.

Another factor of this track is the authentic production value – there is no cheesy auto tune or post production theatrics needed to enhance the song into some electronic mess. It’s four musicians playing what they love, and each member shines on this single without the overuse of studio antics. A rare quality in today’s music industry.

“Circle” is a more than solid single that is driving Alpha Circle forward with diligence and are determined to bring the masses a future of unforgettable music releases. Once you take a listen to this song yourself – you’ll definitely see why these guys are well on their way to something much bigger.

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Artist Review: NuJ4X – “Wilmas & Bettys” Single

Review by: Justyn W. Brodsky & Sydney B

If you’ve been one of our more dedicated readers over the last few years, then you’ll definitely remember elite Nashville DJ/Producer NuJ4X. And one thing this artist does consistently is continually exceed expectations with every release. And he does it again with his most recent hit single “Wilmas & Bettys”.

Paying a direct homage to the classic cartoon The Flintstones, this track grabs you from the very beginning, most notably the hook from the verses – which carries a Maroon 5 vibe, but much smoother and subtle. You will find yourself singing along to it on the very first listen, and easily could be a chart topper in its own right as well as the song that gives NuJ4X his introduction to the commercial market. In short, “Wilmas & Bettys” is catchy at dangerous levels.

This track has all the elements – vibe, catchiness, versatility and talent. But another thing it has most notably is sustainability – a way where the song sticks with you and can be appreciated through multiple listens without ending up stale or boring. It’s the kind of song where you wanna play it for your friends and see their first reaction.

This song borrows many components from today’s more contemporary genres, but has more than enough charm and wit to really stand on its own and carry massive weight. It’s an anthemic single that boldly showcases NuJ4X‘s raw talent and skills behind the mixing board ,as well as his vocal and songwriting structures that is consistent with his prior releases. But there is just something about this track that makes it completely unforgettable, and it’s done in a way without having to resort to pushing the envelope with post production theatrics. It’s good old fashioned solid songwriting – the most effective way an artist truly stands out among the crowd.

We’ve had Beckys, Dolls and Baes. But once you take a listen to this single, you’ll be searching for your Wilmas and Bettys in no time. It’s a clever branding song that is delivered up in a hit single format that puts other female-attributed tracks to the wayside. We dare you to get “Wilmas & Bettys” out of your head after the first listen – you won’t be able to do it. This song will get stuck on you. And you’ll be glad it did.

About the song:

Wilmas & Bettys is a song about surfing and surfer girls. The name “Betty” was a popular term for really attractive girls who surfed in the 1980s and a bit into the 90s as well. Betty is also the name of Betty Rubble from “The Flintstones” and Wilmas & Bettys is a clever double entendre for both of those names. The lyrics are built from actual surfing lingo. “Dawn Patrol”, “Ride A-Frames & Chase the Ghost”, “Barneys”, “Ankle Busters”, “Hodads”, “Bennys” “Get the Skinny” etc. All surfing terms. I wrote this song because I’ve always loved the ocean, always loved the beach, always loved surfing and the island / tropical lifestyle.

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