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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Exclusive Artist Review: Polyphonic Exophilia – “Volume 1” EP

Hailing from the musical landscapes of Hadeland in Norway, Progressive/Alternative collective Polyphonic Exophilia (abbreviated as PPXP) are comprised of several elite musicians with years of collective experience under their belts. On top of being a band, they also run a fully functional recording studio as well as an independent label, operating as a unit that is 100% authentic and DIY – doing just about everything themselves. Known for their very progressive Alt-Indie signature sound, the PPXP collective has put together a dynamic EP series that is comprised of three releases that will take place throughout 2021, and their debut effort from this series is their debut EP ‘Volume 1’.

Solidified as chapter one of the EP series, ‘Volume 1’ is comprised of four anthemic tracks and sequences that really showcase PPXP’s musicianship factors, production value and artistic merit. Each song offers up several flavorful soundscapes that put effective spotlights on each member’s ability as well as the band’s collective style. Opening track “Crocodile Tears” is a perfect example of their progressive formula with several genre textures which includes their Alt-Indie flavor alongside diligently crafted Jazz, Fusion, and Funk elements. This track has an insatiable groovy rhythm section and utilizes dynamic tempos and time signatures that really add crucial elements of their writing style. The lead instruments contain crafty guitar melodies, atmospheric keyboard leads and smooth solid bass lines that tie it all together. The song has a jammy feel with several measures of buildup that eventually lead to a powerful climax, giving the listener a sense of anticipation that is very engaging as well as exciting as the grooves play out. The unique skat-like vocals are cleverly written alongside a melodic duel female vocal, really adding to the flavorful components that are heard throughout the track’s duration. Overall, this track starts the EP out very strongly and also sets the tone for the rest of the record as well.

Second track is “Omoi”, another dynamically rhythmic track with a more uptempo groove. Once again we have a heavy presence of keyboard and guitar leads that really lead the way in terms of melody and progression. This track also has atmospheric and spacey textures, giving the song significantly more ambience in the overall aura. This track is a little more subtle, but is just as effective and well-written. Third track “Post-Traumatic Growth” is another jazzy and atmospheric track that highlights more of the band’s dynamic vocal leads and melodies. Their charismatic approach on this track is cleverly executed and really adds several multi layers to the mix. It’s another brilliant chapter to the EP that highlights PPXP’s signature sound. Closing track “Even Monkeys Fall Out Of Trees” is a groovy number that effectively ties the EP together into one solid anthem. This song combines almost every element from the previous three and still offers up touches of new flavors. The simple yet groovy bass line really carries a lot of weight on this track alongside an ambient piano melody that highlights the song’s key signature. This is also another jammy tune that plays out with solid buildups and climaxes, keeping you engaged with every instrument from start to finish. It’s a brilliant closing track that will easily entice you to start the EP over again for another round of each song.

This debut EP really puts PPXP on the musical map and is a record that is completely ahead of its time. Their craft is very multifaceted and versatile throughout each track’s duration and really highlights each members’ ability in several crucial ways. This EP will definitely have you anticipating what the other two subsequent EPs have in store – but regardless, it has insatiable staying power and will easily become one of your favorites of 2021 so far. ‘Volume 1’ released in June and is currently available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms.


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Exclusive Artist Review: Dizmation – “Aves Nocturna: 1, 2 & 3” EP

Emerging from the musical landscapes of Dublin, Artist/Producer Dizmation continues to flourish throughout the Indie market with his distinctive and innovative signature sound. Known for his diligently detailed production techniques and multifaceted song structures, Dizmation throughout his career has put together several releases that showcase multiple angles of his skill sets which highlight his insatiably crafty production as well as performance value, and how strongly projecting how effectively they parallel each other. Now in 2021, with the recent release of his newest EP ‘Aves Nocturna: 1, 2 & 3’, Dizmation continues to raise the bar to reach new heights with his highly innovative structures and multi layered measures; proving that this is easily his best effort yet.

Structured into three interconnected chapters (1, 2 and 3), the ‘Aves Nocturna’ trilogy peels back many versatile layers as each track’s duration plays out. Part one, titled “To Owls”, starts out very rhythmic, atmospheric and effectively showcases well-executed melodies that have strong staying power. The first half of the 5+ minute runtime brings the listener on a hypnotically visceral journey into futuristic soundscapes and climactic buildups. The synth leads are very anthemic and really carry the torch throughout the song’s detailed structure, all while paralleling a rhythmic and progressive tempo with several percussive textures. The second half of this track brings every layer to the forefront along with an accompaniment of mid-to-high range vocal melodies, making their highly regarded first appearance on the record. These vocal parts are not only brilliantly written, but the composition itself at this stage of the song brings a sense of subtlety that really highlights Dismation’s songwriting ability. Overall, Part One really sets the tone for the rest of the EP and strongly grabs your undivided attention.

Part Two of the ‘Aves Nocturna’ trilogy, titled “To A Distant Star”, blends an atmospheric piano progression with a synth/string lead alongside textures of acoustic guitars, percussion additives and a smooth, punchy baseline that ties the structure together. This song’s aura is very dreamlike in the first half, then eventually cruises into an energetically uptempo climax that is also accompanied by high range vocal melodies. This song showcases a brilliant demonstration of continuity and continues to highlight several angles of Dizmation’s performance and production value.

Part three, titled “We Live Here”, operates a little more like a progressively Indie ballad, but with a more anthemic approach. The half-time tempo in the verses blend diligently with the uptempo chorus and really shines light on the melody-driven chord progressions as well as dynamically layered rhythm section. This track in particular brings the entirety of Dizmation’s signature sound to the forefront full circle, tying together the trilogy in a way that is effective and impressionable for anyone listening to his music perhaps for the first time. All three songs on this trilogy play equally vital roles and strongly demonstrate the multifaceted angles of talent that went into them. It’s a record that truly showcases Dizmation’s musical vision and keeps the listener strongly engaged and invested from beginning to end. The EP is available exclusively on BandCamp and will easily become one of your favorites of 2021.


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