Exclusive Artist Review: 21 And 9 – “So…” EP

You just don’t hear bands like this anymore. Emerging from the musical landscapes of Ontario in Canada, Alt-Rockers 21 And 9 blasted onto the market two years ago with their dynamic Alt/Rock style accompanied with nostalgic 90s elements of Grunge and Indie – and began hitting the ground running pretty much immediately. And with two years of writing and recording under their belts, the quartet have officially released their highly anticipated debut EP “So…”.

Comprised of six versatile and multifaceted tracks, 21 And 9 truly make an unforgettable impression with this record and any fan of the 90s will absolutely adore it. Combining a sound that is reminiscent to 90s nostalgic heavyweights like Oasis, Gin Blossoms, Weezer and Live, 21 And 9 serves up an EP that has intelligently crafted vocal melodies, powerful harmonies, a driving rhythm section and tastefully blended duel guitar leads. Opening track “All Figured Out” brings this manifestation of their sound right to the forefront with a buildup intro that diligently merges into a climactic chorus and a slamming breakdown that cruises all the way to the end of the song. This song beautifully demonstrates how all opening tracks should present themselves – powerful, wholesome and well executed. Title track “So” continues to showcase the band’s distinctive style but shines a light on more crucial musical angles that makes 21 And 9 the versatile unit that they are. This straightforward Alt-Rock number is well put together and focuses more on the strong vocal melody factors, as well as effective vocal harmonies throughout the song’s duration. It’s the EP’s anchor single and easily stands out as one.

Another notable track on this record is the anthemic “In This Song”, a powerful song with rhythmic drum rudiments and ambient guitar work. The blends of clean and gain-driven guitars mesh perfectly and brilliantly parallel the vocals from beginning to end. This track will likely become a favorite for anyone that listens for the first time, but overall, it’s very hard to pick a favorite since all six tracks are absolute standouts. But nevertheless, “So…” is a far-above-average debut record for a band that has only been together for two years. 21 And 9 definitely will be going places, and this record will definitely entice you to keep tabs on their career and subsequent releases. “So…” is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms. You’ll be more than glad you gave it a listen. For this debut record, the band has partnered with apparel company Tenfed (www.tenfed.com) and will be donating ten meals for every record sold to those in need – so it helps a great cause too. All the more reason to grab a copy today!


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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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