Music Recommendations #6
Welcome to Music Recommendations, a series of blogs dedicated to recommending music I find enjoyable. These blogs will cover a wide range of music I’ve recently discovered or have enjoyed for a long time. My purpose in writing these blogs is to promote positivity and happiness pertaining to music, rather than be critical of music I don’t like. At least that’s what I hope to achieve. If you’re interested in buying any of the records, click the title of one for a direct link to Amazon.
34 minutes and 39 seconds of pure progressive rock/metal crafted at an unprecedented proportion! Handmade Cities by Australian guitarist, Plini, is a record that always floors me when I listen to how immense and complicated it is. The album artwork pretty much sums it up. Do I know what it means? Hell no! Do I know how to interpret the music? Absolutely not! I can’t even comprehend how a human can compose music like this, but I love it.
The album features classic prog metal styles with an extremely modern twist in melodic rock, electronica, synth-rock, jazz, and even funk. It’s all perfectly arranged, each song is melatonin-inducing. And despite it being a metal album, this is by no means a “heavy” album. It’s genuinely more melodic. It’s mostly the guitar playing and combination of production work in the album that is so stunning and magical. If you’re willing to challenge your musical taste, I highly recommend this album.
West Coast hip-hop has its long list of incredible and legendary rappers, but among that list, one name is not as well recognized as he should be. Dom Kennedy has been putting out mixtapes that have gained much respect and enjoyment from the West Coast underground hip-hop scene since 2008. But his real breakthrough was in 2010 with his release of II: From the Westside, With Love.
This album has Cali yet high 90’s hip-hop vibes with hints of an RnB style. His beats are groovy and very different from many mainstream rappers. Kennedy’s flow is swift, smooth, and articulating with lyrics describing a day in Dom’s life, his successes, love life, and mentorings for those willing to listen. The album also features appearances from other popular rappers such as Asher Roth, Big K.R.I.T., Casey Veggies, Schoolboy Q, and more. This album is worth checking out if you’re trying to find someone whose style is a little off the map but is held to high caliber hip-hop standards.
Deer Tick is one of those bands that I connected with at first listen. The voice and songwriting ability of John J. McCauley is so unique and powerful that I knew I would love the rest of the music from this band. Specifically, their 2010 release of The Black Dirt Session has made its mark as a true nod to musical and artistic craftsmanship. The album has energetic alternative folk-rock and Americana vibes. It is produced perfectly to encapsulate what this band is projecting, and that is pure emotion.
Very genuine songs are presented on this album and are felt profoundly. They sound like no one else. The songs themselves are simple, but the character behind the melodies and lyrics will take you through the deepest of sorrowful valleys and pull you out to take you to the highest of warm and sunny mountain tops. There are real and honest musicians presented in this album that really know their craft, and they do it so well. Check it out!
Live albums! I love nothing more in music than an artist that can pull off a live album! Cheers to Gary, man, because this album blew me out of the water. If you enjoy the blues that has a hint of Hip-hop/RnB/Soul influence, then pop this album on, close your eyes, and let it put you in the moment. It contains the progression and future of blues guitar playing at its finest done by none other than Mr. Gary Clark Jr.
The songs on this live album are a compilation of songs from his 2016 North American tour (in case you missed the title), and they sure caught Gary in his zone. His guitar solos on some of these songs are some of the most potent and unique styles of playing ever heard in blues music. They’re not the prettiest or most technical solos but better yet the extension of his voice and emotion when he’s not singing. He hangs and bangs out every note and guitar lick how he feels. It gave me goosebumps, and if you give it a listen, I promise you’ll get them to.
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