EP Review – Alma Grace – FRIDA

On May 5th, Mexican-American artist & activist Alma Grace is releasing her highly-anticipated debut EP, ‘FRIDA.’ The 4-song EP includes previous singles, “Girl Fight” and “Aventura,” as well as two brand new tracks, “Relámpago” and “Aztlán.”

Frida Kahlo is an artist who has inspired Alma Grace since childhood. She first learned about her through the Frida Kahlo-adorned matchboxes and coasters her Grandmother would bring over from Mexico City. As she grew older and started to learn more about Kahlo’s life, Grace became enthralled by the ways in which the Mexican painter redefined beauty standards and broke down the boundaries places on gender, race and sexuality. “In contrast to classmates and casting directors who criticized me for not being ‘white enough,’ Frida made me feel beautiful for my bushy eyebrows and black hair,” Grace writes. While the ‘FRIDA’ EP is certainly a project inspired by a feminist icon, it’s also an exploration of the ways in which Kahlo’s legacy has helped shape Grace into the woman and artist she is today.

When I listen to these songs, I hear my transformation from an angsty teen to a semi-independent young adult,” she writes of the EP. “It’s such a special project to me, and I knew that it had to be my artist introduction to the world.

Weaving Spanish and English lyrics throughout the EP as well as a blend of traditional latin sounds and modern pop melodies, Grace has created a beautiful ode to her bicultural roots. Her narrative-driven lyricism is enchanting, with each song delivering dual stories that tie back to both Kahlo and Grace’s lives. “Aventura” is an ode to adventure and affairs, something that Grace has always admired in Kahlo’s rich life. “Girl Fight” is a queer, feminist anthem that was inspired by Grace’s favorite Kahlo story: after her husband Diego Rivera cheated on her, she had an affair with the same woman. “Aztlan” is about the mythical homeland of the Aztec people and pays homage to both Grace and Kahlo’s ancestors. Lastly, “Relámpago” is all about coping with pain — the physical pain Kahlo suffered due to her near fatal bus accident and the emotional trauma Grace dealt with after being sexually assaulted. 

Alma Grace launched her music project last year with a string of buzzworthy singles. Her mixed musical influences are reflective of a globalized upbringing— she learned how to love from Selena, make witty comebacks from Shania Twain, and turn pain into art from Lauryn Hill. In addition to her budding music career, Grace has also performed on Broadway and Lincoln Center stages, been featured at Tribeca Film Festival, and acted in a multitude of films and TV shows. 

Despite only being 21 years old, the NYC born-and-raised songstress has also had an impressive career in social justice. As an activist, she attended her first protest at the age of 13, has volunteered with community-based organizations in Harlem, and has worked in both the Bronx and the U.S. Senate to defend immigrants facing deportation — a cause close to her heart as a second generation Mexican American. 

Aventura starts off slow to channel the energy in the opening track, dropping instantly into a flow of steady relaxation. Above all else the beats help you move along into quite a different listen to that of most artists.

Heading into Girl Fight, Alma Grace shows how beautiful a voice she has. The way she takes a regular track and uses her voice is just mesmerising. It’s as if you’re in a fixed trance and you just can’t stop listening to her music. The track is already an ear worm for myself and what I hope will happen is that everyone in the near future catches this because unlike most anthem tracks, it doesn’t take a lot to suck you into her world. A track which title partly means adventure in a double meaning with affair, this is one adventure you can’t skip under any circumstances.

Changing things up a little for the third offering ‘Aztlán’ it offers light relief blending her songwriting skills with a more relaxing instrumental backing to that of the first track on this release but there is still the enbodyment of the undertones to keep in line with the EP. This is absolutely the most mellow EP I’ve listened to in while and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Things get turned up more on Relámpago. It’s more in line with more popular structure of larger artists but Alma brings her unique ability to the table in full force which makes for good relief to that of the rest of the track listing on this one.

One thing that’s clear about the EP is that there’s a defined sound with FRIDA executes perfectly. It shows she’s an artist who’s fearless and confident in her capabilities and will stretch that creative ability whenever the means calls for her to do so.

If this is a stepping stone for Alma Grace then I will gladly await to hear what she has in store for us next because when that drops it will be thoroughly worth the wait.

Rating 4/5.

Check out the EP, ‘FRIDA’ via your preferred streaming service.

EP Review – Blitz Union – Not Proud

The majestic arrangement of Blitz Union’s latest EP, ‘Not Proud’ features the bands unique blend of rock and EDM elements with catchy vocal hooks and elevating synth leads



“Why do we still think that the human race is superior to all others? Nature can live without us, but we certainly can’t live without nature. Did we forget?”

Here is what Blitz Union says about the release:

“Not proud” is the main single from our same-titled second EP. This song sums up the message of the EP dealing with topics and questions around the relationship of humans and their environment, artificial vs. natural, human-made vs mother earth. With this release, You can again expect a fusion of hard-hitting rock elements and EDM hooks, which became the signature sound of our band Blitz Union lately.”



Since the band signed with the label Dreamstart Music 6 months ago, Blitz Union has seen a steady and constant rise in new listeners who turn into devoted fans around the world. Whether in the U.S., South America, Asia or all around Europe, the band’s most popular singles catch new fascinated listeners.

The band has had successful live shows in the past, playing at festivals and supporting bands like Oomph! regularly, and they can’t wait to go on tour again. With the release of the second EP ‘Not Proud’ and many more exciting releases, videos and hopefully live shows as well to come in 2021, the band is just warming up to conquer the hearts of even more fans of their music.

Every concert of the Blitz Union is a reunion of their supporters and those who want to join. And every time the giant guy dressed all in black and wearing a Blitz Union mask hiding his eyes walks through the audience and scans everyone making sure they are eligible to join… one thing is for sure: nobody is questioning their story… and everybody is ready for a change… ready to be the change.

To use the band’s wording: “Are you ready for a change? Join the Blitz Union!”

Kicking off the EP with the track, ‘TV’, you immediately hear the techno rock vibe, where if you think Crossfaith but a little less hard but more lyrically driven with that guitar is being more specially aware but in places more subtle.

Heading into ‘Money Crazy World’ there’s more of the feel of the opener but more of a dance feel. It has a defined beat where you can’t help but imagine this would be amazing in a club setting but some of the lyrics definitely in tune with the title. When it comes to a head, the influx of more hardcore aspect comes out to play if only for a moment but it brings out so much more in the band where you are overcome with an all out assault to give you the inspiration of that cathartic release of energy which is well and truly need.

‘Human Robot’ is just one of those alternative tracks that’s hard to forget about. By now, Blitz Union have introduced you to their world and genre they’ve seemingly created and all but mastered but here, they give you a track that’s too hard to ignore because of its brilliance. The synthetic and huge sounds they’ve derived is the standout of the EP so far.

‘Plastic’ is still building the world and pulls you in to a more vastly thought out cyberpunk synth world you want more of. In addition I have to mention the lyrical aspect of the EP. It’s leaps ahead of what some artists write where they’re having pops left, right and centre about the way of living of the modern era and’Plastic’ encapsulates this in a way which is brilliantly done where they address themselves as the plastic, they make us listen to what we as humans are doing while taking this all this amazing music in.

Sometimes with an EP, the music runs its course a few tracks in but the title track still rakes you into the world that’s created by Blitz Union in such a different way because you want more from this world because there’s seemingly no shortage of inspiration and ideas. Lastly for this track, when the echo of the track in the final third mixed with the bass and drums comes into things it’s a little disappointing they don’t make it more of an anthem but the alternative choice with the harmonic guitar pays off just as well.

Not Proud is a stunning and provocative body of work in which people must listen to because in a world where this amount energy needs to be released and in this time of the world, it’s more crucial than ever to get back to a world that gives and much as this EP does.

Rating: 4/5.

The EP, ‘Not Proud’ is available to listen to right now!

Check it out via your preferred streaming service.

EP Review – Foley – Vacation

Today marks the arrival of New Zealand based pop duo Foley’s new EP, ‘Vacation’.

Grounded by mellow pop grooves and honeyed vocals, “Better Than Love” is a dreamy exploration of the prospect of love versus the reality of love and the way we close ourselves off from emotion to save yourself from future heartbreak. When love is so built up to us as extravagant, dramatic and awe consuming, how can it ever live up to our expectations? (“The thought of you is better than love”). The tight friendship between Foley’s Ash Wallace and Gabriel Everett allows them to write openly and vulnerably with each other and “Better Than Love” is a testament to that. For this single, the duo also brought in their close collaborators and longtime friends Josh Naley (Wells*) and Jonathan Boyle (Julius Black).

Foley is the late night conversations, not-so-existential crises & the genuinely unbreakable friendship of 20-somethings Ash Wallace and Gabriel Everett. Honest to a fault, Foley have quickly picked up a fanbase of young like-minded listeners for their confessions of love, loss and learning. Their debut EP ‘On My Conscience,’ was released in 2020 and saw huge success across commercial radio and streaming platforms, hitting #10 on the NZ Album Charts and plastered the pair across multiple Spotify playlist covers. They rounded out the year with the release of singles “Rendezvous” and “So Personal,” which will join “Better Than Love” on their upcoming sophomore EP, ‘Vacation,’ out on March 15th.

In addition to their streaming success, Foley have graced New Zealand’s largest New Years festival Rhythm & Vines3 times, most recently playing a main-stage slot on New Year’s Eve. The pair have also shared the stage with Two Door Cinema Club, Flight Facilities & Crooked Colours at indie fest Spring City, and opened for Drax Project on their NZ tour and Six60’s stadium show in Hamilton early in 2020.

Vacation starts off very unexpected. Having listened to ‘Better Than Love’ previously before the full EP, ‘Keep Me On My Toes’ does exactly as intended and opens to something of a experience which is second to none. The uplifting musicality that the duo radiate is one to give themselves a identifier that they mean business.

‘Rendezvous’ keeps up the energy of what Foley are and this is a track that keeps you on your toes in an intriguing choice which proves this is a concise effort so far.

More slowed down for ‘Anything Before You’, it feels a step down if anything and could be considered an outlier for the choice in the tracklisting of the EP. That being said, it bites back and mostly comes into its own partway into the track which is a good celebration of the tight friendship between Foley’s Ash Wallace and Gabriel Everett. They do breathe new life into the track further down the road, so this might be worth a rewind or two.

There’s just something so grounded and cathartic about ‘Better Than Love’ It’s a testament to what can be great pop music which comes from honesty and an alluring instrumental sound with soulful lyrics to match. This is something so personal that it needs to be heard right now and given the current pandemic in the world, is a track which could heal some wounds for those that listen to the duo.

On the finale ‘So Personal’ it feels as if it’s more of a autobiographical track to showcase something even more special . What’s more is that the style doesn’t diverge one bit where they create a seamless track to the point of which their collaborative effort is unquestionably brilliant.

Overall, Foley prove to be a powerhouse with ‘Vacation’ with their personal lyrics and tightening friendship which extends to their music and songwriting. We just hope that this extends further and they continue to create more and more vulnerable and open music in the future.

Check out the EP via your preferred streaming service.

Rating: 3.5/5

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EP Review – Devan – Pink Noise

Devan has been pursuing a music career since she was a kid; the brazen 10-year-old dropped off a homemade demo – to no avail – at the iconic Olympic Studio, home to Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder and David Bowie. Now in 2021, the Toronto-born/London-raised singer-songwriter is gearing up to release her debut solo project.

Leaning into her wildly diverse musical influences thanks to a transatlantic childhood, Devan is creating her own voice by melding together her heroes, including the poetic songwriting of Stevie Nicks, James Taylor and Neil Young; and the pop vocal production of Florence + The Machine, Adele and Amy Winehouse. Her solo debut tracks, which have garnered more than 500,000 global streams, have been described as “mesmerizing” (Wonderland), “catchy hooks… spellbinding” (Earmilk) and “a magnetic tune that understands the gravitational weight of its pull” (Vanyaland).

Written and produced between Toronto and Los Angeles, Devan’s crew of collaborators include Adam Boukis (Timbaland, Saweetie, and Bruno Martini), Quin Kiu (Lil Mosey, J Ember), Tyler Shamy (Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Taeyeon), and features singer-songwriter Corey Harper on “Almost.”

On a debut EP release, Devan set out to create an honest introduction of who she is as an artist and producer, and a commitment to being honest as she reflected on the uncertainty that comes with navigating your 20s.

Pink Noise is about insecurity, but it’s also about being able to breathe out and feel a sense of relief towards my revelation that my reality is formed by my own perceptions,” explains Devan. “Writing songs for me is a way to uncover my underlying feelings about something – putting elusive emotions into tangible sentences, and coming to terms with them. My only guideline for writing these songs was to try to be as honest with myself as possible, and follow my instincts without all the self-inflicted barriers that I usually let get in the way.”

While distinct, Devan’s voice may sound familiar. She has spent the last 6 years honing her talents as a songwriter and live performer with Wild Rivers; the folk-pop band that she co-found and co-fronts, boasts over 140 million global streams and sells out venues across North America. The band’s 2019 release, “I Do”, scored Devan the top prize at the International Songwriting Competition placing her in front of judges Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Tom Waits and Bebe Rexha.

Devan’s solo project has been percolating since the moment she hit ‘record’ on her first homemade demo, and all these years later, she remains equally as brazen and ready to share her songs.

Now straight away, Devan is an artist quite unlike anything I’ve heard as of late, bending the genre into something she makes her own.

The EP opener ‘Almost feat. Corey Harper’ reminds me a little of Rewrite The Stars from The Greatest Showman but a much better version of the track with more heart and hard hitting themes so self sabotage gives a lot of food for thought and keeps you engaged in a way which is unparalleled.

Moving onto ‘Real Shot’, a real feisty track which just goes at a regular pace, but all the better to listen to upon repeat which shows that it’s one of the standout tracks in an EP which revolves around the multiple themes at hand. The harmonies are well placed and but he end it’s just heartbreaking the end of every listen.

Next up in ‘Make Up Your Mind’, there’s more beats than anything in this particular track which makes it part of the repetitive pop track formula that makes it a weaker part of the EP.

Despite the bleak title choice of ‘We’re All Gonna Die Anyway’, it’s far superior to the previous and just one that works a lot better. The music in the track launches itself in a way that the other tracks do not. In addition, the lyrics revolve around Devan to show what sort of headspace the artist was in for the track and it’s one which is truly heartbreaking but ultimately more powerful to listen to.

Penultimately, ‘Night Drives’ is just a track that Devan brakes out of her comfort zone and brakes down the barriers she’s set up for herself in the EP where the most melodic parts of the music just flourish together much better than most in the EP and one that goes down well in the overall structure of the EP..

Lastly, Conclusions takes the EP’s sound in a completely left field range as far as the previous tracks are concerned and pulls away with a cathartic and beautifully written ballad which is chalk full of emotion to encapsulate just what sort of an artist she wants to be.

While ‘Pink Noise’ isn’t the most sound EP in parts, it’s one which chooses quality over quantity and that’s what I appreciate more than just a bunch of filler tracks to tie me over until an artists next big release. Devan creates a safe space she brakes out of perfectly where some might consider it a little too safe, you have to remember the whole guideline for the tracks was to be honest with herself and that’s one which is wholly reflected in her lyrics. The decisions she makes with her music will only see her climb with the experience she’s gained from the making of this EP.

Rating: 3.5/5.

Check out ‘Pink Noise’ via your preferred streaming platform.

Check out the video for ‘Almost’ below.

EP Review – Dohny Jep – Smile, It Might Never Happen

Kent-based alternative-rock four-piece Dohny Jep began as a duo in early 2019, with Stuart and Pete deciding to create something unlike anything either of them had done before in previous bands and projects. With their unique video concepts and mesh of pop-synth melodies and rock guitars, they did just that.  Fast forward one year and with an additional two members in tow, the group self-released their much celebrated debut album L.U.S.T in July 2020.

Since the release the band have amassed over 50,000 streams on Spotify, received regular airplay from Hard Rock Hell Radio and BBC Introducing as well as glowing reviews from the likes of Dead Press and Distorted Sound. 

After playing just one show together as a band, they had tours planned throughout 2020 to coincide with the release of their debut album, but as the Coronavirus put a halt to any plans of playing their new material live, they headed back to the studio to record more new music. A product of this recording session is their fantastic upcoming EP ‘Smile, It Might Never Happen’, due for release February 26th 2021 via Favour The Brave Records.

Recorded at their recently-built home studio and produced, mixed and mastered by Rhys May (Bring Me The Horizon, Don Broco, While She Sleeps), the EP explores the subjects of mental health, friendship, and letting go of the negatives in your life & living in the moment.

Prior to the release comes the EP’s leading single ‘Looking In’. Commenting on the track the band state: “Looking in is about feeling left out and neglected, wanting to be included but also struggling to make these feelings known, causing you to never really get anywhere”.

At face value from the previous release of ‘Looking In’, this band hitting the ground running should be the next British band to be keeping your eye on. And they are getting there. Fingers crossed touring resumes at some point this year so there’s a chance to see them live sometime in the next twelve months.

Displaying Smile It Might Never Happen Artwork.jpg

Starting off with Control, the techno vibes, hooks and vocals are reminiscent of Don Broco’s ‘Technology’ but trust me, it does work! They have their own spin on production, which could be down to their producer Rhys May who is assistant producer to Dan Lancaster whom Broco have worked with before. After that opening and digging deep into the track has just huge storming guitars fuse into something which is unlike most newcomers you come across, this a good belter.

With ‘Smile’ this develops their sound with the more techno aspect where the production helps them in the best way but when it hits the breakdown, that’s where you’re seeing the potential of the band and root for them more.

‘Looking In’. This is my personal favourite off the EP as a whole. “There’s got to be a way to get out” is an all too feel representation of what life is for many people in the UK and this track in a matter of speaking in social aspects and more makes it so much more personal for anyone listening.

On the last track, ‘Get Fucked’ this seems as if it’s something I would’ve listened to back in my teenage days if the lyrics are anything to go by but, this is a great closer for the EP. There’s something as well in the breakdowns which just makes this a standout track where on the final third is somewhat masterful and just has so much potential where Dohny Jep have the chance to breakout and be the voices of a new generation in the UK.

What occurs on this EP is a well crafted rounded out set of tracks that make you want to listen to it over and over again. There’s certainly something to be said about Dohny Jep as a band to be on the lookout for once lockdown ends because how it translates live will be a deciding factor for most.

Rating: 4/5.

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EP Review – We The Kings – Saga

Back and armed with the release of their 2021 EP ‘Saga’, Pop-Rockers We The Kings showcases a true cathartic experience where they have a truly fantastic release for the start of the year.

‘Turn It UP’ does exactly what it says on the tin, which encourages inspiration through it’s lyrics and gives the listener an experience which will stay with you. In edition to the outstanding vocals, the arrangement of the track is definitely one of the best delivered tracks which We The Kings have released in while.

‘These Nights’ is an anthem for the last twelve months. Not only that, it doubles as a love track which coincides with Valentines in the perfect way. “I won’t forget these nights with you” can just bring back so many memories for whoever listens and makes us truly reminiscent of the pre-Covid days of being with friends and family. The track is also reminiscent of some of their more Pop-Punk roots as far as their guitar tracks and makes the EP shape up to be quite a release so far.

Moving to a much more poppier track, ‘No 1 Like U’ feels more in tune with The Summer Set when they went in a similar direction but what sticks here is the rhythm of the track which helps the flow of the EP. In addition with very pop influenced Taylor Swift breakdown, it’s still in the same boat of the themes as the previous tracks, this is definitely a love and heartbreak EP by this point. Very 21st Century Breakdown of them.

‘Falling – So In Love’ delves more into the archetype of the trending pop tracks you come across in the mainstream culture at the moment, but in a strange way, this is what I’m impressed by the most out of the more unconventional sounds. It’s such a soulful track in this way.

Now ‘The Light’ opening with the piano is just a haunting addition to build up the track to focus on issues that we all feel right now but now I think about it, this is just a gorgeous addition to We The Kings’ catalogue and one that needs to heard right now. The undercutting beats might sound a little overkill at times but in places it mixes well with the sound of EP.

Hitting back in their final track of ‘Love Me Or Let Me Down’, there’s something so universal about the themes of this track to hit us right where it hurts. A pointant and enduring ballad turns into something out of a good drama film where the character has the sudden realisation they’ve been searching for all along, this is the perfect ending to a heartfelt and fantastic EP and will most certainly be a crowd pleaser when shows return.

With this marking the largest release since their 2018 full length, ‘Six’, the lessons learned from there are well and truly considered into what We The Kings manage here. Floating in a mix of the Rock overtones, their metamorphosis is virtually complete with a flourishing EP here.

Rating: 4/5.

Check out ‘Saga’ via spotify below.

EP Review – Old Selves – Two Minds

Blistering, Powerful and Thumping. Those are three words to describe the debut EP from York based OLD SELVES. They produce a masterful release quite unlike any other band on the up and coming scene right now where they produce something of high quality standard which could rival releases of names much larger than themselves. Their no holds barred attitude on the six track EP show they are a force to be reckoned with and live, it will be unquestionably manic.

The haunting intro of ‘Sonnet For Sorrow’ brings about a medieval theme which for the band pairs well with their location and makes the way for the smashing ‘Two Minds’. “Get out, just get out” rings in perfectly for the band in a way that’s unexpected from the outset and just leaves you wanting more. The most obvious riffs in comparison are that to Bullet For My Valentine which offers an intense rage you can feel sweltering out of the music before the drums offer a cathartic release to culminate in the closing of the track.

‘Population’ offers more of the intense riffs by the band as you feel the energy to make this one of the more confrontational bands that you’ve heard in a while but what’s more is that the solo taps into the potential where you think they peak? No, they’re capable of much more to the point of which Old Selves are following in the footsteps of the scarce metal scene York have had recently but add so much more to it.

‘Lost’ is a quaint instrumental interval to help you recalibrate and leads into ‘444’. The start of the track makes your hairs stand on end where the sound just erupts where you get the addition of the political aspect of the band making its full swing in lyrics such as “Stop, I’m trying to breathe” which is just so eire as they echo just what has happened in the world in the last year. The colossal sounds are the very foundation and the backbone which propels the EP to make it a debut you won’t forget anytime soon.

In the fianle of the the EP, there’s something a lot cleaner about the sound of the guitars to finish as the track fades but not before more social commentary hits home where they end on such a strong note.

Now at the moment, Old Selves do have touring plans of the UK planned for later this year, assuming all goes to plan with the current Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and if the same intensity and ferocity can be delivered, they will be the best band to come of of the Yorkshire scene in a while and undoubtedly one of the best.

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EP Review – Mento Buru – East Bakersfield Christmas

We need to be spreading Christmas joy right now and this EP does it so wonderfully. But first I have three words for you. Latin Ska Reggae. Yeah, you heard me. This is definitely one of the most fun EP’s I’ve heard all year and I know what you might be thinking, its Ska and I know that has some negative connotations in the music world, but hear me out here, this release is pretty damn entertaining, energetic and above all else, joyous.

Mento Buru is a 7-piece band from Bakersfield, CA that combines an energetic blend of Latin alternative, Jamaican SKA and reggae sounds. Veterans of ska music’s hyperactive nineties third wave, the group has released music on the Moon Ska and Steady Beat record labels establishing their reputation as a genre-defying musical act around the globe.

Now, the band is excited to announce the release of, “East Bakersfield Christmas,” their first-ever six (6) song ep of reimagined holiday classics. Titled in honor of the historic and culturally diverse neighborhood where the group formed and still resides, the ep is a sonic reflection of the culturally rich area that also boasts its own colorful musical history.

“Christmas time is our favorite time of year, so we put something together guaranteed to lift spirits and dancing feet around the Christmas tree,” said lead vocalist Matt Munoz. “Anything set to a ska or reggae beat is sure to bring out the tamales and egg nog with mezcal in East Bakersfield. These songs were personally handpicked, arranged and performed with heart, soul, and of course ska. We hope you enjoy them as much as we had fun recording them.”

Recorded at Triple Seven Recording in Bakersfield, the project was mixed by acclaimed studio engineer Jon Graber (Goldfinger, MXPX, Brasstracks) and mastered by Dave Fore (Collie Buddz, The Lacs).

Over the years the band has also shared stages with musical heroes The Specials, The English Beat, Los Lobos, The Dirty Heads, Wailing Souls, Fishbone, Ozomatli, Buck Owens (of course!) and countless others in addition to performing at The Roxy, Whisky a Go Go, The Viper Room, BB Kings venues, and headlining Old Spanish Days festival in Santa Barbara just to name a few.

Made possible through a generous grant from The Hub of Bakersfield’s “Cash for the Arts” program, “East Bakersfield Christmas” will be available at Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Pandora and YouTube.

Now you’ve got some background, let’s dive straight into the EP. Right from the start of things, the Latin influence is just an injection of what makes this release so fun to listen to in its entirety and mixed with the Ska genre, it elevates this to something else entirely. You’ll be decorating with your family to this in no time at all.

Moving to track two in ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ this is more evidence of a more entertaining release because this makes you want to get up and dance. I could just imagine the band playing this live and no question, it would be beautiful. It’s either that or someone needs to replace the version of the track in Home Alone 2 with this to make that sequence even more epic.

Track three is an instrumental more toned down track, which comes across as an interlude more than anything else, fitting that because of the energy that’s provided on the opening two.

‘Feliz Navidad’ is what I’m talking about. It’s an occurrence the tracks with the more Latin influence in them stand out so much better and it feels more personal in the vocals of Mento Buru which also it all the more heart wrenching and beautiful to listen to in his voice.

This really rounds out the EP masterfully in ‘The Christmas Song’ and sets a lovely reggae beat to get everyone interested, as long as you’re snug by the fire with the family. But in this case, it’s for everyone that needs a good sing song.

There is a bonus track for all you music appreciators out there! this is a version of “Donde Esta Santa Claus?” which features all Spanish lyrics and vocals. You can’t help but enjoy this no matter if you can follow the lyrics or not because it’s got such a warm sounding beat which completes of the entire EP in style.

Overall, this is what a Christmas EP should be: Fun, joyous and heartfelt. ‘East Bakersfield Christmas’ is the release nobody knew we needed right now and where it lacks in original tracks it more than makes up for in the reimagined creativity in the of the band and how much heart and soul went into the recording of the release. This is one that needs to be more widely spread among the people and give hope in a year that has had little for so many.

3.5/5

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Just John – This Is Fate EP Review

Now I have something very special for you today and the artists name is John Samuels, otherwise known as Just John. He started off being a cultural revolutionary, taking the world by storm with his partner and producer, Dom Dias where they released some amazing and successful singles, ‘Soundboi‘, Minutia‘ and the absolute bouncy banger, ‘Pull Up‘.

Now as solo artist, he’s reinvented himself as Just John where he’s aiming high and continuing to deliver. His debut single, ‘1000 corpses’ was released last month and rather aptly, on Halloween, shortly followed by ‘Black Ghost’ on Friday 13th of November. The accompanying visuals for ‘1000 corpses’ was another spooky treat to add to the package and a taste of the boundless creativity and conceptual nature of Just John and his music.

With a laser-focused creative vision and an out-of-the-box approach, Just John is a man that’s fully in charge of his journey, he’s taken the helm of life and has been consistent in steering his art, his music and his fashion exactly in the direction he wants it to go. He has a distinct brand and ethos which runs through all his creative endeavours. Just John’s music speaks to those who want to expand their minds and broaden their horizons, he is for the enlightened or those who wish to be enlightened, the kids that want to be the best versions of themselves. 

Speaking on his EP, This is Fate EP, John states that: 

“This is for the dreamers, the misfits, the ones who never give up even when they’re down, unheard or misunderstood”. 

Having experienced his fair share of those negative emotions and rejections first hand, Just John hopes to create music that will act as a beacon of light for all those who stand in the darkness where he once stood himself. By embracing the ugly, the volatile and the vulnerable, John, in turn, preaches a message of peace, love and harmony. His message is simple; he believes that in embracing his own weakness and weirdness,  he can encourage others to do the same, through his art, Just John is creating a path so that others can follow his leather-booted footsteps into the light. And it’s precisely this embrace of vulnerability within and around him that has led to his boldest work of art to date. 

Now, if you’re a fan of Death Grips or Ho99o9 then Just John is an artist you need to be listening to right now because ‘A Thousand Corpses’, the energy just goes straight to 1000 into a sleek and sounding track for the times we’re in right now. Bending the rules of such a rigid genre isn’t taken lightly but it’s one he does fluently. Inspiration is something else that this track just bleeds and building on his battle with his own demons.

For ‘Black Ghost’, this more of a Rap Rock type of track, with a massive chaotic barrage of a beat which follows ever so brilliantly to slide into a perfectly demented and crowd pleasing take on his own vulnerability. This definitely broadens the EP and takes it to new heights, one aspect which he has already done so brilliantly in a way that most can only dream.

Lastly we see more of the creative state of mind of Just John through ‘Open Wound’ where that guitar is just merged hauntingly to the already masterful track. This pushes the pulsing beats to have a good consistent rhythm on the last track of the already strong EP.

In the end game of producing the high end visuals as well as sound, Just John’s creative vision is one that strikes a chord where only a few have been able to do so brilliantly lately where the musical anthology of his is destined to continue well beyond what we’re going to be receiving right now and I for one, cannot wait to see what striking, heartbreaking and spine tingling material we’ll receive in the future.

Check out the Cover Art, Tracklisting, Music Video for ‘A Thousand Corpses’ and link to Spotify to stream the EP below.

JJ - EP Cover.jpeg
  1. A Thousand Corpses
  2. Black Ghost
  3. Open Wound

You can listen to the full EP, ‘This Is Fate’ via Spotify.

Rating: 4/5

EP Review – THE MYRRHDERERS – ‘The Myrrhderers Sleigh Christmas’

Now this is one EP I didn’t expect to be reviewing at the beginning of this year but oh my god, this is one I think all the Punks in us need to be hearing right now because it is getting me right into the festive spirit and it’s a mix of crazy, punk and energy. Not your usual Christmas mix, right?

The Myrrhderers (pronounced “The Murderers”) are a punk supergroup featuring prominent members of the North Pole underground music scene. In 2020, Al Frankincense (Dead Kringles)Elliott Gold (Prancid), and Bill Myrrhey (Sleigher) entered the studio, putting to tape their debut, “The Myrrhderers Sleigh Christmas,” an historic documentation of North Pole underground Christmas culture.

From time-honored carols like “Deck the Halls” to modern classics like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, The Myrrhderers’ debut EP features hard-hitting versions of your favorite holiday songs, produced by land-based producers Jamie Hilsden of Man Alive (The Militia Group)Corey Ben-Yehuda of Usless I.D. (Fat Wreck Chords), and mixed by Vince Ratti (Bouncing Souls, Brand New, The Wonder Years, Tiny Moving Parts, Circa Survive).

“The Myrrhderers Sleigh Christmas” makes its worldwide debut November 20th, and will be followed up by “The Myrrhderers Sleigh Some More” only three weeks later on December 11th.

Discussing the first single, ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ (out Friday, November 13th), Gold says, “Making Christmas punk music is a bit of a balancing act – you need to give the songs some kind of twist to make them work in a punk context, but you also don’t want to push a song so far that it loses its original Christmas ‘feeling’. This is one of the heavier tracks on the record, but we wanted to put it out first because we feel like it captures both sides of that equation, without compromising one for the sake of the other.”

He adds, “Our scene isn’t gonna be around forever. Since Bezos came along, there’s been a lot less work up here, so most of our friends have moved south looking for a better life, and not to mention, less melty terrain. We figured if we don’t document this now, it might never happen.”

The title track opens with ‘Deck The Halls’, a timely classic and energised with an injection of fast paced Pop Punk which you could mistake for anyone covering this track. Dreamy at points, you can’t help but sing along and is the perfect track to get people into the groove.

The beauty of these tracks together as such, they make the perfect present to be sharing with friends and family and could be used as an introductory point tot the genre for others and ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ is one that’s perfect. It’s chock full of Drums, an expert solo and bass to match with the lyrics you can shout back at. It’s one that won’t easily be forgotten and part of a release which will be revisited again and again.

Taking a break in the serious department in an otherwise repetitive EP, ‘Do You Hear What I Want’ is easily mistakable for something which is a little bit of a throwaway track and doesn’t stand out at all amongst the rest.

The beauty of these more fast paced tracks, the duration comes around a little so you can have them on repeat and skip over those that don’t particularly matter too much to you. This follows through from Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas to Carol Of The Bells but on that finale it devilvers partway into the track, as seen on the openers for this EP.

Overall, as part of the North Pole underground Christmas culture, this is one that may be overlooked but at the time of release but it’s one that can’t really be right now because it gives a bit of revitalisation to what’s needed in the genre. In the end, it’s a short, sweet and tightly wound EP made for the Punk genre but at least there’s some fun on this release.

Rating: 3/5

Check out ‘The Myrrhderers Sleigh Christmas’ on Spotify below.