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Weekly roundup of new releases. July 27.20

Gente/Salvajes and Gente.Double Single by Ulises Hadjis. Two beautifully playful and emotional tracks in Spanish from this Venezuelan alternative pop artist and multi-instrumentalist stream on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes store and all digital platforms.

Hillbilly Love . Single by Scott Holstein. Down home, toe-tapping CW earworm that fits the times we are in with great guitar work and uplifting lyrics and echoes of Hank Williams and a slick video that shows that country is cool. Released on Airplay Direct http://airplaydirect.com/ScottHolsteinHillbillyLove.

The Floating Hand by Body Double. From their debut album Milk Fed . Led by Candace Lazarou, this post-punk exploration of herself and competition, the band – Jascha Ephraim (lead guitar) and Mel Weikart (keyboard) and Lazarou has given birth to a fascinating and hypnotic earful and mindful. Stream on Bandcamp, Apple Music, Pandora, Tidal and buy on Amazon music. Follow at https://www.facebook.com/bodydoubleusa

A Boutique Affair . Video and single by Catholic Guilt. Classic raw rock from this Melbourne, Australian group of rockers delivering raw, emotional lyrics amid pounding drums, jangling guitars and sophisticated arrangement. YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhudrg-8-tw

Hot Hot Heat. Single by Odario with vocals by Kamilah Apong,. from his upcoming EP Good Morning Hunter  and produced by Todor Kobakov this infectious single  blends house, hip-hop, beat poetry and jazz  with layered poetics, steelpan sounds and movin’ grooves. Available for streaming or purchase on all digital sites.

Blues From The Inside Out. Album by Dave Specter. Good down-home blues with uplifting lyrics geared to our tumultuous times. Twelve head-bobbing songs, some with guitar by Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane/ Hot Tuna fame, this is a must for blues fans and anyone who wants to just feel good. Check out the video. https://bit.ly/2EqQT9y. Bandcamp, Apple Store, Google Play.

9 to 5 by SEXTON

The Perth-born music artist Sexton is gaining notoriety via a growing list of impressive stats including a Top 40 smash on US Rhythmic Radio with her hit feature on TK Kravitz’s track Space (46 million streams, 250k sales) as well as opening for major acts including Lil Wayne, 2Chainz, Migos, Bryson Tiller and many more. Sexton’s collaborators include Trippie Redd, Smoke Purpp and Lil Got It, and she has worked with industry luminaries Timbaland (Kanye West, Ludacris, Beyoncé) and Scott Storch (Drake, Young Thug, Rick Ross). Sexton’s new release, 9 TO 5, is taken from her latest album Lost My Heart In Hollywood (2020). The track kicks off with the major hook of the chorus, which flows in and out of a series of verses revealing Sexton’s talent for evocative rhymes and observations. Produced by Musik Majorx, 94SKRT and Jared Scharff, Sexton’s self-penned track reveals more than just a tale of hedonistic youth but rather revels in the discretionary powers these proclamations represent. Just as Sexton is doing it her way as outlined in the track, ‘Toast to the sky, now it’s just me and I’, this is reflected in her life, not only is she a songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist she is also the head of her own 100% independently funded record label, Sexton Records. 9 TO 5 no doubt draws on biographical material also, imbuing the track (and Sexton’sother noteworthy songs) with transparency and authenticity. Sexton survived a major car accident; a nationally televised one—her car was hit by a stolen police car and flipped over three cars. This traumatic experience no doubt changed Sexton’s life. When Sexton moved to LA to pursue her dreams of an international music career she never looked back. The emerging global music star is at the vanguard of a new wave of female artists breaking stereotypes and rewriting music industry rulebooks and 9 TO 5 is a stand-out example of the quality of this talented artist’s work.

Take Your Breath Away by Wesley Walker

Every once in a while a song comes along that reminds you to slow down. Stop, listen to the little things in life and regroup. Wesley Walker, performing under the moniker Free Yourself, abides by the laws of nature and speaks to the soul in his gorgeous song “Take Your Breath Away”. Simplistic and softly begging to be sung along to, this new track is a calming meditative track that leaves the listener feeling elated.

This song is not a race. It’s the type of song that is meant to hear in the open air at an amphitheater or on your car radio during a long road trip. Walker’s baritone vocals, smooth to the touch and glossy like a fresh shave, harness a plethora of feel goodery lyrics. Won’t you please help me ease my troubled mind, the Southern California sojourner sings. A peaceful guitar strums below his voice, with an orchestration music bed that could very well be the soundtrack to a walk through a meadow of goldenrod flowers, galloping parallel. And that peaceful easy feeling’s got a hold on me, it’s reminding me to breathe…and there’s always much more, Walker sings with tranquility. If it takes your breath away there’s not need to explain, continues Walker, as a siren of a female vocalist sings ah-ah-ah with joy alongside. There’s always so much more, he reminds. What a solid reminder to always look on the bright side of things and look for the good in people around you. It’s very hard sometimes, but it’s there. Finding new music like this can be a treasure hunt for the needle in the haystack, but this pays off.

Slowly you find yourself melting into the dreamy, but lucid vocals and stirring music bed. It’s not psychedelic, but you have to wonder if there’s some sort of chemical in the audio as it’s so alluring and paralyzing. A longer jam, “Take Your Breath Away” clocks in at just over seven minutes. Walker elongates some of the sweet, mellow guitar arrangements. Some of the stanzas are repeats, and it’s a lovely journey that is well worth the climb. It would be easy to mentally check out during the song, but again, Walker grips you with his friendly vocals and laid-back demeanor. I feel like this song could be the theme song to North Face or the anthesis of any of my family’s camping trips. Just kidding. Sorta. The song just emits a strong emotional tie to the community and Mother Nature. The chorus lingers for hours, like the last embers of the campfire.

So where’s this guy been? Free Yourself has been playing around coffee shops, corner bars, campfires and jamming with as many artists as allowed. In his press materials he notes Van Morrison and Pink Floyd as influences. With as many layers as this song presents and the strong storytelling, charismatic vocals he possesses, Free Yourself definitely draws from these talent pools. “Take Your Breath Away” is from the anticipated debut album Free Music.

Bethany Page


Q: Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

A: Thank you! We’ve been doing well. Trying to enjoy our summer as best we can. 

Q: Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Beside Myself”?

So, “Beside Myself” is not actually a single, but rather the song that marks the turning point of the album in terms of sonics and subject matter. It’s the transition into side B of the record, and thematically explores realizing a relationship is about to fall apart. It’s about being painfully concerned and almost positive you’re about to lose this person, but you hope that somehow your suspicion isn’t true. Lyrically, it references the quote the album title comes from, “heaven is a place inside your eyes, hell is where I wake up without you beside me”. 

Q: Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

The “event” that inspired the song was basically the relationship that inspired the whole album. We had a 10-song outline of the entire album as we were writing it. Thematically, each song was a chapter in a story, and they each served a purpose. The “event” that this song tackles is the first moments of concern and uncertainty in a dissolving relationship. This is the moment you sense your ship is sinking but you’re constantly checking yourself hoping you’re wrong. 

Q: Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?


Q: The single comes off your new album Inside Your Eyes, Without You Beside Me – what’s the story behind the title?

Dalton used to write letters to his girlfriend at the time, and sign them with the aforementioned “heaven is a place…” quote. This was also the way he first told his significant other that he loved her, as a way of saying “I love you” when it was still too early and new to fully get the words out. 

Q: How was the recording and writing process?

This song sonically was written with no clear direction during the end of a writing session. We were demoing ideas in Logic and Eric laid down the initial guitar riff, which was inspired by Tep No and other tropical chill house. Dalton began playing some angular, moody synth parts over it and we just kept layering ideas on the top of each other. We ended up with a rather disorganized demo called “white claw mango”. The day after, we had organized the ideas into a properly structured song and put vocals on it shortly after. Eric didn’t want to do a structured

Q: How did you go on balancing your 80s influences with your music modern sensibilities on this album in particular?

We had a very solid grasp on what was appealing to us about either genre. The formulaic structure and infectious melodies of modern pop music, but with the nostalgia and lush tones of synths and drum sounds popular in the 80’s. Balancing both was quite easy because those are our respective influences. Eric comes from a place of electronic pop, house, R&B, and Dalton is really inspired by authentic new wave, and we both love modern indie pop. When we come together in a session, we don’t consciously think about what we’re performing— it just comes through naturally because we play what inspires us. 

Q: What aspect of human vulnerability and love did you get to explore on this record?

All of them. We wanted this album to be a brief, but detailed journey of the rise and fall of a tumultuous new relationship. Part of what makes this album special are references to very specific moments in time to capture certain feelings. The dichotomy of the album is notably documented. Every moment is there; from obtaining her address on your phone on 7/13, to getting no sleep because you’re crying into their shoulder blades on the song “Hell”. Every moment is vulnerable because every moment is an actual memory that Dalton had to resurface and reconcile. It made the writing process equally as rewarding as it was emotionally taxing. We could never write this album again if we tried because it was an honest snapshot of who we were a year ago musically, and what Dalton was going through then.

Q: What made you want to tackle on these particular themes?

A: Eric: “The fall of Dalton’s relationship was very difficult to watch for everyone involved, and I attempted to channel his visceral emotions into an art form that Dalton hadn’t tapped into in a while. What Dalton was feeling and saying on a daily basis to describe his despair was almost inspiring in a way. It was so inspiring I was convinced it had to take the shape of a full length record.”

Dalton: “I Just needed something to grab onto to help me get through a very tough time in my life. Heartbreak and emotional turmoil affect everyone differently in every relationship but this experience at times felt like it was literally destroying me. Eric helped me take those emotions and channel them productively into something that inspired me and gave me purpose, and helped me clarify my thoughts and get them off my chest. It was just a necessity in our friendship, he wanted to see me not sad and destroyed anymore and I wanted anything to pull me out of my head. It was therapy.”

Q: Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Lyrically, we set out to be as specific and honest as we could to tell this story, so the entire record is made up of real quotes and moments. While attempting to convey these ideas through music, we were inspired by each other — because every writing session felt like a therapy session. It looked like one too. Sometimes Dalton would lay on a couch and recount the darkest, rawest memories from his experience. When penning lyrics Eric also was inspired by Lang Leav’s poetry, mostly from her book “Love & Misadventure”. 

Sonically we were both really inspired by our contemporaries in bands like The Ivy, The Millenial Club, joan, and Hotel Apache, as well as our more core influences like New Wave bands on Dalton’s side and 90s/early 00s R&B for Eric. 

Q: What else is happening next in Honestly’s world?

We’ve been lucky enough to meet and work with a lot of creative people that we can now call our friends, so there are surely going to be some collaborations surfacing soon. Basically everything we’re doing now but better, and more of it. More photography, film, music, performances, and when socially responsible, actual live shows. We can’t spill all the beans but there’s a good chance we do some more video stuff as well. Maybe another album is in the works… who knows!

Fast Rising R&B Star Shamil

Q: Hi Shamil, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

A: Thank you for having me! I’ve been doing good!

Q: Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Sohana”?

A: Sohana is my latest single, I made it with my engineer Pjay while we were in London , the whole song is basically a freestyle! My engineer was live streaming while we were listening to beats and we had like 6 or 7 hundred viewers so I decided I was gonna make something on the spot and that turned out to be Sohana

Q: Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

A: Yes, the whole song is about a girl who I was involved with, everybody told me about these other parts of her life and even she had told me things and it wasn’t even like small things like she was really on some wild stuff but I liked her so much and I was so infatuated with everything else about her I ignored the bad stuff.

Q: How was the filming process in London and experience behind the video?

A: I actually wasn’t physically on set during the shoot! I saw most of the shooting for the video over FaceTime! I have a really dope team that came together while I was away to put together the video, it was a really amazing experience for me, just the fact that I was able to make something dope while being thousands of miles away from it

Q: How was the recording and writing process?

A: The process changes every time we make a track, Sometimes it’ll all be written stuff other times it’ll be a freestyle, sometimes I’ll hear a sentence and like 2 weeks later it’ll become a chorus in a song, it really just depends on what the moment and the vibe calls for, with Sohana everything was perfect for me to be able to freestyle the whole thing and then stitch it all together!

Q: What role does growing up in Alaska play in your music?

A: I think being from Alaska makes me work harder, it’s a place a lot of people don’t really think about when they talk about music and I think that’s mostly because it’s so cut off from the rest of the world. That solitude really makes you hungry and it pushes you to get better and better.

Q: Has The Weeknd been an influence for you with your writing?

A: I really enjoy listening to The Weeknd’s music and I look up to him so there’s definitely a lil bit of influence but most of My writing influences come from a bunch of different places when I was growing up I listened to a lot of Michael Jackson, Madonna and 80s pop in general with my mom but then with my sisters Id listen to hip hop and more alternative sounds like Lil Wayne, 50, nirvana, Eminem, a perfect circle, Drake, and a ton more.

Q: How’s your new project coming along?

A: The new project is coming along great, we finished recording it a while ago now we’re just putting the finishing touches on it!

Q: Any tentative release date or title in mind?

A: The name of the tape is “The After Party, EP” as for the release date it’s probably gonna be early fall/end of summer

Q: Any plans to hit the road, perform any live shows?

A: I would love to, the last show I performed at was back in September of last year but I love performing and I want to get back on stage as soon as possible

Q: What else is happening next in Shamil’s world?

A: Right now in my world and my team’s world we’re getting ready for our next big release “OTL”, it’s another single dropping on the 7th of August! I’m very excited about, I’m sure it’s about to be a lot of people’s new favorite song haha

LAU Creates a Electro-Pop Masterpiece on New Single “We Had Magic”

LAU’s newest single “We Had Magic” is a perfect piece that showcases why Electro-Pop is so exciting. From the atmospheric percussion to the rumbling pulsing synths, LAU is an obvious student of the 80’s new wave masters while bringing her own spin to it. But it’s the chorus hook that really drives the track home and gives “We Had Magic” it’s aforementioned alchemy; “We could have seen the world, but you don’t love me anymore” hits hard over the hazy virtual dancefloor and leaves the listener with an empty yet nostalgic feeling. Listen below and read our exclusive interview with LAU:

Hi Lau, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? 

Hello! I’ve been really good thanks, excited about my new release and super busy writing/recording my debut album.

Can you talk to us about your latest single “We Had Magic”? 

We Had Magic” is my second single, from my upcoming debut album which is due later this year. It was produced by Ends 84, a super talented French producer who I’m working with on a few tracks for my album.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song? 

I recently went through a painful separation from a long-term partner, who fell in love with a friend of ours. It’s a horrible double-betrayal kinda situation and a very hard thing to deal with. Writing this song was quite hard for me, but it also helped me express what I’ve been going through. The dissapointment and the sadness about it all. I’m glad lots of people are connecting with this song, and despite the sad lyrics, it’s quite an uplifting track, musically speaking. 

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track? 

Yes, I’m currently planning the video shoot for this song and for my previous single “Stunning”. Things take a little longer nowadays due to the lockdown, but I’ll make it happen eventually.

How was the recording and writing process? 

Yan (Ends 84) sent me this beautful uplifting music, and I instantly fell in love with those pulsating synths. I immediately started to write and record vocals for it, and worked on the arrangement in my home studio in London. I love harmonies, so I tend to layer tons of vocals in all my songs. And finally I added the synth lead riff, which I feel was needed as a “hook”. The lyrics came quickly and naturally as they are very honest and personal.

What role does London play in your music? 

I’ve been in London 21 years, so it’s my home now. It’s a great city to live in, I’ve met and worked with some incredible people in the music industry along the years, and there are always lots of things to do. I’ve also set up my record label here in London (Aztec Records) with my friend Ariel over 10 years ago, so we’re very connected to this great city.  

Does the new single mean we can expect more new material – how’s that coming along? 

Absolutely! My third single will come out at the end of August, and perhaps another single and then the album. I’m super excited about my debut album after writing for other artists for over a decade. I want people to get to know me and my songs, I don’t want to hide anymore.

Any tentative release date or title in mind? 

Tentative release date for the album will be end of 2020 or early 2021 at the latest, and I think I will call it “Let’s Talk About It”, as most songs express what I’ve been through in this last year full of changes and uncertainty.

What else is happening next in LAU’s world? 

I have a couple of collaborations that will be released later this year and I’m already starting to plan the live shows, which I’m very excited about. So the plan is to start touring at the end of the year or early 2021. Can’t wait!

Beats’ style is refreshing and his scratching is timed perfectly. His vibe is a tad vintage, but it has movement that lends itself into modern territories. I would say it has a more Southern or ATL influence than East Coast rapping, but honestly, Beats’ style is pretty unique. He’s worth the investment and your musical library will benefit from his stupid fresh swagger. Amir Beats flexes a good show in “Got ‘Em Throwin’ Dollars” and it pays off handsomely.

by Bethany Page

The Juxtaposition of Well-Known Obscurity

Imagine seeing a T-shirt that captures your attention for no apparent reason. You are sure you don’t know what the words and symbolism mean, but you also feel like you should know. Those of us who have had the pleasure of seeing such T-shirts have experienced the juxtaposition of well-known obscurity.

Any one of the CBGB T-shirts from Nerd Kung Fu provide a perfect example. People who already know what CBGB is feel good about themselves for wearing T-shirts that make them part of a semi-exclusive club. Meanwhile, the clueless see a CBGB T-shirt and feel like there is something vaguely familiar about the imagery they should know more about.

The juxtaposition of well-known obscurity lies in two seemingly opposite principles. The first principle dictates that the topic or subject at hand is known among a large enough group of people to give it some sort of societal stature. The other principal dictates just the opposite: not enough people know about it to propel it to mainstream cognizance.

The CBGB Club

CBGB was a small Manhattan nightclub first opened in 1973 by the legendary Hilly Krystal to showcase his favorite music. The CBGB acronym stands for ‘country, bluegrass, and blues’. Underneath the acronym on the nightclub’s canopy sign was another acronym: OMFUG. It stood for ‘other music for uplifting gormandizers’, a reference to people who consume music as much as, or more than, they consumed food.

Though Krystal’s original intent was clear, it didn’t take long for the club to become a hotspot for the cutting-edge music of the day. CBGB began hosting acoustic rock, experimental music, and punk. The club eventually started welcoming goth, industrial, and dark wave bands.

CBGB became well known for helping to launch the careers of groups like Blondie and the Ramones. By the 1980s it had left most of its country and bluegrass roots behind to become New York’s home for hard-core punk.

Both Known and Unknown

Music critics, publishers, and aficionados are very familiar with the CBGB name. Some of the biggest names in music can recite the entire history of the club from start to finish. And yet outside of that particular scene, CBGB is still widely unknown. That is what’s most fascinating about this icon of American music.

How a club like CBGB can be so well known in music circles but largely unknown elsewhere is a juxtaposition. Even among people living in Manhattan and the rest of New York’s boroughs, CBGB was not a well-known entity during its heyday. It was the hot spot for fans of punk rock and other forms of alternative music, but virtually nonexistent to everyone else.

The same is true in 2020. A core group of people will recognize a CBGB T-shirt a mile away. They see the two acronyms and know exactly what they mean. T-shirts that feature images of the club’s facade are instantly recognized by the storefront window and canopy.

A person who knows nothing about the punk rock scene might see that same T-shirt and scratch his head. He might spend the rest of the day wondering what ‘CBGB’ and ‘OMFUG’ mean. And he will drive himself crazy believing that he is the only one who remain ignorant.

Such is the juxtaposition of well-known obscurity. If you are well-known to a large group but still obscure to an even larger one, you are in that no man’s land of being neither a nobody nor a superstar. Perhaps the best you can do is hope someone is selling T-shirts with your likeness decades after you’re gone.

Cinemartyr releases LP

Marching out of the darkness like a fascist army in some grainy old war footage, Cinemartyr’s “Run From Terror To Bring It Closer” doesn’t let us get comfortable with its ominous strut before unleashing a complicated deluge of distortion that can wipe out anything that gets in its path. In this track, and all of those found on the new album Death of the First Person, Cinemartyr are meshing metal, punk, noise, art rock and conceptual avant-gardism together with an excitement I hadn’t heard much of prior to this summer, and while I was only somewhat familiar with their sound before, this most recent offering has made me a legitimate fan.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/CINEMARTYR/

The tracklist here is very tight and feels a heck of a lot leaner and meaner than it actually is. “CGI,” “On Earth As It Is” and “The Brain of Hideo Kojimaa,” the trio of songs that start us off in Death of the First Person, blows into us like a juggernaut of colorless noise only to lead us into something a bit more illustrative of the band’s personality in “Stab City” and, later, the psychedelic “Sleep is God,” but the flow is uninterrupted and not lacking in substance at all whatsoever.

In “In Filth It Shall Be Found” and “AR-15,” vocals aren’t exactly a melodic component of the music – truth be told, they’re on the same level as the percussion in a couple of key junctures – but they’re engrained in the music seamlessly just the same. Every part of this record is well-mixed, and though there are some patches, particularly towards the conclusion, that run a little more towards the extreme than necessary, I wouldn’t deem any of the compositions on Death of the First Person as being unworthy of the company they’re in here at all.

Overall, the master mix is very generous with the gritty details that give “Run From Terror To Bring It Closer,” “Tunnel At The End Of The Tunnel” and “Stab City” their one of a kind finish, and I have a feeling Cinemartyr designed this aspect of their new record with audiophiles in mind over everyone else. There’s no pandering to the intellectual crowd here (far from it, actually), but there’s also no denying the fact that you don’t stick a couple of loaded numbers like the boldly melodic “Keeps Getting Up” and gut-punching “The Brain Of Hideo Kojimaa” on the same LP without expecting to get a big critical reaction.

GOOGLE PLAY: https://play.google.com/music/preview/Aa43bvqi5qloawvjbmpsdylmd4q?play=1&u=0

It’s not for everyone, but for those who it was made to satisfy this summer, Cinemartyr’s Death of the First Person will be called an instant classic. In 2020, the era of feedback-laced tributes to the Melvins and ear-numbing aesthetical nods to the likes of Invisible Boss, Patton Thomas, Ox-bow and Howard James Kenny are becoming a thing of the past, while taking the concepts forged by those artists to the next level of experimentalism is the fad to be had, and Cinemartyr aren’t relenting from their mission of doing the latter with more attitude than anyone else in their scene right now.

by Bethany Page 


Matt Kiss is a singer, songwriter, and musician from Brooklyn, New York. Some of Matt’s earliest memories were of him singing along to Russian tunes with his parents, or banging around on the piano as a toddler. He was enrolled in piano lessons at a very young age, later gravitating to the guitar at 13.

After years of playing in a handful of young bands, Matt decided that he wanted to go his own route and dove into the world of songwriting. 

Once on his own, Matt hit the ground running playing local venues throughout NYC, Brooklyn, and Queen. He competed in songwriting contests, participated in recording workshops, and even took a BMI songwriting course in 2013. Every new musical experience was an opportunity for Kiss to sharpen his skills as a writer and performer. He developed a live show as both a solo acoustic act as well as a full band outfit, performing in many NYC staples like Rockwood Music Hall, Bowery Electric, and The Shrine (just to name a few). On top of developing his solo career, Matt would often work as a session musician for several artists in the New York area. His live and studio work as a guitarist/bassist/arranger for other artists not only brought him fulfillment, but also informed his own experience and education as a musician. And it was Matt’s vast and varied musical experiences that were instrumental in the development of his own artistic growth.

Most recently, Matt linked up with talented producer Malcolm Fong, and the two immediately clicked. Matt’s new single “Hurricane” serves not only as a standalone song, but also previews the larger scope of his and Malcolm’s collaborative work together.

Rich Lindo drops new single “Jungle”

Canada hasn’t historically been known for burning it up in the world of hip-hop, but that narrative is changing thanks to the efforts of independent artists like Rich Lindo, whose new single “Jungle” is making a big impact at home and abroad this July. Based out of Toronto, Lindo doesn’t let the barriers between his scene and the bright lights of American-sanctioned success stop him from giving a masterful performance in “Jungle,” and moreover, delivering a critical message in the recently-released music video for the song. The imagery in the video is as real as the pulsation of the percussion in the backdrop is, and when this track comes to a conclusion, it’s hard to walk away unaffected by what we’ve just heard.

I really dig this interplay between the beat and the verses, as the dynamic not only highlights the sophistication of Rich Lindo’s execution but also the emotional bend to the music itself. There isn’t a single component to the mix that isn’t lending some element of authenticity to the finished product – even when he’s pouring lyrics out of the speakers like coffee into a cup, Lindo is calm, cool and collected in his presence and seeming sure of himself no matter what he’s trying to get across. His passion translates into the music exquisitely, and for his being an outsider, he doesn’t sound like an up and coming rapper who is still in need of finding his own identity.

BANDCAMP: https://blacklionempire.com/track/jungle

Quality hip-hop is plentiful right now, so for this to be the standout single that it is, you know Rich Lindo has got to be doing something right. A product of the Canadian underground who doesn’t accept any of the nonsensical analyses that would prevent his sound from hitting the masses, this rapper is crushing it in “Jungle” and stylizing a strain of hip-hop that blends elements of protest music, traditional east coast rap and a grainier, edgy electro beat I’m dying to hear more of again soon. He’s one of a kind for sure, and if given some more time and room to grow, he’s going to do some amazing things.

by Bethany Page

INTERVIEW: Anthony Lazaro

Hi Anthony, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

All good, thank you. Hope you guys are good too, despite the crazy crazy times

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Himalaya”?

It’s a song about travel in a moment when this word has almost mythical connotations. A perfect symbol of how many things we took for granted are not anymore. But it’s above all a song about hope, about everything we’ll get to do again when the ugly C thing will be over. And about sticking together, which is key at this moment.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I love traveling and I miss the crazy feeling you get when you visit a foreign country (especially the more exotic ones) for the first time: you form your idea of that country from the news and movies and you’re excited and terrified at the same time. After a couple of days there you settle in, start getting used to the different sounds, scents, the way people move, the different pace and inflection. It’s a regenerating experience. It really changes you. I miss that.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The video is a collage in stop motion: it’s the same style I’ve used for the video of “Making Babies” and it adds a little bit to the playful nature of the song.  The original plan to create a crowdsourcing campaign and have people from the cities mentioned in the song lip-syncing to the lyrics. It would have been incredible but almost impossible, especially now. The idea came from the fact that while playing this song live on stream I had so many people telling me: I’m from Bodhgaya, I’m from Chicago, I’m from Chile! It’s amazing to think how many countries and people you are reaching thanks to music.

The single comes off your new EP Basement Love – what’s the story behind the title?

The title can be read in two ways: it comes from the opening song from the EP and it’s about the secret love you live when you’re young, and you have to hide somewhere to get some intimacy, when the kisses are smuggled and being together alone sounds like a conspiracy. But it’s also a reference to the slightly apocalyptic feel we get in these days, where we have to stay holed up for the sake of our parents and friends. And you get in this kind of Noah’s Ark mood.

How was the recording and writing process?

Every song starts differently, that’s what I love about songwriting. I try to start always in a different way: can be something I’m strumming or fingerpicking on the guitar, trivially, a sequence of chords on the piano, but it can also be an instrumental I’m working on where I suddenly got the inspiration for a top line, a jazz jam you start singing on or maybe a random idea you record on the phone and develop later. Basement Love follows this process to the letter. Then we have the remix, which was a very fortunate last-minute surprise from the talented R&B guru Definitely Dean.

What role do Hamburg and Genoa play in your music?

Hamburg is the city I need to stay under tension a little bit. It’s a positive tension, of course: different languages (my German is still pretty shaky), lots of inputs and events, changing sceneries and challenging climate, especially in winter. Genoa is the home base and the cradle: where I get to relax a little bit, immerse myself in the environment I’ve grown in. It’s a beautiful city and home of great Italian songwriters like Fabrizio de Andrè, Luigi Tenco and Gino Paoli and I’m really proud of it.

What aspect of love did you get to explore on this record?

This period has created new kinds of loves and lovers. Those who have been living in different countries and found suddenly themselves in the impossibility to rejoin, which is crazy if you think about it. And then, on the other side, the ones that suddenly found themselves stuck together 24 hours a day in the same apartment, which can be incredibly romantic and cozy but can become volatile pretty quickly.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I guess everything that’s happening around us can be a great inspiration. My stories are pretty intimistic but, in the end, our private lives are always a very personal reflection of the bigger events happening around us. And I guess I take a lot of inspiration from what I read and see. Especially movies: I’m a movie maniac and I love watching classics on my projector.The funny things you don’t realize you got all these stories interiorized until you start writing and all these characters simply come to life in your songs

What else is happening next in Anthony Lazaro’s world?

I’m working on my second LP, which is going to be an ambitious musical endeavor: I like to keep my listeners a little bit on the edge, changing slightly style between songs. This LP is going to be the culmination of this process. In a time when we can’t do much touring, we still have ways to create a journey, connecting musicians across space to have something that also travels through time: musicians from London, New York, North Carolina, Nashville, Munchen, Toronto, Genoa and Hamburg working on vocal jazz, indie folk, chill, and electronic pop all in the same album. I think it’s gonna be fun.


INTERVIEW: Cliff Savage

Q: Hi Cliff, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

A: Thank you for having me! With everything going on in the world right now, I’m just trying to stay busy, and engaged with my fans, so that when we finally get out of this pandemic, I can hit the ground running again!

Q: Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Cha Cha”

A: Of course! “Cha Cha” is one of my favorite records right now because it has all of the ingredients needed for a “hit” turn up record. I wanted to make something that makes new listeners ask “Who is that?”, and also wanted to challenge myself to experiment with new sounds and vocal tones. “Cha Cha” really helped me realize that creating catchy music is part of my niche.

Q: Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

A: My creative process typically comes from one of two points of inspiration. The first being any particular thing that directly impacts me in my life or second being inspired by production. I have this saying, “If you can’t listen to the beat without lyrics, it doesn’t slap enough”. 

I feel like good production writes the song for you. I find myself writing my best songs when I press play and words immediately start flowing through my thoughts within the first few seconds of hearing an instrumental.

Q: Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

A: I’m glad you asked because we just finished shooting the video for Cha Cha. I believe “Cha Cha” is my most visually pleasing music video to date. It will be released sometime late August. 

Q: How was the recording and writing process?

A: My recording process has been more fun for me lately. I typically write my music in the notepad app on my phone. Now it’s more hybrid. Sometimes I use my phone but now it’s mostly freestyle. I recorded “Cha Cha” without writing anything down. Recording without writing feels more organic.

Q: What role does Long Beach play in your music?

A: I’ve never been asked this question before! Props to VENTS for sure!! Long Beach has EVERYTHING to do with my music. It’s one of the most multiculturally diverse places in the world in my opinion. From food all the way to it’s people. Growing up there allowed me to tap into so many flavors of music and styles hip hop due to the diverse community of friends I had and people I’ve worked with. I believe my city taught me how to be different. I’m grateful because I feel like it shows in my music. It’s funny you asked this question because just the other day one of my fans told me that the reason they love listening to my music is because you never know what you’re gonna get.

Q: What made you want to go for a much Latin-infused direction?

A: I have a friend that listens to a lot of Latin music. I’m learning more about that wave and I find myself getting more into it.  He kinda put me up on some artist making noise in that genre. I remember joking with him and saying “Watch I’m gonna make some Latin sh*t”. I was messing around but at the same time I wasn’t. I came across the beat for “Cha Cha” and took the opportunity to try a new sound.

Q: Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

A: My goal every year is to be more consistent than the last. You can expect more music, more videos and more content. Currently I’m releasing singles while continuing to find new fans. I plan on leading this into an album. Everything is coming along better than I could ask for. My team is always two or more steps ahead of what you see.

Q: Any tentative release date or title in mind?

A: We’re definitely planning on giving our fans an album before the end of the year. It could be a dope Christmas gift. Keep your eyes open!

Q: Any plans to hit the road?

A: That was the plan this year. When I got back home from my concert at Texas  at Texas Tech University, I was hyped!. I couldn’t wait to get back on the road. I was looking forward to visiting Germany and touring overseas. We’re going crazy in Europe right now. I was also looking forward to performing at Rolling Loud but Covid’s got us all in the house. Giving God gives us his grace, after this pandemic I plan on picking up where I left off and getting back on the road. This time with new music

Q: What else is happening next in Cliff Savage’ world?

A: Continuing to find ways to give back and help people while we all figure out the new normal. I plan on doing some more live-stream shows, and hope to tap in with the VENT listeners again in the future!



Hi Becca, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thank you so much! I’ve been doing pretty well. Excited to be creating and releasing music. I think being in quarantine has given me space to explore creatively and focus on sharing what I’ve been working on.

Can you talk to us more about your new single “Past Life”?

Sure! I wrote “Past Life” a few years ago actually so it’s been a long time coming. I wrote it about deep love and longing so there is a nostalgic feeling in the song. There is also an existential wonder about connection with others and self.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I think the song was inspired by my own personal feelings and curiosities rather than a particular event. I write mostly from a stream of consciousness type of approach.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

I would love to release a video with this track but I am still exploring options for how that would look for this song. If anything, it will probably be a simple visual video.

How was the recording and writing process?

The song didn’t take me very long to write. I remember writing it alone in my room one late night just pondering my own inner world. Like I said, that was a few years ago now! The recording process was so fun. I worked on this track with my dear friend, Eric Leva. I remember we rode electric Bird scooters to dinner one night from his apartment, and by the time we were leaving the restaurant there was only one scooter left, so we both rode back on the same one, which was hilarious. Then we got back and recorded “Past Life” in his apartment!

Who influences your songwriting, and how?

I would say my main influences include Joni Mitchell, Alanis Morissette, and Ani Difranco. I am mostly drawn to a lot of folk artists and pop singer songwriters. I also grew up listening to a lot of musical theater and Disney music as well as worship music from growing up in church.

What role does Los Angeles play in your music?

The reason I moved to Los Angeles was because I knew I would have community here. My musical community has played a huge role in my music and it’s been especially exciting to see some of my peers succeed in big ways.

How did your perspective and experiences change as you moved away from small town Philadelphia to LA?

I actually moved to Boston for college for 4 years before I moved to LA. I loved living in Boston and so moving from there to Los Angeles was a huge culture shock. I moved here without a car or a job and had to figure out how to survive and thrive here which was extremely challenging for the first few years. I think moving to LA changed my perspective of the world and connection with others. You never know who you will run into here!

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

That’s the plan! I am currently planning my next EP, and I’ve even begun writing songs for the following project. With all that is going on in the world, creativity and music have been my saving grace these days.

What else is happening next in Becca Roth’ world?

I’ve been working on recording the last couple tracks for my EP, and the plan is to just keep recording all the songs I’ve been writing and putting them out into the universe! I’m excited to share who I am with people and I hope the messages in my songs will inspire connectivity.

Find Becca at instagram.com/beccarothmusictwitter.com/beccarothmusic and facebook.com/beccarothmusicnow.