Browsing Tag

old school

Ola Beto flowed right back to ‘Old School’ with his latest rhythmically rendered hip-hop release

Ola Beto has dropped a track that’s nothing short of a rhythmic revelation. ‘Old School’ is a melodious trip through the annals of hip-hop via a route never taken. This single firmly establishes Ola Beto as the undisputed king of retro luxe flows in the modern hip-hop scene.

From the get-go, ‘Old School’ commands attention. The cadence in Ola Beto’s bars makes it impossible to remain indifferent. His flow is a rhythmic force that demands your rhythmic pulses to stand to attention while the use of nostalgic samples adds a layer of authenticity. Yet, it’s in the beats and analogue synths where Ola Beto truly shines, offering a contemporary twist that you’ll want to relentlessly ride the waves of.

Ola Beto’s emotional lyrics, combined with his rhythmic production and catchy flows, create a sonic vision that’s beyond measure.  ‘Old School’ is a statement of Ola Beto’s trajectory that’s set to redefine the West Coast hip-hop domain. If he continues on his grind, it won’t be long before he’s revered as a major player in the genre. For fans of retro pop and hip-hop alike, ‘Old School’ is a track that resonates with the past, thrives in the present, and hints at a future where Ola Beto holds the keys to the kingdom.

Stream the official music video for Old School by heading over to YouTube now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Interview: Propter Hawk tell us all about Toronto life and the anticipation building for their epic 12-track album

Ripping a hugely likeable sound into our lives with a friendly kick to the soul and a smile to follow, Propter Hawk reminds us of that old-school sound that drives our hearts into doughnuts outside the local drive-through at 2 am. They tell us their debut self-titled debut record while sipping on sherry flips and might change your mood for the better. Real music with purpose still exists you see? You just have to look for it and dig a little deeper to find the treasure. Look no further.

Llewelyn: Hello Propter Hawk. Please take a seat on our cosy virtual couch (excuse the snoring cat there) and may we provide you with any snacks or beverages? Alrighty, let’s get into it. Firstly, how did you get this incredible name and who is the cleanest member of the band, who’s the most organised, the most serious, the friendliest and who is the messiest?

Andrew: I came up with the name a while ago and this question has been haunting me ever since. It’s a play on “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc” which is one of Socrates’ informal fallacies. I often find myself trying to explain this to people in loud, packed clubs and it is the most difficult part of my entire life.

Malorie: I’m definitely the most organised, Alec’s the most serious and Jimmy is the friendliest person on earth. Andy and Brian can fight over who is the messiest. They’re both…you know.

Llewelyn: Secondly, we’re super thrilled about your upcoming debut release on the 18th of August 2023. You were kind enough to send us a pre-listen..and wow..we love it. Sherry Flip especially is special. How did the whole album come together and how would you describe the vision and your sound on this one?

Andrew: In many ways, the album came together because of Covid and lockdowns. Mal and I had a lot of song ideas going into the pandemic and we wanted to write songs that really expressed some of the feelings that, I think, a lot of people have been having for a long time. Since we couldn’t play shows, we really used it as an opportunity to work them out with the boys and by the time restrictions were lifted, we had a whole album of songs ready to go before we ever had the chance to play live.

Jimmy: We were toying with the idea of recording the album ourselves but when we got the opportunity to record at Pineship Sound in Toronto with Carlin and Mike of Zeus, that settled it for us. We grew up watching those guys in Zeus and it was a thrill to get the chance to work with them. They’ve contributed to so many records that we love.

Alec: There are a lot of overlapping influences between all of us, so musically we are all headed towards the same goal, but the album certainly showcases everyone’s individual approach and it became kind of our own unique take on rock and roll. For me, a lot of it came down to us recording live off the floor and making sure we kept things loose and organic. I think you can hear that rawness in the tracks.

Llewelyn: Please tell us all about your upcoming album release show at The Cameron House (408 Queen St W, Toronto, ON) on 18th August. Who’s on the lineup and what should fans expect, where can they buy tickets, why did you choose this particular venue, times etc?

Brian: This is a really special show for us. We’ve been sitting on this album for a while now and are really ready to get it out there. We’re playing with The Young Scones, a supergroup made up of some of our favourite Toronto musicians that we’ve been playing with right from the start. Moondoggy is the other act on the bill and another one we’ve played with before; they’re always great. We’ve played at The Cameron House a few times before and it’s always a really exciting spot to play. The room comes with a lot of energy.

Llewelyn: Toronto, Ontario is your hometown and is a place we want to visit. What parts do you love and where do you personally go and watch live music? Is the scene thriving and where do upcoming original solo musicians and bands head to perform?

Brian: I think the live music scene, especially for rock and roll, has changed a lot in recent years all over the world…but Toronto is still holding on like it always has. We grew up going to places like Lee’s Palace, The Horseshoe Tavern, El Mocambo and The Dakota Tavern, and all of them are still going strong and are still home to the best upcoming rock bands in Toronto. I don’t think a lot of these legendary clubs survived the pandemic in other cities. In fact, we have seen more clubs popping up here and there recently. Anyone looking to start playing in Toronto has a lot of options to choose from.

Llewelyn: Ah yes. How did the band form? We have a feeling this is an interesting story…actually…you have told us but we don’t want to spoil it. Please tell our readers about how your band actually got together and now makes beautiful music together.

Malorie: Well…I married a guitar player (Andrew) and he was in a band called New Commuters with Jimmy. I have been singing for years and wanted to start my own music project and Andy was an obvious choice. Since Jimmy is Andy’s most trusted musical collaborator, he was also an obvious choice. Our original idea was going to be the three of us and Andy was working on…a bass-playing robot. Not a joke. He actually got close, but the logistics were a nightmare. So we sent out a desperate classified ad looking for a bass player. Our only reasonable response was from Alec, who played guitar and had no interest in playing bass at all. For some reason, we invited him to come play with us anyway and after a few minutes, it was clear that we could exploit him for his outrageous talent. Shortly after, Alec brought in his seasoned musical collaborator, Brian, to play bass and sing harmony and he fit in right away. And here we are.

Llewelyn: What’s it like when you close your eyes and see that live crowd? Does it excite you and do any parts of the process scare you at all? It must be such a rush feeling the anticipation and seeing sweaty faces staring closely, singing your songs and rocking out to get work-life stresses out of their system.

Alec: It’s definitely a rush to get up there in front of people and give it your all. For me, once you play that first chord through a loud amp we’re off to the races and any nerves turn into excitement. Seeing people get into it and pass that energy back to us might just be the best part.

Llewelyn: Last one. Once again, thank you for your time today. What do you usually eat/drink before a show or is there a pre-gig ritual or do you just have a lil chat and get on with it? Also, is there one song of yours in particular that you all love wholeheartedly and can never get sick of playing?

Jimmy: We kind of do our own thing for the most part and we’re pretty low-key. Right before going on stage, Malorie, Brian and I find a quiet place somewhere and warm up our vocals. The Yawn-Sigh Technique, The Tongue Trill Exercise…lip buzz warm-ups…all of them.

We released Theatre Of The Whole World a while ago and it seems to have caught on really well in Toronto. It’s always a rush to see a crowd of people that you’ve never seen before singing along to every word.

Do some warm-ups for the soul via the album link on Spotify.

See where they fly next on IG.

Interviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Benny Holmes drops a classic-like release to get our attention with ‘Wordle’

After taking a break from the music scene to regain that inspiration again, Benny Holmes brings back that old school feel to a genre that changed his life on his latest single, ‘Wordle‘.

Benny Holmes is a Detroit-based Hip hop solo artist who recently decided to have more fun with his creations and has become known for releasing a raw track each Friday.

This year of Freestyle Friday has helped me practice taking time away from the mic and the keyboards in the basement. The way I used to stress over a song or a lyric being perfect, now I stress about leaving it imperfect so I can go hang out with the people in my life who mean the most to me.” ~ Benny Holmes

Created by his trusted producer Julien and featuring dribble-packed rapped Basketball references, this is an ode to the past and reminds us how this genre used to sound before it evolved into so many different directions. Benny Holmes seems to be in his element here, as he left his previous mindset in the dust and now makes tracks that fill him with so much joy instead.

Wordle‘ from Detroit-based Hip hop solo artist Benny Holmes, is a lyrically-charged display from a revitalized soul who is on a mission to make as much music as possible. There is an entertainer psyche on offer for us to truly admire, as his signature style has you thinking back to the classic days while he shreds the mic with impressive aplomb.

Get that old school beat in your face on Soundcloud and see what he gets up to next on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Manila-based L!FE shows us the long game on ‘Mood’

On a self-made catchy beat that leads us into the mindset of a musician who values his creative output, L!FE knows that he needs to keep busy but feels that sometimes he is not always in the ‘Mood‘.

L!FE is a Manila, Philippines-based indie hip-hop artist/bassist, and music producer who makes all his own tracks from the comfort of his studio bedroom.

His music mostly comprises of sample-based melodies with old school hip hop drums funky bass lines and a lower registered voice when singing and rapping.” ~ L!FE

In a world where so many people bleat on about how many songs a musician needs to make each year, L!FE directs us into his life as he shows us a relatable message out knowing that the long-term game is where he is headed. This is an artist who would rather take his time and make classic gems, instead of assembling average music than might dehydrate his heart.

Mood‘ from Manila, Philippines-based indie hip-hop artist and music producer L!FE is an insightful track all about the life of an artist who is perhaps not feeling the creative juices flow into his body today. He guides us into his mind as he wonders why some people just don’t get it – as he slides his headphones on – to get into his zone again to block out anything negative that could ruin his day.

Listen to this new single on Spotify and see more adventures via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Where The Truth At: Marquis Storm yearns for the real story on ‘Proof’

As you vibe with his likable old school style that has you remembering those classic 80’s hip-hop tracks made with that everlasting love, Marquis Storm looks for the real meaning in this fake world that needs changing on ‘Proof‘.

Marquis Storm is a skillful Cleveland Heights, Ohio, USA-based hip-hop artist. He makes that relevant music that actually means something and is very involved with the black voters matter movement, whilst also studying in the hugely important mental health field.

You get into the enjoyable beat so quickly here on this simple, but effective track made with so much respect for his local community. A feeling of self-awareness to what normal people want to hear is brought to the table here, far from the cheap raps that are full of noise without substance.

Proof‘ from the talented Cleveland Heights, Ohio rapper Marquis Storm, opens up the page into his impressive book of rhymes that seems to be forgotten sometimes in this quick-swipe, forget-too-fast kind of world that needs to slow down. This is the story of wanting to know what is really going down — away from the stories that are often made out of cotton candy — and so easily forgettable.

When you turn this track up, you just know that you have heard that real hip-hop with so much soul to wrap into.

Stream this new single on Spotify and check out his IG music page for more news.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Outside My Brain: Detroit band Spyderhuff wonder if people ‘Think About Me’

With glistening vocals that have you listening closely to this true message of life, Spyderhuff carefully gaze outside and wonder intently what this complex world has come to on the true life new single ‘Think About Me‘.

Spyderhuff is an old school, life-long friend Detroit, Michigan band that fill our mind with intrigue with a potent blues-rock-country-techno mix, that will certainly rattle your senses awake.

Formed originally over fifty years ago by the underrated underground artists Tom Kuhr and Don Beyer, who both played in various jazz and rock bands back in the 70’s and 80’s, they have since added three more members to uplift our moods with a powerful five-piece team.

They perform with such passion and desire, each note has been perfectly formed to bring you that classic sound — as the lyrics are cleverly worded and have you thinking deeply — about how much time you unnecessarily think about others thinking about you.

Think About Me‘ from Detroit act Spyderhuff, lets us into a world that has changed from before, as the cellphones get more eye contact than ever before. The days of interacting innocently have changed forever, and we need to be self-aware enough to sift the real away from the fake, otherwise our minds get way too cluttered and battle to function like they should.

Hear more on YouTube link and check out the Facebook music page for more.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Beth Macari’s ‘Gotta Get Back’ to 90’s soul.

Beth Macari

Boom! What goes around, comes around, it seems, and ‘there ain’t nothin’ new under the sun’, and in the case of ‘Gotta Get Back’, that’s a very, very good thing indeed: The spirit of 1990’s soul and R&B artists like Lisa Stansfield, Dina Carroll, or Gabrielle, lives on through Newcastle-based chanteuse Beth Macari’s new single. That’s Newcastle UK, not North-Eastern Wyoming, although you’d never necessarily know that from Macari’s smooth, soulful voice and deliciously well-polished delivery. This is solid gold old-school UK pop-tinged soul/R&B (and if you think that’s hard to say, you should try writing it) that equally sounds beautifully up-to-date, immediate, and fresh. It’s got that Ian Devaney/Andy Morris/Nigel Lowis/CJ Mackintosh production feel courtesy of long-term collaborator ‘Phil The Beat’, opening with smoky vocals and stabbed electro-piano before those retro Linn/TR-808 beats kick in, chokky little funk guitar chords and deep, deep bass carrying the melody behind Macari’s stunning vocal delivery and multi-layered chorus earworm hook. It’s catchy, bouncy, upbeat, hopeful, and danceable all at once.

Macari is already lined up to support Alexandra Burke and Will Young later this year; on the basis of ‘Gotta Get Back’, those won’t be the only high-profile artists coming calling for her services in the near future.

‘Gotta Get Back’ is released on April 13th through all major streaming services; in the meantime, you can check out Beth Macari here or on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

East London’s underground comes alive: The Miller Test brings the old school class back on ‘Better Than You’

After years of being the house band, they have lifted up about of their local pub, to morph into a recording act. The ultimate underdogs of the UK music scene, are now ready for their time to go global. The haunting start brings back some memories of that 80’s kind of feel, and it gets better and better with melodies that catch your heart jumping a beat or two. East London’s The Miller Test have been playing together for over 10 years, but bring their long-awaited sounds to help inspire us all, during these tough times on ‘Better Than You’.

His voice hits the heights that are deemed too hard to try, the dancer is stuck in the bottle for the time being, and you wonder if she will ever come out. She spins around and around, just like 2020 has been for most of us. You can feel that the band know each other so well, the former house band at Hackney’s classic pub Biddles Bros, their name is known all over the East part of London, as the unknown legends.

The music is so intertwined with the old school sound and they have ignored all current fake fads to make something so real to the soul, a hug to the heart even if the mood is quite sombre.

This Funk Is Political, the album that they have probably been talking about for ages, has come alive and re-awakened their soul, to add their name to the recorded band’s around the world. A true sign of respect from the music snobs who scoff at the lack of music output, their noses now down very quick, as the band smile in reflective mood on this victory from within.

The Miller Test are supremely intelligent on ‘Better Than You‘ and this is the start of something so glorious. The dancer made it out of the bottle, and so did the band.

Follow the journey here on YouTube.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Kontrol Freaks drop energetically excellent ‘Rock N Roll Fire’

Kontrol Freaks drop the energetically excellent ‘Rock N Roll Fire‘ and this is a fine effort from the UK outfit.

This is a hard rocking 4 piece band from North London, Kontrol Freaks and they have an upbeat style that has lots of heart and respects the legends of past hard rock acts. They like to fuse the old school spirit and mix it nicely with some modern elements. This is an act that pushes the limits and you just need to turn this up real loud to fully appreciate this.

Rock N Roll Fire‘ from Kontrol Freaks is a powerfully performed new rock waterfall that simmers through the waters of our souls. The vocals are strong and so impressive, the band is totally in-sync here and the tone is intense. The layers are wrapped with a desire to get that fire back from the slumber and misery of 2020. This proudly North London band have a sound that gets your attention right away. This is a quality act who certainly have that extra it-factor and must be incredible on stage.

Click here for the Spotify link.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Farris comes in flaming hot with her ‘Rocket Blaster’

Farris comes in flaming hot with her ‘Rocket Blaster‘ and this is that old school style rock music that has been missing lately.

The Alt-Rock band from the Netherlands are fueled frenetically by excellent globe-trotting singer-songwriter Kathleen Farris and they are on top form here.

This is about putting those guns away and for peace to be the norm again. The world has gone to far from reality, with reality stars being in charge of some powerful countries.

The rock style here is quite marvelous, the constant brooding energy is evident, this is a song with so much meaning. The drums are on full show, the bass riffs are powerfully made and the electricity claws in like a hungry lion.

This is a call for peace by Farris on the new single ‘Rocket Blaster‘. The layers here are quite fantastic, there is so much to uncover on the new single and this is so memorable. With strong vocals and a band that works together, this is a track to turn it up loud.

Click here for the Soundcloud link.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen