By DONNA BALANCIA
With Martin Luther King Day on Monday, it’s a good, long weekend to listen to new music that reflects the hope of the people.
Music is more diverse than ever, as this week’s releases prove. Steve Aoki teams with Latin star Maluma, Eminem sings out against gun violence and Jah9 inspires through beautiful words and deeds.
The revered civil rights leader Dr. King might have looked approvingly upon the musical messages being delivered around his day of remembrance, which this year falls on Jan. 20, 2020. This week’s music reflects the need for the clear vision to break down barriers and to create bridges to peace.
‘Maldad’ by Steve Aoki and Maluma
Steve Aoki, the king of EDM teamed with ultra popular Latino performer Maluma, is not exactly a mainstream combination. But their new track “Maldad” is so cool, the duo may have created a whole new genre. Aoki and Maluma team up on a Middle Eastern-sounding track and a video that takes us to the center of the action.
Aoki also announced his 24-city North American Neon Future IV: The Color Of Noise Tour.
“Maluma and I have been working on this for awhile now and I’m excited that we are finally able to bring our two worlds together with Maldad,” said Aoki. “Latin music continues to impact globally and I’m proud to be championing this movement on stage, radio, and for my fans everywhere.”
‘Ma’at (Each Man)’ by Jah9
Jah9 is one of the most impressive reggae musicians we’ve heard in a long time. Regal and radiant, the beautiful Jah9 delves into an introspective journey that brings listeners along. Note To Self, her third studio album, is due March 13 on VP Records. One of the leaders in contemporary Jamaican music, Jah9 blends her “jazz on dub” with reggae, and heart-rending soul music.
‘I Want You’ by Venomous Pinks
The Venomous Pinks come straight out with it on the new punk cover and video “I Want You,” made famous by Joan Jett. There is no fooling around here, as these women really know what they want and they say it.
The creative and compelling video for the Tempe, Ariz.-based outfit was directed by Alexander Thomas who was also cinematographer, producer is Soma Snakeoil and The Venomous Pinks.
‘Darkness’ by Eminem
Eminem proves he’s still popular, a bit older and maybe a bit wiser. The renowned rapper pulled off a surprise release with his new album, Music To Be Murdered By. It’s an homage to the people who were victimized by shooters — not only in Las Vegas, but across the U.S. The “Darkness” video is tough to watch but Eminem succeeds in making a stance in his anti-gun violence message. The video ends with the words: “When Will This End? When Enough People Care.”
‘YYZ’ by Gab De La Vega
“YYZ” is the new single by Gab De La Vega of Italy, which is featured on his upcoming full-length album Beyond Space and Time. The video for the track captures the hope all aspiring musicians feel.
The new album “Beyond Space And Time” has been recorded and mixed by Simone Piccinelli at La Buca Recording Club in Montichiari and mastered by Grammy-nominated sound engineer Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Oathbreaker, Jeff Rosenstock, Gouge Away…) at The Atomic Garden Recording Studios in Oakland, California.
‘Falling Unloved’ by Sepsiss
Hard Rockers Sepsiss take it to a new level with this colorful and dark video, produced and directed by YHL. The track was written and recorded by William Savant and Melissa Wolfe.
‘Teknique’ by Stevie Stone
Teknique, with its unique and straightforward sound blends the old school style of Stevie Stone with the diverging talents of Tech N9ne and Daun P. It’s a fun track that brings out a funky, innovative style. Released by Strange Music.
‘Just A Little Bit’ by Zooluxx
Zooluxx is at it again. The psychedelic rockers have created a fun track that fuzzes out the listeners with an oddly compelling Americana sensibility. Their newest collection is expected out by the end of January via Blind Owl. The Just A Little Bit EP, produced by Howlin Rain guitarist and Blind Owl owner Dan Cervantes and Jordan Andreen, will be released digitally and as the A-Side of a vinyl package that features the band’s debut EP The Ghetto Starship. The band will be playing a hometown release show at the Moroccan Lounge in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31.
‘Try To Love’ by Malachiae
The Motown Records-signed phenom serves up romantic melodic vocals with the backing of trap 808s. The nostalgic track has a smooth heartfelt feel serving us with a fresh R and B sound while making him a powerful vocal force in the Hip-Hop and R and B world.
‘RITMO’ from “Bad Boys For Life” Soundtrack – Jaden Smith and BEP
Jaden Smith proves he can make it with the baddest of the them all, and mixing the young talent with some Black Eyed Peas and the result is a great composition for a hit movie. “Bad Boys For Life”
‘Fake No Mo’ by YK Osiris
Yes his girlfriend is gorgeous in the video for “Fake No Mo,” but she’s clearly making a mistake moving on without YK. The R and B-inspired track brings about an emotional turn. The ending is a shocker in this short film that makes the viewer question what is real and what is the future when it comes to relationships.
‘Shadowboxing’ by Mute Choir
What a dreamy and far-out track Mute Choir released with the new “Shadowboxing.” The band said the song was inspired by a point of renewal, like when you’re starting fresh but can’t escape the pressure of uncertainty. When the future is wide open, it can be easy to overthink your decisions in the face of who you might become.
‘Over It’ by Blondage
She may need some lessons in applying makeup, but Blondage from Copenhagen has a neat sound. Who wants to stay inside the lines, anyway? “Over It” has a cool and compellingly easy and upbeat sound and the innovative video is beautifully directed by the singer herself, Pernille Smith-Sivertsen.
‘Heart of Darkness’ by Mackenzie Nicole
Mackenzie has a great voice and conveys a vulnerable but passionate side in the latest track, “Heart of Darkness.” The track was written by the Strange Main pop performer and was produced by Michael “Seven” Summers, known for his work with Tech N9ne, Mac Lethal and Krizz Kaliko. Mackenzie’s album Mystic is set for a Valentine’s Day release.
‘Casino’ by Ryan Beatty
Casino is a sweeping track that emotes a clear passion.
“‘Casino’ is an analyzation of my relationship with someone who was a powerful force in my life,” Beatty said. Beatty is a 23-year-old vocalist, songwriter and producer born and raised in Southern California, and now based in Los Angeles. In July 2018, Beatty released Boy in Jeans.
‘Mother’ by The Amazons
The Amazons have released the new album Introducing … The Amazons and they put together a great in-concert video to go with the track “Mother.”
The Amazons are Matthew Thomson on vocals and guitar, Chris Alderton on guitar, Elliot Briggs on bass, and Joe Emmett on drums. They’re from Reading, England and have been winning over U.S. audiences with their blues-based music. “From Led Zeppelin, we discovered Howlin’ Wolf,” says Matthew Thomson, “and immersed ourselves in his back catalogue. I read Hellfire, the Jerry Lee Lewis biography, and fell in love with the Biblical language that was used to describe his ‘devil music’.”
‘Charades’ by Shadow Show
Detroit-based group Shadow Show released the first music video from their upcoming debut album Silhouettes out on February 14. The girl group is featured in the 60s psych-rock style video for “Charades.” The “video” is actually film, shot on Super-8.
‘There Is No Year’ by Algiers
With an edgy, freestyle approach to music, Algiers conjures up memories of Newport Jazz Fest with its Adult Swim video “There Is No Year,” the title track of the new album. The album was recorded over the past year by childhood friends and Atlanta natives Franklin James Fisher, Ryan Mahan and Lee Tesche, as well as drummer Matt Tong, in New York with producers Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth) and Ben Greenberg (Zs, Uniform, as featured on Twin Peaks season 3). There Is No Year is titled for author Blake Butler’s novel of the same name.