Friday, November 21, 2014

The High Cell - The Devil on a Tricycle EP

Michael Heisel aka The High Cell presents his latest release, The Devil on a Tricycle EP.

The High Cell is a very interesting project, mainly because it is the brainchild of one man, Michael Heisel, and for the most part, his new EP is entirely a product of his own execution. The Devil on a Tricycle EP also features a couple of guest musicians, Davy Knowles on guitar and Adam Berzowski on keys. The overall sound of the album is a blend of blues, rock, funk that sounds like it could have been born in an imaginary town halfway between Cleveland, Ohio and New Orleans, Lousiana. (That wouldn't put you too far from Memphis, Tennessee, which fits the bill pretty well, too.) The production value is so good that it speaks volumes about Heisel's multi-hat wearing prowess as he also was behind the recording of the EP.

The first song on the album, "Another Fine Mess," is one of the more "straight rock" songs on the EP. By that I mean the rest of the album has a lot of influences from blues and funk layered on solid rock foundations. This track fits pretty well into the classic rock genre. The main guitar lick is very reminiscent of Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" but the rest of the song sounds a bit more like modern southern rock from the likes of Gov't Mule. Heisel's vocal timbre is an excellent fit for this gritty, riff-dominant style of rock. There is a fantastic solo from Davy Knowles that really slants the song in the blues direction, but it still comes back home at the end. The main chorus is simple and effective and serves very well as a hook that will keep this song in your head for a while to come.

The title track, "Devil on a Tricycle," really got my head nodding. A laid back, in-the-cut beat worthy of The Meters kicks the song off into a classic blues progression. The bass line is thick and funky, driving the beat forward. The guitar is plucky and twangy at the same time making me feel like I'm in New Orleans. The imagery of the lyrics is pretty hilarious and plays into a great metaphor. The bell on the tricycle is the bane of the singer's existence. It's that one little thing that just drives you crazy and this track puts a name on it. 

"Tread" is another track that brings in a guest musician with Adam Berzowski on organ duties. Berzowski rips up a lively solo early in the track which really raises the energy of the composition. The song is a slow, blues romp that sounds like it could have been written and/or performed by a psychedelic rock outfit of the seventies. We also get to hear Heisel's harmonica skills on "Tread" followed directly by a wailing guitar solo. The execution on this track is flawless, but it's not my favorite track on the EP just because it's a bit slow and starts to drag some with a play time of 4:29.

Moving into a more North Mississippi brand of the blues, "Small Town Bird" picks up the pace. The song sounds like something Luther Dickinson might write with a stomp worthy blues backbeat and heavy blues riffs driving the progression. The large layers of vocals create an excellent lead part for one of the most well composed songs on the album. The lyrics on "Small Town Bird" bring a very strong and catchy chorus. Heisel does a great job of taking a simple metaphor and turning it into a multi-layered narrative. He does this most effectively on "Small Town Bird" while perfectly pairing this narrative with roadhouse style of blues.

"Rise," the final track on the EP, takes us back toward riff rock, but this track is much funkier than the likes of "Another Fine Mess." Putting the pentatonic scale to one it's best uses, "Rise" plays back and forth between a funky riff and vibing through a blues progression for dynamic play on a very familiar song structure. The short bridge with layers of harmonies singing "riiiiiiiise" is a nice breakdown to the composition, giving some breathing room to the overall flow of the song. 

Overall, The Devil on a Tricycle EP is an excellent exploration of the different genres it champions. Michael Heisel gets numerous kudos for his ability to wear many hats for this "band," but it's even more impressive that he has delivered such a focused vision for The High Cell. Check out the album for yourself at Heisel's website for the project at

The Devil on a Tricycle EP is available for purchase through iTunes, Amazon, and most major digital music retailers. 

Sanghera - "Hold On"

Sanghera presents the latest single "Hold On" from his album Story of Staying Home.

"Hold On" is a hip-hop track from California based artist Sanghera with a classic sound created by using soulful samples over a gangsta rap style beat. The sultry vocals of a female singer start the track out right, drawing the listener in over rhythm chords of a Rhodes keyboard. The instrumentation of keys, subtle electric guitar licks, and quiet yet large horn arrangements creates a beat that can't be denied. Sanghera's flows tell us the story of taking metaphorical holding pattern in the midst of a developing romance. The cadence of Sanghera's flows are solid and familiar, but his particular enunciations and accent are very unique which makes his vocal timbre sound very original. The beat breaks down at the end, giving a bit more breathing room for a second. It's a welcome contrast to the rest of the beat. I really enjoyed the musical and lyrical elements of "Hold On" giving us a taste of classic sound while also presenting a progressive and conscious style of lyricism.

You can check out "Hold On" and the rest of Sanghera's album The Story of Staying Home on his SoundCloud page at or in the embed below.

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Person Natalie & David Lewis Luong - Dreamy Lullaby

Person Natalie & David Lewis Luong present their latest album, Dreamy Lullaby

Dreamy Lullaby is a jazz album with a total of eight tracks, but I will just be touching on four songs from the album.

The title track "Dreamy Lullaby" is aptly named. It's smooth and slow and just very easy to listen to, but I wouldn't call this "smooth jazz" necessarily. Every instrument is real, no midi patches on the rhythm section. Person Natalie is a featured soloist on the saxophone. Her solo comes in the second half of the recording. Her improvisations are very clean, soulful and even a bit playful at times, dancing around the melody. It's a very enjoyable track and one that I would have no trouble dozing off to on a summer afternoon.

The album takes a bit of a shift with "Another Renaissance," while still staying in the slow and smooth category. The progression is a bit more oblique, adding in tasteful bits of unexpected chords. The saxophone solo toward the end is quite interesting as the band drops out for a few measures while the bass and sax dance around each other in a little breakdown.

"Twilight Horizon" stays in the same vein as Dreamy Lullaby with a slow moving progressions and very subtle players in the rhythm section. Every player is very precise but also soft and minimal in their delivery. Piano carries the main rhythmic duties backed by an upright bass and a electric guitar. I unfortunately have no notes about who is playing what instrument, and the information I could find only bills David Lewis Luong as a multi-instrumentalist, so I can't really tell you a lot about the soloists.  The tone of the track is very smooth again, but not cheesy like so much of the music that can come from the smooth jazz genre.

A slight change in instrumentation spices things up on "Dusky Mirage." This song opts for a vibraphone feature within the arrangement. A piano is still in the mix to help hold down the rhythm section, but the addition of the vibes adds a nice extra layer to the line-up. This progression for "Dusky Mirage" is a bit spicier but still holds true to the overall vision of "smooth jazz" that holds the album together.

Dreamy Lullaby is a very beautiful and relaxing instrumental jazz album. You can pick up the album for yourself on iTunes or find out more on Person Natalie's website:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - Business Plans for Creatives

Hey Music Lovers,

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shid Latta - "High"

Shid Latta presents his latest single, "High"

Shid Latta's "High" is a multi-layerd production, drawing on Hippie Sabotage's remix of "Habits (Stay High)" by Tove Lo for the main meat and potatoes of the beat on this track. Tove Lo's original track is a poignant reflection on "habits" or drug and alcohol abuse rather, as a way to deal with emotional stress. The music video is fantastic as well. Hippie Sabotage, the latest Pandora Radio darling (if you listen to Pandora for anything except metal), has created an excellent reinterpretation of Tove Lo's track with a down-tempo, chill wave, even trap-esque spin for his remix. Shid Latta takes all this wonderfulness and uses it as his backing band for "High." Shid Latta takes the same themes of Tove Lo's track and delivers it in his own flows. It's a much more aggressive approach than either Tove Lo's or Hippie Sabotage's interpretation of this theme, but it works because it's different and genuine to who Shid Latta is as an artist.

Listen to the track below or on Shid Latta's SoundCloud at

Mic-Chek - "Can't Get Enough" featuring Rey Fonder

Mic-Chek presents his latest single "Can't Get Enough" featuring Rey Fonder.

Hip-hop producer and lyricist Mic-Chek out of Colorado did well to team up with Rey Fonder from Miami, FL for "Can't Get Enough." This track is an exciting fusion of hip-hop and modern soul and R&B. Rey Fonder's vocals on the chorus create a club-ready hook for this track elevating it to a catchy and pop-worthy composition. The beat is tight and down-tempo with a nice balance of rap verses and soulful choruses. As a young producer, Mic-Chek clearly has lots of potential to capitalize on as he continues to grow and develop his musical style. His taste in collaborations are clearly on point.

Check out more tracks for Mic-Chek on his SoundCloud at and listen to the single yourself below.