Monday, May 30, 2016

El Gato Dice - Dos

Dos is a collection of 10 tracks by San Francisco’s El Gato Dice. Matador is the opening effort, showcasing a thoughtful introduction that deflty blends together deliberate arrangements and a fuzz that rises and falls as the track continues. El Gato Dice are able to create a solid introduction to their Dos without having to sing a single world. Clean dovetails nicely with this first effort, tying together rich vocals (calling forth Dave Grohl and Steven Page) with tempestuous and impassioned instrumental arrangements. Trap is a high-water mark for Dos. The fullness that is achieved by El Gato Dice here is hard to match as all constituent elements – vocals, drums, guitar and bass – are able to create something gnarly and impressive in its raw power. so Say is another strong effort from Dos, linking together rock with alternative and containing just enough in the way of pensive guitars and supersonic vocals to appease fans of 1990s alternative and 1970s rock alike. The intricacies of the arrangements here stand up to repeat listens; while the overall track feels very straight-forward, a more intent focus will yield considerable depth to the song.

The acoustic version of Walk A Mile concludes Dos, providing a perfect counterpoint for the opening strains of Dos. The vocals are front and center during this composition, with little more than a guitar filling out the background. When a second set of vocals enters into the equation, there is a considerably greater depth imbued to the composition. With such a hopeful and richly emotive closing to the album, El Gato Dice are able to stoke a fire in listeners that will only be sated when the band releases a new album. Check out their Bandcamp for samples from Dos.

Top Tracks: Matador, Walk A Mile

Rating: 8.3/10

El Gato Dice - Dos

Diana Ebe - "Elusive Pleasure"

Elusive Pleasure is the latest single by Diana Ebe, showcasing a unique style that touches upon ambient, indie-pop, and even trip-hop genres before the effort ends. The instrumentation is taut, providing a considerable boost to the song’s momentum when the wall of sounds kicks in. The instrumental and vocal elements of Elusive Pleasure make for something beautiful that will stick with fans long after the song has ceased to play. The production of Elusive Pleasure allows each element to shine alone or together as a cogent entity, ensuring that the track has considerable replay value throughout the summer.

Diana Ebe – “Elusive Pleasure” / 2016 Self / /

Diana Ebe - "Elusive Pleasure"

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Daz Sims - England For Glory

England For Glory is a positive effort that showcases the sheer drive and determination of England, providing listeners with a way to boost their pride.

The track crosses a wide variety of genres and styles, linking together electronic and more organic elements to make something that will resound loudly with listeners long after the song has ceased. The vocal-forward nature of the track gives further replay value to the single.

Proceeds from England For Glory will go to Variety, the Children’s Charity.

Daz Sims – England For Glory / 2016 / /

Daz Sims has created a new single that looks to raise funds for charity.

Daz Sims - England For Glory

Friday, May 27, 2016

Amity Rae - These Heels

Amity Rae create their latest track, These Heels, with an ear towards the New Orleans bounce scene, the strong vocals of the New York City R&B scene, and the call and response of the Atlanta mid-oughts rap scene. What results is a track that will tattoo its melodies deep into the minds of listeners. The strong back beat is bold and forward-facing, while the vocals act as the cherry on top of that sundae. With so many twists and turns, Amity Rae’s These Heels will have the replay value necessary to stay in radio rotation through the summer.

Amity Rae – These Heels /

Amity Rae - These Heels

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

LSD Honey Ale (Indeed Brewing)

We are continually impressed by what’s Colorado’s indeed Brewing is putting out on a regular basis and their LSD beer may be the best canned effort that we have received from them. After a long run, receiving their IPAs and Imperial Stouts I must admit I was a little trepidatious when I received this beer from the brewery. Indeed’s Lavender Sunflower Date is a honey ale. The style seems to be a little pedestrian when considering some of the more intense approaches taken to beers. After cracking open a can, I was incredibly surprised at the richness of flavors and the density of the resulting flavor profile.

Every sip of LSD Honey Ale provided different twists and turns reinvigorating the honey ale style into something that is eminently drinkable while still having a very heavy hard-hitting aspect to it. What I mean here is that while there are floral and fruit elements that imbibers will pick through, the higher ABV means that one only need polish off two or three cans to put a strong end on what would have to be a great night. There is no sense during this LSD beer that Indeed has made something that is conflicting or contradictory as the flavors that they have chosen for this work well together.

There is nothing in the way of bitterness to speak of with this LSD beer, but there does not need to be – this is a complete harmony of flavors here. I feel that if the brewery had ratcheted up the IBUs, it would have detracted from one of the best beers that we have received so far in 2016. The beer is a limited-time offering from the brewery so I would strongly recommend that you search it out as soon as possible. We reviewed their Imperial Stout a few months back; one can find information concerning the full list of Indeed efforts on a seasonal and year-round basis from the brewery’s domain and social networking websites.

Rating: 9.5/10

LSD Honey Ale / Lavender Sunflower Date Honey Ale / Indeed Brewing / / /

LSD Honey Ale (Indeed Brewing)

Vita Chambers “His Love”

“His Love” is an EDM track that showcases powerful vocals, the intensity of immaculately-sequenced arrangements, and a varied approach that will have listeners finding new twists and turns long after they have first listened to the efforts. The single hurtles to its inevitable end with impressive synths, hints of dubstep, and a back and forth set of vocals. “His Love” is a track that deserves radio play, touching upon a number of styles and approaches even as it creates something that is appreciable by the widest swath of fans. We’re expecting big things from Vita Chambers through the end of 2016.

Vita Chambers “His Love” /

Vita Chambers “His Love”

SakkieFTW - Experiment 1.3.2 EP

Spiral opens up SakkieFTW’s Experiment 1.3.2, and it immediately sets the stage for the overall sound of the EP. The dark and deep sound utilizes angular sounds and a softer/harder dynamic that links together dubstep and industrial for something truly beautiful. 

The titular song from Experiment 1.3.2 ties together trip-hop, jungle, and glitch styles into a high-energy composition that weaves a rich narrative through the introductory music. Vocal samples are used sparingly and to great effect, as SakkieFTW ramps up the momentum with a percussive/vocal dyad that acts perfectly as a thoroughfare for the different twists and turns that listeners will experience through the remainder of this four-minute track.

FGWTF continues with the percussive-dominance style initially experienced in Experiment 1.3.2, pairing it with a snap track.

This call and response gradually spins into a bass-dominant section that succeeds due to the presence of a deep, dirty sound. The dense collection of sounds ensures that FGWTF has considerably replay value, as fans will have to spin the cut multiple times before hearing the entirety of what SakkieFTW has included into the mix.

Frogstep is a high-water mark for Experiment 1.3.2, as the effort hurtles into greater chaos. The laser-like focus of the early part of the track opens up into a varied experience as the beginning side of things drops out, allowing SakkieFTW to create a hard-hitting, furious double bass-esque sound as a bridge between the beginning and end of the track. In Chains is the final track on Experiment 1.3.2, it delves back into the collective consciousness to adopt sounds from the techno and drum n bass of the late nineties to provide an emphatic, Prodigy-esque ending to a tremendously illustrating, compelling release.

Top Tracks: Frogstep, Experiment 1.3.2

Rating: 8.6/10

SakkieFTW – Experiment 1.3.2 EP / 2016 Self / 5 Tracks / / /

SakkieFTW - Experiment 1.3.2 EP

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Marion Walsh - Ricochet

All Mixed Up needs little more than a woman and her guitar to establish a fulfilling effort. When the rest of the band enters into the equation, what results is a country & western and 1960s-pop styled track that has something for everyone to appreciate.

Women Be Wise is one of our favorite efforts on Ricochet. During this composition, Walsh is able to infuse a traditional blues and jazz style of vocals with a current and contemporary air. The piano and walking bass line that fans will encounter are lush and stand up to repeat listens, while the guitar lines add the perfect finesse to the top of the composition.

I Ain’t Afraid of the Pearly Gates is another high-water track on Ricochet. This late-disc cut showcases the raw vocal passion and instrumental ability of Marion. While the song works well among the rest of the twists and turns on the album, taking such a vocal-dominant position during “Pearly Gates” gives the remainder of the disc a strong jolt.

Can’t Get Your Eyes Right is the lead single from Ricochet, and it immediately impresses with sizzling horns and alluring vocals that build upon the style established by Heart and Karen Carpenter. The dense instrumental arrangement soars due to an equal blend of soul, funk, and even a hint of disco. There is a vibrancy to this single that will resound loudly with listeners long after the track ceases to play; the double duty done here by Walsh in furthering the harmonies of the track and building an overarching narrative is unmatched.

Who Will the Next Fool Be? slows things down, bringing fans to the halycon days of 1950s pop. A rich, soulful sound inserts a bit of blues into the mix. Ricochet concludes with Always Love, a soft and sedate track that gradually slows things down. Twinkling instrumentation and angelic singing provide the perfect conclusion to a solid introduction to Marion Walsh.

Marion Walsh – Ricochet / 2016 Self / / /

Marion Walsh - Ricochet

Monday, May 23, 2016

Xlrator Screens Duff McKagan's "It's So Easy and Other Lies"

XLrator Media will release Guns N’ Roses founding member and bass player Duff McKagan’s autobiographical music documentary IT’S SO EASY AND OTHER LIES: LIVE AT THE MOORE, based on his New York Times best-selling memoir, in 50 cities beginning May 26, prior to its LA theatrical release on June 3. Fans can go to for theater information and to purchase tickets.

Featuring exclusive archival footage, this authorized documentary chronicles Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inductee McKagan’s meteoric rise to fame and fortune, his near-fatal struggles with alcohol and drug addiction, and his remarkable life transformation. The film features interviews with many of the people who took this wild ride, including a constellation of rock stars that rose to fame alongside him, and the people who inspired him to overcome his addictions.  In a voice that is as honest as it is indelibly his own, Duff takes audiences on a harrowing journey through the dark heart of rock ‘n’ roll and out the other side.

IT’S SO EASY AND OTHER LIES: LIVE AT THE MOORE was directed and produced by Christopher Duddy, produced by Daniel Zirilli and Steven G. Kaplan, and executive produced by Vision Films’ Lise Romanoff, Gato Scatena, Jordan Rosner, Hans Stangl, Birgit Stein and Kati Thomson. Evan Saxon did the theatrical booking.

Here is the complete list of theatrical screenings:

May 26ArcLight HollywoodLos AngelesCA
May 26Reading Valley PlazaBakersfieldCA
May 26Landmark ShattuckBerkeleyCA
May 26Reading Rohnert ParkRohnert ParkCA
May 26Angelika Carmel MountainSan DiegoCA
May 26Landmark EmbarcaderoSan FranciscoCA
May 26Landmark ChezDenverCO
May 26Landmark Atlantic PlumbingWashingtonDC
May 26Landmark MidtownAtlantaGA
May 26Consolidated WardHonoluluHI
May 26Landmark CenturyChicagoIL
May 26Landmark KeystoneIndianapolisIN
May 26Landmark Kendall SquareBostonMA
May 26Landmark Harbor EastBaltimoreMD
May 26Landmark Main ArtDetroitMI
May 26Landmark TivoliSt. LouisMO
May 26Reading ManvilleManvilleNJ
May 26Landmark SunshineNew YorkNY
May 26Landmark Ritz EastPhiladelphiaPA
May 26Landmark MagnoliaDallasTX
May 26Landmark River OaksHoustonTX
May 26Angelika MosaicFairfaxVA
May 26Landmark GuildSeattleWA
May 30 & June 6UltraStar Mission ValleySan DiegoCA
May 31Hollywood TheatrePortlandOR
June 1Showcase Cinemas BridgeportBridgeportCT
June 1Showcase Cinema de Lux LowellLowellMA
June 1Showcase Cinema de Lux RevereRevereMA
June 1Arts QuestBethlehemPA
June 1Island 16:  Cinema de LuxHoltsvilleNY
June 1Springdale 18:  Cinema de LuxSpringdaleOH
June 1Marcus Addison CinemaAddisonIL
June 1Marcus Bay Park CinemaAshwaubenonWI
June 1Marcus Point CinemaMadisonWI
June 1Marcus Lincoln GrandLincolnNE
June 1Marcus Duluth CinemaDuluthMN
June 1Marucs Elgin CinemaElginIL
June 1Marcus Gurnee MillsGurneeIL
June 1Marcus Oakdale CinemaOakdaleMN
June 1Marcus West Acres CinemaFargoND
June 1Marcus Twin Creek CinemaBellevueNE
June 1Marcus Crosswoods CinemaColumbusOH
June 1Marcus Ridge CinemaNew BelinWI
June 1Marcus Valley GrandAppletonWI
June 1Providence Place Cinemas 16ProvidenceRI
June 2Alamo Drafthouse CinemaWinchesterVA
June 3-9Arena CinemaHollywoodCA
June 16Capitol TheatreClevelandOH
June 16Southside WorkPittsburghPA
June 24-25Pickford Film CenterBellinghamWA


Facebook: /DuffMcKaganItsSoEasyOfficial

Twitter: @DuffMcKagan, #itssoeasymovie

About XLrator Media, LLC

One of the fastest-growing independent film distribution companies in North America since its creation in 2010, XLrator Media, LLC ( will release 25 films in 2016. Its recent releases include Academy Award-winner John Ridley’s Jimi: All is by My Side starring Andre Benjamin as rock legend Jimi Hendrix and SXSW hits Housebound, The Mule and The Diabolical. XLrator Media is also the home of the acclaimed MACABRE and TURBO genre film labels and the PACE multicultural film label. The company launched its first OTT channel with the MACABRE Collection on Hulu and co-produced 400 Days which was released by Syfy Films. The company previously released such diverse films as The Machine, CBGB, American Mary, Storm Surfers 3D, Banshee Chapter, Ironclad: Battle for Blood and Five Star.

About Duff McKagan

A founding member of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver—and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee—Duff McKagan shares the story of his rise to the pinnacle of fame and fortune, his struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction, his personal crash and burn, and his phoenix-like transformation.

In 1984, at the age of twenty, Duff McKagan left his native Seattle—partly to pursue music but mainly to get away from a host of heroin overdoses then decimating his closest group of friends in the local punk scene. In L.A. only a few weeks and still living in his car, he answered a want ad for a bass player placed by someone who identified himself only as “Slash.” In a few years, Guns N’ Roses went on to sell more than 100 million albums worldwide.

In his best-selling autobiography It’s So Easy and Other Lies, Duff recounts the band’s unlikely trajectory to a string of multiplatinum albums, sold-out stadium concerts, and global acclaim. But that kind of glory can take its toll, and it did—ultimately—on Duff, as well as on the band itself. As the group began to splinter, Duff felt that he himself was done, too. But his near death as a direct result of alcoholism proved to be his watershed, the turning point that sent him on a unique path to sobriety and the unexpected choices he has made for himself since.

Xlrator Screens Duff McKagan's "It's So Easy and Other Lies"

Ape Armageddon (Kentucky Bourbon-Barrel Aged)

Richmond, Virginia’s Strangeways Brewing has created four distinct variants of their Ape Armageddon Imperial Stout, all which have been aged in different barrels. We received the set – a Caribbean Rum barrel-aged, Kentucky Rye whiskey barrel-aged, Tequila barrel-aged and a Kentucky bourbon-barrel aged variant. Ape Armageddon Imperial Stout clocks in at 11% ABV but the actual alcohol burn that is present in the stout is hidden masterfully. The strong flavors that individuals will experience are more than enough to create a harmony of voices in the beer, establishing a luxurious mouth feel that ultimately makes it eminently drinkable and relatively dangerous.

The beer pours with a dark brown to nearly blackish coloration and a small amount of off-white to tannish head. While there is a little bit of alcohol sharpness that is present in the nose of Ape Armageddon, this is not a major component of the first sip one will experience. Rather, Strangeways has created something that links together vanilla, caramel, dark fruits, and even a spicy flavor that outright vies for dominance. It is the large amount of different flavors coupled with the interactions that each have that make the last sip of Ape Armageddon just as alluring as the initial quaff was. I like the fact that Strangeways’ barrel-aging does not impart an overwhelming bourbon flavor to the imperial stout. While the brewery does a great job in moderating some of the sweeter elements that are present when one has an imperial stout, the time spent in its barrel really polishes Ape Armageddon more than overriding the bevy of flavors that are presented throughout. To find a tremendous amount of the full-run of information concerning Strangeways Brewing and their full run of year-round and seasonal beers give their website a spin.

Rating: 9.3/10

Ape Armageddon (Kentucky Bourbon-Barrel Aged) / Strangeways Brewing  / 11.0% ABV / 65 IBU /  / /

Ape Armageddon (Kentucky Bourbon-Barrel Aged)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Essential Beauty Equipment for Salon Perfect Hair and Makeup


Maintaining perfect hair is not as easy as celebrities make it look. They have access to personal stylists, so they can afford to step outside with salon styled hair. For the rest of us, great hair takes time, effort, and good genes. So aside from these essential qualities, what useful hair styling equipment and beauty salon products do you need to keep on hand?

Hair Dryer

A hair dryer is probably the most useful of all beauty salon products you will own. Some people advocate leaving the hair to dry naturally after a shower, but whilst this is a good idea some of the time, it will not work if you need to leave the house looking salon perfect. Look for a good quality hair dryer with a range of hot and cold settings, plus a diffuser attachment for curls.

Curling Irons

Curling irons are ideal for women with longer hair. You can use curling irons to add volume to flat hair, as well as giving straight hair some gentle curls. It takes very little time to add a few curls to your hair, but if you have a bit more time and money, invest in some heated rollers.

Hair Irons

Sleek, straight hair is always a popular look, but although it is possible to achieve such a look with a hair dryer and a flat brush, it is a lot quicker to use a pair of straightening irons. However, you do need to be careful if you use them regularly, as they can dry out and damage hair. Always protect your hair with heat protection spray prior to using hair irons, as this will prevent split ends.


Nothing looks worse than straggly eyebrows. Waxing or threading will help to tame unruly eyebrows, but you may need to use a pair of tweezers in between visits to the beauty salon. Tweezers are handy for plucking the odd stray hair. Keep them tucked away in a drawer for safekeeping.

Eyelash Curlers

Long, lush lashes are not always easy to achieve. Often lashes suffer from years of mascara use, so it is essential that you make the most of what lashes you do have. A simple pair of eyelash curlers can transform limp lashes into sexy curled lashes. Apply mascara and curl your lashes for a red carpet ready look.

Pencil Sharpener

Eyeliner and lip liner are key parts of any woman’s makeup arsenal, but your pencils must be sharp to be able to draw a neat, accurate line. Blunt pencils are a nightmare to work with, so keep yours nice and sharp with a pencil sharpener. You can buy pencil sharpeners in different sizes, so buy at least two, depending on what size makeup pencils you have.

Makeup Brushes

Good quality makeup brushes made from natural hair are worth their weight in gold. Invest in premium brushes and keep them clean to prevent the transfer of harmful bacteria and dirt.

With the right equipment, you will be red carpet ready every day of the year.

Essential Beauty Equipment for Salon Perfect Hair and Makeup

Friday, May 20, 2016

We The Wild Set 8/12 Release Date for "From the Cities We Fled"

We The Wild are Portland’s snarling but utterly-self-assured working class under-wolves. Like a brigade of post-math samurais with a fucked-up guitar-drums free jazz sound exploding on a hard-scampering bed of machine-gun drum etiquette, their debut is a gleaming beast.

Their first full-length From The Cities We Fled is all about taking an odyssey from the bitterness of the cold urban slay-ground. They are a Pacific NW band, but one of the classic creative types woodshedding in dusky woods, from the dark milieu of bands who challenge each other with honesty and chops. Transcendent opening track “Still Asunder” begins with a bed of typewriting and rain drops, an appropriately balanced audio image of someone creating on a machine and nature coming in at the same time; before it all shoves and heaves itself into a musical world of a torn-open human heart.

Featuring the shouted and spoken cinematic sweep of clear and ferocious singer Ben Cline, the shattered, chiming, and churning guitars of Elliott Sikes and Miles Davenport; with rhythm section Julian Rossetti on nimble, heart-flicking bass, and urban assault vehicle genius Joe Lawson on drums — the album should satisfy every jazzed rock fiend. Miles, Julian, and Joe also handle supporting vocals at times, and these scrupulous layers of riffs, harmony, and rhythm flows are meant to be heard time and time again.

Crunching canticles such as “Ol’ Boy” and “Exodus and Decay,” “Still Asunder,” and the title track manifesto form a core of a perfectly swinging album arc, perfected by the engineering and producing of Stephen Hawkes (Exotic Animal Petting Zoo, Johnny Craig, Redfang, and Icarus the Owl) and Michael Sahm at Interlace Audio. This intrepid overseeing makes sure the gut-punching lyrics sound as clear and powerful as much as the instruments mutually and organically leap out. If you enjoy the paradoxically raw and sophisticated sounds of Every Time I Die, The Fall of Troy, and Refused, you can tell We The Wild share the same place in hard music history.

The stark imagery in the lyrics of the songs on From The Cities We Fled evoke cycles of revenge and recurrence all raging within circles of hope and release. According to the band, the idea behind the album title is essentially that true, authentic music is being destroyed by the weight of the immense shadow of popular music and the artifice of fashion-pabulum. Every city has hardworking bands cursed by the mainstream miasma of bands afraid to be themselves and barely able to play. Portland, known in the underground for decades as a great place for end of the world expression, is being hidden by cosmopolitan brokers and corporate-rock suckers. Bands within We The Wild’s genre, as well as groups who possess more any sort of musical complexity, are having trouble finding the fans through the creepy scene-censorship of those who don’t want to really rock.

None of them grew up in the Pacific NW, but have made their home here, and have endured seeing shows with bands that were simply there to make the scene. So they have created this album stacked full of the brutal vocabulary of five young men with superior playing skills forging a new language of need, blood, confession, and accusation against all false prophets and fake friends everywhere. And like a classic album from the counter culture, it ends on a trio of songs that start with a perfect universal dive-rock anthem (“King Of Wounds”), intermissions with a piano interlude (“Hold”) and black holes into itself with the brain-torquing “2001.” Showing that those who know how to play, can play anything they want, and excel at it.

We The Wild has played out with Stolas, Eidola, Icarus the Owl, Hawthorne Heights, Oranges, Sleepwave, Chon, and The Fall of Troy. They’re scheming a tour for the album release later this year, while doing short runs between up and down from the NW and California.


We The Wild Set 8/12 Release Date for "From the Cities We Fled"

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Full Circle by Rachel Stacy

Too Soon is a powerful track that will immediately draw listeners in with strong vocals, bold guitar lines, and on-point drum lines. Immediately presenting a radio-friendly single, Rachel Stacy is able to continue the album’s goodwill with Travelin Man. Travelin Man is an homage to strong female performers including Janis Joplin and Sheryl Crow. The lightest of instrumentation is utilized here, a move that allows Stacy’s pipes ample opportunity to wow.

Famous Song is a sun-drenched, reggae/ska-infused track that builds upon the framework of No Doubt, Vanessa Carlton, and John Mayer. The instrumental side of things remains strong here, creating a fulfilling backdrop upon which Rachel’s lyrics can sparkle and shine. American Background slows things down, shattering any illusion that albums have to wind down as artists move into the second half. This tremendous effort will resound loudly in listeners’ ears long after the track has ceased to play. Rachel is able to link together seventies pop, nineties country, and the singer-songwriter tradition to establish one of Full Circle’s best tracks. It is during this effort where Rachel’s ability to unite distinct elements is most obvious; by the end of this song, listeners will be amped up to hear how the CD will conclude.

The trends initially broached during American Background are whipped up into a masterful blend of voice and guitar work during Moon Turns In,. Hints of Melissa Etheridge and Steven Perry-esque guitar fight for dominance, making for an effort that is as rich and detailed as any Hollywood blockbuster. Till You Have To, the penultimate track on Full Circle, could easily be pulled off of a 1970’s country station. The walking beat that illustrates the track links together Rachel and Larry Joe Taylor’s vocals perfectly, providing fans with the beginning of what is a perfect conclusion to the album.

Top Tracks: American Background, Till You Have To

Rating: 8.7/10

Full Circle by Rachel Stacy / / /

Full Circle by Rachel Stacy

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Floxy Bee - Gbangba Lasata

Ori is the introductory effort on Floxy Bee’s Gbangba Lasata, and it does a tremendous job in uniting a traditional sort of music with hints of jazz, gospel, and soul. The tremendous power of Floxy Bee’s vocals will keep listeners on the edges of their seats, while the multiple harmonies that become commonplace during the track imbue the early part of the album with great depth.

Iba succeeds because of the challenging time signature used by the horns and bevy of instruments, which are provided with great contrast when included alongside Floxy Bee’s vocals. The tracks on Gbanga Lasata stand up to repeat listens as there are so many things going on; fans will have to play the disc multiple times before they can hear every twist and turn that has been included within.

The eponymous Gbangba Lasata is a highwater mark for the disc, going all in with tremendous complexity, narrative depth, and a vocal style that hits upon classical and current styles equally well.

Seioo is a track that keeps things light and airy all while Floxy Bee’s vocals and the backing instrumentation unite to create something that will bury itself deep into the minds and hearts of listeners. The skill of the musicians is such that an extended vocal-less interlude is able to ferry the narrative just as well as the combined vocal/instrumental dynamic. Mefies is the concluding statement on Gbangba Lasata, doing a tremendous job in slowing things down and providing fans with a more introspective and contemplative statement. By simultaneously furthering the arrangement and the narrative of this late-album track, Floxy Bee is able to end this album emphatically. For more information about Floxy Bee, her discography and additional information about this inimitable performer, visit her domain and social networking links.

Floxy Bee – Gbangba Lasata / 2014 Self / 5 Tracks / / /

Floxy Bee - Gbangba Lasata

SPEX - The Calling

SPEX’s latest effort “The Calling” is a skillful blend of EDM, rap, reggae, and pop. The high energy that the track possesses will keep listeners on the edges of their seats from the beginning to the end of the track, while SPEX tattoos the melodies of the single deep into listeners’ minds. A dense rap flow is bolstered through a bass-heavy backing beat, while horns allow the infectious chorus, inspired by traditional reggae riddims, to research an entirely higher plateau. The breadth of “The Calling” ensures that the cut has tremendous replay value. Proceeds from SPEX’s latest will go to the Inspire! charity. Check out the video for “The Calling” below. /

SPEX - The Calling

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Roam Ropes Wireless Headphones

Steven Lamar was one of the individuals on the ground floor when the Beats By Dre headphones were changing the world, and he has lent his influence to a new product, the Roam Ropes Wireless Headphones. We are pleased to report that the Roam Ropes are well worth their $299 list price. The economics of the earbuds are considerable meaning that there is a great fit in an individual’s ears without losing anything in the way of audio quality. We tested the Roam Ropes through the replay of a number of styles of music and vocal delivery. When the music is very busy hands heavy the tendency of cheaper headphones and headsets is the go and make a muddy reproduction. With this set of Roam Ropes, each drum hit and guitar lick are reproduced wonderfully. In the same fashion, spoken word is given a sort of clarity that is typically only present when one has a pricey home stereo setup.  The unique hook to the Roam Ropes headphones has to be the application that one can install on their phone; by providing purchasers with the ability to set their EQ levels to their own desires, one will be able to have a level of specification that is unheard of when it comes to portable headphones.

When playing an audiobook or other spirited vocal documentary, the crispness of the voice was unparalleled. The Roam Ropes are able to sync to compatible devices via Bluetooth, further making them a must-buy as the coupling process is easy and does not drain the device’s battery to any substantive degree. With the lightest of weights on listener’s ears one should be assured that they could continue to listen to the Roam Ropes for hours on end. Right now it looks like the earbuds are only available from the company website while one should be relatively confident start to be sold on other services pick them up today. A special orange version of the Roam Ropes is available, providing a much-needed donation to the Stand Up to Cancer charity.

Rating 9.0/10

Roam Ropes Wireless Headphones / / /

Roam Ropes Wireless Headphones

Best musicians to see at a casino in Vegas

Las Vegas is not only known for its incredible casinos, but also for the live music that you can experience there. Many DJs have residencies at the various clubs and hotels in the city, but there are various other musicians that are set to take the stages in the luxury casinos located in Las Vegas. From Rock, Country, R&B to Latin music and bands and musicians that are simply stopping off as a part of their tour. We’ve put together a list of the best musicians you can see at a casino in Vegas.

Celine Dion – Caesars Palace

After a year on hiatus from the stage, and after the death of both her husband and her brother, Celine Dion made an emotional return to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in February and is set to continue her residency there.  Having told the audience that she feels like her husband is always on stage with her whenever she performs, the singer looks to embrace her past, present and future with big vocals and tributes. Celine Dion’s residency puts her firmly amongst Las Vegas’ performing legends.

The Who – Caesars Palace

This 1960’s rock band are visiting Caesars Palace as a part of their North American tour this year. With huge hits like My Generation, Behind Blue Eyes and Who Are You, the band are sure to be a huge hit in the entertainment capital of the world.

The Righteous Brothers – Harrah’s

A night of classic rock awaits those looking to see the Righteous Brothers on their two months worth of shows throughout some of May and June. The band take to the stage at Harrah’s and it is likely that they will perform their famous cover of Unchained Melody – originally by Vegas performing legend Elvis Presley.

Slipknot, Marilyn Manson & Of Mice & Men

America is known to put big names together on tour and they have done so again, as metal gods Slipknot alongside veteran Marilyn Manson and Californian metal core band Of Mice & Men take to the stage together as co-headliners on their tour, which will stop off at the MGM Grand Hotel Casino, in their Garden Arena. This tour is perfect for those looking for something a little heavier in between their time at the poker tables.

Olivia Newton-John – Flamingo

The oldest resort on the strip, Flamingo, is playing host to the world famous Olivia Newton-John in July, August, October, November and December. The Australian singer, famous for her role in Grease as Sandy, has amassed five number ones throughout her career. She has toured the world and it is likely she is going to take the audience back to the ‘70s with her Grease hits.

Elton John – Caesars Palace

The famous English singer-songwriter is well renowned and is likely to put on a show to give fans exactly what they are looking for. His Vegas show ‘The Million Dollar Piano’ will be taking place at Caesars Palace and the show’s centrepiece will be the namesake piano. With beloved songs like Benny and the Jets and Tiny Dancer, the show is sure to get people on their feet and moving.

Best musicians to see at a casino in Vegas

Sunday, May 15, 2016

iRig BlueTurn (IK Multimedia)

The iRig BlueTurn is a bluetooth page-turner which at a passing glance is a deceptively simple device. However, the product has a tremendous amount of utility for musicians. At first glance, the iRig BlueTurn looks to be a very simple sort of product as there are buttons for up and down that are available. When one thinks about how the device can be used, they will come up with a good amount of possibilities.

The iRig BlueTurn is a perfect sort of device for anybody that is viewing sheet music or other Bluetooth capable device from afar and does not wish or is unable to get up every time that they wish to change a page. Where there are numerous reading applications that the device shines in what I see the strongest suit of the Bluetooth page-turner is music. This is particularly the case when one is learning sheet music or a tab and has their screen at arm’s length or further. By having the ability to just tap the device with a foot, it becomes much easier and less of a difficult proposition to go and take in a new song or composition.

The process by which the iRig BlueTurn connects with a network is extremely simple and should be able to be connected by even those that are not too familiar with the technology. The build quality of the page-turner is strong meaning that it can take a tumble off the top of a stand without being the worse for wear just as easily as it can stand being trampled each time one needs to flip their sheer music. The price point at which the Bluetooth page-turner is being offered by IK Multimedia is approachable as one can purchase the device for $70. For additional information about the entirety of devices that the IK Multimedia provides visit their website. Further information about promotions and new products that they offer can be located at their Facebook and Twitter profiles.

Rating: 8.5/10

iRig BlueTurn / IK Multimedia / / /

iRig BlueTurn (IK Multimedia)

The Stallion (Smuttynose)

We have had ample opportunities to cover Smuttynose beers in the past but I think few of their efforts have been as big and as bold as their Imperial Stout aged in wine barrels, The Stallion. Smuttynose’s The Stallion Imperial Stout possesses a robust dark and intensely dense set of flavors immediately become prevalent after one opens a bottle.

The beer pours with a dark brown coloration and only the smallest in the way of head. An initial sip yields hints of caramel, vanilla, and even a toasted flavor. The way that The Stallion opens up as it warms is alluring, having a very tight-knit flavor at the onset that gradually spins into something wider. What is initially a very coherent and cogent statement of the Imperial Stout style opens to something much more experimental one; imbibers will continue to pick out hints and pieces of new flavors as they continue along with the beer. Most surprising about The Stallion is that the alcohol content is weaved into the overall flavor profile of the beer; the well-rounded flavors of the brew make this a dangerous proposition.

The Stallion comes in 500 milliliter bottles and is part of the Smuttynose beer of the month promotion. The high ABV means that this Imperial Stout should be enough to get a night started well or put the finishing touches on and experience. For more information about the entirety of the efforts that Smuttynose provides visit their website and social networking Services profiles. Check out our coverage of Smistletoe,  Smoked Peach Short Weisse,  Imperial StoutHayseedRhye IPAParadoXReally Old Dog,DurtyKindest FindOktoberfest,  Bouncy House and Cherry Short Weisse.

Rating 9.1/10

The Stallion (Aged in red wine barrels) / Smuttynose Brewing / 11% ABV / /  / /


The Stallion (Smuttynose)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Black Desert Online: 2016's Best New MMORPG

The wife and I have been fans of MMORPGs for quite a few years and have been active on titles from a year or two on different offerings. The great many of these titles simply tried to recreate what has been done very successfully by early forays into the style without providing much difference to the overall play of the game.

We were invited to experience Black Desert Online, a title that has been localized for the United States market from its original South Korean language. We both created characters; I took more of a warrior build while the wife went and built something akin to a rogue and we decided to go in and see what all experiences were present with the game. We liked a number of facets with Black Desert Online including the auto travel feature when it comes to quests. While there is some sense that this makes the title too easy, one can go and create some storyline logic for why this option might be present. Having a quest hub and your little spirit guide that has resurrected you a keystroke away is something that decreases the amount of travel that is necessary at the early levels of the game.20151023055349a0e8f4qio495t4rt

The sense that one could become familiar with a number of occupations including mining, skinning, and herbal gathering by just having the proper tools is a smart one. The different combo attacks also provided considerable variety to the game. Black Desert Online’s easily-grokkable combos are a step up from other MMORPGs where one needs to find the right rotation and hit a series of buttons to increase crowd control or DPS. Black Desert Online creates button and movement combos to unlock stronger attacks, something that Rewards dexterity and does not provide players with too large of a difficulty curve. The graphics seem to be solid as well with a great many different models used for run of the mill and elite mobs.  Black Desert Online’s speaking system is something fresh for MMORPG, making one have to converse with a variety of denizens through each city to become friendly and gain additional benefits. The title holds a high amount of replay value and should be sought out by anyone that is looking to play a wholly different title from many of the MMORPGs that are trying to carve out a market share.

The Black Desert Online Explorer’s Package costs $49.99 and contains a number of extra benefits beyond the standard Traveler’s Package (priced at $29.99). We give this game our strongest recommendation.

Grade: 9.0/10

Black Desert Online / /

Black Desert Online: 2016's Best New MMORPG

Taming the Savage Heart (Oddwood Ales)

Taming the Savage Heart, the latest release from Oddwood Ales is a great entry into the subset of sour beers, a blend of younger and older barrel-aged efforts. The brewery does well to provide a nuanced and varied flavor profile here, avoiding the tendency by some breweries to create something akin to sucking on a warhead.  As a result the brewery is able to go and elicit certain flavors (citrus, oak, hay) from the beer that may otherwise be lost with strongly flavored sour components.

Taming the Savage Heart has a fair amount of wheat and grain elements and a barnyard / hay main focus. It is upon this backdrop that the beer is able to go and vary considerably. Oddwood Ale’s beer here has hints of malt that act as a canvas upon which the sour mouth feel can build up as one continues along with the beer. The effort would be a fantastic purchase for those that are fans of farmhouse and saison style beers while the numerous other flavors presented here would be enough to raise the eyebrows of even the most jaded craft beer connoisseur. As Taming the Savage Heart continues to warm a different set of flavors begins to reach prominence. A slight bitterness works alongside the sour side of the beer, highlighting the tart, tangy side of the effort.

The wide chorus of flavors that are experience in this brew, coupled with the tendency to sail into increasingly sour straits means that an imbiber could conceivably come back time and time again to Taming the Savage Heart and find different tastes and experiences each time.  Keep an eye out for our reviews of their Dancin’ Monks and Philosophizer; Oddwood Ales are currently available in Texas.

Taming the Savage Heart / Oddwood Ales / 6.3% ABV / / /

Taming the Savage Heart (Oddwood Ales)

Tie Fix Box

Throughout our time at NeuFutur, we have received a number of fashion accessories to evaluate. Some of these are on the far side of goofiness but we received a monthly subscription box in the Tie Fix Box is priced at an approachable level but is jam-packed with high quality dress options. This box costs $14.99 a month and provides one with two different ties along with two other fashion accessories.

The ties seem to be a fairly high quality and would match themselves well with a fair portion of one’s wardrobe. The overall MSRP of each tie is equivalent to the cost of the box so when one considers the overall value that they receive they are in excess of what they have paid with only half of the offerings here.

There are two non-tie accessories that are presented in The Tie Fix Box as well. One of these was a leather bracelet that has the potential to be used as a choker or as a bracelet. The Tie Fix Box concludes with a set of dress socks with a bold coloration (yellow/brown) and print (mustaches) present. The Box is a way that one could easily retire some of the older elements of their closet on a regular basis. While we are only provided with one month of the box, we are confident that the variety that individuals are likely to receive will be different each time they receive a shipment. Our only recommendation would be to possibly raise the cost of the box and add a button-up shirt into the mix. With higher-end shirts requiring fitting we wouldn’t be expecting the world but for just those sort of button-ups that would do well in a casual dining environment. Adding that to subsequent iterations of the Tie Box might be a fruitful avenue.

Tie Fix Box /

Rating: 8/10

Tie Fix Box

Friday, May 13, 2016

Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

The base Yeti Imperial Stout is one of Great Divide’s (Colorado) most popular beers and as a result, the brewery has created a bevy of different variants of the stuff. The Oak Aged Yeti is fairly straightforward in that it is the base beer that has been aged for some time in Oak barrels. We cracked open a bottle and were greeted with a brown to dark brown coloration and a decent amount of a white head.

The nose of the beer yields hints of wood, a sharpness from the alcohol and a little bit of sweetness at the end of the sip. Our initial experience with the taste of the Oak Aged Yeti showcases a great many of these notes. While the beer comes forth ain a strong and assertive fashion,  there is greater nuance to the Oak Aged Yeti.

A fair amount of hops counter the tendency of the Imperial Stout style to go into an overly sweet avenue, while the oakiness and leather components provide a constellation of tastes that one will experience before they finish up a bottle. The interesting challenge for Great Divide would be to go and place the base Yeti Stout in a number of different barrels and offer them after a three-to-five year aging process to allow individuals the see the difference present in each. The Oak Aged Yeti was a tremendous imperial stout that continues to provide individuals with a wide array of twists and turns before the bottle is finished. For the latest in information about the full array of year-round and seasonal efforts that Great Divide release, check out their website. We have reviewed a number of the brewery’s efforts over the last few years, including their Hibernation Ale, Showdown Rye, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Orabelle, and Old Ruffian.

Rating 8.9/10

Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout (Great Divide) / / / /

Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

Tod Hughes "Time Slow Down" CD Review

The titular effort on Time Slow Down has a hopeful demeanor, drawing heavily upon the folk style of the middle part of the twentieth century. Smart instrumentation keeps on time as Hughes is able to weave a rich narrative. One of a Kind has an intense, sizzling guitar line that works masterfully with the splashy percussion and Neil Young-infused vocals.

Nothing Too Obscure slows things down; Tod immediately draws listeners in with a close and cozy vocal-heavy opening. A walking bass line represents the perfect accompaniment to these vocals. As the effort continues to spin, hints of Creedence Clearwater Revival and James Taylor can be discerned. Drinking Coffee In a Hipster Place includes a horn that provides further variety to the composition. This means that fans will be treated to hints of blues, jazz, and even psychedelic music before the track concludes.

Coming Home To You keeps the energy of Time Slow Down high as fans move into the second half of the album. Particularly intricate in the dynamic between the guitars and drums, the bit of 1970s/1980s-rock (The Police, Dire Straits, The Clash) included here will have listeners on the edges of their seats as they move into Real You And Me. Re-centering the effort into the fertile roots background that began the album, Hughes is able to make an effort here that remains with one long after the CD has ceased to play.

Darkness That Cries, the final track on Time Slow Down, utilizes a slower tempo and an accompanying set of vocals for great effect. This concluding effort puts an emphatic end onto a solid release.

Top Tracks: Drinking Coffee In a Hipster Place, Coming Home To You

Rating: 8.3/10

Tod Hughes “Time Slow Down” CD Review / 2016 Self / 9 Tracks / / /

Tod Hughes "Time Slow Down" CD Review

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Checking in with Australia's Oziris

We’re sitting down with Oziris. Let’s get right to it – What’s your story?

Well, I’d like to think I’ve always been good with words, I was writing poetry and lyrics throughout high school, while learning to play a drum kit, I began expanding my music tastes to all sorts of genres and I still love to experiment with all sorts of sounds and words, I need music every day, and sometimes I can’t quite find exactly what I want to hear to connect to, so I think every song I write is part of my story.

How did your album Spore move from initial thought to finished effort?

This project turned out heaps different than I initially thought it would have. The song ‘…and Visioning’ was the first track written for this project. When I had enough decent material to release… I started to write up the track list which was initially eighteen tracks instead of the final thirteen.

Your release is one of the trippiest we have heard; what inspired you to tie together such disparate styles of music?

Well, all the experiences in my life so far inspire me to write music how I do. Love, life, death, plants, dreams and much more inspired me to put together music like this. Life in general always inspires me to write music.

What differences do you perceive that there are between Australia and the USA’s rap scenes?

I’m not familiar with any rap scene though, I actually have never been to a rap/hip hop concert (yet)

What artists and styles most influence your overall sound?

I think all artists and styles in general – influence my overall sound. I like all sorts of music from heavy metal to electronic dance and everything in between. Generally I like to listen to lots of UK hip hop artists and experimental trap artists from worldwide.

You have a very distinctive vocal style; how do you think you have evolved since your earliest cuts?

I felt like in my earlier recordings and attempts… I was still trying to find my voice for rap, and lyrically at first it was average with a few things that stood out. After releasing this, I feel that I have definitely improved my voice and overall sound in a major way especially for the next projects to come.

What do you see the rest of 2016 holding for you?

I will be working on my new project for the rest of 2016; I’m well more than several bars deep and have outlined a lot of the album structure. I’ll be working hard trying to find the perfect sounds out there; I am hoping to be working with new software and other artists this year too.

How can interested readers find out more about Oziris?

My website contains all you need to know about myself and it contains links to sites like SoundCloud and more, which I use often and already have uploaded new tracks since the album release.

What has provided more of your fans – Facebook / Instagram / Twitter or traditional word of mouth?

Definitely word of mouth has provided most of my fans at this point in time but the music will find the right listeners.

Thank you so much for your time. Do you have any final thoughts for us at NeuFutur?

Thank you for your time also and for giving myself and others these wonderful opportunities. / / /

Checking in with Australia's Oziris

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Kate Brown - 6 Shots

Kate Brown is able to create a deep, detailed, and nuanced sound with the newest single, “6 Shots”. The track seems deceptively simple in that it contains Brown’s vocals and a guitar line as the focal point of the composition. However, the rich western tradition that she draws upon here acts as a backdrop separating her from other performers. Impassioned, intense, and with technical skill in droves, Brown is able to make a tremendously impressive effort. Pushing forward the instrumental arrangements with a ferocious voice, Brown offers a cohesive and cogent statement that will resound loudly with listeners long after the song has ceased to play.

Kate Brown – 6 Shots / / /


Kate Brown - 6 Shots

Annie B's Caramels

There is a sense among firms selling chocolate caramels that a perfect sort of flavor has been found, decreasing the potential of new products to come through in a bold fashion. Annie B’s dedication to doing candy right while providing their own unique flair means that they are able to impart a considerable depth to their products. This is why we were excited when we received a few pounds of Annie B’s caramels (housed in a sturdy tin) which are very possibly the best caramels that we have ever tasted. The chocolate utilized in the base caramel is sweet with just enough in the way of savory and chewy to create something that is well-balanced.

The additional flavors that are included in the tin, chosen from the variety that the company offers, are enough to provide considerable depth to the base flavor. We were particularly a fan of the raspberry variety of these caramels which had just enough in the way of tartness to provide a chiaroscuro of lighter sour and darker, richer chocolate.

The company also offers a sea salt caramel which is similarly strong having a distinct flavor without overwhelming one’s palate with the added layer of complexity. Where the tendency of many confectionery companies are to go overboard with the salt content, Annie B’s lightly salts the caramel to provide umami.  Annie B’s has a number of different products that they offer; further details and pricing information are all readily accessible on the main website. An additional set of social media profiles are great for anyone that is looking to find out about specials or new products that the company may be offering. The caramel tin that we received from Annie B’s retails for $30 (plus applicable shipping).

Annie B’s Caramels / $30 / / /

Annie B's Caramels