Album Review: L.I.F.E: The Cause – J.A.S.

I was sooo elated when South African rapper/producer J.A.S slipped me his latest album, ‘L.I.F.E: The Cause’ – it seemed ages since he grace his presence on this blog with previous project, ‘#Don’tSleepOnJAS’, which possesses electronic/downtempo soundscapes with infectious Trip-hop beats/bass.

With this latest album, J.A.S retains the same theme from the previous project, but delving further into the downtempo route with long-term collaborators, South African singers Palesa Blossom and Nevita, who both provide a pleasingly trippy experience with their alluringly soulful vocals with tracks such as ‘L.I.FE’, ‘Controlled’ ‘Moth to A Flame’ and ‘Scattered.’

J.A.S also adds another long-collaborator, South African acclaimed rapper, Sy’Defect to the impressive album’s lineup. Among the chilled vibes of the seven-track project, Sy’Defect injects such vibrancy with his semi-rapid flow to the delicate backdrop of tracks, ‘Controlled’ and ‘Scattered.’

Overall, ‘L.I.F.E: The Cause’ is a great escapism album to kick back with some friends and to forget about the great maze called life. Have a listen below…

Must Listen: Controlled, Words, Scattered.

Album Review: I, The Collector – 5tash

When it comes to dropping albums, rapper 5TASH doesn’t do half measures and delivers 15 fresh tracks through his latest full-length album, ‘I, The Collector’.

Unlike to his previous set, ‘I, 5tash Banks’, which has a braggadocious presence throughout, ‘I, The Collector’ is a little more laid back in comparison, starting off with a smooth 80s soulful funk bounce with tracks like ‘Real P’ + and ‘Get Up’. This album sees the rapper experiments with laid-back trap sounds through tracks such as ‘Waisted’, ‘Steve Banks (I, The Collector)’ and ‘Movie’, where he works in his askew, gravelly flow which set him apart from his rap contemporaries.

Not what I expected from 5tash, but nevertheless it’s great to see a different side to this great rap contender. Check out ‘I, The Collector’ below…

Must listen: Real P +; Get Up!; Wvlk, P’ing! (Big Puddle); 6+6

Album Review: The Dean And I – Dean Friedman

Sampled from Darko The Super’s 2021 album, ‘Great White Buffalo’, DEAN FRIEDMAN’s mammoth album, ‘The Dean And I’ is a compilation that can be enjoyed across generations – from the futuristic sounds of intro single, ‘You’re Such A Flirt’, to pop soulful ballads inspired from the seventies and eighties (such as Lucky Stars, Little Green Lady and Buy My Baby A Car) and also chirpy pieces (Nookie In The Mail, McDonald’s Girl and The Deli Song) that puts you in the mind of the Grease Musical, particularly ‘McDonald’s Girl’.

Covering array of topics relating to love young and adolescence, the album features coming-of-age tales ‘Don’t You Ever Dare’ and ‘Are You Ready Yet,’ which focus on the responsibilities of adulthood and the decisions we make, while ‘Rocking Chair (It’s Gonna Be Alright)’ is a positive reaffirmation that when times are bad, they’ll always get better.

‘The Dean And I’ may be 20-track long, but by no means will you not lose attention as Friedman’s high-spirited take on the aforementioned topics on the collection just displays him as one of America’s greatest songwriters around.

Released through Darko The Super’s indie label, U Don’t Deserve This Beautiful Art, ‘The Dean And I’ is now available for your pleasure.

Must Listen: Lucky Stars; Little Green Lady; Buy My Baby A Car; Let Down Your Hair

A Quick Chat With Denim Blù

Ever since Toronto-based singer/songwriter, DENIM BLÙ came on my radar with single, ‘I’ll Die’, I was immediately captivated by his breath-taking storytelling along with the dramatic cinematic production. So when he released his debut album, ‘Blue’, I had to catch up him with about his inspiration behind the new eight-track set.

I really love what this guy stands for… and I hope you do too…

NLM: Hey, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC. How is 2021 treating you so far?

DB: Hey, New Lease Music, thanks for having me! 2021 has been treating me well – I know a lot of people hate 2021 because the pandemic has stopped them from living their life in the way they used to, but hey – because of the pandemic, I got to slow down and experience my life in different perspectives. It made me cherish my life more and I got to taste different flavours of my life. I have no complaints!

NLM: You released your album, ‘Blue’ last Wednesday (10th November), where you unveiled singles ‘Extraordinary Feel’, ‘I’ll Die’ (both featuring Lizzy Clarke) and ‘Burn (ft. Randy) ahead of its release. What is the public perception on the singles so far?

DB: I guess the public perception is good, hehe. My songs were played on the radio, featured on different media platforms, and I made lots of friends in the music industry. I just started my journey, and I was overwhelmed by the support I got from my supporters.

NLM: How would you describe the album’s sound to potential fans?

DB: My music is both compelling and complex, but infectious and accessible. Today’s youth want to get lost in music, but they demand narratives that reflect their experiences in a real way. Sonically I would describe my album’s sound as pure pop fantasy with emotional intrigue – sounds draw from blues, dance, electronica, and R&B elements, all while being unapologetically queer. However, it is the lyrical content making the connection with my audience: it speaks about love, loss, heartbreak, and lament. It gives you a sound that you can get lost in, but if you dive deeper, there’s a powerful story being told.

NLM:  What inspired you to produce the album?

DB: Love – youthful love, volatile love, queer love, and my love for music. The concept for the album is centred around a relationship. It takes the listener on a journey from the exuberance and magic of falling in love (“Extraordinary Feel”), to deep and dark places of lament (“Blue”, “I’ll Die”, “I Miss You”), to coming to terms with love lost (“Young and Foolish”, “Burn”, “Again”). The album is the physical manifestation of my love for music. The whole process of making the album, from song-writing to producing, recording, mixing, and mastering, is me expressing my love for music. The sound of every sound, every foreshadowing, every push, every climax, and every reveal, is about my love of music.

NLM: What is/are your favourite single(s) from the album and why?

DB: My favorite song from the album is the last track – Again. I would describe this song as “an epic love ballad in the galaxy”. The songwriting is classic me – smooth melody, pop but dramatic. I produced the song in a way that reflects the songwriting, a way that corresponds to the development of the song. When listening to the song in the right sonic environment, you would see the galaxy evolving from nothing, to everything, and to nothing again – there is emergence, collapse, collision. It is an experience.

NLM: What message would you like the listeners to take away from your album?

DB: Never be afraid to love, because love is beautiful, love is an experience, love is the meaning of life. No matter where life goes, it always comes down to love.

NLM: If you had to feature one mainstream artist on the album, who would it be and why?

DB: Paloma Faith. She is from the UK, and I have been a fan for almost 1o years! She is not well-known in North America, but she is pretty big in Europe. She is so artistic, I love her visuals, her outfits, her artworks, not to mention her music is extremely amazing. So if I could have her on my album, that would be a dream come true! – Actually, going to her show is one of my dreams too 🙂

NLM: Do you have other project(s) for 2021?

DB: Well, there is only one month left for 2021, and I am not planning to release a Christmas song…but I do have some projects coming next year! I worked with some amazing Toronto artists on the remixes for Blue that I am going to release in 2022. Also the pandemic gave me time to slow down and see my life from different perspectives. I drew inspiration from those perspectives, sat down with my song-writing partner, exchanged our feelings, and we got to finish another album together. I am planning to work on these songs next year and release the album in summer 2023.

NLM: How can potential fans find you?

DB: That is also a question I want to ask – how can potential fans find me?! It is really hard to promote myself as an independent artist, so my next stop is to find an artist manager, A&R, or a record label. Hope that can happen soon!

NLM: Finally, any special thanks to those involved in the production of ‘Blue’?

DB: I have a lot of special thanks – I want to thank my lyricist Nick Ram for sharing his stories with me, and allowing me to tell his stories in my way. I want to thank my friend Lizzy Clarke, Randy Chang, Kristen Antunes, and Marshall Jacklin for being there and being my friend. It was really fun writing music together. I want to thank Jack Hughes, Julian Fatsound, Tyler Novak, and Eugene Hwang for their amazing musical performances on the album. I want to thank Elizabeth Petzold, Keshav Sharma, Eliot Britton, Issac Nemec for their remixes and friendships. I want to thank Francis TQ Hudson for bringing my mixes to life. I want to thank Fernando Nickolas and Jason Tenn for their photography and creation. I want to thank Zetong Liu for his amazing creative design with my album cover. Last but not least, I want to thank my family for believing in me and supporting me along the way. THANK YOU!

Listen to Denim Blù’s album here

Mixtape Review: Flymix Vol.2 – Fly Von

An attention-grabbing jittering sound comes piercing through first track ‘Automatic’, giving a bold introduction to FLY VON‘s latest mixtape, ‘FlyMix Vol.2’.

The prospective listener would be given if the seven-track set follows through with the jarringly-dope tone offered up in the intro track. However ‘FlyMix Vol.2’ changes direction and gives a smooth run of lack-laid slow jams vibing with a heavy bass that gives each arrangements that extra kick – with the exception of ‘Broke In A Minute’ which pretty much takes on a similar tone as ‘Automatic’, boasting a looping horn that goes rampant with fly’s flow oozing into the boisterous sound.

The mixtape eases down and concludes with ‘No Surprise’. With trance-like and hazy soundscapes, ‘No Surprise’ is a type of track that you kick back and roll up on your own or with some friends.

Fly Von always comes different and this mixtape is sure to ascend nicely on his ever-fly discography – get it? Oh never mind; Check ‘FlyMix Vol.2’ out below plus songs recommendations below…

Must Listens: Automatic, 24, All Your Fault,