Let us know what you think of these bands. If you’d like to submit your music, we love hearing from new artists and bands.
Crystal Axis – Nairobi, Kenya
Universal Dice – Brooklyn, New York
Telamor – Boston, Massachusetts
Ali Hugo – Toronto, Ontario
Charlie Millikin – Cincinnati, Ohio
The Kenyan DIY band, Crystal Axis, is a five-piece Nairobi based punk band often referred to as the ‘godfathers of Kenyan punk’ not long after their formation in 2008.
Crystal Axis’ driving rock sound springs from a cosmopolitan blend of punk, grunge, Afropunk, post-punk and alternative rock. The raw energy of the new track, “Leopold,” has an immediately identifiable punk edge.
The single is the band’s first release since their 2012 EP, State of Unease. After the release of the EP, the band members went on a hiatus to pursue higher educations.
One of the tracks punk lovers must hear is the cut, “Devil Sold His Soul,” especially the main riff and the jamming, where you can feel the band all coming together. Another song that has the potential for a greater audience, we think, is “Booeyman.”
What we are really looking for with this DIY band, and like so many other DIY artists and bands we like and see the greater potential in, is a better overall production level of already dope tracks.
A really good rock producer could make these songs sound even more like they should, and the keen and experienced rock/hard rock listener may agree. A remix and remaster would likely also get the tracks more like the band wants them to sound – another skill of a great producer.
That said, we dig this band and would love to see them play live to get a better feel for their sound, chemistry, and presence. Crystal Axis members are fans of, and influenced by, Nirvana, Bad Brains, and Green Day.
PS – Hey Trump: Kenya is not a shit-hole (how would you know; you’ve never been there), but you are, your brain and your mouth are you gutter-dwelling, Soviet-loving traitor and an embarrassment to every half-decent person of the United States of America.
UniversalDice – ‘Welcome To The World”
The latest release from singer and songwriter Gerry Dantone is the fourth release as his alter-ego, Universal Dice. The LP, Birth Love Hate Death, features a collection of tracks that chronicle the various aspects of living, the joys and struggles of love, the scourge of hate, and the slow decline of aging through death.
Dantone considers the album his second rock opera, and by many definitions, it qualifies as such. Officially released last year by Infidel Records, Birth Love Hate Death offers a more matured and confident melodic classic pop-rock sound.
Concurrently, Dantone’s rich lyrical subjects and themes, as his label says, “challenges pop music orthodoxy.”
There is little doubt that fans of classic rock bands like The Who, The Kinks, the Beatles, and newer generation bands, like Green Day and the Killers, will connect with Universal Dice’s overall classic sound played exquisitely well from the opening winner, “Welcome to the World” through the years via songs like “Wish I could Tell You This”, “Better Man” and the album closer, “Forever.”
Dentone’s accomplished bandmates include Bob Barcus on lead guitar and Eddie Canova on bass. According to the label, the pair is among Long Island’s finest session players. New members include longtime Long Island keyboardists Walt Sargent and Vincent Crici.
The conclusion one reaches after listening to the album is that Dentone and his friends know how to honor classic pop-rock sound and put together an accomplished chronological story in a unique musical way.
Listen to the album on Spotify
Telamor – “You’re My Fire”
The prolific Boston one-man band, Telamor, has just dropped yet another album – Crush.
Fans of Telamor should be happy with a more rocking set compared to some more classic pop-rock tracks of earlier releases. “We went back to the basics,” says veteran songwriter and musician Tom Hauck, who writes, plays all of the instruments and vocals and mixes his own tracks.
“Believe it or not,” he adds, “in its ultra-simplicity, the primary influence is the Ramones” in addition to Green Day. “What we’re going for is a unified wall of sound in which no one instrument or part stands out. The guitars are as important to the beat as the drums are.”
With ringing, rhythmic and simmering pop-rock guitars, booming bass and drums, and Hauck’s interesting and unique vocals on the single “You’re My Fire,” there’s no question Telamor has achieved that wall on Crush.
Hauck says the single track, “You’re My Fire” is a song about “going home to the person you love” with a “deliberately urban theme.”
Ali Hugo – “This Love Is True”
Growing up singing in a number of bands as a teenager, Canadian songwriter, vocalist and musician Ali Hugo matured into his 20s, and wrote and recorded a 10-song demo that he felt very strong about. He shopped it around to labels but inevitably faced the same frustration so many musicians do (especially nowadays).
So, Hugo went off to university in the UK, and after graduating, with honors, began working diligently on his aging demos.
MP3: “This Love Is True” – Ali Hugo
For fans of late 1980’s-early 1990’s pop music, Hugo’s new EP, Time Machine, is meant to dust off the demos from way back as demonstrated in the touching pop single, “This Love Is True.”
In 2015, Hugo released an instrumental album DIY-style titled, New Generation Farahan, on which he is credited with recording and mixing all of the instruments, as well as writing and producing.
The album, and songs from it, as well as the video for the track, “Tears of a Broken Heart,” entered various charts in Canada.
Charlie Millikin – “Crazy Love”
Ohio musician and songwriter Charlie Millikin recently dropped a compilation of covers of songs from artists like Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, and Bryan Adams. Growing up listening to classic rock and Motown, Millikin’s guitar work and vocal influences come through on cover songs like “Maybe I’m Amazed” and a touching rendition of “Crazy Love.”
Recent artist influences such as Gavin DeGraw, Ed Sheeran, Andy Grammar and Eminem inspired Millikin to concentrate on songwriting, and ultimately his first EP. His father, a producer, writer and musician himself, and who made the Billboard charts in the 1980’s, produced Millikin’s self-titled debut.
Last year, Millikin won Best Original Pop Song and Best Original Singer/Songwriter Song awards in the 2016 Ohio Music Awards as well as the overall Grand Prize in the Songdoor 2016 International Songwriting Competition for his original song “Change Me.”