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Alchemical Records Playlist Updates: Week of July 9, 2022

By Daniel Warren Hill

This will be the last Saturday for this particular feature. Starting next week, you can expect this segment to shrink in size; I’ve committed to sharing fewer of these briefs to focus on better quality writing on my part (the songs are all  brilliant), and so that you’ll have a chance to maybe check out all of them in a 10 to 15 minute setting. Also, I’m moving this feature to Fridays in order to better contribute to the conversation already ongoing for #newmusicfriday on a weekly basis. 

With that said, I’ve got a lot of great music to share with you this week, so let’s dive in. You can find these and other great tracks on the Alchemical Records Multigenere Mixture playlist on Spotify and YouTube.

The official music video for “Soulcore” by Yoha and the Dragon Tribe is as peaceful and intriguing as the track itself. With interpretive dance, communication via sign language, and a telekinetically controlled chess board, these visuals represent the beautiful journey that the song takes listeners on through orchestral quality dynamics anchored peacefully by the vocals.

The vocals of Chris G of Delta Suns remind me of Lemmy, the founder and frontman of Motörhead, and someone from the 90’s that I can’t quite place. Chris G formed Delta Suns with bassist Chris D in 2019, eventually connecting with “Italian brothers Mattia and Lorenzo Fenu (Drums and Lead guitar) who found in the two British musicians a passion for music that mirrored their own.” This track, “When the Music Stops” is actually the final track of the band’s latest EP The Lies We Tell Ourselves, full of tracks that are  unapologetically rough around the edges representing the band’s love and amalgamation of all things indie, rock, alternative, and grungy.

With an edgy, airy, atmospheric pop quality akin to The Replacements or the Pixies, “Mundane Ecstasy” by Plastic Cowboys is part rock ballad, part indie punk, and all catchy groove; it sounds partly experimental because some of the changes don’t take you where you might expect, but the execution is spot on and damn interesting. The vocals, guitar and bass were all recorded by the band at home with the drums recorded at Daylight Studios by Fiachra Kinder. The track was mixed by Daniel Doherty at Darklands Audio (Fontaines D.C./ Somebodys Child). Plastic Cowboys have been putting out music together since 2019 with regularly released singles and 2021 EP, Splinter. This first single of 2022 certainly leaves listeners wanting more from this indie rock, alternative rock act.

Rooted in gospel, “Leprosy” by M.A.D.S.K.I.L.L. is a hip-hop track that talks about the purpose of religion is not to placate human desires and thoughtfully delivers the perspective that the more the world appears to be progressing, it is moving farther away from the morality presented in Christianity. There is some really elegant composition and wordplay admonising believers to be unafraid of being labeled as modern day lepers.

“Say Hey” by Steady Legend is just one of the incredibly funky tracks found on the band’s 2022 EP Say Hey. Groove filled guitar, drum, and bass are completed and complemented by a vibrant horn section and the vocals of Analysa Gonzales. This Austin, TX-based band masterfully blends the sounds of soul, R&B, pop, and rock in ways fans of Washington DC area artists DuPont Brass or Zen Warship might quickly connect with.

Irish pop artist, Daniel Cohen’s music influences are firmly based in funk soul and Motown greats and you can hear those influences on prominent display in this latest single, “Will you ride with me tonight?” co-written with Seamus Duignean. Formerly of semi successful Irish rock band WEB, Cohen worked as an independent songwriter and producer for a number of years before releasing under their own name and the response so far has been significant, with this video receiving more than 20,000 views since its inital release.

An unusual acoustic guitar strumming pattern provides the foundation of whimsy underlying “The Sink” by ever-evolving Brooklyn-based indie rock band, Modern Diet, led by Jake Cheriff. He says, “The Sink” is “inspired by a realization that I’ve experienced at various stages of life – that I’ll never be one of the cool kids.” The track is an indie folk love letter urging listeners to “Lean into the weird.” “The Sink” evolves over time and is a joy to experience. 

“Say (Hey Ma)” is a beautifully stripped down version of what could easily have been a pop anthem containing complex rock and electronic arrangements. The song appeared first on LACES’ 2022 album, Super Weirdo, released earlier this year. The two versions are fairly comparable, and both are pleasant to listen to. The album version does have splashes of additional production ‘candy’, while the unplugged version’s foundation is an elegant piano and the rhythm of a raw acoustic guitar sound. “Say (Hey Ma)” holds a beautifully emotive power over listeners in whatever form it takes.

Azu Yeché encourages you to be the person you’ve always dreamed of in “Be That Guy,” a sentiment expressed with a sweet, positive, and lively energy even while acknowledging your opposition may be ‘centuries of oppression.’ “This particular song means a lot to me as it deals with encouraging people who have dealt with discrimination or oppression,” says Yeché. His conscious lyrics extend into this and his other songs in powerful ways akin to the delivery of Marvin Gaye.

“Reflections” is the second single from L. è D’s upcoming Alice in Wonderland themed mixtape to tell a similar coming of age story about her own first year as a musician. One of the most intriguing aspects of “Reflections” is how clearly L. è D is able to  identify with being the villain, of being the enemy of achieving her own progress and individual success. The lyrics are brave and bold, and are added extra weight with the carefully selected components that provide the sense of rhythm and melody interwoven throughout the track. L. è D should absolutely be on your radar. If she keeps this up it won’t be long before P.G. County, Maryland can no longer contain her.

One of the most powerful creative driving forces in the Washington D.C. area community, Dior Ashley Brown’s latest single “Vernacular” blends modern hip-hop and classic funk in a completely captivating track and music video. Her energy is infectious and her swagger is undeniable. When not creating bangers like this she also heads the DC Music Summit empowering musicians and creatives in the DMV music scene. You can find her at Bossa Bistro in D.C. with The Filthy Animals on July 20th.

Not a gospel song, but with elements of a spiritual, hymn, or prayer, “Beautiful Morning” by Holger Seidlelin is a striking comment on choosing whether to enjoy life and the role antidepressants play in our lives. Holger Seidelin is a Danish songwriter and performer based in Berlin, Germany whose project and forthcoming album explores Western privilege and its ties to love and politics. Part song, part lo-fi hip-hop bordering on spoken word, “Beautiful Morning” is uniquely thoughtful and reflective.

New York singer-songwriter Kendyle Paige is transforming herself with her latest single, “BullsEye” featuring Brandon Lee Richardson. It’s a beautiful duet that looks in the mirror. “I wrote it after a night of feeling bad for myself,” says Paige, “I knew I was sick of my own patterns, my own bullshit, and honestly, I just needed to focus on myself in order to get my shit together and be the woman I know I can be.” The BullsEye mentioned on the song is a way of not making others the target of your reconstruction and instead places the focus on the self. It’s just a beautifully delivered song that provides a soft optimism without holding back on how important it is to improve.

Ok, here we go! Within just seconds of striking up “I Like You, You Like Him” by RedrumSociety your hands start to clap, your feet start to tap, and this alt-country pop hit immediately lifts your spirits. “We had a lot of fun making this song. I love the old country music,” said RedrumSociety frontman Zach Cohen, “And I feel like we really captured that style of country when we recorded this one.” Of course, fans all over the world have fallen in love with how the band has proven so adept at tackling a variety of genres and convert them into something uniquely identifiable as RedrumSociety.

Daniel Warren Hill

Daniel Warren Hill is an American musician, writer, and motivational speaker. He is best known as the frontman for Washington DC area Alternative Rock band YellowTieGuy, as co-founder of Capitol Groove Collective, and increasing the exposure of artists on a global scale through his work with Alchemical Records. 

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