Royal Ruckus is a positive hip-hop duo that began in Bakersfield, California in the late ’90s. Sometimes labeled Christian rap because of their positive messages and occasional references to God, but with easily relatable subject matter and musical influences from across the spectrum of electro, rock, and pop music, they aim to reach as wide an audience as possible. They have collaborated with members of LA Symphony (Flynn, Pigeon John, Joey the Jerk, Cookbook, Uno.Mas), Eligh of Living Legends, Bonafide of GRITS, and many others. The two emcees, Chunjay (Jamey Bennett) and Flatline (Michael Walker) started the group in high school, releasing several records and raising a ruckus independently before they caught the attention of Flicker Records in Nashville in 2002. Since then, they have released a few projects on their own, culminating in their 2017 release of an ambitious double LP, The Summer of the Cicadas.
Nashville has a new sheriff in town, and it’s not country, it’s rap. Formerly known for his work with hip hop group Last of the Horsemen, kidDEAD has taken new ground with ferociously gentle word-plays combined with concise heartfelt lyrics. The spokesman of the city’s fastest growing hip hop posse, #RAPCLUB, is hitting the scene hard with his first official full length studio album entitled, Rap and Destroy. Produced by The Phantom Farmer and recorded at The Green Lodge, Rap and Destroy features joint efforts by rappers Sole (Sole & the Skyrider Band/Fake Four Records), Brzowski (Milled Pavement), Zac HB, and Erin Rae along with Invisible Library label mates Spoken Nerd and Brandon Brains. kidDEAD doesn’t just write raps, he writes soul songs that follow a track in and out of the ears, making stops at all the right stations in your mind. With a wide range of influences from Say Anything to Outkast to Aesop Rock, kidDEAD is poised and ready to push his way onto your iPod and stay there.
Spoken Nerd, the Nashville based Hip Hop/Indie Pop project of Nathan Conrad and his associates is not your typical juvenile rap project, nor is it a collection of songs mechanically written to make you feel good. That being said, Spoken Nerd songs do make you feel good, but they do it with thought provoking, intelligent lyrics. Conrad’s lyrics are not only intricately cunning, but they are tongue in cheek in all the right ways. They trick you into smiling and reflecting on the same sore subjects that leave you arguing with friends and family, like politics, love, conspiracies, and religion. Though the song concepts often point out the negative’s in the human thought process, they will question ones beliefs with just the right kind of sing song melodies that make everyone want to sing along. These melodies and lyrics combined with the production power of Joel J Dahl “The Phantom Farmer,” create a new entity. One that is much a Trickster like Loki or Anansi, but who possesses the might of He-Man and the power of Greyskull, and is using it to create Rube Goldberg-esque machines out of every song.
I’m so pumped to announce my upcoming album on Invisible Library Records, Snakehands. This album has been produced by Korey Parker (aka. Positive Vibe/The Amazing Parker) with help from our #RAPCLUB brother, Chris Surratt on guitar and other string instruments. This album features some of my favorite emcees kidDEAD, Spoken Nerd, B.Done, Don S., Nathan Haskill, and of course my producer, Korey. Snakehands comes out on June 21 and we will be throwing a big shin-dig to celebrate this momentous event at Cafe Coco in Nashville. I’ll have more info on this in the coming weeks.
Some musical geniuses conduct symphonies, some produce soundtracks for films, some teach guitar lessons. Lucky for us, Levi Dolan creates Rock n’ Roll. Blurring the lines between sub genres, Dolan’s brainchild, Cantalouper deserves a reservation at the table with artists like Dinosaur Jr., Daniel Johnston and Low. The Cantalouper sound is as effective plugged in as it is in an intimate setting in which Levi serenades the listener with an acoustic guitar. DROOL is the 1st EP from Cantalouper and is co-produced by David Bazan and mastered by T.W. Walsh. The melodies on this album are equally comforting as they are haunting. Perhaps the cover art, a picture that Levi drew as a child reminds us of the ghost of the children that we once were or still are. Some music has the effect of touching a deep place in our souls as a song becomes more then a song, a friend. Cantalouper will always be that friend that you need in your life and in your ears to remind you that you’re not alone. This is not accomplished through self help bookish lyrics that patronize the listener but through an honest letter of diplomatic feelings toward self and people in general.
Lincoln, IL is a small town with a secret. I’m not talking about The Balloon Festival or the most amazing small town independent movie theater. I’m not even talking about the amazing Horseshoe sandwich that I would chop off one of my ears to eat. I’m talking about Hushpad! Matthew Welchel’s brainchild, Hushpad consists of family and friends who make a big, loud, epic symphony in the form of rock n’ roll. With softly spoken harmonies and Sigor Osish progressions this band will take you on a journey to a world not to far from Narnia!
CHILDREN OF SPY
Children of Spy can be described as a pre – Mr Nasti Space Rock quartet formed by Nicholas Naoti in Murfreesboro, TN. Some bands hold a place in time that we will cherish for the rest of our lives and COS does just that. With a sound reminiscent of bands like Built to Spill, COS will make you dance, make you drink beer and even make you think about your childhood even though you “cannot go back”.
It was November 2014. The record was done and I had left Nashville for Montreal with my then partner. Our affair dissolved in Canada. I was really in love with this girl and as I left I asked her if she thought there could be any universal meaning to the end of our relationship. She told me I was too old to be looking for meaning. That I was too old for a coming of age story.