Top Ten Tuesdays – Sand Box, DARGZ & K.I.N.E.T.I.K, Jon Tyler Wiley & His Virginia Choir, Rum Buffalo, The Kitchen Collective, Silicon Baby, Aaronson, Black Hat, Tzarizm, Robert John & The Wreck

Sand Box – “Stay In”

“Stay In,” the latest offering from the genre-bending duo Sand Box, delivers a dreamy soundscape that resonates with those who find solace in retreating from the weight of the world. Comprised of Kylie Hazzard and Cameron Black, the duo’s eclectic musical tastes and experimental approach serve as the foundation for their captivating sound. As established creative professionals in the music and film industries, Hazzard and Black infuse their shared experiences into the project, crafting a sonic experience that explores the absurdities of life while inviting listeners to find refuge within their own minds.

The introspective lyrics of “Stay In” provide a poignant glimpse into the internal struggle of facing life’s challenges and seeking solace within one’s own thoughts. As the protagonist navigates the daily grind, their desire to retreat into their own world grows stronger, symbolized by the repeated refrain: “Think I’d like to just stay in my heady today / Through the windows I’ll watch all the animals play.” The vivid imagery and relatable sentiment offer a sense of connection for those who have felt the urge to escape from life’s demands and indulge in moments of introspection.

With “Stay In,” Sand Box has created a masterful ode to the beauty of self-reflection and the power of finding solace in one’s own thoughts. The dreamy score and evocative lyrics seamlessly meld together, forming a sonic cocoon that envelopes the listener in a shared moment of escape. As Sand Box continues to explore the ever-changing landscape of creativity, their unique sound and willingness to embrace the strange and experimental solidify their position as a compelling force in the world of music.

DARGZ & K.I.N.E.T.I.K. – “Love Will Take Me Higher”

In a compelling fusion of New York City hip-hop and London’s vibrant jazz scene, DARGZ’s latest single, “Love Will Take Me Higher,” featuring UK hip-hop MC K.I.N.E.T.I.K. and pianist Charlie Stacey, showcases the power of collaboration and genre-blending. Released through cult label Papercup Records, the track highlights the undeniable synergy between DARGZ’s production skills, K.I.N.E.T.I.K.’s lyrical prowess, and Stacey’s piano expertise. The result is a backpack rap-inspired gem that transcends borders and pays homage to the artists’ respective musical roots.

“Love Will Take Me Higher” is a testament to DARGZ’s commitment to uniting the sounds of ’90s New York hip-hop with the energy of London’s contemporary jazz scene. Drawing on his experiences touring alongside the likes of Vampire Weekend, Haim, and Interpol, DARGZ has forged an authentic and original sound that resonates with listeners across the globe. With collaborations featuring the likes of Moses Boyd, Charley Stacey, James Chelliah, Jayy Starr, Novelty Island, K.I.N.E.T.I.K., and Simon Dufour, DARGZ’s upcoming debut LP is a heartfelt exploration of love for family, music, and the cities that shaped his artistic identity.

As anticipation builds for DARGZ’s debut LP, “Love Will Take Me Higher” serves as a tantalizing preview of what’s to come. Seamlessly blending the nostalgic hip-hop sounds of DARGZ’s youth with the innovative spirit of London’s thriving jazz scene, the single and forthcoming album promise a captivating journey that highlights the transformative power of love and music. By embracing the creative possibilities that emerge from collaboration and genre-crossing, DARGZ, K.I.N.E.T.I.K., and Charlie Stacey have crafted a timeless anthem that transcends expectations and offers a fresh perspective on the ever-evolving world of music.

Jon Tyler Wiley & His Virginia Choir – “Full-Handed”

In a poignant exploration of love, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit, Jon Tyler Wiley & His Virginia Choir’s “Full-Handed” offers a raw and powerful examination of a dissolving marriage from a child’s perspective. The track begins with a subdued introspection, but as the emotions build, it culminates in an explosive cacophony that leaves a lasting impact. With its evocative storytelling and masterful musicianship, “Full-Handed” is a testament to the band’s ability to create music that transcends traditional country boundaries and resonates deeply with listeners.

Jon Tyler Wiley & His Virginia Choir is not your typical country band. They expertly blend elements of world music, alternative rock, new wave, and modern jazz, resulting in a unique sound that defies expectations. Composed of seasoned musicians who have performed with artists like Keller Williams, Curtis Grimes, and The Dirty River Boys, the band is known for their energetic live performances and exceptional musicianship. With their 2021 EP and Wiley’s 2022 LP “The Longing” receiving critical acclaim, they continue to push the boundaries of what country music can be.

The heartfelt lyrics of “Full-Handed” expose the raw emotions experienced by a child trying to make sense of their parents’ crumbling relationship. The song’s protagonist grapples with feelings of abandonment and attempts to find solace in their creative expression, while also questioning the depth of their parent’s love. The powerful emotions and vivid imagery in the lyrics, combined with the band’s genre-blending sound, make “Full-Handed” a captivating and memorable track. In a world of superficiality, Jon Tyler Wiley & His Virginia Choir remind us of the power of authentic storytelling and the importance of facing life’s challenges with courage and grace.

Rum Buffalo – “Bloodmoon”

“Bloodmoon” by Rum Buffalo is a genre-defying masterpiece from the 8-piece ensemble, known for pushing the boundaries of what they can achieve. This London-based group has crafted a sound that is as vivid and complex as the city that nurtured them—energetic, spirited, and full of surprises.

Their latest album, “Bloodmoon,” exemplifies the band’s boundless creativity, recorded within a mere ten days in a repurposed barn in Wales. The record is propelled by a lively horn section and vigorous beats, complemented by a haunting, female-led chorus that echoes throughout the album with an almost otherworldly quality. Jake Stevens, the charismatic leader of Rum Buffalo, deftly weaves a sonic tapestry that transcends the ordinary, reflecting the band’s commitment to exploring the unknown in both music and lyrics. The engaging and magnetic nature of the album encourages audiences to embark on a thrilling odyssey with the band.

Navigating the chaotic landscape of London’s music scene, Rum Buffalo has managed to flourish, thanks to Stevens’ unwavering dedication to community and family. Growing up in a single-parent household, Stevens was inspired by his mother—a musician and songwriter herself—who nurtured a close-knit circle of friends that formed a strong support system. This ethos has become a fundamental aspect of Rum Buffalo’s identity. After gaining recognition in the London underground music scene and embarking on international tours, the band crowdfunded £10,000 to complete their eponymous debut record. “Bloodmoon” stands as a tribute to their persistence and artistic ingenuity, featuring the combined talents of Jake Stevens, James Wilson, Jake Chapman, Jamie Reibl, Rosie Turton, Harrison Cole, Felix Weldon, and Nuno Brito. The album was produced by Ru Lemer and engineered by Ru Lemer and Leon Marley Itzler at Giant Wafer Studios in Wales.

The Kitchen Collective – “Temporary Inside”

“Temporary Inside” by The Kitchen Collective is an immersive love song that delves deep into the raw emotions of surrendering to passion. The track’s introspective lyrics touch on the complexities of love, desire, and vulnerability, drawing listeners into an atmospheric and dreamy soundscape.

The lyrics themselves create a poignant narrative about the fleeting nature of desire and the challenge of maintaining a connection as time passes. Lines like “Stevie says he stayed too long like a fool / I wouldn’t wanna do something like that to you” and “With every high and low we grow / And that’s how I know, it’s not rock bottom” convey the singer’s recognition of the transient nature of relationships and the importance of growth. The chorus, “You know you know it’s only getting harder / As you get older / So come on let’s go there oh oh / You know you know you know it’s getting harder / So come on surrender,” powerfully encapsulates the struggle to maintain love and the ultimate act of surrendering to the passion.

Hailing from Southern California, The Kitchen Collective has carved a unique niche for themselves with their edgy and funky rock sound. “Temporary Inside” showcases the band’s ability to blend introspective lyrics with a dreamy ambiance and exceptional musicianship. The sax-guitar solo trading is an unexpected and delightful addition that further elevates the listening experience. With their focus on capturing the nuances of love, relationships, and personal growth, The Kitchen Collective has proven themselves to be a band that can strike a chord with their audience and make a lasting impression.

Silicon Baby – “Cheap and Fast”

Gothenburg-based Silicon Baby delivers a poignant and captivating narrative in their latest single “Cheap and Fast.” Drawing inspiration from a diverse range of artists such as Steely Dan, Sparks, Beck, Fiona Apple, and St. Vincent, the track tells the story of a family trapped in a cycle of debt and desperation. The lyrics, filled with vivid imagery and raw emotions, paint a picture of a household that’s crumbling under the weight of financial strain and the consequences of their choices.

Silicon Baby’s lyrical prowess shines in “Cheap and Fast,” as they offer a glimpse into the family’s struggles through lines like “Always out for something cheap and fast / Expecting quick loans and credit cards / To save your ass.” The song’s somber tone is heightened by the narrative of a mother who resorts to drastic measures in an attempt to escape her circumstances, as evidenced in the verse “She got her six shooter / She got into her car / Turned on some Ry Cooder / She didn’t get that far.” The use of casual and colloquial language adds a layer of authenticity to the story, making the listener feel deeply connected to the characters and their plight.

Musically, “Cheap and Fast” is a testament to Silicon Baby’s ability to blend genres and create a unique sound that’s both captivating and evocative. The track’s haunting melody and somber arrangement serve as the perfect backdrop for the lyrics, further emphasizing the family’s desperation and despair. Overall, “Cheap and Fast” is a powerful exploration of the human condition and the lengths people will go to when faced with insurmountable challenges.

Aaronson – “The Great Swells That Carry Us Will Pull Us Under”

South Wales-based post-rock band Aaronson has unveiled their enthralling new single, “The Great Swells That Carry Us Will Pull Us Under,” via Dirty Carrot Records. As a precursor to their forthcoming album set to release on July 14th, the single offers a taste of the group’s skill in crafting mesmerizing, ambient post-rock compositions that delight the senses. Aaronson’s shared stage experiences with bands like Nordic Giants, Coldbones, A-Tota-So, and False Hope For The Savage, and their recognition as runners up at The Big Gig Wales 2020, demonstrate their remarkable presence in the post-rock scene.

“The Great Swells That Carry Us Will Pull Us Under” is a masterclass in atmospheric, layered melodies and captivating crescendos that set the tone for their upcoming album. Fans of bands such as Explosions In The Sky, MONO, and Mogwai will find themselves drawn to Aaronson’s unique sonic landscape. Their previous work, the cinematic EP “You Are Not A Stranger Here,” solidified their reputation for creating immersive, emotionally charged soundscapes, and this latest offering only serves to strengthen that standing.

With their new single and the anticipation of their album of the same name, Aaronson’s ability to merge ethereal ambience with powerful post-rock elements makes them a force to be reckoned with in the genre. As listeners dive into the profound depths of “The Great Swells That Carry Us Will Pull Us Under,” they will undoubtedly be eager to explore the entirety of Aaronson’s forthcoming album and immerse themselves in the band’s captivating musical journey.

Black Hat – “Favorite Place”

“Favorite Place,” the latest offering from Black Hat, invites listeners to explore the alluring and comforting realms of indulgence and original programming. Stepping away from the constraints often associated with psychedelia, the band crafts a captivating and cinematic experience that evokes a sense of wonder tinged with melancholy.

Drawing inspiration from spaghetti western films, fears of the apocalypse, and transcendental expression, Black Hat manages to carve out a unique sonic space that defies categorization. While their sound shares common ground with modern psych bands and traditional 60s artists, the band’s enigmatic atmosphere sets them apart. The eerie vocals, reverb-drenched guitars, and hypnotic synth drones elevate infectious melodies and beats, creating a truly immersive experience.

“Favorite Place” showcases Black Hat’s ability to construct a fascinating auditory landscape that transports listeners to a realm of both intrigue and introspection. The band’s penchant for blending elements from various influences results in a refreshing and powerful sound that leaves a lasting impression. As Black Hat continues to push boundaries and defy expectations, they are poised to become a standout act within the contemporary music scene.

Tzarizm – “Knowwhattimeitis”

Returning to the scene with a nostalgic nod to the golden age of hip-hop, Central Florida emcee/producer TzariZM delivers a gritty, boom-bap-infused track, “Knowwhattimeitis.” With its raw energy and hard-hitting beats, fans of 80s and 90s hip-hop will undoubtedly find themselves nodding along to the rhythm.

Accompanied by a visually striking music video filmed on location in St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands, “Knowwhattimeitis” showcases Tzarizm’s skillful wordplay and dynamic flow. Underground hip-hop enthusiasts might recognize cameo appearances from Tzar’s crew, including MidaZ The BEAST, Okito, Aahmean, DJ Dolo, and Tem. As the first release from TzariZM’s forthcoming LP, O.T.H.E.R, set to drop in May, the track serves as a promising preview of what’s to come.

While TzariZM has gained notoriety in recent years for his production work with notable artists like Planet Asia, Wordsworth, Apathy & Celph Titled, Homeboy Sandman, and 9th Prince, his roots in emceeing and battle rapping run deep. O.T.H.E.R marks his first project as an emcee in nearly a decade, featuring not only his own production skills but also contributions from Nottz, Little Vic, and IMAKEMADBEATS (who happens to be Tzar’s brother). With this upcoming release, TzariZM is poised to remind the hip-hop world of his prowess both behind the boards and on the mic.

Robert John & The Wreck – “Hey Hey Mama (Live)”

Southern roots rockers Robert Jon & The Wreck have recently released an extended live version of their fan-favorite track, “Hey Hey Mama.” Captured from their sold-out show at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, Belgium on June 29th, 2022, the live rendition showcases the band’s incredible musicianship and flair for improvisation. Featured on their first-ever live DVD,">Robert and John WreckLive At The Ancienne Belgique, which just came out on 4/21 via Joe Bonamassa’s Journeyman Records, the performance immortalizes a particularly special moment in the midst of their longest-ever tour.

The live version of “Hey Hey Mama” breathes new life into the song, highlighting vocal harmonies and allowing ample room for trading and improvising licks. With an intro fueled by a fuzzy guitar solo and an extended, psychedelia-influenced outro jam, the band demonstrates their ability to captivate audiences and evolve their sound. Fifty-plus performances deep into their tour, Robert Jon & The Wreck were a well-oiled machine when they took the stage at the Ancienne Belgique.

The band’s new EP, One Of A Kind, showcases their wide range and dynamic sound, receiving rave reviews worldwide and propelling their popularity to new heights. Featuring material produced by Grammy-Award winners Don Was and Dave Cobb, the EP serves as a precursor to a wealth of new material to be released over the next year and beyond. With their partnership with Journeyman Records, Robert Jon & The Wreck are poised to continue delivering high-quality singles and cutting through the industry chaos, making their new music accessible to fans as intended. As they prepare to hit the road once more, opening for Blackberry Smoke, it’s clear that Robert Jon & The Wreck are a force to be reckoned with in the world of Southern rock.

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