Dechard – Press Release – May 29, 2015



Introducing Richard Di Benedetto (Dechard)

Richard Di Benedetto, also known under the moniker of Dechard, is an up and coming producer, DJ, and sound designer. Born and raised in Italy with Belgian origins, he has culminated a vast creative portfolio with intriguing influence both from his native European roots and his new American experiences in Los Angeles.

Dechard typically works with ‘modular sound,’ which is the processing of sound through his main instrument in the studio: the Virus TI Polar. The tool allows him to create unique work that has a vintage, yet modern vibe. Stomping grooves, dreamy chords, future-funk riffs, cinematic atmospheres, and an array of collaborations with other artists all act as catalysts for Dechard’s fully original style and sound.

Since the age of sixteen, Dechard has been performing in clubs and across many different stages. He studied sound engineering at Essex University and has built his own professional studio, worked on a variety of projects, and he landed a deal to officially remix a single for Alex Vargas. (EMI, UK) He’s also released remixed for artists and bands such as EDX, Bob Sinclar, and Phaze Project.

His first EP was released in 2013, ‘Amazing,’ an album inspired by Dechard’s desire to take his art a step further by departing the European music scene for America. Shortly after arriving in the United States, he also worked on a soundtrack for a Fox television series, ‘Dos Lunas.’

After releasing two more EP’s in 2014, ‘Three Gems’ and ‘Balloons,’ Dechard began collaborating with Irma Records, one of the more significant contemporary Italian labels. He’s also producing a record for the rising star Sabrina Petrini. (Universal Music Group / B.A.M Records)

Dechard’s debut album, to be expected in 2016, is currently in the works. If you’d like to read an exclusive interview with Dechard here on the Independent Spotlight where he goes into depth on his music and life, click here. To connect with him online on social networking platforms, please see their respective links below:


061180 – ‘I’m considering being a cloud’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

Have you ever considered being a cloud? Probably not, but 061180 has. The numbers are the moniker of John Parnell, an experimental noise artist. His new record under the band name is ‘I’m considering being a cloud,’ a six-track outing that dropped at the end of March. Many of the sounds on the eccentric record were created utilizing the ‘The Reach’ effects pedal from Noise Kick FX. The result? Quite a bizarre collection of eerie sounds that Parnell describes as ‘the score to a depraved horror movie.’

I can really dig peculiar, experimental noise projects. I’m the biggest Lou Reed fan around and have a copy of ‘Metal Machine Music’ in my playlist – the ridiculously infamous granddaddy of this genre. I can really only get into it, though, when it’s intelligently designed. Does 061180 achieve that?

‘Fiction’ brews up something sinister and ominous with three and a half minutes of indescribable rumblings. Parnell is playing around heavily with droning synths and atmospheric effects. That carries into ‘A farm in the dessert,’ a nine minute extension of ‘Fiction.’ I wouldn’t recommend listening to the entirety of the track. I did, and I wouldn’t mind a refund of the time. Nothing happens the entire nine minutes.

Everything that ‘A farm in the dessert’ isn’t, ‘Home bird III’ is. The next track explores a variety of sonic landscapes and remains consistently interesting throughout its nearly fourteen minute run. The song seems to be broken up in movements, and once you hit the seven minute marker, things get a bit creepy. I wouldn’t suggest this album for leisurely late night listening or bedtime.

‘Satan’s kazoo,’ true to name, conjures what I imagine Lucifer’s terrible kazoo skills would sound like. At this point in the album, I came to a realization. Much like myself, there’s no way there isn’t a copy of ‘Metal Machine Music’ in Parnell’s library. This weird distortion experiment is something straight off of the landmark noise album. So is its unbearably uncomfortable follow-up, ‘Eat your make-up.’

The record ends itself with an incredibly creepy outro, ‘A lesser key of Solomon.’ Thus, it’s time for the honesty hammer. (Note to self: rebrand the ‘Independent Spotlight’ as ‘The Honesty Hammer.’) ‘Metal Machine Music’ works because it doesn’t take itself seriously and there was an obvious, well-known reason for Reed’s insane musings. (Basically a giant middle finger at his label.) I’m not sure if that carries over to ‘I’m considering being a cloud.’ Some of its expansiveness seems a bit too empty and pointless. It’s definitely a very odd noise record, though, and for fans of the genre, it may be worth a listen. However, 99% of music fans won’t like this. If you can only get through a minute of ‘Metal Machine Music,’ stay away from this record. If you’re compelled by that insanity, ‘I’m considering being a cloud’ isn’t a bad next step.

Galianos Faction – ‘Island Dreams’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to be tackling ‘Island Dreams,’ a new single from Galianos Faction. The band name is a moniker for Michael Galianos, a singer songwriter from New Jersey. The new single features Swedish vocalist Jasmine Chloe as well. Let’s check out the new song.

Obviously, the new song has a very ‘island’ vibe. It works really well, though, and accents Chloe’s vocal style. Lyrically, the song is fairly simplistic, but catchy and interesting nevertheless. I’d align the song as a carefree pop song; it isn’t designed to be something terribly insightful. It’s a love song about beach cafes and island dreams.

Production wise, the sound that Galianos crafts is pretty solid. The percussion in particular is quite strong, cascading around Chloe’s vocals with tact. The electric guitar tidbits are also quite excellent, especially the searing solo towards the end of the track. Galianos does a fine job capturing the island sound he’s endeavoring to.

Chloe’s vocal performance is equally as strong as the instrumentals. There is something worth mentioning, though. There’s a bit of a disconnect between the vocals and the instruments. At times, the song feels like a karaoke track that Chloe is singing over – it sounds like the instrumentation was recorded first and Chloe hopped in after the fact. As a result of that, she sounds like she’s in a predetermined box at times, giving the song a bit of a karaoke feel. I get the impression that the two weren’t in the same room when this was recorded.

At the end of the day, ‘Island Dreams’ is a nice little summer tune for your playlists this season. There isn’t anything wrong with it whatsoever, I just felt a bit of a disconnect between the two performances on the track. It’s certainly worth checking out, though, especially if you’re a fan of a good pop song. Check out Galianos Faction at the links below:

An Exclusive Interview With Riccardo Di Benedetto (Dechard)

To kick off our interview, I’d like to address your early beginnings in your hometown. You began work as a disc jockey at age sixteen. What kind of music were you spinning and creating then? How does that compare to the evolution of your craft since then?

You know, music has always been present in my life since back in the day. I started dj’ing at the age of sixteen in my hometown, spinning electronic music like progressive, trance, and house music at many clubs and different situations. When I turned eighteen, I realized that I really wanted to produce and play music.

You usually work in ‘modular sounds’ and you describe your sound as ‘vintage yet modern.’ For my readers, can you elaborate on what exactly modular sounds are?

Modular/Granular is a processing of the sound of my main instrument in the studio: the Virus TI Polar. I love the fact I can control all the automations I make with an analog controller like in the 80s.

Furthermore, why is your music, or vibe as you put it, vintage yet modern? What vintage elements and what contemporary elements culminate into your sound?

I always look for fresh and experimental sounds, but the great tunes of the past inspire me a lot when it comes to production.

You’ve experienced both the heart of the European music scene and now the American music scene since you moved to Los Angeles. What has that change been like? What are the major differences between the two scenes?

To make a long story short, Europe electronic scene is about clubbing while America is a fertile place for chill and experimental vibes.

You touch on the fact that you worked on a soundtrack for a Fox television series. Can you elaborate on that project?

It was my first year in LA and I was looking for a new collaboration with my coworker Jeroosalem. We remixed a song together for the singer Alex Vargas and it was very good. Vago Agency contacted us, asking to make a soundtrack for the TV series “Dos Lunas.” So I thought, “why not?” I only can say it was and outstanding experience and I look forward to working again on a soundtrack!

Much of your career has involved remixing other artists’ work. What process do you go through to remix an existing song? Did your time at Essex University contribute beneficially to your production abilities?

Yes, and there’s so many artists I would love to collaborate with. As a DJ, I had the opportunity to remix artists like Alex Vargas, EDX, Bob Sinclar, Sabrina Petrini, and many more.. My remixing process is always different.. I think it depends on the original song and its influences.

Your follow-up to 2013’s ‘Amazing’ is your upcoming EP’s called ‘Three Gems’  and ‘Balloons.’ How are these project different and what do they entail? 

After releasing ‘Amazing,’ that is all about progressive house and stuff, I started focusing on a mood more than a genre. So, I created my studio in Italy with my homie, Deja. We have been working on new vibes such as cinematic atmospheres, deep, tropical-house, and future-funk. You can listen to our collaboration, ‘Three Gems Ep,’ that was released last week under license of Irma Records, one of the coolest Italian labels. Check it out on Beatport and iTunes!

You must pull from both contemporary and classic influences. What kind of music do you pull inspiration from?

There are no direct influences on my music, but I admire and get inspiration from many artists and producers from the 70s to now.

In particular, I love asking my interviewees what kind of music they personally listen to – it gives incredibly insight to them not only as a music creator, but a consumer. If we were to que up your iPod or Spotify, what five songs might appear?

I listen to all kinds of music. Seriously, it’s hard for me to pick up just five songs from my playlist. However, these tunes are always played on my iPod:
1) Queen – Bohemian Rapsody
2) Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal
3) Deadmau5 – Strobe
4) Carbon Based Lifeforms – World Of Sleppers
5) Exmag – Proportions

Finally, your most recent release is ‘F*cking in Love,’ a track you’re featured on from Sabrina Petrini. Talk a bit about this new release. What was your role in the new track?

I’m producing the debut album of Sabrina, a popular singer from the American band, KingQueen. She’s very talented, so I think she’ll bring her art to the next level in no time. Her new video is out on VEVO, an acoustic version of ‘F*cking in Love.’ Check it on YouTube!

Connect With Dechard:

Lou Siffa – ‘Lou Siffa’s Ball’ & ‘Zombie’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to be taking a look at two singles from the up and coming hip-hop and rap artist, Lou Siffa. He’s under the umbrella of AWFE Entertainment, an entertainment company that helps unsigned artists increase their exposure. ‘Lou Siffa is making his way through the muck of the rap game by sticking to the script,’ his bio describes. Let’s tackle the first of his two singles, ‘Lou Siffa’s Ball.’

Right off the bat, there’s something incredibly different about Siffa’s sound. He’s got a deep baritone voice that rhythmically jumps from verse to verse with immense tact. He’s a remarkably talented wordsmith and performer. Often independent rappers struggle with delivery and production; that’s not the case here at all. Siffa has it down to a science and his sound is excellent.

That brings me to the most important element of ‘Lou Siffa’s Ball.” His production is insanely good. Again, independent rap tends to be plagued with poor production and pre-programmed drum beats straight out of Garageband. Lou Siffa’s production is some of the most elaborate, well-conceived, intelligent rap instrumentation I’ve heard this year. The superb production on ‘Lou Siffa’s Ball’ could stand on its own against industry-grade content. (The song is also infectiously catchy.)

Let’s hop into ‘Zombie,’ the second single from Lou Siffa. Lyrically, the song dabbles in some darker subject matter. ‘I read the book of the dead; now I’m a fan for live,’ Siffa explains early into the track. I dig this, though. The dark, occult imagery is something that isn’t too prevalent in rap and it’s obvious that Siffa is having a lot of fun with it. The production of the song doesn’t quite blow me out of the park like ‘Lou Siffa’s Ball’ did, but it’s still a very solid track.

Lou Siffa’s got something going that’s quite special. In particular, ‘Lou Siffa’s Ball’ is a fantastic track. Keep tabs on this guy… he’s going places. Follow him on his new website below.

The MASH – Press Release – May 22, 2015



The MASH Release New Song, ‘Misery Of You And Me’

Malaysian power pop-rock group The MASH have released their new single, ‘Misery Of You And Me.’ The self-described ‘sugar high’ quartet derives their name from the phrase ‘mash-up,’ meaning they’ve culminated their eclectic influences together to craft a sound that everyone can enjoy.

‘Misery Of You And Me’ is a hard-hitting rock anthem with explosive guitar riffs, a powerhouse vocal performance, thundering percussion, and a deafening wall of sound. True to the name of the group, the epic new track embraces a true melting pot of influence. Bands like Blink 182, Simple Plan, Yellowcard, and Tegan & Sara all seep through the new tune. The track was recorded, mixed, and produced at the Nu Breax Studio, assisted by engineer Ardy Hamdan.

The MASH also has a laundry list of fantastic achievements. They’ve been nominated for their rock songs, featured on different radio stations and independent music websites, and they were in the top three acts of the Hard Rock Cafe’s ‘Hard Rock Rising’ competition. The MASH has also been featured in an array of magazines.

The ambitious new group is making significant waves in their local scene and are looking to expand their scope in the future. They’ve certainly got the chops for international appeal. The MASH already have quite a prominent online presence as well with the support of thousands of fans on Facebook, SoundCloud, Twitter, and the like.

To listen to the new single and connect with or follow The MASH online, please see the corresponding links below.

Christopher T Ft. Sanna Hartfield – ‘Homeward Bound’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, we revisit Christopher T, the man behind the rising house label, Lovely Drops. Previously, I sung Christopher’s praises in the Spotlight for his creatively engineered music and direction. I’ve also tackled one of his new artists on the Lovely Drops label, Stonedove. (Check out that review as well; it was published right before this one.) So, Christopher T has a lot to live up to in order to maintain my reverence of his productions. His new single is ‘Homeward Bound,’ featuring Sanna Hartfield. Does it stack up to his label’s previous releases?

First thing’s first. If you’re like me, the song title clicked immediately as Simon and Garfunkel. Sorry, no correlation. Fortunately, it is something that’s significantly intriguing in its own regard. ‘Homeward Bound’ is much like Christopher T’s previous endeavors: atmospheric, intelligently composed, and rather minimalistic. On the production side, this soothing electronic composition will lull you to sleep in its beauty. (In a good way!) 

Sanna Hartfield is the showstopper here. Matched elegantly with Christopher T’s excellent production, her haunting vocals are absolutely stunning. It’s incredibly soulful; her voice is perfection for this kind of music. This is an amazingly fruitful collaboration and without Hartfield, there’s no way this would have been as good as it is. Christopher T is a fantastic composer, but she completes the package.

Przemaz B. takes the reigns on the B-side to provide a remix of the track. A remix needs to have creative license and take the sound in a direction the original didn’t. This upbeat house mix does exactly that. It’s a tad long, but it’s very, very good.

I love Christopher T. He remains one of, if not my favorite indie electronic and house artists. He has immense talent and I’ve yet to see him falter. On the contrary, his music is getting consistently better. Keep your eyes out for Lovely Drops releases; they’re starting to become something quite good. Check them out below:

Stonedove – ‘Tear Off The Page’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to be revisiting Lovely Drops, a record label that we’ve previously delved into here on the website. The man behind the label, Christopher T, has now expanded the house music label to include other artists. The latest of those artists is Stonedove. Stonedove’s new single is ‘Tear Off The Page.’ Let’s check it out.

Stone Dove describes his (Using the generic ‘he’ since I’m not sure of the gender of Stonedove) music as concentrated on ‘deep, progressive, soulful, spacious house music.’ That’s certainly a tall order to fill with quite a few different ambitions. Fortunately, ‘Tear Off The Page’ seems to accomplish this in spades.

Immediately, ‘Tear Off The Page’ hits you with a soulful and funky beat. A heavy bass beat propels forward some fantastic piano and female vocals. Funk and soul wise, it sounds like something straight off of an early Stax Records recording. (The vocals, at least.) As the song progresses, it gets increasingly complex. Since the new tune is over seven minutes long, this cataclysmically epic progression of complexity is drawn out significantly.

There’s still something inherently simple about ‘Tear Off The Page,’ though. It’s fun, absolutely dance worthy, and extremely bass heavy, but it doesn’t include a massive ‘drop’ or explosion, which often house music does. I actually dig that about this new song. It rises and falls in a very rhythmic fashion. Even the waveform depicts the song like that. It gives it a nice flow.

‘Tear Off The Page’ seems to be one of Stonedove’s first releases off of Lovely Drops. It’s a very impressive outing and shows quite a bit of potential. Artist Przemaz B also remixed the track and did a superb job with it – It’s always nice to see a release accented with a fine remix that takes some artistic liberties to expand the song even further.

So in any case, I like a lot of the stuff coming out of Lovely Drops. Check out the label and Stonedove’s new single off it. The remix and original track are certainly something to write home about.

Phillip Foxley – Press Release – May 20, 2015



Phillip Foxley Releases Blistering New Blues Record, ‘I’ll Try ‘Till I Die’

This week Phillip Foxley, a seasoned guitarist and songwriter, released his debut album, ‘I’ll Try ‘Till I Die.’ The new record was dropped via CD Baby, thus, it’ll be available on all major digital platforms. The eclectic fourteen track collection is an incredibly diverse and ambitious endeavor, one that comes from Foxley’s ‘very soul.’

From the United Kingdom, Foxley first began his musical career in the 1970s playing in clubs and bars. Throughout the years he’s dabbled in studio sessions, house bands, and writing music for television and film. He classifies himself as a blues rocker, but the new album explores a sonic palette of immense proportions. From ‘blistering blues rock guitar’ to ‘soft acoustic and piano tracks,’ ‘I’ll Try ‘Till I Die’ is the culmination of years of creativity and writing on Foxley’s behalf.

In that sense, the new album is a retrospective of Foxley’s pursuits in music. Not only does it feature an array of original tracks, but it also houses a number of performances that feature notable artists. These collaborations in particular make the experience a dramatically original effort.

“If you’ve never heard of Phillip Foxley then you should seek out his music, turn up the volume and zone out. It reflects the maturity so loved and appreciated in the great blues rock players. His song collection has all the right stuff; edgy blues to classically styled rock to soft acoustic and piano tunes. It’s like listening to three generations of blues rock on one album.” – Jamsphere Magazine

Thousands of listeners have already flocked to hear Foxley and his new tunes; he’s clocked in over 75,000 song plays on Reverb Nation and his video plays are over six times as visited. This following has extended to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter as well. Given that Foxley is an independent, unsigned artist, this is particularly encouraging and proves the potential longevity of this new studio pursuit.  

Like many veteran guitarists, Foxley attributes the likes of Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimmy Page as influences in his life and music. These influences are riddled throughout ‘I’ll Try ‘Till I Die,’ from moody guest vocalists to stunning instrumental performances that exemplify Foxley’s mastery of his instrument.

The new record can be purchased at all major digital distribution outlets, including popular websites like iTunes and Amazon. It’s also available directly through CD Baby. Click on through the links below to check out the new record or to follow Foxley on social media.

Vince Grant – ‘My Depression Is Always Trying To Kill Me’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, we delve into something rather unique: ‘My Depression Is Always Trying To Kill Me,’ the new album from Vince Grant. He classifies the record as ‘alternative indie gothic rock.’ That’s certainly different. The incredibly personal record is quite a treat, though, especially in regard to the single.

The single is ‘Melancholia,’ an ambient alternative rocker doused in reverb and atmospheric effects. It has the dark, moody feel of something out of the 1990s, but it adopts much more of a Goo Goo Dolls mentality. (Especially in regard to the vocal style and acoustic use.) The production, though, is what makes this song stand out. It’s a beautiful production gracefully performed by a very solid group. The percussion is on mark the whole way through, the growing synthesizers are aesthetically pleasing, and the use of the electric and acoustic guitar banter is marvelous.

Once you’ve heard ‘Melancholia,’ you’ve essentially got the jist of the rest of the EP. ‘Oceans II’ picks up where ‘Melancholia’ left off on a distinctively more pleasant note. This song is irresistibly terrific with a killer chorus. Grant’s vocals are perfect for this type of music and the song erupts around him in an astronomical fashion. It’s a bit of a wall of sound, which is quite wonderful.

Enter introspective lyrics, soft, silky synths, and immense feeling. ‘Edge of the World’ is the fantastic centerpiece to the EP. ‘I get so tired of being alone at the edge of the world,’ Grant emphasizes before a lengthy apology for ‘all that has happened’ while he has been ‘trapped in this body.’ As the title of the record suggests, depression and emotional thoughts are central to this content. ‘Edge of the World’ is the culmination of that emotion. It’s a beautiful, elegant, and painful track. You feel Grant’s pain and his sorrow, and that’s why it’s the best song on the album.

Musically, the electric riffs on ‘How Many Times You’ make it the musical highlight of the record. It also exits the softer sonic spaces of the previous tracks for a bit more of a rocker. Finally, ‘Sweet Addiction’ closes out the set. I’m not entirely sure where to start… It’s a ten minute epic reminiscent of ‘Street Hassle.’ (By that, I mean it seems to be broken into rather definitive movements.) The length of the song makes it ambitious, but it falls a bit short because it doesn’t have enough unique content to justify itself. It could have been one five minute track.

Vince Grant’s new EP, ‘My Depression Is Always Trying To Kill Me’ is one of the most emotional, personal records I’ve ever reviewed. On almost all counts, it succeeds in its endeavors and it’s a gorgeous experience. Grant puts it all out on the table on this EP, and that in itself is very admirable. Check the album out; it’s a winner.

Check out Vince Grant: