Chill Reviews

There’s something to say for local music

Review #6

Artist: Joe Billy
Don’t Mind Me

    Being an all out folk punk artist takes guts. In my opinion a lot of what makes these types of songs what they are is the songwriter’s ability (and courage) to say the things that the lay listener doesn’t want to hear. It means calling out much of the bullshit in the world that most of us do our best to gloss over or shove to the back of our minds. Joe Billy, while also being one of the kindest musicians I have met, does exactly that.

    Don’t Mind Me is this singer/songwriter’s third album released to date and as a returning listener, I can tell you he gets better every time. A mix of fantastic songwriting, solid guitar playing, well-placed lead parts, and a delightful kazoo solo make this LP his best yet.

    While I am a bit biased having filmed this song at a past Frosted Green concert event, I stand by my opinion and belief that Hey You, number 4 on the 7 song tracklist, is Joe Billy’s best and also most genre neutral song on the album. While “calling out” isn’t the best way to say it, Hey You “calls us out”, rather politely might I add, on our constant need to be everywhere else but where we are at the moment. “That fancy phone that is practically a part of your face”, and my face as well, is just one of the many distractions Joe is suggesting we set aside for three minutes to appreciate the atmosphere and people around us. This message, while working well with his genre and themes, is a pretty widely needed in today’s society and I feel as if this track is a good olive branch to those music fans who have yet to find their way to the folk punk genre.

As for the rest of the album, folk punk fans will undoubtedly be pleased. Songs such as, A Song About How I Piss Myself Off and i wont miss any of u, tackle several of the tough issues I mentioned previously. The creative writing and wordplay make these tracks stand out to me and honestly, they don’t mince words… and they shouldn’t. Joe Billy says what is needed here and that is pretty much that.

    Outside of lyrics, a folk punk fan like myself will more than likely enjoy the simple acoustic guitar and repetitive riffs that this artist and the genre naturally provide. A stumble upon listener however, depending on the method of consumption, may not be able to decipher when one track ends and the next begins without glancing back at the player. While that is not even a true critique, the style, sound, and delivery this singer/songwriter provides can very much find a comfortable home in the ears of Bob Dylan, Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan, and Laura Jane Grace fans.

With all that said, if you’re so inclined go check out Don’t Mind Me on Bandcamp, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music, and Apple Music. Keep an additional eye out as well for an upcoming music video that he has been teasing on social media!

- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #5

Artist: XXI Gold
XXI Gold
(Produced by XXI GOLD studios)

One of the things I look at very closely when listening to a new hip-hop artist is their delivery. To get this out of the way, I typically prefer rapid fire verses, intricate rhymes, and studio instruments over beats. With that said, one of the most interesting things about this debut XXI Gold record are the very unique music beds that lie underneath each vocal track.

Now if you sat me in a studio and asked me to produce a computer generated beat for a song, I would just look at you, laugh, and then probably sob. I would have zero idea where to begin. It is not at all lost on me that producing beats is just as much work as is creating one with real-life instruments. The process is an art form that can only be perfected through experience and skill, I just carry a personal preference where I find authentic instrumentation more compelling. So when experiencing XXI Gold’s first track, Therapy, my reaction was much different than expected.

Therapy opens with an shocking soundscape that lets you know this self-titled record is going to be anything but typical. Carrying on throughout the song, this eerie atmosphere is joined by a gentle but quick metronome that cues in emotional and punchy lyrics detailing what could literally be a therapy session. The song’s energy continues to build and then ultimately comes to an intense conclusion kicking off this eight track album right. Therapy is definitely my favorite track by XXI Gold so far.  

Track 2 however, does not slow down! Golden, carries over the momentum and energy of its predecessor, and delivers an intense rap that name drops The Golden Girls in its chorus. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch any Betty White references, and I will say that was disappointing. All is forgiven however, as this song is a kickass track that should not be skipped.

    From then on, XXI Gold treats us to a lot musical and studio creativity. While some tracks, like the two mentioned above, definitely stand out as stylistic hot spots that break new molds, there a few others that I do feel as if may be lost in the fray to casual listeners. Songs like Drunk Sex, California Dreaming and SHE, all have shining moments but for me, were not as strong as the album openers.

I very much look forward to hearing what XXI Gold has in store for us in the future. His music, especially once it becomes more known and widespread, I believe could very much rival the originality of Kanye West and
Childish Gambino.

This debut release received contributions from talents such as Dandy LXIX and Talar Amira Ouzonian, and was released on November 21st, 2018. You can stream or download the album on all major music services!

- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #4

Artist: Christian Diana
Split: Weight & Sea
(Produced by RJ Pasin)

    Christian Diana is best known for his work as the lead singer of New York based indie rock band, The Foxfires. Defining themselves as their own mix of shoegaze and pop called seagaze, the band’s lyrics and songs are comprised of positive themes promoting self-worth, equality, and good times.

    Since the completion of their first full length album Reawakening, Christian has branched off to work on his self-titled solo project where he is finding a new sound within the folk genre. His 2017 release, Reflection became a strong first entry to his new discography, comprised of four songs, the stand out being his single, 4AM.

    Near the end of 2018, Christian and Curly, a pop-punk influenced and New York based singer-songwriter, appeared on a split EP entitled, Weight & Sea. Diana’s contributions to the album, Lost & Found and Forgotten Dreams, echo many of his Foxfire roots. Through the well-recorded and nostalgic guitar notes, the lyrics to Lost & Found certainly focus on the aforementioned importance of self-worth. These combined aspects nudge this track forward to a soundtrack level ambiance that This Is Us fans would swoon over. Additionally, due to the song’s changed-up structure and well crafted guitar playing the listener never feels as if the track is overly long or repetitive, despite its 4 minute and 17 second run-time. Lost & Found joins 4AM as one of Christian’s best written songs to date.

    Forgotten Dreams, the second Christian Diana original to appear on the split, uses light sound design to create an old-timey atmosphere. Amplified by guitar style, this man-made vibe ironically feels less nostalgic and more synthetic. Moving around that, one could certainly find it fitting to play this song unplugged by a fireplace or around a campfire. Your date might find it very deep, so why not! ;)

    Once the final chords are strummed in these first two songs, you will only hear Christian’s voice again towards the end Curly’s second number, Closure. His voice adds a nice variety to the lengthy song and works well with the progressive full-band instrumentals that bring the split to a close.

  If you’re interested, you can hear Weight & Sea on Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, Apple Music, and Bandcamp. Lost & Found also has a music video available on Christian Diana’s official Facebook page. Enjoy!

- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #3

Artist: Lexy
Singles: “Don’t Worry” & “Original”  

    Regardless of your musical tastes, I think most American music fans remember the summer of 2002 when Avril Lavigne released, “Sk8er Boi” into the world. You can recall the “punk” energy, the high budget music video, and the relatable tune that arguably helped push her “pop-punk” genre towards becoming a more household term.

    While many have channeled that energy and vibe in the past decade or so, few of those artists have accomplished the feats of Lexy Cassell. The most notable of those accomplishments being, performing for Billy Joel at the Rosaline Joel Conservatory for Music & Theater in 2017. That’s tough to beat, especially when your competition is as young as Ms. Cassell.

    Starting her music career at 8 years old, the now 16 year old Long Island based singer-songwriter is hard at work producing her new EP with two singles out so far. One of the songs entitled, Don’t You Worry, carries some of that “Avril flare” I mentioned earlier, in addition to some ear-worm level lyrics and vocals. All this is built up by a nice pop drumbeat and some delightful synth licks in the chorus.

    Lexy’s other single, “Original” already has its own nautically themed music video featuring a group excitable musicians including upcoming star, Robbie Rosen who has also seen his share of enviable successes in his young career. The song, detailing the never dying dream of starting a band, plays out more like a fun rock ballad and showcases the growing talent in these young artists.

    While there is no official release date for Lexy’s new EP, you can follow her on Facebook for studio updates!

- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Video not produced by Frosted Green Productions **

Review #2

Band: Behind the Bullet
EP: Brothers in Arms
(Produced by Level Up Studios)

    Thinking back to music I grew up with, the first track I thought of when hearing the guitars on Behind the Bullet’s “Brothers in Arms” EP was “Click, Click, Boom” by Saliva. Back then, that was one of the ultimate pump up songs for me. After a few listens however, that haphazard comparison soon went away. I quickly realized that Behind the Bullet clearly has bigger motivations than writing simple pump up metal songs.

    The six song EP covers topics such as heartbreak, betrayal, family, alcohol, and sex. The song that certainly stood out the most to me was the title track, “Brother In Arms”. This short epic starts with a brief sample, just before the listener is met with a nice healthy pick-slide, followed by ferocious guitars and drums, matched with strong lyrics detailing a relationship between soldiers. Most comparable to an “Atreyu - like” sound, “Brothers in Arms” I can only hope opens some fun mosh-pits when played live.

“Whisky”, track five on the EP, rewards fans with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus level vocals by singer, David Alexander. He is accompanied by his guitarist and bassist who carries the song’s bar fight energy through a great sounding rock number that I can definitely see being in a mid-2000’s superhero movie and I love it! I mean come on, the soundtrack to Ben Affleck’s Daredevil movie?! Anyone? No? Okay…
(For those unsure, this is a compliment, I love that soundtrack).

    One of my favorite things about this EP though is that it never slows down. There is no cheesy metal ballad to be found! Not to say that cheesy metal ballads are bad, but in my opinion they take you out of what the genre is so well known for, massive sounds and high energy music. Level Up Studios certainly helped this New York metal outfit do their EP right!

    Now coming into it’s third year of availability, the 2016 release can be heard on Google Play, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, and Bandcamp. Check it out and let’s cross our fingers for some more new music by Behind the Bullet very soon!

- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #1

Band: Broken Bay Coalition
Album: Sleep More, Sisyphus
(Produced by Keith Moore at Suffolk Recording Studios)

Welcome to Frosted Green Productions’ first ever online music review.
This album is great check it out. Done. Thanks for playing!

Okay fine, I’ll do my homework.

Broken Bay Coalition is a veteran Long Island rock band with a strong scent of polished punk rock.
That’s right, not pop-punk, not emo, … PUNK ROCK. These four band members have mastered the art (well I at least consider it an art) of making every track on their 2018 release feel like the final track on a kick-ass rock record. The eight track LP, Sleep More, Sisyphus, is a mosh pit of nostalgic sounds and energy bringing me back to memories of albums such as Green Day’s Nimrod, Rancid’s Indestructible, CKY’s Volume 1, and even songs by lesser known bands like England’s now retired resident punks, Sharks.

While some of the tougher to decipher vocal parts definitely remind me of Tim Armstrong, an intuitive Spotify listener can definitely tell they have stumbled upon a band with a taste for Greek Mythology (see the album title) and complex lyrics that hold deeper meaning. Being a vocalist myself, I can also very much appreciate the layers that the occasional backing vocals add to singer, Rich F’s voice.  

After digesting the words though, one should not ignore the high-note guitar licks that make sure you’re paying attention. I’d say some of my favorite instrumentation occurs on the second track, Coffee and Contemplation. This is not to say that the rest of the instruments fade into the abyss. While the guitars certainly have a major presence, there are plenty of sections where bass and drums shine out.Overall, this band is for fans of energetic punk rock likened to that of the Dropkick Murphys (minus the bagpipes) and Pennywise. There are plenty of parts of these songs where you think, “Oh wow, I feel like I’ve heard this before, but not like this”. These four gents make sure they pay their influences the homage they deserve.

    If you’re interested, you can find Broken Bay Coalition’s music on Spotify and Bandcamp. You should also follow them on Facebook, Instagram (@brokenbaycoalition), and Twitter (@brokenbayband). It is worth noting as well that they encouraged voting in the 2018 Midterm Elections. They’re patriots, folks!

- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions