Tag Archives: music

Vita Nova (Deluxe Edition) by Halocene

I am so excited to be sharing with my audience a new addition to the Author Anthony Avina website, which is a new type of review. My website has been and always will be primarily a book review and book-centered website and blog, but there are so many other interesting avenues worth exploring that I decided to expand this year into those other avenues. 

One such avenue is music, something I have several years of experience writing about and reviewing with the online publication, On Request Magazine. One thing I thought would make my takes on music, YouTube channels, movies, tv shows, games and more would be to approach them the same way I would a book, and that is from a narrative perspective. To see what the story holds within each project, what themes or messages they hold, and the emotions they evoked within me, as well as who the project will resonate with. 

Our first music review on my website is going to be for a band I have loved listening to over the past six months, and that is Halocene. I discovered them myself this past summer, and after listening to both their covers and their incredible originals, I knew I had to subscribe to their Twitch and YouTube channels. Their dedication to their craft, their incredible talent, and the sheer amount of creativity they pour into their music, as well as the connection they share with their fans as they live stream 3-days a week via Twitch, makes them the perfect band to begin this year with.

Their latest album, Vita Nova (Deluxe Edition), is the best marker of their evolution as a band over the years. Having begun in 2008 and has toured and opened for bands like Fall out Boy and Blink-182, the Phoenix, AZ band hits fans with an epic, haunting, and beautifully written and performed album that delves into everything from mental health struggles to looking for a new future through the next generation and the battles we all have with the demons that reside within us. Tracks like Rage will get the blood pumping, while others like the titular track Vita Nova will not only strike a thoughtful chord with audiences but bring about an almost cinematic quality to the music that makes it feel right at home in some heroic quest on your television screen. 

What makes this band so unique is the independence and heart that they put into their music. Completely produced by the band themselves, the music retains that sense of personal attachment and emotion that great albums often do from the artists themselves. The hit single When Demons Come to Life” plays well into lead singer Addie’s breathtaking voice, highlighting every nuance of the emotions the song evokes both within the audience and the singer herself, including lyrics like “Who Will Save Me?!”, a pivotal and gripping moment in the video and song. Guitarist and music aficionado Brad highlights a command over the harmonious way the music comes together, and his gritty singing and screaming bring the electricity that perfectly blends with Addie’s flawless voice. When this all comes together with Drummer Joe’s heart-pumping and adrenaline-fueled talent that gets fans up on their feet and right into the heart of each song, you get a brilliant band that unapologetically brings their vision to life in the best way possible.

Having grown up in the ’90s and early ’00s, my upbringing was always geared towards rock as far as music was concerned. I grew up listening to classic rock with my parents like Aerosmith, Oingo Boingo, and Heart, while my own teen years saw the emergence of My Chemical Romance, Paramore, and Disturbed, among many others. The nostalgia and heart that that era of music brings me every time I listen to it is what I feel whenever I put on a Halocene song, especially with their album Vita Nova. The power and moving themes found within each song bring a great balance to the songs and narratives being told as the heavy-hitting and head-thrashing music gets playing, and personally, as a writer I always find myself geared towards music that inspires me creatively, which is something Holocene continues to do time and time again. If you haven’t yet, be sure to follow Halocene on all their socials, Spotify, Twitch and so many more. 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Band: 

We’re a hard working band from Phoenix, Arizona that has been around since 2008. We’ve toured from coast to coast in a beat up van, opening for bands like Blink 182, Fall Out Boy, and the Vans Warped Tour, but we found our stride as YouTube influencers, uploading a new cover every Friday. Halocene is 100% self made. All music production, videos, sites and media are all created by the band.

We have a new original album out called “VITA NOVA” which you can get on Halocene.com or on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, etc.

https://halocene.com/

The Smoke in His Eyes by Shane Wilson Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young musician who endures powerful hallucinations after witnessing a traumatic event as a child must discover where inspiration originates from in author Shane Wilson’s magical realism novel, “The Smoke In His Eyes”.

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The Synopsis

When TJ—a musical prodigy—witnesses a traumatic event as a child, his senses are overrun with intense hallucinations. Over the years, his visions increase in frequency and intensity, but he hides them from those he is closest to, including his best friend and musical partner, Lila, who challenges TJ to reject formulaic creation in order to create something beautiful and unique. But when Lila signs a record deal, TJ feels left behind and alone with his art and his visions.

That’s when TJ meets an artist named Muna. In his eyes and visions, Muna is made of smoke, and as this magical woman helps him learn how to manage his visions and how to translate what he sees and hears into music and lyrics, she begins to disappear. His journey into Muna’s past is a journey to discover where inspiration originates and what happens to an artist when that inspiration is gone.

The Review

A truly powerful and emotional read, the author does a great job of embracing the magical realism genre in this book. The novel does a fantastic job of establishing a fully realistic and heartbreaking world for protagonist TJ early on, as the reader not only sees the traumatic event unfold in his childhood but sees the signs of the troubled life TJ endures for most of his life. 

While the magical element of the story and the relationship developed with Muna becomes a crucial part of TJ’s journey, the real heart of the story is his relationship with Lila. The author does a great job of balancing the story by showcasing the emotional struggle of both TJ and Lila, seeing the relationship from both points of view as love and music intertwine their friendship and romance throughout the narrative. What really stands out is how the author is able to capture the darkness and emotional toll that creatives, especially musicians, often endure in life, and brings it into a magical realism world to help highlight the power behind some of the great inspirations musicians can endure. 

The Verdict

A breathtaking, expertly written, and emotionally-driven read, author Shane Wilson’s “The Smoke in His Eyes” is a must-read novel. An evenly-paced read that explores the complexities and emotions that often come from a musician’s journey to find inspiration and love, the author has crafted intimate and engaging narrative readers and fans of the magical realism genre will not want to miss. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, Shane is a child of the southeastern United States where he feels simultaneously at-home and out-of-place. He graduated from Valdosta State University in south Georgia with a Masters in English. He taught college English in Georgia for four years before moving to North Carolina in 2013.

No matter the temperature outside, there is always an iced coffee in his hand when he walks into class in the mornings. He tends to chase the day with a whiskey and a re-run of The Office.

Shane has published poetry in Tethered by Letters and the Stonepile Writers’ Anthology, Volume III. He is currently at work on a new novel as well as a collection of short stories based on the mythos of and set in the same town as A Year Since the Rain.

https://www.shanewilsonauthor.com/

Tomas Cudzis and the Struggle for Ju$tice & Truth: Part 3: Pushed the Right Way by Tomas Cudzis Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A unique blend of music and action thrillers comes to life in author Tomas Cudzis’ novel “Tomas Cudzis and the Struggle for Ju$tice & Truth: Part 3: Pushed The Right Way”. 

The Synopsis

After surviving the Chinese triads, Tomas had joined his saviors on their mission to “cleanse” America off the “untouchable” criminals. Soon, Tomas realizes that being hunted and being the hunter, makes a big difference when it comes to his ability to kill a man. He start to have regrets in joining up the “Agency”, the secret organization that is being supported by a rogue “element” of the US government, but doesn’t know how to say to them that he wishes to quit. Guilt-ridden and horrified by his own brutal behavior during each mission, whilst unable to admit that he lost his stomach for “it” at the same time, Tomas spirals down mentally.

“I have tried that before! I tried to walk away so many times. I would rather live and let be. But you, or someone else has to always push on me the right way! Threaten me in the right way. Trying to kill me? I can forgive that, you’re not the first, nor the last. I kind of got used to it. But you have f*cked up, you tried to kill my friend too. Made me think, what else would you do should you be able to?” 

This book is part 3 of 4 series. Fan work dedicated as a tribute to the Linkin Park music band life’s work to date, of which the author’s inspiration had come from. This book includes references to the songs, that should be played in the background while reading it, for enhanced experience. Note: This book doesn’t contain any of the songs referenced in itself, and its purely optional for the reader to gain access to those songs at his own expense. As use of those songs is experimental, it doesn’t guarantee improved experience compared to ‘just’ reading of this book.

The Review

Now I’m coming into this book with no knowledge of the previous two installments, so this review will be based solely on what was read in this installment. The author’s blend of music not only from Linkin Park but other great artists acts as a written soundtrack for the reader, highlighting the emotional and action fueled scenes that play out throughout the novel.

While the writing of the story could use some refinement in terms of grammar and editing in general, the overall story is filled with great action and intense scenes that showcase the hero’s journey to stop threats like slavery rings, all while focusing on the relationships between the protagonist and the team he works with. 

The Verdict

Overall this was an interesting, unique and creative fusion of musical inspiration and action fueled psychological thriller. If this story is any indication of the author’s vision, this is a series worth jumping into feet first. A bit of polishing off with the editing will make this book shine even brighter, and readers will delight in imagining the emotions and feelings running through the characters in connection with each track the author lists. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out Tomas Cudzis and the Struggle for Ju$tice & Truth: Part 3: Pushed the Right Way by Tomas Cudzis today!

Rating: 7/10

https://www.facebook.com/LinkinParkTributeSeries/

Andy Michaels Revisited Album Review (Written and Video)

A powerhouse singer/songwriter who refuses to be boxed into a single label, Andy Michaels wows listeners with his smooth vocals and command of the emotional spectrum in his album, “Revisited”.

The Australian singer/songwriter has crafted a record that fuses an indie pop sound with a classic rock twist. Bringing music that touches the soul, Andy Michaels impresses with his late 80’s/early 90’s vocal talent that embeds itself instantly into your mind. What really makes this artist stand out above the rest is his command over the storytelling of his album. Each song tells a different tale, one that touches on core emotions we’ve all felt at one point or another, and yet he brings these feelings to life almost effortlessly.

Overall this was an incredible album. Whether you love powerful ballads like “Angel” or “Where Are You Now” or more contemporary songs like “I Just Want To Be The One”, this album has something for fans of every genre. Refusing to be defined, singer/songwriter Andy Michaels brings multiple genres and sounds together in an effort to bridge the gap between these styles, and focus on what matters, and that’s the story of the song and the music being played. If you haven’t yet you should pick up your copy or listen to artist Andy Michaels album “Revisited” today!

Rating: 10/10

Artist Biography

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“Poet, composer, singer and guitarist, Andy is a wonderful breath of fresh of fresh air in a somewhat cynical and tumultuous musical world.” (Coastal Times, WA, 2016)

With his songs have been described as “True Adult Contemporary Music”, Andy has established a popular following over the years with his works compared with modern contemporary artists “The Script” , “Counting Crows”, and “R.E.M”, as well as international Legends Cat Stevens and Neil Young. His voice is unique and gives passion and vitality to his songs, whilst his lyrics are not only intelligent and profound, but innocent and appealing.

Andy’s arrangements and music style are also reminiscent of Cold Play, Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel. His voice is unique and gives passion and vitality to all his songs and for added impact on several songs on his new Album, “Revisited”, he also enlisted the amazing, Macey Gray sounding, vocal talent of UK born Kerrie Ironside.

Andy has played guitar since a car accident left him temporarily incapacitated before he was 20 years of age. His poems have been published by the International Library of Poetry, USA. Andy has not lost his passion for performing, with regular performances around Australia as well as in Asia, including China. His songs have received radio play in many countries including Australia, USA, England, Canada, South Africa, Switzerland and Netherlands, where his songs have been syndicated to multiple radio stations

Artist Links

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Youtube Channel

Music Videos

White Lies – https://youtu.be/6JrTkbXJAU0 

Where are you Now – https://youtu.be/aI311P67fMw

I just want to be the One – https://youtu.be/FI_0GBAEqUM

 

Interview with Breakfast At Your Place

1) Tell us a little bit about yourselves. What brought you together for this project?

 

The band formed in 2013 in Paris. It initially consisted of a keyboardist and lead vocalist, a guitarist and a drummer. We put up an ad for a bassist, but a cellist answered by mistake. We gave it a try anyway and we loved the mash-up! Since then, cello has been at the heart of our sound. We have worked with several female singers through the years. For instance, our single Lost at Sea features a Californian pop singer and a French opera singer. Alexia, who joined the band in 2017, is now our lead singer.

 

2) What was the inspiration behind this single, “Visions”?

 

More than great causes, personal suffering is an important source of inspiration for us. That’s what’s affects us the most. We often observed how people sometimes seek refuge in dreams and fantasy worlds to escape reality or even their own thoughts. That’s what inspired us for Visions. In a way it’s the sequel of our song Lost at Sea, which was also about depression but with a more down-to-earth approach.

 

3) What theme or message do you hope your song conveys to the audience?

 

This song was written above all for people who feel hopeless or depressed, to make them feel understood and to soothe their minds. To show that we understand not only their distress but also their high sensitivity. That’s why we wanted the song to be dreamy and not too dark. If the song can help everyone else understand how it feels to be depressed it’s a great thing, but it was not our primary goal.

 

4) What genres or artists have inspired you with the development of your song?

 

Natacha Colmez, who wrote the cello solos, has been inspired mostly by classical pieces. We’ve also been listening to a lot of Irish music lately so it’s possible that it has influenced the single somehow! 

 

5) What advice would you give to any aspiring artists out there looking to put their music out there online?

 

From conception to distribution, all our songs are made entirely by us. We also produce our own music videos. Learning how to do everything ourselves has been obviously time consuming, but it’s all worth it in the end I think. Now we can produce exactly the sound we have in mind, and we can spend as much time as we need recording, mixing and shooting the videos. I’m not sure if it’s an advice to give every artist but it does work for us.

 

6) What are your future plans? Any new music or tours on the horizon?

 

We’ve always tried to find a balance between studio work and tours. We came up with a concept a few years ago that works well for us: we offer our fans to play live in their own living rooms, in a totally acoustic format. We really appreciate the proximity with the audience and the very warm atmosphere of these concerts. Of course, we also do shows in bigger venues, mostly in Paris. The next one is on April 27th at the Bus Palladium, which is a mythical place of the rock scene since the 60s. We’re really looking forward to this show!

 

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Visions by Breakfast At Your Place Single Review

A breathtaking and artistic song that explores the complexity of mental health and the hardships those who suffer from it must endure, the French baroque pop band Breakfast At Your Place brings a classical pop flair to an all too important topic.

Now as a trigger warning, I must tell you that this song does deal with the theme of mental illness, so if this is something that may trigger you, be warned.

I loved this song. The dream like melody was both haunting and lovely all at once. The band reminds me a lot of artists like Lindsay Sterling, who bring a modern pop sound to the classical music realm. The battle most people have to endure with mental illness is quite literally a battle, one that can become overwhelming to those suffering from it. To those on the outside they will never be able to fully comprehend what people they care about suffer through, and this song expertly conveys that while showing this magical world that this young girl suffering from mental illness escapes to inside her mind.

This was a great single. Beautiful, sometimes tragic but always emotional, this fantastic hit explores the complexity of mental health in ways very few artists these days can. The song itself is both wonderfully sung and filled with amazing music. If you guys haven’t make sure to grab your copies of Visions by Breakfast At Your Place today!

 

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Visions – Breakfast at Your Place
Released: 3 March 2018
Songwriters: Julien Barnu, Natacha Colmez
Singer: Alexia Papineschi
Producer: Julien Barnu
Visions is a single by French baroque pop band Breakfast at Your Place. It mashes acoustic cello and electronic sounds for an airy and dreamy sound. It tells the story of a disturbed girl who finds refuge in an enchanted world of dreams and hallucinations.
Visions was written by Breakfast at Your Place keyboardist Julien Barnu and Breakfast at Your Place cellist Natacha Colmez, who is also a member of the Paris National Orchestra.
The singer, Alexia Papineschi, is a French comedian and dubber that joined the group in 2017. She’s the French voice of Cinderella in the 2015 Disney film.
Spotify: https://smarturl.it/visionsSPT
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nM8hza1Nao
Website: http://www.breakfastatyourplace.fr/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/breakfastatyourplace/

As I work on my #youngadult #novella today, I wanted to post about two new songs that have been inspiring me #creatively recently: #Idaho by @bryanlanning and #DNA by @liamariejohnson . These two artists have produced two amazing songs filled with emotion and heart, and I’ve been playing them non-stop on @spotify . You guys should go pick up your copies of these singles now and if you aren’t already follow these incredible artists! #authorsofinstagram #music #creativeinspiration