April + Vista Create Another World on New Album Pit of My Dreams

By Ahriel Nari

April + Vista specialize in giving musical experiences. They have made another dimension of sound on their latest album Pit of My Dreams. Fans have been eagerly awaiting new music since their critically acclaimed 2018 debut album You Are Here

Pit of My Dreams album art

Pit of My Dreams feels very intentional. The beauty of the album is in how it’s intentional while also being experimental. I admire April + Vista for their impeccable sound selection. They are not afraid to take a sound, such as the crying violins at the beginning of “Every Void”, a sound played alone most people would scoff at, and create a masterpiece around it. Their exquisite musical ear lends itself to each track. Apart from the remarkable instrumentation, the audio engineering is incredible. The depth and clarity with which each sound comes through is breathtaking.

    April + Vista have once again raised the bar with Pit of My Dreams. It blends perfectly into the musical tapestry that they are weaving while also leaving the listener wanting more. April + Vista are doing something special with their music and we’re lucky to witness it. Pit of My Dreams is available on all streaming platforms!

Favorite Songs: “Cooperators”, “Every Void”, “What Is Enough”

Seeds of Matthew EP by Tha Massaquoi : Review

By Ahriel Nari

There have been a lot of music releases this summer. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the constant influx of new albums. One release that has stood out to me is Seeds of Matthew, an EP by Tha Massaquoi. Hailing from the DMV, Tha Massaquoi is made up of brothers Matthew and Abrahim Massaquoi. Their music can be described as a mesmerizing blend of hip-hop, punk rock, R&B, and pop. Their unique sound is a refreshing addition to the current landscape of music. Tha Massaquoi doesn’t exist in a vacuum. They are a part of the collective The Lyons Den, which is a group of artists, producers, and promoters in the DMV who are pushing the culture forward.

Seeds of Matthew EP Cover

Seeds of Matthew is loosely based on Matt and Abe’s father, who is pictured on the cover of the EP along with their mom. Their father also provides narration on the album which creates a grounding force for the project. What I love about the project is that it flows sequentially. Each track builds upon each other, one song referencing the next and/or previous song. For example, midway through “ARE YOU OKAY!!!!”, their father can be heard talking about the wrestling that their watching on TV – asking if they’re still watching wrestling at their big age. Then the next track is entitled “Undertaka” in reference to the legendary wrestler The Undertaker. This song is especially clever because the hook is, “Why it always feel I’m in a chokeslam?” which is again, a reference to the infamous maneuver in wrestling. Their commitment to the theme is unmovable.

    While the whole EP is stellar, a few tracks are particularly near and dear to me. My absolute favorite song from Seeds of Matthew is “ARE YOU OKAY!!!!”. It’s a very in-your-face song. It bursts into your orbit with its synchronous drum and guitar hits. This track flexes Tha Massaquoi’s ability to effortlessly float into punk rock. The other group of songs I’d like to highlight are “Platonic”, “Limbo”, and “F.M.P”. These three songs are a package deal. This is another case in which, as I mentioned earlier, each track builds upon each other. This trilogy tells a love story. “Platonic” is about having secret feelings for a friend and debating about whether or not to take the friendship to the next level. The next song “Limbo” discusses the internal struggle of being in the in between stage of not being just friends but not truly being together and eventually terminating the situationship. Lastly, in “F.M.P” we hear Tha Massaquoi lamenting the loss of love but being too prideful to admit that they miss them. The sequencing and storytelling of these three songs is immaculate – an excellent way to round out the EP.

Seeds of Matthew closes out with “On Movas (Outro)”. Tha Massaquoi has teased on social media that their next project will be entitled “Regina’s Kids”. Could this outro be an allusion to their next album? Possibly, or maybe I’m reaching. Regardless, Seeds of Matthew was a very enjoyable project to listen to. It’s astounding that this was Tha Massaquoi’s debut EP because it feels like they’ve been creating projects for years. I can’t wait to see what new music they put out in the future.

Seeds of Matthew EP is available on all streaming platforms.Follow Tha Massaquoi on Instagram and Twitter.

BlaqueStone & FootsXColes Showcase Musicality at Local 16

“I’m ready to get ‘Stoned!” someone shouted from the crowd. Fans eagerly awaited BlaqueStone’s to perform at Local 16 as a part of the fifth annual Funk Parade Music Fest.The first song the soulful music couple performed was their latest single “Sunny Days”. Donning gold-rimmed round glasses and an elegant green headwrap flawlessly coordinated with her Kente pants, Queen cooed, “There are sunny days ahead. Just keep going”. The gentleness in her voice enveloped you, reassuringly, almost as if she was singing a lullaby. The crowd was already sizable before the show began, but Queen drew dozens more into the intimate setting with her enchanting, jazzy voice. Nyne, the other half of BlaqueStone, blended his raps seamlessly with Queen’s singing. An unassuming guy, the flashiest thing about Nyne was his orange track pants.
BlaqueStone’s set felt like a jam session that the audience just so happened to be invited to. I was impressed that they spotlighted each musician in their live band, which consisted of a bassist, a keyboardist, and a percussionist. Each instrumentalist was allowed the space and time to flex their musical skills. The set also included BlaqueStone’s renditions of “Bag Lady” by Erykah Badu, “Lady” by D’Angelo, “Unpretty” by TLC, and “Fortunate” by Maxwell. As Nyne and Queen performed, you could see a genuine connection between them when they looked at each other – Black love personified. To conclude the set, Nyne pulled out the talk box for an electrifying performance of “The Right”, a track from BlaqueStone’s 2016 album AfroNoon.
After a brief intermission, FootsXColes took the stage. “Ok, I want everyone to take a few steps forward. I need to feel your energy,” Foots asserted. As the crowd stepped closer, I overheard someone say to their friend, “These guys are good! They just performed at the Kennedy Center,” in reference to FootsXColes’s performance with the ever so talented Alex Vaughn last week.
As a strobe light cast red, green, and blue tints over the room, FootsXColes set the mood with “Sin”, a mellow record with punchy percussion from their debut album A Beautiful Mistake. Tonight’s performance was unique because it was the first time a trumpet player was added to the live band. FootsXColes got the people going with their versions of “Love Come Down” by Evelyn “Champagne” King and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears. The crowd was still high on energy from those songs when Foots asked, “Are y’all ready to two-step?” Then, they went right into “Possibilities”, a fan-favorite from their latest album Sitting in Outer Space. The crowd was grooving as FootsXColes played a few other tunes on the album. After a stirring rendition of “Moonlight”, Foots and Coles invited everyone to come dance with them at another venue they were DJing at following the show. If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend that you check out a BlaqueStone or FootsXColes show. The good vibes they give out will leave you feeling euphoric.