The Kaleidoscope Kid – Self-Titled review

This is the eponymous debut EP from Phoenix MC/singer-songwriter The Kaleidoscope Kid. Coming up a week prior to this the pandemic hitting off his full-length debut Quail Run, he would go on to follow it up with the ATC-produced Thank You Stranger & All Dogs Go to Heaven later that same exact year. However in light of him signing to Suburban Noize Records this past fall, The Kaleidoscope Kid has seen fit to reintroduce himself to a wider audience in the form of a self-titled effort.

“Hold Up” is a bluesy opener addressing those who say he lost it whereas “Watermelon Kisses” follows it up with an acoustic romance ballad for all the couples out there. “Stampede” goes full blown reggae rock cautioning a stampede on the run leading into the ska punk-influenced “Cause & Effect” talking about a chick who left her name & number on his phone.

Meanwhile on “Fight or Flight”, we have The Kaleidoscope Kid on top of a down-tuned guitar tackling the phrase “crash & burn” leading into the boom bap-heavy title track reintroducing himself to the Subnoize crowd. The song “It’s All Love” goes full-blown reggae confessing his girl’s loving being on his mind while the penultimate track “Hell or High Water” mixes some acoustics with handclaps asking God to give him a sign. Big B then tags along for the guitar-driven closer “Maniac” advising to fasten your seat-belts.

Now it wasn’t until The Kaleidoscope Kid signed to Suburban Noize where I would go back & check out his whole catalog in preparation for this self-titled EP, but I have to say that his debut for the notorious Malibu-based underground label has to be his most well-conceived body of work yet. He has a lot of versatility, the songwriting is catchy & the range of sounds in his production is a great match given Subnoize’s history.

Score: 4/5

King Klick – Self-Titled review

The King Klick is a West Coast supergroup consisting of Chucky Chuck, Johnny Richter & Obnoxious. 2 of the members have already made themselves household names with the Malibu-based independent powerhouse Suburban Noize Records by lending their hands in founding the groups DG@F & Kottonmouth Kings respectively, but the other is a bit of a fresh face to the label after signing to them about a year & a half ago. However with a few well received singles under their belts so far, the Klick’s finally dropping their eponymous debut EP after much anticipation.

“Throne of Spades” is a soulful boom bap opener reminding listeners how they do whereas “Subnoize O.G.’s” rightfully proclaims themselves as a such on top of a g-funk instrumental. “Everyday” is a epic 7 & a half minute posse cut showcasing a majority of the current Suburban Noize roster while the song “Who’s Next?” apocalyptically talks about slaughtering shit. The penultimate track “Spaceships” with Lil Saint & Underrated has a bit of a robotic beat getting on their weed shit, but then “We Want It All” with Madchild & M.C.U.D. ends the EP with a grimy trap banger getting at their enemies.

I’ve been looking forward to this EP from the very first time I heard that closer when they dropped it as the lead single over the spring & my God, did they deliver. The chemistry between the trio comes off as natural than forced, each member stands out in their own unique way & the production has a little something for everyone. Suburban Noize really gave their fans a true celebration of their legacy with this one.

Score: 4.5/5

(həd) p.e. – “Sandmine” review

This is the 6th EP from renown Huntington Beach g-punk outfit (həd) p.e., which has always been masterminded by Jahred Gomes despite it’s revolving door of members throughout the 27 years they’ve been together. Standouts in the crew’s discography include their self-titled debut, Broke, Back 2 Base X, Insomnia, New World Orphans, Truth Rising & even their previous album Class of 2020 that came out the day before Broke’s 20 year anniversary last summer. It was originally intended to be the group’s last effort for a while but due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the 2020 presidential election & the birth of Jahred’s daughter, (həd) p.e. is channeling all of their inspiration from all 3 of those events into Sandmine with the help of Suburban Noize Records backing it.

The title track is a thrashy opener quenching for blood whereas “False Prophets” serves as a punky jab at Donald Trump. The song “R.T.R. (Respect The Republic)” goes into rap rock territory talking about rebellion while the penultimate track “Deathtrip” is a skate punk joint with Jahred talking about risking his life. Finally there’s “Let Me Know”, which is a reggae rock cut trying to figure out what’s on his lovers’ mind.

Class of 2020 was a great throwback to (həd) p.e.’s roots & Sandmine is just as great to me personally. Once again, they’re taking it back to the basics except Jahred & company sound a lot more pissed off than they did when we last heard them 11 months prior.

Score: 4/5

(həd) p.e. – “Class of 2020” review

(həd) p.e. is a g-punk outfit from Huntington Beach, California masterminded by Jahred Gomes. From their first 2 albums under Jive to their first stint on Suburban Noize in the mid-2000s, these guys have truly been making a name for themselves for over 25 years whether that be their eclectic sound or the more political lyrics on their most recent output. They returned to Subnoize last year for their 11th album Stampede & to mark the 20th anniversary of their sophomore effort Broke this weekend, Jahred & company are celebrating with a sequel.

The album kicks off with “First Blood”, where Jahred angrily talks about how we’re all living in sin over some head-banging instrumentation. The next song “Watch It Burn” gets confrontational over some popping drums alongside a chugging guitar lead while the track “No Days Off” screams about putting his life on the line everyday & the soundscapes on here are electrifying. The song “Death Awaits” is sure to get the pits going whenever we can have live shows again from while the track “Last Call” is an enjoyable reggae/rock fusion.

The song “Ole Time Sake” is kind of a throwback to 80’s metal as the lyrics talk about being young at heart while the track “Greedy Girl” is a slow, melodic ballad expressing Jahred‘s affection for the titular character. The song “Nothing Lasts 4Ever (The Ballad of C19)” is an optimistic response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic while the penultimate track “We the People” gets on the political side of things & the hellish instrumentation are absolutely perfect. The closer “Overdue” has a depressive & confessional tone to it that I really enjoy, but the hook is a bit too robotic for me personally.

Even though the quartet seems to be self-aware that Stampede didn’t resonate with hardcore fans due to it’s heavy usage of auto-tune, this is a great return to form for them. Jahred Gomes’ vocals are still remarkably commanding & the sound on here is a refreshing callback to (həd) p.e.’s early work.

Score: 4/5

Mickey Avalon – “Speak of the Devil” review

Mickey Avalon is a 44 year old rapper from Hollywood, California blowing up on Halloween 2006 with the release of his self-titled debut & then the loose single “What Do You Say?” appearing in The Hangover just 3 years later. This resulted in a deal with Suburban Noize Records, who helped Mickey release his 2012 magnum opus Loaded. Since then, he’s kept himself busy by self-releasing the equally fantastic Teardrops on My Tombstone & a handful of EPs. But with Subnoize’s reforming last year, Mickey has seen fit to link back up with Kevin Zinger & the spade for his 4th full-length album entirely produced by Smoov-E.

The opener “Handyman” is essentially Mickey proclaiming himself as that dude to solve all your problems over a trunk-knocking beat whereas the next song “Ulra-Violence” touches down on how nothing’s free over an instrumental with a jangly guitar hanging during the verses. The track “Shooting Up” obviously about doing drugs over an decent EDM beat while the song “Woke AF” takes a jab at the politically correct over a bombastic instrumental. The track “Johnny Come Lately” sees Mickey comparing himself to that of a pimp over a tuba-inflicted trap beat while the song “Dolly Parton” is a strip-club banger backed by some sirens that really kick up the vibe of it.

The track “Bad Luck Billy” tells the story of a man that’s always doing wrong over a stripped-back acoustic instrumental while the song “Let’s Go” finds Mickey getting into a lot of mischief from robbing a bank with a knife to carjacking over an EDM/trap fusion. The song “Rich Friends” brags about Mickey’s homies on top of an instrumental that sounds like something out of an old video game while the closer “End of My Line” gets right back into the acoustic side of things except the lyrics open up about how it’s difficult to look for a woman the opposite of him. The bonus cut “Dodging Bullets” is a teaser from his upcoming collab EP with reggae artist Landon McNamara entitled Highs & Lows.

If you enjoyed Loaded & Teardrops on My Tombstone as much as I did, then you’re gonna enjoy this album too. The lyricism remains wilder than ever before & Smoov-E continues to be a good match for Mickey because the sounds that he comes through with behind the boards continue to compliment his debauchery well.

Score: 3.5/5

Big B – “Welcome to the Club” review

Big B is a 47 year old rapper from Las Vegas, Nevada starting out as the frontman for 187. After the band’s dissolution, the hooligan would go on to join OPM in 2002 & become a household name for the infamous California powerhouse Suburban Noize Records just a couple years later. His first 3 solo albums High Class White Trash, White Trash Renegade & More to Hate would become some of my favorite releases that the label has ever put out. We just celebrated the 7 year anniversary of B’s previous album Fool’s Gold earlier this past week & after going on a musical hiatus since then, he’s ready to make a comeback with his 7th full-length album.

“Enjoy the Show” is a good way to start off the album as B encourages the listener to just relax on top of a fitting rock instrumental whereas the next song “It Ain’t Punk Rock” talks about being him over a more traditional hip hop instrumental with a guitar thrown in. The track “Whiskey & Women” talks about it’s hard to maintain from the things he loves over a fast tempo instrumental while the song “Band of Brothers (This is How I Roll)” is a catchy country rock cut about keeping it real.

The track “San Felipe Blues” is a road trip anthem accompanied with an acoustic instrumental while the song “Forget You” with Everlast sees the 2 talking about drinking themselves blind because of scandalous women over some summery production. The track “That’s Country” talks about how he speaks the truth over a banjo & some hard hitting drums while the song “2nd Pistol in My Pocket” tells the story of a man being on a run after murdering someone the night before over a more outlaw instrumental.

The track “Where Were You” is a powerful ballad calling out those who weren’t there for him when he was struggling while the song “It’s Too Late” takes aim at those who wanna act tough over a hard rock instrumental. The track “Down” talks about partying over over some banjos & guitars while the song “My Old Lady” of course is an endearing tribute to Big B’s mother over a more vintage country instrumental. The album then finishes off with “The Whiskey Blues”, which obviously talks about alcohol over a luxurious piano instrumental.

Now if anyone’s followed Big B’s career long enough, then you probably already know that he’s repped that white trash life in his music since the very beginning. That being said: This is pretty much his very own country album & it’s a mature one at that. Michael Bradford did a good job on the production end & you can definitely hear B has the passion again after that 7 year hiatus.

Score: 3.5/5

Whitney Peyton – “Alpha” review

Whitney Peyton is a 25 year old MC from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who rose to prominence in the underground by releasing 3 albums, 2 mixtapes & 4 EPs all independently. She recently signed to Burbank, California powerhouse Suburban Noize Records this past fall & to ring in the new decade, she’s making her Subnoize debut with her 4th studio album.

Things kick off with “Villain”, where Whitney compares herself to a bad guy over a suspenseful instrumental. The next song “Double Up” flexes over a nocturnal trap beat while the song “Enemy” sees Whitney teaming up with her Keyed Up cohort Gina Fritz to detail a break up that she went through over a cavernous instrumental. The track “I Got It” fires back at everyone who doubted Whitney over a dark, rubbery trap beat while the song “Kick It” is intoxicating anthem about mellowing out.

The track “No Time” is a fun, vibrant club banger where was the song “Better Be” talks about how this dude shouldn’t be lying over a woozy instrumental. The track “Smile” is a beautiful positivity anthem while the song “Like You Mean It” talks about her haters over spacey trap beat. The album then finishes with “Not the Same”, where Whitney talks about her new life competition over a bass-heavy instrumental.

For years I’ve been Whitney to come through with that 1 album that’d solidify her place in the game & I think she finally did it on this one. Her lyricism has gotten better with time, the passion is there, the production is off the wall & it’s a great representation of who she is & where she’s at now. Really looking forward to see what she does with Subnoize in the future.

Score: 4/5

Saint Dog – “Bozo” review

Saint Dog is a 43 year old rapper from Chisholm, Minnesota that came up as a member of the trio P.T.B. with D-Loc & Johnny Richter, all 3 of whom would later form the Kottonmouth Kings with Daddy X in 1996. He would eventually leave KMK in 1999, but would remain on Suburban Noize Records & make his solo debut 5 years later with Ghetto Guide. This would be followed up in 2006 with U.S.A. (Unconformable Social Amputees) but after rejoining Kottonmouth recently, he’s coming back with his 3rd full-length album.

The album kicks off with “Sounds of the Underground”, where Saint Dog talks about the things people say about him over a instrumental that’s perfect for the clubs. The title track sings about the things he sees in this person over a laidback instrumental while the song “I’m Living Life (Right Now)” with Danny Diablo & Syniister sees the 3 talking down to their competition over an instrumental that sounds like something Dr. Dre & Scott Storch would’ve made together in the 2000s.

The track ”West Side” with Kung Fu Vampire & Mars of course details the gritty life in California over an eerie beat while the song “Bar Door Sign” with The DRP & Prolifik is of course an alcohol banger with a thumping beat. The track “Same Ol’ Screaming” charismatically brags over an electronic beat with some live drumming while the song “She Be Wifey” talks about how fine this woman is over a trap beat with some plinky keys.

The track “Pixie Girl” is a stripper anthem with an unexpected EDM influenced beat from UnderRated while the song “Gangsta Ways” needs no further explanation over an acoustic instrumental. The track “Bang Bang” with Skribbal sees the 2 getting vicious over an instrumental with a prominent piano & some g-funk synthesizers that pop up during the hook while the song “Already Dude” gets reflective over another instrumental that kinda has a Dr. Dre/Scott Storch influence to it.

The track “Love (Is What I Got)” is a clumsily delivered romance tune with some great acoustic guitar passages while the song “Lay Low” with Big Hoss & Jaysin Logik sends a warning to those who oppose them over some keyboards. The penultimate track “Where I Stay” with Lil Jerry is a dedication to California with a summery beat & then the album ends with “Stir It Up”, which is a killer rap rock cut.

Overall, this was a pretty solid comeback. The production is decent as were most of the features, but Saint Dog sounds very focused & passionate to be back on the mic.

Score: 3.5/5