by Patrick Crosby, OnlyReal Entertainment
Coleman Hell – Stark Raving
To say Coleman Hell’s debut album is creative is to put it mildly. The Thunder Bay-raised, Toronto-based artist runs the gamut on “Stark Raving” from electro pop, to spoken word to straight up hip hop. The uber-fun video for “Beer Cans” follows the exploits of a twentysomething partier the morning after a crazy night – complete with smoke-filled bubbles, a teetering stack of pancakes, and a maraca shaking ending. On the flip-side, his latest video, “Preylude,” is dark, deeply emotional and poignant. Images of Cole and his troop in dog masks, a drum set on a dimly-lit forklift and a boom box set ablaze set the scene.
Stark Raving is a journey, not just because of the range of genres it bends but because Coleman Hell actually has something to say. Up and coming producer La+ch showcases his chops throughout the record. Songs frequently change drastically from beginning to end to better showcase an underlying mood you might not have consciously picked up on. Stand-outs “Synesthesia,” “There’s a Hole in My Logic, Dear Liza, Dear Liza,” and “Killing Time” lend a glimpse at what Coleman is likely to become: an alt pop star. Oh, and did we mention it’s free at ColemanHell.com? Do yourself a favour and download this one. Keep up to speed with Coleman Hell on Facebook and Twitter.
Tree – Sunday School II (Creative Control)
Rapper/Producer Tree from Chicago, Illinois has steadily been gaining a reputation as an original sound in a city that’s already produced such generationally defining artists as Common, Chief Keef and Kanye West. The general consensus is that Tree is the next up. His sonic style, self-described as Soul-Trap, is equal parts smooth and jarring, mixing soul-filled samples, sometimes violently chopped with driving drums. The contrast works. Maybe that’s why production legend Bink! (Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake) lends his talents on “Devotion.”
Lyrically, Tree is much the same. His voice is immediately recognizable as his own, in a sort of “love it or leave it alone” kind of way. Deep, stoically honest, and intentionally cracking, even his ad-libs are consistently reverbed, and unique to Tree. Sunday School II features guest appearances from Detroit’s Danny Brown on “NO Faces,” Brooklyn’s Roc Marciano on “TRYNAWIN,” and production from Toronto’s Frank Dukes on “Busters.” Sunday School II is free to download via Creative Control. Follow Tree on Twitter.