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Undiscovered or under appreciated, either way these are vocalists, artists, & musicians
worth getting to know.




Monks of Mellonwah - Neurogenesis

Rock and roll out of Australia, better known as Oz Rock, has been a stout
contributor to music for decades. And the Monks of Mellonwah, haling
from Sydney, are already etching their name on that renowned list. After
all, they’ve managed to win Best Indie Rock Band at the Artists In Music
Awards in Los Angeles this past year as well as perform a select US tour
off of the strength of their first EP, the highly regarded Stars Are Out. Their
latest EP, Neurogenesis, lends vital proof to that claim. For a band that
has only been together a little over three years ago, their sound is as 
rich as the the feeling one gets diving into a wave at the beach. The
title track is hard-charging, making you want to sway like grass in the
wind. ‘Neverending Spirit’, the record so popular its video blazed a trail
onto MTV with style, is a warm and hypnotic ballad that drips harmony
in every note. If you’re wanting for more from the Monks after this gem
of an EP, they are working on a brand new album due out this year. And
the world will have another reason to say ‘G’day’ with joy. 

Monks of Mellonwah - ‘Neverending Spirit’


Odessa Kane - Cuetes And Balisongs

One fact that always should be respected in hip-hop is the potential for greatness -
or wackness - that lies before an MC who steps out from being part of a known 
crew. Fortunately for Odessa Kane, it’s the former that comes to light on his 
latest EP, Cuetes And Balisongs. The title of the album is an homage to both his
Mexican and Filipino heritage and Kane ensures the heft of both weapons lies in
his lyrics here. Only the second EP after his time as part of the Masters of The 
Universe Crew, Kane spits lyrics that depict how one uses the mind and spirit to
rise above hard times relying on his own past. With ‘Chapter 6, Verse 19’ he pays
tribute to his hard-working family with lines like ‘from Tijuana Mami learned how 
make seeds out them crumbs/and Papi worked the night shift/yo it’s 2013 Papi
still works the night shift’. ‘Nino de La Tierra’ sees Odessa savage studio gangsters
in the name of spreading positivity. Cuetes and Balisongs throughout is strong on
the production side, thanks to his brother Infinity Gauntlet crafting beats that 
pulsate with Spanish guitars and edgy bass. If the goal is to let iron sharpen iron,
Odessa Kane demonstrates it well here. 

Cop the album here:


Audrey Kawasaki

The artwork of Audrey Kawasaki is akin to sunlight viewed through cotton shades
during a summer afternoon; striking in it’s definition but tender. Her portrayals of
adolescent women are gentle, daubed with coyness with just enough sensuality
to keep you riveted. Based out of her hometown of Los Angeles, California, Audrey’s
artwork has captivated many since 2005, when she struck out on her own after 
two years at Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn, New York. The oil paintings on wood
bring out the rich blend of influences on her art, with the free flowing style of art
noveau and the crisp lines found in Japanese manga. Her work has been featured
in Juxtapoz magazine, and she has also done the cover for Alice Smith’s debut LP
as well as having one of her paintings featured on Kat Von D’s reality show. Rest
assured that Audrey Kawasaki’s work will linger on the palate of your spirit for
quite some time. 


Chords of Truth - Reflections of Reality (Remixed Double LP)

It is a definite fact that some good music comes from a merging of worlds you
wouldn’t think would go well together. That axiom comes to life again thanks
to Chords of Truth, the brainchild of folk singer Jason Garriotte. Driven by an 
innate sense of reflection, the Clemson, South Carolina native wanted to make
music that compelled the listener to begin the deep journey of self-inquiry. And
in 2011 when he released his debut album, Reflections of Reality, the folk singer’s
message rang clear for all. Garriotte found that many admirers of his introspective
lyricism were electronic music fans, and soon he began work on remixing his album
with the help of producers from the genre for this new double LP. The entire album
is a mystic’s digital wanderings while still wearing the fabric that holds him to the
truths of the past. ‘The Power To Be Alive( The Green Raver Folkstep Mix)’ is flush
with soaring light, while another standout track, ‘Moments (The Chameleon Acidfolk
Remix)’ is hypnotic, charging mantra that would live well on a club’s dancefloor or
in the ears while completing that last mile of running. And ‘Pop or Soda(LORDBRET
Right Choice Remix)’ is so crisp and yet pulls you in with the finest of basslines. 
What Chords of Truth has done on this album is to paint new horizons in colors and
light that burn so bright that you can’t imagine the skies without them.



Mara Hruby 

Certain singers display a knack for being translucent before your eyes with their 
voices, wafting in and out like perfumed smoke. When you listen to Mara Hruby,
you instantly gain that feeling. The songstress hails from The Bay, otherwise known
as Oakland, California and has etched out a space for herself in the realm of artists
you should know. Her debut release, ‘From Her Eyes’ showed off her knack for 
making songs her own, from a wistful cover of Van Hunt’s ‘Character’ to a simply
mesmerizing version of The Roots’ ‘Stereolab’. Always creating and busy with tour
dates as well as working on her newest album, Mara is one artist who is guaranteed
to show the prime polish of her character in every song.


Marla Mase - 'Speak Deluxe'

There are artists who open up to you and there are artists who are there to open
you up to everything around you. And then there are artists who have that innate
ability to do both. Marla Mase happens to do both with precision. A singer, songwriter
and playwright out of New York City, Marla’s music is a crystal bridge that links today
to the days when Patti Smith and Chrissy Hynde prowled on stage. With Speak Deluxe,
the re-issue of her album originally released in 2010, Marla herself exudes a feathered
ferocity throughout the album, beginning with ‘Scream(Reprise)’, a hard-charging tune
that captures the anguish and bewilderment of a battered woman wailing against the
indifference of the world. ‘Dance The Tango’ gives an otherwise somber story about 
someone who passed away who had a love of dance a resurrection with light pouring
out of each note. Each song on ‘Speak Deluxe’ is a whirlwind of harmony and reflection
brought forth brilliantly by Marla & the Tomas Doncker Band. It’s a breeze that many
more should wrap themselves in.

Learn more about the artist and the album here:



Alice Smith, 'Cabaret'

The sublime and powerful vocal stylings of Alice Smith can sometimes be
overlooked as an afterthought these days by the average music lover. But
those who became fans of the Washington D.C. native back when her
debut album, For Lovers, Dreamers and Me, graced ears in 2006 know
different. And Smith is showing why with her latest single, ‘Cabaret’ that
she premiered after her show at The Hamilton in downtown D.C. last
November. When you listen to it, you get hit with the sheer power within
the first notes. And the upbeat arrangement that frames her singing is
akin to a Sunday revival with its horns, lulling you into joy. Alice Smith
hasn’t gone out of sight. This new song just shows that she was waiting
for you to get ‘round the bend to hear her better. 

‘Cabaret’ is available on iTunes and Amazon Music. 


Video: Clear Soul Forces - "Get No Better"

THIS BANGS. First single off of their album, Detroit Revolutions,
out on 3/13/12..produced by Kankick of the Visionaries.


Manifesto Presents: Seven Pillars - An Interview with Nick Low-Beer

In this edition of Seven Pillars, Chris “Preach” Smith speaks with Nick
Low-Beer, aka 81Neutronz, about his career as a DJ, musician and
producer. His career to date can be considered highly kinetic with
influences in hip hop and electronica both. Most notably, he collaborated
to make ‘Cinderella Man’ from Eminem’s ‘Recovery’ album in 2010 in
addition to working with established musicians from the UK electronica

Preach:What drew you to beat production? How did you realize that’s what you wanted
             to do for a career?

NLB: Music’s always been a real kinetic thing for me. I started out with breaking,
        breakdancing. Growing up, I was always trying to break from a very young
        age. I had amassed a huge collection of tapes, and then my sister’s boyfriend
        at the time was a DJ from the UK, Alex Patterson who spins a lot of ambient
        house music, he noticed all these tapes and CD’s I had and was like, ‘Man,
        this kid needs to start DJ’ing.’ So when I turned 13, he actually got me two
        Technics and a mixer for my birthday and from then on, I was trying all kinds
        of DJ tricks, playing parties, trying to battle and work on transforms and stuff
        like that. So all throughout junior high, high school I was studying music, trying
        to finding good music, stuff that would get people moving, studying pop music.
        You know, those were the days when you had Belly, The Lox, Ruff Ryders…
        that was when everything had to be hard. I spun dancehall as well. Then also,
        the house scene, I can tell you when I went to get house records, I ‘d be buying
        a lot of German and UK trance records because I liked the melodies better
        and people weren’t really into that. People really wanted something like tribal
        house, which was influenced by the Italian scene, and which was the norm
        while I was in high school. When I went record shopping, people would give
        shit like, ‘why are you buying all of these import records’ and I would say, ‘this
        is what I like.’ Then my friend, who used to rap, he was big on the site, he got a Korg Triton. This was about 2001, that was
        my first experience making beats by fooling around with his Triton. Then I got
        a Triton and an MPC, and started making beats by myself. I went to college
        at Colorado State University and over the course of college it became less
        about DJing for me and more about making beats from scratch. That’s what
        made me want to dance more, making my own music gave me that real feeling  
        just playing other people’s music didn’t give me.  It kind of evolved from that
        feeling of wanting to dance to my own music, that’s where it all came from.

Preach: How would you describe your particular sound to a first-time listener?

NL: I would say it’s a lot of bright colors, and a lot of big drums. I’m not really big on
       subtlety. Very atmospheric. Somewhat cinematic. Some people have said,
       “Oh this would be good on a movie soundtrack, like at the beginning of a
       movie.” Something like that.

Nick Low-Beer.

Preach: One of your better known credits is as a co-producer for Eminem’s ‘Cinderella
             Man.” How did that come about?

NL: The way that happened was, I was assisting my mentor, Phil Pitts. He made
        some beats for 50 Cent, he did ‘Hands Up’ for Lloyd Banks, Between 2005
        and 2007, he was pretty much looking over my shoulder, guiding me, drilling
        into me the need for fundamentals. I was in the studio working with him. This
        time around, he was working in the studio with someone else while the next
        person scheduled to work with him sat with me  This guy, Script Shepard
        wrote the record himself and he approached me saying, ‘Yo I have this sound idea,
        I’d like someone to make a beat for it. Do you think you can make a beat for this song?
        And I said, ‘Sure, I’ll try, what do you want?’ He sang the hook and basically
        wanted a sound like (Queen’s) ‘We Will Rock You’. And I’m sitting there and
        listening to it, thinking it’s cool, not really realizing it’s a $50,000 record. So,
        in about 5 minutes we had the beat. I layered feeds, some kicks and snares,
        shit I had chopped up from a couple of movies. Shepard took the track, and 3
        years later, he calls me up and told me, ‘Yo Eminem wants the track.’ I didn’t
        really jump on it, because after working in New York City a couple of years,
        you begin to hear a lot of people tell you stuff like that. ‘Yo, I got you’ and other
        stuff. So I said, “Okay, I’ll get to it when I get to it’ because I had just left the disc
        with the file at my parents’ house in Connecticut. He got at me like, ‘Yo, what
        don’t you understand about Eminem wants the file?!!!” and my response was,
       “All right, what do I get?” He says, “Well next time we set up we’ll call you.” I’m
        like, “Well that’s not good enough. I made the whole track, what are you talking
        about?” He goes, “Man, you didn’t do nothing! Any engineer could’ve done
        what you did!!” So I go, “Oh word? Well then why don’t you get another
        engineer then?!” He tells me, ‘We already tried that, we brought in another guy
        to sit in and they didn’t want that beat, they wanted the one you did in five
        minutes.” So it was super ugly for a second. Script is super cool, but I think the
        pressure of the situation got to everybody. I got super defensive, which made  
        him get mad aggressive about it being his even though when we were working
        on it, it was all for the love at the time. Which is the nature of the industry I think;
        on one hand it can be so cool , all cool but when people start talking about
        fame and money, everybody gets defensive. Luckily for me that year, everyone was
        coming to me with requests for that file from that situation. If they hadn’t come at
        me so crazy, I wouldn’t have been able to barter a good position. I was lucky
        that my mind allowed me not to rush. I said to myself, ‘even if this does get
        placed, I don’t feel like giving up this file unless I get what I deserve.’r. Script
        ended up getting production, I ended up getting drum programming and a
        small percentage of the buyout price of the record, which was cool. I got my
        name on a small credit on the biggest record of the year. I was happy with that.
       Then the universe somehow saw my name placed as a feature on the record
        on the listing of the record on Best Buy’s website, which I think is hilarious. But
        that’s how it happened, it happened quickly, the beat took five minutes to make
        from start to finish.

Preach: How did you link up with Blaklionz Beats?

NL: He (Rajahru) hit me up on Facebook,, told me he had heard some of my music and was
       interested in working together. I was all for it. I’m like, ‘Cool let’s arrange a face
       to face meeting.” We struggled to make that happen for a couple of months but
       when we finally got up, it was real cool. For me, face to face meetings are good
       because I have to see if I connect with you enough to work with you. And I got
       the sense that Rajah was a good dude, and he had a lot of things going on.
       The connection I believe was also due to this dude Gaji, who’s from Montserrat
       and also Bruk Up, who I know who’s very well-known in the dancehall scene.

Preach: A lot of producers out there have gone the route of releasing beat tapes and
      instrumental EPs. Do you see yourself doing that, if you haven’t done so already?

NL: Yeah, sure. Most of my music I pretty much release on my website. I’m not
        opposed to it. I know that recently it worked good for someone who went on
        to produce ASAP Rocky after a couple of beat tapes. For me, I have one foot
        in electronic music and one foot in hip hop. I’m trying to spread the music I
        have however I can. I’m more of a behind the scenes kind of person, and I’m
        not that great at promoting myself. So I’m thankful that I met Raj ‘cause he
        really likes my sound, independent of the credit, he really believes in it so
        he’d be able to help me out with that. If he were to say, “Hey I think we should  
        do a beat CD, here’s an idea for the artwork, and so on’ I’d definitely be down
        to do it.

Preach: With that, is there anything new you’re planning to work on?

NL:  I’m trying to get an electronic music distribution deal with this label, and I’m
        putting together an album. Something like the soundtrack to a movie that hasn’t
        existed yet. I want the beats to be continuous, to morph into each other, kind of
        like how Saigon’s album was with its beats. I’m also just releasing beats one
        by one through my website, and finding more spots that want someone to
        come out and play more electronic music, to do more DJing than I used to.

What words of advice would you give to someone just starting our in music

NL: One of the most important things you can do is to find a mentor. Find somebody
       who can be a sonic example to you and drill you in the fundamentals. Having a
       mentor can be a BIG difference. For me, having the mentor that I had at
       Bangout was an invaluable experience because the way that I made beats
       before I met him and the way that I made beats after was totally different. It’s a
       combination of having a good mentor and studying the fundamentals of what
       music you’re into. If you can’t find inspiration, listen to more music. For people
       starting out in the music industry, people always want to know how to get on.
       People should know how to cultivate. Read, Study good music. Meditate. That’s
       the secret of life. Because no matter how bad your music is, if you sign the
       wrong deal, you could be put on tomorrow. Because someone is there who is
       willing to exploit you, make a fool of you and put you up there next to Kim
       Kardashian on the E! Channel if you’re willing to sell yourself out like that. But
       people don’t really want to be on like that, people want to be on, on their terms.
       They want to spread what it is they have to offer musically and I feel in order to
       do that, it’s a much longer road. It’s a road of faith. You gotta believe in what you
       do, you gotta refuse to sell out. I continually check myself. Because you’re only
       as big as your next thing. Help others out, teach younger kids who are into
       music about the fundamentals of engineering, do local parties. I’m a big
       believer in schooling, as well as real world experience. Learn your emotions;
       there’s kids who want to be put on and will walk out of a meeting with Jay-Z
       because someone told them to shut up for a second and that was only done to
       test them as to how they handle things.

For more of Nick’s music, check him out here:


Manifesto Presents: Seven Pillars - An Interview with Nigel Clarke

In our inaugural edition of the Seven Pillars interview series, Chris “Preach”
sat down with Nigel Clarke, the man behind a newly published comic sure to
catch the eyes of avid readers everywhere, “Master Never and The Flow of
Both men(and natives of Cambria Heights, Queens, New York) spoke
freely about ‘Master Never’ and its inception on the eve of Mr. Clarke’s debut
at this year’s New York Comic Convention.

What were your inspirations behind the creation of ‘Master
Never and The Flow of Death?’

Nigel: Well, it wasn’t just one thing. There were several influences. One
major thing being the graffiti mural at Andrew Jackson(Campus Magnet)
High School. Graffiti back then when we were growing up wasn’t that
visible that far out into Queens.  And the message was so inspiring.
‘We can, because, we know we can.’ That stuck with me throughout
the years. In 2005, I was going through a few life changes,and
I wound up getting into photography and while looking for inspiration,
I decided to go back over to the school to check out that mural only to find
that it was gone. Man, that wounded me. I remember standing there for a
good ten minutes in shock. From that point on, I went and took pictures of
graffiti everywhere I could. I also dug deeper into the culture itself. I was
blessed to have the support of Meres One who embraced me immediately.
I also got to hit 5Pointz out in Long Island City which is the modern day
Writer’s Bench.

(Mural@Andrew Jackson High School, circa 1982. *props to The Queens Masterpiece*)

Another influence, which I know you know being from NYC, was kung fu movies. They
have been a major influence on me, particularly ‘The Last Dragon’. I remember watching
it with my dad and he used to say, ‘Something’s wrong. Here you’ve got a good-looking
Black martial artist with talent, Taimak…and you haven’t heard a thing about him since.’
So I wondered why that was, and why such a popular movie never had a sequel. So later
on that year, I tracked down the creator of ‘The Last Dragon’, Louis Venosta. Mind you,
I’m broke, living in a run-down apartment in East New York with roaches(laughs) but
when I met with him, the effect I got from the meeting was monumental. He was taken
by my interest. And this is when I knew that I needed to write my own story. At this time
too, I was doing a lot of shooting at night. Abandoned buildings, subway stations. I met
some folks on my travels and captured them as well. My classmates’ comments on my
photos planted another seed.

Preach:What led to ‘Master Never’ being a distributed comic book project instead of
the traditional format?

Nigel: In 2008, someone suggested I take the graphic novel I had written and make
it a comic. The traditional approach didn’t appeal to me. With my previous working
background in technology and observing the current way information is easily shared
on the Internet, that was a main influence. I tried different methods and then I learned
about The Sketchbook Project. I felt that approach would not only work, but make it
that more unique. I also got a chance to speak with Brandon Easton, who’s a well-known
figure in the comic book industry for some guidance. A key element was the fact that I
wanted good art, but not so good that it overpowered the story. I think that allowing
other folks to get involved, you also allowed for more bold and unique interpretations
of the story itself.

Preach:How did the mixtape come about and why did you feel that would be the best accompaniment to the project?

Nigel: The mixtape came about in two stages. I saw the story taking shape from an
audio perspective, walking around East New York 2 or 3 in the morning taking pics.
Crazy as that sounds. (laughs) I had my iPod on, and the music just made everything
more vivid. And when you view the mixtape, its place in modern culture, it has always
been a source of creative energy. It’s a vehicle for expression, a way for people to
break the paradigm of what people would get from a traditional album. The man behind
the mixtape, Henry Virgil felt as though he was being let in on a secret.

Preach: How did you link up with all of the contributing artists?

Nigel: I went to college websites, and I also got a chance to check out
different artists from various forums on the ‘Net. I wanted to have good
artists, but I wanted to make sure they also were committed to the spirit
and story of ‘Master Never’ to see it through to the end.

Preach: It’s very evident within ‘Master Never’, but can you detail
how much this project is inspired by hip hop?

Nigel: Hip Hop is very vital to ‘Master Never’. Hip Hop is a visual language
so of course it had to be a part of the story. Graffiti is the underlying
foundation for all four stories in the saga. ‘Flow of Death’ itself is a true
metaphor for rap music when you really think about it. The love in hip hop
is all throughout the story. It wouldn’t be ‘Master Never’ without hip hop
being a part of it.

Preach: Would you ever consider putting out the graphic novel in
the future?

Nigel: Well, I already had..I was selling it in Harlem in 2008 in a couple
of stores. The interaction I had shortly after with Shawn Prince led me
towards making it bigger. You know Harlem dudes are always about that
money man. (laughs) He was insistent. Because he really felt connected
to ‘Master Never’. I also had a hookup with someone who had a printing
connection. So I would contact them and get copies, and go from store
to store. It was a good introduction to the process. But the plan is to
release the stories in serial form, then release the complete graphic novel.

Preach: Lastly, what would be your advice to someone reading this
who is about to or is considering doing something like this?

Nigel: The advice I’d give, I’d suggest that you follow your heart. As long
as your aspirations are reasonable, then follow your heart. It is never easy.
A continuous journey. In addition, have your own definition of success.
Have a vision, stick with it. You can’t do everything by yourself. Keep a team
of POSITIVE individuals around you. Find inspiration by looking at others who
are successful. The journey that an independent book publisher takes is the
same journey shared by a singer, rapper, athlete or protagonist in your favorite film.

‘Master Never and The Flow of Death’ is available now. Please check out the website below:

You can also check out more of Nigel’s work here: