Royal Recommends

Royal Holland got tired of people not knowing or seemingly not caring about music from amazing musicians who don't have the marketing power to make you want to get their music. Often times the music being posted is free, it only costs a small amount of your time, and could change the way you look at creativity. Support the ones close to you and they will sprout wings. 

Each week will be posting the weekly recap of Royal Recommendations. Take a listen to a few of these tunes, if you like it, download it, save it for later, shuffle them into your current library, and have a nice surprise when it pops up and you're like, “Whoa this is cool, what is it?” It's not so hard to do and it's a way to easily support local musicians. 

Check out the Soundcloud Playlist that features a track from each artist featured. If you like what you hear, go give a few bucks to the artist and buy their music!

Barton Samuel Banta
Barton Samuel Banta

Sam Banta is a really stand-up guy, thought provoking, funny and smart. He wrote a song per week his entire 33rd year on this rock and has made all of them available to you, the listener for free.

He's got some really great lyrics, and a heartfelt delivery that is uplifting and also heart breaking. I highly recommend “Winter Lullaby” and “Transitions.”

This is Fycus. They practice in the practice space right next door to the one in which Royal Holland practices. They create really interesting chord progressions underlying soaring harmonies. Advait has a very soothing vocal tone. It feels like a revival of some 90's / early 00's groups that flew a little under the radar. The Reputation and bagheera come to mind. I had the pleasure of seeing Fycus at The Comet not too long ago and it was a very compelling set as they played to a crowd that was bouncing along. Also, one day I accidentally backed into Advait's car outside the practice space and he was very kind and laid back about the whole thing. 

This EP has 3 songs, so just listen to them all. It's quite enjoyable. If you have to pick one though I'd try “Jaminey”. 


Say hello to Nanny.

Nanny, is a bit hard to describe, but that's why I like them. 

Alessandro is one of them. He slinged some bass for Royal Holland on our last coast tour. He's got quite an ear for music and he lends so many interesting percussive sounds to the Nanny tunes giving them a rich texture. Sometimes he even bangs on a guitar with a drum stick. He's neat.

Eric Eric is one of em too, he blows a sax and plays a bass, and is a focal point for a lot of their sets. He and I also like to chat about art films from time to time.

I don't know the other Nanny-er but he must be pretty boss if he's hanging with the other two. His affected vocals and electronic sounds lay a seriously entrancing foundation to the whole she-bang. See them sometime, it's a pleasure, and they will trick you with one song that you swear is a cover of "Warning Signs" by the Talking Heads, but then turns into something much more mesmerizing.

I'd listen to everything, but if you have to pick one I highly recommend “Arpeggio” off of their latest border solid line.

It's time to talk about Abiyah

Abiyah is a force. She is always impeccably dressed in a really compelling style that is all her own. This is a great metaphor for her music as well. 

It's hip-hop with style in droves, but it's way more. It's an experience that flows out of Abiyah's convictions, and those are strong. This is evidenced by her community building efforts, and also by how much fun and provoking she was to be around during some recent presidential debates. Abiyah gives a shit. 

I had a mix CD back in the early days that had the tune “Free Wild Muse” on it. It's a hit so make sure to spin that one, but I highly recommend that you check out some of the other cool tunes on the page as well.

She and Eugenius (Who is also quite a stand up dude, and has always been kind to me in passing conversations) also just had a crazy good video for 'BLUP' (their collab tune) premiere on Ghettoblaster Magazine, which you can watch HERE.

Abiyah connects dots like a ball point pen. Those dots then turn into one of those 3-d pictures that you have to cock your head to the side to see. The image is a costume party with a backdrop of the universe in which all those involved are dropping it. A dolphin floats by in shades.

Now, I challenge you, but first an analogy. Let's say you're interested in beer, (I may as well use something I have some experience with) and you would like to understand what makes a particular beer better than another. You may seek out people who make beer and see which ones they think are great and ask them why, right?

I have not met one fellow Cincinnati musician who has seen umin and not said wonderful things about the music that he makes. 

It's not pop music (well, not in the traditional sense) it's looped ukulele, acoustic guitar, modified game boy beeps and boops, alien percussive contraptions and a pedal board thingy that seems to grow exponentially every time I see him perform. His music undulates and crescendos to a chaotic cacophony that somehow still retains some semblance of order, then drops down into something fantastic and mesmerizing, like a sound track to a dream. umin is also Kevin Poole. Kevin Poole is someone I have known for a long time. We went to Art school together. He's quiet, but not without very meaningful things to say and create, and he creates with the very best of them. 

umin is music that could change the way you think about music, if you just give it a chance. It may be a slow burn for you, but if you commit to it, the reward in the end will be priceless.

One of my favorite umin tracks of all time is “sect” off of the album clast (which features amazing cover art by fellow Art Academy of Cincinnati alumni William Test), however umin has also recently released time t1: urn which I am currently listening to and feeling it expanding my gray matters. He has made all of his albums and EPs 'Name Your Price' or free.

Howdy buckos, I'd like to introduce you to BUCKO. A band that could definitely shake a few booties here and there. BUCKO is a rock band. They also mix elements into their production that will take you back a few decades. Namely the 80's

Now that could sound scary, I know, but trust me here. It's done in the most tasteful of ways. I'd like to say that the main man Brandon Losacker is channeling some new wave giant of days gone by, but I know the guy. I've never seen him not in a suit. That's a lie, I have, but even not in a suit he seems to exude 'hey man, my suits are psychic suits, they're always here, I just have to call on them'. What I'm saying is the dude has style in droves, and quite an eye for design in general. He's got the quality to make him a giant of his own era.

That said, the songs are a good time. The lyrics are lovely and heartbreaking. The music is driving and soulful.

If you're having a hard time deciding what to listen to, I highly recommend “A Shot In The Dark” (ft. Alex Nauth on trumpets).