Mint Leopard is Ready to Pounce

Cincinnati’s Mint Leopard (@MintLeopardOG) consider themselves a psych-jazz rock n’ roll band and based on what they have released thus far, they live up to the hybrid description. Formed earlier this summer, the quartet of lead vocalist Jaxon Hughes, drummer Justin Van Wagenen, guitarist Alex Masset, and keyboardist Ben Bob Hammer have been getting their feet wet with live shows across their hometown and surrounding areas. They recently released the single “Progress in the Evenin’” and even created a music video for the track. Based on first impressions alone, the foursome should have a bright future ahead of them.

The video, directed by Hughes, was conceptualized and executed with sheer brilliance. Based on its premise and production, it would fit right in with the playlist of The Cool TV and MTV2’s 120 Minutes, when the latter network still aired the program. Released this past July, the video is primarily set in the desert, with three guys in business casual outfits searching for Hughes. The song is a melting pot of pop-rock psychedelic greatness that crosses over multiple decades. It would fit like a glove on playlists in the 1970s and 80s. With several acts in the 2000s inspired by music from 30 to 40 years ago, the track is just as relevant today as it would have been back then. Hughes’ harmonic vocals gel perfectly with the slick guitar and synthesizer work of Masset and Hammer. Van Wagenen’s drum work caps off “Progress in the Evenin’” giving the listener approximately four and a half minutes of a non-stop jam session.

Mint Leopard is seeking to expand its horizons beyond being their local territory and they are well on their way in doing so. The group looks to tackle Ohio’s capital, known for its diverse and embracing music scene. Cincinnati has produced good talent across different genres such as 98 Degrees, Pay The Girl, and Motherfolk. With upbeat on-your-feet tunes in their arsenal, Mint Leopard has an excellent chance to succeed anywhere.

*Photo courtesy of the band’s Facebook page

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Artist To Watch: Caleb Hawley

Caleb Hawley (@iamcalebhawley) is an American singer-songwriter currently calling Harlem, NY home. He is college educated with a degree in Jazz Composition, but his musical skills go well beyond the average person’s perception of jazz. He is a hybrid musician crossing barriers and winning audiences over with his arrangements of popular covers and his brilliant blend of genres in his original tracks. He definitely has the credentials to back up his works, having won two songwriting awards in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

Hawley plays the music game well in that he is active in social media and the Internet in general. On YouTube, several lyric videos are posted as well as raw live performances. One of those gigs is posted above for one’s listening and viewing pleasure. Several of his tunes are available to check out via ReverbNation and NoiseTrade. Some of his stronger tracks include “Bada Boom Bada Bling”, “Little Miss Sunshine”, and “Would You Even Try”. All three of these tunes could easily light up the Hot AC and Top 40 charts with the proper backing. This shall come in due time as Hawley deserves a chance to be heard by the masses. From what has been displayed thus far, he has something of substance to contribute to the current music scene.

For those who like what they have heard in digital format, Caleb Hawley is listed as having a live performance on Friday, May 30 with Julia Haltigan at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. Hawley fans who can not make that show should not fret because if they continue to support this prolific performer, his fan base and resources will increase leading to more touring opportunities. Hawley is the real deal and has more than proven himself as a rising star in 2014 and years to come.