Posts Tagged ‘Serum’

Domo Music Group will release Music For Sleep this Friday February 8th, 2019.

Music For Sleep cover“Chronic sleep problems can be physically draining, and turn what should be hours of blissful escape into anxiety-ridden nightly recurrences.  Set aside the daily grind and unwind with music designed specifically to promote soothing dream states, and provide more rejuvenation in the morning.  Not to mention the proven benefits of lower heart rate and lower blood pressure, reduced insomnia, and increased energy the next day.”

This compilation has been meticulously curated by Dino Malito (Serum, Captain Black Heart) to help the listener truly disconnect from the daily stress most people experience. I have personally used this selection of songs to unwind, I’ve been lucky enough to have an advance copy that has come in very handy over the past few months and highly recommend it. Featuring Kitaro, Dino Malito and a selection of other ethereal artists and their compositions. Please navigate below to learn more. Hope your new year is off to a good start! xxx


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Dino Malito

Throughout my many adventures of writing and music I have been lucky enough to stumble across treasures. Some I’ve had to dig for and some have been presented to me plainly and simply, as was this new EP from Dino Malito. Quite honestly, there is really nothing plain about it, more close to extraordinary. Getting to know Dino through his music has been a really nice experience for me. First with his band Serum from the late 90’s-early 2000’s to his current band Captain Black Heart and now with this solo offering. Dino and I had only come into contact with each other maybe about a year ago mainly because of Music-Survival-Guide. It’s just one of the cool perks I get from doing this wonderful thing.

On May 4th Dino will release his first solo EP through Domo Music Group. For a debut it is somewhat unusual as it is a collection of covers from Japanese New Age artist Kitaro. Nothing short of a sensation himself (Kitaro) being a Grammy and Golden-Globe winner for his compositions which use a variety of synthesizers and sounds. But for Malito, on this release, he has stripped down the walls and brought something peaceful, something of the earth and soil. Being a master of many a stringed thing he presents this tribute in such a reserved tasteful manner, bordering on perfectionist but pulling back ever so slightly before the true soul of the work becomes compromised or mechanical. This is a recording that makes you want to leave the chaos behind…of the world…of a hectic life. Music in so many ways heals. It’s something we can all relate to universally and that is truly beautiful. And there is plenty of beauty to be found in this small 5 track EP. What Dino set out to accomplish reminds me of a bit of my appreciation for John Wesley Harding who did something similar with his release, Trad Arr Jones, which was a tribute to Nic Jones, a London born folk singer. Harding compiled covers of Jones’ whimsical craft and presented them in such an irresistible way that I had to immediately hook myself on either of their works. And here, with Malito’s new EP, he may just do the same for anyone of us as this recording presents something truly magical. He even has the approval of Kitaro himself, “I was pleasantly surprised by these warm interpretations of my music…” So discover this with me as I peel back more layers of this wonderful release which is clearly from the heart of a truly talented individual. Thank you for sharing this with me…with us, Dino.

Dino at Domo

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Dino at YouTube

This will end my now trio of Captain Black Heart posts here at MUSIC-SURVIVAL-GUIDE. Just one final bump for their record, Budgie that comes out this Friday 10/06/17.

Budgie is an incredible heartfelt and vintage sounding contribution from a really talented duo from CA. It’s one of those records you can feel. Please take the plunge and grab this record. Im sure you’ll be pleased.

Congrats to those guys and best of luck with this rad record!


In conjunction with my review from last week of the Captain Black Heart record, Budgie, I wanted to share the debut single and video for their song “Surf”.

The album will be released on Friday October 6th, wanted to give it another push. Please check these guys out, they have delivered a really wonderful record.

Read the review here:

It’s rare nowadays for a band to not really care about fitting in to some bizarre piece of the puzzle that has become a diluted and soulless musical landscape. It is just that very thing, the soul, that is truly lacking in today’s contributions to sound. To find quality in the current you must dig, peel back a layer, turn over a stone…it IS still there. And my friends, THIS gold nugget of a record is a firm statement that the above is indeed true. After 10 plus years from their debut EP, Captain Black Heart has delivered a full length debut record so well thought out in structure, lyric, melody and beyond. Upon each listen it grows like a flower reaching higher for a sun that seems so easily obtainable.

The duo of Captain Black Heart, Erwin Herceg and Dino Malito make this seem all too easy. Both hailing from a band in the very early 00’s, Serum, who had a criminally shelved and unreleased album ready to give the universe have prevailed and moved onward and upward. The years have been good to these gentlemen and Budgie is them tipping their hats to that gesture. Opener “Of Things To Come” swells with waves of vintage sonic psychedelia that could easily transport you back to a 70’s era garage band who knows how to twist a tone knob while tubes glow and burn up a hot Summer day. The somber dreaminess of the whole record is so pure and even at times delicate. Lead single “Surf” could easily make you wish for the sand between your toes. Herceg’s voice is painfully beautiful. “Don’t you think that they should just drop the bomb, cause it just doesn’t matter anymore…” A dark lyric painted so sweetly by his fair and tender rasp.

Budgie is so rich with instrumentation, both Malito and Herceg lend many a talented stringed thing or synthesizer to the album with help from a few friends along the way. Over the last two weeks I’ve listened to this album only to find a new song subtly announce itself to me, it’s hard to pin down a favorite. “Turn Off The World” is another vintage sounding cracked desert beauty with some growling bass buried so slightly under a lonely slide guitar as Herceg sings about the fondness for his seemingly wise Father. A tribute to life and love, “Someday youth will pass you by…I hope you get it right.” And, we all have tried to…get it right.

This record is a trip through the milky way, a sunburnt canyon, a night under the moon. Just listen to “Dead Crows” and tell me you can’t get lost right there. There is beauty in this pain and the Black Heart boys have the perfect prescription in Budgie. 

While most of the album is a mellow trip ala the 70’s they do sneak in a tune like “Sundowner” which reaches even farther back, dare I say even two more decades. It’s a welcome ice cream sundae slow dance on a prom night long lost.

As retro sounding as the album might be it’s also refreshing and confident without being even slightly pretentious which it has every right to be. It’s just a couple of guys that wanted to make a good record and whatever will be will be. A humble reflection on simple beauty. So, put on a big pair of cans and let that coiled wire dangle as you close your eyes and leave this world for 50 some odd minutes. You’ll be happy you did.

*For enthusiasts of Blind Melon, ZooKeeper and Prophet Omega.*

Budgie spreads it’s wings on October 6th. Please do yourselves a favor and discover some new music. Independent bands need ya!


Posted: November 19, 2014 by Soda in Los Angeles, Music, Serum, Soda
Tags: , ,

One of the main things I wanted to achieve with this blog was exposing people to different bands/artists that might not have ever been heard of, while at the same time, being able to tackle acts that, well, everyone may know. I want to romanticize newer records and older records just the same, as that’s how I often feel about music in general, just really attached to it like a love affair. For the most part since I started these musings I’ve stayed mostly current, so I’m going to take the opportunity for this installment to talk about a record from 2001 by a band called Serum.

In all honesty, I don’t know so much about this band; back in ‘01 I was given a promo of their self-titled debut. It was a one sheet promo with no information inside about the group or members, etc. The only information was on the back cover which basically addressed the production and the label they were on, Brick Red Records, which I was actually familiar with because I was into another artist from this imprint called Math & Science, which is a total opposite sounding performer in relation to Serum. And really, I’m not quite sure if this CD was ever properly released as I’ve only ever seen promos.

Anyway, I took the record home and obviously liked it enough to add it to my collection. It really wasn’t until a few years ago that I revisited it and got heavily into them and this great, lost recording. By this point, they were done, their site was defunct and well…it’s been hard to dig up much about them at all.

It’s a drag how so many awesome bands never get found out; luckily I keep my nose heavily to the underground and often make great discoveries. Not sure how big they were back in 2001 or so in Los Angeles from which they hailed from. I imagine it was hard for them to really find their niche in the Alternative/Rock world given the sound they so perfectly projected which was somewhat borderline Psychedelic Classic Rock while maintaining an Alt Rock vibe.

Serum gave us an 11 track self-titled record that almost at times sounds like a glorified demo. It’s raw and under produced, but I mean that in the fondest of ways. There is a charm and subtlety here that was captured and put down onto tape in such a gracious fashion. The whole album sounds like it was done through old combo amps and vintage everything. Singer Erwin Herceg’s voice and delivery channels both Shannon Hoon and Janis Joplin fondly as he sings “Through love I learned to fear, through fear I learned to hate, through hate I learned to love, all over…all over again,” in one of the many stand out tracks, “Bleed”. His whole vocal performance on the album is delivered in such gravelly soul that it kinda warms your heart. Erwin’s approach is both tender, and humble.

Serum Album Cover

Serum Album Cover

Back to the whole psychedelic vibe, another true champion of a song, “Rocket Scientist” gives us one of the best gang vocal hooks I’ve heard in the past 15 years, “Take me to that magic place where mosquitoes sing and the ants all dance, and all the fish walk around with a smile. Where the sky is green and the grass is blue and you don’t have to take off your shoes just to sit, and talk for a while.” A fun and jangly piece which again is delivered in such an endearing fashion by the entire band, you really get the idea that they were completely content with the musical offerings on this album; it’s not showy or overly complex and therein lies the appeal.

An interesting tidbit about this LP is the secret track titled for the bands namesake, “Serum”. It’s probably the best sounding and most polished song on the whole record. Could be they finished the album and threw this on last minute, cutting it at a different studio with a different producer or engineer, who knows, it’s almost puzzling but it’s just so damn sweet and leaves you so grateful for another song, indeed craving a second album.

Although I was unable to dig up much about Serum online I did find that two of the members, Singer Erwin Herceg and instrumentalist Dino Malito had gone on to collaborate on a project called Captain Black Heart (not even sure if this partnership is still active) in which I still need to dive into and am excited to do so as more music from these guys is a joyful thought.

So, if your interest is peaked, hop onto Amazon and grab a super cheap copy of the Serum record and treat your ears.