Brian Zisook

Brian Zisook


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Brian Zisook

Title
Editor-in-Chief
Bio
DJBooth (DJBooth.net) is a digital music magazine in the Complex Media Network that creates content for the engaged music lover, those who want to stay at the forefront of music while the rest lean back. Whether it’s breaking news stories or covering popular topics, we pride ourselves in writing original, creative and personal pieces that truly connect with our readers.
Website
Expertise
music journalism, music blogging, music reviews
Interests
rap, hip-hop, soul, indie, pop, r&b
Location
Chicago, IL

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Recent Feedback

Eye in the Sky submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Mobley, thank you for sharing this sampler. Not much to go off here, but based on the 31-second clip, this has mainstream, mass appeal, solid vocal. 

Arman Asadsangabi submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Hey Oddnote, thank you for sharing "Money Comes, Money Goes" with me. To start, it's important to note that rock music is not my forte. That said, I love the lead singer's voice. Emotion, energy, passion, charisma, depth -- it's all there. This one didn't overstay it's welcome, the runtime was perfect. There's not much I can do for you promotion or exposure, but you certainly picked up a new fan. 

Ty Graham submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Hey Ty, thank you for sharing "Liquor Lips" with me. This is solid. The hook is catchy and the production is simple yet effective (though it does begin to grow old as the track plays out). The verses could use more energy, though. I wish you showcased the same energy and vocal range in the verses that you do in the hook. Also, I'm not sure the female vocal (voicemail?) works best where it's placed. It would probably be more effective at the very end of the track as the production out after the last refrain.

Joe Asbridge submitted media.

Cool Hold by Hi Viz

Brian Zisook

Hey Hi Viz, thank you for sharing "Cool Hold" with me. I didn't personally love the vocal performance, but it worked very well with the production -- which, to me, was the standout element on display. On SoundCloud, you classified this record as "pop," which is a bit misleading. More pop-rock, really (not that it truly matters). Regardless of my personal opinion, it's obvious that the song itself, on the back of the live instrumentation, has mass appeal. The only thing I think would have really improved the record is some vocal layering as you approach the crescendo of the hook. It would make the record sound fuller, more alive. Best of luck.

S.T.R.A.P submitted media.

Oh Lawd (Prod. Ayodlo) by S.T.R.A.P

Brian Zisook

S.T.R.A.P, great to hear from you again, and thank you for the submission. Great energy, your vocal performance is a match for this production, which really knocks. Given your energy throughout the song, I think it would have been more powerful to have someone else handle the hook. You go so hard throughout the verses, which means there's less 'oomph' in the hook (hope that makes sense). The mix sounds good, the video is well done. Overall, really solid. This sound/direction is fitting both for your vocal approach but also your actual vocal.

Benjamin Todd submitted media.

Top Of My Lungs by DATABOY

Brian Zisook

Thank you for your submission, Databoy. MAJOR mainstream appeal. Easy to listen to vocal performances, well produced and mixed. Catchy. Great art. This could/should do well on Spotify or radio or really anywhere. It certainly isn't groundbreaking or unique, but it fits into the current sonic landscape and is easily digestible. Not a fit on DJBooth, though. Too poppy.

Benjamin Todd submitted media.

Brian Zisook

DENM, thank you for your submission. This was very catchy, easy on the ears, solid production, good mix, replayable. I also love the art, it's original, it's bright, it stands out. While I'm a fan, personally, this isn't an ideal fit for DJBooth. That said, I'd be happy to share this with some colleagues. Best of luck.

M K submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Thank you for your submission, Tia P. This is really solid. Confident flow, solid vocal, catchy record. I don't love the video, but for a minimal budget, it works. The potential is there for great things.

Bruce Thornton submitted media.

Brian Zisook

NZ, good to hear from you and thanks for sharing your latest video with me. I really dig the song, good bounce, good personality, your charisma and energy shine through. Not sure the video is a complete match for the subject matter and, while I commend the one-take approach, the video would have been better executed with a bit more creativity. Yes on the song, no on the video. We'll run the single in our songs section on DJBooth.

Bryson Teel submitted media.

Bryson Teel by Time Stops (Audio)

Brian Zisook

Thank you for your submission, Bryson. Gorgeous production. Elegant keys. The mood is full of feels. Under headphones, it's almost rapturous. As for the vocals, I wasn't *as* impressed. The warped effect played well with the vibe, but wasn't enough to really wow. Potential is obvious. Bright future.

Benjamin Todd submitted media.

I Revenge by MXMS

Brian Zisook

Thank you for your submission, MXMS. To begin with, it's imperative that I inform you this is not DJBooth material. With that said, your vocal is very calming, under headphones the listen, from start to finish, was pleasant on the ears, the mind, the body and soul. I would play this while relaxing, while getting a massage or if I knew I needed to relax and I was too pent up with stress. The song runs a little long for my liking at a hair over 5 minutes. I would shave it down a little. Then again, for the mood you created, it doesn't not work as a longer track. Your "funeral pop" tag is quite interesting because, while overcast in tone, your vocal wasn't bright enough to really enter the mainstream pop scene. You have that ability, clearly, but this particular selection didn't showcase that attribute. I wish you the best!

Cole Connor submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Thank you for your submission, Cole. First the positives: good energy, both guest features turned in solid performances, production was solid. On the flipside, the video, while fitting to the title/theme, was fairly standard and unimaginative, and the song itself doesn't inherently have any dynamic, rewind-worthy moments that make me want to share this with others.

Samuel David submitted media.

Finesse by Samuel David

Brian Zisook

Thank you for the submission, Samuel. This looked like a really fun shoot. You have good energy, a solid vocal, a decent flow and an 'everyman' look (this goes a long way toward likability). I don't love the vocal layerings on the track, it's a distraction, and the opening of the video wasn't totally needed (though, the video direction and treatment were good), but overall this was an entertaining watch. You absolutely have potential.

submitted media.

Gorgeous by The Blemish

Brian Zisook

Thank you for the submission, Bo and Emin. Super marketable sound. Really enjoyable production (standout element here). The vocal approach has been done a million times, no originality points there. The hook is a head nodder, but the vocal performance across the entire track didn't really stand out as remarkable. It's fine, it works, but I didn't hear "it." After the song ended I was still tapping my foot, but the song didn't become ear candy.  I get the whole Disclosure meets Michael Jackson description, but for that to feel true, I needed to be blown away by the pipes. I wasn't.

Cory Rhymal submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Thank you for the submission, Cory. Starting with the positives: Great energy, great vocal, dynamic approach, good mix, solid (but predictable) production. The aggressiveness hits hard, I believe it. Doesn't feel like a come on. The negatives? The topicality and track aesthetic don't really help the track, or you, stand out. This record is aiming to fit into a sonic terrain, not stand out. That isn't a bad thing, just harder to be recognized in a sea of thousands of artists all doing the same exact thing. Good luck.

Lee Epps submitted media.

The Mountain by Keeton Coffman

Brian Zisook

Thank you for the submission, Keeton. The pop-rock vibe was really enjoyable. Commercial product, mainstream-ready sound, good live instrumentation. The vocal was solid, though not spectacular. No points for originality or uniqueness, but overall a well put together effort. This type of record isn't something we'd feature at DJBooth, but wishing you the best of luck. You're on the right path.

Bruce Thornton submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Thank you for the new submission, New Zephland. Great emotion, I can feel your passion, decent female complementary vocal, the rapping is good, the mix is solid. Overall, no complaints. It has a dated sound/feel, which is not a bad thing. Not something I'd want to play again, but also not something I'd necessarily want to turn off before it's over.

MelJGrey submitted media.

Love is Love by MelJGrey

Brian Zisook

Thank you for your submission, meljgrey. The theme, topicality, and execution all work here. The vocals are well done and the live instrumentation is refreshing. The message is also clear. It's not catchy in a bubblegum pop sense, but it certainly has replayability. I think an instrumental-only breakdown before the end, or as the bridge with zero vocals, would have been a nice touch. Not a fit for DJBooth, but keep up the great work.

Christopher Scott submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Hey Chris, thanks for the submission. This is really solid. Nice bounce, clean flow, great energy. One of the best submissions I've heard on this platform. I'll submit this to DJBooth's music staff for feature consideration.

Martin Tillman submitted media.

Zero Gravity by Martin Tillman

Brian Zisook

This is a beautiful arrangement. I can truly say I've never before received anything like this, or close to this level of production, through a Fluence submission. This effort has boundless opportunities in the scoring scene, either film or video games. That said, it obviously has no place on DJBooth. 

Sherard Jones submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Hey Ess, thanks for the new submission. If your mission here was to just show you can rap, mission accomplished. You can definitely rap. That said, there are thousands of folks who can rap. You need to be able to come with more. You need charisma, charm, personality -- all I heard was you trying to prove you can spit and keep up with the beat. Personally, we look for that next level of artist, someone who can also prove they're capable of song structure, melody, chorus creation, replay-ability, etc.

Charles n/a submitted media.

CHILL PILL by Charles

Brian Zisook

Thank you for the submission, Charles. This is really solid, I enjoyed the song. The vocal isn't remarkable, but it works very well with the sonic landscape under it. The drugged out, syrupy R&B flow is very popular right now, so it's clear you're up on trends, but it didn't sound exactly like anything else, which is important. I'd play it again, and I look forward to more of your work. We will consider this for feature on DJBooth.

Bruce Thornton submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Guys, this is very good. The music is solid, the video is solid, it all comes together nicely. (Hopefully Chevy gave you some cash for that product placement front and center on the vehicle haha). The only complaint is that it feels abbreviated, cut short. The viewer is left wanting more -- which might have been the creative decision.

Matthew Shell submitted media.

Brian Zisook

This was good, but it's really hard to judge a :53 snippet in full. Gerald's sax work is gorgeous. Great tone, very smooth. 

Sedrick McLean submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Hey Sedrick, Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for submitting your work. I dig the bounce and flair in both the mic work and the track's production. We're familiar with Tim's work at DJBooth and his guest assist here is impressive... so impressive that he borderline steals your thunder. Overall, though, this was a solid listen. Not something I'd necessarily play again, but enjoyable until the end. We will consider for feature on DJBooth.

Ralina PR submitted media.

I Saw Momma by Emii

Brian Zisook

Emii, thank you for sharing "I Saw Momma" with me. I love holiday music (as is the case with most people with a heart and two ears), and the hook on your record is very very catchy, but your vocal range is very limited on the verses. The chorus is the most important part of a catchy holiday tune, so you can check that box, but in order to really impress with non-holiday tunes, where a complete effort is really required to turn heads and grow fans, you will need to turn in a better, more complete effort.

Bo Haan submitted media.

Undefined by Bo Haan

Brian Zisook

Hey Bo, this is outstanding! The song is full of life, super smooth and highly enjoyable. The instrumentation is fantastic. I played this back to back, something that has never happened while reviewing material on Fluence.

I will share your work with our Music Editor at DJBooth for feature consideration today.

Shaun Hettinger submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Memoryy - First thing I noticed is the mix. The vocals are a tad low, but that's an easy fix. The retro/80s vibe is solid, the production works, no complaints there. Vocally, I don't hear "it." Range, based on this display, feels limited. This would have worked better with a more powerful vocal, to match the tempo, or a more sweet, serine vocal. The best part of the vocal performance is during the bridge, where you harmonize around the 3 minute marker. The effort is solid, but not spectacular.

Bruce Thornton submitted media.

Rap Pills (Prod SpoobyJr) by New Zephland

Brian Zisook

NZ - I like the song, I think it has depth and offers intrigue with the beginning and end audio clips. The production isn't over the top, but dynamic enough to compliment your vocal performance. The song does feel incomplete, as though it could and should be longer, cut off before a listener can REALLY get into it. This might have been a tactical move, as it's never a bad thing to leave the listener wanting more -- though, as an indie artist, it's not always the best move. 

As for the video, it feels all over the place and doesn't ever truly capture the concept of the song or encapsulate the title completely. 

That said, we will consider the song, not the video, for placement on DJBooth.

Lucien Dante submitted media.

Tonight [Prod. by TKANG!!!] by Lucien Dante

Brian Zisook

Lucien -- The song has commercial appeal. Mixed and mastered well. Nice momentum built up throughout, credit to the solid production work. 

For someone who has never been in love before, as you sing, I'd like to hear more emotion in the vocals -- that is a painful omission and one that could have been more powerful and thus impactful.

Now following you on Soundcloud, looking forward to hearing new material as it's released.

PS. Not a fan of the artwork (or art in general that puts the focus on the artist/their face). Something simple and text driven or creative and thematic would be more appealing to prospective fans.

Shaun Hettinger submitted media.

Brian Zisook

Chill, easy-listening vibe. Retro feel, going for an 80's feel? The production is not overly intricate, but it works in its simplicity.

The vocals feel a little low, could be brought up a bit. Sounds, at times, like they're fighting with the production.

The song clocks in at 4:25, but goes a little long (feels that way). I'd aim to shorten the intro, get into the vocals quicker. Also, wrap sooner. 

Overall, a catchy tune. The vocals are missing the "it" factor, though. Does not have 'must replay now' written all over it. This is not an indictment of this track, but more so a judgement on the vocalist(s).