Track Review: Gelato- Room Service






Room Service




Room Service is available at:

9th March, 2015

Alternative, Heavy Metal



Gelato’s self-titled E.P. is available via:

Released: 10 March 2015

Drew – vocals & guitar

Phil – bass

Ben – drums

Recorded & mixed by: Tobin Jones at The Park Studios, London UK

Mastered by: Phil Joannides



IT has come to my attention the music industry is quite a…

cruel (and unflinching thing).  Actually, I sort of guessed that: over the last few weeks, I have noticed some great acts ‘call it time’- and close up shop forever.  A couple of my favourite (London) acts have disbanded; gone their separate ways- irked by the strains of music and its demands.   It is sad to see such a thing: a tremendous act have to quit; overcome by the pressures they face.  With so many acts coming through, you are going in (with no idea of where you will end up) – quite how things will work out.  I guess this is true of any industry/job: with music, there seems to be an edge of cruelty- an unpredictability that is unfair and harsh.  I have seen some fantastic acts dissolve; others who stress over their art- unsure whether they are doing the right thing.  A lot of the problem stems from money: not having enough to fund an entire career.  The cost of recording (even a single song) can be huge; parlaying that into an E.P. (more still) – it is asking huge demands of the musician.  Of course, creative difference can get in the way: it seems finance is the major bugaboo- and something that needs to be addressed.  Whether something can be done (and financing arranged for an act) is to be see; someone needs to take action- too much good music is dying needlessly.  The work is the main thing: being proud of what you are doing.  Whether there is a common solution (to avoid acts having to split/strain) is to be seen; for those playing (and starting up) such issues have to be put aside- and concentrate on the act of music-making.  When confidence is high (right from the start) that comes out: the public can embrace music (that is stunning).  Gelato have that confidence for sure: an act with a clear eye on the future.  Few bands possess quite the same sound, direction and urgency: their mix of quality and nuance is sure to see them be around (for years to come).  Before I continue, let me introduce you (to the band):

The head-hitting, high-energy pace of GELATO brings a solid rock sound with pop undertones, reminiscent of the Foo’s, Queens, and more.  After months of throat-shredding, string-snapping & stick-shedding, here is their debut EP, recorded with Tobin Jones (Bo Ningen, Twilight Sad, Cold Specks) and spearheaded by first single Room Service.  Join the party!

There is nothing fake or false when it comes to Gelato: here is an act that is genuine; unconcerned with following anyone else.  Being familiar with groups like Los & The Deadlines and Allusondrugs, I know how good this country is (at producing hard-hitting bands with a real kick).  Throw in the likes of Bi:Lingual and there is a solid core coming through: acts that fuse genres into a boiling pot of noise, melody, wit, anger (and other varied, contrasting colours).  The boys have just arrived, yet the signs are all good: their debut E.P. is a trio of stunning slices; songs that bounce around the brain- a collection of rock-solid, soul-shaking tracks.  A lot of new acts coming out tend to play softer (that is to say less vivacious) sounds; concentrate on introspection and self-examination: if you come into a packed marketplace (with so many like-minded competitors) it is hard to distinguish and stand apart.  When things are shaked up; the volume is turned up- that is when something terrific occurs.  Gelato are already setting tongues wagging: their music is connecting with people; new audiences are switching onto their potential.  It is still early; it would be remiss to charge ahead: from what has come out, the guys have a lot of options- and chances to play some rather high-profile venues/dates.

If you have (not as yet) discovered the band, then there are two starting points: Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age.  Both Dave Grohl—featured acts (Grohl was present during Queens’ Songs for the Deaf and Like Clockwise… albums) have made their mark- the lads have an essence of each.  To my mind, there is more Queens’ than Foo’- the vocals have that air of Josh Homme at his best (his braggadocio-cum-cool swing).  When Queens of the Stone Age launched Like Clockwise… I was astonished: I did not think the band would produce (something as wonderful) given what came before (Era Vulgaris).  When Like Clockwise… came out, my faith was renewed: the Californian boys were back at their best: an album solid with anthems and classics; a mixture of their glorious past (and renewed present).  Gelato have the force and prowess of Foo Fighters’ debut (their self-titled effort) – Punk elements came through; passionate performances abound; lunging urgency grip the imagination.  Don’t get caught up with other acts (when trying to assess Gelato): the band are their own beats; they simply borrow the odd bit (here and there).

Grumbling and moody vibes stir up Room Service: something dark is bubbling; the burbling bass notes kick the dust about- something dangerous is looking on.  Keeping the mood intense and unknowing the intro. begins to heighten and expand: the boys kick up the gears and expand their intentions- spiraling guitar fuses with hissing percussion; leading to a dizzying combination of sounds.  Keeping things focused and intense, Gelato tie in some wordlessness: a low-down hum reverberates; the chorus of sighs melts into the fray- the building blocks have been laid.  Just as you feel some explosion (is going to erupt) the vocal comes in: at first it is quite controlled and moody.  Emphasis is placed more on sound and feel- than clarity and decipherability- the grumble and sneer of the vocal means some of the lyrics are hard to pick up on.  This is no criticism or slight: the passion and intention of the song overcomes any slight minor.  Our front-man is missing out; his mind is casting out: his thoughts are spinning; his tongue lacerates and conspires- you start to build up your own interpretations.  Using the hotel/room service motif, one imagines something half-lit and flickering: a girl (or sweetheart) is on his mind- who he wants to keep by the phone- as the night draws in.  At its core- the song itself- has another interpretive possibility: a lonesome (or band-helmed) hero waiting for room service- impatiently treading the floor.  Whatever the listener imagines- and there is an open-ended quality to the lyrics- images do come flooding- ideas percolate thick and fast.  In the early stages, Room Service broods and prods: the low notes and insistent vocal has quite an overwhelming quality.  In spite of there being plenty of melodic nuance- the cooed backing vocals add relief and elliptical promise- there is a foreboding and harsh grip- something that adds to the track (and gets the listener on their toes).  Taking a little of Nevermind (Nirvana) with Foo Fighters’ early moments; pulsing in some Queens’ magic (especially their Songs for the Deaf-era work) and you get something quite special.  Room Service has plenty of punch and explosion: in the initial foray, these threats are kept mooted and demurred.  The boys have a wicked gleam in their eye; a seamless knack of mixing their talents together- incorporating elements of familiar sounds.  It is clear (listening to the lead do his thing) there is frustration and “missing out”- his mind is not calmed or settled; anxiety and anger are showing their skins.  Past the two-thirds mark, we get that sense of anger (come out to play) – the song expands and fizzes into life- those early introversions are dissipated; replaced with something vitriolic.  Never savage or reckless, the boys keep everything in order: ensure the song does not get lost in a swap of random notes- endless screaming and aimless pondering.  Catchy and addictive, you cannot help get lost in things: the chorus itself is an insatiable little thing (that begs for some sing-along chorusing).  Whether looking at a nervy hotel-based scene- or something disconnected and concerned with broken love- the band gets inside your head: each line seems to resonate and reverberate.  By the closing stages, the hypnotic swirl (grumbling vocals in the back; lighter vocals at the front- insatiable vibes around them) takes its toll- the group crank things to the max.  Just as you want a bit more, the song comes to its close: everything that has come before (still echoes in the head); the boys leave things with an evil glint.

You are hard-pressed to find detractions; have any criticisms at all- perhaps decipherability is an issue.  Some of the words are hard to understand- perhaps a lyrics sheet would be helpful- and get passed by: not a big issue when it comes to Room Service.  The vocals shine throughout: never overwrought and pretentious, there is genuine passion and personality- plenty of focus and force; light and optimism.  Drew’s vocal made have elements of Homme (and Grohl) without sounding sound-alike and forced- plenty of individuality and freshness come out.  When his guitar work comes into the light, you get the sense of a unique player- someone who has a real authority and understanding (and better than most of his contemporaries).  As a front-man he leads the music superbly: never stealing all focus, instead you get a real command and leadership- something that adds weight and wonder to the music on offer.  Phil’s bass almost steals the show: at the start it is viper-like and growling; as the song progresses, it expands and guides.  Never too lonesome and detached, it not only leads Room Service– making sure each word is giving plenty of stature and weight.  Ben’s percussion leads from the back; it is always statuesque and meaningful: marking himself out as a solid time-keeper, his sticks work keeps the song strong and intense- there is plenty of control and calm.  The entire band is tight and focused: they have a clear understanding and affection; each member knows their role- and plays it extremely well.  A band with a rich and varied sound, Room Service is just the start of things- their E.P. contains plenty of range and diversions whilst keeping their core sound loyal.

The E.P. Gelato is as varied (as the ice cream the band derives their name from): a packed and chocked arsenal of tastes, sensations and satisfaction- guaranteed to leave you wanting more.  Lead-off track (Get My Way) comes out of the gates snarling: a cutting and driving intro. leads the assault.  The sound of Queens of the Stone Age comes out: the glory days of Songs for the Deaf; that tremendous confidence and tremendous sound.  Hypnotic and swirling strings put me in mind of Homme (and his crew); the backing vocals (that coo with intimacy) have shades of Queens’ greatest moments- touching on their Lullabies to Paralyze work.  I adore both albums; the boys do not steal or mimic: instead incorporate (those albums’) best moments and finest assets- the result is wonderful.  With its U.S. vibes; the passion and urgency comes through in the delivery- swagger, energy and lust filters into every note.  I know Gelato are inspired by Foo Fighters- an act I have never liked at all- and they supersede the American masters- especially their latest L.P.  Being a huge fan of Dave Grohl (the drummer rather than a lead) I hear that coming out- the drumming is intense and tight; never overplayed or uncontrolled.  Ruffians closes the E.P.: a song that is brief and memorable; filled with the band’s core strengths.  A wonderful bookend- to Get My Way– here is a claustrophobic and suffocating number: one that comes with ragged edges; some lip-licking looseness- a vocal that is ice-cold and cigarette-smoking cool.

Gelato have shown (with their E.P.) they have the talent to remain: they are not one-trick wonders; they show a range of sounds (through the trio of songs).  The band remains tight and in-step throughout; each number seems well-rehearsed and authoritative- there is enough fun and frivolity to win over (the most stone-hearted listener).  The band manage to tease and tantilise: it would be great to hear some more tracks; expand on the three numbers- Gelato leaves you wanting (a lot) more.  With acts like Foo Fighters being past their best- they have been since their early days- and Queens’ slowing (although still immense), we need new kings: an act that have that Desert-Rock-cum-Californian cool to it; bits of mystique and dark magic- a concoction to please the senses.  What does the future hold?  Well, the band is going to playing and gigging: getting their music out there to the fans; getting people excited.  Whether the boys have album plans in their minds (or are thinking of touring the E.P.) I am not sure- their music would have some support across the U.S. (with its Queens of the Stone Age edges).  Returning to my opening point- that looks at why bands fault; the stresses that face musicians- I am pleased for Gelato: the band are concentrating on their work; the work is the main thing- hopefully financial issues are not going to come into play.  The band have a focused and tight sound; a clear affection- for each other and their songs- that is infectious and gripping: they will be capable of uniting fans of all genres- they are not out to exclude anyone.  With melody afoot; hard-rocking vibes being spat out- ample cool being wracked to 11- Gelato have a bright future.  Darlings like Royal Blood are getting (a lot of current) kudos: riding the crest of a wave; taking the bull by the horns.  I do not think this is a zeitgeist thing: the public have always embraced sounds that err on the side of heavy.  In conclusion, the band should be very proud: few acts have the ability to mix by-gone (and legendary) bands with their original and distinct personality- mixes them together to provide something both fresh and familiar.  With summer looming, we all need something upbeat and crowd-pleasing: sounds that unite crowds; get feet moving- and get the voices chanting loud.  Take the time to discover something special; an act that have ammunition to go far- and take the market by storm.  Whether you are fan of Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age (or not) then do not despair: their music is designed to unite- and not divide.  Gelato is just the start of things- and the band will not get ahead of themselves- but the signs are all good…

THE boys are here to stay.



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Track Review: Los & The Deadlines- Feel At Ease



Los & The Deadlines



Feel At Ease





Feel At Ease is available at:


17th April, 2015

Rock, Alternative, Desert-Rock



Lyrics by: Alex Losardo
Music by: Los and the Deadlines

Recorded and Mixed by: Tobin Jones at The Park Studios 
Produced by: Tobin Jones and Los and the Deadlines
Mastered by: Phil Joannides

IT is good to be back on familiar turf…

and focus on a band (I have reviewed a few times now).  In 2013 (and last year) I was lucky enough to hear some new Los’ material- get a glimpse into their current mindset.  Every time I came away (from reviewing the lads) I was left with the same sensation: how different they are.  In terms of composition, the band is truly diverse- its members are sourced from various parts of the globe.  In a music scene that promotes homogenisation- how many bands have men AND women; different nationalities and races together?- it is great to have Los & The Deadlines add some diversity- this multicultural approach feeds into their (glistening) music.  I have a good point to raise (well, a POINT) at least, but for the moment, let me give you a short introduction (on the band):

Alex LoSardo – lead vocals, guitar
Niels Bakx – guitar and backing vocals
Rotem Haguel – bass and backing vocals
Alberto Voglino – drums and backing vocals

“The seedy underbelly of any major city spawns some of the most depraved and morally reprehensible bastards that even the dregs of civilization look down upon. These cretins walk amongst us, they ask you for money, they serve you drinks, they file your taxes, and in this case; they formed a band. In the their new EP, “Perfect Holiday”, the Deadlines have not only made the depiction of absurdities in modern-day’s western society their craft; they made it their mission. With their tongue-in-cheek lyrics, thrashing riffs and thumping rhythms, Los and the Deadlines are a prophet’s voice in a decaying civilisation. Much like the city that they hail from, the Deadlines are the establishment of anti-establishment. They make sound. They make noise.”

This snapshot into the band makes me smile.  It may sound overblown and tongue-in-cheek- when phrases like “prophet’s voice in a decaying civilization” are expounded- yet there is some truth here: the band is a departure from their peers; they are an original and unique force- a group that makes sounds unlike any other.  With fellow acts- that I have reviewed- such as Bi:Lingual and Allusondrugs rocking the (new music) scene, there is a scarcity of genuine bands- those that make REAL sounds.  Yesterday, I reviewed Goldbirds- a new band who promise much- and was left relieved: another great band to get my teeth into.  London is a city coming back to the fore: a capital that has not always been over-stocked with terrific music.  Historically- when it comes to my reviews- the north has always provided (the finest acts) – the most diversity and most stunning flavours.  Perhaps (still) less homogenised than London, there is a revival occurring: the capital’s finest are starting to make their voices heard.  The mainstream has few impressive new bands- the likes of Drenge and Royal Blood (that name again) are few and far between.  I love softer sounds: Pop-infused electronics; soulful power; stunning hybrid music- there is not enough to lodge in the imagination.  New music provides the best chance (for future prosperity) and bands like Los & The Deadlines are in with a shout: a group with a festival-ready sound; a work ethic that feeds into every note and line (they perform).  A lot of acts get scared by the music scene: feel the need to rush material out; release anything fearing they will be ignored (if they are not overly-prolific).  Los & The Deadlines are less concerned: they have a style that is going to capture ears; they put time (and effort into their music) to ensure it is as good as possible- a trait that will set them up well for the future.  Knowing the band- and Niels Bakxs in particular- the lads are excited about (the coming year): just what is in store for their crew.  After their E.P. release- Part One: Bank was unveiled last year- they are preparing another (E.P.): something I am looking forward to.  After launching their new website (link is at the bottom of this review) they are priming themselves for new gigs: getting their music to fresh faces; making sure they recruit new followers- and thrilling London as much as they can.


Los & The Deadlines’ new track has elements of their past work: they have kept their core intact; their subject matter has changed.  Part One’ was released last year (in January) and looked at a range of subjects: banking; caffeine addiction; vanities and social media posturing among them.  Representing the voice of the office drone; the man stuck in the queue- or as the band explained: “…the shriveled homunculus of every Tom, Dick, and Harry standing in the musty queue under those ugly fluorescent lights that fry your nerve endings.”  The group tapped into modern malaise: channeled the frustrations of the everyday man; the nerve-shredding misery of life.  Not all bluster and force, the band produced melody and range: Reggae strands mingled with Grunge; hypnotic jams and rampant percussion was on display- a quintet of tracks designed to resonate.  Impressively cohesive and focused, the band displayed their close bond and tight-knit playing: each member is perfectly in-step and on board; the songs sound well-rehearsed (and a little loose) – a concoction that leaves you coming back for more.  London is a beautiful city, yet repressible humans reside: the faceless banker; the vain poseur; the ugly-minded businessman- their debut E.P. lacerated each of them; tore through the disreputable kin- sprinkled around magical sounds and myriad ideas.  Always strong songwriters, Feel At Ease is not a huge step forward: they have improved; they have always been hot and hard (out of the gate).  Forming the first taste (of their forthcoming E.P.) one presumes we have a Part Two’ approaching- the second part (of a trilogy?), which will explore new themes- faded dreams and creative frustration are at the forefront of Feel At Ease.  It will be great to see (what the new E.P. provides) but I suspect there will be new inspiration: the sound will be (as we expect from Los’) with some new stories on offer- fresh faces and new subjects being dissected.

For those looking for ‘sound-alike’ bands- for a start you’ll be struggling- then there are some jumping-off points- the likes of The Mars Volta and Queens of the Stone Age among them.  Like The Mars Volta, Los & The Deadlines inject psychedelic progressions and head-spinning noodling; gripping vocals and unpredictable compositions- that keep the listener guessing and on edge.  The Mars Volta- in most of their songs- are quite oblique and byzantine- their lyrics are open to interpretation.  Los & The Deadlines are more direct and decipherable- they like to get their message heard and understood from the off.  Queens of the Stone Age (one of my all-time favourite bands) give Desert-Rock grit and exceptional force- a band that is impossible to ignore.  Like Homme’s crew, Los’ have a terrific ear (for classic Rock sounds) – channeling the Californians (with flavours of Led Zeppelin).  The London-based band employ hints of others, whilst maintaining a distinct sound (very much of their own devising) – one of the most original groups on the current scene.

Feel At Ease springs straight into life- many of Los’ hallmarks come to the fore.  Building off a twisted and contorted few seconds, the mood starts to temporise.  Putting me in mind of early-career Nirvana, a bouncing (and springing) bass line replaces (the scrambled fury) – taking the listener in another direction.  Hypnotic and pulsating, you get sucked into the song- the band does not throw heavy vocals straight in; the Spoken Word-style opening is a terrific decision.  Dripping with sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek (although perhaps the song’s hero is being genuine) the idea of dream-seeking is explored.  The opening lines make me smile and reflect: “I’ve got an idea to make some money on the side. It shouldn’t be too much work/Just an hour or 2 here and there. It’ll give me plenty of down time.”  There is that tangible sense of debt and hardship: the song’s focal point is looking for some extra cash; a way to get out of debt- a friend of a friend (of a wheeler dealer-type figure).  The vocal delivery is wonderfully evocative: filled with character and urgency, you really root (for the hero) – the band back him with some chugging and marching sonics.  Like the intro. – and its shifting skin and style- the band notch up another gear: the vocal changes; the heaviness comes in- that sense of drama and unpredictability (is what makes the band so special).  In the early stages, there is a sense of mystery and mystique: what is this “dream” that is being touted?  Our hero is trying to live his dream; make a break and get to safety- is he referring to a music dream; the chance to be in the black (or something more sinister?).  At its roots, the song (and the band themselves) are looking out at society: the need to get a quick fix; reap finance and success- with the slightest of efforts.  In my mind, I think of the work shy and talent show contestants: people who want hand-outs and instant fame (without doing any work).  Feel At Ease’s (anti-) hero wants to dig himself out (of the hole he is in) – clear his debt.  The band have a devilish way of keeping the momentum going: the song builds and slows; it goes through stages- there is a real episodic and developing storyline.  Like a mini film (or drama) playing out, the track never loses its smile.  Backed by an incredible tight performance- the percussion sniggers and hisses; the bass twangs and contorts; the guitars steamroll and stutter- our man is back on the microphone.  Letting his distinct voice- which made me think of a 1940s film icon like James Stewart- the woe is not over.  In addition (to needing some money) life is getting more stressful- things are taking a turn for the worse.  His contact is strangely out of reach- “Does he have a new number?”- and the tension is rising: the subject is getting more frantic and bereft.  Whether speaking of a business plan- or a music-based pitch- the desperation comes out.  Determined to reach (the mystery figure) all sort of ideas are expounded- including getting a part-time job (to be near the man); do anything it takes.  Accepting reality, it seems a Plan-B is needed: a shot of sanity no less.  I love the duel layers on display: the vocal is quirky and charming; gripping and distinct- you always root for this underdog.  The band propel the lyrics with some wonderfully-realised performances: keeping tight and underplayed, the boys make sure there is always tension bubbling.  By the 1:35 mark, a crescendo is unleashed: the chorus swings back in; it seems more electrifying and wonderful the second time around.  When out lead takes a step back, it not only gives the music a chance to shine- it provides a chance to breathe too.  Swaggering guitars fuse with guiding bass; the percussion crackles and robes- it is a wonderful parable.  Throwing in some fuzzy (and scintillating) solos, the boys are clearly in their element: the confidence that comes through is hard to dismiss.  Perhaps their most assured song, there is a great sense of fun and purpose: the boys clearly had a ball recording the track.  Some Jack White-esque histrionics melt alongside some wordless vocals: the chorusing becomes augmented and domineering- before that chant-able chorus swings in.  As the final moments are elicited, the boys unite in voice: the song’s title becomes a desperation cry; that need to feel less stressed and anxious- the chance to return to a normal life.

Kudos goes to the entire band- it is very much a group performance.  The lyrics are filled with drama, wit and real-life reflection: we all know of someone who (is similar to the song’s hero).  Like all Los & The Deadlines songs, there is honesty and modern life snapshots in focus: songs that the listener can connect with in a very real way.  Presenting another twisting and stunning composition, Feel At Ease gains merit on many fronts.  LaSardo is a terrific singer- and someone who always impresses me- who shows his range here.  When the lyrics are spoken (or half-paced) he pronounces and projects with a real feel for the subject- the words are not lazily slung; they are perfectly acted and annunciated.  When things get hot and heavy, his voice is sharp and feral- you get a real sense of pain and anxiety (exactly what the band want to happen).  As a guitarist, he bonds supremely with his bandmate (Niels Bakx).  The duo share vocals- Bakx is on backing vocals- and guitar duties: they have a real understanding of each other; their byplay and linking is superb.  Not overthrowing the other, their twin fret work is exhilarating and tight.  Bakx has always impressed me (with his guitar work) and here he comes into his own- at times (when he steps into the spotlight) you can hear his progression.  In addition to working with other artists- including The Glass Child- he has had chance to increase his scope; grow in confidence and ability.  One thing I forget to mention was (that the band) has a new recruit- Rotem Haguel is on board.  When Soundgarden changed their rotation (around the time of Badmotorfinger) their new ally (bassist Ben Shepard) instantly gelled.  Not only joining with songwriting duties, he slotted effortlessly with the band.  Haguel sounds like an old mate and player: someone who was with the band from the embryonic moments.  This is a good thing, as it makes Feel At Ease that much stronger- a weaker musician may have slowed and dismissed the track.  Providfing some stunning bass work- that has elements of Krist Novoselic, Chris Wolstenholme and Flea- that provides oodles of melody, rhythm, sexuality, tension (and hypnotisation).  Voglino almost steals the show with his drumming: at once snake-like and viper-like; the next it becomes raptured and flailing.  Never unfocused or wandering, he guides and supports the band- keeping the song on the tracks and looking forward.  Powerful and skillful, the percussionist shows what a force he is; one of the key weapons in the band’s arsenal.  Overall, the band throws their all into their track- the result is another triumphant song.  This bodes VERY well (with regards their new E.P.).

The future is going to be bright (for Los & The Deadlines).  On April 29th, the band plays Lock 17 Camden: a change to premiere their new single.  After that, there will be the E.P.: what it (will sound like) is anyone’s guess.  What I can be sure of is the boys’ plight: the next year will see them grow in stature; accrue more fans; become bigger and better.  Filled with confidence, assuredness and direction, the band is on fire: they have a new website; new visuals and promotional shots; fresh gigs on the horizon.  With their brother Crystal Seagulls- another band I have reviewed a few times- they are taking London by the testicles: showing how good music can be.  Feel At Ease is a tongue-teasing statement from a group in fine form: a group of lads who have a wide array of concerns; never content to stick with the samey subjects of their peers (my-heart-is-broken-poor me; vague and generic love songs).  I cannot wait for the new E.P.: it will be a chance to see what Los & The Deadlines have on their mind; what is enforcing their (current sounds) – the new single is a tempting and stunning slice.  The band impress in a number of different ways.  As ‘people’ (personalities) they embrace their fans: they are everymen who represent the voices of the majority- and have a fun-loving and cheeky joie de vire.  As much as anything, the guys know how to distinguish themselves: their music is not formulaic and processed; they have a sense of innovation you cannot fault.  It is good to be back (reviewing Los & The Deadlines) as they always deliver- offer something exciting and memorable.  As I said, the future will be a bright one: it can only be a matter of time until they are promoted to the big-time leagues- and win a headliner slot at a big festival.  After the finger nail-shredding tension (of yesterday’s F.A. Cup semi-final), I was in need of something calmer and secure: whilst the boys do not do calm, they certainly do secure.  Not in a boring and timid way: rather, they produce songs that alienate nobody; give you a glimpse into modern Britain- and reflect the voices of the many (and not just the few).  Couple this with some terrific sounds and captivating vocals, and you know what they are about: a group that shine in every department.  Feel At Ease– and its ironic title- is a teaser for what is ahead: another (I would presume) stunning E.P.; another step forward for Los’- make sure you check the band out.  As I venture into the Sunday sun (when the sodding thing comes out) I feel strangely ill at ease: the band has a great way of uncovering (a person’s deep-hidden insecurities).  That is the mark of a great act: when you force the listener to change their ways; thinking about their own lives…

THAT is always a good thing.



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An Apology: On Behalf of My Gender

An Apology: On Behalf of My Gender.



THIS one will be short and to the point…

Something has been annoying me recently: the potent toxicity of social media (and the Internet).  After hearing Sue Perkins- who has left Twitter as a result- experiencing such a tirade of abuse (when it was speculated she would take the reins of Jeremy Clarkson’s now-vacated seat on Top Gear).  The whole incident left me feeling shocked and sickened (read about it:

One thing I hate about social media/the Internet- there aren’t too many of them- is the amount of hatred and bile (being spewed in all sorts of directions).  It all makes me ashamed of my gender: this issue is a male-dominated ill; something ‘us men’ are culpable of- and should be ashamed of.  It is true, women (and especially teenage girls) can be vindictive and hateful- just hear stories of online bullying to get a sense of how bad it can get.  When it comes to the majority of Internet-based hatred: it is the male race that is causing a black shadow.  I look at YouTube- various songs and comedy clips- and my jaw drops: the sort of homophobic/racist/offensive comments left- and exchanged between male users- beggars belief.  What has happened to people?  It seems to be an issue with my generation: what compels a person to drag their knuckles (so low); how could a so-called ‘human’ descend to animal-like behavior?  I feel sorry for Sue Perkins: not only (was the news of her presenting Top Gear) fabricated: she has not risen to the bait (dangled by my knuckle-dragging gender-mates).  If she had murdered whores of people; vomited racist abuse- you could understand the reaction.  She is not Nick Griffin; she is not a murderer; she is not a brainless monster: she is a charming (and talented) woman who does not deserve an iota of criticism.  The fact she has dealt with the issue with such dignity- and not gone on the offensive- shows ounces of class and respect: she is a Cambridge-educated woman and is far too smart to associate herself (with the jizz stains excuses for humans who perpetrated such poison).

Away from (the Sue Perkins incident) there is plenty to feel bad about: the amount of abuse, sexism and offensiveness (created my men) has left me feeling cold.  I understand there are some rather unpleasant women in the world- and when it comes to mealy-mouthed savagery, they are not blameless- yet there are in the minority.  I am an advocate and supporter of equal rights (when it comes to women and pay; their role in society) and I feel sorry for them: with (I must say, the minority) of men showing themselves to be cowardly scum, what hope do they have?  I am getting fed up with things: so many men creating such hatred and offense; abuse levelled at good and honest people.

Take social media out of the equation, and thing about other issues: animal cruelty and torture; religious prejudice and segregation- murder and hate crimes.  There is an undeniable sense of (ill-begotten) superiority: many men feel they are above the law; more still have little conscience and moral standing. Even small things highlight the plight: charity and goodwill seems to be waning (the most caring and charitable people I know are women).  I am not sure what can be done- with regards curing this issue.  With regards social media: we need to ban (offenders) and make genuine arrests (when hatred is created and threats are made).

There are plenty of good, decent men out there: I am concerned about the state of my generation.   We are supposed to be human beings, yet there seems to be a severe lack of humanity: what do the likes of Sue Perkins feel (when seeing threats and abuse on their twitter feed?).  Something needs to be done; the law needs to get tougher- above all, my gender needs to get its act together.  Those who feel justified- in trolling throughout the Internet; creating racial and sexiest abuse- deserve no place (in the modern world) – and should be swiftly punished.  It is a sad state we live in: with such inequality- when it comes to gender and race- I wonder about the state of things.  The minority (of the population) are leaving some black marks: the majority (of the offenders) are men.

Cases of trolling just make me angry and red-faced: I feel such sympathy towards those (that are on the receiving end).  Guess this is something I needed to get off of my chest: I am not sure if there is a (quick) answer at all.  I am speaking to a very small number (of men) when I write this; and to them I would offer this: get your act together and get yourself out of society.  There is no place (in the modern world) for the racist, sexiest, homophobic, offensive and degraded humans- lock yourself in a dark room and do not associate with others.  To the animal abuses- who are mostly male- the killers and kidnappers; those who belittle and abuse women: go castrate yourself and wait for death.  There is too much hate and awfulness in the world: the male-led disgrace is making this world a more retched and disgraceful place.  I can (on behalf of those who are incapable of doing so) apologise: I am sure the likes of Sue Perkins are not going to be one-offs.  With that in mind, it makes me think the same thing…

WHY is it women who should be fighting for equality (when we set such a disgraceful example)?

Track Review: Goldbirds- Silver & Gold




Silver & Gold





Silver & Gold is available at:


4th May

Rock and Roll, Blues-Rock




IT has been a while since I have been genuinely…

excited (about a weekend’s reviewing activity).  The past few months have promised much (from the mainstream): the likes of Blur are back strong (their album The Magic Whip is gaining huge praise); bands such as Drenge (having produced a terrific L.P.) are earning kudos- it is a great spring of music.  In the new music field, there is quality to be found-   In addition to Electro.-Pop dreaminess, I have been lucky enough to review to varied (and stunning sounds)- that have left their impressions.  At the back of my mind has been this thought: where has all the (inventive Rock music) gone?  Sure, there are so interesting Rock bands out there- to my mind, few are genuinely innovative and distinct.  My featured act has restored some balance and optimism: here is an act that has stamped-out a glistening debut single.  I shall come to that in time, yet it brings up an interesting point: how to be unique when it comes to modern music.  With so much competition coming through (the new musician) has a task ahead of them: how to resonate in the mind.  Cementing your sound- and keeping the momentum going- is always a tough chore: many acts capitulated; deflated by the weight of expectation/pressure.  Goldbirds are an act (born from the ashes of another).  Having reviewed El Born (previously), I am familiar with Hils Granger and Si Connelly.  Their previous incarnation was a great act; having produced some terrific songs the band was disassembled- the couple (feeling they) should regroup (and re-launch).  After following El Born- and their wonderful sounds- I was curious what was coming next- how Goldbirds would differ; whether any (of El Bon’s) sound would be in there.  Having recruited Mike Brazier (on percussion; programming) and Earl Phillips (bass and vocals), we have a new creation- a “straight up Rock & Roll band.”  What we get (with their debut single) is something elementary and pure: a direct hit of Rock; something instant and long-lasting (whilst not compromising originality and personality).  Their social media pages are a little bare at the moment- they give little about their influences and thoughts/ambitions- but that only adds to the excitement and mystique- the group wants their songs to do the talking (shouting).  Before I get down to things (and review the song/band), it is worth thinking about this: the state of U.K. (new) music.  Most of my recent reviews have (focused upon) Canadian acts- and all they have to offer.  When it comes to homegrown sounds, I am seeing some patchiness: there are fantastic acts coming through; many more fail to linger (in the imagination).  What British musicians have always done so well is to make direct music: sounds free from tinsel; those which get straight down to things.  Goldbirds are an act that do not need effects and layers; they have a style that is urgent and classic- mixing together classic ‘60s-‘70s Rock sounds with modern-day Rock passion.  With the likes of Royal Blood making waves, it is a great time (for acts like Goldbirds).  The band mix melodic vocals with swirling sounds: catchiness and addictive codas nestle within stomping percussion (flaming guitar and solid bass work).  The may be in their sapling stages; it seems the act has plenty to offer- who knows what the coming few months will give?

Beginning with a stomping kick- that has some Country-Rock-cum-Blues swagger- Silver & Gold swings into view.  With its hell-yeah attitude, you are instantly gripped.  With that (indelible and kick-ass intro.) gaining momentum- the types modern paramours Royal Blood would snatch up- a clarion call (“Yeah yeah!”) is injected- a titanium call to the masses.  Lascivious slink- tied with some come-get-some high heel stomp- beckons in some sweaty (and blood).  With the hero at the microphone, there is talk of lipstick and sensuality: some direct intentions and the need (for the heroine) to “shake it.”  There is a real scenic nature to the lyrics: you can picture (the heroine) and story as it goes down.  With a raw and blood-lusting vocal, the track gets straight into your brain.  Backed by guiding bass and rollicking drums, Silver & Gold shoots to kill.  In spite of the fact- the song has aspects of ‘70s Blues-Rock and U.S. Garage-Rock acts- there’s a huge sense of individuality- it is hard to bring any other acts/songs to mind.  With Connelly about to explode (with lust and anticipation), you can feel the shiver and sweat- it drips from the speakers.  His girl is an intoxicating prospect; she is dressed to impress; capable of turning heads- you can sense an imminent coming-together.  Granger plays the role of a femme fatale: someone who has taken the wind from the sails.  Having fallen in love (with her) it seems disappointment (and heartache) has played their hand- you almost forget about the sense of fracture (when our two leads unite in a chorus of “ah, ah, ah, ahs.”  From an itinerant love story-with-heartbreak-imminent, the band throws in some catchy vocals- a simple coda that is chant-worthy and redemptive (a terrific injection of fever-pitched fuzzed-out swing).  Putting me in mind of the Blues-Rock glory boys- The White Stripes for one- the band are effortlessly captivating.  Knowing (each of their roles) the players are in-step and intuitive: there are no loose notes and unsure beats; everything hits the mark with stunning clarity and purpose.  When (Granger and Connelly) trade-off of one another, you get a new layer- the drama and passion is not over yet.  With the heroine’s “blood thicker than your…”, the hero is haunted (by her words)- the back-and-forth thrust-and-parry is superbly executed (in no small part due to some excellent production and wonderful performances).  It seems (both have a secret to tell) that they want to “whisper in your ear”- that tangible tension and lust is palpable.  In addition to some wonderful (and urgent) vocals, the instrumentation adds to the mood.  The percussion demure somewhat: creating a heartbeat (that judders and contracts); the bass and guitars slither and syphon- the ensuing concoction matches some sturdy keys, designed to enthrall and grip.  You can imagine (each vocalist) in the studio- on opposite sides at different microphones- looking into each other’s eyes- coquettish grins and twinkling eyes being exchanged.  The song rises and builds, the vocals get steamier and more claustrophobic- as the duo (calls the other to) “come a little closer.”  Just as you lean in- and wonder if an actual in-studio explosion will occur- the song kicks up a gear: the chorus comes into play, as the band whip up a flurry.  Having been captured (the first time the chorus came in) it is now even more insistent- you find yourself singing along with abandon.  The final stages do not go down with a whisper: the kaleidoscopic (and boiling cauldron) keys blaze and burnish.  Chugging up a head of steam, the band do not slow or desist- Connelly still seems wracked and tormented (deeply affected and overcome by the heroine’s spell).  The overall impression- Silver & Gold leaves in the imagination- one gets is of an assured and urgent track: the band have crafted something fast-paced, addictive and sing-along slice; something that mixes classic Rock and Roll with their distinct sound- a concoction sure to enliven and impress hungry fans.  It may be the (earliest of) days, yet the band should have no fear: Silver & Gold is a lead-off step that will yield future success: if they pen more tracks like this, they will be a sure-fire festival band (and an act capable of long-term potential).

The first steps are always the most difficult (and unpredictable).  Coming in fresh, (the new act) is left wondering how they will be received- and have to take a few chances.  It is important going in strong and hard- making sure the public want to hear more.  Goldbirds are not playing anything safe: they have unveiled a storming lead single- that sets the stage for some exciting times.  I hope an E.P. is in their mind: it would be great to hear some counterparts to Silver & Gold.  Not only is the track pure gold itself; it is a unique insight into the four-piece: what upcoming sounds may hold.  Not to get too ahead of things; the quarter have plenty of ammunition- they are capable of winning over legions of sounds.  Their debut single shows how hungry they are: exceptional songwriting mixes the simple and complex; impassioned and raw- the band sound tight and focused.  Not merely a side project or second chance, Goldbirds is a bona fide projectile: a British invasion that promises to spare no prisoners.  Dedicated to bringing fun, passion and heritage (back to Rock music); the band will have a good future.   On May 6th, the band plays The Borderline: it will be their first live gig; a chance to wow the crowds of London.  The fearsome foursome is sure to go down a storm: it will be the start of something awesome.  Silver & Gold is a track ready-made for the spring: capable of lighting up the sun; getting feet and fists pumping.  El Bon may be gone; Goldbirds have risen: an act that demands your attention and respect.  Solid songwriting and terrific beats (are only the start of things) – there is plenty more to come.  It is exciting (seeing a band fresh-faced and newly-bred): what exactly will Goldbirds produce next?  Knowing Granger and Connelly- and already being a huge fan of their Goldbirds cohorts- there is sure to be quality and surprise: the duo are terrific songwriters; a natural bond- they are a real-life couple- and real flair for the nuanced music.  Stepping away from Canada- for a few weeks at least- I am pleased to promote some great homegrown magic: an act that has a lot to say; are sure to be headliners in years to come.  Full of hope and eagerness, I know how much (Granger particularly) wants the band to succeed- with tracks like Silver & Gold, success will be a foregone conclusion.  For now- and before the band start to expand and captivate- listen to where they are now: their embryonic offering is a terrific slice of Rock and Roll: sprinkled with Blues magic, it is hard to shake off (the addictive nature of the track).  Congratulations to the band, which have bonded incredibly quickly- it is this bond through in every note.  Aside from (their live debut performance), there is sure to be new material- some more gigs and performances perhaps.  For now, sit back and relax: listen to a glistening track; one filled with jewels and diamonds (of sound); silver nuggets of song, because…

ALL that glistens is Goldbirds.



Follow Goldbirds:









Interview: Ellene Masri


Ellene Masri




Having had a busy (2015) so far- including a successful Kickstarter campaign- Ellene Masri is preparing for busy times: there is a lot of love (and support) for her music.  Having followed her career- and being familiar with her work- I was keen to catch up; see how this year has treated her (and what she has in store)


OVER the past months (and years) I have been deeply impressed- by the new music talent coming through.  This is especially true of Ellene Masri: one of the most striking and passionate (artists in the music world). 

Having completed a successful Kickstarter campaign- the funding for her Lonely Girl: A Live Video Performance ( Masri has a busy (rest of 2015) ahead: one filled with excitement, possibility and music.  Based in the U.S., the French-born artist is one of the most humble musicians I have known: she loves her fans and this enforces her tremendous music.  In addition (to her jaw-dropping beauty) comes an endless work rate- a huge passion for music (and reaching new fans).  Not contented to sit still, Masri always bowls me over: the way she talks about music has inspired me; propelled my creative mind (it would be great to collaborate with her soon).  Having communicated via Facebook- about mainly personal/Kickstarter-related issues- I was keen to go deeper: find out what drives her music; who has influenced her- and whether the music industry is male-driven (and unequal)

Hi Ellene. How are you today? It is very windy in the U.K.: how is it where you are?

Hi Sam I’m doing great thank you. It’s always a pleasure chatting with you. It is windy too here out West, but sunny!

Congratulations (on the successful funding) of your Kickstarter campaign- have you been surprised (by the amount of people who got involved)?

Thank you! Of course and to tell you the truth, I had no idea of how much help I would receive. I’ve been extremely surprised by their generosity. It was amazing to get such great support from people all over the world. I knew it would come mainly from Europe and the U.S. but I discovered people were also enjoying my music in Latin America, Japan, Australia, Indonesia…

Now that you have (achieved your target on Kickstarter) what will are you doing over the next few weeks/months?

Not only did we reach the initial target but we also met the Stretch Goal which allowed us to book a second day in the studio, add two staff members and to arrange to shoot a Documentary that will be released a little bit later. We will be shooting the video on April 26. So right now I am organizing the video. I am working on putting the rewards together and will be shipping them very soon. I will release a Stevie Wonder cover recorded with Sir. Gant especially for the backers. So it’s going to be a busy month. Once the video is ready, it will be sent to my agents.

With regards (your recent ‘Live Video’/Kickstarter success): how important is social media to you (and other musicians)?

Social media is very important. A lot of professionals use it as a tool to discover new artists. But it is also crucial to build a real relationship with your fans that I consider as friends a lot of times. They support me and I’m really thankful for that. They give a meaning to my music. I see it as a chain. The artist, the journalists, the D.J.s and the fans. We are all essential to each other.

You are currently in the U.S. and originate from France.  Will you be coming to London/ Europe (over the next few months)?

Yes. I plan to come to London this summer. I will also go to France to visit my parents that I haven’t seen in almost a year now.

You have been working with Sir Gant ( a lot (on some wonderful collaboration pieces). How important (has he been) with regards your development/success?

We’ve just started, really. We haven’t released any original material yet. We did a few covers for the fun and now we’re working on this important project which is the video, a video that will be shared with the fans and spread all over the internet as an introductory taste of our collaboration. I think this will be more representative of our work than anything you’ve seen/heard us doing until now.

Having reviewed your music last year- Music (the album) and Rain (song) was some of finest music I heard last year- are there plans for (some new music) in 2015?

I have to tell you again how deeply touched I felt by your fantastic review. You were first to review it and I remember saying to myself: anytime you doubt, go back to this review, someone out there is moved by your music. I like to think that the people who you’re speaking to through your music will recognize themselves. I believe that you attract a certain category of souls depending on what music you make. And I’m not just talking about a music style here, I’m talking about the kind of emotions that you let flow. It could be love, anger, ego; it could be a lot of things. I want my music to be loving. I’m not bitter so I don’t want it to be. It’s OK for it to be nostalgic but I think there’s no need for it to be sad. We get enough of this every day.

Your music is very unique in a culture with homogenised and predictable music.  Who has influenced your music? Has your itinerant background (and traveling to many countries) enforced your rich (and distinct) sound?

Thank you Sam. My influences are so many and diverse that it is hard to tell. But I have my favorites. Bob Marley, Third World and Steel Pulse, The Cure, Stevie Wonder, India Arie, Rachelle Ferrell, Jonathan Butler, Anita Baker, Richard Bona, Ella Fitzgerald… And of course I’m very influenced by my roots. My mother would listen to Nat King Cole and my father loved Classical music (European and Egyptian Classical music)… In fact when I was a kid he would set a timer on the boom box and I would wake up to the music. I also love to travel and then incorporate different sounds in my music: I think Hossam Ramzy’s Tabla (Egyptian Tabla master) on Secret Lover is giving the song its unique groove, halfway between Latin Jazz and Middle Eastern grooves. It’s also a way for me to pay tribute to my Egyptian roots!

On that note: I am very inspired by Jazz-Rock legends Steely Dan; great artists like Jeff Buckley and Radiohead. If you had to select (your most influential/favourite artists) who would you select?

I like Steely Dan too. But I would say Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder.

With London growing (as a music city): can you see yourself moving to/performing more (over here)?

Oh YES! I love London so much! I’ve always been attracted by and sensitive to the British Culture. It’s something about the energy of London city and its musical scene. I feel a deep connection. But I’ll go wherever the music takes me.

Does the U.S. provide greater opportunities/chances for musicians like you (with a very special style)?

It’s a little early for me to say as I haven’t started touring yet. I know how it is in the U.S., the U.K. and France, but there’s so much to discover. However, I think you create opportunities!

In addition to your original material you have recorded a wide range of covers. If you had to choose your top five songs/albums from music (that have meant the most to you) what would they be?

I am glad you let me choose between songs and albums. A lot of times I only listen to a couple of songs in an album. So, off the top of my head I would say…

> My One & Only Love (George Benson, Tribute to Nat King Cole)

> Heal Our Land (Jonathan Butler)

> Rocket Love (Stevie Wonder)

> Another Day (Buckshot LeFonque feat. Frank McComb)

 > Sweet Love (Anita Baker)

A lot of new musicians have to work tirelessly (to get their music heard/reviewed/ funded) and can often face disappointment/ despondency. What would you say to anyone (in that situation): what are the best ways to market/find success?

Success is when preparation meets opportunity”. I like that saying. Opportunities will come up when you will reach a great level with your music. When you’re ripe and ready! You will find agents; you will find people who will want to get on the boat because they believe in you. You have to do your part first. (Four more questions left sorry to ramble, slightly).

It seems in music- like a lot of sectors- there are more men/male-led bands (taking a lot of media focus). With fantastic acts (such as yourself) coming through: do you think things need to change (in the industry).  Is it something that makes you angry/sad?

“This is a man’s world!” There’s no doubt about it. Yes it needs to change and yes it makes me terribly sad. What needs to change in the industry? More women in the key positions, maybe. If women were to make choices, I think it would be different. I’m not just blaming everything on men. A lot of women also have prejudices about women. And the more they work together, the more they will learn to listen to each other and respect each other’s opinion. Now in the media, I think our Western model h as hyper-sexualized women and not necessarily liberated them. I want to see my sisters as entrepreneurs, artists, proud mothers, not just as girls pimped by their producers. The new generation is hearing Rihanna sing “Pour it up; pour it up, that’s how we ball out.” Is this what we want to teach them? That a woman’s success depends on the amount of dollar bills filling her bra?

Having known you quite a few months and followed your progress what have been your highlights (of your music career thus far): any particular highs that stick out?

My album’s release.  A new Video coming up. It’s just the start, really. I’m eager to get on tour and create more “highs”

Odd question (had to throw one in). Looking at your ‘fan map’- location of people who have followed your music/donated to Kickstarter- Australia (and N.Z.) seems a little bare: are these areas you wish to conquer and play- it seems your music would go down there very well.

Of course! I want to go everywhere… The world is so full of amazing places! They’re already playing my music down there in Australia. I also have direct uncles, aunts and cousins that were born there and live in Sydney. So yes, I’m really eager to go there!

Thanks for your time, Ellene. You have worked tirelessly and will be doing so a lot and best of luck going forward. It seems like exciting times are ahead…

Thank you Sam. You are also working hard supporting independent artists and other causes and I am really grateful for that. You’re doing a great job reviewing emerging artists using your writing skills, great ear and sensibility. I look forward to meeting you very soon in London…

THAT will be something to look forward to for sure.



Follow Ellene Masri:







Ellene’s album (Music) is available at:


Ellene’s latest track (Lonely Girl) can be heard here:


Track Review: Jade The Moon- Broken Angels



Jade The Moon

  Jade The Moon

Broken Angels




Broken Angels is available at:


24th March, 2015





Culvert Music


THIS review is going to be quite to the point…

as it represents a (sapling act): one that is really starting out.  Before I offer some insight (and biography), I want to raise a subject: brand-new acts.  Jade The Moon is pretty much in their infancy: with few tracks (available online) it is good to witness an act- that is starting out; on the ground level.  Usually- when I survey an act- they have a string of tracks under their belt: maybe a few E.P.s; an album perhaps- a pretty defined back catalogue.  It is always great to see an artist JUST starting out: the initial movements are among the most exciting- the truest testament of the musician; their first steps into (the music world).  Although Jade The Moon have crafted an E.P.- Habits and Hindrance– their latest track is their most prominent: the most urgent and gripping (song they have produced so far).  Among the U.K.-based acts, many of us (do not see the sapling movements).  When a band (or act) comes to our attention- unless we know them through social media- they are usually pretty settled: have assurance and a number of tracks.  The music industry is a pretty darn tough one: with so many (new artists) flowing by the week; the chances of long-term success are undefined- artists have to work tirelessly just to get people listening to their music.  The way to ensure some longevity is to go in strong: create songs (and sounds) that differ from ‘the norm.’- something that is pretty special.  When I see new musicians (come through with their debut songs), I often get a familiar sensation: this type of music has been done to death; where is the originality?  At the moment, the likes of Mumford & Sons and James Bay (are on critical lips) – between them there is so much bland music, it is enough to bore you to death.  In fact, cast the net wider: you get the same sort of (depressing familiarity) and blandness among the current scene.  It is only when you dig deeper do you discover something fascinating: songs that pop and snap; intriguing compositions; gripping sounds- music that demands repeated investigation.  The music industry needs Pop/Folk-driven gentility: the fact is, there is so much of it about (we do not need any more).  The moodier- and darkly bracing sounds- of the Electro.-Pop goddesses are the rarity: a hard-to-fault sensation, guaranteed to tantilise the senses.  Being a fan of acts like London Grammar and FKA twigs- two very different acts- they are led by strong females: voices that come straight at you; get inside you head and heart- make you root for them.  I yearn to be seduced and affected; feel empathy (and sympathy) for a musician: share their burden through the wonderful medium of music.  A lot of acts attempt this- few ever succeed.

Jade The Moon is based out of Toronto (the producers of Broken Angels come from here): Jade herself hails from Vancouver.  Based around south/south-west Canada, Jade The Moon is a short step from the U.S.: a market they are starting to (make impressions in).  Having reviewed a lot of Canadian acts (mainly Ontario-based artists) it is nice to travel across the country: see the coming-together of reputable producers (Bad Cop // Mean Cop) and a stunning vocalist.  Before I raise (another point), let me introduce Jade The Moon:

It’s spring 2014. The moon shines brightly in downtown Toronto and 27 year old Jade Moon leaves her apartment in Parkdale. It’s very early in the morning. She starts out on one of her routine late night/early morning walks down a seemingly abandoned street. She eventually arrives at her favourite bench in a quiet corner of a neighbourhood park shop where she routinely stops to collect herself/thoughts and talk to the stars. A small town girl living autonomously and alone in a new city where the streets have all the personality and the faces have no names. She begins writing in her note book. Written at the top of the page are the words U TAKE CARE (I guess you didn’t know). The words she would write next would eventually inspire a collection of songs about the habits (GOOD or BAD) and cycles we so often find ourselves repeating whether we like it or not. Stories of Love and Hate. Stories of Ecstasy and Empathy. U Take Care specifically talks about the relationship between a woman and a man (a fictitious and almost demon like character that only exists in the mind of our story-teller) This man can only take love and is incapable of returning it. A sarcastic and poetic take on a love song… Jade The Moon Habits & Hindrance is the debut EP release for this exciting new project comprised of Vancouver’s Jade Moon (Vocal/Guitar/Piano) and Toronto Based production duo Bad Cop / / Mean Cop. The sounds are edgy. One might say that within in the current realm of popular music this project is borderline punk. The majority of the EP was recorded over a two-week period in kitchens and living rooms. Raw one take vocals make up the majority of the vocal performances on the album… Jade The Moon was created as a passion project, nothing more (or less). Born from a craving to make music free of borders and limitations and certainly with no intention to cater to current radio format. “We wanted to create without any care for song structure or content ” says Jade. We were more concerned about putting a feeling into the recording and knew that going on instinct would be our strength. This trio of creative minds admit the project was entirely whimsical and happened almost accidentally.”

Whether the project was ‘accidental’ or not, it is clear it is a special thing: a collaboration that needs to continue.  The biography (and formation of Jade The Moon) sounds strangely romantic: there is heartache and pain; yet moonlight and stars are a saving grace.  Having gained a reputation in Canada- and caught the eye of reviewers and writers- Jade The Moon have an exciting future: it seems there is potential to grow and expand; play across Europe- gain legions of new fans.  Their upbringing (and rise) has been a Canada/U.S.-based treasure: they are starting to get some recognition further afield.  Daring to be different; presenting music that is both gripping and seductive- it is hardly a surprise they are getting serious plaudits.  Broken Angels is where they are now: their state of mind; Jade The Moon’s heroine lays her heart and mind out- to create something quite sensational.

When describing the track (Jade The Moon) assessed it thus:

It was an attempt to represent musically, the feeling of fighting and F@%King and the sad truth that so many relationships are no more than that,” said Moon in a statement about the song. “We wanted to create free of restrictions. Going on instinct would be our strength. There’s no room for emotional barriers. Nothing to cover up.”

(Quote from

Lush and delicate strings arrive (to beckon in Broken Angels).  Like contemporaries- such as Indiana and Florence + The Machine- there is something ethereal and otherworldly.  Gorgeous and serene, the listener is giving a gentle touch: they are welcomed in with delicacy and romance.  The production (helmed expertly and assuredly) mixes notes together- without compromising the overall sound.  Electronic nuance mingles with plinking strings; swaying aches settle alongside sharp notes- the overall effect is both natural and uplifting.  When Jade arrives at the microphone, she spoons out her words: they are paced with precision and pauses- to ensure the words are both understood and effective.  From the immediate stages you think about (Jade and The Moon’s) formation: looking up to the sky (from a park bench); thinking and reflecting on life.  The heroine look to the moon (and starts): lost in the night, you can practically picture the scene- the composition blends wonderfully with the vocals; giving the track an effective edge.  When the composition starts to swirl and rise, Jade’s voice stretches and aches.  Whether speaking to a (former sweetheart) or talking about herself, words like “you are falling so gently in the sky” are delivered with insistence and urgency- the voice is both rich and aching at the same time.  Building pace and momentum, the track kicks up a gear: talking of broken angels, the heroine yearns and implores- the line “help them feel love” is one of the most memorable and direct (of the song).  As the backing rouses and augments- electronics get harder and the beat increases- our heroine is enraptured and gripped.  The chorus is heart-pounding and anthemic- designed to unite festival crowds; get hands in the air and set the night on fire.  Having built from soft (and gentle) beginnings, the song reaches its high: the mantra comes to the fore; Jade is at her most direct and enraptured.  It is impossible to deny (the strength and passion) of the chorus: with quotable lyrics and fantastic production, our heroine lets her voice rise and power- building shivers and tingles a-plenty.  Building the fever and fervor, the track’s crescendo ignites and sparks- you get caught up in the myriad sounds; the rapture of pace and energy- awash in the momentum of the track.  As not to peak too soon, the mood settles slightly: Jade is back in reflective mood; speaking to her (former beau?) she implores: “Shiver in my arms.”  It is impressive, in the way the words are delineated.  Many artists would rush and power- get the words our quickly- but Jade The Moon are a different affair: the lyrics are carefully deployed; not only adding effectiveness, but ensuring the track has a great- and shifting- dynamic.   What you take away from the song, is that central message: repair broken angels to help them feel love.  It is a coda that is repeated (in the closing moments), imploring the listener- not only to sing along- but to remember that fact- those that are sad and heartbroken need rebuilding.  It is a unique spin on a common theme: the plight of the heartbroken is hard; yet there is a chance of redemption. As the closing moments press and pervade, you are fully invested in the track: it takes repeated listens to fully appreciate (its many possibilities and meanings).

Broken Angels is a song for lovers and losers: a track that seems to speak to everyone; we have all gone through similar things (as Jade).  Although the heroine has gone through tough times- and really dark places- the way that is channeled (through the track) is quite mesmerising.  As it stands, E.P. plans- and release- is imminent: a chance (for the rest of the world) to see what Jade The Moon is about.  In (Jade’s words), it will be something quite different:

“The lead off track 5 6 7 8 FIGHT AND FOUGHT (WE ONLY) reflects on a relationship and sets the tone for the EP, discussing the human capacity to “Love and War” with each other over and over again… Everyone involved in the recording of this album was going through major changes. A couple of us were going through extremely dark times. In fact 5 6 7 8 was created the one and only time we ever collectively wrote together. It was an attempt to represent musically, the feeling of fighting and F@%King and the sad truth that so many relationships are no more than that… The theme of cycles on this project continues with the lead-off single Broken Angels in which Jade sings an almost eerie lullaby. The distinct character of her voice is heard on this song as she sings about healing the broken hearted in hopes they may learn to love again.”

The future (for Jade The Moon) is going to be a mixture of easy and tough.  Jade has plenty of beauty and appeal; mountains of potential and talent- a sound that is urgent, impassioned and nuanced.  With regards (the album/record release), Jade comments:

“We based the whole album theme around the story of a girl who is unknowingly on dark and destructive path walking hand in hand with her own demons and worst enemy [herself]“. On this path she learns how to cope and heal herself yet never correcting the fact that life is a vicious cycle… Near the end of the record, she is back where she started and the only lesson she’s learned is that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Jade’ differ from their peers greatly: the way instruments are combined (flutes, guitars, electronics) will spike the ear; the spectacular production brings each note (and vocal) to life.  Jade’s vocals have hints of Florence Welch; the power and prowess is all there: beauty, seduction and sensitivity can be witnessed too.  Broken Angels is a great starting-place (when listening to Jade The Moon) although it is clear- when their new record is out- there will be a lot of different shades- wonderful stories and soundscapes; a wonderful collection of moods and sensations.  It is Jade The Moon’s songwriting- the memorable lyrics and evocative stories- that captivated me: the way (the listener) is brought into the track; the music implores you to get involved- instead of creating alienation.  The social media numbers (for Jade’) may be meagre; that is something that is going to change: the act are in their early stages; making their early impressions.  When their (forthcoming release) is dropped, that is all going to change: the fans will flock in; the reviews will come- Jade The Moon will no longer be lonely and heartbroken.  Whether (increased fan numbers and adulation) will change Jade’s mindset- and the songwriting- is unsure (you suspect not), but I would love to see the live performance: hear those incredible vocals in their natural setting.  When looking to the future, the ‘band’ see it this way:

“Honestly we created this music thinking “who would like this crazy music, so moving forward… I guess we’ll let the listeners decide what we do next.”

(Quotes sourced from

It is very much up to the listener: how long (the band/act lasts) depends on how many people latch on.  From the perspective of Broken Angels– the band are likely to get more fans- it seems quite bright: I think they will have a prosperous future.  The early days are always exciting: there are plenty of nerves (and questions) but it is always intriguing to see- Jade The Moon have a confidence and sense of belonging that comes through in the music.  In addition to performing in Canada, I hope the act troupes across (to the U.K.)- brings their music to the masses.  Keep your eyes peeled- to the pages of Jade The Moon- and watch them rise (in popularity and stature).  In a music world filled with bland (and dull music) it is always rewarding coming across songs like Broken Angels.  A track that not only gets inside your heart- and comes from a place we have all been- but lifts the spirit.  Through remarkable production; sharp songwriting- backed by tremendous vocals- it is hard to resist.  Quite frankly…

WHY would you ever want to?



Follow Jade The Moon:






Jade the Moon\

The Single Voice: The (New) Music Initiatives

The Single Voice: The (New) Music Initiatives

THIS will be a short one…

as not to bore the collective.  Tomorrow- I will back to reviewing duties- but for today, I am ‘on a mission’: getting out; doing as much as I can (to help out).  Today- when I get some time to sit and have a coffee- I will be reflecting on my current/continued passion: getting The Single Voice ‘going’.  I know it must be quite boring- hearing me rattle on about something consistently- yet it marks a great passion: something that means a lot to me.  At the moment, I am developing ideas (homepage web design; concepts and promotional ideas; logistical things) but, it occurred to me, there are things that could be done- whilst waiting for Google to respond (and get things moving).

Seeing as (The Single Voice) incorporates new music/original music components- where you can compile playlists around new/original music, there is an opportunity (to do something promotional): get some musicians together- to record an album.  In the past, my attempts to get people together have been mixed: I am determined to hold a concert (when I can get money together); other schemes have been a bit over-ambitious- this one seems simpler and more affordable.  It (the idea) would be launched next year- or sooner if I can get people together- and would bring new musicians together: ten-twelve in total.  I will be posting other blog posts- of a similar nature- based around similar ideas: that will incorporate comedy, film; online blogs- and a few other things (there will be five in total).

The music promotion/initiative (as-yet untitled) would bring together musicians of multiple genres- some based in the U.K.; some other parts of the globe.  I want to bring female artists together (including Jen Armstrong, Ellene Masri, Chess, Elena Stathaki; a couple of others); some gents (Los and the Deadlines, Bi:Lingual and others)- in addition to duos/groups such as Braver Than Fiction, Gypsyfingers, Issimo and Crystal Seagulls.  As I say (the idea will pull together a dozen acts all told) and would present a nice range of genres/sounds.  Each act would record an original song: it would be anything they like; maximum length of four minutes (a chance for them to break away from their usual duties; write something unique).  Once each act has recorded their song, I will get all the (digital) recordings together: and get them mixed and arranged.  Once the 10-12 tracks are compiled, they will then go onto BandCamp: where (if you want to buy the album) it would cost 250 English pence.

Initially, there would be a Kickstarter/Pledgemusic campaign: raising funds for the production and promotional duties- which will not be a large sum (and easily achievable).  Backers will get some good rewards- including vinyl/C.D. copies of the album; goodies from the musicians involved- and once the album is ‘live’: donations will go to charities- of the particular bands/acts involved.  There will be a limited number of C.D./vinyl copies- some of which will go to the musicians- but I hope the album (untitled at the moment) will raise lots of money- get some funds together for great causes.  The musicians- that are involved- have a chance to do what they want; bring something new to the table- get their music heard by new audiences.

What the incentive will do, is to promote The Single Voice: there will be a promotional video- including clips from the musicians- that will help launch the scheme; get people involved.  Over the next few weeks, I will be launching similar blogs/schemes- involving short films, comedy shorts- that help to do the same (as the music scheme).  I hope the bands involved- that I want to take part- will be on board; I hope the public buy the album (when it is released later this year/early next year): I hope it is a good idea (I am never sure when I let my imagination get away from me).

Keep your eyes out- I will be posting a few posts throughout the next month- and thanks for all the support so far.

LET’S make it happen

The Single Voice (post):

The Time to (For)give… and Keep Going

The Time to (For)give… and Keep Going


THIS will be a short(ish) one …

For me at least.  Tomorrow- or next week anyway- I will be back to ‘regular’ duties: interviews, reviews etc.  Lately, I have become jaded somewhat: review subjects (acts I assess) have not really been showing enough gratitude- not that I review (to have my ego stroked), but it is quite hurtful (when you get the spam/bare-minimum reply).  Last year, I got some great feedback; reviewing meant a lot to acts- their praise really touched me.  From now on, I am going to be very selective with reviewing: ‘accept’ acts that (I know for sure) will appreciate my time and effort.  I guess it is one of the things about modern music: artists have to contact so many people; tick off so many boxes- they are endlessly busy and stressed.  It has made me think about things (in a wider sense)…

Social media is one of those odd things: you can connect with someone- find some terrific people- without ever meeting them; never seeing them face-to-face.  I have acquired/forged some terrific relations- with some wonderful people- the last few years- I am getting worried.  It applies more to musicians, but there is a lot of stress/anxiety going around: the pace and pressure of the industry is getting to them.  Seeing as I cannot (write a letter to each of them personally)- a few of them are in the U.S.; some even further away- I will do it here.

Easter is a great time to relax; a chance to escape (the pressures and boredom of work): enjoy some solace and peace.  For the musician, the clock never stops: they keep going on and on (and burn the candle at both ends).  This year (so far) I have been following some great musicians; pleased and proud of their progress- touched by their development and progress.

Ellene Masri:

Having just completed a (successful Kickstarter campaign) she is hard at work: video recording; planning and organization- a lot of busy times ahead.  Having been a Lonely Girl, I have been proud of her development and achievements: someone who never stops giving to fans; works tirelessly for her art- someone that wants to connect with people all around the world.  I know (over the next few weeks) she will be working non-stop: never really slowing down; music-planning, promotion and hard graft- someone who deserves things.  I hope (she will) get a chance to relax; to reflect- and see the effect she has had (on musicians, fans and followers around the world):

Jen Armstrong:

Currently based in the U.S., the Yorkshire-born artist has been working hard: having returned from New Zealand, she is performing across the U.S.; getting her music out there- some important dates and events await.  Like Ellene, she has been never-ending (with her music and promotion): nobody else is as passionate about her- music means everything to her.  Having had some doubts and stresses- and bravely traveling (to the U.S practically) by her self- she is achieving a lot; putting smiles on faces.  It may take a few years, yet I am in no doubt: the young star will fusil all of her dreams (and damned to the bad/hard times).

Diane Sherwood:

Manager- and biggest supporter of The Updraft Imperative, she never stops plugging: making sure the boys are happy; they are getting their name out there- she is planning a trip to Australia to see them (and is very excited about the fact).  A huge supporter of mine, she always looks out for people; supports great music- tirelessly works (to get her musicians the best deals/life possible).  Never someone to quit, she keeps plugging and pushing: few other people work as hard and (as passionately)- something that has inspired me greatly.

Dylan Cartlidge:

The Bi:Lingual man is a prodigious and tireless songwriter: I have been privy to some tantilising snap-shots and songs-in-waiting (the band have a serious talent in their midst).  Often doubting himself- in the way musicians are never 100% sure of their abilities- I love his songwriting; his incredible (shapeshifting and oscillating vocal ability) – the passion he brings to each song/performance.  Another tireless talent, I hope he gets to chill a bit: and realise the future is going to be prosperous (and very bright).

Sarah Collins:

Someone who has had a tough (few years), her endless passion (and performances) are deeply impressive- she never stops recording music; always looking ahead (someone whose past has been fraught with heartache and illness).  Having been on a rise, it seems like 2015/16 will be wondrous and jam-packed: so many new fans are flocking to her door.  With such a break-neck pace (she is working at), let’s hope there are some ‘down days’- where she can sit and rest.

I get worries about people (on social media).  On twitter, there is a girl I know (who I have not personally met), having a tough time: unhappy in the U.K. (or with life at the moment), I get stressed thinking about it- how the strain and fatigue of life affects her.  Desperate to do more (without appearing like an odd stalker/nutcase), I am wracking my brain: trying to ‘fix’ an issue (I may have no business trying to fix).  The same is true- with regards my music friends- of the people I know.  Not just directed at the music people; but everyone is doing so well: the people I know are the hardest-working and (most passionate) you could find- there seems to be some doubts.  In an age- where you need to work ruthlessly to get your voice heard- there is little time to relent/relax: it causes people to get depressed; start to burn out (and doubt themselves).

From my perspective- the way I want to try to help in a larger sense- is to ‘do good’: various acts and ideas (like The Single Voice) I hope can ease burdens.  In a realistic sense, it may not be possible (to eradicate issues like this; get the best people the success they need).  Whether resolution is truly possible, all I can do is say this: keep going exactly as you are; make time for yourself.  From ‘local peeps’ like Elena Ramona, Chess, Marisa Rodriguez (and many others); northern stars Issimo- international stars a-plenty.  To the musicians (and non-musician) alike: give yourself and break; you will get there in the end.  Everyone I know- who wants to make it big- is so young and talented: the progress they are making is inspiring (to me and many others), so take heart from that.

After the Easter debris subsides, allow yourself some days off: reflect on all you’ve achieved and put you first.  The anxiety, heartache and stress- that many are going through right now- will not last: do not let it overwhelm you.  There is an army out there- of people you may have never met- that want to support/help you all the way.  It is a message that applies to everyone- who may be reading this- but you’re doing great:

THE best is yet to come.

Track Review: Adi Ulmansky (Ft. BORGORE)- Was It You?



Adi Ulmansky (Ft. BORGORE)

Was It You?




Was It You? is available at:\

19 July, 2014




TODAY’s review is marked by (some) confusion, happenstance and…

crossed-wires.  In spite of that, the discovery (of my featured artist) is a fortunate one: here is an act that is going to be a huge prospect.  Before I get to that, it is worth tracking back.  Today- and how I managed to lose an email from the band- I was due to assess Canadian music.  I am sure (and if they are reading this, get back in touch) I will be ‘back on track’ next week; but for now, I am looking across Asia.  My only review to date (in Asia) came last year- when assessing India’s Antriksh Bali- and since then, there has been quiet.  I often wonder why there is such a concentration (of music from certain places) and a scarcity elsewhere.  I know for a fact there is terrific music emanating from Asia, Africa, Australia (and Europe): when we think of new music, we often concentrate on North America and the U.K.  It is understandable (these two areas) are under such focus: traditionally the greatest music ever has come from here.  Over the last year, I have had my thoughts altered; discovered music (from different areas) and been quite surprised.  From French-raised/born Jazz to Australian Christian-Rock, there is a lot of great out there: too many of us concentrate our focus too narrowly.  The music coming from Australia is broad and exciting: it is not a huge market, yet the musicians here are fervent and fascinating.  Europe is providing (greater diversity) and choice- all manner of genres and sounds are being explored.  When I assessed Ellene Masri- an artist born In France; she not lives in the U.S. – it was a rare opportunity to travel away from the U.K. – discover European music of the highest order.  Asia is not to be forgotten, either: some fantastic artists are coming through; making their names heard.  Perhaps- in their native countries/continents- there is not the same chance to thrive; there is a tendency for artists to emanate (to the U.S. and U.K.).  Huge nations provide fans and venues: it is natural musicians make their way (to countries like the U.S.).  That said, it is important (these artists) do not lose their identity; remember where they came from- and ensure those discovering them realise that.  As much as I love (acts and bands based in the U.K. and North America), I thrive from diversity: musicians that offer some different, exotic, fascinating- away from the blandness that is so prescient.  This year- with regards new music- has uncovered some great artists; some terrific sounds- to my mind, there is still not enough originality.  Bands (by and large) tend to be predictable and underwhelming- not quite as electric and spine-tingling as they should- whereas solo acts are a little bland.  New music has always been the exception: all the acts I have featured are terrific and captivating.  The mainstream does throw up quality, yet there needs to be a change: welcome in (more new music) and inject some flavour and colour.  If we (the music-lovers) are going to be stay loyal, the mainstream needs a shake-up: blow away the boring and turgid; bring in the young and hungry.  What with the immense influx- and innumerable surge of fresh artists- it is impossible locating needles (in the haystack).


Adi Ulmansky is an artist with a difference.  She came to my attention- when looking at the website- of Brick London (a P.R./music promotions company based out of Shoreditch).  Having reviewed (some of their artists before), I was excited to uncover Ulmansky-see what she is about and what she can offer.  One of the first things that strike you- when it comes to Ulmansky- is her looks.  Stunningly beautiful- who has a terrific girl-next-door quality- she is a striking proposition.  Complete with green hair (and an infectious allure) she stands out from her peers- who tend to be rather unspectacular (in that sense).  It is clear she (Ulmansky) is no ordinary star: her style and looks break away from the crowd; she dares to be different and fresh.  Aside from her beauty and style, it is the music that hits you.  Ulmansky has just finished (an extensive tour of Europe) taking in the likes of Poland and Germany.  Her official website recalls her travels: the tour bus memories; the terrific crowds; the memorable festivals are all in there.  It is clear (that tour and experience) has been a fond one: she has been able to connect with new crowds; get to see her European fans- take in some wonderful sights.  Ulmansky is an artist that favours homemade beats (and comforts) – one of the D.I.Y. artists that prefers the comforts of home.  Her music has plenty of grandeur and heaviness; there is plenty of intimacy and personality in there.  A lot of (modern-day acts) still go for overproduction and studio luxuries: Ulmansky is someone who does things her own way; keeps the music pure and unfettered; does not clutter it with tinsel and processing.  Although she is based out of Tel Aviv, Ulmansky- to my mind at least- shares some parallels with Bjork.  Like the Icelandic legend, Ulmansky has a very distinct fashion sense- the striking hair; unique style; memorable looks- and way of working.  When the beasts and electronics (in her music) arrive, I am reminded of Bjork- particularly her earlier work.  Whether Bjork (is a direct influence for Ulmansky) I am not sure- it is an interesting comparison.  With that said, the Israeli heroine does things her own way: she is an original and stunning talent; someone with her own idiosyncrasies and direction.  Back in 2013, Ulmansky’s releases (her mixtape Shit Just Got Real and the Hurricane Girl E.P.) received huge acclaim: publications such as The Guardian featured them; heaped praise and support (her way).  Gaining the ear of the masses, it was not long (before Ulmansky’s music) was picked up by brands like Nike and American Express- who featured it for their campaigns.  2014 saw collaborations with BORGORE (a long-term collaborator; someone I shall mention later), and a spot at Glastonbury- quite a rise for the young artist.  Was It You? – my featured track today- featured (on her debut E.P.)- is a stunning and immediate track- a song that gets right inside your brain.  You can tell here is a girl that means business: her E.P. and mixtape have titles that portray a strong-willed and strong human.  Every note and vocal is instilled with passion and grit: Ulmansky is an artist that wants to be remembered; her music to be played long and loud.  In spite (of her flair and urgency) there is passion and tenderness: some fragility and vulnerability lingers under the surface.  This year is going to see quite a change: there is speculation of new material (from our heroine); some exciting gigs perhaps (speculation and excitement will build).  Having just completed (an exhausting and extensive tour) she will want to rest, yet there is a huge demand and intrigue: her online numbers are rising; fans are excited to see what will come next.  Having accrued an impressive army of fans- her numbers across Twitter and Facebook (combined) top 13,000- she is a fast-growing and beloved artist.  In addition to her distinct style, her warmth and personality wins you over: she is an artist that wants to connect with fans; reach as many people as possible- a commodity you do not see in everyone.

Shit Just Got Real– her mixtape released in 2013- features a compendium of sounds: fragmented vocals; diced beats; head-spinning electronics.  Hip-Hop influences come to the fore; Post-Dubstep styles: all wrapped up in Ulmansky’s Pop-tinged vocals.  The sound- that runs throughout the mixtape- is youthful and vibrant; urban and gripping- her lyrics are rapped, twisted and seductive.  Not content to stick with one course, vocals (and beats) contort and refract: Ulmansky switches course rapidly; her attentions change and charge- it is a heady and exhausting listen.  Being a mixtape, it plays out like a mini-opera: there are few gaps and chances to draw breath.  A daring and impressive release, Ulmansky (at her embryonic stage) marked herself out as an artist to watch: an incredible writer and vocalist; someone who understands music at its core.  Fearless and impossible-to-define; cross-pollinating and authoritative, Shit Just Got Real lives up to its title: the likes of M.I.A., James Blake (and FKA twigs) never produced anything this immediate.  Chillwave and Urban; Pop and Electronic: the Tel Aviv wonder is not content to sit still.  Shit Just Got Real proved how ‘together’ Ulmansky was: there are no loose edges and wasted notes; no sense of ambling and naivety.  Every beat, swathe and vocal seemed natural and perfected- counterbalanced with a loose and easy sound.  That mixture of looseness-cum-finesse showed its hand in Hurricane Girl– the E.P. that followed a few months later.  Back in 2011, Ulmansky was part of Lorena B- a short-lived act that produced a couple of wonderful released (over 2011-2012).  Since- the disintegration of her band- Ulmansky has been collaborating a lot: sparring with the likes of BORGORE and Lishkoah Meakol, she is hard to tire- not an artist that seems to slow or relax much.  Since her early days, Ulmansky has grown in confidence and direction.  Her latest track (well, released last year) is her most impressive and nuanced cut: the testament of her past work; the summation of her guile, force and innovativeness.  Tying together her previous glories- the stylish and variegated sounds- with her recent inspirations; Was It You? Is a stunning slice of music.

Adi Ulmansky in United Islands Festival Prague Jun2013b.jpg

Delicate (and nursery rhyme soft) electronics welcome in Was It You? – putting me in mind of Bjork’s Vulnicura and Biophilia tenderness.  Sparse and tripping, the beat comes in.  Lurching and punchy; it parabonds with supreme intuition and ease.  Juxtaposing the graceful undertones, the (slightly dirty) percussion gives the track some danger and street vibes: you can imagine a late-night London sojourn; the song side-winds through elemental avenues and smoke-tinged (dingy) neighbourhoods.  Anyone expecting a Shit’-style rush- or an Urban warfare throw-down- will bridle (with a smile on their face).  Ulmansky’s first contribution is one of beauty and delicacy.  “Things are getting lost/Just like you and I” our heroine sings- with some oblique fascination and child-like enunciation.  With (maybe a touch of) modern-day Electronica and Pop, there is a mixture of mainstream quality and distinct Ulmansky: an infusion that instantly soothes the bones; inspires the imagination; compels the soul.  With its accompanying video (see the YouTube link) you start to conspire and project: Ulmansky seems heartbroken and lost; dislocated and adrift.  As the early stages progress- and the video unfolds- our heroine looks on: stuck in a “dark room of fog” that unfolds “right in front (of my) eye.”  Whereas most tracks- of this kin; by her peers- look at blame and break-up (and put the blame with the other party), here there is ambiguity and doubt- our heroine is unsure how things (got like they did) and who is the culpable one.  With her voice gliding and cooing- tripping and bathed in silk- BORGORE beats add weight and candor to proceedings.  Ulmansky seems emotional and fragile- yet her voice remains strong and together- lost in the haze of her own thoughts and recollections.  With anxiety and desperation- “Was it, was it, was it you?”- Ulmansky seems drugged and forlorn: trying to piece things together, that sense of confusion shines through.  The heroine is not sure what has happened; where things went wrong- even wondering: “Do you even remember me?”  Impossible to forget or leave (you would imagine) Ulmansky’s sweetheart has departed; shards have been left- she is trying to figure things out.  As the beats (and electronics) stutter and sparkle, our heroine’s voice pushes and presses: both breathy and open, it is an intoxicating performance.  Whilst the mood augments- and the composition becomes more frantic and layered- Ulmansky recollects: “I miss the feeling of being held/In your arms so tight…”  She is trying to fly/live her life- while her wings are number- trying to forget- although the same (bad) memories come to the forefront.  The video (for the track) is striking and compelling: strange images; artistic scenes; our heroine walking alone- is a perfect fit.  Propelled and supported- by the insatiable and stunning composition- Ulmansky is swimming in a centrifuge: her heart has been fragmented; her life changed forever.  You can sense that need for closure and satisfaction: she wants things to go back to how they were; be in the arms of her man- unsure why he went away; how things fell apart.  When BORGORE comes in to play the ‘anti-hero’: her man and former sweetheart is in apologetic voice.  Calling out to her, there is a fond desire- that his “so pretty” girl- to be with her; to have her in his arms- return things to their former state.  Adding Rap and Hip-Hop (into the Electronic mood), BORGORE adds some urgency and force- adding some dark shades into the light.  When BORGORE recollects, he is earsing (bad memories) and rewriting the romance- altering events and changing facts.  Remembering some find times- jumping from buildings; hot and heavy moments- it is clear (Ulmansky) had quite an effect- the heroine has left her mark; cast her spell, and caused some hurt.  Who is to blame, we are not sure- there is some confusion as to who left whom- but one thing is for sure: neither party seems happy (with their lot).  Ulmansky seems affected and yearning; BORGORE angered and lustful- the combination (of the twin voices and prohections) works wonderfully.  Both voices slot together perfectly- hardly surprising as they have worked together before- and neither one seems out of place.  Ulmansky’s sweet sensuality (and breathy sexuality) spars with BORGORE’s harder Rap- wrapped around the swirling electronics, Was It You? is a classic slice of Electro.-Pop.  As the final notes come into play- and the video comes to its conclusion- our heroine sits and ponders; burns old memories- leaves the listener rooting for her.  Whether (our heroine gained) answers is not clear: you really hope her hurt dissipated; her pain subsised.  With its incredible production and stunning composition; tied with the incredible vocal performances- the track is an instant success.  Pairing with original (and personal) lyrics, it is a track that gets inside your brain- and makes you sigh (and fall for Avi Ulmansky).

I have blathered on excessively: I hope Avi Ulmansky will forgive my loquaciousness and fevered passion.  I would love to see Ulmansky play London (I know she has played here before) and show the capital what she is about: I know many people who would flock to see her.  With the likes of FKA twigs, James Blake (and Electro. artists with clout) a minority: we need to see (and hear) more of this girl.  It would be understandable- were Ulmansky to recuperate and take some down-time- following such a whirlwind tour.  After the dust has settled, there will be plenty of options: does she opt for an all-out L.P.; an E.P. perhaps; some more collaborating?  Will the music be extemporaneous and sexy; hard-hitting and snarling; kaledopsic and shape-shifting?  Know Ulmansky, it will be all of the above!  Was It You? Is a tantilising glimpse into the future: a sign of her upcoming direction and a window into her psyche?  It would be great to hear an album in 2015/16- whether her freewheelin’ and mixtape-ready style would work in this arena- from the Israeli Siren: she is a fantastic songwriter with plenty of moods and ideas.  Whatever arrives will surely feature BORGORE; it will have elements of Shit Just Got Real– incorporate current influence and experiences.  When that moment arrives, it will be an exciting one: fans and followers are eager to see what comes next.  Being a new fan (of Ulmansky) I am catching up on lost time: looking back at her past; discovering everything I can.  Was It You? is bold and brave; exciting and rainbow-coloured- filled with drama, fascination and questions.  It is Ulmansky’s spirit and drive (that enforces her music) and I cannot wait to see where it takes her.  Before I wrap up, I want to circle back to my opening point: that which relates to cultural diversity and exploration.  Many of us- when it comes to music at least- will not be over-familiar with Tel Aviv: unaware that artists like Avi Ulmansky are around.  It is great to discover local talent, but it’s even more exciting finding something foreign: something unusual and new; international and unexpected.  The rest of 2015 will see the young artist weigh up her options; decide what she wants to do- she may already know and be keeping it close to her chest.  Having (just now) enthralled and entertained Europe, she is taking a much-needed breather- and is lamenting the end of (a wonderful experience).  When she regroups, magic will surely emerge: something new and different; a record that will excite her fans.  It will not be long until Ulmansky is a mainstream name; plays the biggest and more prestigious festivals- she played Glastonbury in 2014- and is a common name.  Until that day arrives (sooner rather than later) discover what the buzz is about: the girl has a desire to be heard and discovered.  Gorgeous and striking; talented and pioneering fresh and vibrant- here’s an artist we need to support.  Make sure you dig out her mixtape; her involved with her E.P. – take a listen to her latest song.  Once that is done, prepare yourself for what is to come- whatever form that takes.  Whatever she has in mind- whether it is a musical about-face or sweeping album- one thing is certain:

IT will be impossible to resist.



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The Most Insulting Phrase You Could Ever Say

The Most Insulting Phrase You Could Ever Say




With Easter upon us, I have been thinking a lot (about others; the world at large), and taking heart: it could be worse…


“THERE are people (in the world) worse off than you…

Is- as this blog’s title suggests- the most insulting thing anyone can ever say (to any other human).  It is statistically true- with over 7 billion people on the planet, there are going to be quite a few- although it is completely irrelevant.   For one thing- when anyone has ever said that to me- they do not know (how difficult/bad things are) – so making a determination (as above) is, at best, ill-informed.  If people want to be empathetic/helpful (a rarity among the general populous) then they need to start giving a damn: it is one thing (there are quite a few) that annoys me greatly; when it comes to other people.  A sheer lack of empathy and social responsibly lingers like a bad smell- particularly prescient with my generation.  I am not the most altruistic or nicest person on earth, yet I feel well-placed to ‘judge’: give the collective a swift (metaphorical) boot.  Whereas a lot of people ‘have it worse than me’, this much is true: too many have it better off.

Over the last few weeks, the news has depressed me.  The recent plane tragedy (in the Alps) was particularly disturbing: something that hovered and poked around my brain.  Not omitting the terror and fear (the doomed passengers experienced in their final moments) the subject of depression came back to the fore- something that has come into sharp focus (over the last few months).  It seems that (the majority at least) the recent air tragedies- Air Asia’s two lost planes- have been caused by human error.  Whether- these crashes and tragedies- were caused by depression (or a sense of self-destruction) it is hugely distressing: why take hundreds of people with you (if you do not want to live on earth anymore?).   Mental illness will always be the deformed animal in the porch: the thing that people walk by (looking off-put and nauseated); the thing that is never petted- that animal that will always wait out in the cold.  Being depressed myself (quite severely at times) I know how hard others have it: just how bad mental illness can get.

I get affected by a lot of news stories (particularly true lately).  The massacre in Kenya (where scores of university students were slaughtered on the basis of their religion); every accidental death; each unnecessary death- I always picture everything; get upset and affected (I let it all get to me).  Perhaps it is the way I am hard-wired, yet it seems worrying (whether I will ever be able to cope with the ‘reality’ of the world).  I know I cannot stop things like this: I am incapable of messiah-like feats of salvation and protection, but I (always feel) compelled to get involved.

Over the next few days (I will be publishing a blog on Sunday) I am pressing hard (with my charity idea) and am still optimistic and resolute- I am finding few faults with the idea; sure masses will warm to the concept (when it goes live).  In as much as (there is a lot of needless waste/tragedy around) there is an even bigger problem: people turning their backs and not giving a damn.  I am not talking about the ‘wider scale’- in the community, I see too many humans doing the bare-minimum (on a good day).  Whether it is passing by the Big Issue Seller; not helping an elderly person open the door; not stopping when someone feints/has an accident- I wonder what the hell goes through (other people’s heads).  Reviewing music, I have become disaffected lately: bands and musicians are treating (the chance to get reviewed) as were it nothing.  I have in front of me, cards of thanks- touching and wonderful emails- from bands/managers/acts I have assessed- all thankful and grateful.  I never expected any of it, but (getting gifts like that) has compelled me to keep going with it- bands and musicians now seem less thankful; treat me like one (out of hundreds of reviewers); something they have to tick off the list.  I know how busy and hard it is (for musicians to get noticed) and they have a tough time- simple manners and appreciation goes a long way.

Maybe I am being (a premature) ‘old man’: what the hell is going on with people?  I know lots of wonderfully thoughtful people (who have it worse than me); many lovely humans (that are very good to me): I know too many (who have it all) give nothing bad.  More than anything in the world, I want to be less alone- I hate being single- and feel less ‘unloved’ (in that sense).  I want to live in London (timing a job and flat together will prove tough); I want to get a band together (and fulfil a lifelong dream) – I want to have a job I enjoy/can stand.  As much as anything, I want others to be ‘okay’- an attitude I never want to lose.  Whether this means (I spend less time on myself) I don’t mind.

Small changes and actions can make a big difference: changing attitudes and ways can lead to huge things.  Not wanting to sound like a preacher: too many people need to start thinking (about others).  This Easter I will be writing a lot; getting away from home (as much as humanely possible) and trying to relax.  I hope everyone has a great time (the next few days) and gives themselves some relaxation and space.  To those (who have not spent enough time thinking of others): make them feel less lonely; make some small changes- perform an act of kindness, just for the hell of it (and see the other person’s reaction).  Lots of people have it worse than me, and I realise how lucky I am.  For those that are (worse off), I will be eternally saddened- and sympathetic.  For those better off- that spend little thought on others- I will be endlessly angry.  Being more socially conscious- in addition to being a good thing- also makes you feel better about yourself.  When it comes down to it…

WHY would you not want that?