TRACK REVIEW: Jamie Coleman (Feat. Toni Etherson)- That Goodnight Msg

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Jamie Coleman (Feat. Toni Etherson)

 

 Photo: Pat McGuire/PMG Photog

 

That Goodnight Msg

 

9.2/10

 

 

Photo: Pat McGuire/PMG Photog

 

That Goodnight Msg is available at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC8eNz81WMs&feature=youtu.be

RELEASED:
February 12th, 2016

GENRES:
Rock/Pop; Blues

ORIGIN:

Glasgow, Scotland

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WITH another Glasgow-based musician coming to my attention…

it may be prudent just to mention the city for a bit- not spending TOO much time there.  I have reviewed a lot of Glasgow artists and something new and exciting always reveals itself.  I am not sure what it is about the city that compels such a drive and creativity.  In previous posts, I have mooted the question around Glasgow bands and their dominance- how few solo acts there are by comparison.  Here is a city that very much favours the bands and a particular style of sound.  Whether that is rooted in heritage and the past- Primal Scream, Belle and Sebastian and Del Amitri hail from the city- I am not too sure.   From Paws’ Blink-182 approved tracks (the track Jellyfish was lauded by the Blink’ front-man recently) to Machines in Heaven:  there are a lot of terrific artists emerging right now.  What I am noticing (about Glasgow) is the determination and confidence that stems from musicians.  While I mentioned there is a particular ‘sound’ in Glasgow- a lot of Punk/Indie-inspired bands favouring guitar-driven music- there is also diversity and genre-fuse to too.  Catchy and uplifting bands such as White and Holy Esque are inspiring a wave of like-minded bands to take action and bring their music to the people.  Clearly, community and support are important to Glaswegian musicians.  Across the years; I have assessed a wide range of Glasgow acts- mainly bands to be fair- and always find the same thing:  they will recommend fellow artists and support what they do.  Whereas London (and other huge cities) perhaps have less of this- maybe it is the sheer numbers and stress of the place- Glasgow is showing a lot of thoughtfulness and respect.  This is leading many up-and-coming musicians to come into the music world and take a gamble.  The results are really speaking for themselves:  Glasgow is among the most exciting and prosperous hubs for new music right now.  For those who prefer their music band-made; you have a lot of choice and quality on offer.  If you want something less ‘obvious’ or just a bit different:  there are some great and agile young alteratives around.  Although Jamie Coleman plays with his band The Giants (thus making Jamie Coleman and the Giants) Coleman has been a successful and hard-working artist for a long while now.  Right now, there is a lot of excitement regarding Coleman’s latest song, That Goodnight Msg.  From the modern, short-handed third word (Msg); there is something of-the-moment and current about the song.  Drawing in Blues, Pop and Rock influences- nothing too obvious springs to mind- you have a hungry artist who is keen to make a big impression on music.  Before I raise a new point; let me introduce Jamie Coleman to you:

 “Touring artist Jamie Coleman, a talented singer/songwriter from Clydebank is due to release his single ‘That Goodnight Msg’ ft. Toni Etherson on Friday 12th February through GQ Records, the first in the line of singles due out in 2016 including guest artists such as Toni.

‘That Goodnight Msg’   is available to download from iTunes, Deezer, Spotify and all other media download sites. Toni first performed this song with Jamie on STV Glasgow’s Riverside show “Live”  in Feb of 2015.

Singer/songwriter Toni Etherson has toured Europe, Australia and America as well as recently collaborating with ‘Jack Eye Jones’, by writing and performing ‘Fire in your soul’, and  the title track from their album ‘Summer Nights’.

Jamie’s band ‘Jamie Coleman and The Giants’ are also due to release their first single ‘Day Trippin’ in Mid-March, with an album due to follow later in the year, along with Jamie’s own solo album.

Jamie has already been making a name for himself touring and supporting artist and bands like Alabama 3,  Ocean Colour Scene\ Merrymouth ,  John Power &  Jay Lewis of “CAST/The Las”,             Barry Sutton “the Las”, Chris Helme “The Seahorses , The Bluestones, The View, Curtis Harding, BrownBear and many more.  Also playing various gigs at Alan McGee’s Creation Sessions from Glasgow to Wales.

An exciting year lies ahead for Jamie, not only as a solo artist a collaborator and writer, but working with his band The Giants. The music industry will be seeing a lot more of Mr Coleman”.

Coleman will be taking the Giants around the country and preparing for the launch of the album.  Having heard previous cuts from Jamie Coleman and the Giants- and noticing the evolution and progression that has occurred- it will be exciting to hear an album from the group.  It is rare I get to feature a female singer in these pages- the last few reviews have been boy-heavy- so bringing Toni Etherson into the mix is very exciting.  Finding herself nestled in the splendour and dreaminess of the L.A. scene- in the Hollywood Hills by the Santa Monica Mountains- it is alright for some people!  I must admit this:  I was a stranger to Etherson until last week.  It has been a revelation discovering a singer with such a terrific voice, talent and passion.  Whilst a lot of her time is spent in the U.S.; she has a lot of support from the Scottish crowds- a lot of Scottish musicians I follow on social media follow her.  Thinking about Etherson- and the dreamy yet direct nature of her voice- makes me think about collaborations and artists hooking up.  You do not need an advanced degree to know what richness can be exploited from musicians coming together.  Too many bands are rigid and rarely bring other singers/producers to the fore.  Solo artists- not all but many of them- are concerned with getting THEIR voice on record and do not collaborate too often.  It is always fascinating witnessing two sole voices come together to create something new and natural.  That Goodnight Msg has an understated quality yet it resonates and produces shivers.  There is something completely RIGHT about Etherson and Coleman’s parabond:  two artists that GET one another and fit like hand in glove.  The two have very different lives- Etherson’s U.S. sunshine and Pop influence; Coleman’s Glasgow base (the sun does come out there sometimes) and harder sounds- but the combination and pairing produces a chemical reaction that cannot be faulted or undervalued.  I for one would like to see more acts sharing microphones and blending their music together.   Some of the most exciting and nuanced sounds I heard from last year arrived from collaborations:  two parties joining forces to give the music world something wonderful and rich.  Of course, collaborations do not always work:  there are unions that are completely wrong and clunky.  That is perhaps a subject I should explore another day- if I am lucky enough to review another joint effort- but I am excited about the future of Jamie Coleman and Toni Etherson.  Whether Etherson has an E.P. or album in her- an artist that seems capable of performing with any artist and elevating their work- only time will tell.  A young and exceptional talent I will be following and seeing how she blossoms.  Coleman is preparing for a new album and will doubtless be hitting the road throughout the spring and summer- let’s hope he heads down London way for a brief spell!

That Goodnight Msg is the latest unveiling from an artist who has been growing in confidence and direction the last few months.  Looking back at Jamie and the Giants’ past sounds- particularly Calm Yourself Down and Day Trippin’- and you get a sense of a musician who is still finding his feet.  Whilst the band’s past maneuvers have been met with celebration and acclaim:  you cannot help but think this year will see the finest work from the Glasgow clan.

   Calm Yourself Down boasts a raw and determined lead vocal that cuts through the mire.  The composition has a rollicking and Blues-tinged drive that gets bolder and bigger as the moments elapse.  Coleman’s gutsy (yet restrained) talks about time being wasted- maybe a girl or friend is screwing our hero around- around a ‘90s-sounding track.  You could imagine the likes of Oasis or Ocean Colour Scene tackling such a number.  Aside from the 1990s flavor; you get a distinct accent and local flavor- Coleman’s accent and pronunciation possesses a distinctly Glasgow feel.  You get caught in the song and the addictive nature of the beats; the wracked and powerful vocals- the kinetic and dynamic energy of the band.

  Day Trippin’ may lead you into ‘Beatles territory- with its similarities to Day Tripper– but it is a song that shows a different side to the band.  Coleman’s vocals have raspiness to them- recalling a young Bob Dylan- and the harmonica-and-voice combination that puts me in mind of debut-era Bob Dylan.  A softer and more contemplative number:  our hero is gone (nobody notices his absence) as he trips in the “midday sun”.  Part-sad; part-freeing- a song that has a relaxing and carelessness to it- you get drawn into a song that assesses a particular feeling/mood with effectiveness and memorability.  There is a relaxed and lounging vibe to the song that makes you smile and imagine.  What inspired the song is hard to say:  whether Coleman was reflecting on past memories or writing from fiction.  What you find (with regards this track) is another side to a multifarious and boundless songwriting who manages to retain a core sound but employ different strands/genres to ensure the music remains surprising and fresh.

It will be interesting seeing how Jamie Coleman progresses and evolves throughout this year.  I know there is an album due:  it is sure to feature the aforementioned songs, one would think?  Coleman’s songs have depth and wisdom to them:  I’d like to see a bit more grit and rousing energy across future songs.  Coleman has a voice and passion that is crying out for a volume kick and additional boost.  The band has that talent and potential so let’s hope we will see this exploited when the album arrives.  As it is, the young master should have no fears or concerns.  A songwriter that has immense promise and originality:  you always wish the best and have high hopes for a new Jamie Coleman work.  That Goodnight Msg allows the Glasgow-based music to join forces with another voice- creating something rich, compelling and primed for some serious radio play.

Excitable beats and a real sense of occasion greet That Goodnight Msg in.  Those early percussion notes- punctuated and slam like a punching heartbeat- start static and powerful before mutating into something more open and variegated.  The building introduction sees tender strings join the fold and augment the initial sense of romance and seduction.  The song’s first words (“Here comes a smile”) are perhaps not what you’d expect.  A neat choice of words- that gets the mind racing and imagining from the off- we see Coleman and (Toni) Etherson combine voices to elicit beauty and grace.  A tenacious and perfectly blended vocal performance:  you get heartfelt purity radiating from two very purposeful vocalists.  It is perhaps no coincidence Etherson and Coleman sound in-tune and natural together- maybe they have been fans of one another for a while? – but there is no gamble or risk here.  The duo sounds like a couple in the midst of a wonderful, romantic night.  “Straight out of nowhere” there has been a message delivered to the heroine (or perhaps the same message has been received by both).  The impulsive missive- one assumes it is a text message rather than a letter- seems like juxtaposition when balanced against the composition.  Those aching and old-time sentiments- there lingers a distinct ‘60s Folk vibe-cum-Country sound- has a distinctly traditional/vintage purity to them.  The foreground- the modern love story that unfolds- does not seem out of place or odd at all.  Coleman’s easily accessible lyrics come without complexity and obliqueness:  they are direct and from the heart; there is a university that makes them very amenable and happy-go-lucky.  Listening to the two joins voices and you get a real ‘live feeling’ to the song.  The production is clear and concise yet gives the song a live sound that draws the listener in.  If it were too polished and shiny the song would sound alien and completely fake.  As it is, you have a track that has no borders and boundaries:  it is a direct and all-encompassing number that we all can appreciate.  The lovers (the parts Coleman and Etherson portray) are in the midst of late-night message exchange.  Whatever the text says- a simple platitude or trope; something more personal and meaningful- it has its effect and resonance.  That sense of ease and comfort comes out in the twin vocals.  Each performer is invested in the song and sound completely awed and comfortable.  A lot of collaborations have problems and limitations.  Either the artists sound distant and shoed-in- like the vocals have been recorded in different studios and lazily welded together- or the parts do not blend well together.  There are no jarring issues to be found within That Goodnight Msg.  Each artist commits themselves to the subject matter and you can picture the studio scenes and recording process.

 Photo: Pat McGuire/PMG Photog

 

At every stage, I was impressed by the simplicity and everyday nature of the song.  There are no sweeping dramas or recriminations:  a lot of songs deal with anxieties and splits; something big and painful.  That Goodnight Msg seems almost mundane and pedestrian if you read the lyrics.  As the song progresses- and the conversation unfolds- you learn a bit more about the messages/texts.  One asks how the other slept- providing some intrigue and another side to the story- and it is something not ascribed in many songs.  If you think about love songs and romance, consider this:  how many strip it down and look at the everyday familiarities?  Here, we get something personal and ubiquitous.  The lyrics’ strengths lie in those lovely details and unspectacular ideals.  Coleman is an exceptional songwriter capable of some rather moving and profound ideas.  By keeping things charmingly simple; you have a song that has widespread appeal and ounces of charm.  Whereas our duo yearns to be in each other’s arms- relying on to-and-fro texts and messages- you wonder why they are separated.  Maybe an ocean separates them- appropriate given Etherson’s L.A. residence; Coleman based in Scotland- or there is a long-distance relationship unfolding.  With the exchanges “Lighting up my phone”; there’s purity and positivity in every lyric.  Both seem happy and comfortable in themselves.  The heroine wishes she was not sleeping alone- desiring the touch of her man- and there is an underlying heartache and pain within the track.  As impressed and fascinated by the lyrics as I was; my brain looked at the composition and how it supports the vocal.  The aching strings have those Country elements:  they draw in Blues touches without sounding too outdated and divisive.  There are a lot of people that dislike Country- I am among them to be honest- but That Goodnight Msg has accessibility and a British sound/sensibility to it- thankfully, the song is not TOO Americanised and Nashville-influenced.  Towards the final moments, the duo blends their voices to ensure that connection and intensity continues.  Etherson showcases an immense beauty and a wonderfully adaptable voice- something that augments the lyrics’ beauty and tenderness.  Coleman’s soulful and masculine tones are a perfect blend:  together, the duo elicits shivers and tingles at will.

That Goodnigtht Msg is a departure for both artists- Coleman and Etherson- but does not show any weaknesses.  Jamie and the Giants’ back catalogue is perhaps more personal (songs that shy away from love and more towards personal insights) and have a more driving and Blues sound- here the vibe is more Country-based with U.S. twangs.  Etherson’s collaborations and work have seen her go into Pop and Dance territory.  Fire in Your Soul (her hook-up with Jack Eye Jones) saw something rather bracing and immediate come forward- no wonder it was championed by Radio 1!  If anything; That Goodnight Msg would be more at home on B.B.C. Radio 2:  it has a more mature and softer approach.  The track signals how talented and passionate both performers are.  Not only do they sound completely right together- like they have been recording duets for years- but they both sound committed and dedicated to every word.  There are no false emotions or any weak moments to be found:  the performances are exemplary and packed with emotion.  Supported by a tight and wonderful band performance- that creates a rich and sensual backdrop- you have a song that will appeal to a mass of listener and music lovers.  I know Toni Etherson has a great future and can easily slot alongside any other musician.  She has great potential as a solo artist: there will be some choices and options ahead of her.  As for Coleman:  he will embark on work with his band and see what results from that.  Both artists have prosperous and busy years:  it has been great hearing them combine in a track that is hard to shake off and ignore.

I should perhaps stop acting surprised every time a Glasgow act remains in the memory- lest it is interpreted the wrong way- but once more, I get to witness another of the city’s musicians fare so well.  Like the city itself- which grew from a rural community into a thriving centre of U.K. culture today- the musicians of Glasgow are increasing in stature and ranking among the world’s very finest.  Perhaps the bands of Glasgow are fitting more tightly into moulds- Rock and Soul/Blue hybrids- but that is not to say the music is stilted and unexciting.  There is plenty of pioneer and mobility to be discovered inside Glasgow’s best and brightest.  Jamie Coleman has cemented a local reputation- together with his band he has made big waves- and will capitalise on that reputation as 2016 moves through the gears.  It will be great seeing what an album will contain and how the band develops throughout the year.  Glasgow has such a thriving band scene:  Jamie Coleman and the Giants are one of the more exciting and compelling examples you will hear.  I feel London’s current reign- as the hotspot for musical excellent- may concede defeat to Glasgow in years to come.  Never have I seen a city so prosperous and evolving.  Every month seems to produce wondrous musicians and something unexpected and original.  Certain areas/towns have a very set sound:  Glasgow provides much more intrigue and colour than meets the eye.  If you dig under the raft of Indie/guitar bands emerging you will find all manner of styles, genres and sounds being fused and experimented with.  Coleman is one of the city’s more mature and accomplished songwriters.  Not someone who sticks with the tried-and-tested clichés of the scene- the heartbreak and overly-played motifs of broken souls- you have music with much more depth and intrigue.  As I type this, I am listening to Wild Beasts and the track Sweet Spot.  From the instrumentation- the track featured on their most current album, Present Tense– to the divine and swooning vocals- you have a band that get better by the release.  Their stunningly tight, original and  dynamic songwriting- the band’s vocalists Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming are a natural pairing- gets inside the head and provides so much intensity, passion and soul.  The same can be said of Jamie Coleman.  A young artist that is never going to be bogged down and wants to push the music to new heights.  There is a transcendental reach and sonic experimentation (inside Coleman’s work); a perfect balance of emotions and vocals.  Band parts are written to exploit the potential of instruments and timbre:  someone who does not put themselves in the spotlight and neglect the rest of the band.  Maybe I am over-emoting and going too deep:  assessing a songwriter’s strengths can lead my thoughts in all sorts of directions.  The point remains this:  Glasgow has produced another gem and stellar craftsman.  Toni Etherson has leant her voice to a song that taps on modern themes- with a vintage and old-fashioned ethic to it- and puts the listener right into the mix.  Those Blues and Soul influences- that have been the hallmarks of Coleman’s writing- allow Etherson to create a vocal filled with yearning and serenity.  That Goodnight Msg has Country themes and strings that perfectly sits inside a Blues core.  The ensuing track allows Etherson to make a huge impact and showcase a serious talent.  Her social media numbers have been climbing and reaching dizzying heights.  One of the most noteworthy and rising stars in the music world:  make sure you keep an eye on her progress and career.  I am sure there will be album or E.P. very soon.  Having been featured on B.B.C. Radio 1; her voice has captured the public imagination and resulted in a fervent and dedicated fan-base.  I hope Coleman and Etherson combine somewhere down the line.  On paper, you would not imagine the two coming together:  that is the beauty of collaborations.  I find myself in a tawdry quandary at the moment:  trying to unearth genuinely exciting musicians that offer a long-term future and quality.  It may sound like a rather basic concern yet there are few (musicians on the scene) that can promise that.  May competiveness and quantity is always going to lead to indeterminism and once-a-year heroes.  When listening to Jamie Coleman (knowing how good the band is; how strong Toni Etherson is) you get a sense this young artist can be triumphing and compelling for years to come.  Not to place too much weight on young shoulders:  the stage is primed for something rather special to take place.  Not a musician confined to the softer side of music- the tender ballads and aching songwriting- you get rockier and more gritty moments; songs that have drama and force.  Whether my assessments will make him say “shut your geggy” or cause a bit of greetin (my Glasgow slang might need some fine tuning); I apologise.  A musician that is going to be a name familiar to us all soon enough: take a glimpse into a song that promises intrigue and fascination.  I am excited to see where Jamie Coleman head this year.  Whether the album (rumoured to be released very shortly) expands on That Goodnight Msg– more of the same sort of thing- or pushes more boundaries; that is going to be exciting.  For now, and whilst the record is still waiting to be unleashed, cherish a talent who is…

Photo: Pat McGuire/PMG Photog

 

ON the precipice of something big.

 

 

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Follow Toni Etherson

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ToniEMusic/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/tonietherson

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Follow Jamie Coleman and the Giants

 

 Photo: Pat McGuire/PMG Photog

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/jameandthegiants/?fref=ts

Twitter:

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Music:

 https://soundcloud.com/jamie-and-the-giants

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TRACK REVIEW: Nicky Davey- Been Lovin’ You

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Nicky Davey

 

 

Been Lovin’ You

 

9.6/10

 

Been Lovin’ You is available at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Sz1Xk4Fiec&feature=youtu.be

RELEASED:
5th February, 2016

GENRES:
Soul; Rock; Pop

ORIGIN:

Los Angeles, U.S.A.

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AS I get to feature another Los Angeles-based artist…

it is worth talking more about the city (and its musical culture); fusings of Rock and Soul- a little bit about the Pop mainstream and unsigned acts.  Wandering back into L.A.; it gives me an opportunity to meet one of the most exciting acts emerging from the city.  Nicky Davey produce ‘noise alchemy’ and are mingle beauty and soulfulness with something edgier and Rock-inspired.  Although Nicky Davey are touted as a duo- they do have Bert Gay on bass- their sound suggests something band-made and much larger.  I shall get to them soon:  for now, it is worth looking at the best bands coming from the city.  In a historic sense, the likes of Guns N’ Roses, The Doors and Rage Against the Machine have called L.A. home.  Throw in Hole, Weezer; The Byrds and Bad Religion:  you have an epicenter of musical creativity that has spawned some of the greatest acts of all time.  In terms of Rock acts alone- and artists who play within various sub-genres of Rock- and you have a plenty of options there.  I guess Los Angeles is always going to be associated with a certain sexiness and hardness.  The tough and granite sounds of Rage’ and Hole; the riffs and histrionics of Guns N’ Roses:  many will have clear impressions of L.A. music based on its legends and past masters.  The scene has changed today and is a lot more surprising and varied.  Lord Huron’s sweet-leaf jams (and songs about marijuana parties) have enthralled critics and the local crowds.  In the Valley Below (who hail from Echo Park) pen Indie lullabies and are the epitome of the uber-cool and happening.  The Peach Kings are another duo (like In the Valley Below) who teases ‘70s Rock sounds alongside smoky lead vocals.  If you want something a bit more underground:  The Koreatown Oddity spits his raps and rhymes behind (a creepy-looking) wolf mask.  Los Angeles Police Department thrilled audiences with their self-titled 2014 E.P.:  their melody-driven music has seen them grow in reputation and stature.  Chela is perhaps the most relevant example- when looking for like-minded acts of Nick Davey- and has crafted stunning Pop sounds without compromising her ideals.  Hailing from Australia- ensconcing herself in West Hollywood- here is an artist who blends universal sentiments with ‘80s synthesisers to create music that gets the feet moving.  Los Angeles- and California in a wider sense- are producing some of the most varied and consistent musicians in the world.  Having never visited L.A.- it is something I must rectify in future years- I am not sure what motivates such a drive and sense of quality.  In London, there are some terrific venues a musician can cut their teeth in.  Certain areas of the capital have wonderful enclaves where musicians support one another.  There is that sense of kinship and togetherness that propels creative spurts and inventive writing.  Perhaps that can be said of Los Angeles.  We all assume the city to be over-crowded, bustling and stressful- hardly conducive to great leaps of musical productivity- but perhaps that is a false impression.  Like every major city; Los Angeles is going to have its limitations and repression.  There are a lot of musicians that rebel against the worst traits of the mainstream- the over-produced and committee-written songs; the boring and predictable sounds; musicians that want fame over respect- to present something much more credible and laudable.  Before raising new points; it is worth me introducing Nicky Davey to you:

Nick Green – Vocals
Dave Rosser – Guitar, Vocals
Bert Gay
– Bass, Vocals

The LA rock and soul duo Nicky Davey just dropped a video for their single “Been Lovin’ You”. Nick Green and Dave Rosser officially formed the project in 2011. They started out just making records together under various aliases until they carved a sound they could truly call their own.

Their approach to songwriting has always had a strong emphasis on beauty, combined with infectious hooks. Their music features lush vocal arrangements, infused with the melodic honey of the talk box over organic beats. Constantly striving to reinvent the modern pop song, they were given the opportunity to work closely with Odd Future affiliates, The Internet. Lead Singer Nick Green‘s vocal production on The Internet’s Ego Death helped earn it a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album.

Directed by Rich Yodsukar and filmed in the streets of downtown Los Angeles, the music video captures in a light-hearted way the reality of being musicians in L.A “We live and breathe our music and are willing to do anything for it, even walk all the way down to Hollywood Boulevard. to play outside in front of people, that’s just the spirit we have”. “Been Lovin’ You” is the last track on the NOW compilation album that went in stores everywhere on February 5.

Nicky Davey is the only artist unsigned to a major label to be featured on NOW 57. The duo is working on new material and will release a new EP in spring 2016”.

I am glad Nicky Davey have made it onto a major release (Now That’s What I Call Music! 57) but perhaps not something I would lead with.  It is a great achievement but they sit alongside some rather questionable artists.  In the past, the Now’ series has been synonymous with the best of music- until the 1990s at least- but now is a collection of the media-approved Pop artists a lot of people dislike.  While you get a few credible songs in the mix- Alessia Cara is among them- the majority is filler and bland Pop- Coldplay; Justin Bieber etc.  A notable achievement for the L.A. group but it does them a disservice, I feel.  Nicky Davey expertly blend their Soul/Funk influences- Stevie Wonder; Jamiroquai- with lush vocals and stunning hooks.  You get impressions of downtown L.A. and vintage shades of the 1970s- hardly what you’d associate with a modern Pop act.  To be fair, Nicky Davey have more in common with their idols than they do their peers.  Able to transcend borders- and chart positions too- they are a hot proposition.  It is amazing the duo is unsigned at the moment:   let’s hope that is something they cannot claim in a few months.  I guess that is one good thing to come from the compilation inclusion:  it will open record labels’ eyes and start a bidding war before too long.  If that doesn’t; Been Lovin’ You certainly will.  A confident and exciting slice that roots itself in the brain and pleases the senses:  a wonderfully rich and catchy song from a seriously promising act.  Maybe not strong enough to sway my opinions on the mainstream- it will take a lot more than that- it does raise some interesting points.  A lot of us are too concerned with the mainstream and those artists climbing the charts- when it comes to the so-called ‘best’ music has to offer.  I think that notion is rather dated and misleading.  While Nicky Davey are certainly worthy of long-term success; they have an edge and nuance most of their contemporaries lack.  They nestle alongside Coldplay (on the Now’ compilation) but are far stronger than the British act.  What separates Nicky Davey from the crowd- aside from their unsigned status- is the genres they combine and the lyrics they put out.  The songbooks look at universal themes- love and longing; loss and heartbreak- but ensure their songs are a lot deeper and more original than their subjects.  I hope Nicky Davey capitalise on their momentum and nods and keep the flame burning.  I know there is a spring release (for a new E.P.) and the boys will look to tour and take their music out there.  Whether they are stopping by the U.K. – I know how many fans they have over here! – is probably down to them.  Been Lovin’ You is just a fraction of what they are capable of.  A teasing and salacious slice of Blues-cum-Soul-via-Rock:  one of the most arresting and compelling songs from one of Los Angeles’ best.

Whilst the video for Been Lovin’ You was released very recently:  the song has been on the Internet for a few months now.  Last year; Nicky Davey released their self-titled E.P.  The five-track collection demonstrates plenty of variation, personality and strength.  While Been Lovin’ You is the strongest of the set- a natural lead-off track and single- that is not to say the remainder of the E.P. suffers.

   Dreamgirl has that delirious and stunning lead vocal swooning and pervading.  Velvety and soul-nourishing:  you get embers of Michael Jackson and Prince come through in the notes.  Haunting, romantic and luscious:  a song that makes the hairs stand on end and shivers arrive.  Multi-layered vocals and sparse electronics combine to create something rapturous and hugely sensual.  The vocal quality reminds me of Boyz II Men and the best work they produced.

   Rainbows relies less on the choir-like vocals and has a more focused central performance.  “She had bullets in chamber”; in a “pistol full of danger” are evocative words that look at love’s harder times.  Locking and loading; guns and danger are used as metaphors to ascribe a relationship that has its perils and pitfalls.  Edgier guitar and driving beats bring Prince comparisons to the fore.  You get a delicious blend of Funk and Rock around a rich and soulful performance.  A huge and impressive lead vocal pushes the song and ensures every word gets inside the mind.

Hollywood is a driving and sassy number that is fast, furious and divine.  With embers of D’Angelo underpinning that ecstatic drama:  here is a song that is instantly catchy and filled with promise.  Vocal layers and insatiable guitar seduce one another and create something hugely atmospheric.  You get recollections of Prince and Michael Jackson inside modern and polished production.

   Gonna Love Ya is perhaps the most mainstream/Pop-influenced track on the E.P. – maybe the weakest track of the set.  That said, there is plenty to suggest it is more than the sum of its parts.  Dig deep, and you find a song that has more maturity and edge than most of today’s Pop.  Cosmic electronics and a constant energy ensure the track is never boring or passes you by.  Once more, you get committed and chocolate-smooth vocals that vary between scatting and elongated.  Dynamic, nimble and changing pace at will:  the song keeps busy and restless until the final moments.

Nicky Davey released their E.P. with plenty of conviction and quality.  The attention to detail and workmanship that went into its creation is hugely impressive.  Whether there were a lot of writers and producers brought in- or the boys themselves had more control- it is hard to say.  What you get from the quintet of tracks is impressions of 1970s Soul/Pop greats with some very modern and relevant sounds.  It means (the E.P.) is not primed and directed at the Pop charts.  There is enough maturity, quality and depth to distinguish away from the bland and over-hyped releases we have seen the last year.  Nicky Davey is an act that has plenty more to say:  it will be interesting to see how they develop and what their next move is.  Given the reaction to Nicky Davey- and how critics have celebrated it- I would not be surprised to see their forthcoming E.P. get the same attention.  The real test will be whether they keep their qualities and personality shining in the new E.P.  A lot of artists would be tempted to sell-out and succumb to the lure of chart positions and dumbing things down.  I am confident the L.A. boys will keep their sound intact and strong:  not ones to let their fans down and change things now.  Whatever they come up with will be hugely exciting and promising, I am sure.

Been Lovin’ You is the most-played and shared track Nicky Davey has written.  The standout and gem from their E.P. – the most urgent and nuanced song from them- has hit people hard and left its marks.  Tribal sounds and curiosities open the track.  You get electronic click and jungle calls mixing inside acoustic strings:  a build-up that gets more heated and colourful as we progress.  From the edgy and dark recesses of the start; the track opens up and you get something light, breezy and dancing- the acoustic string section reminds me of The Doobie Brothers’ Long Train Running.  After the head-spinning and exciting opening; that smooth and honey voice arrives to give context and explanation.  The vocal rides the acoustic guitar and is enraptured.  Our lead is clearly in the throes of love and has a particular girl in mind.  When seeing her face- or the first time he saw her- you get a sense of an angelic and heart-aching beauty.  With his blood hot and heart racing; there is that desire to get the girl and gain her heart.  Maybe the two are not together at the moment- there is a seduction call and ritual unfolding- and our hero keeps his emotions at bay.  Working hard to get her- through patience and romance- you start to picture the scenes and the parties involved.  In a way, Been Lovin’ You is more classic than it is modern.  Hints of Michael Jackson and Prince- two names that crop up when describing the band’s songs- influence the vocal and direction.  Soul and Pop spar with modern beats to create something instantaneous and classic.  On the one hand, the production and composition have a modernity and radio-friendly vibe that will appeal to many Pop fans and mainstream stations.  On the other hand- and perhaps more pleasingly- is the 1970s/’80s vibe that will draw in older listeners and those with a genuine love for great music.  It is impossible to ignore the beauty and sweetness in the voice:  the acoustic guitar keeps swinging whilst the beats continue to crackle and impress.  Our hero asks for (the girl’s) number and is biding his time.  Ready to explode- he will school her “like a teacher”- and wants a relationship with depth and potential.  Promising to stay true and loyal- unlike the braggadocio and arrogance of some men- there is some honesty and maturity to the lyrics.  The sweat keeps dripping and there is a palpable lust and longing that burns brightly.  You feel our hero is about to explode and desperately wants the girl.  Other guys might rush in and come on too strong.  In order to succeed and separate himself from the clowns; there needs to be some control and discipline.  Upon first listen, Been Lovin’ You is all about that vocal and how aching it is.  There is never melisma and ululation to be found:  the notes and delivery are controlled and in keeping with the lyrical tones of the song.  After future investigation; you discover layers and new joys- the composition and production after the second listen; the lyrics on the third, etc.  When first hearing the song- I have since gone to study the song in a lot more depth- it is impossible to ignore that arresting vocal and the evocative lyrics.  There is so much spark and shiver that emanates from that voice:  the lyrics suggest a young man who has found a rare girl that might be with another guy.  There is some ambiguity in the song that allows the listener to interpret their own version of events.  Maybe the heroine is with someone else- and our hero wants to steal her away- or perhaps the two have just come together and are taking things slowly.  In my mind, the two are single but not wanting to rush into things.  Our man has loved her (whoever she may be) for a while and wants to claim his queen.  Backing the vocal- with layers of voice and delicious compositional touches- and you get a rich, deep and uplifting song that gets into the soul.  Guitars, xylophone-like sounds tie together; the beats remain sparse but effective throughout.

For those who adore the Soul legends and Pop masters of old will find much to recommend and love within Been Lovin’ You.  There is a sense of authority, genuine knowledge and command that makes the song sound so pure and natural.  Nicky Davey has grown up listening to the likes of Prince and Michael Jackson and done them justice here.  Plenty of originality and personality comes out in the song that deserves a lot of respect and radio play.  Too much chart/mainstream music is over-produced, hollow and vacuous.  Too many ‘stars’ have armies of writers working for them:  the music lacks identity and any focus whatsoever.  Worse than that; you have a scene that lacks imagination, intelligence and cross-border appeal.  Nicky Davey has ensured they do not fall into the traps laid by some of music’s least and slight.  Been Lovin’ You has gained a lot of focus and admiration (rightfully so) and shows just what the boys are capable of.  It means their forthcoming E.P. will be met with huge anticipation.  I cannot wait to see what they come up with.

It will be exciting to see what Nicky Davey produce when spring arrives.  Been Lovin’ You is a strong statement from an act that have grown and developed since their inception.  Formed in 2011; the hungry L.A. act have distinguished themselves from the mainstream.  One of the most credible and exciting propositions coming from music:  make sure you check out what these guys are providing.  Nicky Davey are looking to reinvent and push Pop/Soul forward.  In a scene that is still defined by its shallowness and lack of quality- predictable tracks and uninspiring artists- Nicky Davey are on a noble surge.  What you get from the duo (or trio, if you will) is passion and hunger without limits.  It is clear music means everything to the group.  That passion and determination comes through in the music and videos they produce.  It is not about money and column inches with the guys:  they record music to influence others and show their spirit and heart.  I have grown a bit tired of the mainstream and Pop world in general.  Aside from the odd gem you can find; still there are too many one-dimensional and effete artists that all say/sound the same.  What is the point of coming into music is you are not going to put the effort in?!  Maybe there is a degree of lacking talent- said Pop artist just doesn’t have the ability to be different- but there is a worrying trend happening.  Award ceremonies are still highlighting some of the worst and most unspectacular acts music has to provide.  The truly worth/credible artists are those whose musical ability outstrips viewing figures and chart positions.  Nicky Davey haven’t been prostituting their music and hogging red carpets in a (shallow and deplorable) bid for stardom.  They have been grafting and honing to ensure their music reaches as many people as possible.  I love the little touches of Soul legends- Stevie Wonder is a big name you recall- and the ghost of Michael Jackson.  The stunning and rousing vocals beautifully nestle with more modern acts such as Justin Timberlake and Macy Gray.  It seems like the boys are at home in L.A. and feel very comfortable amongst the people.  A huge and supportive crowd follows them and is keen to share and support their music.  It would be great to see the guys come to London and play across the U.K.  There are certain musicians that have wide-ranging appeal and will be in demand across the world.  I can see Nicky Davey playing across Australia, Europe and Asia.  Whether they want to concentrate more on U.S. gigs- and their hometown crowds- I am not too sure.  A new E.P. is mooted and will be snapped up by those who prefer their artists to be obsessed with quality and not fame.  Nicky Davey understand the realities of the city and the struggle musicians have to go through.  Poking fun at the struggles and pitfalls of the game- the video for Been Lovin’ You spoofs it brilliantly- there is happy-go-lucky charm and smile with everything they do.  Too many artists are dour and determined to be as downbeat as they can be.  There is no such danger when it comes to Nicky Davey.  The music world is a lottery that does not seem to have any real sense of justness and balance to it.  I have witnessed too many great artists fall early; so many undeserving artists succeed and prosper.

That capriciousness and unpredictability is worrying for new musicians coming onto the scene.  The first few years are always a real test of durability and strength.  Having been playing for a few years now; Nicky Davey have already jumped the first hurdles with impressive aplomb.  Before wrapping up, I will circle back to the finest L.A. musicians coming through and the importance of blending Soul and Pop.  L.A. had a huge year in music throughout 2015.  This year looks to be even more exciting and prosperous.  Perhaps the finest and most productive city for music:  Los Angeles keeps on giving so much wonder and originality.  Death Valley Girls– Echo Park neighbours of In the Valley Below- fuse Psychobilly and Punk with songs that look at the darker side of life (the occult, for one).  Justin Jay is a master of euphoric and sky-scraping hits:  marimba-like synths. go into songs that compel audiences to chant and come together in an orgy of excitement and delirium.  Swarvy puts old-skool beats and electronics together with Jazz fusions and Rap samples.  Flecks of Thom Yorke emerge in Toy Light:  a daring proposition that adds originality and personality to Electronic music.  I mention other acts- and L.A. peers of Nicky Davey- to show what diversity and excellence is coming forward.  The charts are not really indicative of what real music is all about.  Acts like Nicky Davey are creating disambiguation and given listeners something deep, meaningful and without cynicism.  There are so many artists that are fake and really lack any quality whatsoever.  Some of the musicians being celebrated/awarded at the moment- from Coldplay and Adele to Ed Sheeran- really do not give music a great name.  A trio of artists who have been derided and criticised- Adele and Coldplay’s latest albums lacked inspiration, overall quality and consistency- yet seem to scoop up awards, regardless.  Unsigned and putting out exceptional music:  Nicky Davey deserve more acclaim and following than the likes of Ed Sheeran and Coldplay.  Putting Soul and Pop into a dizzying blender has seen their fan-base climb and their reputation grow in leaps and bounds.  This year will be exciting for the guys and let’s hope they keep their momentum going.  Been Lovin’ You is a song that makes you smile and implores listeners to get involved.  Respect to a musical force that is going to be…

AMONG this year’s most exciting acts.

 

_____________________________________________

Follow Nicky Davey

 

Official:

http://www.nickydavey.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/nickydavey?_fb_noscript=1

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/NickyDaveyMusic?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

_______________________________________

Music

https://soundcloud.com/nickydavey

TRACK REVIEW: Defeat the Band- Love and How It Got That Way

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Defeat the Band

 

 

Love and How It Got That Way

 

9.5/10

 

 

Love and How It Got That Way is available at:

https://soundcloud.com/defeattheband/love-and-how-it-got-that-way-1

RELEASED:
December, 2015

GENRES:
Indie-Rock

ORIGIN:

Tuscon, Arizona

____________________________________

AS every day passes I am not exactly becoming…

prouder to be a British music fan.  Last night saw the televisation of the annual Brit Awards.  While the ‘Oscars’ and similar award ceremonies have been derided because of the lack of diversity- the nominees are predominantly white- the same is true of the Brits.  I am not saying we need to fill quotas or employ reverse-racism:  Making sure there are black names on the list, regardless of talent.  There are plenty of talented black artists in British music:  The award categories are too few and broad; they do not reflect the wider music community.  The Brit Awards tend to have that reputation as being white, middle-class and boring.  The ‘winners’ from the night include James Bay, Adele (who picked up four awards) and other musicians who did not exactly set the music world alight.  Adele’s album 25 was a massive disappointment and undeserved award winner.  That album did not depart from her previous efforts:  It packed little punch and range; relying on the same big ballads and tear-inducing tracks.  If this is the ‘best’ album from the past year you have to wonder what is happening with music.  Of course, 25 was not actually the best from 2015.  There are dozens of other more deserving albums:  the Brit Awards has a very ‘type’ of audience and has to configure to mainstream expectations and chart figures.  Last night showed how out-of-touch the Brit Awards is with actual music.  The fact Coldplay won the award from Best British Group- how many people would say they are the best we have to offer?!- speaks volumes about the uncool and tragic nature of the awards.  They do not represent people with an actual passion for quality music.  With no edge and terrible dated ‘humour’- Ant McPartlin wearing a dress was the nadir and death knell of their attempt at humour- you had a ceremony that dripped with embarrassment and stupidity.  The worst and most chart-friendly musicians played and were nominated:  what a terrible time and showcase for British music.  If you want to discover proper music and what it offers:  you need to stray award from the idiotic award shows and look deeper.  Maybe there will be a day when national award shows are more diverse and quality-controlled- I am not holding my breath to be honest- but forget about them.  For me- when trying to unearth great music- I do not rely on such nonsense.  Luckily my featured band has erased the sour taste of the Brit Awards.  Before I get to them, I wanted to have a look at the music coming out of Arizona- where Defeat the Band are based.  It may seem like an odd diversion to many:  I do not get to go to U.S. areas away from L.A. and New York that often!  From Gospel Claws through Jimmy Eat World; along to Dear and the Headlights and The Format: there have been so great artists emanate from The Grand Canyon State.  Given its proximity to California; perhaps it is not surprising Arizona houses so many great musicians.  Over the past few years, the state has showcased some great talent.  Future Loves Past (from Tempe) mix ‘70s Pop and Psychedelia; What Laura Says (from Phoenix) boast a wonderfully sunny ‘60s Pop sound; Gospel Claws (the best from Mesa) are one of the best Arizona has to offer.  A lot of us do not look beyond L.A., New York and obvious U.S. areas:  Arizona has plenty of wonderful bands showing what they are made of.  What Arizona does well is stamp some terrific, original Rock bands out.  Defeat the Band is starting to make waves and recently unleashed their album, Something Unheard Of.  Before continuing my investigation- and raising a new point- let me introduce the Tuscon-based band:

Anthony Winkley– Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Michael Story– Bass, Backing Vocals
James Ringstrom– Drums

Defeat the band is a Pop/Punk/Showtune band based of Tucson, AZ. Founded in early 2013 as an acoustic solo project by frontman Anthony Winkley, it has since grown to a three piece with hopes to add more. The lineup started to build and change as the band started to form in early 2014, eventually settling on James Ringstrom as the percussive backbone of the outfit. Although Anthony is the composer for most of the songs, James brings the aggressive punch necessary to deliver the experience of a DEFEAT song. The latest addition of Michael Story is exactly the boost the band needed. The new record “Something Unheard Of” released December 18th, 2015 an album meant to set the tone for a springtime US tour in April 2016. Please Download the new record atwww.soundcloud.com/defeattheband and if you enjoy the record and want to help us come play near you the donate at www.gofundme.com/defeattheband”.

The boys are doing things honestly and working hard to get their sounds heard and supported.  While the guys wear some of their influences on their sleeves:  they are not a band that wants to be the same as everyone else.  They kick harder than most groups I have come across; stay in the memory and are consistently impressive and innovating.  Among a scene of rather indistinct bands:  it is nice to discover a group that balks against the trend and does things their own way.  Our Tuscon guys are not in music for the money- although they would like to have a bit! – but get their music heard by a wider audience.  Their new album is gathering praise and review but not as much as it should.  That brings to mind how hard musicians need to campaign to get their voices heard.  It is true there are an awful lot of musicians coming through by the week.  It is a huge challenge keeping control and sifting through the silt- to get to the real gold.  I think the busier music gets; the harder it will be to champion the most deserving musicians.  Social media is only effective to an extent- and needs a lot of work- so I am not sure what the answer is.  Defeat the Band has gained reputation and respect in Arizona- and wider afield for sure- but are almost unknown in the U.K.  I hope the boys come play here as there is a market and a real demand for bands (and musicians) with realness and grit to them.  Tired of the mainstream Pop crap- and the vanilla sounds that plague award shows- we need to foster artists like Defeat the Band.  Something Unheard Of is an impressive nine-track release that proves what a force the band is.  I will follow them (as much as I can) as there are few bands that are as hard-hitting and ambitious as them.  I hope their passion and drive pays off very soon.

The band has not been around too long but have already released quite a bit of material.  A couple of months ago; the boys unveiled Sorry for the Weight:  a five-track E.P. that laid out their intentions and sound.  American Grief has Country tones and a reflectiveness to begin.  Aching vocals and plaintive strumming looks at our man in the wilderness and looking at who he is.  A song that looks inwards for answers- someone that has been blinded by city lights- you sense a soul that needs direction.  Blood Habit has a similarly acoustic-driven sound and showcases the tenderness and sensitivity they are capable of.  The E.P. is a live-sounding and raw insight into the band’s pastoral and acoustic side.  It does not have the same directness and attack of Something Unheard Of.  What you get- and a nice comparison to their album- is how diverse and able the boys are.  Capable of seducing no matter how they sound- whether calmer or going for the jugular- their songs are just as effective when stripped down- compelling when meaty and menacing.  Drawing from U.S. Rock bands- it is hard to overlook the effect Foo Fighters have had- they bring in other artists like The Front Bottoms, Pup and The Rifle.  The band was originally conceived as a solo endeavor (back in 2013) but expanded soon after.  Experimenting with line-up and sound:  the boys seem settled now and are an effective and tight-knit trio.  Given the changeable nature of the band- and how they have evolved- you would expect the music to have some weakness and uncertainty.  There is no such fate with regards Defeat the Band.  Whilst front-man Anthony Winkley puts his stamp on the music; the trio is a democracy where every player has their role and place.  This balance and brotherhood result in music that has seen the group grow in popularity and regard.  The guys will embark on a U.S. tour in a short time and take their latest album far and wide.  Given the fans they have accrued already- their social media numbers continue to widen and climb- it is clear the music is resonating and hitting the mark.  The trio employs mainstream and radio sounds together with individual touches- their native accents and intuition overrides everything- to bring us something deep, direct and nuanced music.  I cannot wait to see how the band progress when it comes to this/next year.  They have momentum but are still looking for that defining moment and a wider audience.  I know the guys are seeking money, fans and tour dates:  they are determined to be big names and have lofty ambitions.  If they continue on their path- and bring more of the same- they are not going to be secrets for too much longer.

I chose to focus on Love and How It Got That Way– I do not do a lot of album reviews- because it is the most instant and memorable (in my view) track from the album.  From the opening moments; you hear that passion and intention come out.  The drum trickles, rolls and patters; the guitars elicit punctuation of aching, sensual strings.  An upbeat and rousing introduction that gets the listener standing to attention.  You will not be able to avoid nodding your head- or moving your feet- hearing that effusive and racing introduction.  After the band have set out their stall; our hero comes to the microphone with concerns.  Whether he is in a relationship- or looking back at one that has ended- there seems to be some issues and questions.  The girl in question- the heroine that is being attested- thinks things are ridiculous; there is something teenage and juvenile in places.  Digging into the lyrics and their meaning; the listener will have their own interpretation and what the song means to them.  Maybe the love was/is not so pure.  The song’s subject is leaving our hero restless and up and night:  the memories of their bond is causing some turmoil or consideration.  There is a spikiness and directness to the heroine which have caused their scars.  When our boys lies awake at night; he starts to bring those memories back and replay the times again and again.

While some of the lyrics get buried in the mix- the instrumentation drowns some of them down- you get hooked into the song’s rousing energy and catchy backdrop.  The guitars, drum and bass kick and skip; change course and remain constantly engaging.  Never descending into Pop territory:  you have a song that brings in some Punk and Rock together with Indie and Alternative strands.  That quiet-loud switch the band have cemented appears throughout the song.  Whilst the majority of the song is quite controlled and calmed:  at various intervals, the vocal reaches an intense point and breaks through the mist.  When a new number arrives; I try and see what motivates the lyrics and pick it apart.  Looking at Love and How It Got That Way and you sense a band that have been messed around in love and are assessing something quite shallow and basic.  The heroine is someone who satisfies (our hero) sexually:  there is nothing deeper or more profound.  The girl has defiled the bed- the imagery the band employ direct and colourful language to drive the point home.  Perhaps the two lovers have different objectives and perspectives.  Maybe there was miscommunication or different ideals.  Our man is showing some scars but also maturity.  Perhaps he did not want something long-lasting or permanent but seems a little annoyed.  Whilst one part of my mind looks at the relationship and scenes- the hot and heavy nights and lack of conversation- I am also invested in the composition that keeps driving and impressing.  It has addictiveness and memorability that ensures it gets inside the brain.  The percussion drives whilst the bass and guitar chug, slam and change courses- ensuing the song remains unpredictable and nimble.  Our hero picks apart the wreckage- maybe the two are together but you’d hope not- and assessed the changing nature of modern love.  In past years- something old and vintage- love was more pure and meaningful.  It seems like there is disposability and sexualisation that is replacing emotions and longevity.  Making sure the vocals are arresting and potent; the band unites to chorus “hey” and “ho”.  That boisterousness and rabble injects some ladishness and swagger.  Maybe the two were on the same plain to begin with.  In so much as the ‘relationship’ had its shallowness; there must have been some more fulfilling times.  Our man pines over his girl and what they had in the past.  Whether it is just about sex- and getting that spark back and alive- the damage has been done.  “Until my voice is rotted through” our hero will pine and yearn.  It is a descriptive and vivid emphasis of this loss and lust.  Strangely, you begin to sympathise and wish the two would rekindle.  Maybe the girl has moved on or the relationship met an untimely and sticky (maybe not the right word) end.  By the closing notes, all has been said and you feel compelled to replay the song- hear those addictive and stunning jams one more time.

With another Brit Awards ringing in my ears (like a screaming child on a plane) I am looking for a musical cold shower.  Something that can wash away the stench of blandness and horridness.  Luckily, Defeat the Band have provided a much-needed dose of perspective and reality.  You will not see these guys pandering to the needs of the charts and mainstream radio bosses- dreary Pop with no insight, originality or guts.  In fact- if they were to attend an award ceremony- you’d like to think they would smash a few tables up and causes some chaos.  I shall leave award shows alone- I could go on for days, to be fair- but my larger point is this: the best and most worthy musicians are not represented by award shows and the nominees.  Love and How It Got That Way is a snippet inside Defeat the Band’s latest album.  I know how hard the boys have worked and toiled to get the record ‘just so’.  The U.S. is putting a lot of great bands our way and we should all be a lot more attentive.  Far too many focuses on British music and are stubborn when it comes to trying new cuisines.

Whilst U.S. politics has bat-sh**-crazy lunatics like Donald Trump rising- and moronic voters in Nevada brainwashed by his insanity- at least the music has sanity and truth to it.  Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could get rid of the politicians- people elected to speak for us- and let music/musicians lead the way?  It would be a more popular democracy and promote peace and unity over… whatever our leaders proffer.  Anyway; let’s all do our best to look beyond predictable and safe options and celebrate music from other parts of the globe.  Before I finish things off, I wanted to come back to Arizona musicians and the impact they are making.  Go to the Internet and check out musicians like Celebration Guns, Factories and The Holy Coast- a trio of acts playing out of Phoenix.  Away from the state capital, you have a variety of agile young artists staking their claim in music.  Between Tuscon, Tempe and Arizona you have a veritable army of musicians that could happily conquer the scene- were they given enough exposure and attention.  I feel the media- and radio stations to a large extent- do not take risks and take their minds away from the larger cities/states.  I am not sure whether things are different in America- and national radio brands are more adventurous- but it shouldn’t be down to local radio/media to help champion the best a state how to offer.  New York and California get their dues and are put right into the forefront.

What of the solo artist from Boise or the invigorating five-piece from Tallahassee? We might never heard of them- unless we are in the right place at the right time- and lose a wonderful opportunity.  Maybe it is just an issue of numbers and size.  With music growing larger and more corpulent by the day:  how hard is it for a modern-day artist to get their music heard?  Arizona is a wonderfully rich musical centre but there is so much competition at local level.  As good as Defeat the Band is; they have had to work relentlessly to get their music beyond state boundaries and to a wider audience.  I guess the best music has to offer will always win out- even if their struggle is fraught and long.  I have been enjoying what Defeat the Band has to offer.  Their entire album- Something Unheard Of– showcases a consistency and solidity that few other acts possess.  Every song has that unity and tight performances coming out.  The boys have been hitting the road and honing their skills:  taking that experience to the studio and delivering some terrific tracks.  At one moment they roar and deliver feral vocals- Don’t Feed the Bears is particularly direct- whereas songs like Ultra Blue showcase depth and musical innovation- the composition is particularly impressive here.  Among the passion and fervent vocals lingers heart and tenderness.  The band switch between anger and control without a moment’s notice.  They are a collective that puts you in mind of the best stadium Rock band playing.  They have a little bit of Foo Fighters- at their most credible and compelling- without sacrificing their integrity and unique sound.  There is something pleasingly comforting about the Arizona group.  They put your mind in a better place and write music that gets in the head and makes the listener warm.  It might sound like faint praise but too many bands do not leave lasting impressions.  Go and support Defeat the Band as soon as possible:  a band who want to bring the listener in and ensure their music creates smiles and fascination.  It is hard to not love the guys and become immersed in their direct and to-the-point tracks.  Nuanced and deep; compelling and hard-hitting:  genuinely one of the most impressive bands I have encountered this year.  Don’t take my word for it…

DECIDE for yourself.

 

______________________________________________

Follow Defeat the Band

  

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/defeattheband/?fref=ts

Twitter:

www.twitter.com/defeat_theband

Instagram:

www.instagram.com/defeattheband

_________________________________________

Music

https://soundcloud.com/defeattheband

 

TRACK REVIEW: Terrorista- Sarah Michelle Gellar

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Terrorista

 

 

 

Sarah Michelle Gellar

 

9.4/10

 

 

 

Sarah Michelle Gellar is available at:

https://soundcloud.com/terroristamusic/sarah-michelle-gellar?in=terroristamusic/sets/softpush-ep

The E.P., Softpush is available at:

https://soundcloud.com/terroristamusic/sets/softpush-ep

RELEASED:
12th February, 2016

GENRES:
Post-Punk

ORIGIN:

Toronto, Canada

TRACK LISTING:

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Softpush

Morriseau’s Black

In a Crowd

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FOR the first time this year it is…

back to a band who do things a little differently.  Last year- I can’t remember the exact date- I got to review Terrorista and their split-cassette release (they teamed up with fellow Canadians, Outer Rooms).  That particular record really excited me because it seemed very retro. and unusual.  In this day and age- where everything is digital and intangible- to release something on cassette is a bold move.  Like the V.H.S.; cassettes have rightfully been consigned to the annals of history- they were a terrible and flawed invention that were unreliable and frustrating.  Given the fact C.D.s has arrived, we can look back with fondness and relief- more bands should release stuff on cassette.  One of the good things about Terrorista/Outer Room’s endeavor was the mingling of two like-minded and forward-thinking bands.  The Punk/Post-Punk sounds produced really got into my head and elicited something quite wonderful.  I hear a lot of bands that use Punk as a template:  Splicing in Alternative and Rock sounds to create something modern and direct.  Before coming to Terrorista, it is worth talking about their contemporaries in Toronto; other Post-Punk bands coming through- completing with a bit about the wider music scene.  I have featured Toronto-based musicians before and compared them with the bands coming through in the city.  We all know the hottest U.K. acts emerging- or those relevant to us- but Canada is a bit more of a secret.  If you look at the band Toronto has produced- Broken Social Scene, Barenaked Ladies; Crystal Castles and Cowboy Junkies- and you have a vibrant and receptive musical centre.  There is not just a particular ‘sound’ or scene when it comes to Toronto.  Like all great cities- that promote diversity and variation- you have so many options and alternatives in your music.  The bands are not confined to same-old sounds and similar genres.  Last years, acts like New Chance and Princess Century were among the most productive and stunning Toronto had to offer.  It is not just the sound quality that is amazing (with regards Toronto) but the originality of the dynamics.  In some areas, you get predictable four-piece bands and little variation with regards gender and numbers.  Toronto has some great female-fronted bands coming through at the moment.  Weaves, The Beaches and The Beverleys are just a trio of names that have got critics excited and put their stamp on the local scene.  Away from female-lead acts; you have some tremendous duos doing sterling work- Terrorista are among the finest.  I love discovering an act that is not your four-piece-making-Alternative-sounds type:  The same old band we see shoved in our faces by the media on a daily basis.  It does not matter so long as the quality is up there (with regards the four-piece) but there’s a part of the brain that tires of the sameness and turgid lack of surprise.  When confronted with Terrorista last year- and not knowing their back catalogue- they instantly appealed to me.  It is not just that kinship that gets inside the brain- the boys have a kinetic energy and understanding that enforces their music- but the types of songs they were coming up with.  There is scent social media information with regards the boys- they have no official website or biography- so you have to put little bits together to try and get a full impression.  What I do know about them- it is the mainly the music and their reviews- is how highly the duo is regarded.

Terrorista are not just confined to local circles and have hometown appeal:  They are an act that have translated further afield and are making big waves in Canada.  Softpuh is the first E.P. from trhe band in a while and it is great to hear brand-new sounds from a two-piece who have a big future.  What I love about Terrorista is the attention and detail they put into their music.  The sounds recall Punk masters of the ‘70s; a little sprinkling of Alternative music of the ‘90s/’00s- a dollop of up-to-date Rock.  Together, you have an explosion of sound that digs deep and provides colour, emotion and fascination.  The song titles are eye-catching, to say the least.  Not your average tropes and boring clichés- nothing as pedestrian as Home or I Love You– the boys Hollywood nominals (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) with pithy, intriguing one-worded songs- Canvas and Prig for example.  After the split-cassette release of last year- and their Pink Tape work before that- it is exciting to hear the new stuff from the boys.  Whereas their past body of work has been cassette-themed/base; here is an E.P. that is purely digital and modern- maybe they will release it on cassette?  What does remain is that astonishing confidence and the intriguing song titles.  Sarah Michelle Gellar is a curious title- if Fall Out Boy can write about Uma Thurman; why not write a song about the former Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor? – and Morriseau’s Black compels the imagination- Norval Morriseau was an Aboriginal Canadian artist referred to as the ‘Picasso of the North’ whose work depicted struggles between Canadian and European cultures; spiritualism and mysticism.  If you look at the Post-Punk bands of the ‘70s and ’80s- The Cure and Orange Juice- their legacy has compelled a lot of modern-day examples.  Canadian Post-Punk bands such as Metric, Viet Cong and Fifth Column have shown there is a market for it.  A lot of listeners yearn for that revival of Punk:  Getting back to basics and producing music that provokes a reaction.  Of course, it is hard to really define ‘Post-Punk’ as it’s a sub-genre that straddles geography, sound and dynamics.  Each band (that plays Post-Punk) employs different instruments and may take a different direction.  For that reason, a lot of media sources are frantically promoting the best of the crop:  Rhythm of Cruelty, Freak Heat Waves and Teledrome are among the most hotly-tipped and exciting Canadian Post-Punk bands.  Terrorista are getting themselves out there and nestling alongside the finest out there.  Softpush is another confident step from a duo that has tremendously conviction, consistency and nuance.  In music- and in the wider sense- there is a lack of diversity and originality- the lack of diversity in music (and award nominations) has been lambasted and criticised.  For music to grow and inspire, we need to highlight artists that have that diversity and difference- put them at the forefront.  The media still has an obsession with a particular type of band and artist.  Until they broaden horizons- same goes with award show panels- we are in danger of seeing homogenisation and a rather depressing state of affairs.  I feel Terrorista are capable of- in addition to their peers- forming a shake-up in music.  Revival, improvement and evolution begin with small steps.  By embracing artists that do things differently (and have exceptional quality) it broadens the mind and leads to positive changes- other races being nominated for music awards; a less discriminatory palette.  That is a hotcake for another day- an argument I am keen to explore in depth- but for now, I am thankful Terrorista are back in force!

When Terrorista released Terror Rooms (the split-cassette offering with Outer Rooms) and the Colour Tape Compilation; there was plenty of quality and urgency to be found.  There have been no radically changes and developments over the last couple of years.  So confident and defined early on; the boys didn’t really need to change things too much.  With a hard and gritty sound; the biggest change has been the confidence and subject matter development.  The production values on Softpush are cleaner and more polished than on earlier cuts:  To that end, the guys have grown in stature and confidence and sound completely in their element.  Collaboration and touring has strengthened their sound and what you have now- across the four tracks of Softpush– are songs that demand multiple listens and reaction.  In their earlier cuts, I was compelled to come back time and time again.  This time around, that fascination has not relented for one second.  If anything, I find myself more drawn to the songs and the steps Terrorista have taken.  Perhaps the tracks are more rounded and accessible than on earlier efforts.  Whatever the reason, you can see clear evolution and improvement from a duo that gets stronger with each step.  It will be great seeing how the boys develop from here.  Whether we will ever see a full-length album from them- or that comes years down the line- I am excited, for one.  A duo that is incapable of producing weak songs:  Make sure you get a hold of the latest release from one of Canada’s finest acts.

Sarah Michelle Gellar is the first single from Softpush.  It is a perfect example of all the ingredients that make Terrorisata stand in the mind:  That instantaneousness and raw passion alongside emotional depth and compositional intelligence.  Concise, clear and seductive strings open the song:  It is a reflective and teasing introduction that gets the listener involved straight away.  The sound of the guitar- hard to explain or tie-down- has a romanticism and gracefulness to it.  Evocative and strong- knowing the duo you expect an explosion very soon- that guitar starts to move and become more ambition.  Recalling Post-Punk bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s; Alternative sounds of the ‘90s- with a bit of Grunge thrown into the mire- and you have a bubbling cauldron of exciting scents and possibilities.  I was bracing myself for something bomb-like and bracing.  That bolt and brace arrives soon enough and takes you by the lapel.  Recalling previous tracks- the sound and force of the vocal- you have some familiarity and consistency to that performance.  Fans of the duo’s older work will be pleased the guys have not made any radical departures.  New listeners will be drawn into the song’s electricity and sense of fascination.  When looking at the lyrics; you get some curious insights and possibilities.  The track’s central figure- not sure who it is in the earliest stages- has their face illuminated by traffic lights.  Maybe the song recalls/accounts a date or romantic endeavor (our hero waits for a perfect moment to say goodnight) and there is clear tension and doubt to be found.  Given the song’s title- and the images that come to mind- I wonder whether the U.S. actor was in mind when the lyrics came out.  Maybe our lead saw himself- in a dream or otherwise- courting Sarah Michelle Gellar or involved in some romantic tryst.  The listener gets caught in the ferocity and passion of the vocal.  Some of the lyrics suffer decipherability issues in these exchanges:  The lyrics get buried among the sheer noise and do suffer some clarity problems.  It is not a major quibble as the song grips you with its exhilarating slam and intensity.  I get the impression the song looks at love and the sheer joy of being involved- the duo may correct me on that.  Inside the explosions and raptured utterances, there is subtly and romantic implications to be discovered.  Those early lyrics (the reflection of the traffic lights against the heroine’s face) has a mix of teenage awkwardness and Indie movie charm.  You picture our lead waiting for the perfect moment to make a move- kiss the girl or leave the date on a high- and there is a great sense of what-if and possibilities.  Terrorista display their talent for quiet-loud dynamics and building suspense.  The heroine smiles and our boy seem in the grasp of a very delirious and soul-capturing passion.  After those near-orgasmic Punk explosions, the boys calm things down and allow reflectiveness and tenderness to come in.  Many would expect a Post-Punk band to be all about anger and rebelling against society.  It is a cliché and oversite that is seeing some great musicians being overlooked.  Terrorista demonstrate how much depth and subtlety you can being together with Punk sounds.  Sarah Michelle Gellar juxtaposes its feral moments with some restrained and reflective instrumentations.  You have a chance to breathe and reflect at various junctures.  The track has a constantly movement and always subverts expectations.  One moment it will jagged and savage; the next it will demure and show plenty of heart and soul.  While some of the lyrics will be lost and trip over themselves, the central decelerations and emotions are clear.  Our man is in the midst of a pure love and with someone who is causing all manner of excitement.  Whether this love is reciprocated, it is hard to say:  It doesn’t seem to matter at all!  That emotion and sheer passion makes everything seem right and positive.  The boy will wait until dawn for that perfect moment:  He wants things to end of a high and get a chance for another date.  Maybe the song is based on an established love- and the bond he has with a girl- or there may be some fictionalisation.  It is always great deciphering a song and seeing what inspired it.  The song’s heroine may have flaws and human aspects:  This reality makes that love more intense and provokes realisation and declaration.  You can hear that lust and affection radiate in a vocal that remains compelling and enthralled from the first to final moment.  Terrorista are a two-piece that sound like a big band.  They have so much power and potency at their disposal it is amazing to think it derives from two guys!  What Sarah Michelle Gellar shows (best) is how consistent and impressive the boys are.  A perfect example of what Softpush represents:  Sarah Michelle Gellar is a memorable track that will linger long in the mind.

Softpush continues Terrorista’s hot run of form and shows just what the boys can do.  The four-track E.P. contains no filler:  Instead, you have gems that get shinier and more precious as time elapses.  Songs that hit you upon first investigation- and reveal new wonder after further study- you have an E.P. that balks against the disposability and un-nuanced bands of the moment.  In a Crowd is a quiet-loud brooder that grumbles the one moment; snakes and crawls with venomous intent the next.  Little hints of Joy Division appear in the quieter moments:  The song suddenly explodes and brings about an intense and venomous delivery.  As “We’re all going to go the valley’s edge” where the dead will be raised- not the most evocative image in a song full of memorable visions- you have one of the most visual songs on the E.P.  That tight and intuitive bond (between the duo) is at its peak on the E.P.’s closer.  Consistently intense and focused:  In a Crowd never becomes undisciplined or loses its direction among the throng of sweaty notes and insatiable anger.  Rising from piranhas’ jaws; death-defying moments and repeated mantras lodge into the brain and create something hypnotic.  The E.P.’s title track has soft and tender beginnings- showing the range and diversity of the duo- that soon shifts to balls-to-the-wall aggression.  Snarled vocals are propelled by granite percussion and chugging guitars.  The boys’ ability to shift a 180-degree sees the song go from restful to rampant with nary a moment’s breath.  One of the grittiest and most direct songs on the E.P. – the best representation of Terrorista’s past sound- it is also one of the deepest and busiest songs, too.  The guitar notes create different impressions and ideas- there is so much depth and emotion portrayed- whilst the percussion mixes bellicose tribalism with something accessible and graceful.

The song changes path and evolves as time elapses:  A perfect example of how nuanced the duo can be at their peak.  Morriseau’s Black starts with rumbling guitars and something quite anxious at the start.  Perhaps as conflicted and vivid as its name-sake influence- the Canadian artist whose paintings inspired the boys- you have a song that looks at conflict and clashes.  The central vocal has such a passionate intensity and attack to it; you cannot overlook or ignore its ferocity.  Among the finest cuts from SoftpushMorriseau’s Black is a song that will leave the listener guessing and wondering- just what inspired the words.  Upon first listen, you try and take everything in and remember as much as you can.  You will go back and piece new strands together; recalling memories and finding fresh revelation.  Perhaps the strongest and most focused work (the duo has created):  A confident and exceptional release from one of Canada’s finest Post-Punk acts.  Before leaving things, I wanted to (briefly) come back to my Post-Punk points; a word about Toronto music and the emerging acts to watch.  In the U.K., there is not a great deal of Post-Punk bands being proffered.  Since the days of Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure- two of the most influential bands of the genre- there have not been too many modern examples pushed to the forefront.  That is a shame, because as Terrosita have proved, there is so much potential and excellence to be discovered.  We in Britain have some stunning Rock and Indie bands appearing:   We need some ambitious Post-Punk bands to arrive and create a bit of shake-up.  I mentioned how a lack of diversity in music is creating a negative awards culture.  When we look at the nominations for the Brit Awards and the Grammys; there are few black and female faces among the proliferation of white ones.  Perhaps it is an age-old issue- when were award shows ever synonymous with diversity and equality- and it is particular prescient in this day and age.   If positive changes will occur in years to come- let us hope controversy and protest affect change- I am not sure.  What I do know is music is less homogenised than award shows suggest.  There are so many varied and wonderful artists emerging- Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly demonstrated that- who deserve great acclaim and attention.  In terms of sounds, a lot of people are not as bold and adventurous as they should be.  The only way music is going to develop and grow is by taking chances and acknowledging a broader spectrum of musicians.  Softpush is a tight and accomplished statement from a duo that do things very diffidently.  From their quirky and original cassette releases:  We have an E.P. that shows such ambitious, quality and consistency.  Canada- and Toronto especially- is hardly foreign when it comes to waves of Post-Punk genius.  Many have a particular view with regards Post-Punk:  The genre is limited and will just be noise with no depth.  That may be true of some Punk bands- who rigidly adhere to particular acts- but Post-Punk has a lot more variation and range than you’d expect.  I am glad Terrorista are back and they show no signs of slowing any time soon.  What the rest of the year will provide- tour dates or another release- is anyone’s guess.  I hope in time they come to the U.K. and play here.  Whether financial restraints hold them back- or they feel there is little demand- it is hard to say but there is a definite need for their music on our isles.  Check our Sarah Michelle Gellar and Softpush and show how music…

SHOULD be done.

 

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Follow Terrorista

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/trrrorista/?fref=ts

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/TerroristaMusic

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Music

http://terrorista.bandcamp.com/

FEATURE: The Optimism Playlist

FEATURE:

 

 

 

The Optimism Playlist

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AS every day passes; I find so many people taking to social media…

talking about mental health.  Whether going through stress and heartbreak; confusion and sadness:  It is always galling seeing so many people affected.  I guess it is no surprise so many of us are affected by mental illness.  It is estimated 1 in 4 of us will suffer from a mental health condition- I am surprised at that statistic, to be honest.  Most people I have ever known have suffered from some form of anxiety and depression.  I guess that figure (1 in 4) relates to those diagnosed with depression/mental illness.  To be fair, and if you think about it, how many people have never encountered depression or some form of poor mental health.  With so many of going through it- more and more by the day- there are some alarming stories coming from the press.  It seems most of us who seek help- to combat or deal with the effects of mental ill health- is not getting adequate support.  When perusing social media- I tend to do it more than I should- I am witness to statuses and comments relating to depression, stress, anxiety and other mental disorders.  Those of us who have to endure the misery of depression (for example) always find the same thing:  Most people do not understand what we’re going through.

There are great charities out there campaigning for those who have to go through dark and uncertain days.  From SANE to Depression Alliance:  Some wonderful bodies exist in the U.K.  In desperate need for continued donations and support:  I hope the government invests more capital into charities that are under-funded and overlooked.  Cancer and cancer research gets such a spotlight and focus (only right) but it comes at the cost of other charities and causes.  In 2016, mental illness is still seen as a stigamtising and divisive theme that should not have to fight for respect.  Those who are polemic and short-sighted- people with mental illness need to “get over themselves”- need re-educating and a swift kick.  It is shameful (things like) mental illness is taboo and is relegated to the shadows.  Nearly every one of those will feel the sting or depression or anxiety; the struggle of B.P.D. (Borderline Personality Disorder) or anorexia- or just a few days where we are very down and forlorn.

In the past, I have launched various attempts at a viral charity campaign- including pitches for Shelter and Mind– but have found little support and backing.  I am back highlighting SANE and the great work they do.  Having contacted the charity- I am still waiting for their reply- it is hoped they will get onboard and lend their patronage to my idea.  What I am going to do is premiere The Optimism Playlist.  It would involve sharing a playlist from YouTube.  Each listener would go to the site and select between 9 and 16 tracks that make them feel better/optimistic/reflective.  If the song (you choose) makes you reflect or more open; puts a smile on your face or takes your troubles away- put them all together!  Once you have selected your songs; share that list across social media.  Like the Ice Bucket Challenge; you would nominate a few people- not confined to three- to carry on the incentive and do likewise.

Not only does the campaign encourage people to think more about music and what makes it special to them:  They would have the chance to discover new music and artists they weren’t aware of already.  Similar social media campaigns have been met with success- #NoMakeUpSelfie for one- and raised a lot of money.  In my view, there has not been a real attempt to start a campaign for a mental health charity.  On Facebook; the post would look similar to this:

Here is my entry for The Optimism Playlist:  (List link)

Donated (amount) to: (SANE donation link)

I nominate (Person 1); (Person 2); (Person 3).

 

Twitter would be similar, too:

 

#TOP entry (link).  I nominate @1st person; @2nd person; @3rd person.  (Mind donation link).

 

The Optimism Playlist would be easy to do/share and each ‘participant’ would be encouraged to donate to SANE– there would be a central link that allows you to donate (you can do so by text too).  With SANE on board (hopefully) it would give control to the charity and ensure they could keep a track of donations/the plight of the incentive.

The Optimism Playlist would not just be a chance to share music and spend some time checking some wonderful sounds.  The objective is to consider those who suffer from poor mental health and struggle with a harsh reality.  Go to SANE’s website and hear stories of those who live with the burden of mental illness.  It will give us- anyone not aware of the struggles some people feel- a chance to share that pain and feel more empathy and sympathy- to people who seem to be overlooked by society.

If something like the Ice Bucket Challenge– with its simplicity and vague link to A.L.S. – surely The Optimism Playlist can gain similar support?  The important thing is to include SANE and make sure mental health is brought in and put in the spotlight- rather than a viral campaign that ignores it altogether.  It will take some time and involvement- very few people take part in things like this unless it trends on social media- but I want to raise money and support for a charity that helps so many people out- their aim is to ensure everyone with a mental health problem gets the help they need.

It is no bromide of fad thing:  I want to raise thousands (if not more) for people who desperately need support and guidance.  I will officially ‘get the ball rolling’ next week and post my entry.  My choices so far (subject to change) are:

  1. Higher Ground– Stevie Wonder
  2. Tusk– Fleetwood Mac
  3. Go with the Flow– Queens of the Stone Age
  4. Up the Bracket– The Libertines
  5. Don’t Mug Yourself– The Streets
  6. Shake Your Rump– Beastie Boys
  7. Mr. Wendal– Arrested Development
  8. Step On– Happy Mondays
  9. Tender– Blur
  10. The Boy in the Bubble– Paul Simon
  11. Grace– Jeff Buckley
  12. Deacon Blues– Steely Dan
  13. Groove is In the Heart– Deee-Lite
  14. Carnival– The Cardigans

 

 

 

FEATURE: Jeff Buckley- Me, You and I

FEATURE:

 

 

Jeff Buckley

 

 

Me, You and I

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PERHAPS apropos of nothing…

it is to Jeff Buckley I divert my passion.  A man capable of awed hush and frisson:  A true musical angel who remains my music idol.  This feature is not entirely without relevance and timing:  In a few weeks, a new compilation is released- bringing some never-heard-before material and early cuts- that were committed to tape before Buckley recorded Grace– his seminal debut and only studio album.  You and I bring some previously heard material- Everyday People and Just Like a Woman has surfaced on YouTube– will nestle with cover versions (The Boy with the Thorn in His Side; I Know It’s Over) with an early version of Grace.  Before I investigate Buckley- and the true reasons for this post- I implore everyone to get You and I when it is released March 11th):  It is an album that shows a once-in-a-lifetime talent in his element; showing an extraordinary talent for interpretation.  Buckley is an artist who not only penned extraordinary original compositions but was a masterful cover artist.  From Led Zeppelin- Night Flight– to Poor Boy Long Ways from Home (a traditional Blues number that the likes of John Lee Hooker have covered this); you have a range of tracks that showcase Buckley’s immense voice and peerless talent.  Just listen to Just Like a Woman—Buckley’s affection for Bob Dylan is evident and clear- and you get shivers and start to lose breath.  Whilst purists argue Dylan tackled the song with more grit and directness- perhaps appropriate given the song’s lyrics- Buckley’s version has such passion and soulfulness- elevating the song to the realms of godliness and Heaven-kissed beauty.  The way that voice wraps itself around the words- almost a sermon from a young man who could relate to every word- is just one snippet of what to expect.

 

 

There will be those- Buckley fans included- that will argue against You and I’s release.  Many will ask why it took so long for these recordings to come to light- given the fact they are over 20-years-old.  Whilst it would have been easy to unveil this compilation following Buckley’s death (in 1997) perhaps it was never appropriate or right at the time.  Others will debate the reason behind the compilation- for financial gain or a way of getting every Buckley moment into the ether- and question the necessity of these recordings.  If Buckley were alive he would probably not want the record to be released- he was a fierce perfectionist throughout his career- and wants to keep these songs private.  Whichever side of the fence you come on, for me at least, You and I is a window into a phenomenal talent finding his feet- discovering who he was as a musician and singing these spellbinding love letters.  I agree it goes against Buckley’s will and desire- a conscience-troubling greediness I will have to reconcile- but you cannot leave these songs in the vault.  Every recording reinvents the original- Calling You is one of the most spine-tingling recordings from Buckley I have heard—and you feel like you are in the studio with Buckley- such is the intimacy and immediacy of the production.  It is just one man and his guitar:  Allowing the songs to pass through his blood; you feel the chills come and drift away.  I cannot wait to get the album (on vinyl; as the gods of music intended) and allow that wondrous voice do its thing.  Of course, You and I arrives with a bittersweet price:  It is terrific hearing new material from Buckley; the fact he is no longer with us is something I cannot get over…

 

 

Despite the fact I never met Jeff Buckley- I was a 14-year-old when he died- thinking about his death almost reduces me to tears:  Such a beautiful man taken in such a random and avoidable fashion.  En route to the recording studio- Buckley was priming himself to begin recording the follow-up to Grace– the 30-year-old was driving through Memphis.  Having seconded himself in Memphis- he rented a shotgun house and laid some tracks down on 4-track- things were looking very promising.  Buckley was  worlds away from New York and L.A. – the big cities he had called home at various points- and seemed at peace in a tiny house away from the hurly-burly of modern life.  Happy with how things were going- the recording sessions prior to this time saw Buckley dissatisfied with the results- and things were starting to come together.  Buckley went for a swim in Wolf River Harbour (on May 29th) and I cannot figure out why.  Perhaps the water looked inviting and romantic that evening:  Maybe there was a lure or it was a hot day that required a cooling-off opportunity.  After being dragged under the water- passing tugboats had created waves that dragged Buckley down- the U.S. legend was reported missing- his body was discovered days later by a passing tourist boat.  It is such an unfair and insane thing to happen.  One of the music world’s most promising and prodigious talents was taken from the world in such a strange and unnecessary way!

Perhaps it is fitting of an artist so impulsive and bold that he met with such an ending.  Many will argue with mythology and ‘inevitability’- Buckley’s father, Tim Buckley, died at 28- but the truth is it was a tragic accident that should never have happened.  Maybe if Buckley had decided to drive on- get to the studio and pass by the river- music would have been changed forever.  Maybe the young hero would have retired from music in years to come- dissatisfied with the changing face of the industry.  Would he have embraced social media or seen it as an unnecessary tool that takes away human connection?  These questions will (sadly) never find an answer:  That fact causes heartbreak and immense sadness in me.  It is unusual to be attached and in love with someone who was a sound through the speakers- a human I never got to see up-close and personal.

Some people dislike Buckley and find his reputation and legacy rather shallow- a column published in The Guardian back in 2007- http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2007/jun/02/jeffbuckleynothankyou- saw the writer (a foolish human!) list her reasons and arguments.  If well-argued- plenty of passion in his disapproval- Jude Rogers- the author of the piece- saw Buckley as too calculated and self-aware; someone who penned only a few decent hits- someone who employed melisma and overly-emotive phrasing too often.  Whilst I would never deny anyone their freedom of speech; I cannot agree with anything in this article. True, Jeff Buckley was a man who knew he was good looking and had a tragic past:  Unavoidable, genetic predispositions that he could not overlook or ignore.  Given the fact he only recorded one studio album; it is unfair to criticise a lack of breadth and consistency in Buckley’s songwriting.  An artist who covered a lot of artist- the recordings that surfaced after his death (that could have featured on his 2nd album) were by no means artist-approved and complete- you cannot judge a songwriter on the strength of a few songs.  Sometimes Buckley did over-exude when phrasing and delivering lines; some of his songs lacked necessary intensity and quality- Grace’s Eternal Life lacked the rawness and kick it would be given in the live setting- whereas So Real does not demand repeated listens.  Every artist and album contained a couple of less-than-perfect tracks- how many albums ever recorded are flawless?- and it is unfair to see Jeff Buckley as purely the result of Grace.  If you love the album- the vast majority do- or are indifferent to its charms; the American legend had so much more to him…

Why do I love Jeff Buckley, then- and the real motive behind this piece- you might be asking?  Buckley (I’ll start calling him ‘Jeff’) was a lonely man whose childhood was fraught with constant moving and instability.  Having never known his father- Tim Buckley died of a drugs overdose when Jeff was a boy- he was moved between states and cities.  Music was Jeff’s way of making sense of the world; the way for a shy man to make himself heard- a way for him to express what was inside.  So many musicians today seem so anodyne and robotic- you wonder whether there is a soul behind the eyes- you cannot connect with them or fathom why they are in music at all.  No other artists I have ever known seems so at home in music.  For Jeff, music was not just a vocation or thing to do:  It was a calling; the only thing that really made sense to him.  You only need to hear a few seconds of a Jeff Buckley song knowing how much music means to him.  Every song seems like an exorcism of sorts:  That bruised spirit finding peace and purpose in something pure, magical and transcendent.

Listen to the man talk- with that sweet and angel-like speaking voice- and you can hear that passion and love pour from him.  A human who possessed extraordinary intelligence, wit and wisdom:  Every interview I hear (Buckley conduct) teaches me something new about the world.  Not a soundbite-friendly musician who trots through interviews with expressionless fatigue:  Jeff Buckley was a man who oozed charisma, charm and authority.  The ‘90s was a decade that saw so much terrific music emerge:  Jeff was an artist who stood among the best and brightest from that time.  One of the most influential musicians of all-time; you can hear that legacy in so many of today’s artists.

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The link below- a retrospective feature on Jeff Buckley- is a recent discovery that compelled me to write this piece.  A passion piece that pays tribute to a phenomenal human being:  New information and revelations came out; new sides to a musician I feel I had all figured out.  The narrators/contributors documented Jeff’s time in the U.K.- the young star was excited playing his first gigs in the capital- and the trials and tribulations he faced.  Having to overcome stupid and ignorant interviews- who unwisely brought up Tim Buckley; against Jeff’s wishes- those tense moments were overshadowed by a hungry artist who wanted to bring his music to as many people as possible.  One of the best parts of this documentary- and what really defines Jeff Buckley to me- is how anger defined his music.  During one London interview- Jeff was pissed-off after the D.J. name-dropped Tim  prior to his arrival in the studio- there was so much tension in the air.  Jeff gave one-syllable answers and was (understandably) frosty towards the D.J.  What followed- asked to perform the song Grace– is the stuff of legend.  That particular performance- against the circumstances and anger inside Jeff- dropped jaws and showed how that music; the voice and that soul can turn anything into awe-inspiring beauty and divinity.

 

 

Whatever shit was happening around Jeff- whether it was other people’s stupidity or his struggles with depression and loneliness- it was the music that brought him back to a safe and warm place.  Nothing else mattered when he was lost in the moment.  All the stress and negativity were funneled into something pure and biblical.  One of the great tragedies is the fact I never got to saw Jeff perform live- imagine seeing the legend in an intimate venue absolutely owning it- so have to rely on recorded tracks, interviews etc.  Jeff might not have transitioned well into the 21st century.  A musician who favoured intimate gigs over stadiums- most bands and artists today do the opposite- he would have hated Twitter and Facebook’s ‘influence’ on people- the way communication and friendships are faked and fed through computers.  He would have despised a lot of modern music and what it is turning into.

What I do know is- had Jeff have lived- is the joy and pleasure he would have brought to the world.  You cannot change the past and the tragedy that claims the finest humans:  We are lucky to have had this man on Earth for the short time he was there.  It is hard keeping my emotions in check when typing this- I hear his voice and picture his smile right now- and am so sad it has been 18-and-a-bit years since his death- how has it been THAT long?!  Jeff Buckley is my idol because he epitomised what every musician should be/do.  There was no calculation and fakery to his personality and words.  Someone who was uninterested in sell-out venue gigs and magazine photoshoots:  He was a pure musician that simply wanted to spend his life showing his affection for something that meant so much to him.  Perhaps it is appropriate he is no longer here- he would seem strangely out of place in today’s scene- and the world is so much sadder for his departure.

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I shall leave this piece with a song/moment that (for me, anyway) defines Jeff Buckley- and explains why I idolise this man.  There was no pretense and bullshit; there was just a beautiful man trying to connect and find meaning.  If you have never heard Jeff Buckley’s music- what the hell have you been doing with your life?!- this clip perhaps defines why you should rectify this.  A one-off treasure we will never see the likes of again; I am thankful for any new material that comes to light- You and I will be on my stereo for many months to come.  Jeff Buckley made me connect more with music; he made me feel less alone and lost- a person who seemed similar to me- and I am so fu***** mad he was taken from this planet.  Whilst that anger will never abate; I am at least thankful for what he gave- and what he still gives to us- and the undeniable effect he had on the music world.  For that, and because I don’t need a reason to say this, I will end by saying…

 

 

THANK-YOU Jeff Buckley.

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The Jeff Buckley Playlist:

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For more information on Jeff Buckley:

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http://jeffbuckley.com/

 

TRACK REVIEW: K-Syran- Heartless

TRACK REVIEW:

 

K-Syran

 

 

Heartless

 

9.3/10

 

 

Heartless is available at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNUUFaCoT2c

RELEASE DATE:

March 20th, 2015

GENRES:
Dance

ORIGIN:

Norway

The album, Smoke in My Veins is available at:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/smoke-in-my-veins-deluxe-edition/id1048025201

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IN this rare instance I get to look away from the…

usual themes I discuss and concentrate on an artist (and sound) that is new to these pages.  Before introducing K-Syran; I wanted to look at artists coming out of Norway; acts that take their influence beyond music- completing with a bit about Dance music and mixing genres into that sound.  When I get to venture beyond U.K. and U.S. artists; I tend not to focus too heavily on countries such as Sweden and Norway.  It is perhaps a shame, as these nations are housing so many fascinating and compelling artists in music.  Not just confined to Indie, Alternative and Pop music:  There is so much more adventurousness and direction when you assess a Scandinavian act.  When we think of Norway; I guess a lot of us will envisage Heavy Metal and Thrash Metal acts and a darker side to music.  That may be true of Sweden, but as I have shown in past reviews, this is an oversite and ill-judged assessment.  Norway has a lot of those artists playing- they have spawned everyone from Wardruna to Burzum; Immortal to Taake- but there is a lot more subtlety and depth.  If you want to hear the best black Metal the world has to offer, head to Norway- make sure you dig deeper and look at artists with more heart and passion.  Whilst there is a constituently impressive music scene in Norway; few ears tend to spend much time here- assuming there will not be any treasures at all.  If new bands like Team Me have proved- an Elverum-based Indie/Pop band- there are mainstream and accessible acts a-plenty.  Aurora has recently burst onto the scene- her rather cover versions are rather unspectacular and bland- who will impress more when focusing on her own material.  A sweet-voiced singer that has enough heart to overcome her limitations:  Someone who can make an impression in music shortly.  Away from female Pop you have Rap artists- Norway does have a few, interestingly!- Awill; Indie band Comet Kid; Farao and Highasakite are darlings of Norway right now- showing how many different acts are playing in the country.  Throw in some magic from Jenny Hval, Truls and Samsaya and you are rather spoiled for choice!  I guess you just have to dig deep if you want to unearth great musicians.  Norway is a national that does not get a lot of focus from media in the U.K. to be honest:  A sin of omission that should be rectified given the musicians breaking through.  K-Syran is one of the most impressive and multi-talented coming from Norway right now.  A human who is not just content to let her music impress- her charity and ambassadorial work is laudable; I shall mention that soon- has put her in focus.  Before coming onto my next points, let me bring K-Syran to you:

Norwegian born K-Syran is a singer-songwriter who has received acclaim for her acting achievements on stage and screen, including ‘Voyage in the Dark’ at The Young Vic.  However, her tender vocals always got her noticed and singing in each of her productions.  With a professional drummer as a father, she was deeply inspired by music from a very young age.

Her new album, recorded at the legendary Metropolis Studios, ‘Smoke in My Veins’, is a fusion of Classical, pop, rock, jazz and techno influences together to create her distinctly unique sound. K-Syran nurtured her voice as lead vocalist for a number of groups, but it is as a solo artist that she is enjoying the greatest success.

Running parallel to her catapulting music success, K-Syran has also made considerable waves on the global arts and humanitarian scene. Earlier this year, she took her own play, ‘Breaking The Silence’ to New York. The play was nominated ‘Best Play’ at the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence In Conflict organised by Angelina Jolie and William Hague. K-Syran is also raising much needed awareness for Human Rights Watch through her work.

It is surprising that someone of K-Syran’s calibre and influence has not accrued more followers across social media (they are in the hundreds at the moment).  I have witnessed a lot of acts- to be fair, fly-by-night examples- that amass a huge following and are talked about in honeyed tones.  Whilst their name will escape the lips of many very soon; someone like K-Syran is going to be around for a long while- as a musician and as a humanitarian.  It is the worst side of social media- and perhaps modern society to an extent- that those noble and worthy receive the least; have to struggle to get their name heard.  K-Syran does not threat over social media numbers and ranks:  Her work is shouting loudly and here is a serious proposition.  Whilst Smoke in My Veins is the latest album from the Norwegian; I wanted to focus on a previous track- a little window into her past work- and how she has progressed musically.  Before arriving at that, it is worth talking about (given K-Syran’s humanitarian work) musicians that do more than music alone.  It might not seem worth discuss- I would respectfully disagree- but I feel a great pride when musicians involve themselves with humanitarian/charity efforts.  K-Syran is deeply committed to promoting human rights and is someone trying to bring about (positive) change in the world.  Too many artists simply arrive and record their music; see how it does and then carry on regardless.  I am not suggesting every new artist needs to involve themselves with other people:  It would be nice seeing more go out their way to make the world a better place.  Not only does it give music a great name; it inspires others to follow suit and continue that example.  K-Syran has that passion for improvement and humanity:  lt is hugely impressive discovering a musician that wants to affect change in society.  Blending Dance music together with Pop, Jazz and Techno; here is an artist with so much depth and endeavor.  Previous efforts have shown K-Syran bring immediacy and passion together in songs that have universality and reflection.  Smoke in My Veins is a bold testament and insight from a musician that has a promising future ahead.  She will surely translate across the land- break from Norway/London and gain plaudit further- and is making huge strides already.  In addition to playing in London (this coming March) I will be excited to see where the Norwegian star is headed.  Her sound (and album) has that ubiquitousness and mainstream appeal; there is subtle nuance and hard-hitting emotions- everything the serious music lover looks for.

Smoke in My Veins is the latest album (K-Syran’s second album) effort from an artist who has been around for a few years now.  Tracks like Heartless and Intimacy show two sides to a hungry and talent musician that will linger in the mind for a long time.  It is hard to compare the Norwegian to any other act- not instantly race to mind- so the best thing you can do is assess the tracks on its own merits.  Smoke in My Veins is a confident and multi-genre release that signals a musician that has plenty more albums in her.  I know K-Syran is a playwright- spending a lot of time promoting human rights- and someone who will not sit still and is always working.  This work rate and itinerant passion will see more music emerge from one of music’s brightest propositions.  Whether any future albums continue along the lines of Smoke in My Veins– blending Dance, Pop, Techno and Jazz together- I am not sure.  The immediacy and confidence are there right from the start; each of the album’s tracks say something new and are synonymous with directness and nuance.  You find yourself being hit and affected upon first listen:  Further investigation reveals new light and sides to the music.

Heartless is the second track from Smoke in My Veins and is the finest track the Norwegian artist has produced.  Reading interviews with her; you get insight into a musician that possesses wisdom, humanity and a great affection for the music itself.  Not an artist that simple turns up and puts the bare-minimum into the sound:  Heartless showcases the depth of imagination and daring genre-fuse that has defined her previous work.  Beginning with teasing beats and something exhilarating.  You get control and discipline in the percussion- it never needlessly explodes and wanders off- remaining tight and focused.  Those hissing undertones parabond with the striking percussion core to get the feet tapping and propels the introduction forward.  Synths. and electronic sounds linger in the background to make the composition richer and more varied.  Lush and emotive colours nestle inside the black-and-white directness.  The listener has no idea where the lyrics and song might lead after those initial seconds.  When our heroine approaches the microphone, there seem to be some recriminations and accusations emerging.  Despair and heartache would have been erased had the subject (the hero or heroine of the piece) looked our heroine “in the face”.  Whether these words look at the splits in a relationship or the breakdown of a friendship I am not sure.  There’s certain universality and ubqiutousness to the sentiments; so it is hard to know the exact origins behind the song.  Riding the wave of bristling electronics- those tense and teasing beats continue to play- the vocal has an air of anxiety to it that makes you wonder what has occurred.  Perhaps there has been a lack of trust prevailing; our heroine is going to take her tears and take this person down.  In the early moments of the song- and the sound of the composition- you get recollections from ‘90s Dance acts- the likes of Sasha and Corona- that takes you back to a golden time of music.  Whilst some of the vocals have that processes/machine-fed sound to them- they create a mood and urgency rather that paper over a limited voice- you never feel like you are listening to an average artist.

A lot of Pop/mainstream contemporaries process their voice to deceive the listener.  K-Syran has a fine voice but uses technology to add a certain jaggedness and directness to the voice.  The so-called “heartless man” is not working with our heroine and seems like a deplorable sort.  Boasting an endlessly dramatic backdrop- that mix of ‘90s Dance and modern-day edginess is perfect- no one is immune to the song’s strength and meaning.  I get the impression K-Syran is attesting a past love and somebody who was not right for her.  Maybe there was deceit and cheating- maybe there were some mind games and cat-and-mouse double-cross- but whatever the situation; the man is being given a dressing-down in the track.  That central voice keeps strong and passionate- never succumbing to moodiness and ineffectiveness- and ensures the song remains focused and buoyant.  The future would be so much brighter were this man (to let our heroine) into his dreams.  There seem to be conflicts and some contradictions in the track.  On the one hand, you have that accusatory tone and a lot of anger surfacing.  There is that need to eviscerate a rather unsavoury character:  Digging deeper, there are lingering passion and feelings.  Complexity and conflictions lie in our heroine’s heart; Heartless is a song that evokes a wealth of emotions and possibilities.  That composition is not merely there to boast the foreground.  I love those ‘90s vibes and the floor-filler potential that bursts from the speakers.  The modern-day club-goer will find much to love and will no doubt revel in the ecstasy and attack of the composition.  Others will find classic strands in the music that recalls heady days and Dance artists from the past.  As the song progresses- and before that chorus comes back- our heroine keeps her campaign burning bright.  A heart that is more open and pure will become stronger and more human.  The blend of direct and oblique lyrics never reveals names and situations:  It gives each listener a chance to theroise and imagine.  As the feet and voice rise and sway; the mind imagines and the soul tries to uncover truths and the crux of the song.  Past the half-way mark of the song, there is a chance for calm and reflection.  Our heroine launches through the chorus- seeming more determined and attacking than ever- and allows her voice to really push and pervade.  The emotion and directness that comes through- bite and venom linger within the notes- cannot be ignored.  As the song progresses, your attention- perhaps just me in this case- starts to concentrate more on the vocal and composition.  I have perhaps dug as deep as I can with the lyrics- the ideas of infidelity and dishonesty; that man who is heartless and despicable- and pay attention to beats and electronics that get more direct and strike.  The final moments of Heartless repeat the chorus and ensure the central message is understood and reinforced.  By the end, you reflect on the song just past and what our heroine has had to go through.  An exorcism as much anything- there seems to be little lingering hurt and anger- it is a direct and compelling testament that perfectly highlights Smoke in My Vein’s ideas and sounds.

Smoke in My Veins is just one side to a musician that is a lot more than the music alone.  Concerned with affecting change in society- her plays and involvement with humanitarian work is to be applauded- you have a human that cannot rest and is always looking to make things better.  While it may seem separate from the music (human rights involvement) it gives inspiration for those musicians coming through; people that want to find idols and heroes.  K-Syran’s latest album shows a rare talent that will be on the music scene for a long time yet.  Heartless appears on the album and is just one- the album has 12 originals plus a few remixes- side to a mercurial artist with a terrific voice and direction.  I started this review by raising points about Dance music- splicing genres around this core sound- the nature of the life-improving musician; the great artists coming from Norway.   When I was approached with the prospect of K-Syran- via her management company- and the term ‘Dance music’ was leveled my way- I got a slight sense of unrest.  I am not a huge follower of Dance and have to pick carefully when investigating artists of the genre.  Luckily, K-Syran uses Dance as a core and expands and stretches the sound to great effect.  There is that pulsating and insatiable base- that gets the heart pumping- together with softer Pop moments; Techno savageness and Jazz seductiveness.  A mellifluous-cum-direct concoction arrives from one of Norway’s most stunning musicians.  Few of us look towards Norway when we want to find a great musician to follow.  We all tend to stay in the U.K. and U.S.:  Occasionally we look further afield but are somewhat limited in our horizons.  I am culpable of this and am glad to have been brought to the attention of K-Syran.  Her music has compelled me to look at Norway’s music scene and study the best the nation has to offer.  I stated a few examples above- the likes of Awill and Truls- and there is plenty of variation and quality.  That stereotypical view of Norwegian music pervades:  We assume there is nothing but Death Metal and rather bracing music.  While there’s a great deal- and rich heritage of- Death Metal; it is unfair to say that is all Norway has to offer.  Rap artists are shining whilst some great Pop moments are being produced.  Young Indie and Rock bands are nestling alongside the best from this country:  Norway is a nation we should all be looking to for some seriously great acts.  K-Syran is putting Norway into focus and showing just what excellent and range can be found here.  Her stunning music is just one side to a fascinating character that is making changes in the world and setting her sights high.

A playwright and spokesperson for human rights- committed to using her voice to spread positive messages- a truly modern musician that is going to inspire many others to spread themselves and think more deeply about the world.  If we look at the music itself- the album Smoke in My Veins especially- you have a talent that is getting stronger and more assured with every release.  I have looked at K-Syran’s previous tracks- some of which appear on her new album- but the sense of immediacy and quality is apparent the second you start digging into the album.  I have spent a great deal of time looking at Pop, Rock and Alternative acts these past few weeks.  K-Syran takes a hard and effusive Dance beat and marries a variety of sounds to create something stunningly evocative and blood-rushing.  If you have not encountered K-Syran; Smoke in My Veins is a perfect starting place and a wonderful representation of where she is right now.  That confidence and talent radiates in every song:  You cannot imagine K-Syran slowing down anytime soon.  I know our heroine comes to London in March to play:  Let’s hope there are more U.K. gigs booked- K-Syran resides in London now- as so many here would love to hear that music up-close and personal.  Heartless hits you from the first seconds and does not relinquish its grip until the final notes.  In the midst of the rabble and push is a heartfelt nature and openness from a musician that wants to involve the listener and bring them into the moment.  My next week will see British and American acts come together and appear under my radar.  Having heard K-Syran- and searched for some like-minded acts- I have immersed myself in the Norwegian music scene and will champion some of the best from the country.  If you want something bracing but deep; immediate and nuanced:  K-Syran is a musician that provides all you could ever want.  Heartless is a window into a talent that has a lot more to say.  Snap up Smoke in My Veins and support a fertile young musician who…

WANTS to make the world a much better place.

 

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Follow K-Syran

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ksyranmusic

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/Ksyranmusic

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/ksyran/

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Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4UUVwavIgJBf-PqiKvvQHg