There was a time when teen pop singles followed very predictable templates, appealed to a very specific age range and were built with a short shelf life. Shannon K reminds us that all that is in the past, we no longer have to take age into consideration and even music aimed at the youngest musical market can be as slick and sophisticated as anything that the more established performers can deliver. A level musical playing field indeed.
Lately is a soulful pop master class built on purposefully lazy backbeats and minimal instrumentation that allows the vocal to become the focal point of the song. A blend of innocent teen narrative and universal wisdom run through the simple but direct lyrics and the whole package takes pop to new heights of soulful finesse.
As always the joining of an artists musical dots often follows the joining of geographical ones and so it is no surprise that Lately is an effortless blend of London style and West Coast cool, with a wonderful taste of Indian exoticism creeping in around the edges. They say East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet! But when it does, as Shannon K proves beyond doubt, the results are spectacular.
The best music is that which doesn’t sit neatly into any one genre, and in not doing so it shows an understanding that such constructs are at best self-imposed limitations, at worst sonic demarcations reinforced by those to afraid to explore beyond their own comfort zones. Little Saint is happy to wander across such artificial boundaries, a perfect example of the post-genre world that we find ourselves in.
With each listen you uncover more layers to this subtle and supple musical blend. Hip-hop beats and trip-hop anticipation builds a structure on which Little Saint hangs the more expected grime and rap references but also chilled late night jazz saxophone, plaintive neo-classical piano, ambient dream-pop and an inherent soulfulness.
Sounding like the score to a film that was too emotive to ever be shown to the masses, the music often hangs almost beyond reach, like morning mists being described with classical piano passages and minimal beats, and electronica that comes across like half heard radio white noise, the distant voices of aliens or angels being harnessed into a language that we have yet to learn.
It isn’t often you bump into music like that is it?
When discussing the recording process of the track, Little Sain✚ cites,
“The remix happened fairly quickly. Genesis Elijah heard it and put his part on it the same day. We didn’t really discuss anything conceptually because he just felt it and knew exactly what to do. When I heard his verse I was really excited because he took the feeling and became the song. I think he raps some really clever lyrics on there too”
‘Round and Round’ is accompanied by visuals that were created by artist Dr. F**joy consisting of more than 5000 digital paintings made from just one photo taken of Little Sain✚. The track has been released through Halogram Records and more information about Little Sain✚ can be found on his social media pages and official website.
As the disparate strands of The Nyx’s sound collide and blend, mix and match, you realise that away from the lazy labelling and journo driven love of scenes and pigeonholing, it’s all just rock and roll. It always has been and as this ferocious London girl-gang fire off salvos of underground rock swagger, punk attitude, garage rock rawness and grunge intensity you can envisage the nods of approval from everyone from Joan Jet to Courtney Love to…well, even Grace Slick.
It’s fierce, sure but is full of melody, it is snarling and confrontational but in a way that comes naturally. And if Fire Breathing Lady is the track that entices you across the threshold, the remaining songs which make up their recent E.P. don’t disappoint either. Hideaway shimmers and grunts in equal measure, Myself rocks and broods and Home is wonderfully melodic and nothing short of anthemic.
The secret to the continuation and success of guitar bands isn’t going to be found in musicians hell bent on fusing their respective genres into strange new progressive hybrids or who seek to push boundaries that probably only exist in their minds. Salvation lies with bands like The Nyx, bands who aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel but are more interested in taking it out for a spin, enjoying the ride and leaving the street peppered with some hard to remove tire marks along the way.
The Nyx are no strangers to the live music scene and are set to perform on 29th June at Black Heart in Camden, followed by more unannounced dates throughout the remainder of the year. More information about the band and their upcoming live dates can be found on their social media pages.
Sometimes all you need is a fun tune. When you have had enough of the inward looking and earnest indie kids, the cliché riddled rockers and the production line pop, something light, sassy, self-aware and playful is what is called for. Sometimes all you need is Stela Cole.
Balancing the pop infectiousness of Ellie Goulding, the darker undertones of Lana Del Ray and the street smarts of Lily Allen, her “beats from the Bible Belt” are as cool and contemporary as anything currently filling the dance floors, yet they still sounds like nothing else you have heard from any of the competition. Living up to her mantra that “trying to fit in gets you nowhere, standing out is what life’s all about,” Secret Lover is a mercurial and original blend of cartoon theme tunes, wonky, staccato dance grooves and bubble-gum pop beats making the most addictive cat nip for the very coolest of cats.
And the odd thing is that for all its apparent throwaway pop nature, this is throwaway pop that you just can’t stop listening to. How do you even do that?
It’s all about paying your dues and TyC has certainly done that. After establishing his name as part of the band Carousel he has spent the last few years honing his production skills and song writing craft by shadowing and working with a wide and diverse network of artists and labels. The time now felt right to put his own release out and ahead of the forthcoming ep, the track All 2 Myself acts as a musical teaser and calling card for what is to follow.
And it is an intriguing mix. The ghosts of eighties electro explorers loom large over the song for sure but the more immediate vibe is a slick and sunshine fuelled west coast dance vibe. Add to that big production values, innate pop infectiousness and a polished modernity to his approach and you have a song that not only knows where it comes from but also sure as hell knows where it is going.
It is a busy sound with rock guitars and pulsing bass lines blending effortlessly with the more usual dance-floor elements but through clever production and a careful approach to space, nothing is lost and even the subtlest of sounds has its moment in the spotlight. Now that’s value for money.
Out of Birmingham, Lycio are a contemporary 3-piece bringing a uniquely authentic take on electronic/hybrid music – combining distinctive vocals, real & electronic drums, alongside pad/synth textures. Despite their interest in sound design, Lycio ultimately prioritise the song – great songwriting, vocals & melody.
Following the highly positive reception to ‘Air Part 1’, lycio’s second offering ‘Saharan King’ sees a more reflective side to the band. ‘Saharan King’ was mixed by Craig Davis and mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Alex Wharton (mastering artists such as The Beatles, The Chemical Brothers, Mogwai, The Pixies and cutting albums to 12″ by Radiohead, Coldplay, Massive Attack, to name a few).
Emotive lyrics, evolving synths and pulsating sub bass see ‘Saharan King’ crescendo throughout. Lyrically pained verses build in tension, eventually opening out into its final yearning chorus.
Everything is played 100% live; no backing tracks, no playback. Hybrid music with that essential human feel.
Bat and Ball bring the political and the personal together with Worth, the new release from their upcoming debut album.
Worth is beautiful: vocals so fragile you fear they might break; haunting melodies; delicate synth and guitar soundscapes. Beneath that enchanting surface, though, Worth is a lament for what women have lost and the things they have never had in society.
‘Worth must feed our waist down’ – Abi Sinclair’s unique lyrics explore the ways that body image defines how women are valued and how they value themselves. They combine a personal voice of adulthood, looking back enviously to a time of innocent certainty, and a political voice, despairing at the ways our self-obsessed society’s pressures bruise, break and imprison us.
‘My face is turning, ageing leaving you/youth:’ the elegiac mood and gothic cathedral sounds of Worth reveal another side of the upcoming album. Previous releases, Cruel Cats and Be Mine, were savage, frantic and satirical antidotes to the conventional love song – Worth looks with longing into our dislocated and unforgiving selves: ‘so I forget I love loving wide.’
Bat and Ball’s critically acclaimed debut EP, We Prefer It In The Dark, was followed by Guardian ‘Single of the Week,’ Stops My Mouth. Worth is the third single from their highly anticipated album, which will be released later this year. Worth will be accompanied with a music video directed by Chris and Abi Sinclair. A song-video collaboration with international artist Sarah Choo Jing will follow in the lead-up to the album release.
Independent Pop/R&B artist Cortez Shaw today announced his debut single “Burn,” set to be released worldwide on June 6th, 2017.
Written by Shaw, the track features collaborations with producers Jalex and Taji Ausar (Kehlani,Usher, Ne-Yo), Grammy-nominated mix engineer Beau Vallis (Pharrell, Kelly Rowland) and Grammy-winning mastering engineer Randy Merrill (Chris Brown, Mark Ronson, Justin Bieber). “Burn” was inspired by real-life experiences, and tells the relatable story of love, betrayal, and heartbreak – with a twist. It features classic R&B-inspired verses and a soaring, powerful hook, showing off the dynamic vocal
range Shaw is known for.
A two-time finalist on the hit Fox television show “American Idol,” Shaw has earned high praise from around the world, and was recently cast in an upcoming major-network drama. His debut EP RAW is
slated for release later this year.
To learn more about Cortez, visit http://cortezshaw.com
There’s something about indie-rock that renders a mellow cheer from happiness measures and throws a mile high feeling into the mix. Dr Danny, merges a close similarity to The Kinks and The Beatles, both originating from sounds of abundant success and beaming vision. With the release of his debut EP ‘Lay it on me Straight’ featuring the lead single ‘Nothing But Love’, Dr Danny revives the feel-good vibe into indie music, with refreshing lyrics and a soft-rock fluffy resonance. Already a profound success in the music scene, Dr Danny is a new member of the largely successful and internationally recognised band, The Lemon Twigs. Proving worthy of musical brilliance, Dr Danny has shown an underlying quality he has to offer the music scene with the release of an appealing EP.
Dr Danny paints an artistic picture of a summer’s day, with the guidance of smooth 60’s indie-pop, and the track elevates glowing spirits and euphoric twists. ‘Nothing But Love’ dives into bursting breaks of triumph, accompanied by a pleasant mixture of pummelling drums, and the electric guitar leading a victorious cheer. Dr Danny’s free-flowing lyrics are self reflective and unconfined to the fundamental problem of secrecy that he volubly expresses in the opening of the track. The nonchalant persona of Dr Danny mirrors the liberating stance he has so fruitfully taken in the 60’s style serendipity.
‘Lay It On Me Straight’ is out later this summer. You can also catch Danny with The Lemon Twigs at this years Coachella.
A stone throw away from international prominence, Cheekz, an up-coming American hip-hop artists from Springfield, Massachusetts has announced the release of his newest track ‘Banga’, and it is an exciting sound to add to the top of your playlist for 2017.
Like many of his inspirations that include Tupac and Wu Tang Clan, Cheekz patently combines a passion for material truths in conjunction with carefully strung hip-hop music. Cheekz describes what has inspired him to his own personal experiences, “As once a victim of being bullied and seeing others be bullied I tried to reach out listeners in a vocal and visual way to help stop the violence and put more focus on positive ways to occupy the youths time and educate them on retaliation”. After selling over 20,000 copies of his last independent project ‘Mass Destruction’, Cheekz already has a strong presence in the hip-hop community, mostly well known for defining a personal depth behind his lyrics and addressing crucial issues involved across society.
Cheekz efficaciously highlights the problem of how youngsters easily turn to gun crime so easily in a conscious effort to combat bullying. Taking a step away from the traditional lyrical tropes of hip-hop artists focusing on the themes of money, crime and sex, Cheekz merely transforms this type of culture into a learning curve for his young fans. By introducing a social educational comprehension on the matter, Cheekz’ message engages right and wrong with rap as a contrivance.
The track is set to be released through his own label Massworkz Inc on the 9th June 2017 and will be available via all major media providers. More information about Cheekz can be found on his social media pages and official website.