JustMac is an underground Hip Hop rap artist based in London UK with a vast repertory of skill, talent and soul.
His debut track 3rd Strike feat Eyes and Pacc has just been released, I’m almost stumped for words on how to describe the pure transcendence that the talented artist, rapper and poet has created with his lyrics that capture his disdain, pain and passion so succinctly it’s impossible not to be moved with his sound that’s been placed so carefully over angelic chords and beats.
His poetry is just as uplifting as his lyrics which are planted between lucid beats that are sure to pull at the heart strings. The progression through the track is steady, fuelled with immersive breakdowns and layering of contrasting vocals thanks to the help of the contributing artists that make this track a masterpiece of rap, melody and melancholy with a hint of conflicting aggression that gives the track soul.
JustMac doesn’t play it safe with his music which gives his debut track an exuberant roller-coaster edge through his electronic trappings. With the avoidance of studio sheen from this track it’s organic perpetual flow gives a natural and organic feel through the andante five-minute track.
Brendan Buckley is a young upcoming hip hop talent with a strong sensitivity to music itself, and in his brand new track “Mistake Music” he indeed portrays late night moments through a strong flow and a musical texture and structure which is in a constant state of change and development until the final chorus which ties everything together and creates some very singable phrases. Apart from this, “Mistake Music” also presents a well crafted catchy beat which also drives the instrumental texture forward. Another intriguing factor is the instrumental choice itself and the way this blends short pointillistic sounds which soft mellow harmonies which take the spotlight when the beat drops out.
In his song, Brendan Buckley does not only project a steady flow which is very rhythmically active but also features a good sense of melody which is aided by enough autotune to contour the melody without taking away expression from the vocal delivery. This upcoming talent definitely knows what he wants in his music and manages to deliver his vision through a track which is in constant development while also portraying a clear narrative and lyric.
With “Come Back To Me”, singer and songwriter Isobel Frances reveals her most intimate and spontaneous side. The song has a really beautiful vulnerability to it, aided by a simple, yet rich arrangement based on the stunning textures of the lush piano chords. Isobel’s vocals are masterfully produced: they are bright and upfront, with a clarity that projects them atop of the mix. Yet, they are also extremely intimate and personal, making for an interesting contrast.
This song has a very interesting production, because it combines a lush and modern approach with a very laid-back and intimate twist, combining the best of both worlds into a truly astonishing release.
If hip-hop and rap evolved out of a very particular American street culture, it wasn’t long before London musicians were taking that template and bending it into their very own gritty urban will. Jay Kage represents the cutting edge of that creative response.
Jay Kage sits at the contemporary end of a thread that runs back through artists who blur musical lines, not just rappers but more exploratory artists such as Cuttooth, Portishead and Massive Attack. What he offers is a redefining of that musical template to match modern times, a social comment on the detached romanticism and broken dreams of modern society, the bored suburbs and the shattered inner city, but also bringing, optimism and hope to the soundtrack to a modern young life.
M.R.J is a driven performer and songwriter who set out to put a lot of emotion and depth into his brand new single, Cali High.
As the artist aptly stated, this song is actually an autobiographical atmospheric dance track. The lyrics are personal and a bit nostalgic, yet they also have a lot of hope and energy. The message is clear: there are many ups and downs through life, but it is all about the attitude – pushing forward and making it through all the struggles one could face.
It is not easy to take a genre such as dance music and make it really personal – However, M.R.J managed to do just that, with a song that’s appealing, catchy and full of powerful lyrics that would make for an epic sing-along.
The song’s lush texture and deep atmospheres fall in perfectly with the massive dance beats, going for an incredible production aesthetics that feels modern, yet organic and direct.
One of the great aspects of hip-hop and rap is its ability to mix a street vibe with informed and intelligent lyrics, to play the fool but do so with a knowing wink, subvert the listeners expectations and mix the rough with the smooth. This is exactly why Origin’ works so well. It is a balance of groove driven lyricism and skittering beats, it mixes classicism with modernity, deep thought with throw away comments.
Musically it also confounds in the best of ways, tight clinical beats hold everything together but on it is hung smooth distant jazz saxophones and plaintive piano lines. This is the sound of up town sophistication drifting into the workspace of the struggling bedroom artist, of the self-educated street kid with no money but a ton of ambition. It paints a very real picture of the strange collisions and juxtapositions of the modern city and how music itself is often built of such fascinating interactions.
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.
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?
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.