Rarely do artist completely change the direction of sound – and do it as effortlessly as Nyro has done on, “Terror In Tacoma.” The lavish yet slightly monochromatic musical score dances around a colorful yet glassy piano and not much else (maybe some slight strings here and there), but it’s the whimsical simplicity that sets the undertone of mystery and anticipation. The musical score enters with a reoccurring motif that slowly blends within the score allowing the listener to relate to the sound on a narrative level. If you listen close enough, there’s a story unfolding right before your very eyes or ears rather and that’s the best part of this piece.
The veracity of the piano is a key factor when listening to this track, as it’s use employs a wide range of orchestrated sounds dancing from subtle almost Asian influenced patterns to playfully quaint tones yielding harmonious moments of both beauty and anticipation. Despite its beauty (or maybe because of it) one can’t help but be drawn in from beginning to end. This is a solid track, a refreshing glass of water in the somewhat cottonmouth sound we are slowing becoming accustomed to hearing more and more these days.
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.
There are certain musical styles that never seem to find a wider audience no matter how much talent can be found within. Weightless by Jessica Curran is a track that just might be able to pull in some pop diehards to appreciate the sounds of analog instruments and soulful sway. If vape lounges growing like weeds across America can signal anything for music, can it mean a concerted effort to bringing lounge music into fashion? Please?
This is a song built for stage and yet the recording doesn’t feel burnt from a lack of context. Curran’s stunning vocals are enough to pull the listener into a more intimate scene where without facial expressions, without bodily movements, without an atmosphere of coffee and socializing, we can still feel like we’re experiencing something. Weightless balances jazzy basslines and piano with a string arrangement that powerfully takes over in moments when vocals are absent. There’s never a dull moment and it’s hard to imagine someone wanting to hear anything else once Curran starts singing. This is a well-crafted song and we can only hope it’s an omen of the future.
Mind Cinema is a rather unique musical project that combines the appeal of pop with the edge of rock music and the modern aesthetics of electronica. The project’s recent single, Sleep Clinic, starts with a mellow, intimate mood. The beautiful piano chords and sparse female vocals are a recipe for success, with a moody and somewhat dramatic feel.
The song later open up with some hypnotic beats and beautiful synth swells that feel like waves crashing on an empty beach on a hot summer day. They are slow, deep and heavy, yet there is a lot of movement.
It’s definitely worth mentioning the stellar music video to this song: the highly cinematic images really match the song’s unique sound and the visual storytelling keeps the viewer glued to the screen in a very special way.
Bright pianos and organic strings don’t always get grouped in with lively breakbeat influences. After hearing Star System by Since November, you’ll be asking why this is the case. Soft vocals that would be expected to fit into more electronic settings become the perfect glue for awe-inspired arpeggios and reverent string arrangements. This track defies convention and expectation. In its wake is unadulterated possibility.
To call this song uplifting would be a grand oversimplification. This song may bring a sense of freedom and even a smile to your face, but this song has more than a good time in store. There is beauty here and it’s worth dwelling on. It’s repetitive but never boring and every time the loop breaks, it feels as if you’ve discovered a completely new outlook on the world around you.
Star System shows you the door to frontiers that aren’t always accessible. This is what so many people love about music in a general sense. It rekindles our nostalgias, enhances our good times, and understands us when we’re down. Since November has something different in mind though. The mission here is to move people. Mission certainly accomplished. One can only hope more artists take notice of the style exuded on this track. If not, we can eagerly anticipate more from Since November.
As the plaintive piano lines build into more dramatic crescendos and brooding strings drive the song into a higher gear you realise that even commercial pop music can be a thing of simple beauty. Whilst others might throw the studio kitchen sink at a song, work out intricate dance routines, design hooks and melodies via workshops and board meetings, Calton Kelly reminds us that it’s all about the song. It is about passion and integrity too but thankfully this lad has all of that covered. And then some.
Gentle and spacious neo-classical cascades meet electronic beats in a melding of present and past, tradition and technology and as strings sweep past, brooding cellos swoop and distant violins soar, the simple, understated majesty of the music is set free. It’s great to find a young modern artist who is able to embrace the past as well as head into the future.
Somewhere west of the frantic folk-for-money thrash of Mumford and Sons but east of the rhinestones of the Nashville scene, beyond the oddly named British Americana movement and taking a left turn around the almost meaningless roots moniker, you will find the start of a forgotten highway. Jump in a car, preferably a Mustang with the top down, a crate of beer and a David Lynch soundtrack blasting out, drive until the sun goes down and you will come to a small roadside truck stop. This is the band that will be on in an hour.
Somehow Up Down Go Machine manage to swerve all the clichés whilst capturing a wonderful sense of pathos and theatre and the result is an ambient take on the southern, country-rock sound. The real standouts of the track are the things that don’t stand out at all…space, restraint and understatement. And it is these tools that they use both to create a drifting chill that washes through the music and also as a contrast to the big dynamics which occasionally punch through.
It just shows you that it isn’t about how much music you use to build a track, it is more about the passion, soul and emotion you imbue it with and Gambler has a whole pick-up truck’s worth of those qualities.
The independent singer songwriter community is a very difficult one to break out of. Even though the genre has its roots in the early 1970s, it’s found a massive resurgence in the last several years amongst younger performers combining it with other styles. One of the most recent artists trying to break out of that scene is Janessa Evrist, a Los Angeles-based songwriter who sings, plays piano, and pens her own work. Her debut EP ‘Fall Apart’ is due out this year, and the eponymous single is available now. Let’s delve into it!
Evrist’s ‘Fall Apart’ is a very melancholy piece of music, chronicling her transition from feeling like a broken “work in progress” to no longer caring to bother to “pick up the pieces” of herself. Though that may sound particularly abysmal, there’s a bizarre sense of individual triumph in ‘Fall Apart,’ as if Evrist’s decision to fall apart is a decision to embrace herself the way she is. Everybody is broken in some way. Thus, having broken parts of yourself is part of the human experience. ‘Fall Apart’ recognizes that.
Musically, Evrist’s performance is especially excellent. She has a beautiful voice and her soft croons are scored perfectly by her piano performance and some sparse, but stunning percussion. The song has an ethereal, dreamy quality to it, especially at moments like the section around 2:00 when tiny echoes of Evrist’s vocals cascade about the backdrop.
The music video for ‘Fall Apart’ is surprisingly good, too, and it captures the surreal nature of the song very well. The cinematography of the video is notably intriguing, and Evrist moves through a variety of lighting set-ups from well lit bedrooms to dark forests lit with greens and blues evocative of ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream.’
‘Fall Apart’ does cut through the noise of the singer songwriter scene, and it does so triumphantly with a fantastic production and accompanying music video. It’s well written and performed, and it’s also indicative of Evrist’s debut EP being a collection of music worth putting on your calendar for later this year.
For years, Patrick Joseph has forged a prolific career as a songwriter on the rise. You may have heard his music on such television shows as Gossip Girl, The Office, Chicago Fire, MTV’s Friendzone, or Happy Endings, to name a few. You might have caught him at festivals around North America such as SXSW in Austin, NXNE in Toronto, or CMJ in New York. Or maybe you’re just discovering his music for the first time. Regardless of how you’ve gotten to know him, you’ve already discovered quickly why Joseph’s had a steady rise to success over the past few years from the Los Angeles music scene to the international stage. With two releases and a few years of touring under his belt, singer/songwriter Patrick Joseph is no stranger to the craft, and 2015 shows no signs of slowing down for the young songsmith who hails from Los Angeles, CA.
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Joseph forges a mixture of pretty & gritty vocals, lush production and timeless songwriting, creating a presence that NOW Magazine describes as “A Gifted LA adult-contemporarist with a world-weary Waitsian voice and a Spoon meets Beatles soft-rock vibe.”
Patrick is largely independent, producing, recording, mixing, and until recently, performing all of his recordings on his own. A resident of the neighborhood of Silverlake in Los Angeles, Joseph has established himself as one of the rising stars in the buzzing songwriting scene of Southern California.
His latest release Hindsight brought Patrick Joseph on a US Tour, steady airplay around North America, several features in film & television and the honor of Producer Of The Year in the 2015 Independent Music Awards, as well as recently being named Best Male Pop/Rock Artist in the 2016 LA Music Critic Awards.
Nikki and Jonathan Stipp, the husband-and-wife musicians that comprise Hooked like Helen, have been holed up in their home-studio for the better part of a year, writing and recording for their forthcoming sophomore EP “Settle For Earth” (due out 02/12/17). From these sessions emerges “Lovely Sound”, the first single and lead-off track, available now as a FREE download on Soundcloud until the EP drops in February. The tune was co-produced by HLH’s singer, Nikki Stipp and long-time collaborator, GRAMMY-winner Isha Erskine. Dark, grooving and hopelessly epic, “Lovely Sound” reveals the polished direction the band has taken with its latest endeavor.
Hooked Like Helen had an eventful year in 2016, having won an Indi.com Award for Best Original Song for “Liar” from their debut release. The MTV documentary-series “Unlocking The Truth” featured several HLH songs on the show and its Spotify soundtrack playlist. Hooked Like Helen is honored to have received such attention and is gearing up for a string of local live performances to support the release of “Settle For Earth”.