Through the impossibly competitive music scene of Portland, Oregon emerges Salvatore Manalo with his debut track Rain.
It’s a mixed bag of genres, but when you get to the bridge, putting a label on his majestic sound quickly floats to the back of your mind as you find yourself fully attuned to his sound. With riffs more fitting in Rock tracks this R&B Funk Pop enigma allows the track to flow with sweet unpredictability.
The entire ensemble is flawless, from the vocals to the instrumentals, the lyrics to the Jazz vibes that taint the track with poignantly upbeat symphonies. I’m really not sure how Manalo remains on the underground with such an array of talent. There’s a true narrative to his emotions which he explores through his command of rhythm.
Sadly, Rain falls under the category of the type of track that you’re likely to hear whilst dining at an upmarket restaurant or wandering round the supermarket. It’s not a sound that you’d hear in trendy cocktail bars or being spoken about fondly by teenagers. Never the less, if you’re looking for a sound to dispel the winter blues look no further! (Despite what your friends may think)
To say that George Wilkinson is a pianist that plays for a Pop generation would be a pretty fair assessment. His Dramatic ballads don’t quite go down with the sophistication of painists such as Sigur Ros or Nils Frahm yet there’s something charismatic about the innocence of his sound none the less.
The British multi-talented musician possesses a varied vocal range, which in some parts reminded me of the harmonies in a Take That song with a playful contemporary twist, but there is so much to George Wilkinson’s sound than the vocals. So, if his vocals don’t win you over, there’s always his delectable original musical arrangements to faun over. The piano solos sing with so much complexity that I wished that it was an overall instrumental track. The essence of the pounding dramatism of the keys were stolen away by Wilkinson in his best attempt of hitting the high notes.
I would love to hear what Wilkinson is capable of through some raw acoustic sessions where it’s clear that he’s not creating music for the masses but instead truly expressing his own evocative train of emotion rather than just assimilating every other contemporary ballad singer as they fight for number one at Christmas.
Check out Wilkinson’s debut track on the Soundcloud link below:
Just how do you get ahead of the competition in the mainstream electro, dance, pop market? That’s the trick isn’t it? Pitch a sound and a style that is too radical, too out there and whilst you will pick up a few new fans from the fringes and underground scenes, you risk loosing the main target audience. Create a sound which is too similar to the centre of the fashion curve and you risk being lost in the noise of the competition, or worse brandished a copycat act trading on a sound already associate with more established artists.
That’s the clever thing about Edgar Crespo, he understands the balance between the tried and test and new, between the comfort zone and the exploratory high and Let’s Go is proof of that fact. Smooth and soulful, built on R&B grooves and hypnotic rhythms it also moves the genre forward brilliantly. It will resonate with the early hours club dance floor set as much as the after party chill out, it is music for the late night drive and perfect for setting a chilled vibe around the house. It ticks boxes in any number of genres from dance to pop to modern soul to R&B, very soon this song is going to be everywhere.
They may be new kids on the Philadelphia rock block but Cologne have really arrived with a fully formed sound. One part stadium rock, one part indie cool and one part pop accessibility, it is hard to see who they wouldn’t appeal too. Musically it gives them great scope to build sonic architecture in the space around them but also play with subtle musical dynamics, deliver songs dripping with euphoria but also commercial accessibility.
And it is this fantastic generic balancing act which sets them apart from the pack As popists and rockists wage pointless pitched battle, Cologne clearly adhere to the cult of the song, preferring to take the role of tunesmiths who exalt composition over flash and muscle. If this song is the perfect rallying point for those who have long understood that this middle way has always sported brilliant acts – pop acts muscled up by a dash of rock, rock acts whose bluster is tempered by indie details and indie acts happy to explore pop immediacy – then the fact that hey have an e.p. called New World available is just the icing on the cake.
Not only possessing a really cool, not to mention unusual, name, Painted on Silent Blue trade in dream like indie-pop, music. It does so by swathing lilting piano sounds with lush harmonies, changing languages as others might change key and it is this multi-linguistic delivery which best sums up what lies at the heart of their music. Even if they are not singing in a language you can understand, Miracles never loses its appeal, proving that vocal lines are more than just about communicating in words but are equally able to communicate through emotion on a less conscious level.
This Viennese duo certainly knows the art of understatement and like all working with such spacious sound palettes fully understand that atmosphere and anticipation are just as important as the actual notes, rhythm and words that they use to create these gossamer tracks. Beauty is as much about what is left out as it is about its more obvious qualities and Painted on Silent Blue are fully aware of this.
Some people say that real music is dying out, that we’re headed for a future in the absence of dulcet angsty undertones from guitar wielding musicians. Yet the Scottish solo artist Tom Oliver proves that his genre has a lot more to offer with his debut single Photogenic.
His debut 4 track EP is days away from public release, and I’m well and truly caught up in the hype.
His pre-release single Photogenic reverberates with nostalgic jingles accompanied by his raw, unpolished vocals which are not too dissimilar from acts such as The Arctic Monkeys & other of the UK’s indie greats. His EP titled ‘If I Sugar Coat It Enough, You Might Just Like It’, is carefully tuned as he follows a swift progression through the chords ending the track with a riff that celebrates his natural rhythmic ability. His almost nasal voice has a charming allure when matched against the resonant lyrics in which he reaches out to a complacent audience. The track stumbles through his innocent revelry which should see him quickly gain notoriety with the self-proclaimed fluorescent adolescents.
Head on over to his website to check out his single Photogenic now:
SuperSymmetric is a project with a very signature dark synthpop sound that is inimitable and unique. This sound is literally nothing like you’ve ever heard before and apart from being very artistically well crafted it is also polished to perfection. Their most recent track “Dawn” is in fact taken from the EP with the same title and is part of something bigger and greater that allows this authentic style to be communicated even further.
“Dawn” starts off with pulsating and swelling synth sounds together with a steady beat that set up the rich intricately textured backdrop in preparation for what’s to come next. A few seconds later, the sonorities get even richer with smooth vocal melodies in combination with some interesting harmonic changes. Later on in the song there is also a brief break followed by even more changes in texture and developmental content. Overall there is something quite dark about the sound of this song but that added element of mystery adds a lot of depth to its character and makes it even more intriguing. The way all the synth sounds, digital elements and vocal lines come together creates something truly unique and one of a kind. Definitely worth checking it out!
MEDIC is a three piece indie pop band from Nashville, TN, with a sound that is the result of various sources of inspiration together with an artistic vision and creativity that stands out from the rest. Their sound is reminiscent of stadium concerts by big artists such as Coldplay, while their lyrics are an interesting blend of honesty and abstract expression. In this case, their most recent song “Wander” features a pop sound that is not like what you’d imagine a pop song to sound like. Apart from this, the production aspect of the song makes it stand out from the rest even more. With a polished radio friendly sound this song is ready for a great success.
“Wander” does not only deliver a precise artistic vision through a polished sound but it also features a set of lyrics that are both honest and creatively poetic. Sung through catchy melodic phrases, which are also very ear friendly and singable, the lyrics add a lot of dimension and depth to the song along with the way the instrumental arrangement and digital effects are crafted. Overall these guys have something very fresh to offer and their sound is cool and enjoyable to listen to! Check it out!
Whilst it is pretty much impossible to find music which totally encapsulates America as an idea and an entity, by virtue of its size and diversity, cultural blends and creative explorations, there is some music which when heard makes you think of no other place. The bleak and emotive howls of early blues, wild eyed jazz ensembles, the heartland rock of the likes of Petty and Springsteen and the evocative roots sound which is at the heart of Jason Scotts music.
When I’m Good and Ready is like a snapshot into the American music psyche, mixing rootsy blues, country and old school rock and roll into the ultimate soundtrack for any film which wishes to pin point a sense of place in the space of eight bars. It feels as if the song could come from any time in the last 80 years and be playing in any bar, basement club, juke joint or truck stop you happen to stumble upon. But whilst the setting may be universal, few artists could get it this deliver something this deftly wrought, this effective, this seemingly effortless.
There is a certain power and symphonic majesty which a certain end of the heavy rock market revels in. The fact that those same soaring heights and sweeping grandeur can be captured by a duo working much more in a pop market is fascinating indeed. But where as those rock bands hit their crescendos through layers of power and ramped up guitars, Justin and Alina do so through a use of space and clever dynamic shifts.
There is something neo-classical in the chiming piano, something charming in the vocal restraint, something cinematic in the scope of the song but whereas those bombastic rock bands would deliver their goods in a blast of sonic overload, Alina reaches the same musical peak in a cleaner and more refreshing way. It is a song that you can imagine being the encore of the last night of a summer festival, the sun is starting to set and all eyes and ears are focused on this song. In music, just as life size isn’t everything but sometimes you stumble across music which is both big and clever, Out In The Cold is just such a song.