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Kentucky penned a patriotic rock-licked love letter with ‘America, The Beautiful’

Kentucky’s latest single, America, The Beautiful, is a soul-imbued tribute to the multifaceted allure of the United States, delivered with a rock ‘n’ roll heart that pulses with a distinct Americana twang.

The love letter captures the sweeping landscapes and rich cultural tapestry of the USA, offering listeners a sonic road trip across its vast expanse with pop culture pitstops along the way. With an approach that will resonate with fans of Bruce Springsteen and Guns n Roses alike, Kentucky weaves a narrative rich with patriotic pride, crafting a soundtrack that is both a celebration and a reflection.

The production melds classic rock influences with a nuanced Americana style, making it an essential addition for those who adorn their playlists with heartland rock. Despite the stripped and simplistic instrumental arrangement, there is no lack of depth. Each acoustic guitar-led progression strikes a resonant chord, echoing with rich, cathartic timbres under Kentucky’s gravelly vocal delivery that resonates with an aura of sincerity.

America, The Beautiful invites listeners to feel the pride and beauty of the American spirit. Its release, which stirred enough emotion to briefly face a ban on TikTok, underscores its impactful message and the poignant exploration of American identity that Kentucky so masterfully encapsulates in this acoustic rock anthem.

America, The Beautiful was officially released on April 1st; stream the single on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ben Fuller reworked Sinatra’s ‘It Had to Be You’ in superlatively sincere style

Jazz crooner, Ben Fuller, opened his debut LP, Reset, with the heavy cinematic artillery in his heart-wrenchingly impassioned single, It Had to Be You. Hopeless romantics will greet their kryptonite when they hit play on the timelessly resounding reworking of the Frank Sinatra record.

As classic and sincere as Sinatra’s iteration, you’ll instantly succumb to the vibrato in Fuller’s naturally oscillating vocal notes which add warmth and fervent richness to his register as it sweeps across the ornate classical strings and jazz piano keys.

With Batu Sener’s instrumental arrangement delivering the gravitas of a 50s Hollywood score and Fuller adding contemporary touches through his vocal melodies that pull you into the heart of the song’s emotional underpinnings, It Had to Be You is almost too profound for words. By balancing the magic of the original with his own ineffable talent, Ben Fuller unleashed so much more than a cover, the creative interpretation almost unravelled as a divine sonic intervention.

It Had to Be You was officially released on April 5th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

ATR unleashed a gritty punk rock anthem of disillusionment with their latest single, Nothing Left to Say, ft Kellii Scott

ATR’s latest single, Nothing Left to Say, featuring the formidable Kellii Scott on skins, is a visceral journey into the underbelly of grungy punk rock. This raw, unfiltered expression of disappointment and betrayal, wrapped in a rancorous alt-90s aesthetic is as cathartic as it is evocatively ensnaring.

The song’s energetic guitar licks are reminiscent of Green Day’s as a contrast to the production and attitude, underpinned by the cutting, gritty edge of Leftover Crack.  It’s a powerful outpour of rage directed at the kind of people we all have the displeasure of knowing. The ones who turn away when you need them most and leave you to contend with the betrayal confounding the circumstances which compelled you to seek comfort within them. It’s a tale as old as time, yet one that makes us feel deeply alone when it is being told – ATR tore through the misconception that we are isolated in this alienation.

ATR, led by frontman Jesse, who recently triumphed over Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, channels this newfound lease on life into their music. The band’s transition to a new studio space has injected a fresh wave of inspiration and motivation, evident in the quality and intensity of Nothing Left to Say, which is augmented by Kellii Scott’s rhythmic furore to enhance the mercilessness in the tone.

Nothing Left to Say will rile up the airwaves on January 5th. Stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Joseph Batrouney gently deconstructed the monocultural mould with his jazz fusion score, At Hand

For his latest seminal piece, Joseph Batrouney collaborated with Niran Dasika, Flora Carbo, and Jacques Emery to orchestrate a beguiling instrumental serenade, which sees jazzy smoke signals billow through the progressions in the sublime score, At Hand.

At Hand stands as a beacon of his unique musical vision, seamlessly blending influences from Middle Eastern, jazz, and flamenco traditions. Batrouney, with his profound understanding of musical fusionism, presents a track that is as organic and fluid as a meandering river, gently challenging and deconstructing the monocultural mould. The track moves with a natural grace, each note and rhythm flowing into the next, creating a harmonious and captivating auditory experience.

Batrouney’s musical skills, honed under the tutelage of luminaries like Tony Moreno, Nate Smith, and Israel ‘Piraña’ Suarez, and through his studies at prestigious institutions like Monash University and New York University, shine brilliantly in this release. His ability to infuse his music with a rich tapestry of rhythmic textures and motions is evident in every beat.

The artist’s noteworthy performances, including appearances alongside the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and tours with Arte Kanela Flamenco, have undoubtedly contributed to his deep understanding of rhythm and melody. This understanding is palpable in At Hand, where every chord and rhythm seems to tell a story, inviting listeners into Joseph’s world of rhythmic exploration and cultural fusion.

At Hand was officially released on the 20th of November ahead of the EP of the same name, which subsequently reached the airwaves on December 8th. Stream the EP on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Millie Kirkpatrick spoke for us all with her disdain of flattering fallacies in her latest single, Lies

Suffolk-born singer-songwriter Millie Kirkpatrick is heartrate-quickeningly sensational on her melodious triumph of an indie-pop single, Lies. Lotharios with an aversion to truthful sentiments be damned in the revelation of an easy-chord-driven vignette of a protagonist that has reached their limit of endurance with flattering fallacy.

The simple yet razor-sharp hooks establish Lies as a song that you’ll hum along to on the radio until the emboldening lyrics tattoo themselves in your mind and become as much of a permanent fixture in your temporal lobe as the melodies that apply a sensuous touch to all of your senses while the progressions are in motion.

It is only a matter of time until Millie Kirkpatrick becomes infamous outside of the local Suffolk scene. She’s already well on her way after gaining support from BBC Introducing. Watch this space.

Lies hit the airwaves on July 21st; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ava Elay – Spell of the Heart: Poetry in Theatrical Pop Motion.

At 15 years old, Ava Elay is already proving to be an unreckonable talented force; her latest single, Spell of the Heart, arrestingly exhibits her unconventionally poetic composition style and the deft touches she puts on her histrionically melodic progressions, undoubtedly influenced by her time studying the dramatic arts in LA.

With vocal lines which carry the same mainstream pop appeal as Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus and swathes of darkly infectious ingenuity within the instrumentals to give her sound an irresistible mutant pop touch, Spell of the Heart is poetry in theatrical pop motion.

Ava Elay has been exploring themes of passion and love since 2019, with her official debut single, Eternity, arriving in 2021. She may be young, but clearly, the singer-songwriter and pianist has exactly what it takes to be as influential as Mitski and Lucy Dacus with the romantic depth within her sonorously beguiling hits.

Through Spell of the Heart, Elay paid homage to the all-consuming nature of obsession, and how impossible it is to escape it once you have embraced it. As many poets have observed, falling in love is the only socially acceptable form of madness; few wordsmiths allude to the visceral sensation as succinctly and viscerally as Elay.

Spell of the Heart debuted on June 30; hear it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Patreon Has Finally Added Free Fan Membership Tiers

Even though Patreon has been gaining popularity as a platform, many independent artists still feel uncomfortable with setting up a profile and tapping their fans for cash in exchange for exclusive content.

We get it. It is an uncomfortable position to put yourself in, especially if your social media posts announcing your profile result in tumbleweed and you are conscious of the economic times we are all trying to navigate. Knowing disposable income is dissolving, Patreon has moved with the times and finally added free fan membership tiers. But that isn’t the only innovation from the platform, which can now facilitate Direct-to-Fan digital sales; in a similar way to Bandcamp.

While Bandcamp probably isn’t quaking in its metaphorical boots quite yet after the change was announced on the 21st of June, it is a major milestone for the subscription-based platform. Going forward, the platform will enable creators, including musicians, to hawk their digital wares to fans on the platform. In a press release, a spokesperson for Patreon dubbed the new changes as a mark of a new era of creative control.

Obviously, the platform will make its own gains from becoming a new form of e-commerce platform; however, they chose to market it as a new way for their creators to strengthen their relationships with their communities and build sustainable businesses.

Patreon is quickly becoming the antithesis of platforms such as TikTok, which makes it easy to become a viral sensation overnight and impossible to create long-lasting and meaningful connections with their communities.

How Do Patreon’s Free Membership Tiers Work?

The new membership tiers are free-to-use for fans and creators alike; the platform created the tiers to build a ‘freemium gateway’, for new artists and creators to bolster their fanbase on the site.

Creators already established on the platform will also benefit, as they can add more casual fans and diehard fans who don’t have the cash to burn on memberships to their community.

There are two main benefits for artists and creators:

  1. Once fans are on the platform, they will get a feel of it and potentially be more likely to pay for a paid membership to their favourite artists’ exclusive content.
  2. Artists can send updates to their community through the Patreon mobile app and via the web without needing to pay for sponsored posts or having to negate algorithms that will diminish the reach of posts.

How to Sell Digital Products via Patreon

Getting your music and other digital products in as many places as possible is important for independent artists looking to expand their reach by casting their nets as wide as possible.

Now, along with ensuring that your music is on YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Tidal and Apple Music, you will also want to publish it on Patreon.

As of June 2023, musicians can sell the usual digital wares, such as songs, albums, and EPs, via the platform and any other form of digital content, including artwork, music videos, live performances and podcast episodes. The site now facilitates global payment processing, which will make downloadable files accessible to the general public and fans with memberships alike.

To sell your music or other downloadables via Patreon, create a product page and set a price for your content. Once your browsable shop is open for trade, you can publicly share the shop on social media platforms, your official website and other streaming services which make it harder to see any revenue from your audience’s interest in your music – we’re obviously talking about Spotify here!

For commerce sales, Patreon will keep a 5% percentage of all sales, plus fees for payment processing, applicable taxes, currency conversion and payouts. For paid membership fees, the percentage is slightly higher at 8%.

You can read the full update on the Patreon website here.

How Popular is Patreon in 2023?

In the last decade since Patreon’s inception in 2013, the platform has become one of the most successful ones of its kind. As of February 2023, Patreon:

  • Has over 8 million active Patrons.
  • Allows its creators to collectively make over $100 million each month.
  • Has over 250,00 active creators, with over 220,00 having at least one patron.
  • Has paid $3.5 billion to its creators.

A few months ago, we wondered what has the potential to replace Spotify and considered Patetron as an option. With these two new major shakeups, the platform has become a frontrunner in the race, at least for artists and creators with hardcore fanbases willing to part with cash to support them. It may not be able to boast the same seamless and effortless streaming capacity yet, but who knows what the future holds for the platform.

Article by Amelia Vandergast

UK jazz singer, Chris Weeks, is sublime enough to seduce Sinatra with ‘I Only Have Eyes for You’

Chris Weeks

With crooning vocals sublime enough to seduce Sinatra, the latest feat of easy listening, I Only Have Eyes for You, from the jazz singer Chris Weeks, is a cinematically smooth affirmation of why he’s come to be renowned as one of the most talented figures in the UK jazz scene.

Soulful catharsis is scarcely as fervently profound as Weeks’ reimagining of the 1960s single by the Flamingos. While it would be blasphemous to insinuate the original is anything but arresting in its dreamy, almost ethereal resonance, Weeks effortlessly succeeded in instilling more ardour into the lyrics and vocals while the loungey jazz keys, sax lines and teasing percussive fills take a sonic backseat.

So far in his career, Chris Weeks has performed as the male vocalist for the Oxford University Jazz Orchestra, created a viral sensation with his collaborative single, 100 Years, which has amassed 13 million streams. Something tells us that the best is yet to come.

I Only Have Eyes for You will be officially released on June 16; check it out on Chris Weeks’ official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Live Review: The Dirt Turned Poetry into Psychedelic Theatre in Their Launch of Agitator

Agitator by The Dirt

It takes some talent and ingenuity to bring poetry out of the insular arena and translate it into psychedelic theatre; that was exactly what the Dirt achieved during the live launch of their debut LP, Agitator. If the pen is mightier than the sword, the duo dropped an atom bomb onto the crowd who made the Dirt t-shirts in-vogue.

Following the moody post-punk sets from Bloodworm and Dim Imagery, Pray for Mojo devilled the capacity crowd with their ear-blistering staunchly 70s rock rancour; their White Walker cold guitar tones cut through the atmosphere of their massive sound that I didn’t think the Peer Hat PA was capable of.

The Dirt started their set with the palpitatingly exhilarant standout single, Ignorance is Bliss; beneath the psychonautic vortex of guitars lay a brashy caustic backbeat, visceral enough to reminiscence Nine Inch Nails, but even Trent Reznor himself couldn’t match the sharp convictive stage energy that Jack Horner arrested the room with.

Veering straight into the second single from the album, Power Junkie, the Dirt maddened the Madchester sound to the nth degree; Sachiko, armed with her Rickenbacker and a pedalboard that lights up like Blackpool illuminations, drove through her guitar lines through the narrated credence of how insurmountably trodden on the masses are. More than keeping their finger on the pulse of current political scandal and sleaze, The Dirt grips the liberties taken by our disaster capitalist leaders by the throat to squeeze out the odious juice.

Towards the end of the set, the experimentalism amplified around the demands to match the dissenting nature of the Dirt and get off the fences we have got cosy on in recent years. From Cyberman-ESQUE deliverances of vocal lines to wailing psychedelic static capable of tripping switches in your mind that have gathered dust through inexposure to aural innovation, it was an unforgettable performance that exceeded all expectation.

Listen to Agitator on Bandcamp, or grab a vinyl copy from the Golden Believers Records page.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rachel Burns beat the odds in her theatrical retro-soul track, I Did It

Slip into the retro soul of Rachel Burns’ latest pop single, I Did It, which spins a tale of triumph over trauma and adversity. The journey from surviving to overcoming to thriving is scarcely pretty; the Washington, DC-based singer-songwriter brought a profound amount of grace to the subject matter regardless.

The Gospel-Esque backing vocals take Burns’ soul-awakening vocal timbre to mind-blowingly celestial heights. When she stretches for those stridently high vocal notes, you’ll get a first-hand account of her resilience and the resilience that most of us have to muster to piece ourselves back together.

Inspired by Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner, Rachel Burns has exactly what it takes to become a legend in her own right with the theatrical twists to her signature sound, which plays with nuances of blues, country and jazz.

I Did It will officially release on September 30th. Check it out on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast