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Lo-fi

Joey Sherman sings the beatnik blues in his acoustic rock single, Moonlit Night

Moonlit Night is the seminal lo-fi acoustic rock single from the singer-songwriter, Joey Sherman, who needs little more than an acoustic guitar, his engrossingly assured vocal timbre and his beatnik lyrics that will easily appeal to any fans of Jack Kerouac and Bob Dylan.

As the ardent chords ring, Sherman transfuses Midwestern soul into the soundscape that may be rough around the edges, but it is still a shot to the heart for anyone who knows how it feels to constantly be rebuilding themselves from the ashes of their former lives with scant foresight over which path to push forward on at the crossroads.

Moonlit Night is now available to stream on YouTube.

Follow Joey Sherman on Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

BREGN inspired cognizance in the ethereal art-rock world of his latest single, Dopamine Mind

The Danish 100% DIY artist, BREGN, explored neurobiology within his ethereal indie art-folk single, Dopamine Mind, to inspire mindfulness around one of the most toxically prolific habits imparted by the 21st century.

Anyone with a smartphone will know the subconscious compulsion to gaze into its black mirror. What is less understood is the key driver behind the habit that is tearing away at our ability to connect with the real world, as opposed to the divisive world depicted across social media.

While the euphonious melodies work to quell you into a state of quiescent meditative calm through the angular guitars against the quasi-jazzy keys, the lyrics allude to the entrapment of our dopamine reward system. With each new notification bringing a validation-soaked dopamine rush, breaking the habit is hard. But it’s a necessary step towards a more enlightened existence, unblighted by the platforms that profit from and exploit our mindlessness.

“It is so easy to get distracted and addicted to those distractions, which are now more instantly accessible than ever. The protagonist in Dopamine Mind thinks it is the phone’s fault, but he reveals that the root of the addiction is elsewhere.

He sets out to reset his mind and restart life, focused on things of meaningful deep value, away from artificial dialogue and small talk.”

Stream DOPAMINE MIND on Spotify and SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Suspenseful and Seductive in the Instrumental Realm

This has been a great week for new lo-fi tracks. In addition to the stellar producers that I’ve been handed earlier, a couple of days ago, I also get to talk about playNo’s newest instrumental “My Chick.” The Texas born producer and composer has released a fantastically psychedelic music video on his YouTube channel. The music is great, but the swirling colors looking like a tie-die fractal is something I could stare at for days.

The track is simultaneously upbeat and laid back, which in and of itself is quite an accomplishment. Beginning with some sound-design cascades offering a mood setting intro, the track breaks into new chords and pulsating static notes that take over the tune. The playful marimba and piano dialogue make for a mysterious sound – but not something that takes itself too seriously, which is nice. If you could cross some of the best music from “Plant Vs. Zombies” with an upscale jazz club in Harlem, you might get a sense of what I’m describing. Background vocal samples round out the dazzle with “My Chick” and we have a lovely listening experience.

Hopping over to playNo’s Instagram page will be a joy for dog-lovers. Many of his stories feature his pet pit-bull which is an adorableness overload. It’s nice to see the personal side of a gifted producer who obviously works very hard on his craft but isn’t afraid to play also.

The Track “Aqua” Flows Like Water

Thinking back to the days of Kool Keith’s instrumental ventures as well as those of King Brit and folks of that ilk, I’m loving the fact that we don’t have to look very far to find young artists who are holding up the mantle of creating exciting new beats for the musical landscape. One such artist is American composer/beatmaker Blondci, particularly with his new track “Aqua.”

Beginning the song, the pads sound quite new-age in their approach, but the bassline tempers it with a neo-soul vibe that becomes irresistible. Fans of acid-jazz will feel extremely at home with the groove-centered jam that is “Aqua.” The listener is also gifted with a horn fanfare towards the end, which is just the ear-candy we all need from time to time. Overall, it’s a laid-back work, back in my day we would have called this “chill out,” and I’m a little embarrassed that I’m not sure what the kids are calling these genres currently.

“Aqua” does bring to mind, however; that prior to the “lo-fi” revolution of popular YouTube playlists, we weren’t too used to hearing instrumental tracks; I’m thankful that has changed and a piece like this can stand on its own without someone saying “hey, when are the vocals gonna start?”

Blondci’s Instagram account is also worth a visit, as we get a window into his production techniques via Ableton Live as well as some of his multi-instrumental talents. He’s quite adept at acoustic/electric guitar, bass, and keys – I think the fact that he’s such an outstanding musician is a clue into why his music sounds, well, so musical.

BREGN put the humanity in our collective anxiety with his reflectively expositional lo-fi folk single, YOU AND ME

Danish singer-songwriter, BREGN, gave humanity hope in his latest single, YOU AND ME, which was officially released on November 18th to dispel the disquiet anxiety spilling from each new global catastrophe.

BREGN’s minimalist soundscapes and the sonorous sense of soul in his quiescent harmonies always strike a visceral chord. With this new melancholic shift, YOU AND ME hit like a tonne of bricks. In the same way Slowdive can hammer home the emotion solely through their reverb-laced angular guitar notes, the guitars in this sombrely sweet single drive you to the brink of tears. Before the choral storm in the outro as a torridly dystopian crescendo pushes you over the emotional edge.

Here’s to hoping next summer gives us a chance to embrace the season free from an ever-pervasive sense of dread.

“YOU AND ME is a reflection of our times; a mix of summer, love, the insecurities imposed by war, political drama, and the deepening energy crisis. There is hope in the continuation of believing that there is still a “You and Me” at the end of the day, that is what I wanted to convey.”

Listen to YOU AND ME on SoundCloud and Spotify.

Follow BREGN via Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Tim Lukic orchestrated the soundtrack to love & loss in the grungy alt-indie single, YOU WERE HERE

‘YOU WERE HERE’ is the latest grungy lo-fi single released by the Swedish alt-indie artist Tim Lukic, which melds the ennui of Nirvana with the melodic style of Grandaddy to provide the soundtrack to the complexity of love and loss.

The rhythmically composited single, influenced by the likes of John Maus, Frank Zappa, and John Frusciante, allows bitter-sweet gratitude to transpire from the world-tilting loss of someone that provided stability in an endlessly giving relationship.

Lyrically, it’s a deeply personal cry into the void left behind, but one that is sure to hit anyone that has experienced loss will resonate with. The sense of loneliness that permeates our psyches artfully echoes in the intricately woven instrumental layers in YOU WERE HERE. It’s an evocative ride, but there’s some comfort to be found in the knowledge that you’re not alone in even the most harrowing emotions.

YOU WERE HERE is now available to stream on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Been A While: Sadbxylee x Eryn Nicole drifts through on that self-love journey while Rain Falls

Seeing that cloudy outlook even if you want to actually be happy, Sadbxylee x Eryn Nicole pours through and helps us see what is actually important on Rain Falls.

Sadbxylee is a Long Island, USA-based Lo-Fi artist/music producer/audio engineer who is joined by Canadian-based Lo-Fi hip hop producer/composer/songwriter Eryn Nicole.

Knowing now that time flies and the smiles will be hidden until you learn to love yourself, Sadbxylee and Eryn Nicole are quite splendid together and send through a scent that is rather incredible to witness. Forging through with so much introspection, this is a lovely effort that has been clearly made with care.

Rain Falls from the incredible Lo-Fi wizards Sadbxylee x Eryn Nicole is a rather terrific song that will send you into a whole new galaxy altogether. With serene vocals and a breathtaking soundtrack to get your veins ready for more, this is a stunning release, which is exactly what our thrilled bodies had been waiting for. There is a pulsating power at play here which will get your eyes alert and ready for finding that content place we are all seeking.

Listen up to this fine single on Spotify and see more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Tommy Freed and the Sound laments his ‘Waste of a Summer’ in his surfy no-wave anthem

The solo artist Tommy Freed and the Sound treated the airwaves to another off-kilter burst of violent optimism with his latest single, Waste of a Summer. The high-energy amalgam of sunny surf rock, garagey power pop, no-wave and ska is a subversive sonic palette for the titular entropy, but we certainly aren’t complaining.

The anthemically discordant hit perfectly encapsulates the bitter regret which creeps in with the colder weather that allows you to retrospectively lament your summer existence being leagues apart from the narrations in the plastic pop tracks. Ironically, Waste of a Summer is just as catchy as those try-hard hits endeavour to be; better yet, it doesn’t leave you with any FOMO.

Waste of a Summer was officially released on September 22nd. It is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Is Our Children Learning dish out the satirical catharsis in ‘Little Sayin From Tennessee’

Is Our Children Learning

Like an infinitely breezier Beastie Boys, Is Our Children Learning’s latest single, Little Sayin from Tennessee, is a mellow meld of indie, hip hop and satire, sweetened by 70s analog warmth.

Unlike many satirists, Is Our Children Learning evade being as depressing and existentialism-evoking as the MSM. In their latest single, they tie together blissful catharsis from upbeat riffs and cutting witticism. Allowing you consider the true absurdity of hyper-normalised insanity being in every inch of the political spectrum while ensuring your rhythmic pulses are placated. To call it ingenious wouldn’t be all too much of a stretch.

Check out Is Our Children Learning on Instagram and YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

NKem went heavy on the poetic confessionalism in his alt indie debut, Ergo Sum

NKem describes his debut single, Ergo Sum, as a short, swift pact of artistic poetry; that is exactly how the production sombrely resonates. Opening with Elliot Smith-esque softly fingerpicked guitar notes, the single seamlessly transitions into a spoken word piece, with hints of melodicism in the raw confessionalism.

Attempting to pigeonhole Ergo Sum by genre is an act of futility. NKem lets his spilt ink lyricism lead the way and lets the instrumentals contextualise the expression. For Ergo Sum, there’s a monochromatic blend of ennui pop and indie with nuances of new-wave hip hop.

Recently signed to Quartz Collective Management, the Brighton-based model and artist has a bright creative future ahead of him on the basis of the emotion-evoking capacity of Ergo Sum.

The official lyric video was released on June 23rd; you can check it out here.

Review by Amelia Vandergast