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Pauline Andres poured folk through a smoky Southern Gothic Lens with ‘Til the End of the World’

In a world teetering on the edge of uncertainty, Pauline Andres’ standout single, ‘Til the End of The World’, is an introspective goldmine of solace and melancholy. Born in France, the coal miner’s daughter has woven her diverse heritage and life’s tumultuous tapestry into a sound that pours folk through the sepia-tinged filter of Southern Gothic Americana.

Her voice regales through an amalgamation of sweet and smoky timbres while carrying the weight of an old soul, one that has seen the world in shades of grey while her life reads like a novel, rich with characters and experiences which bleed into her songwriting, inspired by everything from the candour of 3am drunks to Lovecraft.

With the end of days perpetually on our minds, there has never been a better time to tune into this stunningly rendered release which proves just how much beauty lies in humanity. We may not all be as superlatively talented as this highly-accoladed singer-songwriter, but within all of us lies a tender capacity for beauty; however that may manifest.

Turn away from your Patti Smith records and be consumed by Pauline Andres. Even if she was singing Acapella, she could send the airwaves out of kilter with the evocative gravity in this release.

Stream the Live in Studio version of Til the End of the World on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Swedish Soul Pop Firebrand, Nadine Randle, Has a New Chart-Topper on Her Hands with ‘Man Up’.

Nadine Randle’s voice has proven to be one of the most magnetic of this era; each of her hits goes down a soulful storm on streaming platforms and in the charts; her latest single, Man Up, is no exception to that rule.

Man Up revolutionises the 90s RnB Pop vibe, with all of the firebrand swagger you’d expect from an artist musing through that stylistically influential epoch. Exuding the same empowering edge as the iconic likes of Destiny’s Child and TLC, the Swedish singer-songwriter delivered a fiery anthem that will speak to anyone who wants to regain their power after suffering through a relationship that was beneath them.

Even though the title of the single has a slight misandrist undertone, when you hit play and sink into the soulfully melodious grooves of the release, you will realise that Randle versed this earworm to deliver vindication hand over fist to the women that need an affirmation that settling for less than what you’re worth is a recipe for destruction and frustration.

Man Up was officially released on February 9th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Embrace the beauty and brutality of the human experience with Mirko Sangrigoli’s seminal neo-classic composition, Z

Mirko Sangrigoli’s latest single ‘Z‘, from his sophomore LP, is a cinematic instrumental emblem of his dual artistic identity. As a jazz musician and a composer of filmic soundtracks, Sangrigoli demonstrates his ability to straddle these worlds with finesse.

Z, the title single from his 2024 album, is a narrative of the complexities of our times, articulated through the eloquence of keys. The track begins with a sense of urgency, the piano keys dancing rapidly, evoking a sense of franticness that mirrors our chaotic epoch. Yet, there’s a method to the madness, which speaks to Sangrigoli’s jazz background. The improvisational feel of jazz is present, but it’s reined in, controlled, and purposeful.

As the piece progresses, it shifts into more reflective moments; these intersections are where Sangrigoli’s talent shines brightest. The transition from the frenetic to the contemplative interludes is seamless as they open a gateway to introspection, echoing the quieter moments in our own lives.

It’s a soundtrack for the ennui-inclined existential soul, capturing the beauty and brutality of the human experience. For those seeking a musical piece that is both thought-provoking and emotionally resonant, ‘Z’ is a journey worth embarking on.

Z was officially released on January 31st; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Holly Lovelady alchemised around the rough terrain of reality in her scintillated by synths folk-pop ballad, Helvellyn

Holly Lovelady’s latest folk-pop single, ‘Helvellyn‘, is a meticulously crafted piece of aural alchemy. Lovelady, with her arcane vocal harmonies reminiscent of Stevie Nicks and synth lines echoing The Human League, brings a fresh, artful approach to the genre.

‘Helvellyn’ is a scintillatingly spiritual modern ballad that seamlessly blends electro-pop with folk melodies while delving into the highs and lows we’re all fated to traverse. Her enchantingly ethereal vocal timbre effortlessly weaves through the melodies, allowing you to instantly feel at home in her profound presence.

Lovelady’s musical roots, nurtured in the cosy embrace of her grandparents’ home, are evident in the depth and authenticity of her sound. Her journey from covering classics to creating her own path in the music industry is reflected in the song’s metaphorical exploration of the rough terrain of reality.

The single stands out for its balance of artfulness and accessibility. It resonates as an ornate feat, an affecting blend of modern and traditional, without falling into the trap of becoming a dusty relic of bygone eras. Lovelady’s skill in modernising the ballad form while maintaining its soulful core is nothing short of remarkable.

With support from BBC London, BBC Merseyside, and Radio 6, and following a year of personal and creative growth, Lovelady is poised to make a significant impact on the alternative pop scene. ‘Helvellyn’ is more than just a feather in her cap; it’s a bold statement of her artistry and a beacon for the future of modern ballads.

Helvellyn was officially released on February 6th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Lounna orchestrated the sound of spring into her indie-folk Americana release, Peak Season

Lounna

Lounna orchestrated the sound of spring into her latest indie-folk reverie, Peak Season; a single that resonates with the soul’s longing for renewal and connection.

The Pittsburgh-based multi-instrumentalist, drawing inspiration from the likes of Bear’s Den and First Aid Kit, infused her latest single, taken from her Garden for Winter LP, with a unique blend of indie, folk, Americana and naturalism, and signalled her departure from her more whimsical approach to songwriting from her debut. By delving into more profound themes of mental health, resilience, and hope. The single is a harmonious amalgamation of lyrical depth and orchestral richness, with crystalline vocal harmonies commanding the ensemble with an effortless grace.

The track opens with a melodic embrace that gently uplifts the listener, symbolising the shedding of winter’s weariness. Lounna’s voice, soothing yet potent, weaves through the instrumentation with a narrative that echoes candour and resounds through universal relatability.

The orchestral backdrop, carefully crafted with Slate’s collaborator Daniel Blake, adds a panoramic dimension to the song, allowing each instrument to converse and complement the vocals, rather than overpower them. Peak Season allows you to stand at the shores of your own introspection while washing over you as a cathartic release from the clutches of life’s darker moments. It’s a sublime feat of originality and expression, that has left us with bated breath to see what’s to come from Lounna.

Stream Peak Season from February 16th on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Isla de Luca redefined the femme fatale archetype in her provocatively liberating alt-pop hit, I Already Am One

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Isla de Luca riotously fucked the gender binary with the launch of her debut alt-pop single, I Already Am One. With the rock licks augmenting the pop hooks and injecting them with adrenaline, the NYC icon staked a serious claim in the pop domain. After ensnaring just about everyone who crosses her on TikTok and Instagram, she’s more than ready to demurely dominate the airwaves with her scintillating synthesis of electronica, pop and rock.

While trad wives are falling over themselves to appease the male gaze as their sole aim in life, Isla de Luca has asserted herself as an indomitable queer pop icon with the refrain “I don’t need a rich man, I already am one”. It’s a subversive twist to die for and to live for. Through her mission to rip up the exploitative tropes around desire and empower others to embrace their provocative power, she stands just as tall as Kathleen Hanna in the feminist landscape.

If you thought femme fatales were all about seduction, feel the vindication cascading from Isla de Luca’s flawlessly electrifying vocal lines and realise the liberation of living as the archetype in their villain era.

For fans of MARINA, Paramore and Sophie, this single isn’t one you want to sleep on.

I Already Am One will be available to stream from February 16. Stream it and follow Isla de Luca on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Nick Cody rearranged a loveless world through the folk strings in his cover of Nick Cave’s Nobody’s Baby Now

If you thought Nick Cave’s rendition of Nobody’s Baby Now from his 1994 album, Let Love In, hit hard, brace yourself for the evocative impact when delving into the bitter-sweet folk reimagining by Nick Cody featuring Towse, Harry Orme, Corwin Zekley.

Atop the Bob Dylan-esque instrumentals, the harmonised to-the-nines vocal arrangement pulls at the heartstrings with devastating precision. Though the lyrics have always been tragic in their forlorn romanticism when depicting a woman living a loveless life, Cody innovatively found a way, through the beguile within orchestral folk crescendos, to impart even more empathy for the female protagonist.

It takes an exceptionally talented artist to find more room for resonance within an already hauntingly captivating single. Clearly, Nick Cody can consider himself amongst the few sonic visionaries with the ability to breathe new painfully provocative life into already stunning scores – even though his humbleness, evidenced in this reworking, would never allow such an ego to show in his work.

Nobody’s Baby Now will debut on Valentine’s Day; stream the single on SoundCloud and wait for the LP, which is scheduled to drop on April 26.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sinch magnetised the melodies with soul in their RnB release, My Man

Sinch

This week, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the forthcoming single, My Man, by the RnB luminary, Sinch, who knows just how to magnetise melodies, heal with harmonies, and paint panoramic vignettes with lyricism.

The track will take you right back to the 00s era of RnB, when Alicia Keys, Blu Cantrell, Black Eyed Peas, and Ashanti dominated the airwaves as Sinch pays an ode to the anticipation of hearing a key fumbling in the lock and welcoming your partner home.

To amplify the emotion in the single, the superlative songwriter and chanteuse singer juxtaposed the cosy and affectionate feelings with a sense of gratitude for sanctity within a soul and the truest definition of the word home, given the conflict that other people endure outside the idyllic four walls. It’s food for thought, a salve for the soul, and will become your rhythmic pulses’ new favourite ignition.

My Man is currently awaiting a release date; to be the first to know when it drops, follow Sinch on Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Elevate your playlists with Tom Gimson’s architecturally inspired ambient electronica piece, Ridge

Tom Gimson’s latest single ‘Ridge‘ reflects his richly multi-faceted creativity as a London-based multi-media artist; the track is a journey through complex intersections of music, film, and architecture. Gimson, with his background as a performing saxophonist, composer, and crew member in the UK’s commercial photography and film industry, brings a unique perspective to his craft, and ‘Ridge’ is a shining example of this.

The single begins with the pulse of a heartbeat, a foundational rhythm that sets the stage for a multi-layered auditory experience. From this simple beginning, ‘Ridge’ builds into a complex tapestry of sound. The use of scintillating droning synth lines introduces elements of discordance, creating a striking contrast with the euphonically melodious core of the track. This intentional juxtaposition and use of more exotic percussive fills breaks the mono-cultural mould, showcasing Gimson’s ability to challenge conventional musical boundaries.

The amalgamative nature of the sonic catharsis and harbingering tones in the track elucidates the harsh realities of our social tapestry, inviting listeners to engage with the music on a deeper, more introspective level. Sink in, and sink into yourself.

Ridge was officially released on February 2nd; stream the single on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Romantic Rhapsody on Airwaves: Allen Miller’s ‘People Pretending to Be You’ Melds Indie Pop with Cinematic Love

Allen Miller

Allen Miller took the romantic comedy from the silver screen to the airwaves with his latest narratively panoramic indie-pop love song, People Pretending to Be You. The heart-in-throat hit jangle pops in the same vein as The 1975, carries all the sticky-sweet earworm potential of a Taylor Swift chart-topper, and flows with a flood of emotion, emanating the pop panache as Harry Styles.

To round off the influential smorgasbord, you’ll also succumb to the stylistic sonic gravity, which pulls you in with the same visceral pull of the snappy moody beats featured in the boygenius discography. Yet, the melodies and vocal magnetism fall by the wayside when you lock into the cunningly tender poetry within the lyricism, which proves that Allen Miller is a writer first and an artist second.

Exploring the sensation of everything falling into place as your soul cohesively connects to another, Allen Miller reached the paragon of romanticism by putting his heart on his guitar strings and paying such an affecting ode to the ethereal feeling that most screenwriters fail to sincerely capture.

People Pretending to Be You will be available to stream on all major platforms, including Spotify, from February 9th.

Review by Amelia Vandergast