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Captain Birthday and the Undertaker seduced Lady Luck with the subversive sonics in ‘Scratch Ticket’

Scratch Ticket by Captain Birthday and the Undertaker is an audaciously infectious track that defies conventional rock iconography with its inventive fusion of genres and wildcard thematic lyricism. Just as scratch tickets symbolise unpredictability, this song embodies that same quality through its musical composition. It’s not often that the worlds of gambling and rock n’ roll intersect in such a literal sense, but this duo has taken the challenge head-on, spinning the concept into an auditory spectacle.

From the nostalgia of surf rock to pivots of electrifying rock riffs which cut through the mix, commanding attention with their raw energy to the embracing of atmospheric post-punk tension, Scratch Ticket, from the band’s eponymous debut EP, delivers all that and more to ensure each transition resonates like a new scene in a play; an unveiling of a different mask worn by the same enigmatic character.

At the heart of this song is the chemistry between Jean-Michel Letalon and Andrew Vogts, who are the creative engines behind Captain Birthday and The Undertaker. Letalon, with his rock opera sensibilities and a vocal style reminiscent of the early 2000s New York City rock scene, delivers lyrics with an intriguing blend of drama and nonchalance. Vogts, “The Undertaker,” brings his classical music expertise into the realm of hard rock with electric violin arrangements that add a layer of sophistication to the track.

Scratch Ticket becomes a metaphor for the band’s journey — a gamble on the fusion of their varied influences, betting on the listener’s willingness to embrace the unexpected. The result is a song that’s both a tribute to rock’s past and a bold step into its future.

Stream Scratch Ticket with the rest of Captain Birthday and the Undertaker’s EP via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The soulfully-funked hues in Jeremy Hilliard’s single Lay Down Like Lovers captured the haze of utopic affection.

Taken from his LP, which is rooted in swathes of nostalgic funk and soul, Trouble for Another Day, singer-songwriter, Jeremy Hilliard’s standout folky neo-jazz pop single, Lay Down Like Lovers, is a fitting ode to the serenity of passion. The dreamy hues capture the haze of unconditionally all-consuming love as the groove pockets deliver oceanic depth, ensuring Lay Down Like Lovers is a release you can fully immerse yourself in.

If you can’t get enough of the lyrically driven song-crafting finesse of Paul Simon, Kurt Vile, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, you will be instantly enamoured with the poetically mellifluous beguile within Lay Down Like Lovers, which is hopefully the first of many hits from the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, who is coming into his own away from his successful band, PEAK, which has made America’s Northeast their touring circuit.

Stream Lay Down Like Lovers on Spotify and Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Drift into a higher dimension with the latest interstellar single from Rae Larz, ORACLE

Back in February, Rae Larz invited us to a tea party with a cosmic difference via her single, Tea in the Stratosphere, going by her latest release, ORACLE, she’s still reigning interstellar supreme.

After a sequence of moody stabbing synth lines, the Brooklyn-based artist’s demurely magnetic vocal lines start drawing you into the gravity of the release by transitioning between the high vocal harmonies and sermonic spoken word utterances which command with sublime conviction.

ORACLE may be more niche than your average synth pop release, but the singer, songwriter, and producer never compromises with her deep emotional expression and visualises soundscapes that are infinitely more enriching for the heart, body, soul and rhythmic pulses. Freedom emanates through every progression within ORACLE; unshackle yourselves, especially if you’re a fan of Black Honey, She Draws the Gun and Warpaint.

If you can’t get enough of Rae Larz after hearing ORACLE, you won’t have long to wait before her vibration-raising EP hits the airwaves.

ORACLE dropped on November 3rd; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Get ready to rock (opera) with the standout single from Solemn Pledge’s latest concept EP, Hollywood Dreams

A starlet sleeps in ‘Hollywood Dreams’ in the standout rock opera number from Solemn Pledge’s latest concept EP, Anna May Wong: A Screen Icon Story.

There are few things as visceral as the passion that drives us to reach the heights we are born to ascend to; the anthemic orchestration which emanates determination by the cinematic smorgasbord is one of the few exceptions as the NY outfit pays a fittingly strident ode to Hollywood’s first Chinese-American star.

Right from the opening instrumental sequence, you will be catapulted in the captivating hit which puts the guitars in overdrive to give them a fighting chance to dominate the soundscape with Maria Genevieve Elia’s commanding vocal lines which will blindside you with their three-and-a-half octave range.

After the previous EP, which touched on the history of Joan of Arc, we can’t wait to hear the ground Solemn Pledge choose to storm across with their next.

Stream Hollywood Dreams with the rest of the concept EP which dropped on October 20 by heading to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The urban oracle Yung Dread Da Prophet struck again with the introspective gold in his latest track, Stabilize

Stabilize is the latest wavy-with-soul, old-school-inspired drop of hip-hop from the artist, enigma and urban oracle, Yung Dread Da Prophet.

It is all too easy to get into the reverb-swathed grooves of the release as the melodies mellifluously run you through the verses which the 22-year-old South Jersey-born, NY-based rapper uses to wax lyrical on the ramifications of living in an epoch that is constantly finding ways to knock you out of cognitive kilter.

Clearly one to always see the bigger picture and project the universe’s parallels into his tracks that are as solid as introspective gold, Yung Dread Da Prophet is one to watch if you like instrumental catharsis synthesised with eyes-wide-open expositions that will make you stop, think, and press repeat.

Stabilize hit the airwaves on October 20; stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Enchanting Chanteuse Annabel Hailey Reached New Celestial Heights in Her Single, Perfect for this World

Annabel Hailey

After introducing us to The City That Never Sleeps, the enchanting Nordic pop chanteuse Annabel Hailey enticed us into a new session of jazzy easy listening mesmerism with her latest single, Perfect for this World.

“You have to be broken for the light to get through” may be one of the most affecting lyrical epiphanies I’ve ever had the pleasure of soaking in. The conceptual luminosity of the classic pop score and Annabel Hailey’s ethereally pure vocal timbre which echoes vulnerability and power in the same breath makes it all the more enlightening.

In her own words:

“The song talks about how we carry a burden that no one knows about. We put on a brave face and carry on like we’re okay. We often think that being brave is about not showing we are hurting, although being vulnerable is the most courageous thing to do. We are all broken in some ways; it’s a part of this journey. Perfection is not the goal and doesn’t exist; we are perfect for this world as we are, humans in progress. We define who we are with our thoughts and actions; let your light shine bright.

I end with a quote Anais Nin made famous ‘We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are’; making assumptions and judgments on others is misguided and unnecessary.”

The Finland-born singer-songwriter, who spends her time between Amsterdam, the Netherlands and NYC, hit the one million streams mark with her EP, Phases, which debuted in February 2020. We’re unequivocally sure she can do the same again in her next EP, which is due for release in 2024.

Perfect for this World will officially be released on the 20th of October; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

looCcaM remixed reality in his 90s NY Hip-Hop meets Avant-Garde Sci-Fi sonics rap track, Trumpet of the Martians

If the spacey conviction in Legend Has It by Run the Jewels left you hooked, prepare to be ensnared all over again by the latest track, Trumpet of the Martians, from the cosmically urban innovator, looCcaM.

If someone asked Nas, Jay-Z or the Notorious B.I.G. to pour their 90s NY rap flavour into a Doctor Who soundtrack, the result would be as scintillatingly convictive as this Avant-Garde boom bap homage to futuristic poetics, which simultaneously unravels as a high-fire rebuke to neoliberal dogmatism.

Following the release of Trumpet of the Martians, the Buffalo, NY native will release his LP, Silence Exile Cunning, on October 19, which was innovatively crafted to synthesise beat culture with iconography which has previously had no place in the rap scene. Expect everything from electro-punk to hyper-pop to experimental poetry. In looCcaM, we believe.

Check out the radio edit of Trumpet of the Martians via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Get your teenage kicks from Sweetboy’s latest indie power-pop installation of nostalgia, Day in the Park

If you are looking for a new indie-pop outfit to get your teenage kicks from, or reminisce from kicks from yesteryear, get ready for the impact of Sweetboy’s latest single, Day in the Park.

After finding each other on Craigslist in 2018, the founding members, Anna Barnett and Jon Flores, put momentum into their dream of pursuing a music career; armed with classical piano training and a background in English Literature respectively, Sweetboy took the NYC scene by storm when they started to tour the live circuit and amass more members.

With the demureness of Debbie Harry, the vocal lines will draw you right into the nostalgic gravity of the release, which bolsters itself with soaring riffs between the cutting angular guitars and a solid backbeat that feeds you all the power pop furore you could ask for.

A Day in the Park is the first single to be released from the debut LP of the same title; if you like your vibrato vocals to be affecting and instrumentals infectious in their sticky-sweet retro glamour, save a space on your radar.

Day in the Park was officially released on September 22; stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Murphy put her jazz and soul into existential philosophy with her latest single, Glitch

The NYC-hailing soulstress Murphy brought in a new era of indie soul pop and added a new trajectory to the evolution of existential philosophy with her latest slicked with jazz and hooked with funk single, Glitch.

Traversing everything from the meaning of life to its origin, Glitch is a deeply introspective hit which infectiously explores the potential of a society-shaking glitch to set us free. If the soberingly sublime single doesn’t leave you deep in thought, that may just be a sign you need to stop swimming in the shallows of perception and start swimming in infinitely more profound pools; diving in with Murphy is the perfect vantage point to take the plunge.

She’s got the voice, a mind that would make Sartre quiver, and a golden ear for a melody; it is safe to say that she’s the epitome of a triple threat; we can’t wait to hear what comes next.

Glitch was officially released on September 29; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Stix Bones is back on the skins in his funked-up jazz fusion, LEAP

Following the phenomenal success of his hip-hop-influenced LP and a string of critically acclaimed singles, Brooklyn’s most prodigal jazz son, Stix Bones, is back on the skins once more with his seminal release, LEAP, featuring Bob Beamon.

With flavours of North African Funk in the culturally layered rhythmics of the instrumental track and sparks of Latino flair within the keys, vibrancy radiates from the exuberantly sophisticated core of LEAP. While the syncopated percussive fills and seductive bassline growls set up the grooves, the horn section shimmers the soundscape with an unfaltering sense of expressive euphoria that will heighten any mood.

With his previous releases, including his debut LP, Groove Like This, Stix Bones featured on 40 radio stations across the globe and became no stranger to the jazz charts. He’s equally as accoladed in the live circuit; when he’s not opening for the likes of Chaka Khan, Charlie Wilson, and Babyface, he’s helping world-renowned artists complete their albums and playing with the likes of Soulfege. It’s only a matter of time before he becomes a permanent fixture in the Jazz Hall of Fame.

Stream LEAP, which was officially released on September 22, on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast