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Soul

Maysun reveals the dark side of the ‘Friends with Benefits’ arrangement in her latest jazz-pop serenade.

With a single as heart-wrenchingly stunning as Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good, the LA sultry songstress, Maysun, has left us floored with her latest single, Friends with Benefits.

‘Who cares the least is the winner’ is straight-up lyrical gold; it carries as much wordsmith wit as it does harrowingly candid introspection. The friends with benefits arrangements are often synonymous with ‘fun’, but Maysun exposes the very real dark side with this jazzy pop jam.

Countering the sombre concept is the sweeter than honey instrumental arrangement, which gently sends soul carousing through this unforgettable triumph; produced by Arthur Pingrey.

Friends with Benefits will officially release on August 12th. Check it out for yourselves via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Violet Nines brought the heat in their fiery soul-pop jam, Dancing with Fire

Seemingly, no genre was off-limits in The Violet Nines’ latest single, Dancing with Fire, which melds angular indie guitars with fiery soul-pop vocals, disco grooves, jazzy sax stabs and funk-to-the-core basslines.

It is rare to find an outfit that oozes talent and euphoria in equal measure; the rhythm-led Minneapolis-hailing ensemble is a dynamic exception to that rule. The record is rampant with that irreplicable live music feel; we can only imagine the energy when they are bringing their collaborative alchemy to life. It feels purely accidental that their sonic signature is so commercial, but that strips none of the gloss from their enlivening distinction.

The official video for Dancing with Fire will premiere on August 12th. Sample the funk for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Anne Musisi speaks to our loveless world in her seminal single, BE NICE

The fearlessly lyrically confrontational artist Anne Musisi has never been one to mince her words. With her seminal single, BE NICE, she pulverised the notion that women should continue to meekly skate by on their vulnerability and nicety, while the rest of the world treats them with contempt.

Even though I was raised on a steady diet of 90s Riot Grrrl, for the first time in what seems like an eternity, I’ve heard a fresh voice delivering vindicating empowerment. The moody, dark and synth-heavy track sees Musisi seamlessly switching between spoken word dominant bars and hyper-smooth neo-soul vocals that do more than hitting the spot; they caress it.

“Why should I be nice?” a seemingly innocuous question; under Anne Musisi’s fiercely demure duress, which sees her spill frustration for the way she’s been disregarded, infuriated, and mistreated, it’s an emboldening inquiry into the dark world of misogyny and prejudice.

The official music video for BE NICE is now available to stream on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

LA Jazz Scene Icon Sam Hirsh Created Melodic Chemistry with Amber Navran in His Seminal Single, Hot Slow

Taken from his LP, Quarantine Dreams, Sam Hirsh’s standout single, Hot Slow, featuring Amber Navran, is everything it says on the tin. Rather than cooking up a tried, tested, and uninspired blend of soul, Hirsh delivered jazzy melodies which artfully blossom around the smoky – almost trip-hoppy – whispered vocals.

In the LA jazz scene, the pianist, composer and educator is renowned for the soulful energy in his compositions; they are everything people who bemoan ‘they don’t make them like they used to’ could ask for. Better yet, right from the first hit, Hot Slow is smooth enough to melt into. For the same reasons I fell in love with California by Mr Bungle, I will be giving Hot Slow plenty of repeat attention.

Hot Slow is now available to stream on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jimmy G. $hi takes it slow in his RnB single, Drown Tonight

Give your RnB playlists a fresh soul fix by introducing it to the lead single, Drown Tonight, from Jimmy G. $hi’s 2022 album, P.T.H.B.

After warm saturated tones have eased you into the smooth contemporary track that unfurls around hip hop percussion and spacey electronica synthetics, Jimmy G. $hi goes in heavy with the sultry romanticism. The affectionately demure energy resonates through the lyrics as much as the steady vocals that affirm the message of the single; pace is the trick.

With the stellar production, the mellifluous soul that spills from the vocals and the evocative heights that Drown Tonight takes you to, the up-and-coming artist can definitively be seen as a triple threat.

The official music video for Drown Tonight was released on July 22nd. Check it out for yourselves via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

LUCID LIP soulfully speak on disillusion in their alt-rock single, Who Would Notice?

LUCID LIP

New York’s smoothest and synth-heavy alt-rock outfit, LUCID LIP, has unveiled their latest heartbreakingly smoky single, Who Would Notice? which taps into the same sense of disillusioned isolation that everyone with any degree of self-awareness has battled with lately.

The lyric, “What the hell does anyone want anyway?”, efficaciously captures the frustration of the irrationality of most of the people you encounter. While “I’m not here to sell my soul, but who would notice?” pulls you into the darkened ennui of depression’s grips. Metaphorically, of course.

Far more remarkably, nothing about the single resonates as self-piteous; there’s a comforting sense that the candour was used as a means of solidarity with the listener.

Who Would Notice? left the same evocative imprint as Incubus did on me back in my slightly less jaded teen years, with a touch of Faith No More’s The Real Thing (I don’t make Mike Patton references lightly).

Who Would Notice? will officially release on July 29th. Check it out on all major streaming platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Gemïny has unveiled his electrifying soul-pop reflection on destruction, ‘Hesitation’

Stoking the soul-pop fire that he started with his debut and sophomore single, the Columbia, US-hailing artist, Gemïny, has added even more fuel through his third single, Hesitation.

Around the snapping beats, the kaleidoscopic glow of the delayed guitars, and funk basslines that amplify the amorous energy, Gemïny’s soulfully forceful vocals drive the single forward through its myriad of expressive progressions.

Lyrically, Gemïny spoke to everyone who knows how it feels to lose composure and descend to the depths of destruction in affection-inspired mania, which proves that love & lust are some of the most powerful drugs of all.

After racking up over 50k streams on SoundCloud with his sophomore single, Too Close, there is seemingly little in the way of Gemïny’s ascent to soul-pop fame.

Here is what Gemïny had to say on his third single:

After the heavier content in my previous two releases, with Hesitation, I used a lighter narrative while addressing the story at hand. It speaks to everyone that has done crazy things for a crush (if you haven’t, please keep it to yourself, the thought helps me sleep at night).

It draws from when I uncharacteristically got into a fight at a house party over a girl. I’m extremely prideful, but there I was, a 12-shots-in freshman, breaking walls and smashing tables. A bad look overall, but it encapsulates the essence of hesitation. The juvenile way you impress a crush in grade school; that conflicting mix of excitement and fear that reeks of teen spirit.

Hesitation will release across all major streaming platforms, including SoundCloud and Spotify on July 27th.

Follow Gemïny on Facebook and TikTok.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

J. Jeaux exhibits blissful command over rhythm in his RnB debut, More Than Enough

Taking a brief reprieve from composing for video games and media, the singer-songwriter multi-instrumentalist J. Jeaux released his debut single, More Than Enough, in June 2022.

Exhibiting his world-building melodies, sweetened R&B vocal lines and songwriting tenacity, More Than Enough rewrites the R&B rules through the warm analogue atmosphere & cuttingly contemporary resonance.

Few breaking artists excel in bringing RnB into this era without assimilation, but the Mexico City-based artist is so much more than your average Frank Ocean carbon copy with his blissful command over rhythm. Even with the tinges of sorrowful sentimentality, More Than Enough is a touch of serenity in our chaos-encompassing times.

More Than Enough is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sharon Watkins helps us unleash that crushing frustration away forever with her 2nd single ‘Stranded’

After feeling the wrath of a horrifying pandemic, that almost tore her soul into pieces, Sharon Watkins shows us courageously inside the ultimate comeback story from health issues, breakups and redundancy that she refused to let dampen her illuminating vitality with ‘Stranded’.

Sharon Watkins is a UK-based indie soul singer-songwriter who performs from the heart and has created something truly special for us all to vibe with here.

Having grown up surrounded by the Manchester music scene, Sharon Watkins has been writing and performing her whole life. However, after an unexpected break in her 20-year global marketing career, she found the time to commit to her music and record an album with her musician brother, Sammy J Stopford.” ~ Sharon Watkins

Utterly scintillating with her gorgeous vocals and bringing a foot-tapping groove that has been lacking in the world recently, Sharon Watkins is the leader we needed in challenging times and displays a stunning aura you can’t help but treasure.

Expresses all the pent-up energy you have when you’ve been cooped up and need to get out and party, whether it’s after lockdown or just after a hard week.” ~ Sharon Watkins

Stranded‘ from UK-based indie soul singer-songwriter Sharon Watkins is a supremely captivating single and is one of the most joyous releases you are likely to hear this year. Showing us it’s indeed possible to find your passion again and break through any trauma that could destroy you, this is an absolute anthem that is sung with such class.

When you need to break free from things you can’t control, music is always the answer to all problems.

Listen up to this fine single on Spotify and check out her IG page for more.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Steve Hensby Band checks where they are stepping on the groovy journey to ‘Jamtown In Mukinbudin’ (feat. General Justice)

Sending our moods into an enlightened marvel to behold, Steve Hensby Band shows us their world class quality that uplifts the vibe that rockets in the night on ‘Jamtown In Mukinbudin(feat. General Justice).

Steve Hensby Band is a Perth, Western Australia-based indie 9-piece band who fuses in various elements of funk, soul, ska, with their delicious sprinkle of folk.

Steve Hensby is a Berklee College of Music graduate and WAMI nominated musician who also works as a session player in the Perth area. He has played with the likes of Tim Minchin, Steve Poltz, Randy Feltface, WASO, Perth Symphony Orchestra and Taasha Cootes.” ~ Steve Hensby Band

Warming up our hearts with an honest release that represents our time just right, Steve Hensby Band is the type of band that will get your feet tapping in delight with a terrific blend of soothing vibrations to get your whole body moving all night.

Jamtown In Mukinbudin(feat. General Justice) from Perth, Western Australia-based indie 9-piece band Steve Hensby Band is a tasty track to stimulate the appetites of those who love that extra groove in their morning coffee. Filled with an unreal amount of quality that has horns aplenty, this is a song to get wrapped naturally inside for hours on end.

When you find that real jam inside your soul that uplifts you, there is no turning back.

Listen up to this new track on SoundCloud and see more on the IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen