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RnB and Trap Intertwine in Ta’Sj Pure’s Seminal Single, Lies

Taken from his debut album, So Sincere, the up-and-coming RnB artist Ta’Sj Pure’s single, Lies, is one of the best introductions to his melodically soulful sonic signature.

After a wavey intro, the New Jersey native goes in heavy with the lyrical evocative weight in his effect-laden Trap-style harmonised vocal timbre while the single progresses into experimentalism scarcely seen in the RnB scene. His tendency to play with melody and swathes of off-kilter bass transforms Lies into a completely unique RnB aesthetic that any innovation seekers will easily be sated by.

Check out Ta’Sj Pure’s debut album, So Sincere, on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ruby Sue resisted the silence of alienation in her coming-of-age alt-rock debut album, The Need

The Riot Grrrl attitude is living vicariously through Ruby Sue’s debut album, The Need, but make no mistake, she is an icon of her own making. The true definition of punk is a little hazy these days, but if it doesn’t encompass an artist bringing classical strings into a visceral protest of alienation, what is even the point?

Usually, there is little resonance to be found in coming-of-age albums for anyone that isn’t… coming of age, but The Need extends a sense of compassion for the unheard that can stretch across the generations. Even at 32 years old, the singles, especially the title single, struck a raw note within me.

The sweet melodious temperament of Taylor Swift, the nostalgic comfort of Brandi Carlile and the protestive grungy furore of Courtney Love all fuse together to make The Need an LP that is as cathartic as it is anarchically emboldening. The Minneapolis singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist clearly has a natural talent when it comes to consoling expression with her lyricism that lays it all bare in true rock star fashion.

With some of the singles, such as the mostly instrumental Let Me Out, the violin and viola strings bring an extra edge of cutting emotion, ensuring that there’s no getting to the end of this LP until you’ve felt an unholy amount of empathy for anyone enduring the process of growing into adulthood in these times that can send you off-kilter in a single heartbeat.

In her own words, here is what Ruby Sue had to say about her debut album:

“During my gap year between high school and college last year, I was feeling lost and trying to find myself; I found music. I’ve always been a musician, but music was the only thing that felt right when everything else felt off. The lyrics and melodies rushed out of me like a burst dam.

The Need tells a true story of needing to be seen, heard and experience life. Growing up isn’t easy; it can feel daunting and lonely; the ultimate message is that if you feel the need to be seen, you are not alone.”

The Need is now available to stream on Spotify.

Follow Ruby Sue on Instagram and TikTok.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Drift back to the 90s rave era with Timothy and the Apocalypse’s latest forewarning release, Strange Tide

I never need all too much convincing to evade modernity and drift back into the relative comfort of the 90s; Timothy and the Apocalypse’s 90s rave-inspired release, Strange Tide, made taking an aural trip back across the decades all too irresistible.

Beyond the swelling progressions, crafted for filling floors and drinking in metropolitan landscapes in the twilight, there is a subtle reminder that you can only swim against the tides of narcissism for so long before you get pulled under by the self-serving currents.

With his fourth full-length album, All Busted Up, in the pipeline, there has never been a better time to indulge in Timothy and the Apocalypse’s electronica escapism.

Strange Tide is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sabres bare their teeth in their sophomore release ‘Tell Me Where It Hurts’

Here to prove that pigeonholes are for the banal is the Portsmouth alternative duo, Sabres, with their genre-evading sophomore single, Tell Me Where It Hurts.

The titularly compassionate, sonically scuzzed up single comprises just the drums and bass guitar. But the unholy rhythm section is far more than the sum of its dualistic parts, thanks to the heady synergy that grungily grinds through the collaborative chemistry between Sam Cutbush and Dominic Taylor.

Given the times that we are living in, there has been a discernible lack of aural angst, but Sabres are tackling our collective new crises, fears and perversions head-on with their unapologetic reflections on anger.

Sabres may be fresh from its late 2021 inception but in their respective earlier careers, they have supported the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen, British Sea Power, New Candys, Phobophobes and Melt-Banana. This is far from the first time that Dominic Taylor has left me transfixed by his monstrous percussive energy; I was lucky enough to witness the launch of his former band, Burning House’s debut album, Anthropocene. I’m stoked to hear him on top form once again.

Tell Me Where It Hurts is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Photo credit @oldskoolpaul

Tommy Trull – Citizen Freak: The Only Synth Rock Breakup Track You Will Need on Your Playlists

Nobody Else in the World by Tommy Trull

With guitars that wouldn’t be out of place in The Cure’s earlier records, rock n roll synthetics oozing from the synths and the funk-chopped basslines, Tommy Trull’s standout single, Citizen Freak, from his sophomore album, Nobody Else in the World, gorgeously drips with unapologetic autonomy.

The North Carolina-hailing multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter is known to hop between genres. With his second album, he paid a genre-fluid ode to the transformations we undergo when separations force our hands into parting ways with co-creators of our worlds that weren’t cut out for perpetuity.

Expression runs at the core of Citizen Freak; the experimental alchemy unfolds as refreshingly as Bowie’s did in his funk pop prime (that will sound hyperbolic until you delve in yourselves).

Citizen Freak is now available to stream and purchase on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Escape in the roots of Drew Peterson’s Americana folk single, Duck

With the quirky intensity of Neutral Milk Hotel and the bluegrass crooning of Tom Waits, we couldn’t help succumbing to the soul in Drew Peterson’s album, St. Jude, A Duck and the Crooked Line.

The opening single, Duck, is a narratively escapist Midwest adventure from the independent roots singer-songwriter who has been twanging acoustic strings and entertaining rowdy bars on the Minnesota scene for over two decades. The softly gruff vocals work their way through the dry humour in the lyrics over the minimalist production, consisting of little more than accordion and strings. But that is all Peterson needed to sonically consume you with the endearingly titled, Duck.

Check out Drew Peterson’s debut solo album via his official website and Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The anonymous electronica collective, Formanteau, detonated a bomb of colorful euphoria in their debut single, In Your Hands

In Your Hands is the debut mellifluously melodic feat of electronica from the collective, Formanteau, headed by a veteran underground music producer who has appeared in multiple film and TV credits for his compositions.

There is something incredibly reassuring about an anonymous electronica collective running in the same vein as 21st-century enigmas, such as Gorillaz and Sault. There is the immediate affirmation that the motivation behind the electro momentum is in no way egotized, and that is exactly how In Your Hand sweetly runs through.

The innocence in the reprise of “my life is only in your hands” made an unforgettable production out of the colourfully euphoric release that runs at the perfect tempo to leave you as invigorated as mellowed.

Get In Your Hands on your playlists by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Michael Kanyongolo – Dreams: Meet Your New Sonic Sandman

With an ethereally dystopic chill that creeps in straight from the intro, the Brooklyn, NY-residing electronic music producer, Michael Kanyongolo’s latest score, Dreams, constructs a biometrically ambient world you can drift into for a multifaceted sensory experience.

By building his tracks from samples, midi instruments and live playing, his sonic signature became one marked in stylistic fluidity, textural juxtapositions, and otherworldly atmosphere.

The fact that he’s still in college should be enough to make Hans Zimmer shiver with competitive fear. Kanyongolo is so much more than your average ambience peddler; he’s got the tenacity of an acclaimed composer in the making.

Dreams is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Dirty Modal Souls went in search of adequate vernacular in their Brit-Grunge anthem, What’s the Word?

In their first release of 2022, the Brit-Grunge trio, Dirty Modal Souls, catapulted us right back to the alt-90s. Lyrically, What’s the Word? is a snarlingly electric hook-constructed continuation of Cameo’s Word Up. Instrumentally, it’s a transatlantic riot of rugged basslines, cataclysmic breaks and guitars which express as much chagrin as the rancorous guitars.

If Faith No More hailed from this side of the pond, their earlier work would carry ample reminiscence to What’s the Word, which doesn’t lose the quintessentially British style of lament. That riled energy rubs up against the Seattle sound to create universal appeal.

What’s the Word is now available to stream on Spotify and purchase on Apple Music.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Katie Wellenberg raised the stakes in her alt-country protest to superficial charm, ‘Gambler’

Katie Wellenberg did more than show her hand in her latest alt-country single, Gambler, which will be an instant hit with fans of the April March and Hillbilly Moon Explosion-Esque femme fatale allure.

Lyrically, Wellenberg shows us the epitome of humanity through visually striking poetry. Instrumentally, her roots-deep melodic hooks draw you further into the single, which shows how above the charade of superficial charm she is. Needless to say, we should all be at the same level as the stunningly unf*ckwithable Munich-based singer-songwriter. She well and truly came into her swampy roots rock own with Gambler; we can’t wait to hear what follows.

Gambler is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast