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Music RnB

80s EBM meets RnB in Willy Matéo’s debut album, ‘I.D.’

Breaking RnB artist and producer Willy Matéo has made their debut with their entrancing album ‘I.D. (Internal Disturbance)’ which mixes a Billy Idol level of cool with intense techno beats and all of the soul of a classic RnB anthem.

The standout single, ‘iStandalone’ almost veers into the EBM arena, but with the smooth layering of the powerful vocals, the track stays true to the roots of RnB pop while allowing Willy Matéo to stamp down his signature style. It may be a fairly lo-fi production, but any fans of leftfield electronica won’t fail to fall in love with this 80s inspired track which wouldn’t be out of place on an OST to a David Lynch film.

Check out Willy Matéo’s album I.D. for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music Rock

Rise in Veins take us back to the 00s with their sophomore hard rock single, ‘Pieces’

Canadian hard rock powerhouse Rise in Veins followed on from their phenomenal debut single with the equally as captivating sophomore single ‘Pieces’, it’s a nice nod to early 00s rock, but with the trio’s influences scattered across the alt-rock spectrum, you’re treated to a brand-new experience of sonic veracity.

Pieces is a matured, nuanced evolution from what bands like Bullet for My Valentine and Avenged Sevenfold contributed to the airwaves. With the massive choruses, vocals that are strong enough to pull you into the soul of the single and the mind-bending guitar solos, Rise in Veins have all it takes to become the next big name in hard rock.

Pieces is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music Rock

GLASS EYE – PRAYERS: Salaciously Ethereal Alt-Rock

GLASS EYE

With vocals that hit the high notes with the same precision as Matt Bellamy, the sex appeal of Deftones and classic rock licks that come with an ethereally evocative twist, it’s hard not to expect big things to come from GLASS EYE with the release of their album ‘SOMEWHERE, NOWHERE’.

PRAYERS is the perfect introduction to their sound that is so much more than an aural crumble of prominent bands that we’ve come to love across the decades. It’s a delectable invitation to witness the US-based powerhouse’s visceral authenticity that will appeal to anyone who likes their alt-rock to come with rhythmic salacious chills.

PRAYERS is just one of the singles that feature on their forthcoming album ‘SOMEWHERE, NOWHERE’, which is due for release on June 10th.

You can check out GLASS EYE via their website and on Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

PleasePrettyLea wants to take us and shake us up with ‘You’re Home Finally’

Opening with some very voodoo-y, lynch-type imagery, the superb video for PleasePrettyLea’s new single ‘You’re Home Finally’ firmly sets the scene for our heroine’s witchy, lustful intent. Flipping easily between disdain and flirtation, PleasePrettyLea works her magic to seduce her ex-lover back to the warmth of her bed – soft piano chords and a deliciously tempting smoky, sultry cajun voodoo-blues n’ jazz-inspired vocal draws us in as much as her tantalizing dance-moves and wicked, bewitching lyrics. There’s no doubt about her intent here, the NSFW lyrics setting out very clearly what PleasePrettyLea would like to do to us, over a backing of deliberately discomforting, disquieting bass, drums, and piano. It’s dirty, it’s sexy, it’s entrancing, and it’s very, very, good.

Check out the video for ‘You’re Home Finally’ on YouTube; follow PleasePrettyLea on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

 

Music

Tommy Harwood takes us ‘Walking In The Dark’

I always try to find the positives in reviews and give constructive pointers where there are areas for improvement, and I guess with that in mind there’s some nice fingerpicked guitar here coupled with Tommy Harwood’s obvious enthusiasm for what he’s doing. Maybe it’s that enthusiasm that’s at fault here, because ‘Walking In The Dark’ feels and sounds like the passion to get the song finished and recorded took away from the necessity to polish the lyrics and work on the performance. Sadly, the guitar’s lacking in any midrange warmth and so bright as to be brittle and shrill, the vocals are too up-front in the mix and have some – to put it delicately – tuning and pitching issues, and the cajon sadly wanders in and out of time seemingly of its own volition. All of these things could be corrected by some vocal coaching and some time with a seasoned producer to take charge of the engineering and mixing, and to guide the performance in the right direction.

Tommy’s a poet as well as a songwriter, and there’s no question that, at the root of all this, he can write verse; he needs to focus a little more on meter-over-music – poetry and lyric writing are very different beasts, despite their surface similarities – and on the vocal performance. He certainly knows his way around fingerstyle guitar, and it’s a shame that the production values on this demo don’t really allow that to be showcased. It may be that in his eagerness to commit ‘Walking In The Dark’ to tape (is that even still a thing?) and add ‘multi-instrumentalist’ to his CV, he’s done himself a disservice – it’s entirely possible that, with a few fewer instruments to worry about, a bit of singing-and-guitar-only focus, and a decent producer to get the best out of his vocal and guitar-playing performance, there’s some nice song ideas here. It’s just a shame that they’re currently being undone by his intensity and spirit, and a desire to do everything all at once.

You can check out Tommy on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Mantra is ‘Funny Like That’ in their crooning indie-rock track

Starting off with a cute solo acoustic guitar pattern before the rest of the band arrive with a slightly jazzy feel to this, the new single from alt-indie groove Mantra. It’s chilled, mellow, with a relaxed, off-beat feel, and a summery, ‘the-days-are-getting-longer’ kind of vibe.

There’s a touch of Beck or Mika to this, in that ‘the only rule is there are no rules’ sort of way of making music, a little of the Plain White Tees ‘college radio’ feel mixed with some Pink Floyd psychedelia, and overall there’s a sort of meandering kookiness that sets this aside from the run-of-the-mill guitar-bass-drums indie set-up; the vocals have that laconic laziness that seems to sit quite regularly with bands from the American South-East, and the whole thing sort of grooves and chills its way along letting you recline into its mix of effortless cool.

You can hear ‘Funny Like That’ on Spotify now.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Sionis wants to take us ‘Swimming’

Sionis is a 21-year-old musician from Charlotte, North Carolina, with a back history of pop-punk mixed with hip hop and rap. ‘Swimming’ comes by way of artists like Mobb Deep, Havoc, Screwball, or Tyler The Creator. Lyrically, it’s all about a previous girlfriend, and it’s clear that that relationship didn’t always go as well as it might have, with lines like ‘if we fuck then you can scratch me ‘til I bleed/ then I’ll choke you out to gain more energy’ and ‘back and forth, back and forth/ the passive-aggressiveness, I’m sick of it’, but Sionis has some pretty smooth flow mixed with the classic T-Pain autotune vocal production. There’s a solid backing of beats, bass, and piano that bounces the track along in a chilled way, but there’s an underlying anger and aggression here too that fits the vocal message.

You can hear ‘Swimming’ on Soundcloud, and check out Sionis on Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Azure Wolf opened up about trauma-induced disassociation in their latest haunting indie-rock single, ‘Black Fur’.

‘Black Fur’ is the latest single released by the Winchester, VA-based alt-indie-rock four-piece Azure Wolf. The ethereal emboldening earworm carries nuances of the alt 90s, especially in the cool and cutting guitar tones which carry reminiscence to Neil Halstead’s (Slowdive). You’ll also pick up on grunge textures in the dark layers of the driving and all-consuming release that tackles a subject rarely spoken of, let alone sung about.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. That’s exactly what you’ll be reminded of as you listen to forming member, songwriter, rhythm guitarist and lead singer Victoria Backle use her powerful command of harmony to draw you into the track that was inspired by personal experience.

Her rich and warming vocal timbre is the perfect contrast to the chilling instrumental tones. If Paul Banks threw away the apathy and emanated strength in spite of suffering, Interpol would carry the same feisty atmospheric air found in Black Fur.

Black Fur is the fourth release from Azure Wolf since they made their debut in 2020 with the single, Dancing Bears. Their debut LP will arrive in the fall; before that, you can expect new singles to land regularly from this luminary artist.

Black Fur is now available to stream via Spotify. Follow Azure Wolf on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

The Faces Of Sarah – old-school goth rock in ‘Divided Night’

It seems March is ‘old-school Goth Power-Rock’ month, with The Faces Of Sarah providing the epic sound-track; there’s big swell keyboards, huge guitar power chords, and the sort of driving drums and pushing bass that fills the soundscape. Sisters Of Mercy and The Mission mixed with big rock production. There’s an epic guitar solo, swathed in delay and reverb, that drips Fields of the Nephilim and a touch of early Cult. You can practically see the black and white promo video and the water droplets bouncing off the snare drum.

It’s sparse, echoey, a big epic goth/rock sound to a powerful single – the first from The Faces Of Sarah’s new ‘Whispers From The Room’ EP – carried by founder/singer Nick Schultz’s potent vocal and that sparse, echoey guitar. It’s time to dig out the black duster coat and eyeliner.

Check out The Faces Of Sarah on YouTube and Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Hip hop Music

Rose Venom’s Roses Have Thorns

‘Roses Have Thorns’ is the lead track from Rose Venom’s new single ‘Love Shit’, a neat little slab of Hip Hop which opens with a soft, chilled little piano riff before Venom’s angry-yet-beautiful vocal. Telling the story of a ruined love, Venom’s tale of growth and finding oneself amidst the fallout and wreckage – ‘left me so broke inside…/I’m glad I survived you/ I grew some thorns to fight you, boy…’ – ‘Roses Have Thorns’ mixes Rose Venom’s soft-yet-strong voice with an equally soft-yet-strong message among the delicate instrumentation and multi-layered delivery.

A mother of two children originally from Moscow but now living in Philadelphia, this is no story of brotherly love but rather a lost-love letter to hurt, regret, and quiet, simmering rage. It’s potent, powerful, and poetic.

Check out ‘Roses Have Thorns’, and the rest of ‘Love Shit’, on Spotify.  Look up Rose Venom on Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes