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Art Pop

Music Pop

Reese Taylor lends her artful touch to dark pop with her standout single, ‘After the Party’

With such a vast array of artists joining the airwaves, phenomenal releases can be overlooked, such as Californian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Reese Taylor’s 2020 standout single, ‘After the Party’.

At the age of 17-years-old, she not only has the ability to appeal to the human psyche by her eerie, ethereal dark pop melodies, but she can also scathingly berate toxic behaviour that people seem to exhibit without repercussion.

After the Party poignantly attacks hedonists intent on living the high life with little mind to what their behaviour does to people around them. We all know them, the ones desperate for the world to see just how much fun they’re having when anyone with emotional intelligence know they’re trying to fill a gaping hole with superficial pleasure.

There may be a moody edge to Reese Taylor’s take on pop, but she doesn’t hide behind a pretence in the same way that many dark pop artists do. Her sense of vulnerability is still perceptible, but her astute wit dominates the soundscape all the same.

The official video to After the Party is available to stream via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Troubled Traveller has released his psychedelically despondent art-pop debut, ‘the lucky ones’

Canadian singer-songwriter Troubled Traveller has made their debut with the all too resonant single ‘the lucky ones’, created in collaboration with Floridian space pop producer Brian Squillace and vocalist Amber Nicole.

With shimmering guitars cascading down melodies first heard in 70s psych-rock finding synergy with deadpan vocals, everything in the lucky ones pieces together like a perfect jigsaw that you never want to tear apart.

Troubled Traveller succeeded in lacing the lucky ones with the same despondence that we’ve all been in bed with recently without making it a self-flagellating melancholy fest. He’s set the bar with his seriously strong debut, but we’re more than assured he’ll exceed expectation with their upcoming releases. Don’t be surprised if Troubled Traveller ambles onto your radar when you hit play on their debut.

the lucky ones is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Jessamine Barham has released her consolingly baroque ballad ‘Only a Dream’

If you’re as aurally sensitive as me and your dreams are more lucid than your waking life lately, Jessamine Barham’s latest single ‘Only a Dream’ is going to sting.

The singer-songwriter wrote the theatrically baroque ballad with the same intent which simmers behind each of her works; to offer resonance to the lonely, ignored and “those who wish to know the hidden world behind the sound of silence”.

Any fans of Tori Amos, Amanda Palmer, and Abney Park will definitely want to get acquainted with Jessamine Barham’s consoling talent.

Only a Dream was released on January 22nd; it is now available to stream via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Tora Woloshin sends an art-pop invitation to grieve collectively through her latest single ‘America’

Singer-songwriter, dancer, model and actress, Tora Woloshin, often utilises her own experiences with trauma to help others overcome theirs. Her sobering art-pop single, ‘America’, is an invitation to collectively grieve social sickness while gaining a sense of optimism inspired by the resiliently passionate vocals which remind you that apathy and nihilism are a choice.

Hitting play may lead to a one-way conversation; but, it is a connection all the same, in a time where connectivity is scarce and isolation is rife, Tora Woloshin’s single shouldn’t be dismissed as anything other than aural gold.

Any fans of the X Factor USA may already recognise Tora Woloshin’s distinctively evocative vocal timbre. Since starring on the show and being mentored by Simon Cowell, she’s toured globally, collaborated with the likes of Timbaland and opened for Pink, Method Man, Flo Rida and Ne-Yo. Yet, somehow, something tells us the best is still to come for Tora Woloshin.

America is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Lina and the Lions – This Fire: 80s Synthpop with a K-Pop Kick

‘This Fire’ is the first single to be released from the forthcoming debut album ‘Second Nature’ by UK-based artist Lina and the Lions which revives the New Wave 80s Pop sound with a K-Pop kick.

With shimmering glassy synths and melodic hooks, sharp enough to ensure that this entrancing earworm isn’t easily forgotten, fans of 80s Pop and contemporary dark Pop alike are going to encounter a playlist staple when they delve into this amorously visceral and stylistic release.

The instrumentals may be cutting and atmospheric, but Lina Lane’s soulfully effervescent art-pop vocals burst through and demonstrate her ability to make higher pitches resonate with infectiously high-energy soul. It’s hard not to get excited about the potential of Lina and the Lions. They’ll be releasing their album gradually over 2021. Get them on your radar.

This Fire is available to stream via Spotify now. For more information on Lina and the Lions head over to their official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

What do they know anyway: Kritters send out strong message about small-mindedness on outstanding ‘Strangers’

Kritters are back with the 3rd single off their debut album ‘Go to School‘ ‘and this honest new track is named ‘Strangers‘.

Kirini O.K. and Rob Steadman formed the fascinatingly creative South Bronx/London-based art/electro-pop and DIY act Kritters together and they are partners in life and music. Both of these wonderful talents are classically trained and you can feel the extra quality in their incredible atheistic soundscapes- throughout this new song.

Kirini O.K is an established visual artist, poet, violinist, punk lover and singer, who was born in New York and moved to the UK to study.. Rob Steadman is a South African-born drummer, former member of Stornoway and prolific producer who is also UK and New York-based.

This is the true story about how most strangers don’t have a clue what the real story is- but love to add their two cents unnecessary advice. When you don’t know the full picture, its not wise and shows zero self-awareness too.

The feeling of a cinematic experience is first on the mind here, as these two talented musicians fuse their lovely vocals together as the energy changes suddenly. The chorus features an array of electronic variety that makes you turn up the volume as you close your eyes and immerse yourself in this world class song.

Strangers‘ from Kritters is a bitingly sarcastic track at times as the frustration floats to the top, influenced by the crazy year of 2020 and also by not being where they both thought they would be in lives as we speak. Their honesty and incredible creative minds are mind-blowing on the ear as you admire their class and technical ability.

Keeping your cool is extremely hard when small-minded people speak up over something that have no part in. Smiling and having a chuckle inside, is the only way to go and makes these moments seem comedic- rather than unnecessarily annoying.

Hear this illuminating single on Soundcloud and see their story on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Music

Alexa Marino is ‘Laid Bare’ on her stunning new single

New York based singer-songwriter Alexa Marino has spent the last twenty years honing her craft around NYC venues such as Rockwood Music Hall, Shrine World Music Venue, The Bitter End, and Groove, all the while studying vocal technique. Now, she’s marrying her brand of narrative beauty and storytelling lyrics with a superb voice on her debut album ‘Laid Bare’, and it really has been worth the wait.

‘Laid Bare’ – the single – is the lead (and, obviously, title) track from the album, co-written with and produced by established New York musician Alex Hayes, and it’s an absolute cracker; poppy yet soulful, intense, beautiful, with a style a little reminiscent of Florence and The Machine mixed with Natalie Imbruglia and Katie Melua, Hayes’ production sparse yet mellifluous, a lovely mix of electronic instrumentation managing, unusually, to still sound organic and ‘real’, perfectly matching the timbre of Marino’s voice.

The rest of the seven-track album is excellent and out now, but ‘Laid Bare’ is the perfect taster of Alexa Marino’s undoubted talent.

Check out ‘Laid Bare’ on Spotify, and follow Alexa Marino on Facebook now.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Brian Perrone – Be This Way: Soul-Satingly Powerful Indie Folk Pop

If it has been a while since you’ve heard a truly authentic voice, fall into Detroit singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Brian Perrone’s, moody alt-indie folk sophomore release, ‘Be This Way’.

If you could imagine the vocal stylings of Morrisey, Peter Murphy, Chris Isaacs and Elvis all melding over a piano-led art-rock instrumental arrangement, you’ll get an idea of what is in store when you hit play on this evocatively potent release.

The slight vocal vibrato ensures that the single resonates with as much raw emotion as it does with resolving aural comfort while the atypical progressions will leave you utterly transfixed. Quite honestly, Be This Way is up there with Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ and Cat Stevens’ ‘Wild World’ in terms of tracks which can leave you in a catatonic stupor with the sheer soul-driven power.

You can check out Be This Way for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

RONA MAIRI – Sliding Away: When alt-pop becomes art-pop

music.youtube.com/watch?v=3huqg8WH2_A&list=RDAMVM3huqg8WH2_A

If you hit play on any alt-pop debut this year, make it RONA MAIRI’s stormer of a single ‘Sliding Away’ and test your capacity to feel.

Sliding Away may not be the most polished single that you’ve heard this year, but it is all the better for it. The piercingly resounding alt-pop single transcends directness and delivers unapologetically confrontational soul. Maybe not the sticky-sweet and superficial soul that is prevalent in the pop charts, but you’re in for an evocative experience all the same as the tremulous electronic track plays havoc with your rhythmic pulses.

The Scottish singer-songwriter’s original aural passion fell into the lap of grunge, but as exhibited in Sliding Away, her contemporary inspiration comes from game-changing producers such as Lorn, Clams Casino and Shlohmo. After hearing Sliding Away, it would come as no surprise if RONA MAIRI started to share the very same acclaim as the luminary producers who compelled her to share her distinctive vision with the world.

You can check out Sliding Away for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Rae Kelly Soars High With Stunning New Track ‘Ignorant as Icarus’

Dublin-born singer-songwriter Rae Kelly mixes heartfelt, philosophical, and evocative lyrics with a blend of mildly jazzy pop piano to produce a beautiful, delicate, and charming new single in the shape of ‘Ignorant As Icarus’. Kicking off with some real Tori Amos/Amanda Palmer vibes with the solo piano and vocal section before the rest of the band kick in, it’s an intriguing mix of repeating bass motif and keyboard behind Rae’s stunning, lilting vocal.

The delivery is divine, dropping down to an almost choral middle eight, Kelly’s vocal becoming one more instrument in the mix before slipping back to poetic, storytelling, questioning lyrics once more.

There’s some serious talent on show here, Kelly’s voice exquisite and graceful whilst her lyrics are engaging and thought-provoking; there’s no mistaking the ‘early years’ training of Kelly’s church choir experience in her confidence and soaring mezzo-soprano range, but there’s some avant-garde pop perfection on display as well, all capped off by the stunning piano and bassline of the track. Now back writing and recording after an enforced hiatus, hopefully, there’s much more to come from the sublime Rae Kelly.

You can hear ‘Ignorant As Icarus’ on Spotify and follow Rae Kelly here or on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes