The wonderfully named Holyphant merge the drifting desert blues sound with a darker and more ephemeral vibe, one which is built on shifting dynamics, from ambient moods to classic rock salvos, and the bleak and wasted stoner rock vibe. Throw in some brooding gothic undercurrents and some hypnotic interludes and you are about half way to nailing down their meandering and mercurial sound.
It’s a lot to back into one song but it shows a clear understanding of the rocks rich and varied history and a deft hand when it comes to blending past styles into a gloriously new sound. It wanders progressive landscapes planting defiant rock seeds, waters them with alt-rock nourishment and prepares for the blooming of a whole new post-genre, all inclusive rock movement. Knowing where you come from is the key to knowing where you are going and Hallucinations prove beyond doubt that Holyphants never forget!
Although The Custom Shop is equally at home blasting out blues, rocking the R&B or soulfully and skilfully navigating Motown tinted waters, Ballads of Yore finds them at their most understated, most chilled and considered. The chorus might be built on bigger dynamics and a fuller band sound but the charm of the song comes in its mellower moments, when pianos skitter and chime and distant saxophones add wonderful musical detail around the edge of the song.
But as finely wrought as the song is it is nothing without the killer vocal to really carry the sonic ball over the musical line and Molly Orlando hits it just right, a masterful mix of subtlety and power, gentle balladry to powerful deliveries. Ballads of Yore is one of those timeless songs, part country, part blues, part rock all mixed in and underplayed to perfection, heavily nostalgic but never cliched, emotive, sensitive and soulful. They don’t make them like that any more!
They say that when life hands you lemons you make lemonade. Similarly when life handed Dani Sylvia heartache she made heartachingly beautiful songs. Working towards an album called Tall Tales, a reference to her height, Dark Blue is the latest in a procession of songs which range from the unabashed baring of inner emotions to her frustrations at the world around her, from tear stained honesty to thought provoking questioning.
It comes as no surprise that Dani is a trained dancer and that she has already worked with some big names in the industry from Paloma Faith to Muse, but now is her time to shine and she does so by following a completely individual path. Hers is a journey forged of gentle reflection, wistful regret and loss and longing but also one of optimism and hope and musically she wanders chilled pop landscapes, sensual R&B pathways and silky late night sensuality. Some music is about open celebration and throwaway party vibes, but when you want something more soul searching, emotive and heartfelt, Dani is your go to girl.
Tiana Major9 is a driven and dedicated artist with a passion for exciting crossover music that blurs the lines between genres as diverse as blues, jazz, and soul, among others.
Recently, Tiana wrapped up a brand new single release titled “Levee.” The track beings with a stunning, mellow combination of piano chords and vocals. The first thing that stands out is the singer’s incredible vocal performance. Tiana has some great dynamics, as she can seamlessly swing from low to high, from soft to quiet in order to create an exciting and direct sonic feature. The song feels very introspective in the beginning, but it actually comes to life with a burst of energy, with a nice rhythm section that complements Tiana’s vocals really well. I am particularly in awe of the production of this track. The song sounds remarkably modern, yet warm and relatable, almost like listening to one of those amazing jazz records that people still love for their organic vibes.
If you have ever wondered what it would sound like if Nick Cave wrote songs for Fleetwood Mac, the answer might just lie somewhere in Madeleine, the latest release from Broken Bones Matilda. It has all the hallmarks of the a Cave penned ballad but with all the short-circuiting sonic turmoil removed and instead rendered with the lush, majesty of the aforementioned transatlantic stalwarts.
But Broken Bones Matilda are their own people and references aside they weave a unique tapestry of their own design from exotic folk, deft acoustic guitars lines and baroque pop, medieval vibes and arabesque richness, sweeping strings and sultry vocals. In lesser hands the sheer weight of the sonic building blocks involved would prove overpowering but such is the skill of this Bath quintet that it is so perfectly balanced that it is nothing less than a rich and haunting masterpiece.
River Lynch and The Spiritmakers have dropped their brand-new track ‘Straight Through’ complete with a stunningly visual video that’s a serendipitous dream for all of my fellow rock revivalists. Their combination of Rock n’ roll, blues, and folk rock is insatiably delectable combined with the charisma of one of the most charming front men that’s graced the rock genre.
Originating from Rochester, New York; Lynch has his work cut out for himself contending with a drift of musicians that are all as heavy as the snow fall. Fans all across NY who have had the pleasure to witness this enigmatic foursome live, all know that they transcend the typical Rochester noise.
The band exude the same style of The Black Keys, Black Rebel Motorcyle Club & The Jim Jones Review, but with so much soul and modern energy behind their music the comparison hardly seems fair. Their debut track is packed full of resonant reverb from the effortless talent of lyricist, vocalist and guitarist River Lynch. There’s not many guitarists that are blessed with the ability to create the jingle of Johnny Marr, the guitar solo is everything you’d expect from a band that exudes vibrantly vintage nostalgic sound.
From start to finish the track is a true audiophiles delight. Undoubtedly by far my favourite element of this track was the lyrical diversity from Lynch as he transgressed from graunching gravelly vocals to hitting the resonant highs, whilst drenching you in gloriously riff heavy ensembles combined with piercing drum rolls and a uniquely delectable organ infused sound.
There is really something special about those artists who are able to let the audience in through their music. For some performer, it is not just about getting up on a stage and play: their art is all about human connection. It is a mean of expression that allows them to share their ideas, fears, hopes and dreams with whomever out there is willing to just stop for a couple of minutes and listen up.
Showing your feelings through music requires a lot of strength, because you have to be quite brave to expose your most vulnerable sides for the world to see! This is definitely the case of JaggerMouth, a band whose songs are like a mirror into the soul of the performer, and a powerful example of what it is like to write songs that mean something on an emotional level.
JaggerMouth’s recent release, Stillwater, is a wonderful and direct song where the compelling and tasteful melodies go hand in hand with the artist’s emotional lyrics, igniting the sound with blues, jazz and rock overtones!
With “Feel It”, Michael Rhodes set out to create a sound that feels organic, direct and more importantly, packed with fun! This song immediately stands out for its positive energy and great vibes. The melodies are simple, yet really memorable and easy to fall in love with. I love the beautiful dynamic range of the vocals, which can go from high falsetto to a lower, more intimate register. Feel It is a perfect combination of stunning pop melodies, R&B vibes and beautiful percussive elements.
The song’s mix is excellent, with a particular focus on allowing the many amazing vocal layers to really stand out. Besides the vocals, the beats are also one of the most important traits in this particular track. I love the claps and tambourine hits adding clarity and precision to the groove. This is a track that was certainly meant for dancing, and I love the infectious rhythm that really compels me to tap my feel and get moving!
The history of the blues is long and beautiful, but marked by patterns of the general populace forgetting about the beloved soul that comes from people expressing the depths of their sorrows and hopes and dreams. From blues came rock and funk and soul and so much more. The torch has not only been passed, it has multiplied. Even though people aren’t clamoring for rock music as they once did, Doug Deluca keeps the fire burning with a unique blend of funk and blues-rock on his track Hit Your Mark.
Hit Your Mark isn’t just a throwback to another time, it’s a revival with modern sensibilities. The recording may not sound like Electric Lady Studios, but the effort and heart has clear influences of classic staples that made the guitar such a beloved instrument. While Deluca’s singing isn’t timid, it’s backed off with respect to the instrumentals, which take the focus in the form of a more ethereal front man. This song is like music slapping you in the face to wake you up and help you remember the feelings you love that you don’t always feel in modern times. With this vintage appeal carrying a modern tune, Doug Deluca has certainly hit his mark.
There is a famous quote that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. But I would add that those who do remember the past are free to take its finest moments, hone and refine them and use them to build bridges into the future. John Pagano and his cohorts do just that.
Let me draw a line connecting the points on a journey, a line connecting West Texas back street bars with smoky Chicago blues clubs of an earlier era, another from a re-emerging East Coast alt-country scene to the open highways heading west. Others joining rock with roots, southern boogie with urban blues, the profound with the profane, the familiar with the exploratory.
Stare at the pattern of the lines for a long time, and then shut your eyes. The stars dancing behind your eyelids is the music of these outstanding musicians. It’s the soundtrack to a road trip, one travelling foot on the floor, top down, beer in hand.