Browsing Tag

Contemporary Pop

Jae Cabrera – dancefloor groove and poppy hooks with ‘59Fifty’

Smooth, soulful, and full of spirit, 59Fifty – the new single from Canada-based artist Jae Cabrera – is a classic little R&B/pop single, all dancefloor groove, neat little programmed hi-hat patterns, and high-register vocals. Cabrera’s voice has a kind of sexy, crooning quality, that Michael Jackson high-end that’s almost but not quite breaking into falsetto.

‘59Fifty’, the track, is a mix of Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, and Charlie Puth, that perfect mix of dance-oriented beat and grind and sincere, lifting vocal-line, expressive and passionate yet equally poppy and immediate, catchy without being disposable, with a hook that sticks around long after the final bars have decayed to silence. It’s a perfect summer pop record.

You can hear 59Fifty on Spotify; check out Jae Cabrera on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Lloyd Jerwood takes us To New York with his debut dream-pop single.

After spending years as a session guitarist working alongside Greta Isaac and Hannah Grace, Lloyd Jerwood made his solo debut with his single, ‘To New York’.

The dream-pop track speaks to dreamers, to the ones who live vicariously through fantasy instead of inviting real-life chaos into their lives. Considering that we’ve all had plenty of time to spend with our fantasies and exploring meta possibilities during pandemic life, it is safe to say plenty will find resonance within this evocatively fiery release that utilises driving indie jangle-pop guitars and shimmering synths, to exhilarating radio-ready effect.

After such a promising debut, the rest of 2021 looks bright for Lloyd Jerwood.

To New York is now available to stream via Soundcloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

RnB pop artist Lenken released his soul-loaded summer playlist staple, ‘Into Mine’.

Through tropic trap-pop beats, euphoric imagery and radio-ready RnB vocals, Lenken’s latest single, ‘Into Mine’, has all the makings of a summer playlist staple. We may not be there yet, seasonally, but Lenken has a unique way of bringing tonal warmth through their vibrant soul-loaded sound.

So far, the artist’s vocal timbre has earned him a finalist position in NZ Idol in 2006, an opening spot for JA RULE and the top spot of the iTunes Independent Christian/Gospel Charts. With his influences including soul, contemporary pop and 90s RnB, there’s an instant feeling of familiarity with tracks such as Into Mine. His humble charisma has a way of making you feel right at home. Any fans of Ne-Yo, Usher and Boyz II Men shouldn’t hesitate to hit play.

Into Mine is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Stella Reine bares all in her latest single ‘Who I Am’

American pop singer-songwriter, Stella Reine expressively bares it all in her latest single ‘Who I Am’. Kicking off with a tender and tentative prelude, Who I Am gently eases you into the phenomenally brave single which will show you the true meaning of being lyrically candid.

With angular reverb-laden guitar tones which are almost in the soul-clawing style of Slowdive, Stella Reine’s single doesn’t just boast mainstream appeal but appeal to true aficionados of music which is compelling and refreshing in equal measure.

Who I Am is the perfect introduction to this exceptionally magnetic artist who you’ll undoubtedly hear more about in the imminent future and far beyond.

Who I Am is available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Zoe Clark – Last One Standing: country-tinged upbeat pop

Poppy, irreverent, and clever, Zoe Clark – from the Music City itself, Nashville Tennessee – has a history of well-thought out, relatable tunes; ‘Last One Standing’, her newest single, continues that tradition, a country-tinged upbeat pop song with hints of what might happen if Katy Perry somehow crossed with Taylor Swift and a dash of Avril Lavigne, self-deprecating but insightful lyrics over the catchiest of catchy tunes. It’s humorous, emotional, and charming all at once, instantly familiar and approachable, whilst having a style and sound that’s ultimately unique.

Clark’s debut EP, ‘Lovers Mark’, released in spring 2020, garnered top reviews as well as getting added to over 140 Spotify playlists; now ‘Last One Standing’ has gone Tik Tok viral prior to release, with 2.3 Million views and over 30,000 presaves. It’s not hard to see why – one listen isn’t enough, it’s memorable, catchy, and snappy as hell. ‘Last One Standing’ deserves to be played. Often. And loud.

Hear ‘Last One Standing’ on Soundcloud; check out Zoe Clark on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Ooberfuse show us just how sweet liberation can sound with ‘Set Me Free’

While the UK collectively clawed at the walls in confined frustration, London-based electro-pop duo, Ooberfuse, were gearing up to drop their latest single ‘Set Me Free’. If you’re in the mood for some aurally-inspired liberation, feel your shackles lose their grip to the danceable drop.

With a touch of Tori Amos to Cherrie Anderson’s vocals, beats which will allow you to imagine what it would sound like if you fed a Portishead record ecstasy and a production which drips with electro-pop modernity, if Set Me Free was any more on-trend it would be writing the future. The track perfectly captures the emotions which come to fruition when you finally remove yourself from someone else’s control and it feels like nothing is out of reach. Liberation has never sounded sweeter.

The official music video was released on January 4th, you can check it out for yourselves via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Evade reality with Siena Bella’s resonantly moody electro pop single ‘Walking on the Moon’

With ‘Walking on the Moon’, Siena Bella vented the frustration which we’ve all been feeling since the start of the pandemic. We’ve heard plenty of lockdown-inspired singles, but few artists dare to go deep with their exposing introspection as Siena Bella did. Walking on the Moon may carry some heavy emotion, but the main thing you’ll take away from this unforgettably moody electro pop hit is the resonance which it implants.

With lyrics such as ‘No desire to look at my phone and see the hundreds of wars going on, everyone putting a show making me feel so small’ and the relatable ennui projected through the vocals, Walking on the Moon became one of the most essential singles released in 2020. For your sanity’s sake, get her on your radar in 2021.

Walking on the Moon is available to stream on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Cami Bex seeks synergy with her latest single ‘Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking’

Cami Bex

Breaking Pop artist, Cami Bex, is set to release her sophomore single, ‘Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking’, following on from the resounding success of her debut single ‘Type’.

With her relatable brand of served-from-the soul Pop, The Aussie singer songwriter is already exhibiting her ability to orchestrate evocatively enticing feats of contemporary hits with chart-topping potential. The synth-led soundscape gives ‘Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking’ a bubble gum Pop feel, but there’s no ignoring the sonorous maturity which oozes from this stylistic release.

You’ll have to wait a little longer before you can check out Cami Bex’s latest single. In the meantime, head over to her official website and delve into her debut.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Override Anxiety with Breaking Pop artist LIIYO’s Latest Single ‘Overwhelmed’

Usually, Pop ballads tend to narrate love stories which only seem to reflect Hollywood-style romance, with their latest single, ‘Overwhelmed’, London-based Pop artist LIIYO cut the pretence and projected plaintive resonant emotion which we have all felt at some point during lockdown.

Ultimately, Overwhelmed is reassurance that no matter how powerless you feel, no matter how much you feel like your sanity is slipping, those feelings will fade.

Overwhelmed is a sonorously cathartic aural extension of the artist’s compassion and tenacity when it comes to offering his fans exactly what they need to hear. It may have been their first time orchestrating a ballad, but LIIYO was able to bring a striking amount of maturity to Overwhelmed which followed on from their two precious releases ‘Bad Reaction’ and ‘Dizzy’.

With their affinity for KPOP, 90s RnB, Soul and 80s Electro all feeding their way into the mix, which was produced by Will Henderson, the instrumentals are as tender as the lyrics and vocals which offer pitch-perfect Pop harmony.

LIIYO may have only made his debut in Summer 2020, but previously, they were lending their talent to KPOP-inspired UK Pop groups who were responsible for bringing plenty of KPOP fever to this side of the pond. As a solo artist, LIIYO started to strive to find their own sound, instead of celebrating a pre-existing one. The result? Darker, deeper, more meaningful music that will undoubtedly become plenty of people’s playlist staples.

You can check out LIIYO’s latest single Overwhelmed for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Keep up to date with new releases from LIIYO via Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Alise Ashby – I Will Carry You (Feat. Gabriela Martina)

Alise Ashby

Love and loss go hand in hand, two sides of the same coin, and there is no more final hurt than the death of a loved one; written as far back as 2006 for a dear friend who had lost his wife (and released for the first time now in response to the unprecedented losses of the Covid 19 pandemic), Alise Ashby’s ‘I Will Carry You’ is a stunning, delicate, piano-and-strings ballad of grief, healing, and the pain of heartbreak and passing.

Commissioned to write her first independent film score at the tender age of just 16 (and presented at the Cannes Film Festival), Alise Ashby is a stunningly gifted composer and musician, and ‘I Will Carry You’ is an exquisite piece of work, soaring and hopeful yet dazzlingly compassionate and sorrowful all at once.

Uplifting piano chords sit amongst an orchestral arrangement heavy on strings and woodwind, the cinematic, swooping arrangement perfectly suiting the lyrics, panoramic and uplifting without ever feeling schmalzy or overdone; Gabriela Martina’s alluring, graceful vocal performance carries the song, bewitching and classy, hand-in-glove with the tenderness and elegance of the narrative.

‘I Will Carry You’ is an absolute treasure, inviting the listener to feel comfort and connection, hope and composure, and perhaps – just perhaps – a little less of the desolation and detachment otherwise wrought across the past twelve months.

‘I Will Carry You’ is released on the 11th December. Follow Alise Ashby on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes