‘Promises’is the debut feat of filthy prog funk rock from the supergroup Cash Machine, which comprises artists from several of Upstate SC’s most successful bands. Members of The Consumers, The Grateful Brothers and Buffalohead all converged to throw back to the raucous era of funk-rock in one of the grittiest time-hops you could sink into in 2022.
With the ragged vocal timbre of Joe Power raucously grating across the smoky groove pockets carved by guitarists Daniel Collins and Zach Thigpen, Promises oozes raunchy swagger that is slick enough to leave you hot under the collar.
Promises was unleashed on September 9th ahead of their debut self-titled album, which is set to release on October 14th. Funk-rock aficionados will want to head to Spotify to indulge and make radar room accordingly.
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.
Interest in the LP format may have waned in recent years. If anyone can make a case for them in 2022, it is the Sydney singer-songwriter Robbie Maroon, with his riotously eclectic blend of funk, pop, RnB and rock in his third album, Reckoning.
The opening single, The Fighter,doesn’t set the tone for the album that throws everything from soulful ballads to rock anthems to groove-led jams. Instead, it throws you head-first into the captivating energy and expressive soul that Reckoning was created with. The consistently evolving nature of the release never allows you to get complacent with the unpredictable transitions in tone, style and lyrical influence. Yet, each visceral piece of the puzzle binds together seamlessly.
After the early Faith No More meets Go West opener, the album careers into funkier and playfully synthy territory with Track 2, Cyberlovestory, which will resonate with everyone who had the displeasure of experiencing the surrealism of dating during the lockdowns. Crafting the track in the form of an 80s synthwave love song was cunningly clever. I think the extent of the ridiculousness of the past few years finally just hit me with its full force.
After two infectiously protestive tracks, in track 3, Maria, Maroon delivers the indie funk-pop ballad, which celebrates the sanctuary that only certain people can open the door to. The upraising vocal layering, Men at Work-reminiscent horn stabs, and the sticky sweet melodious essence is enough to make you pick up your phone and tell your favourite person you love them.
Track 4, Rewind, is the perennial soul-pop earworm of the album that gives you a view into just how much command the Prince-inspired artist has over funk-bridled rhythm. From rap bars to vocal lines that would give Seal’s soul a run for its impassioned currency, the vocals stick to your synapses like superglue.
Track 5, My Love, allows Maroon to wear his James Brown and George Michael influences on his sleeve through the slick-with-salacious-funk-disco-grooves. The hand claps against the Nile Rodgers-Esque chops bolster the nostalgic euphoria, while the smooth vocals and equally as smooth lyrics scribe Maroon’s unrelentingly sonic signature.
With track 6, Falling out of Love, Maroon proves that love goes as quickly as it comes in quick to burn love affairs before he grooves into the striking funk aesthetics of Stand. Track 7 gives plenty of limelight to the female backing vocals that raise the energy throughout the album with their shimmering old-school soul.
Track 8, I Won’t Be Doing That, leaves a similar question springing to mind as Meatloaf’s I Won’t Do That. The intriguing ambiguity in the rock-licked track grips onto grooves reminiscent of Hall & Oats, and there is plenty of room for the unpretentiously virtuoso solos. Strangely, they amplify the sense morality mystery while you wait for more clues.
In Track 9, Maroon is out of his funk in the harbingering 80s rock title single, which grieves the normalcy that forgot to get a return ticket after the pandemic. I can quite honestly say that listening to The Reckoning was one of the most vindicating and affirming aural experiences I’ve indulged in this year. While the mainstream media keeps trying to sell us fear and hate, the masses find new brands of tribalism, and everyone secretly loses their sanity in the privacy of their bedrooms; it is impossible to find a voice of reason. Thank god one exists on my playlists now.
I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the closing single, Take a Bow before, but my tear ducts still opened the floodgates to the ode to Prince. Simultaneously a celebration of his legacy and an illustration of the impact that inspirational people have on us, the subtle and quiescently yearning single is a tribute like no other. Hell, it’s a ballad like no other.
Remorse may be the overarching emotion within the Italian, Lisbon-based singer-songwriter and guitarist Marco Pastoré Cammarino’s latest single, Empty Bus; sonically, it progressively drifts across the tonal spectrum to stand as a testament to the artist’s aptitude for melodic expression.
After a plaintively sparse intro that suckers you into the melancholy, the smoky jazz horns, Nile Rodger-Esque guitar chops and seductive keys make for an aphrodisiacal platform for Marco Pastoré Cammarino’s just as knee-weakening vocal timbre.
Towards the outro, Marco Pastoré Cammarino’s rock influences collide with the soundscape in an entirely unexpected, indulgently appreciated style. In short, Empty Bus is a single that never stops giving the gravitas.
The Manchester music scene became infinitely richer for the latest release from the funk-rock pioneers, Flying Oceans. If you can imagine what it would have sounded like if Incubus abstracted their plaintiveness and implanted unbridled soul, you will get an idea of the stirring alchemy that Circles delivered.
With the guitars consistently transitioning between roots-deep funk chops and jangly Marr-Esque rhythm and the seductively low basslines bringing just as much gravitas as Mr Bungle’s, Circles has all the makings of a playlist staple for anyone that wants to find a slice of aural solace in our disjointing times where it’s all but impossible to find rhyme or reason away from the airwaves.
Funk rock fuses with zen hip hop in Alexander Godman’s standout release, Reconciliation Day. The London, UK-based alternative artist’s spoken-word style is instantly ensnaring for the way it flows against the minimalist funk-riding rock instrumentals.
The woody and organic bass lines bring the warmth and structure to Reconciliation Day while the bluesy and sunny guitars evolve through the raw chords and intricate finger-picked notes. It isn’t every day that we discover an up-and-coming artist with the confidence to follow their flow and style so confidently, and it shows on the Waitsy and folky B-side single, Out There Glow.
Alexander Godman’s debut is now available to stream on Spotify.
The London-based alt-rock outfit, San Raquel, is in fine form once again in their latest single, Redrawn Lines. After forming a decade ago, they’ve continued to hone in on their eclectically absorbing experimental style that pulls in funk-rock, proto-punk and Hendrix style solos.
The seductive semi-crooned vocals in Redrawn Lines are sure to serenade any fans of Chris Cornell; in the instrumentals, there’s a untameably wild Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ style furore that raises Redrawn Lines to anthemic heights. With the warm guitar notes against the handclaps, steady rhythmic percussion and relentlessly dynamic basslines, it’s impossible not to drink in a little of the salaciously demure funk-rock energy.
Redrawn Lines is now available to stream via SoundCloud. It is the first single released from their new EP, Where You End, and I Begin, which is due for release on April 8th.
If it has been a while since you discovered your last guitar hero, delve into the singer-songwriter Joe Hellmore’s self-titled debut album, which delivers everything from hard rock to funk to alt-rock to blues-rock in practically virtuosic fashion.
The eclectic release may not be short on dynamism but one thing that you can always count on is Joe Hellmore’s edgy and technical solos that take up plenty of space while never hindering the fact that his debut LP is a deeply experimental one. Another constant through the eight playfully orchestrated tracks that are never short of visceral energy is the lack of the lyrical cliches that many artists depend on as the bedrock to their sound.
Joe Hellmore’s debut album is now available to stream on Spotify.
After making us fall hook, line, and sinker with his previous releases, the indie singer-songwriter Nav’s Hook has released the poppy funk-rock track, New Beginnings. The prospect of this new year bringing good new beginnings has understandably left many people cynical under the weight they are still carrying the weight of the previous two years. By the time the chorus hits, that cynicism will fall victim to the strident optimism in the groove-filled high-vibe track.
When the perception-shifting introspection in an artist’s previous releases leaves you stoked to hear the intellectual gold in their new releases, it’s a clear sign that they’re a sharp cut above the rest. We will never get tired of Hook’s sound that constantly evolves around his unpredictable creative vision and lyrics that seek to pull the light from the dark. Many of us felt like we were shunted into a pitch-black 2022; tracks like New Beginnings prove that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always a train. Sometimes, it’s a visionary artist sharing his hard-fought-for optimism.
The official lyric video to New Beginnings premiered on January 13th; you can check it out for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.
With his first EP set for a much-awaited January 2022 release, Ogtopus shows us the tasty waves that only helps the soul feel better on the treat-filled debut single ‘Two Shades‘.
Ogtopus is an ocean-loving Cologne, Germany-based multi-creative indie funk-rock/trip-hop music producer/artist, pianist/guitarist who is inspired by all things shapes and colours, as he seems to see further inside the whole picture than most.
Ogtopus transports us to his well-constructed underwater vibration that has you dusting off those lonely goggles, and going for a well-deserved swim to a community that is so much freer than what we see and feel on land. His vocals have a thoughtful nature and mixed with an ear-enhancing beat, this is a splendid song for everyone to lay back to and chill with.
‘Two Shades‘ from the deep-thinking Cologne, Germany-based indie funk-rock/trip-hop music producer/artist Ogtopus, is a rhythmical gem that will capture your imagination and set you free from all self-doubt. This is a highly creative artist who is only getting started – that performs with an experienced edge that gets your feet tapping – to a hearty beat that is so catchy and highly likeable.
Hear this brand new track on Spotify and see more news on the IG music page.