Browsing Tag



Chi Body and his rap opera track ‘Cave Upgrade’

Cave Upgrade sounds like a rap opera complete with all the inherent drama and tension, Wagnerian oppression and dark intensity. A heavy salvo of vocals sits over a claustrophobic backdrop; one that plays with sonic dynamics moving from playful riffs to a wall of synth wash and finally a wasted dystopian drift.

If you are used to rap music following tried and tested pathways, this is where the road stops, you get out of the car and head out into the unknown, into new musical territories and totally unexpected terrain.  This the sound of rap as a sound track to a horror movie, of rap as theatre noir, rap as the prelude to the end of the world. Music historians always like to talk about those days when the course of music changed for ever, Elvis, Bowie, punk, hip-hop…Chi Body may very well be on such a list one day.


A Weekend Away release rocking track ‘Haze’

Anyone who loves rock music is probably familiar with this scene: a band is playing whilst fans are moshing. A fight starts and beer is flying everywhere. In other words: it’s a great time. This scene is made audible by A Weekend Away’s track Haze.

Haze is comprised of verses that give you just enough to keep wanting more. With basslines that will keep you moving and guitars that lurk around ready to strike, you’ll be on the edge of your seat if you aren’t being knocked off your feat. Powerful vocals that stay crystal clear are a major bonus and drums that ooze rock aesthetic set a foundation that can’t be beat. This song’s got everything but the alcohol.

If harder rock isn’t your scene, it’s important to note that this song never leaves pop palatable territory. It’s got hooks and distortion that’s tamed back by production just enough to keep it from being distracting while maintaining its strong presence. A Weekend Away walks a line between sensibilities that so many artists can’t seem to balance and this might be one of the reasons Haze is such a great track. This is accessible music whether you’re a softer person looking for danger or a harder person trying to cool down from something more egregious.

-Paul Weyer


Calton Kelly releases ‘Chaos’

As the plaintive piano lines build into more dramatic crescendos and brooding strings drive the song into a higher gear you realise that even commercial pop music can be a thing of simple beauty. Whilst others might throw the studio kitchen sink at a song, work out intricate dance routines, design hooks and melodies via workshops and board meetings,  Calton Kelly reminds us that it’s all about the song. It is about passion and integrity too but thankfully this lad has all of that covered. And then some.

Gentle and spacious neo-classical cascades meet electronic beats in a melding of present and past, tradition and technology and as strings sweep past, brooding cellos swoop and distant violins soar, the simple, understated majesty of the music is set free. It’s great to find a young modern artist who is able to embrace the past as well as head into the future.


Check out ‘Moonlight’ a dream-dance track by LADLX

If there is such a thing as dream-dance then LADLX makes it. Moonlight is a chilled and sonorous blend of slow groove dance, ambient hip-hop and hazy electronica and it sounds like nothing that you have heard before. The elements that make up the track might be familiar in their own right but when they are assembled in this intricate and unusual way the result is nothing short of spectacular new sonic architecture.

It is like sleepwalking through a techno-soundscape or the sort of dreams that robots might have, it alternately chills and grooves as the dynamic twists and turns, one moment infectious and dance-fuelled the next half heard and dreamlike. Dance music is already a broad section of the modern musical spectrum but I think LADLX has just invented a new sub-genre. What it is called is anyone’s guess.


Secret Lover – Stela Cole – New Release

Sometimes all you need is a fun tune. When you have had enough of the inward looking and earnest indie kids, the cliché riddled rockers and the production line pop, something light, sassy, self-aware and playful is what is called for. Sometimes all you need is Stela Cole.

Balancing the pop infectiousness of Ellie Goulding, the darker undertones of Lana Del Ray and the street smarts of Lily Allen, her “beats from the Bible Belt” are as cool and contemporary as anything currently filling the dance floors, yet they still sounds like nothing else you have heard from any of the competition. Living up to her mantra that “trying to fit in gets you nowhere, standing out is what life’s all about,” Secret Lover is a mercurial and original blend of cartoon theme tunes, wonky, staccato dance grooves and bubble-gum pop beats making the most addictive cat nip for the very coolest of cats.

And the odd thing is that for all its apparent throwaway pop nature, this is throwaway pop that you just can’t stop listening to. How do you even do that?




Words: Dave Franklin


A&R Factory Present: Naïka

Naïka is a singer/songwriter born in Miami, Florida, who developed an interest in music from an early age while living and traveling internationally with her family.

Naika was born from a Haitian mother and Malagasy father, and growing up with the influence of European, African and Caribbean cultures has shaped her both musically and individually, and continues to define her artistic perspective and outlook. Her music reflects a blend of pop, soul with a World Music influence.

Naïka currently majors in Performance at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she is pursuing her creative aspirations full time. Within her first year as a student, she was selected to tour with GRAMMY-winning artist Michael Bolton, and participate on NBC’s The Voice. Her songwriting ability also earned her a second place prize in the BMI John Lennon Foundation Scholarship in 2015.

As her academic chapter is coming to an end, Naïka’s music is beginning to flourish. After the release of her debut single “Call Me Marilyn”, the artists’ next pop banger “Ride” is scheduled to hit streaming platforms on May 6th.

Naïka continues to develop her vocal and songwriting expertise with an exemplary work ethic, that will stand her in good stead throughout her journey as an artist, wherein perseverance, dedication and hard work are essential.


A&R Factory Present: Kayla Diamond

Toronto solo artist Kayla Diamond has shared first single “Carnival Hearts” off her debut EP Beautiful Chaos due this summer via Cadence Music. Listen to “Carnival Hearts”

At the beginning of her first year in law school in 2015, Kayla entered and won Slaight Music’s It’s Your Shot contest, which landed her a recording contract with Cadence Music. After winning the contest, she put her studies on hold to pursue music and has barely left the studio since.

Beautiful Chaos teams Kayla with noted Toronto based writer/producer Craig McConnell and is a look into Kayla’s life over the last few years with each track inspired by a different person. With a bouncy melody and soaring vocals on “Carnival Hearts” Kayla reflects, “[‘Carnival Hearts’ is]’ inspired by the concept of isolation and being lost in your own world. This is about me creating life within and from emptiness. I started writing when I felt empty. It’s a revival of something presumed to be unusable and abandoned.”

While prepping the EP, she has worked within the EDM community lending vocals for various DJs including Kiso’s cover tracks of Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” and Zayn and Taylor Swift’s “I Don’t Want To Live Forever”. She also teamed up with Anveo on the track “Feel Something”, which has hit 3 million+ streams on Spotify since its release in December. Those collaborations have received notable praise from the likes of Tiësto, Gareth Emery, Axwell and more.


A&R Factory Present: Chey

Hailing from South Wales Valleys, the independent singer songwriter Chey has released a new studio endeavor, a track entitled ‘She’s Got You.’ The elegantly produced single is an insight into how Chey is infusing modern pop and R&B elements into a rather sophisticated sound unto herself. ‘She’s Got You’ is streaming now on SoundCloud and doing quite well amongst Chey’s fanbase. Is the praise deserved? Let’s delve into the single and find out!

Aside from Chey, the most vital element of ‘She’s Got You’ is the compelling production design. It’s masterfully scored with light synthesizer sections, a reverberated piano, and tactful beats that don’t overpower the music at all. The most unique factor in the soundscape, however, is a male vocal that’s autotuned in a particularly eclectic fashion, essentially offering a beat-like interlude every time he sings. Outside of select experimental hip hop records, this is an unusual occurrence, but it works so well for Chey.

As for Chey’s performance, her voice is terrific. She hits all of her notes with perfect ease, and it’s clear her voice hasn’t been manipulated or augmented. She’s a natural vocalist for this R&B-tinged pop sound, and her having Amy Winehouse amongst her cited influences isn’t surprising at all. Lyrically, she exhibits herself as a strong songwriter, too. ‘She’s Got You,’ while simplistic, is a haunting, melancholy journey through pining for somebody who already has a significant other. It’s a beautiful, but very sad song.

Chey showcases she has quite strong chops for a relatively new indie artist on the scene. She’s even released a more dance-oriented remix of ‘She’s Got You,’ and that’s a well done track, too. If this single is indicative of her larger output to come, she’s an artist worth keeping close tabs on. ‘She’s Got You’ is pop music done right, and I love the creativity that went into the production and execution of the songwriting.


A&R Factory Present: Roman Road

Despite dominating popular culture in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the ‘boy band’ genre fell into obscurity as the century wore on. Powerhouse acts like the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC were household names, usually amongst young girls. Though this music feel dated to some, however, it has lived on in various degrees through contemporary acts such as One Direction and the like. The indie act Roman Road is attempting to capitalize on that potential interest, and they’ve released a new single, ‘Let Me Try.’

If you’ve ever heard a boy band radio single at any point in your life, you’ve heard ‘Let Me Try’ The lyrics muse about a relationship that’s seemed to have fallen off the tracks. “Now I’m lost for words, is there someone new?” the band sings. The song is a plight for a second chance, an opportunity for the songwriter to try again with the woman. It’s unimaginative, though, and doesn’t offer anything in any capacity a thousand boy band pop songs haven’t before.

The production of Roman Road’s new single is technically good, offering clean vocal cuts and bouncy electronic-infused instrumentation. It’s certainly not poorly produced, and that’s worth noting because the immense amount of indie pop music in the scene is. There are even tiny hints of hip hop influence when one of the vocalists pops through in that fashion. That would have been fascinating to explore in greater depth.

While the production is functional on paper, though, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth lauding through and through. It’s steeped in Top 40 tropes that make it entirely indistinguishable from any other bubblegum pop. If the members of Roman Road wanted to convey an emotional performance, this isn’t one. It sounds like an A&R rep copied and pasted several generic elements of boy band pop together without any flair for creativity or thoughtful expression.

At the end of the day, boy bands weren’t often overly creative or thoughtful, so I can’t fully condemn Roman Road for being neither. Their music is cookie-cutter enough to convince the listener they might be a well-known boy band. It doesn’t have any technical faux pas, either. It’s just frustratingly bland and if Roman Road wants longevity as an outfit, they’ll have to outgrow this sound

By Brett David Stewart

A&R Factory Present: Jeff Beadle

Jeff Beadle, a Canadian folk singer-songwriter, was born into a music adoring family that encouraged his love for song writing. He started writing at 12 years old to immediate local recognition. He and a few school friends started playing local fairs, arcades and house parties – all with original song-writing. When in High School, he created multiple bands and attended all possible music classes while continuing to play live shows whenever he could.

Jeff now works alone every day, battling Toronto traffic all the while writing what has become The Huntings End. Over the last four years he has been cleaning and servicing the swimming pools of the elite in the downtown core. The daily solitude provoked the fears, tragedies and heartbreaks of his past. These strong reminiscences weighed heavy on his lonely days, begging for a release.

Jeff would arrange these feeling into rough songs on his cell phone, using voice memos and notes. Covered in grease and with chlorine stained clothes, he’d rush home to unpack the ideas, hashing out the fundamentals into melodies and complete lyrics. There is always rushed excitement to his creation, as is heard in the heartfelt tracks on The Huntings End.

His house is the local hub for all his friends. He makes late night dinners for everyone (Chef Jeff) that eventually turn into a wine infused testing ground for young songs. Based on this close to home feedback, Jeff would then fine tune his tracks at many local venues in Toronto. He plays constantly, at home, a-capella in the car, live shows at bars and backyards all for the love of playing and to fine tune his songs.

After running his songs through the local gauntlet of live venues, Jeff partnered up with his close friend Frank Gairdner to plan a raw and pure recording session. They chose Frank’s parent’s place, a quiet and remote farm house with 20 ft wood beam ceilings located on the rolling country hills of Southern Ontario. The evocative lyrics and catchy melodies reverberated wonderfully.

Jeff has a lot of experience that he draws from. The bands that he has headed cover many genres, have toured Canada multiple times as well as through China. He developed a love for the road while touring every nook and cranny of Canada. The unique towns and people that he met all had their own appreciation and love for music, and all of them had their own stories for having it.

For Jeff, this is one of the most important parts of writing music. Along with telling his own story, he needs to tell others’ as well. His intense empathy for people’s situations and losses motivate a lot of his music. The road was his library, gathering stories and experiences and translating them to music.