Montreal-based guitarist and songwriter Scott Cook launched his jazzy, spacey debut EP, Topics, on October 22nd. Beyond the perceptible Bowie reminiscences, the flair in the guitar flourishes and the panoramic orchestration of the heart-warmingly morose singles bring Scott Cook into a league of his own.
In the standout single, No Bones, the magnetically deadpan vocals that will be a hit with fans of Pavement refuse to leave you anything but endeared by the delivery of the elegantly poetic lyrics. I think I officially fell in love at the line “There’s no bones in here, “I’m just a sad sack of skin”.
Scott Cook’s PhD in classical music theory and time spent performing in jazz and rock ensembles discernibly paid off when writing, performing, recording and producing his debut EP. We can’t wait to hear what comes next.
Pensive piano pop has never been quite as bitter-sweet as the latest stormy release, Home N Away, by up and coming artist Adam Wedd. The emotionally charged semi-orchestral soundscape is fraught with loss and mourning and still manages to hit a compassionate soft spot as you’re swept up in the fanfare of the theatrical elements and straight from the soul sentiment.
Despite a global pandemic, the London-based singer-songwriter’s career hasn’t failed to pick up traction. With a sell-out debut EP under his belt, accolades from BBC introducing and the freedom to tour Europe and the USA once more, he is definitely one to watch.
Home N Away was officially released on October 1st. You can check it out for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.
Abi Mia’s latest piano pop ballad, Shadow, is easily one of the timeliest singles that we’ve heard this year; for the lyrics, she looked deep into the collective misery and burnout surrounding her, sonically, she constructed a compelling case for self-care that is impossible to ignore.
Our self-destructive need to work ourselves to exhaustion determination to be fine with everything our chaotic world throws at us is something that has been eating away at us since long before the lockdowns, but right now is the perfect time for a conversation. Abi Mia leads that dialogue with her soul-baring single that will quickly convince you to strip away your façade and allow the single to resonate with you on a deeper level.
The only question that the radio-ready orchestral ballad leaves you with is why isn’t she already a multi-platinum artist? It is only a matter of time before Abi Mia is scouted for her distinct vocals that only allow fleeting reminiscence while boasting the same robust propensities as Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Adele.
Shadow is due for release on September 17th. Check it out for yourselves on SoundCloud.
Singer-songwriter Neil Armstrong first won us over with his cinematic folk exploration of Western movie culture through his single, Falling Man, in 2020. With his latest single, Moon, he’s gone interstellar.
The soulfully rendered piano pop single carries an expressive yet tender flamboyance that should be a hit with fans of Elton John, Bowie and ELO. Armstrong truly comes into his own through his huskily affectionate vocals and his lyrics that draw parallels between the cosmos and the connections we make with each other.
Neil Armstrong may be the only person in 2021 venturing into space that isn’t a total douche. Forget about the space race and immerse yourself in this passion-driven sweet serenade instead.
Moon officially released on August 21st; you can check it out for yourselves here.
If you always look for poetry within lyricism, you’ll find the Shakespeare of our generation listening to Jero Rest’s latest single, Heart, which officially released on January 15th.
With powerfully meta lyrics running in perfect canter with the ambient neo-classic keys, the singer, composer, instrumentalist and producer orchestrated a stunning ballad that could rival the works of Emilie Autumn, Sophe Lux and Evelyn Evelyn.
The absorbingly arcane release is the ultimate testament to Jero Rest’s distinctive style which organically manifests through taking influence from everyone from Hans Zimmer to Rhapsody of Fire to Black Sabbath to Phil Collins.
You can check out the official video for Heart for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.
Soft, arpeggiated piano, big, gated snare, and emotional, reverb-soaked vocals are the order of the day here for Perth-native Alexis Naylor’s ‘Stealing Moments’, a story of love and loss and the easy, open-ended social media world of single-click engagements. It’s a compelling track, made more potent still by the excellent narrative video which accompanies it. Naylor’s voice is powerful, alternating between soft and sorrowful and angry and accusative, the lyrics telling a tale of trust, tears, and uncomfortable truths.
Taken from her debut album ‘Pages From A Past Life’, and fully in the best traditions of solo female singer-songwriters, there’s elements of Delta Goodrum and Dido in Naylor’s vocal, the track melancholy without ever over-stepping into maudlin, emotive without ever becoming over-earnest. There’s elements of ‘rock ballad’ sneaking in there from the production, but it’s by no means worse-off for that, the big drum sound adding to the punch of the track and contrasting nicely with the softer piano and Naylor’s downcast vocal performance, adding to the evincing of heartbreak and pain from a relationship that just can’t, quite, let go.
You can check out the superb video for ‘Stealing Moments’, including the excellent choreography of Peta Coy and the narrative moves of dancers Lockie Ransom and Madeline Dona, on YouTube; follow Alexis Naylor on Facebook and Instagram.
Leonard Cohen didn’t start his music career until the age of 33, with the now-classic ‘Songs Of Leonard Cohen’ in 1967. Like her inspiration, Raquel Kiaraa has waited until the same age to release her first collection of songs, but whereas Cohen was already an author, published poet, and a guitarist from childhood, Kiaraa took the step of learning piano, taking vocal lessons, and essentially going from a standing start to selling out 250-seat theatres in the space of just a few short months.
All that makes new single ‘Dear Jesus’ all the more impressive, Kiaraa’s delicate piano playing and potent rise-and-fall vocal giving – if one didn’t know the story – the impression of a musician with a far longer pedigree and experience of the industry. ‘Dear Jesus’ is polished, accomplished, sounding less like a debut-album piece and more like something delivered by a well-established artist. While there’s no doubt those vocal lessons paid off – in spades – Kiaraa’s voice is obviously also a natural talent; she has a feel for dynamics and performance that works perfectly with the relaxed, acoustic nature of the track, gentle arpeggiated piano chords sitting delicately behind her vocal, which sounds confident and composed and, at times, just the right side of emotional and edge-of-breaking.
It’s a beautiful performance, the lyrics poetic and storytelling, and well put-together, and – if this is truly Kiaraa’s first forays into singer-songwriting and not some elaborately-constructed Seasick Steve back-story – auger even better as she matures and develops with time and experience.
You can hear ‘Dear Jesus’ on SoundCloud, or check out the official video on YouTube; check out Raquel Kiaraa here or on Facebook.
“Sixty years from today, the earth will have withered away”…Sophia James grew up in Long Beach, California, and that airy chilledness shows through in her music, earning her a place in the coveted ‘Top Ten’ on 2020’s American Idol. ‘Sixty Years’ is a beautiful, piano-based song, down-tempo but not slow, melancholic at times, but not sad, a mixture of jazz, folk, rock, and soul, hopeful, gentle, and charismatic. It’s a lovely record, Sophia’s beautiful vocals rolling and lifting, the lyrics stunning and superb.
It’s genuinely moving and emotive, Sophia’s voice carrying the listener away on a wave of beautiful nostalgia around love and regret, and the way some people are just destined to always be there, one way or another, no matter what – those relationships that you can leave untouched for five years and yet pick up like you only popped out yesterday. Sophia wants to ‘create music that will connect people, move people, and heal people’; in ‘Sixty Years’, she’s done just that. It’s a truly beautiful single.
Award-winning Yorkshire-based songwriter and composer Diesel Keys is set to scoop up more accolades after releasing his latest jazzy piano pop single, ‘What I’m After’, featuring vocals from Josie Soden.
There’s a grandiose air to the ballad that unravels with intensity while avoiding falling into the realms of theatrical novelty. Josie Soden’s sensual and soulful vocals were the perfect choice to compliment the neo-classic keys that glide through crescendos and sparsely intimate progressions. With the infusion of the horn section, you’ll get to swim amongst the tonal warmth that only Jazz can offer.
It’s a stunning release that sets plenty of anticipation for Diesel Key’s future endeavours and releases.
What I’m After is available to stream and purchase via Bandcamp.
With slight reminiscences to Enya, Bjork and the Human League echoing throughout Georgia Polyniki’s latest uplifting pop track, the aural nostalgia defined by decades gone by is instantly perceptible. By switching between operatic and pop vocals, with Shadows of Brightness, she stamped down her radiating signature sound on the airwaves.
With her unique take on synthy electronica complemented by her empowering piano melodies, Georgia Polyniki ensured that no other 2021 pop track could lift you higher. It’s a perennial pop earworm that you’ll never want to leave.
Shadows of Brightness released on March 8th; you can hear it for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.