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Music Pop

Mike Cortes – the New York-based musician/writer drops first solo single with ‘Unstable’

Mike Cortes

‘Unstable’ is the first single from newcomer Mike Cortes, but he’s far from new to ‘the scene’; with a publishing deal and writing credits for numerous other artists over the last six years, this is Cortes putting everything he’s learned in the last six years into practice for himself, with a gentle little dance-pop track. Part Hispanic-beat, part soft, catchy pop chorus, held together by Cortes’ high, sing-song vocal. It’s a great little opener, a perfect radio-friendly pop track, dance beats mixing with a bouncy skank groove bassline and choppy guitar-and-keys chords – there’s a touch of Deanz, Tommy Ljungberg, Aiyo, or Blaeker. It’s a track that promises much, much more from Mike Cortes.

Check out Mike Cortes on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music Pop

Emporers introduce themselves in no uncertain terms with ‘We Are The Emporers’


Well, all of a sudden the 1980’s turned up, kicked in the door with a lacy sleeve-cuff and some Adam Ant eyeliner, popped their pixie-booted feet up on the table, and announced their intention to stay with a New Romantic frock-coat thrown firmly onto the back of the sofa. And, with ‘We Are The Emperors’, what an entrance it is; a three-piece electro-pop beaut writ large in gated, reverb-heavy snare beats, chocky guitar, and driving bass.

Drawn together by legendary Killing Joke bassist Martin ‘Youth’ Glover (producer for everyone from Bananarama to Pink Floyd, Edwin Collins, Siousxie and the Banshees, and The Verve), there’s some serious writing skills and musicianship behind the frills and blusher; touches of Pet Shop Boys and Yazoo electronica mixed with Spandau Ballet, Kate Bush, Gary Numan, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and The Human League, but there’s some serious pop sensibilities too – Bananarama, again, Fun Boy Three, Go West, A-Ha, and Duran Duran, for sure. You get the picture – a United Colours of Benetton picture, framed in Black Ash and lit with neon, at the same time bang up to date and spectacular, pop-driven, and absolutely explosive. Make no mistake – there’s a retro-tinged influence here, for sure, but this is no simple regressive homage to the past; it’s cutting edge, stellar, and absolutely right now – with a superb video to match, ‘We Are The Emporers’ is simply a fabulous pop record.

Check out Emporers on Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music Pop

It Will Hurt More: Manchester electro-pop artist Test Card Girl reminds us to avoid going back to the pain on ‘Don’t Go’

As she energetically starts her cozy car and thinks about turning back to the incredible times that sadly moved swiftly to heartbreak, Test Card Girl stays strong and remembers that she is on the new path now with her quality new third single called ‘Don’t Go‘.

Test Card Girl is a terrifically unexpected solo project by the wonderful Manchester, UK lofi synth-folk singer-songwriter Catherine Burgis, who ditched the dull office life and now makes music to help us all realize that life is too short for regrets.

After recently being awarded a much-cherished Arts Council England grant to write and release her first EP, her career has skyrocketed upwards and you can hear why so many love her authentic nature that sits satisfyingly in your happy stomach.

”Combining elements of synth pop with a simple folk playground melody, this is a summer song inviting you to get up and dance away bad times and regrets accompanied by an imaginary band of synthesised players”.-Test Card Girl

This is the story of not going back, no matter what the magnetic pull says or does to your beating heart. You left for a reason and despite it being easy to go back, you are telling yourself to have the strength to overcome this lust to go again. Instead, the new plan should be to look for a new road that will make you truly happy, inside your deepest feelings of content.

Don’t Go‘ from the fast-rising Manchester electro-pop artist Test Card Girl, is a stunning array of synth-filled soundscapes that washes all over your mind to give you a feeling of relief, that you made the right decision to avoid heartbreak part two. Trusting that gut is always a good idea, even if your heart wants something different sometimes.

Stream this lovely new single on Soundcloud and check out the IG for more.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Music Pop

Paper Eros gives us a perfect latin-pop take on ‘Hate Love Me’

With what may be our favourite track title and cover art so far this week, Paper Eros is a Toronto-based alt-pop artist focusing on the relationship between domination and submission and pain and comfort, with the motto ‘Love, Art, and Rebellion’; ‘Hate Love Me’ starts with a vaguely latin-style guitar line before Eros’ smokey vocal kicks in, sultry and low, enticing and seductive all at once.

There’s a latin-pop feel to the track, that ‘Despacito’/’Bailando’/’Danza Kuduro’ vibe that’s evocative of sunny days and sweaty, sexy nights. With its lyrics of a passion-filled night, the samba rhythms, and the Latin-style instrumentation and arrangement, ‘Hate Love Me’ is a killer dance-pop song that – if there’s any justice in the world – ought to be all over the radio this summer-time.

Check out Paper Eros on Spotify, or on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music Pop

Faith Louise has released her empowering EDM pop anthem, ‘Boss’

Faith Louise

While finding fragments of inner strength is harder than usual, Essex-based singer-songwriter Faith Louise is making up for the shortfall with her upbeat KPop-inspired tracks that pay ode to 90s pop and bring the blazing beats of club anthems.

‘Boss’ is the latest single to be released by the 15-year old performer who could easily teach women twice her age a thing or two about empowerment. The high-vibe track provides hard-hitting bass-riding beats, as the vocals bring a touch of RnB hip hop into the verses, easily paralleling the instrumental energy.

You can check out Faith Louise’s music here.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music Pop

Getting What She Wants: J Whit isn’t impressed by those ‘Puppy Eyes’

He raps with a statement delivery that tells it straight up, as he drops off the post to make a point. J Whit returns with his latest single about the now-undesirable girl he has worked out on ‘Puppy Eyes‘.

J Whit is a indie-pop rapper with a different style of music to the rest, as he brings in those unique flows that are mixed with a beat that will have you trying to place if you have heard this before.

This is the story of feeling that she let you down, as she lets out those cute eyes to the random strangers, and gets anything she wants. You aren’t too happy with this as its all been seen before, as your optimism dissipates and you realize that you want to be with someone that has more backbone in life.

The raps and beats combine on ‘Puppy Eyes‘. to add a layer of saucy sizzle to a song that is all about wanting more in life and not settling for someone that is cheap and the opposite to loyal.

Your mind has expanded like a balloon full of water and you only want to grow so you are truly happy. J Whit’s mind is made and there is no turning back now.

Stream this new single on Spotify and check out his IG for more.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Music Pop

For Somer: JB Somers is incredible on heartfelt message to her loving memory on ‘Hurt You’

With his fast-beating heart in so much inner flux, JB Somers shows us all what true love really is on the stunning new single that gives you chills all over your spine called ‘Hurt You’.

Nashville, Tennessee-based indie singer-songwriter JB Somers has traveled from his birthplace in Alabama to Florida to his new home, as he took a huge risk that ultimately paid off in the end. Moving to the home of music during a horrid pandemic could of turned sideways, but due to her angelic presence watching over him, this is what movies are made of.

Usually a folk singer-songwriter, JB was persuaded to make more of a pop/dance song here and warmed up to the idea after wanted to truly honor his lost sister Somer who sadly passed. She loved so many different genres of music and taught him how to love deeply, encouraging his passions to blossom and how to forgive.

With a breathtaking voice that has your body shaking in anticipation, he sings with such magnetic energy that soothes your tears as this story further unfolds. He misses her so much and just wants one more conversation to say that he is sorry for that one moment, that could of been so much better.

Hurt You‘ from the humble Nashville-based singer-songwriter JB Somers, is a loving story about how he wishes he could take back that short space of time that he truly regrets and wishes his beloved Sister was still beside him, helping him through his career and seeing how it all came together.

That bond can’t and will never be broken. Somer lives on and is still inspiring him to this day.

Stream this heartfelt story on Spotify and see more on his IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Music Pop

Flying So High: Alexandra Ayoob is stupendously sensational on new single ‘Birds Still Chirpin’

With such awe-inspiring vocals that has her energies soaring upwards to where others wish they could go, Alexandra Ayoob has it all going for her on the head-moving new single called ‘Birds Still Chirpin‘.

Alexandra Ayoob is a determined Appalachia-born indie electro-pop/jazz/blues singer-songwriter with Lebanese roots, who performs with a fierce conviction, that shows her strength to overcome whatever undesirable obstacles that come her way.

After she was introduced to music by her beloved grandmother — who was a rebellious spirit and jazz singer, tragically forced by her traditional immigrant parents to leave her 1930’s jazz band — the life-changing music bug bit hard as she was lathered with incredible music influences in her ears, all the way to her soul. This helped her understand quickly who the true greats were and what type of style she should immerse herself into.

Birds Still Chirpin‘ from the world class Appalachia-based indie singer-songwriter Alexandra Ayoob, who is blessed with a crisply tuned vocal ability that has your back shivering in delight, is a boost to your mood as she takes us far above where the wonderfully winged fly unbothered. You consciously feel a groove that you haven’t felt before and this is a stunning single which takes away all the stress from your tired shoulders.

Hear this wonderful single on her Spotify and check out the IG for more info.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Music Pop

Burniscous put an RnB trap pop spin on Sam Smith’s heartfelt hit, ‘Kids Again’.

A cover of Sam Smith’s wistful hit ‘Kids Again’ has joined alt-pop artist Burniscous’ collection of original tracks; it’s safe to say he well and truly made the single his own.

By moving away from the archetypal contemporary pop ballad mould and veering into the realms of EDM RnB Pop with a melancholic cloud rap twist, the cover increases the potency of the evocative sting while introducing the heartfelt lyrics to a brand-new audience. The excessive use of vocal reverb might be a little too much for some, but not for the thousands of people who have Burniscous firmly affixed to their radar and appreciate the echo of his vulnerable and raw tracks.

Burniscous’ cover of Kids Again is now available to stream via Soundcloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music Pop

Mikaela Seegers & KOLA take us on a cinematic journey with ‘Inside Out’.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more captivatingly heartfelt pop track that hit the airwaves in 2021 than Mikaela Seegers & KOLA’s single, ‘Inside Out’, which was co-written and produced by Karan Wadhwa for his short film, ‘THE DUO’. You’ll also be able to see Wadhwa’s work in the official Inside Out music video. With every progression in Inside Out, you’ll be as emotionally connected as you are rhythmically arrested in the cinematic release. Paired with the music video, Inside Out is enough to swallow your consciousness entirely.

Mikaela Seegers’ pop vocals spill poetic imagery to paint a picture of a tainted, torrid romance with affection as KOLA’s rap bars lay down harsh unfiltered truths to provide powerful duality. It’s a single which gets better with every listen; one that compels you to squeeze every ounce of powerful meta wisdom from it.

You can check out the official video to Inside Out that has already garnered 23,000+ streams since its premiere on February 26th via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast