Browsing Tag

singer-songwriter

Joe Astley sings the everyman blues in his world-class single, Suburbia

Joe Astley

Drawing parallels between Bitter Sweet Symphony, sans the bitterness, Joe Astley’s orchestral feat of folkish rock, Suburbia, taken from his forthcoming debut album, is for anyone who has ever felt the gravity of their hometown dragging them down more insidiously than anywhere else.

The opening lyric, “this city’s got it in for me, there’s a thousand other places that I wish to be”, delivered through harmonic lines that soak the record with sepia-tinged lament as they resound over the rugged acoustic guitar chords, orchestral strings and soaring electric guitar notes as they wind old school Americana into the release starts the single on a sombre note.

The profoundly uplifting release seamlessly progresses into a defiantly strident score through the refusal to fade away into the misery that soaks the streets of working-class towns and cities across the UK. The Wigan-based professional singer-songwriter and instrumentalist sonically attested to the bleakness scribed in Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier while simultaneously pulling beauty from the destitution that his accoladed career is pulling him from.

As some artists bemoan the current climate of the music industry, Joe Astley is thriving as definitive proof that with the right balance of tenacious songwriting, insurmountable talent and effortless charisma that immerses you into the emotional states he orchestrates, success is still in the sightline.

Between his residency at the Cavern Club, SKY TV streaming the live run-through of Suburbia, his debut EP on the shelves in HMV, and all his singles charting in the iTunes top ten, it’s impossible not to feel giddy when anticipating his next move.

The launch of his debut album, Twenty-First Century Times, on January 20th, 2023 will undoubtedly open up even more roads for Astley as he takes his boy-next-door resonance wherever he goes.

Purchase Suburbia on Apple Music or add it to your Spotify playlists.

Follow Joe Astley on Facebook & Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Meg Chandler finds herself on the visceral side of ethereal in her intimately nostalgic indie alt-pop single, Woodland

Meg Chandler

Given that it has been a fair while since we weren’t living through a historical event of some devastating global nature, it’s all too easy to crave the uncompromised simplicity of youthful nostalgia. Meg Chandler brought it by the smorgasbord in her single, Woodland, which precedes her debut EP, due for release in 2023.

The 21-year-old singer-songwriter divides her time between a remote village in Shropshire, where she finessed her authentically out-of-the-smoke alt-pop style that will be a hit with any fans of Daughter, Adrianne Lenker and Phoebe Bridgers, and in Manchester where she enlists the help of the production/writing duo SOAP.

Never a truer line has been delivered than “now everything just seems to hurt” in Woodland, which flicks through the sepia-tinged memories of a childhood “chasing shadows by the lake”. Projected through intimately vulnerable indie pop vocals that resound on the more visceral side of ethereal, Meg Chandler, with her proclivity to hold nothing back in her lyrics, is set to make major waves with the profound consolation in her music.

Woodland will officially release on November 18th. Stream it on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Janockeil showed us ‘The Way’ in his latest RnB single and official music video

The up-and-coming RnB artist, Janockeil smoothed out the airwaves with the release of his sensuously fervid single, The Way, which dropped with the official music video that packs in plenty of hot under-the-collar flavour.

The Charleston-born Newark-residing singer-songwriter and musician transcended to the RnB, pop and soul genres after refining his incandescent vocal timbre by singing gospel in church from a young age. But clearly, there was no outgrowing the uplifting style of gospel, which resonates within the passionate vocal performance as Janockeil shows us the way to sated satisfaction through the lyrics that enlighten the soft touch of the contemporary RnB instrumentals.

The Way was officially released on November 4th. Check it out on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Lia J sips bitter memories in her ground-breaking indie-RnB-pop single, Chardonnay

Indie RnB pop sensation, Lia J, oozed sophistication in the jazz-tinged melodies of her latest single, Chardonnay, which melancholically reflects on how a shift in dynamic can sour the sweetest of memories.

The soft bluesy instrumental layers cushion the blow of the bruisingly honest accounts of her new-found loneliness in the wake of heartbreak. We’ve all been there, bravely attempting to figure out how to find new meaning in our surrounds when all we can feel is the ghost of our former selves.

There’s a beautiful idea that we don’t really miss people; we miss the person we were with that person. Chardonnay reflects that sentiment with overwhelming soul. But even if Lia J was singing her shopping list, the effortless class in her semi-vibrato vocals would awaken your senses with the invigorating stir of her vocal timbre.

Chardonnay is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Spotlight Feature: Australian singer-songwriter, Ted, sang an insurgent indie-psych-folk lullaby in his latest single, Revolution Then

The Australian Indie-Folk singer-songwriter Ted’s latest single, Revolution Then, is definitive proof you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

The artfully quiescent call for sense to coalesce with postulation resonates like a semi-lucid lullaby, affirming enlightenment doesn’t always need to be synonymous with anger and despair. Sometimes, it is just enough to be on the right side of history.

While Elliott Smith’s records will always be there to soothe us in our darkest hours, he’s no longer here to transcribe humanity’s darkest hours. That crown has evidently fallen upon Ted, who is fearless in his quest to hold a mirror to the most tragic facets of our existence before reflecting them through his psych-tinged arrangements crafted in the mellifluous framework of his music, constructed by guitars, bass, drums, sax and keys – all recorded from his bedroom studio to feed us the intimacy we never knew we craved in these polarity-defined times.

“The song is loosely based on the French Revolution. I was inspired by some more recent political events which occurred in the US. I wanted to convey this in a way that was like telling an old story to a child, like in a nursery rhyme.”

Stream Revolution Then via Spotify.

Follow Ted on Instagram and TikTok.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Spotlight Feature: Alejandra sells sonic sanctuary in her ethereal RnB house single, the people look like flowers (at last)

Inspired by identity issues imposed by her Mexican-American heritage, the Atlanta, Georgia-blossoming artist, Alejandra is here to affirm that identity is a construct and prove the collective power in raising our individual vibrations.

Her third single, the people look like flowers (at last), dropped on November 11th to create a safe and sensuous space for her listeners to explore their identities while basking in the soul that radiates from the feat of ethereal house. After an almost ambient Avant-Garde intro, the lush layers kick into downbeat house grooves while Alejandra lays her arrestingly dreamy vocal lines over the mellifluous melodies that effortlessly transplant you into a more peaceful state of mind.

“This is the latest instalment in my genre-bending discography, which aims to bridge communities together through the perspectives of a bicultural lens. The song is a lush, ethereal house track that explores the interconnectedness of this world and the power that can be harnessed through raising individual vibration.

The song uplifts the listener in love and freedom by curating a dream world for people to experience the sensations of the divine forces circulating through their physical environments. The track infuses disco, soul house, chillwave, hip hop and RnB to deliver a meditative blend that invites the listener to dance, play, and breathe deeply.”

Her commitment to reversing polarity while exploring the complexities of identity with her already awe-inspiring body of work is a sure sign of even greater things to come from the socially aware icon in the making.

Listen to the people look like flowers (at last) on Spotify.

Follow Alejandra to stay up to date with her latest releases via Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Folk singer-songwriter Steve Andrews reached the pinnacle of feel-good music with ‘Climb Through a Rainbow’

Climb Through A Rainbow by Steve Andrews

When Steve Andrews, AKA the Bard of Ely, isn’t prising our eyes open to the disasters we create in our destructive-by-design lifestyles, playing Glastonbury or being lauded by the NME and Nicky Wire, he’s spilling soul across the airwaves through singles such as Climb Through a Rainbow.

With Pixies-Esque shimmering reverb and birdsong as the backdrop to his ardently animated acoustic guitar and unlimitedly happy vocals that bring alive the song that was inspired and composed in his friend’s nursery in Cardiff, it is impossible not to get swept up in the euphoric energy of the single.

Climb Through a Rainbow definitively proves you’re never too old to benefit from the simple pleasures of authentically feel-good music, which makes no bones about being on the silly side of wild. Honestly, I’ve got happy tears as I write this review. Nothing has touched my soul this much, ironically, since Nicky Wire’s solo album.

Stream and purchase Climb Through a Rainbow on Bandcamp now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Alex de León counts the ‘Minutes & Hours’ in her compellingly tender piano pop narrative of lost time

London-based Mexican singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Alex de León has released her captivatingly tender single, Minutes & Hours. The instrumentally minimalist single captures the ephemeral nature of time, where the sands that are always pouring can leave the best of us behind.

Anyone with a proclivity towards burnout will resonate with the lyric, “I wish I could stop and smell the flowers, but all I see are minutes and hours”. It pulls you into the depth of this intimately vulnerable single which blossoms to the tune of the gentle neo-classic piano keys and her soft Tori Amos-Esque vocal harmonies.

Alex de León’s single Minutes & Hours was officially released ahead of her upcoming debut EP of the same title. Stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Alicia Michilli revived the soul of Detroit Motown in her latest single, Full Moon

With a voice that saw her go far on America’s Got Talent, a timeless lyrical style, and a compelling spin on soul, America should be upholding the Detroit-based Alicia Michilli as a national treasure.

Her latest single, Full Moon, eases you into the smooth, smoky late-night atmosphere where perpetual love lights up the twilight. Her influence of Detroit Motown sounds is easily legible in the consoling timbre of the release that serenades you from the first vocal note. For non-believers in true love, you only need to tap into the demure soul of this caressively sincere release, which celebrates the unconditional love we all yearn for.

So far in her career, Alicia Michilli has opened for Andra Day, Nelly and her long-time hero, Keb’ Mo’, and provided background vocals for Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ during their TaiMo tour. Although, based on Full Moon, she always deserves to be on front and centre stage.

Full Moon is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jermare Harrison spills all in his synthy 80s RnB pop single, Secret to Tell

American singer-songwriter Jermare Harrison doused us in 80s soul with his divinely synthy seminal single, Secret to Tell, which flows in the same lush vein as icons Soul II Soul and Alexander O’Neal, with plenty of room for authenticity to spare.

The beckoning lyrics through his smooth RnB pop harmonies invite the listener into the intimacy of his candour while the mellow percussion and soft synth layers orchestrate a dreamy sense of catharsis. It’s a timeless classic single from the artist who made his debut in 2015 after immersing himself in the performing arts world at the age of five. We can’t wait to hear what’s next from the impassionedly talented artist.

Secret to Tell is available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast