Browsing Tag

songwriter

Pauline Andres poured folk through a smoky Southern Gothic Lens with ‘Til the End of the World’

In a world teetering on the edge of uncertainty, Pauline Andres’ standout single, ‘Til the End of The World’, is an introspective goldmine of solace and melancholy. Born in France, the coal miner’s daughter has woven her diverse heritage and life’s tumultuous tapestry into a sound that pours folk through the sepia-tinged filter of Southern Gothic Americana.

Her voice regales through an amalgamation of sweet and smoky timbres while carrying the weight of an old soul, one that has seen the world in shades of grey while her life reads like a novel, rich with characters and experiences which bleed into her songwriting, inspired by everything from the candour of 3am drunks to Lovecraft.

With the end of days perpetually on our minds, there has never been a better time to tune into this stunningly rendered release which proves just how much beauty lies in humanity. We may not all be as superlatively talented as this highly-accoladed singer-songwriter, but within all of us lies a tender capacity for beauty; however that may manifest.

Turn away from your Patti Smith records and be consumed by Pauline Andres. Even if she was singing Acapella, she could send the airwaves out of kilter with the evocative gravity in this release.

Stream the Live in Studio version of Til the End of the World on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Isabelle Mettle charted new constellations of soul with her interstellar track, Jupiter and Mars

Isabelle Mettle

In the cosmos of contemporary RnB, Isabelle Mettle’s latest single, ‘Jupiter and Mars’, is a celestial defiance of the ordinary. From the outset, the track asserts its uniqueness with stabbing synths and spacey euphonic iconography. The influence of Erykah Badu, Prince, Jill Scott, and Blood Orange is palpable in Mettle’s work, yet she transcends these inspirations to assert herself as a firebrand of a visionary.

Mettle, a London native, brings the city’s rich musical heritage into play in her latest release by weaving the rhythmic beats of RnB with the smooth sophistication of jazz. Her soulful sound is a reflection of an artist who has not only mastered her craft but also knows how to push boundaries. The track’s transition from a strikingly future-embracing intro into a melodious groove is seamless, with Mettle’s divine vocal lines adding a touch of classic soul to the stylistically rich composition.

What sets ‘Jupiter and Mars’ apart is its ability to straddle genres effortlessly. The track sits comfortably between the raw, unfiltered energy of Brooke Combe and the ethereal, dream-like quality of Warpaint. Mettle is not just following trends; she is setting them in constellations of her own making.

Jupiter and Mars will come into Earth’s orbit and hit the airwaves on February 23rd.

Stream the single on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

In Conversation with Phil Coomer: Unveiling the Healing Power of Love in Songwriting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNRKiL6PZT0

In an insightful interview with A&R Factory, Phil Coomer delved into the creative process behind his latest single, “All the Medicine I Need.” The song, born from a personal moment of realisation, transcends into a universal anthem about love’s healing power. Coomer shares how an injury and his girlfriend’s return sparked the song’s conception, highlighting love as the ultimate panacea. The interview also touches on influences like John Prine, the joy of songwriting, and themes in his upcoming album, offering a glimpse into Coomer’s artistic journey and the profound impact of relationships in his music.

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Can you tell us a little bit about your latest single, All the Medicine I Need?

“I tend to write about how I feel or how others feel and All The Medicine I Need does not vary from that methodology.  Because I had done a good job of injuring my left arm in the fall of 2023, I was looking for some kind of medicine that would help relieve the pain I was having in my arm.  I wasn’t having much luck but about that time my girlfriend came home from an extended trip abroad.  Her attention and caring made me forget all about the pain I was having.  I realized that she was all the medicine I needed.  When I was working on songs again, I thought that because I felt that way maybe others did too.  So, I started working on the song and it turned into being about the normal day in a regular person’s life and the restoration that tends to come when we are with our person our significant other.”

It’s such a great extension of the ‘love is a drug’ adage; was it difficult to transform the lyrics from a personal feeling to a universal sentiment? 

“Very quickly I realized that I could easily change the song from being about her and me to being for everyone.  The song is about any healing or restorative relationship.  He-her, her-her, him-him, parent-child, child-parent it always works no matter who sings to who.  It was as simple as changing “the girl” to “the one.”   I did talk to her about the change, and she said I should definitely change the lyrics so the song could speak to everyone’s feelings.  But she knows it’s her song.”

We love that the song started from a soulful epiphany and built from there; is that usually how your music comes to fruition?

“Yes, and I wish I could have epiphanies more often. I said earlier that I usually write about my feelings or the feelings of others. I don’t know why I’m wired that way.  Maybe others are too.  I was working on a song from a recent trip to NYC to the World Trade Center Memorial and to Strawberry Fields in Central Park the John Lennon Memorial and was just getting nowhere I was writing junk.  Finally, I decided to write from the perspective of a woman who had lost someone and to let her tell the story and It just flew out my mouth and onto the paper. It became, easy and natural yet different, wicked and soulful.  That song is called “Still Lives.”

Were there any particular artists who inspired the sound and style of the single?

“Yes, I think so. Musically to me it is very akin to a John Prine song in simplicity and matter of fact-ness.  There’s even a little Prine humor in the 1st verse line “and I guess elevators too”

What is the most rewarding aspect of the songwriting process for you?

“There is always some euphoria when you’ve framed in a new song and think it’s complete enough to play for someone else.  But I think a few months out when you’ve played the song in front of hundreds of people and it’s actually now part of you and there some sustained affection for the song that’s pretty nice too.”

How has your approach to songwriting evolved over the years, leading up to this release?

“I’d say that I moved more from writing the ballad or story of what occurred to the feeling or the impact the notion had on who is there or who found out and what it did to them.  It seems more endearing to me to show the effect of impact to us.”

You mentioned All the Medicine I Need will feature on your upcoming album; what other themes does the album explore?

“All The Medicine I Need is the first recording of the next project and a couple of the other songs are “Kissing Lessons” – written after seeing a bulletin board ad I came across at college.  Another song is called “Different Ride” which is what occurred to me when I’ve come across people who are still alive yet their fate is already written.”

Watch the official music video for Phil Coomer’s latest single, All the Medicine I Need, on YouTube.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

Sinch magnetised the melodies with soul in their RnB release, My Man

Sinch

This week, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the forthcoming single, My Man, by the RnB luminary, Sinch, who knows just how to magnetise melodies, heal with harmonies, and paint panoramic vignettes with lyricism.

The track will take you right back to the 00s era of RnB, when Alicia Keys, Blu Cantrell, Black Eyed Peas, and Ashanti dominated the airwaves as Sinch pays an ode to the anticipation of hearing a key fumbling in the lock and welcoming your partner home.

To amplify the emotion in the single, the superlative songwriter and chanteuse singer juxtaposed the cosy and affectionate feelings with a sense of gratitude for sanctity within a soul and the truest definition of the word home, given the conflict that other people endure outside the idyllic four walls. It’s food for thought, a salve for the soul, and will become your rhythmic pulses’ new favourite ignition.

My Man is currently awaiting a release date; to be the first to know when it drops, follow Sinch on Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Henry Charles reached the epitome of vulnerable intimacy with his debut, Just One More Time

Henry Charles’ debut single, Just One More Time, is a marker of his ability to construct emotional connections with his audience. Soulful, intimate, and a testament to his patience and vulnerability as a songwriter, Just One More Time is a promising start to what is sure to be an illustrious career.

With a folk timbre reminiscent of Jacko Hooper, the sting of Tom Odell, and the profoundness of Bill Ryder-Jones, Charles carved out his own niche in the British singer-songwriter landscape. From the first strike of the minor piano keys, Just One More Time envelops you in its world. The ripples of reverb set the stage for Charles’ light yet evocative harmonies. Each progression in the song is a revelation, a bittersweet exploration of torment and longing.

The gentle orchestral strings with moody, turbulent electronic synthetics create a stunning auditory contrast. This juxtaposition mirrors the emotional turmoil at the heart of the song – a yearning for connection in a world that often feels vacuous and cold.

The refrain ‘just one more time’ echoes throughout the track, a quiescent plea for reconnection to something visceral and sanctifying. It’s a testament to Charles’ ability to tap into a tender pool of expression, making every note and lyric resonate with the listener’s own experiences of loss and desire.

Just One More Time was officially released on January 31st; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Mikey Wayne – Coming Home: A Cuttingly Flawless Folk Confession

Mikey Wayne’s latest single, Coming Home, stands out as a remarkable addition to the folk genre, exuding a sincerity that captivates from the first chord. This single, a confluence of Nashville country and Wayne’s Southern Californian and Alabaman influences, offers an intimate glimpse into the soul of its creator.

The song’s strength lies in its raw honesty and the profound way Wayne owns his imperfections. He eloquently expresses the nuances of a relationship’s push and pull, encapsulating the struggle and beauty of growth within a partnership. Lyrics such as “If you’ll have me baby, I’m coming home” cuts like a knife of resonance while the gentle tenacity in the acoustic guitar strings amplifies the precision of the incision by echoing the universal yearning for acceptance and love. He may not have spoken for us all word for word, but we can all find a piece of ourselves within the single.

The official music video for Coming Home, which was recorded in Echo Mountain Studios, premiered on YouTube on January 26th.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Alison Wahl & Brian Berggoetz reinvented the festive soundscape with “Christmas is the Right Time for Us”

Despite Christmas music often treading the well-worn path of jingle bells and festive clichés, Alison Wahl and Brian Berggoetz brought a refreshing gust of Americana folk rock into the Yuletide soundscape with their latest single, Christmas is the Right Time for Us.

Brian Berggoetz, a self-taught guitarist and a songwriter with a flair for reinventing classics, infuses his unique style into this holiday offering. His experience, ranging from performing at SXSW Festival to sharing stages with notable artists, shines through in the song’s intricate guitar work. The absence of traditional motifs and melancholy of aural nostalgia in favour of Americana folk elements is a bold choice, which infuses the song with an uplifting and authentic feel.

Alison Wahl’s vocal harmonies intertwine perfectly with Brian’s, creating a tapestry of sound that is both warm and inviting. The standout lyric, “When love is just enough, Christmas is the right time for us”, encapsulates the essence of the song – a celebration of love and togetherness that transcends materialism. This lyric, in its simplicity, captures the heart of the holiday spirit, reminding listeners that affection and emotional connection are priceless gifts.

The production of the song is a delicate balance of subtlety and strength, allowing the dual harmonies to take centre stage in a track that doesn’t just aim to be another Christmas hit but strives to leave a lasting impression on its listeners.

Christmas is the Right Time for Us was officially released on December 11; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Blake Baker is captivating in his wistfully listless single, Mind the Gap

The up-and-coming genre-fluid singer-songwriter Blake Baker became the ultimate raconteur of relatable melancholy while simultaneously delivering sonic sanctuary with his latest acoustic single, Mind the Gap.

The profound and beautifully crafted introspective piece resonates with the soulful narrative strength of classic folk songwriting; Baker’s skill in blending this traditional foundation with an Americana blues essence results in a song that is both timeless and refreshingly original.

Lyrically, Mind the Gap paints a vivid, cinematic portrait of a protagonist who feels overlooked and invisible amidst the bustling society around him. This theme of alienation and longing for connection speaks directly to anyone who has struggled to find their place in the world. Baker’s ability to capture this sentiment in his eloquently compassionate lyricism is beyond compare as the track anchors around his rich, sonorous voice which can carry the low timbres as well as the highs he maintains resonant depth.

Mind the Gap is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Leah J Jones captured the grace of grief in her latest single, Saints and Stars

As tenderly compelling as I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie, with all the ethereal iconography and tonality to boot, the latest stripped-back and sonorous score, Saints and Stars, from Leah J Jones strikes all the right evocative chords while establishing the singer-songwriter as the Joni Mitchell of our generation.

With a perfect touch of baroque melancholic malady to tinge the magnetic release with a mournful resonance, it’s impossible not to be affected by this attest to grief which captures the interplay between sorrow and gratitude for what a loved and lost figure granted us with their life. It’s a stunning testament to how influence is one of the few things in this life that isn’t ephemeral. We can’t wait to hear what is in the pipeline from the celestial song crafter.

Saints and Stars was officially released on November 5th; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Karyn Ann released the most affecting Americana single of the year with her latest single, 8 Hours

8 Hours by Karyn Ann

Instead of reinventing the wheel, Karyn Ann spun it in a brand-new direction with her latest timelessly enrapturing single, 8 Hours; a hauntingly beautiful ballad that captures the essence of Southern gothic magnetism, wrapped in a production that’s swallowed by arcane reverb.

The song is a masterful blend of timeless melodies and a stylistic distortion on the guitars that gracefully wrap around the vocal lines. These elements collectively weave a sonically cavernous landscape that seductively entices listeners into the depths of melancholy that the song explores.

The release, which is sure to resonate with fans of artists as diverse as Chelsea Wolfe to Brandi Carlile, elucidates the disassociation of losing your grip with the latter half of the space-time continuum, a theme that is both esoteric and deeply human.

The emotive lyricism of 8 Hours showcases Ann’s raw vulnerability, a trait that has seen the American songwriter praised and performing at notable festivals and venues. The narrative behind 8 Hours is as darkly compelling as its composition, delving into the hours that went missing when Ann awoke in a stranger’s van, with only a dim recollection of the preceding events. This raw and exposed nerve of a song not only reveals Ann’s prowess as a singer-songwriter but also demonstrates her ability to turn personal tribulation into profound artistic expression. She’s a phenomenon in her own right.

Stream or purchase 8 hours on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast