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Soul Pop

Music

Ten Gram Tang take us on a riot of retro bluesy rock with ‘Vintage Slide’

Smoky, sultry, husky, and bluesy, with a wicked swagger and singer/rhythm guitarist Paige Lee’s amazing vocals ‘Vintage Slide’ is the third single from Boston, MA., retro-rockers Ten Gram Tang, and it’s simply stunning. Dragging in 60’s and 70’s rock and blues references left, right, and centre – Hendrix, Joplin, Grace Slick – mixed with some more modern touchstones in the form of the Tedeschi Trucks band, the White Stripes, The Dead Weather, Beth Hart,  a dash of Melissa Etheridge, a huge dose of Elle King, with some of Lorde’s ‘Perfect Places’ melancholic breathiness, a bit of Lana Del Rey, and perhaps some Linda Perry in the background.

That by itself is a pretty heady mix, and Lee’s vocals really are that good, but once you throw in guitarist Connor Powell’s killer lead work throughout the track, and the stop-start groove driven by Kevin Reilly’s bass and guest/co-writer Michael Samse’s staccato drum patterns, you’ve got a stunning 4’20” of bluesy 70’s-inspired retro rock’n’roll with a large helping of soul thrown in for good measure.

Ten Gram Tang release their debut album in February 2021, but in the meantime, ‘Vintage Slide’ is an absolute must-have.

Hear ‘Vintage Slide’ on Spotify, and check out Ten Gram Tang on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

James Jones – Christmas Passed (Feat. Olawale)

When you can count supporters as diverse as Eamonn Holmes and the great Dave Swarbrick, something’s clearly going well for you; James Jones had his first gig at the age of 11 as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of London at Cardiff International Arena. Since then he’s gone on to support Swarbrick, his childhood inspiration, and performed at the BBC Proms In The Park.

‘Christmas Passed’ is Jones’ new single, from his album of classical and jazz-inspired pop songs due for release on the 29th December; featuring the wonderful vocals of Olawale Ojo (the winner of Project Fame West Africa) over Jones’ beautiful fingerstyle mildly jazzy classical guitar accompaniment. It’s an exquisite piece of work, the melody line of the guitar perfectly complimenting Ojo’s sublime voice, never intrusive but shadowing and balancing in a stunning counterpoint.

Hear ‘Christmas Passed’ on Spotify.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Isla Croll gives us a soulful lesson in love with ‘Irreplaceable’

15-year-old RnB singer-songwriter Isla Croll proves with her latest single ‘irreplaceable’ that maturity in sound and soul is in no way related to the number of decades you’ve been roaming around the planet.

With her tendency to embrace everything from Jazz to Hip Hop to Pop to Funk in her soundscapes, her resolving, emotional and honest tracks speak directly to the soul. Irreplaceable directly speaks to souls recently maimed by feelings of insecurity. Isn’t modern romance just incredible for that?

With a voice so imploring and an artistic intent so pure, she’s made it difficult for any other RnB artists to follow in her footsteps, thus making her sophomore single somewhat of a paradox. The majority of your consciousness may be drawn to her magnetically velvet vocals, but there’s a lot to be said for the intricate Indie Jazz-laden instrumentals which trickle, swell and soar in synergy with Isla Croll’s pitch-perfect harmonies.

You can check out Isla Croll’s inspiring new single for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

SLMP are set to release their soulfully consoling single ‘2012’ feat Duke Sims and Crystalla Gonzalez

SLMP

Silver Lining Music Publishing (SLMP) collaborate with musicians worldwide to create unique yet accessibly consoling music, orchestrated with the intention of making listeners’ lives brighter, less confusing and more interconnected.

‘2012’ is the forthcoming Soul Pop release which features Duke Sims and Crystalla Gonzalez, the track was written for a friend who attempted suicide, it sonorously reaches out to the listener, serving an essential reminder to reach out if you’re suffering.

‘When you’re feeling that way, just call me, we don’t have to say anything at all’ busts the myth that reaching out needs to involve difficult conversations, it doesn’t. It makes the world of difference just to know someone is there, that someone cares. Those sentiments may seem flat when expressed through the written word, which is why 2012 is an exponentially essential track which you’ll definitely want to explore for yourselves.

You’ll have to wait a little longer to check out the single for yourselves. In the meantime, you can pre-save the track on Spotify and follow SLMP on Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Andrea Charls ‘Arrow’ – a beautiful, soulful, indescribable whirlwind of exquisite vocal delivery

Andrea Charls is already an internationally recognised singer-songwriter, working with artists as diverse as Bobby McFerrin, Annie Lennox, Javier Limon, Pepe de Lucia, and Mario Frangoulis, with work recognised by the Latin Grammy Awards, The International Songwriting Competition, and the Hollywood Music and Media Awards.

Her new single ‘Arrow’ is a whirlwind of deep, rumbling bass, sequenced synthesisers, and Charls’ stunning, delicate multiply-layered vocal parts. There are elements of Suzanne Vega’s work here, mixed in with a vaguely Latin feel and obvious hints of Charls’ Cypriot heritage (Andrea was born and raised in Cyprus before moving to Boston, Mass., to pursue her career). It’s a dazzling track, melancholic, uplifting, charming, and elegant all at once, choir-like in parts and upbeat in others, all held together by Charls’ exquisite vocal delivery. Lyrically thought-provoking and contemplative, beautifully performed, and intricately put together; ‘Arrow’ really does deserve to be heard. Often.

Listen to ‘Arrow’ on Spotify; follow Andrea Charls on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Take up arms with Harlym’s enrapturing Indie Soul Pop single ‘Battle’

If you’re always on the lookout for artists to add to your playlist to keep your consciousness company, look no further than the uniquely soulful aural offerings from American singer-songwriter Harlym.

Her recently released single, ‘Battle’, offers a relatable conversational narrative which doesn’t just help you to understand the artist and their intriguing introspection. You’ll also start to understand yourself a little more as you reflect on your own defences and coping strategies which you adopt to armour yourselves from internal and external trials and tribulations.

By all accounts, Harlym’s sound is stunning, but the essence of her music lies in the affable vibe which makes her music so compelling, sincere, honest and consoling. Say what you will about this generation of artists, at 17-years-old, Harlym offers unparalleled profound enlightenment.

You can check out Battle for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Luke Crimiel is definitely not ‘Lost’ with this timeless R&B take on neo-soul

If being born into a musical family in the performance melting-pot of New Orleans doesn’t predestine you to musical excellence, then I’d wager that very little will. Starting out playing drums in his godfather’s church band at the age of four, Luke Crimiel moved to Los Angeles aged eighteen and pushed his focus into songwriting and performance.

It’s certainly paid off; ‘Lost’, from his new album ‘11th Street’, is an impeccable piece of poppy soul-based R&B, reminiscent of neo-soul contemporaries Kadeem Tyrell, [K S R], or SiR. However, there’s elements of older-school cool influences here too, hints of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and even old-time crooners like Sinatra, Sammy Davis, or Dean Martin.

Danceable, catchy, with a pulsating back-beat and bassline but entirely carried along by Crimiel’s soulful vocal delivery, and harking back to the 70’s and 80’s golden age of gospel-influenced soul whilst at once sounding contemporary and timeless, ‘Lost’ could truly be the launchpad that lets the world find Luke Crimiel.

‘11th Street’ is out now. Check out Luke Crimiel on Spotify and through lukecrimiel.com.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Joolz Jones is set to drop his entrancingly unpredictable genre-mashing hit ‘Lovesick’

Joolz Jones

Irish artist Joolz Jones is set to drop their most cutting single yet. ‘Lovesick’ merges a myriad of genres, from Big Beat to Blues to Pop to Hip Hop but it is the emotional dynamism which hits the hardest. Lovesick was penned and recording during lockdown as an aural ode to the epiphany which happened to many of us simultaneously. During our isolated months, we had the perfect opportunity to find perspective and realise what truly matters in life, Lovesick poignantly captures the torrid emotions which can manifest when we’re transfixed by desire which is fresh from its inception.

The evocative weight of the single is only matched by the intensity of the bass which creates a solid structure for Joolz Jones to experiment within. By mixing acoustic instruments with electronic effect, the instrumentals run through with no reminiscence to any artist, preceding or current.

Undoubtedly, Lovesick is one of the most entrancingly unpredictable tracks we’ve heard this year. There isn’t a chance this release will fall flat. You’ll get to hear the track for yourselves from December 10th.

You can keep up to date with news of the release via the artist’s Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Harry Baker Opens Up Conversation with his Jazzy Soul Pop Track ‘Talk to Me’

To affirm the belief that there is always a silver lining in any given situation, breaking Alternative artist Harry Baker has released their lockdown-inspired and lockdown-created single ‘Talk to Me’ which celebrates the sense of community which has transpired from physical isolation.

While many people within the industry have been hit hard by the pandemic or have simply resigned to apathy, other artists are using music for its true purpose; to communicate wisdom and offer connection.

With their infectiously soulful approach to the soundscape which mixes elements of Blues, Pop and RnB with lashings of nuancedly accessible Jazz, it isn’t only the sentiment of the single which will leave your soul sated.

To extend the distinction of their sound, Harry Baker tends to lend from a non-linear timeline when it comes to their influences. You’ll find 90s grooves alongside even more nostalgic elements of Blues and Jazz. Yet, nothing about Talk to Me feels archaic.

With the subject matter address in this compassionately essential single, each and every component feels raw and urgent. From the dreamy hazy shimmering guitar tones to the robustly blaring yet succinctly melded sax solos, each component amps up the level of emotion while simultaneously offering resolving catharsis as you lose yourself in the lyric-less verses which have been left bare to emphasise the state of loneliness we’re all feeling now.

Everything in the production neatly and synergistically falls into place thanks to production help from Alex Linder (Flood for the Famine) and mastering from Pete Maher (The Rolling Stones, The 1975 and U2).

Talk to Me is far from the UK and Spain-based artist’s first achievement. With three albums under their belt, plenty of attention from BBC introducing and having played with the likes of Jamiroquai and Yolanda Charles, they’ve certainly made their mark on the industry, but it is easy to feel like the best is yet to come.

Talk to Me is available to stream via Spotify. Or, you can check out the community-created official music video which released on November 29th via YouTube.

To keep up to date with the artist’s future releases you can follow them via Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Prepare for your feelings of inadequacy to be quashed by Emily Koko’s single ‘More Than That’

Emily Koko

We’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak peek of Emily Koko’s soul-driven RnB Pop single, ‘More Than That’, a lockdown-born single which navigates the relationship between love, confusion and feeling as though you’ll never be quite enough.

More Than That boldly proves that feelings of inadequacy are more of a commonality than we realise on a day to day basis. Those feelings are the trap door which allows us to fall into toxic relationships with people who not only allow us to question our worth but tell us that we deserve for all the self-deprecating talk to run through our heads.

Emily Koko’s lyrics are and smoothly soulful harmonic vocals are perfectly paired with the slow-tempo grooves in the Indie RnB Pop soundscape.  More Than That may only be her sophomore release, but she’s already exhibiting nuanced maturity in her sound. She’s undoubtedly one to watch.

You’ll have to wait a little longer before you check out More Than That. In the meantime, you can head over to Spotify and check out her debut single Together Alone.

Review by Amelia Vandergast