SYBS is one of those artists who, despite working in the contemporary world of soulful, R&B infused pop, also manages to remind us of a host of great names from Roberta Flack to Witney Houston to Toni Braxton. And that, of course, is the secret isn’t it? It often isn’t really about inventing new genres, or gene-splicing musical styles which have no business getting that intimate, that rarely works anyway. No, the art is to create music which is both of the here and now and yet subtly references the past. A blend of the fresh and familiar, new but just with a slight touch of nostalgia.
The Sweetest Taboo is a taste of how the whole R&B, pop-soul and funk genres thread their way through the modern commercial world. They build their sounds through the technologies available, clothe themselves with dance drives and pop enthusiasm and take their sound out of the niche markets of the past and spread them to a wide range of musical movers and discerning pop pickers and artist like SYBS are certainly leading that charge.
Whilst other artists try to create the future, attempt to build new genres, force musical styles together in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve, Dwight James and his regal musical posse known as The Royals, know that there is a better way. They carefully sift through the past, gather their favourite sounds and uses those building blocks to create music which both nods to the past and carries some of its musical ideals into a new sunrise and present it to a new audience but without resorting to the nostalgia ticket. This is music of the here and now, but for once it is honest enough to wear its musical heart on its velvet jacketed sleeves.
Need Your Loving is a sumptuous collection of sounds, revelling in funky grooves, soulful vocals, gently flexed R&B muscle and a retro-vibe coating. It tips its natty fedora to a glorious pop heritage whilst striding confidently into a hazy, nu-soul future. Music is cyclical, we all know that and such stridently groovesome music has never really gone out of fashion, not once you get beyond the fabrications and corporate facades of the modern music business. Some may see this as a retro laced musical exercise, and that is fair enough, but having accepted that music is cyclical and fashions always come back around I prefer to see this twelve-legged package of wonderfully mellifluous sounds as way ahead of the curve rather than still riding the last wave.
There’s not many tracks that can make my jaw drop as the instrumentals kick in, yet, Cayla Brooke’s band created such soulful instrumental alchemy in her latest single Fool the hairs instantly stood up on the back of my neck.
Combined with her huskily glorious vocal style the 5-minute track Fool provides an almost transcendentally blissful Neo Jazz experience. The progression of the track is lifted through the soaring guitar riffs and cacophonous offerings from the brass section. I’ve never been much of a Jazz Rock fan before listening to Cayla Brooke’s track Fool, but it’s safe to say I’m now a convert to her sweet yet domineeringly sultry style which is created using an infusion of genres she’s used to mould her iconic style. The Vancouver based singer songwriter has received nothing but critical acclaim for her standout style, and it really is no wonder considering her glistening charisma and heart wrenching lyricism. With each track from her latest album Plush Red Chair she mixes up her style weaving from ballads to dance tunes.
Check out Cayla Brooke’s latest single Fool from her album Plush Red Chair via her website
Review by Amelia Vandergast
I grew up on the iconic sounds of 90’s female Pop acts; Texas, Garbage, Catatonia and The Cranberries to name a few. So, when I checked out the fresh new track Original Lies by the sensational Pop act Tekla Waterfield I was blown away by the nostalgia that is entrenched in the sound. She has a unique sensibility to her vocal style, however her vocal range is somewhat reminiscent to one of my favourite current artists Courtney Barnett. Yet it’s clear, that Tekla Waterfield is more than any sound that has been orchestrated before. The singer songwriter found her own essence within her poignantly palpable harmonies which she’s infused with the roots of her Seattle sound. Her sounds tend to bounce between Folk, Jazz, Indie and Blues through her discography proving that she’s one of the most eclectically talented underground artists around today.
With Original Lies, Tekla has created an anthemically catchy Pop hit, complete with an irresistibly catchy chorus that even Kim Gordon would give 5 stars.
Check out the sensational Pop hit Original Lies on SoundCloud:
Review by Amelia Vandergast
Up & coming London based Soul Blues singer-songwriter KNDÉ has just released her instant classic of a track Just Friends. Her first ever solo track perfectly encapsulates that super weird stage in a relationship where you can’t really stand the sight of each other, but the other person is kind of handy to have around. We’ve all been there and KNDÉ knew just how to make a beautiful sound from it in a charmingly conversational way. KNDÉ created her own pioneering sound after taking influence from iconic artists such as Sade, Lauryn Hill, Paolo Nutini and Kwabs so if you’re a fan of a nostalgia soaked urban rhythmic ballad, you’re in for a treat with KNDÉ’s latest track Just Friends. Her raw approach to sound removes the plasticity from the Pop influence and provides an evocative almost pensive feel. Well, it wouldn’t be blues if it wasn’t raw right?
You can check out KNDÉ’s brand-new track Just Friends on SoundCloud
Keep up to date with all KNDÉ’s new releases & news via Facebook
Review by Amelia Vandergast
The long wait is finally over! Steve Nichol of Loose Ends decided to let us have a feel of what we’ve all been missing for the last couple of decades once more. This is sure an awesome surprise to a lot of people that followed the Loose Ends musical evolution since the 80’s.
Loose Ends the original champions of the British funk and soul scene in 1980s, have been silent for almost 30 years. However, the lead composer of their material has RETURNED after 28 years of music break/silence; Steve Nichol is set to embark on his first solo project and marked the start of this return with the release of his debut single Dangerous Romance, released earlier this month.
Steve Nichol’s debut solo album brings back a lot of good old memories, it’s as usual, an excellent piece that’s well knotted with a magnificent music bow tie. It’s just sleek and wavy soul music.
This song genre is more of those 80’s RnB and Soul sensation . The idea to have Ellen Masri as the featured pretty soul vocalist on this music made the song a colossal hit on its own.
The song still draws influence from artists such as Stevie Wonder and Brenda Russell, legendary and timeless artists who inspired Nichol when writing for Loose Ends.
‘Dangerous Romance’ is lyrically vibrant and calming, more so, even meticulously debonair as its soulful jazz-like percussion and rosey synth riff all the way up. The melody is blanketed and warmed by a synth counterpart reminiscent of the 80’s playful RnB and Soul music stereo wave.
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The Misfits without a cause Solomons Garden are back with a brand-new EP and their experimental Soulful sound is sweeter than ever. The Kent, UK based collective of artists are no strangers to making fresh new Indie Soul mixes, they create tantalising mixes of Old School Soul with synthy R&B to achieve their stunning music. Their perfectly penned lyrics have a way of reaching into the depths of emotion, with their latest single Wolf the band majestically conjure a heart wrenchingly reflective aura of empathy that flows not only through the lyrics, but through the evocatively powerful array of vocal talent which the track offers. The independent artists experimental sounds are boundless, they bounce between Neosoul and Easy Jazz to create a vibrant sound I can guarantee you won’t have heard the likes of before.
Check out Solomons Garden’s soulful vibes with their latest track Wolf on SoundCloud using the link below:
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Review by Amelia Vandergast
L.I.G.H.T. has just dropped a stunningly soulful new single ‘Hero’s Rising’. It’s anachronistic, rounded sound is instantly cathartic and intrinsically rooted in the depths of Soul. Its ethereal edge induces you into the track which incorporates elements of old old-school R&B.
The soul behind the project L.I.G.H.T is courtesy of the resoundingly talented song writer and performer Crystal ‘Light’ Parker, who also happens to be a John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach, trainer and motivational speaker. Her passion for inspiration and healing bleeds through into her sound in her latest track Hero’s Rising. You can feel the hum of the vibrations as they shift you in tune with the vibrant melody of the track, as the Soulful grips of Crystal’s echoing vocals wash over you.
LIFT. INSIPIRE. GUIDE. HEAL. TEACH. Is the ethos by which Crystal orchestrates and performs in her track to provide a welcome reprieve from the world and to motivate change her listeners through her blissful soul souring narratives. After hearing one track, I’d say it’s pretty effective.
Hero’s Rising is available to purchase on both iTunes and Google Play, or you can check out the track here:
Review by Amelia Vandergast
No, you don’t need to bring out your bell bottoms, but you do need to check out this song. “Testify” is an excellent song from Orange Burn that infuses the elements of Funk, Soul, Rock, and R&B. This is one of those songs that really blurs the lines between contemporary and classic, in a very tasteful way. I would argue that this is one of those songs you can’t help but get into, even if you aren’t a fan of this style of music.
The instrumentation on “Testify” is superb. Percussive stabbing rhythm guitars, the almighty organ, and stellar bass and drum grooves drive this soul-filled track along. The vocal delivery is absolutely incredible with stunningly powerful and soul-filled honey to the ears. The music is a bright patch of uplifting goodness reminiscent of a bygone era. A contemporary take on a classic funky vibe with incredible grooves, powerful uplifting soul-filled vocals, and an overall joy-filled sound make this song such an enjoyable listen.
The mix of collective interests of the band is very apparent, making this song nearly impossible to lump into any single genre. It’s the collaboration of so many influences that give this song such a potential wide appeal. Incredible musicianship, diverse flavors, and powerful hooking choruses give “Testify” a special sonic blend that leads me to say this; you need to drop what you are doing right now and experience this!
Check out “Testify” here: https://soundcloud.com/orangeburn/testify
Ohio based R&B singer songwriter and artist June has create one of the most synergetic tracks of 2017 with his Soul inspired rendition Natural Love. For any fans of the delectability of Kendrick Lamar, you’re in for a treat. The mid-tempo mix is more than just a track that belongs to a genre. It’s raw, human, scorned emotion in lyrical form.
His debut track Natural Love is backed by a pounding and resonant track the ominous synth beat drifts in and out, perfectly complementing the melancholy of June’s vocals as they traverse through his pensive lyrics. The track doesn’t just skim the surface of emotion, it reaches deep into the psyche, haunting you with the staggering parallels which he offers you through the verse. The humble humility flows through his lyrics to trap you into his torment which he projects into the track.
Throughout his discography, he’s created a truly elective mix of sounds, some steeped in 80’s synth, whilst others he chooses the acoustic guitar to accompany the humble humility which he shares through his sound.
Head on over to SoundCloud to check out Natural Love along with June’s other Singles: