Category: Single Review

New Audio: 2Crimes Shares a Euphoric Banger

Niccolo Messeri is an emerging Italian electronic music producer best known as 2Crimes. As an electronic music producer, Messeri’s goal is to push the boundaries of melodic techno, techno and tech house — with a 90s twist.

His latest single “Do You Feel It?” is a sleek, club banger built around glistening synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rattling thump, skittering beats, euphoria inducing hooks paired with robotic vocals. While sonically bringing JOVM mainstay LutchamaK to mind, the song is meant to get you on the dance floor to dance and sweat away your troubles for a bit.

Andrew Sands is a London-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind rising shoegaze project SANDS. Influenced by Neil YoungDavid BowieThe SmithsDavid LynchTalk TalkEcho and the Bunnymen and a long list of others, Sands’ own music sees him seamlessly blending rock, psych rock and elements of pop. 

Since starting the project back in 2017, the London-based artist has released a handful of EPs and singles, including 2017’s S/T EP and “Let’s Run”/”Echoes,” 2018’s Waves Calling EP and “Tomorrow’s Gone”/”Burning Man” and 2019’s Nothing Can Go Wrong EP.

Sands’ highly-anticipated full-length debut, The World’s So Cruel is slated for an October 13, 2023. In the lead up to the album’s release, I’ve managed to write about two of its singles:

Written and produced at several London studio locations. including Hackney, South Bermondsey and his apartment, the album’s first single, the high energy “Transmission” featured glistening synths, buzzing guitar riffs, a relentlessly propulsive rhythm, a rousingly anthemic series of hooks and choruses paired with Sands’ plaintive delivery and managed to bring The Stone Roses and the Madchester sound to mind — but with a subtly modern take.

“Transmission” is inspired by the busy and eclectic Northeast London neighborhood that Sands once lived in. The lyrics capture the restless energy and activity of the neighborhood in a way that feels very familiar to me as a native New Yorker. And it does so in a way that feels a bit like a contented sigh of being home, and of awe of everything going on around you.

Built around reverb-drenched guitars, skittering and swaggering boom bap-like drum patterns, along with a glitchy bridge and a scorching guitar solo, The World’s So Cruel‘s second single “When It Starts to Rain” is a slick Stone Roses-like vehicle for the London-based artist’s plaintive vocal and his penchant for crafting remarkably catchy hooks and choruses. The track sonically evokes the sense of daydreaming your way through busy, crowded streets, completely immersed in your thoughts and memories, as though you were in a hallucinatory fever dream of the present and your nostalgia.

The album’s third and latest single “Through This Avenue/The Game” is a road trip anthem built around shimmering and hypnotic guitar work, delicate cymbal-driven percussion, bursts of soaring keys, twinkling organ and the London-based artist’s yearning and vulnerable delivery paired with rousingly anthemic, sing-along friendly choruses.

“‘Through This Avenue /The Game’ is a tribute to 13th Floor Elevators and Roky Erikson. I love his music, voice and the look in his eyes. Fierce and vulnerable at the same time, which I hope can be two traits to describe this track too,” Sands explains. “As in Transmission it draws inspiration from life in that London neighbourhood, but more in a nocturnal setting to the whole picture, like being the soundtrack to that.”

New Audio: SHOLTO Returns with Breathtakingly Gorgeous “The Pearl That Glitters”

London-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Oscar “Sholto” Robertson grew up with a deep and abiding love of jazz, soul, krautrock and 60s and 70s soundtracks. Roberton may be best known for being one-half of indie outfit Sunglasses for Jaws. He honed his production skills under the guidance of Allah-Las‘ Nick Waterhouse and Inflo.

Three years ago, Robertson stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with his latest project SHOLTO, which sees him crafting a unique take on cinematic, instrumental soul. 2023 looks to be a big year for the rising London-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer: He signed to Deep Matter imprint Root Records, who will be releasing Robertson’s SHOLTO debut, The Changing Tides of Dreams EP

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Vampire,” an expansive and cinematic arrangement that featured twinkling percussion, swirling Wurlitzer organ, cascading harp, lush strings, bursts of fluttering flute, a supple and propulsive bass line, a soulful horn solo and skittering boom bap drumming paired with a strutting groove. The result is a song that reminds me a bit of the gorgeous, widescreen instrumental soul of The Ironsides with the trippy grooves of L’Eclair and Mildlife.

The Changing Tides of Dreams EP‘s latest single, the breathtakingly gorgeous “Pearl That Glitters” is built around a lush string and cascading harp arrangement with bursts of twinkling keys and reverb-drenched bursts of guitar. Inspired by soundtrack composers like Piero Umiliani and David Axelrod, the composition is fairly literal in its meaning, with the music being written to evoke the reflection of sunlight shimmering and reflecting off the iridescent insides of a pearl.

Ugandan-born, Brussels-based producer and musician, born Alban Murenzi is best known as a founding member of successful sibling indie R&B outfit YellowStraps. The accomplished duo released their 2018’s Blame EP through Majestic Casual. They performed on the tastemaker platform COLORS back in 2019. 

They followed that up with 2020’s Golddress EP and last year’s tentacle which saw Murenzi adopt the moniker Halibab Matador, before he stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist. 

Murenzi’s full-length debut as Halibab Matador, Souvenirs is slated for release this year, and the album sees the Ugandan-Belgian producer and musician focusing on largely instrumental and beat-driven material that fuses elements of hip-hop, jazz and soul. 

Earlier this month, I wrote about album single “Lili,” which saw the acclaimed Brussels-based musician and producer collaborating with Léa Kadian, who contributes a supple bass line, twinkling keys from Tim de Fontaine and soulful vocal harmonies from Stacy de Bruges. The result is a vibey, neo-soul lullaby of sorts that evokes the comfort of a warm blanket on a chilly day — or seeing your lover smile after a period of absence. 

“This song is dedicated to my lover. For me, it represents light, warmth and freedom,” the Ugandan-Belgian producer and musician explains. “It represents the good fortune of being alive and experiencing beautiful moments of joy.

“Léa Kadian on bass and Stacy de Bruges on vocal harmonies. I love what they do and feel privileged to be able to collaborate with such talented people.  My friend Tim de Fontaine also chipped in with some sweet piano notes.”

“White Pages,” Souvenirs‘ latest single is a built around a looped, finger-plucked, shimmering guitar melody paired with atmospheric synths. While seemingly being a synthesis of Nick Drake-like folk and ambient electronica, the ethereal “White Pages,” possesses a wistful and nostalgic air.

“This track is the most nostalgic track on the project. It was created two years ago with my friend Tim when we were flatmates. Tim came up with these chord ideas and I instantly loved it,” the acclaimed Ugandan-Belgian artist explains. “Then we started playing this loop with two guitars and just jammed on it. It was a great feeling. We both love the nostalgic feels of music in general – it always has some beauty in it I think. 

“For me it was a nice track to conclude the album because it’s an accurate summary of what I tried to share with those  tracks. In this album I tried to share a feeling of nostalgia linked to the souvenirs we can have in a lifetime. A happy nostalgia that reminds us how lucky we are to have experienced all these moments, and the hope of reliving many more in the future. 

I also like the fact that the song ends with this ‘reverse’ effect, as it gives the impression of a flashback to the past.”

With the release of 2020’s Interzone through London-based psych label Fuzz Club, the Brooklyn-based psych duo and JOVM mainstays The Vacant Lots — Jared Artaud (vocals, guitar, synths) and Brian McFayden (drums, synths, vocals) — crafted an album that saw the duo seamlessly blending dance music and psych rock while maintaining the long-held minimalist approach that has earned the duo acclaim across the global psych scene. 

Clocking in at a breakneck 23 minutes, last year’s eight-song Closure was written during pandemic-related lockdowns, and continues the Brooklyn-based psych duo’s “minimal is maximal” ethos, while being a soundtrack for a shattered, uneasy, fucked up world. “During the pandemic the two of us were totally isolated in our home studios,” The Vacant Lots’ Jared Artaud says. “I don’t think the pandemic directly influenced the songs in an obvious way, but merely amplified existing feelings of alienation and isolation. We found ourselves writing in a more direct and vulnerable way than ever before.”

The Vacant Lots’ fifth album Interiors is slated for an October 13, 2023 release through their longtime label home Fuzz Club. Recorded over many sleepless nights and amphetamine-fueled mornings in the duo’s isolated Brooklyn-based bunker home studio, Interiors reportedly sees the duo synthesizing their past work while pushing forward into the future: They go deeper into their long-held minimal is maximal aesthetic but with nods to 70s and 80s punk and nightclub music like Joy DivisionDepeche ModeNew Order and The Idiot-era Iggy Pop

Throughout the entire album, ethereal, metallic synths and blistering electronics are paired with disco-on-downers dance beats, gutter rock guitar riffs and icily detached vocals singing concise, lacerating lyrics. “I like writing songs you can dance or zone out to”, Artaud says: “That duality of individual listening and music played in a crowd has always attracted me. A cross between the club and headphones. Music for loners and lovers.”

“Evacuation,” Interiors‘ latest single is a brooding and trance-inducing, club banger built around Giorgio Moroder-like synth oscillations, industrial clang and clatter, bursts of slashing guitar scuzz and anthemic hooks and choruses paired with Artaud’s icily detached yet vulnerable delivery. Much like its predecessors, “Evacuation” would sound perfectly in place with Power, Corruption & Lies-era New Order, early Depeche Mode and others.

“’Evacuation’ is about internal conflicts and the duality of love and loss within a relationship,” The Vacant Lots’ Jared Artaud explains. “Looking inward and carving out the pain was a mantra for the whole album. You get this moment in time and space to translate complex feelings into the work. It cuts both ways. You’re creating something out of necessity that can also be shared with other people to inspire them or make them feel less alone. That’s what I’m after.”

Brian MacFadyen adds: “This track immediately resonated with both of us early on in the ‘trading demos’ phase of writing the record because of its primitive and raucous aesthetic. It taps into the original DNA of the band.”

New Audio: Epal Shares a Brooding and Ethereal Single

Young Parisian indie electro pop artist Epal started her mononymic solo project back in 2021. And with her solo recording project, the young Parisian artist attempts to mesh French chanson with contemporary pop sounds through her own production.

Released earlier this year, “Couer noir,” the first single off her EP released earlier this year, is built around glistening synths, skittering beats and atmospheric electronics serving as a lush bed for the young, French artist’s ethereal vocal, which is run through a gentle amount of autotune and other effects. The song thematically sees Epal detailing her romantic disappointments with a lived-in specificity of embittering heartbreak.

New Audio: Lady Camden Shares a Slick and Sultry Club Anthem

Best known for being the runner-up on the 14th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the Camden, UK-born, California-based Lady Camden describes themselves as “American’s very own Spice Girl,” a “British ballerina meets 90s pop princess.”

Stepping back into the spotlight as a pop artist, describes her work as “British grit, American charm, shitloads of talent . . .” served up to you like a motherfucking lady.”

Lady Camden’s latest single “Dirtiest Secrets” is a slickly produced, sultry underground club anthem featuring dark angular house music textures for the song’s verses and euphoric, shout-along-worthy bubble gum pop choruses delivered with a world conquering swagger. The song’s structure is meant to take the listener through feminine and masculine behaviors and energies while inviting you to give in to your deepest and wildest temptations.

New Audio: The Lovelines Share a Breezy Meditation on Love

Orlando-based sibling duo and JOVM mainstays The Lovelines — Tessa D (vocals) and Todd Goings (multi-instrumentalist, songwriting and production) — emerged into the scene with the late 2021 release of their debut single “Strange Kind of Love,” a slick synthesis of Amy Winehouse-like blue-eyed soul, jazz standadrs and Dummy-era Portishead-like trip-hop centered around Tessa D’s soulful crooning and a dusty production featuring twinkling Rhodes, wobbly guitars and an infectious, razor sharp hook. 

Over the past year, the Orlando-based JOVM mainstays have released material from their forthcoming full-length debut single-by-single over that period. Last month, the duo shared “May Be Love,” a slow-burning torch song-like take on trip hop and neo-soul built around shimmering pedal steel and congo-led percussion paired with Tessa D’s soulful vocal expressing an aching longing for love — and to be loved.

The album’s latest single, the hook-driven “What Kind of Fool Would Want to Fall in Love?” features a looped, shimmering and finger plucked acoustic, guitar melody and propulsive percussion paired with Tessa D’s soulful crooning. On one level, the song views love with a healthy cynicism — but as the band’s Todd Goings explains, “What Kind of Fool Would Want to Fall in Love is a portrait of the fool in love. Do only fools fall in love or does love make us fools?

With the release of their debut single, 2021’s “Colder,” Los Angeles-based synth duo Sacred Skin — Brian DaMert and Brian Tarney — quickly stole the hearts of coldwavers and goths globally with melancholic undertones and pitch perfect songwriting.

A subsequent series of singles starting with “Eyes Closed” and “Far Away” earned them live shows at Substance Festival, the Hollywood Palladium and elsewhere. Building upon a growing profile, last year’s full-length debut The Decline of Pleasure saw the rising synth duo quickly establishing their sound and approach: dreamy New Wave-inspired arrangements made from the use of early digital outboard gear and samplers paired with DaMert’s vocal delivery, expressing lust and longing throughout.

The rising Los Angeles-based synth duo recently signed to Artifact Records. And to celebrate the occasion, Sacred Skin share a cover of Seona Dancing‘s “Bitter Heart.”

Seona Dancing was a short lived synth duo featuring Ricky Gervais (yes, that Ricky Gervais) and Bill Macrae. They released a two Phil Thornalley-produced singles back in 1983, which were released through London Records before they were dropped and never heard from again. Sacred Skin’s Brain Tarney has had a copy of the “Bitter Heart” 12-inch single in his DJ bag for about a decade. And when reflecting upon covering the song, he said that people always ask him about it, without fail, and that they’ve never been able to track down a single cover of the song — until now!

While the original was an icy, New Order-like take on post punk and synth pop, Sacred Skin manages to craft a fairly straightforward cover that subtly soften the song’s edges and gently pushes the tempo up a bit while retaining the brooding nature of the original.

“We are thrilled to announce that we have signed with Artoffact Records amongst so many of our peers and heroes. Our second LP (and first for Artoffact) will be released in Spring of 2024,” the band excitedly says. “In the meantime we are dropping a cover of a little known new wave anthem from Ricky Gervais and his short lived career as a recording artist before finding his second calling as one the world’s biggest comedians.”

Sat, Oct. 14 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah w/ Forever Grey
Sun, Oct. 22 – Reno, NV @ Holland Project w/ Fearing
Mon, Oct. 23 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Liquid Joe’s w/ Fearing
Tue, Oct. 24 – Denver, CO @ The Crypt Bar w/ Fearing
Thu, Oct. 26 – Austin, TX @ LEVITATION – Elysium 
Fri, Oct. 27 – San Antonio, TX @ Vice Versa 
Sun, Oct. 29 – El Paso, TX @ Modern Art Bar w/ Fearing
Tue, Oct. 31 – Mesa, AZ @ Nile Underground w/ Fearing
Wed, Nov. 1 – Las Vegas, NV @ Backstage Bar w/ Fearing
Fri, Nov. 10 – Los Angeles @ Substance Festival

New Audio: Melody Fields Share Rousingly Anthemic “In Love”

Influenced by SpiritualizedMoon Duo, and La DüsseldorfGothenburg-based psych outfit Melody Fields have quickly established and cemented a sound that seamlessly meshes elements of psych pop, indie rock and shoegaze with enchanting melodies.

The Swedish psych outfit will be closing out the year with the release of two albums: 1901, which is slated for an October 13, 2023 release and 1991, which is slated for an November 10, 2023. Both will be released through Coop Records in the European Union and Nudie Records here in the States. The band explains that 1901 can be best described as a rock album with psychedelic influences. “It showcases repetitive guitar riffs, distorted soundscapes, and mesmerizing three-part harmony vocals. Throughout these musical landscapes, we were fortunate to collaborate with guest musicians from esteemed bands such as Goat and Holy Wave, who added an extra layer of sonic brilliance to the album,” the members of the band explain.

“On the other hand, 1991 takes a different approach as a concept album that evolved from late-night jam sessions, experimental sounds, and danceable music,” the band continues. “It presents four remixes, including contributions from Goat and Al Lover, which inject new life into the original composition ‘Jesus’ from our previous album. The remixes offer fresh perspectives and invigorating interpretations, breathing new energy into the music and allowing it to evolve further.”

Last month, Melody Fields shared 1901 single “Hallelujah,” a Happy Mondays-meets-Primal Scream-like song that saw the band pairing propulsive bongo drum beats, glistening synths, bouyant Larry Levan-era house piano and thumping bass lines with hazy and dreamily delivered vocals. The result is a trance-inducing and trippy dance floor friendly bop that recalls the Madchester sound — but with a sleek, modern feel. “Drawing inspiration from iconic bands like Primal Scream and Happy Mondays, the track transports you to the glory days of early 90s dance-oriented rock,” the members of Melody Fields explain.

1901‘s latest single “In Love” is a fairly straightforward psych rock anthem built around buzzing power guitars, arena rock bombast and rousingly anthemic hooks and choruses that sounds inspired by Give Out But Don’t Give Up-era Primal Scream, The Jesus and Mary Chain and others, fueled by an infectious rambunctiousness.

“This track features infectious rhythms and catchy melodies that capture the raw power and rebellious spirit of Rock’n’Roll, inviting you to unleash your inner passion and let the music ignite your soul,” the Gothenburg-based outfit explains.