Category: Single Review

Lyric Video: Eyes of Argus Share Sludgy Dirge “From The Dark”

Currently split between Providence and Salem, MA, emerging doom metal duo Eyes Of Argus — Guitar Hero and Rock Band co-creator and member of Megasus, Ryan Lesser (guitar) and Sam (vocals) — can trace their origins back to the bleakest days of the pandemic when Lesser began crafting tracks rooted in the concept of ugly/pretty: Lesser specifically plays fuzzy, down-tuned sludgy power chords while Sam contributes ethereal vocals and magical lyrics. 

New Audio: Jonas Shares Slow-Burning and Yearning “Too Much To Mention”

Primarily Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter  and multi-instrumentalist Jonas (born Jonas Rendbo) has been hailed by the international music press as the Godfather of Scandinavian soul. Throughout the course of his 20+ year career, the Danish artist has developed and maintained a reputation for being remarkably prolific, releasing copious amounts of original material, which he has supported touring with Omar, John LegendJoss StoneLynden David Hall and Bilal among a lengthy and growing list of others. Adding to his accolades, Rendbo won Artist of the Year and Best Video at the 2016 Scandinavian Soul Music Awards.

Since 2004, Rendbo has split time between Copenhagen and London, where he met his wife and started a family. And while in London, he started collaborating with London-based multi-instrumentalist and producer The Scratch Professer, who coincidentally is Omar’s brother. Rendbo and The Scratch Professor had an instant musical simpatico and a couple of songs they wrote together wound up on Jonas’ sophomore album 2009’s W.A.I.T.T. 

That collaboration also managed to produce a handful of songs that Rendbo kept in the vault for the better part of a decade or os — until the four-song EP, 4ward Fast To Future, which was recorded, produced, mixed and mastered during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in April 2020. The EP, which featured “Pick Me Up” and “What’s Cooking” was a return to the warm, vibey neo-soul sound of his earliest work paired with Rendbo’s sultry and yearning falsetto and his uncanny knack for infectious hooks.

The EP was released to widespread praise across the blogosphere including and was a featured album on Adding to a growing profile nationally and internationally, 4ward Fast To Future‘s material received airplay on soul music radio stations across the globe.

Building upon that momentum, the Danish singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist released the 4ward Fast to Future (Remixes) EP, an effort that features remixes of the EP’s material by friends and musical collaborators done in completely different styles.

“Too Much To Mention” is the first single from a forthcoming full-length album from the acclaimed Scandinavian soul artist. Featuring twinkling synths, a wobbling bass line, skittering beats and Rondo’s yearning delivery, the slow-burning “Too Much To Mention” is rooted in earnest, lived-in lyricism and Rendbo’s unerring knack for razor sharp hooks.

New Audio: Houis Teams up with Foreignlocal. and Ushuaia On Vibey and Intimate “Can’t Explain”

Houis (pronounced “weece”) is French-American, New York-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and visual artist, who has developed an R&B lo-fi sound with elements of indie electro pop and indie house, influenced by Bonobo and Tom Misch

The New York-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and visual artist’s debut album Outgrown is slated for release early this year though Berlin-based label Lekker Collective. The album reportedly depicts the full range of Houis’ influences, including UK garage inspired lo-fi instrumentals, 80s inspired indie pop, R&B and neo soul while featuring guest spots from Emmett KaiBlush’ko and and others. 

Late last year, I wrote about album single “Longtemps,” a woozy, neo-soul-like instrumental built around boom bap beats, glistening keys, reverb-drenched guitars and a funky hook. The song manages to subtly nod at  J. Dilla instrumental beat tapes while evoking a desperately needed feeling of serenity in a mad, mad, mad world.

“With ‘Longtemps’, I was definitely gravitating towards a more mellow/cozy vibe than some of the other tracks on my upcoming album,” Houis explains. “The intention was to write something with a romantic essence: like being in the arms of the person you love and feeling a sense of serenity.”

“Can’t Explain,” Houis’ latest single continues a remarkable run of vibey, neo-soul-inspired bops centered around glistening Rhodes, skittering boom bap paired with Foriegnlocal.’s coquettish delivery and Ushuaia‘s blasts of fluttering guitar. “Can’t Explain” manages to feel warm, intimate, and dreamlike yet subtly melancholy.

The track is described by Foriegnlocal. as feeling like the sun peeking out from behind the clouds on a winter day: “the lyrics reflect on feeling so lucky to have that ray of sunshine in your life, feeling their warmth, making you feel loved and comforted whenever they’re around.”

“I knew Foriegnlocal’s organic and soulful style of singing would be a perfect fit, and Ushuaia’s guitar had a beautiful neo-soul influence which added just the right colour to the entire track,” Houis adds.

M. Byrd is a German-born and based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalists and producer, who can trace the origins of music career, and his passion for music to when he was three: A very young Byrd used to play drums in front of the TV. Eventually, he found his dad’s guitar. Encouraged by a teacher, he picked up electric guitar and attended countless roots jam sessions at local joints. Influenced by Alice ColtraneTom PettyElliott Smith and David Lynch, Byrd began writing his own material. 

The German-born and-based artist turned heads back in 2020 with the release of “Mountain” and “Morning Sun,” tracks that amassed millions of streams and praise from Ones to WatchEarmilkAtwood Magazine and several others while firmly cementing his sound and approach: Intensely personal songwriting paired with shoegazer-inspired textures and pop-leaning accessibility. 

At the end of 2020, Byrd and producer Eugen Koop holed up in Detmold, Germany in a WWII-era British Corps squash hall-turned recording studio, where they worked on The Seed, the German artist’s forthcoming, full-length debut, an effort that sees Byrd personally playing guitar, synths and bass. The album’s material reportedly draws you in to inspire your own evolution. As Byrd says ““When you listen to the album, I hope you feel like you can grow with me. Maybe you’ll find confidence in yourself. We’re planting this thought with The Seed

So far I’ve written about two singles off the album:

  • Over You/Over Me,” a song centered around Byrd’s plaintive and balmy vocal floating over a textured, shoegazer-like soundscape paired with a motorik groove and enormous hooks. Much like his previously released work, the new single is rooted in a bright, hopeful sense of the future. “I dreamt there were snakes all over my apartment,” Byrd recalls. “A snake is a symbol for drastic change in your life and you’re repressing it. There’s a lot of change for  me.  I’m  starting  to  be  a  full-time  musician.  There’s  still  a  pandemic.  I  tried  to  dress  up  this darkness nicely. I talked to a friend who is into interpreting dreams, and she said that snakes in dreams meant that I was going through a profound change in my life. I remembered a quote I once read in an essay by Freud:  ‘A  dream  is  the  liberation  of  the  spirit  from  the  pressure  of  external  nature,  a detachment of the soul from the restraints of matter.”
  • Album title track, “The Seed,” an anthemic, 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock song centered around Byrd’s uncanny knack for crafting rousingly anthemic hooks with earnest, deeply personal songwriting paired with a lush, Toad the Wet Sprocket meets Starsailor-like arrangement. “We realized then that nothing will ever be, no matter how far away you feel from something that’s happening in the world, independent from the suffering out there,” the German singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist explains. “It was a hard realization but we needed to figure out a way to deal with it. Listening to the whole album reminded me of holding a seed in my hands. It felt like the start of something and symbolized birth in times of chaos. The song and the album, we decided, had to be called nothing more and nothing less – The Seed.”

The Seed‘s third and latest singles, “Outside of Town” is a slow-burning, 80s-styled ballad built around glistening guitars, atmospheric synths and Byrd’s plaintive delivery paired with his unerring knack for crafting enormous, arena rock friendly hooks. While arguably the most retro-inspired of The Seed‘s released singles, the song is inspired by contemporary events.

“I wrote ‘Outside Of Town’ a few days after meeting a friend who had to flee from a war with his daughter,” Byrd explains. “It tells his story in a fictional city that is surrounded by desert and war, sustaining itself with big walls and what little water they have left.” M. Byrd adds, “every time I play the song, it reminds me of how I admire people who are fighting for a better life for themselves and their families. All of us could be in the situation of having to look past the borders of our homes, and every one of us should play a part in helping the people who are willing to go through so much suffering to provide a safer place for their family and children.“

The Seed is slated a June 16, 2023 release through Nettwerk Music Group.

New Audio: Daydream Review Shares Lush and Atmospheric “No Eternity”

Elijah Montez is a Chicago-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, frontman, and creative mastermind behind Daydream Review. After relocating from Austin to Chicago, Montez and Daydream Review began catching the attention of Chicago’s leading tastemakers and beyond with the release of 2020’s “Blossom” and 2021’s retro-tinged, self-titled debut EP.

Last summer, the Chicago-based artist released two tracks, an A-side “Sensory Deprivation” and a B-side “Dream Sequence #29,” as a palette cleanser to his Daydream Review self-titled debut EP — and a teaser of new material. That material quickly established Montez as one of Chicago’s most buzz-worthy new artists. And adding to a growing profile, he supported that material with a lot of time on the road with a backing band featuring Kaitlyn Murphy (backing vocals and auxiliary percussion) and a rotating group of friends. 

Slated for an April 7, 2023 release through Side Hustle Records, Daydream Review’s 13-song full-length debut Leisure reportedly sees Montez aiming to expand upon the layered sonic world he has created — and continuing to push the boundaries of modern psych pop with dynamic production and reflective, existential lyricism. “Leisure is about the ever-present tension between the desire for free time, for personal enjoyment and leisure, and the demands that capitalistic society places on those desires, and how it restricts the ability to enjoy that free time,” Montez explains. ” Your job and work, to me, seem to be consistent specters that haunt your ability to enjoy your free time, knowing that those demands are always awaiting you when your free time comes to an end.”

That uneasy balancing act between work and free time informed much of the album’s creation and its themes. “Leisure,” Montez adds “as a concept, became something almost otherworldly and that much more desirable, something you dream about when you have so much time funneled into work, and the repetitive act of balancing those two ends up being something almost hypnotic, and I tried to channel all of that into the sonic qualities of the album.”

Last month, I wrote about “Have You Found What You’re Looking For,” a mellow slow-burn centered around painterly, shogeazer-inspired textures created by glistening, delay and reverb pedaled guitars, fluttering synth arpeggios and paired with a trippy groove and Montez’s ethereal delivery. The song sees its narrator asking himself — and in turn, his listener — if they’ve actually found what they’ve been looking for, with the tacit understanding

“Have You Found What You’re Looking For,” Leisure‘s first single is a mellowm and ethereal slow-burn centered around painterly, shoegazy textures: glistening, delay and reverb pedaled guitar, fluttering synth arpeggios and a trippy groove are paired with Montez’s equally ethereal and plaintive delivery. At its core, the song sees its narrator asking himself — and in turn, his listener — if they’ve found what they’ve been looking for, with the tacit understanding that they may never actually find it anyway. 

One of the last songs written for the album, Montez explains, “I had written roughly the first half of the song and was unsure where to take it, and I remember trying different things, and talking to myself saying, “Have you figured it out? Have you found it?” Montez adds the theme of the track spoke to the broader themes of the project as a whole, “The overarching theme of the song fits quite well in the context of the album–being dissatisfied with work, dissatisfied with the state of the world, and dissatisfied with capitalism at large, and searching for something that can fill in the void that all that dissatisfaction leaves.” 

Speaking to the production and cyclical pattern of its rhythm, Montez says, “I think that’s reflected in the sonic quality of the song, this repetition and cycling through your thoughts and having that “a-ha” moment, where you realize you’re looking for something that may not come.”

Leisure‘s latest single is the lush, slow-burning “No Eternity.” Centered around lush glistening and wobbling synth arpeggios, a mix of blown-out beats and live drumming paired with Montez’s plaintive cooing and his penchant for well-placed, razor-sharp hooks, “No Eternity” manages to bring Currents-era Tame Impala to mind. Sonically, the track came together long before the lyrics. and its dreamy, lush atmosphere compelled Montez to follow through and finish it.

“Lyrically, it may be the closest to a song specifically about COVID–not the pandemic itself, but between the BLM protests in Summer 2020 and this change a lot of people have had to the nature of work, I had a hard time thinking of how things would look on the other side of it, and trying to make sense of the future when the only context you have is the past,” Montez says.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Sophie Colette Shares Breezy and Upbeat Anthem

Currently based in Richmond, VA, singer/songwriter, keyboardist. indie pop artist and JOVM mainstay Sophie Colette initially moved to New York to pursue fashion design. But she pivoted to music after being scouted at a high school reunion by The Party Faithful‘s bassist. As the story goes, about a month or so later, Colette was contributing vocals, keys and synths for The Party Faithful, playing at venues across town.

During that same period, she met singer/songwriter, musician, and Degraw Sound producer Ben Rice. Colette eventually showed Rice a stack of sketchbooks filled with lyrics and visual palettes. Those sketchbooks eventually spurred her work as a solo artist.

“Tonite” off Colette’s debut EP Strangers and Lovers was featured at Jasmine Chong’s runway presentations to the editors of VogueWWDElle and others during New York Fashion Week 2017. Selected footage from the Stephen Dirkes-directed music video for “Get Close” was nominated for Best Creative Concept, Art Direction and Visual Effects at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival. She also supported the EP with a European tour with Berlin-based The Crystal Elephant.

Over the past couple of years, Colette has released a handful of singles that have received praise from my colleagues and dear friends at GlamglareAdam’s World Blog — and of course, this site. Her work has also received airplay on French radio station Déclic Radio 101.1FM.

The JOVM mainstay’s latest single “Don’t Worry” is a breezy and uptempo, hook-driven anthem featuring a mix of live drumming and programmed beats paired with lush, twinkling keys, punchy syncopation and Colette’s achingly vulnerable delivery and lyrics. While rooted in the Richmond-based artist’s heart-worn-on-sleeve earnestness, “Don’t Worry” possesses an easy-going swagger. The song’s narrator is clearly feeling herself. But along with that confidence, the narrator is expressing her willingness to fight for the love they deserve — both from others and herself.

“I wanted to write a song I could dance to, to shake off negativity, and get myself out of bed to make that cup of coffee in the morning and get dressed,” Colette explains. “I needed it as my own antidote to loneliness and self doubt. It became a reminder that I could be my own cheerleader and push myself out of a funk.”

Austin-based doom metal outfit Slumbering Sun Monte Luna’s James Clarke (vocals), Destroyer of Light’s Keegan Kjeldsen (guitar), Temptress‘ Kelsey Wilson (guitar), Monte Luna‘s and Scorpion Child‘s Garth Condit (bass) and Destroyer of Light’s Penny Turner (drums) — is an All-Star band featuring acclaimed members of Texas’ underground metal scene. 

After the breakup of their previous band, James Clarke and Keegan Kjeldsen resolved to forget the bitter pain of an album that would never be released, by creating something new. They decided to start a new band with an album that Kjeldsen wrote between work on other projects. The pair continued the creative process at their rehearsal space with a few songs strummed on a clean, electric guitar: Clarke began to write melodies with the pair finishing lyrics. 

Clarke and Kjeldsen recruited Temptress’ Kelsey Wilson, who made the commute from Dallas for writing and recruiting process. Scorpion Child’s Garth Condit and Destroyer of Light’s Penny Turner, who played in other bands with Clarke and Kjeldsen respectively were recruited to be the band’s rhythm section — and from that point on, Slumbering Sun was a full-fledged band. 

Slated for Friday digital, cassette and CD release, the Austin-based doom metal outfit’s full-length debut The Ever-Living Fire was recorded in a week-long recording session this past summer. Sonically, The Ever-Living Fire sees the members of Slumbering Sun exploring broader melodies while being inspired by Celtic folk, doom metal like Warning, as well as beloved 90s classics like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains

In the lead-up to the album’s release later this week, I’ve written about two singles:

  • Liminal Bridges,” an expansive song featuring an atmospheric introduction with swirling, shoegazer-like textures, followed by stormy, power chord-driven riffage and thunderous drumming paired with Clarke’s melodic crooning and enormous, arena rock-like hooks. The track sonically brought — to my ears, at least — The Sword  to mind — ok but with a prog rock-leaning sensibility.
  • Dream Snake,” an equally expansive track that opens with Black Sabbath and Soundgarden-like intro with fuzzy, power chord-driven riffage, thunderous drumming and a soulful solo paired with Clarke’s Ozzy Osbourne-like delivery until roughly around the five-minute mark. At that point, the song morphs into a sludgy doom metal dirge for the next two minutes or so before a gorgeous string arrangement carries the song into a gentle fadeout. Lyrically rooted in longing and heartbreak, “Dream Snake” sees the members of Slumbering Sun drawing from different eras one metal and doom metal and crafting something both familiar and new.

The Ever-Living Fire‘s third and latest single, album title track “The Ever Living Fire” continues a remarkable run of expansive, mind-bending material. Beginning with 35 second gorgeous, acoustic guitar-driven introduction, the song quickly explodes into an expressive and soulful, doom metal dirge rooted into sludgy riffage, thunderous drumming paired with Clarke’s crooning. Around the five minute mark, the band introduces a melodic hook that shifts the song into an explosive display of layered guitar work. The song ends with a roughly minute-long gorgeous, acoustic guitar-driven coda. It’s arguably the most prog-leaning of the album’s released singles.

New Audio: Two Rippers from Rising London Outfit Island of Love

Rising London-based outfit Island of Love — Karim Newble (guitar/vocals), Linus Munch (guitars/vocals) and Daniel Giraldo (bass) — can trace their origins to meeting through London’s hardcore punk scene, while playing in other hands, including Newbie’s Powerplant. They’ve all shared bills with bands like Chubby and the Gang and High Vis. And with their various previous projects, the London-based trio proudly adhered to a DIY ethos: they booked their own shows, printed their own merch, designed their own very distinct artwork, and self-released material recorded at Fuzzbrain, an East London studio dedicated to fostering the underground music community by making high-quality studio and rehearsal space accessible to artists under 25 years-old at all price points.

The trio released their debut collection of demos, 2020’s Promo Tape. By the time they had written and recorded last year’s Songs of Love EP, the London-based outfit had gotten much tighter. “Promo Tape was us trying to learn to write songs individually but Songs of Love was us trying to learn to write songs as a band,” Island of Love’s Karim Newbie says.

Back in September 2021, Island of Love were invited to perform at the opening of Third Man Records’ The Blue Basement. It’s a good thing that the band showed up to the gig at all, given that they didn’t even think the email invitation they received to play was real. The very real and definitely not spam offer led to their on-the-spot signing to the label, opening slots for Jack White — and their self-titled full-length debut.

Slated for a May 12, 2023 release, the London trio’s Ben Spence-produced, self-titled full-length debut reportedly sees the band crafting material that pinballs back and forth between tones and styles while rooted in crunchy guitars and the intrinsically melodic sensibility that brings Hüsker Dü and Dinosaur Jr. to mind while featuring the shared vocal and songwriting duties of Newbie and Munch. At the core of the material is a great deal of restraint and consideration, the sort that belies their relative youth as musicians — and as a band. While the material is loud and noisy, but it built around push-pull dynamics that results in moments of tenderness and quiet that then elevates the crunch and power of the rousingly anthemic, noisier parts. The album shows the balance of it being written in bedrooms but being honed in live shows,” says Munch. “It captures a contrast.”

Sonically and even thematically. the album explores duality, balance and contrast. Sure there’s crunchy power chords exploding out of the gate and into your eardrums one moment, but there’s also melodic, sugary pop hooks paired with introspective, considered songwriting. “This album exceeded our expectations,” says Newble. “I’m really proud of it.” What we’ve done on this album is much more of an accurate representation of us and where we’re at,” Island of Love’s Daniel Giraldo adds. “The EP sounds good but the difference on the album is huge.”

When the band set about making the album, they wanted to carry over as much of that DIY spirit as possible. They continued their relationship with Ben Spence and Fuzzbrain, who helped the band record their early demos. For the band, Spence, Fuzzbrain and the community both have fostered have proven invaluable to the band. “Growing up I couldn’t afford equipment,” Newble says. “But Fuzzbrain was this space where you could go to practice and use insane equipment. We never had to bring guitars, pedals or leads. You could just show up and plug in. We would have struggled to be a band without that place.” According to Giraldo , ““It’s very much [Spence’s] record as much as it is ours.”

The London trio recently shared the first taste of the album with the double A-side single “Grow”/”Blues 2000.” “Grow” is a 120 Minutes-era MTV-like bit of alt rock centered around crunchy power chords, thunderous drumming and the sort of enormous, melodic-driven hooks that immediately brings Dinosaur Jr. and others to mind. “Grow”is the first song the trio ever wrote together, and has been pulled and reimagined from their demo release, Promo Tape. “Blues 2000” continues the 90s alt rock vibes but is rooted in dueling guitar riffage and thunderous drumming.

Both songs are fan favorite staples of their live show and are always played back-to-back.

New Audio: French Duo Denuit Share Tense and Propulsive “I’m Bleeding”

French goth duo Denuit — Lis (vocals) and Ivi (keys) — specializes in a synth-driven goth that features elements of coldwave and post punk. Last year, the duo released their sophomore album Inferno.

Inferno‘s latests ingle “I’m Bleeding” features glistening synth arpeggios, relentless four-on-the-floor and an angular bass line paired with Lis’ achingly plaintive vocals and rousingly anthemic hooks. Sonically, the end result is a song that — to my ears — is a slick synthesis of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Whispering Sons, that evokes a creeping and unsettling sense of existential dread.

Maddy Boyd is a Santa Fe-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, who cut her teeth with stints in indie rock outfits Current Joys and Surf Curse. In 2019, afterplaying over 150 sold-out shows, Boyd left both bands to pursue her solo recording project Your Angel. That same year. she released her full-length debut, Pipe Dream.

Boyd’s sophomore Your Angel album A Star in the Headlights is slated for a March 17, 2023 release. So far, two of the album’s previously released singles “You Never Say Sorry” and “Misbehave” have received praise from the likes of Consequence, NYLON, and Notion among others.

A Star in the Headlights‘ third and latest single “Good Girl” is a slow-burning Quiet Storm-like bop centered around an atmospheric production featuring lush and glistening synths, skittering beats paired with Boyd’s plaintive and yearning cooing and her unerring knack for catchy hooks. While sonically bringing JOVM mainstays like ACES, Beacon, and others to mind, the song as Boyd explains is ” . . . about dating someone, who always has their sights set somewhere else. It’s about the feeling of spending all of your time with someone and still feeling profoundly alone.”