Thursday, October 19, 2017

Kiira - Last Time (f. Noah North)

Unf.... I get it. This song is about self empowerment. It's about standing up for what's right and not being used. But it's so damn sexy. It's this syrupy, sultry, adventure into finding your own power and not being taken for granted. This is another one of those dangerous songs that gives you so much life and meaning that you don't even know you've gone to church until it's over. Kiira has such an amazing voice and juxtaposed against the dubstep type track, this is a perfectly contemporary pop song. It's got that Halsey quality of knowing exactly who you are and owning it. Noah North sounds like a much more capable and qualified rapper than G-Eazy and I don't think he'd try to kiss Britney on stage. I want more of this. I want more of Kiira. This is a fantastic track and deserves all the mainstream airplay it can get.

Albin Loán & EKKO - So We Can Sing

Summer songs. There's something about them that just make you happy and lift you up. They're warm. They're easy. They make you happy. Albin Loán is the vocalist that is tearing up the beats that EKKO, a Swedish born producer/DJ, is laying down. If you've been around this blog for any length of time, you know that I ADORE Swedish music. There seems to be an inordinate amount of talent in that country that expresses itself in so many ways and this song is no different. It's a track that leaves you with all the good feelings to get you through a grey autumn day.

Johny Dar - Be Free

"What happened to us…We used to be free."

Whether it's reminiscing over a lost romance or it's wanting to remember a time in which we were less constrained, Johny Dar has created an ode to nostalgia. This track just resonates with me on a very deep level as it makes me reevaluate decisions I've made in my life that have led me to where I am now. Decisions that caused me to feel trapped and feel less free. Music like this is dangerous because it has a very deep, important message wrapped up in a fluid, mercury-like package that's shifting and moving as it works it's way into our psyche. It's not a bad thing but you get so caught up in how the song moves and pulses that by the time you understand that you're being reflective of your own experiences it's wrapped it's musical grasp around you and it's taken hold.

I've listened to the track over and over for about the past 15 minutes now and from the way the song is constructed to Johny's vocals; there doesn't seem to be a misstep here. It's not overworked. It's not beating you over the head with a message. The thoughts and feelings it evokes are not done in a ham-fisted manner. The exposition of the song lets you make up your own mind where it takes you but in the end you are left with a feeling of calm and peacefulness. There's a new wave quality to Johny's vocals and the production has enough of a synthwave quality to it that it has a nostalgic quality to the overall track but it's also got a future leaning quality that makes it new and inventive.

Ferris & Sylvester - The Room

Soulful, easy, an old friend that you haven't seen in a while and things just click like you've never missed a beat. Ferris & Sylvester, the newest singer/songwriting duo from London have released the latest single from their newest EP, Made In Streatham and it's a brilliant bit of storytelling"The Room" was "...written in our bedroom in Streatham Hill. It’s a simple portrayal of what we were going through at the time. It seemed everyone around us was experiencing something similar; bad jobs, bad relationships, long days, crumbling ceilings. We wanted to capture that mix of feeling desperate yet hopeful for the future, something all of us have experienced. We then recorded it in our front room with our favourite musicians. It’s part of a collection of songs that represent a defining moment in time for us, so it was only right to record it our way in our South London flat.”

It's evocative of a much simpler time with it's slow, silky beats and gorgeous harmonies. The slow, methodical bass creates an easy feeling that makes you just close your eyes and go with the flow. Their vocals play off each other so well. There is a grounded, humble quality to the smokiness of Issy Ferris' voice that wraps around you and pulls you in close. She creates this atmosphere of welcoming and acceptance that is just free and easy. Then you add Archie Sylvester to the mix and they blend together so seamlessly. It creates an experience that's familiar and nostalgic without sounding like something you've heard before.

This song is a fantastic example of looking around your life and not wanting more than what you need. Things may be tough and the chips may not be falling as you'd like them but as long as you've got the people in your life that matter; things aren't so bad. It's about making the best of what you've got and appreciating your own accomplishments and sharing those with your loved ones. The grass may be greener but sometimes it's about being proud of your own garden and your own experiences.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Michael Oakely - Turn Back Time

Retro New Wave music is either hit or miss for me. A lot of time, producers and content creators will stick to an instrumental track forgoing finding a vocalist as 80s vocals are trickier to create than an 80s inspired track. There are a handful of artists out there that have the ability to pull off both and from what I've heard from Michael Oakley, he's now one of the lucky few that can replicate a fantastically 80s inspired track. From the brilliant use of the synth to the guitar solo that shreds the track, this is a prime example of how to create a great retro new wave song. His vocals have that soft, easy, romantic vibe that so many artists in the New Romantic movement had. The song isn't overly complicated. It's a very straight forward track and I think that's a damn smart move on his part as it holds up the ideals of a lot of the music from the time period.

From his press kit, "Hailing from Glasgow Scotland, dance/electro artist Oakley has successfully created an innovative style, defying the mainstream with the combination of minimalistic yet memorable melodies with electronic synth-pop. The result is a body of work which celebrates the 80’s - an era of revolutionary artistry but yet feels modern and dynamic." I agree with this. I think that he does have a love for the music of the time. He handles it with a reverence that not many people do and it's apparent in the quality of his work.  

Felix Hagan & The Family - Attention Seeker

"And I don’t like to show my soul to strangers - But show me yours and I’ll show you mine"

Felix Hagan & The Family have quickly become one of my favorite groups. They create music that builds experiences. It's theatrical and it's bawdy and it harkens back to a time of vaudeville and drawing the audience into the performance with the band. They create music that's bigger than your standard pop tune and it's music that leaves an impression on you.

"Attention Seeker" is an incredible piece of social commentary on how we are living our lives. We are so connected in a world of social media and technology but we are less connected to the people in our lives more now than ever. The song talks about two individuals in situations that we've experienced in our own lives in some form or fashion. We long for the ability to connect, to be part of something bigger than our own lives. We are shouting into the echo chambers that we've created; hoping against hope that someone hears us. As much as the song is an up tempo pop track, the message is much bigger than a simple chorus wrapped around a few verses.

I feel like this is a way to get people involved in understanding what the artist is trying to put out. Wrap the message in a very digestible package and before the listener knows it, they've had an experience greater than just listening to a song. And this is such an amazing piece of work. I am in awe of the breath of work that Felix Hagan & The Family are creating.