Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent is the highly anticipated debut album from Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi. The album dropped today. It features the viral sensation “Bruises” and the mega hit “Someone You Love”.
The album opens with full force on “Grace“. This track is the perfect opener and introduction for the record. The mid-tempo pop-rock track shows off Lewis’ vocals with just a bit of rasp and lets the listener know that this album is one of heartbreak, love, loss, anxiety … All of the feelings that are tough to sit in. “Bruises” is a melodic piano driven ballad. That allows for Lewis’ vocals to be front and center. The ticking clocks usher in “Hold Me While You Wait” which is his current single and focuses on the anxieties of being in limbo in a relationship. The softness and beauty highlighted in the piano and melody on “Someone You Loved” set against the fraught vocal achieves it desired effect. The album picks up the pace again on “Maybe” and “Lost On You” with Lewis changing up his vocal delivery somewhat and electric guitar being the focus on these songs. “Forever” takes inspiration from Doo-Wop elements and is one of the highlights from the record for me. “One” and “Hollywood” falter a bit, being sleepy amongst the other gems on this record. Although Lewis gets back on track with “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and “Fade“, the two most soulful and R&B inspired tracks on the album. The vocals on both matching that style as well. “Headspace” is the perfect close out song encapsulating the sound, feel, and vibe of what is “Devinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent“.
Actress and GRAMMY® nominated Singer-Songwriter Rebecca Pidgeon has released a new three-song EP called “Circus Delirium”. The EP produced by Thomas Bartlett (St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, and YokoOno) is an enchanting set filled with emotion that is conveyed mostly through Rebecca’s often soft yet alluring vocals. On “Underwater Boys” the lyrics are as cheeky as the music with the jazzy pop music flitting about. The title track “Circus Delirium” is dark and enchanting and a bit heavier in tone than the first track. We end with “Sudden Exposure To Light” a track that highlights Rebecca’s vocals best alongside minimal necessary instrumentation, closing out “Circus Delirium” the short but very fulfilling three track EP. You can learn more about Rebecca and her music as well as stream the EP all down below.
Yearløve is a four-piece Alternative Pop band from Nashville. The members (Logan Chase, Austin Way, Gavin Osbourne, and Kenny Walker) all draw from different musical backgrounds and genres to create a diverse sound on top of the Alternative Rock genre. This is most evident on Yearløve’s current single “I Don’t Miss You”. The song is at heart a love song but one of loss and moving forward after a break up. Lead singer, Kenny Walker reminisces about missing the good feelings with the relationship but not necessarily the person itself. This is all anchored against rumbling guitars, bold drums and some jazz elements strewn about the song in a way where it’s not dated. There are also some electronic sounds heard throughout elevating the track. To learn more on Yearløve and to stream the new single “I Don’t Miss You” then you know what to do, look no further than below.
Rival Sons took to the stage Thursday night on the heels of their ‘Late Late Show with James Corden’ appearance
Rival Sons, the blues rock band had the audience grooving and shaking at The Fonda in Los Angeles this past Thursday night closing out their successful North American tour.
The show was a rowdy, fun and loud one from the get go. The opener The Sheepdogs (a Canadian rock band formed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) whose set was a lively and jovial one even featured trombone on one of the songs. By the time Rival Sons took to the stage The Fonda was packed (it was a sold out show) and the audience was ready for them to come out. The band hit the stage tearing into the set with such electricity you could tell the crowd was loving it. Rival Sons is a band that is very reminiscent of old school rock and roll. Their show at The Fonda proved that with fans feeding off the high energy of the band. Rival Sons had the entire venue rocking. You can view my photo gallery from the show below and thanks for the invite out Elektra Music Group!
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Crywolf (the boundary pushing music project of Justin Taylor Philips) returns today with the release of “Mabúl [CEPHALOTUS Official Video]” act two in the “WIDOW’ Short Film” Series. Although it’s the first released of three parts, it is the second in the series. “Mabúl ” takes on an overall feeling of helplessness, fear, and anxiety in this evocative and haunting clip. The video although jarring is very cinematic, capturing the overall feeling of gloom. It’s no wonder since Crywolf learned how to breath underwater for four minutes with the help of dive training just for this music video. To learn more on Crywolf and to check out “Mabúl”, act two in the “WIDOW’ Short Film” series then look no further than below.
YSSY, is a indie synth pop duo based in Toronto. The duo is comprised of singer-songwriter/producer Elliot Caroll and multi-instrumentalist/producer Simeon Abbott. They released their first single “You Stay I Stay” in January, YSSY debut EP is coming this Summer. The band also started the independent record label and music production company Spruce Sound in 2018.
YSSY have released their follow up single and it’s a gorgeous one. “Sooner” tells a story of realizing how you actually feel about someone and wanting to tell them, yet you don’t know exactly how. YSSR says it’s an almost love song. The track is full of rich harmonies, beautiful melodies, and pulsating retro 80s synths. The lyrics are heartfelt and sweet but not at all saccharine.
“There’s a double meaning to “Sooner” lyrically: you want things to move forward, but when a relationship feels this good, you also wish it could have happened earlier.” – Elliot Caroll
To learn more YSSY and to stream the track “Sooner” look no further than below …
Lewis Capaldi delivers a heart-rendering new single, “Hold Me While You Wait”
Singer-Songwriter Lewis Capaldi is back with another beautifully delivered heartbreak ballad. “Hold Me While You Wait” which is off his upcoming debut album “Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent” uniquely captures the aching realization that the one you love is still waiting for someone else to appear. Lewis’ vocals are strong and haunting on the track fully tearing into the emotion that is this song.
“‘Hold Me While You Wait’ is a song I wrote about the uncertainty of being in a relationship when your partner isn’t sure what they want. There’s an impending hopelessness to the whole thing, on both sides, when they’re not sure whether they want to be in that relationship or not, for me it’s one of the most desperate places you can find yourself in.” Lewis says of the track.
Following the major success of his current single “Someone You Loved” which has amassed over 300 million plays and topped the charts in both Ireland and Scotland. Lewis is headed out on a U.S. tour in June. His debut album “Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent” which recorded in London, NYC and Los Angeles will be released on May 17th. To learn more on Lewis Capaldi, stream “Hold Me While You Wait”, and to pre-order his debut. Look no further than below.
Alternative R&B singer-songwriter, BANKS has made her return to music with the single “Gimme”. The song is BANKS first major release since 2017’s “Underdog”. BANKS co-wrote the song with Buddy Ross (Frank Ocean, HAIM) as well as co-produced it with Hudson Mohawke (Kanye West, Drake) & BJ Burton (Bon Iver, Francis, and the Lights).
“‘Gimme’ is a song about getting what you want. It’s about knowing what you deserve, saying it out loud, and demanding it with no apologies. I’m ready to release this into the world and begin a new chapter,” says Banks.
“‘Gimme” is a sexy, dark, and hypnotic Electro-R&B number. Taking lead from the get-go BANKS assured vocal delivery throughout the track feature some of her most powerfully fierce lyrics yet. “‘Gimme” is the perfect comeback track, with BANKS giving us a first taste of what’s to come from her this year. As 2019 is also when she is expected to release her next album since 2016’s The Altar. You can listen to the new BANKS track below.
Seba Kaapstad are a captivating band using their diverse backgrounds as a huge canvas for their music. The latest single “Africa” combines a mix of jazz, soul, hip-hop, and the music of Africa in a swirl of sounds. I chatted with band about music, their current single and upcoming album, creative processes and much more. You can read about it all below …
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Morning Bird or Night Owl?
SEBA KAAPSTAD: Zoe and I for sure Night Owls, on the other hand Manana and Pheel definitely Morning Birds
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What are some of your earliest music memories? It could be as a band or individually.
SEBA KAAPSTAD: As a band there was an initial moment and also our earliest music memory, when we first came upon each other and jammed some tunes together. There was such a beautiful vibe in that room and everybody was left speechless cause we didn’t expect this kind of chemistry at all levels. That was also the beginning of Seba Kaapstad.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I love the music video for “Africa” how did you guys come up with the concept for the visuals?
SEBA KAAPSTAD: Thank you very much, I’m glad you like it. Actually the concept for the video was created by Harry Delgas – a friend of mine – after he listened a to the song a few times. „Africa“ is a song of contemplation and his idea was to capture this by the artists looking at their reflections in the mirror
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Let’s talk about your current single “Africa”. Can you tell me more about the creative and writing process behind it?
SEBA KAAPSTAD: We wrote the song together. Pheel and I created a rough idea for the song and sent it over to Zoe and Manana. They then sat with the beat and just improvised till they knew what they felt like writing about at that moment. Usually the themes vary depending on what they think needs to be said. There are so many stories they like telling that they try not to limit themselves, whether its love, pain, loss or joy and identity. Africa is a song describing how Africa is a place where people from multiple cultures can call home, no matter what is going on in the continent.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How do you think having a band with such a diverse background drives your sound?
SEBA KAAPSTAD: With two members from Europe and two from different parts of Southern Africa, we almost had no choice but to experiment. And the result is a combination of African percussion and vocal sounds, combined with European and jazz harmony with hip hop and electronic elements. We as a band have similar tastes in music and what we listen to, but our backgrounds are so different, and you can hear that in our sound. A sound combining cultures literally on different parts of the world.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Your full length release “Thina” is set be released this May. How has the recording and writing process been for it?
SEBA KAAPSTAD: We have taken a different approach with this album. The music is more electronic and has a variety of elements that we did not explore in our debut release. However, every song is still a journey on its own. We take our listeners on a trip from the first minute, till the very last second. The writing process of our songs has been challenging at times with us having to navigate being from two continents and making it work. We write in a combination of ways. Often I will come with chords or a beat made by myself and Phil, and after a brief discussion between Zoe and Manana about what they feel the beat feels like, they write. Bouncing ideas off one another until it sounds like a good story to make a song out of. Afterwards Pheel and I will finish the song in our studio. We even do the mixing together.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Dream musical collaboration?
SEBA KAAPSTAD: We hope to get „Sampa the Great“ someday for a collab cause I’m sure her style would fit perfectly to our band sound. Also working with „Anderson .Paak“ would be definitely a big dream. Both artists influenced our sound a lot. But of course there are many more we would like to work with.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you as a band lately? What music have you guys been digging?
SEBA KAAPSTAD: There have been many artists „On Repeat“ since we have been working on „Thina“ Right now it’s „H.E.R.“, „Emily King“ or „Oumou Sangbare“ but also Bands like „The Internet“, „Jaga Jazzist“ or „Hiatus Kaiyote“.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What was everyone’s favorite children’s book as a kid?
SEBA: It’s „Der Struwwelpeter“ a book for children from 1844 ZOE: I don’t have one. Instead was being told children’s stories called „Inganekwane“ in sisZulu MANANA: Also don’t have one PHEEL: It’s „Pippi Langstrumpf“ from Astrid Lindgren
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: And what’s next for Seba Kaapstad as band?
SEBA KAAPSTAD: After the Release there will be a small tour in Europe in June and also one in November. So the focus will be on our live setup first. But we’re already writing and producing new music. I think it’s always good to focus on multiple things at the same time to keep the workflow going.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Anything else you guys would like to add? Thank you for your time!
SEBA KAAPSTAD: Thank you too for having us on your blog. We really appreciate your work there!
So that’s that you can stream the new Seba Kaapstad single “Bye” belowandforget to subscribe to my emails and like always for the latest and best in music, entertainment and pop culture be sure to stay tuned with The Reclusive Blogger!
Meet newcomer singer-songwriter and artist Yoshi Flower. He is currently opening up for K-Pop Hip-Hop band Epik High on their U.S. tour. I got to chat with him immediately after he took to the stage at The Wiltern. We talked about his creative process, music, books, including The Catcher in Rye. Yoshi Flower has a unique style and artistry of blending multiple genres such as Rock, Trap, R&B, the heavy synths of Electronic music against a backdrop of pop melodies and hard edge guitar. His Friday night opener slot at The Wiltern showcased such, the inner workings of an artist looking to make an impact as well as one with major promise. It was just him and a guitar as he played through a fast paced set of songs, just enough crowd interaction and tons of energy. He ended his set surprising the crowd whom he had clearly won over by throwing his guitar into the air in total rock star fashion. Below you can read my full interview with Yoshi Flower …
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I always start off with an ice breaker question so are you a Morning Bird or Night Owl?
YOSHI FLOWER: I say I’m a night owl. I’m a Night Owl.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Me too.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: It was mentioned that you have a new song “Empty” coming out can you tell us a bit more about it?
YOSHI FLOWER: It’s about no matter how hard you try to fix internal problems with outside things it’s never gonna work. The harder you try to fix the inside with things that you see on the outside is the worst thing you feel inside. I’m just done with that. I don’t give a fuck about anything other than just like passion, inspiration, family, helping other people. And it’s been working for me as far as my happiness. So that’s what it’s about.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: As far as the sound, does it kind of sound more like your current single dirty water? Or is it kind of sound different?
YOSHI FLOWER: It sounds like Dirty Water.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: That one sounds cool btw.
YOSHI FLOWER: Thank you.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How did you come up with the name YOSHI FLOWER and why that name?
YOSHI FLOWER: Because my name is Joshua Flower, my legal name. And Yoshi is a nickname for Joshua.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Did it have anything to do with the video game character?
YOSHI FLOWER: No. But it was a pleasant coincidence.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Is there a lyric that you’ve written that has the most meaning to you or is your favorite?
YOSHI FLOWER: No. Extremely hard to pick from.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What was your favorite children’s book as a kid?
YOSHI FLOWER: My favorite book as a child was “Where the Wild Things Are“.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Oh, that’s a good one. That one has a lot of symbolism in it too.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: If you could turn any book into a song what book would you pick and why?
YOSHI FLOWER: I feel like I would pick like The Catcher in the Rye just because I feel like Holden Caulfield was the original ‘Sad Boy’. It might just be the bubble that I live in. But people are very extroverted with their sadness right now. It’s almost like a form of flexing. And it’s great that people can get their feelings out and validated in that way. But I feel like he was like the OG ‘Sad Boys’.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: To be honest, that’s my favorite book ever written. Yeah, I love JD Salinger and everything he’s ever written.
YOSHI FLOWER: He’s just a rock star.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What’s a typical creative and writing process like for you?
YOSHI FLOWER: I try and write as much as I can. I really respect the craft of songwriting. But typically the stuff that ends of coming out is just like word vomit. It’s rare that I write a melody first, I’m trying to more. I’m trying to write a melody and fill in the words, like a lot of my idols. A lot of people that have made great compelling art, as far as songwriting media have been really focused melodically and then they’ve gone back and filled it in. And, and I haven’t. I’ve only realized that people like my music, like, pretty recently, so I haven’t, like, approached it as any sort of an exercise ever. But now that I have the space, to just be creative, to start stretching myself in those ways. And also, sometimes it’ll just be, I’m driving, someone’s driving me and I’m in the seat. Someone said something and I write it down. And then I’m like, I gotta get home and write about it. So I come from the words world.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What’s your favorite 90s jam?
YOSHI FLOWER:Nevermind by Nirvana. The entire album.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Are there any current artists that have been “On Repeat” for you lately? What music have you been digging?
Young emerging pop singer Cloe Wilder just released her debut track as a solo artist. “Overthinking” hones in on the struggles of anxiety she faces. This is something many of us face. The song features Cloe’s soft and melodic vocals against a electro-pop track that’s heavy bass-laden with pizzicato strings and accented with melodic synths. Cloe Wilder with “Overthinking” fits quite nicely into the space of so many young artists today who openly express all of their emotions with song, particularly the more difficult ones such as sadness. To learn more on Cloe Wilder and to stream “Overthinking” look no further than below …
DJ/EDM producer Dee Mash released his latest single “io” today (with Zack Marshall). The track is fresh and unique take on the typical EDM banger flipping ‘the drop’ upside down. While the song is a tad slow going, when it picks up it hits hard packing in a full punch of melodic electro beats, heavy guitars and trap influences. It gives the track a forward leaning sound while still bringing that club banger appeal. You can check out more on Dee Mash and stream the song “io” below.
‘The Wheel’ is the fun and futuristic new single from duo TSHEGUE. TSHEGUE are a French-Congolese Afropunk band featuring lead singer Faty Sy Savenet and French-Cuban producer Nicolas Dacunha. After gaining fans like Mura Musa and Vice from their debut EP as well as a MTV UK VMA nomination, TSHEGUE are a band on the rise, with “The Wheel” being top evidence of it.
The song from the get go is a massive banger with the opening notes of bass of drums hitting hard. The sparse rhythmic vocals from lead vocalist Faty Sy Savanet kick in along a syncopated glitchy electro beat, creating what is a truly infectious song from the unique and progressive duo. To learn more on TSHEGUE and stream “The Wheel” then look no further than below…
The returning single from rising RnB singer IYVES is everything a return should be. The aptly titled “Gold” is a love ballad showcasing her sexy and beautiful vocals over a slick captivating beat. The song explores the endless depth of feelings that come with a true and fulfilling love, i.e. ‘Gold‘. The kind of love that is hard to find as it is rare. So once you do, it feels like a dream. What clever and fun word play from IYVES.
“finding someone that treats you better than you’ve ever experienced,” a feeling that you didn’t know was physically possible to feel. The song begins with skepticism in her voice and in the lyrics, but progresses to an understanding of how rare and special this circumstance of love is”. – IYVES
The song fuses a number of genres overall including RnB, Electronic, Pop, Soul, and even Rock. “Gold” has quite an sexy, and enigmatic vibe overall as it’s a good slow burn. To learn more IYVES and to stream this song look no further than below. ⬇️⬇️
‘Savages’ is the infectious debut single from your new favorite boy band RØYLS
RØYLS is the buzzed about new band that is the brainchild of Sean Killeen, Liam Ross, and Drew Dirksen. Their debut single “Savages” is co-written with renowned songwriter John Feldman (Panic! At The Disco, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Blink 182) is a fresh and lively pick for a debut, featuring a hugely melodic chorus. The super catchy song also takes notes from multiple genres such as Pop, EDM, and even a bit of reggae, melding them altogether quite well. Overall it’s a great first outing for what promises to be a super fun Pop Rock trio.
Hey Violet (Singer Rena Lovelis, her sister and drummer Nia Lovelis, Lead Guitarist Casey Moreta, and Bassist Iain Shipp), the four piece Alternative Pop band is back with a fun new single titled “Better By Myself”. It’s the first release from the band since their 2017 debut album “From The Outside”. The song is a catchy, and groovy pop rock number featuring a hooky sing along style chorus. The subject matter of relationships and freedom is albeit nothing new but very relatable, makes “Better By Myself” perfect for Pop radio. To check out more on Hey Violet and the link to stream “Better By Myself” see below.
KIANJA is the latest signing to the Best Laid Plans record label. Her latest single “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is a fantastic second offering, showing major promise from this young talent. The song oozes heartache that is reminiscent of artists older than she. As KIANJA vocals dance about the track with what seems like such an ease, the emotion she evokes is clear and evident. It is a love song but one of heartbreak, of letting go even when you don’t want to making the track bittersweet. KIANJA is a rising talent that’s a must listen, so to learn more about her and to stream her new track “I Can’t Make You Love Me” look no further than below.
Maya B is the Los Angeles based R&B singer and songwriter recently signed to Capitol Records
I chatted with Maya Babout her latest single “Dollar to a Diamond“, music, touring, and even her favorite children’s book …
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Red Vines or Twizzlers?
MAYA B: Red vines. I have them in every green room.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: For my readers at The Reclusive Blogger can you us how you got started as singer and songwriter? Who and what inspired you to take that journey?
MAYA B: I’ve been writing and singing ever since I can remember honestly. I fell in love with music when I was 5 and started making music when I was around 7. What made me get into music was my mom putting my sisters and I into a girl group. As time went by I started taking it very seriously.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Let’s talk about your current single “Dollar To A Diamond”. Can you tell me more about the creative and writing process behind it?
MAYA B: Yeah, so Hydrate (upcoming producer) and Soulshock made this track one night together and played it for me the next day. I fell in love with it and started writing. I wrote and we recorded “Dollar To A Diamond” in a single day.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: You not only also express yourself as an singer-songwriter but in other art forms as well. What’s a typical creative process like for you?
MAYA B: I don’t have a creative process set in stone honestly. It’s ever-changing because I hate structure haha. The only thing that’s inevitable when I create is: I like looking at photos or colors when I write a song. I like listening to music when I paint or draw.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Since you are currently on tour. What are three must have items for you?
MAYA B: My beats headphones because I’m an antisocial fuck. My iPad because I draw my digital art on there. And my lucky pants because lucky pants are a must.
TRB: Switching gears now … What was your favorite children’s book as a kid?
MAYA B: ‘No David, No’ for sure!
TRB: Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you guys as a band lately? What music have you been digging?
MAYA B: We’ve been jamming to Juice WRLD and we all really love jazz so the guys recently put me on to Gretchen Parlato. I’ve been listening to a lot of XXTENTACION, King Krule, Brigitte Fontaine, and Celebration.
TRB: And what’s next for you, Maya B?
MAYA B: I’m gearing up to release my EP. I’m super excited for everyone to see some different sides of me. I’m also getting ready to drop the “Dollar to a diamond” video.
TRB: Anything else you would like to add? Thank you for your time!
FRENSHIP are a platinum selling duo. Most known for their global hit “Capsize” with Emily Warren. They are set to release their debut record “Vacation” on May 17th. The album is full of warm harmonies and beautiful propulsive melodies, and the themes such as love, relationships, happiness, home, and Los Angeles. FRENSHIP has released two songs from the album including “Remind You” and “Wanted A Name” which features Yoke Lore. The band are festival favorites, selling out headline shows in 2018 after previously touring with frequent collaborators Bastille.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my emails and like always for the latest and best in music, entertainment and pop culture be sure to stay tuned with The Reclusive Blogger
‘Deja Vu’ will definitely have you hitting repeat!
Deja Vu’ is the highly relatable new pop song from Nashville based singerBrit Daniels. On the trackBrit Danielsmulls over a relationship that is going nowhere or around in circles where she feels like she’s stuck in “Deja Vu”. The lyrics are vulnerable and along with Daniels heartfelt singing make for quite the moody yet catchy track. You’ll be singing the chorus in no time.
Check out more onBrit Danielsand follow her on social media below. As well as listen to “Deja Vu”.
Alison Wonderland hopes to find ‘Peace‘ on this heartbreaking new track
‘Peace‘ is the catchy and emotional new tune from DJ, Producer, and Singer-SongwriterAlison Wonderland. Released today with an equally stunning video from Venice, California based creative duo Cue the Bird who helped bring her vision to life, along with Jake Kasheta who produced it. The visuals capture the song well. The struggle to find solid ground after a relationship goes wrong and ends. It’s an intense internal journey, the juxtaposition of light and dark, and hope and despair. Alison Wonderland takes the listener on a strong emotional journey on “Peace” hoping we all come out in the end with at least a little bit of it. Check out the video for “Peace” below and link to stream and buy. Also links to Alison Wonderland socials and official website.
Grace May is the New York based and Toronto born R&B, neo-soul singer and artist. Her stunning new single is a must listen. The song “Quiet” is a treat featuring captivating vocals set against a minimalistic backdrop of what appears to be as a few instruments as possible. The production bare as well.
“I wanted the instrumentation to be as raw as the lyrics”.
– Singer Grace May
The lyrical content is all at once honest, raw, and immediately engaging to the listener. Grace May’s dazzling falsetto is what is most notable on this track, only enhancing to what is already a beautiful and highly emotional song.
Singer Haley Reinhart (and former American Idol alum) released her fourth album “Lo-Fi Soul” today. The soulful singer-songwriter brings together a unique perspective to this thirteen track collective.
Haley’s jazzy and often smokey timbre is the highlight on “Lo-Fi Soul” as she runs through the in’s and outs of love and heartbreak. Something we all can relate too, in one way or another. On the gospel-tinged opening track “Deep Water”, the 60s Doo-Wop inspired “Oh Damn”, and “Shook” where Reinhart’s playfulness and sexy appeal are most apparent. Reinhart’s vulnerability on this album goes beyond that. On songs like “Don’t Know How to Love You” and “Crack The Code” she ruminates over a relationship and all of its issues. The album is peppered with musical analogies (i.e. “Lo-Fi Soul”) some of which are cliche, but fitting hence the album title. The album overall is a cohesive piece of work if perhaps a bit sleepy towards the end. Any fans of Haley Reinhart will be thrilled with delight, while she’ll definitely gain new fans and listeners as well.
Fresh off her opening tour slot with Bastille, Best Laid Plans Records, Singer & artist Akine talks music, her band members and collaborators the Wavewalkrs, plus more at The Reclusive Blogger …
The Reclusive Blogger: Hi, Akine. I always start with a fun ice breaker question so …
The Reclusive Blogger: Morning Bird or Night Owl?
Akine: Definitely Night Owl. I’m most productive from 10pm and 2am. That’s usually when i write too.
The Reclusive Blogger: Can you tell us how you got started as a singer and songwriter? Did you always want to be that?
Akine: Yes. As long as I remember I’ve always wanted to be a singer/ songwriter. It was either that or becoming a Pirate. There was no third option. I started writing lyrics and melodies when I was 11 or 12 and it gradually became an obsession, compulsion. By 16 I had enough material for a few albums. Some of it will never see the light of day but some of the songs are now released or will be later this year. My sister helped me record a few tracks and get them to a label. So here I am now.
The Reclusive Blogger: You released your debut EP, Don’t Foster Fear last year? What was the writing and recording process like for you? Especially being a young debut artist?
Akine: I had written a few songs that came together into a theme. I was going through a rough time at school, feeling like an outcast and just very anxious and fearful of everything. These feelings came to form the concept of the EP. Recording was pretty awesome. James Earp is a fantastic producer and now a great friend. He immediately got me and the music and the lyrics. It was so easy working with him. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by people who believe in me so i cant say that I’ve had to struggle in that sense.
The Reclusive Blogger: You are currently playing a few shows with Bastille? How has that experience been for you? Have any you gotten any touring tips from your fellow tourmates?
Akine:The experience of touring has been a real eye opener. Watching BASTILLE, their work ethic, the way they prep and perform its just all done on such a high level of professionalism. They have been so supportive of my music from the very start. It’s pretty surreal that I went from being a Bastille fan to performing on one stage with Dan Smith. It’s been incredible, the experience, the people who make it all look so easy when there’s actually a ton of preparation that goes into playing every single show. I cant wait to do more live, its such a high. Also, being able to perform with my friends and band mates the Wavewalkrs it just didn’t feel like work. Physically demanding but also emotionally rewarding, that’s how id summarize touring.
The Reclusive Blogger: Speaking of Bastille … what’s your favourite Bastille song?
Akine: I have a few but I guess I would have to say “Two Evils”.
The Reclusive Blogger: What musician would you love to collaborate with? And Why?
Akine: There’s so many! I would love to collaborate with Fiona Apple, Modeselector, Mitski, Brockhampton or Ben Howard.
The Reclusive Blogger: Is there a lyric that you’ve written that has the most meaning for you or is your favorite?
Akine:In “Cashmere” I wrote about a girl I used to be close with and as we grew apart as friends, our values also changed and it broke my heart a little bit. I guess at one point being cool and popular became a priority for her and in a way I felt like she chose that over our friendship.
“Everything you do, you do it for the camera, the likes and the views. Writing your name on the walls, i was here. Gotta remind them or they will forget”
– Cashmere by Akine
The Reclusive Blogger: Throwing in a fun one here… If you could live in any fictional universe, which would you choose?
Akine: I would either live in Pirates of the Carribean themed universe or Harry Potter world. Definitely somewhere really spontaneous where anything could happen.
The Reclusive Blogger:Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you lately? What music have you been digging?
The Reclusive Blogger: And what’s next for you Akine?
Akine: More music. Hopefully I’ll get an album together before the end of the year and release that. Like I said before, I want to travel and play live, I love meeting the people that listen to my music.
The Reclusive Blogger: Anything else you would like to add? 🙂
Scottish Singer-SongwriterNina Nesbitt played to a packed house at The Roxy on Sunset last night (March19th, 2019). Hitting Southern California on her “The Sun Will Come Up” tour with openers SophieRose and Plested, the love was loud and clear for her in West Hollywood …
Sophie Rose started the night out leaning towards a more Pop Rock style of songs that were carried by her heartfelt songwriting and airy vocals. She is definitely one to watch, she mentioned that Taylor Swift has playlisted one of her songs. Plested was next and it was him and a guitar, his unique voice brought a soulful quality to his indie guitar music.
Nina came onstage to loud cheers and many in the crowd wearing the merch that they had just bought. From the start of the first note and line her fans were singing along, and dancing, many with their camera phones up not wanting to miss anything for prosperity. Running through such songs as “Sacred”, “These Are The Moments I’m Missing”, “Colder”, “Psychopath”, (where she brought out Charlotte Lawrence and Sophie Rose), “Empire”, and “Somebody Special”. Nina then came back on for an encore of “The Sun Will Come Up” and “Loyal” (which was an absolute crowd sing-along favorite). The biggest surprise though was Nina (excuse me Nina Nesbitch) covering Britney Spears “Toxic”, while she and her Keyboardist repped two fan-made “Nina Nesbitch” hats from fans in the audience. The entire show was fresh, fun and all about the music and vocals from start to finish. If you haven’t seen Nina live or heard her current album “The Sun Will Come Up, the Seasons Will Change” please do so, you’ll thank me. Check out my photos from the concert below and to learn more about each artist …
I chatted with ‘Austin songtress’ Saint Spicer about her current single ‘On Repeat’, music inspirations, Anime, and much more. Check it out all below!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Red Vines or Twizzlers?
SAINT SPICER: Twizzlers…if I have to choose.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Can you tell us how you got started as a singer and songwriter? Did you always know you wanted to do this?
SAINT SPICER: Yes, I did! When I was a child I had a Barbie karaoke machine and I knew I wanted to be just like Shania Twain. Then when I was 10, I wrote my first song about a crush I had on one of my YMCA instructors.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: So you just released a new song “On Repeat”. Can you tell me more about the creative and writing process behind that? The backstory for this song?
SAINT SPICER: The producer of this song is Born Soul. He actually heard me perform at my first ever concert in Austin. It went horribly, the sound people completely messed up my track and I ended up getting kicked off the stage after my time went up. I was really mad. But everyone who saw that performance came up to me afterwards and said even with the tech issues they were impressed. Born Soul was there and reached out to me after and wanted to work on a new project. So we got in the studio and he pulled out this sample, and I just started singing “I remember back when I was 18…” And he put together the first verse and I wrote the first verse. Then I went home and sent over the finished song the next week. Jason Cherry is the bassist and I realized the song needed a bass player. This was the first song we did together, and now we’re working on a whole album.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Let’s talk about the song’s cover art … How do you feel the cover art for “On Repeat” fits in aesthetically with this song and with you as an artist right now?
SAINT SPICER: A creative partner of mine, Aleksandar Tinkovski, took that photo of me. I knew I wanted it black and white, and he had the idea to take it in a bar with the long exposure. The cover photo is very reflective of being still and pensive in a time of chaos. Also, alcohol.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Are themes of love and loss something that you feel most comfortable in telling? Or just telling about human relationships overall? Be it good or bad.
SAINT SPICER: Yes, unfortunately. I feel the market for love songs is way oversaturated, but it’s what comes naturally. So when I do write about love I try to be brutally honest about what I’m feeling. The rest of the time, I try to tell stories!
TRB: Where do you normally draw inspiration from as artist and musician?
SAINT: I draw inspiration from ANIME. I cannot state that enough. Anime is cathartic to me. Japanese culture can be very intense, and their art is a designed as an amazing escapist experience that I can’t get out of my head.
TRB: You mentioned that artists like Nina Simone, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé were huge influences for you. Why have these artists like these have been so inspiring for you? And if you could cover one of their songs which one would you choose and why?
SAINT: These women are amazing songwriters. Their work holds up over time. Nina has done amazing things outside the boundaries of blues, soul, and jazz, and has an extremely nuance understanding of rhythm. Beyoncé and Gaga are absolute rockstars. I would cover “Save Me” by Nina Simone because it’s saucy and has a good bassline.
TRB: Dream concert venue to play at?
SAINT: Super Bowl
TRB: Throwing in another fun one here…If you could live in any fictional universe, which would you choose?
SAINT: Avatar the Last Airbender! I’m tryna fly.
TRB: And what’s next for you, Saint Spicer?
SAINT: Jason Cherry and I are working on an album called Space Cowgirl. It’s based on an anime Cowboy Bebop and follows the archetypical story of the Ugly Duckling. It’s a story everyone can relate to—feeling like you don’t belong, being lost, and then eventually finding your people. It’s a funk album and it’s amazing.
TRB: Anything else you would like to add? Thank you for your time!
SAINT: Please stream “On Repeat” and consider supporting our recording for Space Cowgirl online at saintsaidso.bandcamp.com! We release new songs every month.
British band You Me At Six (Josh Franceschi, Max Helyer, Chris Miller, Matt Barnes, Dan Flint) made a triumphant return to Los Angeles on Monday night with a packed show full of their biggest fans in Los Angeles. The band has been playing shows across the U.S. on their ‘Back Again‘ tour with Synth Pop band machineheart and Alt-Pop trio DREAMERS as openers. You Me At Six rocked the venue charging through a set of 18 songs …
Los Angeles based Synth-Pop band machineheart started out the night in dreamy fashion, bringing beautiful harmonies and gorgeous melodies from lead singer Stevie Scott. The band itself was in sync and their vibe was a great way to kick off the night. Alternative Pop band DREAMERS were next and the band walked out onto the stage to a massive amount of cheers as their fans had shown up to support. The band played a fast-paced and fierce six-song set (as did machineheart) which featured some fun Alternative Rock dance numbers.
You Me At Six hit the stage at around 9:45 pm coming out on stage to an already very excited and loud crowd. The crowd stayed like that the entire night. The band tore through 18 tracks from 5 albums, playing through such songs as “Reckless’, “Loverboy’, to “NightPeople’, “IOU’, and “Bite My Tongue’ and many more (full set list pictured above). The band also performed a four-song encore coming back onstage to a crowd of fans chanting “You Me At Six!’, featuring “Room to Breathe‘, “No One Does It Better‘, “Straight to My Head’ and “Underdog’. You Me At Six had every single fan in the room matching their same high energy, happy and excited to see their favorite band. All singing along word for word, dancing having a great time. It was fun to see a band that was not only in sync with each other but was clearly having a ton of fun on stage. You Me At Six, lead singer Josh Franceschi made sure to interact with the crowd physically but through banter as well, yet he didn’t over do it. The show overall from openers to headliner was an exciting, high energy show (on a Monday night no less) filled with an engaged audience and lots of good music. See my photos from the show below …
I chatted with singer, songwriter and guitarist CraigStickland about music, life on the road and his upcoming album “StarlitAfternoon” which features the current single “BurnItDown“. You can read the interview below and learn more about Craig and his music …
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Coffee or tea?
CRAIG STICKLAND: Coffee.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: So you just dropped your latest single “Burn It Down”. Can you tell me more about the creative and writing process behind it? A bit on the backstory?
CRAIG STICKLAND: In the final stretch of the album making process, Cat Lewis and I were writing and producing a ton of music in search of a few more up tempo songs to round out the mid tempo feel of the rest of the album. “Burn It Down” started as a song about rebellion against governments that try to oppress those who are trying to live a life of freedom. After about a month’s worth of re-writes, it ended up as a song about coming together with your fellow human being, living a life of your choosing, while maintaining a theme that no one should be able to tell you how to live the life you want to live.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Your second album “Starlit Afternoon” is coming out this Summer. Can you talk a little bit about how the recording and writing process has been for it?
CRAIG STICKLAND:Starlit Afternoon is a collection of songs that I’d been writing for the last few years while traveling across North America in a sprinter van that I renovated to be my home away from home, as well as while traveling around the world playing guitar in her band, as well as opening up for Alessia Cara. They’re songs about my relationships and experiences during that time period. After trying to find the right production sound with a variety of different producers, and ultimately ending up liking my home demos more than the fully produced versions I was ending up with, I decided to co-produce the album with a few good friends of mine; Cat Lewis and Gray Hawken. Alessia’s keyboardist Eric Rusinski, Cat and I had just finished converting a guest house garage into a studio in LA, so I parked my van in front, AirBnb’d my apartment, and we got to work over the better part of a year. We were in the studio every day, sometimes making 6 or 7 versions of the same song until we got it right.
TRB: Have you always known you wanted to be a singer-songwriter and guitarist? Who are some guitar heroes of yours?
CS: I knew I wanted to be a singer songwriter when I first picked up the guitar at age 16. When I first saw John Mayer play live, that’s when I knew I wanted to be a singer-songwriter and guitarist, and that I needed to step my guitar playing game up.
TRB: Let’s talk a bit about your music video for “Burn It Down“? What was the inspiration behind it? What was the filming like for you on the music video?
CS:Emma Higgins who directed the video is incredible, and she was the true visionary behind the video. We knew we wanted a live performance element to capture the energy of the recording, and it was Emma’s idea to drive around California and capture total stranger’s initial reaction to hearing the song on 16mm film.
TRB: Is there a lyric that you’ve written that has the most meaning to you or is your favorite?
CS: One of my favorite songs on the album is the album closer “Good Love” which is a very personal song written about how hard it is to find pure love, especially with my career choice. The verses are very personal, and I really like the way they came together.
“Staring at the city and I feel like crying out. The words you used to whisper, I now hear so loud. If I’d known you’d be so precious, I would have been more kind. Tell me now why is good love always so hard to find. Lately I’ve been drinking to escape my state of mind. As I pull up to an empty bar, I read your script inside. It tells me not to be reckless, and that everything will be fine. Tell me now why is good love always so hard to find. Maybe it’s the way I live, different city every night. They say that you get what you give, when you left I felt the plight. Maybe things would be different if I wasn’t working all the time. Tell me now why is good love always so hard to find.” – Craig Stickland // ‘Good Love’
TRB: Are there any current artists that have been “On Repeat” for you as a band lately? What music have you been digging?
CS:Tom Misch has been one of my favorites for a while now. His first two albums, Beat Tape 2 and Geography are on heavy rotation. I’ve also been listening to Gary Clark Jr.’s new album, and Nathanial Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ album Tearing at the Seams. Emily King’s new album is incredible too.
TRB:And what’s next for you, CraigStickland?
CS:I’m really eager to share this new music. I’ll be releasing new songs from Starlit Afternoon leading up to a mid summer Album release. My Next single “Rolling River” Comes out on March 22nd. I also shot a series called ‘The Van Sessions’, where we filmed and recorded live versions of most songs from the album, fully powered by the solar panels that I mounted on top of my sprinter van. We shot a different song in each of my favorite locations around California like Big Sur, Joshua Tree, Yosemite National park and Alabama Hills, to name a few. And of course, more touring to come!
English Indie Pop artist The Japanese House (aka Amber Bain) has released her debut album ‘Good at Falling” out today on Dirty Hit. The album is co-produced by her and The 1975′ George Daniel. Whose own band you can hear has been a major influence on her production but her sound as well. On ‘Good At Falling“, her debut full-length record many influences are heard and felt here. The songwriting is honest and vulnerable, with a quiet sadness felt throughout the album. All of it set against lush electronic instruments, bright guitars, earthy drums, and clever purposeful sampling akin to what is done in hip-hop. Amber’s vocals range from soft and pretty to heady with a touch of grit. Her use of different audio processes is only to enhance the sound. Such as the intro of the album, with her use of heavy processing and samples, before segueing into a dreamy 80s like synthpop. Songs like ‘Maybe There’s A Reason“, and ‘We Talk All The Time” we hear more synthpop influences and artists like The Beach Boys and Blondie. Even little things such as chimes and bells. A vocoder effect shows up on her vocals for the song ‘Wild”. While the track musically has elements of 90s shoegaze and modern electro-pop, Amber’s vocal delivery incorporates a bit of modern hip-hop/RnB swag. All in all the debut album ‘Good at Falling” is a promising one showcasing her songwriting talents as she hones in on the little things that make The Japanese House unique.
New Orleans Alternative Rock band The Revivalists have released a new music video for the song ‘Change‘. The track is off of their fourth studio album Take Good Care, with the music video filmed at Meow Wolf’s spellbinding House of Eternal Return. The art collective that is backed by Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. ‘Change‘ is already a Top 3 Triple A radio hit and is quickly climbing Alternative radio charts! So check out below the very trippy and colorful video below that’s directed by Zev Deans who has also directed videos for St. Vincent and Ghost. I have also listed The Revivalists upcoming tour dates as well so be sure to check them out on the road! The band has sold out dates in St. Louis, New Orleans, Austin and Downers Grove already. Check out the full list of dates below.
THE REVIVALISTS 2019 TOUR DATES –
3/8 — Madison, WI, The Sylvee 3/9 — St. Paul, MN, Palace Theatre 3/10 — Milwaukee, WI, Riverside Theatre 3/13 — Tucson, AZ, Rialto Theatre 3/15 — Tempe, AZ, Marquee Theatre 3/16 — Las Vegas, NV, The Chelsea Theatre 3/23 — St. Louis, MO, The Pageant 3/25 — Downers Grove, IL Tivoli Theatre: Classic Cinemas 3/27 — Dallas, TX, South Side Ballroom 3/29 — Houston, TX, Revention Music Center 3/30 — Austin, TX, Stubb’s BBQ 3/31 — Austin, TX, Stubb’s BBQ 4/3 — Orlando, FL, House of Blues 4/5 — St. Petersburg, FL, Jannus Live 4/6 — Key West, FL, Key West Amphitheater 4/28 — Panama City Beach Florida, Sandjam Fest 5/02 — New Orleans, LA, The Fillmore New Orleans 5/19 — Columbia, MD, DC 101 Kerfuffle
Crywolf is the boundary pushing music project of the talented artist Justin Taylor Philips. On his current single ‘DRIP‘ from his full length album titled widow [OBLIVØN] Pt.I] that’s due out March 22nd.
Crywolf says of the single, “one of the themes of this album is the exploration of the shadow – the darker, more difficult aspects of the human psyche. People often think they have one unified “personality,” but the truth is that we are made up of up to a dozen different personalities that are only loosely tied together. We feel like we have so much control over our actions and personality characteristics, but often when we pay close attention and are honest with ourselves, we can see that we can’t actually control or even explain large parts of who we are. ‘DRIP‘ is the my process of staring into my brain and being brutally honest about some of the really difficult aspects of what I see there. It might not be, but it’s uncomfortably real.”
The song itself is heavily influenced by a lot the darker toned Electro Pop and Electro Rock that is emerging right now. The beat that pulses through out lends itself to Trip Hop, but there are many influences overall. Crywolf’s frenetic vocal delivery hovers somewhere along the lines of a punk rock melodic sing-along and actual rapping. It’s quite the vibe with the different found sounds and percussion in the background. The song ends as Crywolf’s vocals suddenly flip and turn into a softer tonality, almost a whisper as some acoustic guitar comes in fading out almost as fast as the track started.
‘Dreaming‘ is the super catchy and fun new single from Brooklyn based band VHS Collection. The band comprised of longtime friends Conor Cook, James Bohannon, and Nils Vanderlip wrote the 80s tinged euphoric track in Los Angeles, during one of the bands’ writing sessions. ‘Dreaming‘ is the first single that VHS Collection have put out sincethe band released Retrofuturism in 2018and if you’re wondering if this band sounds familar you’re right. The band has recently been featured in quite a few tv shows, including the hit Netflix show ‘YOU‘, Younger and Showtime‘s Shameless. So do yourself a huge favor and go check out the groovy new single from VHS Collection out now below!
Singer and GuitaristGary Clark Jr. is back with a brand new album ‘This Land’. The debut single and title track is already impacting radio. Garnering praise from the likes of Keith Richards, Alicia Keys, and even Former PresidentBarack Obama. Gary is taking no prisoners with this album. His unique ability to seamlessly blend so many genres, Soul, R&B, Blues, Rock, Pop, Funk … really too many to name but it all works well together on ‘This Land’.
We begin the journey on ‘This Land‘ with the title track that is at once a soaring anthem and a super personal track about growing up a Black Man in America. Where getting your own it could still change nothing. It is angsty, driven and is devastatingly beautiful. It’s the perfect opening statement for the record. We segue into tracks ‘What About Us‘ which has a slightly slower tempo but is still riding that same bluesy funk rock feel as the opener. On ‘I Got My On Eyes You’Gary first slips into his falsetto which is featured heavily on this record. This track with all of its old school soul influences has lots of fuzzy guitar shredding throughout. There are also some notable electronic elements peeking in and out. On the pleading and lovelorn ‘I Walk Alone‘ he maintains the falsetto for most of the song with the guitar matching the vibe and feeling as well, harkening back to 60s RnB with just a bit of the Blues as well. Gary picks up the pace significantly with the next two tracks, ‘Feeling Like A MillionBucks‘ and ‘Gotta Get Into Something‘. Both songs are on the opposite ends of the musical spectrum, with ‘Feeling Like A Million Bucks‘ being a feisty, slinky and reggae-tinged track while ‘Gotta Get Into Something‘ being a harder edge bouncy punk influenced song. Yet, they both fit. The reason for this is the signature guitar sound snaking throughout not only these two songs but each and every track on ‘This Land‘. Tracks like ‘Got to Get Up‘ and ‘Feed the Babies‘ have so much Swagger and 70s Funk influences (love the 70s funktastic horns flittering about both songs).
His latest release ‘Pearl Cadillac‘ is just beautiful and a sweet ode with the guitar softly shredding along not too much but not too little. One of the highlights on the album that is so full of standouts. It is a shame because my least favorite song on the album is right after ‘Pearl Cadillac‘. ‘When I’m Gone‘ is a bit clunky amongst the rest of tracks on ‘This Land‘. While there truly isn’t too much wrong with the track as a whole it’s a pretty groovy song. It doesn’t quite come together for me with this one. ‘Guitar Man‘ is a fun blues inspired track that sounds most like classic Gary. As the song continues you’ll find it’s quite the foot-stomping number. ‘Low Down Rolling Stone‘ starts off with some heavy fuzzy guitar and drums. The track feels like a new ageRock anthem for the broken and indifferent. The heaviness in the instruments and only adds to the soulfulness and emotionality of the track. It’s another highlight for me. ‘The Governor‘ is just straight up blues and rock and roll, with the use of an acoustic guitar. This is just a fantastic track overall. Gary’s vocals have a gruffness we don’t hear on much of the record. Gary does a complete 360 on ‘Don’t Wait Til Tomorrow‘ and brings in strings, beautiful harmonies, and more modern influences, like 90s RnB. His vocals shine best on this track. The album ends on tracks ‘Highway 71‘ and ‘Dirty Dishes Blues‘. ‘Highway 71‘ is an instrumental track that opens on a cool sultry electro beat with the guitar riffing along the top of the beat. ‘Dirty Dishes Blues‘ is just a good old fashioned honky tonk blues jam about heartbreak, a perfect way to close out the album that is ‘This Land‘. This record encapsulates so many styles of music that is America, but also the heart and soul of Gary Clark Jr.
Myylo, the Nashville based emerging pop singer-songwriter dropped his new single ‘Cyborg‘ today. The uber catchy song mixes the singers penchant for idiosyncratic lyricism, catchy hooks, unique melodies and his notable falsetto. The song evokes the spirit screw ups in love and heartbreak oh so well leaning into the singers whimsical vibe, where he often draws inspiration from not only classic 70s singer-songwriters like Carole King to pop artists of today such as Kim Petras and Rex Orange County. The Twilight Zone intro to the song says it all and truly introduces you to Myylo as an artist.
“One thing I’m proud of with this song is that it manages to address something heavy while sounding joyful. I’m literally wishing I could talk to God to figure out why I F’d things up with my ex. Its like, yeah, my personal life may be a dumpster fire right now, but we’re still gonna dance about it and laugh through the tears.” – Myylo
Leah Voysey, New Jersey native and Modern Pop singer-songwriter. She has just released a new single ‘Poison‘. Leah is at heart a singer-songwriter but her vocals and the production on ‘Poison‘ are in the vein of many modern female pop artists but with a twist. I got to chat with Leah about ‘Poison‘, her songwriting, music in general and much more below …
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Red Vines or Twizzlers?
LEAH VOYSEY: Definitely Twizzlers…and maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but the black licorice is my favorite.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: So Leah can you tell us how you got started? Did you always want to be a singer and songwriter?
LEAH VOYSEY: I’ve always been a lover of music, and I always wanted to be a performer (specifically an actor). It wasn’t until I was in college that I started to believe in myself as a singer and a songwriter. I didn’t think I had the chops to create music until I sat down and actually tried.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: You used to play acoustic shows in London as well before returning to your roots in Asbury Park in New Jersey? What are some of the ways the music scenes in both places are same? In what ways are they different?
LEAH VOYSEY: In London and Asbury Park, I feel this strong sense of community. Everyone supporting everyone instead of making it feel like a competition. The biggest difference is the accessibility to music. London is so huge, so if you wanted to go out and support your friends, you could really only see one show a night. In Asbury Park, you can hit up 3 different venues a night if you wanted. Maybe even more. It’s a musician’s playground.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Let’s talk about your song ‘Poison’. Can you tell me more about the writing process? The recording process as well. The backstory to this song?
LEAH VOYSEY: To be vague (I don’t want to give away all my secrets), Poison is about fighting with the angel and devil on your shoulder. It’s about realizing you are the one driving your own destruction. I wrote the song in one night. I actually filmed the entire process for some reason. It was really cool watching that back and seeing how the song progressed. I wish I could release that video, but it’s too embarrassing! The recording process was so smooth. Working with MaYaY0 (producer) and Joe Pomarico (sound engineer) was extremely collaborative and encouraging. The three of us have a few more songs up our sleeves for the future!
TRB: It you had the chance to cover any song and give it the ‘Leah Voysey’ treatment what song would you pick? And why?
LV: Well, if you come see my shows on February 23rd and March 6th, you can see this answer come to life! I am covering Pat Benatar‘sHit Me With Your Best Shot. For the February show, our rendition will be pretty close to the original. But in March, we are going to slow it down and make it jazzy and sexy. I think Pat Benatar is such a cool rocker chick. Even though I am recording modern pop music, I want to show people I have that grit and smoky quality to my voice like a lot of women of the 70’s and 80’s.
TRB: Since your roots are in the acoustic singer-songwriter genre but lean towards pop sensibilities. Who are some pop leaning singer-songwriters that have influenced your sound?
LV: My answer to this is always the same. Halsey, Bishop Briggs, and Billie Eilish. They are all leaning towards pop, but with their own little spice added. They all fit the genre enough to be considered pop, but with very distinctive voices, lyrics, and production techniques. I don’t want to be just another voice in the crowd. When people hear my songs for the first time, I want them to think, “That’s Leah Voysey.”
TRB: Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you lately? What music have you been digging?
LV: My friend Diana showed me this duo, Overcoats. They are so cool! It’s two women, who I would consider to be pop artists, but their sound is heavily influenced by folk music.. The juxtaposition of those two genres is really intriguing.
TRB: Do you have any dream collaborations?
LV: Well, I might as well aim high for this question, right? John Mayer would be an amazing person to collaborate with. His lyrics are so descriptive and unique.
TRB: And what’s next for you Leah?
LV: Besides my live performances coming up, I’ll be releasing a music video for Poison in the next couple of months. Diana, who I mentioned above, directed such an amazing concept that really brings the meaning of the song to life. I’ll also be back in the studio on March 3rd recording with producer, Andrea Morgan. There definitely isn’t a shortage of updates about my career!
TRB: Anything else you would like for me to add? 🙂
Hopeless Records Emarosa’ just released their highly anticipated album ‘Peach Club’ and to celebrate they held a record release show at The Hi Hat LA in Los Angeles on February 9th, 2019. For the originally post-hardcore band, ‘Peach Club’ is a huge leap into a new sound but a welcomed departure. For fans it is a way to hear their favorite band spread their wings, and Emarosa’ fans were very present at The Hi Hat LA this past Saturday showing their support for them at this sold out gig.
The three openers Alke, Modern Maps, and UFO UFO all brought something exciting to the table of varying degrees. Alke is a female singer-songwriter whose heartfelt lyrics and melodic vocals filled the venue, Modern Maps brought the party and had lots of fun energetic electro tracks that the crowd loved. UFO UFO kept up that same vibe with their stylistic indie rock leanings. All in all the openers brought a bit of everything for everyone.
The fans were there early for Emarosa (and in the cold or at the very least what is considered cold for California), many of them in Emarosa merch particularly ‘Peach Club‘ merch as Emarosa also held a ‘PeachClub‘ Pop Up to celebrate the official release. I could tell from the atmosphere in the line already that these fans were devoted. In speaking with a fan who was wearing a jacket similar to lead singer Bradley Walden, she told me I was going to love the show as it was very high energy. She was right. The band tore through a relatively fast paced and fierce set that had the crowd going from start to finish. There wasn’t a member of the band that was low on energy. The entire audience was singing along word for word with front man Bradley Walden. This was a crowd despite how late it was that came here to party and to rock out. So for someone who was not familiar with Emarosa walking in, the energetic show they put on complete with band member acrobatics, lots of crowd interaction, and the fans being so happy to see their favorite band was so contagious. I not only left the show with a smile on my face, but I also left with total appreciation for a band and it’s fan base who are first and foremost all about the music.
Check out my photo gallery of all of the artists from the show below!
Host Bodiesisa live Electronic duo based inSan Franciscocomprised of MC/producerJames Collector(aka Swoop) and multi-instrumentalistNick Hess. They have just released a new EP ‘Diamondfruit’ of beautifully chill songs that you’ll be sure to add to at least one or two of your Downtempo or Mood playlists. Theseven track EP opens with the track ‘Stories’ the notes are soft and lush. It later picks up in speed bringing in other instruments to the track most notably twangy guitar. We transition to ‘Wildcat Beach’ where nature one of Host Bodies biggest influences starts to become even more evident. Sounds of water and the beach forming the better part of this song. Tracks like ‘Accept’ and ‘Orange Marble’ are two of the more groovier tracks on the EP. Even with‘Accept’ clocking in 8:36 it’s the standout track with twisting and turning through all of it’s 8:36. On ‘Diamondfruit’ nature and the organic sounds found within it is the basis for the music. That combined with live guitar work, and electronic music elements,Host Bodiescreate a unique and beautiful soundscape blending two different palettes and it works quite well. It’s a great EP to put on and just mellow out. Therefore allowing yourself to fully feel the melodies created and just escape.
Melbourne garage band and psych-rockers, Money For Rope have released an artsy video for their new single ‘Actually’. The track is lifted from their upcoming album ‘Picture Us’ which is due out on March 8th, is in full black and white, fast paced and created in one night by one of the the bands two drummers (yes, I said the band has two drummers), Eric Serba. It features a series of sequential photos taken at the bands rehearsal space.
Speaking about the process, Scerba says; “The photos were very much on the fly although I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like. It was pretty much impossible to know the timing of everything, but there’s a part in the song where the crash hits with a shot of me hitting the crash and it just worked.Sometimes that shit happens. There’s a kinda psychedelic aspect to it all which I liked –using the images to do different things like capture some of us in two places at once. The black and white makes it more nightmarish. We wanted to have all the shots happen at once so it had a constant flow of momentum.The hardest part was editing,as 25 frames a second doesn’t match the song’s bpm.”
View the fun and unique clip for ‘Actually’ below and to learn more aboutthe band ‘Money For Rope’ as well as pre-order ‘Picture Us’…
I want to introduce you to New York based gender-fluid musician and artist Areté. The concept-popsinger-songwriter and producer has released a scorching and futuristic Electro-pop number, ‘Trip’. With chilling yet fierce vocals atop a cool stuttering beat. ‘Trip’ tells the tale a dark tale of making bad decisions of which could only end in disaster. Yet it being one of the best feelings in the world. Areté says of the track “It’s a sci-fi road trip fantasy – like the beginning of a futuristic lesbian Thelma and Louise or Bonnie and Clyde – you know it will end with the deaths of its thrilling rebel protagonists, but you want to go on the ride anyway. It’s about the danger of being an adrenaline junkie and jumping in when you don’t know where you’re going.”
Areté by Alicia Fischmeister
Check out more from Areté and hear the daring song ‘Trip’ below.
Alex Barnes otherwise known as Girl Wilde has released another angsty and fun single. ‘Fake Louis‘ features Alex’s raspy yet soft vocals (showing off hints of early Fiona Apple in just the right places) highlighting the mid-tempo electro-rock number. The track is also an introspective one lyrically. It speaks to the singers’ ups and downs in struggling with her sense of self. In dealing with ones quirks no matter how weird, or big or small. The backstory though is quite funny and the songs origin story. Girl Wilde would carry around a fake designer bag and her friends nicknamed it her ‘Fake Louis‘. Girl Wilde so aptly turned an odd joke amongst friends into a song that is easily relatable and enjoyable.
Alex Barnes aka Girl Wilde
Girl Wilde on ‘Fake Louis‘ is proving to be an artist that does her own thing. She doesn’t fit into any particular one genre or just tick one box. So if you want a song you can not only rock out to but will have you in your feels. Put on Girl Wildes’ ‘Fake Louis‘ you’ll thank me.
Northern Ireland quartet, Brand New Friend have just released a roaring new single titled ‘I Was An Astronaut’ off their debut album ‘Seatbelts For Aeroplanes’. Brand New Friend (fronted by sibling pair Taylor and Lauren Johnson) have been championed by the likes of Radio 1 and Matt Healy and are currently signed to XTRA Mile Recordings.
The title track ‘I Was An Astronaut’ is reminiscent of early to mid 90s Alternative Rock and Emo leanings. The way the band approaches it’s songwriting especially at such a young age is quite refreshing. The melodic pop style vocals add an effervescence to the track. Which is quite assertive with it’s loud, bright punchy guitars and hard hitting drums. The song overall is quite the catchy one, with a very hooky chorus and with easy to remember lyrics perfect for singing aloud to at shows and festivals. The accompanying track ‘You Make Me Want To Grow Up, Sometimes’ is another fast paced track (both songs clock under 2:40) in a similar musical vein as ‘I Was An Astronaut’. The lyrics are as angsty as any early oughts song but the underlying theme is love. Both tracks from Brand New Friend I would definitely add to your current music rotation. Also be sure to check out the video for ‘I Was An Astronaut‘ as it is quite the sweet one!
I got the chance to chat with electronic band Host Bodies about music, their upcoming release ‘Diamondfruit’ (due out February 8th) and much more. The band blends beautiful soundscapes, live instruments and electronic beats to create a sound that is uniquely their own. Their latest song ‘Accept’ is out now and you can check out my interview with them below!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I always start out with an easy ice breaker question. CD or Vinyl?
HOST BODIES: Vinyl.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I tend to never ask a follow up to this but how big is your Vinyl collection?
NICK HOST BODIES: Ah, it’s growing. We’ve been collecting for years. We’ve got our first record on vinyl and thinking about pressing this new EP on vinyl. Not for the release day, but soon after.
JAMES HOST BODIES: Here’s the reason why vinyl is better. It’s apocalypse proof. Everything goes down and the CD players don’t work anymore. You can turn a crank on some kind of apparatus for your vinyl records.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: See, I never thought of that …. That was a new concept to me. But yeah, I started collecting vinyl recently too. And it’s great.
TRB: So for my readers who don’t know about Host Bodies how did you guys come to be? How did you guys get the band together? Was this something that had just organically come together?
NICK HOST BODIES: James and I had been friends since middle school and then high school. We would play rock and roll and garage band type of stuff. He was the drummer and I was the guitarist. Then we lived together in college and that was the first time we collaborated on more electronic music. James was making a lot of beats and he was inviting me to collaborate on some of the writing and some of the recording and yeah, that’s essentially how Host Bodies got started. It was a name that James had for himself and luckily I was able to become a collaborator on it. And ever since then we’ve been creating songs together and releasing music. We’ve had other collaborators over the years but it’s mainly been this core duo of James and me.
TRB: Were there any bands from the early electronic music days that you guys both bonded over?
HOST BODIES: Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9). Early Tycho and Bonobo.
“You know we live in such a crazy time development and modernization that you’re always sort of seeking an asylum or refuge in nature”
– Host Bodies
TRB: How do you transfer your sound from studio to stage when touring? How is that entire process like?
NICK HOST BODIES: Real instruments are a big part of our recording process so we try to incorporate them on stage as much as possible. Of course, we still use computers, pretty much everybody does these days. But electronic music is almost more of a technique for us than a genre, even though we still identify with the electronic genre. So on stage we have electric guitars, bass, analog synthesizers, stuff that we can touch and play with. James has live rap vocals on the hip-hop style tunes. Then the backing tracks fill in whatever we as two people can’t do live.
TRB: Since you guys specifically mentioned that a lot of the EP is inspired by the sounds of California and Colorado. How so? How are the soundscapes used for each state differ from each other?
JAMES HOST BODIES: We try to spend a lot of time outdoors getting out of the city. Getting to the beaches and the mountains. And there’s something about being in nature that is inspiring, that out of that silence, out of just those kind of natural sounds, bird songs, wind, the hushed silence walking on fresh snow or pine needles or rushing water in a river, that really kind of flows into you like a well. And when you get back into the studio and get on an instrument, it passes through you into the sound. So there were definitely specific places in mind in Colorado and California that inspired the music.
TRB: If you could collaborate with any musician? Who would you choose and why?
NICK HOST BODIES: Little Dragon, that’s easy we’re huge, huge fans of them. And Yukimi Nagano especially is one of our favorite female vocalists. She’s magic. She worked with Gorillaz too. And they’re another band that’s all live but in the electronic genre.
TRB: Yeah, I could see that being something that would work. It doesn’t seem like a stretch or where did this collaboration come from?!
TRB: Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you guys lately? What music have you guys been digging?
HOST BODIES: Christopher Willits, Tycho, Snuise, some of our local electronic music makers. At the gym lots of Run The Jewels and Disclosure. And in 2018 Chrome Sparks, DJ Koze, Maribou State and Ólafur Arnalds put out amazing albums.
TRB: Throwing in a fun one here… What’s your favorite ’90s jam?
JAMES HOST BODIES: The Romeo and Juliet Soundtrack, Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics.
NICK HOST BODIES: Fatboy Slim, Chemical Bros, and really early Daft Punk.
TRB: And what’s next for Host Bodies?
JAMES HOST BODIES: Our album release show at a really special venue in San Francisco that I won’t name yet! Also a remix or two.
NICK HOST BODIES: I’m a graphic designer myself so I am really interested in more video stuff for the band.
TRB: Anything else you guys would like to add? Thank you for your time!
NICK HOST BODIES: We’ve been in SF a while and have been looking for this kind of community and family of electronic musicians. We feel lucky that we found some talented peers to play local shows with and they continue to inspire us at the same time.
JAMES HOST BODIES: Also I think we need to mention the EP ‘Diamondfruit’ drops February 8th. It’s really coming from an intention to provide our community and listeners with music that’s a refuge and a healing resource. Whenever they just want to chill out, whenever they want to dive deep into what they have been going through, or reconnect with joy—that’s what the EP is for.
TRB: Congratulations on the upcoming release. I love the album you guys and it was nice talking to you about it.
Listen to Host Bodies below! You can also pre-order ‘Diamondfruit’ as well
The 91st Academy Awards® nominations in all 24 Oscar® categories will be announced in a two-part live presentation on Tuesday, January 22, via global live stream on Oscar.com, Oscars.org, the Academy’s digital platforms – Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
You can view the list of 91st Academy Awards® nominees below and congrats to all of the nominees!
Below is the list of categories to be announced by Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Blackish). Along with the schedule ….
5:20:00 a.m. PT: (Not listed in order of presentation) Actor in a Supporting Role Actress in a Supporting Role Costume Design Film Editing Original Score Animated Short Film Live Action Short Film Sound Editing Sound Mixing
5:30:30 a.m. PT: (Not listed in order of presentation) Actor in a Leading Role Actress in a Leading Role Animated Feature Film Cinematography Directing Documentary Feature Documentary Short Subject Foreign Language Film Makeup and Hairstyling Best Picture Visual Effects Adapted Screenplay Original Screenplay Original Song Production Design
Tweet along with me as we watch the nominations announcement and use the hashtags listed below provided by The Academy. I have also embedded a live stream as well. What else can I say but it’s officially Awards Season! #OscarsNoms #Oscars
I chatted with Maine singer-songwriter and multi instrumentalist, Alice Limoges about music, songwriting, her inspirations as an artist, and her current single “Hungry For A Vice”. Check out the interview and more on her single below ….
THERECLUSIVEBLOGGER: Hi, Alice It’s nice to e-meet you! I always start out with an easy question. Morning Bird or Night Owl?
ALICE LIMOGES: Hello! I am a morning bird at heart, but tend to self sabotage and stay up too late.
THERECLUSIVEBLOGGER: So how did you know you wanted to become a singer and songwriter? What was the earliest song you remember writing?
ALICE LIMOGES: I had an existential crisis in 8th grade when I realized my heart was devoted to this crazy career. I’ve always sung and wrote my first song with chords and a real structure in 6th grade. It was pretty dark. A girl had a horse they won all sorts of competitions until the barn burnt down and the horse died. It started “She is a sad one, she sings a lonely song”. Maybe it was foreshadowing for how a lot of my music now is pretty dark!
TRB: Can you tell me more about the backstory behind your current single “Hungry For A Vice”?
AL: Sure! I’d quit smoking and kept feeling a tickle in the back of my mind desiring something self destructive. Soon thereafter, I ended a really awful relationship and now when I sing it, my ex has become the missing vice.
TRB: Being both singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, where do you draw a lot of your inspirations and influences from? In particularly on the song “Hungry For A Vice”?
AL: I have a lot of influences. Musically, I listen to a really wide range of things from jazz to Gamelan to Debussy. And of course a lot of singer-songwriters and bands like Bob Dylan, Sufjan Stevens, and Mitski. Lyrically, I draw a lot from my own life.
TRB: Looking over and listening to your music are themes of love and loss something that you as an artist feel the most comfortable telling? Or is it just human relationships overall? Be it good or bad.
AL: I struggled a lot for most of my life with bipolar, so a lot of my songs on my last album The Space Between are about that (specifically Save My Soul, Dog Is Barking, and Winter Nights). Those songs also all span relationships and the interplay of the isolation of mental health battles and trying to connect with other people. For some reason, darkness has always moved me the most, so even on songs that aren’t about me, I’ve tended to lean towards the dark, like on Red Cigar and Aleppo. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot better and am gearing up to release some new stuff which is a bit lighter, so stay tuned.
TRB: Let’s talk about the album art … How do you feel the album art for “Hungry For A Vice” connects to the lyrical nature of the song?
AL: I made the art myself actually! The picture of the face with crazy makeup is based on a still from the music video, where I walk through this crazy old theater with all of these strange doll-people. I guess it connects because it’s about masking your identity and throwing yourself into chaos? Mostly I just like how it looks though.
TRB: If you had the chance to cover any song and give it the ‘Alice Limoges’ treatment what song would you pick?
AL: I’m dying to do Super Rich Kids by Frank Ocean!
TRB: What lyric have you written means the most to you?
AL: The lyric that means the most to me is probably in my song Daydreams, which we’ll release later this year. The starting line is “There’s someone else inside my head, my worst and closest friend” and it’s about mental illness. It’s a really difficult song to work on in the studio because it’s always really triggering though.
TRB: Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you lately? What music have you been digging?
AL: Lately it’s been a lot of Fiona Apple and Hiatus Kaiyote!
TRB: A fun one … Do you have a dream concert venue to play at?
AL: Governor’s Ball or Bonnaroo!
TRB: Anything else you would like to add? Thank you for your time Alice! 🙂
AL: Thanks for inviting me to do this interview! I am working on a bunch of new material in the studio that I can’t wait to share, so I hope readers will stick around for it all.
I am not one that is moved easily and emotionally by watching films. Not to say I don’t love films or I don’t appreciate the craft or technique that goes into making films. From the very first frame of Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘ROMA’ something switched in me. This film was different, a good different and I knew I was in for what would be an emotional journey. Told through harrowing film making, acting, unique and dynamic choices in storytelling and plot line. All of this from the perspective of two domestic workers of a politically charged 1970’s Mexico. Although as the movie progresses the storyline focuses more so on one domestic worker than the other (there’s a reason).
Cléo (played superbly by newcomer Yalitza Aparicio in her first acting role no less!) as a central character shines throughout the movie where a story such as this could get boring or trite. This doesn’t. Yalitza with just the smallest of gestures shows how aptly she ingested this character coupled with brilliant acting from the rest of the cast as well. You feel as if you’re not watching a movie but getting a sacred glimpse into a family’s home. This also holds true to Alfonso Cuarón’s editing style and choice of film. The use of a Kodachrome black and white style make the film have a simple look and feel, akin to a 70s home movie. To a viewer these choices may seem pointless as they are quite minute. Cuarón’s choices no matter how big or small serve us the viewer two major things watching this … To put you into a nostalgic mood and in the perspective of Cléo’s character. In real is a person who often goes nameless and faceless in society. Cuarón by doing so allows the viewer to relate to Cléo the most as we draw empathy for her and her situation with the use of Nostalgia. Cléo represents not only herself but countless others in her position. So Cuarón drew less upon a backstory per se unlike other characters in the film, most notably Sofia, the wife and maternal figure of the family Cléo worked for (who is played by the brilliant, Marina De Tavira). All in all I got exactly what Cuarón was trying to convey across the screen and that’s the goal of a filmmaker. Especially from a film that is so well acted across the board and with so many tiny intricacies you could write a term paper on it. This also was the first film I’ve seen from Alfonso Cuarón so you can bet I will be watching more.
Here it is after careful consideration and many many rewrites. These are my top ten albums of 2018. This year my list features a lot of EPs so that’s a big difference than previous years. So without further ado and of course in sequential order from the number one on …
“Other People’s Heartache Part 4” caught me off guard in the most fantastic way. The EP opens onto one of the most beautiful covers of the Cat Stevens classic “Wild World”. It ties a thread between the last Bastillerecord “Wild World” to next one “Doom Days”. We then segue into the next cover of a somewhat obscure song “Would I Lie To You?”. To which Bastillegave it a much-needed update leaning towards a more RnB and Trap music sound. The next song is “Grip” which is a fun and straightforward EDM track. My only criticism is it just seems a bit out of place on an EP filled with RnB, Hip-Hop and Trap-Pop jams. But the song is so good though. The two stunners for me are the En Vogue cover of “Don’t Let Go (Love) and “Flowers” where the music and vocals by everyone (in particularly Dan Smith) are so on point oozing just enough sex appeal to not overdo it. The EP ends on “The Descent” which is just such a badass track and has the most heart aching surprise towards the end. We rightly close out on the “Warmth (Outro)”. The fact that Bastille uses these “Other People’s Heartache” mixtapes as a thread between records is so brilliant. I love that they also wanted to feature new British talent as well. The artist on the opening track is Kianja and her vocals blend so well with Dan’s. She’s featured prominently on this EP, along with the likes of Jacob Banks, Moss Kena, Lily Moore, Charlie Barnes, S-X, Craig David, SEEB, Swarmz, Rationale, and James Arthur. All in all Dan’s vocals, the production, and Bastille as a band have never been better on this very diverse and very unique mixtape style EP. That is why it’s still ‘On Repeat’ for me.
Standout tracks:“Would I Lie To You?” , “Don’t Let Go (Love)”, “Flowers”, and “The Descent”.
I don’t think there has been a more inspiring album for me this year. “Church Of Scars”has a vulnerability to it that’s raw and Bishop Briggsvocals pack so much emotion throughout each and every track. For a debut album, this is a stunner, one that hits you in the heart lyrically and melodically. Having seen her twice this year; where I heard this album live in both a quiet acoustic setting and full throttle live show; just adds another dimension to “Church Of Scars”. Therefore making Bishop Briggs not only of one of my favorite new voices and artists currently, but “Church Of Scars” my number two pick for favorite albums of 2018.
Standout Tracks:“Tempt My Trouble”, “River”, “Hi-Lo (Hollow)”, and “Wild Horses”.
The Wombats’ “Turn” ended up being one of my absolutely favorite songs this year. “Turn” is also track number three from “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life” which has landed at the number three spot on my songs list. The Wombats are a trio hailing from Liverpool, their 2018 release is a fresh and lively rock number with guitars reminiscent of 90s Brit Rock and Pop. It’s chock full of quirky and fun lyrics relating to the aches and pains of love that just scream The Wombats. The numerous danceable melodies and catchy hooks populate songs like “Cheetah Tongue”, “Lemon to A Knife Fight” and “Lethal Combination” from start to finish. On the extended version release, we got new songs like “Bee-Sting” (which is fantastic live) and “Oceans”. By the end of “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life,” The Wombats had me fully converted. This is an album worth hearing and also a band you should definitely see live if only to hear this record.
Standout tracks:“Turn”, “Cheetah Tongue”, “Bee-Sting”, “Lemon to a Knife Fight”, “Out Of My Head”.
Though I had been following his musical career since I heard “Stitches”, I thought the song was catchy but I never thought that same guy would come to create this Soulful Pop Rock gem. From the massive stadium rocker and first single “In My Blood”which speaks to the frustrations of anxiety and social pressures of being young. To the funky and come hither “Nervous”, and the acoustic ballad “Like to be You” which features Julia Michaels. But the super funky smash “Lost In Japan” is the stellar standout. The song has a super cool “Lost In Translation” inspired video to go with it and an EDM remix from Zedd. Overall, this was my favorite “Pop” album this year featuring, great hooks and choruses, fantastic production, and Shawn’s guitar and songwriting skills amped up several notches. We should also take into account Shawn’s creative and business savvy in choosing to continue to work with the perfect people on this album, most notably his longtime songwriting partner, Teddy Geiger.
Standout tracks: “Fallin’ All In You”, “Lost In Japan”, “Nervous”, “Particular Taste”, “Why”, and “Mutual”.
MAY is someone that truly only comes around once in a blue moon. I used this phrasing because she evokes that type of nostalgia and so does her absolutely mesmerizing EP, “Phantom”. Harkening back to days of Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack and when jazz standards were the Pop hits. MAYand her Phantom EP brought some of those ghosts forward in the most heartbreaking and beautiful manner. With elements of gothic charm strewn throughout, the “Phantom” EP was not dated whatsoever. Her voice was a siren call to anyone who has ever felt any type of loss or heartbreak. The personal interludes from her life interspersed on the EP were a lovely and thoughtful touch. The only other thing I would tell you to do besides listening to MAY is too see her live, as that is a special experience all on its own.
Standout tracks: Falling, Last September, Northern Lights, and Baby Save Me Tonight.
James Bay is the third artist of three on this list I saw twice this year live (the other two being Bishop Briggs and Bastille). “Electric Light“ really was all over the place but in the best way possible. We saw James dip his musical toes into so many other genres such as RnB, Pop, Soul, Electronic, and even a bit of edgier Rock on “Electric Light” and for what it’s worth it made a solid effort that grew on me as the year wore on. Seeing him play these songs live from the record and hearing how hard he worked on these tracks gave me a new perspective on the album. Edgier cuts like “Pink Lemonade”, with its punk leanings, “Fade Out” with soul and RnB swagger, “Us” and “Wild Love” in there soft beauty stand out the most for me. “Slide” and “Wanderlust” and “Stand Up” are all also great moments. The album despite its confusing genre blending moments turned out to be a favorite of mine because of the talent behind all of it. Something that is still quite hard to find.
This soulful EP by Childcare bassist and newcomer Emma Topolski truly came out of nowhere for me. If you follow this blog you know I have previously reviewed it but as the months wore on and after repeated listens it just stayed with me. The overall haunting and forlorn vibes flow throughout the EP. Although the genre leans towards Electro and Indie you can very much hear other elements and genres that Saint Clair found inspiration in. The EP opens up with the groovy electro-pop jam “Human Touch” and Saint Clair’s smoky sexy timbre sets the tone for the rest of EP. On the utterly tragic “I’ll Stay” you can hear echoes of nightclubs and smoky jazz clubs amidst the track. The pumping 80s like synth beat you hear dropping in and out only adds to the dark mystery of the song. “D2” for being something that came out of nowhere was certainly a welcome and beautiful surprise.
Standout tracks: “I’ll Stay”, “I’m Still Standing”, and “Human Touch”.
From the opening notes on “Explosions”, I can tell that the “High Hopes” EP has Rationale in a much different head space and form. His influences have gone far beyond his home base which is London and cultural influences of Africa (in particularly Zimbabwe). The opening track opens with sounds that any touring musician is familiar with, sounds from an audience before transitioning into a throbbing bass line. A sound that is more familiar in Hip-Hop and RnB songs in America. The rest of the EP unfolds at a lovely pace with Rationaledigging in quite well to what he’s great at …creating heartfelt and emotional songs with lyrics that can be felt amongst a cross-section of people. On the title track “High Hopes” his voice is strongest I’ve heard and “One by One” we see him fuse London, African drums and beats as well as the influences gained from touring to create an absolute banger. No wonder this EP stood out for me garnering repeated listens.
Standout tracks: “Explosions”, “High Hopes, and “One By One”.
This is such a heavy set of songs lyrically that you would not expect it to come from someone so young, 16 to be exact. Akine is a wise artist and old soul, something you find out quite quickly as the EP plays out. The use of electronic instruments is not drastically overdone so Akine’ slightly raspy and haunting vocals are not drowned out. Songs like “Money In Your Mouth” can speak to anyone having to deal with a certain type of guy that uses his fame (or power) and wealth to show off. The track also has a slight disco feel to it. My favorite tracks “No Gold” and “Pray for the Prey” stays with you long after you’ve heard it. The vocals have a pleading feeling to them, making the messaging behind those lyrics all the more urgent and Akine well aware.
Standout tracks:“Pray for the Prey”, “No Gold”, and “Money In Your Mouth”.
Technically a playlist/album but I think one of the most cohesive yet underrated albums this year. Lauv had a banner year with his mega-hit “I Like Me Better” that seemed like it came out of nowhere. That song is also how this album playlist opens up, introducing you to Lauv‘ “Blue World”. So through beautifully layered vocals, melodies, electronic elements combined with live instruments and lovelorn lyrics, Most notably in songs like “Reforget” and “Paris In The Rain”. Lauv creates a world with this album, that not only has encapsulated young love and heartbreak for this era but beautifully tells his story. It’s no wonder people have been flocking to his shows.
Standout Tracks: “I Like Me Better”, “Paris In The Rain”, “Reforget”, “Comfortable”, and “Easy Love”.
So there it is a little late then normal but done with care. Let me know you thoughts in the comment section or on social media! 🙂
It has been 54 years since the beloved original had it’s Disney debut on the silver screen. Now Mary Poppins is back and finer than ever, drawing inspiration from the P.L. Travers book series. Director Rob Marshall (Into The Woods, Chicago) brings the film some 20 years forward to Depression Era London with the Banks children, Michael and Jane Banks now grown up and requiring some much needed help and possibly a bit of magic…
In Mary Poppins Returns we see the beloved nanny (played by Emily Blunt in a role where she absolutely shines!) return to sprightly form to help out the Banks children who are now adults in London. Jane Banks (played by Emily Mortimer) has moved back in to the Cherry Tree Lane family home to help out her Brother Michael Banks (played by Ben Whishaw) after a recent tragedy. Michael now has three small ones of his own (played by Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and newcomer Joel Dawson so adorably and brilliantly). After several losses including what could possibly be the loss of their home. Mary Poppins re-enters the Banks family life when they most need it, when all of the hope and magic from their childhood has long gone.
Along with the help of a street lamplighter named Jack (played by Lin Manuel Miranda superbly in his first movie role) who just so happens to be a friend of Mary Poppins herself. Through the teachings of Mary, many friends along the way (be on the lookout for some fun guest appearances including Dick Van Dyke who was in the original from 1964), and lots of fun sing-along song and dance numbers. The absolutely grand spectacle that is ‘Trip A Little Light Fantastic’ and the teary and beautiful ‘The Place Where The Lost Things Go’ which is so well suited to Emily Blunt’s voice, are absolute standouts in the film. Mary slowly but surely works to restore the magic and joy that once was at Cherry Tree Lane with the help of the three younger Banks children coupled through the elder ones and all that seemed impossible becomes practically perfect in every way. It got me thinking that maybe we should all go and fly a kite.
What I think might be the sweetest song off the new alum from the indie-pop band’s long awaited third studio album. The soft acoustic guitar with the melancholy strumming pattern reminds me personally of songs Matty has done in the past such as 102 and She Lays Down. The guitar is so beautifully done, listeners can get absorbed immediately by the calming sound of the guitar. Matty’s voice comes in with an exclusive sound which can give you a feeling as though you’re sitting right next to the band as they record this piece. There is this everlasting personal piece to this song that makes you feel like you’re seeing it live or with the band sitting right there. I truly hope that when the band comes around for touring, they will consider throwing this song onto their setlist as it already sounds elegant from recordings and I would love to see their take on the song live.
Anyways Arctic Monkeys
Alex Turner’s eccentric production from Tranquility Base flows through to this song which acts like a B-side to the title track Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. This song has so much going on it and is so packed with production that can knock anyone’s socks off with one listen. Right off the bat, the contrast of Alex’s voice with the guitar is so flawlessly done, it’s mesmerizing to me how Alex can manage to make every song flow with one theme and stick with that theme even beyond album tracks. But it’s not only the flow of this song that catches my attention. The production is so clear on Alex’s voice, there isn’t a single thing off on the way he sings his words. If you have ever seen the band live, you know of Alex’s peculiar yet enthralling act which he delivers every concert, this song matches Alex’s attitude with lyrics fitting his personality almost seamlessly. Alex has yet again delivered a song so out there yet so musically advanced, something that is true for any Arctic Monkeys song. You can never fall off this band as every song has you entranced by something new. Alex has taken us by surprise with this release and yet again delivered superior quality in his work.
Faking It Sasha Sloan Sasha’s production takes me by surprise every time I hear one of her songs. For an indie artist with little songs on platforms, you would never imagine such an astounding piece of music coming from her name, but this song proves everyone doubting her wrong. Right off the bat, Sasha has a unique and noticeable sound, she has an interesting reverb to her voice, but it is clear, and her production is top of the line matching ones of The 1975 or Arctic Monkeys. This song is catchy,something I can hear many people, whether fans or not, falling in love with. This will be a song that gets played almost everywhere. She has added the exact touches into this song to make her really explode on the music platform.
LIKE A ROCKSTAR Chase Atlantic Keeping consistent to their usual sound, Chase Atlantic released this song that is catchy yet interesting. There are so many aspects to this song that are very popular in music overall but the way that the band has been able to interlock in some unique drum tracks here and there along with melodies that are quite unusual to hear is exclusive to their sound and follows their aesthetic. This song is no different and includes some of the best vocal arrangements from the band I have heard yet.
whatare you so afraid of XXTENTACION
Following alongside The 1975’s song, this song is an acoustic piece off of the rappers newest album SKINS. I personally love the take on this song as the singing is slurred, a common melody-line for xxtentacion, but has this beautiful strummed out guitar in the background which sticks with the whole song and is the only instrument played. The whole song in total has such a beautiful feel to it. It’s one of those songs that I can see true fans of the artist really falling in love with as they can pick apart all of the musicianship that x has put into this piece of art.
For the Holidays I interviewed Indie Singer-Songwriter Rändi Fay whose new Christmas single may seem a bit out place on my blog but once you hear it and read my interview with her you’ll see why I featured it …
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I always start out with an easy and quick question. So CD or Vinyl?
RÄNDI FAY: Vinyl. I will call myself out that I don’t have a record player anymore, and I rarely listen to CD’s anymore. I am a part of the current musician’s nightmare! I do buy Mp3s still, but I mostly stream. However, if I could re-create and embellish my collection of vinyl that I basically gave away for $5 twenty years ago (I know… right?), I could brush the dust from the tip of my cartridge and then hang out listening to the faint scratch of a record starting and all of that amazing sound that follows… I would LOVE that!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What was your biggest inspiration behind the song Joy Whispered? And why?
RÄNDI FAY: The inspiration for “Joy Whispered” came in a songwriting challenge where I had to choose five words from a list of ten and write a Christmas song using them. Two words really stuck out to me: “silent” and “light.” I don’t think I had considered those two words together before, giving me a fresh image of the familiar manger scene. There must have been the feeling of “hush” among the people gathered under quiet starlight in awe of the new born baby, whispering excitement – so human and so divine! Picturing the scene, I saw joy crossing cultural, socioeconomic and “earthly” boundaries; hard-working native shepherds, wealthy kings from afar and heavenly angels, all sharing love for an infant and his impoverished family – a magical sight! We are one in this world. We can’t be reminded of that too frequently.
TRB: What is your all-time favorite Christmas song?
RÄNDI: “White Christmas.” I am soooo nostalgic, and I can’t get enough of the mood that song captures.
TRB: If you could collaborate with any musician who would it and why?
RÄNDI: Hmmm… so many!! I have so much to learn! I am going to go with Sir Paul McCartney because of his beautiful and resonant melodies, but also his fearless blending of instrumentation and genre. And his easy style and vocals. I wonder if he is really that charming in person?
TRB: Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you lately? What music have you been digging?
RÄNDI: I have been listening to some really “off the beaten track” Christmas music and found Hayley Westenra. Wow, does she have a voice! Another cool, less known group is Alique. Wow. Again the vocals are inspiring, and the vibe is just the right mix of haunting and enthralling, with eclectic beats, unexpected harmonies and a classical yet magical approach to their production.
TRB: And what’s next for you Rändi Fay?
RÄNDI: 2019 is going to rock!! I start it out by playing “Donna” the lead in “Mamma Mia!” Yikes! That is completely new territory for me! And also, producer/co-writer Aaron Zinsmeister and I already have five tracks finished for our new project “Intuition,” a passionate concept album further exploring “symphonic pop,” in the spirit of Moody Blues meets Evanescence meets Disney, a little Dido, a little Celine…we have 5 (or maybe 6?) more songs to go, and hoping for a late summer/early autumn release!
TRB: Anything else you would like to add?
RÄNDI: I would love to send a message of peace to all of your readers. No matter what our specific commitment to Christmas is, be it more religious or more retail ;)… or none at all, this is a challenging time of year. Take some time for yourself, but also some time for helping others who need it. There is so much joy in passing on those small favors, with asking nothing in return. Truly – give it a shot! And THANK YOU for inviting me to participate in this blog! Merry Christmas!