Baby Taylah has an E.P. out called Good Enough, and she takes on the universal and timeless question of self-evaluation, in the song of the same name as the E.P. She repeatedly asks if she is good enough. Good enough for whom, I ask? Good enough for our self imposed standards, which are often far higher than those of anyone else. Good enough for the son that you make mention? Are we good parents? Do we teach them to be the best that they can be or do we push them to be better than us at their peril? To quote another great song, do we “teach our children well??
The question that Baby Taylah thrusts upon us, are we good enough, is not only timeless, it is also challenging to answer. Never the less we are left not only with the burden of self-doubt but are then hit with the next question from her, “will I be good”? Good, by what standards? Mine? Baby Taylah’s? Societies? Which society, they are not all equal and will all give a different answer to that question.
This recording will leave you bouncing these social/philosophical/religious questions around in your head, and that is only the first song on this four-song E.P.
I don’t want to give all the secrets away, so I suggest you put on some headphone, earbuds or whatever, and give a listen to this recording that I deem good enough. Good enough for a solid positive review. Good enough for a repeat play. It is good.
Good Enough E.P. is available to stream via Icons Creating Evil Art.
Carl Louis closed out 2019 with the most excellent album “Silent Soldier”. As of this writing, we are about halfway through 2020, and Carl is bestowing a single on us, “Portal To Happiness”. The first song to be released off of his forthcoming EP, which is to be released later this year.
Carl had this to say about the new single:
“Portal to Happiness» is about being in the moment. Going to that place inside you where time doesn’t exist. For me, that place is both happy and sad at the same time. That intense feeling is «Portal to Happiness».”
I love some of the imagery on this song, topnotch writing in my humble opinion. Take, for example:
”No sleep in the light
Damn, the sun in July.”
Earlier today, I was basking on my deck in the evening sun, where I live we get about 18 hours of daylight, so if you have trouble sleeping with the light on this might not be the best place to live. I, on the other hand, like the sun in July, bring it on. But, ye, I can relate to what he is saying.
That is just one example, listen to this song and then join the queue to buy to the album when it comes out. I’ll be in that line someplace.
Tony Njoku, the British-Nigerian multi-instrumentalist and producer, has released the EP Justine that includes his hit single of the same name as well three other critically acclaimed tracks. An already well established London-based, producer, singer and popular auteur Tony Njoku has released this EP hot on the heels of late-2019’s ‘Your Psyhe’s Rainbow Panorama’.
Straddling neo-soul and crippling quarter-life crisis trip-hop, he says, “This is a song about my dedication to self-examination and self-discovery. Unearthing some of my laws and inner turmoil (lack of courage, low self-esteem, etc.), and discovering what gets me going despite that turmoil. It’s an ode to beauty, to finding your ‘why’. I suppose you could call this a love song directed at the self. A ‘self-love song’.” “There’s also a strong statement being made on aesthetics and meditation (or maybe escapism). I’d say that for me, the core value of the piece comes from when I get lost in the aesthetic qualities in its content. From the pacing to the colours, the shapes, the textures and of course the sounds. It’s like making a statement on not focusing on statements, or meanings or messages. Just focus on beauty, focus on the glory and healing powers of abstractions.”
“This is a track about trusting your instincts. Having faith in yourself, and about taking action on that self belief. To me it’s an uplifting song. Overcoming adversity and all that wonderful motivational stuff. It’s important to share that sort of energy, we all want to be inspired.”
I would add to focus on the ever-shifting sounds and pacing that take the listener on a ride through the world of Tony’s insecurities and his feelings of low self-worth. This EP is not an always easy listen due to the dark shadings of the lyrics, but the music tends to pull those lyrics up, and Tony has written, created and produced a beautiful little four-song EP to usher in summer. Enjoy and stay safe.
L I S T E N
https:soundcloud.com/tonynjoku/100-for-beautr/s-wV9cHFacebook /tonynjokumusic Twitter /anthonyasblue Instagram /anthonyasblue Soundcloud /tonynjoku http://www.tonynjoku.com Apple Spotify For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I have to admit that before I read the bio or listened to the music I had already for an expectation based on nothing but the band’s name, ‘Hey Elbow’. I quite imagined another “Macarena” dance craze sweeping the globe, which would be a sweet deal for the Hey Elbow, getting that kind of exposure. I suppose it could still happen; however, after listening to the song a couple of times, I don’t think it is quite as catchy as Macarena and not a dynamic in the dance part. You can decide for yourself, start the song playing, and dance along to it. How is the Hey Elbow dance done?
– Hands-on each shoulder, lift the elbow towards the sky and yell: HEY ELBOW!!
I like the music of ‘Nurture/Aptitude‘, Hey Elbows latest offering, which is a single off their forthcoming album, “WE THREE’, arriving on the 18th September via Adrian Recordings. Nurture/Aptitude’ will be available everywhere from Wednesday 17th June 2020 via Adrian Recordings. I don’t know how many times I have listened to Nurture/Aptitude, but I have not once got up from my chair put my hands on my shoulders and lifted them while shouting ‘Hey Elbow’. Perhaps we are getting in early on the dance craze of the summer of 2020, the Hey Elbow dance party.
Nurture/Aptitude opens with an interesting sound bite. I’ll let the band explain it. Speaking about the new release, the group said,“‘ Nurture/Aptitude’ is a somewhat catchy track coming from us. The song is based on a loop that we recorded by mistake in the rehearsal place. It was a vocal harmony that by accident was cut to a super short segment at the same time as a coffee cup crashed into a microphone. We can’t really remember, but the loop disappeared, and we panicked. A few months later in the studio, the loop suddenly appeared, and we could include it on the recording. It is a pop tune but needed a frame. We did a longer intro and an ambient outro. So it became a Hey Elbow song. For the impatient listener, we also did a convenient but lazy edit.”
So there you have it folks, a catchy pop tune that has potential for the band to use in live venues with the Hey Elbow movements. That would be a sure-fire way to get played over and over; at every wedding, grad party and bbq. I wish you all the best. In the meantime, I am practice in front of a mirror while playing Nurture/Aptitude over and over, and I am sure glad that it is a song that I like so I quite enjoy listening to it over and over.
Some music jumps out and grabs me without so much as a proper introduction. Hello, get Miss Manners on this case. No, cancel that call, get Discogs instead because I want to add this recording to my catalogue. iTunes? Got it! Soundcloud? Got it already! YouTube? Yup! I’ve listened to them all and want to hear it again.
The music that I am talking about is “How Do You Want Me?” by Tanzos. Mik Tanzos is the creative force behind the band that he shares a name with. Breaking into the international stage after exploding out of his home in Austria, Tanzos delivers an indie/rock/grunge/alternative hit with the release of his single.
“How Do You Want Me?” opens with a full-on assault of distorted guitars and pounding drums followed soon by emotionally charged and emotive singing. Discussing the inspiration behind “How Do You Want Me?” Tanzos explains to us: “This song tries to capture an ongoing inner dialogue, which might be different for every person, but in its core; it is quite similar. Whole industries are built upon this simple question and the urge to please someone.”
How do I want you? On any platform as long as it’s ‘How Do You Want Me?’
‘How Do You Want Me?’ is available to stream on all popular platforms.
I felt like I was under pressure to do a review of this song because I prefer doing album reviews, and I wasn’t sure I liked this song. Multiple listens later I have developed an appreciation for the music of Hayes & Y in their newest single “All Pressure/No Pleasure” and now it is all pleasure and no pressure to write a glowing review, I really like them now.
They come at you with a tight disco sound upgraded to the current trends in music with shimmering synths and just the right amount of bass. The bass part is important to me because I have noticed a tendency towards new music being bass-heavy and I am glad that Hayes & Y have steered clear of that obstacle.
They have a crafted a timely song that addresses the topic of being under pressure to conform to society’s expectations and finding no pleasure in following that standard. Discussing the inspiration behind their new number, frontman Blagoslav says: “I feel that’s something that has been troubling people for a long time. Conformity comes easy for some people, but others really struggle with it and find it hard to find their place in a society, where it is paramount.”
Who are Hayes & Y? I asked myself that question, and these are my best answers. The drummer is Dennis, and he is from Finland. The guitarist is from the Bulgarian cult band “Ostava”, and his name is Georgi Georgiev. There are two people named Rado and Ivo involved in the band somehow, but I don’t know their roles.
All of this matters little because what they do is the crucial part. They are Hayes & Y, and they make good music. The video is also a low budget gem, kudos to the team that made this, it is brilliant.
With three EP’s under their belt, this four-piece band have already put together and impressive CV. In 2017, they’re single ‘Always So Simple, Always So Cold’ landed the 13th spot on Spotify’s Top 50 UK Viral Chart and received support from the likes of BBC Introducing in Manchester. Last year, they released two tracks’ Safeplace’ and ‘Disaster’, both featured on Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist.
Hayes & Y are no strangers to the live circuit either, having secured a slot at Bulgarian festival Spirit of Burgas, where they supported Kasabian. With their UK audience growing, the band have also performed in some of Britain’s best-loved venues, including London’s Dublin Castle and Manchester’s Night & Day Café.
‘All Pressure/No Pleasure’ will be available to stream from 17th June 2020. If you are looking for some new music to get you up and moving today, look no further, listen to Hayes & Y, you will not be disappointed.
It’s summer, finally, and it’s time to come out of hibernation, roll down the windows and crank up the volume with Kidsmoke blasting out of the speakers. The newest offering from Welsh up and coming band, Kidsmoke, is the single Layla’s Love and it is the perfect song for summer.
Following on the heels of “The Bluest You”, Kidsmoke is making waves in 2020 with their single “Layla’s Love” which will feature on their much-anticipated debut album A Vision In The Dark which will be available on June 19th 2020.
Layla’s Love is deceptively easy music. The truth is a bit more complicated as the bass player, and songwriter James Stickels tells us, “Many songs on the album are not in standard tunings. I like to start with tuning a few of the bottom four strings differently and trying to find a chord that sounds interesting, almost as if I am learning the guitar again and making up chords. Then I tune the top 2 strings to where I think they best sit to handle the various chord progressions. Layla’s Love started in this way. I think there was a Kevin Morby influence, maybe some Seazoo too. Ultimately you could probably play our songs in standard tuning, but I think the chords would miss that certain something which makes them sound a little bit different and interesting.”
A bit different? A bit interesting? That’s like saying the Dead Sea is a bit salty. Kidsmoke makes music that is both fun and complex at the same time. After repeated listening and trying to filter out the details I am impressed by the quality of not just the playing but the production, courtesy of Russ Hayes, and the lyrics add texture to an already heady mix.
Bottom line? I can’t wait to play the whole album when it drops on June 19th via Libertino Records. Time for a road trip with “A Vision In The Dark” blasting the winter doldrums away.
Zombie is the third single from the upcoming full-length album from Bristol musicians Groan Dogs. From their smooth as silk synths to gritty fuzzed guitar sounds, ‘Zombies’ reminisces on happier memories from the past. It only takes a quick look around and seeing the state of affairs the world is in to see how fitting this song is for the times we are living.
Discussing the track, Goan Dogs tells us: “Now that the whole world is ill, we all do the same things day in, day out. Stuck on a loop. Remember the good old days? When we were free to wake up, eat food, drink, get bored, get anxious, sleep and repeat. Everyday. Without thinking. Like Zombies.” From the booming drum of the opening, we are soon pulled in by the smooth singing of Groan Dogs frontman Luke. They went on to say: “Zombies is the band’s catchiest tune yet. An infectious ear-worm waiting to nibble your brains.” ‘Zombies’ will be available to stream everywhere on June 5, 2020.
I have an affinity for anything Swedish since that is the land of my maternal family. I was pleased then to review new releases from two Swedish groups and their music.
Following on from the release of their breakthrough debut EP ‘Mouth Full Of You’ last year, a collection that cemented them as one of the finest emerging shoegaze outfits of the moment as well as garnering support from Steve Lamacq at BBC 6Music, Swedish trio Spunsugar now return with their latest dose of forlorn industrial electronics on ‘Happier Happyless’ through Adrian Recordings.
With a strong affinity for post-punk, noise-rock and dream-pop, this genre-bending new offering sees the group deliver one of their hardest and most impactful releases to date. With a Robyn-Esque direction, filled with the atmospheric vocals of frontwoman Elin Ramsted, the group look to emulate the warm and driven sound of acts like Cocteau Twins and Slowdive with their pulsing aesthetic.
Speaking about their new single, the band said, “‘Happier Happyless’ is a sour and sweet song, tackling subjects of pining, happiness and revenge. Having a fittingly slower pace than former Spunsugar singles, this song is also a homage to the shunned 2001 slasher movie Valentine, released a little too late in the post-Scream era. Written to have “a memorable hook, a thumping synth bassline and a shoegazer chorus” this is an excellent introduction to the band’s debut album, because of the constant switching of emotional tonality.”
‘Happier Happyless’ is set to become the band’s first taste of their long-awaited debut album ‘Drive-Through Chapel’, set to later this fall via Adrian Recordings.
Bottom line. I really liked the blend of styles and the vocals are mesmerizing.
Swedish synth act Kite is made up of singer Nicklas Stenemo and keyboard player Christian Berg. The pair combine an adventurous nature with pop sensibilities, throbbing beats and an early nineties aesthetic. Their lean approach to songwriting – a methodology of ‘cut the fat’ results in tight, focussed songs that never outstay their welcome. Produced together with Blanck Mass (Benjamin John Power), new single ‘Teenage Bliss’ has shades of New Order, Chairlift and Superorganism. It conjures up mental images of half-remembered nights out, sweat-soaked gigs with friends and the naivety of first experiences.
The pair tell us that “When we started Kite the band F*** Buttons were a big source of inspiration to us. Since then we have been following Benjamin John Powers brilliant music as Blanck Mass. We are now extremely excited to announce that we are working on the production of two new Kite tracks with him.” The band have brought their projection filled, brain-melting visual live show to audiences in Scandinavia, Germany, the US, Canada and China.
If Kite ever comes to Canada again, I will be there. The driving bass and the lush arrangement grab me by the seat of my pants and didn’t let go.
Oliver Marson is dropping a new video, ‘To The Nine’ s’, following on the heels of his previous singles’ Cocaine Romance’ and ‘Time for Love’.
With his unique musical styling of sound and sights, Oliver has created a video that channels the flashback machine to honour his musical inspirations, Bryan Ferry, David Bowie and Serge Gainsbourg. The music itself takes us back to the tunes of his hero’s and the video continues that theme.
With extravagant costumes and featuring himself in various characters, Oliver has crafted video that that looks behind for inspiration and forward with current musical tastes that features retro sounds that evoke modern music.
Oliver tells us:
The new video is “inspired by meme culture, the kind of aesthetic pop stars like Miss World and Charli XCX have perfected. I am dressed as all sorts of characters (a cardinal, in drag, as a french legionnaire) against a green screen in keeping with the song subject of being ‘dressed to the nines. It’s all improvised, as we wanted to make something quite lo-fi and spontaneous”.
The new track explores the argument used by misogynists and their belief that women who have been assaulted are to blame because of their choice of clothing. “I wanted to write from the perspective of a bitter misogynist and ‘To the Nines’ is an exposition of toxic male thinking. ‘To the Nines’ being an old English expression, which means ‘to dress flamboyantly or buoyantly”.
‘The nature of the recording was very spontaneous; I came into a studio with just a couple of chords and a vague idea of what I wanted the song to be. In the end, it was very natural, and the song seemed to flow from one idea to another, which culminated in quite a flamboyant sound, mirroring the song’s title. The way I see it, what better way is there to tackle this subject than a bit of flamboyance.”
This video is far more than a vehicle to present Oliver’s music. It explores a problematic and often jarring reality and brings it to us a teaching tool. I enjoyed this video, and I suggest it as a great track to dance along with. Enjoy your summer and live safely.