“Keep an eye out for Kennedy, he’s a man going places” – BBC Radio 1
Radio 1 in this case knows what they are talking about. As I listened to Welshman James Kennedy’s upcoming record Home, it became clear that he was a man with a strong artistic vision. Central to this record is the powerful nature of the song structure. The choruses soar and the verses are tinged with a driving force that calls you to listen intently.
Incidentally the core inspiration behind this record is, as Kennedy’s PR agency told me, his exploration of depression and utilizing the music as therapy. As a fellow sufferer of severe depression, I totally get this. And this understanding is helpful in looking at the record as more than just a collection of great songs.
The songs are powerful and can only come from a place that understands what darkness truly looks like. James Kennedy’s vocals are modern, refreshing, and ultimately an amalgamation of numerous stylistic influences (rock, soul, blues and pop). For me, James may very well be the Welsh Jeff Buckley, as his songwriting reminds me so much of the late, great performer.
Home is an uplifting journey for the listener and it reminds you to dust yourself off and keep pushing on in a hostile world.
Home can be pre-ordered at https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/home/id1182038899
James Kennedy can be found at:
I don’t know how often I’ve said this on my site, but I consider Van Halen to be one of my all-time greatest musical influences. Those of you who know Van Halen likely know the reputation of the band to be rather notorious for having numerous lead singers.
Officially these singers are David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, and Gary Cherone. There is another singer that I only discovered recently, however, thanks to the beauty of YouTube. After listening to a demo from the Van Halen III sessions, I was recommended a video for a song called “It’s The Right Time” that was recorded by a brilliant singer named Mitch Malloy.
I was blown away that I had never, in all my years of being obsessed with this band, known of this guy! After Sammy was booted out of the band, Mitch was actually the guy on point to do a new record with the band. For various reasons, which are detailed in the video below, Mitch chose to leave the project.
After some correspondence with Mitch, who is a super chill dude, I decided to review his most recent record Making Noise. I gotta tell you folks, the first thing that comes to mind when listening to this album is KICK ASS. The songs are pure, high-adrenaline hard rock that have soaring melodies and brilliant musicianship.
The central point of the record is Mitch’s powerful voice. It’s no wonder why Eddie Van Halen told Mitch that he was the “best fucking singer” he’d ever heard. Malloy’s tone is pristine and also aggressive, and his range is simply mind-blowing.
The songs themselves leave you in a state of euphoria that good rock n’ roll should always create. You can hear the meticulous work that Mitch put into writing Making Noise and his attention to detail shows. The production is top notch and the instruments sound fantastic.
This record is so much more than simply Making Noise. It is a proclamation that rock is still alive and well, no matter what the radio DJs (or Gene Simmons) might be saying. You are left at the end of the album feeling so damn good and it is a high that only the best rock can give you.
Get this record if you value true rock n’ roll, you won’t be disappointed.
Get Making Noise at http://www.mitchmalloy.com
Brooklyn-based musician Erin Pellnat has a diverse musical pallet. In describing her EP Dream in Color to me, she described the record as ranging from “flavorful acoustic, to accordion waltz, to Bossa Nova.”
Artists that refuse to be placed in a singular box always catch my attention and Erin is no exception. This four track EP is a radio-friendly collection of songs that manage to display the utmost artistic expression.
The hooks are infectious, the lyrics are imaginative, and the arrangements are a perfect blend in each track. Erin’s voice is fantastic and a main draw to these songs. It is a perfect vehicle to deliver memorable melodies over intricate harmonies.
With top-notch songwriting and musicality, it’s hard to find any fault in this EP. I highly recommend it.
Dream in Color can be found at https://erinpellnat.bandcamp.com/releases
“A path of verbed-out jazz, metallic ambience and grinding electro-acoustics.”
These are the descriptors given to those approaching Mondo Flockhard’s second, self-titled, record. Without a doubt words can only do so much justice to music, and in many ways these aforementioned descriptors give just half the picture.
This project by Melbourne-based drummer Maria Moles is an exercise in atmospheric experimentation and complex rhythms. Without a doubt the record is an exercise for the listener, but if the listener fully engages they will be rewarded.
Go in with an open mind, I promise you’ll be delighted.
Mondo Flockhard can be found at https://tonelist.bandcamp.com/album/mondo-flockard
I’ve featured music by Olle Andersson on here numerous times and he has never disappointed. Yet again here is an awesome track called “Dance Off” that is a collaboration between Olle and fellow electronic artist Terje Carlsson. In a recent correspondence with Olle Andersson the song was described as being a long improv session. The results are an electronic dream, with pulsating rhythms and an infectious melodic interaction.
The greatest thing about being involved in the electronic genre as long as I have is variety. There are so many different artists out there with their own defining visions of what electronic music should be.
In the case of Portuguese artist a passage to the stars (real name Ricardo Alves), his music is a cosmic journey that elicits joy and mystery simultaneously. What is so fascinating about his album Hope is the understanding of simplicity. There is never too much sound, but just enough to give you a well-rounded experience.
In many ways a passage to the stars is a throwback to artists like Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre. There is a similar minimalist approach and equal focus on melodic phrasing as well as soundscapes. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this record.
Hope can be found at http://apassagetothestars.com/hope/
The best kind of music these days is music that defies convention. It’s music that is bold, fresh, and ultimately brave. This bravery can be displayed in numerous forms, but first and foremost the sound must be the focus. In my mind, the bravest music is that which is unable to be boxed into a single genre.
This music is exactly what I find when I listen to An Eclipse of Images. A cooperative project between Italian percussionist Massimo Discepoli and American experimental double-bassist/composer Daniel Barbiero, the record seeks to present musical “ hybrids meticulously built up of acoustic and electronic elements both composed and improvised.”
It does just that. The brilliant interaction between the double-bass, percussion, and electronic synth sounds create an experience that constantly leaves you in different musical worlds. You hear jazz, avant-garde classical, ambient and so much more within this record that each listen brings a new perspective.
It is a truly wondrous thing.
An Eclipse of Images can be found at http://www.acustronica.com/an-eclipse-of-images.html