“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:
The greatest gift that starting this blog/webzine has given me is the vast number of new artists I get to hear. I consider myself lucky whenever a new album comes in my business email, but when a compilation of numerous artists pops up it is even better.
In this case I refer to Oneiric Escapism Vol. 3 by the UK project A Lonely Ghost Burning. On this compilation you are introduced to “atmospheric, vocally-inclined, electronic and experimental music” from all over the world. Such countries include Canada, Guatemala, Iceland, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA.
Every track, twelve in total, is a brilliant introduction to countless musicians that are on the cutting edge of innovation in their genre. The way the songs can haunt you with their beauty is something to behold. I truly believe in this project and highly recommend Oneiric Escapism Vol. 3 for a new listening experience.
Oneiric Escapism Vol. 3 can be found at https://alonelyghostburning.bandcamp.com/album/oneiric-escapism-vol-3
You may remember the PR firm for punk bands What Happened To Your Band due to the music featured here or the interview I did with WHTYB?’s founder Valentine Klp. Thanks to her recommendation I got pointed in the direction of the awesome French punk band Adversity.
Their video, which I am sharing with you, has recently won KROD Records’ “best video” award for 2016. It’s easy to see why this video won. First of all the song “Living Now” is a personification of what great punk ought to be. It feels like a cross between the Bouncing Souls and Rise Against, and the results are fantastic.
The video itself personifies the independent punk spirit that draws its fans and musicians toward the genre. If you want to know more about Adversity and their music feel free to visit the following urls:
One of the most interesting trends in music right now is the resurgence of electronic music like that of the trip-hop golden years (i.e. the 90s). One problem I notice, however, is that the radio is becoming absolutely saturated with these electronic groups and only a few stand out from the crowd. What should an electronic group do so that they aren’t typecast as “just another indie electronic act?”
Enter Chelsey and the Noise with their EP Losing Landscapes. Described in their bio as utilizing “deep analog synths, glitch inspired beats, and aggressive vocals to create a darker breed of electronic music,” this duo of Chelsey Hice and Brent “the Noise” Watters creates a much needed fresh take on the electronic genre.
The album is dark and infectious melodically. The instrumentals are well-composed, the vocals are extremely unique, and ultimately the songs have an immense amount of artistry behind them. Losing Landscapes is kind of like early Nine Inch Nails meets Phantogram and the Cure. It is the 80s, 90s, and modern era of alternative, industrial, and electronic music rolled into one EP.
Chelsey and the Noise is such a breath of fresh air amongst all of the copy-cat acts that are arising in the indie-electronic scene. This duo from the Bay Area is absolutely worth your time.
Losing Landscapes can be found at:
If you have followed my website for a long time, the name Simon Kent may sound familiar to you. Ever since I was introduced to his music a couple years back, Simon’s music has held my attention. You can imagine my excitement when I was given early access to his forthcoming record In Another Life for a review.
As I already expected, the album is full of well-structured songs that give gentle nods to the electro-pop of the 1980’s. Simon’s voice is as amazing as ever, quite frankly he is in possession of one of the most attractive and unique sounding voices I’ve heard in a while.
Fans of Simon Kent will not be let down, as he only builds upon the strong sound he has developed over the years. The melodies have strong hooks and the instruments are heavily electronic with ambient tones washing over the tracks.
Though In Another Life is not due for release for some time, one of the tracks(which has had airplay on BBC Radio 2) is available on Youtube for a listen (link below)
If you have not had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Simon Kent’s music, now is the time to start. This record is perfect for anyone longing for the sounds of Duran Duran, Tears for Fears and David Bowie being reimagined for the modern era. When the record releases on the 6th of March 2017, I highly recommend you experience In Another Life for yourself.
Simon Kent can be found at:
“The Only Way I know is a relentless ode to never giving in.
Pushing until you feel you have nothing left, and then picking yourself
up again and pushing until your heart bursts.”
These are the words of Savvy aka Asaviour when describing his new track “The Only Way I Know.” The description fits, as the song is a pulsating, loud, driving, grooving monster of a track that shows off Savvy’s multi-dimensional songwriting and performing abilities. I always love to see what the UK rap scene is up to, and Savvy does not disappoint.
When an artist has a clear vision for their work, it is imperative that they follow through with it. aoi, a composer/musician/producer from Montreal, is an example of this actually happening. With his debut EP, entitled 1(EP), aoi (real name Keven Brien) has established that he wants the listener to experience:
“A voyage through lands where the organic and synthetic evolved in symbiosis, when the past and future coexist simultaneously.”
I can testify after listening to this record that this symbiosis occurs beautifully, as numerous genres and eras coalesce to form the final product. You hear echoes of Brian Eno, Pat Metheny, Jan Hammer, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Allan Holdsworth in this record.
1(EP) is ambient, driven, and emotionally complex. Above all else it is experimental in a way that comes across as genuine, rather than pretentious (a problem that sometimes plagues the genre). Don’t let the “experimental” label scare you away if that isn’t your thing, as I truly believe there is enough for the mainstream listener here as well.
In accomplishing his vision for 1(EP), aoi has made an ambitious and beautiful debut record. It is truly something I recommend you give a try.
1(EP) by aoi can be found at https://ao-i.bandcamp.com/