Winter Popervescence #1: Gentlemen Hall, Andreas Moe, Adaku, Chloe Charles, Darin, Bastille, and Max Schneider

Two more of my 13 Performers To Watch for ’13  also have new music for us already  – Gentlemen Hall and Andreas Moe – making it five (the others being River Tiber, Lawson and Baiyu).

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Gentlemen Hall, “Sail Into The Sun”

The sharp melody of “Sail Into The Sun” will come at you from all directions, which is probably why Samsung has chosen to feature it in their 30 second ad for their smart camera.  So you’ll be hearing the song for the better part of the year, and thus it’s perfect for pop radio.  Aside from that melodic razzle dazzle, the song is as tight as anything you might expect from the Boston sextet, whose When We All Disappear EP continues to be a free download from their website.  “Sail” and other songs from Gentlemen Hall’s upcoming album should put them all over the international map this year.  “Sail” is also a free download from the band’s Soundcloud page below.

Andreas Moe, “This Year”

Swedish singer/songwriter Andreas Moe continues with the upbeat, melodic, and acoustic-based sound he began with on last year’s Collecting Sunlight EP with “This Year”, also the title of a new EP just released in Scandinavia, with the rest of the world to follow in March.  Andreas has the fantastic ability to create music that anyone can relate to, and make it sound unlike anything out there, with sparkling multi-octave vocals, standing out as a rich effort in a crowded playing field.  Watch “This Year” and listen to three other snippets from songs from the EP below.

Adaku, “Or You Can”

I first wrote about this song by Nigerian-born singer/songwriter Adaku last July, when its unique sounding take on retro R&B styles (and a catchy, singalong chorus) caught my ears.  It’s taken sometime, but a video for the song surfaced last week, and I must say it’s one of the most enjoyable, best-directed videos I’ve seen in quite sometime.  Rather than focus on a story based on the lyrics, the video has a 50s/60s look with an easy-going but engaging storyline that simmers along, making you unsure about what will happen until the last few frames.  Both the song and video are such winners, watch below and spread the word!  Adaku is currently working on a full album release.  Fans of Jill Scott, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Norah Jones will particularly enjoy this.

Chloe Charles, “Business”

Canadian singer Chloe Charles has already established a solid following in eastern Europe, particularly Germany.  Her classical jazz-influenced pop sound will appeal to those of you who enjoy Rufus Wainwright, Regina Spektor, and Kate Bush in “Business”, from her upcoming album Break The Balance (already on release in eastern Europe).  Chloe is also a classically trained guitarist who has already been written up in major press worldwide.  Watch for her to make a splash domestically in March (she’ll also be performing during Canadian Music Week).  A bit of interesting trivia: She’s a step-sister of Julian Lennon, her mother being Cynthia Lennon.

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Darin, “Playing with Fire”

There was a bit of a gap between recent single “Nobody Knows” and “Playing With Fire”, but the latter has now been released in Scandinavia in anticipation of the singer’s new album Exit, due on January 30.  Darin Zanyar has been poised for international success since 2008’s Flashback album, but it hasn’t materialized after oodles of hits in Scandinavia and Germany, including “Breathing Your Love” (with Kat DeLuna) and “Lovekiller”.  He’s shifted his style from being Europe’s equivalent to Jesse McCartney to a more dance-oriented pop sound this time around.  Thematically, “Playing With Fire” is nothing new but Darin’s commanding vocal puts it over the top.  I’ll be interested in hearing more from Exit to see if this will be the record to break him outside of Europe.

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Bastille, “Pompeii” (Monsieur Adi remix)

Perhaps I’ve missed the initial buzz about this new UK quartet that has apparently signed with Virgin/EMI, but what better way to find out than through an exceptional 90’s sounding house-y Monsieur Adi remix?  “Pompeii” scores big with Dan Smith’s Chris Martin-ish vocal and a verse (“How am I going to be an optimist about this?”) as they parallel being in the crumbling title city to the collapse of a relationship.  Original version and remix are below for you to hear.  Bastille’s album Bad Blood is due in March and they are playing SXSW.

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Max Schneider, “Quicksand” and “So Sick” (cover)

Youngins will know New York-born Max as one of the featured cast of Nickelodeon’s now-cancelled “How To Rock” TV show, others will know him from being featured in a prominent Dolce & Gabbana campaign with Madonna a few years back (he also looks a bit like Nick Jonas).  Well young Max has a fine, big, soulful voice that stands alone without special effects thank you, and he’s also a talented songwriter, composing songs for his former show, “Shake It Up”, and the TV movie “RAGS”.  An album is due this year, and if its songs will be of the same calibre of “Quicksand” and his cover of Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” (with Kurt Schneider and Sam Tsui), then you can look for more about Max Schneider in this space.

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  1. […] to Nigerian-born American alternative R&B singer Adaku before, with her two classy originals “Or You Can” (and its lovely video) and the provocative “Silent Treatment”.  This time the singer shifts to her sparkling […]


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