These days, the new music just keeps coming, and for people like me who live for what’s coming next, it can get a little overwhelming when you find out there are so many new songs you want to hear. So my “10/10” feature helps alleviate the pressure for me, and also allows me to introduce you to 10 new songs in more capsulized reviews.
For those not familiar with10/10, I write about 10 hot and fresh songs in no particular order, for your kind consideration and attention. I continue to write individual blog posts about certain songs. That does not mean that songs in the 10/10 lists are any less than those featured individually – “siic” by stef, from edition #20, just debuted on my personal chart – and they are not listed in any particular order. Writing “10/10” posts means I can just cover more songs in one shot with a few sentences about each. So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but I sometimes don’t get a chance to write about.
- TYLER GARRETT, “Stardust”
For the last while, I’ve been enjoying the R&B-inflected dance pop of Tyler Garrett’s new album called Runaway. The L.A.-based, South Carolina-born singer has a diverse set of pipes which are particularly showcased well on the track “Stardust”. This is a crunchy, gritty one for the dance floor which allows Tyler’s voice to really let loose, while its funky Prince-meets-OutKast groove really stands out. I’d love to hear “Stardust” in extended or remixed form!
- MACY CRAWFORD, “juliet”
It’s rare that an artist will release songs that have a common conceptual theme, outside of many progressive or perhaps hard rock performers who create huge epic stories. So “juliet” is the first of five songs from an EP still to come from new South Carolina talent 20 year old Macy Crawford, and they all shed some different light on some well-chosen tragic heroes and heroines from mythology and literature. Naturally, “juliet” is she of Shakespeare fame, with a song that takes a specific view about why the star-crossed lovers met their fate. Macy has a stunning voice and makes for a fine story-teller through song, and “juliet” is co-written with and produced by Robbie Rosen, who is currently sitting up top of my personal chart with “Sanctuary”.
- ANIQO, “Fear”
Germany’s ANIQO (Anita Goβ) writes and releases mainly electronic alternative pop songs that are never, ever boring, and always make you think (usually accompanied by well-crafted videos), even when they might be at their most polarizing. “Fear” takes a step sideways from “Wonderland” and “LoveLife”, two of her bright and most accessible songs. It takes you on a dark, ponderous journey of self-realization where one of the things you might discover about yourself is that fear lies within everyone, something we must embrace and reconcile ourselves with frequently, and try not to let it overwhelm us. The video for “Fear” is full of striking, well-shot imagery, with a nice reveal at the end.
- MAYA DELILAH and SAMM HENSHAW, “Breakup Season”
Breakup songs have been with us for so long, it’s safe to reassure yourself that people will never get enough of them, as they often come from deep and unique places within the songwriter. Maya Delilah is a pop/R&B singer/songwriter/guitarist from London who has been causing a stir that has led to her new aptly titled EP It’s Not Me, It’s You. Leading the EP is “Breakup Season”, featuring the amazing, effortless voice of Samm Henshaw (who I saw in concert last year), an ideal compliment to Maya’s own deft soulful tones. Like other breakup songs, this one is a celebration of doing the right thing for yourself, while recognizing things that you did wrong too. The uplifting arrangement plays not unlike songs you might hear at a traditional New Orleans funeral, meaning that it’s time to move on in “Breakup Season”.
- ALICE PISANO, “September”
I enjoy it when acoustic releases are made with intention, not just to release a decent song with limited production values. Alice Pisano is a new singer based out of London but raised in Italy, and “September” hits home because of her vulnerable and striking vocal performance. Yes, it’s a sad, end-of-summer song relating a failed relationship and why everything you do or see reminds you of the person now gone from your life. “September” as a song takes a few spins to warm up to, but there’s no denying Alice’s talents through those repeat listens.
- SCOTT MAGNUS, “Break My Heart”
I’ve continued to enjoy Scott Magnus’ previous single, “The Phoenix”, which I wrote about this past summer, for its anthemic energy and expressive vocal, coming from a performer who you would never know has multiple special needs challenges – ADHD, Autism and Dyspraxia. The Manchester-born talent follows it up with “Break My Heart”, which, knowingly or not, has its roots set back in about 1983 when streetwise British new wave rock bands like JoBoxers, Aztec Camera and others had their time in the sun. It’s very refreshing, and Scott’s every-guy voice, as set against appropriate minimal-sounding production, definitely makes the song stick with you.
- CRAWFORD MACK, “The Last Perfect Day On Earth”
Protest songs forever have singer/songwriters like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez in their debt, and continue to this day in various shapes and forms. Glasgow-based singer/songwriter Crawford Mack offers some of his thoughts about the need for climate change in a gentle but provocative manner to make you think about “The Last Perfect Day On Earth”. If not us in our lifetimes, some future human beings may experience the subject of the song, so he encourages to us through song to act now, not later, to do our part. Crawford wrote the song knowing that the critical GOP26 talks about climate change begin in his hometown tomorrow (November 1). His taut performance makes me think of a Paul Simon-meets-Joshua Radin style, while his band restrains itself nicely from rocking out too much to support the thoughtful but pointed nature of the song.
- LEXI MARIAH, “Demons”
The voice of new US singer/songwriter Lexi Mariah is one that you’ll remember, as it fits in snugly with contemporaries alongside Bebe Rexha and Dua Lipa. “Demons” also benefits from a catchy chorus and shiny production, which is perfect for a pick-me-up in these autumn months. I don’t think the song offers anything new lyrically but Lexi’s refreshing vocal and the melody will seize your ears and happily make you look forward to more from her.
- ANJXLXE, “Feel It”
Montreal’s ANJXLXE is a new voice to keep your ears happy with her single “Feel It”. Clearly there will be comparisons to Ariana Grande, Alessia Cara and Jessie Reyez, as she gracefully breezes through this tight and snappy but quick single which she also co-wrote. Its bluesy, jazzy arrangement helps give it some needed edge, but for future releases I’d love to hear ANJXLXE flex more vocal muscle which will help take her songs over the edge. For now though, “Feel It” is a solid introduction.
- KITONE, “Alright”
Russian dance producer Kitone has in a short time already been supported in mix-shows by just about every current major DJ/producer. He brings you “Alright”, a song oozing with positive vibes that will certainly rev up a full dance floor and keep the party moving for the rest of the evening. The pitched down vocal is generic but the dynamic synths and well thought out arrangement makes “Alright” an easy spin for dance music lovers who enjoy their songs fast-placed, as well as for club DJ’s looking to add some pronounced bounce into a set.