It’s time for edition #22 of “10/10”, my blog feature in which 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. 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. I’m particularly impressed with the talent which you will read about and I urge you to check out these songs!
- PARALEVEN and FRACTURES, “In My Head” (original and RTIK remix)
Alternative electronic music is alive and well when you hear top notch progressive songs from the likes of Atlanta-based producer Paraleven (aka Josh Taylor). Paraleven had the good fortune to be recently signed to Rüfüs Du Sol’s new label Rose Avenue, and will in fact be performing at Rüfüs’ upcoming festival called Sundream Tülüm in March. “In My Head” is culled from Paraleven’s album Apollo, a multi-faceted and deep record of many moods, but reminiscent of Alan Parsons’ earlier works in some ways. It’s the most representative track from the album, featuring a thoughtful, taut and knowing vocal by Australian songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Fractures (aka Mark Zito). “In My Head” is music for the wee hours, even more so in the melodic and chill recent extended remix by Italy’s RTIK. Paraleven is one to keep your ears on in the coming years.
- LOUIS PAX, “Bad Things”
Swedish quartet Louis Pax is a new name you need to remember thanks to the vibrant 80’s throwback sound of their second release “Bad Things”. Previously known as Royal Prospect, the guys won a major unsigned talent contest in Sweden, which opened up many opportunities from signing to an indie label to touring in North America, including opening for Usher in Sweden thanks to SXSW. The band have now redefined its sound, and lead singer Oscar Reingsdahl has one helluva beautifully sharp and on-key voice. “Bad Things” has plucked so many elements out of 80’s pop music, from vocal and melodic flourishes through to guitar riffs, and made it sound fresh again. Louis Pax is creating tasty ear candy for us, and we’ll all want more of this in 2022.
- GABE JAMES, “Gracie”
Gabe James is another new talent to get to know through his song “Gracie” from his EP City Of Lost Angels. As you’ve undoubtedly clued into from the title of the EP, its theme is being “lost” as a newcomer to Los Angeles, to which Gabe moved from his home in Colorado, and the subsequent adventures that unfold. “Gracie” is such an effortless song to like and make you smile, it simply oozes charm! Gabe has an easy-going, fresh-faced appeal as a singer, and while “Gracie” is a pure pop song about being lovestruck by a girl while still being new in L.A., I could picture Gabe rocking out in concert like Shawn Mendes or playing acoustic like John Mayer and capturing everyone’s undivided attention.
- ST. HUMAIN, “Sick Sad Love Song”
St. Humain is a Singapore-born, Sydney, Australia based singer-songwriter who aims to please with his warm, far-reaching vocal in the soul-drenched “Sick Sad Love Song”. The song’s story is best explained in St. Humain’s words: “The song’s backdrop is (loosely) my high school prom where I didn’t really wanna go for the social aspect but I just really wanted to perform. Which I did, in a cover band with some of my friends whom I was in a band with at that time.” St. Humain channels his angst about not fitting in as a young Asian teen through his expressive voice, which elicits shades of many singers like Daryl Hall, Ed Sheeran, and Charlie Puth, and is capped by the beautiful tone of his falsetto. “Sick Sad Love Song” comes from St. Humain’s upcoming EP called Metadramatic.
- MACY CRAWFORD, “hamartia”
“hamartia” is the title track of Macy Crawford’s newly released EP. It follows the singles “juliet” and “elektra”, both of which I’ve written about recently. The 20 year old South Carolina native is a talent to watch. “hamartia” is the introduction to the EP, about the tragic flaws of popular heroes and heroines, this time with perfectionism being the fatal flaw of the protagonist. Macy’s diverse and powerful voice and her ability to craft an intriguing concept connecting the five songs within is abetted through the guidance of the honed songwriting and production talents of Robbie Rosen.
- EMMY MAE, “Fake Smiles”
You’ve already heard Emmy Mae on Macy Crawford’s single “elektra”, which I wrote about recently, and “Fake Smiles” is a beautiful song that lets her voice shine. The South Carolina singer/songwriter’s execution, in a jazzy pop setting, is charming and breezes by, while aptly taking on the truths behind the title subject. Like Macy’s songs, “Fake Smiles” is co-written and produced by Robbie Rosen, who has a fabulous ear for talent. “Fake Smiles” is an enjoyable release that makes you want to hear more from Emmy Mae.
- GEORGIA VALENTYNE, “Turn Off The Phone”
“Turn Off The Phone” is the debut release from 20 year old Toronto singer-songwriter Georgia Valentyne, who has the benefit of being the daughter of sparkling Canadian TV announcer and personality Jennifer Valentyne. “Turn Off The Phone” has a nice pop-jazz backdrop carried by a winning piano melody with lyrics that don’t beat around the bush, and it all puts Georgia’s voice front and centre. According to her Spotify profile, her songwriting is her diary so this is our first very welcome glimpse into the musical journal of Georgia Valentyne.
- DEVON BALDWIN, “Forgot To Miss You”
“Forgot To Miss You” is part of a fresh start for San Francisco-area singer/songwriter Devon Baldwin after recovering from a significant health issue – a collapsed lung – and then wading through difficulties imposed by the pandemic. She’s already seen success as a collaborator with artists as diverse as rapper G-Eazy – with whom she went to school in New Orleans, and contributed on songs in his Top 5 album These Things Happen, with a featured vocal on “Let’s Get Lost” – and EDM producer Nurko, but “Forgot To Miss You” helps re-launches her solo career. It’s a strong song to which anyone can relate – the wounds caused by the end of a relationship never heal, you just accept them knowing they can reopen at any time, and move on. Devon’s pointed lyrics are supported by her striking vocal and a catchy melody. “Forgot To Miss You” is awfully brief at 2:16 but it’s a jam-packed and spirited showcase for Devon Baldwin.
- NATHAN SMOKER, “Human”
You can tell in Nathan Smoker’s approach to covering Rag ‘n Bone Man’s “Human”, that he has every intention on making the song his own. And the London native indeed puts his own fine spin on the song, which wrings out every drop of emotion from the lyrics. Nathan’s been performing on stage since age eight, recently reached the semi-final of “The Voice” UK, and also completed a tour with boy band New Rules. Based on this single and his expressive vocal, I’d love to hear him interpret some original lyrics for a future release.
- THE MOVING STILLS, “Truthfully”
Meet The Moving Stills, a four piece indie pop-rock band from South Wales, and “Truthfully” is their fourth 2021 release. It’s a direct, likeable listen, which takes you to that sometimes difficult “make it or break it” time in a relationship. The song has a fuzzy and raw feel to it circa the mid-80’s when new wave had wrapped up, and other more rock-flavoured bands like The Smiths, The Cure, and Siouxsie & The Banshees carried on, but left its indelible influence on the music scene. The vocal meshes with the gritty synth and guitar sounds, and the band capably rocks out a solid foundation and groove. “Truthfully” will be included in The Moving Stills’ upcoming album called Sunshine Corner.