10/10 #12!: @RufusWainwright @FrancescoYates #TheBeamishBrothers @Gillian_music @Vampaofficial @KarlWolfs & @iamJuliusWilson J-Mi of @JMiandMidiD @DJDezza @FLouisemusic @Bellsavvy

It’s 10/10 – Edition 12!!

When you don’t write a blog post for two weeks, then the new music accumulates, so I’m glad I have this feature which helps me continue to bring you some new songs you might not otherwise hear.

In 10/10 (or tenoutoften) ,  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, and they are not listed in any particular order.  The song residing at #1 on my current chart, “You’ll Be OK” by Gareth Emery, was featured in a 10/10 blog post back in March.

Writing 10/10 features means I can cover more songs in one shot.  So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but don’t always get a chance to write about.

  • RUFUS WAINWRIGHT, “You Ain’t Big”

Before I continue, you have to know that I’ve been a huge fan of Juno Award-winning Canadian singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright since his debut self-titled album was released in 1998.  I’ve seen him perform 6 or 7 times, but not now for many years.  “You Ain’t Big” is the title song from his new EP, his first new pop music since 2012’s album Out Of The Game, after forays into opera and Shakespeare as well as a live album.  It’s a return to the carefree, whimsical songwriting of his earlier career.  To me he’s also in his finest pop voice since 2007’s Release The Stars.  “You Ain’t Big” is the standout, and though no song on the EP disappoints, also check out “Trouble In Paradise” and “Peaceful Afternoon”.

  • FRANCESCO YATES, “Bad Decisions”

My fellow Canadian Francesco Yates is back with another great new song that taps into the punchy R&B-flavoured pop that gave him his start with  jams like “Better To Be Loved”.  To me, “Bad Decisions” is his best one since the early days, it just brims with energy and devil-may-care lyrics about getting into some specific trouble with a special someone.  Like with “Superbad”, Francesco teases us with a short video, with more to come.  Check out this dynamic release with video and full song above.  Canadian radio stations definitely needs to jump on it.

  • THE BEAMISH BROTHERS, “Nature”

Rising and talented siblings from Queensland, Australia, the Beamish Brothers have released their first 2020 single in style with “Nature”.  Ben and Jeremy have been well established as regular voices on several dance tracks over the past couple of years, and started to release their own music last year with the alt.pop EP Brutalism.  “Nature” had the bonus of being featured as a runner-up in February in Eurovision Australia Decides.  It draws from numerous styles which will appeal as much to fans of Paul Simon as it would fans of Years & Years.  The brothers’ seamless vocal interplay is a big draw, and is punctuated by rich and soulful, memorably choir-like bursts of the title.  “Nature” is a classic lesson in the way to make DIY music work wonders.  

  • GILLIAN, “high”

Boston teen pop singer/songwriter Gillian has an unconventional winner with “high”. The song’s protagonist has a major crush on someone who cannot reciprocate the attraction because his priority is to get high. It’s a frustrating scenario when you discover that someone is not who they say they are until you see their true colours, and hope for the best for the protagonist at the end. Gillian’s vocal style is proudly unique, stemming from a long line of singers with similar styles – Jill Sobule, Joan Osborne, Regina Spektor are some names that come to mind. “high” is a strong song with deft execution that makes it memorable.

  • VAMPA, “Dark Matter”

“Dark Matter” is the title song from the recent EP by relative newcomer, the Chicago-based bass music producer VAMPA, whose heavy and melodic style could easily fit alongside releases by Rezz, Kai Wachi, Zed’s Dead, and Wooli.  “Dark Matter” instantly slams with the best of them and I think it’s her flair for melody and ear-popping synth effects that will get listeners’ attention.  VAMPA’s vocal narrative at the beginning also nicely sets up what’s to come and flows into the rest of the song with ease.  

  • KARL WOLF and JULIUS WILSON, “City Of Lies”

It’s been a slice since Karl Wolf was all over the radio in Canada with his huge cover of Toto’s “Africa” and other songs such as two with Kardinal Offishall, “Ghetto Love” and “Amateur At Love”. You may not know though that he was a co-writer of bülow’s debut “Not A Love Song”, among his many other songwriting credits.  He’s back with an infectious, retro R&B flavoured dance pop song called “City Of Lies”.  It features the striking voice of Halifax-born (of Jamaican and Bajan heritage) Julius Wilson, whose diverse vocal fits snugly into the hybrid electronic pop mix of the song.  The video above offers a glowing backdrop of Toronto which makes us pine for the nightlife that is currently missing from our lives.  “City Of Lies” is from Karl’s forthcoming album Night Of The Wolf.

  • J-MI, “On Our Own”

“On Our Own” is a most pleasant and refreshing surprise. Sherbrooke, Quebec-based producer J-Mi, forever active on the gamer circuit, returns to pop music with her take on the 1989 Bobby Brown classic from “Ghostbusters 2”. Strangely and somewhat out of sync with these times, its production (by J-Mi with long-time collaborator Midi-D aka Dave Phaneuf) remains glued to the new jack swing vibes of the original. While that may leave you scratching your head, the results are charming and brimming with enthusiasm (with J-Mi being an ultimate “Ghostbusters fan). J-Mi has put loads of effort over the past few years into honing her vocals, and the results are flattering. Unabashedly bold, the aim of “On Our Own” is to leave you smiling and it is completely on point with that.

  • DEZZA and MIKE SCHMID, “Carry Me”

“Carry Me” is sophisticated, emotional house music for your soul and feet, brought to you by Halifax producer Dezza, and co-writer and veteran vocalist Mike Schmid, who has performed in concert with the likes of The Chainsmokers, Troye Sivan and Miley Cyrus.  Dezza has been releasing music consistently for the last few years as either a producer or remixer, with much success in Europe in the company of the likes of Armin van Buuren.  “Carry Me” stands out as a pensive house track with elegant synths that support Mike’s soothing voice.  While atypical, “Carry Me” will win you over with a few listens.

  • FRANCESCA LOUISE, “Ride The Waters”

I’m bringing you another song by British pop/folk singer Francesca Louise after I first wrote about her a month ago.  Her voice is a breath of fresh air, with its own unique spin on pop music, which in “Ride The Waters” recalls the confidence of a Christine McVie or Sheryl Crow, while retaining her own sound.  In fact the song is about being successful on your own terms and directs an empowering message towards young women.  So this is not dreary folk music from another era.  “Ride The Waters” is spirited and engaging and deserving of your attention.

  • BELLSAVVY, “Queen Of My Mind”

Bellsavvy is a new voice to get to know, and she hails from London but was raised in Brazil.  The daughter of a pop star in Brazil, Bellsavvy follows mom’s lead after a modelling career with the potent “Queen Of My Mind”.  It’s an ode to self-realization after the singer herself faced mental health issues.  With production from David Lei Brandt, who worked with Lady Gaga, there will be the inevitable Gaga comparisons, which are completely justified.  Bellsavvy has a well-honed, stunning tone in her vocal, and “Queen of My Mind” will also appeal to fans of Kiesza, Charli XCX, and Madonna.  “Queen Of My Mind” is a striking debut indeed!

Prolific Boston singer/songwriter @AlmostOwenmusic will entertain you with “From The Outside”

ALMOST OWEN, “From The Outside”

Boston’s Almost Owen is definitely one of the new talents of 2019 to whom you should pay attention.  While he’s an indie singer/songwriter and bedroom producer, with entertaining stories like “From The Outside” signalling why his music might be meant for more than that.  Every song he releases is distinctly different yet quite recognizable as Almost Owen.  I’m still digging his fun, brief and in-your-face “We Out Here”, which is an interesting contrast to “From The Outside”, a song that seems to take a lot of cues from late 70’s AM radio pop – taking me back to Kenny Nolan’s “I Like Dreaming” for story, and Starbuck’s “Moonlight Feels Right” for melody – as well as classic performers like his mentor Paul Simon and James Taylor.  Almost Owen creates fresh slices of life carried by lovely melodies and infectious rhythms, and “From The Outside” puts him another notch ahead.

Published in: on September 19, 2019 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“We Out Here” by @AlmostOwenmusic is fun, summery memory-making music

ALMOST OWEN, “We Out Here”

It’s short and sweet at only 2:06 but boy does Boston’s Almost Owen cram a lot of detail into such a quick song.  “We Out Here” is meant to be played loud, and it’s a raucous and upbeat song about when we are at our most vain and ridiculous – take the “Old Time Rock & Roll” scene from Tom Cruise’s movie “Risky Business” and run with it.  You’re in command of your own setting and fun when you’re by yourself or with a good friend, and some of those times create some unique memories.  Following up the rocker “One Lucky Man” and the acoustic “One In A Million”, both of which I have written about, Almost Owen continues to impress with “We Out Here” with the best kind of diverse fun.

Published in: on August 9, 2019 at 10:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Boston’s @AlmostOwenmusic rocks out with “One Lucky Man”

ALMOST OWEN, “One Lucky Man”

In early May, I introduced you to Boston’s Almost Owen through a delightful acoustic indie bedroom production.  He’s followed that up with a full blown alt.rock effort called “One Lucky Man”.  He’s got a great voice and like with many classic rockers, he can sing a lot of powerful, meaningful lyrics and draw the audience into his story without worrying that he’s actually singing too much.  The song has a straight-forward arrangement with a steady rhythm that steers it quickly through three and a half minutes without it seeming even as such.  Definitely keep your ears open for Almost Owen – he’s a sharp songwriter who knows what his listeners want to hear, and delivers a great message with “One Lucky Man” in the process.

Published in: on June 30, 2019 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet Boston indie pop singer/songwriter @AlmostOwenmusic with the reflective “Something In You”

ALMOST OWEN, “Something In You”

If you think that indie bedroom pop simply can’t be compelling then I’m happy to make you think otherwise by introducing you to Boston singer/songwriter Almost Owen.  His latest release, “Something In You”, indeed is a bedroom studio production.  But his voice is rich and full of defined tones, definitely reminiscent of early John Mayer, and the song captures simple jazz and folk flavours that make it easy to stick with even the fussiest of listeners.  Originally a drummer as a child, Almost Owen (aka Isaac Haselkom) traveled the world to hone his craft, working with the likes of Paul Simon (undoubtedly a huge influence) as well as jazz greats like Joe Sample and Wayne Shorter.  Songs like “Something In You” only signal promise for what Almost Owen has to offer music fans.

Published in: on May 5, 2019 at 5:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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@GentlemenHall Rocks On with “Every Morning”

GENTLEMEN HALL, “Every Morning”

Boston sextet Gentlemen Hall returns to a potent blend of pop and rock with their latest song “Every Morning”.  It’s a follow up to that bright pop song that you heard in a few TV commercials, “Sail Into The Sun”, one of my faves of the year, which eventually was picked up by Island Def Jam for official release.  “Every Morning” is GH at its best – winning harmonies, slick instrumentation, lyrics to which everyone can relate – enhanced by a sometimes comical but always interesting claymation video.  Music-wise, the song harkens back to the 60’s (whether intentional or not), particularly when the Summer of Sgt. Pepper Love was seguing into 1968’s White Album.  “Every Morning” starts out like it might be a blissfully sweet pop song, but then gets its rock on pretty hard, which makes it all the more memorable.

Published in: on September 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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