What’s on “The Other Side”? L.A.-based singer/songwriter Axel Mansoor @iamAxelM sings about those choices

AXEL MANSOOR, “The Other Side”

Axel Mansoor is an Emmy Awards-nominated singer/songwriter who has the rare talent for grasping particular moments in time and putting it into music.  We’ve already experienced glorious songs like “Wasted My Love” and “Out Of My Head”, but this time with “The Other Side”, Axel sings about making choices in a soft, soulful, high register.  This gives a gentle side to dealing with such decisions, making them part of everyday life rather than something to stress over, and by song’s end something that is resolute.  “The Other Side” has a delightful mid-tempo arrangement with solid harmonies and guitar work, and continues to earmark the growth of this talented performer.

Published in: on February 9, 2019 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Watch out for new UK singer/songwriter @NatalieShay with “Yesterday”

NATALIE SHAY, “Yesterday”

After winning a slew of recent awards in her native London, which led to a story in Billboard last month, Natalie Shay is more than ready to shine in the worldwide spotlight that a solid song like “Yesterday” might bring for her.  Co-written and recorded with Jonathan Vears, who has worked with the likes of Imagine Dragons, “Yesterday” is richly layered, punchy pop/rock that recounts a relationship that was never meant to be.  Natalie’s style often recalls artists like Alanis Morissette, or perhaps even her own namesake, Natalie Imbruglia – one that will rock right out but still capture a beautifully trained voice with expressive qualities.  “Yesterday” is a worthy introduction to a new talent that we will hear more of throughout the year.

Published in: on February 9, 2019 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Toronto duo @Isla_Den bring chill, danceable, electronic story-making to your attention with “Navi.6”

ISLA DEN, “Navi.6”

I’m not sure what “Navi.6” is all about, but I think that’s part of the appeal behind the new single from Toronto electronic duo Isla Den (aka Ellie and Michael).  This is indie DIY story-making electronica that throws me back to the early 80’s when folks like The Cocteau Twins were emerging to bring another side to the new wave sounds that became more popular, with a vocal here that recalls late 80’s UK groups like The Sundays or The Heart Throbs.  What I also like about “Navi.6” are the inspired tempo shifts, and the spiritual, other-worldly side to some of its lyrics, particularly later in the song.  “Navi.6” is a fine song to generate interest in what Isla Den are all about after receiving some attention last year with a debut EP.  The duo received subsequent acclaim for bringing their songs to life through visuals in concert, and a follow up EP is coming soon.

Isla Den play The Garrison in Toronto on Saturday, February 16, 2019.

Published in: on February 9, 2019 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Listen to the soulful, snappy earworm “Chemistry Or Chemicals” by @MattBeilis

MATT BEILIS, “Chemistry Or Chemicals”

NYC’s Matt Beilis has been steadily releasing his own pop songs and becoming a go-to voice in the dance genre for the most part of this decade, with his uplifting vocal in Electric Bodega’s “Rest Of My Life” a few years back a highlight for me.  He’s also a classically trained pianist.  “Chemistry or Chemicals” is one of his strongest, catchiest originals, with a snappy hook that stands out alongside Matt’s vocal, which has an Adam Levine flavour with a touch of a rasp.  Matt’s a rarity, having a voice that can likely sing just about any kind of song and make it work. “Chemistry” is both witty and telling, a smart song that will keep you coming back to play it again and again.  

Published in: on February 2, 2019 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Flying Away” is an outstanding new song with a powerful vocal by NYC-based singer/songwriter @RyanGibeau

RYAN GIBEAU, “Flying Away”

For those of us who enjoy songs of loves lost and left behind, accompanied by an amazing vocal and lovely arrangement, “Flying Away” by NYC-based singer/songwriter Ryan Gibeau is your new best friend.  The song actually starts off rather plainly with its first few verses, but then Ryan’s voice shifts into this warm, melt-worthy lower octave, and he draws you in like melting butter on toast.  His voice actually reminds me a lot of Burton Cummings, particularly in The Guess Who’s 1973 hit “Glamour Boy”, and not too many singers get away with a deep mellifluous shift and make it work – think Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright.  The arrangement with electric guitar and strings really kicks the record up a few more notches.  The song itself was written while flying to another city after a breakup.  You can feel both the loss of love and the need to get away echoing seamlessly through the lyrics.  “Flying Away” comes from Ryan Gibeau’s new album Quiet Fall.  It’s one of the best new songs I’ve heard in months.  I’ll be diving into the full album soon.  

RyanGibeau

Published in: on December 16, 2018 at 11:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Plastic Dreams” is a cheery slice of indie electronica from France’s @Khamsinmusic and @Kidswaste

KHAMSIN and KIDSWASTE, “Plastic Dreams”

One of the most vibrant and cheery songs you’ll hear heading into Autumn is “Plastic Dreams” by French producers Khamsin and Kidswaste.  The pair are also two of a bigger collective called Slow Hours that is (ahem) overdue for new music.  Until then, most of the members have recorded recent solo material.  The production here is deliberately pretty sparse and raw at times, with gentle, charming vocals, giving it live-off-the-floor qualities.  But both gents know how to make really big, dramatic productions when they need to, so some hefty rhythms and anthemic qualities make “Plastic Dreams” flow with the dance floor in mind.  Just one last thing – more, please 🙂

Published in: on September 25, 2018 at 10:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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No wallowing in sorrow in “Forgiveness” by new SanFran duo Cassette Tapes @cassettewav

CASSETTE TAPES, “Forgiveness”

“Forgiveness” by Cassette Tapes can be called more of a celebration of looking for forgiveness for something for all the right reasons rather than pining away and wallowing in sorrow.  I could be wrong, but this doesn’t sound like the aftermath of an end of a relationship.  As such the new San Francisco duo of Jackson and Parker have taken some cues from fellow sterling Californian duos like RKCB and Opia, adding a delightful soulful edge to their indie pop.  I’m not sure who sings but the vocal could not be more spot-on, and it’s what attracts you to the story, which is over quickly in a matter of two and a half minutes.  “Forgiveness” is a great introduction to Cassette Tapes and only wants to make you hear more from them.

Published in: on August 17, 2018 at 9:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Dirty” packs an empowering punch from L.A. singer/songwriter/producer @EMMinreallife

EMM, “Dirty”

Wearing the hats of singer, songwriter, and producer, L.A.-based EMM is doing things her way and making it all shine along the way with punchy songs like “Dirty”.  EMM is also a fearless advocate for young women and men, and “Dirty” is about sharing and empowering that much-needed self-confidence to get by in life.  Stylistically she crosses lines between the likes of Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, and Jennifer Lopez, while still creating some of that bold, fun rock star mystique as in the photo below.  Call her “Dirty” or not as the song says, EMM is here for a good time and has a terrific, convincing vision, aiming high for all to share.

emminreallife

Published in: on August 4, 2018 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Gentle and reflective “Vice” is new from Australia-based indie singer/songwriter @Vincent_Pine

VINCENT PINE, “Vice”

I wrote about “Perfectly Familiar”, the debut release by Australia-based indie singer/songwriter Vincent Pine earlier this year, and it threw me back to the late 80’s and early 90’s and some wonderful songs of a similar fashion which came out of Britain at the time (the artist is originally from the UK).  With his rich and deep vocal, fine song structure, and production here which saves the best for last, Vincent’s guitar-based songs are well-suited to fans of Classic Rock, Folk, and Americana genres.  “Vice” is a gentle and reflective song where a familiar story unfolds and at around the 3 minute mark the song rocks out nicely in a way that would be perfectly suited to a live performance.  The music of Vincent Pine may seem to be very unassuming but it’s certainly convincing and well worth hearing as his style and songwriting develops.  

Published in: on May 31, 2018 at 10:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Germany’s @Blinded_Hearts drops the joyous “Rather Be” with the distinct voice of Cammie Robinson @UKCammie

BLINDED HEARTS and CAMMIE ROBINSON, “Rather Be”

No, it’s not a cover of the smash Clean Bandit song from a few years ago, but I think “Rather Be” by Germany’s Blinded Hearts featuring UK singer Cammie Robinson has instant appeal for pop and dance music fans alike.  Blinded Hearts is on a roll.  Every song he releases seems to be catchier and more appealing, and having the distinct voice of Cammie capture the many joyous sentiments to which anyone can relate is such a big bonus.  “Rather Be” is indie pop at its finest, with plenty of opportunity to watch couples sway on the dance floor to it as well.  Some remixes might draw out more firepower for clubs, but “Rather Be” is a song to soak in for everything it has to offer and more.

Published in: on May 19, 2018 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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