“Not Enough” marks an ear-pleasing, heartfelt return for Secondhand Serenade @secondhandJohn

SECONDHAND SERENADE, “Not Enough”

Aside from the single release of “Lost” two years ago, we haven’t heard from John Vesely, otherwise known as Secondhand Serenade, since his 2016 indie release A Naked Twist In My Story, essentially an acoustic update of his best known work, 2008’s A Twist In My Story, which featured his huge hit “Fall For You”.  The San Francisco born singer/songwriter is back with a strong pop song that his many adoring fans will love called “Not Enough”, co-written with his wife Veronica Ballestrini.  The song has a terrific arrangement, building from a piano/vocal combo, and gradually introducing harmony vocals, drums and guitar into the mix.  The lyrics lay everything on the table after a relationship has just ended – “when were we not enough?” being such a heartfelt question to ask.  Hopefully this fine release, which should be a highlight in live performance, will keep the Secondhand Serenade fan base growing.

Published in: on September 12, 2019 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Not Enough” marks an ear-pleasing, heartfelt return for Secondhand Serenade @secondhandJohn

SECONDHAND SERENADE, “Not Enough”

Aside from the single release of “Lost” two years ago, we haven’t heard from John Vesely, otherwise known as Secondhand Serenade, since his his 2016 indie release A Naked Twist In My Story, essentially an acoustic update of his best known work, 2008’s A Twist In My Story, which featured his huge hit “Fall For You”.  The San Francisco born singer/songwriter is back with a strong pop song that his many adoring fans will love called “Not Enough”, co-written with his wife Veronica Ballestrini.  The song has a terrific arrangement, building from a piano/vocal combo, and gradually introducing harmony vocals, drums and guitar into the mix.  The lyrics lay everything on the table after a relationship has just ended – “when were we not enough?” being such a heartfelt question to ask.  Hopefully this fine release, which should be a highlight in live performance, will keep the Secondhand Serenade fan base growing.

Published in: on September 10, 2019 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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With new single “Pyro”, @AaronCarter is no fluke comeback king, and serves up more slick soulful pop/dance grooves

AARON CARTER, “Pyro”

Just when you thought his 2017 EP LøVë was a one-shot fluke of a comeback for the man who sold millions as a pre-teen at the start of the last decade, the Aaron Carter story continues through his music with his newly released independent single called “Pyro”.  As with songs from LøVë like “Fool’s Gold” (delightfully remixed last year with hip hop singer 3letterznuk) , which were as on the mark as any other soulful pop/dance release two years ago, “Pyro” brings us a sophisticated, well-produced groove with interesting lyrics that will all resonate well alongside music by Bruno Mars or Sam Smith.  Aaron’s vocal glides along in his head voice most of the time, with some well-placed harmonies that reinforce the chorus of the song.  It’s time to dispense with so many of those preconceived notions and thoughts and let Aaron Carter’s music speak for itself.  And for those of you producers, remixers and vocalists who are interested in getting in on his music, he’s posted three instrumentals with which you can be creative, as free downloads at the link below.

Published in: on September 10, 2019 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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UK electro indie singer/songwriter @Lostchilduk returns with playful and jaunty “Like Like” and EP

LOSTCHILD, Like Like (EP)

UK singer/songwriter Lostchild first came to my attention a couple of years ago with a boldly spot-on, sinewy cover of Madonna’s “Skin” from Ray Of Light.  Then last year, he had one of my favourites with the warts-and-all honesty of “Blacklist” (which got to #5 on my personal chart).  He’s back with a song that continues to showcase his diverse talents as both singer and songwriter with “Like Like”, also the name of the accompanying EP. 

For Lostchild, “Like Like” is an uncharacteristically playful and jaunty electronic pop/dance tune that, like “Blacklist”, shows off the singer’s hugely appealing personality while recounting the frustration of not being able to find a successful relationship.  But the message is hopeful and open-ended, with a showy video, like the ones for “Blacklist”, that’s all Lostchild (above). While “Like Like” relies on an electronic vocal hook, the song to me is actually improved in its OKJAMES remix below.  This is the version to which you can let loose even more.  It’s got a bounce missing from the original and this is the version I’d prefer to hear on the radio.  The EP is rounded out by an acoustic version of “Like Like” plus two more new songs, the more self-reflective “Tall” and the slick, UK soul-influenced “Know U 1st”.  

If you like singer/songwriters like Lauv and Troye Sivan who write genuine, personal songs that so many of us can relate to, then you’ll adore Lostchild too. So jump on the Lostchild train and enjoy the fun ride (with donuts!) of “Like Like”.

Published in: on August 17, 2019 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Baton Rouge duo @thisisPlake are back as emotions and thoughts collide in “Bleeding Out”

PLAKE, “Bleeding Out”

The brothers Plake – singer Hunter and guitarist Dakota – circle back to the unique appeal of their first single “Eden” and some of Hunter’s performances on “The Voice” (where he should have gotten into the Top 4) a few years back with “Bleeding Out”.  Taking those times when there are too many voices wrestling for space inside your brain and you can’t make sense of what’s happening around you, the lyrics of “Bleeding Out” are countered by a soft electronic melody and a dreamy vocal by Hunter.  “Bleeding Out” tells it like it is, and doesn’t compromise with a happy ending or closure because some times are tough and the reality of emotions sink deep.  “Bleeding Out” puts these guys back solidly on the pop music map and you’d be remiss if you didn’t take a listen.

Published in: on August 17, 2019 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s downright cool to be “Peachy” as sung by L.A.-based songwriter and producer @EMMinreallife

EMM2

EMM, “Peachy”

Don’t be fooled by its title – “Peachy” is a powerhouse alt.rocker that is all about empowering yourself to be just your cool self.  And let it sink in because it should be nothing more than “Peachy” to be you, like it is for the pop chameleon that is Michigan-born, L.A.-based EMM, despite any ongoing hardships.  There are so many people in the world with anxieties and pressures, many of which are a result of other people diminishing their self-worth.  “Peachy” puts that all to bed with a ferocious vocal and melody that definitely recall No Doubt, Blondie, and Cyndi Lauper.  EMM refuses to compromise her touch-edged lyrics, which makes the song even more powerful.  The musical arrangement is a catchy but haunting contrast to the song’s message.  Listen to the song at the link below and you’ll understand why “Peachy” fits for EMM as well as for others.

Published in: on August 17, 2019 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SoCal duo Inspired & The Sleep @insprdandtheslp help us out with “Getting Through”

INSPIRED AND THE SLEEP, “Getting Through”

Although the lyrics are perfectly serious, SoCal duo Inspired And The Sleep (Max and Bryce) are determined to help us all out with “Getting Through”.  Its empowering message compels you to listen, which is countered by a soothing melody carried throughout by a some chipper piano chords, giving it a 1970’s Doobie Brothers kind of vibe (think of songs like “Minute By Minute” or “It Keeps You Runnin'”).  Max’s vocal really shines as well, making “Getting Through” likely the best release I’ve heard from them to date.  It’s definitely indie alternative, and college radio stations should enjoy this one immensely.  But it’s also unique pop music that will stand apart from the rest in a set, not an easy thing to do these days.

Published in: on August 11, 2019 at 10:34 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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More intriguing alt.rock from new #Toronto duo #Homestead with “Rather Be Friends”

HOMESTEAD, “Rather Be Friends”

If last month’s “Runaway” was an interesting slice of alt.dance music, then “Rather Be Friends”, by Toronto duo Homestead (producer/guitarist Liam DeBoer and vocalist Joël), ups the intrigue ante a few more notches.  You must stick with this one.  The beginning definitely starts off a little slow, but just after the minute mark things start to brew, and electronics creep in.  Then with some change-ups to Joël’s vocal, at times sung/spoken, the mystery of the song starts to reveal itself – who is it that would actually ‘rather be friends’ here?  The last minute of the song is well worth waiting for, as Joël’s vocal totally rocks out and catches you by surprise.  Like with “Runaway”, there’s a lot of mystique in “Rather Be Friends”, but this time it’s more rock-flavoured and could appeal to fans of Toronto’s Edge 102 or Indie-88, where it should find favour on either of their playlists.  I guess we will never entirely know what’s up Liam’s and Joël’s sleeves, and because of this, a few songs in, Homestead as a project has a lot of potential.

Published in: on July 16, 2019 at 9:47 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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