L.A.-based multi-instrumentalist @iamJMSN returns with carefree and soulful “Rolling Stone”

JMSN, “Rolling Stone”

Ahead of what will be his 13th album in 10 years (including one instrumental release and two “chopped not slopped” reworks) titled Heals Me, it’s great to hear L.A.-based (but Detroit-bred) multi-instrumentalist JMSN (aka Christian Berishaj) back in form with his first studio release in three years called “Rolling Stone”.  It’s also a throwback to his earlier music, to me less complex and more engaging than his more recent work.   “Rolling Stone” at its essence is carefree, compelling and soulful.  Quietly dynamic, JMSN sounds great and I can picture “Rolling Stone” as the opening song on his upcoming tour.  Having seen his live show back in 2013 and written about him many times (hit the search button on my blog page), he’s an engaging and unpredictable performer, so there is no time like the present to join the JMSN train.

Published in: on May 2, 2021 at 9:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A.-based duo @OYLSdotnet help destigmatize mental illness through “Netflix (Your Product Is Too Good)”

OYLS, “Netflix (Your Product Is Too Good)”

Like a few other artists who reflect on these difficult pandemic times, new L.A.-based duo OYLS focus on the state of our mental health with “Netflix (Your Product Is Too Good)”.  The video for the song, starring actor Danny Trejo, has the protagonist staying up late binging on Netflix shows while he vulnerably contemplates his own sanity.  With lockdowns still in force in much of the world, we know how this feels as the days blur into each other, and we develop a complacent routine that could have an impact on many of us in the long run.  The vocal for this alt.pop song is totally soaked in the quieter side of Prince’s “Purple Rain” era and the song is an unexpected earworm whose title is never mentioned.  “Netflix” is OYLS’ third in a series of eight episodes which form a “pop opera” which will be released throughout 2021.

It’s 10/10 #17: @NuelaCharles, @Kislawmusic & @wallflowerperry, #Anzano & @RobbieRosenlive, @CrashAdamsmusic, @Prizmofficial, @KenBauersweden, @Febmusic & @Lexie_official, #Dega, @TommyNewport & @EARTHGANG, and @DJChrisDamas

My 10/10 feature returns with edition #17.  I can’t believe it’s been six months since I wrote the last one.  But the time has come where very good songs for consideration for this blog are overwhelming the weaker ones, so I want to make sure the good ones get their due.  And as usual, the choices are a global cornucopia of releases.

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, and they are not listed in any particular order.  

Writing 10/10 posts 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. 

  • NUELA CHARLES, “Space”

Singer/songwriter Nuela Charles has been prominent in her native Canada, conquering the Adult Contemporary genre with Juno Awards nominations three years in a row for that category.  “Space” is a welcome change of pace for her, showcasing her effortless classic R&B-influenced voice with a sassy and funky backdrop. While “Space” was written as a response to the pandemic, it’s clear that we all need space from each other, even those closest to it. “Space” sails away with that idea and Nuela flourishes in this setting.

  • KISLAW and VICTOR PERRY, “Slip Away”

NYC singer/songwriter Victor Perry continues to be one of the most prolific independent performers, releasing new music every week where possible and showcasing it with different collaborators.  “Slip Away” is a unique partnership with new Africa-born French producer Kislaw, who embraces a sophisticated backdrop where you’ll hear the underutilized flute among other sounds.  And a funky edge allows Victor’s brilliant vocal – which reminds me of when either Michael or Janet Jackson are at their most playful – to lilt through the story and soar in the ad libs too.  Released by Bonfire Records, this one is very deserving of a follow up soon.

  • ANZANO and ROBBIE ROSEN, “Waves”

Like Victor Perry, “American Idol” Top 16 contestant Robbie Rosen is on a mission to release music every week right now (yes, it’s no surprise with similar ideals that the two collaborate as well).  Robbie’s recent songs and performances are so consistently strong it’s hard to pick out what are the strongest ones.  “Waves” finds Robbie working with Belgian producer Anzano for a chipper-sounding song that recognizes when you’ve lost a friend or partner to a better relationship or situation (“forever you’ll be one with the waves”).  It’s a quick mix of classic pop and bright, friendly electropop that goes down easily.

  • CRASH ADAMS, “Symphony”

Your friendly neighbourhood Toronto pop/rock duo Crash Adams are back with another song to make you think while putting a smile on your face. “Symphony” is about that instant state of attraction when all of the vibes and conversation just seem oh so right.  It’s another tight production with a winning vocal, and another cool video (above) to boot.  Crash Adams continue to release quality songs, and their talent and flair for spot-on visuals will take them far.

  • THE PRIZM, “Darkness Is A Friend”

“Darkness Is A Friend” is the centerpiece song of L.A.-based producer The Prizm’s latest album New Beginnings.  In fact the album is a third chapter to a complex story, but focuses on new beginnings for anyone who’s experienced recent hard times, whether they be through relationships, the pandemic, and more.  The uplifting melody and vocal will help you realize that there is a way out of the darkness if you embrace it and move on.  The album is a significant progressive stretch when looking back on last year’s catchy electronic dance single “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” (with ARTFCAL), but The Prizm (Gabriel Garcia) is taking his time to create stories and atmosphere that will have a deeper effect on the listener.

  • KEN BAUER, “Free”

Sweden’s Ken Bauer is hardly a new name to the electronic dance music scene, releasing regular music since 2016.  Though he’s had support from big names like David Guetta, Sam Feldt, and Nicky Romero, all it takes is one song that could open more doors internationally.  “Free” has that potential, with complex synths surrounding a basic but infectious hook.  The uncredited vocal helps the song soar, and “Free” would go over very well indeed at festivals.

  • FEB & LEXIE, “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life”

Though it’s a far cry from the funky classic grooves of the 1982 Indeep classic, Italian producer Feb and British vocalist Lexie spin “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” into a slick Eurohouse track.  Lexie’s alluring vocal makes it perfectly pronounced that she’s moved on and looking for someone else who won’t break her heart.  Feb’s production captures the essence of the song, making it a fitting surprise that works well.

  • DEGA, “Bad Burn”

Italy’s Dega brings us some dreamy, trance-soaked Europop with “Bad Burn”.  The song effectively mixes in thoughtful vocals, an underlying and very catchy melody, and a build up to a swell drop for cohesive results.  “Bad Burn” is definitely one of those songs where you might not know the artist, but the song solidly stands steadfast on its own and has festival anthem potential.

  • TOMMY NEWPORT and EARTHGANG, “Stargazer”

“Stargazer” is a cool slice of alternative rock that’s laced with hip hop that is out to challenge listeners while sublimely drawing them in with its warm hook.  At only 20 years old, Manchester-born singer/guitarist Tommy Newport has already acquired fans through not only his music, but appearances on TV and internet shows as well as movies.  His voice has a soulful undercurrent beneath a weary, journeyman kind of approach.  His collaborators on “Stargazer” are recent Grammy Awards nominees for Best R&B Song, Atlanta’s EARTHGANG, who continue to show why hip hop and soul are so welcome in an alternative rock-oriented release, and how much more pliable the genre walls need to become.  

  • CHRISTOPHER DAMAS, “Tekila”

Get that big plate of nachos ready because some “Tekila” is about to infiltrate the mix!  It’s a tidy and spicy song that should easily fit into sets next to “Despacito” and “Mi Gente”, but there is a twist.  The “k” in “Tekila” might give it away, but it’s brought to you by veteran Russian electronic dance producer Christopher Damas, which continues to prove that the boundaries within dance music itself are extremely limited.  My only gripe about “Tekila” is that it’s way too short at only 2:10, making it a bit of a novelty. It flies by so quickly that listeners will be begging to know what that “Tekila” song is!

L.A.-based electronic dance producer @BobbyNourmand is back with the highly atmospheric “SANTO” featuring vocalist/co-writer Jessica Zese

BOBBY NOURMAND and JESSICA ZESE, “SANTO”

Aside from one single release last year, it’s been a while since the infectious grooves of Bobby Nourmand have graced our ears.  After a series of highly infectious singles in 2017-18, he’s back with a change of pace on the more progressive “SANTO”, which features new Canadian vocalist/songwriter Jessica Zese.  I’m not quite sure what it’s all about, but “SANTO” is one of those slices of atmospheric electronica that takes you by the ear and leads you deep into the night.  Jessica’s lovely voice is interwoven with the music and ambiance, and becomes the song’s siren of sorts.  “SANTO” is out of the ordinary and designed to make you ask about it, and I’ll look forward to more of Bobby’s latest artistry as it evolves.  The above version is the radio edit; “SANTO” is a 2-song single that also includes an even longer “edit” – perhaps we’ll hear the full version at some point!

L.A.-based Canadian singer/songwriter @PeterFoldy returns with summery vibes of “Friend Zone”

PETER FOLDY, “Friend Zone”

Following the insightful and unintentionally predictive pre-pandemic “Toxic World” (which got to #5 on my chart), L.A.-based Torontonian singer/songwriter Peter Foldy returns with “Friend Zone”.  The double Juno Awards nominee has weaved a contemporary tale about being stuck as friends when you want more out of the relationship.  Written by Peter and co-produced once again with panache by Miklos Malek, “Friend Zone” is anchored with a delightful Islands-flavoured lilt in its chorus.  Peter has the natural ability to write and sing in a timeless, classic style which goes down easy.  So while springtime friends may not end up as summer lovers, you can still dance and sway and have a great time with “Friend Zone”.  While he is also a noted filmmaker and screenwriter currently working on multiple projects, you can expect more new music from Peter Foldy later this year.

Published in: on April 19, 2021 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Get worked up and worked out with the vibrant “Fever” by American pop/R&B singer/songwriter @officialDuncan

DUNCAN, “Fever”

“Fever” will help shift your Spring into full gear, a vibrant and energetic new song that will  also have you worked up and worked out as recorded by American pop/R&B singer/songwriter Duncan.  Once this “Fever” grabs you, it doesn’t have any intention on letting you go.  Duncan has a slick pop style that is greatly complimented by his love for R&B and hip hop.  Co-written and produced by the amazing L.A.-based trio Giiants (recently atop my personal chart with The Disco Fries on “Give It Back”), the song sizzles in that tough place between wanting someone and needing someone.  While he’s released his own songs, over the past few years, Duncan has been heavily involved in other releases by the likes of Pitbull, Austin Mahone and Afrojack, among many others, including several in the hip hop genre. “Fever” is a clean cut breakaway from all of that to ignite Duncan’s many talents in this fresh setting.

Published in: on April 19, 2021 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A.-based teen pop singer/songwriter @KaceyFifield is back with thoughtful solo release “Confused”

KACEY FIFIELD, “Confused”

Kacey Fifield is a 16 year old singer/songwriter from L.A. whose burgeoning talent is popping in 2021.  “Confused” is her second release for Tipsy Records, following up last year’s uncharacteristic and unique duet with Robbie Rosen called “Last Breath”.  “Confused” is a thoughtful electronic ballad that should capture the ears of many listeners within her age range. Its relatable words pinpoint the feelings of many teens and young adults in these unusual times who are trying their best to cope with the demands of relationships, social media, puberty, school, work, and more. Kacey sings right from the heart, there is no embellishing, and she is fortunate to have ongoing guidance with her music from friend, occasional co-writer and producer Robbie.  Kacey is well-established in social media circles and her fans should flock to the authenticity of “Confused”.

Published in: on April 2, 2021 at 10:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A. singer/songwriter Perry Bancs teams up with New York’s @GemChantelle for the enticing alt.pop of “Alone Tonight”

PERRY BANCS & GEM CHANTELLE, “Alone Tonight”

Lately, dance music talent as diverse as The Knocks, Whethan, and Benny Blanco has found their way into alternative rock zones through radio play.  And other artists already popular in alt.rock like Machine Gun Kelly and grandson, have added electronics prominently to their recent releases.  So it’s no wonder that a song like “Alone Tonight” by indie singers/songwriters Perry Bancs and Gem  Chantelle is also mixing minimal electronics with hip hop flavours and settling into alt.rock trappings, while meeting with favourable reaction. It kind of picks up with a style that Halsey and G-Eazy started albeit quite briefly with the Top 20 pop hit “Him & I” .  “Alone Tonight” offers thoughts on two young folks who prefer to be alone much of the time for their own mental health reasons, but are still in need of companionship, compassion, and possibly more in their lives, and decide to get together. It stages that opportunity for one evening, which could just be for good company, or the start of something more. The singers have terrific chemistry in this uncharacteristic setting and have created a true “sleeper” that’s well worth hearing.

Love and desperation lay the groundwork for the energetic and soulful “Shine A Light” by French producers 2 Thunders and L.A. vocalist OMZ

2 THUNDERS and OMZ, “Shine A Light”

“Shine A Light” is a deep house track that has it all – a sensitive, meaningful story; a precise and frenetic melody; and outstanding production that brings out a soulful side and trance influences.  It’s brought to you by French production duo 2 Thunders, who have been building a European radio following and have remixed David Guetta among others, and prolific L.A.-based vocalist OMZ, whose songs have been featured by the likes of Hardwell.  “Shine A Light” easily beckons the audience to dance to its heartfelt lovelorn story with an emotional, pleading vocal, with intentions on comforting the dancefloor crowd and keeping them there with a steady light show of its own – and we can continue to fantasize about those club nights yet to come!

Published in: on March 22, 2021 at 10:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Check out the new electronic alt.rock single from Spokane’s @__BLAZAR__ with “Enough” with @DJChophead

BLAZAR and CHOPHEAD, “Enough”

“When is enough?” From its first thirty seconds, you’ll be pondering what is coming up next in the latest single by Spokane, Washington native BLAZAR along with co-producer DJ Chophead called “Enough”, for Anti-Fragile Music through Universal.  Its immediate, brusque start may seem polarizing, but “Enough” is anything but that.  There’s a lot of creativity in this production, which BLAZAR can describe himself for you quite aptly: 

“The song is really about the zeitgeist of the world, we’ve all had enough, 2020 was hard, it felt like collective anxiety on a global level as we all sit in isolation.”

The music is a blend of rock with progressive electronica and effects, but strip away the latter and there’s a sincere melodic style that reflects on BLAZAR’s songwriting skills. Otherwise known as pop singer/songwriter Jerad Finck, BLAZAR previously won the grand prize in the USA Songwriting Championship, also won by the likes of Meghan Trainor and American Authors.  Vocally, his now-edgy alt.rock style could blend in easily sandwiched between Green Day or grandson, and wins you over after the first minute thanks to some very touching, raw qualities. Overall “Enough” is intentionally quite a grab bag, but its ability to reach out to your senses and draw you in makes it a unique and promising listen.

Published in: on March 14, 2021 at 10:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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