“Wicked Games” is a strong, club-worthy collaboration between Swedish producer B3NTE @benteby and NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry @wallflowerPerry

B3NTE & VICTOR PERRY, “Wicked Games”

Their work together on the recent faithful cover of Modern Talking’s “You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul” went so smoothly that Sweden’s B3NTE and New York-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry are back with an original follow up this time, called “Wicked Games” (not to be confused with The Weeknd track of the same name). It’s a buoyant progressive electronic dance track this time too carried by Victor’s convincingly-sung story of betrayal. Its catchy, big synth work stands out but does not overpower the prolific Victor’s effortless vocal. “Wicked Games” is another winner – keep ’em coming, guys!

Join the journey with R&B singer/songwriter Niki Darling @NikiDarlin with new single “Take You There”, also in a 90’s favoured @_blacksilence house remix

NIKI DARLING, “Take You There” (original and Black Silence remix)

The last four years have created nothing but once in a lifetime opportunities for American R&B singer Niki Darling. Although you’re likely to hear Tina Turner-meets-Lady Gaga with a dash of Prince (obviously, that name…) in her voice and style, I would also add the diversity of Chaka Khan, Sia, and Kelly Rowland into the mix. Her talents have taken her from leading NYC hip hop group Pants Velour to numerous destinations around the world, including Morocco, Beijing, and Ibiza, working in a full-time career in music. In fact, she was in London when the pandemic struck, and, as was documented by the BBC at the time, she was unable to return to the US for several weeks.

Her new single and video (up top) for “Take You There” document her journey as a message that shows you can overcome struggle and achieve your passion through commitment and lots of hard work – an old ethic, but it works. Her powerful tones resonate throughout “Take You There” and are totally suited for the percolating 90’s flavours that British remixer Black Silence adds to the song to make it highly club-worthy (link below). The well-edited video gives you a sense of something I firmly believe in – when one door closes, another opens. And another door for Niki Darling is set to open when a full album arrives in 2021.

Published in: on October 17, 2020 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Rewind” is the charming and thoughtful new pop/soul EP from NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry @wallflowerperry

VICTOR PERRY, Rewind (EP)

Hot off the presses, Rewind is the first EP from Georgia-born, NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry since 2016’s 4 A.M. Nostalgia.  Throughout his intervening work with numerous dance music producers and in the EP of his own side project Labrose, Victor’s songwriting and style has grown immensely.  His aim is to be a versatile pop-soul singer like his idols, Whitney Houston and Rihanna, while also being a thoughtful songwriter who can concoct great songs for his far-ranging voice.  

The six songs in Rewind appeal because of their ability to be steadfast and solid, challenging the listener with his words while making them shine with the varied tones in his voice. “What I Deserve”, the lead single, is the best example of Victor stretching his boundaries with an emotional song, yet it’s one that instantly grows on you too.  In “Undercurrent”, there are times when Victor is heard singing without words and that’s just as eminently listenable as the rest of the song.  In “Run”, his higher vocal range is put to great use, and his ability to control those high notes and make them into another instrument is testament to his talent.  The EP is rounded out with two other gentle pop/soul songs, “Reciprocity” and the title song (with first co-producer Chris Belmont), as well as the lead off dance track “Greenlight”, another delight for fans of his work with second co-producer Levi alongside “Lost Boy”, “Moonlight”, and “Sail”.

Rewind is an EP that will appeal to all ages and traverses the pop-soul genres, often relying on softer melodies that anchor unique lyrics and perspectives.  I expect that Rewind will afford Victor many more opportunities that will be the result of much ongoing hard and well-thought out work that often sounds graceful and effortless in the end.

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Published in: on July 3, 2020 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“What I Deserve” is a bold alt.soul step forward for Victor Perry @wallflowerperry from his upcoming EP

VICTOR PERRY, “What I Deserve”

Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve written an awful lot about the talented NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry over the last almost four years.  It’s because he can sing just about anything, make just about any song sound fabulous, and has often intriguing and different vantage points in his songwriting subject matter.  To introduce you to his upcoming EP Rewind, Victor brings us “What I Deserve”, which showcases the latter.  It’s a sad but poignant song about being injured emotionally in a relationship, perhaps after an argument, and unable to figure out how to resolve it. Victor’s tender vocal makes you empathize and know somehow that the protagonist will figure it all out.  Many of Victor’s songs are sung in his head voice, and it’s refreshing to hear his chest voice convey a bit of a narrative at the start.  It’s definitely for fans of quieter alt.soul but a pop edge and synths in the backdrop, and the latter form a 30 second coda of sorts which makes for an interesting ending.  All in all “What I Deserve” is a bold step forward, somewhat in keeping with the music of his side project Labrose or his song “Eve” with ZEROBADDAYS.  Be sure to check out the lyric video up top.

Published in: on June 13, 2020 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The dynamic duo of @itsLeviofficial and Victor Perry @wallflowerperry return with the enchanting deep house of “Lost Boy”

LEVI and VICTOR PERRY, “Lost Boy”

German producer Levi and NYC Victor Perry are back to dazzle us again with the enchanting new single “Lost Boy”.  The pair previously reached #3 on my chart in 2017 with “Sail” and also brought us the bubbly “Moonlight” not long after.  “Lost Boy” is more of a natural follow up to “Sail”, alternately gentle and captivating thanks to a familiar, bassy deep house rhythm carried by acoutic guitar work (reminiscent of Mako’s “Breathe”) over which Victor weaves his vocal magic.  “Lost Boy” quickly draws you in and keeps you there with its affecting chorus “I’m a lost boy with a treasure of gold, and I’m trying to find my way home” hitting the emotional chords.  The song also has tremendous club potential which I think could be unlocked even more by some remixes.

Published in: on March 5, 2020 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“2:25” is a stellar dance/pop EP from NYC producer @AdamKahatimusic

ADAM KAHATI, 2:25 (EP)

NYC producer Adam Kahati has the flair to create bright and easy-to-digest dance/pop, and his EP 2:25 has five shining examples of what to do right.  You won’t hear a lot of splashy effects because they would take away what these solid songs have to offer.  Adam surrounds himself with fine vocalists – you already heard Gabi Sklar last year in the standout “Tell Me”, and there’s also the crystalline voice of Danielle Goz in the country-tinged title song, Danni Carra and rapper Ben Beal in ‘Because Of You”,  Jess Meilman in the gentle but club-worthy “Fall Into Place”, and an uncredited winner in another previous single, the tropical-flavoured “Let You Go”.  But everything is spot on – all of the songs are positive and agreeable and, of course, danceable.  Sure it’s not for those who like their dance music full of heavy drops and big synths, but trust me when I say that the songs in 2:25 will definitely leave you with a big smile on your face.

Published in: on March 5, 2020 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Here’s to “2020” with an R&B-flavoured pop release by NYC’s @GreatGoodFineOK

GREAT GOOD FINE OK, “2020”

“2020” starts off with a silky smooth Jon Sandler vocal, recalling much of their early music which won me over back about six years ago.  Along with keyboard wizard Luke Moellman, Great Good Fine OK has established a career with numerous fine and diverse, mainly danceable original recordings that have found release on Sony and Ultra along with collaborations with the likes of The Knocks and St. Lucia.  “2020” is a slower, warm R&B flavoured song that will be a welcome draw in concert, where Great Good Fine OK becomes a tight four-piece unit, amid their many higher energy songs.  Along with their work as go-to remixers, Great Good Fine OK have set a welcome tone for the year ahead, which I expect is going to be very good to them!

Great Good Fine OK plays The Garrison in Toronto on Saturday January 18

Published in: on January 5, 2020 at 6:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Summer’s hardly over when you’re “Swimming With Sharks”, by NYC’s @itsDaveEdwards and @FlyByMidnight_

DAVE EDWARDS & FLY BY MIDNIGHT, “Swimming With Sharks”

Late last year, NYC producer Dave Edwards released the danceable delight that became one of my favourites of 2018, the euphoric “What We’re Made Of”.  After offering up sturdy remixes for the likes of The Knocks and ROZES, he’s back with another original, “Swimming With Sharks”, this time in collaboration with fellow New Yorkers, the vocal duo Fly By Midnight (Justin and Slavo).  The pristine melody and summery groove are all well intact in this song about falling in with the wrong kind of folks, only to request aid in getting out of those relationships (a personal Sharknado, if you will haha).  The vocals are just the harmonic sheen that the song needs, while the rhythm will easily have you shaken and stirred.  “Swimming With Sharks” is an obvious, recognizable add for club DJ’s.  Add “Swimming With Sharks” to your Mid-Summer Fun playlist using the Spotify link above.

NYC Rockers On The Rise: @ManonEarth and @TheUglyClub

The only things Man On Earth and The Ugly Club have in common is that they are from New York City, they play solid rock ‘n roll, and have a determined journeyman style which just naturally generates a loyal following and praise from various sources.

manonearth

MAN ON EARTH, self-titled album

Man On Earth have a solid, earnest rock style that will appeal to fans of Fall Out Boy, Marianas Trench, Hedley, and Theory Of A Deadman.  While they clearly like to rock out hard, and don’t sacrifice melody in the process, there’s a fair bit of depth in their songs that will keep you listening.  “If Not Now Then When” is a sea of thoughts amid power rock that’s well worth blasting out your car window on a summer’s day accompanied by a fine bass line.  It’s probably the most immediately ear-catching song on the record, but also well done are “Bombs Around Me”, “On Our Way”, and “There”.  The biggest surprise that shows this quartet’s versatility (and perhaps singer Stephen Nathan’s best vocal) is “We Are All Dreamers”, definitely a thoughtful ode of reassurance to that important art of dreaming.  The band will continue playing some gigs in June, so if you get a chance check out their website and get out to see them.  Man On Earth, the album, is available on iTunes.

theuglyclub

THE UGLY CLUB, Loosen Up (EP)

The Ugly Club is another NYC quartet but one who draws their influences likely more from British psych/indie rock – Radiohead, Oasis, all that good stuff from the 90’s.  The Ugly Club though bridge some very accessible moments on this three song EP with some experimental, danceable sounds that will please fans of the genre.  Both “Loosen Up” and “David Foster Wallace” are rhythmic, sometimes R&B/funk influenced songs which definitely beg  listening, while “Under the Great Wave” has an arrangement with some prominent synth work that reminds me of California’s Saint Motel but perhaps with some jazz influences.  Overall, the EP (which you can stream below) is a pleasing, diverse surprise carried by another strong vocalist in guitarist Ryan Egan.  All of the songs are repackaged from the band’s 2012 album You Belong To The Minutes, available on iTunes.  Lend your eyes above to the snazzy vinyl album cover art and blue vinyl on limited release through the band’s website.

The Ugly Club play NXNE in Toronto at The Hideout on Friday, June 20.

 

Ryan Star’s NYC show and 11:59

I must now backtrack on last week’s trip to New York City, which was primarily a get-to-know-NYC for my 10 year old daughter as well as an opportunity for me to explore and do some things in the city with her.  So Monday evening was the lavish “Phantom Of the Opera” production, but Tuesday I took her to her first rock concert, Ryan Star’s show at the Irving Plaza (Fillmore).

I couldn’t have picked a better show.  Opening up with strong sets by Thriving Ivory and particularly Lion of Ido (I will blog about them in the near future), Ryan’s show was a celebration of the release of his major label debut album 11:59, which has been years in the making.  It was a high energy and deeply felt set of approximately 75 minutes, focusing on most of the songs from 11:59, as well as the odd cover (The Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out”), and older songs with which I was not familiar such as “Sink or Swim”, “You and Me”, or the frenetic “Psycho Suicidal Girl”.  Highlights for me were a new favourite song of mine (!) “Start A Fire” (video above) as well as the encore performances of “Breathe” – you could literally feel the connectedness in the room which has been held together by Ryan’s close contact with fans over the various social networks – and a song originally done by his previous band Stage called “Back Of Your Car”, for which he brought on stage his three former band members (he also unexpectedly segued the song into a few verses of the B.o.B./Hayley Williams hit “Airplanes”).  It simply seems natural and genuine for Ryan to want to do all of this but the best part is actually making it happen.  Ryan is well on his way from club dates and opening act stints to major league performer.

The 11:59 album is all that we could ask for and more.  It includes past favourites like “Right Now”, “Last Train Home”, and of course “Breathe”, plus “Lie to Me” TV theme “Brand New Day”, the emotional “Losing Your Memory”, and the thoughtful title track.  I think “Start A Fire” could be a massive radio hit if it’s promoted properly.  11:59 is all about rock and pop music that you can play at any time and it will make you feel good about just about anything for the duration.  I’m hoping Atlantic Records takes the time to promote 11:59 and Ryan Star to make a win-win for everyone.



Published in: on August 8, 2010 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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