Exit 22 Music: “Last Goodbye” – one of the finest musical acts in the pop-rock underground

It seems almost impossible that an artist that has been around this long – 20 years in Chris Calamera’s case, can keep making records that stand up among the best that he has ever done. Let’s be clear: “Last Goodbye” is a great song. It’s poppy, with a big melody and an insistent rock rhythm, and it’s catchy as hell. Sounds like authentic Exit 22 Music to me. This is pure Calamera from his pop-rock songwriting style standpoint, and pure Exit 22 Music, considering the breathtaking vocals and high production-value quotient. The perfect, power-pop formula. Exit 22 Music has been keeping

Lake of the Lion embodies embody emotive sounds and textures

Lake of the Lion is the brand name and moniker for Luxembourg music composer and producer, Daniel Kohnen, who is steadily building up his catalog and increasing his fan-base with regular new releases. In recent years, ambient instrumental and soundtrack scores have been following a certain trend. Composers seem to have this motif of creating overblown pieces with harsh lead instruments blasting out from the blue and background strings creating suspense with their melodies. Sure it was fun for a while, but within that little span of time listeners were just begging for it to stop because composers had this

Natalie Jean and Levi Moore: “The Letting Go” speaks the language of the ordinary person

A good duet, in our modern age, is a rare thing. There are plenty of features, guest verses and co-writes, and the cameo drop-in is a dime a dozen. The number of genuine duets, where vocalists share verses and tell a story together in the space of a song, is very small. If your optimism fails you, as you wonder whether there are enough great acts to keep hit radio stocked with worthy pop music duets, it’s reassuring to find that Natalie Jean and Levi Moore have a first-rate single to carry us through the next few months, all by itself. The

MAKI: ‘Waking Up With The World On Fire’ – truly majestic — grandiose, slowly unfolding, and extremely cinematic

The world is a fragmented place, with fear and hate giving rise to isolationist movements around the globe and huge portions of the population turning inward rather than outward towards each other. As such waves of bigotry spread like wildfire, the music scene becomes extremely important, not just because it means more great music, but because it connects us all together on a wavelength that hits the human heart, soul and mind even harder, faster and deeper than anger can. A creative constant in the field of communicative contemporary Instrumental music, is MAKI who focuses his ample talents on a

3 Phase – ready for genre domination!

The names Chirag Shah, Prasham Deliwala and Melvin Saldana may in themselves not ring a familiar bell in your ear right now. Probably, neither will the moniker ‘3 Phase’, nor their 6 track self-titled EP. It’s logical, it’s the law of the industry’s hype machine – cast a light on the big label clones, and leave the independent creatives in the shadows. Luckily the internet has a different set of rules.  On hearing the 3 Phase EP, the lofty ambition, the focus and dedication of this creative collective of producers, songwriters and vocal talent, makes sense – its six tracks

Sy: “Get Out Of My Dreams” – grab this R&B and Soul extravaganza

The singer, songwriter and author, Sy, releases a brand new single produced by Rueben Wood. The track “Get Out Of My Dreams” is the first single release written by the artist in 2018, since writing two self-help books, “A Swan Among Ducks” and “Saying Yes to (No): Learning the Power of (No) before the end of 2017. This track soulfully captures the spirit and feel of the emotional journey of grown womanhood. It is juicy, dynamic, soulful, gorgeous, and it is nourishment for the soul…and mind, as it examines the intricacies of a relationship built on want and lust. As

IJK: “Johnny & June” – sounds invigorated!

Alternative rock artist Imad Jack Karam, known by his initials and stage name IJK, is a Dubai-based, Lebanese singer-songwriter, who has released critically acclaimed songs and recorded with internationally known music producers in prestigious London studios. Both his singles “Space Odyssey” and “Dancing Shadows” garnered a positive reception from fans and critics alike. IJK has a style that can move between edgy modern-day alt-rock and sixties rock n’ roll crooning.  He recently published his latest single and supporting, fully animated video, for the song “Johnny & June”. So, how does this new offering cope? Very well, in truth. “Johnny &

TRVP HIPPI3Z: “On Lock” – no lack of muscular skill-flexing!

TRVP HIPPI3Z is a Canadian rap duo who just dropped their latest single entitled, “On Lock”.  Listeners beware. This product has been known to blow up and cause fires in a variety of stereo systems, due to the super-hot fire provided by this crew. TRVP HIPPI3Z is a team-up that has risen as great exemplars of righteous chaos. Their supersonic sound and hard-nosed imagery gives them a mysterious sheen, but the duo have grounded themselves via booming production, and a sonorous verbal presence, coupled with their willingness to fuck you up. Their chest-beating bravado is explosive on “IDGAF (Prod. THZ)”,

Eddy Mann: “Simple Things” will leave you breathless and in a state of euphoria

At first as a musician, I created music, then as an A&R executive I challenged it, now as a music reviewer, I explore it.  Of the three, the latter is the most difficult. Criticizing or appraising somebody else’s creation is no easy task. Enjoying it is one thing, understanding it another, and translating it is even more arduous. The funny thing is, I’ve always hated describing music. It’s such a volatile and subjective art, that nobody should really have the authority or the presumptuous audacity to judge the level of enjoyment or emotion any one piece of music is capable

Kitson Lau: “Be By Your Side” – an expressive paean to love’s transformative powers

Kitson Lau wears many hats – a musician, songwriter, singer and graphic designer, he is also a medical graduate. Initially without any musical background, Kitson became inspired by Norwegian record producer and DJ, Alan Walker. This passion drove him to learn music and song production. And soon, with dedication and focus Kitson Lau hit the top of the China Kanjian ING 10 Charts with his Mandopop albums. Since signing to Sony Music Entertainment Malaysia, Kitson has been encouraged to record English songs, so now he is making his official debut via Sony, with the song “Be By Your Side”, which

A Little Bit Country: ‘Whiskey & Wine’ – true lyricists and storytellers

A Little Bit Country launched their debut album ‘Whiskey & Wine’ to eager fans at The Aristocrat in Aylesbury on May 28th 2017, but they had already initiated their journey in 2011. Harriet Stewart, a British born singer and fan of country music wanted to write a song for her EP that not only showed the female side of a break up but that included a male perspective too. Her producer Steve Richmond knew just the man, so enlisted the help of his friend and business colleague Paul Adams, a Texas born singer/songwriter, with a very English upbringing. The three locked themselves away in the garden home of SummerHouse Studios in Aylesbury and began writing.

In the meantime Harriet also had to attend university, but on her return in 2014 the duo began playing live venues, including the world famous Pinewood Studios. A Little Bit Country released their debut single, ‘Come To The Crossroads’ in 2015, and then followed that up with another single in 2016 entitled ‘Shot At Loving You’, while they continued working on more songs for their intended album. That album has now arrived in the form of “Whiskey and Wine”, as A Little Bit Country continues working to break down the barriers and the stigma attached to the Country genre in the UK.

Regardless of how they came together, though, ALBC’s first album is wide-ranging, full of confidence, and mostly an emotional ride. Right from the upbeat opening track “Come To The Crossroads”, A Little Bit Country’s music is bursting with personality and originality.

You can hear that they are true lyricists and storytellers, and their music reflects all the elements you wish to hear on a country record. The duo combines a blend of experience, musicality, harmonies and ear-catching melodies to serenade you through the positive and negative emotional sagas of love and life.  “Walk On By” captures the emotions left behind from a relationship that has reached its bitter end, but like every memorable song, there are twists.

When ALBC are exploring more diverse territory, they’re just as interesting as when their songs sit in the mainstream country pocket. This happens on the acoustic driven, almost pop-rock crossover “Back On The Road” tinged with Paul’s gritty voice. One of the best tracks on the album has to be the heartfelt duet “As Far As I Can See”, where both Paul and Harriet give sterling vocal performances that fit like glove to hand.

The album has been produced in a way that accentuates the qualities of the music, simplistically, allowing the duo to showcase what they do best – write, sing and play. So when everything is cut back to a gentle comfort zone you can fully savor Harriet’s haunting voice on the exquisite “Barely Sleeping”.

Although there are moments of grit on the record, like “Hell Of  A Ride” and the energetic “Trouble”, such snatches of rawness are complemented by the slick, polished sound and the acoustic textures. Almost every moment of powerfully emotive darkness is followed by a moment of hopeful light.

Take for example, “Be Weak”, a song that boasts emotive lyrics, a strong spiritual element and another set of delicious and restrained vocal performances by the duo which is truly impressive.

“Whiskey and Wine” comes off as an album that effectively sits in the middle of Country, yet it could be at the intersection of several genres. In a country market that has room for Eric Church on the one hand and Sugarland on the other, A Little Bit Country is theoretically in the mainstream core.

They could also find success in the smaller roots arenas, or they could just as easily fall through the cracks. But from strictly a musical standpoint, this is a strong debut record that still shows room for growth and maturation in A Little Bit Country’s future.

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