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

Anxious Giant: “Vaudeville EP” ties together in a rhythmic, soulful and harmonic way

Anxious Giant is a 3-piece band that developed out of the solo projects of west coast artist Joel Strauss, and is completed by bassist Jesse Visser and drummer Robb Ryan. The current music scene is a place of confusion. Rap and EDM music are ruling the charts, while R&B seems to be in a slight rut. Some bands are timidly bringing back punk music; others are trying to continue on the strength of alternative rock which has been dying for years. Then there is another less conspicuous legion of creatives who have begun molding the most disparate sounds and styles, in an attempt to move themselves, and popular music, out of its stagnant rut into a more progressive mindset, and among these is Anxious Giant with their latest release “Vaudeville EP”.

The cover artwork

The cover artwork

Anxious Giant is experimenting with the idea of combining Alternative, Indie, Folk and Art Rock together with a form of Psychedelic Pop. Ready to take on the title of ‘The Next Big Thing’, the most fascinating aspect of the band’s music is the high-toned voice of lead singer Joel Strauss.

Most often the center of every song, Joel’s voice powers through the hooks and crannies of the peculiarly attractive arrangements. His vocals tend to be robustly reverbed, giving it somewhat of a mystical feel while remaining one of the most unique voices in the current indie scene.

Anxious Giant is the perfect storm, if you will, of talent, courage and musicianship. They make music that touches the heart, body, and mind. Not many bands pull off this feat.

Anxious Giant’s music is quite eclectic, as the band refuse to be pigeonholed by any one ‘type’ of music. Joel Strauss on the other hand is an oddity, a near-genius, and a wordsmith, who has also been blessed with the voice of an angel.

The songs on the “Vaudeville EP” are very melodic with a lot of variety from tune to tune, yet everything ties together in a rhythmic, soulful and harmonic way. From the minute Anxious Giant’s kick off the 6 track recording with “Vaudeville”, you know you are listening to one of the most interestingly creative indie bands currently on the scene.

If there’s a song on here that shows Anxious Giant’s in full bloom, it’s “Lantern (featuring Bryan Steeksma)”. Not only is it the album’s most idiosyncratic song, but it’s the track that best reminds you how the band’s patience in song execution pays off.

Joel Strauss

Joel Strauss

A harmonic swell carefully and steadily builds throughout the track as the gorgeous lead and backing vocals are fortified by the luscious clean guitars and string orchestration. There’s such a sense of being at peace in the song’s slow ebb and flow that any melancholy tones that can be read into it serves nostalgia more than loss.

The band’s experimental bents are intact and treated as a light trimming to the meat-and-potatoes indie rock of “Seam” where e Strauss’ powerful vocals drive the gravelly mid-tempo gem. The percussive “Wildheart” has all the characteristics of Anxious Giant’s sweet-and-sour catalog; both lyrically and musically.

Like many of the band’s compositions, this also has subtle tractor beams, pulling you in over repeated listens. The electrified “Yellowstone Park” is delivered thickly rhythmic and melodic, over a bass-heavy and over-driven guitar progression, allowing for the band’s more harmonic interplay to stretch its legs during one of their most radio-ready songs.

In their inherent sullenness, Anxious Giant’s finds ways to create happy and sad vignettes that appeal to the hopeless romantic in ways that are nearly invasive. Joel Strauss remains adept at worming his melodies into the hidden folds of weary hearts, though simple platitudes are never the focus of his output, preferring esoteric lyrics and elusive thematic interpretations. Epic yet intimate, the “Vaudeville EP’s” slow-build grandiosity brings a whole new musical scenario to indie rock.

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