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

Michael Goldberg: “Light Me Up” (ft Bailey Jehl and Holden James) – The feeling of connection is palpable

Michael Goldberg’s encounters with tragedy has a huge impact on the music he makes. The last time I reviewed one of his songs was in 2016 for the single, “When It Rains”, written shortly after the death of Michael’s lifelong friend, Allan Goodman – an up-and-coming musician in the Texas music scene who was branching out into Nashville while battling stage 4 cancer. Prior to that sad event, Michael had been struggling with his own tragedies – the loss of his father and discovering his newborn son was deaf. Come 2017, and the Phoenix, AZ based, singer, songwriter and guitarist, has written a brand new song – based on a tragedy! This time around though the misfortune has occurred outside of his personal sphere, but has powerfully impacted Michael’s conscience nonetheless.

The track “Light Me Up” (featuring Bailey Jehl and Holden James), is based on the tragic story of a man, Jesse Arcobasso, and woman, Collette M. Moreno, who were engaged to be married. Collette was on her way to her bachelorette party with a friend and they were stuck behind a truck emitting a high volume of exhaust fumes. Her friend tried to go around the truck but turned into an oncoming vehicle, killing Moreno.

Jesse Arcobasso and Collette M. Moreno (KCTV)

Jesse Arcobasso and Collette M. Moreno (KCTV)

Michael says that the interview with her groom-to-be, Jesse, really hit home about how quickly and unexpectedly life can be taken from us. “I thought about my own family and put myself in his shoes,” said Michael. “Although the subject matter is quite heavy, “Light Me Up” is and always will be a love song though.”

Michael, a guitarist for over 25 years, who grew up on Satriani, Van Halen, Living Colour, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and a whole slew of guitar heroes has transitioned from performing artist to songwriter, focusing on multiple genres. “I also realized that the majority of my musical ideas are rarely suited toward my voice,” says Michael, “and it proved more worthwhile to try to find talented performers and vocalists to execute my music properly.”

And that is exactly what Michael Goldberg executes on “Light Me Up”, which features the devastatingly poignant duet performances of Bailey Jehl and Holden James. The song is a far cry from Goldberg’s guitar hero-inspired sounds as it wallows in a lush keyboard and string dominated arrangement.

The feeling of connection here is palpable. A musically sparse setting, with all the individual instruments make their presence felt, but it is the vocals that will haunt you. Not traditional harmonies, but Jehl and James playing off each other, sometimes melancholic, sometimes hopeful, but always in some kind of sync that becomes more and more evident through repeated plays.

The level of intricate and melodious songwriting demonstrated throughout the song is instantly striking – inviting anyone to connect with it regardless of its genre. The song immediately piques the listener’s interest with a warm and delicate soundscape serving as a backdrop to the vocal pair’s carefully interlaced performance.

“Light Me Up” (featuring Bailey Jehl and Holden James) thrives on the omission of a heavy beat, instead relying on slowly building chord progressions to allow the ballad to bloom. This is beautifully demonstrated as the song captures the inner emotions of a relationship.

I cannot stress enough how the voices of Jehl and James have managed to capture the harmony and tension that is often the chemistry between lovers. Clearly as refined songwriter, Michael Goldberg has come of age.

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