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

The Links: “Imperial” – a humble, hype-less gem!

The Links formed in 2011 by Jordan Marola and a group of high school friends in Lafayette, LA. After a handful of shows, this lineup disbanded and the group was reformed with different members in 2013, and went through several changes during the ensuing years. To date the band have released 2 albums as well as a handful of EP’s and “in-studio” live releases, the newest of these releases being the “Imperial” EP, which has been described as “a more stripped-down and organic sounding release in comparison to the last few from the band.”

On The Links new studio EP, there is a revitalized style that takes a little time to tune into, but once the acoustic and electric wavelengths are established, it’s solidly business as usual. “Imperial” is a bit like stepping into a fairground. The voices and music swirl in an intoxicating manner.

For all its apparent stripped down exterior there is still a flamboyance, where every note is there – and specifically not there – for a reason and the overall kaleidoscope is clearly very closely designed.

It’s hard to tell how autobiographical these songs are, as they could also be based on ideas rather than specifics. But the way Jordan Marola and the rest of band interpret them, sounds genuinely personal. Marola’s voice and turns of phrase full of paradox make this an intricate, yet simple listen.

It should go down as one of their most memorable when they hang up their instruments. The songs herein are melodic and specific. Not all expert songwriters could achieve this kind of sonic quality and lyrical detail, and get both so right.

The classic indie tropes with which The Links embellish these songs, and the filtering subtlety of their instrumentation, allows through the fundamental, emotional substantiality. These are songs that simply stick. Right from the opening title track, “Imperial”, the EP succeeds, not thanks to any eccentricities, but because of its song craft, which is direct and resonating. It’s a humble, hype-less gem that initially will probably go unnoticed by everyone bar a few indie kids file-sharing, and word-of-mouth mumblings.

“We’re Not The Same” proves they are as capable of lush, sepia-singed autumn elegies as they are brash, barbed romps. In this song, Jordan Marola marries an unravelling melody and a storybook-simple arrangement with his own lyrical curiosities.

The Links understand there’s beauty in brevity; in performing songs at their most concise, stripped-down and powerful. Leaving not one chord wasted, songs like this grab you by sleeve, grin and dance you into submission before crashing to a breathless finish. Without a doubt “We’re Not The Same” is the best track in the pack.

The band do have one eccentricity included in this recording, and it’s the P.P. House mix of the title track, “Imperial”. But it’s in no way loud and obnoxious –on the contrary, it only has the beat beefed up, while retaining all of its melody and flow. “Aura”, brings a slow burning, acoustic-dominated ballad, where Marola forges all of his vocal emotion before the tracks surrenders itself to the sound of keys and strings.

“Imperial” is an EP of lilting, literate, buoyant and brilliant indie music with melodies so memorable they may as well be burned into your brain; that goes closer than many in understanding how even the most simplistic music can incite such a powerful, devotional effect.

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