Dan Friese – ‘Jane Songs’ is something to be treasured!

Dan Friese is an Oregon-based songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist. In April of 2020, he released his debut EP, ‘Happiness’, a collection of self-reflective psychedelic indie-folk tracks. His first full-length effort, ‘Jane Songs’, was released on September 18th, and is available on all major platforms, along with the singles “Streetlight” and “I Can’t Say”. There’s a lot to appreciate on the new album, and Dan’s voice is arguably the most attractive aspect. Moreover, his vocals are often enhanced by inspiring songwriting and raw emotion, not to mention a wealth of down to earth acoustic guitar strumming. Dan Friese has an organic,

INTERVIEW: C.E.N. – the voice of the people

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The soul singer relives how he met his wife and started his family on a tender new song. Rashod Holmes is known for bringing romance to life with his evocative voice, but he has never told as personal a story as the one he tells with his latest single. ‘The One’ is a true life love story that acknowledges the struggles and triumphs that go into building a long-lasting relationship. “I found the one for me” Rashod sings. “She is the girl of my dreams.” While Rashod is convinced that he has found the perfect partner, there is much more

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Washington State Singer-Bassist, Billy Ray Rock, plays more than 10 instruments and produces and performs every instrument you hear in his music. From Rock to R&B and Dance, Billy delivers them all. His single “Get The Funk”, simply adds another delicious flavor to his sonic menu. His unearthly bass chops, resonant vocal wobble and inner funk DNA is scorching hot, while it straddles the genre’s trademark grooves. Blaring horns and slapping drums accompanies the party-styled adlibs, as the track treads its momentum. If you’re looking the glossy high-tech dance-club funk perpetuated by bands like Chromeo, then this is not the

Vincent Krennerich – “Verlassene Stadt” – plenty of delicate aural color

Vincent Krennerich is a composer, songwriter and pianist from Germany. The artist, who has featured on our pages before, has released his double-side single, entitled, “Verlassene Stadt”, which translated, would mean ‘abandoned city’. The second track, contained in this set, is called “Morgengrauen”, which in English, would mean ‘dawn’. However if you heard these compositions, there would be no need to translate them, as Krennerich’s music describes itself rather poignantly. Though stripped back and basic solo piano, the key to the success of both these recordings, is the propensity Vincent Krennerich has in composing subtly fine melodies. Both tracks have

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Released Aug 28th, “Go Missing” Prod. by Marshall Artz Productionz, is the producer’s 3rd single release since June. The track will be featured on his upcoming 2021, self-titled LP “Marshall Artz Experiment”. The song features singer-songwriter SeanQ, from Dallas, Texas. The producer’s blend of R&B-inspired neo-soul and smooth chill sounds becomes its own entity within the hip-hop and urban music world. Marshall Artz Productionz work should gain high appraisal through its colorful and subtly amped vibes that play to any genre lover’s ears alike. After listening to this track, I expect that the outpouring of demand for more of the

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Baby Lu releases her first single “Bad Stuff” on all major streaming platforms

Luna Elisabeth Jezebel Pool aka Baby Lu was born on February 5, 2002 in Frankfurt, Germany. Lu began singing and songwriting in her early teens and went to several music auditions where she was rejected because of her young age. She then decided to start making her own music after graduation in 2018. As she didn’t have any connections yet she wasn’t able to produce something properly. In 2019 she met the producer Austin Asiegbu (2aBeaatz) and started to produce her own songs. Pool has cited Adele and Demi Lovato as her major musical influences. Her other influences or inspirations

Universal You: “Obsession”

‘Universal You’ are Paul FinnieGulzhan Ibraveya and Mark Grant, the band hail from Scotland, via Kazakhstan. Paul and Gulzhan first met in Kazakhstan when both were working in the oil business where they started writing songs together and performing for their co-workers and the locals. They have since recruited Mark Grant as the lead guitarist in the band and “Obsession ” is their latest album from which has been lifted the first single ‘Your Sin City’.

Paul wrote ‘Your Sin City’ in a hotel room in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, a city filled with beggars, prostitutes, oil tycoons, religion and sin; you have to go there to fully understand the meaning behind the song; but you may not want to. The single is a powerful, dark and brooding rock number and exhibits similarities with some of the music world’s most notorious and powerful female vocalists, from Garbage’s Shirley Manson through to Beth Ditto and PJ Harvey with a number of stops in between. The similarities are not limited to the recordings with the band’s notoriously explosive live shows showing that Gulzhan, augmented by Mark’s jaw dropping guitar work, can hold a crowd as well as any of her contemporaries.

One of the first gigs the band ever played was headlining a free outdoor concert in Kazakhstan, which was attended by more than 12,000 people; highlighting the cultural differences between Kazakhstan, where no bands ever play and the UK, where we are often spoiled for choice. Upon their return to Scotland, ‘Universal You’ (named after a song by ‘The Cult’) began to record some of the material they had written and performed a number of gigs across Scotland.

The 12 track album, “Obsession”, opens with “Find A Way” and the first band that came to my mind was Roxette. Maybe grittier and rougher around the edges, but Gulzhan’s voice and diction is uncannily similar to that of Marie Fredriksson, the Roxette singer. The song arrangement, of catchy choruses and guitar driven bridges, convinced me even further. Considering that Roxette knew exactly how to compose successful pop songs, having sold over 60 million copies. This is a damn good way to start off an album.

“Iskala” is the third track, and comes straight after the first single release “Your Sin City”. I fell in love almost instantly with this mid tempo track. I’m not sure if it was because of the intriguing Russian(?) language phrases, tastefully inserted into the verses, the insistant chorus line:”…you, you’re just like a dream..”, or the distintive reverberating guitar riffs provided by Mark Grant and Paul Finnie, which add a brilliant touch to the musical arrangement. This is how to produce a hit melody, and would have been my absloute first choice for a single and radio release!

“Obsession” passes by effortlessly without disturbing the rest of the album and brings you to “Mona Lisa”, with it’s sparkling guitar flourishes and hypnotic chorus line. Gulzhan drives the song along powerfully with her excellent vocals.

The electric-piano and synth dominated ballad “Cry Me A River” is Universal You’s version of the famous song by Justin Timberlake. Apparently Justin wrote this song about Britney Spears. In the song, the relationship goes bad because the girl cheated, and to get even, the boy makes sure that the girl finds out he’s moved on with his life. The girl gets upset, and “cries a river” because she screwed up and lost the boy forever…sound familiar anyone?

“The Answer” once again testifies that this band know how to compose catchy pop songs. Pleasant quieter verses and potent melodic choruses, wrapped-up with jangling guitars, handclaps and harmonies.

 

“The Things” rhythmically move the album along nicely towards the piano ballad“Colours” which promised so much on the opening notes, but never quite delivers what I’d been expecting from Gulzhan’s beautiful booming voice.

This partly depends on the famed production team headed by Michael Brennan, who on the whole, has done a splendid job producing this album. As a personal observation and nothing more, I would however, have expected the lead vocals on this specific track to be ‘drier’ and more upfront in the mix. Giving “Colours” and Gulzhan, an immediate intimacy with the listener instead of sounding corridors away. I would imagine that the choice of mix had deliberate intentions which I may be unable to interpret correctly. Maybe one day I’ll get the band’s opinion on this. This , however, in no way detracts from the general appeal of the album, which remains extremely high.

“Perfect” gets straight back onto the rock n’ roll track, with sassy guitar solos, driving rhythms and the typical Gulzhan vocal to get temperatures rising. This is the way I like myUniversal You. Straight. On the rock. Shaken, and not stirred.

Track 11 is an elaborate dance remix of “Your Sin City” while the album closes with“Coming Back For More”, another one of my favourites along with “Iskala”. It has an incessant rhythm riff which will keep you pinned to the dance floor. This powerfully modern mix could sit comfortably on the Billboard Top 100 charts, alongside Lady Gaga and the rest of the million-dollar sellers.

“Obsession” is an album that crosses many genres, from rock to pop and dance to electronica. Universal You are not only universal in their member line-up but in the sounds they produce as well.

Their songwriting is pinpoint accurate and catchy, while Gulzhan’s vocals are authentically delectable on the ear. The rest of the magic is conjured up by the wall-to-wall guitar sounds of Paul Finnie and Mark Grant, plus the straight down the line crunchy rhythmic arrangements. A great band beyond doubt.

VISIT UNIVERSAL YOU’S HOMEPAGE HERE

JOIN UNIVERSAL YOU ON FACEBOOK HERE

GRAB UNIVERSAL YOU SONGS ON ITUNES HERE

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