In a world with so much credence on blurring the lines of diversity, Jonny Dee has offered us a refreshing understanding of how the realm of psychedelic hip-hop may hold the key to understanding ‘The Human Experience‘.
With brewing anticipation from the premiere of his debut music video for ‘The Man Who Fell From the Sky’ reaching full saturation, it fell on Music and Riots to loosen to gas, and you can now watch it here:
From the first instance, the uplifting nature of the record is self evident. The lyrical style is one that flows with its own back and forth rhythm, which does much to flesh out the underlying theme – with a smile that you can hear resonate through. As a rapper, Jonny Dee sets himself apart from his peers in the genre – from those concerned more with an assertion of material wealth and aspiration, with more of a heartfelt good vibe – urging people to be at peace and better themselves.
Perhaps most notably, it’s his own scattering of guitar performances throughout the album that differentiates his style. Immediately striking as being somewhat unusual and special in itself, it’s self evident as a source of pride and inspiration – citing personal tastes flaring towards the likes of The Beatles and David Bowie as possible reasoning behind stemming down that particular path.
Hailing from San Diego, the roots of Jonny’s influences have been ever-present through his life, having family ties to psych-soul stars 5th Dimension. For the album itself, a stylish flair brings together a range of influences to craft something more distinctive entirely. The overall tone of the record varies from track to track, a subtle nod to the spectrum of the human condition. From the free and laid back dancer in ‘A Ways Away’, to the supersonic soul-funk of lead track ‘Rhythm of My Life’, to the droning distortion found ‘In the Sound’, the flavour of this rainbow bounces from pillar to post.
There’s not a corner of this world that music can’t reach, Pat and the Pros are proof of that. Hailing from a remote part of the Indian Ocean, Réunion Island’s Patrice Pouzet is surrounded by the kind of scenery which only exists in holiday brochures and photoshopped desktop backgrounds, yet he has single-mindedly forged a music career completely at odds with his surroundings. We get in touch with ‘the Robinson Crusoe of Rock’ to find out more…
Did you write “Hey Ooo I A O” with the intention of it becoming an earworm?
I wrote this song because I had “Hey Ooo I A O” going in loops in my head! Each time I play this song it stays in the listeners head, that’s why the lyrics end with “now in your head”.
Which acts have inspired you to create music?
Pink Floyd, Tears for Fears, Simple Mind, U2, Kings of Leon, Sound Garden, Supertramp, EWF, Christopher Cross, Led Zep, Aerosmith, AC/DC, America, Brian Ferry …
You’ve had a lengthy career in music, tell us some of your biggest achievements.
Winning Battle of the Bands in London (at the Fountain) in September 1999 with my previous band from Reunion Island (Parallele). We also managed to play at venues/places like the Garage, The Kings Head, Orange, in London in 1999. In Reunion Island we played at : Theatre de Saint Gilles, Theatre du Tampon, Palaxa which are three of the top theaters/venues.
At just 13-years-old, Hitha is bidding to be the next young starlet. The Californian singer-songwriter has recently released ‘Standing Up With Pride’, a pop romp which delivers a message of positivity. We speak to Hitha to find out where she finds the inspiration for her upbeat pop.
What’s your single ‘Standing Up With Pride’ about?
Even though we all may have many activities and things we care about in our lives, this song is about putting forth your biggest passion and going for it. I used to play soccer and basketball and tennis and volleyball while also doing vocal lessons twice a week. I realized that I liked singing the best, and so I decided to put it as my number one priority and focused on that. I still play volleyball, but everything else I’ve set aside and singing is my number one focus.
Your songs portray a message of positivity and hope. What’s your main source of inspiration?
My main source of inspiration is everyday life. I try to take problems from everywhere to make my songs relatable so everyone can connect with them.
What’s your biggest ambition as a teen popstar?
I hope that I become known as the positive little girl who loves to write and perform. When people hear my music, I want them to know that they can always count on themselves to figure out what their true passion is, and then put in the hard work and practice alongside their talent to get the achievement they’re looking for. There’s always a positive ending if you try hard and don’t give up.
Does your Asian heritage influence the music you make?
I actually started my music with India Classical singing when I was 4. Indian classical signing helped me with many vocal/technical attributes and I have realized that music is my passion. Basically, it gave me foundation to build my music future on.
Take the soft croons of James Vincent McMorrow, the cinematic atmospherics of Sufjan Stevens, and the gut-wrenching storytelling of Bon Iver, and you’ll have the essence of Harp Samuels’ devastatingly tender slow burners. With his sophomore record in the pipeline, we catch up with the Australian songwriter to find out what went on behind the studio doors…
Describe your music in five words.
Deep, thoughtful, unique, melodic, and vulnerable.
What’s the story behind forthcoming album ‘Breathe’?
I lost my Dad last year right when I was in the middle of promoting my debut album ‘Wanting.’ I decided to go home to Melbourne, and I was feeling a lot of tension/ grief and all kinds of stuff. I wanted to put those feelings somewhere so I turned to music and art, initially purely to process what I was going through. It’s about tension, closure, new chapters, and our relationship to the eternal.
Is there a song on the album that’s particularly close to your heart?
The song ‘Closure in C’ (an homage to Canon in D) was played on my Dad’s piano, and the reason is that my family is going to sell it, so I wanted to write/ perform a piece on it as an act of closure.
You’ve said there are a lot of ‘easter eggs’ in the project. Can you give us an exclusive on what to expect?
The track listing is in alphabetical order and the amount of tracks (9) represents in-completion. The songs and project have been carefully named, and are designed to ﬂow as one 30 minute themed musical project.
We’re not sure what’s more intriguing about George Swan the legend that he was ‘born in an unspecified swamp and raised by alligators’ or that his musical pseudonym is Big Dik Blak. Either way, we figured the Canadian songwriter might have some interesting things to say about his brand of ‘swamp rock’. We catch sixty seconds with the songwriter to find out more about the process behind his weird and wonderful songs.
Where does your songwriting process start?
Usually, while fooling around with a keyboard of some kind, I’ll come up with a chord progression that sounds cool to me. I’ll jam on it for a while with the band and see what we come up with. I adjust the progression as I go but try to keep it really simple. Four chords are about right kind of thing. I then listen to the tape, write down the words and work out the melody, trying to really nail that down.
What usually comes first, lyrics or music?
Sometimes I have some words that I’ve written that I want to get into a song, such as ‘World Peace’ and ‘Free Love’. Other times, I try all kinds of sounds of my Korg Triton Extreme workstation and usually will find something there I can start with. I also try it out with the distorted Hammond as well. It’s even better when I can put them both together like I did in both World Peace and The Connector song.
Has a song idea ever come to you at a weird time?
Sometimes a song will come to me while I’m sleeping, like the piano riff in my song ‘No Past’. I woke up with it running through my mind. I went to the piano to see what the riff was and then recorded it. It took a while to come up with the melody and the words.
From Guildford to Rio, Mosaic are adding their stamp to the British indie-rock circuit with their track ‘Rio’.
Based in Newbury, Mosaic are throwing it back to the party anthems of yore and providing a contemporary take on sounds that any indie veteran will recognize.
The bouncing rhythms and linear guitar melodies will instantly be recognizable to fans of the Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party, combining the two influences for that synonymous garage-rock aesthetic.
What makes ‘Rio’ more relevant than it’s predecessors is its lyrical content, which contains stories within university settings, making the music not only more original but more relatable to its audience whilst making the songs less romanticized and more personal.
Craig of Mosaic’s vocal style is also rather unique within the genre with it’s higher register and almost has a Bret Anderson of Suede texture to it, which is a welcoming change to the over-accentuated and stylized vocal performances that are stereotypical within Indie.
Whilst ‘Rio’ does try to put its own mark on British indie music, the song sounds too familiar within the genre; indie veterans are going to feel at home when listening to the tune. However, you are not going to find anything too abstract here for those looking for something new.
Overall, ‘Rio’ is a welcoming addition to the Indie circuit and does its job in keeping the genre relatable to new and upcoming fans whilst keeping the customary bouncy rhythms and guitar melodies.
‘Rio’ is out now, you can keep up with Mosaic on their social networks below;
Four piece Norwegian band The Nave Blues have a sound that takes what you love about traditional blues rock and alternative rock and melded it together, all apparent in track ‘Possess You’.
The blues revivalists who have already covered and released what is considered an epic rendition of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Thank You’ are showing they mean business when it comes to reviving a genre as legendary as the Blues.
Armed with the authentic instruments, the four piece have nailed a sound that is both contemporary and pays homage to the genre. It couldn’t get any better with a harmonica player such as Nave Pundik, who opens the track with a blistering solo.
‘Possess You’ is a thoughtful blend of contemporary rock and traditional blues, though leaning more towards blues rock as opposed to delta or traditional blues. The song definitely has an alternative rock feel to it akin to Soundgarden, almost.
The song takes from the alternative sound as well as obvious influence Led Zeppelin, where the song shines is its dynamic changes, what starts of subtle proceeds to blast the listener with some catchy riffs.
‘Possess You’ also takes advantage with its mix, the raw aesthetic brings out the most in the track, particularly the harmonica solo which defines the grittiness that is accustomed with Blues Rock.
Overall, ‘Possess You’ is a great track that blends both traditional blues rock and alternative rock into a familiar package, whilst not shying away from showing off the sound that The Nave Blues have crafted.
You can keep up to date with The Nave Blues on their social network links below;
When would happen if you took classical music and mixed it with something as niche darkwave? The answer could be in Michaela Polakova and Natalie Kocab’s latest collaboration.
Both hailing from the Czech Republic; Singer & lyricist Natalie Kocab and composer Michaela Polakova join forces in a testament to experimentation, which also features a helping hand from The Verve’s guitarist Nick McCabe and Lou Reed bassist Fernando Saunders.
The album consists of ten tracks and provide a variety of tones and textures, with influences from Patti Smith to Nick Cave, all the way to My Bloody Valentine and The Cure.
The album opens with one of three lead singles ‘Underwater’ which does an excellent job of setting the tone for the rest of the album, providing a strong opening and a strong vocal performance accompanied with poetic lyricism from Natalie which remains consistent throughout the rest of the album. The song features an atmospheric soundscape with a jarring middle eight, comparable to albums such as Pornography by The Cure.
The album then follows into ‘Kiev’, which changes from a soundscape-like structure into something more post-rock influence, with what sounds like a slight oriental twist to the composition. The song follows through with a crescendo; a big finish maintaining that post-rock attribute.
‘These Years’ which is the second lead single changes the atmosphere a bit, the orchestral side to Michaela’s compositions are more apparent here followed by opening with a 90’s or early 2000’s pop melody showcasing its contemporary elements; though like a facade this changes a minute into the track where the melody completely juxtaposes and becomes jarring, maintaining the authenticity to the album.
The album is a collective of melancholic and jarring pop tracks followed by experimental, post punk influenced tracks, Nick McCabe’s guitars compliment the classical compositions and just like Kevin Shields and Patti Smith’s collaboration in 2005 and 2006, vocalizes the instrument.
Tracks that follow such as the title track; ‘Ellis Island’ and the third lead track ‘Social Affair’ are more of a radio friendly take on the sound that Michaela & Natalie have crafted, contemporary structures whilst maintaining a certain melancholy that is not too drastic or dissonant, ‘Social Affair’ features a more alternative rock take on their sound.
‘Zadnej Kod’, which is performed in Czech is again a more orchestral track, which features haunting tonality, the track picks up and features almost an operatic rock dynamic to it.
I do feel however, following Zadnej Kod that ‘Feeling Falls’ and ‘Carry On’ could have been positioned differently on the album, ‘Feeling Falls’ feels very similar melody-wise and Carry On feels slightly anti-climatic in its positioning. And whilst ‘Feeling Falls’ does well in its minimalist, spacious approach it’s light dynamics into a crescendo came too soon after ‘Zadnej Kod’.
The album concludes with the track ‘Backstabbers’ which unlike the aforementioned two tracks is positioned well and conclude the album perfectly, whilst yet another pop oriented track among the final three, the dynamic changes with acoustic guitars at the forefront mixed with the whirling, wall of sound like tonalities of the electric guitars, the song also features lounge-like spoken word vocals, which adds a nice, conclusive shift from the powerful vocal performance which remained consistent, to something that tones down the album.
Whilst the album features a plethora of musical styles and experimentation, it does not sound messy one bit, Michaela’s work on the compositions make the album sound consistent and authentic whilst making the album interesting throughout, the album does not go off on a tangent nor does it become monotonous: It’s a fresh and relevant take on experimentation that rivals the likes of recent contemporaries.
Natalie Kocab’s vocals are personally one of the biggest highlights of the album, the overall vocal performance was powerful and suited the music that was accompanying them,.
Overall, the album genuinely offers something for everyone, a welcoming form of experimentation that is not to alien to the average listener yet interesting enough to keep die-hard alternative music fans listening throughout.
Ellis Island is out now, you can purchase the album from this link; https://wmcz.lnk.to/ellisisland
To keep up to date with Michaela Polakova and Natalie Kocab, you can follow their social networks below;
For a true insight into a songwriting mind, check out Matt Boroff’s new video discussing the concepts and ideas that drive his new album, Grand Delusion.
It can take a long time to fully understand what an album is about, and the cryptic nature of Matt’s lyrics would unlikely change this, but his new record is one worth delving into. With a distinctly current agenda, addressing some of the society’s most pressing issues at this time, Grand Delusion challenges our perceptions of how we see the world and pushes us to question it.
Matt’s new record has been put together with the help of Alain Johannes from 11AD studios, Jack Irons (former Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam drummer) and Mark Lanegan. Grand Delusion is out May 5th.
Having got to the brink of fame on Britain’s Got Talent, Rosie O’Sullivan has returned with some of her best material yet as she aims to reach to the top.
Gaining influences from her family and relationships, Rosie has found that her own experiences make the best material for inspiring her songs. The album is based around relationships and encounters from the past few years but the track ‘No One’ follows the story of true love between Rosie’s mum and dad that she is lucky to see every day.
Brought up with the rousing sounds of Motown, soul and the vibrant style of the sixties, Rosie immersed herself in the unique energy of the music, which has naturally lingered into her own. By the age of eleven Rosie could play both the piano and saxophone and continued to blossom as an artist. She began singing alongside The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain in the 2011 and 2012 BBC Proms and then gained a Bachelor of Music Performance Degree at the London College of Music.
You can find out more about Rosie and check out some of her music here: