Canada’s answer to Earth, Wind & Fire; Crack of Dawn are revitalizing the classics.

Not many artists can say they’ve outsold legendary acts such as Earth, Wind & Fire, except for Canada’s own Crack of Dawn who are back with Spotlight, featuring a collection of classic tracks.

With other titles such as being the first black band to be signed to a major label (CBS) as well as being picked up by Otis Redding’s producer, Crack of Dawn were anticipated for bigger things, though word from them remained quiet… until now.

Returning with a selection of re-recorded classics from the band as well as some new tracks, Crack of Dawn’s Spotlight is an authentic return to the classic funk and soul sounds of their era.

The overarching theme of the album seems to be nostalgia and sentimentality, what Spotlight does exceedingly well is maintain an authentic sound throughout; it does not do anything out of the ordinary and the album is actually not that adventurous – and that’s fine.

For funk fans, there is something for everyone, from the strong Stevie Wonder vibes on one of the lead tracks ‘Booby Ruby’ to the falsetto vocals on ‘Keep the Faith’ that allude to a sound similar to what the Ohio Players had on their album Honey.

The album opens up strong with the classic and unmistakable funk sounds, ‘Crack of Dawn’ does a great job in laying out what the band is capable of, from the jazz inclined funk virtuosity to the soaring synth melodies and strong bass grooves. The first four tracks of the album maintain that uplifting funk quality as seen with their contemporaries, what Spotlight manages to capture in the earlier parts of the album are different flavors of funk from their era, ‘Somebody’s Watching’ features almost a 1970s “cop-drama” tonality to it with the wah-heavy guitars with a catchy descending riff during the chorus.

Halfway through the album with ‘It’s alright’ changes the pace with an authentic funk ballad that heavily enforces the theme of sentimentality and nostalgia throughout the album. The theme reaches its pinnacle with the track ‘Ol’ Skool’ which sounds like it could have come straight out of the late 70s, the track also pays homage to their contemporaries through the years within the lyrical content, ‘Ol’ Skool’ comes across as a a labor of love and defines the bands mission.

Whilst the album remains authentic to its sound and doesn’t deviate from its purpose, its biggest flaw is the length in which the album tends to latch on to the sentimental ballad sounds. Tracks five through to nine are all sentimental ballads with only slight variations on how they approach the stereotypical funk-ballad sounds, and whilst the dynamics of the album are thoroughly consistent, by track nine the ballads become exhausting, despite how well they are crafted. With only one track left of the album there is very little opportunity to pick up from where the album started.

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Click here to check out a review of the title track ‘Spotlight’.

‘Changes’, the final track finally picks up the pace and invokes a big finale to the album, bringing it back to the big, groovy funk tracks that started the album and brings a full circle to what the band can do.

Spotlight is a great album because it’s an authentic return to funk. In a time where experimentation is key to surviving in the music world, it’s nice to hear something new and modern that throws the listener back to the 1970’s and the dawn of funk. Spotlight is not adventurous and doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary, and that’s okay – because it’s a nostalgic throwback to the times where they outsold Earth, Wind & Fire. It’s the bands opportunity to reminisce the good old days.

You can keep up to date with Crack of Dawn and purchase the latest album by following their social network links below;

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoNzxEP5sJc

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CrackofDawnBand/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crackofdawnofficial/?hl=en

Website: https://www.crackofdawn.ca/

 

 

 

Mosaic take a trip to ‘Rio’ with new pop driven track.

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;

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mosaicofficial

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuenCiVLKdpI_cs-989bsUQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MosaicUK/

Twitter: https://twitter.com_mosaicofficial

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_mosaicofficial/

Website: https://www.mosaicofficial.co.uk

 

The gateway to isolation; Michaela Polakova and Natalie Kocab’s brooding collaboration.

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.

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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;

https://soundcloud.com/nataliekocabmichaelapolakova

https://youtu.be/QDOEQVGicqM

https://youtu.be/sT1g9fYFon0

https://www.facebook.com/Ellisislandalbum/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Crack of Dawn take the spotlight in upcoming single

Canada’s answer to Earth, Wind & Fire; Crack of Dawn are preparing to step back into the ‘Spotlight’ with the upcoming release of their new single.

The track ‘Spotlight’ is a reflective return to the band after a period of absence, with melodic, soulful vibes in a modern take.

The band hold the mantle of being one of the first black bands to be signed to a major label (CBS) and outsold their funky contemporaries; Earth, Wind & Fire.

The new track ‘Spotlight’ is a ballad through & through, it’s a safe comeback and yet a sentimental sound that ticks all the right boxes.

The aesthetic is laid as soon as the rolling drums hits the first beat, along with the chunky sounding guitar coupled with a faint “siren-like” synth playing a counter melody alongside the the repeated opening phrase.

The song then goes straight into the nostalgic sounding soul-ballad, held by a strong vocal performance and with stops to keep the listener on their toes, adding dynamic flair.

As with virtuoso soul/funk artists, the harmonies are impeccable, keeping that notorious smooth texture; with a belted main vocal being supported by harmonies that present no flaw.

‘Spotlight’ is Crack of Dawn’s attempt at standing on it’s own two feet, in a world of neo-soul and the evolution of classic genres, ‘Spotlight’ proves that Crack of Dawn’s modern evolution of their sound can stand up in the funk & soul scene of today, and this track is assurance to the fans that they’ve still got what it takes.

‘Spotlight’ is out on the 19th of November, you can keep up to date with the band on their social networks below;

https://www.facebook.com/CrackofDawnBand/

https://www.instagram.com/crackofdawnofficial/?hl=en

https://www.crackofdawn.ca/

Track Review: ‘Say’ by Les Kirsh

Les Kirsh is an artist that you might consider the ultimate songwriter: he’s dabbled in a host of different genres during his many years of penning songs, but on thing has always stayed the same, and that’s Les’ passion for soul music, where his roots lie.

Back in the 70s, Les was inches away from becoming a big name when a car crash sadly put his career on hold. It’s only now, several decades later, that Les has returned to being a singer, releasing three old tracks that have been remastered and modernized by the talented producer, Andy Whitmore.

One of those tracks is ‘Say’; possibly the most soul-esque of the three tracks. A delicate string track opens the song before making way for a simple guitar sequence that sits comfortably underneath Les’ powerful vocals. Soulful backing vocals add another layer of texture, contrasting Les’s voice with a gentle swoon.

Whilst much can be said for Andy Whitmore, re-working the track to fit a modern audience, this would be doing Les an injustice who examples some of his best, most effective song writing. It’s simple, but this is what works best about it – soul is truly at the heart of this track and Les doesn’t buy into any of the gimmicks. It’s no wonder that Kirsh labels his style as ‘modern soul’.

Not only this, but it’s a groove heavy that’ll have you tapping your feet and maybe even having a little dance in the kitchen. Don’t be embarrassed. You know you want to.

 

Check out more on Les Kirsh here:

https://soundcloud.com/leskirsh

https://www.facebook.com/LesKirshMusic/

https://twitter.com/LesKirshMusic

 

Elsiane unleash their brand of alternative-pop

Canadian alternative pop duo, Elsiane are releasing their experimental masterpiece, Death of the Artist on 21st April, but the new record is anything but.

If anything, this record from the talented pair is a ‘rebirth’ as opposed to a death, their  3rd album since Elsiane’s inception in 2000. Despite their varying musical backgrounds, Elsieanne Caplette and Stephane Sotto have come together to form a vehicle for their alternative tendencies and Death of the Artist is arguably their best work to date.

You might assume that any act’s dream is to sign for a major label, but having dealt with one and realising that many simply try to mold artists into something that ‘sells’, Elsiane threw in the towel, deciding to release their record independently instead.

The band’s 2007 debut album revealed them as one of the hottest acts in Canada, whilst their sophomore release Mechanics of Emotion confirmed this. However, difficult times lay ahead for the pair, who struggled with the music lifestyle, separating as a couple, and almost as artists. Fortunately for us alt-pop lovers, Elsieanne and Stephane reunited to give us Death of the Artist.

With a sound akin to Massive Attack combined with Kate Bush, Elsiane are creating some music that you should definitely check out.

Links:

http://www.elsiane.com/

https://www.facebook.com/elsiane

https://twitter.com/elsiane

https://www.instagram.com/elsiane_official/

https://soundcloud.com/elsiane

https://www.youtube.com/user/vaporous07/videos

The Truebelles: ‘Mister Nobody’

It seems like the world of female pop groups is growing a little stale these days, but luckily, London based 3-piece, The Truebelles have turned up on the scene with their brand of female-empowering pop.

This is something that all three of the girls feel strongly about. In the past, a certain image, pushed by the media, has been portrayed in music – one that suggests there is a typical kind of of ‘beautiful’ that all girls must aspire to be. The Truebelles are opposing this stance, attempting to make young girls feel comfortable in their own skin through the powerful medium of music.

‘Mister Nobody’ is their latest single, an infectious pop tune with a super-funky infused edge that you can’t help but tap your foot to. Interestingly, the girls often take turns in singing lead vocals on different tracks, depending on the style of the song and who it suits the most.

For ‘Mister Nobody’, Lorenna takes centre stage delivering a seductive vocal performance, backed up harmoniously by Grace and Tallulah.

Each of The Truebelles have a rich musical and arts based background as Lorenna has also performed with Scottish techno-dance group, The Time Frequency, whilst Grace is a frequent gigger and Tallulah has appeared on Britain’s Next Top Model.

Together, The Truebelles are bringing something new to pop circles and there’s no doubt that you’ll be hearing their name in the near future.

Find out more here:

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/The-Truebelles-920344594701415/

https://twitter.com/ttruebelles

http://thetruebelles.com/

 

Pimlican release ‘Runaw’y’

If you like your R&B, then make sure to check out Pimlican’s new track, ‘Runaw’y’.

The producer and collaborative artist has a knack for creating infectious hooks, vocal ones in the case of ‘Runaw’y’, and blending them with pulsating beats and innovative instrumentation.

Having spent many a night waiting to meet music industry members in the Pimlico area of London, a name was formed for the project and now Pimlican has his own label, Belgrave Road records.

Lovers of rap and hip-hop will also find something that they love within in Pimlican’s music, his genre-crossing style drawing in crowds from almost all corners of the musical world.

Check out more on Pimlican here:

Links:

http://www.belgraveroadrecords.com/

https://pimlican.bandcamp.com/

https://twitter.com/belgraveroadrec

https://www.facebook.com/belgraveroadrecords

https://soundcloud.com/pimlican-97234536

Crossover artist Georg Roman releases ‘Forever’

Fusing his favourite genres of classic operatic styles and rock, Georg Roman has unleashed his powerful track ‘Forever’ on the world.

Although the Russian singer-songwriter did always intend to be a musician, formerly pursuing a career in sport, he has certainly found his calling in music, forming his own unique blend of classical-rock.

Classical instrumentation, including a dramatic piano lead and emotive string sections combine with Georg’s powerful voice, making for music like you’ve never heard it before.

Georg has always enjoyed using his whole vocal range when singing and composing for himself, and this style that he has adopted allows him to do so.

In terms of rock, Georg looks up to the likes of Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker, but he when it comes to classical- the greats such as Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo are firm favourites.

Check out more on Georg on his site here:

www.georgroman.com

Nina Jones Will ‘Never Let You Go’ With New Single

Nina Jones Will ‘Never Let You Go’ With New Single

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Next teenage sensation juggles brand new pop track release with A-level study!
At just 17 years old, Nina Jones is an extremely talented teenage vocalist with a big future ahead of her. Based in Newport, South Wales, her new single is the kind of accessible hit that can go a long way to establishing a new name in the music industry.
‘Never Let You Go’ is catchy, infectious and toe tappingly paced – soulful pop-funk made to shine thanks to a stellar, pure vocal performance from Nina. This has potential pop hit written all over it, and also follows the recent trend of chart hits peppered with retro 90s touches. It’s a song about asking somebody to trust you in love, to let go emotionally and to fall completely for you.
The video is on the way, but in the meantime, here’s a tease of what you can expect…
https://soundcloud.com/ninajonesmusic/never-let-you-go-sample
‘Never Let You Go’ is written by award winning songwriters Darren Parry, Dan Curtis and Laura Curtis.  Darren has achieved UK Songwriting Contest Award wins (2004 winner ‘Pop’), USA ‘Song Of The Year’, USA ‘Billboard’ and USA ‘Unisong’ awards. Meanwhile, Dan and Laura Curtis have had songs recorded by Paul Potts, Broadway stars Ramin Karimloo & Lea Salonga and also wrote the successful, star studded charity track ‘A Miner’s Song’.
It makes for a heady combination of writing and vocal talent, and, with Darren Parry also on production duties, the track has already had national exposure on Nina’s home turf with BBC Radio Wales.
Not bad progress for a young lady who is also in the midst of her ‘A’ levels at school in Newport and performing with a fantastic 9 piece covers band at weddings, parties and corporate functions. Nina Jones obviously enjoys being busy, and with tracks like this it won’t be long before she’s even busier. Two of her musical heroes are Sam Smith and Adele, but those artists had better keep an eye out for this ambitious young performer from across the River Severn.
‘Never Let You Go’ will be released on April 6th!
Links:
Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/ninajonesmusic
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ninajonesmusic
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ninajonesmusic