Jacob Aiden – JamSphere http://jamsphere.com The Indie Music Magazine & Radio Network! Tue, 12 Dec 2017 02:19:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tisabel: “GENRE HOPPING” is a heady blend of styles and passion! http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/tisabel-genre-hopping-heady-blend-styles-passion http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/tisabel-genre-hopping-heady-blend-styles-passion#respond Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:56:56 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30979 Longtime Musical director and vocalist Tony Isabel aka Tisabel boasts an unprecedented skill set. He writes, arranges, sings, plays, and performs. He busts taboos, flashes unstoppable ambition, blends genres together like paint. Soulful ballads and funky grooves, ambient new age soundscapes, Hip-hop fantasy, and divine EDM devotion. For these qualities alone, he deserves respect. However, […]

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Longtime Musical director and vocalist Tony Isabel aka Tisabel boasts an unprecedented skill set. He writes, arranges, sings, plays, and performs. He busts taboos, flashes unstoppable ambition, blends genres together like paint. Soulful ballads and funky grooves, ambient new age soundscapes, Hip-hop fantasy, and divine EDM devotion. For these qualities alone, he deserves respect. However, as you know, respect is also kind of a bullshit concept. Your favorite songs may not grace anyone else’s mixes; your favorite artists may not have ever left town. A century of recorded music has given us a galaxy of worthy tunes. But the gravitational pull of Tisabel’s music is strong; it has few equals in the underground. If you dig people standing tall in the music industry machinery, he’s your standard-bearer.

Practically anyone trying to marry catchy song craft to such a vast number of styles and genres is very hard to find in an era where artists categorize themselves into the tiniest of sub-genres. With astounding ease, Tisabel gives us dozens of evergreen sounding melodies, deep instrumental cuts, futuristic concept ideas and slamming retro harmonies.

Tisabel’s 15 track album “GENRE HOPPING” is a heady blend of styles and passion that add to the conception of the artist. The recording bristles with the energy and audacity of an artist who is poised with the ambition to take over the world.

How else would you explain the artistic courage needed to jump from the smooth and soulful R&B groove of “Can I”, to the new age piano meanderings of “Sierras Float”, and then onto the ghetto rapper’s swag of “5 Star Girl”, before executing the upbeat, dubstep-influenced, electro rhythms of “All Action No Talk”.

Tisabel seems to be in the process of brazenly reimagining what being a modern musician means – both professionally and artistically – while dismantling the public’s preconceived ideas about what kind of one-dimensional music a possible music icon can and should play.

Moving through the album it is clear that even if “GENRE HOPPING” is the only record, Tisabel ever makes, it will stand as a singular creative statement from a musician who knows precisely what he needs to say, musically. As well as showcasing in just how many different ways he is artistically able to say it!

Again, taking it from the slow-burning stunner, “Could You Be My Lady (Walking Down the Aisle)”, to the funky new jack dance of “Need Your Touch”, and then the retro-rock ballad “One and Only”, Tisabel time and again proves to be a universal artist, meant for all seasons and flavors. I have no doubt that if this album had been released during the eighties or early nineties it might have spawned quite a few radio ready singles.

A multitalented cross-genre artist such as Tony Isabel deserves much more than being trapped in an era of artificially generated robotic music. Luckily though, he’ll find a plenitude of people longing for the soulfully nostalgic sounds, melodies and harmonies he proposes on this album. Not secondary to any of the above qualities however, is Tisabel’s richly resonating voice, which reaches its entrancing zenith on the mid-tempo ballad “Hold Me Tight”.

“GENRE HOPPING” is the type of album that never goes out of style. This is the kind of music that will outlive us all, and these songs will still be blowing the minds and capturing the interest of music fans decades from now. Produced by The Muzikworkz Company, “GENRE HOPPING” is simply the real thing!

Who is Tisabel? – Anthony Wayne Isabel a.k.a. Tony Isabel, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and later moved to Los Angeles. He began his career with an appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland as bassist with a college jazz ensemble, and subsequently became the bassist and backup singer for such acts as Memphis, The Indian River Boys, Louise Mandrell, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry, as well as the bassist and lead singer for a number of working Top 40 club bands. He has performed with a wide variety of acts during his career, such as Bob Hope, Charo, Freda Payne, Johnny Thunder, Snoop Dog and Tupac Shakur, and has also had appearances in TV and film projects such as Rodney Dangerfield’s “Meet Wally Sparks”. “The Martin Short Show” and “Ally McBeal”. A Music Director for a number of cruise lines, primarily Princess Cruises (The Love Boat), Tony is capable of directing a pit orchestra or show-band with equal ease. He is also the author of two different online instructional video series: “The Elusive Pocket Player” and “Stanley Clarke Secrets”.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITE  – FACEBOOKSOUNDCLOUD

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Mark Adams Son Of Bill: “Living in the Shit Age” – absolute artistry, direct and unabashed! http://jamsphere.com/reviews/mark-adams-son-bill-living-shit-age-absolute-artistry-direct-unabashed http://jamsphere.com/reviews/mark-adams-son-bill-living-shit-age-absolute-artistry-direct-unabashed#respond Sat, 02 Dec 2017 21:43:41 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30907 One part distortion, one part melody, and two parts face-melting guitars. “Living in the Shit Age” is a very uncomplicated album, with only really having guitar, bass, drums and vocals throughout. That’s the way it should be though and anything fancy would just ruin the album. When people drop the needle on the record, insert […]

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One part distortion, one part melody, and two parts face-melting guitars. “Living in the Shit Age” is a very uncomplicated album, with only really having guitar, bass, drums and vocals throughout. That’s the way it should be though and anything fancy would just ruin the album. When people drop the needle on the record, insert the CD or click play on their smartphones and hear the distinctive roar of dense and distorted guitar on this recording a great number of them will be shuffled back into another musical era. This nineties music for the twenty-first century, which should sound awful, but it’s really bloody good. We could all do with more noise in our lives, it helps you forget about all the real issues in this world of ours.

The songs on “Living in the Shit Age” have that peculiar quality that makes them sound wonderful and fresh and simultaneously take you back to 1992, broiling with grunge, punk and alternative rock sounds. The eight songs on this album sound razor sharp, appropriately noisy, and ultimately a product from three guys called Mark Adams Son Of Bill, and who have finely honed their craft of songwriting into an original and distinguishable blend of guitar-rock greatness.

On the first listen, no single track jumped out at me. Perhaps I was distracted as I was cooking dinner, but other than a couple of cool guitar riffs and rolling basslines, nothing grabbed me. Then a couple of songs began to stand out, particularly the grungy goodness of “Piss Test”, the great guitar work on “I Don’t Wanna Be Here Really” and the heavy riffage of “Right There With Me”. Mark Adams’ vocals also seem to be exceptionally strong on “Dirt Gun” and “Good Things Come”.

While Mark Adam’s guitar, alternating between driving riffs, and squalling, dissonant noise-rock as well as occasional quiet passages, is the main attraction, Simon Beno’s bass, melodic, highly distorted and often playing thick notes, compete for attention.

Meanwhile, Spencer Powers plays the drum parts in a very creative fashion, resulting in a unique version of the standard power trio format. This record is crammed into a series of sonic throat punches. It seethes and rants, and is completely unbridled.

“Living in the Shit Age” is not for the faint of heart, neither musically nor lyrically. It is, however, absolute artistry, direct and unabashed. This is a great, great record that everyone with even a passing interest in what is known as alternative rock should own.

This is what every other indie band pretty much aspires to, or in my opinion, should aspire to. These guys bring the same devil-may-care rawness as did bands like Husker Du, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and The Pixies, back in their heyday. If you like grunge mixed with alt-rock and a dash of punk then Mark Adams Son Of Bill is your kind of band.

Bandleader Mark Adams who has written all the songs and lyrics says: “I bring songs to the table with a pretty good idea of what they are, and then we start working them out as a band, and the other two guys finalize the idea and improve upon it by typically expanding on my rough thoughts of what the drums and bass should kinda be doing…  I don’t like happy songs so I don’t usually write them. They bum me out.”

Mark Adams Son Of Bill seem to come out of another era, taking its sound and attitude as a starting point but breaking free of its rigid, limiting constraints, and turning it’s aggression and anger into something more expansive and melodic, with losing its core elements.

OFFICIAL LINKS: BANDCAMPCDBABYYOUTUBEFACEBOOK

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Diana Sophia: “Runaway” – the power of hope, life and passion http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/diana-sophia-runaway-power-hope-life-passion http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/diana-sophia-runaway-power-hope-life-passion#respond Fri, 01 Dec 2017 11:19:01 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30887 Diana Sophia’s new single “Runaway” sees her push towards a diverse formula to the one she has so successfully been weaving around for years. The talented songstress has decided to move her skillset from her classical and opera singing roots into the pop music arena, having currently completed an EP with producer Rob Guariglia. “Runaway” […]

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Diana Sophia’s new single “Runaway” sees her push towards a diverse formula to the one she has so successfully been weaving around for years. The talented songstress has decided to move her skillset from her classical and opera singing roots into the pop music arena, having currently completed an EP with producer Rob Guariglia. “Runaway” opens in true pop anthem style. The guitars, keyboards and percussion bark in unison around strumming chords and some very nifty production tweaks that showcases the instruments steadily working towards a subtle building crescendo. Diana’s voice goes for the higher register and it plays off the catchy music really well.

The rest of “Runaway” finds a rejuvenated Diana Sophia holding in tension her signature classically trained voice with the modern bleats of today’s pop music.  But rather, than trying to chase after today’s clichéd pop narratives, Diana lets loose allowing her own experiences and emotions to be the driver of this song.

Here she illustrates her feelings of being trapped and finally taking the long journey to New York City to pursue a career making music and art she loves. She does this through both words and images, as the song is supported by a video, directed by Diana herself.

The pure honesty of the song makes it an affecting record. Like stepping in from the cold to find a warm fireplace and your favorite blanket. The new song and video, “Runaway”, by Diana Sophia is the musical equivalent of getting re-acquainted with an old friend, such is the familiarity and glow of Diana’s voice.

Filled with distinctive and glistening vocals Diana speaks up and seems to have found her pop voice, as the song is open, revealing and direct. This track is a beautiful and reflective tribute to the power of hope, life and passion. Obviously her tumultuous experiences and changes have only made her voice stronger, clearer and sweeter.

Diana Sophia’s singular style, haunting, yet comforting voice, and her intelligent lyrics are obvious calling cards. But like all quality songs, “Runaway” takes a few listens to be fully appreciated. After all, Diana’s true talent lies in her thoughtful lyrics and her otherworldly voice, not in cheap pop tunes.

However that’s not to say that “Runaway” is not easily engaging to the ear, because it is. It’s just that the song is layered with beautiful instrumentation and chord progressions which offer enhanced satisfaction over repeated listening.

MORE ABOUT: Diana Sophia is a classically trained singer/songwriter creating music out of Brooklyn, New York. She was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico where she discovered music at a very young age. Diana was selected during a national audition to be an active member of the Mexican Opera House “Palacio de Bellas Artes”, in Mexico City, where she sang as first soprano for almost 7 years as part of the choir, as well as many character and solo roles in different opera productions. She moved to New York City in 2008 where she performed with the Pacific Encored Performances and The Martina Arroyo Foundation.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITESOUNDCLOUDYOUTUBE

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DAV!D&CLARA: “Do it like you mean it” – understated-yet-exploratory synth pop with an industrial twist http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/davdclara-like-mean-understated-yet-exploratory-synth-pop-industrial-twist http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/davdclara-like-mean-understated-yet-exploratory-synth-pop-industrial-twist#respond Tue, 28 Nov 2017 12:03:17 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30876 The mind, as a rational body, is torn between being alone or together, being faithful or not. The mind ultimately facilitates the dissolution and the impropriety. But the heart, in its inherent altruism, knows the truth. The heart, outside of all the thoughts and rationale, knows better. And that’s where most of DAV!D&CLARA’s music comes […]

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The mind, as a rational body, is torn between being alone or together, being faithful or not. The mind ultimately facilitates the dissolution and the impropriety. But the heart, in its inherent altruism, knows the truth. The heart, outside of all the thoughts and rationale, knows better. And that’s where most of DAV!D&CLARA’s music comes from. The ability to take complex emotions and narratives and distill them into something effortlessly poetic seems like a prerequisite in an era of superficial songs. But David Castillo’s ability to bring a headiness and an intellectual weight to purely emotional proceedings is peerless at almost any time. “Do it like you mean it”, the brand new single by DAV!D&CLARA does this immaculately.

Formed back in 2004, the improbable duo of DAV!D&CLARA, made up of singer, songwriter and producer DAV!D (David Castillo) and his trustworthy computer CLARA, continues to churn out songs that are slow-paced ruminations on modern life channeled through the eyes of a post-modern observer.

The need to escape, the need for love, the need for a distraction, for anything, for everything, and then nothing in particular – depending on whose heart you’re holding in your hand – all comes through in this song’s hypnotizing jaunt. DAV!D&CLARA, convey an entire narrative through strangely enchanting and vague lyrics. This is the true majesty of David Castillo’s songwriting.

“Do it like you mean it” is a masterpiece of understated-yet-exploratory synth pop with an industrial twist. The song reveals itself to be one that fearlessly and deftly uses poetic songwriting and outré production to tell a striking and complete narrative. But something that truly makes the lyrics pop is the nature of the track’s sonics.

Whether it’s DAV!D&CLARA’s methodical use of acoustic guitar samples, which picks and crawls it’s way across the entire track, or the deep crunchy and growling sound of the synths, which rumble above the rhythm, the track boasts enough texture and idiosyncrasy to delight anyone with a good pair of headphones.

Whether you consider it apparitional or beatific, the production on “Do it like you mean it” is inextricably linked to the lyricism, paralleling the poetic honesty of David Castillo’s words. David is one of the more creative underground musicians around. One who isn’t caught up in fickle trends. He follows his own lane, but hasn’t been given a truly due recognition for his works thus far.

As a singer, his voice is really low, something that is not usual in pop music, but he has a unique way of singing, his hypnotic voice being a perfect complement to his songs. David’s personality is both strong and vulnerable at the same time, and is often reflected in DAV!D&CLARA’s music, through the contrasting light and dark ambiance generated there.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITEFACEBOOKTWITTERBANDCAMP

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Tarot Rats: “3.0” – This is cast iron classic rock! http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/tarot-rats-3-0-cast-iron-classic-rock http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/tarot-rats-3-0-cast-iron-classic-rock#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 20:15:33 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30866 “3.0” is the second cannon ball to come out of the powerful artillery known as Tarot Rats, the Kent, UK based rock band – and what a powerful blast of an EP it is. One never knows exactly what stereophonic delights will come out this band but you do know that it’s going to be […]

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“3.0” is the second cannon ball to come out of the powerful artillery known as Tarot Rats, the Kent, UK based rock band – and what a powerful blast of an EP it is. One never knows exactly what stereophonic delights will come out this band but you do know that it’s going to be incredibly good. This recording solidifies that theory. The songwriting is as crisp and tight as the musicianship of each and every member of this band. “3.0” showcases a blues-based rock band that is comfortable in its own skin. There is certainly no follow-up slump here. In fact this one builds on the strengths of the band’s previous EP “Minor Arcana”. The combination of Timothy ‘Steel’ Hill (Lead Vocals), Johnny ‘Riff Wizard’ Hammond (Guitar), Chris ‘Solo’ Sansom (Guitar), Adrian ‘Chiv’ Smithers (Bass) and Alex ‘Malc’ Ribchester (Drums) proves to be truly magical.

These guys know where their strengths lie and how to use their immense talent to their ultimate advantage. Steel’s voice is amazing in that it has actually gotten stronger and better since the band’s last recorded outing. There is no tendency to over-sing and he tones things back just enough to really improve the vocals over the previous Ep.

Both Chiv and Malc are given plenty to do here, but again there is no overplaying as both seem to be at the service of the songs rather than their instrumental prowess. Riff Wizard and Solo follow suit putting forth some very neat guitar work and branching out to some tasteful soloing. Tarot Rats is a group that actually lives up to its hype and billing.

“3.0” rattles with energy and hums with class. The overall feel is perhaps a little more polished than earlier recordings. The producer has sprinkled the production dust to deliver a coherent, lush sound that still retains plenty of bite and raw edge.

This is cast iron classic hard rock, infused with blues and psychedelic flavors. Beautifully conceived and expertly delivered. Opener, ‘War Begins In The Minds Of Men’, is a great example of the dense songwriting that hallmark the EP. There’s a hint of gravel in the production, but the overriding sense is of power and resonance.

The bass-driven, ‘When We Were Young’ shows off the band’s softer side, with Steel tackling a higher register. There’s a lovely, mature setup between the vocal delivery and the perfectly judged, funky guitar lines and strums, before a fiery guitar solo sets the song alight.

Slow and languid, ‘The Hanged Man” twists, turns and blooms.  The playing and writing seem to fit together as if for an ensemble show reel of remarkable talents. The inevitable killer guitar solo is full of drama and histrionics. This song is simply thunderous and immense. Probably the best of the bunch on an overall scale.

There are growers on the EP too. The brief ‘Business As Usual’ sneaks up on you with its sensitive lyric, insistent, climbing vocal and resonant piano lines. ‘Plastic Rose’ is another showstopper of epic tension, shifting rhythms, sweeping vocals, and scything guitars.

There is definitely chemistry between the players and beautiful creativity at work. A perfect balance of music, vocals and rhythm, “3.0” is an EP for anybody that truly loves classic rock or blues rock, with great music, lyrics and top notch vocals.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITESPOTIFYTWITTERFACEBOOK

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Nega Blast X: “We Want to Rock” – mind-bending and dance-inducing at the same time! http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/nega-blast-x-want-rock-mind-bending-dance-inducing-time http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/nega-blast-x-want-rock-mind-bending-dance-inducing-time#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 16:41:08 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30861 Nega Blast X is a trance techno industrial music project formed in 2010 by Burbank music arranger and author Dominic R Daniels. Techno, which is all too often the misnomer branded to all music that sounds computer generated, oftentimes including Nega Blast X in that jumble. But this project is so much more. Built around […]

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Nega Blast X is a trance techno industrial music project formed in 2010 by Burbank music arranger and author Dominic R Daniels. Techno, which is all too often the misnomer branded to all music that sounds computer generated, oftentimes including Nega Blast X in that jumble. But this project is so much more. Built around energetic dance beats and industrial grind, many layered with synth-melodies. Structurally, Nega Blast X tries to achieve a crescendo-style effect, building and releasing intensity and tension several times throughout a song. Dominic R Daniels, the mastermind behind the project, pushes his synthesizers to the utmost of comprehensible sonic tweakage to get his sound where he wants it to go, on his latest 10 track album, “We Want to Rock”.

Each track on the album is unique in its own right, yet still maintains a kind of signature-infected soundscape that makes each tune both mind-bending and dance-inducing at the same time. In addition, each track seems to have a special feature that makes it stand out from the other tracks, such as the smorgasbord of heavy synth riffs in “Centipede”, the frenetic guitars and percussion in “Tribal Sunday”.

The intense emotional build-up and breakdowns in “Revive My Heart”, and the funky rhythms and robotic vocals in “We Want To Rock”, which gradually shifts, constantly adding and subtracting layers, consistently resetting itself, like a motorcycle changing gears.  The eclectic feel of vicious and delicious represents a winning formula for Nega Blast X.

As time passes on, so do the trends of the world. The electronic music scene is a clear sign that the trends of the world constantly evolve. Once an underground scene with a sound that kept it mainly unnoticed save for a few surfacing trends, has become more and more in vogue as producers find ways to implement it into quicker, louder, and flashier music.

Nega Blast X is capable of doing all of that and still keeping his music visceral, gritty and raw, as is evident on “Electric Sex” and “Technotronic”. Nega Blast X manages to keep the energy high through most of the tracks, displaying interesting mixes of metallic leads, skittering electro beats, and other hard hitting synth work that are familiar to those of the alternative electronic genre.

Though this may sound a little too busy for casual EDM follower, Nega Blast X manages to establish his own unique voice with his sound by introducing familiar rock-type riffs and experimenting with his styles using wavy and stabbing basslines and an array of musical effects and vocal chops.

Along with otherwise catchy intrusions such as “Dream Time” or “Black Journey’s intriguing lead melody line, Nega Blast X has a lot to offer in an entirely retro-futuristic zone of music that still includes nostalgic videogame-type themes, and classic roots electronica. Those who crave heavyweight sounds and rhythms, will be satisfied with every song here. You’ll find an incredible amount of enjoyment from the insane arrangements that Dominic R Daniels has cooked up on the “We Want to Rock” album.

OFFICIAL LINKS: REVERBNATION – CDBABY

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Sarantos: “You Should Be With Me (Not Him)” – dealing with lost love http://jamsphere.com/videos/sarantos-not-dealing-lost-love http://jamsphere.com/videos/sarantos-not-dealing-lost-love#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 13:28:32 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30856 Few styles of music can be as beautifully and powerfully emotional as a power ballad. But don’t think that I mock. However the craft of writing power ballads requires skill and great understanding; and the resulting song invokes the deepest of emotions from the listener. Even though you may have complete disregard for this graceful […]

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Few styles of music can be as beautifully and powerfully emotional as a power ballad. But don’t think that I mock. However the craft of writing power ballads requires skill and great understanding; and the resulting song invokes the deepest of emotions from the listener. Even though you may have complete disregard for this graceful and elegant art form, when you are in love or broken hearted, the strains of a good power ballad in a private moment will surely send you to tears and feed you in your hunger. This is what Sarantos achieves with his latest single and video release – “You Should Be With Me (Not Him)”.

The power ballad is the vocalist’s tour de force. It is their opportunity to display the full gamut of what they do – the quiet intimate moments, the gut wrenching emotion, the powerful sustained notes and the big push at the top of their range.

The first line of a ballad is the most important because it introduces listeners to the story and reels them into the subsequent drama. “You sit under the tree wondering / Why, you’re not getting any sun?” is exactly how Sarantos captures our attention and intrigues our curiosity.

This is his story, about dealing with lost love. And it starts with the most common of feelings after falling apart – perplexity: “My words echo in your ear / They were not ever a lie / Just, just a wish of mine / But you never trusted me.”

Sarantos then moves on to the next sentiment which always hits us like a ton of bricks, and almost always is self-blame: “Every night I cannot fall asleep / My promise has become a lie / Often I think  / I’m simply unlovable.” The chorus is left to reveal the disillusioned lover’s continued state of being: “You should be / You should be with me / You should be with me / Not him.” This is the part that people will be singing long after the song has finished.

Kind of mellow, yet so emotional, listeners will bask in the lovelorn brilliance of Sarantos’ latest serenade. The latest song backs the sweeping, dream-like ocean setting portrayed in the exclusive music video for “You Should Be With Me (Not Him)”. The stunning visual sequence takes the viewer and listener from heartbreak to undying devotion.

Sarantos ruminates about the effort it takes to make love last, and then the feelings one goes through when it doesn’t last. He obviously understands this kind of love firsthand. Whatever the case, dedication and commitment resounds throughout the lyrical story, despite the break-up. He’s invested in this labor of love which has now gone astray.

This is still emotionally, a serious commitment for him, hence the lines: “An ocean of truth / Lays all around you / I can’t tell you / I’m something I know I’m not / But there’s always a space / In my heart for something more / I’m madly in love, with you.”

Hopeless romantics, or jilted lovers and husbands everywhere, can totally relate to the kind of devotion and disappointment described in this song, by a great songwriter and performer.

OFFICIAL LINKS: Sarantos Website – Facebook – Twitter – Google+ – YouTube – iTunes – Vimeo – Reverbnation – Soundcloud

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Wool Sucker: “Rusalka (Drown With Me)” – A momentum-gathering cascade of slow burning rhythm http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/wool-sucker-rusalka-drown-momentum-gathering-cascade-slow-burning-rhythm http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/wool-sucker-rusalka-drown-momentum-gathering-cascade-slow-burning-rhythm#respond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 16:42:41 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30826 New York-based surreal rock band Wool Sucker will release their debut album, “Plastic Wings” during January 2018. On it, songwriters Alex Minier and Elizagrace Madrone forge their storytelling craft, alongside Producer Kevin Salem (Rachael Yamagata, Yo La Tengo), and the band, made up of Jeff McLaughlin (guitar), Cody Rahn (drums), Andrew Miramonti (keyboards) and Alex […]

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New York-based surreal rock band Wool Sucker will release their debut album, “Plastic Wings” during January 2018. On it, songwriters Alex Minier and Elizagrace Madrone forge their storytelling craft, alongside Producer Kevin Salem (Rachael Yamagata, Yo La Tengo), and the band, made up of Jeff McLaughlin (guitar), Cody Rahn (drums), Andrew Miramonti (keyboards) and Alex Minier (bass and lead vocals). And while we attend the album release Wool Sucker tantalize our senses with the single “Rusalka (Drown With Me)”.

In Slavic mythology, a rusalka is something akin to the Celtic mermaids or the Greek sirens. In short, rusalki are beautiful young women who dwell in bodies of water and enjoy enticing men. In the modern era, a large mythos has sprung up around the beguiling young women of the water. By the 19th century, the main objective of a rusalka had transformed into harassing the human population. While the pagan water nymph occurred naturally, the mermaid rusalka has quite varied origin stories.

Typically, they involved young women dying violent deaths. Sometimes it is murder, sometimes it is a suicide, but usually it is a death by drowning. In “Rusalka (Drown With Me)” the rusalka enigma is further twisted and expanded upon, by Wool Sucker, who ably translate their own mysteriously dark narrative into song and a stunning supporting video.

The track seems to center around the inescapable claustrophobia of a disturbed being. The psychological doubts abound: You can try and hide your worst qualities, but they’re a part of you. There’s no running from who you are when the lights are out and you’re alone…or maybe when you’re not alone!

The underpinning low key melody lines are both insidious and effective, while the simplistic but resonant piano phrases are artfully employed building to varying feverish moments  – conveyed by bass, drum and keyboard treatments – that burn slowly, and more often than not to the point of termination before breaking down again.

There is more carefully considered, atmospheric moderation here, than kinetic excitement, but when that subtly arrives it does so with a fervent and understated tension. A momentum-gathering cascade of slow burning rhythm and tender voice that traces the route from aching dejection to reluctant arrangement.

Adding such constituent parts together, “Rusalka (Drown With Me)” is a track of formidable stature, of exceptional musicianship and of confident songwriting. Its rich yet reserved—anything too dramatic would throw off the sense of unsettling intimacy that the song spends much of its runtime building. Despite the loneliness and anxiety that permeates “Rusalka (Drown With Me)”, it is a track of inevitable beauty.

About the Songwriting team:

Composer, bassist, and lead singer Alex Minier lives in New York. Since earning his Masters in Jazz Performance from NYU, Alex has toured and recorded with artists including Echo Bloom, Aly Tadros, Elsa Nilsson, Stephen Babcock, Hannah and Maggie, and iconiQ The Soundtrack Orchestra. Recent performances include an 8-week tour of Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands as well as The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles and New York staples including The Blue Note, The Highline Ballroom, and Rockwood Music Hall.

Elizagrace Madrone is a lyricist, playwright, and theater artist based in New York City. In addition to Wool Sucker, she’s worked with composer Elsa Nilsson on multiple projects including most recent album, Salt Wind; a suite of tunes written & composed for Wave Hill’s summer sunset series; and an upcoming multi-media performance project focused on climate change. This year, her writing has been on stage with Exquisite Corpse Company, Random People Productions, and others; Elizagrace is currently an MFA candidate in Dramaturgy at Columbia University.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITESPOTIFYYOUTUBE

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Ann Taylor: “Sober” – the thinking person’s singer-songwriter http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/ann-taylor-sober-thinking-persons-singer-songwriter http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/ann-taylor-sober-thinking-persons-singer-songwriter#respond Mon, 20 Nov 2017 16:21:20 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30813 Canadian Record Label Illium Audio signed Ann Taylor in 2017. A singer-songwriter living in Calgary, Ann fell in love with songwriting, propelling her towards the release of her first EP “Roses” in February 2016. She is a versatile artist who has explored genres as diverse as folk, pop and electronic music, and is able to […]

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Canadian Record Label Illium Audio signed Ann Taylor in 2017. A singer-songwriter living in Calgary, Ann fell in love with songwriting, propelling her towards the release of her first EP “Roses” in February 2016. She is a versatile artist who has explored genres as diverse as folk, pop and electronic music, and is able to blend them together to form unique and playful new sounds. In addition to her solo work, Ann is a member of musical collective “Plus”. Set to release a full length album in 2018, she is currently working on an EP, and has released the single, “Sober”. This is the kind of song where everyone pulls out their lighters (or cell phones) to wave in the air for three minutes.

Ann Taylor

“Sober” is an anthem that is so calm and haunting it could put you into a trance. Combating addiction with a steady, subtle drum line and use of a shimmering guitar strum, this song will leave you feeling both comforted and lost at the same time. “I feel so cold with your arms around me, your gravity’s weighing me down.” This line stretches your mind to the vast universe of difficulties that surround us, and her following lines, “Your slowly drifting, you cut me out, There’s too many walls to break through and feel sober,” will make you feel absolutely minuscule in that universe of difficulties.

Ann Taylor knows how to create a saddened but hopeful atmosphere through a catchy, but elegant pop song. The track flows perfectly, making it feel as if the melancholy is constantly brimming to the tip, but quite ready to disappear; she knows how to make you feel hopeful for her – maybe feeling hopeful for yourself. Ann finds her own sound with “Sober”.

And it is such a good sound for pop music that you may think that you have heard it before. The track contains well constructed lyrics that actually hold pop similarities, but which in the end, make an interesting contrast to many other pop artists who will often write sub-par lyrics, in exchange for a catchy hook. However, make no mistake about it; there are plenty of subtle hooks in this song.

It’s quite obvious that Ann Taylor is likeable. She isn’t like those huge pop stars that no one can identify with. She’s akin to the girl around the corner from you, the one whom you always knew played music, and is now trying to make it big.

There’s an underdog kind of factor that runs through “Sober”, and in Ann’s voice, that is totally endearing. She really proves to be the thinking person’s singer-songwriter. In a song about the desperate need for inner strength, she comes across as vulnerable yet bold and aware.

Her dynamic vocal control and appropriateness of inflection to lyric interpretation is on a whole different level than most of popular singing of today. Ann Taylor’s songwriting, her musicianship and her so-expressive voice will get you every time.

OFFICIAL LINKS:  WEBSITESPOTIFYITUNESFACEBOOKINSTAGRAMTWITTER

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Charming Timur: “Focused Rage” – moments of apocalyptic and transcendental euphoria http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/charming-timur-focused-rage-moments-apocalyptic-transcendental-euphoria http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/charming-timur-focused-rage-moments-apocalyptic-transcendental-euphoria#respond Mon, 20 Nov 2017 14:23:35 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30809 Located in Helsinki, Charming Timur was created by sole member Lauri Santeri Lohi in 2013. The project mostly focuses on the darkside of Alternative Metal, Nu Metal, Shoegaze and Post-Black Metal. After releasing the gritty debut record “A Brief Moment Of Existence” in 2014, Charming Timur has gone on to establish itself firmly into the […]

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Located in Helsinki, Charming Timur was created by sole member Lauri Santeri Lohi in 2013. The project mostly focuses on the darkside of Alternative Metal, Nu Metal, Shoegaze and Post-Black Metal. After releasing the gritty debut record “A Brief Moment Of Existence” in 2014, Charming Timur has gone on to establish itself firmly into the underground metal scene worldwide through a series of subsequent album, EP and single releases. “Focused Rage”, the brand new 12 track album by Charming Timur brings his signature, contrasting sounds – towering intensity, pastoral shoegaze introspection, post-rock ambiance, detonating metal volume – and distills it, beautifully, into moments of apocalyptic elegance, and transcendental euphoria.

“Focused Rage” is a structural soundscape built from noisy foundations upward; from a climaxing guitar-rock spectra to a solid, blown-out, skyward-thrusting obelisk of sound. There’s percussive, dream-state rock thematics, basslines of existential fire courtesy of Damjan Kapor, and tremulous, foreboding vocals. This is Charming Timur’s most transporting album yet. It also hosts fully realized, but more stripped down, guitar dominated arrangements, like “Blackouts” and “Not The Same Anymore”.

The opener, “Rampage Anthem” is a head-spinning double-helix dream echoing hard driving riffs and ethereal melodic vocals. This is music as a keep-out chrysalis, protective audio armor through exalting and portentous, dissonant guitar fuzz, warping at the edges, bending the world inside.

Dangerous To Self And Others” ascends into explosive exorcism, its searching intensity whooshing towards infinity in a dazzling cosmic crescendo. We then move into some exceptional quiet/loud juxtaposition, with ambient metal wandering and more urgent vocals on “Hand Of God” and “A Bit Clingy”. These tracks expand on Charming Timur’s ever-increasing list of experimentation.

But the best comes with the back to back middle pair – “Breaking Free From The Samsara” and “Psychotic Depression”. The bass player hits hard and the tracks rage with understated fury. However, Charming Timur’s signature sound is constantly and slightly evolving, as he curates his canon-like sculptors, forever chipping away to perfect the smallest or noisiest detail. Lauri Santeri Lohi’s vacant vocals, which sound like they’re being suctioned by the microphone, are incredibly effective throughout these songs as he mixes screams with whispers and harmony with dissonance.

One might suspect that Charming Timur, forever enthused by the binary options of extreme noise and mind-mashing chaos, would’ve run out of steam by now. In a word: wrong. As is proved by “Against The Brainwashed”, but he is able to tone done the epic scale on tracks like “Not The Same Anymore”.

He leaves the very best for almost last, as the most complete and interesting song has to be “The Morning Meds”, with its ever-changing arrangement and mood. It is a nerve-wracking piece, full of foreboding and doom struck vocals and guitar riffs – but after repeated listening, I now count it as one of my favorites.

One last important recommendation: This, like all Charming Timur’s albums, is not background music meant for casual listening. It cries instead for a darkened room, top-shelf headphones, and for those inclined, perhaps a mood-altering substance of your choice.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITECDBABYBANDCAMPFACEBOOK

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Collaborateurs: “Interstellar Colors” is musically beyond spectacular http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/collaborateurs-interstellar-colors-musically-beyond-spectacular http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/collaborateurs-interstellar-colors-musically-beyond-spectacular#respond Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:31:06 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30805 “Interstellar Colors” is the third album released under the Collaborateurs name, but Curtis Hubbard, Glenn Hubbard, Roger Brandon, and Jeremy Cayton have worked together in other acts for a long time. Most recently, Hubbard, Brandon, and Cayton released three albums under the name Rog & Glenn. Brothers Curtis and Glenn Hubbard have also recorded together […]

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“Interstellar Colors” is the third album released under the Collaborateurs name, but Curtis Hubbard, Glenn Hubbard, Roger Brandon, and Jeremy Cayton have worked together in other acts for a long time. Most recently, Hubbard, Brandon, and Cayton released three albums under the name Rog & Glenn. Brothers Curtis and Glenn Hubbard have also recorded together for many years, first as Four Day Weekend, and more recently The Hubbard Concept. The Collaborateurs have a formula that works for them. Every album has more than a handful of tracks that are the greatest thing you’ve ever heard, a perfect arrangements of chords and guitar licks, vocals and magic that sets off all the right vibrations in your brain, pillowed by tunes that eventually grow on you over time and the rest are added as melodrama to keep your emotional senses pricked up in between. The Collaborateurs is the perfect album band.

That may be a difficult statement for the iTunes generation to understand, but way before digital platforms made the album downloadable in ridiculous fractions of an atom, it was one body of work that made a profound statement about its creators, performers and producers.

Of course the word ‘producer’ also had a different meaning prior to the digital age, but that’s a whole new story, which we don’t have time to explore here. The fact of the matter remains that the Collaborateurs is an album band. Meaning they can hold your attention span, and intrigue your musical curiosity over 16 full tracks, in one sitting.

The beauty of the Collaborateurs is that you can start at any point. Each album is as good as the last and those that came after it. To that end, “Interstellar Colors” works as a perfect introduction or a delightful continuation.

The band have always worn their hearts on their sleeves. They take their right to be “professionals who decided music is more fun as a hobby” seriously, and they specialize in songs that blur the line between earnestness and bravado.

There are no deep secrets to their songs, because it’s all right there on the glistening surface: a sweeping vision of rock-based virtues by way of pulsing, lusciously layered songs writ large, in flashing neon letters. The band’s music has a glamour that reflects their technical craftiness, while they write songs pumped up with unrelenting seriousness and arena-filling atmospherics.

Glistening guitars, shimmering keyboards, funky basslines, high powered drum beats, and passages of full brass arrangements can be found scattered all over the tracks. You can go from the Pink Floyd-ish lavishness of the mid-tempo “Dimension”, to the King Crimson-styled progressive rock of “LadyBug”.

You can sink into the quagmire of the slow burning funk fusion on “Curmudgeon”, or slide into the silky smooth, and eclectic, after-dinner jazz inflections, on “Two Active Snakes”. But that’s only part of the story, as “Interstellar Colors” offers so many different shades of music it’s hard to keep up with the changes from track to track. Yet the music remains cohesive all the way through.

“Interstellar Colors” is musically beyond spectacular. I closed my eyes and listened to the whole thing…and was stunned by the end; probably the most stripped down of arrangements in this collection, the piano-driven “The Last Time”, is a quiet two-and-a-half-minute ballad of heart-thumping awesomeness which gave me the measure of the greatness of this body of work.

Despite each track bringing different influences, styles and sounds, they all relate to the main idea with clarity and consciousness – which is exquisite arrangements, intelligent lyrics and superb musicianship. Without musical exploration, this album wouldn’t be from the Collaborateurs, and each track here reinforces this theory.

The band offers us an invigorating and insightful work of art for their new studio album, trading in older sentiments for a pulsing display of musicianship and originality that will keep old listeners incredibly faithful and hopefully attract many new ones.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITEFACEBOOKSOUNDCLOUDSPOTIFY

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Senne: “Lights” ft Blue Ribbon – hip and vulnerable, cool and polished all at once! http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/senne-lights-ft-blue-ribbon-hip-vulnerable-cool-polished http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/senne-lights-ft-blue-ribbon-hip-vulnerable-cool-polished#respond Sun, 19 Nov 2017 12:21:02 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30787 On her latest single “Lights”, Senne sings quietly, warmly, over small ensemble playing together with indie band, Blue Ribbon that is classy, hinted at more explorations and administering rhythms, emotions and mood with eloquent elegance. The song is not just a jazz-flavored track; it is a track whose roots are in jazz, showing Senne to […]

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On her latest single “Lights”, Senne sings quietly, warmly, over small ensemble playing together with indie band, Blue Ribbon that is classy, hinted at more explorations and administering rhythms, emotions and mood with eloquent elegance. The song is not just a jazz-flavored track; it is a track whose roots are in jazz, showing Senne to be not just a good writer, player and vocalist with loose-limbed phrasing to match the cafe-au-lait tone, but a fine assembler of her talent. Senne’s voice is one of a small number that can appeal to many different groups of people. It has a contemporary attitude mixed with the consistency and flavor of a retro croon.

While she makes no use of dive-bomb solos or heart-wrenching screams on “Lights”, Senne’s voice can be considered one of the more captivating ones around. It’s original and mellow and fits in perfectly with the atmosphere, she herself, and the accompanying band, Blue Ribbon, creates for her.

Deep resonant bass, steady drums, snugly shimmering keys and warm, glistening guitar lines make up the resplendent backdrop to her appealing vocal melody. Overall “Lights” is a very cool mellow record, full of romance and mystery while remaining a cozy wholesome organism all in its own as it changes to a quicker tempo in mid-song.

Senne is blessed with a great voice, a distinctive and beautifully frayed alto that sounds hip and vulnerable, cool and polished all at once. The subtle textures of her singing come through clearly on “Lights”, and the soundstage is wide with fair depth.

The music is very well engineered and doesn’t carry the torch of so many modern recordings that are over-compressed and lifeless. This recording puts Senne right in front of you, centered in the sound and very clear. The instruments play in different areas in the sound spectrum and are all very well represented too.

“Lights” is smooth and silky, delivered by an incredibly beautiful lady, both physically and soulfully. Her rich intelligent tones linger long after the song has ended. Its tender message is articulated with deliberation, timing and a soft emotion that never degenerates into the sentimental.

Some music I love for its energy and novelty, but they don’t necessarily possess high repeat-listenability as does this; high praise indeed. Whatever goal Senne was trying to accomplish with her songwriting, she has gotten across to me.

MORE ABOUT: Senne began as the solo project of Durham based singer-songwriter Karima, who arrived on the local music scene in early 2016 with an unexpected blend of soulful jazz and acoustic indie. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a collection of relatable melodies, she garnered a positive response performing at underground house shows and local open mics. Joining forces with fellow students from NC State’s music community, Karima joined the indie-rock outfit Blue Ribbon in late 2016. After leaving behind guitar in favor of piano and refining her sound, a clear trend towards soulful jazz and R&B emerged, sparking the idea for a new solo project. Karima launched Senne in late 2017. Blue Ribbon feature on the song “Lights”.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITESOUNDCLOUDFACEBOOK

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Contemplenta: “Scent of Splendour” is filled with astute production and well-crafted lyrical content http://jamsphere.com/reviews/contemplenta-scent-splendour-filled-astute-production-well-crafted-lyrical-content http://jamsphere.com/reviews/contemplenta-scent-splendour-filled-astute-production-well-crafted-lyrical-content#respond Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:22:44 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30772 Originally from Newcastle, Dublin – Gerard Kiely and Brian Carrigan formed the indie electro duo, Contemplenta, earlier this year. Having played in a band together as teenagers, the two seeked to rekindle a shared interest in music and strike a good work/life balance in an increasingly chaotic and busy world, via this project. Their 4 […]

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Originally from Newcastle, Dublin – Gerard Kiely and Brian Carrigan formed the indie electro duo, Contemplenta, earlier this year. Having played in a band together as teenagers, the two seeked to rekindle a shared interest in music and strike a good work/life balance in an increasingly chaotic and busy world, via this project. Their 4 track EP, “Scent of Splendour” – written and recorded in Galway – combines a blend of organic and electronic sounds, both retro and futuristic in essence. These songs have a pleasing aesthetic that takes the best of ’80s electropop, then feeding it through the filter of modern, carefree days. The result is addictive slices of summery, almost chilled electro that can appeal far beyond the pedants of electronic music aficionados.

Gerard Kiely (vocals and guitar)

As one would rightly expect on a great electro recording, the bass lines are grand and the percussive beats bright. The songs also ooze effortlessly from one to another and regardless of mood, proof of a duo who know what they’re doing.

The effects Contemplenta employ are never too heavy-handed or too geeked out. There’s a nice balance, too, between dreamy vocals, chilled-out soundscapes, and understated, heart-pumping beats, proving the duo’s songwriting and arranging versatility.

For various unspoken reasons, nostalgia courses through the veins of “Scent of Splendour”. Meanwhile, there’s always an immediacy to it that makes even the more plainly dramatic moments of the record seem relatable. If forced to narrow the EP down to one word, it would almost have to be ‘personal’. But that doesn’t mean the recording represent exactly what it seems to be on paper.

The EP is a marvel for its latent duality—countless moments sound both refreshingly crisp and comfortably worn at once. Gerard Kiely and Brian Carrigan just so happen to possess the kind of talent that aggrandizes emotions. They’re really good at making pop music, even if that’s not technically what they’re making at all.

The EP Cover artwork

From the opening, title track, “Scent of Splendour”, the serene vocals summon listeners into a trance-like state. “Sunlight at Skogafoss”, on the other hand, is a fine representation of what Contemplenta do so well throughout the EP.

By linking both the know-how of production software and their melodic, comforting vocal talent, with organic elements, the duo have re-created a captivating upbeat amalgamation that has started to become increasingly popular in electronic music.

As we are beginning to leer away from mainstream EDM, artists such as Contemplenta prove that they have a place in more alternative sub-genres of electronic music as well. That this EP is indeed only loaded with great songs, becomes clear when listening to the whirling “Salthill” and the slower, more somber acoustic guitar driven “No Safe Path”.

Contemplenta have created a winning record here, filled with astute production, well-crafted lyrical content, enticing chords, beautiful melodies and warm echoey choruses. Not intending to shake up the foundations of club music. When this music hits home, it does so with a delightful subtlety only present in well-crafted pop music…even if that’s not technically what they’re making at all…

OFFICIAL LINKS: SPOTIFYSOUNDCLOUDITUNES

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After Alice: “Morning” – building momentum in the underground http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/alice-morning-building-momentum-underground http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/alice-morning-building-momentum-underground#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 01:40:12 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30759 South Carolina based, alternative rock and power pop duo, After Alice, have released their latest single “Morning”.  The project made up of Steven Fennell (Producer, Arranger, Drummer, Manager) and Jason Crowden (Songwriter, Vocals, Guitars, Engineer) has also been nominated as ‘Band Of The Year 2017’ by the Indie Artists Awards. After Alice’s style ticks a […]

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South Carolina based, alternative rock and power pop duo, After Alice, have released their latest single “Morning”.  The project made up of Steven Fennell (Producer, Arranger, Drummer, Manager) and Jason Crowden (Songwriter, Vocals, Guitars, Engineer) has also been nominated as ‘Band Of The Year 2017’ by the Indie Artists Awards. After Alice’s style ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of people. Their huge, kitchen-sink-’n’-all anthems blend mainstream hooks with manicured rock, and pop choruses machine-tooled for radio and stadiums. Swathes of metallic riffs and driving drums are never knowingly underplayed, and the high-pitched, soulful vocals give this most American of bands a populist edge over others in the download generation. All these tropes are here on “Morning”. The follow-up to “99 Gold” sees the band reach deep for their most earnest, melodic single to date.

I hear all too often, “where is the next great alternative, classic, or melodic rock band, these days?” The perception is rock is suffering a bit because there hasn’t been anyone big that has come along in recent times. The truth is there have been a few, people just aren’t paying close enough attention to the underground.

Most rock genres have been shoved off the mainstream channels now, so you’ll need to look beyond those boundaries.  After Alice is one of those great bands that have quietly been building their momentum in the underground.

What makes a band like After Alice so good? They are phenomenal musicians and strong song writers not trying to mask any deficiencies by playing a hundred miles an hour or introducing screaming, growling vocals.

They put out simple but high quality pieces of musical genius, and if you truly listen to After Alice, then you will understand how I can make that assumption.  Take a powerful rhythm section, lead it with a powerful foundation of guitar work and then top that with amazing vocals and you have all the ingredients of a great rock band.

Now does that trend continue with their new release “Morning”? You bet your ass it does, setting the bar very high for a band that already has a stellar catalog. While ripe with melodic highlights and consistent instrumental work, it never feels too bloated for its own good.

As a whole, the track is a representative blend of everything you’ll hear from After Alice, and it succeeds on all fronts. The track twists and winds over a stunning harmonic soundscape, filled to the brim with solid rock influences while never straying too far from the gentler pop sound that brings it all into fruition.

If “Morning” is any indication, this is one band that cannot be held back. They will continue to mature and evolve, even way beyond the ties that attempt to bind them to any one genre.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITEFACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAMYOUTUBE

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Book Of Harmony remains melodic, rhythmic and emotional http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/book-harmony-remains-melodic-rhythmic-emotional http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/book-harmony-remains-melodic-rhythmic-emotional#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2017 10:54:13 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30733 Kind readers, if you know nothing of Book Of Harmony, start here. Book Of Harmony is a 7-piece NYC based Progressive Rock band who recently released their 14 track self-titled album. As is usually obligatory with this genre, the band displays outstanding technical musicianship, a flawless grasp of form, a captivating depth of lyricism, great […]

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Kind readers, if you know nothing of Book Of Harmony, start here. Book Of Harmony is a 7-piece NYC based Progressive Rock band who recently released their 14 track self-titled album. As is usually obligatory with this genre, the band displays outstanding technical musicianship, a flawless grasp of form, a captivating depth of lyricism, great vocals and complex harmonies. Members Leah Martin (Vocals), Jon Perkins (Guitars), Phil Duke (Bass), Anupam Shobhakar (Guitars and Composer), Michael Sutton (Drums), Takahiro Izumikawa (Keyboards) and Kensuke Shoji (Violin), also add warm ambience, an almost “live” feel, and lots of little progressive motifs…however they are bigger than that.

Book Of Harmony never slouches or struts unnecessarily, which clearly separates them from the average genre band. BOH is full of great musicians, but they are confident enough in their musicianship to know that a drawn-out guitar, keyboard or violin solo isn’t the only solution to every musical progression. Their liberal use of a great many of the melodic and harmonic elements possible in the band’s configuration gives BOH the kind of texture and interest few other progressive albums offer.

Book Of Harmony’s songs seem to respect melody unusually highly, and the format of this album gives them the opportunity to use some of their gorgeous vocal melodies as ear catching motifs. Sometimes hearing these vocal themes return, transformed and evolved, in different contexts, will send shivers down your spine.

The Book Of Harmony album is a spectacular achievement in an era less inclined towards organically generated music, let alone complex, rock orientated arrangements, tinged with jazz, folk and classical flavors. The world would be a sorry place without bands like BOH. In a world where we are battered with pointless boring commercial garbage this album is a breath of fresh air.

Don’t waste your time making comparisons to older progressive rock bands like King Crimson, Genesis, Rush, Yes or the like, Book Of Harmony have a very different sound overall. It is inspiring to hear music of this caliber being written and performed today. From the introductory vocal harmonies of “Echoes of Freedom”, this is a great collection of music; well written, well played, and beautifully recorded.

It is almost a shame to pigeon hole it as ‘progressive rock’, because it has such variety to it. These songs are written with care and intelligence and covers subjects from the personal, to the universal. And as it does so, it always remains melodic, rhythmic and emotional.

Leah Martin’s voice has great power as well as tenderness that she makes each song work better than you thought possible given the subject matter. The band’s music however has the ability to tell a story and this is true whether or not there are lyrics being sung over the music; the dynamics and ideas at play within the instrumental passages are such that the stories are able to continue very eloquently.

This is especially true on “The Human Side” where vocals and music are juxtaposed in two distinctly contrasting, yet parallel narratives feeding off each other. The exact opposite is true on the opening moments of “Calling Angels”, and indeed the track as a whole, as music and voice creates a subtle, ambient soundscape, very introspective and thought-provoking at the same time.

The track also features some tasteful and soul-stirring bass work by Phil Duke. “Ode To the Beast”, on the other shows a completely different side of Book Of Harmony as Takahiro Izumikawa keyboards delight us in a solo piece. “The Changing Seasons” becomes a rousing and dynamic piece of rock music, dominated by overdriven guitars, showcasing all of the band’s qualities.

The aforementioned, are just 4 impressive tracks, with 10 more to listen to, and Book Of Harmony have already taken us through a universe of sounds and rhythms. There are also times where the musicians open up their wings and take flight, and when they do so, it is quite a heady experience and it is easy to get caught up in the music that swells all around you.

My favorites here include “Wishing Well” which showcases excellent guitar work, and “Breathe Into Me” which features some dynamic string arrangements. You will seldom find anything so musical, so complete and thoughtful in every sense, as this Book Of Harmony album.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITEFACEBOOKINSTAGRAM

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Liar’s Lantern: “Walk This Road With Me” – ambitious in its creative intent and diversity http://jamsphere.com/reviews/liars-lantern-walk-road-ambitious-creative-intent-diversity http://jamsphere.com/reviews/liars-lantern-walk-road-ambitious-creative-intent-diversity#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 20:37:46 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30720 Liar’s Lantern is a project by Robert Fitzhugh that lives in its own meadow, based out of Oak Creek, CO. Focused on creating albums of original compositions, they are revivalists without paying obvious homage to the departed. They constantly use acoustic guitars, pianos and other organic instrumentation without floundering in strum pattern purgatory. They go […]

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Liar’s Lantern is a project by Robert Fitzhugh that lives in its own meadow, based out of Oak Creek, CO. Focused on creating albums of original compositions, they are revivalists without paying obvious homage to the departed. They constantly use acoustic guitars, pianos and other organic instrumentation without floundering in strum pattern purgatory. They go for indie, pop, folk and alternative rock sounds, not in equal measure but in equal ambition and don’t fall into self-parody at any time.  They are both instrumental and vocal. For the most part, ‘they’, refers to Fitzburg who you will find on guitars, keyboards, as well as drums and percussion. But he also appears behind the boards and has a hand in the arrangements and songwriting.

Liar’s Lantern has released three albums – “Aphelion” in July of 2016, “Walk This Road With Me” in March of 2017, and “Petrichor” in September of 2017. We specifically laid our ears on the second “Walk This Road With Me”. Liar’s Lantern have moved in every direction on this recording. Everything about this album is more.

More beautiful meandering, more unpredictability, more guitars, more percussion, more harmony, more thought, more everything. But don’t let that make you think this is some maximalist event stuffed with everything. Robert Fitzhugh does not forsake tastefulness and meticulousness for the sake of more.

This second album, is a meandering, texturally rich body of work from a project that refuses to be predictable. “Walk This Road With Me” seems to have zero concern with some of the thought processes that plague indie records — it is ambitious in its creative intent and diversity.

This record constantly sounds joyously free from the ice cube trays modern day records are forced into fitting. Of all the records you listen to this year, this might be the one that is the most tempting to dismiss on a first listen, but by the third replay you will be thoroughly hooked by its rewards.

As soon as “Mariner’s Curse”, the opening track, kicks in, you know that Liar’s Lantern is clearly capable of making a “hit” indie record, but they are constantly making decisions motivated by art and direction and never by whatever bull is deemed important by some guy in a suit at a failing record label. Hence the track languishes in a hazy blanket of acoustic warmth as Zach Beerger’s slightly gravelly voice engulfs you.

“The World Forgets, But We Don’t” is an instrumental motif gently but surefootedly guided by Robert Fitzhugh’s earnest guitar tones. “Lucidity” opens in a whirlwind of strings which again features Beerger’s vocal ruminations. The mid-tempo acoustic-guitar driven lament, “Autumn Mountain”, introduces the vocal interludes of Leah Hart.

The perception is that it is perhaps Liar’s Lantern’s deceiving inventiveness that makes their music stand out. They seem to never create anything that couldn’t be replicated live, and yet there are so many layers, so many unexpected twists and turns, so many subtle moments.

Listen to the surprising sonic changes from the Americana influenced “What Is Better” to the luscious orchestral and choral soundscape of “Aokigahara (Three Apologies)”. Emotions fly high throughout “Walk This Road With Me”, mixing solid vocals with matching instrumental backgrounds, giving listeners truly the best of everything good organic music has to offer.

When the recording closes with the track “You And I”, the feeling is that you have listened to something that’s clearly had a lot of time, love and attention poured into it, something made by artists admirably trying to push their sound forward, by following their own lane.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITEFACEBOOKCDBABYSOUNDCLOUD

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Herman Martinez: “Secret Doors Hidden Stairs: Season 2” combines multiple atmospheres, rhythms and sounds http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/herman-martinez-secret-doors-hidden-stairs-season-2-combines-multiple-atmospheres-rhythms-sounds http://jamsphere.com/newreleases/herman-martinez-secret-doors-hidden-stairs-season-2-combines-multiple-atmospheres-rhythms-sounds#respond Sun, 05 Nov 2017 12:51:54 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30689 Self-taught musician and multi-instrumentalist, Herman Martinez, is back with a brand new album entitled, “Secret Doors Hidden Stairs: Season 2”. The singer-songwriter from New Jersey, who enjoyed a fair share of critical acclaim with his 2015 release, “Solopsi Radio” – a collection of experimental progressive rock songs – has once again partnered with engineer and […]

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Self-taught musician and multi-instrumentalist, Herman Martinez, is back with a brand new album entitled, “Secret Doors Hidden Stairs: Season 2”. The singer-songwriter from New Jersey, who enjoyed a fair share of critical acclaim with his 2015 release, “Solopsi Radio” – a collection of experimental progressive rock songs – has once again partnered with engineer and producer Ahmed Mahmoud, to bring us 10 dynamic tracks of superlative rock extraction. Also assisting behind the boards is engineer Chase Cassara, while the creative and powerful timekeeping is provided by drummer Hank Yaghooti.

“Secret Doors Hidden Stairs: Season 2”, is primarily described as “an album about new beginnings and realizing inner potential.” This music exists in its own world, a trait it has in common with classic prog-rock albums. The production invokes images of a place that’s mostly mysterious, with objects and scenes forming and dissolving into and out of the darkness and light. A meditative world, perhaps. There’s certainly enough introspective reflection to go around for it to be one. There is a handful of relatively conventional rock songs on the album, but much of “Secret Doors Hidden Stairs: Season 2” is devoted to soundscapes that, while not entirely abstract, aren’t exactly grounded inside strict monotonous borders.

These songs are fascinating because they take particular elements from 90’s grunge music and give them a progtastic modification by using a blend of electric and acoustic instrumentation and arrangements from the expansive 70s progressive rock scene. In fact, one of the best things about this album is that there’s a great stylistic balance; the album combines multiple atmospheres, rhythms and sounds, but distributes them all very well.

You’ve got the opening song “Season Premiere” which kicks things off with a hard-hitting percussive beat and jangling guitars, getting the listener pumped, which is then followed by the beautiful mid-tempo “Emerther” stooped in layered guitars as well as multiple harmonies.

“Paracosm” is the track in which the project’s organic sound comes strongly into play, alongside the airy melody and unrepressed arrangement. “Pareidolia” is you regular epic instrumental which starts softly and slowly before building into a sonic crescendo. “Magic Squares” is built on a euphoric and infectious melody.

A quite remarkable piece of music it showcases Martinez’s grasp of dynamics and houses a sledge-hammer chorus section and Yaghooti’s remarkable drumming talents. This majestic and rapturous vocal formula is almost repeated in totem on “Apartment 10”, before sliding into the smoother “Secret Identity”.

On “The Gardener”, Herman Martinez’s vocals lifts an accessible tune to the chorus, where back-up harmonies shower over the catchy refrain before returning to the impressive acoustic-driven opening charge. “John Travoltrons Theme” alludes to a softer more delicate instrumental, before the project storms out of the gate with blistering guitars and heavy drums riffing through a sequence of tricky time signatures.

The album closer, “Season Finale” is an absolute monster of a track that summarizes everything this recording is about, featuring both the album’s mellowest, and more aggressive moments all within one composition.

So here’s my question: with technically proficient rock groups now abound, where is a progressive rock fan to turn for new music with melodic sensibility and boundary pushing arrangements? One answer is “Secret Doors Hidden Stairs: Season 2”.

This is an impressive album that drips with melodic progressive rock influences. But what sets this album apart is that Herman Martinez, was clearly set upon constructing intelligent popular music, not just bizarre and loud technical excursions.

OFFICIAL LINKS: REVERBNATION – BANDCAMP – FACEBOOK – YOUTUBESOUNDCLOUD

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Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders: “Greenbah” – yearning, gorgeous melodies drip from each song http://jamsphere.com/reviews/billy-roberts-rough-riders-greenbah-yearning-gorgeous-melodies-drip-song http://jamsphere.com/reviews/billy-roberts-rough-riders-greenbah-yearning-gorgeous-melodies-drip-song#respond Sun, 05 Nov 2017 03:25:17 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30684 It’s not difficult to grasp the idea that Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders is far more than a quintessential dinosaur rock practitioner. The bulk of Robert’s acclaim has been derived from writing scores of straight ahead catchy rock staples, always high on meaty hooks and usually embracing a lasting sense of depth. With these […]

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It’s not difficult to grasp the idea that Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders is far more than a quintessential dinosaur rock practitioner. The bulk of Robert’s acclaim has been derived from writing scores of straight ahead catchy rock staples, always high on meaty hooks and usually embracing a lasting sense of depth. With these pre-conceived notions in mind, it is utterly astounding to conceive the resonating poignancy of his latest work, “Greenbah”.  The 8 track album eschews the traditional party rock formula for something much more preeminent. Sure, there are a few requisite irresistible rockers, naturally encompassing the freedom-embracing images of driving at excessive speeds to destination who cares (“No One Knows Me”, “Blood and Bones”), but “Greenbah” is more ambitious in its quest for self-reflection than satisfying the thirst for immediately accessible hooks.

The album above all else, is an introspective ride through the struggles of love and life, baring its soul the entire way in a haunting yet memorable attempt to cure self-doubt with optimism. Perhaps self-reflection is really the overriding theme of “Greenbah” as the ambience of the album is awash in nostalgic rawness, each entry transcending a specific, over-riding mood upon the listener.

Billy Roberts paints these moods in layers of sometimes wistful, sometimes heartfelt storylines, but the accompanying musical themes are usually optimistic, transforming the atmosphere of a song like “Only One” which is really about loneliness, into an anthem.

When the brightest guitar chords imaginable emanate from the track, the immediate feeling conjured is defined innocence, a natural soothing warmth prescribed by jangly acoustics. Introspection is an over-riding emotion flowing from “Greenbah” as even when Roberts laments on “Don’t Tell Mama”, “Sinner,” “Little Johnny”, and “Ed’s Song”, it feels more like seriously reflecting on a starlit porch, drink in hand, than succumbing to the utter depths of despair.

The yearning, gorgeous melodies dripping from each song prescribe that recurring sense of optimism, that even if one has waffled the majority of their existence there still stands a remaining shard of hope.

It seems perhaps through a newfound maturity or optimistic focus that Billy Roberts is sugaring his self-doubt on purpose, as even when the album takes its darkest turns it is intentionally sandwiched between some mid-tempo dirty rocker and a rolling groove. This collision of insightful, honest lyricism with excellent musicianship drives not only the memorable singles, but is consistent throughout the record.

Always the prolific songwriter, sitting somewhere between Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, Roberts reaches the pinnacle of his abilities on “Greenbah”, digging deep to embrace the struggles of adult life while maintaining an air of youthful wistfulness. While each track maintains a pre-defined, requisite catchiness, repeated listens to the album transcribe the sense there is something much more profound here.

The songs combine the rocking elements of all of Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders’ past songs with a heightened focus on atmosphere and melody, and the collision of memorable musical tones with hauntingly reflective storylines which establish a lasting resonance.

Often, a requisite for a great song is the ability to dictate a certain mood or to conjure specific, life relating memories. “Greenbah” showcases Billy Roberts following this blueprint to a tee, specifically on standout songs like “Don’t Tell Mama” and “Little Johnny”, and is the primary reason this album contains his greatest overall performances to date.

OFFICIAL LINKS: Artist Website – Reverbnation – Bandcamp – YouTube – Spotify – Soundcloud

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Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul: “Sxygdluv” provides everything a respectable funkateer could possibly require http://jamsphere.com/reviews/reverend-barry-funktastic-soul-sxygdluv-provides-everything-respectable-funkateer-possibly-require http://jamsphere.com/reviews/reverend-barry-funktastic-soul-sxygdluv-provides-everything-respectable-funkateer-possibly-require#respond Thu, 02 Nov 2017 00:31:52 +0000 http://jamsphere.com/?p=30637 The 8-piece funk & soul band Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul featuring the Hellacious Horns, has been packing dance floors in SRQ since their very first gig on Halloween of 2013. The band, which is the brainchild of Barry Nicholson, bassist and lead singer, also features vocal diva Yaya Diamond. After listening to their 8 […]

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The 8-piece funk & soul band Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul featuring the Hellacious Horns, has been packing dance floors in SRQ since their very first gig on Halloween of 2013. The band, which is the brainchild of Barry Nicholson, bassist and lead singer, also features vocal diva Yaya Diamond. After listening to their 8 track album “Sxygdluv”, I can almost say with certainty that the only thing that would sound better than a Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul album is a live Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul show! To paraphrase an old saying, if you don’t give this album 5 stars, you’ve got a hole in your soul! From start to finish, this album is a thrilling document of a band and horn section at their best. Whether it’s a smooth soul rhythm or an irresistible groove, this collective delivers. A note of interest for old and new fans alike: Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul are in the process of a name change to Reverend Barry and The Funk – they need it to be as snappy and tight as the rhythms they produce!

Sxygdluv” provides everything a respectable funkateer could possibly require: dirty basslines, swaggering rhythms, rasping horns, and gloriously soaring and soulful vocal parts. The energy that the Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul exudes in the midst of producing a song is stunning, and this recording displays that to the fullest extent. For a basic introduction to the forms of funk that the band follows, this album would certainly suit any given listener.

George Clinton, The Ohio Players, Gap Band, and Tower Of Power are strong influences on these funk tracks, while Earth, Wind & Fire’s influence asserts itself on many jams as well. But Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul never sounds like it is going out of its way to emulate any of its influences.

In fact, the collective are recognizable and distinctive regardless of who is influencing a particular song. Full and textured, the title track, “Sxygdluv” is a hot little groover, with a Motown-esque subversion deep within the mix, and completed with a talk box, this sails the rails hard.

This album has many high points though, the effusive jam of “Back on to Me” and the funky “Play by the Rules”, a sparking, fiery blast which is not to be overlooked. Mixing cunning vocals, sharp horns, and a rhythm, tight, but loose enough for smooth grooving, the song breaks in and out of time with some amazing chord progressions.

“Take You There” and “Say You Love” have unique and interesting rhythm arrangements that are simultaneously explosive and hypnotic. They also has some tight horn work, roof-raising percussion-driven breakdowns and build-ups as well as powerful vocals by both Barry Nicholson and Yaya Diamond.

This percolating, mid-tempo bumpin’ cut, “Wise Man” is another terrific tune from this album. “Sxygdluv” is a marvelous collection of funk and soul tracks that not only showcases the band’s considerable chops as musicians but also their impressive songwriting and production skills.

It encapsulate the band’s strengths: the ability to craft gorgeous, irresistible, super-funky grooves. Musically Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul aka Reverend Barry and The Funk are capable of conveying pure feel-good funk pandemonium at the drop of a hat, and “Sxygdluv” captures the band at the top of their game.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITEITUNESFACEBOOKREVERBNATION

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