A totally random, whatever came to mind first, selection of the latest additions to our New Independent Music Friday playlist
Music reviews written by Tobi Davis
Artist: Alex Mcartor
Track: “Loving is the Way”
Texas-born singer-songwriter Alex Mcartor makes a welcome return with an inspired blend of soulful instrumentation and synthpop sonics to delight and enthrall the listener, with new single, “Loving is the Way”.
Mcartor’s voice strikes up, soulful and compelling with rasping edge and warmth; her words strung melodic in long, towering, stanzas of rich low and resonating mids. ‘Loving is the way to touch you, feeling just to be in your heart’, the words delivered mantra-like, staggering and massive. Electric keys push outwards in graceful undertones and modulated overtones. A beat cranks, bit-crushed and sat deep into the center of the mix; quietly keeping the count.
Synth pads fizz and pulse, as the track begins to build. Electric arpeggio rattle and flex left/right; the production breathing width and depth into the stereo field, as the kick drives down the middle in rapid dabs of low frequency. Mcartor’s voice begins to shift, delivering words in quickening twists and turns. A snare smacks hard, flat-packed; reverb gated short, the beat-design evolving in gathering complexity.
Synthpop sonics erupt in shards of shimmering chimes, while electro-bass rumbles in metronic shudders and waves. Electric six-strings wail and contort in ambient and delay. Hi hat snaps and cymbal bursts, pop and sneeze across the width of the arrangement, adding fizz, height and energy. The 4-minute 5-second composition pushing onwards and upwards in a perfect judged blend of instrumentation, while drawing upon an inspired and eclectic range of genres.
“Loving is the Way” further cements Alex Mcartor’s reputation as an Independent Artist of striking creative integrity and originality, capable of delivering songcraft and production of the highest order; made all the more impressive, given her young age. And, in turn, further demonstrates that Alex Mcartor has every chance of becoming a highly successful Artist with little or no apparent limit to the heights she might reach musically and artistically.
Artist: Pip Blom
Hard touring Independent Artist Pip Blom delivers a noisy dose of lo-fi indie-rock goodness with new single “Freckles”.
Overdriven six-string bark down the center, in dry percussive stabs and bolts. Hi-Hat rasp ticks in shifting snippets of metallic fizz and chink, while kick lands deep with a touch of hollow; the snare, a sneezed smack of super-short rattle and mid-frequency impact. A second driving guitar joins, distorted blunt and fuzzy. The bass moving in jinks and jags, deep and at the back of the track.
Pip Blom’s vocals arrive in lo-fi telephone tones, prickly and rusted; the filter effect setting them off mic and a touch distanced. Blom’s voice idles and meanders through hazy image and trail of thought in compelling understated, lazy stanzas. Willfully off-set backing vocal adds weight to the chorus, as cymbals splash and shimmer around electric rocketship, saturation, burst, explosion, and grind.
“Freckles” moves through its 3-minute 2-second run time with engaging simplicity and disarmingly straight-forward approach to songcraft and production. Everything is done extremely well and with deliberate intent. There is an impressive economy and sense of creative-discipline in the methodology of the instrumentation and arrangement. Each element serves a clear purpose, without the inclusion of anything frivolous or superfluous. The result is an immensely enjoyable and effortless listening experience. The music of Pip Blom stands as an undeniable testament that lo-fi and noisy can also be carefully crafted and adapt in its execution.
Pip Blom are playing live across Europe and the UK throughout September, October and into November.
Artist: Li’l Andy
Track: “Out on the Old Highway”
Montreal-based singer-songwriter Li’l Andy crafts a landscape of forgotten lives and broken dreams in musical tones forlorn, wistful, and poetic with new single, “Out on the Old Highway”.
Slide guitar haunts from out the vista haze, slinking and shimmering like quicksilver rattlesnakes. Six-strings grind, arpeggio, metallic and heavy; rusted tones, creaking and cracking under the weight of flesh white finger ends. A bass guitar moves dimly in the distance, shadowing the guitar in low-frequency drones and drags. A kick drum lands seldom and deep, punctuating the track like a stopped clock.
Li’l Andy’s voice stalks in vast, tired, syllables; great casts of low mid resonance, set in occasional contrast, by lifts of light phonetics allowed to drift without direction or intention. Images flow in vivid phrase and graceful passage; depicting scenes of the destitute and the downtrodden, the maligned and the conveniently forgotten.
Moving in protracted, yet graceful shudders and shakes, the 4-minute 37-second track grows quietly in instrumentation; a lone fiddle, strung out somber and beautiful; a single bowed serenade to the cast-aside, and in turn, a sad echo of Li’l Andy’s own lament. The country singer-songwriter crafting a constant, if allusive, an undercurrent of myth most ancient and born of the land into the, otherwise, stark and grounded lyric.
Despite its sobering subject matter, Li’l Andy manages to inbune “Out on the Old Highway” with a lingering sense of wonder at the persistence of hope and the great human capacity for perseverance. An inspired and accomplished act of songcraft and production. Music-making of the highest quality.
Share your music via Thursday’s #Musichouruk 8 pm – 9 pm (UK Time) for considering on our New Music Monster Playlist and review as one of our New Music Picks!
Tobi is a mastering engineer and remixer via Tobisonics. As well as writing music reviews for Brash and running various Independent Music playlists, he also hosts Thursday’s #Musichouruk on Twitter.