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
LA-Based alt-pop 6-piece Kitten drop a compelling slice of lofi grind and indie-pop groove with new single, ‘Memphis’.
Hanging on the sweet-candy grind of bass delivered up the neck, Lofi tones shift like arcade sirens in an inspired off-tonal alt-pop hook; kick and snare arrive in a pittapatta of dense punch and snap, with shuffle and groove on the hi hat. The fused-electro of dial up internet rattles blunt and dissident, perfectly placed to add texture and ear candy. Guitars fizz and shimmer in scattered auto-pan patterns, while keys add layer and ambient.
Chaidez’s vocals travel with haste, hustling the beat of the track in hushed rushes; lyrics delivered at speed; overlapping imagery, thought, sensation, and expectation, pushed through like stories skipped on an Instagram feed.
Compelling original and impressively put together, ‘Memphis’ is a legitimate Independent release with credible mainstream appeal; accomplished songcraft framed by tasteful use of instrumentation and well-worked production, further enhanced by careful attention to musical detail with surprising and engaging melodic relationships between instruments and vocals.
‘Memphis’ is available now on all major streaming platforms.
Artist: Sara Phillips
Track: “New York Without Me”
Stand-out singer-songwriter Sara Phillips delivers a singular moment, bold and unapologetic, of timeless depth and somber poetry, new single, ‘New York Without Me’.
Footsteps track lonely left to right, the stark tick-tock of passing time; piano keys fall into the noise-floor, only to rise reversed; warped and contorted disharmonious, but refusing to be forgotten. Subs drop in isolation, punctuating the great distance exposed. A bass-drone modulates in slowburn pulses, shifting uneasy beneath; bleeding depth into the track and a vast weight of somber melancholy. Arpeggios shimmer in the high rafters, diffused and drained of presence and body; a scant hint of light in the otherwise unapologetically dark arrangement.
Sara Phillips voice drifts in close breaths across the twilight soundscape of the instrumentation; her now trademark, disarmingly simple delivery, a compelling mixture of rich, expressive mids and fragility in the highs. Her vocal and lyrical style working in perfectly pitched harmony, thoughts and sentiments expressed without caveat nor quarter given.
The very best songwriters do not endear, nor ingratiate, they simply tell it as it is; without excuse, explanation, or equivocation. Though mournful and of quiet poetic grace, ‘New York Without Me’ is not without embitterment; and although, ultimately sincere in its goodwill, it is nevertheless tinged with the vindictive and a sense of well-deserved validation. It is complex; and conveys that complexity, namely the lasting impression of hurt, the odd lingering sadness in nostalgia, and sense of peace in finding a better place, a better person, with great and accomplished success.
Courageous and without apology in both its sparse production and raw uncompromised songwriting, ‘New York Without Me’ is a pop song in the classic sense; a modern-day soul record, one that exhibits and exemplifies the self-discipline and musical integrity of the legendary Motown recordings. And, like those unforgettable songs, hewn into the very soundtrack of our lives, so will ‘New York Without Me’ be rendered timeless and cast permanent for future generations to call their own.
Artist: O Mer
Track: “Shelley Duvall”
Israeli singer-songwriter/producer O Mer conjures a sonic-kaloidoscope of electro-oddity, psychedelic melody, and percussive energy with new single, ‘Shelley Duvall’.
Scuttling tones rattle and delay left to right; electro-bass phonics dab percussive and deliberate; a familiar, forgotten snippet of dialogue rasps in dated mono; sharp warped-funky synth-sonics shift portamento, alt-pop hook experimental. Brassy riffs blur and blaze, opulent yet disquieting in their dissidence; a French dis-connection. Slaps, cracks, and snaps land dry, fiercely rhythmic and across the stereo field; the scattered array of musical oddity driven by their ever-present, ever-compelling percussive force.
O Mer runs the vocals in expansive stanzas of willfully deconstruction thought; the melody surging in great flurries of psychedelic progression. Ideas are played like a notebook torn up; reference, context, and idea presented at jagged odds with each other. Rational thread spun sideways, association given precedence over logic.
Evocative of the free form of the Acid Jazz of 70s Cinema and the great soundscapes of David Axelrod, but with a playful irreverence more akin to Zappa and the sardonic pop postmodernism of Bowie, ‘Shelley Duvall’ is an alternative creation in the truest sense. A constant source of delight and equally, a constant challenge to the sonic senses and tastes of the listener. O Mer restless throughout, seemingly intent on surprising and inspiring at every turn.
‘Shelley Duvall’ is available now on all major digital platforms.
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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.