With all the countless genre mashing and fusing that takes place each year in the music industry it’s very hard to find anything that truly surprises, that is truly ‘novel’. Mangoseed is a collective that pays no attention to such limitations and, instead, prefers to break them. Neatly carving their way between the worlds of rock, ska, funk, punk and jungle music, with dashes of colour from numerous cultures from Trinidadian to Irish, the band has produced a wonder to behold in the form of their lead single ‘Alternative Facts’ from latest LP ‘Dreamers’.
As a general overview, ‘Alternative Facts’ acts as a fantastic introductory handshake to the remainder of the record’s 11 tracks with an enigmatic and dark soundscape replete with punchy bass assaults and reggae-styled vocals whilst delivering the band’s political undertones through their voice box of Nicholai La Barrie.
Moments like the track’s intro, which wastes no time in setting the tone for this gritty-yet-funky banger, or the electronic breakdown that shatters the groove of the track’s latter stages really cement the track in both long and short term memory for an experience that refuses to be forgotten.
The maturity evident in the band’s songwriting and the diversity that punctuates it is indicative of the band’s own diverse makeup with each member’s occupational status being just that varied. Nicholai works as the Hammersmith Theatre’s Resident Director, guitarist/vocalist Karlos Coleman doubles as a Court Clerk, drummer Sam Campbell works as a Studio manager whilst bassist Richard Hardy dabbled as a parkour mentor. It comes as no surprise, then, as to how a track like ‘Alternative Facts’ is grand example of originality.
This track serves as the deserving gateway to the rest of Dreamers’ eclectic numbers and, for anyone oblivious to Mangoseed’s fine work, a worthy first impression for all. If you look out for one band in the future, make it these guys.
You might not be aware of the fascinating history behind the development of Tango music and dance in Argentina, but photographer David Hicks certainly is. David is an artist who has always been interested as much in the subjects of his work as in the stories behind those subjects. “I like wandering around towns and streets, marvelling about how we, human beings, live,” he says, a statement ably demonstrated in his wonderful pictures of tango players and dancers in the streets of Buenos Aires, which you can see here,
If there is a common theme in David’s’ work, it is one of human connections and motivations. As David explains: “The Tango, a now-popular dance between a man and a woman, started in it’s current form in the mid 1800s, after a massive migration to Argentina, mostly by men. Because men outnumbered women by quite some number, the only way for a man to get close to a woman was via a brothel or by dance. The men practiced together, as you’d have to be a great dancer to get a woman’s attention. So, this very sexual dance you see now, was born out of the reality for men in those old days. Nowadays, you see it performed often, usually on the street corners of Buenos Aires, with live musicians or a pre recorded soundtrack, and they do it for the tips!”.
Vinyl enthusiasts, we may have just found your new favourite brand. If you’re one of those people who LOVE showing off your record collections and have music spinning all day, you need Tunetables in your life, there’s no question about it. No more heading to the storage room to grab your favourite Talking Heads album from the old school (and not in a good way) shelving unit, and no more feeling guilty about leaving your records in the storage room in the first place!
Nope, Tunetables is about to change your life. The UK-based company takes designs based on classic music-equipment flight cases and turns them into tables that can house your precious vinyl collection. Just imagine – you’ve got an insane-looking table that will definitely be the talking point of your living room that also doubles up as a forever home for your favourite music.
It’s not easy to listen to someone being mentally torn apart, to have their innermost personal thoughts laid bare on a song is often a heartbreaking experience. With RnB riser sV, however, his stripped-back single ‘Summer Snow’ may be a lesson in heartbreak but is a refreshingly cathartic and emotionally relatable experience.
With a history soaked deep in fashion design, experience producing music for acts in China and Korea as well as crafting his debut EP (or self-proclaimed ‘mini album’) around his war with depression – sV is ever the intriguing artist as all great names tend to be.
The track itself is the sound of genuine anguish. As sultry loops of electric guitar fill the reverb-laden soundscape, sV accompanies a wave of soft, crashing beats with his own sorrowful deliveries – begging us to “not let him fade away”.
One could write books on the track’s compositional accomplishments – with its crescendo-like structure bringing a natural evolution to such a short track – but track’s crown jewel lies in how well sV translates his own emtoional strife into something almost tangible.
This, of course, relates to the entire ‘AnxiousAlbum’ project from which ‘Summer Snow’ originates – a collection of material spawned from a harrowing grief.
“I created this album at the height of my depression. After years of not being able to create anything.The album is dedicated to my cousin who passed three years ago. Bringing mental health to the forefront; the impact of anxiety, depression, and stress in one.” – sV
It’s certainly a message that resonates with the strength of the artist that laid it before us. It doesn’t matter what your musical affiliations might be as, with such emotional poignance on display, ‘Summer Snow’ is required listening for everyone and anyone.
Despite the world of real estate not being the expected driving force for musical invention but Vietnamese electro-pop icon and real estate executive, Kiey, is not one to let such stereotypes hold him back. The artist’s lead single that borrows its namesake from his latest EP, ‘Sunday Sanctuary Part. 1’, is an eclectic journey through some of the year’s most enchanting pop music.
The track arrives as a lighter insight into the rising stars palette, especially when compared to the likes of the exec’s darker 2019 debut EP ‘Night To Myself’ with a focus on an assault of striking strings and beats that appear to swell and fade with each rising verse. It may mark a stylistic change but only proves to explore the artist’s versatility. It’s a soundscape that will be as easy to lose yourself in as is it is hard to get out of your mind; a true earworm incarnate.
What is, perhaps, most surprising about the track is its maturity and professional production value. I don’t think anyone would have batted an eyelid for a slightly wooden performance or sloppy mastering – considering Kiey’s drastic swap between his day job industry – but instead Kiey arrives on full form with no intention on letting his inexperience be anything other than a reason to heighten his ambition.
Overall, there is no better introduction to the shimmering and glistening world of Kiey, there is something here for those of any tastes. Plug in, take note and pay attention; Kiey is one to watch.
Nothing quite tops a serving of saucy, suave singer-songwriter Latin pop right? Confident, empowering and abundant with charm and charisma – the genre has all the characteristics of legendary musical heartthrobs throughout history and newcomer SENTI seems to know just how to harness such features. His debut single ‘He She It’ is a powerhouse in suave seduction and, yet, comes armed with an unexpectedly poignant message for ‘love’ in 2021.
The more traditional elements of the genre present within ‘He She It’s DNA are a fantastic foundation for SENTI to provide his smooth-talking deliveries upon. Through a balancing act of gently plucked Spanish acoustic, foot-tapping percussion and satisfying electronics, this is a soundscape that is a pure joy to be submerged in.
With a lyrical protest against the arbitrary judgements and barriers that plague modern love, SENTI’s message is clear in this initial glance at the multi-instrumentalist’s musical persona.
“The song is essentially a stand against toxic mentality in modern love and to say that other people’s opinions don’t matter. All that matters is that you’re happy together…” – Senti
This is only helped by SENTI’s well-arranged hook harmonies which provide the track’s key moment of goosebump-raising influence. So, we have fantastic instrumentals, good pacing and a chorus with enough earworm value to make the Beejee’s jealous; the complaints are simply absent.
In fact, all this becomes all the more impressive when the context of the track’s composition is laid bare. SENTI (aka Adil) recorded all the instruments himself and, unbelievably still, his musical endeavour are only a backdrop to the artist’s heroic efforts as a junior doctor working on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic. With such circumstances, you would expect and forgive rough production and a general lack of inspiration but SENTI clearly has no intention of cutting corners with ‘He She It’ as concise proof.
This is everything that we expect from a genre veteran and more. Charisma, spirit and a desire to innovate; SENTI has it all.
Not many would dare challenge the namesake of the John Paul Young classic, but in the case of rising R&B renegade Rachel Davie Lee there’s no doubt that there’s room for the two heavyweights to co-exist.
Unlike the piano-led belter that most will resonate such a name with, Rachel Davie Lee heads in a more stripped back direction, flirting with flattering electronics and soft, steady percussion for a more meditated interpretation of what a ‘banger’ can be.
With a background as a Compliance Officer and a family filled with industry professionals and entrepreneurs, the track is a well-needed respite for an artist in need of a creative outlet and Lee’s performance on ‘Love Is In The Air’ consequently pulls no punches. On the track’s hook, especially, the vocals take a new life as Lee’s delivery comes lurching through the speakers and filling the walls – it’s a spacious soundscape that does more than enough to highlight the artist’s standout vocals.
This, combined with the track’s smooth rhythms and good pacing, makes an indelible hit that is beyond a mere ‘good’ first impression. In fact, as the lead track from Lee’s debut EP ‘Barely Concealed’, you’d have to be a fool to not run the entire project cover to cover…multiple times. Most crucially, however, Lee established herself in the crowded R&B market, refusing to allow any influences to consume her own identity and, instead, carve out a well-deserved future within the industry.
‘Love Is In The Air’ is a sign of what is to come for this world-class wonder – put your ear to the floor and keep it there because great things are coming.
Keeping track of the hordes of ‘rising stars’ is as much of a task as any – the accessibility of new music is definitely a double-edged sword at times – but one name to bloom out of obscurity that demands attention is Jazmine Flowers. Having beaten lockdown as well as the ‘debut jitters’ on first EP ‘adulting’ we had a chat with one of Alt-R&B’s most promising names.
AM: First of all, huge congratulations on the new EP! How does it feel to have it out?
JF: Thank you! Ahh, it feels really good, I put so much energy into ‘adulting’ I’m just really happy that people can finally listen to and experience it.
AM: Up until now you’ve been releasing singles, how does it feel to have released your first ‘body of work’? Did it allow you to craft something with a wider message?
JF: It’s definitely a different feeling, this feels like a bit more of a statement, like you said with a way broader message. Of course, the EP is about growing up but I touched on so many subjects within each of these songs so it’s really just a cool opportunity to voice all these experiences and feelings I’ve had.
AM: Could you walk us through your general songwriting process?
JF: It does depend on who I’m working with and how I’m feeling that day. But I will usually pull up notes on my phone, where I have pages and pages of words, phrases and concepts that I like and see what fits the vibe of whatever the producer is working on. Then I’ll put some sort of meaning to those words and build from there!
AM: What were the most challenging aspects of recording/writing ‘adulting’?
JF: Well, a couple of weeks before I was due to finish recording the final vocals and mix the whole EP I got the coronavirus hahah which wasn’t ideal. Thankfully, I was out of self-isolation and completely better the day before I got back in the studio but I still sounded quite ill, if you listen to the middle 8 of ‘not like my friends’ you’ll see what I mean! But the whole writing process was chill, it’s made up of songs from before, during and after lockdown.
AM: The entirety of the ‘adulting’ EP is something you can really lose yourself in, was it ever intentional to write something that could be felt like an ‘escape’ from the world?
JF: Wow, thank you, that’s a huge compliment! Umm, I think because I tend to listen to music as an escape, I maybe make music like that naturally? It feels great to know that, with my music, I can do for other people what music does for me.
AM: You’re very first single ‘Awkward’ was released during a period of lockdown, was the writing and recording process of ‘adulting’ plagued by the lockdown as well? What challenges did it present?
JF: Half was and half wasn’t haha! I first wrote ‘awkward’ out in the beautiful city of Bergen, Norway back in autumn of 2019. Then in 2020 when we decided that ‘awkward’ was going to be my debut single, it was lockdown and I, of course, couldn’t fly back to re-record anything. So I finished writing and recording the vocals in London; it was a pain discussing every tiny detail by email rather than just in person but we made it work.
AM: What do you think you’ve learnt as both a person and an artist from writing ‘adulting’?
JF: Ahh so so soo much! The biggest thing I’ve learnt is that I’ll always be learning. When I write songs, like ‘ANGEL FORM’, I don’t really know what they’re about until i look back way later and realise ohhh yeah in that month I was feeling really happy or I went through this or that then. So it was interesting to go through some old songs and work out what they were about and why those lyrics came out of me when they did!
AM: Since the release of ‘Awkward’ in February, your status as a musician has grown significantly in a relatively short time? Has it taken some adapting to?
JF: To be honest, it doesn’t feel like much has changed haha so not much to adapt to! Numbers on my socials have grown and I have a lot more people supporting me now which is incredible! But it still very much feels like the start and that I have a lot more to do in terms of proving myself as an artist…or not proving myself but more so building a connection with the people who listen to my music and progressing as a writer, producer and musician!
AM: As a young artist, what are your main career aspirations?
JF: As an artist, all you can really wish for is to have as many people as possible hear or see your work. That’s all I really want.. and to one day do a ‘Hot Ones’ interview… then I’ve made it hahahah!
AM: I’ve recently graduated from uni and am of a similar age so I can understand the stress that comes with ‘needing to get your life started’, do you have any advice for musicians of your age that might not know how to handle the stress of adulting (excuse the pun).
JF: Congratulations on graduating from uni! I could never haha! Well, I’ll first be honest and say, I also don’t know how to handle the stress of adulting! What seems to be working for me is staying genuine as an artist and just as a person. If you’re falling out of love with what you’re doing then take a break. Stay in check with yourself, do a quick little self MOT, are you drinking enough water, eating vegetables, doing some form of exercise, even just a walk? And don’t forget to masturbate.
AM: Is the next step for your musical career already planned? Tours? A debut album perhaps?
JF: In truth, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing with my life. I have nothing planned hahaha, I do have a show lined up on 25th October which is SOO exciting, I haven’t performed live in three years! and I also have a fuck load of songs. I just need to choose how to release them!
When you’ve worked behind names like Stormzy, Lisa Stansfield and IAMDDB, carving yourself an identity is no easy feat – having lived in the shadow of so many greats – but RnB star Medy Lema has found no issue in doing just that with new single “Fresh ‘n’ Nu”.
Carrying over a plethora of on-stage experience, performing to crowds since he was three, Lema’s persistence and bold spirit is told through autobiographical lyrics and pounding funk bass beats.
“I was in a difficult period of my life a few years ago but it was with the help of a few friends and the will of rising up that brought me this far because I’m not a quitter. Most of my songs are autobiographical in a way.” – Medy Lema
With this in mind, the Manchester-hailing genre-blender makes quick word from standing out from genre’s congested scene as the track bursts into a ripping guitar solo and funk jam to divert expectations and move feet; a sound as fresh and new as the title suggests.
Medy Lema is undoubtedly destined to take his unique brand of RnB, Soul, EDM and Funk to high places and beyond – whatever your musical preference, “Fresh ‘n’ Nu” is an undeniable hit and deserves to be heard.
Damon Fletcher, alongside Robbie Rosen, drops the well-produced and highly danceable “Catchin’ Dreams”. EDM and feel-good, it is available everywhere now.
Following the viral success of his debut video “Hustle With A Purpose”, which garnered over 400k views on YouTube, Damon Fletcher has been on a mission to spread positivity through music. Gaining success through the peak of lockdown, it’s been a much-needed commodity, and following releases “2 Miles” and “Ready” have both continued in this vein.
“I wanted to relay the message that catching your Dreams only takes dreaming and changing your mindset to chase it. My hope for the track is that it can reach people and put a smile on their face and hopefully encourage at least one person to change their life around to get up and catch their dreams.” – Damon Fletcher
Following childhood health complications, Damon spreads a message of possibility and perseverance. As an important part of his medium, the video is just as slick and stylish as the song. Directed by Isaiah Shinn, it features tight choreography on beautifully lit locations, coming together with the audio to create a feel-good classic. With such a great run of releases Damon Fletcher is well on his way to becoming a star.