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.
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.
Sophie Kilburn drops her EP ‘My Room Made Public’, an edgy and impressive indie-pop debut that has received widespread acclaim and is available everywhere now.
London based but born in Derbyshire, Sophie’s music is introspective and gritty. Each track brings into focus a new subject, be it romantic relationships (‘Movements’), mental health issues (‘I’m In Love With My Therapist’), pressures of ambition (‘Ruthless’) or identity crisis (‘Under the Heat’). The production is guitar-based with pounding drum machines giving a nostalgic feel, powered through with catchy hooks and strong vocals. It is in the successful alt-pop bracket as HAIM or Soccer Mommy and wouldn’t seem out of place supporting either.
“With My Room Made Public, I wanted to create a body of work that is an emotionally open and honest introduction to me as an artist and the songs I write. At the end of the day, I just want to bring emotional comfort and make people want to fight for what they want out of life, find themselves in their own way and to never settle for something that hurts them. I guess I am trying to do that for myself too, but there is always strength in numbers.”
Garnering much support from publications including Complex, BBC Introducing and XS Noize, while Clash called her “something special”. Without a doubt, Sophie Kilburn is a very exciting musical prospect and ‘My Room Made Public’ an example of her prodigious talent.
Straight out of Nashville, DJ and Producer Dennis Mongan, also known as Sintra, brings the masses a rich mix of electronic and cool pop tones in the form of ‘Break’. After discovering the joys of electronic-based music Bonnaroo music festival, his curiosity spiralled into creating his distinct sound, a boiling pot of various influences and scenes that culminate into an addictive new take on the long-lived genre.
Bass-heavy and driven with impressive control, ‘Break’ incorporates electronic signature tropes as it builds behind a smooth vocal performance, only to spill into energetic layers that conjure up images of a dark lit club bathed in LED lights. The track is effective as it encourages listeners to let go and feel the music, demonstrating Sintra’s ability as an artist to create a response that goes far beyond a foot tap.
“Break is about being caught in a bad romance. There’s frustration but there comes a point when you decide to stop caring and just enjoy yourself. That’s the energy I wanted to capture.” – Sintra
Bold in its production and unapologetic in its style, ‘Break’ stands out from the crowd of mass-produced electronic-based tracks, a common trend in music culture currently, due to its complimenting layers, consistent builds without becoming repetitive and vibrant soundscape it creates. Overall, Sintra establishes himself as someone to watch, with the ability to create catchy tracks that don’t skimp out on the soul; he has the talent to go far, and listeners should be thankful we’re here for the ride.
Dropped July 23rd, ‘Used To’ is a sinfully rich dark pop single, overflowing with style and R&B influences; the track is the perfect introduction to Toronto based singer LOR and her refreshing authenticity.
A clean and straightforward piano-led instrumental is enriched with LOR’s distinct vocals as she croons about an unfulfilling relationship and flawed romance. Whilst the topic is effortlessly relatable, LOR manages to take ownership of it and not only infuse her musical spin but honest and deep cutting lyricism to keep the track mature and fully realised. This isn’t a breakup song; more, it is a recounting of how being lost in ‘love’ can keep you from finding yourself or your self-worth.
Using her vulnerability to radiate control, LOR takes a sour experience and turns it into audio magic, turning pain into power and demonstrating her skills as a lyricist and creative force. ‘Used to’ combats broken promises with smooth melodies, ethereal harmonies and certain vocal runs that will give you goosebumps every time. Coming in just under three and a half minutes, the track is all-encompassing and doesn’t waste a second, keeping a solid pace and bursting with a bittersweet narrative.
“Used to is about being in a relationship with someone who constantly lets you down but knows how to make it up to you every time, just enough that you don’t have the guts to walk away.” – LOR
‘Used to’ is available for streaming now, why not listen below?
Released July 2nd, ‘Speeding Up’ is the newest indie-pop collaboration between Mokita and the electro-indie duo slenderbodies. The track is a cohesive ‘bop’ that merges dreamy ambient pop tropes with a full sounding instrumental, producing a chilled out catchy arrangement that will fuel a montage worthy summer.
The artists have a combined 3.4 million monthly Spotify listeners respectively, and that number is more than well earned as they create stunning pieces filled with indie-electric pop excellence as separate artists. Dropped July 2nd, ‘speeding up’ is just over three minutes long but doesn’t waste a single second. With R&B-esq vocals smoothly weaving their way through an upbeat backing, the track feels straight from a movie and creates a listening experience that can only be described as ethereal. With each artist blending their signature styles effortlessly, the audience is invited to sit back and enjoy, as the unhurried single expertly takes them on a rich-sounding adventure.
Mokita, otherwise known as John-Luke Carter, is a singer/songwriter/producer from Nashville who excels in refreshingly honest storytelling and brutally beautiful pop music. Having worked with the likes of Stand Atlantic and American Football (and so many more), and his catalogue has 400+ Million Streams on Spotify alone and 12.9 Million streams on Apple Music, Carter is a force to be reckoned with. His willingness to bear all for his art is not only commendable, but set’s him apart from the rest of the pop pack due to a blatant authenticity that cannot be ignored.
On the other side of the coin, slenderbodies are a duo steeped in electro-indie pop that formed in 2016. With a discography of ‘low-key pop’, they consistently create whimsical soundscapes accompanied with soft grounding vocals. Their 2021 album ‘are we?’ is an excellent collection of songs that perfectly show off not only their style but skill too.
Overall, ‘speeding up’ is a great collaborative effort that deserves to be played at max volume whilst speeding down a dirt track in the heat of a post lockdown summer. Both slenderbodies and Mokita have brought their best to the single, and it shows.
From the collective that have produced hearty songs filled with an unapologetic mix of pop, soul, brass and ska like Ebb’s & Flows, Strange Mind and Cold Treats, in the lead up to the 2019 release of their new album, Bare Jams have treated us to one of their best songs yet. With a drum heavy, brass lead breakdown throughout, Fish Bowl really brings something new to the table in contrast to their previous songs. By supplying heavier bass, a section of psychedelic sounds and a grand finale of brass and vocals that can best compared with Madness and Gentleman’s Dub Club, Bare Jam’s latest single epitomises a walk-in, feel good tune.
Founded as a busking duo in 2011 by vocals/guitarist Ollie and drums/percussionist Sam, Bare Jams quickly grew into the 8-person phenomenon that it is today. With their mark first truly being made when their first ep Rigglet was released in 2014, they now drive their van ‘Linda Dotty Vagabond’ from show to show, providing big energy and good vibes at every appearance. Having completed their recent 2-week tour of the UK and Europe this year, the band have supported the likes of Chainska Brassika, The Wailers and Will & The People, with 2018 seeing them play at festivals such as Boomtown and Curious Yellow Weekend.
With their new album release on the 2019 horizon, Bare Jams are to be looked out for if the rest of the album is even an ounce as infectious as tasters Ebb’s & Flows and Fish Bowl.
Becca B has created quite a sound with her new single ‘Ready and Waiting’. The song is addictive and as good as R’n’B gets. The singer from Nottinhamshire is definitely about to embark upon an exciting ride in the music industry. With an interlude from rapper MceBisi the song is smooth and chilled out and the perfect tune to settle down and loosen up to. After having concentrated more on rock/pop in the past, it seems that Becca has made the right decision in pursuing an R’n’B sound. It matches her voice perfectly.
As with so many songs that have been inspired by drug addiction, Warme’s new single ‘New Man’ is underlined by a sombre atmosphere which is ultimately lifted because this is not a song about resignation but one about strength – the strength to overcome one of most horrific addictions ever. Based on a true story of one of the band members, Warme have painted a strikingly honest and personal picture of a life experience that has required endurance and the motivation to get better. The band that usually composes catchy rock’n’roll songs has demonstrated here that they are capable of so much more than good riffs.
A 1970s comedy duo seems an unlikely inspiration for a 22-year-old singer-songwriter, but, for Ashleigh Wood, Morecambe & Wise are close to her heart. Ashleigh hails from Morecambe, in Lancashire, and now she has paid tribute to the hometown of legendary comic Eric by releasing a cover of the track made famous by the duo.
Ashleigh is already well-known in the North West – she has gained approval from BBC Lancashire’s John ‘Gilly’ Gilmore, and performed at the local football clubs as well as events festivals in the area – and is set to capture the hearts of the rest of the country.
The song has since been featured on national radio and featured on adverts from the likes of Cadbury, Nescafe and P&O Cruises. ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ is full of joy, and if someone doesn’t bring the sunshine to Ashleigh, she is sure to bring it to us.
‘Bring Me Sunshine’ will be released on August 24th.