- BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (2)
- SHY AWAY – twenty øne piløts (1)
- NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (3)
- ROSE HIPS – Dawning (7)
- ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (4)
- I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (8)
- LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (6)
- METRONOME – Polarizer (9)
- FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (10)
- ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (5)
- FLATLINE – Two Feet (17)
- AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (12)
- SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (13)
- HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (14)
- BREAK MY BABY – KALEO (15)
- BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (16)
- BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (18)
- WAY LESS SAD – AJR (19)
- MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly featuring blackbear (11)
- CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (22)
- TYPHOONS – Royal Blood (23)
- WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (24)
- PATCHWERK – Sub Urban & Two Feet (21)
- COME FIND ME BACK – Philip Morgan Lewis (25)
- MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (26)
- SINNER – Young Decades (27)
- YOUR POWER – Billie Eilish (29)
- WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (30)
- ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (19)
- BETTER – Michigander (N)
Oui Plastique is a Danish electronica act consisting of Martin Nyrup and James Thomas. From what I can tell based on information provided in their social media accounts, the duo are seasoned musicians, songwriters, composers and producers who first collaborated with each other in 2017 on the Perpacity/DVL album Convergence (Perpacity is an electronic act comprised of Nyrup and British musician Ian Harling, and DVL is a British electronica artist). A short time later, Nyrup and Thomas joined forces to create Oui Plastique, and this past March, they released their debut single “Failure” a dark and brooding track that’s garnered airplay on radio stations across the globe, including the UK, Spain and Australia.
Now the guys are back with “The Fear“, the second single from their forthcoming debut album Fraternity of Strangers, due for release later this year. The single (and album) are being released through ScentAir Records. The lyrics were written by Thomas and the music composed by Nyrup, who also mixed, mastered and produced the track.
About the song, Thomas commented: “Writing ‘The Fear’ was one of the most fun songwriting experiences I’ve had, but also one of the most challenging. With Martin having outdone himself once again with regard to writing the music, I knew I’d have to step up my game and really do this track justice by writing some vocals that really work well. I’m really happy with how it turned out.” Nyrup adds: “I think ‘The Fear’ is one of our strongest tracks so far. It shows our evolution and development in terms of structure and production, and strengthens our identity as a group. It really represents us well, and I’m excited to see how it is received.”
Well, I think they’ve succeeded in their mission, as “The Fear” is absolutely brilliant. The song opens with sounds of someone turning the dial on a radio in search of a station, which are soon replaced with swelling synths and Thomas’ droning vocals. Forty-five seconds in, the music bursts forth into a stunning cinematic soundscape that would make Ennio Morricone envious. The darkly dramatic swirling synths are incredible, and complemented by gorgeous, deeply resonant piano chords and intense jangly guitars. Thomas’ fervent vocals turn even more passionate in the choruses, bringing chills. The song is a breathtaking darkwave masterpiece.
The lyrics are somewhat ambiguous, but my take is that they’re about a relationship that has deteriorated beyond the point of repair, with both parties feeling emotionally disconnected and dead inside. In the bridge, a woman recites the lines “It was nothing like I expected. It was beautiful. I wouldn’t change a thing“, accompanied by sounds of a hospital heart monitor stopping, as it to signify her or the relationship’s death.
Inside it seems
As unnerving as you
It burns my eyes
Like I’m staring into the sun
I’m beside myself
Cos I die every day
A blacked-out shell
Unemotional and distant now
The fear that comes from you
Wide awake beyond your dream and it’s
Too late to follow me
The beautiful artwork for the single was created by Janne Ervø.
One of the finest artists I’ve had the pleasure of learning about in 2021 is Dawning, the musical alter-ego of insanely talented and charismatic singer-songwriter and musician Aaron Senor. On the strength of his captivating and dreamy style of shoegaze/electronic rock, emotive vocals that go from ethereal breathy croons to impassioned soaring choruses, and electrifying live performances, the Grand Rapids-based artist has quickly earned a name for himself on the crowded Michigan music scene. Aaron is also drummer for Michigander, an outstanding band that’s also seeing its star on the rise.
Dawning released his wonderful debut single “Coronation” in early 2019, and followed this past February with the brilliant EP Petals (you can read my review here). “Rose Hips”, one of the stunning tracks from Petals, has spent the past three months on my Weekly Top 30, and is still climbing its way up the top 10. Now he’s back with an exciting new single “Ennui“, which I’ve chosen as my New Song of the Week. With “Ennui”, Aaron makes a bold departure from the rather dark and moody vibes of his previous songs. He further elaborates: “‘Ennui’ is a declaration of sorts; a declaration of happiness, of change, and of hope, [and] a clear change in tone and mood from previous, darker releases. A perfect summer single for rolling down your windows and screaming the chorus at the top of your lungs.”
The song opens tentatively with quivering shimmery synths, accompanied by Dawning’s plaintive breathy vocals, then an aggressive pounding drumbeat suddenly enters the mix, exponentially dialing up the energy. His vocals quickly turn more impassioned as the music erupts into a bombastic and glorious soundscape of exuberant swirling synths, thunderous percussion and pummeling drumbeats, launching the song into the sonic stratosphere. As if to express an overwhelming sense of euphoria, he gleefully shouts the lyrics about coming out of darkness and despair into a life filled with light, hope and love: “And right when I thought life was not worth living, I saw you there. And I cannot deny I’ve got to give in, no matter where.”
“Ennui” is an exhilarating and grandiose anthem, and I love the ferocity of both the instrumental arrangement and vocals that Dawning employs to drive home his positive and joyously celebratory message.
I’ve never much followed Eurovision (officially titled the Eurovision Song Contest), but I really like this year’s winning song “Zitti E Buoni” by Italian heavy-metal band Måneskin. A young band, Rome-based Måneskin formed in 2016 when its four members – Damiano David (lead vocals), Victoria De Angelis (bass), Thomas Raggi (guitar) and Ethan Torchio (drums) – were all still in high school. An unusual name for an Italian band, Måneskin – which is Danish for ‘moonlight’ – was suggested by band member De Angelis, who is half Danish. They released their debut single “Chosen” in 2017, and soon afterward rose to fame when they came in second in Season 11 of Italy’s version of “X Factor.” After their song “Zitti e Buoni” was chosen at the Sanremo Music Festival song contest in March, it became Italy’s official entry into the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, held in Rotterdam, Netherlands. This is the third win for Italy, which has been in the competition continuously since its 1956 inaugural.
A bit of background for those who may be unfamiliar, Eurovision is the international song competition put on by the European Broadcasting Union. Held annually since 1956 (except for 2020 due to the Covid pandemic), Eurovision is immensely popular, ranking among the world’s most watched non-sporting events every year, with hundreds of millions of viewers tuning in from across the globe. Generally, artists who perform are primarily from European countries, though they’ve also come from Australia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Israel and Turkey. Performing at the contest has often boosted the careers of artists in their own countries, and in some cases internationally. Some of the most popular artists in the world have competed in past contests, including ABBA, Julio Iglesias, Olivia Newton-John, Celine Dion and Flo Rida (who was featured on the song “Adrenalina” by Italian singer Senhit, who represented San Marino at this year’s contest).
“Zitti E Buoni”, which means “shut up and behave”, is a hard-driving, melodic and undeniably sexy tune. I cannot understand a word they’re singing, but who cares? It’s catchy as hell, with scorching riffs and pulse-pounding rhythms that aim straight for the hips. David’s raw, rapid-fire vocals are electrifying, with a sensual ferocity that beautifully captures his animalistic persona. The terrific video for the song showcases the band’s strong charisma and youthful energy. Thanks to its Eurovision win, the song is already at #9 on the Spotify Global Chart, and has become the most-streamed Italian song ever.
Here’s their performance of the song at the Eurovision second rehearsal:
- SHY AWAY – twenty øne piløts (1)
- BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (3)
- NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (6)
- ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (5)
- ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (2)
- LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (4)
- ROSE HIPS – Dawning (8)
- I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (9)
- METRONOME – Polarizer (10)
- FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (11)
- MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly featuring blackbear (7)
- AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (13)
- SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (14)
- HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (15)
- BREAK MY BABY – KALEO (16)
- BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (17)
- FLATLINE – Two Feet (20)
- BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (19)
- ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (12)
- WAY LESS SAD – AJR (22)
- PATCHWERK – Sub Urban & Two Feet (23)
- CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (24)
- TYPHOONS – Royal Blood (25)
- WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (26)
- COME FIND ME BACK – Philip Morgan Lewis (28)
- MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (29)
- SINNER – Young Decades (30)
- THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (21)
- YOUR POWER – Billie Eilish (N)
- WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (N)
Last September, I first wrote about indie pop singer-songwriter Luke Mock when I reviewed his lovely, bittersweet single “Better”, the follow up release to his debut single “Universe”. Based in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, the talented young musician is quickly making a name for himself through his intelligent songwriting, emotive vocals and charismatic live performances. He’s opened for such acts as AJR, Kesha, Ryan Quinn (The Voice), Neyla Pekarek (The Lumineers) and Joe Whiting (Savory Brown), and was a headliner at the Perform 4 Purpose WinterFest 2019. (Perform 4 Purpose is a non-profit organization that provides young musicians with opportunities to raise money for charities, benefits, and more while learning and developing their musicianship.)
Now Luke returns with his third single “Feel the Love“, a song exploring the internal conflicts between passion and pain we often experience when involved in complicated relationships. You realize the relationship may be toxic for you, yet you’re unable to break free from it, as the passion is just too powerful to resist. The song is infectious and catchy, with a pleasing vibe that reminds me of some of the songs by Charlie Puth, one of Luke’s strong influences. I like the breezy, upbeat melody and his layered vocals sound better than ever. His synth programming is top-notch, and so is his guitar work, which is highlighted by a blistering little solo in the bridge.
I think “Feel the Love” is Luke’s finest single yet, and shows a continued growth and maturity in his songwriting and vocals. I expect we’ll be hearing more great music from him soon.
Late last night it was cold outside she walked right out my door
But I’m not surprised we’ve rolled the dice too many times before
So I went downtown but I saw her friends as soon as I walked in
And when we locked eyes we realized with us you just can’t win
This love is too hard to contain
I feel it in my veins
Body’s numb I hear the voice inside me yelling run
But when you touch my skin
You know what you’re doing
Just to pull me in
Cause you want to
Feel the love
This love inside me
Feel the love
So you can break me
Feel the love
Our hearts colliding
What is left to
Feel the love
No I can’t take it
Feel the love
But you still make me
Feel the love
Oh is it worth the hurt so we can
Feel the high she’s on my mind at 3 a.m. again
This love is cursed when in reverse I find her in my bed
And I can’t take this back and forward baby can’t you see
That darling what is left of us is all that’s meant to be
To learn more about Luke, check out his Website
9fm (short for Ninth Floor Mannequin) is the solo music project of New Jersey-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jarrod Pedone. Drawing influences from some of his favorite artists like Paul Simon, Fleet Foxes and James Blake, Pedone melds elements of folk, alternative rock and synth pop to create fascinating songs with a pleasing, often otherworldly vibe. He’s also a huge fan of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone, as well as the more recent Twilight Zone-influenced British sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror, and many of his song lyrics are based on particular episodes of those shows.
I first featured 9fm on this blog back in September 2018 when I reviewed his marvelous EP Little House. Now I’m pleased to share his new EP First One, Ninth Fifteen, which drops today. The unusual title is a combination of words from the titles of each of the four tracks. He wrote the music and lyrics, sang vocals and performed or programmed all music, as well as the recording, mixing and mastering of the tracks himself in his home studio. He’s a thoughtful lyricist, and each song tells a story based on a real-life incident or a TV episode.
The first track “Fifteen Minutes” addresses the traumatic brain injury Jarrod suffered in September 2012, when he was struck by a drunk driver in a hit and run accident while out jogging. He was put into a coma, then endured a grueling period of outpatient physical and mental therapy, as described in the lyrics “With no name or number, John Doe fought for his life. For one day he was someone, but then he went and survived.” Ultimately, it was his return to creating music that proved to be the most successful form of therapy, though he uses self-deprecating lyrics to describe his progress: “But still he plays and keeps on writing, with no good reason why. He sure wasn’t great in the first place, but now he’s barely alright.”
Using a cacophonous mix of instruments and eerie, lo-fi industrial synths set to an almost frantic driving beat, he creates an unsettling, chaotic soundscape that conjures up images of the pandemonium that must have ensued after he was struck and left fighting for his life. I especially like his guitar notes and jazzy saxophone played by Matthew Silberman that add to the overall moody vibe. The song ends with sounds of monitors and medical staff one would hear in a busy emergency room.
“Below the Ninth Floor” was inspired by one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes “The After Hours” from Season 1, in which a woman named Marsha, played by Anne Francis, is taken by elevator to the ninth floor of a department store to buy a gold thimble, even though the indicator above the elevator shows only eight floors. The entire floor is empty, without any merchandise save a single gold thimble, which is exactly what she’s looking for. The employee who waits on her is a mysterious woman who asks a lot of probing questions. As Marsha rides the elevator down, she discovers the thimble is scratched and dented, and is directed by the elevator operator to the Complaints Department on the third floor. When she tries to convince the sales supervisor and store manager that she bought the item on the ninth floor, they tell her the store doesn’t have a ninth floor. To make matters worse, she has no evidence of the transaction as she paid cash, and has no receipt. Marsha spots the salesclerk who sold her the thimble, and is shocked to discover that the woman is not a salesclerk at all, but one of the department store’s mannequins. Things continue to go downhill from there. Jarrod also named his music project ‘Ninth Floor Mannequin’ after the episode.
For this song, 9fm’s lyrics speak of people putting up a false front and creating an image they think will impress others, as if they’re like a perfect mannequin: “Just before the stage lights up to a new crowd. Don’t fuck it up, don’t be yourself, or try too hard. Getting lost in the part, and go all in, give the people what they want.” Musically, the song seems to have an almost lighthearted vibe, with breezy synths and a relaxed, toe-tapping beat, but a closer listen reveals a slightly melancholy undercurrent, befitting the darker lyrics.
The third track “First Blush” is based on Season 3, Episode 4 of Black Mirror, entitled “San Junipero”. San Junipero is a simulated beach resort town where the deceased can live and the elderly can visit, all inhabiting their younger selves’ bodies in a time of their choosing. The plot involves two women, Yorkie and Kelly, who meet at a nightclub, and eventually become romantically involved. They meet up at different times over the years in both San Junipero and in the real world, where they face real-life complications. In the end, both are euthanized so that they can be together in San Junipero.
Starting with skittering percussion and assertive drumbeats, 9fm layers gauzy synths, humming keyboards, and what sounds like a bass guitar, though it could also be guitar that’s been fed though a pedal or some other device to give it a deeper tone. The result is a dramatic, fast-paced song that captures the sense of urgency and emotional intensity described in the lyrics about an unusual and logistically challenging love affair. His smooth vocals have an ethereal quality that’s quite pleasing as he sings “At first blush I came on way too strong. I’d never known someone like you. So I knew first, the path that I would choose. I’d trade that life for one with you. Please see it through, you’re all I have to lose.”
The final track “One for the Benders” is based on the Bender Family, also known as The Bloody Benders, a family of serial killers who lived in and operated a general store and small inn in Labette County, Kansas, from May 1871 to December 1872. While the exact number is unknown, it is believed they killed at least a dozen travelers and buried their remains on their property before their crimes were discovered. 9fm’s lyrics are sung from the point of view of the Benders to their visitors, lulling them to complacency as they move in for the kill: “Never could tell you that you say one lovely grace. Sorry to stop you, it’s just how we pray (prey). It’s been fun, I mean it really was. Now get some rest. Lie down, relax, put your feet up.“
The fascinating song has a bouncy, almost upbeat cadence, however 9fm uses a dark array of mysterious synths, spooky sounds and haunting echoed vocals to create a decidedly menacing vibe befitting the macabre subject matter. It’s another great example of how adept he is at producing soundscapes that strike the perfect tone for each story. First One, Ninth Fifteen is a fine and extremely compelling little EP, and the more I listened to the songs, the deeper they bored themselves into my brain.
This is perhaps the most ambitious and unusual album I’ve reviewed yet, as it’s an extensive compilation work consisting of 15 tracks by different artists contained in three vinyl LPs (or two CDs), plus a bonus CD featuring another seven tracks, for a grand total of 22 songs! All of them are electronic instrumentals in various styles, but all essentially influenced by early 70s krautrock and motorik beat music made famous by such German acts as Can, NEU!, Kraftwerk and Harmonia. The collection, entitled Head RUSH, is being released by British independent label Fruits de Mer Records on May 17th.
First off, I must state that I’m astonished by the huge number of artists still producing electronic music, particularly krautrock and all its variations. Many artists featured on Head RUSH are accomplished acts with sizable discographies and followings, while some are relative newcomers. It’s truly an international compilation; represented are acts from England, Wales, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, Russia, Peru and California. All were carefully selected for inclusion by Fruits de Mer Records head Keith Jones based on their quality and appropriateness for the overall theme. Because there are so many tracks – nearly all of which are over five minutes long, with one running over 30 minutes! – I won’t be boring my readers or making myself crazy by discussing all of them in detail. I’ll try to touch on as many as possible, albeit briefly, and include samples of songs for which the artists have made audio videos.
The album kicks off with “Sunrise, Part 7“, a shimmery homage to the music of NEU! by Giacomo & Carolina, the collaborative music project of California-born and now Berlin-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Anton Barbeau, and California-based singer Julia Boorinakis Harper. German electronic artist Das Blaue Palais dazzles with a mesmerizing “Dusseldorf Motorik” remix of his 2016 single “Zeitfeld”. The otherworldly synths, plucked strings and colorful guitar notes are exquisite and haunting.
Welsh-based English composer and multi-instrumentalist David Oakes, a long-time favorite of mine who I’ve featured numerous times on this blog, is represented here by his brooding track “The Sahara (2020 Remix)“. David layers a thrilling mix of exotic and gritty, reverb-laden guitar riffs over Nine Inch Nail-esque industrial synths and a pulsating groove to create a cinematic soundscape that beautifully conveys the vast and often terrifying expanse of the Sahara Desert.
Another terrific offering is “Getaway” by English space rock band Sonic Trip Project, who layer haunting spacy synths over a hypnotic EDM beat, creating a gorgeous sweeping soundscape.
Opening the second LP is Welsh psych space rock outfit Moon Goose with their trippy song “Shiny Man“, followed by the deliciously captivating “Obsession is the Mother of All” by Italian avant-rock trio Oslo Tapes. I said I wasn’t going to discuss every track, but the next one – “Ecstatic Engines” by California composer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Jay Tausig is so good that I must give it mention too. I also realize I’m overusing the words “mesmerizing” and “cinematic”, but both words strongly apply to many tracks. I wish I had a sample of “Ecstatic Engines” I could share on this post, as it’s incredible. I love the strong, driving beat, spacy synths and otherworldly sound textures he employs. In preparation for reviewing this album, I researched every artist and found that Tausig is especially prolific, releasing a full album and two EPs in February and March alone!
Netherlands is well-represented by “Telefunken Baby!“, a nearly 13-minute-long tour de force by electronic composer Son of Ohm. The track was originally featured on his 2019 album Zeitgeist. His psychedelic guitar work is fantastic.
Next up is the wonderfully spacy “Martine à la Plage” by French experimental psych-rock duo Alber Jupiter, the music project of Nicolas Terroitin and Jonathan Sonney. The song was also originally included on their excellent 2019 album We Are Just Floating in Space.
Wales is once again represented, this time by Fruits de Mer favorite The Lost Stoned Pandas and their sprawling psychedelic extravaganza “Motorik Wah Nine“. The reverb-soaked psychedelic guitars would make Jimi Hendrix proud, and the wobbly synths and undulating rhythmic grooves are pretty amazing too. I’m sorry I couldn’t find a video or link to the song. I do have one for the phenomenal “MOTOR!K” by Belgian krautrock trio Tyrants, however. The hypnotic song features a relentless driving motorik beat, a 4/4 beat originally pioneered by Jaki Liebezeit, drummer for the German experimental rock band Can.
From Lima, Peru hail space rock trio Culto al Qondor, with their trippy and dark “E1“, an epic 12-minute-long track originally featured on their 2019 album Electricidad. The spooky synths, wailing psychedelic guitars, pummeling rhythms and explosive percussion are pretty spectacular.
London krautrock trio (many of these acts seem to consist of three members) Psychic Lemon dazzle our senses with “Jam 7“, one of a series of studio jams they’ve recorded, in which all instruments were recorded live into a single microphone. Band guitarist Andy Briston lays down a barrage of super-gnarly distortion drenched in reverb, while his bandmates keep the track grounded with a powerful thumping rhythm. The face-melting track closes out the three LP set.
The Bonus CD serves up over 76 minutes of additional music contained in seven tracks, including “Vuh Parts 1 and 2” by British electronic outfit Taras Bulba, another terrific Jam by Psychic Lemon, the wonderfully psychedelic “69 Wheeler” by prolific British artist and guitarist Vince Cory, and the delightfully trippy “Grobmotorik” by Hungary-based Audio Cologne Project (a krautrock inspired music collaboration between Uwe Cremer (Level π) on guitars and keyboards, British musician Dave Pearson (aka computerchemist) on bass, keyboards and sequencers, and Zsolt Galántai on drums).
Closing out the Bonus CD are the two longest tracks of this entire project, the meandering and beautiful 14:14 minute-long “der Wald” by British composer and guitarist Icarus Peel, and the 30:25 minute-long live version of Harmonia’s 1974 motorik classic “Watussi” by Russian electronic band The Legendary Flower Punk. They’ve taken the original six-minute-long song and refashioned it into a magnificent and epic fantasia of atmospheric soundscapes, highlighted by psychedelic riffs, eerie synths and colorful sonic textures, all darting in and out like sprites over pulsating EDM rhythms. It’s a fitting end to this ambitious compilation of extraordinary compositions, and a testament to the enduring legacy and popularity of krautrock. If you like getting lost in spacy electronic vibes, then you will really enjoy Head RUSH.
1. Giacomo & Carolina – Sunrise, Part 7 (5:05)
2. Silver Vials – Follow The Sun (6:05)
3. Das Blaue Palais – Zeitfeld (Dusseldorf Motorik Mix) (8:11)
4. The Love Explosion – Anarchy! (3:58)
5. David Oakes – The Sahara (2020 Remix) (5:04)
6. Sonic Trip Project – Getaway (11:10)
1. Moon Goose – Shiny Man (5:41)
2. Oslo Tapes – Obsession Is The Mother Of All (5:54)
3. Jay Tausig – Ecstatic Engines (8:42)
4. Son Of Ohm – Telefunken Baby (12:52)
5. Alber Jupiter – Martine A La Plage (7:15)
1. The Lost Stoned Pandas – Motorik Wah Nine (10:16)
2. Motor!k – Tyrants (10:28)
3. Culto Al Qondor – Ei (12:19)
4. Psychic Lemon – Jam 7 (7:01)
1. Taras Bulba – Vuh Part 1 (3:56)
2. Vince Cory – 69 Wheeler (7:53)
3. Psychic Lemon – Jam 5 (8:26)
4. Audio Cologne Project – Grobmotorik (6:51)
5. Taras Bulba – Vuh Part 2 (5:15)
6. Icarus Peel – Der Wald (14:14)
7. The Legendary Flower Punk – Watussi Live (30:25)
Head RUSH may be purchased on the Fruits de Mer website: https://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/
- SHY AWAY – twenty one pilots (1)
- ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (3)
- BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (4)
- LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (2)
- ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (6)
- NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (7)
- MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly featuring blackbear (5)
- ROSE HIPS – Dawning (10)
- I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (11)
- METRONOME – Polarizer (12)
- FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (13)
- ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (9)
- AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (15)
- SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (16)
- HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (17)
- BREAK MY BABY – KALEO (18)
- BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (19)
- SLEEP – The Frontier (8)
- BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (21)
- FLATLINE – Two Feet (29)
- THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (14)
- WAY LESS SAD – AJR (23)
- PATCHWERK – Sub Urban & Two Feet (24)
- CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (25)
- TYPHOONS – Royal Blood (26)
- WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (28)
- PEACHES – Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon (22)
- COME FIND ME BACK – Philip Morgan Lewis (N)
- MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (N)
- SINNER – Young Decades (N)
Yellow Shoots is the music project of singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Greg Matthews. The Brooklyn, New York-based artist was one of the very first I wrote about, way back in March 2016 when my blog was still in its infancy. His artistic name comes from his experiences with synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway, such as sound, leads to an automatic, involuntary response in a second sensory or cognitive pathway, such as sight. He sometimes sees vivid yellow colors when hearing music (a common form of synesthesia is known as chromesthesia, for sound to color), hence his name “Yellow Shoots.” With his distinctive vocal style and skillful fusing of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, electronic, hip-hop, alternative and psychedelic, he creates his own unique neo-soul sound that envelops listeners in raw sensuality and emotion.
Beginning with his debut single “Pieces” in 2014, the prolific artist has released an extensive amount of music in the years since, including his marvelous Prince-influenced album everything in 2018. One of the singles “make it to the summer” has garnered nearly half a million streams on Spotify. Last May, I reviewed his single “Wonderful Day”, which was featured on his EP Naked, released in July 2020. He’s also collaborated with numerous other artists, most recently last September with fellow Brooklyn singer-songwriter, producer and engineer Johnny Burgos on their single “Fun Tonight”. Now he returns with “SIRENS (Mermaid Version)“, the first single from his forthcoming sophomore LP The Green Album, due for release in July. He programmed synths, played all instruments, sang vocals and produced the track. His brother Jason Matthews did the mixing and Dan Millice did the mastering.
Release via his label La Reserve Records, the song is a totally reimagined version of his 2018 single “Sirens”, a silky and mesmerizing R&B/hip hop song about a long-distance love affair. Yellow Shoots uses the beguiling but dangerous Sirens of Greek mythology as a metaphor for the intense, all-consuming longing that comes from being far away from the one you love. He elaborates “They’re singing you to shipwreck. You put yourself in harm’s way because you’re so in love.” On “SIRENS (Mermaid Version)” he shaves about 30 seconds off the song and dials up the tempo from the previous version’s chill, musically-spare vibe to a faster-paced, more sonically complex track. About the new version, he said “This song is me drawing from my many influences, and not trying to fit into one style.”
Yellow Shoots’ shimmery, psychedelic-tinged guitar notes take center stage here, as he layers them over a kaleidoscope of lush analog synths and skittering R&B grooves. I love all the colorful synth textures and quirky sounds he adds to the mix, and when accompanied by his electronically-altered falsetto, it all makes for an enchanting and fascinating listen. The more dynamic arrangement lends a greater sense of urgency to the lines he sings in the chorus “blind my eyes, tie my hands, I’ve got nothing left to lose“, symbolizing a complete surrender to lustful desires. It’s a great track.