For my latest edition of Fresh New Tracks, I’ve chosen three great new singles from a group of very talented acts I’ve previously featured on my blog: New Jersey-based indie artist 9fm, British singer-songwriter Callum Pitt, and Canadian-American singer-songwriter Shimmer Johnson, in a stunning collaboration with Danish electronic artist Refeci, who’s new to me.
9fm – “Lesson Learned”
9fm (short for Ninth Floor Mannequin) is the music project of hyper-creative 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’ve written about his music several times over the past five years, most recently in May 2021 when I reviewed his brilliant EP First One, Ninth Fifteen.
Now he’s back with a new single “Lesson Learned“, which was inspired by The Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough at Last”, which first aired in November 1959. Starring Burgess Meredith as Harry Bemis, a frustrated bank teller who loves books but is surrounded by people who do all they can to prevent him from reading them, “Time Enough at Last” follows him through a post-apocalyptic world after a nuclear war has destroyed everyone and everything around him. The season one episode became one the most popular of the entire Twilight Zone series.
For the recording of the track, Pedone played all instruments, as well as handled the mixing and mastering. The beautiful artwork for the single was created by Jordan Campbell. Like many of his songs, “Lesson Learned” has a dark undercurrent, highlighted by an aggressive stomping beat and fuzzy cinematic synths. His echoed vocals have a haunting, ethereal quality that suits the subject matter quite nicely as he croons “Ooooh lesson learned, and it took too long. Who’d have known to take what you can while you can’t see the end of the story. Do what you would if you could but while you still can. And when there’s a will, find a way, ‘cause it won’t just stay waiting stay waiting.“
Connect with 9fm: Twitter / Instagram
Find his music on Spotify/ Soundcloud / iTunes / Bandcamp
CALLUM PITT – “Fraction of a Second”
Callum Pitt is a thoughtful and talented singer-songwriter from Newcastle Upon Tyne in northeast England. Inspired by the music of such artists as Elliott Smith, Julien Baker, Adrianne Lenker, Sufjan Stevens, The War on Drugs and Fleet Foxes, he creates, in his own words, “indie-folk with a grand, orchestral, chamber pop sensibility plus an alt-rock edge”. His music is characterized by lush harmonies, captivating melodies, and honest, meaningful lyrics touching on subjects like depression and anxiety, and social and political unrest, delivered with his soft, pleasing vocals. Since 2017, he’s released an impressive number of singles as well as a four-track EP Poisoned Reveries in 2019. His beautiful second single “Least He’s Happy” has been streamed more than two million times on Spotify, with several other singles garnering over 100,000 streams. I’ve previously written about three of his songs, most recently last November when I reviewed his beautiful single “Mayfly”. The song is enjoying a long run on my Weekly Top 30, where it currently sits at #8.
Now Callum returns with his latest single “Fraction of a Second“, a heartfelt song about the night he came perilously close to losing his mom, dad and brother to a motor vehicle accident. It’s the third single from his forthcoming debut album In the Balance, due for release on June 2nd. The song has a melancholy yet hopeful feel, and features a buoyant drumbeat overlain with delicate sweeping synths, beautifully-strummed guitar notes, lovely piano keys and vibrant strings. As always, Callum’s smooth vocals are comforting and warm as he sings of his gratitude that his family safely survived the crash: “And I don’t know what I’d do, if that truck had taken all of you, I think the moon may disappear. But a fraction of a second kept you here.”
Connect with Callum: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Find his music on Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud / Bandcamp / Amazon
REFECI featuring SHIMMER JOHNSON – “Essence”
Refeci is a brilliant Danish DJ and electronic house music producer who’s been making music since his mid teens, both as a solo artist and a collaborator with numerous musicians and vocalists. Now 23 years old, he’s released an impressive amount of music since 2016, and five of his singles have garnered many millions of streams on Spotify alone.
Shimmer Johnson is a singer-songwriter and musician with the voice of an angel. Originally from Edmonton, Canada with professional ties to Los Angeles, Shimmer has an incredibly beautiful and resonant singing voice. In addition to her amazing vocal talents, she’s also a fine guitarist and pianist, and has collaborated with several songwriters and producers to create an impressive repertoire of outstanding songs over the past several years. She started out singing Country songs, but eventually branched out into adult contemporary pop, rock and dance music, all of which she manages to handle with ease. I’ve written about her numerous times on this blog, and one of the songs I’ve featured, her terrific dance single “Starts With You”, went all the way to #1 on my Weekly Top 30.
Refeci and Shimmer recently teamed up to create a captivating dance song “Essence“, released through the LOUDKLOUT label on February 17th. Refeci’s pulsating dance beats are overlain with hauntingly beautiful piano chords and gauzy atmospheric synths, creating a mesmerizing and sensuous soundscape for Shimmer’s enchanting ethereal vocals that transport us to a dreamy, faraway place. The simple lyrics speak to the importance of remaining true to oneself: “Don’t ever ever doubt your life. Make a wish and just believe. Find the path that’s right. It’s the essence of life.” The fascinating music video produced for the track features scenic footage of such diverse locales as China, the Sahara Desert and Cape Town, South Africa, interspersed with scenes of people of different ethnicities and cultures expressing a range of emotions.
Connect with Shimmer: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Find her music on Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music / Bandcamp
Connect with Refeci: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Find his music on Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud / Amazon Music