PERPACITY – Single Review: “Granite/Never Let Go”

Perpacity is an electronic music act comprised of British singer-songwriter, composer and producer Ian Harling and Danish singer-songwriter, composer and producer Martin Nyrup (Martin is a also a member of Danish Electronica act Oui Plastique, whose single “The Fear” I reviewed last year.) They’re both accomplished musicians, with over 20 years of experience, and from what I’ve been able to discern from their website and social media accounts, have been collaborating for nearly a decade. Their sound is characterized by haunting melodies, lush electronic soundscapes and driving beats, with thoughtful and compelling lyrics. And while their social media following is rather modest, they have over 3,100 followers on Soundcloud, an impressive figure for an independent music act.

Martin Nyrup & Ian Harling

The released their debut album The Sinner Inclination in 2015, consisting of a previously-written catalogue of early instrumentals and songs. Since then, the prolific duo have released scores of singles and three more albums: Arise, The Order of Now and, most recently, Conflagration in 2020. Now they’re back with a new single “Granite“, along with a B-side “Never Let Go“, both of which will be included on their forthcoming fifth album Discordia. The songs explore the seemingly conflicting aspects of love lost and love found. Martin produced, mixed and mastered both tracks, and Ian produced the video for “Granite”.

Perpacity states that “‘Granite’ is about love lost and the repercussions that follow, finding that you are suddenly alone and vulnerable, whereas ‘Never Let Go’ is its opposite, about love found and the strength and cohesion it brings.” Both songs have a haunting, rather enigmatic vibe, but that’s where the similarities end. “Granite” features a insistent thumping beat, overlain with a pulsating synth bass groove and mysterious swirling synths. Ian’s low-key vocals nicely convey a sense of sad resignation as he contemplates a love that’s slipping out of reach, never to return.

Reading in Fahrenheit,
I'm in flames,
But I feel colder than the rain you left me in again today.
Bleeding but sanitised,
There's no pain,
But every little raindrop,
Is burning in my veins.

Don't let it rain anymore.
I'm washing away I'm not stone.
Don't let it rain anymore,
I'm slipping now don't let me go.

Nearing the danger line,
Overflow,
And the clouds that gather round my head are greyer than before.
Drowning in real time,
You couldn't wait,
You found a friend for shelter,
And let me liquidate.

Don't let it rain anymore.
I'm washing away I'm not stone.
Don't let it rain anymore,
I'm slipping now don't let me go.

Hvad som kommer er mit
Som i hvileløst granit

“Never Let Go” is more introspective, with a gentle, cinematic soundscape that nicely complements, but never overpowers, Ian and Martin’s enchanting vocal harmonies. The moody atmospheric synths and softly soaring strings are really captivating, and I think I actually prefer this track.

I was in denial,
I love LOVE, that you see me.
So let me stand trial,
I love you, now hear me.

I looked to the stars
I love LOVE, when you´re near me.
I carry all the scars,
You see them, you feel me.


You´re my seed to everything
And with water we´ll grow
And I´ll give you anything
Just you hold on and never let go


You´re always by my side
You´re loved LOVED, and I'm near you
When worlds they collide
Together, I´m with you

You and I have come far
You´re loved LOVED, and I am with you
I'm with the northern star
Everything shines up, when with you

Connect with Perpacity: FacebookTwitterInstagram

Stream their music: SpotifyApple MusicSoundcloudYouTube

Purchase on Bandcamp

ART BLOCK – “White Horses EP”

Art Block is an alternative folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in East London, England. A prolific artist, he’s been making beautiful music for a number of years, and has released an impressive number of singles, EPs and remixes since early 2015, beginning with his debut L.A.-inspired single “Los Feliz”. I’ve featured him three times on this blog, the first time in November 2019 when I reviewed his enchanting song “The Basement”. The song has become his most successful to date, amassing over 290,000 streams on Spotify, which is notable in light of the fact he not represented by any label or management. A year later, I reviewed his lovely single “Borderline”, then this past March, I included his single “Pilgrim” in a post about my having been a moderator for Tom Robinson’s Fresh On The Net blog.

Now he returns with a new EP titled White Horses EP, featuring three tracks he says were “inspired by the beauty of nature but also touching upon war, themes of death, loss and the bitter sweet nature of human existence.” The EP was recorded at Super Symmetry Studios in Hackney, utilizing a mix of both analog and digital sounds that give the songs incredible texture and depth. William Robertson aka Wheeliemix produced, mixed and engineered the EP using Moog synthesizers, as well as played acoustic guitar, Raphael Bouchara played drums, and Sandra Brus played violin. Mastering was done by John Webber (David Bowie, Duran Duran). Art Block created the beautiful cover artwork for his EP using a photo he’d taken of the English countryside.

In addition to beautiful melodies and captivating arrangements, a defining aspect of Art Block’s songs are his tender, heartfelt vocals. With his incredibly emotive singing voice, he has the ability to convey a deep sense of sorrow and despair, which is on full display on all three songs. The first track “Saviour” speaks of a relationship that saved him at first, but ultimately ended because of the hurt and pain they inflicted on each other: “It was a travesty. Unjust unliberty. Hurting those around you. Building walls between ourselves. We knocked our brains out cold. Drank from the cup untold. Floored by passion and the drink. Makes us do what we don’t think. You were a precious stone. Now I am all alone. I’m fading, yeah I’m fading. We dug our grave too soon.” It’s a melancholy but lovely song, highlighted by Art Block’s stunning piano and Sandra Brus’ mournful violin.

White Horses” is another hauntingly beautiful piano-driven song with a somewhat similar vibe as “Saviour”, except Art Block’s vocals are more emotionally-wrought in the choruses. He says the song “was inspired by a beautiful place in England, but also by the attack in Mariupol Ukraine which was in the news, where I imagined I was going through the devastation there. Perhaps ‘White Horses’ is a metaphor for something else, greater, perhaps mystical or mysterious? The place I visited in England certainly had a mystical feel even though the White Horse itself etched into a hill was not ancient.” His lyrics are poetic and deep, touching on the terrifying randomness of death and suffering: “We bear our own cross. And the people may wonder why God’s left them alone? The wind is burning. There’s so much smoke cos’ you’re coughing up blood now. The poem has ceased. And the soil is all over me, I’m six feet deep.

The bittersweet “Low Light” is both captivating and melancholy. Art Block’s vocals are downright heartbreaking here, perfectly conveying the intense pain and heartache of a relationship or friendship that’s falling apart, but not wanting to come to terms with it just yet: “A friendship ooh has crumbled. Ooh we’ve stumbled, as we break into dust. A fear I don’t wanna see. A light I don’t want feel. A low light I don’t wanna see. A change I don’t wanna make tonight.” Art Block’s piano is sublime, accompanied by airy synths, William’s shimmery guitar notes, Sandra’s subtle electric violin, and Raphael’s gentle drums and cymbals that evoke waves crashing upon rocks at the sea’s edge.

While it’s subject matter is decidedly bleak, White Horse EP is nevertheless a gorgeous little work. With its flawless arrangements, production and performances by everyone involved, the three songs are among Art Block’s finest yet. The EP was released exclusively on Bandcamp today, September 2nd, and will be released on most streaming platforms on the 23rd.

Follow Art Block:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music:  Spotify / Apple MusicSoundcloud
Purchase:  Bandcamp

SKAR DE LINE – Single & Video Review: “Reset”

Skar de Line is the solo music project of singer-songwriter, producer and composer Oskar Abrahamsson, a talented, handsome, thoughtful and creative artist born and raised in Sweden and now based in London, England. Fascinated by the concept of boundaries and the human obsession for self-understanding, he fuses his love for cinematic soundtracks by such composers as Hans Zimmer, Junkie XL and Ramin Djawadi with hip-hop, rock and electronic metal to create dark, unconventional music that takes the listener on a sonic adventure while giving us a lot to think about. He writes, performs, records and produces all his own music, as well as writing, directing and editing all his music videos.

In October 2019, Skar de Line released his debut single “In Charge”, a fascinating orchestral electronic song about the human need to understand and control our surroundings, followed a year later by “Satisfied”, which explored the concept of satisfaction, posing the question “do we get satisfaction from being right, or merely by the act of searching for what we think we want?” The intensely dramatic song ended up spending 10 weeks on my Weekly Top 30 from January through March of 2021. (I reviewed both singles, and you can check them out by clicking on the Related links at the end of this post.)

Now he’s back with another single “Reset“, a dark and cinematic song that sees him continuing to explore new musical sounds by pushing beyond his comfort zone. He explains that the song “is built on my need to be better. A wish to constantly evolve, but also a fear that nothing ever will be enough. This is a journey out of this mental prison, in order to try to find something that I believe in, something I can hold on to forever.” He further elaborated on his Instagram page “Does every circle, even the ones we’ve created ourselves, hold us back? No matter how positive they are meant to be? As I looked around the room, I knew myself well enough to know that in my search to be better, this moment was just a phase, and would not mean anything in the next moment once I’ve grown beyond it. But I didn’t know if I really could accept that and let that happen, or if I, in this moment, could be more than that… Just take what I needed from myself.

“Reset” opens on an eerie note, with sounds of Skar de Line’s echoed breathy gasps, which are soon accompanied by a distant rumbling bass and gently ticking drums as he sings in a rather ominous voice “Every time I open my eyes I kill an old version of mine. But I’m not a murderer, no, I’m a maker./ Every time I close my eyes, I am already set to reset.” From there, the music gradually builds as the breathy gasps continue, with the addition of dark orchestral synths and sharp percussion, creating a strong aura of tension along the way. His vocals turn more menacing as the tension continues to build, finally exploding into a bombastic cinematic crescendo, highlighted by a hauntingly beautiful angelic chorus that he states serves to “lift us out of the darkness“.

The brilliant video, filmed mostly in black and white and sepia tones, pays homage to the neo-noir black-and-white art style, and reflects the claustrophobic sentiments expressed in the lyrics. Skar de Line is dressed in black amidst a dark background, representing him feeling deeply trapped in the dark mental prison from which he wants to break free. His mind’s eye envisions a setting sun in a world of color, symbolizing a sense of freedom that still eludes him, and pushing him to fulfill his wish to climb out of this cycle that holds him back.

Connect with Skar de Line: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream on Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase on  Amazon

New Song of the Week – “I Love You” by Fontaines D.C.

Irish post-punk band Fontaines D.C. (the suffix D.C. in their name stands for Dublin City, to distinguish them from L.A.-based alt pop-rock band The Fontaines) formed in 2017, but it wasn’t until summer of 2020 that I learned about them, when I heard their mesmerizing single “A Hero’s Death”, from their brilliant second album of the same name. I loved it at once, and after listening to the entire album, I became a fan of this exceptional band. Comprised of Grian Chatten (vocals), Carlos O’Connell (guitar), Conor Curley (guitar), Conor Deegan III (bass), and Tom Coll (drums), Fontaines D.C. met while students at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute in Dublin, and bonded over their common love of poetry. They began recording and self-releasing singles, as well as performing locally, and were ultimately signed to Partisan Records in 2018.

Since the release of their debut album Dogrel in 2019, Fontaines D.C. have garnered widespread critical acclaim as one of the best bands making music today. The album was named Album of the Year on the record store Rough Trade’s website, voted Album of the Year by presenters on BBC Radio 6 Music, and nominated for both the Mercury Prize and the Choice Music Prize. Their second album A Hero’s Death, which was written and recorded in the midst of extensive touring for Dogrel, was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2021 Grammy Awards, losing to The Strokes’ The New Abnormal. They just released their darkly beautiful single “I Love You“, which I love so much, I’ve chosen it as my New Song of the Week.

The song is the second single from the band’s forthcoming third album Skinty Fia, due for release April 22. The album’s interesting title translates to “the damnation of the deer” in English. Fontaines D.C. bassist Conor Deegan III further elaborates about the band’s intent: “The Irish giant deer is an extinct species, but ‘skinty fia’ is also used as an expletive, in the way you’d say ‘For fuck’s sake’ if you bang your arm on a table or whatever. We just thought there was something really beautiful about that, because it’s representative of Irish culture in some sense. We were interested in the idea of something really precious or sentimental and attached to family, but also something that’s been taken away from us. Which doesn’t mean we can’t cherish it.

“I Love You” follows lead single “Jackie Down The Line” which was released a month ago, and is described by band frontman Grian Chatten as “the first overtly political song we’ve written”. In one sense, it’s a love song to their home of Ireland. Chatten, along with the rest of the band, relocated from Ireland to London to further their music careers, and the first two verses of the song address his guilt at becoming successful and leaving his beloved homeland. He explained to Rolling Stone: “I’m in a position there where I’ve made something of a career from trying to connect with and render the culture and country that I come from and try and express it, [and] in doing so, understand it myself and help other people understand it. [But] I’ve moved from that country, and I’m now living in a country that is responsible for a lot of the chaos in the country that I’m from, that still kind of looks down on that country. I feel guilty for having left. I feel like I’ve abandoned Ireland to some extent. Not that it can’t survive fine without me, but I feel like I’ve taken all this crap from it creatively, and then I’ve just left. I have this kind of strange feeling of guilt toward my leaving of Ireland.”

But the song also speaks to Chatten’s seething anger and disappointment over the current political climate in Ireland – expressed in the lyrics condemning two of its major political parties: “I will tell them ’bout it all / About the gall of Fine Gael and the fail of Fianna Fáil“- as well as one of Ireland’s grimmest historical atrocities, namely the decades of tragic brutality at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home in Galway, where a mass grave containing the remains of 800 babies was later discovered decades after the home’s closure. He rebukes both those responsible for the atrocity, as well as those who turned a blind eye, which he references in the scathing words “This island’s run by sharks with children’s bones stuck in their jaws.”

Musically, the song is gorgeous and brooding, opening with Conor Deegan III’s somber bass riff, which is soon joined by a glorious mix of O’Connell and Curley’s shimmery and jangly guitar notes reminiscent of The Cure. As Chatten begins to sing “I love you, I love you, I told you I do” in his signature captivating drone, the music expands with Tom Cull’s assertive thumping drums, keeping perfect rhythm with Deegan’s immaculate bassline. A little past the two-minute mark, the song turns darker, with heavier instrumentals and an intense repetitive drumbeat to match the rising anger in Chatten’s vocals, in which he practically spits the bitter lyrics, eliciting chills in the process.

I love you, I love you, I told you I do
It's all I've ever felt, I've never felt so well
And if you don't know it, I wrote you this tune
To be here loving you when I'm in the tomb
I've eddied the heart now, from Dublin to Paris
And if there was sunshine, it was never on me
So close, the rain, so pronounced is the pain
Yeah

Well, I love you, imagine a world without you
It's only ever you, I only think of you
And if it's a blessing, I want it for you
If I must have a future, I want to with you
Systеm in our hearts, you only had it before
You only opеn the window, never open up the door
And I love you, I love you, told you I do

Selling genocide and half-cut pride, I understand
I had to be there from the start, I had to be the fucking man
It was a clamber of the life, I sucked the ring off every hand
Had 'em plying me with drink, even met with their demands
When the cherries lined up, I kept the spoilings for myself
'Til I had thirty ways of dying looking at me from the shelf
Cloud-parting smile I had, a real good child I was
But this island's run by sharks with children's bones stuck in their jaws
Now the morning's filled with cokeys tryna talk you through it all
Is their mammy Fine Gael and is their daddy Fianna Fáil?
And they say they love the land, but they don't feel it go to waste
Hold a mirror to the youth and they will only see their face
Makes flowers read like broadsheets, every young man wants to die
Say it to the man who profits, and the bastard walks by
And the bastard walks by, and the bastard walks by
Say it to him fifty times and still the bastard won't cry
Would I lie?

I love you, I love you, I told you I do
It's all I've ever felt, I've never felt so well
And if you don't know it, I wrote you this tune
To be here loving you when I'm in the tomb
System in our hearts, you only had it before
Echo, echo, echo, the lights, they go
The lights, they go, the lights, they go
Echo, echo

Selling genocide and half-cut pride, I understand
I had to be there from the start, I had to be the fucking man
It was a clamber of the life, I sucked the ring off every hand
Had 'em plying me with drink, even met with their demands
And I loved you like a penny loves the pocket of a priest
And I'll love you 'til the grass around my gravestone is deceased
And I'm heading for the cokeys, I will tell them 'bout it all
About the gall of Fine Gael and the fail of Fianna Fáil
And now the flowers read like broadsheets, every young man wants to die
Say it to the man who profits, and the bastard walks by
And the bastard walks by, and the bastard walks by
Say it to him fifty times and still the bastard won't cry
Would I lie?

The dramatic, beautifully-filmed video was directed by Sam Taylor, and shows Chatten strolling through a dark, candle-lit church as he sings the first few verses. Two minutes in, he abruptly turns to face the camera, whereupon he launches into his scathing attack on the things that infuriate him about the country of his birth. By the video’s end, blood can be seen issuing from his chest.

Follow Fontaines D.C.:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

BRANWELL BLACK – Single Review: “Lay On Me”

Branwell Black is a charismatic young singer-songwriter, producer, dancer and model who creates alternative electro pop-rock influenced by some of his favorite artists like Kate Bush, Madonna, Charli XCX, Kerli, Evanescence and Tokio Hotel. Born in Oxford, England, raised primarily in France, and now based in London, Branwell has recorded music both in French and English as a solo artist, and as part of the band Brothers Black/Posie that he formed with his brother Morgan. Both he and Morgan developed a love of music at a young age, as their father was an accomplished rock drummer. 

In September 2019, Branwell released his debut single “J’attends L’amour”, then quickly followed up with “What You Want”, as well as an EP Posie with his band Brothers Black/Posie. In May 2020, he released his sultry single “Love Life” (which I reviewed), then followed that October with a marvelous electronic cover of the Verve classic “Bittersweet Symphony”. Now he’s back with “Lay On Me“, the first single from his forthcoming Lay On Me EP, due for release by the end of the month. That EP will also feature a rave remix of “Lay On Me”, as well as a live version of “What You Want”. 

About the new song, Branwell explains: “‘Lay On Me’ is the first song I’m releasing which features my live band [with] Harvey on guitar and my insane drummer Alexandra. It’s a sonic reintroduction of sorts, as it’s a little heavier than my original music, and also a tease into the direction I’ll be going. We’ve been touring the UK and have grown our sound into something even more exciting as a bridge between rock and pop. The song also takes influences from the Vogue scene with elements of ballroom vogue songs, and is a sexy number about taking control of situations and appreciating your beauty and knowing how to use it. The lyrics ‘But I’ll be me’ represent a realization that you’re always in control of your own enjoyment and knowing what you want.

When I first listened to “Lay On Me”, it seemed to be primarily a catchy dance-pop song. But with repeated listens, the brilliance of Branwell’s songwriting was revealed as I detected elements of house, trip hop, electro and psychedelic rock he’d artfully injected into the mix. Though the song’s driving dance groove is undeniably hypnotic, it’s the variety of stylistic elements and textures that make it such a compelling and sonically fascinating track. I love the thick synth bass groove, Harvey’s funky riffs, Alexandra’s galloping drumbeats, and the colorful blend of gnarly and spacey industrial synths. Branwell’s bewitching and breathy vocals have an understated seductive quality that perfectly complements the captivating instrumentals. It’s a terrific song.

Connect with Branwell:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Deezer / Soundcloud
Purchase:  AmazonBandcamp

PHILIP MORGAN LEWIS – Single Review: “Redchurch Street Blues”

British singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Philip Morgan Lewis is one of the most creative and prolific artists I’ve encountered in my more than six years as a music blogger. Drawing from an eclectic range of music genres and influences, including alternative rock, blues, R&B, soul, garage rock, folk and EDM, the London East Ender crafts his own unique style of blues-soaked rock. That unique style, combined with his distinctive raspy singing voice that sounds like no one else, makes his music instantly recognizable as only his.

Over the past decade, Philip has released an impressive amount of music, including two albums – Grief Harbour in 2017 (which I reviewed) and Now + Then this past September – as well as two EPs and scores of singles. I’ve also reviewed several of those singles, most recently “I.O.U” this past August (you can read some of those reviews by clicking on the links under ‘Related’ at the end of this post). Now the hard-working musician returns with a fantastic new single “Redchurch Street Blues“. In addition to writing, singing and producing the track, Philip also played slide and electric guitars and organ. Drums were played by Jon Harris, bass by Ben Jones, additional electric guitar by Rob Updegraff, and backing vocals were sung by Philip, Vicky and Little A. The track was recorded at One Louder Studios London by Alan Emptage, and mastered at Fluid Mastering by Tim Debney.

I’ve stated previously that one of the things I like about Philip’s music is its unpredictability, and how no two songs of his ever sound alike. With every release, we’re treated to an entirely different sound and vibe than the song before, and “Redchurch Street Blues” is another fine example of that. The song is a raw and bluesy ode to the hardscrabble East London neighbourhood he once lived in, which in recent years has undergone gentrification, along with all the positive and negative changes that comes with it.

The song’s retro and bluesy vibe has one foot planted in late 1950s rock’n’roll, with noticeable shades of Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent and Elvis Presley. In fact, Philip seems to channel Vincent with his be-bop-a-lula-esque vocals in the bridge. The other foot is firmly planted in the present, with a contemporary blues rock sensibility similar to some of the music of two of my favorite bands, Cage the Elephant and The Black Keys. The dual intricate guitars of Philip and Rob Updegraff are outstanding, floating over Ben Jones’ pulsating bass groove and Jon Harris’ thumping drums keeping the tight rhythm.

About his inspiration behind the song, Philip elaborates: “Redchurch Street is set in Shoreditch. I used to live a couple streets down on Bethnal green which is rougher and saw a good deal of the riots; it’s part of the poorest borough of London, Tower hamlets. It’s the home of the colourful Bricklane market and of course the Cockneys which by the way my daughter is as she was born in Whitechapel. Gentrification started a while back as posh shops and franchises moved into the area and most of the little shops, tenants and businesses had a hard time surviving with rent rising and all. I guess this is the way of the world, but the contrast remains stunning from one street to the other, with the City of London and its billions looming over in the east end of London.”

Builders aren’t building
Landlords evicting
The rent is trebling
No signs of easing

Cars are burning
While my baby is sleeping
The streets are a-blazing
And the bonfire grins

I’ve got the red church street blues
And I’m down in the gutter
There goes the neighbourhood

We toil everyday
For a misery pay
Ain’t got too much to lose
When you’re down with that blues
Now shops they are closing
And the malls keep on thriving
Got a bag full of nothing
And the pawnbroker’s spleen


I’ve got the red church street blues
And I’m down in the gutter
There goes the neighbourhood

Now the tables are turning
Heads are consulting
Inflation is rising
And my blood pressure steams
I’m just a dead man walking
Lord I’m up to my chin
I’ve been played now I spin
And the banker still grins     

I’ve got the red church street blues
And I’m down in the gutter
There goes the neighbourhood
It seems like yesterday
Will never fade away
No matter what you hear
No matter what they say
You’re on your own

I’ve got the red church street blues
And I’m down in the gutter
There goes the neighbourhood

Here’s a video of Philip’s acoustic performance of the song:

Connect with Philip: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music: Spotify / YouTube / Apple Music
Purchase:  Amazon / Deezer / Bandcamp 

New Song of the Week – PHILIP MORGAN LEWIS: “I.O.U.”

British singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Philip Morgan Lewis is one of the most creative and prolific artists I’ve come across in my six years as a music blogger. He’s become a favorite of this blog, and this is the fifth time I’ve featured him since November 2017. Drawing upon a wide range of genres and influences, including alternative rock, blues, R&B, garage rock, folk and EDM, the London East Ender crafts his own unique style of blues-soaked rock that’s perfect for his distinctive raspy vocals. His singing voice sounds like no one else, making him one of those artists you immediately recognize upon hearing his songs.

Over the past decade, Philip has released an impressive amount of music, including his superb 2017 album Grief Harbour (which I reviewed), two EPs and scores of singles. Among those I’ve written about was “Come Find Me Back”, which I premiered this past April along with its wonderful accompanying video. The hauntingly beautiful song spent 10 weeks on my Weekly Top 30. He quickly followed with two more singles and an EP Lost Soul Sessions, and now returns with yet another new single “I.O.U.“, which I’ve chosen as my New Song of the Week.

Released via Tx2 Records, “I.O.U.” is his second collaboration with Belgium producer Orfeo Brigande, who co-wrote and co-produced the track. Philip played guitar and sang all vocals on the track, Orfeo programmed the beat and synths, and Karl Velsch played additional guitar. The track will be included on his upcoming EP NOW + THEN, to be released September 1st. 

One of the many things I like about Philip’s music is its unpredictability, and that no two songs ever sound alike. With every release, we’re treated to an entirely different sound and vibe than the song before, and “I.O.U.” is no exception. The song has a slow, sensuous vibe, with Orfeo’s moody synths and keyboards creating a sultry, almost cinematic groove, over which Philip and Karl layer a marvelous blend of funky and distorted guitar notes. As always, Philip’s raspy emotive vocals are soulful and evocative, conveying his ardor in a way that’s soothing, but also smoldering with a white-hot desire.

The lyrics speak to someone who brings so much joy and love into your life that you feel an intense love for them in return, along with a grateful feeling of indebtedness – expressed by the initials “I.O.U.” In them, you’ve found someone so perfect, you need look no further for anyone who could possibly be better.

Ain’t gonna dig down deeper
There ain’t nobody like you
Ain’t gonna look no further
I want somebody like you
For the love you’ve given me
Is hard and dirty babe
And I.O.U.
Ain’t gonna dig it down
Don’t want nobody but you

Connect with Philip: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music: Spotify / YouTube / Apple Music
Purchase:  Amazon / Deezer / Bandcamp 

OLI BARTON & THE MOVEMENT – Single Review: “Martyr”

London-based alternative rock band Oli Barton & the Movement are a long-time favorite of mine, and I’ve featured the marvelously talented five-piece several times on this blog since first learning about them four years ago. (You can read some of my reviews by clicking the links under ‘Related’ at the end of this post.) So it goes without saying that it’s always a happy day when they drop new music, and on April 23rd they released a fantastic new single “Martyr“. The song is a bit of stylistic departure from their previous offerings, and I loved it at first listen.

As indicated by their name, the band is headed by hyper-creative and charismatic singer-songwriter Oli Barton, with the Movement consisting of four outstanding musicians – Ryan Wilson on lead guitar, Jamal Lagoon on rhythm guitar, Marco Paone on Bass, and Josh Needham on drums. Their eccentric yet sophisticated style of alternative rock is a colorful mix of post-punk, psychedelia, funk, grunge and pop, and always totally original with a sound like no other band I know of. “Martyr” follows their previous single “Get Out” released last October, which became their most successful single to date.

About the new single, Oli elaborates “This last year has really proved something to us. You have to look beyond the negativity, beyond the politics, beyond the media and you will find that people are ultimately always there for each other. We’ve seen these amazing people laying their lives on the line for others and being completely selfless. Lyrically, I wanted to pay tribute to these unsung heroes because they prove that we are always stronger together. The production on this track too is my favourite yet, utilising multiple synth layers and huge drums to bring that pure 80s vibe.

Well, I’m a lover of a lot of 80s music, with their big synth sounds and anthemic choruses, so “Martyr” is right up my alley. The lush synths are gorgeous, and when paired with Ryan and Jamal’s stunning layered guitars, Marco’s throbbing bass and Josh’s bold drumbeats, the result is a gloriously cinematic and uplifting soundscape that soars to the heavens. I love Oli’s distinctive, resonant singing voice and rich accent, and he’s never sounded better as he passionately sings of his admiration and devotion for another who’s given him support: “But when I’m alone, more will come to me. And when I’m alone, suffering the c’est la vie. Well I say, I’ll just be a martyr for you, if you would be a martyr for me. And when I’m lying flat on the ground, it’s your face I want to see.”

It’s a brilliant song on every level, and I’m confident it will become their biggest hit yet.

Follow Oli Barton and the Movement:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase:  iTunes / Amazon

Philip Morgan Lewis – Single & Video Premier: “Come Find Me Back”

As I’ve noted numerous times on this blog, there’s a tremendous amount of music talent in the UK, and one of the more creative and imaginative artists among them all is singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Philip Morgan Lewis. The London East Ender boldly experiments with a wide array of genres and influences, ranging from alternative rock, blues, garage rock and folk to R&B and EDM, in the creation of his exciting and eclectic style of blues-soaked rock that nicely suits his distinctive raspy vocals. And he isn’t afraid to address the darker side of humanity and the emotional wreckage of failed relationships, love gone bad and our sometimes self-destructive ways, while also offering glimmers of hope and redemption. His unique sound is instantly identifiable, as he sounds like no one else I know of.

He’s released a fair amount of music over the past decade, including his debut EP Karma Comedown in 2016, followed a year later by his brilliant album Grief Harbour, which I reviewed. In the years since, he’s dropped a number of singles, two of which – “Blowtorched Dreams” and “Rock That City” – I also featured on this blog (you can read those reviews by clicking on the links under ‘Related’ at the end of this post). Now Philip returns with another great new single “Come Find Me Back“, along with a terrific video which I’m happy to premier. Released via label Tx2 Records, the single was written, produced, performed and mixed by Philip, and mastered by legendary mastering engineer Pete Maher. The backing vocals were sung by Annick.

“Come Find Me Back” is a heartfelt song that speaks to someone’s fall from grace and the break up of a family. Philip elaborates “The song is about the breaking up of families and single parenting in an era where it’s simply easier to separate than to fight for your love and try to do everything you can to mend relationships. And someone trying to find his grace back in the spiritual sense, in a way to become stronger, accept past errors, and try and reunite and fix things.”

Philip brings his poignant lyrics to life with mournful piano keys, intricate guitar work and gently soaring horns, all working together brilliantly to create a beautiful and haunting soundscape. A close listen reveals how he skillfully layers multiple guitar textures to create both nuance and depth of sound, with subtle bass and percussion nicely transitioning to bolder rhythms in the anthemic choruses. His plaintive, blues-soaked vocals are powerfully emotive, conveying his despair and pleas for forgiveness and acceptance back into the fold with a heart-wrenching rawness. 

Love it's just just a couple of lines
To let you know I miss you babe
And it's just just a couple of bars
To let you know I messed things up

All that is left inside of me
Is the thought of our crazy little family
And it feels so warm 
But time keeps on passing us by
And I wanna hold you both so tight
Until that one fine day
Until I find my way

Hope is all I have
Grace come find me back
Until that one fine day
Until I find my way

I can't make you feel like I do
Though I wish you could see me now
Now I know that you couldn't love me
Like the man that I used to be

All that is left inside of me
Is the wrong that I did and a mystery
How to learn to forgive myself
What a mess
Time keeps on passing us by
And I wanna hold you both so tight
Until that one fine day
Until I find my way

Hope is all I have
Grace come find me back
Until that one fine day
Until I find my way
Hope is all I have
Love don't count me out
Until that one fine day
Until I find my way back to you


The beautiful video, which Philip directed and edited, was filmed in London’s East End, and shows scenes of mostly empty streets, parks and playgrounds, as well him in what appears to be an empty house. All serve to represent his feelings of isolation and loneliness, both at home and within the larger context of a big city that should be teeming with life. The child’s drawing of a family of three, shown blowing around on the sidewalk, is a particularly touching element.

Connect with Philip: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music: Spotify / YouTube / Apple Music
Purchase:  Amazon / Deezer / Bandcamp 

RECKLESS JACKS – Single Review: “Fugitive”

London-based Reckless Jacks is the music project of a charismatic singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist named Matt, who with his beautiful, distinctive vocal style and a passion for excellence and authenticity in his music, has built a growing and loyal fan base, me included. Born and raised in San Francisco, Matt spent his teenage years in Paris, then moved to London as an adult, where he established his music career, first as a band, and more recently as a solo act where he collaborates with other music producers.

He’s released seven outstanding singles over the past four years or so, my favorite of which is “Guide You in the Dark”, a gorgeous song that I ranked #61 on my Top 100 Songs of 2018 list. On March 5th, he dropped his latest single “Fugitive“, a hauntingly beautiful song about redemption and forgiveness. The song was written by Reckless Jacks with the help of Lawrence Diamond and musician/producers VOAH and Bob Matthews, who also produced the track.

The song starts off moody and introspective in the verses, as Reckless Jacks plaintively sings about both the pain and hurt he’s caused his romantic partner, and the pain she’s now inflicting upon him in return: “You light the fire just to burn me. Like you’re running after some kind of memory. Is this how we’ll always be? In this dark room, same old stories. If there’s love could you show me a little bit of the way we used to be?” The spooky synths, somber keyboards and measured drumbeats convey feelings of emotional fragility and desperation. His vocals turn impassioned and mournful in the choruses, accompanied by music that swells to a pulsating crescendo as he laments about not wanting to be kept in the dark, and pleading for mercy in the hope of reconciliation: “Fugitive, but I don’t wanna hide, hide no more. / Take, take, take me back, take me back in your life.”

It’s both lovely and powerfully moving.

Follow Reckless Jacks:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

Stream his music: SpotifyApple MusicSoundcloud