TOBISONICS & COSTI release a powerful and timely new single “Eye of the Storm”

Tobisonics is the music project of Toby Davis, a longtime alternative electro-pop artist, composer, songwriter and music producer based in Luxembourg. For several years, he used his creative vision and talents mixing, mastering or remixing other artists and bands’ music, but starting in late 2018, he decided to create his own musical works as Tobisonics. About his moniker, he explains “All Tobisonics really means is Tobi sounds. And that’s how I think of myself, as a noisemaker, rather than a musician.”

Costi is a London-based hip hop artist and rapper who describes himself as an “Emcee slash poet who mixes spoken word with hip hop music.. plus a little guitar.” He’s been featured on Fresh on the Net – Fresh Faves 316 and the BBC Introducing Mixtape, and has been involved in numerous musical collaborations and projects, including as one half of the hip hop/electronic music duo One Line to an Angle, who released a terrific single “Cassette Tape”, along with several remixes, last October.


I’ve previously featured Tobisonics three times on this blog, most recently last October when I wrote about his single “Military Industrial Complex“, a politically-charged electronic track featuring two important and diametrically opposite speeches by Presidents Eisenhower and Trump. (You can read my previous reviews by clicking on the “Related” links at the end of this post.) Angered by Trump’s incendiary Rose Garden speech last June, in which he threatened a harsh government response to the Black Lives Matter protests, Toby decided to contrast Trump’s menacing words with Eisenhower’s 1961 Farewell Address warning of the need for perpetual vigilance to safeguard the liberties of the American people against the military industrial complex and include them in his song. Though the song resonated with listeners and music critics, and received radio play on Amazing Radio US, KGUP FM, and scores of respected independent radio shows, Toby later confessed to having mixed feelings: “I feel ‘Military Industrial Complex’ was artistically successful but, in terms of its application, it failed. I wanted to engage with traditional voters on the right, instead I just ended up just preaching to the choir.”

With that sentiment in mind, he decided to create a new song that would tackle populist nationalism not with clever comparisons, but with hope: “I wanted to inspire hope and remind people of a time when we believed we could be one race of humans, a better people, a great people, a global people.” He teamed up with Costi to collaborate on a song they titled “Eye of the Storm“, an electro-synth retro-wave anthem of hope to raise people up after all the stress, worry, fear and pain of 2020. The single will be released on all music platforms on Wednesday, January 20th, in recognition of Joe Biden’s Inauguration as the 46th President of the United States. It’s the first of four collaborative music projects Tobisonics has planned for 2021.

For the song, Tobisonics sampled President John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural speech, along with lyrics written and sung by Costi. The track opens with Costi singing the chorus, followed by several verses alternating with the repeated chorus. Musically, Tobisonics employs a powerful thumping synth bass beat, accompanied by ominous swirling industrial synths that seem to mimic bombs dropping from the skies, while Costi raps the biting lyrics with an impressive and commanding flow. At the two-minute mark, Kennedy’s speech enters, followed by the chorus. In the fifth recitation of the chorus, Costi’s lyrics are interspersed with the most famous lines of Kennedy’s speech:

The future’s bright that’s the neon lights
(And so my fellow Americans)
Demolition man put your dreams on ice
(ask not)
Said it’s going down if you’re seen on sight
(what your country can do for you)
Countdown started and we leave tonight
(ask what you can do for your country)

The song ends with the often-overlooked second part to Kennedy’s most famous quote: “My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man”, driving home the strong unifying message Tobisonics and Costi desired to great effect.

Click on this link to pre-save the track.

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

Four Fresh New Tracks

I’m sent so much new music each week that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with it all, let alone write about every single, EP or album that enters my inbox or various social media messaging platforms. With that in mind, I’ve decided to try posting a weekly digest containing several new tracks, so that I can feature more artists. For my first such post, I’m including some fantastic new songs by (in alphabetical order) Blue Vines, Oli Barton & the Movement, Tobisonics and Vanity Fear. All four tracks are timely and topical, addressing issues relating to politics, sexual harassment and the pandemic.

“Disavow” by Blue Vines

Blue Vines is the music project of New York City-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nick Gonzalez, who makes innovative indie music with punk-rock elements. In August 2019, he released his wonderful debut EP Fever Dreamy, which I reviewed. He’s just dropped a terrific new single “Disavow” that was inspired by his contempt for Donald Trump and those who enable his unrelenting mendacity and lies – a sentiment I strongly share. With a fervent sense of frustration, Nick laments “Do I need special glasses for your alternate reality, or just adjust my moral compass? Cause it’s this lack of character that knows just how to make me scream. All at once cowardly and pompous.” The track has a bouncy, mid-tempo vibe with some pretty cool jangly guitar work.

“Get Out” by Oli Barton & the Movement

London-based Oli Barton & the Movement are a favorite of this blog; I’ve written about them numerous times since first featuring them in May 2017, and their brilliant songs “Kinky” and “44” both ended up on my 100 Best Songs of 2018 list. The band is headed by singer-songwriter Oli Barton, and includes Ryan Wilson on lead guitar, Jamal Lagoon on rhythm guitar, Marco Paone on Bass, and Josh Needham on drums. With a winning combination of talent, creativity and personality, their eccentric style of alternative rock is a crazy-good mix of post-punk and psychedelia, fortified with touches of funk, grunge and pop.

Their latest single “Get Out” is a deliriously catchy pop-rock song with a decidedly darker message. The song addresses sexual harassment and assault against women within the music industry, and seeks to raise awareness of this issue that Barton and the band feel quite strongly about. All proceeds from streaming during the first month after its release will go to the charity organization Women In Music. “Get Out” is the lead single from their long-awaited forthcoming album pipe dreams, and it’s a fantastic banger with a driving dance beat so irresistible, it’ll have even the most committed wallflower up and moving! I love Barton’s colorful vocals, and he’s in fine form here as he belts out the lyrics urging women to get themselves out of abusive situations. I love it!

“Military Industrial Complex” by Tobisonics

Tobisonics is a longtime alternative electro-pop artist, composer, songwriter and music producer based in Luxembourg. I’ve previously featured him twice on this blog, most recently this past March when I reviewed his single “All These Things”. Now he returns with a powerful new single “Military Industrial Complex“, a politically-charged electronic track featuring important speeches by Presidents Eisenhower and Trump. 

Like Blue Vines, Tobisonics was angered by recent actions of President Trump, namely his incendiary Rose Garden speech on June 1st in reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests. Here, he juxtaposes Trump’s speech with Eisenhower’s 1961 Farewell Address warning of the need for perpetual vigilance to safeguard the liberties of the American people against the military industrial complex. Tobisonics explains: “I’d finished the production back in July and was looking for the right artist to add vocals, but then I remembered Eisenhower’s Farewell Address. The contrast between the dignified, nuanced, and hopeful tone of his speech and the macho, antagonistic and fatalistic language of Trump’s speech was so striking, I knew I had to put them together.” The result is an immensely compelling track featuring a dramatic and pulsating groove that magnifies the chilling words contained in the speeches.

“Virus” by Vanity Fear

Vanity Fear is an outstanding cinematic rock band based in Columbus, Georgia that I recently learned about when they followed me on Twitter, and I have to say their music was a revelation at first listen. Drawing on influences ranging from alt rock and metal to pop and hip hop, their music is dramatic, sweeping and harshly beautiful in ways that call to mind such bands as Evanescence, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater and Linkin Park. Vanity Fear was founded in May 2019, and consists of husband and wife Brandon Diaz and Heather Gevonovich, Matt Hardy, Jeff Cobb and Kyle Netherland. In their brief existence, the prolific band has already dropped two full albums Vanity and Fear in 2019, an EP Faith this past June, and several singles, the latest of which is “Virus“. It’s the first single from their forthcoming EP Optophobia, and it’s magnificent. I love this song more with each listen!

The track starts off tentatively, with spooky synths and an arresting drumbeat, then gradually builds into a gorgeous soundscape of glittery synths, haunting piano keys, skittering percussion and sweeping strings. The band has three great vocalists – Heather, Brandon and Matt – each of them contributing their own unique vocal textures to the mix. Heather and Brandon’s vocal harmonies are wonderful, while Matt’s impressive rapping/screaming later in the song adds drama and tension that takes things to a whole new level. The song’s lyrics speak to the uncertainties of life and our feelings of helplessness and vulnerability that have been laid bare by the pandemic: “Everything we thought was right is wrong. Yeah it’s all broken / Everyone’s talking, nobody knows.”

New Song of the Week – TOBISONICS: “All These Things”

Tobisonics All These Things Cover Art

Tobisonics is the music project of Toby Davis, a longtime music producer, composer and writer based in Luxembourg. He’s used his creative vision and talents mixing, mastering or remixing other artists and bands’ music for some time, but more recently, has chosen to create his own solo works. For his first effort, released in December 2018, he teamed up with the theatrical, genre-bending Las Vegas-based duo Fans of Jimmy Century to re-imagine their modwave neo-noir song “Noirstar (Memories of His City)”, which he redubbed “Noirstar (Dark City Edition)”. Giving their song a cinematic synthscape treatment resulted in a dark and sexy track with a slightly menacing vibe that artfully conveys the sense of excitement, titillation and danger inherent in big city life. I wrote a review of the track, which you can read here.  Now he returns with a brand new single “All These Things“, which I’ve chosen as my New Song of the Week.

He states that the song is a bit of a departure for him, as he usually works primarily with virtual instruments and midi, whereas this one is more loop-based and more pop. He provided some background for the song and his inspiration behind it, including an admission that he’s struggled with PTSD, chronic anxiety and depression for years, and only rediscovered music in his mid 30s. “I’d played in bands as a teenager, but hadn’t picked my guitar up for over 15 years. It’s like the depression drowned out the music in me. Once I started seeing a psychiatrist and taking anti-depressants, the music just flowed. I couldn’t have stopped it, if I’d wanted to. I’ve always been pretty open about my depression and anxiety. The reasons that lie beneath, I’m not so open about. I guess that’s where the music comes in.

‘All These Things’ explores a difficult subject matter, but remains a compelling piece of contemporary pop, painted in fiercely percussive tones and an ear-catching vocal hook. It begins as an apparently simple love song, painted in soulful tones and lo-fi beats. The infectious chorus ‘All these things I remember’ arrives early, perhaps nostalgic for a summer love. But as the track unfolds, a darker truth emerges, one that can not be forgotten nor easily escaped: ‘Nobody can stop me, I am running’.”

Tobisonics skillfully employs a colorful kaleidoscope of sultry keyboards, mesmerizing beats and a mix of glittery and spacey looped synths to create a lush and captivating soundscape. As the track progresses, the music becomes heavier and the mood darker, culminating in a stunning crescendo of swirling string synths in the bridge. The previous beat-driven tempo then returns along with the refrain “All these things I remember”, which continues through to the song’s end.

Regarding the bewitching female vocals, which sound to me a bit like an early Madonna, Tobisonics found the right vocals he desired and looped them. Unfortunately, under the terms of their use, he was not allowed to credit the vocalist.

Connect with Tobisonics: WebsiteFacebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music:  SpotifyApple Music
Purchase:  Google PlayAmazon

TOBISONICS featuring FANS OF JIMMY CENTURY – Single Review: “Noirstar (Dark City Edition)”

Music producer Tobi (Toby Davis) has been using his creative vision and talents mixing, mastering or remixing other artists and bands’ music for a while now. And though he’s generally preferred to work behind the scenes in relative anonymity in the Luxembourg countryside where he resides, he’s also found it difficult to build momentum or a fan base in his own right. Consequently, he came to the realization that he needed to invent and control his own brand. In addition, he’s long thought of his collaborations as  ‘alternate versions’, rather than simply ‘remixes’, and that the term ‘remix’ did not serve him well. This has led him to create a new ‘Tobisonics’ brand as an opportunity to more properly reflect his alternate versions and the manner in which he approaches and feels about them.

For his first project as Tobisonics, he’s teamed up with the theatrical, genre-bending Las Vegas-based duo Fans of Jimmy Century to re-imagine their modwave neo-noir song “Noirstar (Memories of His City).” Fans of Jimmy Century consists of vocalist, lyricist, composer and voice-over artist Alicia Perrone & songwriter, producer and bassist Victor James. Tobisonics gives their song a cinematic synth-scape treatment, redubbed  “Noirstar (Dark City Edition)“.

Fans of Jimmy Century (2)
Fans of Jimmy Century

Living up to its title, the languid track is sexy and dark, with a slightly menacing vibe that conveys the sense of excitement, titillation and danger inherent in big city life. Starting with Victor James’s deep, pulsating bass line, Tobi recasts it as a modulated/phased sequencer bass, creating a hypnotic EDM beat over which he layers spacey, otherworldly synths. In her mysterious, sultry vocals, Alicia Perrone purrs: “Still have memories of the city. I wouldn’t wish ’em on anyone. Not anyone.” Exactly what she’s referring to isn’t clear, leaving it up to the listener to interpret as we wish. The tension gradually builds until the two-minute mark, at which point Tobi breaks down the track with eerie tribal chants and soaring synth chords. After about 20 seconds, the previous bass-driven tempo returns and continues through to the end, leaving us mesmerized by this captivating song.

Connect with Tobi:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Connect with Fans of Jimmy Century:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Download/purchase the track on  iTunes / Amazon / Google Play / Tidal