Stonefeather – Castle (feat. Carmen and Camille)

What a sound. Handmade music. You just gotta love it.

This track took me back a couple of decades. The guys of Stonefeather are about classic rock, if not psychedelic rock or beyond. Sometimes alternative rock. Damn, it’s hard to put into one single genre. I heard another track of them before called “Electrify” which is all about this classic rock feeling you won’t hear from today’s chart musicians out there. (by the way, why is that?) That got me curious about what they are capable of, and so I listened to one of their newer tracks called “Castle” where they recreated exactly the essence of what they are about as a band.
Playing drums in a krautrock band I know a thing or two about this specific sound they are creating. The setting with bands like Stonefeather is quite basic, you have all the instruments you would expect in a band, but then there’s that… special ingredient. In the case of those guys it’s not one but many ingredients that make the sound recognizable as a “Stonefeather original”. Taking a closer look on “Castle”, I like that room reverb put into the vocal tracks, as well as the vintage feeling of the overall mix. But if you have a closer listen to the break half way through the song (which I’d like to call “Stonefeatherlude”) where you got this scenario of guitar layers alongside the haunting vocals of Carmen and Camille with minimal percussion effects, you can feel what I meant when saying that creating a signature sound is crucial to the effect a band has on the listener. I just love the mixture feel between “session” and “ready song” delivered with this track. This song could easily have gone on for like twenty minutes (like several bands in the past did), but even with 5:30 minutes those guys are making their point of what they are about.

For this track, they teamed up with the L.A. based twins Carmen and Camille who brought in their outstanding voices to give the track this haunting, desperate, nothing to loose attitude. They fit in there as if they were playing with the band all the time although they are doing other projects on their own. When two projects/bands melt like this when you just feel this certain connection between the musicians – from that point on they could as well do a track where they read a telephone book to you, all of what they do would just work out great. That’s mutual understanding. Girls and guys, it doesn’t get any better if you’re into that kind of sound.

The Spare Room – Columbo

Did you ever have a real bad day? A hangover? Your girlfriend left you? Your cat just died? On days like these, you need something stronger than aspirin (but not as strong as alcohol shots). The newest track of Louis Doyle is your medicine. Without any side effects. Well… okay, maybe it’s a little addictive.

“Columbo” has a certain ring to it… I heard that specific sound of the vocals before from another well known artist (no, of course I won’t say which one). That vocal combination of tracks and effects alongside the flawless voice of London based singer/songwriter Louis Doyle is the main ingredient of “The Spare Room”, a project which manages to deliver emotion to you on a very sophisticated level.
There’s a lightweight drum/guitar/bass combination within this track that sets the stage for those really special vocals of Doyle. And those are bringing a very uplifting feel to the table, and if you felt down until this point, all of a sudden you get hit by that “hey, it’s not so bad now, is it?”-feeling. It’s not a well-played role by Doyle, I believe that you can hear that the singer isn’t about acting but feels what he’s singing about. This transmitted feeling is one of the key elements the track rides on.
Overall, the song has a great mixture of vocals and instrumental parts in it, as if they were playing together in a park, so to speak. The overall mix is done ground solid and in my opinion only “hacked” by some bell-like synths which add a bit too much high band material to the mix for a second or two. But hey, so what. Could also be my headphones, right. Outstanding work has been done with doubling, tripling and octave-switched addition of vocal tracks during chrous and break sections. It’s an art form not to mash those vocals together regarding volume, effects or eq work, and with “Columbo” you can hear how it’s done correctly.
The song even comes with a great not-your-everyday-thing music video (available here) which is a collab work of Monwar Hussain and Louis Doyle worth checking out, because it’s done with a kind of retro feeling and with an eye for those little scenes that I think weren’t intended to go that way but were used anyway because of the effect they create. Also, you’ll find additional tracks of Doyle on his soundcloud account, but those are mainly demo recordings.

Noize Method – Matter & Insanity (Original Mix)

You better get your seatbelts on. This ride is going to get fast, and it won’t stop for nobody, believe me.

Wow, this one surprised me. It has been a long time since I heard a track that delivers such fast and strict tempo without limits or boundaries, although there are changes happening all over the track.
After the usual kind of mystical intro with all those little effects and typical elements happening you are introduced by the straight bass and beat foundation. I especially like those breaks where the complete flow of the track is interrupted by silence or added up effects. This doesn’t hurt the track a bit but keeps your ears interested in what’s next. The basic beat keeps you moving constantly is driven even more by those metallic textures and vocal one-shots added on the way to the build-ups. The variety of things happening within those eight minutes really drives you off of your chair. Definetly to mention is that metallic textured sound that fits perfectly into the whole idea of the track. The french DJ/producer even manages to easily switch between different rhythm patterns without going too far away from the main theme.

It’s like the man behind “Noize Method” has a set of tools which all do exactly what he wants without him putting any effort in it. I didn’t find any flaw in the overall mix and placement of effects, one-shots or synth lines. Okay, maybe there was a harshly mixed track of those vocal tracks there, but it’s nothing that draws any points from the overall result.
No wonder that there’s a waiting line to have him booked for the next event. Noize Method delivers solid, genre-true music that makes people move. Imagining him sending waves through a dancefloor full of people gives me goosebumps.

Enisa – Burn This Bridge

This is an uplifting piece that gets you moving “eye of the tiger”-style. Not the music, but the feeling. For all those of you who are feeling down, the new pop track “Burn This Bridge” of 20 year old singer/songwriter Enisa is the perfect sound to lift your heads again.

There’s something special to this bass and piano intro. I guess it’s just me, but this already gets my head moving slightly. As soon as the vocals of Enisa set in, you’re half dancing while still sitting at your desk. The build up through the verse towards the chorus has several elements which are added one after another while leaving the room for the vocals totally intact. I have the feeling that there is power left in the voice of Enisa which hasn’t been used for this song, but that’s just because it’s not necessary this time. (But I wonder how she’d sound with singing at full throttle, so to speak.) The young Brooklyn based singer somehow stands out of the masses with her voice. There’s something refreshing to Enisa’s voice. It’s not that you haven’t heard her style before, but something makes her vocals sound warm and familiar.
“Burn This Bridge” was produced by the team of Julie Hardy and Mike MacAllister, who also worked with Donna Missal (we reviewed one of her latest track here). Needless to say those two are professionals, and therefore there’s nothing wrong with the production whatsoever. Clear arrangement, smooth mixing work, and a final mix that doesn’t smash the sound in your face but hits you hard enough to stick to your brain. (Okay, maybe a bit too graphic, but you get my point, right.)

Enisa is talented, skilled, determined, beautiful, in other words – she’s ready to be heard out there. With tracks like these there is no doubt she will make a name for herself easily. I’m eagerly awaiting her next track.

Tiny Dinosaurs – Sit and Stare

If you ever wondered how it sounds when someone sings with all of her heart – here’s your chance to have a listen. But be warned, this one may hit you with emotion big time.

She just takes her time to deliver the message. L.A. based singer/songwriter Julie Jay isn’t in any rush to get her music to you. Listening to one of the tracks of her new EP “Awake”, I practically got smashed in the face with a truckload of melancholy. With “Sit and Stare” there’s a retro-like synth added with drums, bass and guitar to set the stage for the soft, almost dreamy sung vocals of Jay. Those are only backed by additional vocal tracks in the chorus, so there’s nothing that adds any hectic or fast element to the song. There’s nothing bad to say about the mixing work at all, the track has that vintage feeling it surely was intended to have, and the instrumental and melodic tracks aren’t fighting with the vocals over dominance. But, all technicalities aside, the track’s magic is happening with the voice of Jay. The lyrics are sung very thoughtful and reflective, and sometimes they have even sort of a hypnotic effect on you as a listener.
The signature sound comes from the singer not singing everything right on spot. Kind of a brave move in today’s music environment where everyone tends to pitch correct the crap out of any vocals – and this brave move works out perfectly for her songs. To point out a negative thing in this song, it would be the synth line playing almost throughout the whole song, in my opinion it’s mixed a bit too creaky, therefore this sounds a bit too… “8bit Nintendo” for me. But hey, that’s just my own taste.

Overall, I  was stunned how minimalistic someone can transmit her feelings with just the above described elements. There’s a lot of thought in this track, this shows not only in the way it was sung, but also with the music video on Youtube that Jay created. You’ll find single details within the song, it’s lyrics and music, that are there for you to find, not just placed obvisouly for anyone to see or hear. And that, my friends, is what great music is all about.

Bryde – Honey

Handmade music with that extra little portion of sassiness in the vocals. That’s the kind of music Bryde does. It’s everything there needs to be.

London based singer/songwriter Sarah Howells, better known as Bryde, has an unique sound. Searching the net, I read about Bryde being compared to more than a dozen similar artists in total. As I always do, I refuse to compare her to anyone or any band. The whole point of any musician out there is not to copy what is already there but to create a signature sound for themselves. I haven’t met one single artist who was happy with just being compared to anyone else. I know this comparison is used to get you people out there a feeling of how the artist sounds. Well… how about LISTENING to the songs for a change? How about judging for yourself? Sorry for ranting, guys…one of these days. Every artist puts a lot of work into his or her songs, and I feel it’s mere downgrade of any musician if you try to sell them on a sound of somebody else.
Okay, back to talking about the song of Bryde, shall we? 🙂
Backed by a distorted guitar, a bass and vintage drums, Howells just lets her voice go where it wants to. I especially love that tonal effect she adds at the end sometimes where the voice just lifts off to the upward scale, providing that special little naughty something. It just shows she feels the music, and she knows how to get her message to the audience. To add up, the vocals are mixed slightly distorted. Many many things can go wrong when doing so, but in the case of “Honey” everything checks out just great. Overall, the song delivers with that vintage “small bar feeling” attached to it, and that’s exactly how it is supposed to be. Closing my eyes, I can almost see her performing while just listening to this track over my headphones. So, the guys behind the mixers deserve a big shout out as well – Bill Ryder-Jones, Chris Taylor and Donal Whelan really engineered this track to an outstanding level of unique presence.

Bryde is quite busy. Going through her work on the available internet resources, I found she’s performing live on a regular basis in the UK (and outside as well), doing collaboration work with others, recording new tracks on a regular basis, doing video and many other things. So I guess it’s just in her blood to create, and I’m glad she’s creating new and exciting music for all of us out there.

Soma – White Noise

Imagine a huge dark room. A stage with one single spotlight on it. There she is, looking silently in your eyes. Then she starts to sing, and all of a sudden you feel like everything else just isn’t that important anymore.

It’s easy to fall in love with Soma’s voice, she got me right away with her first notes. Stockholm based singer/songwriter Soma Manuchar really can cast a spell on you with her singing. She’s able to sound like a fragile crystal that fell to the ground, shattering to a million pieces – and in the next second she sings with so much power she practically moves brick walls with her voice. Her producer exactly knew how to emphasize her vocals with the perfect mixture of soft and defensive drums and percussion and a held back synth sound plus doubled vocal tracks and vocal one-shots. The secret ingredient these days is the good old reverb effect, but most producers tend to mix in too much reverb (or the wrong kind of reverb plugin/hardware) which mashes up the sound. Not this time, the producers of “White Noise” show exactly how it’s done. There are some effect chains I’m not too sure about, like those reverb hits that are cut in at the end of a lyric line, but that is just my personal opinion, nothing done wrong technically. Plus the variation of effects keep the song interesting, even mysterious sometimes. (what I like to call the “what WAS that?”-moment.)

This new track of Soma is really great. One fact that proves this statement is that the track is multi-purpose. Imagine the live stage I described before. Perfect. Imagine the song to be music to a good commercial. There you go. Soundtrack to a romantic film. Bam. Music on your headphones when jogging through the misty morning woods. Goosebump material. See? I rest my case. Can’t wait to hear more of Soma.

CAPPA – Nirvana

A track to lean back, best enjoyed with headphones and closed eyes. A synth that rolls like waves on a shore, and a voice that feels like the breeze coming from the ocean. That’d be my most accurate description of the track “Nirvana” from Cappa.

Taken from her previously released “Queen of Hearts” EP, this track of young singer Carla Cappa is a perfect example of how to melt smooth singing with electro elements in a way that hadn’t been done a million times before.
Being introduced to the unconventional drum and percussion setting which seems harsh first but fits perfectly into the vocal and synth combination that is added, this track builds around the sung melody. Backed by a bass synth and several synth melodies, the stage is set for Cappa to shine with her singing, and oh boy, she can sing. Hearing her voice, it feels like sliding down an ice slide, but without the freezing cold. Her voice is warm, smooth and flawless. Of course, I do want to mention the outstanding mixing work done with her vocals, flawless as well in any way you look at (better: hear) it. These days no track with vocals really goes without doubling and/or adding effects every now and then, and from one-shots to reverbed snippets, you’ll find everything in place here. The track shows that it underwent a lot of work regarding producing.

Seems like the beautiful singer from Nashville has already reached many of her goals – her gig schedule is stacked until the end of the year, she does tracks and video clips, sells her own merchandise (and I’m pretty sure she’s even into modeling, I know with her looks I WOULD be!), and I guess there isn’t much she hasn’t done by now…so I wasn’t too sure about writing about her track first. But we’re not only promoting newcomers on kms musicblog, we’re also trying to pitch great music towards your speakers. And “Nirvana” as well as the other available tracks of Carla Cappa fall into the category of “great music”. Have a listen and agree with me instantly, folks.

Will Birch – Soon There’ll Be Love

I feel like going out. Smiling at people. Enjoying life. The new pop track of Leeds based singer/songwriter Will Birch surely does have that effect on you.

Something about this track makes me feel good. I can’t put my finger on it…of course, there are uplifting guitar licks happening, the synth is playing softly, and the vocals are sung very lightweight, but it’s something different in there…
While listening to the new track “Soon There’ll Be Love” you’ll notice that one doesn’t need loads and loads of tracks to make a song feel ready to go. Alongside several percussion effects (not to forget some awesome retro claps) and a quite minimalistic drum section and bass line, you’ll find an easy going synth melody and a guitar track that’s mixed solidly into the whole thing. A held back, passive guitar track during the verse, and more dominant one in breaks and the chorus. (This could be seen as a minor negative thing though, I think it’s a bit too harsh and present in the chorus sections sometimes.)
Maybe one thing that makes me feel good when listening is the approach of giving the track what it needs without overdoing the used elements. This keeps the track lighter for your ears, so to speak.
The vocals are doing their part to give “Soon There’ll Be Love” the right polish. Sung clear and soft, with doubling and dual voice effects at the right spots, it surely reminds me of songs I heard twenty years ago. (Of course without naming similar artists – you know I hate comparing two completely different artists. They are all unique and should be treated accordingly.)

Will Birch managed to build a bridge with his music, combining songs from the past and present. The intelligent use of new techniques with elements from past decades of music are a sign that he actually put a lot of thought into his track. This also reflects in his other songs available on his Soundcloud account.

Jackie Paladino – Daddy’s Money

Delivering a message with lightweight sung melodies, hitting you hard with soft sung words – that’s the track “Daddy’s Money” of young New York based singer/songwriter Jacqueline Noel, better known as Jackie Paladino.

With lyrics that really pull you down, Paladino manages to lift you up the same time with a singing style that delivers like telling you “hey, so what?” although it’s a heavy topic. She did a great job in performing as the straight, strong woman she represents in that song. Backed mostly by a piano, a flute synth and several percussive elements like short guitar lick excerpts, the vocals get the right stage for your ear to focus on. Clearly Paladino has a vocal range allowing her to “play every role” on stage. Checking out several internet sesources like her webpage, youtube and facebook page (unfortunately no other tracks on soundcloud than this one), I found other tracks which allow you to get a better picture of what this outstanding singer is capable of. With the right setting she can be placed in any setting possible.
The most negative aspects with this track are the backup track and the final mix. Though the singer does an outstanding job in performing with her vocal abilities, making it sound like singing is the easiest thing in the world, her available “sound stage” build through the backup music and eq work isn’t set properly in my opinion. Although I get the point that the song is intended to be minimalistic, it would have been a great upgrade to just push the whole mix towards the lower eq bands, doubling the piano, putting background singers more in the background where they belong, maybe place a roundup reverbed string section on the right spots, and so on. These missing elements are only partly compensated by the break where some drums set in, giving the song a little short afterburn, if you will. I really like the song how it is done right now (otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it), but in my opinion with a bit more effort it could’ve been so much bigger and better in the end.

But then again, that’s just my opinion, right. It doesn’t change the fact that the beautiful woman from Brooklyn has a bright future ahead of her. She knows what she does behind the microphone, and hearing her sing makes you fall in love with her voice instantly. She’s recording, performing on stage and doing music videos, and I hope this talented artist will be releasing new tracks soon for those of us who cannot attend her next live event.