Erin Pellnat – Dream In Color

Imagine an audience, sitting silently at small round tables, with a candle on every table being the only light sources in the room, except one spot on stage where a singer sits and just takes her time to deliver a glimpse of her mindset. See it? Welcome to the stage of “Dream In Color”.

Brooklyn based Erin Pellnat created a very deep tune. It’s a slow track with a great mixture of guitar tracks, held back percussion and soft reverbed synths backing the voice of Pellnat. Her vocal range allows her to sing with a dark, deep base yet her voice has that drive, stating “if needed, I’ll get really loud, so be careful what you wish for”. (I know, I’m not a genius in describing, but you know what I mean, right.)
In these hectic, fast times where you have merely seconds to spare, she forces you to slow down, to reflect and to take your time while doing so. While the song uses almost jazzy elements with a certain played bass and the way Pellnat “fools around” with the backing music (not following static patterns when singing), “Dream in Color” stays within indie rock/pop boundaries. Her other tracks are sometimes scratching the surface of being psychedelic (heard in other tracks of her EP you’ll find on bandcamp). I said it numerous times before, I really like when the songs aren’t strictly following one certain genre but mix up several elements, best of every genre, if you will.
Erin Pellnat isn’t a newbie regarding music. She played in several earlier projects, Glitch Mouth and Jean Fight, while nowadays being a part of Caretaker, a rock band from Brooklyn that – in their own words – “formed from the ashes of several other popular Brooklyn bands”. Makes perfect sense to me, since not many things are meant to last in the industry, and as a musician you’ll find yourself in a constant move to get out what is important to you. While Caretaker delivers more uplifting, energetic songs, the solo project of Erin Pellnat seems more settled and reflective to me. Hearing several tracks of the projects Pellnat is part of, I found out she really is capable of adjusting to her environment, blending into all the projects right from the start.

The song was mixed and produced by Chris Pellnat (some of you might remember him from the recent spotlight we did here) who also did the instruments work of “Dream In Color”. There’s nothing bad to say about the mix whatsoever, there’s an exact balance of music and vocals, with the music being defensive enough to give the vocals some room (eq-wise) while also creating that deep room atmosphere I mentioned before.
Overall, this is a remarkable track of young singer Erin Pellnat. With all her projects at hand, I see nothing more than a bright future for her on stage. Although it’s a mighty struggle to be someone out there as a musician, she brings everything to the table to succeed with what she does. Listen for yourself.

Anna Fogel – In The Midst

Melodic, dreamy,  soft, calm, mature, emotional, fragile… there are so many attributes for this track, you have to decide for yourself which of those fit best.

Anna Fogel has the ability to make you evaluate what music is all about. While listening to “In The Midst”, I just froze for a couple of minutes, being charmed by her voice. After only four seconds, she somehow found my emotions trigger, making me feel melancholic yet comforted. And she did all that with a minimalistic piano/voice setting which is backed by very, very defensive backing tracks and reverb effects.
Her matured soft vocals are bringing that special calmness to the table which is in my opinion the secret ingredient to all of her songs. With the year coming to an end, you find yourself reflecting on all what was happening and looking forward to all that will happen. Maybe I did exactly that when I listened to Fogel’s new track…or maybe her tracks triggered me to do so. I know I’m repeating myself here, but the ability to make the listener feel something is the essence of being a musician. With her voice, the singer/songwriter from Sweden manages to caress your soul for a couple of minutes. For me, music that makes you stop whatever you were doing at the time you are listening to it can only be classified as awesome. And Fogel doesn’t need anything but her voice and a piano for this. This track just was developed and mixed in the perfect settled, calm way.

Working with other projects like Meadows with Christoffer Wadensten, and with a tour through Germany coming up in 2017, I guess the beautiful Fogel already made up her mind as a musician. She decided to share her work with us, to go out there and let us know about her. I’m glad I heard what she is able to bring to the table, and I strongly recommend to give her EP “Vretstorp sessions” on Spotify or Soundcloud a listen.

Shy Luv – Joyrider

This felt light and soft on my mind. With drive and flavour, the new track “Joyrider” from Sam Knowles and Jake Norman, also known as “Shy Luv”, lights up your day.

With an intelligent bassline and a beat that feels like leisure jogging at the beach, the new electro track of the Manchester-based duo takes the groove right to your brain. There’s something to this track that makes me want to order cocktails while I’m slightly grooving. The vocals are sung and mixed mid-to upper eq band, which adds up perfectly to the beat, the added female one-shots and the percussion. But, the secret ingredient to this track in my opinion is the bass which is created with a perfect mixture of disco bass and up-to-date electro pop bass. Whenever you think the main synth is too linear, the bass comes to save the day.
Another highlight are the vocals, lightweight and flanked by several vocal effect layers. They’re going great with those female vocal one-shots and the shimmering synth tracks. This track is a no-brainer for dancefloors, if you ask me. I guess you have to be deaf if you’re not starting to move to “Joyrider”.

Knowles and Norman have been working on their new EP “Shock Horror” which will be released in 2017. If the other tracks are similar to this one, I can imagine the sales numbers going straight up from the start. These guys certainly found their way to create a unique dance sound.

Megan Landry – Screaming Sun

After I heard her last song “Questions (on the Cliff)“, there was no question for me to follow up the works of Canadian singer/songwriter Megan Landry, this time with her last months release “Screaming Sun”. If you wonder if she is delivering like she used to, the question is yes. Oh hell yes.

Once again, she just fires away with her lyrics like an automatic machine gun, and if you actually listen to what she sings, some of her words almost hit you like bullets. She manages to paint pictures in your head, she compares, she is questioning and doubting what is given as facts, and she does all of this with a portion of sarcasm and humor behind it. There are so many facettes of what the track is about that it took me several plays on repeat to get a couple of the points she wants to make. These colorful, almost poetic lyrics alone (without having a closer look on the music) would be enough to keep the listener hanging on her lips.
Speaking of the music, she used a basic setting for this, there are some synths, some reverb effects, and a rushing drum beat that really supports her way of firing away her lyrics. (‘Staccato’ is probably something she eats for breakfast, every other second there’s another curveball she throws at you.) As she did in other titles, she doubled and tripled the vocal tracks for harmonies you won’t hear in your everyday pop song. I love that. Thinking outside the box is one part of her signature sound. I’m not really a fan of what she did with several vocal effect layers though, like chopping and slowing them down for a break. But that’s just me, it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the song nor emphasizes on anything else but the track as a whole. The mix of the track doesn’t need any review, it’s solid as usual.

Megan Landry is still picking up speed with what she does. She has an incredible momentum going there which she earned by herself, creating unique music that makes you think for a change. Heck, even those who don’t want to think are at least entertained by her works. Be it for the deep thoughts behind the music, or be it just for the music itself, Megan Landry is an outstanding artist you should keep in mind. And on your permanent playlist.

Hugh Macdonald – On My Way

This is a song for those moments when it seems hard to even lift your head. Filled with feeling and emotion, “On My Way” eases your mind.

Boston based singer/songwriter Hugh Macdonald did an outstanding job with this track from an EP released in November. He chose to just add a guitar to his vocals, and a couple of reverb effects. And believe me folks, this doesn’t make the task easier for the singer.
But hearing him sing, you realize that he’s not playing a role behind the microphone. He’s living what he’s doing there. What you get from Macdonald is genuine, and even if you’re not listening to the lyrics, the song and melody themselves transmit emotions. I don’t quite get why he decided to leave the intro and outro part unedited (in my opinion, this takes away something from the songs’ feeling), but besides that, the listener’s treated with a soulful track that is leaving you without knowing if to stay down or get up, so to speak. It’s rare when you’re getting hit by a glimpse of what the songwriter wants to tell you on an emotional level. “On My Way” manages to do so. The minimal setting (being backed only by a guitar) supports the feel of the song, if there would have been a full band added, it probably would have killed the intention of the song.

Hugh Macdonald released his solo EP called “MÅNGATA“, but he also has worked on a project with Olivia Barton called “Think of England” where he shows that whatever the setting might be, he just blends in just great with his style and vocal range from “soft” to “you haven’t heard anything yet”. I recommend to check out those available tracks on Soundcloud and Spotify to get what Hugh Macdonald is all about.

FRND – Sticks And Stones

Today I clicked through the submissions hoping to find something different. And boy, did I find something different.

The track starts with a wide open reverbed setting, the minimalistic music being a perfect base for the vocals. Those are sung quite soft with a little effect chain added here and there, making it interesting throughout the whole track. If you think the whole idea of the track is simple…well, then I dare you to try produce a track like this. The Los Angeles based producer developed a golden recipe here, using trap elements alongside pop and breakbeat methods. I love the concept of the whole track being in sort of a flowing state, you never know what to expect, and the progression isn’t linear at all. It takes a certain amount of bravery to just go ahead and play with those different variations. Even when listening to the song on repeat, there are always new little elements to find for your ears, a chiptune one-shot, pitched vocal samples, layered reverbed synths…you name it.

This one is a solid, very balanced track. No glitches or clips with the main mix although there must have been dozens of different tracks used. You’ll find emotion, atmosphere and the right amount of smack in it with those huge chorus beats. (I’d love to see what happens when this track is used as an opener on a dancefloor.)
After “Friend”, another great track available on main media sources everywhere, the producer from LA continues his journey through different music styles and variations with “Sticks And Stones”. Boys and girls, we’re very lucky to be a part of his journey. After all, his curiosity to create new blends and mixtures of music is what creates awesome tracks for us listeners.

The City – Stronger

I guess the main words that describe best what Amoria & Jok’a’Face aka “The City” created here is “uplifting”. And “innovative”. And “surprising”.

The duo from Paris is going from “minimalistic” to “full range” with their new track “Stronger”. What starts with a carefully distorted synth and soft vocals builds quickly into a full-range bigbeat track. While picking up drive and speed on the way to their lift-off, the track all of a sudden breaks into a quite minimalistic but effective beat segment. I have to say I didn’t hear such a transition in a long time – and I’m loving it. The french producers experiment with less-is-more variations, easily merging them into more melodic parts which are supported by those nice female vocals. And boy, this isn’t easy at all. In fact, there are more ways to screw up such a track construct than there are to succeed with it. In this case, they did it like it was the easiest thing to do.
And bam – all of a sudden there’s this drum/percussion set, mixed up with several vocal chops which serve the male vocals perfectly. As if they would underline the difference between those soft female vocals and crisp male vocal parts.
Once again, this song isn’t that easy to categorize… sure there are pop elements used, but there’s something new added. This bouncy feeling alongside the main parts. How about naming it the “bounce pop” category for now? (Okay, not good, I get it. But hey, it’s late already.) You get the point, mixing up vocals with those electronic elements plus adding this unique percussion makes this track really grooveable. “Stronger” by all means isn’t the usual everyday 120 bpm track you forget as soon as you heard it.

Listening to some of the other tracks of The City, I realized that these unique synth lines alongside huge drum/percussion settings is what’s recognized as their signature sound. It’s even getting somewhat 8bit-style sometimes, but always topped with those great vocals. I don’t see anything stopping Amoria & Jok’a’Face of getting their music on floors out there.

Victor Perry – Nostalgia

Chances are that you haven’t heard from Victor Perry until now. Chances are you will hear a lot more from him from now on. Damn, this guy can sing.

Usually I’m not the kind of girl that likes downtempo emotional r&b/pop tracks. Those who know me will probably say I’m sort of a party girl who likes her music loud, fast and danceable. But tonight I stopped by on the soundcloud account of Victor Perry, giving one of his latest tracks “Nostalgia” a listen. Do you know that feeling when time seems to slow down? This track created that feeling. Imagine that lights-out stage, with only a spotlight on a piano and its player. There you have him, the guy from a small town named Thomasville, Georgia, who manages to set free waves of emotion with just his voice, a piano and minimal strings backing tracks. Boy, he’s got an awesome voice! They say the world’s a stage and each must play a part – I guess Perry already found out what his part is. With his vocal range and the ability to transmit feelings with his singing (which isn’t the easiest thing to do for men in my opinion), he’s capable of letting your mind focus on just what he’s doing. And although the lyrics of “Nostalgia” are deep and meaningful, he’s got the gift of reaching you without even the lyrics. Heck, he could even sing a whole scientific research about the mating habits of unicellular organisms – as long as he’s singing, everything feels warm and bright. Giving the other tracks of his EP “4 A.M. Nostalgia” (already released in June by Phillias Records) a listen, this statement is final. Filled with warm atmospheres, doubled vocal tracks, fresh ideas and just the emotion that everything somehow will be okay, his music is working like a remedy for a stressed mind.

Being only 22 years old, Perry’s musical journey just started, but this is a rocket start with releases over all the major online distributors like Spotify, iTunes, GooglePlay and Soundcloud. This comes as no surprise with a talent like him. Check out what he’s about on his accounts, and let him convince you in about 5 seconds that he’s gonna make it big out there.

Cooler – Metal Moths

This alternative rock track made me feel good. Today I learned there still are these old-school bands which make that retro style songs happen we used to dance to. In an industry where there’s more and more electronic and synthetic influence, there still are those who just pick up their instruments and play, those who just switch on their microphones and sing. Thank you, Cooler.

These days, it’s hard to pick a track of the day to write about. I have to admit, there are several submissions that are rejected simply because there’s so much new material flooding our submissions email. That being said, submissions that are most likely to be featured on our blog are those which are unique in any way, be it with a creative introduction, a signature sound – or in this case, if the song triggers an emotion within one of our writers. And that’s where “Metal Moths” comes into play. Listening to the first seconds made me travel back into the past. Not that many years, but enough to feel what I felt back in the days several years ago when I went to those gigs in the old theater down the road, always having a good time with listening and dancing to good, old honest handmade music.
The four members of Buffalo based band Cooler – Alley, Nathan, Nick and Adam, somehow manage to deliver a ton of honesty with this track. Don’t ask me how they did it, but this is labeled as no-strings-attached for me. They each doing their part to make the track work out the way it should – part alternative, part retro, part melancholic, part vintage. They even have what I like to call the “sing-along element” merged into almost any song of their previously released EP “Phantom Fuzz”. Don’t believe me? Check out “Stimulus”, for example. If you’re not going “ooooh oohhh” along with the song, there’s clearly something wrong with you.
Speaking of mixing and mastering, there’s nothing to complain about. It’s done a bit edgy, but perfect for this genre and grungy feeling the band wants to submit.

I know it’s a lot of work to get heard out there, but Cooler without a doubt is going in the right direction with live gigs and up-to-date recordings. Only negative thing to mention would be that they sometimes sound very much like another artist with their music. (I won’t say which band. Golden rule of kms.) This sometimes leads to this “hey, sounds like…” statement instead of the desired “hey, this one’s from Cooler!” Once they found this last piece of the puzzle, their unique groundbreaking signature sound which cannot be mistaken for someone else’s – there’s absolutely no way of stopping them.

Blonde Maze – Antarctica

Today I was abducted. I found myself in the world of Amanda Steckler aka Blonde Maze. Too bad it only lasted 3:50 minutes. But at least I got a glimpse of the landscape of Antarctica.

I guess this is the soundtrack of snowflakes falling to the ground. The newest track of New York based Blonde Maze has got an unbelievable soft feeling attached to it. Using several soft synths, a very defensive slow beat and marimba/mallet like sounds, the track offers the whole setting for the ultra-soft voice of Steckler who manages to complete the track with those reverbed vocals.
This track doesn’t necessarily want to make you move, and it’s not really a floorfiller anthem, but that wasn’t the intention anyway. It’s relaxing to listen to the melodies, nothing harsh happens, no stabbing effects are added. This track delivers that certain kind of flow to groove to. I especially like those vocal chops that were used as a synth addition. They’re not overly used, so they add up perfectly to the whole mix.

Clicking through several other tracks of the solo project known as Blonde Maze, I found a similar base to many of Stecklers tracks. Her signature sound is that soft, dreamly arrangement of layered synths and her angel-like voice. But in almost every track you stumble upon that little surprise she build in – unusual percussion, vocal chops with a load of effects added to them, backward played samples, you name it. This beautiful producer creates relaxing soothing music which never turns out boring. Sounds like the recipe to sell copies out there! I’m curious what’s next in her bag of electro tricks.