Jen Gloeckner – Vine/Firefly (War Dance)

Bringing a unique mixture of chillout and driving synth electro, here’s a perfect track that will take you to unexpected places, letting you explore settings you never knew existed before. Sounds over the top and hard to believe? Welcome to the world of Jen Gloeckner.

Let me paint you a picture here: what starts like entering a forest on a warm, bright summer day all of a sudden gets mysterious, as if you would step onto some sacred ground within this forest. Gloeckner has the gift of creating deep atmospheres with those sub synths alongside high pitched melodies and sound effects. If you didn’t get lost in this atmosphere by now while just listening to the synth setting, you for sure will be when you hear the vocals of Gloeckner. She has that certain “haunted” element in her voice which leads to a change of the whole scenario. I love the crossing part where the song changes from haunted to driven like flicking a switch. This all goes along so naturally as if there never was another intention but to mix those different styles. By adding those distorted synth lines to the progressing track, I can almost feel the artist smile, like she was saying “didn’t see THAT coming, did you.”
Changing subjects and directions within a single track is an art form not many artists out there can master, but Gloeckner makes it seem so easy. If you don’t believe me, listen to the track with closed headphones and close your eyes for those six and a half minutes. You’ll know exactly what I meant.

“Vine/Firefly” is a crossfade track taken from the upcoming release of Gloeckners album called “VINE” where she offers tracks that emphasize on her unique genre mixture, always keeping her playful mixture of unexpected elements in the spotlight. I got to admit, I don’t really know when to listen to her tracks, since the used mood settings within those tracks are really hard to describe sometimes. I’ll go with the following statement: if you are an adventurer, her music is perfect for you.

Cry Boy Cry – My Heart Is So Heavy

Melancholic tunes for the perfect ending of a seemingly endless day. The new track “My Heart Is So Heavy” has got an uplifting feel while on the same time drags you down. Until now, I don’t know how they did that, but I think it’s awesome.

I guess it’s a combination of several elements. I’d put the new track of german based Cry Boy Cry, who worked together with vocalist Hannes Neunhöffer of the german indie band “A Tale Of Golden Keys” for this track, somewhere in the future pop genre. Lightweight, with a groovy laid back beat and a soft defensive synth base, this track has sort of a uplifting feel attached to it. Well… if only the topic wouldn’t be that melancholic. So, this makes you move your head while at the same time thinking about opening another bottle of wine while reflecting on your relationship issues. Funny thing is that “My Heart Is So Heavy” had my brain forming pictures in my head which are very similar to those in the music video – and that was even BEFORE I saw the music video that comes along with the song. The whole video was done with a very close attachment to the overall theme and great sense of detail. With those grainy effects applied on several shots (I like to call those “family vacation” effects, having a look at the video clip those of you having a life before everything was shot in HD will know why), there’s a huge amount of authenticity transmitted with the music and pictures. Peter Hoppe and Bernd Batke, the core members of Cry Boy Cry, took their musical ideas and feelings and then put a vocalist on top who is perfect for this tune. Neunhöffer adds emotion and fragility to all that, which left me stunned sometimes, wondering if it’s just his outstanding vocal range or if he willingly can add this perfect amount of defenselessness.

Being released with several remixes, this track will keep you interested for more than just three minutes. The concept of Cry Boy Cry is to work with different artists along the way, and this opens up a huge variety in the future releases of the group. I’m eager to hear what’s next.

Carmen Perez – Just What The Doctor Ordered

One way or another, you’ll agree with me: “Just What The Doctor Ordered”, one of the new tracks of singer/songwriter and actress Carmen Perez, is exactly what the title said it would be. And the best part: it’s prescription free.

Carmen Perez is a Jill of all trades. There’s not very much she hasn’t done already: being a former full time US military member, she’s now into acting, singing, modeling, painting… and I’m pretty sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Seeing her music videos and hearing this beautiful woman sing, it hit me right away: everything about her seems to be labeled with “DETERMINATION” in capital letters. She doesn’t hide anything – if she wants to do it, I guess there’s no stopping her from doing it. Confidence is one big part of the artist’s cake, and she brings a lot of it to the table.
“Just What The Doctor Ordered” is one of the tracks off her new EP “Space Girl” available on all major media sources. Backed by a low synth line, the stage is all hers to fire away those razor sharp bittersweet vocals. Those can change instantly from sassy to innocent. In other words: she can go from “sweet kitten mode” to “wtf mode” like flicking a switch. This versatility of Perez’ singing skills combined with a solid production crew (who did an outstanding job in putting all the tracks together, upgrading the songs of the EP with the right amount of doubled and pitched vocals and some defensive effects and some great synths (best ones by far: the one used in this track, and the slightly distorted ones, like the one in “He Killed Me (But I Didn’t Die)“.) is a guarantee to get many eyebrows raised out there. Giving the other tracks off her EP a listen, I noticed that she is not confined to one single genre. She is comfortable within mainstream pop, latin, reggae, even almost classical tunes… I guess she’s going by the rule “if it feels right, it IS right” – and I love that in an artist. It’s one of the main ingredients to develop your signature sound.

To sum it up: Perez has skills, a huge load of confidence and an awesome amount of creativity which is packed in every song she releases. This in addition with the momentum she’s gaining right now through all of her work is just an irresistible musical combination. She is producing mainstream medicine for the audience. Just what the doctor ordered.

Kiara Nelson – Bulletproof

This track is a transmitter for a huge load of confidence. Thoughtful arranged, the new tune of beautiful Kiara Nelson makes you lift your head when feeling down.

Backed by defensive synths, all eyes (or better: ears) are on Nelson who gives “Bulletproof” the needed amount of confidence and drive with her voice. There are several great vocal one-shots used to emphasize on several parts. Since this is done carefully, it helps the song create that special exciting atmosphere. I love those transistions when the chorus hits; you are delivered what I like to call “wake-up-call effect”, it’s when everything sets in and the vocals are getting even stronger than they already are. Feels like changing the room, opening the door to another setting.
To name a negative aspect, there was one very stabby high eq synth melody used for a break melody, this particlar synth sounds very harsh and distorted. In my opinion this stabbing melody doesn’t really connect with the rest of the elements/tracks, but that’s just my personal feeling about it. Some would probably say it’s a nice counterpart for the soft yet confident voice of Nelson. That’s rather a matter of personal taste than a negative aspect, right.

The 18 year-old Finnish-Swedish-American (if that’s not an interesting heritage, then what is?) singer just started her career, but it clearly shows she’s serious about making a name for herself out there. The tracks she released by now are rock solid, and the vocals fit perfectly with the music. I wonder how Nelson would sound when singing cross-genre like piano-soul or something. For now she masters the art of electro pop like it was the easiest thing to do.

Sarah Sellers – Gone Through Hell

This one flooded the room with feelings. Carefully mixed backing tracks meeting soulful emotive vocals. “Gone Through Hell” is a song where emotion is mixed in as if it was an additional track.

First time I listened was with studio speakers. Second, third and fourth time with closed headphones. This track made me lose track of time for a couple of minutes while I was listening. Dallas based Sarah Sellers creates a huge emotional stage while using her voice. She’s got that certain “it”-element while singing, you just believe that she’s giving you a little piece of her soul while telling her story. And this isn’t a story full of joy, happiness and “hey, it’s alright” moments. This is how she describes the process she went thorugh until now:
I might have burned everything down around me but I eventually started to rise from the ashes. I’m bruised. I have deep scars. But for the first time in my life – I’m finally me.
And, to be honest, you can read exactly that between the lines when she sings with that careful tones, bittersweet melodies and an almost hurting amount of feelings. You realize that the beautiful singer/songwriter Sellers doesn’t play a role while singing, it’s her essence she brings to the table. For what it’s worth, it never sounded better when someone went through hell and told the story afterwards.
Speaking of the mix, she had an awesome crew working with her. Mixed by Bradley Prakope and mastered by Tom Coyne/Sterling Sound, those guys just knew how to place her vocals into the right setting. Beautiful soft soundscapes, very defensive synth lines, outstanding downtempo beats with no glitches or misplacement in the eq band whatsoever…there’s nothing those guys missed to create this piece of art. Also, the music video (see below) created by Cold Fox Films was done with passion and the sense of understanding that making a music video isn’t just switching between two or three takes but telling the story in a meaningful way.

So, you could say that this is the right way to start the musical journey of 2017. Here’s a great artist who makes you feel something while listening, who shares enough of her soul to make you think about, who doesn’t need high energy dance tracks nor aggressive background tracks to do her thing. I strongly recommend to check out her other available tracks on Soundcloud or Youtube.

Noréll – Damage Done

Today’s pick is a lightweight scandi-pop tune which makes you groove, smile and maybe even look at everything in a different way.

What attracted me the most with this track were those female vocals you won’t hear everyday. The danish trio Viktor Hagner, Marìe Louise Persson Bjarnarson and Nichlas Malling, better known as Noréll, took a pop based idea with a defensive and clean synth line and also clear bass synth layers, and they layered those awesome crisp, slightly high pitched vocals on top of it. This alone makes you lift your head or raise an eyebrow. See what just happened? You got curious. That’s creating signature sound 101, folks. Inventing something no one else comes up with is already half of the bargain to be successful out there. Also, the official video coming along with this track is dance oriented, and although this isn’t really my cup of tea, so to speak, it is sticking to my head since I saw it yesterday. See? That’s creativity at it’s best.
The mix of the track is solid. The vocals are placed front and center, and all additional effect layers and one-shots are not disturbing the flow or anything. The created room reverb (put on headphones, guys) is chosen with great sense of detail, one bit less, it would have come out flat, too much, and you got a too big cave effect. This track is something to make you move, although it’s more of a groove feeling than a dance feeling, at least for me. Base theme is happy, I almost was reminded of some japanese pop I heard recently, but without the hectic drive attached to it.

Overall, I found myself listening to this track on repeat, constantly moving my head from left to right. Noréll brings their signature sound to the table, and the lightweight track “Damage Done” is a multi-purpose track no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Take your time to check out their other works on Soundcloud or Spotify as well, it’s really worth it. Attention, competition out there: those guys are a force to be reckoned with in the pop genre.

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.

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.