Storming new EP ‘Nature’ by the phenomenal Pastobal 

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Pastobal are a Folk Rock band who have released their latest EP ‘Nature’. Comprised of 5 addictively enjoyable tracks, ‘Nature’ is a relatable showcase of Pastobal’s composition and skilful musicianship. This is an EP for music lovers and once it has been listened to, we guaranteed it’ll be placed on repeat time and time again!

The EP opens with the song, ‘Did you Know’. First, we hear a bass, kick drum and woodblock quickly followed by an acoustic guitar which is playing single chords until the rhythm swiftly kicks in. The guitar playing is extremely skillful and it sounds as though the guitar is being played all up and down the neck. The layers of instrumentation build, creating texture and interest. The kick drum feels like the heartbeat of the song and the rhythm section creates a foundation for everything else to be built upon.

‘Do You Want’ has a Captain Beefheart feel at the beginning with spoken word being heard first. This is quickly followed by an acoustic guitar, ascending bass and the rock feel enters as the drums begin playing. The drums skilfully come in and out and the entire track is a toe-tapping and thoroughly charming song.

Our favourite song is ‘No Time’. It is a beautiful track which sees the bass, drums, and guitars working together to create a song which is filled with energy and harmony. There is a hint of a slapped bass, loose high hats and the double-tracked vocals which all make for a divine piece of music. We adored the vocal performance during ‘Nature’ as it is acrobatic and thoroughly engaging.

‘Funeral Blues’ has a Spanish feel to it which is a departure as to what we have heard previously. From the rim hits on the snare to the interesting chord progressions to the harmonics on the guitar, this song tells a detailed story from beginning to end.

The final song, ‘Let’s Dance’ is an impressive 20 minutes in length. It opens with the lyrics, “And now, let’s dance!” That is exactly what it made us want to do! There are layered vocals in English and French and simply stunning guitars, bass and drums. Divine.

This EP really is Folk Rock at its finest. The instrumentation provides interest and intrigue throughout and there are catchy songs which will be stuck in your head all day!

So if you are in the market for excellent musicianship and enjoyable music, make sure you check out ‘Nature’ today!

Reviewed by FVReviews December 2018

https://pastobal.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Pastobal/

https://www.youtube.com/user/pastobal

Jonathan Alexander – ‘17:34’  

Front CoverDallas based artist Jonathan Alexander is releasing his brilliant EP on 20th November 2018. Entitled, ’17:34’, the EP is a wonderful collection of 5 songs which give the listener a glimpse into Alexander’s life. Compelling from start to end, this EP is going to be a big hit this winter.

‘17:34’ opens with the song, ‘House On Fire / Smile On Faces’. It has an ambiguous beginning which evolves into a piece of work which is filled with imaginative melodies, luscious lyrics, and formidable instrumentation. The addition to the traditional drum kits lay in the percussion which elevate the song to another level.

We adored, ‘Better Off Without You’, from the piano and acoustic guitar opening to the layered building of instrumentation as the song progresses, this song has been composed brilliantly. The piano sounds like an old upright which is full of character. The main piano part follows the melodic vocal and together they make for an instantaneously recognisable riff.

‘Light On’ features distorted instrumentation and the drums drive the piece along magnificently. Syncopated drums feature on the track, ‘If & When’. These are further complemented with the use of delay and reverb on the double-tracked vocals. Blissful.

We also loved the title track,  ‘17:34’. It has a feel which is reminiscent of the Stereophonics. Each part of the instrumentation feeds off of one another and the subtle changes in rhythm, make for a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

All of the songs on the EP have the ability to be released as singles in their own right. They have catchy hooks and memorable melodies which will have you listening to them all day. The standard of the composition and musicianship are so high it blew us away. We could hear these songs standing tall on any playlist, placement in TV and/or film, or being showcased on the radio.

Jonathan Alexander truly is the magic behind ’17:34’. His voice is spot on during all of the songs and his tones will have you reaching for the repeat button. Alexander’s impressive falsetto is simply stunning. Make sure you check out this exciting artist today!

Reviewed by FVReviews November 2018

Website: www.ListentoJA.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKr1CtHW4XSfpJOKjlJO0Bg?view_as=subscriber

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JA__Music

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jonathanalexandermusic

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/17-34-ep/1438137488?app=music&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MusicbyJonathanAlexander

Interview – Paul Middleton

We were lucky enough to catch up with the UK based artist Paul Middleton. Please find our insightful interview with this mesmerising talent below.

Hi Paul, Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. For those who don’t know you, please tell us about yourself?

I was born in the U.K but I grew up in different parts of the world: Egypt, Nigeria, and the Caribbean. Mainly through my mother and sister, I learnt about music. I had my first experience of singing at the age of 8 whilst singing in the school choir in Nigeria. We were asked to record a charity song and we were taken to a recording studio. I remember it being really dark with lots of cables and very exciting. The producer reduced the choir to the final 6 and I was part of that 6. A few years later I joined the church choir at a school and loved singing hymns. 

At 21 I joined a tribute group but also did solo work. I did my first gigs in a restaurant in Essex which had two floors and I was expected to go up and down to entertain everyone which was really difficult – but I learnt quickly how to grab a crowd. It was like an apprenticeship. Since then I have grown as a singer, performer and artist. I have been so lucky to: sing and travel all around the world, write my own song called ‘Hanging In There’ for an independent film and meet so many incredible people. I still pinch myself.

Brilliant. What has your best gig been?

Recently, I sang at a festival in front of 4,000 people and I had the best time. They were up for it and so was I it was such a buzz. A career highlight. Another favourite was in Belgium in front of 40 people in a pub. Intimate gigs are a lot of fun. I go out into the audience and despite the language barrier we all had a blast and I loved connecting with them.

You are releasing your latest album ‘Covers 3’ soon, tell us about this latest release? 

‘Covers 3’ is a lot more diverse in that it has uptempo, fun pop to dance to a little folk to ballads compared to my previous two which were more ballad driven. I started this album with the Fleetwood Mac song ‘Everywhere’. If I look at my top 25 most played songs- it was number 1 for a long time. I love their music and this song is so uplifting. With ‘Careless Whisper’, I came out of a difficult time with someone I was heavily in love with and it wasn’t to be. I listened to the lyrics of ‘Carless Whisper’ and just connected whereas before I hadn’t. I loved recording it and I hope I have given the song a new feel while being respectful to the original. The lyrics ‘I’m never gonna dance again’, ‘I feel so unsure’ and ‘we could have been so good together’, just drew me in. It was a great chance to let out some pain I went through. On the other hand, there are lots of happy moments like ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling!’- such a great pop song. Generally, this album has been very autobiographical about the last 4 years. Each song connects to a time in my life. Some great times and some sad times.

What has been your funniest gig moment?

Trousers ripping on stage. Another time, and it doesn’t happen a lot but I got the lyrics wrong to ‘Wake me up before you go go’. Instead of singing ‘ Cause you’re my lady, I’m your fool’ I looked directly into a guys eyes whilst on one knee and said ‘cause I’m your lady’- his reaction was priceless. 

Who are your musical influences?

Eric Clapton, Abba, Justin Timberlake, Adele, Eva Cassidy, Daft Punk, Take That, The Lighthouse Family, George Michael and Queen.

Who are your non-musical influences?

My mother died of cancer when I was 15. She loved to sing and dance. It wasn’t until 5 years ago with my first album that I decided to do something in her memory. All the profits from my first two albums (mostly CD sales) went to Cancer Research and I did a lot of charity gigs to raise awareness and support the charity. I never thought about why I got into singing and performing until recently and I think it is one of the ways I carry my mum in my heart. Another influence is the people that support me because I want to do the best I can do for them. I still can’t get over that people are so supportive. I wake up in the morning and I look like a zombie and I think if only they could see me in this state. 

What would you say are the biggest obstacles in the way for artists today?

The download and streaming industry has crippled artists. They have everyone by the neck. You can’t make a living off streaming and downloads from an album and considering that is the heart and soul of an artist, I think that is really sad and disgusting from the digital companies. You put blood, sweat and tears into a piece of art and the return is ridiculous. 

Also, be prepared for a lot of knock-backs. I was the lead singer in a group and took some time off as my life was all over the place and I needed to get better. They replaced me. I just felt really let down. I help set up this group and invested heavily in them. Two of us carried the group and as the lead, I would say a lot fell on my shoulders. There were a lot of egos and the band moaned about each other and the management. That massively affected my confidence. 

What would your main advice be for bands and artists who are starting out?

Work hard. Don’t expect it to land on a plate for you. Be an artist because you love the process and journey, not for the destination.

Very true. Finally, what are your plans for the next two years?

It is time for an original album. The last 5 years I have been thinking about who I am and what I can offer to the world. I have a lot to say, lived and experienced a lot but it’s deciding what direction to take my music. I also hope I will continue to gig and sing on stage and meet more amazing people.

Having been privileged to hear Paul’s latest release ‘Covers 3’ We can not wait to hear what will come next from such an exciting talent. You can find out more about Paul Middleton from the links below. 

Interviewed by FVReviews October 2018

http://www.paulmmusic.com

https://www.facebook.com/paulmiddletonofficial/

https://twitter.com/PaulMmusic

https://www.instagram.com/paulmmusic/

COVERS 3 SPOTIFY

Curtis Newart – ‘Rock the Chandeliers’ 

Rock_the_Chandeliers_Cover‘Rock the Chandeliers’ is the brand new release by Canadian artist Curtis Newart. Having been released on 8th June 2018 on Immaculate records, ‘Rock the Chandeliers’ is an upbeat, electronic and fun album which will have you reaching for the repeat button. The album is comprised of 8 new original songs plus a re-recording of Newart’s song ‘Perverse’ and a cover of the popular ‘Man on the Moon’ by the legendary band, REM.

‘Rock the Chandeliers’ opens with the title track. It is a hard-hitting opening which features infectious claps, Newart’s recognisable silky tones and gorgeous synths galore. It is our favourite track on the album as it encompasses the nature of the album as a whole. There is a cannon style, folk singing at the end which crosses genres and creates layers of texture. 

Other favourite songs include, ‘Confetti and Beachballs’ for its beautiful piano, tom filled drums and snare which are filled with rich reverb. ‘Down the Garden Path’ has syncopated claps and a sound which is reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys. The lyrics are relatable and will reach out and speak to many different people. The closing song, ‘Trippin’ on the High Horse’ is a strong ending which features vocals reminiscent of Mick Jagger in style. The song leaves the listener wanting more from this undeniably talented songwriter. 

The classic cover of ‘Man on the Moon’ is most certainly an example of Curtis Newart taking a song and making it his own. There are nods to the original with extra harmonies and instrumentation, taking the song to the next level. 

‘Rock the Chandeliers’ has been superbly engineered and produced by Jacob Wing at Ill Eagle Studio in Florence, Montana and by Robert Newart at Immaculate Records in Superior, Montana. They have done a magnificent job at making the album sound clean and crisp with charming character and flair. The artwork has been provided by Justin Lewis at Dermagraphink in North Hollywood, California. Additional effects are provided by the talented Robert Newart.

‘Rock the Chandeliers’, is now available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play and iHeartRadio. It’s also available to DJs on djpool.com. CDs will be on sale to the general public soon. Check out this exciting release today!

Reviewed by FVReviews October 2018

https://www.curtisnewart.com/

https://www.facebook.com/curtisnewartmusic/

https://www.instagram.com/curtisnewart/

‘Heartbreak Diaries’ – Ohxzy, Jack Gutteridge 

Attachment_1538923145‘Heartbreak Diaries’ is the new EP release from the phenomenally talented Ohxzy and Jack Gutteridge. The 6 track EP is a moving, dark and emotional glimpse into one person’s heartbreak diary. It is relatable and honest throughout and would appeal to many different ages and genders.

The EP opens with the track ‘Heartbreak Interlude’ which is used to set the scene beautifully as to what is to come. We hear a superbly well-played acoustic guitar, snare drum, then the vocals. Next, the gorgeous backing vocals kick in and elevate the sound. The song ends with a solo vocal which is haunting and atmospheric.

‘Skipping Pages’ features similar instrumentation with the vocals shining at the heart of the piece. The performance and delivery of the vocals are spellbinding. They sing from the heart, the rap is eloquent and there are wonderful cadences to be heard throughout. They speak of tough subjects such as depression and death but they do it in such a way where the listener can relate and doesn’t feel so alone.

‘Am I Alive’ again features a beautifully played acoustic guitar. It talks about anxiety over a thick bass kick, claps, and interweaving instrumentation. The kick gets faster at one point echoing a heartbeat until everything cuts away and it is just the delicious vocals left to digest at the end. Blissful.

‘Voices’ features an electric guitar with a jangling sound and is a different avenue for the listener to go down. We loved ‘WhothefukisDaniel’, it is possibly our favourite track on the EP. It feels beautifully aggressive, emotional and raw. There are gorgeous strings to be heard which are present throughout. They harmonise with each other and have been divinely composed to shine on their own as well as an accompaniment to the luscious vocals.

The final track ‘Allstar’ features an appearance from the artist Jude Ellen. Her vocals work well with the male vocals and compliment each other throughout. They sing in unison together in different octaves and create new textures. They have been mixed beautifully to opposite sides of the mix giving them space to shine alone as well as with one another. There is a trapp syncopated beat behind the vocals, electric guitars and the entire track works together seamlessly.

This is music that speaks to you. If you are in a dark place it makes you feel less alone. If you have previously been in a dark place, it is a reminder of that time with the benefit of knowing there is always a way out the other side again. We strongly advise you check out this magnificent EP today.

instagram: @ohxzy

snapchat: lil.wezza

A&L – ‘We Are Love’

We_are_love.jpgA&L have released their superb new single ‘We Are Love’. The band was founded by Anthony Casuccio and Lana Marie, two seasoned music professionals. They are joined by Rich Smith and Matt Sunick to complete the formidable lineup. This latest release is the 8th single to be released by the band and is a showcase of their undeniable talent.

The song opens with a solo acoustic guitar which is soon accompanied by a gorgeous string arrangement and piano riff. Next, we hear the delicious vocals kick in. Lana Marie’s voice is rich, deep and nourishing. It is most definitely a shining star in the piece! The vocals reference ‘John Lennon’ at one point and we can feel a Beatles influence during the song.  Blissful.

We adored the bridge, it is catchy in nature and will have you humming along all day. The chorus has brilliant double-tracked vocals and is where we hear the bass and drums enter. The middle 8 has wonderful chord changes from minor to major which are unexpected but add texture and further depth to the piece. Next, we hear an impressive guitar solo. It is melodic but has a different melody to what we have heard from the vocals previously. It is stunning and draws the listeners ear to it instantaneously.

We must mention the divine video which accompanies the piece. It has footage of the band playing live, with scenes of riots, love, war and many other juxtaposed scenes in between. The message of peace shines throughout and it is a must watch video, one not to be missed!

The musicianship on ‘We Are Love’ is excellent and to a very high standard. The bass and drums lay at the heartbeat of the track, they are tight and in sync with each other throughout. You can hear the band feeding off of one another and the unity within their playing. The song has been well constructed and it takes the listener on ups and downs throughout the piece with one message at the heart of it; love.

In a world in which we live today, we are in need of some love. This song has it in abundance! So whatever you do today, make sure you check out ‘We Are Love’, you won’t regret it.

Reviewed by FVReviews October 2018

https://youtu.be/8IsjaChgsjw

http://www.artistecard.com/AandLmusic 

http://www.facebook.com/AandLmusic

http://www.twitter.com/AandLmusic

http://www.instagram.com/AandLmusic

Anna Lee & the Authority – ‘The Waves’

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‘The Waves’ is the latest powerful release from Anna Lee & the Authority. The song is a description of watching someone die and the aftermath of losing them. As dark as this sounds, Anna Lee & the Authority skilfully manage to empower the situation.

‘The Waves’ begins with a sound from nature – a storm. The wind and rain can be heard as two electric guitars are heard. This use of nature sets the scene brilliantly for the subject matter to be discussed during the song. The guitars are surrounded by luscious reverb and have been panned to separate sides of the audio spectrum. They are playing two separate parts but they continuously work in harmony together, never clashing and always complimenting each other. Next, we hear the sultry and commanding vocals from Anna Lee.

Anna Lee’s voice on this track is controlled and breathy and is a masterclass in performance. with such a dark subject matter it would be easy to be swept along in a depression of loss but Anna Lee’s voice does not let this happen. Oozing with command and empowerment throughout, the listener is guided through the dark and taken to another place. Lyrics such as, ‘Death came and showed us the way’ takes away the fear and puts some hope back into the darkness. It is an extremely well-composed song, hard-hitting and complex.

There is further instrumentation as the track progresses. More guitars are added, this time in the sound of acoustics. They again have completely separate parts but all work together in harmony. At one point we counted at least 4 guitars playing at the same time, due to the excellent composition, they build layers of audio bliss and never impose on one another. They have been mixed so well that they each fit beautifully into their own space in the production. We also hear a kick drum which feels like the heartbeat of the song. Later there is a snare too, again with lots of wonderful reverb used perfectly to enhance the sound.

Near the end, the instrumentation pulls away and we get to hear a chorus which is sung acapella by Anna Lee. This really is time for the vocals to shine on their own. When the instrumentation kicks back in the song builds to its climax. At the very end, ’The Waves’ finishes with feedback, a great ending to a brilliant song.

With a single as strong as this one, we can not wait to hear what will come next from these exciting artists!

Reviewed by FVReviews September 2018

https://www.instagram.com/annaleeandtheauthority/