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/

Chad Rico – ‘Myth’ 

the mythChad Rico is releasing the exciting new EP ‘Myth’ in late 2018. The 7 track EP is a lyrically eclectic look in Rico’s life and experiences. Hip Hop in style, the strong emphasis on the rapping vocals really make ‘Myth’ stand out as a must hear EP this year.

The first track ‘Jet’ sets the tone and feel of the music which is to come. With a strong emphasis on synths, ‘Jet’ is an innovative look at rap and hip hop for 2018. Percussion is a strong feature, the use of claps, snare and kick drum all work in harmony with each other, acting as the heartbeat of the song. The bass is slick, giving a smooth finish and carries the instrumentation through.

‘Night in Barcelona’ is a classic tune and a strong contender for our favourite on the EP. Rico speaks of a timeline of events on a night in Barcelona in such detail that the listener can see each happening. Referencing Diddy, ‘Night in Barcelona’ would be a song Diddy would be proud to have written. We love the sound of the snare on the recording, it is toppy sounding which cuts about the other instruments wonderfully. 

‘Big Numbers’ fades in to fruition, it has a slow rolling tempo that creates a warming groove. There is a contrast in rapping style when another rapper appears and the two voices bounce off of each other. There are again, poetically stunning lyrics on the song such as, ‘How you stay hot when the streets so cold’ creating a sense of melancholy and hard hitting realism in the piece.

‘New Level’ opens with the atmosphere of a cowboy film in the wild west. A flamenco style guitar and familiar claps all add to the charm of the tune. The delay on the vocals pick out certain words giving them weight for the listener to pay attention to.

‘Options’ and ‘Click Click’ have claps and spoken word embedded within them. The panning of instrumentation evens out the sound and provides centre points to the song. ‘Workin’ has an atmospheric beginning, swiftly followed by a piano ladened with reverb. It has more of a trap feel to it and instrumentation building layers upon layers of audio pleasure to digest. The punchy kick and stoic synths all add to the songs charm.

Chad Rico is an extremely exciting talent. His style of rap is a welcomed departure from the standard artist. We can not wait to hear what comes next from this truly exhilarating artist.

Reviewed by FVReviews September 2018

www.Chadrico.com 

Instagram @internationchadrico 

‘one small stEP’ –  Major Moment 

biplcbenjjoebmhaBased in Boston, Major Moment are a four piece Rock Band who’ll release their cleverly named EP, ‘one small stEP’ on 7th September 2018. We have been lucking enough to hear it before its release and we can tell you, you are in for a treat!

‘one small stEP’ opens with atmospheric crackles, familiar but discombobulated synths and warming but faint strings. It is an intro with a purpose: to set the scene for what is to come. The intro beautifully runs into the first track, ‘Before It’s Too Late’. This is where the full magic of Major Moment begins to happen. The Rock genre is palpable from the very beginning. There are bright, punchy drums, guitars laden with delicious delay and rising character building synths. Lyrically this track is relatable with ones which have stayed with us for the day. Lyrics like, “We die before we are born” is poetry which we found brilliantly thought provoking.  There is a minor key feel on the bridge and and the key changes on the chorus. The big guitar solo in the final third is hard hitting and what every music lover is waiting to hear. It demonstrates skill and talent which is evident in abundance throughout this EP. 

Each track runs into the next one which makes it feel cohesive and coherent as a piece. ‘Mistakes’ has a snappy production which sounds roomy. This is no mean feat with the amount of work and instrumentation going on. Nothing sounds squashed or muffled, there is always enough space for each instrument to shine. ‘What it’s Like’ has building, anticipating guitars enhanced by theme riffs which familiarly reoccur. ‘How Would You Know’ is a more laid back and relaxed offering. Lyrically, it is a song asking for help, relatable as we all need that sometimes.

The final track ‘Release’ is an extremely well constructed song and it takes the listener on a journey. A gentle piano opening is followed by rattling, loose high hats which we have not heard before and also, the track flows melodically. Towards the end the piano chords become dissonant and unsettling. The EP ends on a forbidding note, it is very different to what we have previously heard which is a nice juxtaposition and leaves you wondering, what will their next release sound like?

‘one small stEP’ gives the listener a full taste of what Major Moment are about. True musicians who love what they do. It takes you on a journey of heartfelt lyrics, musical masterpieces and glorious guitar solos. Make sure you put 7th September in your diaries, this EP is not to be missed!

Reviewed by FVReviews August 2018

https://www.majormomentband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/majormoment

https://www.instagram.com/major.moment/

https://twitter.com/majormomentband

https://soundcloud.com/majormoment

https://majormoment.bandcamp.com/releases

‘The Pilgrim’ – Luke Spehar 

ijpoccmhnakfhikj_phixrLuke Spehar is a Minnesota born musician. His latest release ‘The Pilgrim’ is an elegant and thoughtful collection of songs about love, life at home and his journey touring. His Folk/Americana style of music is a refreshing new look at these pre-existing and much loved genres.

‘The Pilgrim’ opens with the superb track ‘The Farmer’, documenting the story of a working farmer. The story unravels well showcasing Spehar’s exceptional composition abilities. This is followed by, ‘America and Me’ which is an extremely special song. It opens with the sparsely heard spoons being played followed by Spehars’ travis picking on an acoustic guitar. This style can be heard throughout the song which exhibits how special his guitar playing truly is. It is fast, accurate and foot tapping. ’America and Me’ is catchy in nature and when the banjo enters the song is lifted to a new dimension. Melodically, the song flows freely while allowing the organic nature of the other instruments to be absorbed by the listener. 

There is also gorgeous guitar picking to be heard on, ‘Love Songs and Lullabies’. On this track there is also the alluring addition of an accordion. ‘Time with you’ feels honest and heartfelt. Spehar’s talent feels immeasurable and shines bright on this piece of work. We also adored the title track, ‘The Pilgrim’. It has an accapella opening followed by Spehar’s signature finger picking making it unmistakably him. 

The production on the record is of an extremely high standard. As they should be, the main stars are the vocals and acoustic guitar. Both of which are at the forefront of the mix so the listener can hear and feel the thoughtful and well composed lyrics. Spehar’s guitar is rich and full of bass with the mid and higher tones still shining through. His style of guitar playing reminds us of Bert Jansch and Roy Harper but he puts his own unique reflection into it. Spehar’s voice is substantial and appealing with intoxicating qualities. He is able to draw the listener in and speak directly to them. 

There is sparse backing instrumentation throughout the album. There are accompanying strings, brass, bass, percussion and even (the previously mentioned) spoons to be heard. However, these instruments are very much in the background weaving their way in and out when necessary, always enhancing and never intruding. 

There is also a brilliant and insightful documentary which accompanies ‘The Pilgrim’ this can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cqZ5IYzbOo&feature=youtu.be

It really gives you an intimate look into Spehar’s thought processes, background to the album and his life as a special added bonus.

Luke Spehar really is a special artist to discover, so if you do just one thing today make sure you check out this brilliant artist.

Reviewed by FVReviews August 2018

WWW.LUKESPEHAR.COM

https://www.facebook.com/lukespeharmusic

https://twitter.com/LukeSpehar

‘Instincts’ – Josh Christina 

mdbbpmcajpieflgj‘Instincts’ is the latest release from the Baltimore based artist, Josh Christina. Christina’s unique Rockabilly sound is evident throughout this brilliant recording with blues additions and catchy melodies. His sound is truly mesmerising. The piano and vocal are the backbone to all of the songs with a hammond organ, guitars, bass and drums playing in the supporting cast. ’Instincts’ offers hard hitting, dance provoking, soulful music throughout and is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. 

‘Instincts’ begins with the track ‘Friend Zone’. The song opens with a beautifully played piano with a strong sense of the Rockabilly genre which flavours the record throughout. The piano offers boogie woogie elements which would be perfectly suited for Jools Holland’s Hootenanny in December. There is a  strong, inviting country element continuously driving in the background. 

The stand out tracks are hard to pick because the record is so strong as a whole. If we were forced to choose they would be, ‘Counting Sheep’ for it’s honest lyrics, ‘Blasted in the Basement’ for its driving pace and the ‘The Good Book’ which showcases Christina’s piano playing ability. All of these tracks offer different tempos, flavours and colours which are integral to make ‘Instincts’ stand out from the crowd in a busy market. 

Our all time favourite track on this album is, ‘Letters’. It is simply stunning. It’s the 3rd track  in the running order and it is completely different to what we have heard on the first two songs. It beings with a dissonant piano which then begins to flow and gives the feeling it could be a classic standard with its gentle barrage of 7th chords and melodic vocal accompaniment. There is a gorgeous, smooth and inviting guitar solo too. It has a Billy Joel feel about it and if it came onto our radio we would turn up the volume every time. 

We absolutely adored Christina’s vocal performance on this album. His deep, soulful and intoxicating voice is simply sublime. He delivers all of the songs with passion and the maturity of his song writing will appeal to many different people. 

Coming from a musical background, with a drummer father, singer mother and a grandmother who was a big band singer in the ’40’s and ’50’s, Christina’s musical heritage can be heard and felt touching the soul frequently on this album. These founding influences are used to drawn upon his pure natural talent and aptitude.

Christina also has an impressive back catalogue and we are so thrilled to have been introduced to his work. We can not wait to hear what comes next!

 

Reviewed by FVReviews August 2018

http://www.joshchristinamusic.com/

https://twitter.com/JoshChristina57

https://www.facebook.com/JoshChristina57/

https://www.facebook.com/JoshChristina57/

‘Along the Road’ – Dirk Schwenk & The Truth 

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Hailing from Annapolis, Dirk Schwenk & The Truth are a phenomenal band specialising in the rock/alt-country/roots genres. Their latest release ‘Along the Road’ was released on 15th June 2018 and we believe it is an instant classic. 

Having a sound which is chilled and hard hitting all at once, this EP is very special indeed. The opening track, ‘Table Set for Two’ begins with two guitars, accompanied by drums, playing different melodies and complimenting each other completely. The lyrics are heartfelt and relatable. This song really introduces the listener to what a magnificent songwriter Schwenk is. He has the great ability to make the listener see everything he sees, to hear what he hears and feel what he feels. This is not a given with songwriters however, Schwenk executes his skill to perfection.

‘The River’ comes next and has a gorgeous slide guitar in the opening. The kick drum is present and constant throughout and provides the heartbeat to the song. There are added additions of a tambourine and harmonies galore. Later, during the instrumental the slide guitar is an absolute masterclass of how to add intensity and emotion to a song with an instrument. World class.

‘I am Graced’ sees the addition of a mandolin in the opening. There is also an piano to be heard for the first time which add a different texture to what we have previously heard. Schwenk’s vocals shine in this song, they are rich, warm and effortless. Always emitting emotion in their delivery, this love song hits the mark on so many different levels. 

Next we hear, ‘Along the Road She Comes’ which showcases Schwenk’s songwriting ability again. There is a major ascending chord progression in the verse which changes to a staccato rhythm with minor chord changes in the chorus. This is great juxtaposition and provides interest and intrigue. 

The final track is called, ‘Flag on the Hill’. It is a strong, patriotic and heavily political song. It is very different to what we have heard previously. The marching snare echoes the military feel and the ‘Stand Up and be Counted’ messaged also reiterates this. The harmonies and slide guitar give the track further substance and fabric.

Appearing on the EP we hear; Dirk – vocals & guitar, Chris – guitar and vocals, Kevin – bass & vocals, Mike – drums and vocals and Joe – guitar. This group of musicians really understand their craft and have produced an all round superb EP.

The EP has something for everyone, it is heartfelt, political and catchy all at once so check it out today!

Reviewed by FVReviews July 2018

https://www.dirkschwenk.com/

https://twitter.com/DirkSchwenk

https://www.facebook.com/dirkandthetruth/

https://soundcloud.com/dirkschwenkmusic

‘She Knows What’ – Ephect

‘She Knows What’ is the brand new single by Ehphet the Indianapolis based Rap/Hiphop musician and producer. The single has been taken from the upcoming album from Ephect entitled “The Nphection” LP which is scheduled for release at the end of July 2018. After listening to this single, the LP release can not come soon enough! 

The track starts with a vocal introduction for Nick J (the singles’ producer), followed by a sound similar to a gunshot and then a percussive instrumental which pans throughout the entire width of the listening scape. We found this all very unusual which peaked our interest immediately within the first 8 seconds! Following this, there is a kick reminiscent of a heartbeat before the drums and synths kick in with a catchy insightful melody.

Ephect’s voice is what makes this single for us. His vocal performance is smooth and deep, rapping with a thick american accent. The track is very sexual and relatable and it is Ephect’s performance which sells this brilliant summer tune. His phrasing is spot on throughout and his complex lyrics are genius, he spits them out with ease and confidence. The sign of an excellent artist. 

We adore the chorus which is again catchy with multiple voices, each showcasing their own characteristics. There is a breathy vocal performance which strikes to the heart of ‘She Knows What’ showing Ephect understands the genre and superbly portrays the essence of the song clear and concisely. At one point we hear a telephone voice which is a brilliant addition to add layers of depth and interest. 

The content of the song reminds us of ‘Butterly’ by Crazy Town released in 1999 but it has been reinvented for 2018. The song lyrically is very sexual and provocative and it will resonate with a large spectrum of people.

‘She Knows What’ has been expertly produced by Nick J. We listened to the single on various monitors and studio headphones and on each we were blown away by the clarity, balance and definition achieved by Nick J. He has taken an already suburb track and elevated to the next level, complimenting Ephect’s talent perfectly. 

There is one thing for sure, ‘She Know What’ is filled with catchy rhythm and grooves. It will entice music lovers from across the globe and have you listening all summer. 

So what are you waiting for? ‘She Knows What’ is now streaming on Spotify, Pandora and all other digital services. 

Reviewed by FVReviews June 2018

Instagram: @Ephect 

Youtube.com/EphectMusic 

Twitter: @Ephect 

Facebook.com/EphectMusic 

www.itsEphect.com

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