Melissa VanFleet: Stars In My Eyes EP

A year and a half in the making, the Stars In My Eyes EP by New York City based singer songwriter Melissa VanFleet was by her own admission a test of patience in its creation. But with her unwavering determination the release has finally emerged to show why the time and hard work was so worth well. It is a collection of songs to open up a new side and wider imaginative scope for the artist and a magnetic invitation to her refined and tenderly crafted sounds for all yet to feel her passionate sounds.

From a young child Melissa has had music in not only her heart but mind too, the singer saying in her bio “As a little girl, I used to record my voice singing popular 90s songs and then listen back and critique every single note and write down what I thought I could improve on,” she recalls. “It was my idea of fun at the time but I never realized how much I was actually learning through the process.” A self confessed perfectionist, Melissa worked with and experienced different expressions of music through time alongside pop and R&B producers in New York City and New Jersey, moving and living in Nashville for four years where she honed her songwriting and style, and performing regularly at places such as The Bluebird Cafe and Ellendale’s, The Drake Hotel’s notorious Coq d’Or in Chicago, and NYC’s oldest rock club The Bitter End. The self-taught vocalist and accomplished dancer picked up, analysed, and learnt from every aspect and experience to add to her ideas and craft and shape their evolution. This attention to detail is evident on the new EP, a release which sees her moving from predominantly just her mesmeric voice and accomplished piano caresses to a band scenario, the results exceeding already high expectations and offering something pleasingly different but no less impressive and irresistible.

Produced by Joel Schwamburger, who she met during her time in Nashville, the EP brings five eclectic and stirring songs to thrill the ear and light the passions. The title track is one which does just that and more. From its brooding atmosphere and soaring piano chimes the song immediately brings a large presence which is lit by the glorious voice of Melissa. The track opens into a reserved yet powerful rock pop song, its whispers gold kisses and melodies molten manna for the ear. Now complete with drums, bass, and sharp guitar invention there is a definite shift in her music which shouts out to long time fans but a move which with no criticism of her previous acoustic glories, is immense and greedily welcomed. There is a passion to the song which is heart borne and though it never erupts into the raucous energy it at times suggests, it leaves one basking in a heated contagious beauty.

Lovestruck, a song chosen as “Song of the Week” by Incubus manager Steve Rennie on his own website, shows the diversity to the tracks, the song a link to her older material by being an acoustic piano and voice based song. That is not how it remains though as soon the song is weaving a glamour of orchestral enchantment and emotive piano to cradle her as usual evocative tones.  The song further stokes up the fires the fuller into its stride it gets, the orchestral wraps and strokes like eighties pop teases as found in the likes of ABC.

Play By The Rules and Cut The Ties continue the diversity, the first a blues walk through an impassioned haze of feeling which sends tingles through the spine and the second a rock pop blast of infectious and boisterous energy. Both songs capture the imagination from the first notes through to their last but Cut The Ties grabs top honours on the release such its insistent breath and stomping energy. There is a spice to its drive which reminds of Pat Benatar and a pop element which glistens within the sturdier rock n roll intent. Actually though it is a magnificent song, it is one which misses its full potential, though that goes to show how great it is. As with the whole release the production is clean and giving to the great creativity and realisation at work but personally this one song actually calls out for a rawer edge, a surface which bites at the ear. Despite that it leaves nothing less than deep satisfaction and pleasure inside such its might.

The release is completed by a newly mastered version of acoustic gem Martyr, a track which already had won the hearts of her fans and drawn many more to her music. The new version has sharpened an already great song into something of pure emotive mesmerism, the orchestral arrangements the perfect companion to the delicious vocals and piano craft of Melissa.

Stars In My Eyes is a wonderful release which marks Melissa VanFleet as one of the most instinctive and imaginative emerging songwriters and performers and sure to find a whole new audience to add to her already enamoured fans. With great attention already bestowed upon the EP within its first weeks and The Reputation Radio Show providing its worldwide introduction and championing the release weekly, you can only feel the deserved wide recognition for Melissa is right around the corner.

Melissa has pledged a portion of the proceeds from Stars In My Eyes (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence), to find out more about the release and artist go to

For an interview with Melissa with The Reputation Radio Show check out the show @

RingMaster 16/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Roxanne de Bastion: Red & White Blood Cells

With an album on the horizon it is never a bad thing to tease the world with a track which is startling and unique from it before its arrival. This is just what singer songwriter Roxanne de Bastion has done with the song Red & White Blood Cells. Not only is it the first flavour from her upcoming debut, it is a track which you just cannot ignore or resist, an unpredictable barbed hook to lure one to her quirky sounds and an album which one can only assume will be the same.

Playing her first gigs at ten and writing her own songs at the age of 15, Roxanne set out on her own with guitar in hand from Berlin to London. Though not knowing anyone she was soon playing as many open mic nights, venues, and bars as she could and travelling the country via bus and trains to reach and perform  in as many places as possible. With a growing reputation she was soon being asked back to venues across the UK, Germany, and the United States. Her bio states heroes include John Lennon, Ray Davies, Bob Dylan, and Judee Sill, but as the song shows musically she reaps and blooms a sound which is distilled from varied distinctive sources twisted into her own simple and inciteful sound.

The track opens with a persistent guitar tease which threatens to niggle but instead offers an magnetic aural finger like beckoning which in its simplistic intent is irresistible. It is the perfect companion to the voice of Roxanne, her tones angelic and devilish at the same time. She croons whilst grabbing at words to deliver them with a bite yet soothing directness to have ear and attention only focused on her and the song. Whether representative of what her album will bring time will tell, but Red & White Blood Cells taunts the ear with a touch of The Pixies, Belly, and Young Marble Giants wrapped in the punk breath of Patti Smith and easily ensures the forthcoming album will be paid plenty of attention here.

Barely two minutes long the track ends on a crescendo of fiery guitar sonics and abrasive energy to complete the capture of imagination and enthused intrigue. Produced by Gordon Raphael (The Strokes / Regina Spektor), the track more than hints as to why Roxanne has found a firmly growing success and with the release of her album early next year you can only see her finding even greater ardour wrapping around her music.

Red & White Blood Cells is available for free download from

RingMaster 16/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Yerbadiablo: Jester In Brick Lane

Yerbadiablo is the one man project from Italian multi-instrumentalist Nik (the Öyster) and Jester In Brick Lane his debut album which leaves one a little confused, often bemused, but overall with a buzz and satisfaction from the widely eclectic sounds on offer.

Started in 2010, Yerbadiablo brings a fusion of sounds and ideas which shift from song to song but also entwined in unique and startling ways. To probably over simplify things the music is experimental rock n roll soaked in elements and essences ranging from punk, progressive and seventies rock through to reggae, funk, garage, and hard rock, and that is missing other spices out of the list. From Bologna, Nik provides all aspects of the release with a few guest appearances from musicians like saxophonist/flautist Gabriele Bolognesi of Patty Pravo, adding extra flavouring to his imaginative work.

Released through Logic(il)Logic Records, the album opens with the first single from it, Punk In-Fusion. It is a punk rock/garage stomp with blazing guitars, harmonic shouts, and a scuzzy breath to its energetic stroll. It also shifts through multiple gaits, the punk and rock start evolving through funk and reggae shifts before returning to the boisterous starting sound. First listen , as with the album, is a wrong footing experience, its unexpected and confusing intent leaving one bewildered but the song is easy to warm to and join in league with over a few more visits.

The general theme of the album centres on ‘modern Man’s arrogance towards natural and spiritual phenomena about and more material issues such as the society and economy that he claims to control.’ Throughout though there is the jester of the title, the source of the lyrical attack on man, his anger and spite a punishment to guide and drive man back to older ways and thoughts. It is a premise which leaves one as deep in thought as the sounds, and at times as unsure, but continually lures one in with a willing intrigue and interest as with the sounds.

Winston Smith & the Street Dogs continues the good, its blues/funk rock a keen swagger through the ear which raises a smile on face and emotions. Things are a little unsettled there after though it is more down to personal tastes towards the flavourings used but where a song like Brick Lane does not ignite any sparks a Back To The Monkey with its jazz funk heart is a tasty morsel to get in bed with.

Z’étoile is a real highlight of the album, its ethnic warmth and enthusiasm making for a thrilling instrumental which has no reservation in including rogue mischievous sounds. It is matched by the blues discorded Guilty Blues and the excellent Bad Days Good Waves, a track which reminds of the punk wickedness and sounds of Les Negresses Vertes. It is the best song on the album and despite its length of two minutes, has feet and passions dancing eagerly.

The air blistering and ambience twisting instrumental Towards Wiñay Marka is a inspiring prod to the imagination and leads into the closing duo of Niebla and Yerbadiablo. The first is a gentle sway of piano and guitar around a soft voice which emerges into another chilling and disturbing presence as with the previous track. The last is quite simply the final whisper/threat of the jester, not really a track more a departing rebuke.

Jester In Brick Lane is an engaging and testing album which all should get plenty from. It is vibrant and at times disorientating but always with a magnetic pull to inspire questions and prolonged company. Yerbadiablo should be checked out, it is an experience to make any ones day interesting.

RingMaster 16/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright