Dashing through the snow, well rain after the UK’s cold snap, came a herald of song. Yes it was time for another visit from our friend Shauna of dreamscapers UMMAGMA and SHAMELESS PROMOTIONS PR, bringing with her a bumper sack of new tracks. So with hot toddies on the side we pressed play and the richness of sound arose…
Swiftly putting the body in dancing mood is Rock Bottom, the new single from LA-based songstress FAITH MARIE. With a lively swing and animated gait, the track is a vehicle of catchiness which contradicts its intimate lyrical contemplation yet equally the virulence echoes it as Marie reflects with personal experience on working through negatively impacting times with understanding, positivity and a sight on better times.
The track comes from her new EP, More Than I Am, which is slated for release early 2023 through boutique creative agency UUin, Inc., and from its first breath swiftly hooked the keenest attention with its warm almost tropical air and instantly brewed contagion. It is infectiousness echoed in Marie’s tones, her captivating voice and magnetic delivery again fusing shadows of the heart with hope fuelled outlook.
For three minutes, body, voice and thought united with that of Rock Bottom, a slice of poignant alt pop pleasure eagerly devoured and sparking one’s own reflection.
Just as compelling and impacting was The Blackest Mantra from A CLOUD OF RAVENS. This is a NYC-based alternative rock / post-punk duo with, going by their new single, an inclination for gothic/dark rock hues too. The track is the lead single from the band’s new album, Lost Hymns which is also set for release early next year via Berlin-based NEXILIS RECORDS, and as the song above, one whipping up a keen appetite and anticipation for that larger offering.
Formed in 2018, A CLOUD OF RAVENS consists of Matthew McIntosh (guitar and vocals) and Beth Narducci (bass guitar), the pair soon earning keen attention through a host of self-released tracks and even more so with their 2021 album Another Kind of Midnight. As we say, their sound is a dark embracing proposition, merging nostalgic hues with the pair’s fertile touch and imagination. Taking The Blackest Mantra as reference, it promises to shape their new album, which has been mastered by ACTORS’ Jason Corbett, to be an attention grabbing encounter.
The track itself opens with an instinct rallying lure of drums, rhythms which pulled out the fullest curiosity and attraction as drama and atmospheric intrigue brewed. The song soon hit its manipulative stride, McIntosh’s tones as compelling as the sounds in full flame around him, the song all the while rhythmically burying under the skin.
With a PLAY DEAD meets GHOST DANCE essence to the track, The Blackest Mantra wrapped itself around the senses and imagination. It’s urging of a dismissal of apathy to the wrongs around us and the enlivening spirit within its evocative realm of shadows courting our keenest captivation and indeed anticipation for a potent 2023 for the duo with the April release of Lost Hymns and a North American tour with CLAN OF XYMOX and CURSE MACKEY.
Mid-January sees the UK’s BLACK MARKET KARMA release their new full-length, Friends In Noise, through FLOWER POWER RECORDS; a record embracing a series of collaborations between the band’s creator Stanley Belton and friends. Already the project has enjoyably teased its release with lead single The Sky Was All Diseased featuring iconic vocalist TESS PARKS and now backs up the rich tempting with Aping Flair, Belton linking up with RUARI MEEHAN (Belakiss, Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe) for the song. Apparently, the album has been “technically nine years in the making”; time which going by those early glimpses has borne a fruitful adventure.
Aping Flair glides in on a psych lit jangle, its instant stroll an animation of melody and magnetic enterprise. The familiar hue of BLACK MARKET KARMA’S sound is an open tempting yet there is a new twist of psych pop and alt rock fertility which resonates from every note and vocal contemplation; ingredients which evoked the richest persuasion.
Almost mesmeric in its creative tone and suggestion, the song proved a host of captivation and pleasure with plenty of intrigue added to what its larger source will soon be offering (the album released January 13th 2023).
The KATE BUSH classic, Wuthering Heights, is one of those songs which will always cast a shadow over any subsequent takes on its iconic presence and drama but it has to be said that the new version from NYC songstress JESSIE KILGUSS embraces that shadow to enrich its own compelling presence.
The track which is engineered, produced, mixed and mastered by Charlie Nieland (Debbie Harry, Rufus Wainwright, Blondie, Scissor Sisters), is an acoustically bred proposal; a predominately voice and guitar spun tempting which caresses the senses and imagination with organic beauty. Though obviously, the track has more than an echo of Bush’s original it feels like Kilguss has sourced it’s stripped down proposal and emotive heart from EMILY BRONTË’S classic storytelling, the track resonating in its angst and virile sentiment.
As within her captivating recently-released album, What Do Whales Dream About at Night?, Kilguss beguiles, her voice one we easily find ourselves drawn to as equally her creative imagination which though more subdued here in a way still casts a breeze of individual enterprise across the song. Similarly, the guitar of Andrea Longato weaves its own absorbing intimate and intimation carrying proposal with the subsequent seduction of Kilguss’ harmonium and the glockenspiel of Nieland simply adding to the romance and radiance of what is a moment of pure captivation.
Lastly we present for exploration, Yesterday’s Girl, the new track from NYC indie rock/power pop collective GRAMERCY ARMS. It is a single, like our earlier choices, previewing a forthcoming album; Deleted Scene scheduled for release via the MAGIC DOOR RECORD LABEL in early 2023, and another proposition which sparked an urge to explore further.
GRAMERCY ARMS is a revolving collective of musicians and artists, a band created and fronted by Dave Derby (The Dambuilders, Lloyd Cole) with a rock nurtured sound embracing elements of 60s sunshine pop and folk-rock, their new song itself revealing Americana inclinations.
Yesterday’s Girl was co-written by Derby and music legend LLOYD COLE, a song originally penned for DARLENE LOVE’S solo album, Introducing Darlene Love. It has been reimagined by Derby and producer Ray Ketchem with a duet between Derby and Renée Lo Bue (Elk City, Flowers of America) at its heart, their voices alternating in thoughtful conversation around an alluring union within the song’s catchy chorus.
Melancholic yet radiant, emotively shadowed but joyfully rousing, Yesterday’s Girl swiftly and keenly had the body swinging and pleasure bubbling, its melodic jangle and rhythmic kneading just as magnetic while whetting the appetite for the band’s forthcoming release.
Pete RingMaster 30/12/2022
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