Bonbon Anglais was one of my favorite new discoveries of last year. However, with an elusive, reserved mystique, and a sporadic release schedule, I still don’t know much about him. I do know that, with each release, he brings something different to the table that makes me an even bigger fan and his latest “Stalemate” is no exception. An ode to unrequited love, “Stalemate” takes on a more ballad-esque feel than his previous releases. Though the pace may be different– with the slower, swirling beat allowing Anlgais to showcase his dynamic vocal range a little more–Anglais’ approach is the same. No matter what the atmosphere of the song, Anglais has so much emotion in his voice which really lets you connect with him. Showing more of himself in this release, “Stalemate” is another win for a supreme talent destined for big things.
Zaia has featured three times over the past year and for good reason. Each release has been as eclectic and impressive as the last, showing his artistic vision and range. Building off the great string of releases the Atlanta native puts it all together on his new project, Very Alone. Although the energetic, heavier moments like “ON GOD” or “DEMONS” are convincing–showing the more rap-friendly chops– I think Zaia best shined when he went the other direction and kept things a little more light and airy. Not only do the R&B/crooning-rooted efforts like “INNERSTATE” and “WONDER” have more atmosphere and (for lack of a better word) vibes, but they also really bring out the emotion in Zaia’s vocals which, next to the stellar production, ends up being a project highlight. Standout Tracks: “INNERSTATE,” “VERY ALONE,” & “WONDER”
As big of a fan as I am of Raleigh Ritchie’s music, I anticipate his music videos more. Not only are the creative, beautifully shot, and always tell a story, but the UK artist is such an expressive actor and conveys so much emotion with just his face. So, yes I’m excited about the new song “Artistocrats” used to announce his new album Andy (coming later next month), but, per usual, the video is center stage. Building off the ornate, classically-splashed instrumental, the video weaves together British history with a Raleigh Ritchie spin on it. He is always just so damn thoughtful with his music, there are so much care and attention to detail put on every single aspect.
It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from Yellow Days. Last July–when he dropped off It’s Real Love— to be exact. In the gap between, it sounds like the UK crooner has been experimenting because his new offering “Treat You Right” feels different than the sound I’ve come to know and love. Normally cleaning towards cushioned and atmospheric, “Treat You Right,” instead, boasts a textured, effervescent instrumental laced with a strutting guitar that gives off an almost live feel. It’s definitely a little more brisk and funky than normal, but giving the track that distinct Yellow Days anchor is his charismatic, swaying crooning. The refreshing atmosphere is great for spring and I’d definitely love to hear more like this from him in the future!
Canadian crooner, Joëlwas last featured back in May with “Vent (Stripped),” which showcased his soft, smooth vocals. His latest effort, “Woes,” the second track off his forthcoming EP GRUNGE GOSPEL (SIDE B), show as a different side of the multi-faceted artist. Joël trades in the stripped-down, light feel of “Vent” for a grungier, more frenzied energy. With a stark, string-laden backdrop laced with some knifing drums setting the stage, Joël (fittingly) tackles the “dark cloud” of doubt looming over him with a determined, confident delivery. Whether something softer like “Vent” or more frenetic like “Woes,” The T-dot native can deliver an authentic, emotionally-charged performance that really draws you into his world. If you dig “Woes,” be sure to check out GRUNGE GOSPEL (SIDE B) when it drops on May 22nd! [soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/797782300?secret_token=s-2CqdMCOpyxr” params=”color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]
Back in January, I happened to come across Brett Walker by way of “Sink In”, and though he was a little rough around the edges, I was really drawn in by his talent and charisma. So much so, I’ve been watching closely, waiting for something more. When the Washington native dropped off a new, six-track EP There’s A First Time For Everything I was eager to dive in to see if there’s was really something here. Similar to “Sink In,” there are some rough spots–a clunky line or something that just doesn’t quite work–but overall, the good far outweighs the bad. I can deal with a clunky line or two because Walker demonstrates a knack for creating some really infectious melodies as well as a charismatic, heartfelt, and authentic persona. Especially on songs like “Stay Loyal” you’ll find yourself really “rooting” for him; Walker makes you like him. Songwriting can be improved with experience, but the intangibles that Walker demonstrates–the charisma, the ear for melodies, etc– are the things that can’t be taught. The fact that Brett Walker not only has them but is already translating them to his music is a really great foundation for the promising, young artist. Standout Tracks: “Coincidence” …
Jean Dawson made quite the impression with his last effort “Bruise Boy,” which dropped in February. the track left quite the impact on me personally and is actually one of my favorite songs of the year so far. Now, Dawson returns with one of my favorite videos of the year for his new effort “Power Freaks.” Don’t get me wrong “Power Freaks” is still great song– Dawson showcases, yet again, and anthemic, genreless, and catchy (yet grungy) sound– but the visuals for this really take things up a notch. Directed by Zachary Bailey, Mikayel (both of whom did “Bruise Boy) and Dawson himself, the three create some really imaginative, beautiful shots while still fitting the grungy, authentic, stripped-down atmosphere of the song. With a unique sound and keen eye for visuals, Dawson is really establishing himself as a supreme talent.
Its been a minute since we’ve heard from Riley PnP, but he’s been back at it heavy as of late, and his latest release, “Kids” is arguably the cream of the crop. At the very least, it cements his presence. What jumps out most about Riley to me is his grit. I love the way his gravely vocals always bring callous, sinister feel to the track (perfect for his lyrical content). On this effort, his approach is highlighted by the board work of his frequent collaborator, Offshore. The jazzy yet hazy backdrop accentuates that no-nonsense feel creating an effort that hits with no frills attached.