Aside from being an incredibly talented musician, she managed to recover from a devastating brain hemorrhage two years ago. After losing vision and some of her memories, she had to relearn basic things we take for granted like how to walk, read and write. Within a year of hard work and rehabilitation,she was back to being able to play the piano well again.
She recently recorded a new album, “The Captain.” The title track contains uplifting melodies with oceanic ambiance in the background. Though there are no lyrics, the song manages to evoke positive and optimistic emotions. In contrast, her song “Life,” which is just as terrific, harbors a more somber and varied tone. “I’m in love with…” is another gem that builds to a somewhat epic climax. It’s tough for me to say which of the songs I like the best, as they all kind of represent different moods and experiences. Musically they are top quality. I could envision these songs being used as part of a soundtrack to the emotional scenes of a film. Naro has achieved great things musically with this album, quickly making you forget what she had to go through to create it.
The first thing that stands out with Kate Brown’s new single, “6 Shots” is the energy. It has a faster pacing than what I normally expect from the folk/rock genre, and it really engages you from the first second. It also isn’t depressing or bleak. The musical tone feels much more upbeat, even though the difficult subject matter deals with a caustic love and the sensationalism of violence in the media.
The singing is terrific and fits the style rather well. Kate has just the right amount of angst in her vocal delivery of these lyrics, and she doesn’t overdo it. She has a lot to be proud of with “6 Shots,” and I hope it is successful.
Pop singer Holly Elle’s new single “Flip that Script” is a catchy song about a girl reclaiming herself from a lover that presumably has treated her badly in the past. She’s a classically trained singer, and it’s apparent in her music, where her voice seems to direct all the action. She seems to be heavily influenced by Mariah Carey, but her style comes off slightly more European, and this is better in my opinion.
My favorite component of the song is the accordion in the background which is played by her father. In addition to giving it a little bit of Eastern European identity, it also provides another a layer of authenticity that most of these types of songs lack.
Top quality production here from Aiym Almas, an alternative pop artist from Kazakhstan. A good way to describe her sound is that it has elements of pop but without any of the cheapness or characteristiz sleazy vibe. Aiym has an incredible voice, which carries the songs in such a way that one would listen to them even if there were no other instruments. Her third single, “You Must Be True” has kind of a mysterious quality to it as it slowly builds to the main message. My favorite of her songs is “The Other Side,” which is like a blast of energy when the song kicks into high gear/dance party mode with the payoff.
Lizzy Small, a young up and coming pop star that you may recognize from her supporting role in the recent film “Spare Parts,” had a popular song out called “Gravity.” The first thing I noticed about it is that Elizabeth really does have a great voice. Lots of times these pop jams are comically overloaded with auto tune and pitch correction, but in Lizzy’s case the producer wisely left her voice (mostly) alone other than a few subtle effects here and there, and one can tell she’s a good natural singer. “Gravity” is a catchy song, and the part when the chorus kicks in you can visualize it being a club hit.
As a pop song, Gravity manages to achieve its appeal while taking the high road. The highly professional and well edited video comes across as a refreshingly innocent romance tale. It doesn’t utilize anything sleazy or cheap to get a reaction. It doesn’t rely on any of the shock value or preachiness we’ve come to expect in this genre of music. In fact, there is nothing cheap or shoddy about this production.
The same goes for her recently released track, “Always Be There,” which has a slightly more hypnotic feel to it as opposed to a club track. It reminds me of the sort of song a girl would listen to on a late night long drive home or afternoon road trip out of the city. It’s fitting that a captivatingly romantic song like this was released for Valentine’s Day. The echoey chorus can get stuck in your head pretty quickly after a couple of listens, and it’s no surprise the song currently has nearly 3 million plays on Soundcloud already.
Lizzy manages to achieve a respectable sound without appearing as though she’s “trying too hard.” From watching her videos and interviews, I get the impression that if anything, she is a tireless worker who takes care to consider every detail and genuinely takes her craft seriously. Either that or she just surrounds herself with good people and has terrific innate marketing skills.
Be on the lookout for more exciting stuff from Lizzy. I have a feeling these tracks will be just the beginning. Don’t be surprised if she makes it to the next level, and she does…remember you heard it here first.
So out of nowhere today I had something great to review. As I get older, I frequently get depressed because it seems like the indie pop and indie rock scene has kind of disappeared. The pretentious artsy and cultish zines of the past that I used to love seem to be nowhere to be found. Most indie music blogs today focus more on stuff like EDM and hip hop. With that in mind, it’s great to know that creative and incredible avant garde acts still exist. I’m just apparently too out of touch to know where their parties are.
Anyhow one of those groups that are making great new jams is “Kasket Club,” which consists of two guys that began working on music together in 2012. The duo is from Norway, so maybe I just need to finally bite the bullet and migrate back to Europe. Kasket Club combines acoustic instruments with electronic beats to create a flawless and positively energizing sound. They kind of remind me of some of the indie bubblegum pop bands of the 90s like Majestic, only with more electronic and synthy influences…somewhat resembling contemporary groups such as Magic Wands.
Kasket Club has a new EP called “The King of Cool and the Acrobat.” The first song, “Straight West” was a great choice to open with at it sets the mood with peppy and the kind of ultra catchy melodies you normally only get from television commercial jingles My other favorite song on the EP is “They Don’t Mind,” which has some radical grooves. The whole thing has a definite chillwave vibe, but slightly more fast paced than any actual chilling would involve. I’d recommend you support these guys, because their music is awesome, and I enjoyed it enough to write a longer review than I normally would.
I can usually tell within the first 10 seconds of listening to something whether I’m going to like it or not, and in the case with STV (Steve Counts) I already made up my mind it was great in even less time than that. “Suburban Function,” the opening song on his cleverly titled album “VCR,” is a terrific indie pop song. It doesn’t really do it justice to call it indie pop though, since the production quality is as a higher level than what you’d expect from this style of music. The chimey, xylophone like intro hooks you right into the song. The vocals are excellent, and this is just an all around well crafted song by an obviously talented individual.