CRISTAL B. - Happy Instead
Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States
This sassy and brutally honest track from Fort Lauderdale-based artist Cristal B had to be my number one pick for this week. The independent artist does a great job expressing her thoughts and true feelings through her creative lyricism. The track blends her strong vocals with an airy choir-like backing to create an effective dream-like state with funky basslines and punchy drums. This track is uplifting and wistful- wanting to be happier and trying to be positive. A really relatable issue that is fully explored within the song. The small breaks in the instrumental backing add interest between the chorus and verses while her passionate adlibs show her full vocal range.
JOSHUA MARTIN - Quiero Tenerte Pa Mi
Los Angeles, United States
If you’ve been reading this column for a while, you will know Latin music has a soft spot in my heart, and Mexican American singer and songwriter Joshua Martin does not disappoint. ‘Quiero Tenerte Pa Mi’ is an upbeat track full of funky basslines and groovy percussion. Joshua sings in Spanish about wanting a particular someone and no one else. The track’s instrumental is made up of piano and guitar chords and is the perfect partner to the punchy drum kit. The chorus is full of life with the vocal melody becoming increasingly more syncopated and extra percussion instruments add to the track's rhythmic groove. To listen to this great track hit the link below.
Marlene. - Open Up
‘Open Up’ is the latest release from Berlin-based artist and singer-songwriter Marlene. This haunting track grows from an echoing and dramatic opening in which Marlene’s soft voice is supported with graceful harmonies and sustained piano chords to an uplifted and more energetic mood with bright synth lines and a punchy electronic drum kit. All together creating an effortlessly cool laid-back house vibe that contrasts beautifully with the moody introduction. Marlene’s lyrics describe the feelings as she opens up her heart after feeling she has been consistently let down. The shifts in mood and atmosphere make it totally captivating listening. This track has to be ranked highly this week.
ROB LEA - Summer In The Morning
Blackpool, United Kingdom
For the past 10 years, Rob Lea has been touring and playing in one of the world’s biggest Queen tribute bands. Now after signing with Nashville-based record label WBA Rob is setting out on his own musically speaking. The Blackpool-based artist has released his latest hit ‘Summer in the Morning’. This uplifting and optimistic track is full of major harmonies and catchy melodic lines. His warm voice takes the listener on a lyrical journey through a brief romance and the yearning from both that it all last a little longer. The cheerful track is layered with bright guitar lines and choir-like backing vocals. A must-have in any ‘ feel good’ playlist.
Cindy_louise - MONSTER
South African-born but Breukelen, Netherlands-based independent artist Cindy- Louise has released her latest song ‘Monster’. Blending together indie pop and progressive rock her unique sound is not to be missed. ‘Monster’ is an amazingly produced pop track that creates an ominous and moody sound world. Her lyrics are clever and descriptive. Conjuring up an image of her strength as she finds herself face to face with a monster. The track features slow ‘trap-like’ drums in combination with dark sustained synth chords. Her voice is soft yet full of sass when delivering her lyrics and there are some beautiful vocal ad-libs. This track leaves you wanting more from Cindy Louise, and I’m excited to see what else she might deliver.
VAN ELST - Où Es-tu
London / Utrecht
After an exciting year of touring, Utrecht and London-based Van Elst has released his latest track ‘Où Es-tu’. Not only an artist ,Van Elst is a producer, songwriter, and drummer and has shaped his very own unique style which has been influenced by artists such as Moderat and Tycho. ‘Où Es-tu’ is a dreamy, synth-heavy track with atmospheric multitracked backing vocals. The minor harmony and dramatic contrasts in texture helps provide a truly theatrical feel. Lyrics about ‘feeling lost and alone’ and ‘not being to find their way back home’ are delivered in a soft male vocal paired with light synths and impactful drums. I really enjoyed the lyrical language switch into French. It works beautifully with the intense sound world created.
THE PARKER STORY - AIRPLANES GO
Chicago, United States
The Parker Story is a pop duo based in Chicago. Made up of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Parker and singer-songwriter Anastasia. Their latest track ‘Airplanes Go’ is an emotional song about the real joy of spending time with your favorite person. The vocals are bright and sweet and have a great call-and-response effect throughout the verses of the song. The track builds excitement in the pre-chorus with a lively drum kit and the addition of piano synth lines. Long and luscious reverbs add to the song's romantic feel and the filtering of the song's instrumental adds momentum before the second chorus.
DREW KNIGHT - Stars
Tampa, United States
This energetic synthpop track is from Tampa Florida-based artist Drew Knight. A series of synths create an eerie opening to this ultimately optimistic and energetic track. Alongside Drew’s vocal entry a funky synth bass line drives the track forward with momentum. After a drum fills the track springs into life in a strong chorus. The synth lines come together with a lively drum kit to provide the perfect backing to Drew's vocals. Lyrically the song explores themes of giving a relationship one last go before running out of time. An open and exposed bridge is a great contrast to the final chorus which then returns to the track’s original high energy.
KEVIN WHITAKER - Unpredictable Love
‘Unpredictable Love’ is the latest release from Lebanon and US-based Kevin Whitaker. Combining dreamy synth-pop backings with a powerful and raspy vocal ‘Unpredictable Love’ lyrically tells the story of rediscovering love and finding his partner's heart once again. All part of what can be expected in the game of love. The track builds well starting from just airy synths to a full band sound in the second chorus. It is brought to life with a pounding drum kit and major electric guitar chords. The texturally open bridge allows you to hear the vulnerability in Kevin’s vocals as he sings so passionately. The track has an overall optimistic vibe and an immensely catchy vocal line.
ROGUE FX - Retrobution
Durham, United States
Rogue FX, the alias for Durham-based Andrew Wood, brings a new sound to the synth-pop genre. The track starts with deep vocoder vocals and bright and cascading synth lines. A punchy electronic drum kit provides the rhythmic drive of the track while the vocal robotic sound delivers the track's lyrics very much in tune with the theme of seizing the day and coming together. Intricate synth lines combine together in the track backing to provide an interesting backdrop for the vocals. This track has a heavy 80’s influence reminiscent of classic 80’s bands such as Soft Cell and The Human League.