Friday, 20 July 2012

New Artist Alert: Anita Nicole

Debuting on When We Were Beautiful is the breath of fresh air that is Anita Nicole with her jazz-inspired solo sounds. Nicole cites Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson as her favourite artists, with the sassy yet smooth vocal inspiration of the latter example prominent in her forthcoming single 'Will You Ever Be'.

Featuring Robin Porter on piano, this silky jazz-infused ballad allows a lovely space for Nicole's delicate and passionate vocals. The arrangement reminds me of a John Legend piano part and there's definitely room for an R'nB feel to accompany Nicole's sound. The sparse arrangement is perfect for the track, but I can really feel a great soul band behind this live to add an extra layer of interest.

Nicole is currently studying at the Brit School in London, whose alumni boasts Jessie J, Adele, Leona Lewis, and Amy Winehouse to name but a few. 'Will You Ever Be' will be released online later this month, so be sure to keep up to date with Anita Nicole on Facebook, and check out the video for the track below.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

New Artist Alert: Sink Swim

LA has spawned many-a great band over the years and its newest ambassadors, Sink Swim, are hoping to keep the torch alight. This alt/pop-punk trio have dived onto the scene with their debut offering 'Elements', a 5 track EP they hope will turn the heads of the global music masses with their "gut-wrenching vocals" and "catchy and honest choruses".

There's always something a little more genuine and honest about American-based pop-punk. Though this blog features the sub-genre heavily, it's not necessarily something I'm an expert in. All the same, the original, American breed is surely the source for imitation of all of the English pop-punk bands and a chance to feature a grassroots US outfit is too good to pass.

Elements doesn't fail to deliver the tried and tested pop-punk methods, whilst packing an extra dark punch; a nod to the band's alternative roots. The amalgamation of the member's backgrounds adds for an extra interest with the guys inspirations lying between hardcore drumming and latin guitar-playing.

'Losing Sleep', the EP's second track, introduces itself with monotonous one-chord stabs whilst the lead guitar adds a splash of colour on the wall somewhere in the distance. The verses drive steadily, opening up systematically to reveal a little more passion, texture, and, most importantly, the vocals. Already the track is building and we haven't even reached the chorus yet. The bass prominently throbs along, holding down the fort with the drums as the verse winds on before easing into a less-intense pre-chorus. It provides a great segue into the half-time feel of the chorus, just a mere 4-bars in the first instance. The hi-hats open up for the second verse, the track again always still building, and the band never fall short of musical and/or pre-production ideas to maintain the listener's interest whilst ever-climbing. The breakdown does as you'd expect, stripped to the bare bones, before jumping head-first into a guitar-led section but it's exactly what is needed; predictability is not always a bad thing. The track still seems to be building before the final chorus with new ideas still being introduced, as the drums lead the charge towards the outro. A great and well-crafted pop-punk song.

The EP's final track, 'Last Year', eases in with some nice reverse-guitar before the band's statement, twangy bass sets the rhythmic scene alongside acoustic guitar in a lazy 6/8 signature. The drums don't hold back with nice triplet bass-drum strokes still injecting the more alternative feel into this pop-punk driven ballad. I feel the band could have learnt more from their progression skills as featured in 'Losing Sleep'; the chorus doesn't separate itself enough from the rest of the track for my personal preference as it ebbs along as a musical piece rather than a song with clearly-defined sections. The vocals are laced with passion but the track itself doesn't feel as polished, or perhaps as musically interesting, as its predecessors and may have sat better on the EP in the middle rather than as the lasting impression.

Elements is a great and honest offering from LA's latest export Sink Swim and is available now on iTunes. Be sure to grab yourself a copy and keep up to date with the guys on Facebook too. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Boy Set Sail return with Brand New EP!

The Newport quartet Boy Set Sail are back with a brand new EP titled 'Roads'. Recording began earlier in the year at The Ranch Production House, Southampton, where my band Birds In Flight recorded ourselves almost a year ago. Check out this great and 'spicy' behind-the-scenes teaser video featuring interviews with the band members and samples from the new record:

You can have a listen to the EP below but be sure to grab a copy for yourself; it's completely free! All you need to do is sign up to the I Am Mighty Records mailing list here and you'll be sent a free download link.


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Fools For Rowan...One Year On!

So I had an email this evening with an update from the Fools For Rowan guys, who have cropped up in my online-subconscious over the past few months being an opening act for Evanescence recently. I like to know when I last wrote about an act if I'm revisiting them to ensure it's not too soon for you guys or for them, nobody likes too much of a good thing. SO anyway, it turns out that my previous post on the Nashville rockers was exactly a year ago tomorrow!

So there you have it, exactly one year on and where are the guys now? Well, for a start, they've a new EP which is released tomorrow, July 3rd, on iTunes. And yes, that's their When We Were Beautiful birthday, which I'm sure the guys were keen to make sure was celebrated in style. The EP's titled 'Who Killed Amanda Day?' and features 6-tracks which I'm assured are "packed with authentic lyrics, powerful vocals, and high-strung beats that stay true to rock genres of the past and present." according to the bands' press-release.

The single, 'Killed A Man Today' (Amanda day...a man today?) fronts the EP and, as the lead single, is complimented with a great video which you can check out below. The track kicks off with some funky rim-work on the drum shells before building with some rocking bass and driving riff-based guitars. As the vocals drop the song eases into a pulsing rhythmic-jog in the verses and punches with a great chorus that really flaunts the awesome lead female-rock vocals. The song is packed with energy and angst whilst maintaining a radio-friendly edge that should please listeners at both end of the spectrum. If you're not humming the killer riff for the rest of the day, you obviously weren't listening properly.

'Who Killed Amanda Day' is out July 3rd on iTunes and the guys are of course on Facebook. Be sure to check out their video, have a scroll through the photos, try and catch them live if you can, and definitely get a copy of the EP for yourself. Help keep music live and support these artists who have got the potential to make it big but need YOUR help to break into the mainsteam. Enjoy Fools For Rowan. Rock on!