At her musical essence, New Jersey singer-songwriter Rasha Jay encapsulates cross-genre soul-rock sentiments, setting her aside from the pack. Rasha Jay is due to release her latest and more emotive single, ‘Backbone’ on May 28th. Written during Feb 2020, just before a year like no other, Rasha describes the inspiration behind the newest single:
“I wrote this song in February 2020, ahead of a tumultuous year that we didn’t expect here in the US or in the world. I wrote it after hearing about my last uncle passing away on January 1st. I came home and went right to my keyboard and just started talking, then singing, then crying…and what came out of that was not just sadness and grief, but gratitude. My aunt passed away 30 days after him. Again, grief with gratitude. I felt honored to know them, to love them. That’s what Backbone is about–the visuals, the feelings, the notion of recognizing you are what you are because of a connection”.
Rasha Jay, 2021/Press-Release
The song itself is powerful and poignant, with the achingly soulful vocals of Rasha layered within the trip-hop, Portishead-Esque instrumental. The guitar’s melody echoes throughout, forcing your head to bop to the beat, luring you into forgetting the pain behind the lyricism. ‘Backbone’ is stripped down, allowing us to focus on only Rasha Jay’s stunning vocals, which were Rasha’s first vocal take. ‘Backbone’ is a raw and honest track that feels in-depth compared to the superficiality of some pop songs; it feels as if we are reading a diary entry from Rasha, able to empathise with Rasha’s trauma while simultaneously enjoying the musicalisation of the unrestrained vehemence.
Rasha Jay has grown up in the small town of Owings, Maryland, and is exemplary that no matter who you are or where you are from, you can and should make music for self-expression. ‘Backbone’ is out on all streaming platforms on May 28th, and you can hear and see more of Rasha Jay through her socials which are linked below.
Dropping May 24th, Steady Rollin is merging blues-rock and the Spanish language seamlessly in their release ‘Donde Te Has Metido?’ (Where Have You Gone?). This will be the El Salvadoran musicians’ first Spanish language track and promises to leave listeners with an earworm of a tune.
As the song kicks in, the trio instantly commands attention with a soft acoustic guitar that steadily builds into a heavier variation. With metal like pacing driving the track forward but letting each beat hit and resonate, ‘Donde Te Has Metido?’ culminates in a sinfully melodic chorus that is equal parts toe-tapping and impactful. The tone is kept on track narratively with equal parts playful energy and emotional performance, weaving the tale of a love like no other that changes a person’s perspective on life, to only lose it when the things fall apart. Whilst the tonal shift is not drastic, it’s enough to switch from upbeat to a sense of longing seamlessly, showing genuine craftsmanship and a sense of musicality whilst avoiding an overdramatic finale that could take listeners out of the experience.
At its core, ‘Donde Te Has Metido?’ is an ode to the classic rock sound of the 70s, with nods to the likes of Cream and The Who. It relies upon traditional rock elements, which are enhanced in its presentation, and the result is a refreshing take on the nuances of the style.
Overall, Steady Rollin enhance established occurrences with the inclusion of a new quirky perspective: see the use of an accordion as a competitor to the standard guitar feature. The inclusion of the Spanish language never causes a barrier due to the palpable talent and sentiment present, making it accessible and a must-listen.
Featured on his latest album drop, ‘The Journey’ (March 8th), Ryan Soanes elevates nostalgic 2000’s pop-punk with the highlight track ‘Call My Name’. Surrounded by ten songs that call back to emo and pop-punk nuances without feeling tired or out of place in the year 2021, the whole album is delightfully alternative and ‘Call My Name’ is a summation of everything the album does well.
Accompanied by a sleek and atmospheric lyric video, ‘Call My Name’ is indulgent. Using synths to create a melancholic tale of regret and longing, what could have been a simple pop-punk love song takes on a whole new tone, allowing typical instruments to adopt a subtle role in the backing and Soanes’ vocals to take centre stage. The track is an authentic experience; avoiding coming across as potentially whiney, the genuine emotion in the vocal performance is palpable and adds impact to lyrics calling out to a lost love. Lyrically powerful and musically raw, Soanes conveys an experience many can and do face in a way that is utterly accessible without cheapening the narrative.
“The song was originally written years ago before I even released music, it was written as a love song to a girl I was dating at the time, however, in recent times when I decided to rework the song, I had broken up with the girl… this gave the song a whole new meaning and vibe completely…” – Ryan Soanes
‘The Journey’ as a whole is an album rife with emotive imagery and catchy hooks, perfect for the genres it takes inspiration from whilst also raising money for the charitable cause Samaritans. It’s often music in the overarching alternative genre provides solace for the struggling, many using the lyrics to express and fight against issues that they cannot put a name to. So to see that this perfectly apt addition to the roster of albums available also supports people by helping fund an organisation that could help in the real world, outside of music, is not only heartwarming, but feels appropriate.
Overall, ‘Call My Name’ is a track that doesn’t just highlight Soanes’ talent but shows off the best things about the album in a snapshot that can be shouted at the top of the listener’s lungs.
Make sure to check out ‘Call My Name’ and all things Ryan Soanes here:
In honour of their anticipated album dropping early May, Pentral have released ‘Silent Trees’ to wet the appetite of any avid lovers of heavy riffs and percussion that you can feel in your chest. The track, which was released on March 5th, is a cacophony of ethereal harmonies, progressive driving beats and powerful lead vocals. Reminiscent of classic metal, with steady pacing and a focus on a lilting vocal performance, ‘Silent Trees’ balances compelling storytelling and dynamic musicality effortlessly.
The trio has created an excellent look into the upcoming album, one that stands as a call to arms for humanity against discrimination in a way that is not only accessible but a brilliant listening experience too. ‘Silent Trees’ is epic in its sound whilst it remains grounded due to its pacing, simple yet effective with a grandiose tone. With an accompanying music video that matches the song’s raw essence, the track is punchy with a lot of heart, further shown through the chosen topics and lyricism.
“The album was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic and it was a huge challenge wearing face masks almost every time. There was tension and fear among the musicians and engineers of getting infected. Besides that, the songs are not “straight”. Pentral uses a lot of uncommon and odd time signatures and harmonies, so it was pretty hard to record the final version of the tracks. Atmosphere, harmony, melody, groove and a strong message to make people think. For the band, this is what music is all about.” – Victor Lima (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars)
With clear influences from the band’s Brazillian roots and an evident passion that oozes through each note, ‘Silent Trees’ promises that ‘What Lies Ahead of Us’ (dropping May 7th) will be a vivid listening experience. Filled with soul, forcefulness and a fight that has been missing in the current music scene, it is not to be missed.
November 26th saw YUNGBLUD’s 7th single release this year, bringing us an emotionally charged song mars, telling the story of a young trans woman fighting to be who she truly is, and spreading the message of self-identity and fighting for what is right. The song comes quickly after previous release Cotton Candy, which received a hugely positive reaction from fans and new listeners alike.
The video quickly followed, dropping 5pm yesterday. You can watch Below:
mars comes as one of the featured songs on the Weird!, which is releasing at the later date of December 4th, after being pushed back due to the delay in production of the Vinyl versions of the album.
YUNGBLUD has been teasing the content of this album, redesigning his style in a more liberating lyrical style with charged messages, as per for any of his releases. Earlier this year, he described the new album as “Inspired by Bowie”, the latest video clearly nodding its head towards the late performer.
I was lucky enough to get in touch with Jenna (Middle Bottom of the picture below), one of the featured actors in the music video, to ask about what the song means to her, the filming process and what it was like working with YUNGBLUD on set.
“The song to me means reaching out to each other. From the moment I read the lyrics I felt it was about the story of a young trans woman who has been through a hell of a fight to be who she knows she is, and this can connect with everyone in one way or another. Fighting for yourself and what you deserve, fighting for what you know others deserve and, in this case, ultimately prevailing with Bright coloured lipstick and a tougher skin. Support each other, love each other!“
“And the filming process was an absolute joy! Dom was so clear with what he wanted and that he wanted us to be OURSELVES. And you can see this in the video when everyone has a slightly different take on the fight. I felt completely supported and encouraged and most of the filming was done in one or two takes as it was made so clear what we were asked to portray.”
Keeping this year busy with announcements, we are blessed with three different tours over the next year, firstly with the Weird Time Of Life tour, an online event which sees both old and brand new songs performed in a location specific livestream, which is currently ongoing. Concert-goers can buy tickets for any location across the world, talk with fellow fans and be introduced to new bands through the support acts. You can still buy tickets here, with the run ongoing until the 7th December. The next announcement is the Intimate As F*CK, shows brought to fans in tiny venues across smaller cities in April and May of next year. Unfortunately these tickets have already sold out due to high demand! But if you still would really like that live event to see the new album releases in person, the Life On Mars tour is taking place late 2021. You can view dates and tickets here.
With the United Kingdom slowly coming out of national lockdown after the Coronavirus Pandemic slows, we as listeners can only hope with baited breath that these concerts can still go ahead, and it not, we hope a plethora of new music can come instead.
For some, lockdown was a series of unfortunate events. For Four Crooks, however, the global pandemic was a catalyst of creativity, from which grew their brand new EP, Black Magic.
The band, hailing from Telford, took to a remote farmhouse to combine their thoughts and musical talent to bring to us Feel Alright, Paranoia, and the title track, Black Magic, all together combining as a brilliant, heavy Indie EP reminiscent of Royal Blood and Nothing But Thieves.
Four Crooks consists of Dave Morris (vocals/guitar); Eamonn Russell (guitar); Toby Barnett (bass) and Dan Quinton-Jones (drums). Four seemingly average guys who came together over their love and need for heavier sounding Indie tracks.
Eamonn met Dave the night he was being kicked out of a bar after an altercation with the manager over gig fees and, as they walked together, carrying the kit, they bonded over their love for a particular sound of music. Toby and Dan joined in with this shared passion and inside the farmhouse, without distractions, the EP was born.
The three tracks on the EP show the rawness of the band. Just four lads who are being open and honest about mental health and relationship struggles.
The title track by the same name as the EP mentions the highly additive qualities of women, and other substances, warning us of the highs and lows. Feel Alright introduces us to the struggles of getting through a difficult relationship, whilst holding your head high. The track features a bouncing, feel good melody – definitely a lockdown mood booster.
The final track, Paranoia, speaks of the struggles of dealing with anxiety and doubts, with a heavy bassline that will be stuck in your head for days.
Overall, the EP is a solid listen, with three tracks that really show the band’s talent, and with the second national lockdown over our heads, can we be looking forward to new music from this up-and-coming band? Lets hope so!
Follow Four Crooks on Social Media for more announcements:
Indie-punk Maverick Vanderocker returns with a brand new EP – The Good Punk – a 5 track journey, bringing us a brilliant mix of punk, indie and psychedelia in this experimental EP.
Soon to be turned into a short film, the short album touches on themes of sex, voyeurism and confirms Vanderocker’s place in the alternative music scene.
Vanderocker is an indie music project lead by Adrienne Vanderocker, an LA based performance artist who comes from a family of Dutch-American classical musicians. Boasting a huge amount of talent, Adrienne composed the EP, playing guitar, bass and synth on the record. Together with the producing skills of Brandon Eggleston and several noteworthy guest artists such as Federico Pol Jr (Joe Cocker), Peter Holmström (The Dandy Warhols, PIA), and Brendan Bond (Black Pumas), the EP was born.
Vanderocker have continued to soundtrack an eccentric and dreamlike view of the world, best described by Adrienne herself:
“In my mind, it’s a basic study of humans on different levels, almost from an Alien National Geographic kind of perspective. ‘Here is Earth, a most beautiful place and here are the alluring creatures who call themselves human beings. Let’s observe them when they are just in their bodies. Now look how they change when they interact with other groups’ – like a typical lab observation, right? Which is interesting in itself; but then of course, we have to look at how amazingly powerful humans can be when they disengage from the drama and plug into something bigger than themselves. I find comfort in all of it, when I can step back and observe us the way a newcomer might.”
In the early stages of their music, Vanderocker worked more with classic rock and electronica, but through experimentation and collaboration, the sound has become more polished, honing in on the perfect hybrid genre, including trip-hop, avant garde, roadhouse blues and indie pop.
Vanderocker have continued to push musical boundaries, working with Phil Ek (Modest Mouse; Built to Spill) on single, Dear Future Self in August 2020 and appearing on the soundtrack to the PS4/XBox One/PC game, Beyond Blue. Tying all of the music together and encapsulating the Vanderocker journey, the short film, Cult for You, will be a 1920s-esque erotic flick, with shooting beginning this November.
The Good Punk is due to be released on the 13th November, and the track list goes as follows:
Cult For you opens with punchy, punk guitar that lead the track, accompanied by haunting and sensual vocals. As the harmonies layer, the track becomes more intense, leaving the listener in their own imagination.
“Earthly pleasure. Birthright. A pure journey of the flesh. The most basic, primal experiential potential of having a human body. You can get off and go about your day unaffected, or you can reach other dimensions, use sex as medicine and heal yourself and/or your other, or connect to pure God essence, just by knowing how to use your body as a vessel. Sex is a portal. I like the duality there is in sex and the sensual worlds alone- the drama, the meaning, the purpose all begins in our heads and then trickles through our bodies to be expressed and manifested.”
Endless city leads with a heavy bassline, introducing the other instruments that layer upon each other. It really gives you a nostalgic feeling of walking through an empty city at night, feeling empowered but intrigued by the mystery around you.
“Now we take the human experience out of the singular and look at it from about 50 yards away, for instance, watching small groups interact in our favourite petri dish – a city at night. This environment is a prime setting for getting the extreme highs and polar opposite lows out of people, often within the same experience. We follow our subject, seemingly feminine, through the streets where she bears witness to all of it. People’s faces become lock boxes for sins, secrets, or resilience, or heroism, and they also become the most open, revealing, expressions of themselves on the flip of a dime. There is also the idea that a city at night is also where you have the easiest access to mind altering substances, either through drugs, or euphoric divination – and seeing how the two paths can have their similarities is interesting to me. The two paths can look the same but feel and affect one in polar opposite ways. Of course, all these experiences lead to the same goal- wanting to feel loved, and oh the trouble humans go through to achieve this feeling. From an outside perspective, it would make you deeply curious what the fuss is about.”
Taking Notes boasts a more avant-garde feel to it, bringing in more electronic and psych vibes. The layering of the voices with whispers really gives a trippy feel to the track. Sit back and close your eyes, you’re in for a journey with this one. This is also included as a bonus track instrumental, which is simply incredible and really give the instruments their spotlight.
“This is the most avant-garde piece on the EP. Establishing a deep funky groove as a setting for a narrative on the human experience and how we have to go through all this strange and often painful play to be able to tap into the higher experience and of course, our true potential. I was setting up a kind of 70’s vibe as the foundation and Pete ended up putting some really cool guitar work, creating this brilliant soundscape over the piece. In case anyone wanted to enjoy this piece without the narrative, we included a bonus instrumental on the EP.”
Supercell really brings the punk into this EP, with its message about waking up, coming together and “opening the eyes of the human race”. It is a brilliant final track to the EP, especially considering what society has been through this year.
“This track takes a look at how powerful humans are when they come together for a cause .Of course, it particularly speaks to all the unrest and upset around the massive corruption and ongoing systemic racism. When I was writing Supercell I was just thinking about that superpower gene that kicks in when change happens. I wrote it thinking about it in that context and then learned what a Supercell actually is- a Supercell is the mother of all storms. It couldn’t have been more perfect.”
Keep an eye on Vanderocker’s social media accounts for the release of this fantastic and thought-provoking EP.