“Lucid Letters” is the artist name of UK singer-songwriter and producer Caryl Archer. “Traveling” is her latest release, in collaboration with producer W0lfpak.
“Traveling” is synth pop at its finest, a delicious mix of arpeggiators, synths and drum machines with catchy melodies and a strong vocal delivery.
The track know exactly what it is: from the beginning we are introduced to the sound of lush retro synths followed by a 80s drum fill that transports us (or rather gets us ‘traveling’?) straight into older times abounding of nostalgia. After a short but sweet verse, we are taken into a powerful chorus, beautifully layered with tight harmonies. Caryl’s velvety but powerful vocals show a wide range and intertwine in a call and response manner with a vigorous lead synth to create a perfectly memorable chorus.
Talking about the meaning of the song, the artists explains that is about taking control of one’s future, “about doing the hard work of finding out who you are and what you’re meant to be doing, because we’re all headed the same way, we’re all going to die one day. ”
Our only complaint is that the song ends too quickly! We were almost expecting a classic fade out ending. As it is, it only leaves us wanting more, and looking forward to future releases!
Elijah Stone is a 2o-year old singer-songwriter based in Las Vegas. His latest release ‘Nothing Left to Say’ is a candid indie folk ballad written in the aftermath of a breakup.
“Nothing Left to Say” is suffused with youthful sensitivity and subdued emotion, clearly a deeply personal creation. The song echoes influences of Kodaline, Bon Iver or the Goo Goo Dolls. The honesty of the songwriting is adeptly reflected by the simple textures tastefully layered: guitars, percussion, vocals. Elijah’s vulnerable performance stretches against a background of haunting harmonies and vocal textures that contribute a great deal to the atmosphere of the track.
There is something to say here about the vocal delivery. It conveys emotion, but it never overdoes it. The emotion is subdued, subtle, displayed not in the visceral way of the likes of Ben Howard or James Vincent McMorrow, but almost blasé – sad, tired, exhausted. It’s the perfect depiction of depression, and in the context it is the more suitable approach. The mood is set even before the theme of depression becomes apparent in the lyrics: “I sleep too late and I have no more friends”, “I can’t ever get out of bed”.
Talking about the inspiration behind the song, Elijah says:
I wrote “Nothing Left To Say” about leaving a toxic relationship but at the same time not wanting it to be over. There was so much depression and anxiety floating through my mind and my body. I felt tired of those thoughts, but tired of being alone. I felt overwhelmed and almost mad at the whole situation. It was in that moment of spiralling that I came to terms with the fact this will be the last song I’ll ever write about this person. It was the last thing I had to say.“
We certainly hope that this is not the last thing Elijah has to say in regards to songwriting, and looking forward to future releases.
Jacqueline Loor is a songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist and producer from Miami, now based in Tenerife. Her latest release “I Broke My Heart” is a moving introspective piece about making the wrong choices and getting hurt in the process.
This is the first song that Jacqueline has produced, and she has succeeded marvellously. “I Broke My Heart” is a cinematic, excellently layered piece of music peppered with small details that keep it interesting at all times. It sounds good, but most importantly, evokes emotion, provokes thought and certainly showcases Jacqueline’s strongly emotive personality not only through the writing, but also through the production. It’s raw at times, gentle at others, a bewitching inner monologue delivered with honesty and sensibility.
Throughout the song, the textures rise and fall, swell and envelope constructing a dramatic ambience of strings, droning pads and synths and filmic percussion. It’s almost as if the inner voice oscillates between self-blame, and trying to be gentle with one’s self. The (literal) whispers of the consciousness draw us on a spiralling path overfilled with questions and self-doubting thoughts, surging all the way to the painful admission “I’m sadder than anyone else”.
But this not an admission of defeat, it is a merely a first step on the journey of self-healing and self-discovery. Talking about the inspiration behind the song. Jacqueline explains:
“This song is about someone realizing they are always left heartbroken not because someone else broke their heart, but because they themselves keep choosing the wrong partner. They don’t feel they are worthy and they don’t feel like they are enough, so they always settle for someone who doesn’t make them happy. And instead of being alone, they just keep choosing the wrong people, until one day they realize they have the power to stop the heartbreak. It’s necessary to take responsibility for those choices to help guide your future choices. I hope this song helps give people that same ‘aha’ moment that I had.”
We hope to hear more from Jacqueline Loor, and definitely more self-produced songs such as this gem.
Savanna Q are a music duo from Florida who write empowering music and record and produce all their music in the house.
Their single “Tenderness” is a dance-pop upbeat anthem to pump up your Monday morning. Ouincy’s polished production combine with Savanna’s radio ready vocals and infectious melodies to create an uplifting song with positive lyrics that infuses optimism during difficult times.
Perhaps this is the reason why the song seemed like a perfect soundtrack to accompany a flash mob dancing video made by the London-based Club Mob, featuring various dancers dancing in their own gardens in quarantine.
We watched the video and danced along, and would encourage you to do the same 🙂 In any case, we do hope that Savanna Q can ‘start a trend’ of releasing more bops like ‘Tenderness’!
Jordan Dean’s musical heroes are the likes of Arctic Monkeys, the Strokes or the Libertines. If one didn’t know, one would be forgiven to think that he’s a “local boy” hailing from UK, and not a solo artist from Cleveland, Ohio.
His new single “Local” has heart, personality and humour, witty lyrics and a catchy chorus to get you to at least bop your head and yearn for live gigs and summer festivals.
Talking about his upcoming EP, Jordan says:
I told my producer that I wanted to sound like a four-piece band that packed a 300-person venue and I feel like we accomplished that on the Local EP. We said it in thestudio that this EP feels like a 30-minute set that you would see in a small venuepacked with people who really want to be there.
This is exactly what was accomplished. Jordan Dean’s new material sounds (in the best way possible!) like the release of some band trio from the 90’s. It’s simple and raw, instrument-based indie-pop which is becoming somewhat rare nowadays. With the likes of Alfie Templeman and upcoming artists such as Jordan himself, we do hope that this kind of music sees a long awaited re-emergence on the the global stage.
Leif Coffield is a Glasgow-based upcoming artist, performing his own uniquely flavoured brand of dark contemporary pop. “Say My Name” is his latest offering, an atmospheric and electrifying single about the feeling of being suppressed in a relationship and the yearning to break free and rediscover yourself.
The track revolves around a thumping rhythm mimicking a heartbeat, Leif’s dark toned multi-layered vocals, and a repeated phrase sung into a vocoder, all weaved into a hypnotic arrangement with industrial tinges, which could serve as the soundtrack to a ritual.
The lyrics and the music counterpart each other at all times splendidly. The struggle to break free when caught in between conflicting feelings is portrayed by an almost call and response variation between Leif’s vocals, and the enslaved part of the psyche – the robotic voice. When the lyrics talk about “change”, the rhythm suddenly shifts to a double speed beat – just another proof of the good marriage between the songwriting and the production.
Though we know the song is about breaking free from a relationship, in combination to the music video, the lyrics appeared to us topical: Leif sings that he “can’t take this place no more” while dancing in all-indoors claustrophobic setting of small rooms.
Talking about his music Leif says: “I always try to evoke emotion in the song whether it be through the instrumentation or accompanying vocal melody and lyrics.” We agree that he achieves to do exactly that, and we are definitely looking forward to his future releases.
Sivilian is the solo project of Swiss singer-songwriter Adrian Graf. His second release “Boredom Paradise” is a wake up call to the modern human always looking for distractions on flickering screens.
Adrian describes his music as indie-folk songs disguised as pop songs. With great production and a vocal delivery to match it, “Boredom Paradise” manages to convey a serious message under the camouflage of a catchy pop song. Despite the upbeat rhythm, the truth revealed is that we dislike being alone with our thoughts, and attempt to extinguish solitude by taking refuge in a ‘boredom paradise’, where Netflix and social media wash it away with illusions of meaningful engagements, and mindless preoccupation.
Adrian’s voice is open and melodious, refreshingly natural, likely due to his origins with indie folk. Though the chorus made us think of K-pop for some reason – not that that’s not a good thing! We enjoyed listening to this single and looking forward to more music from Sivilian!
Part of Right Chord Music Media, they accept various genres – generally radio-friendly sounding. You submit to their central submissions hub and online database to be considered for all of their opportunities: https://www.rightchordmusic.com/submit-music
2. Play Too Much
They showcase original music ranging from hip-hop to folk and everything in between.
Hosted by BISHI, features women, trans and non-binary creative practitioners talking about their life, work and relationship with technology: https://www.witcih.com/podcasts
5. The Mapped Out podcast
Their goal is “to put UK music on the map, one town at a time”. They chat with UK musicians, industry professionals and media creatives about their music, the UK industry, marketing for musicians and more: https://mappedoutmusic.co.uk/
6. The Independent Music Podcast
Covers various genres but inclined towards experimental – if you’re a pop artist probably not the best fit!
Ran by Chloe Ferguson, each episode features and artist and interesting conversations about music, songwriting and inspiration, etc. Contact Chloe at her Facebook page.
14. London Music Podcast
Hosted by London-based music producer Andrei Sora, you can contact him at his Facebook page and listen to the podcasts here.
15. For the Wild
For the Wild are a non-profit organisation dedicated to starting a conversation about the environment and wilderness conservation. They will also play 2-3 songs every episode if they like the songs and feel like they’re a good fit, thematically or musically (these are usually tracks with a world-music influence or chill, singer-songwriter type: https://forthewild.world/submit-your-tracks
Freya Arde is an award-winning composer, guitarist and music producer. Her 5-track EP “Spirit Awake” is a peaceful, mystical and perfectly cohesive musical wander through an enchanted forest.
Freya creates enveloping soundscapes combining acoustic instrumentation with audio processing and electronics. On “Spirited Awake” the soundscapes revolve around the guitar, which often plays hypnotic, minimalist melodies.
The first track adeptly named “Peaceful” is a calm and soothing introduction to this immersive sonic landscape. Beautifully recorded and performed acoustic guitar combines with a subtle bed of drone-like strings bowed softly to create a piece that allows itself time to breathe. The electronic elements are subtle and tasteful in the form of occasional glitch elements in the background, creating a gentle tapestry of sound, the illusion of a summer rain that comes and goes.
With “Spirit Awake”, we pick up the pace, an ostinato on plucked guitar urging us to advance into further exploration of the sound world that Freya creates. It is a pleasant surprise when the multiple layers of guitars momentarily give way to haunting vocalising, magnificently joined later by the lush sound of the cello.
When hearing the words ‘ambient music’ and ‘guitar’, one would be automatically inclined to look for references from Robert Fripp’s music. Freya’s guitar is very different, but perhaps “Tears of the Forest” is the first piece where we thought we could make out faint echoes of frippertronics. Perhaps a more adept comparison is to some of Daniel Lanois’ ambient work, in terms of the processed electric guitar that is also present in the tracks that follow.
“Featherlike” continues with the same instrumentation and timbres, only now there is more processing, the glitches and noises are brought further towards the foreground. The piece builds towards one single significant moment: the fleeting dissonance right before three minutes in, no more than a passing cloud in the sky before the peaceful resolve.
We are almost at the end of the journey with “Lying down after a long day”. Here Freya continues her exploration of sound, with unobtrusive nods to musique concrete. We feel as if we are hearing echoes of the previous pieces, only transformed, as if the spirit is wandering now through the land of dreams, with scattered reflections of the day’s previous stroll through the woods. And when the journey is over, we feel sorry that it has ended.
The stunning debut single from London singer-songwriter Nikkita, “Postcard Lover” is a tremendously cinematic and emotive three minute journey.
‘Postcard Lover’ opens with a pensive piano motif that is the backbone of the song. A sparse but extremely evocative arrangement takes us on a journey from the quiet stillness of night time to the swelling rush of thoughts and memories flooding in. The piano motif comes back in the strings and in the hummed chorus melody, like a haunting memory of an ex-lover.
Nikkita’s voice is like a vintage wine, rare and full of flavour. A recognisable alto timbre, brimming with emotion and vulnerability, a tone that is unlikely to go unnoticed.
‘Postcard Lover” is an exquisite track that was clearly the work of musicians with a strong understanding of songwriting, music theory and production, and a work of love. It is already making waves on Spotify where it was recently added to the “Most beautiful songs in the world” editorial playlist.