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singles/eps - june 2016


Alexandra – ‘Criminal’

Alternative music artist Alexandra hails from New South Wales, Australia and she’s released a gritty urban-pop ditty titled ‘Criminal’ with a video to match. The multi-talented singer-songwriter’s main love is music and she unleashes a passionate, propulsive tune with ‘Criminal’ that focuses on her urgent, dramatic vocal delivery. Alexandra’s demo caught the interest of British producer Stuart Epps and then the American award-winning producer Keith Olsen. It was Olsen who helped Alexandra shape and polish her demo into the song it is today.

On ‘Criminal’ Alexandra energetically pushes out her voice in a staccato rhythm, mirroring the choppy guitar jags, restless percussion, and dynamic hand drum hits, breathlessly and vividly exclaiming in a delivery reminiscent of an impassioned Michael Jackson (but without the sharp, coy, nasal pitch), “So you better run boy run / …because they’re comin’ for ya.” The relentless press of the sonics and Alexandra’s vocals never lets up, immersing the listener in the storytelling song that goes along at a mad dash towards possible escape and freedom.

Jen Dan

Kim Killspeed – ‘Inside’

This Sydney, Australia-located 5-piece’s nitro-fueled name may sound like the moniker of a Roller Derby queen or the character from an animated action film, but what the band offers is not the spectacle of heavy metal (vehicular and musical) pyrotechnics, but a lively brew of folk-pop and blues-rock stylings.

The veteran artists who make up Kim Killspeed represent a range of over 3 decades of musical talent and history. Candy Cunningham (vocals), Andy Davies (guitar), Bruce Stephens (guitar), Leonardo Venturato (bass), and Tomas Bateman (drums) blend the blues, folk, pop, and rock genres on their tunes. They delivered their debut EP, titled Ultrasound, in May of last year and are now prepping for the release of sophomore EP Second Skin later this year. Second Skin is being produced by Jeff Martin of The Tea Party.

Lead single ‘Inside’ showcases the band’s mix of groovin’ rhythms, folk/rock guitar lines, and catchy melodies. What starts out as a folk-sounding song catches fire on the chorus section where the band rocks out with a bluesy vibe. Picked acoustic guitar and a steady drum beat anchor the verses, with Cunningham singing in a direct, but ripe intonation that, “I’m not caged up in my room.” She’s free to roam and dream and pursue her passions as she escapes “…from the mundane.” The chorus lifts up with swirls of organ note reverberation, dynamic drum work, the sporadic crash of cymbals, and stronger electric guitar lines.

Jen Dan

Nick Vivid – ‘Too Much Light’

New Yorker Nick Vivid brings the bright nu-disco lights to the dancefloor on his latest album, Watch It Fly, out on MegaPlatinum Records. Vivid vibrantly blends hip-hop, disco, R&B, funk, and EDM on his pop-based tunes and standout ‘Too Much Light’ shines with 70s-era disco delight. The beats are crisp and clicking, the diffuse synths effusion radiates a gentle warmth, the thumpin’ drum pace is upbeat and club-friendly, and Vivid sings like a lost member of the Bee Gees without the nasal sharpness, softly and airily intoning, “I was really feelin’ kind of low / but you’ve got me feelin’ good again.” This number will do the same with its uplifting and inclusive vibe. Good times!

Jen Dan

Gunship – ‘Maximum Black’

Synthwave noir act Gunship was founded by Dan Haigh, Alex Westaway, and Alex Gingell and they have won fan raves and critical accolades for their Bladerunner-meets-80s arcade game, synth-pop sound – and mini-masterpiece, retro-vibed videos. Gunship’s music is a throwback style that somehow sounds fresh and intriguing – full of sleek, gleaming, melodic pop and drifting, melancholic synths and vocals.

Gunsphip’s videos kick it up several notches, including employing the talents of renowned director John Carpenter on voiceover and Claymation artist Lee Hardcastle for tune ‘Tech Noir’, using aerial plane combat animation from cult short film Paths of Hate on ‘Fly For Your Life’, and creating ‘The Mountain’ in the official Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto PC video editor for the first time.

Latest single ‘Maximum Black’ doesn’t have its own video yet, but the band has spliced together visuals for the audio, incorporating clips from the dystopian movies Bladerunner, Escape From New York, The Crow, and Dark City. The song is shot through with Halloween-esque electronic patter and a deep, dark, ominous ambience. The vocals are drawn out and hushed, touched with a shadowy foreboding on the verses. Lighter synth notes and higher vocals on the chorus alleviate the closeness of the noir atmosphere, as the singer sighs the defiant lyrics, “Your moves just rip up the sky… / They will not pull us down.”

Jen Dan

Reigning Days - 'Empire'

A mid tempo track that's Hard Rock rather than Metal, Reigning Days know how to hold a tune and are making a bit of a name for themselves in the pages of the rock press, and the video's tale of underhand dealings in a backstreet casino goes quite well with the grimy soundtrack.


Tacocat - 'Talk'

For all the fluorescent and brightly coloured imagery, there's something a bit downbeat about Tacocat's latest release. I will admit to having only heard this track and I am reasonably certain that there are livelier and faster paced songs in the Tacocat repertoire, so watch the video and, like me, wonder where exactly it is you can get sneakers with built in LED lighting.


Popincourt - 'I Found Out'

Asking music fans to consider how Paul Weller would've sounded had he been not English but French is, it needs to be said, setting yourself up a bit. Had Weller actually been French, I expect he would've gone further along the route of electronic experimentalism that he delved into in the late 80s, and if Popincourt were English or anything other than French themselves, perhaps they would have come up with something a bit more inspired than this track, which is sort of alright but in need of a brass section and a full complement of backing vocalists.



Vincent Coleman - 'Just One / Fall Through'

Bassy club number with the requisite handclaps and guitar breaks and it's actually two songs blended into each other, with only a change in the lyric to indicate that 'Just One' has ended and 'Fall Through' has begun, which, while I think I get what Vincent Coleman is intending, isn't an idea that I really think should catch on in songwriting. Now I've said that it inevitably will.