I am so proud of this month’s Late to the Party selection. I didn’t know any of these artists prior to this feature and it is such a thrill to think that I might be introducing you to them for the first time, too. As is custom, there is a diverse mix of genres and styles but connecting every song and artist is the fact that they are producing so much of this work in a DIY setting and with full artistic control. It feels like we’ve collated a group of songs that are entirely authentic and specific to the individual who created them. Enjoy getting to know this multi-talented bunch of independent acts.
Ned » Indecisive
Simple, effective and compelling is how I would sum up this hip-hop driven, alt-pop track by the quite frankly, sickeningly talented, Ned. Self-produced, written, performed, mixed and mastered (I told you) you are sure to get a flavour of what this artist is about in ‘Indecisive’. With samples of BoJo (Boris Johnson to non-UK folks) speeches surrounding advice for the pandemic, there is a realisation that this song is partly fueled by the uncertain times we live in and the multitude of challenges that come with day to day life. The dynamics in the production, against the delivery of the lyric are artfully navigated. Amongst the simplicity of the narrative there are countless moments of impact in the form of delicious production details for your ears to discover listen after listen. I am seriously impressed with the style and strong sense of identity present in the songwriting and hugely skilful production from this relatively new artist.
Jae.Joven » Wait Anymore
Start as you mean to go on, and Jae.Joven begins with a seriously satisfying and feel-good drum groove that gets you nodding your head even before his smooth and catchy melodies entre the picture. This artist puts himself firmly in the hip-hop genre, and there are countless elements in this track that would confirm that, however, there is such an easy-going and melodic drive to ‘Wait Anymore’ along with the drums and guitar that completely appeals to the indie and pop fan in me. Seamlessly blending rap verses with flawless vocals and the lyricism that hip-hop is known for, this artist, whether they realise it or not, is pushing the boundaries and crossing genres mixing influences and building a sound that is authentically their own.
Far West » New You
Get in the car, grab a window seat on the bus or simply run down the hill really fast whilst listening to this song, it was made for travelling to. Honestly, all I want to do is watch a summer road trip film with this track playing the whole way through. The feel-good beats and vocal samples combine with nostalgic lyrics, spacey, 80’s fused production and lushes harmonies creating that unique ‘late summer evening’ feeling. Far West has succeeded in putting their own stamp on a familiar, melancholy synth-pop sound with their infectious youthful optimism and idiosyncratic lyrics. The result is a highly refined and thoughtful song that you can easily have playing on a loop without remotely getting bored. I class this a pre-summer bop.
PIE » Apathy
Okay, here we have a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, arranger and vocalist whose voice is pretty much devastating. It could all be a bit too much to handle, but let me tell you, the languid, and beautifully melodic tones of PIE are testament to just how skilled and refined this artist truly is. Apathy is a debut track that conveys the musical maturity and self-expression of an artist you’d expect to be on to perhaps their first or second album, let alone their first release! Originally from Brazil and now based in the UK, you can hear the subtle mix of these influences in her music along with the smooth jazz tones running through the arrangement and vocals and an R&B feel to the production and silky harmonies.
Fake Dad » Listen
It’s pretty hard not to be hooked in by the rich, smooth and, I’m just going to say it, downright sexy vocals which serenade you in ‘Listen’. Brooklyn based duo Fake Dad has created a laid back and funk fused track that is all at once wonderfully stripped back and simple, yet highly detailed and nuanced in its delivery. The percussion, textures, melodic production sprinklings and the opening and closing dialogue all contribute to building points of interest give a feeling of movement to the track. The soulful vocals and understated production really make for a calmly intoxicating listening experience as you gradually get pulled into the finely balanced and artfully delivered music of Fake Dad.
Melodic Canvas » Pretentious Intentions
The opening bars of this track might have you convinced you’re in for a folksy and willfully stripped back song, but don’t be fooled. A solid rock groove and melodic, gritty vocals to match, quickly throw off any folk pretences and pull you firmly into the indie-rock space where things get much more interesting. Dark and introspective lyrics continue to bring an edge to the track, but it’s the exquisitely crafted harmony stacks against the simple, jangly guitar riffs and acoustic elements that bring a feeling of release and escapism in this offering from Melodic Canvas. Culminating in a full-on rip-tide of aggressively charged vocals and climatic production, you can let it all go in this track and still find yourself delivered calmly back to earth, returning to the familiar folksy roots it came from.
Serena Sophia » Diary of Thoughts
Listening to this song, as the title suggests, was like peering into a confessional, intimate diary entry, filled with emotion, reflection and searching for the answers that are always just out of reach. Glasgow based artist Serena Sophia is treating us to an up-close and personal look at her and her music in this debut track. Not only was I captivated by the beautifully atmospheric and restrained production which fills the opening bars of the song, but the nature of the artist’s velvety and serene vocals make a strong and lasting impact. Culminating in a rich tapestry of skyward melodies and overlapping arrangements, you’re swept up in the emotion spilling out of ‘Diary of Thoughts’. Despite returning to the initial intimacy of the track in the closing bars, the intensity and complexity of this diary entry stay with you even as the music fades away.
Duncan Pelletier » Clear
Fill your boots with this upbeat, heartwarming and wonderfully well-crafted country fused track by Duncan Pelletier. I’m not one for comparing artists, but there was definitely something of a comedic or perhaps self-deprecating tone reminiscent of The Weepies that made me gravitate so strongly towards the joyful music of this Maine based singer-songwriter. Perhaps even a touch of Randy Newman in the delivery. Ok, I’ll stop with the comparisons and start with the glorious harmonies, infectious groove and beautiful vocal tones of Pelletier himself. The production and arrangement of this song completely embraces the country and singer-songwriter roots and makes no attempt to dress up in unnecessary bows and whistles. For that reason, it is full of authenticity and joyfulness and I am totally here for it.
An Early Bird » Fishes in the Ocean
Get ready to surrender to the cinematic and expansive musical landscapes of An Eary Bird. Containing all the earthy goodness of a modern folk song with simple and resonant guitar and piano parts, stripped, ricocheting drums and those hauntingly beautiful vocals. Combine that folky goodness with the added depth of textural synths and the searching lyric ‘fishes in the ocean’ and you’ll quickly find yourself imagining the film or majestic piece of scenery that is somehow conjured out of this touching track. With another album on the way in 2021, I invite you to start getting to know this artist and enjoy the many musical gifts they will surely bestow upon us throughout the rest of this year.
Late To The Party » Mar 2021 » Monthly Compilation