“HAIRDYE” by Akurei
There is an ethereal beauty to “HAIRDYE” by Australian artist Akurei.
In amongst all the sweetly charming music, however, are some fairly intensely reflective lyrics that the singer says makes “HAIRDYE” are a very personal statement for him.
“‘HAIRDYE’, the focus track, came together on a Saturday night-in. It was a cathartic song to put together, one of the occasions in which I felt I learnt a little more about myself in the process of writing it.” (Acid Stag)
You might think that baring their soul is an integral part of being an artist but it still a great deal of courage to do that so you have to admire Akurei’s bravery in nailing his life colours to the mast on an EP of the same name which gives us insight into his life and might function as a form of therapy for listeners who will come for the music but stay for the confession.
“Medicine” by Gus Dapperton
There is an immense power to being deeply, searingly honest in any type of art, but especially in a song where there is a shared intimacy between artist and listener.
No song has embodied that more fully this year for this reviewer that “Medicine” by Gus Dapperton aka Brendan Patrick Rice who hails from Warwick, New York and has poured all kinds of hard-hitting truth into the song as he explains in this quote via Acid Stag:
“This track defines the album most explicitly. I wrote it as a song that would narrate my life. Medicine is about someone who is self destructive so that they can get high off of the process of healing. The hurting phase is of no concern to them. +++”
Lifted from his new album Orca, “Medicine” knocks it out of the park in so many arresting ways:
“‘Medicine’ is led by the gripping pianos that become a catalyst to the structure of the piece, building hand in hand with the rising nature of Dapperton’s vocals that move from a laid-back approach to a commanding presence that stands firm with its power. Forming a strengthened bond with the thickened pads and strings combo, ‘Medicine’ rises to the occasion in that latter stages to an eruption of sound that is a sensational ending to a captivating offering.” (Acid Stag)
“Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (feat. Kyan) by PLS&TY
Based in Los Angeles. Florida-born DJ & producer PLS&TY (think about it), brings us all the shimmering romance of attraction and the excitement that comes from finding yourself consumed by the sight of someone and being literally unable to look away.
Paired with bright, glossy, shimmering music that feels like happiness in an electronica package, the artist brings, according to Vents Magazine “languid bass, captivating vocals, and enough upbeat melodies to make anybody feel good” to not just “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” but every song on his new EP, Very Special, which charts the beginning, end and all the bits in-between of a romantic relationship.
“I was really inspired by the progression of how romance develops between lovers. The songs on the EP symbolize when lovers first meet and the progression of a relationship until the end.” (Vents Magazine)
If you don’t want the whole good and bad relationship journey right now, “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” is a perfect to start and stay for a while and glory in the goodness of love at its most perfectly innocent and new.
“Synthesizer” (feat. Nathan Ball) by Faithless
Good lord but British outfit has a captivating way with dance tracks that begin chilled and small before bursting forth into music so compelling you can’t look away and have to listen again and again.
Take new track “Synthesizer” from Faithless’s first album in about a decade All Blessed which features the emotive vocals of Nathan Ball and starts deliciously light and airy before kicking things up an entrancing notch, all beat-heavy music and lyrics that speak of the real loyalties of the singer which may prioritise his musical instrument over his significant other.
But don’t be too upset if you’re the artist’s partner; the ordering of what matters to them comes from a profound and enduring love of the art they create:
“This is the track that got us thinking of doing a new album in the first place. A love letter to what we do and the music we make and also a little social commentary on our obsession with technology, musically all rolled into a big bold warm Faithless-y anthem. Inspired by Trevor Horn, Sparks, Jean-Michel Jarre and our own back catalogue!” (Acid Stag)
“Rush” by HOTEL GARUDA
There’s something exuberantly uplifting about the music of Hotel Garuda (Mumbai-born Aseem Mangaokar who has worked with artists such as Lorde, Lana Del Ray and Galantis; source: Insomniac) that suggests someone having enormous experimental fun with their music.
It appears it’s not just me who thinks this with Acid Stag noting that “Hotel Garuda plays around with sound in a way that shows a newfound love for songwriting, ranging from poppy synths to roaring guitars to easy harmonies.”
“Rush” is very much a case in point, soaring and dipping, rising and falling with a sense of playfulness and fun, a vibrant mix of ’80s retro and a very 21st century love of postmodern mixing and matching.
It reminds me of artists like Darude who would create song that tap into something happily primal in your soul, releasing music that make you feel like pretty much anything is possible.
Plus, and this is important in a year starved of much to dance about, gives you deliciously fun to move your feet to, making reality seems a little more alive and a whole lot less tedious.
EUROVISION 2021 UPDATE!
What’s new in Eurovision land? Quite a lot actually. Turns out that artists will be able to record a live-on-tape performance of their song if for any reason travel to Rotterdam isn’t possible and last year’s semi-final slots are going to remain exactly as they were for 2020. Plus Junior Eurovision is coming up SOON – get ready!