Top Ten Thursday: Alta Falls, Black Hat, Bmbu and SueLily, Fwz, Emily James, Matt Storm, Juhan Ongbrian and Shane Sato, Bee & The Hive, Five Fingers of Funk, Sir Echo

Alta Falls – “Tried To Forget About”

Alta Falls, the Brisbane-based electro-pop duo, has dropped a new single today that’ll make you want to time travel back to the ’80s. “Tried To Forget About” is a nostalgic and energetic track with a danceable shuffle beat, vintage synths, and emotive lyrics that are seamlessly punctuated with silky smooth harmonies.

Lead singer Nathanael revealed that the song was initially written in a folky style, but during a TikTok livestream, their followers instantly connected with it and asked for a recorded version. The duo then teamed up with producer Aidan Hogg and drummer Sebastian ‘Baz’ Jennings Hingston to transform the folky tune into an ’80s banger.

The track tells the story of Nathanael’s childhood friend, with whom he used to ride his pushbike around the Western suburbs of Brisbane and write songs. “I have such fond memories of that time of my childhood, and the song transports me back there whenever I play it,” Nathanael said.

Alta Falls’ second EP is highly anticipated, and if the first few releases are anything to go by, it’ll be an electro-pop delight. Their signature synthy charm, insightful lyricism, and danceable beats are sure to captivate listeners once again.

“Tried To Forget About” is a testament to Alta Falls’ ability to create music that transcends time and genre. The track is a unique fusion of nostalgia and modernity, offering a refreshing take on electro-pop. It’s clear that the duo is on an upwards trajectory, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next.

Black Hat – “Favorite Place”

Black Hat’s newest release, “Favorite Place,” is a moody and evocative track that’s sure to transport listeners to a world of wonder and melancholy. As a B-side to their first single, it stands out as a medium tempo’d, chill mood tune that’s unlike anything else out there. The allure of indulgence and original programming is palpable throughout the song, as Black Hat weaves together eerie vocals, guitar soaked in reverb, hypnotic synth drones, and infectious melodies and beats.

What sets Black Hat apart from other psychedelic bands is their ability to create a cinematic experience that transcends genre limitations. Drawing inspiration from spaghetti western films, fear of the apocalypse, and transcendental expression, they’ve crafted a sound that’s entirely their own. And while their style may echo that of traditional 60s artists, there’s something uniquely haunting and mesmerizing about their music.

“Favorite Place” is a testament to Black Hat’s creative prowess, and fans of the band will undoubtedly be entranced by its captivating melodies and moody ambiance. For those unfamiliar with Black Hat, this track serves as a stunning introduction to a band that’s breaking the boundaries of psychedelic music and creating something truly special.

Bmbu and SueLily – “Two Minds”

Bmbu, a seasoned veteran in the hip-hop and R&B scene, teams up with South London singer-songwriter SueLily for their collaborative track “Two Minds”. With over 25 projects under his belt, Bmbu’s production skills shine in this latest release, blending sampling and synthesis seamlessly to create a captivating beat that perfectly complements SueLily’s raw and honest vocals.

SueLily’s passion for using music as a means of self-discovery and exploration of truth is evident in “Two Minds”. The gentle merging of neo-soul, old-school hip-hop, and jazz in her sound creates a unique and soulful atmosphere that draws the listener in, while her storytelling abilities weave personal narratives that touch on human issues that are both relatable and impactful.

The track’s underlying theme of inner conflict is carried throughout the lyrics, as SueLily invites listeners to apply the moments in her music to their own personal contexts, effectively using her art as a means of healing and self-discovery. With “Two Minds”, Bmbu and SueLily have created a powerful and authentic musical experience that showcases their individual strengths and their ability to collaborate seamlessly.

Fwz – “My Issues”

Fwz’s latest release “My Issues” delves into the difficult and oftentimes murky terrain of betrayal in a cutthroat environment. The Brooklyn-born artist has crafted a gritty and unapologetic track that speaks to the struggle of navigating through a world where the true intentions of those around us are constantly in question.

From the catchy hook “Watch out for them people you call friends, think they riding with you” to the hard-hitting lyrics that showcase Fwz’s raw talent, “My Issues” is a haunting and captivating track. The track’s production is minimalistic and ominous, with a heavy bass and dark melody that perfectly complements the song’s theme.

Fwz’s flow is relentless and confident, as he addresses his personal experiences of betrayal and the consequences of those actions. The rapper’s gritty and intense delivery paints a vivid picture of a man who has been through the trenches and come out on the other side with a newfound sense of awareness and determination.

Overall, “My Issues” is a powerful and thought-provoking track that showcases Fwz’s talent and uncompromising artistic vision. The song’s intense lyrics and minimalistic production come together to create a haunting and unforgettable track that will leave a lasting impression on listeners.

Emily James – “Lovely Enough”

Emily James’ new single, “Lovely Enough” from her upcoming EP “Grey” delivers a haunting and introspective melody that leaves an impression. Emily’s voice is at the forefront, supported by a more intimate, stripped-back tone that emphasizes her singing and songwriting skills. The lyrics muse on the pressures women face to conform to societal expectations and be accepted. Emily’s vocals are striking, with a climactic build that breaks through the vulnerability. The official visualizer for “Lovely Enough” oscillates between vibrant shots at golden hour and cinematic, black-and-white imagery to reflect the song’s duality.

Emily’s musical journey is impressive, and her earlier musical influences have been pivotal in shaping her music. Her music combines artful storytelling with strong melodies that are often layered with beautiful, lush harmonies. She creates songs in her own private and intimate space, which she believes adds a level of introspection to her music. Her songs are personal, but Emily’s altruistic approach ensures that they’re for anyone to embrace and attach their own stories and emotions to.

“Lovely Enough” is a poignant, heartbreaking ballad that focuses on insecurity and self-esteem, particularly for women who face societal pressures to conform. Emily’s vocal delivery is incredible, and the haunting melody complements the lyrics’ message. Her upcoming EP “Grey” is sure to be a hit, and Emily James is definitely one to watch in 2023.

Matt Storm – “what do ya miss?”

Alternative-soul artist Matt Storm’s new single “what do ya miss?” sets the bar high for his upcoming music in 2023. Mixed by Grammy Award-winning Ben Kane and recorded at Vancouver’s ‘Electric Maple Tree’ studios, the track features a minimalist, melancholic sound with a classic vintage vibe. The lyrics convey the artist’s struggle with regret and depression, exploring the search for his inner self. Despite its short length of 2:39, the song showcases Matt’s lazy yet understated vocals and the talents of Luke Deville on bass and Trent Otter on drums. With Spotify already featuring the song on Fresh Finds R&B and Lowkey, “what do ya miss?” is an underground hit waiting to break through.

Overall, “what do ya miss?” by Matt Storm is a solid addition to his discography. The minimalist and melancholic sound, combined with the raw and unrefined approach to recording, creates a sense of intimacy and vulnerability that suits the lyrics well. The song showcases Matt’s strengths as a songwriter and performer, and the production by Ben Kane adds a layer of polish to the final product. With Spotify already featuring the track on Fresh Finds R&B and Lowkey, it’s clear that Matt Storm’s music is gaining traction and recognition. Fans of alternative-soul and introspective songwriting should definitely give “what do ya miss?” a listen.

Juhan Ongbrian and Shane Sato – “Changes”

Juhan Ongbrian and Shane Sato’s new instrumental track “Changes” is a masterful fusion of smooth jazz and modern rock, showcasing their impressive musicianship and creative vision. From the opening guitar riff to the final drum fill, the track is a thrilling ride through a variety of musical textures and moods.

Without the use of lyrics, Ongbrian and Sato convey the theme of transformation purely through their playing, as the music evolves and shifts in unexpected ways. The interplay between the guitar and drums is particularly impressive, as they push and pull against each other, creating tension and release in equal measure.

Overall, “Changes” is a remarkable achievement, a testament to the power of instrumental music to tell a compelling story and move listeners on a deep emotional level. Ongbrian and Sato have created something truly special here, and their collaboration is one to watch in the world of contemporary jazz and rock.

Bee & The Hive – “Sunshine”

Bee & The Hive’s latest single “Sunshine” may have a sunny title, but the content of the song is far from it. Lead singer Bee explores the idea of sadness in even the happiest of situations, providing a fresh take on the pop-punk genre. The song is filled with blunt lyricism, jazzy solos, and a sound that is uniquely their own.

The Oklahoma-based band brings a refreshing twist to the indie rock scene, with their background in jazz and classical music shining through in their arrangements. “Sunshine” is a perfect example of their ability to blend genres seamlessly, with a catchy melody that will stick in your head for days. Each member of the band is given a chance to showcase their personal flair, while also coming together to create a cohesive sound that is undeniably Bee & The Hive.

Despite only starting as a small group playing lead singer Bee Pichardo’s songs for a house show, Bee & The Hive has quickly gained traction in the Oklahoma music scene. Their debut single and EP release, signed with Catapult Recordings, is a testament to their hard work and dedication. “Sunshine” is just a glimpse into the potential of this rising band, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next.

Five Fingers of Funk – “Kill Sound”

After a long hiatus, Five Fingers of Funk, a ten-man hip-hop behemoth, return with their latest album, “Portland Say It Again.” The album features “Kill Sound,” a track that boasts a lively and groovy sound, anchored by the Fingers’ signature three-piece horn section and the skillful DJ Chillest Illest on turntables. The track also features a memorable guest appearance from Bosko.

“Kill Sound” has a distinctively old-school vibe, evoking the heyday of James Brown-style funk and lyrically-driven hip-hop. The track delivers a powerful message about respect and commitment in the rap game, as well as the importance of paying your dues. The lyrics reveal the band’s seasoned perspective, with lines like “Been at it since the ’80s, young man, don’t forget it,” and “Hey, I’m old school as fuck, but whatever, call it luck.”

“Kill Sound” is a testament to the band’s legacy and the groundbreaking impact they had on the Portland music scene. With their energetic shows and innovative sound, Five Fingers of Funk bridged the gap between Portland’s indie rock movement and its burgeoning hip-hop scene, paving the way for local hip-hop to be showcased in downtown venues. “Kill Sound” is a must-listen for anyone who loves classic hip-hop and funk, and for those who want to experience the enduring power of live hip-hop music.

Sir Echo – “Cargo”

Sir Echo’s latest release “Cargo” is a poignant and relatable track, serving as an open letter to an upstate New York kind-of-love. With its confessional lyrics and catchy guitar riffs, the song depicts the struggles of chasing someone who is busy chasing someone else. The hazy, dimly lit kitchens and 3am dinners described in the track create an intimate and atmospheric vibe, making it the perfect accompaniment to a late-night drive or introspective moment.

Recorded independently and mixed by Pat Noon, “Cargo” showcases Sir Echo’s alt/grunge flair that has been inciting mosh pits all over the east coast. Drawing inspiration from Nothing But Thieves, Wunderhorse, Highly Suspect, and Mannequin Pussy, Sir Echo plans on blending their influences while maintaining a fresh new outlook on female-fronted rock.

The band has been busy touring and playing venues across the east coast, preparing for the release of a storm of singles and an EP in 2023. With past gigs including Sofar Sounds, Breaking Sound Daryl’s House, and The Falcon, and having played shows with the likes of Clutch, Killswitch Engage, and Amanda Palmer, Sir Echo is quickly making a name for themselves in the music scene. With their genre-bending sound and relatable lyrics, Sir Echo is definitely one to watch out for.

Leave a Reply