Key Seeyen’s Ambient Jazz Hip-Hop Track “You’re Mine You” is a Beautifully Stylistic Time Travel Experience

Kay Seeyen sounds like the songwriter spent a good deal of quality time watching 40s and 50s cinema and listened to a lot of jazz music of that era as well as classic hip-hop samples as channeled through the lens of J. Dilla. At least on the song “You’re Mine You” there is such an eclectic blend of sounds in the beat that it sounds like you’re getting a cut up tour through time in music to create something that could really only have been made in recent years in this cohesive and smooth a way but demonstrates an appreciation for the compositional skills and ear for melody of another era. The vibe is jazz and classic pop but the style is underground hip-hop and its free associating sonic palette. There’s even a tastefully expressive, echoing guitar riff mid-song that sounds like a nod to dub. Because the song doesn’t sound like it owes allegiance to a narrow aesthetic it actually has an almost orchestral ability to stir emotions by touching those places in your brain where the memory of many good but neglected sounds reside. Listen to “You’re Mine You” on Soundcloud and connect with Kay Seeyen at the links provided.

Kay Seeyen on Twitter

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Carmen Mellino Exudes Swagger and Charisma on the Bi-Lingual, Dark Rock Ballad “Toi Moi Inc.”

Carmen Mellino, photo courtesy the artist

Carmen Mellino’s powerful vocals on “Toi Moi Inc.” contrast well with gritty, bluesy post-punk guitar riffs that start the song off on a borderline cacophonous note. The drop offs from the crashing, distorted guitar line allow for Mellino’s singing to carry the dynamic builds as she uses both English and French lyrics to weave a narrative that sounds like equal parts clandestine love affair and a brash declaration of independence from being defined by arbitrary social contexts. At times the songwriting is reminiscent of PJ Harvey circa Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea with the beefier guitar sound like early Black Rebel Motorcycle Club indulging the sliver of grunge influence in its own music. That appeal of the song is there but unlike many current artists tapping into 90s alternative rock for inspiration, Mellino sounds like an artist from that era who has returned with her confidence and charisma restored. Listen to “Toi Moi Inc.” on Soundcloud and follow Mellino at the links below.

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Carmen Mellino on YouTube

Roca.’s Music Video for “VIBRA” Perfectly Embodies Its Shifting and Fluidly Organic Structure and Melodies

Roca., photo courtesy the artists

Roca. tapped video artist NAOWAO to direct the music video for “VIBRA” and the result is an otherworldly interpretation of the psychedelic and diverse soundscape of the song. An animated landscape with flowing rivers, figures illuminating in time with the minimal percussion, a sunrise comes through the legs of a stylized Shinto torii, a cloaked mystic in reflective, coppery red robes floats appearing to contemplate a dream, puffy luminescent clouds float in the sky. Silvery, fluid shapes course through the air and take on the shapes of dancers and runners and blue vegetation edges the shore with tree leaves similarly blue. The whole video feels like a journey as warm vocals keep us from drifting out into the alien landscape for more than just a visit. The effect is reminiscent of a Björk song with sweeps of tone, strands of abstract melody that intertwine and stretch out with the dynamic of a breeze rushing in and fading out. All whirling around and emphasizing the emotional impact of Kay’s voice. Though the visual flair of the video is somewhat surreal it also seems to feature a landscape of shifting shapes and shape shifters as an analog to the way the composition has an organic, informal quality that keeps your attention even as your mind wanders with the song’s evolving rhythms. Watch the video for “VIBRA” on YouTube and connect with Roca. and NAOWAO at the links provided.

Roca.’s website

Roca. on Instagram

Isserley Exorcises the Dark Corridors of the Wounded Mind on “Nails”

Isserley, photo courtesy the artist

Isserley guides us in to the single “Nails” with lingering, lightly distorted guitar sketches before laying down the caustic heaviness that provides the irresistible moment of the rest of the song. Isserley’s vocals are vulnerable yet powerful imbued with an energy that burns through the dark thoughts the lyrics of “Nails” make so painfully vivid. For anyone that has experienced the deep sense of isolation and enervating psychology of depression, Isserley’s words and delivery couched within the context of epic, doomy drones feels cathartic. Like having to look at and grapple with ideas you don’t want to believe but have internalized over and over even if only on a subconscious level down to how you instinctively interact with the world and your own mind. Less emotionally self-aware people might think such a song is inherently negative or triggers worse moods but paradoxically the honesty of it all affirms the truth of the kinds of things maybe you’ve been feeling or thinking rather than having to shamefully bury it in a dark side of the mind where it festers and becomes an overwhelming monster of your personal psychology. Isserley just set that dark emotional spiral to music that feels like it purges one’s brain of those murky places even if only for a little while and often that can be enough to move onward. Listen to “Nails” on Spotify and connect with Australian heavy music artist Isserley at the links below. Her 2022 album How Do We Know She Is Alive? is now available on Bandcamp for the very reasonable fee of name your price and is not short on other tales of a personal journey through uncomfortable head spaces and psychological horror.

Isserley on Bandcamp

Isserley on Twitter

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Isserley on YouTube

Talker’s Video for “Don’t Want You To Love Me” is a Retro Therapeutic Shock to the Temptation of Falling Back Into Toxic Love

talker, photo courtesy the artist

When the mannequin in talker’s video for “Don’t Want You To Love Me” it seems like an eccentric affectation. But the shiny figure with no emotions is a perfect totemic device for putting someone bad for you and/or with whom you have a bad dynamic behind you even if some of your impulses and automatic emotional reactions draw you to them or in the case of this song back to them and right into the same context, the same kind of emotional turmoil that sidetracked your life. The visual style of the video looks like something out of the 80s with the awkward yet dramatic and colorful montages and that suits the song well as its themes of bypassing emotional self-sabotage is reminiscent of many of the pop songs of that era that treated conflicted feelings with a surprising level of nuance while tapping into the energy of those moments when you can pull yourself out of the psychic quagmire and get a few glimpses of clarity. But talker’s songwriting and vocals are more in tune with more recent artists like Japanese Breakfast and Mitski and their masterful blend of poignant storytelling, exuberance and engrossing melodies. All three have a knack for writing melancholic songs that sweep into a will to defiance against being dragged down. Watch the video for “Don’t Want You To Love Me” on YouTube and connect with talker at the links provided.

talker on TikTok

talker on Twitter

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talker on Instagram

Miss Torsion’s Goth Pop Song “Love Parasite” Suggests Giving Up, Giving in and Letting Go of Your Misplaced Inhibitions

Miss Torsion, photo by slayline phototropic

Miss Torsion’s video for “Love Parasite” has a style like something from the 80s with the mix of archival film, live footage of animals and musical performance. But this collage of aesthetics suits the spooky vibe of the song in the beginning and its lightly distorted guitar leads and finely cadenced rhythms. It’s reminiscent of Rose McDowall’s solo records where there is a patina of darkness mixed in with upbeat yet moody pop melodies. The metaphor of love as a parasite that gets into your psyche like a disease and takes over is an apt description of how it can feel out of your control and like something that you can try to fight off but the Miss Torsion song suggests that maybe you can’t and shouldn’t and set aside your ego and “give up, give in, let go.” Miss Torsion aka Mirjam Götschy was the guitarist of her former band Cell Division but her work for Miss Torsion so far seems a touch more playful if her imaginative guitar work remains a feature of her new work. Watch the video for “Love Parasite” on YouTube and connect with Miss Torsion at the links below.

Miss Torsion on Bandcamp

Monikaze’s Live Video of “Laws of Distraction” With St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra is an Declaration of Vitality of Creativity in the Face of Humanity’s Bleak Future

Monikaze, photo courtesy the artist

Composer Monikaze aka Monika Zenkeviciute and the St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra (both from Lithuania) look like they’ve filmed their live performance of “Laws of Distraction” from a post-human civilization era factory. The oddly elegant and beautiful industrial location isn’t grimy like you’d expect of an old factory, but it does look like it wasn’t designed for a musical performance or any other kind of creative performance yet it gives this nearly hour long performance an undeniable grit and unconventional visual style that contrasts well with the music that might be described as experimental chamber pop with the aforementioned Orchestra on board to fill out Monikaze’s spacious and ethereal compositions with an expansive sonic palette and a textured physicality that might not be otherwise possible. Equal parts re-interpretation and synthesis of musical ideas and impulses the video concert is over before you really notice it’s been going on for as long as it does. Monikaze brings a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to her vocal performance while St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra match that energy with a collective share of their own. Fans of Björk and Laurie Anderson will appreciate the fusion of musical styles and elements into a greater artistic statement than the component parts as well as the ambitious artistic vision behind this collaborative showcasing of the talents of everyone involved. It’s like seeing signs of life in the most unlikely of locales and that’s something we could all use of a bit of right now. Watch the video on YouTube and connect with Monikaze at the links below.

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Alighted’s “Fold” is Futuristic, Progressive Chillout Music For Humans and Cybernetic Beings Alike

Alighted, photo by Lindsey Best

Alighted is the solo project of composer/producer and creative technologist McLean Macionis who has been involved in the larger creative world of Los Angeles including work in film and television soundtracks. The title track of his late 2021 EP Fold certainly sounds like he has brought to bear a sound design approach to songwriting because the track actually unfolds in measured yet expansive paces. The repeating drones zip past in near slow motions later in the song before the drop out and re-engagement of the rhythm to give the impression of movement. Somehow along the way the song brings to mind what might have happened if the robots in Herbie Hancock’s video for “Rockit” went for a late morning cruise in a futuristic Los Angeles and chilled out for the ride to an ambient techno song. The cover of the EP features a chrome hand gripping the corner of a building like an image out of Heavy Metal magazine so maybe there is something to these odd notions and who’s to say what a cybernetic intelligence might find relaxing. But either way, Macionis has crafted a piece of music that combines elements of IDM, ambient and techno and feels like you’ve taken an emotional journey to a better place where the mind can relax and perhaps function more sharply. Humans and robots can get behind that kind of effect on the consciousness. Listen to “Fold” on Spotify where you can also hear the Plaid remix of the song. And follow Macionis’ music and other creative adventures at the links on his LinkTree.

Alighted and McLean Macionis LinkTree

Blushing Offer a Nuanced Take on Attraction and Heartbreak on “The Fires”

Blushing, photo by Eddie Chavez

Blushing’s signature pairing of chiming guitar leads and swirling atmospheric guitars washing over and driven by strong rhythms is on full display on the single “The Fires.” The vocals start introspective and melancholy but like the rest of the song ramp up in energy until the warping, hazy, blissed out denouement. For a song seemingly about romantic ambivalence, emotional turmoil and the projections people put on each other and insist have to be the reality or the appeal is broken “The Fires” follows an emotional arc that begins in a tone of regret but ends in one of triumph and liberation from a person and a situation that benefited one person at the expense of the other’s sense of well being. This sets it apart from most songs about love and heartbreak by delving into a much more original and nuanced take on what sounds like a dramatic break-up and lets it sound like something cathartic without declaring one person the villain and the other victim. The raw, grittily ethereal soundscape and expansive dynamic of the song should have an immediate appeal to fans of bands like Beach Fossils, Slowdive and Tamaryn. Watch the video for “The Fires” on YouTube, connect with Blushing at the links below and look for the group’s new full-length Possessions out February 18, 2022 on Kanine Records.

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RHYME Transform Superstition Into Personal Vision Through Poetry and Experimental Soundscapes on “初夢 HATSUYUME”

RHYME, photo courtesy the artist

Japanese composer RHYME sets her single and sprawling poem of urban imagery and personal mythology “discontinuance of the dreamer 夢の中止” to broken/distorted autoharp and guitar strumming with processed vocals intruding periodically like an ancestral ghost. The track is less a song than an extended metaphor for a star crossed love that can’t be prevented by family or cultural tradition. But one’s internalization of these forces can exert their influence and the tortured male vocals and rapid, chaotic strumming near the end of the song feels like these negative energies both trying to hold you back and burning off from your psyche at the same time. The poem and the song has a dream logic to it that would be a mistake to interpret at pure face value. RHYME also recently released a long form video for the song cycle/poem “初夢 HATSUYUME” of which the aforementioned song is the final third, opening with a more hip-hop/industrial beat and noise soundscape. The title references the Japanese superstition that the dream you have after the first rising sun predicts your luck for the rest of the year. In that video and song the artists interprets the meaning of the dream in the form of musical poetry and imagery but both songs employ a type of free verse poetry as a vehicle to explore psychological spaces in a creative way through fusion with music to help heighten and express the emotional insights she garners from the process, thereby setting an example for those who take the time to listen in their own creative journeys through inner space. Listen to “discontinuance of the dreamer 夢の中止” separate from the larger work on Spotify, take in the fullness of “初夢 HATSUYUME” on YouTube and connect with RHYME at the links provided.

RHYME on Bandcamp

RHYME on YouTube