INsiders Guide: Monsta X, Rancid Eddie, Victoria Anthony, Valntna, Nathan Smoker, Joy Again, Blonde Diamond, Leather Apron Revival, Mugun…

Worldwide phenomenon, Monsta X, have released their 10th mini album, No Limit, today. No Limit is an album that will become a turning point for Monsta X, where they will begin a new era amid the disordered, unprecedented world struck by Covid-19. This album contains a sense of calling to pioneer a new path, as they continue to infiltrate the North American market. With the bands second English-language album The Dreaming dropping on 12/10, a global movie launching in more than 70 countries [dates/tickets here], a Top 30 smash hit “One Day” currently climbing the charts, and 4 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball performances in December; Monsta X are here to close out 2021 triumphantly. Produced by Rapper Joohoney; focus track and music video for “Rush Hour” convey a central message that sets a specific tone for the new album. As the phrase suggests, “Rush Hour” refers to a chaotic situation or time, emphasizing Monsta X’s identity by comparing the current music industry to congested traffic during rush hour. Within the music video, the band members have competed nonstop in the cold grayish city, have pioneered a barren land and walked their own path. Their ambitious steps towards their final goals are portrayed as off-road driving, and the unchanging competitive society is depicted as hanging on by a thread from a high place. 

The members of Monsta X have consistently contributed to their past albums, and again, they have participated as lyricists and composers on various songs throughout No Limit. “Rush Hour” marks Joohoney’s second focus track that he’s produced, with I.M and Hyungwon self-producing “Just Love” and “Mercy.” Throughout this album, Monsta X have made sure to dedicate multiple tracks to their fans, MONBEBE. Throughout the lyrics, the members have expressed their thanks and longing to meet again in person soon, despite having been physically apart from their fans due to the pandemic.

The story of Rancid Eddie’s formation is as gritty as it is pure – amidst a pile of crushed up beer cans and cigarette ashes, a band of five friends from Melbourne, Australia was born. Composed of Jessy Kelly and Matt Sturrock on lead vocals/guitar, Ash Ravlic on bass, Andy Sturrock on drums, and namesake Eddie O’Brien on keys, the group started as their high school lives ended, feeling that music was “the only thing” that’d keep them together.

Once Covid hit and playing live shows was no longer a possibility, like countless others, the band decided to get on TikTok. There’s something inherently incongruent about supposedly contrarian rock ‘n’ roll bands playing in the influencer’s sandbox, but somehow Rancid Eddie figured it out and developed a rabid following. They showed themselves in their natural habitat – on a couch on the lawn of their shared home, drinking beers at 10am and doing singalongs. Their videos started to amass millions of views – with people taking the live audio and creating tens of thousands of user generated content

TAG Music label founder Gabe Saporta discovered the band halfway across the world, while asking Siri to find a different song by a different artist. Much to Saporta’s surprise, Siri blessed him with Rancid Eddie’s one-and-only released track at the time – “Here We Go Again” instantly recognizing his need to reach out and connect with the band. 

Their latest single “Dry” is a sing-a-long-in-the-pub type of tune with cheekily blunt lyrics about a relationship losing its spark. With a rock sound that’s reminiscent of both Aussie rock acts like Sticky Fingers and American bands such as the Strokes, their psychedelic sound radiates a youthful dew of hope and angst. A paradise of hazy guitar chords pop under a gritty beat and woozy restrained vocals that drip in a relaxed aura mixed with a contrasted rowdy feel. “Dry” is the ultimate explosion of piano stabs, huge, tight drums and loops of cheerful guitar vibrations with contours of boozy carefree vibes. Inspired by their “abysmal love lives”, the boys kicked back and grabbed their beers after a two-day bender, and “Dry” was created. The track nods to the world of relationships particularly the occurrence of one ending internally as you lose feelings. They share the track arose with, “A couple guitars and 5 blokes kickin’ back around a table of empty stubbies, and the good old no sleep demons. The song is about realising a relationship is over before it is, and the pains of falling out of love with someone.” The band share, “We love Dry cause we’ve all been there before, and it feels so good to belt out at the top your lungs with the thought of you giving your ex the finger.”

An acoustic version of “Dry” on their YouTube has over one million views, while one of their TikToks of it has garnered 2.6 million. “The response from so many people across the world and all sorts of walks of life has been bloody phenomenal! It’s absolutely mind-blowing and heartwarming to think that us blokes can pull a tune out of a backyard, after a couple of beers, to then resonate with the rest of the world.The band posted a TikTok Teaser of the new single which hit 4M+ views.

Earlier this year the band officially signed to Gabe and his label TAG, who have been helping Rancid Eddie get ready to release their most viral live track, “Dry.” “Dry” is the follow-up to their previous single “Champagne”, which premiered on Triple J.

Victoria Anthony released her latest single and music video, “Bad for Me”, which cleverly blends throwback 2000s Pop influences with fresh production and a passionate and moving vocal performance.

 Watch the video HERE

 Listen to “Bad for Me” HERE

 The track is her third single and video release of 2021. “Dirty Lipstick” and “How Cute”, released earlier this year, have garnered over 1.5 million streams and video views to date.

 “Bad For Me” is about navigating new relationships and discovering ourselves in that process. Anthony sings about young love and how youthful infatuation might have you wondering if you have made the wrong choice.

 The song was co-written by Victoria along with Ryan Stewart (Carly Rae Jepsen, Simple Plan) and mixed by GRAMMY® award winner Tony Maserati (Beyoncé, Alicia Keys).

 “Writing ‘Bad for Me’ was a whirlwind and a very different experience from other songs I’ve written,” says Victoria. “I approach songwriting in many ways, but this song was like a tidal wave of thoughts and emotions that I just put out there shamelessly. The chorus is a flow of my thoughts at the time I was falling for the person I was writing about”.

The 16-year-old singer/songwriter has been attentive to every aspect of her music releases since she started in 2019. She has taken the lead on songwriting, recording, branding, and visual aesthetics related to everything from the album artwork and singles covers, to co-directing her videos.

 “Bad For Me” is the fourth music video Victoria has conceptualized, written, and co-directed.

 “Somewhat like the songwriting experience, “Bad For Me” took a very different path than my previous videos, which were very bold and colourful with multiple set and costume changes,” she explains. “Co-directing the video with Anna Baker was magical. Girl Power! We wanted a very dark, almost industrial feel to the visuals – very moody and emotional. We were both very happy with the way the video turned out. It was exactly what I had envisioned.”

 Since releasing her debut album, “Real Life”, in October 2020, Victoria has been featured by major press outlets in Canada and the United States including MTV, J-14,,, Entertainment Tonight Canada, Tiger Beat, Girls’ Life, and many others.

Valntna has been captivating the music scene since her breath-taking debut in 2018, renowned for her one-of-a-kind, compelling vocal tone, her unique rock and goth styling, and her charismatic stage presence. She’s now ready to release her next ensemble of musical greatness via her latest EP ‘Shadow Work’, executively produced and co-written by Pink Mayne.STREAM/DOWNLOAD: VALNTNA – SHADOW WORK‘Shadow Work’ consists of 6 heartfelt ballads, with this project the South London singer decided to strip everything back and wear her heart on her sleeve. Leaning on her passion for 90’s R&B and soul music, she uses her knowledge to create unparalleled soulful harmonies and heart-warming melodic hooks. While taking influence from timeless musicians such as Aaliyah, Mary J Blige, Lauryn Hill and many more, Valntna has managed to construct her unique, standout sound blending elements of R&B, Trapsoul, Neosoul and Pop. The first track on the project ‘Adrenaline Rush’ see’s the soulful singer working with guitarist ‘William Bui’, as she bares her soul over the smooth acoustic chords, we get a demonstration of her powerful vocal range. The next track ‘CCW’, also played by ‘William Bui’, speaks of a very relatable message of dealing with people who are confidentially constantly wrong, her use of sultry, smooth harmonies really drives the message of the song. ‘No Face, No Case’ continues the stripped back, acoustic feeling of the project, courtesy of Titus Maz; giving us another showcase of her vocal skills and deep musical content. In the track ‘Notice Me’ Valntna gives us an insight into her love life, with the use of addictive melodies, deep bass lines (Immanuel Simeline) and unrivalled harmonies she is able to clearly paint the picture. ‘Vivid Dreams’ has a backing track that is reminiscent of the 90’s R&B style, she delivers dynamic vocals and then has a unique musical breakdown at the end, setting this track apart from the others. The final track ‘Camouflage’ has beautiful vocal riffs, topped with an unforgettable chorus and a soothing background track, yet again proving the unique talent of the South London singerValntna has been consistently building up her reputation within the music industry, with previous releases being picked up by notable platforms including BBC 1Xtra, Pulse88, Represent Radio as well as inclusion in Spotify’s exclusive editorial playlists.All of this has put her in a perfect position to deliver her next EP, speaking on this project Valntna tells us “Shadow Work is about facing your trauma’s & uncovering the parts of yourself that you’ve repressed, disowned & rejected. The Process of exploring your inner Darkness , diving deep into the subconscious, and allowing yourself to truly feel & face life in the understanding that with light comes darkness. Shadow work allows you fully show up as your true self , you no longer fear the shadows that reside around the corner of your own decision”.

From South East London, UK artist Nathan Smoker is an accomplished writer, producer and live performer. Being submerged in music from a young age, Smoker’s passion for performing flourished after getting his first contract on Oliver in the West End at just eight years old. Migrating from musical theatre, Smoker now expresses his own character through more contemporary music, spanning a multitude of genres. Covering everything from drum and bass, house, electronic and grime, the artist weaves his emotion, drive and unique tone into everything he does.

Often collaborating with different writers and producers, including Joe Garrett (ZAYN, ZieZie, Bibi Bourelly), Smoker delivers an authentic, varied approach to his style, making his sonic stamp a mutable flavour of sounds. His rich British accent flushes his singing, paired with his highly charged, emotional lyrics and tone, leaving Smoker a true genre-bending magician, while simultaneously maintaining a clear, consistent aura around his voice and melodies.

Smoker impressively reached the semi-final of The Voice UK 2021, wowing the judges and audience for his explosive performances. He has also had the pleasure of playing at venues such as O2 academy in Birmingham. With a catalogue of music lined up including a collaboration with Swedish DJ Digrasso, Smoker has an exciting career ahead. Aiming to inspire and motivate, the musician explains, “I would hope that my music evokes emotion in someone and gets them moving. Not moving as in dancing necessarily but moving in appreciation as it were.”

 six-piece indie-rock outfit Joy Again return with their new single & video, “What Lovers Do,” on Arista Records.What Lovers Do” marks Joy Again’s first release with Arista Records. The dreamy, lo-fi track explores “a playful cat and mouse game, the push and pull of a complicated relationship, and a rumination on the perpetuity of love.”For Joy Again, inspiration indiscriminately bounces around like a superball. It ping-pongs between the Philadelphia band before it settles and crystallizes in one capriciously catchy bop after another. The six members of Joy Again—Sachi DiSerafino [vocals, guitar], Arthur Shea [vocals, guitar], Blaise O’Brien [keys], Zachary Tyndall [keys], Will Butera [drums], and Kieran Ferris [bass]—draw hooks and melodies from the most unexpected corners as they create without limitations or boundaries. Since debuting in 2014, the band has generated more than 100 million streams independently, inciting hundreds of thousands of TikTok videos, and earning acclaim from The FADER, OnesToWatchAtwood MagazineEARMILK, Alt CitizenNME, and more.What Lovers Do” arrives on the heels of the viral success of “Looking Out For You,” the band’s 2015 single that has been gaining unprecedented TikTok traction over the past year. “Looking Out For You” is currently charting at #61 on Spotify’s US Top 200 and has amassed 130M+ streams to date, with Arista Records signing the band last May.

Photo Credit: Brandon Fletcher

Vancouver alt-pop group Blonde Diamond shed light on abusive relationships with their new single ‘Red Flags’ out today on all digital streaming platforms. Listen hereThe 2nd single from their debut full-length (out in 2022), ‘Red Flags’ reads like a cautionary tale, a retrospective of moments leading up to the realization that a seemingly fairytale romance has slowly evolved into a dark and twisted, manipulative stronghold.Inside the first few bars of the track, the group grabs you with all the hallmarks of their signature sound: energetic drums, sparkly keys, dreamy guitars, slinky bass, and intimate vocals. Lead vocalist Alexis Young says she wrote ‘Red Flags’ to help break the silence that so many people feel about speaking up about abusive relationships.“Post the breakup of a very long relationship and at a particularly vulnerable moment in my life, through a chance encounter I found myself in a relationship that was—on its surface—everything that I was looking for,” says Alexis. “The romance, the infatuation, the lust. It was the type of affair that you only read about in books and see in films. However, the red flags had presented themselves from the get-go and I initially ignored them. I wanted to see the good in this person, and believe that I could be a strong and positive force in their life. When it finally got to the point that I allowed myself to accept that it was abusive and emotionally manipulative, I felt stupid and ashamed that I could be so naïve and easily coerced into such a spiral of entrapment and darkness. I wanted to write this song not just as a form of healing for my own experience, but also as a message to others that you CAN walk away. That you’re not alone. And that it’s easy to get swept up and lose perspective when you’re in the eye of the storm.”  

Photo Credit: Dan Cockram

BC indie rock group Leather Apron Revival are back with a brand new single, ‘8 Years Free’, out today on all digital streaming platforms. Listen here‘8 Years Free’ is the 2nd single from Leather Apron Revival’s new album Light & Shadow, which is set for release on January 28th. The band came up with the idea for the muscular riff-driven track in the unlikeliest of places—on top of a mountain.

“We had a very rare, full day to ourselves, while waiting to play a show one night at a helicopter access only backcountry lodge,” says bassist Grady Pasiechnyk. “And we came up with this idea of a guy on the run for a crime he had no choice but to commit, and for 8 years he’d managed to fly under the radar, until one day he was busted just sitting at the bar in a no name town. We had to get creative recording the song, specifically starting it, as we’d always just practiced by me yelling ‘2-3-4’ and we’d all hit the first note. Our producer, Leeroy, had us set up to record live off the floor, so Lennan needed to be set up in an isolation booth to play guitar and do vocals while Jeff and I were in the main room. This meant Lennan couldn’t hear me yell out the start of the song. Leeroy ended up having to count us in on the talk-back mic, and we thought it sounded so cool that we left it in the final mix and made it the start of the album.”

Formed in 2017, Leather Apron Revival is a guitar-fuelled power trio hailing from British Columbia’s Kootenay region. The band’s vintage sounds are warm and rich with visceral grooves and bluesy riffs, combining thoughtful songwriting and powerful melodies to create a timeless yet modern rock soundscape with a dash of old-school Canadiana.

Proudly representing the Coventry scene, Mugun is on an unstoppable course to flaunt his profound lyrical prowess. Embodying the same action-packed formula as his single ‘Walking Street’, it only makes sense that the accompanying visuals match an equal level of intensity and impact. Filmed by ‘Mani J’, Mugun keeps it real and native as he sticks with his beloved backdrop of his hometown and sticking even closer to his circle, he’s surrounded by his crew outside a local corner shop as he delivers his dynamic fire-flow.

Underpinned with an eerie and skittering production, ‘Walking Street’ is a track bursting with energy from the offset and the video perfectly captures its fabric as Mugun explains: “Walking Street is a street tale with the addition of vibes to it. It stands apart from the typical street as it doesn’t fit the norm. I wanted it to capture the confidence you get after going to all the places your parents warned you not to go”.

Mugun then takes us on the visual journey, walking around his city, sitting comfortably inside the corner shop and a scene in a function with a beautiful girl. Each scene is lit with ambient lighting and coupled with fast paced cinematic shots that help emphasise Mugun’s message.

Gaining recent acclaim on his latest releases from tastemaker sites including Viper, Ministry of Sound, Dummy and Noctis, Mugun is holding nothing back with his current form and is well on track to be one to watch in 2022.

What do you think?

Written by Neill Frazer

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