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INsiders Guide: Slushii + Mackenzie Sol, Bad Sounds, Sticky Fingers, Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez, ATALHOS, BIG TIME RUSH, Peter Lake….

After unveiling the first chapter of his forthcoming project last year, world-renowned producer and DJ Slushii returned today with his exhilarating new record, “After Midnight” featuring viral TikTok star and singer-songwriter, Mackenzie Sol. The single arrives ahead of his anticipated next album, ‘Extinction Level Event’ due out on Monstercat in March 2022. Slushii’s powerful bass stylings accentuate the mature edge in Mackenzie’s polished pop vocals, reminiscent of the contrasting good and evil themes at play in the song’s conceptual design.

Slushii shares, Mackenzie and I made “After Midnight” the first night we met. Mackenzie had a demo for a song that he wrote and I absolutely loved the vocal. The visuals for the song have a Batman dark feeling to it, similar to the final battle in a superhero movie. That’s the vibe I wanted to convey with this one.

Mackenzie Sol adds his perspective on the lyrics, This song is about falling in love with a friend who has no clue you have feelings for them, and the fear that comes with telling them and potentially ruining the friendship. I wrote this song from my own personal experience of having feelings for a close friend. I still haven’t told her how I feel. Maybe one day after midnight I’ll tell her.

Slushii continues to weave Anime-influenced creative elements, cultural touchstones, and colorful characters into each new single and live experience. Coming off a high-energy performance at San Francisco’s Wobbleland, Slushii will bring his immersive brand across more cities and stages to be announced soon. 

Breaking out on The X Factor at age 4, Mackenzie’s magnetic personality and endearing stage presence deemed him a natural-born musician. He has since collaborated with major producers and songwriters whilst crafting a unique social media empire, catapulting him into viral fame with over 11.5 million followers on TikTok alone.

Bad Sounds kick off 2022 with their intoxicating new EP ‘Escaping From a Violent Time, Vol 2’ released via NETTWERK

Listen to the EP HERE 

Two new tracks mark the EP release, the comforting groove laden ‘Gravity Love’, and smooth piano lead ‘Angie’ are yet more examples of this ever-evolving band pushing their original sound into a new territory. Listen HERE.

 

See below for the tracklist;

  1. Relief Rain

  2. You Move Backwards (ft. Ruti)

  3. Gravity Love

  4. Move Into Me (ft. BROODS)

  5. Angie

 

The five track body of work is an endlessly playable snapshot into the Bad Sounds alt-pop universe. The new record is a development of the band’s original sound and a continuation from Vol.I released in Jan 2021,which featured tracks ‘Sympathetic Vibrations’ and ‘Permanent’. This new chapter see’s Bad Sounds embrace the art of collaboration. “In Vol.II we have some friends with us featuring on tracks, and we really feel like we’re getting more comfortable with who we are as Bad Sounds.”

The first single to be taken from the EP was ‘Move Into Me’ feat. BROODS, a track penned moments before the pandemic halted the world’s free spirit of movement. This was the Bristol-based band’s first collaboration and the outcome was a lush, soul enticing soundscape that was warmly met with a tastemaker mark of approval. With press support from the likes of DIY, Dork and The Line of Best Fit and radio support from Jack Saunders, Annie Mac and Greg James at Radio 1 each playing the song and Shaun Keavney made the song his Tune of The Week on 6 Music.

More recently, Relief Rain came as a drop of escapism born from a time, more hard hitting than it may sound. Explaining more, the band shared: “On face value it’s an up beat, feel-good pop song, but the subject matter is pretty heavy.

For us it’s about feeling completely overwhelmed and really needing a break from everything. Something that is a continuing personal struggle for both of us as individuals. Especially now that a lot of the world is opening back up after the pandemic, and a lot of those old pressures we’d forgotten about are coming back with a vengeance.”

Photo: Cole Bennetts

“Crooked Eyes” takes a slight departure from Sticky Fingers’ signature style. Stripped back to the bones, Frost’s warm, honey-toned vocals melt over clean cut guitars and vintage organ. Layered harmonies create a spine-tingling atmosphere, reminiscent of a gospel choir, which nods to the song’s narrative of overcoming your hardships and finding the light at the end of the tunnel. “Crooked Eyes” raises a glass to all the ups and downs, acknowledging the darker times and finding gratitude for ultimately becoming stronger individuals.

Frost speaks about the creation of the song sharing, “I started recording Crooked Eyes by myself but I was shithouse with using software such as Fruity Loops and GarageBand…so I’d go back and forward playing it live then trying to make the melting computer work. For some reason that day “computer said no”. I guess that’s where Rage Against the Machine gets their name from? I remember one day Seamus rockin over in these tight little red hot shorts and me and Paddy were there…I think the other boys might have been there but I can’t remember. I would usually wake up and there would be randoms under the house or on the floor…everywhere and asking “you got a ciggy bro” in American accents, UK accents sometimes even languages I’d never fucking heard before.”

He continues, “Anyways … we’ve tried to crack this song multiple times throughout our career and have never nailed it. Until now. There are some shitty recorded versions, there are also some recorded versions which are too fucking tidy and not rough enough around the edges. I started writing the verses when I moved down south of Sydney and the song then became very personal due to my drug addictions and nifty mind sets. To be completely honest this song really is from the heart due to some pretty serious shit that has happened but also a toast to all of that shit that we were able to get over which felt soul replenishing. Once again this song wouldn’t be what it is if it weren’t for the whole Sticky family. It’s about our struggles and also the love we share for each other and our good times…you know, the usual shit.”

With over 1.5 billion streams across DSPs, Sticky Fingers are the top five most streamed Australian artists 2016-2019. With a dedicated fan base across the globe, the band have sold out Qudos Arena (Syd.), Riverstage (Brisb.), Fonda Theatre (LA), Brixton Academy (London), Fillmore (SF) and many more.

Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez is a singer/composer based in Brooklyn, New York. Born into a family of musicians, music was Raina’s first language and it runs deep within her veins. Rooted in Jazz and R&B, the songwriter invites us into her unique sonic world with harmonic nuance and lyrical poetry. 

Raina’s cross-genre style is built from the bottom up. With improvisation as a starting point for her songs, Raina draws on her emotionality and leans into her perception of the world around, uncovering hidden depths within daily life and articulating personal truth with vulnerability and bravery. Songwriting is her way of processing and understanding life in all its complexity.

“Better For You” grapples with the gaze, focusing on the experience of being objectified and the ambiguous response to this reality. The song is most explicitly about sex and the ways in which heterosexual dynamics often prioritize men’s pleasure. “Better For You” highlights the ways in which women contort themselves physically and emotionally to be more desirable. Raina shares, “It also depicts the flip side of this, where we become or can become hooked on being the desired one; the way we come to need it, the way our identity becomes tied to this positioning. This is the ambiguity, the grey.” Drawing on her Latinx heritage, the rhythmic piano phrases, dynamic instrumentation and a grooving rhythm section provide a hypnotic backdrop for Raina’s clear and concise vocals. 

Speaking on the remix, Matt FX shares, “When I first heard Raina’s track ‘Better For You’ I immediately fell in love with her gorgeous vocals and the jazzy vibe of the instrumental production. With this remix, I realized less is more – I just wanted to tease out some of the dancier frequencies of the track while definitely keeping everything that I love about the original. Some of my favorite rooms to DJ are the ones with classy, intimate dancefloors, and this remix personifies that slinky vibe.”

Closing out 2021 with a final taster of their upcoming album ‘A Tentação do Fracasso’ (out 4 Feb 2022, via Costa Futuro), ATALHOS release the dreamy new single: “Te Encontrei em SP”.

Featuring soothing vocal contributions from Delfina Campos, the Argentinian star joins the Brazilian duo for a track of languid and lush guitar-pop that drifts somewhere between the realms of Real Estate and Wild Nothing. A tranquil and touching tribute to their hometown, “Te Encontrei em SP” translates as “I Found You In SP”.

LISTEN TO “TE ENCONTREI EM SP” ON SPOTIFY HERE || WATCH VIDEO

The single arrives with a radical reworking by Hidrogenesse. Coupling scattered synthesised beats and frenetic 80s stylistics, the Barcelona based production pairing (also known for their popping remixes of the likes of Hot Chip, David Holmes and Jarvis Cocker) transform this Atalhos original into an off-kilter club banger. 

LISTEN TO THE HIDROGENESSE REMIX HERE

Speaking about how the remix came about, Gabriel Soares of Atalhos says:

“We met the Hidrogenesse duo in the KEXP event that we played (El Sonido 10th anniversary special), their performance was just before ours and I liked it very much. They seemed very funny to me and I’m so happy that they accepted our invitation to do the remix of our song Te Encontrei em SP. They made a very cool remix that somehow reminds me the synths of Virus, this 80’s Argentinian band which I am fan.” 

While Carlos Ballesteros and Genis Segarra of Hidrogenesse add:

“We worked on the remix imagining that the meeting between the two characters of the song happens in a club. We had fun creating an ever-changing, edgy rhythmic base and punctuating the song with orchestral hits. We sampled the original sax of the song to use it as they did in the 90s in dance music, looking for that feeling of rave euphoria.”

 

Pop group Big Time Rush is officially back with the release of their new single “Call It Like I See It.” The feel-good track pairs the band’s signature harmonies with an infectious pop beat that makes for a surefire hit. The single marks a triumphant return from all four original band members, Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow, Logan Henderson, and Carlos PenaVega, as the first new music to be released from the group in eight years.• “We couldn’t be more excited to share our single “Call It Like I See It.” After months of hard work recording and rehearsing, we are thrilled to finally kick off this brand-new chapter for us as a band.”• Aligning with the release Big Time Rush took the stage at the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball show in Philadelphia for the performance debut of “Call It Like I See It” followed by two sold-out shows this week at the Chicago Theater and New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom.

New York City-based alternative, multi-media artist Peter Lake announces the release of Blue, his third EP in a musical collection that he began releasing this past summer. Set to be released Friday, January 14th, the Blue EP consists of three tracks written by the artist and explores a few of life’s most precious moments. After surpassing over 1.2 million Spotify streams and over a 1.3million YouTube views with his previous Red EP, Lake, known for his unconventional blending of genres, is gearing up to release his strongest project to date.

The three tracks on Blue – “Sugar it Lightly,” “Shadow Games” and “Ghost in Me” – each have its own specific theme. The first single off the EP, “Sugar it Lightly,” paints a vivid picture of the most vigorous force in the universe: Love. The uptempo track features synth elements cascading throughout and gives listeners a glimpse into the mysterious life of the musician.

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

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Written by Neill Frazer

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