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INsiders Guide: WizTheMC, MATT McMANAMON, Headie One, Cat SFX, LOLA BROOKE, City Girls, Gal Musette, GRACE DAVIES…

 South African-born, Germany-raised, and Toronto-based singer, songwriter and producer WizTheMc releases the video for his new track “Fck Love” feat. BENEE.

Watch it HERE.

The visual compliments his boundless, unconventional sound perfectly with the Iceland’s otherworldly scenery. Much like the sincerity of his track, the video depicts Wiz’s freedom and his ability to let go, finding his evolving identity in the natural beauty. With help from Arcteryx and Spencer Badu’s provided gear, the video is a visual masterpiece. “Fck Love” feat. BENEE.Is one of three songs off the deluxe version of his sophomore EP Where Silence Feels Good. The deluxe version also includes the tracks “Walk Away” and “Fallin”

Welcoming in the summer season, MATT McMANAMON is back with the new single: “Out Of The Cold”.

WATCH VIDEO HERE || STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HERE

His first release of 2022, the former Dead 60s frontman returns with a slice of sunshine gilded jangle-pop that will evoke memories of that classic Merseyside sound, slipping neatly between the heroic canons of The La’s to The Coral.

With its breezy Byrdsian chord-structures and its warm heart-on-sleeve lyricism, “Out Of The Cold” very much echoes the nature of his first solo album, ‘Scally Folk’, but “narrowly missed being included” to keep the record at its neat 10-track length. Finally emerging in 2022, it’s a song ultimately about the process of trial and error that finds McManamon reflecting candidly on how learning from past mistakes can often lead us to a happy ending. As Matt explains: 

“Trial and error can be a daunting and confusing experience, but in my opinion an essential experience for success and ultimately happiness” he says. “Lyrically I wanted this song to exude a feeling of self-preservation, although this draws on (as most of my songs do) life experience. I feel listeners from all walks and stages of life would be able to relate in some way or another to the sentiments of: 1. Staying positive  2.Staying focused  3. Staying calm. And NOT focusing on any negatives that might be looming throughout daily life.” 

UK drill pioneer Headie One releases brand new track, “Bigger Than Life,” along with an official music video. Take a listen to the track at all DSPs HERE.   

Featuring the Dutch multi-platinum artist Frenna and production from Spanker, “Bigger Than Life” is the third track to be taken from Headie’s forthcoming European tape, following 22 Carats” with French rapper Gazo and Cloud” featuring German rapper Luciano.

Frenna comments on the collaboration “I always respected Headie and think he’s a great artist, we linked and it just clicked in the studio. We made a lot of shit happen and eventually ‘Bigger Than Life’ was born.”

CAT SFX tread toward more infectious territory with their latest single “Binman”, out today (1 July) via Alan McGee’s It’s Creation Baby.

The single arrives as the first teaser of the band’s debut EP: ‘Binman’, due 15 July. 

STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HERE || SOUNDCLOUD HERE

Chewing through an angsty yet melodic mesh of jittery guitar strums and a melodic and catchy chorus, Cat SFX’s latest offering boasts the breadth of the band as they embrace more ethereal sonic territory that nods to the works of alt/rock visionaries like PJ Harvey or 80s new-wave trailblazers like Psychedelic Furs

Brooklyn’s bold, eminent rapper Lola Brooke makes her highly anticipated return by releasing the official music video to her magnetic single “On My Mind.” The LVTRKEVIN (G Herbo, Rich The Kid, Lady London) directed music video made its world broadcast premiere via BET Jams courtesy of Team 80 Productions earlier today as the efficacious rising artist steps thoroughly into the forefront. Watch HERE.
 
“On My Mind” with its sizzling, sensual make, is brought to life with a cinematic visual offering that cements the internationally revered rap phenom’s knack for grabbing viewer’s attention with her irresistible demeanor and lethal lyrical cadence to match. The video finds Lola sharply painting a picture of a New York love story to complement the sultry track.

Heating up summer to a boiling point, Miami’s own multiplatinum duo City Girls return with a brand new single and music video entitled “Good Love” [feat. Usher] via Quality Control Music Motown Records. Listen to “Good Love” — HERE. Watch the music video — HERE.

The track’s upbeat production kickstarts a head-nodding dancefloor-ready groove. Eight-time GRAMMY Award-winner Usher cruises through with an instantly irresistible promise, “I can freak you ‘til the morning. Meanwhile, Yung Miami and JT trade slick, seductive, and scorching bars. In the accompanying visual, Usher and the ladies take over a roller rink in true throwback style complete with show-stopping choreography on skates! It might just be the wildest video yet from City Girls.

Gal Musette is the nom de plum of Grace Freeman, a musical prodigy who began writing piano based lyrical compositions and performing at open mics in her home city of San Clemente, CA at the age of 10. Her graceful approach to melody-driven indie-folk and French chansons has captured audiences all over Southern California. At age 14, inspired by The Magnetic Fields’ triple album 69 Love Songs, Gal recorded her own collection titled 70 Love Songs, which caught the attention of the band, and won her an opening slot on a few of their Midwestern U.S. tour dates. In more recent years, Gal has opened for several renowned artists such as Macy Gray, Suzanne Vega, Todd Snyder, and Donavon Frankenreiter. While her artist name is taken from bal-musette, the accordion-based, waltz-style French instrumental music, Gal’s primary inspiration is drawn from songwriters including Joni Mitchell, Regina Spektor, Bjork, Cocteau Twins, Burt Bacharach, Irving Berlin and The Cure. 
In October 2021, Gal released her debut album, Backwards Lullaby, featuring a vocal duet with one of her biggest musical inspirations, Rufus Wainwright. The album explores the pangs of hopeless romances and unrequited love, what it’s like to move beyond idealized love into the acceptance of what is real and constant, as well as the cyclical nature of life and love in relationships.

Musette’s upcoming EP, Backwards Lullaby [Reimagined], comprisesthree tunes from her original LP, which she collaborated on with Via Mardot, a prolific and multi-talented musician from Detroit, Michigan. Mardot performed every aspect of instrumentation on this EP including the theremin, violin, cello, double bass, acoustic guitar, and much more. The EP was brainstormed and produced by the talented Jon O’Brien and is out now.

Singer-songwriter and vocal powerhouse Grace Davies marks an exciting new era with the release of  ‘Wolves’, a rip-roaring power-punch to the past and a life-affirming ode to owning your mistakes. Co-produced with Toby Scott (​​Becky Hill, Galantis), Grace continues to take the reins as a fully independent artist, showcasing a rawness like never before while maintaining her flair for heavyweight pop songwriting. ‘Wolves’ is a stomping singalong with a soaring, handclap-backed chorus ready to claim anthem status. Listen here

Of the track, Grace says: “This is about owning your mistakes and using them as ammunition to power through life. ‘You can run, you can hide, but you need to find your way through the fire’. It’s a power anthem about recovering after a world of shit was thrown at you and believing that if you can get through that then you’re invincible and can get through anything. Having lived with this song for five years, I was excited to get stuck into the production as I’d always had a strong vision for the track”.

Guildford singer-songwriter, bassist and producer BEX release her brand-new single “Bite My Tongue.”

STREAM HERE || WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

Following the release of her successful 2022 debut single, “Tiptoe,” “Bite My Tongue,” BEX teases whispered vocals, edging riffs, and a stomping chorus – an explosive follow-up to say the least.

Talking about the meaning behind the track, BEX tells: 

“Bite My Tongue is written about times I have not stood up for myself. In the last couple of years I have been really finding myself and it has caused me to reflect back to times where I didn’t truly know who I was or what I stood for, times where I bit my tongue instead of sharing my opinion. Musically it’s riffy and simple, it has that raw punch in the face, I love all my songs to be simple and short.”

London UK: Louise Havell is a consummatesinger-songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist musician and draws melody and arrangement inspiration from singer-songwriter legends such as Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell, as well as more beat driven eighties artists such as Giorgio Moroder and Wham. Her music is also hugely inspired and fuelled by her rich life experiences and travels to date: all around the globe and back again, living largely in tune with nature and learning from all the cultures she has encountered along the way. She now releases her debut E.P. “Shooting With Lives”which is released 1st July 2022.

After a childhood of learning to play guitar, saxophone and drums, Louise’s formative musical influences were incredibly varied: as well as Tori, Kate, and Joni she also loved the vibrant sounds of Salsa and Samba. She also loved all the greats, from across all time, and all genres: Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Carol King, James Taylor, Nick Drake, Stevie Wonder and all the credible pop music of the eighties too. These eclectic sounds inspired an enduring love of production and how to arrange music which has served her very well as an artist in her own right.

A native Londoner, Louise’s desire to experience other countries and cultures saw her adopt the life of a global traveller, and one who finds a true connection and inspiration in Nature, whether it be sleeping under the stars in California, swimming with dolphins, immersing herself in country living – or in the challenges of mountain dwelling (in both the Himalayas and the Lake District!)  She has traversed the Earth, met many people and lived several lives, so it is unsurprising she has distilled these many and wonderful experiences into her music.

Back living on a narrowboat in London and experiencing a brand-new adventure – becoming a mother- Louise set about writing her debut EP “Shooting With Lives” and, true to life, it is infused with the glorious sounds of nature, with geese and boat engines and river life infusing their charms into the recordings. Taking her love of eighties pop production, and the era generally, the E.P. is a mix of different production aspects with a lot of references and nods to the decade in terms of being beat-driven but also with a strong sense of melody and arrangement.

The EP opens with the previous single, the emotional and wistfully sad “Everything’s Gone”, the opening of which is evocative of soul filled Gospel and Blues which exudes loss and regret. The song was inspired by a homeless man Louise witnessed on the streets of Londonand what he may have lost in lifeFocus track “You Take Me Home” is about meeting someone who feels so familiar that they feel like ‘home’. Sonically the track is a homage to the eighties with a lo-fi take on Thompson Twin inspired guitarsLouise says, “This is daydream material for me, influenced by my experiences living in Southern California – surfing beach life, hazy light, perpetual warmth and dream-state.”

Ahead of the release of her long-awaited debut album, rising UK R&B star Charli Taft links up with the hotshot US rapper Justin Starling for “Ride”.

Produced by Charli’s partner in crime, the acclaimed GRAMMY winning producer Daniel “Obi” Klein (Method Man, Fat Joe), the sexy, laid-back jam is written as a celebration of the initial stage of a new relationship – the excitement, the energy, the feeling of togetherness. Taft’s silky-smooth banger explores the particular feeling when you first become aware that you truly click with somebody and being with them is just completely natural. 

Perfecting her signature fusion of ‘00s golden era nostalgia with world class vocal talent, “Ride” hits all the markers of a soulful R&B classic. Now with an assist from the multi-skilled Justin Starling, the NYC based rapper’s fresh topline brings a breath of contemporary hip-hop to the slinky single. 

Speaking about the track, Charli explained: “I had a feeling that “Ride” was going to be an important song for my project, as it really encapsulated the soulful R&B/Hip-hop flavour I was creating on the album. To me, “Ride” totally captures the laid-back feeling of 90’s R&B but feels like a completely fresh take on the genre. “Ride” was written during the Summer of 2020. That entire year, I just buried myself in making music and writing my debut album. At the time, I was listening to a lot of early 90’s Hip-Hop and was inspired by the idea of taking a straight up Hip-Hop track and making it my own – I love taking typically masculine beats and flipping them into songs females can 100% relate to.”

The Mono LPs release the emotive new single and video for: “You Say”. 

WATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO HERE || STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HERE

Blending moving arrangements with a raw power of feeling that only comes in the wake of loss, the latest single from the Liverpool band is tender, troubled and will touch you to the very core. 

With a heartbreaking backstory laid bare by Ste Reid’s vivid and visceral lyricism, the lead vocalist and songwriter explains:

“I wrote ‘You Say’ after the death of my mother. She was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and the whole family moved back into the family home to look after her. This song tells the story of what happened…”

Originally beginning life as a plaintive ballad written on acoustic guitar, it was upon hearing Portishead’s distorted cover of ABBA’s “SOS” that Ste decided to up-end his own creation and embrace its darkness. Working with producer Danny Woodward (Whitewood Recording Studios, Liverpool), the pair de-tuned the sweet sounds of a violin (played by Ste) to create the foreboding drone that quivers like a pulse throughout the track. Adding solemn cello accompaniment and percussion that ticks like time running out, the results make for a single that simmers with a brooding trip-hop intensity and an aching melancholy that opens a window to the soul.

FRANSIS is a London based artist hailed as ‘Jessie J meets Joan Jett’, with a balls to the wall approach to her sound and sharp songwriting style, FRANSIS is blowing the doors off the indie pop/rock music scene.

Reminiscent of Wolf Alice and Florence + The Machine, FRANSIS make music that smacks you in the face in a slightly different way, and whilst she floats between genres of rock, indie, pop, soul and blues; she show’s an unrelenting penchant for dramatic, powerful and meaningful music. After busking on the streets of London and making a name for herself as a unique and energetic performer, powerhouse singer FRANSIS started to work with guitarist Alex Scott to accelerate the sound she so desperately wanted.

Her highly-anticipated debut EP Honeymoon enthrals listeners with ethereal pop elements and melodious rhythm. Kicking off with lead single “Honeymoon”, FRANSIS narrates a journey of womanhood, taking a fond look back on the sweetness of childhood rebellion.  She lyrically recounts stories from her formative years as her now-adult self, sharing “It’s nice to have an uplifting sense of appreciation for my own personal experiences which have moulded me even if they didn’t seem so poignant or great at the time, how we know not what we have until it’s gone.” Then there is “Long Old Road”, showcasing musical diversity like no other. Bashing beats and daring riffs strike listeners with harmonic bliss, proving just how versatile she can be. 

Furthering encapsulation of pop-rock perfection, her EP also includes latest single “Pin Me Down”, spurred by the tragic murder of Sarah Everard. It tackles a subject which is often difficult to talk about but shared by so many women, that of sexual assault, candidly focusing on the mental strain, particularly in the aftermath, and the struggle behind closed doors. Described as a therapeutic exorcism, “Pin Me Down” furthers FRANSIS’ euphonious narrative. 

With huge steps on the horizon, FRANSIS’ debut EP Honeymoon is sure to be a big hit. The meaningful melodies combine beautifully rhythmic rebellion to form five tracks that are truly unique. Needless to say, we can expect extraordinary things. 

Arriving as a third and final glimpse into their upcoming sophomore album,  Wylderness have unleashed a scintillating new shoegaze cut: “Chet Chat”.  

Boasting their knack for creating sprawling soundscapes and deeply textured instrumentals, Wylderness’ latest offering arrives as the band gear up to release their long-awaited second album ‘Big Plans For A Blue World’ (out 15th July, via Succulent Recordings). 

LISTEN ON YOUTUBE HERE || STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HERE

Written when Marz of Wylderness experienced the full, frightening force of an earthquake while on a trip to Greece some years ago, the new track finds the singer and guitarist reflecting on what was a life-changing event and seeking to emulate the force of nature that reverberated through him that day. As Marz remembers:

“I was on the balcony of an apartment in Athens writing lyrics for this song when all of a sudden there was this enormous roar and the building started shaking. The earthquake lasted about 15 seconds but seemed like it went on forever. Everyone was fine thankfully and I wanted to write something about what had happened, but not make it too obvious and clunky, so it ended up being a bit cryptic.” 

Rising British R&B star Olivia Nelson delights on the silky new double single “Friends” and “Strangers” – her first release of 2022.

Wrapping a twisting tale of love across the two tracks, Olivia’s ability to express universal experiences in an equally stylistic and sincere way shines on the double release.

Inspired by the complexities of romance, “Friends” battles about a love you know is no good to the vibe of a smooth late-night tune, as strong sub bass pulses throughout the hazy soundscape; whereas the ticking backbeat of “Strangers”, a stomping, self-empowering tune of moving on and up, cuts through the confusion to give all the feels of classic R&B pop. Pairing her beautifully texture toned voice with heartfelt lyricism, Olivia’s contemporary take on the genre effortlessly balances a catchy release with confident talent.

In a statement, Olivia remarks: “Friends is about wanting to be on good terms with an ex but knowing that it’s not very healthy for either of you. Strangers is more of a goodbye once the dust has settled, and you are completely out of each other’s worlds. I didn’t want either song to sound sad as it’s quite a relatable subject so they’re both mid-tempo bops, which I hope people will connect with.”

neill@outloudculture.com

Socials: @neillfrazer

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Written by Neill Frazer

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