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Stella Never Sleeps, Everything Unravels

21 Apr, 2015 Melissa Nastasi

stellaneversleepsStella Never Sleeps is a buzzing new band that hails from New York City. The group has just released their debut album, Everything Unravels, this year, and have had quite a kick off to their musical career. Everything Unravels is 6-songs of blissful indie rock that touches upon a bit of pop music in the mixture. Fronted by singer, Christine Scharf, she has the help of bandmates Dan Weiss (Acoustic Guitar / Vocals), Vincent Fiorillo (Bass), Paul Smetana (Drums), and Nate Williams (Electric Guitar). From start to finish the record proves to be easy on the ears, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Kicking off the record is the first song, “Down So Low” which features an array of intricately strummed, and very bright acoustic guitars. Christine Scharf’s vocals are strong and powerful, and have a bit of a Blues feel to them, though they are not over the top or forced. With the guitars swirling around, it makes for a wonderful first glimpse into the album; and a lasting impression on your ears.

“Hard to Give Up on You,” brings a bit of 80’s nostalgia into the mix, as Scharf’s vocals are echoing and covered in electric guitars. The solos of the guitars are intertwined throughout, and really work with the vocals and instrumentation of the track. The piece is extremely well-arranged, and proves the band has phenomenal songwriting skills, and work well together. Each piece on the record is cohesive, and compliments each other nicely.

The next song “Might as Well Be,” is an instant favorite on the record. Scharf’s voice is absolute heaven; a dream if you will. The electric guitars fill the track that is reminiscent of playing you would find on mid-career Strokes records, which was enticing to my ears from the very beginning. All of the elements combined create something that will be immediately pleasing to listeners.

“Showing You the Door,” brings a small element of Punk into the record, sharing a vibrancy and quirkiness that is more noticeable on this piece over the others. Once again Scharf’s vocals stand in the front ground proving that she is quite an accomplished vocalist with a wide range of ability. This helps bring the record to life, and it certainly carries through out ties everything together.

Up next is “Today” which contains some of the most brilliant harmonies, both vocally and in the guitar work, I have heard in a long time. Christine Scharf’s voice is surrounded by acoustic and electric guitars that intricately play off each other, almost like a game. The rhythm section holds its own, bringing to the table a consistent and memorable set of beats.

Closing the record is the slow and seductive piece, ‘Time,” which features Scharf’s heartwarming and honest voice, in perfect melodic harmony with a skilled acoustic guitar strummed behind her. In even the simplest of songs Scharf’s vocals stand out and shine like the sun; warming your heart.

Song after song on Stella Never Sleeps debut record, Everything Unravels, will stop you dead in your tracks. The mixture of instrumentation and use of guitars are key elements that bring the record to life. Combined with Christine Scharf’ vocal skills and the song writing of Dan Weiss, Stella Never Sleeps go above and beyond the call of duty to deliver one of the best records of early 2015.

5 out of 5 Stars
By Melissa Nastasi

Tim Gemmill, Road Songs

04 Aug, 2014 Melissa Nastasi

roadsongs_300x300 (3)Meet Tim Gemmill, a unique artist paving his way in the electronic era. Recently releasing the record, Road Songs, Gemmill provides his own version of electro laced music that will intrigue the listener from the very beginning. The ten track record is a stunning collection of songs like you have never heard before. Gemmill’s use of synthesizers and Memory Moogs fill Road Songs with a harmonious and delightful surprise.

Opening the album is the noteworthy piece “Drone.” The longest song on the record, which clocks in at seven minutes, takes you on a musical journey, as the instruments provide the narration. Bright synthesizer pianos are prominent throughout, creating a beautiful soundscape. Up next is “ZigZag,” a funky digital piece that has the feel of an old video game soundtrack. The movement of the synths ignite a stunning instrumentation which flows throughout the track.

“Proteus,” takes the reigns next, creating a funky and vibrant sound on the record. Synthesizers resonate in the background, blending in nicely with the rest of the track. “Pine Siskin,” became an immediate favorite on Road Songs. With the knack of a prominent soundtrack of the 1980s, the mesmerizing song will draw your attention even more so into the record. The synthesizer and Moog blend flawlessly to give the song an extra punch.

“Invention No. 13 in A Minor,” is a short but sweet piece on the record, providing digital perfection. The interlude, originally by J.S. Bach, is a beautifully crafted song which brings a new life to the record. “Blues for Ralph,” provides Gemmill’s take on different realm, with punchy synthesizers that carry through the song. Providing his take on the Blues, or Digital Blues, if you will, the intriguing piece is one to stop and take note of.

“Empire in Quest,” brings a darker element into Road Songs, with echoing tones that have the tendency to be a bit haunting. As the instrumentation reverberates, nearly every note provides an element of surprise. The album picks up again with “No Na Me,” a jaunty song that is gorgeous and vibrant at the same time. Gemmill’s use of the synthesizers and Moog are perfection on this track as they work together in unison harmony. “Fugue,” is an elegant track that will definitely pull on your heartstrings. The melancholy song is enchanting and poignant. This is Gemmill’s masterpiece. “Red Valley,” closes out Road Songs, in the similar vein as how it began. The effervescent sounds linger throughout, creating a lively closing to the record. Light bongos are heard throughout, alongside synthesized vocal harmonies that prove they are unforgettable.

Tim Gemmill has created a distinctive collection of tracks within Road Songs. His unique blend of synthesized instruments, take the digital era of music into a new direction. Gemmill’s music exploration on this record is honest, energetic and truly one-of-a-kind. Road Songs is crafted towards music listeners who like something a little out of the normal. Something a little different. Let your ears find Tim Gemmill’s Road Songs and prepare to be whisked away.

 

4 out of 5 Stars
Melissa Nastasi

 

 

 

Stephanie Braganza, “When We Last Kissed” (feat. Drega)

07 May, 2014 Melissa Nastasi

single cover photo

In the current musical world, EDM that is done right is quite a rarity. Only a few can accomplish a sound so great that it causes an impact amongst music listeners. Recently releasing her second International single, titled “When We Last Kissed (feat. Drega), Stephanie Braganza is out to stun the world with her infectious blend of electronica laced dance music. I feel like I have just stumbled upon musical gold. Hailing from Toronto, Braganza has teamed up with a stellar production team that has worked and performed with such high profile artists as Drake and The Weeknd. Her vocal abilities standout to create a song that is not only electrifying but memorable as well.

“When We Last Kissed,” is filled with alluring sonic tones that will have listeners on the dance floor in no time. Braganza’s sexy and smooth vocals engulf the track which provides a hypnotizing element to the piece. Heavy hitting beats hit your ears like crashing waves, emphasizing each tone even harder than the next.

Rapper Drega enters a few times throughout, to add even more flavor to the track. His slick rhyming skills fit the rest of the song like a glove. Drega’s vocals flow perfectly, as they surround Braganza’s high hitting notes. The enthusiastic song also features bright synthesizers and beats that will entice the listener more and more with every listen.

Stephanie Braganza’s “When We Last Kissed,” is not just a song. It is a piece of art. I can’t wait to hear her next masterpiece.

 

By Melissa Nastasi
5 out of 5 Stars

Harlequin’s Enigma, Best of Åge

01 Apr, 2014 Melissa Nastasi
Harliquin's Enigma - Best Of Age

Harlequin’s Enigma – Best Of Age

Harlequin’s Enigma has returned with another musical masterpiece. Just recently releasing the latest record, Best of Age, Harlequin’s Enigma is ready to stun your ears with sonically alluring treats. The brainchild of Norway’s Age Riisnes, he takes you on a musical journey like you have never experienced before. Blending perfect elements of New Age, Synth, Electronica, Jazz, Rock, Classical and more, Harlequin’s Enigma proves to be a standout musical act that will intrigue listeners from the very start.

The 14-track record opens up with the dark synthesizer sounds of “1944,” a piece which clocks in at almost 7 minutes. This sets the tone for most of the record, and gives a nice first glimpse into the inside of Riisnes’ mindset. “Cowards & Heroes,” is up next which blends a blissful mix of electronic and slight jazz elements, with gorgeous synthesizers that move throughout. “Deep Blue Sky,” is a subtle song that proves to be the perfect music to relax to, as it makes you want to sail away to an island. The calming tones echo throughout, making this a stunning piece of music.

“Encourage,” begins with what appears to be a mid-eastern musical tone that flows throughout, with hints of a Sitar sounding instrument combined with synthesizers. This has easily become an instant favorite on the record. “Harlequin’s Enigma,” appears to be one of the most haunting pieces on Best of Age, with varying instruments creating the sense of an electronic orchestra. This is gorgeous to say the least.

“Misery Mirror,” which clocks in at nearly 10 minutes is a captivating piece that certainly relaxes you. The glass like tones are the bed for intricate sounds that push the limits of the record. “Parallel Blossom,” drew me in immediately with bright sonic sounds that become more intriguing within every listen. “Quack Tales about Scarabs” brings a fun, retro like video game vibe into the record. This is truly a unique piece on the album. “Rainbow Kisses (Absence of Noise Remix)” is a slightly different song from the rest, with an enchanting female vocalist that helps provide the tone throughout. “The Hunt L’amour,” is perhaps the most vibrant and playful piece on the record, which will have you dancing around the room in no time.

“Voices from the Suburbs of Vienna,” takes you on an electronic journey with staccato sounds paving the way for the song. “Wanderer, Pt.2 (Sorcery Among Wanderers) is dreamy electronic track that almost feels like the listener is on a journey into another galaxy. The synthesizers flow effortlessly. “When I Was Young Twice,” is a vivid track with perfect light beats and a sultry female voice that leads the way. Closing the album is the peaceful song, “Yes My Dear Seagull,” which combines a stunning classical element with electronic overtones

Best of Age by Harlequin’s Enigma is a fantastic masterpiece that will have you at the edge of your seat with every listen. For those looking for something truly different in the music realm, this record is certainly for you. Open your ears and listen closely. You will be ecstatic that you did.

By Melissa Nastasi
5 out of 5 Stars

 

You can find Harleguin’s Enigma online at: http://www.harlenia.com/

Solveig & Stevie, Zombie Lover

16 Sep, 2013 Melissa Nastasi

Solveig & Stevie prove to be quite a tasty musical treat for your ears from the very beginning. Hailing from Seattle, Washington, which has always been a promising source of great new music, Solveig & Stevie do not disappoint.  Blending elements of pop and folk alongside a hefty dose of 80s power pop, the duo is aimed to please any and all music listeners. The duo consists of Solveig Whittle (lead vocalist and lyricist) and Stevie Adamek (musician and producer). Stevie has an extensive history of work including being signed to Scepter Records (with the See Band), and Columbia Records (with Bighorn). He was also in the leading band The Allies, who had one of the first videos to air on MTV. Solveig & Stevie first came together in 2010 when they started to write promising songs together that make up their new record, Zombie Lover.

The album consists of 7 electrifying tracks that will take you on the ride of a lifetime. From the very first track, the music takes off. Solveig’s voice is like a breath of fresh air. With thumping drums and melodic guitars surrounding her prominent rock vocals, she manages to set a greater tone not only for this piece but for the record as a whole.

The second song on the album is titled “Creation.” A true standout track of the record, Solveig’s voice sounds heavenly yet powerful in its own way. Soft electric piano accompanies her as the melody takes you on a smooth journey. “Keep Your Eyes on Your Heart,” brings more of a classic folk element into the record. Infectious harmonies bring the track to life in a way that is simple, yet complex at the same time. Jangly acoustic guitars take over, with astonishing vocals that are a bit reminiscent of Canadian musicians, The New Pornographers. In this track Solveig puts Neko Case to shame.

“I Just Can’t Breathe,” is a quiet and lovely track, that has a bit of 90s nostalgia mixed into it. The music and vocals compliment each other without flaw, as a male vocalist (most likely Stevie’s) enters. The only thing a bit out of place in this record is the Rap element in this piece, as it doesn’t quite blend well with the vibe of the rest of the tracks. From a listening standpoint it feels a tiny bit off.

“Fire,” brings the album right back on to the course. For this piece Stevie’s vocals are the main focus as he takes over a majority of the lead. The harmonization of Stevie and Solveig are incredible in this song, and proves to be an instant favorite.

“Waiting on the Thunder,” is a nice, soft piece, which has a coffee house element to it. The mixture of acoustic guitars and quietly brushed drums create something truly special, which will have you going back for another listen immediately.

“Menta E Rosmarino” closes out the album. The stunning piece features Solveig’s vocals, which are haunting more than ever. Bringing a bit of Sarah McLachlan influence to the table, this is the perfect way to bring Zombie Lover to an end.

Solveig & Stevie’s Zombie Lover is quite an enjoyable record. With 7 wonderful tracks, this will make you crave more of what they have to offer in the years to come. Their debut proves to be successful and captivating as well. Here’s to a job well done!

 

By Melissa Nastasi

4 Out of 5 Stars