Welcome to the Music Review Mixtape. In this feature, RCM staff writer Javier Rodriguez provides a round-up of the best new music submitted to our website. Today he introduces 9 new artists, with a short, snackable music review.
Table of Contents
Viatr ‘Queue The Dreams’
Making their debut, London-based quartet Viatr has an interesting story behind them. Being a band consisting of members who are originally from four different countries, their sound is a mix as eclectic as their unique background, combining rock, jazz, and classical music with experimental arrangements, giving birth to a sonic cascade that will shock audiences, and there couldn’t be a better example of this than their first official single Queue The Dreams.
Depicting dreamy sequences of surreal and distant soundscapes, QTD can be dissected like a two-part act. First, the soothing chords and comforting vocals of lead singer Diana Opiela create a wholesome experience of ethereal wonders, and halfway through it, the composition diverges into a faster and chaotic piece, mesmerizing as it gets and with a highly cathartic close.
As an introductory card, Queue The Dreams does a formidable job, and it definitely makes us impatient to hear what this band will do next.
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Brianna Scully ‘Haunted’
Born and raised in South Florida, Brianna Scully’s unquestionable talent was a well-kept secret for a long time, however, this would change when the pandemic hit, giving her a significant amount of free time to practice piano and improve her songwriting skills. Encouraged by her friends and family, Brianna decided to start putting her music out there, afterward, she moved to Los Angeles, where she met the producer Brandon Lew, who helped her to take her writing to a whole new level.
Proving that real-life experiences can be the ultimate source of creativity, Brianna’s new single, Haunted, is without a doubt the most lyrically honest tune she has made so far, taking inspiration from the inability of not being able to move on from a previous relationship.
Summarized in three key points, Haunted thrives thanks to the subtle yet effective production, its endearing performance, and Brianna’s impactful storytelling.
Haunted is the second single from Brianna’s debut EP Manic, set for release next fall, a work that you should definitely keep an eye on.
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Forgotten Tides – ‘Never Built To Last’
Formed just last year and coming from Aberdeen in Scotland, Never Built To Last is the debut from Forgotten Tides, a four-piece with clear goals in mind, hoping to make a profound connection with their ever-growing fanbase and share their art with audiences all over the world.
Aside from being their first single, Never Built To Last is also the epitome of what this band brings to the table. NBTL perfectly describes the impermanence of life through the perspective of a relationship, highlighting the importance of enjoying every moment. This soulful subject is complemented by the refreshing instrumentation, going from melancholic guitar passages early in the song to a breathtaking and energetic chorus. Worth mentioning is the wild guitar solo toward the end.
We can’t think of a better way to launch than with a song like this one. This Scottish outfit has crafted a solid tune with “mainstream appeal”. Hopefully, it won’t be long until we hear from them again.
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Mara Liddle – ‘Oversharing’
Paving the way for her anticipated EP Stalemate, Mara Liddle shared another little gem from that record called Oversharing, a piece that narrates Mara’s attempts to forge friendships during her early adulthood as well as the complications regarding the concept of ‘oversharing’. Carried single-handedly by Mara’s sugar-coated delivery, this song pours catchiness, elevated by its uplifting production and auto-tuned soaked vocals.
Since last year, Mara Liddle has dazzled listeners with her intimate songwriting and well-rounded arrangements, delivering riveting results due to her distinctive ability to balance realistic situations with an approachable sound and her unique flair.
In collaboration with producer JB Thomas, Mara’s first EP is just one of the many milestones she’s aiming to achieve this year. With plenty of performances on the horizon and already championed by BBC Introducing’s ‘Big in 2023’ it’s safe to say the time for Mara Liddle is now.
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Redpath Traffic – ‘So Alive’
Here is a little riddle for you all, what do you get when you mix the elegance of blues, the boldness of punk, and the eternal likability of rock? The answer is Redpath Traffic, a trio hailing from Toronto, Canada, comprised of Rick Todd (guitar and vocals), Marc Fernley (bass), and Kerem Balci (drums), together they work as a well-oiled machine looking to share stories of love, loss, and the many incidences of life, splendidly spiced with some superb musicianship.
Out of the many elements present in this melody, like the soaring vocals and lively drums, the intricate guitar passages are the definitive showstopper, succeeding at evoking a feeling of overwhelming freedom, and while it might sound a bit redundant to say it, it does make you feel “so alive” truly exhibiting the expertise of these three outstanding musicians.
This track is part of Redpath Traffic’s debut album, Under The Crimson Sun, a record produced by the iconic Chris Birkett. (Led Zeppelin, Dexys Midnight Runners, Hans Zimmer; Randy Newman, Def Leopard).
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Zhaklina – ‘Game Over’
Hailing from New York and of Albanian, Irish, and Greek descent, Zhaklina has always been interested in creating awareness on many social issues like mental health and suicide prevention. Her altruistic desire plays a meaningful role in her music, which is not only a form of expression but also an outlet she hopes her fans can find solace in, and her latest offering, Game Over, is no exception. Featuring the post-hardcore band Hollow Wake, Game Over talks about battling shame and realizing this negative sentiment depends on us and how much power we give it.
Typically labelled as alternative pop, this tune takes a considerable detour from her usual style, starting with Zhaklina’s mesmerizing voice and a gorgeous piano rendition, making it look like this is going to be another alt-pop piece, however, as soon as the guitar comes into play, you know you’re in for a different type of aural ride, and just like the early moments of a roller-coaster before the inevitable drop, Game Over quickly evolves into an aggressive post-hardcore banger, with smashing drums and screamy vocals taking over, forming a fascinating contrast between these components.
If there is a track in this mixtape that will fulfil all your needs for head-banging and soulful songwriting, it’s this one!
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Whate – ‘Brainman’
“We shout about making the world a better place” is the motto of UK’s Whate, a project conceived in 2016. Even though this group only has released two singles in their fledgling career, they have already played numerous times at venues all over Birmingham, such as The 02 Institute, The Dark Horse, The Victoria, Sunflower Lounge, and Actress & Bishop, among many others.
At this point, you might be wondering, who is Brainman? You will be surprised to discover he is a superhero in a never-ending crusade against ignorance, always encouraging people to keep fighting.
Naturally, with such inspiring storytelling comes a single that is on pair with it, vocalist Dave Dreamer with his solemn and almost ominous delivery, in conjunction with the fast-paced instrumentation, develops a sense of urgency that prevails throughout most of the song, reaching a powerful climax during its Muse-esque influenced guitar work.
Brainman and the previous track, Can’t Breathe Anymore, will be part of this band’s forthcoming album Open Field, which contains 11 songs and demos.
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Ronniee ‘Make My Mind’
Combining unapologetic lyricism with some lovely British charm, Ronniee is the pop artist you didn’t know you needed in your playlists. Her career started in 2012 when she wrote a song for the One Direction tribute band Only One Direction, a melody that did pretty well and got played on their UK tour. After that, her career took off, leading her to write and release music for other artists and perform at venues like Ronnie Scotts and London’s 02.
As the title might imply, Make My Mind questions whether to move on from a relationship due to the red flags or if those precious moments are strong enough to make you stay.
Driven by nothing but this artist’s soothing voice and a majestic piano, she truly excels at conveying the powerful emotion within this tune, reaching a glorious crescendo where Ronniee pours her heart out with an unbridled passionate performance.
With more than 6000 monthly listeners on Spotify and several features on BBC Introducing, Ronniee has made clear that she is nowhere near reaching her peak, and with more material to deliver for the rest of 2023, all signs point to a hell of a year for this rising artist.
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Infinite Corners – ‘Bombs’
To close this magnificent round-up of exciting new artists, we got Infinite Corners, a three-piece from Leeds with an eclectic sound. If we wanted to get a little too specific, we could say this band is the intersection where post-punk, psychedelic rock, and alternative rock meet, and as unbelievable as this amalgamation might sound, the truth is that this outfit has found the perfect formula to mix these genres into a highly compelling musical style.
To the beat of a stomping rhythm section and one of the most irresistible hooks you will hear in a while, Bombs comes as a cohesive track with nice pacing. Halfway through, there is a softer intermediate section where the lead singer Ben Holliday exhibits his vocal capabilities, reaching some soothing tones and returning to the foot-tapping riffage that makes this melody viciously catchy while lyrically describing what it is to live with someone struggling with mental health issues.
Their wide range of influences, on top of their performance efficiency, makes Infinite Corners a mandatory listen for any indie rock enthusiasts.
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Words Javier Rodriguez