Monthly Favourites #21

The end of September is rolling round and the winter nights are incoming, bringing on my favourite season of the year. It’s also time for another iteration of my Monthly Favourites series, sure to warm your hearts on the dark evenings. Who knows – you might find your new favourite artist here!

Review by Jane Howkins

Photo of Edie Yvonne

Edie Yvonne – On Your Mind

First up is Edie Yvonne, with a slice of indie-folk heaven. On Your Mind is a fairly short song, starting in snappy fashion, but there’s enough here to keep you longing for more. The track has quite a fast beat, containing some fast strummed acoustic guitars, as well as some electric motifs that tail off stylistically every so often. Edie has an awesome singing voice, carrying the main melody in lovely style over the music, keeping her vocal flow perfect. The pace never really lets up, keeping the energy high through On Your Mind.

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Odonian Drifts – Volcanic Lavender

Now it’s time for something different, with Nottingham-based Odonian Drifts and their interestingly titled track, Volcanic Lavender. It’s probably best described as a dark-wave song, including a slew of amazing synth and piano melodies, interspersed into the layers of backing effects. The vocals have a unique quality, changing up rapidly through the course of the piece, but they have a subtle beauty to them nonetheless. Volcanic Lavender is one song that is perfect for those who like their music on the more experimental end of things!

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Jewel Owusu – b-day

Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Jewel Owusu is up next with her amazing new tune, b-day. It’s a poppy track with a difference, seeing Jewel using the dynamics of the tune amazingly well to create a unique atmosphere. The song also has quite an organic sound, utilising some nice guitar arpeggios and a violin to great effect, suiting the beat of the music well. And of course, Jewel has a fantastic voice, fitting b-day exceedingly well. It’s soft yet powerful, carrying the tune amazingly here. This is for all you pop fans!

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Blair Wxtch – Light Me Up

We’ve got another pop tune for you, this time coming from Blair Wxtch. However, Light Me Up is also a little different from the mainstream pop norms, having a slow and soulful quality. The vocals are very sultry, leading you into the music with ease. A simplistic yet effective array of piano chords play around in the background, working well against the bassline and drums, as occasional backing effects appear over time. I also felt the sparse synths had something of an 80s vibe, adding yet another cool element into Light Me Up.

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A Number From the Ghost – Atomize

Taking this review in a slightly different direction is A Number From the Ghost with their haunting new tune, Atomize. It’s quite folky, but also experimental at the same time, utilising some intriguing electronic effects in the background. The vocals are fairly quiet, but they only add to the ambience, drifting along effortlessly. The music sounds quite minimalist at first, but there’s a lot going on here, so it’s worth listening to a few times over. The synths towards the end really set Atomize on fire, ensuring this is one track you’ll never forget!

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Draumr – Slowly Burning Feelings

French artist Draumr mixes soul, pop, and r&b together on his new release, Slowly Burning Feelings. It’s another track with something of an 80s quality, due to the vibe of the synths. The music is really lush, featuring a selection of pretty guitar and keyboard melodies that float around in lovely style against the rhythm section, inviting the listener in straight away. It’s a really well-written piece of work, showcasing Draumr’s songwriting skills off well. His singing skills are pretty good too, as his voice weaves through the musical layers here in perfect style.

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Grace & Moji – Tipping Point

As you might have guessed from their moniker, Grace & Moji are a duo, specialising in beautiful indie-folk songs. Tipping Point is the perfect example of their work, and a great introduction to Grace & Moji’s haunting sound. It’s quite sparse, opening with a pretty fingerpicked acoustic guitar melody, before the vocals join in. Grace & Moji each sing different sections, combining their vocals together on the chorus to create some lovely harmonies. As the track progresses, the music is built up, turning into something really anthemic.

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The Cumberland River Project – Simple Man

German artist The Cumberland River Project has become a bit of a mainstay of these pages, and for good reason! Simple Man sees him doing what he does best, as it’s another awesome folk song, also mixing in moments of bluegrass, country and Americana. Simple Man has an extremely upbeat vibe and the banjo is simply a delight to behold here, working its way into your head with its catchy melodies. The violin is also used exceedingly well, creating a nice motif in the backdrop against the rest of the track. This is another amazing track from The Cumberland River Project.

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Eleri Ward – Grieving the Future

New York artist Eleri Ward is a singer-songwriter who roots her pop songs with powerful storytelling, appealing across the board. Grieving the Future starts out slowly, but the energy is soon ramped up, with the use of her distinctive drum beats. Eleris’s vocals also have a unique sound, but they really work wonders here – the chorus is very hooky, and will have you singing along in no time. Some sparse synths are added in towards the end, creating a little more variety within the tune. Why not try the track out below?

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Jennifer Tefft – Love and War

Jennifer Tefft is an award-winning performer from Boston, and new release Love and War shows exactly why her music is so lauded. It’s a powerful rock song, displaying her fantastic vocals off in true style. The music has quite a dark and melancholic atmosphere, really drawing you into Jennifer’s world as it continues. Whilst it’s pretty heavy at times, the track also manages to add a great deal of melody, creating a perfect balancing act between the two styles. Up until the moment Love and War ends, you’ll be kept on the edge of your seat!

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Monthly Favourites – playlist by York Calling | Spotify