Genre Wander: Jenny Gabrielsson Mare - Romy - Locks - Justin Michael Williams - Natalie Bouloudis

Jenny Gabrielsson Mare - Brooklyn Bridge.

Background - The new album "Comb the Wicked" (La Petite Tempete) was released Friday.

In the fall of 2014 Jenny Gabrielsson Mare spent a month alone in Brooklyn writing songs for a new album. The result is Comb the Wicked – an album inspired by the atmosphere in Brooklyn; from industrial noise to soul and gospel. The songs are based on voice, piano, organ and percussion and she has collaborated with legendary percussionist Michael Blair who has played with some of the greatest like Tom Waits and Lou Reed.

And it is in the land of Tom Waits, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey we find Mare’s music. September 10 a first single was released: Wolves. Based on piano, cello and Jenny’s voice the song creates a dark forest where you are the hunter or the hunted.

The album carries religious and folkloric motifs and themes of guilt and insanity. Parallel with the album Jenny has been writing on her bachelor degree about the Devil in popular music.

Almost four years have passed since her last album The Ritual and during this time she has mostly been seen as one half of the indie-electronica-duo White Birches who’s debut album Dark Waters was nominated in the category “Synth” at the Swedish “indie-Grammy” Manifestgalan 2015. itunes here.

'Brooklyn Bridge' is the second track we have featured from the just released album, having covered 'Wolves' back in September. Jenny has a natural voice for darker more haunting songs, and with this one, you can add in a sense of concern and drama. The album has plenty more, where atmosphere and imagination is in large measure, along with gentle melodies and often understated soundtracks.


Romy - Frail.

Background - "Frail" tells the story of what it feels like to love someone who struggles with an addiction. The video is directed by Marisa Pena. Amsterdam's by-way-of NYC artist Romy wrote and sings "Frail" in the video.

"We tried to keep the video as open and honest, vulnerable, as possible. It's a heartbreaking song in which I explain why loving someone who doesn't love themselves by having an addiction, will never produce a stable relationship. I would say that my songwriting helped me become a stronger woman/individual and helps my process.  It helps me to understand things that happen around me, and the people around me whom I care for," Romy shares. "My songwriting process helped me to work through loss of a few break-ups too." Romy wrote, produced, and self-released a full-length debut Unbound  in 2014 .

"Frail" is produced by Michael Di Lalla.  Di Lalla and Romy are at work on her next track "Make it Work," releasing to digital stores later this year. Romy will continue writing, recording, and sharing her songs on streaming outlets like Soundcloud and Spotify. Website here.

The music video for 'Frail' adds some drama to the song, which with just the audio, certainly conveys emotion and feeling throughout. This is a serious piece, and the stripped back nature of the song, adds to the mood of struggling with addiction and life.


Locks - Wishbone.

Background - Locks are a London based alternative skeletal strings bluesy band, a trio made up of Locks Geary-Griffin (lead vocal / guitar), Mike Byrne (double bass) and Marian McClenagan (fiddle). They are releasing their official debut four-track “Rattle Them Bones” EP on 21st November, which has a subtle fixation on the darker unnerving aspects of life and death all whilst keeping a jaunty, up-beat roots based rhythm flowing underneath. Lock’s vocal has a unique tone, which has been championed by BBC 6 music’s Steve Lamacq and previously featured on his credible roundtable show.

After playing with a variety of different bands including rockabilly, traditional Irish, indie and nu-folk, the three misfits found themselves in a rehearsal room together writing parts for murder ballads involving burying bodies, mythological creatures and dark family secrets. Slowly tracking the footsteps of whatever creature has wandered before them, whilst singing songs about whatever's hiding just under the surface or lingering from the corner of their eye, they are together creeping through London's weird and wonderful musical underbelly. Lead track “Wishbone” is about “something” that should never have been let loose and the simplicity of the video shot entirely on a iPhone lets you conjure up your own macabre images from the words alone. Locks hypnotically types out the lyrics on a vintage typewriter and this focuses you back to the sinister meaning of the story of the song. Facebook here.

Locks are a must see live combining their intimate shows with an air of unsettling oddness.
18th November - New Cross Inn, supporting Bess Atwell, London.

'Wishbone' is a strikingly good song. The trio mix natural heartfelt vocals with a distinct and catchy guitar lead soundtrack. The blues feel at the core of the song, again comes across as instinctive to the band, and it's rolling out a cliche time, so, I really am left wanting to hear more (actually a lot more).


Justin Michael Williams - Here With Me.

Background - Bringing his dream to life, LA-based conceptual artist Justin Michael Williams  releases his debut album Metamorphosis after transitioning from an 8-year career as an international yoga and meditation teacher into recording artist. His meditation practice is what gave Justin the laster focus to get to the top 20 on the pop charts on Itunes without a  manager or a label. “Metapmorphosis” channels classic elements of love, loss, and self-acceptance and is a brilliant examination of the human experience through Justin’s eyes. 

Metamorphosis, features 11 tracks that range from the heart-wrenching ballad "Here with Me" to the pop anthem S##t Gets Better” Justin's R&B vocals mix perfectly together with the sleek instrumentation, similar to artists such as Usher and Jose James.

The album debuted at number 18 on the iTunes Pop charts, and Justin has been featured on Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist, NewNowNext, and the Wall Street Journal. If Maxwell, Prince, and James Blake had a music baby, it would be Justin Michael Williams. Williams is taking pop-infused R&B to a new level that is as inspiring as it is entertaining. Facebook here.

'Here With Me' is one of ten very individual songs on the album 'Metamorphosis'. Actually there is an eleventh bonus track called 'The Story' which is just that, Justin explaining his background and how he came to record the album. Rather than self indulgent it actually pulls the whole thing together. The featured song is a ballad that builds, the album explores so much more, making a genre I normally struggle with actually very engaging.


Natalie Bouloudis - Burning Pier.

Background - It was while shirking her duties as an arts and culture guide copywriter that Natalie Bouloudis found the seed that would sprout into her debut single. Initially derived from a story she wrote on the job (she wrote various poetry and prose compositions to pass the time), ‘Burning Pier’ is set in a fictionalised amalgamation of the burnt-out husks of Brighton, Hastings and Eastbourne piers. Essentially a meditation on how disasters can both evoke nostalgia and make us question our future in a new light, Natalie conjures all the energy and drama of narrative songwriting forebears like Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, and Kate Bush, while stylistically existing in a sphere of her own. The song was recorded in a live take with the only overdub being drummer Hannah Stacey’s sparkling Rhodes piano. As such, it has all the thrilling tension of a group capturing the thunderclap spontaneity of perfect live communication.

A native of East Sussex, Natalie Bouloudis first got her musical education in childhood, having played clarinet in jazz bands and had a few guitar lessons at school. From the age of seven she started writing her own music and has been (till recently) a secret songwriter ever since. Having lived in London for the better part of the last decade, she decided three years ago to launch her music into the public sphere under the name Aurora Harbinger. She soon played venues like Servant Jazz Quarters and The Victoria in Dalston, quickly building a loyal fan base that enabled her to successfully crowd fund her debut record. 

 For Natalie, playing live is an important consideration in the songwriting process, a process which focuses centrally on generating atmosphere and intimacy. Her debut EP is her first proper recording and it was all recorded live at Wax Studios in London and produced by Robert Strauss. For Natalie, getting the EP right was dependent on how precisely she could evoke the feelings she had in mind. Though armed with encyclopaedic knowledge of narrative songwriters across the spectrum of folk, rock and jazz, Natalie brings to the table her own brand of atmospheric storytelling. 

It’s folky in its arrangements, but in terms of sheer vocal delivery she’s a soulful rock and roller, at times calling to mind the visceral and lurching tones of Patti Smith or Etta James. ‘Burning Pier’ may only be her first single, but already it reveals an artist in the classic sense: thoughtful, precise, and led by instinct and imagination. “My songs tiptoe on the edge of fiction and reality. I like rich melodies, moody skies, dark romanticism, charged atmospheres that tell hard-boiled tales.” Facebook here.

Live Date: Thursday 2nd December: The Finsbury, London N4 (Burning Pier Single Launch).

A distinct and attractive song 'Burning Pier' boasts Natalie's superb soulful vocals against a backdrop of intricate musicianship, that morphs between folk, blues, and rock. As first single releases go, this one sets the standard incredibly high, let's hope this song gets noticed far and wide, that I would say, is a reasonable enough request..