Kris Angelis - St. Jude the Obscure - Black Grapefruit

Kris Angelis - Photobooth.

Background - "Photobooth is about a real night that I thought would be the beginning of something and it turned out to be the end, but the joy and hopes of that night were saved forever in the photos. I wrote it because I've always thought photo booths were romantic and that concept would be fun to write a song about, but also as a bit of a catharsis for a heartbreak. The song is more upbeat and nostalgic than one might imagine, because its about those memories captured in the flashes of the photo booth. On a larger scale its about the moments in life that could become tainted by how they ended up, but trying to allow them to keep their happiness." ~ Kris

Accomplished singer-songwriter, Kris Angelis, visits bittersweet nostalgia on her new single, “Photobooth.” Over the years, Angelis has experimented with a myriad of sounds and ideas, though never straying from the lyrical reflections and life experiences that make her music undeniably relatable. Whether she’s sticking to her folky, Ingrid Michealson-esque roots, or toying with pristine pop productions, she never strays from the heart of who she is — a storyteller. Her 2013 release “The Left Atrium” and 2017’s “Heartbreak is Contagious” received critical acclaim and saw time in the Top 10 on iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts, solidifying her as a songwriter and artist alike. Her songwriting has garnered her a number of awards including the 13th International Acoustic Music Award for Best Female Artist, LA Music Critics Award for Best Female EP, and she was named a finalist at the 2016 International Songwriting Competition. Her recent return to the studio to work with producer Billy Lefler found Angelis settling back into the rootsy folk-pop sound she started with, and the inspiration for “Photobooth” quickly followed.

On her newest single, “Photobooth,” Angelis reflects on the power of a single pivotal moment transpiring over a matter of seconds. Bright and breezy, the beat ebbs and flows with carefree abandon that instinctively transports listeners to a happier place. Angelis captures the same sunny disposition with her pristine vocals, draping the melody in a lightness that gives power to the evocation that such a meaningful moment can induce. As she croons about first kisses behind a curtain, captured in black and white on paper, you can feel the sense of yearning and gratefulness throughout each clap-and-repeat chorus. Once again, Kris Angelis has put real-life moments into stunning melodic stories on her new single, “Photobooth.” WEBSITE.

'Photobooth' is a gently unfolding singer, songwriter affair that quickly perks up and begins to charm the socks off me. Hints of folk Americana occasionally surface, the lyrics and their gorgeous delivery are refined, and those musical hooks are pretty much everywhere. It's perhaps a sign of my age that photo booths provide me with some fond memories, so much better than the instant gratification of a selfie, honest!


St. Jude the Obscure - I'm The Wolves.

Background - St. Jude the Obscure are an art pop 2-piece, residing in Liverpool. Formerly known as Feral Love and Bird, now, Adele Emmas and Christian Sandford have undergone a metamorphosis that led to St. Jude the Obscure. Referencing the patron saint of lost causes and Thomas Hardy’s most miserable novel, Saint Jude the Obscure’s music is neither a lost cause or dripping with misery. Instead, it’s literate uplifting synth-pop with more than a hint of Regina Spector, Florence + the Machine and Bat For Lashes.

Recently commissioned to create a soundtrack for WWI poet Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Futility’, to accompany an opening of his memorial, St Jude the Obscure tend to pair poetic lyrics with airy electro-pop beats. ‘I’m The Wolves’ is their most recent example of a metaphorical account of individual truth-seeking.

The band explains: “’I'm The Wolves’ is a song about independence and freedom of spirit, the need to escape a somewhat chaotic world and to reconnect with the simplicity of nature. It celebrates how strength can be found in the vulnerability of choosing to walk your own path even though it might be a solitary one at times.“ FACEBOOK.

Whether this is art pop, synth pop, or electronic might be open to debate, that 'I'm The Wolves' is delicious and very catchy as it smoothly charms its way into my life, needs no further consideration.


Black Grapefruit - Mind.

Background - After building a fervent following as SOS in their native Pacific Northwest and on SoundCloud, Black Grapefruit drove across the country and settled in Brooklyn in 2014; a year later they left the borough and made their new home in upstate New York. 

Getting away from the city wasn’t a retreat or a hideaway, though; it forced them out from the cover of the crowd, forced them to confront who they were, as a band and as individuals. To start the album they first had to break old habits in the heat of a Lokata sweat lodge and the dirt of their garden. In a house where pre-war means pre-War of 1812, in rooms where people were born and died, All My Relations came together.

To achieve the ambitious sounds of their new album, the duo synthesized Randa’s mother’s West Indian roots and the gospel of her father’s American South. Exuberant, headphone-filling vocal harmonies and syncopated percussion are present, and Afro-Caribbean polyrhythms anchor tracks with impassioned vocal samples and lush string arrangements. The assertive low end and double-time trap hats of their previous album return, but the sonic palette has widened to befit the ambition and scope of the project. 

The abiding arrangement philosophy is balance: in a sequence emblematic of the assurance and depth of the album, an atmospheric field recording anchors the slow-burning emotion of “05,” a high-wire act of masterly vocal production that crescendos into ecstasy before giving way to the irresistible exuberance of “Mind.” WEBSITE.

'Mind' gives just a partial indication of what to expect from the twelve tracks that make up the new album titled 'All My Relations'. This is both an ambitious and creative selection of music, where attempting to give the collection any one characterisation, is difficult to say the least. It's all that the promo above tells us, and much of it is addictive, demanding a second listen and more, Black Grapefruit have developed a unique and very fine style of music.