Julia King releases “Lovers Lament”

Shattering the silence with the hustle and bustle of a gorgeous piano melody, the rhythm of “Lovers Lament” pulls us ever so closely so that singer Julia King can season the music with her erotic crooning. King is no stranger to gracious grooves of this nature, but in this latest single she takes the jazzy timbre of her vocal to an entirely new level, pushing us into the core of her backing band’s sizzle and adorning it with a unique tonality that belongs to her alone. The drums pitter-patter in the foreground alongside her, and with a swing as hot and heavy as they come, it crushes us with its hungry, uncompromising heart. “Lovers Lament” isn’t your average dirge; it’s a celebration of loneliness that will heal the deepest of wounds in a way that only good music of its caliber can.

The world around us is constantly changing and adapting to meet the needs of the people who call it home, but one constant in all of the progress is the everlasting tradition of making strong vocal pop music in the style that Julia King does in this track. What’s special about this song isn’t just the way that she tackles such an incredibly difficult chapter of the international songbook, but more so that she contributes a flexibility that hasn’t been utilized very much in this modern wave of surreal pop yet – for whatever reason, I don’t know. Her dynamic isn’t limited to the microphone alone here; she’s commanding every element with her vocal, and casting a spell over us through her harmonies and not just the substance of the lyrics they mount before us.

SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/msjuliaking/lovers-lament

There’s no denying that Julia King is very much a student of music history, and that’s more than demonstrated in “Lovers Lament,” both in the way that she executes the material and in the manner she conceived and styled the song to begin with. She’s wearing her influences on her sleeve here and connecting the dots between vintage jazz, midcentury blues and a more contemporary rock-fashioned equalization, but I don’t think it was necessarily meant as a sacrificial offering to the pop gods of old. If anything, she’s being herself more in this single than she ever has in the past, and I really hope that her direction doesn’t shift far from this present sound.

King’s backing band is almost as stirring as King is on her own here, and that says a lot about how balanced this master mix is. Anytime King steps into the spotlight, she brings all of the eyes and ears in the room to attention the very moment that she starts to sing, and feeling the presence of her fellow players in this track is a real testament to how beautifully produced it is. She’s close to reaching the pinnacle of her aesthetical journey, and considering just how fast she’s risen to the position that she’s in now, it’s no wonder why critics have become as enamored with her product as we have. “Lovers Lament” could present her with a window for her big break, and I for one sincerely hope that it does.

Kim Muncie

Front Line Assembly – Rock Me Amadeus (feat. Jimmy Urine)

Front Line Assembly is working with Jimmy Urine during their cover of the Falco classic, Rock Me Amadeus. The track is given additional complexity over the original with booming synth lines, a robust production that ramps both vocals and instrumentation to 10, and instrumental section that showcases precisely how deep this composition runs. The 3:25 mark is a nice switch in sound with a set of vocals adding a higher register to the composition. This single is one that one should become intimately familiar with, owing to its multi-layer approach and flawless refreshing of a classic track.

Front Line Assembly – Rock Me Amadeus (feat. Jimmy Urine) / Facebook / Twitter

SHIM “Crucified”

Crucified is an effort that has supersonic vocals that work in hints of Sebastian Bach and Voltaire alongside an unrepentantly intense hard rock sound. SHIM’s latest is impressive because of the sheer vocal range that is presented here. Paralleling these vocals are assertive, heavy guitar lines, haunting synths, and a thick, bassy section that will bury its melodies deep into fans’ minds. Shaking up what is expected from rock music (touching upon a performing / musical style at points), SHIM adds to the overall corpus of the genre with his new song. Visit the video for Crucified below.

SHIM “Crucified” / Domain

Pedro The Lion “Quietest Friend”

Quietest Friend is a fuzzy, guitar-driven track that contains some heady stuff. The dynamic established between the emotive guitars, splashy drum line, and worldly vocals make Quietest Friend catchy as all get out. The shift in Quietest Friend’s instrumentation occurs at the two-minute mark. With the band slowing things down for a minute, the vocals are able to reinvigorate fans. The gradual chaos of the guitars and drums ebbs and flows until the band closes up shop. The track easily could have been released 20 years back and hung with the rest of the PtL disco, but there is a vibrancy here that portends good happenings as well.

Pedro The Lion “Quietest Friend” / Facebook / Twitter /

Vandoliers – Forever (Bloodshot Records)

Texas has a remarkably diverse musical heritage that spans from Outlaw Country and Rock to Tejano – making it arguable one of the most brilliantly disparate musical landscapes this country has to offer. And it seems all six members of the Dallas-based Vandoliers have soaked up every bit of those influences over the years.

Their latest release, and first for Bloodshot Records, Forever, is essentially a love letter to every pocket of Texas music out there. Cramming in Americana, Punk Rock, Country and Tejano throughout the 10 tracks here for an exhausting, though remarkably satisfying tour of everything that makes Lone Star music enduring.

The band seamlessly slips in and out of a slew of different genres, from rollicking numbers like “Troublemaker” and “All on Black,” perfectly accentuated by Tex Mex horns and twangy guitars, to the sublime funk of “Shoshone Rose,” the band turn in a near-perfect album.  

Fans of everyone from Doug Sahm and Buddy Holly to Stevie Ray Vaughn and Waylon Jennings can rest assured that their legacy lives on strong in a band like Vandoliers.        

Vandoliers – Forever/10 tracks/Bloodshot Records/2019 / Facebook

Hunt Sales Memorial “One Day” / “Angel of Darkness”

Hunt Sales Memorial have released a pair of videos. One Day is a track that has HSM come forth with tremendously touching lyrical content. A lone guitar provides the trappings for the first section of the track, mirroring the narrative that is established perfectly.

Angel of Darkness has a more upbeat feel to it. Hunt Sales Memorial ties together reggae and traditional rock styles. Of particular note has to be the bouncier demeanor of the song, established with a pair of distinct guitar lines. With each adding a further complexity to Angel of Darkness, these contributions provide a look into the diverse array of styles that influence HSM.

Hunt Sales Memorial “One Day” and “Angel of Darkness” / Facebook

Kim Kline “Stand Tall”

Stand Tall has Kim Kline dig deep into the Italo dance of the mid-1990s while hitting the same narrative style of Kelly Clarkson or Christina Aguilera with her latest. The positive message of Stand Tall will impact anyone that has had to go through bullying. The intense piano interacts with twinkling electronic arrangements, especially prevalent when fans get to the 2:40 mark of the track. The wide-open approach of Kline here means that fans of pop, EDM, and traditional dance styles will find something to fall in love with. Stunning visuals put a human face to one of society’s most perplexing problems.

Kim Kline “Stand Tall” / Domain

Aftermath “Diethanasia”

On Diethanasia, Aftermath is able to refine the thrash metal style of M.O.D. and early Metallica into an art form. Every part of the recording – insistent drums, sizzling guitars, and a Ministry-infused set of vocals – contribute to something great. The production of Diethanasia solves a number of the issues from the first generation of thrash metal; everything is audible and is separate enough to allow for listeners to really break apart the taut instrumentation that is contained within. The ferocity of the vocals in the last thirty seconds of the single will indelibly tattoo themselves deep into the psyche of fans.

Aftermath “Diethanasia” / Domain

Aspect Zavi “Focus”

On Focus, Aspect Zavi is able to craft a rap track that builds upon the frame hung by Migos and Tk N Cash. Haunting vocals that come into the mix just before the two-minute mark imbue Focus with a frenetic energy that Aspect Zavi is able to ride out until the last seconds of the single. The continually shifting sound of this cut ensures that listeners are as amped up as the track concludes as they were when the effort began. With the big splash that Aspect Zavi has with Focus, we’ll be expecting a lot from the act in the future. Check out the video for Focus below.

Aspect Zavi “Focus” / Youtube

Carsie Blanton – Buck Up

Carsie Blanton has this chameleon-like ability to be just about everything to everyone. On her latest LP, she flaunts a distinctly original sound and style that can be flirty and dirty on one track (“That Boy”) and just minutes later turn out a beautifully-political and enlightened reflection (“American Kid”) and then transition to a sweet love song (“Harbor). Such is the charm of a Blanton record.

Slipping in and out of genres, from the jazzy opener to the Americana pop of the closing track, there is not a single song on Buck Up that doesn’t earn a right to be here. Over the course of the past 15 years or so, Blanton has managed to carve out a distinctly inventive sound that may draw subtle influences from folks like Nina Simone and John Prine but is still a remarkably individual voice.

The record is capped with the charming title track, a duet with Oliver Wood from the Wood Brothers, proving that that Buck Up has something to offer for just about everyone.

Carsie Blanton – Buck Up/10 tracks/Self-Released/2019 / Domain