TURN UP THE VOLUME’s 25 Best Tracks Of 2023… So Far

Time flies. We already have six months of 2023 behind us.

Six months of listening every day to music, bad/good, very good and 24 Carat Gold.
It was hard to make a selection of the 25 most impressive pieces. But we did it.

Turn Up The Volume’s 25 Best Tracks Of 2023… So Far
Right here, right now.

ALL TOGETHER


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TRACK BY TRACK

1. ‘Lads Lads Lads’ by LAMBRINI GIRLS (UK)

These Brighton punk feminists are MENTAL and AWESOME.

They released Turn Up The Volume‘s best EP of 2023 (so far), named You’re Welcome
a couple of weeks ago. And one of the 6 Molotov cocktails on it is this in your-macho-face sucker-punch. The Lambrini girls race faster than a Ferrari bolide. Best band in the world!

Halle-fucking-lujah

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2. ‘This Just Ain’t My Year’ by 32 TENS

A vigorous young trio from the UK. On this turbulent ripsnorter, it’s full tilt ahead
from the get-go. No brakes, no breaks, no mistakes. A whirlwind of scorching guitars,
pounding drumming, a revolving bass line somewhere in the middle, go-getting vocals
and a dynamite refrain. This is gonna be the year for 32 TENS.

Here’s why.


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3. ‘Gorilla Guerilla’ by MANTRA OF THE COSMOS (UK)

This brand-new supergroup features Shaun Ryder & Bez (Happy Mondays/Black Grape), Andy Bell (Ride/Oasis) and drummer Zak Starkey, yes Ringo’s son, who played with Oasis and The Who among others and who actually came up with this project’s idea and describes it as “a fantastic psychedelic groove from a band of misfits, outsiders and innovators.”

Whatever, this first single is a Booming Blast!

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4. ‘Right Wing Beast’ by SLEAFORD MODS (UK)

Hip-shaking-hop highlight from the waterfall-punk-rap duo’s 12th LP UK GRIM.


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5. ‘Freedom’ by CHIC CHOC (NYC)

It’s an incredible shame that women still have to fight for so many fundamental rights.
It’s bloody 2023 and so much female injustice is still a reality. So, it’s great that female artists get up, stand up and fight for their right to tackle this human disease.

Chic Choc do it right away on their fantastic debut single. An electronic-booming EBM knockout to fill dance floors with. Boosting beats, catching chorus, sensuous vocals and
a protesting choir, lead to a sassy stunner. Bang-on. Le freak, c’est chic choc.

Freedom for every woman on the planet. NOW!


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6.’Beefcake Doctrine’ by CHUM (London, UK)

This 4-piece post-punk from London launched their
kick-ass debut LP Metaphysical earlier this year.

Beefcake Doctrine is driven by repetitive Krautrock dynamics.
Its trance-inducing beats create a hypnotic and puzzling razzmatazz
you can’t and you won’t escape from.

Touchdown!

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7. ‘Riverstone’ by DITZ (Brighton, UK)

After scoring the best debut LP – to TUTV’s ears – of 2023
The Great Regression, followed by a live album, they just
dropped this brain-frying hammer blow.

An electric chair experience.


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8. ‘Lose My Mind’ by THE MANIC BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB (Canada)

It’s a liberating, drum-backed anthem that allows the band to break free from any stress
or obligations in pursuit of a good night. Good times or bad times, it’s always (in)sane to lose your marbles while diving into a hot let’s have a ball night, now and then. And ‘Lose Your Mind‘ is the matching master blaster to double your adrenalin production.

Sheer euphoria.

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9. ‘Bullet Man’ by PARIS TEXAS (Los Angeles)

On this slam hip-hop dunk the duo condemn the US’s mass shootings of late in a cynical loud-and-clear way The rip-roaring rappers pretend to be murderous shooters firing at everyone and everything. Bulletman is a devastating drill, a boiling burst that cuts like a first-class Swiss knife.

Shoot.

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10. ‘Set Yourself On Fire’ by ULTRA SUNN (Brussels, Belgium)

Once again this cold/darkwave duo – Sam Huge and Gaelle Souflet – shine in the darkness. The rapturous chorus hits you from the first spin. Resounding beats, entranced synths, and echoing vocals combine for another triumph.

Shake your booty.

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11. ‘Your Death Is My Glory’ by CAMLANN (Indonesia)

A human-caring dark-disco duo Ony Godfrey and Fauzan Pratama from Indonesia.

Their newest single is a catchy-as-hell injection that accelerates your bloodstream.
An irresistible stomper to jump up and down like crazy while giving the middle
finger to all power-greedy politicians.

Score!

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12. ‘Lipstick’ by GHOST FETISH (Seattle)

What a way to debut! Expect a glorious nightclub gem with a synth-tantalizing vibe reminiscent of the starry-eyed sparks of British electro-pop heroes New Order. Lipstick
is both a sensuous and affectional tune with gripping vocals up front and melancholic
ones in the back.

Top!


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13. ‘Prophecy Of The Dragon’ by THE VOIDZ (NYC)

Julian Casablancas, the voice/face of The Strokes returns with his hobby band.

Their new single is a flabbergasting metallic corker. It goes forth and back, left and
right, slow and fast as if Casablancas and his misfits put several snippets of several
songs together and puzzled them into one stupendous stroke of a track.

Blimey.

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14. ‘What If?’ by QUIZ SHOW (Montclair, NJ)

This noizzzz jackhammer from their self-titled debut LP rocks and rolls with panache. Expect ablaze guitars buzzing in a slow/fast mode and turning up the volume, especially
on the yell-along refrain. Legends Hüsker Dü come to mind. Say no more.


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15. ‘Heart On‘ by 2LIBRAS (Seattle)

It’s the second single off of the upcoming debut album World’s End of this cyber-synth duo.

Heart On is an arousing mid-tempo groover. Both spicy and funky, shadowy and seductive, lustful and provocative with hypnotizing vocals. Its slow-mo synth-bass beat crawls under your skin from the kick-off and progresses steadily towards your restlessly pounding heart.

Groovy.

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16. ‘Night Time’ by BROKEN RECORDS (Scotland)

The first single from their new, 5th full-length,
named The Dreamless Sleep Of The 1990s.

Night Time is an ecstatic, awe-inspiring, and anthemic thrill. It has that engrossing and
afire rock swagger of Bruce Springsteen‘s melancholic Americana exploits, it’s infused with
The Edge-like guitar sparks and frontman Sutherland‘s ardent signing is a perfect match for this soul-stirring pearl.

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17. ‘Spellbinding’ by THE SMASHING PUMPKINS (US)

Billy Corgan and his combo released a rock
opera opus titled Atum: In Three Acts.

A total of 33 tracks which I reduced to a great 12-song album.

One of those 12 cuts is this flaming synth-induced haymaker.


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18. ‘Cars’ by Artists: LUNAR TWIN (Hawai/Salt Lake City)

This electro-pop duo scored an excellent album with Aurora last April.
A 30-minute sonic trip, an ambient fantasy with trancy vibrations, ataractic
effects, and near-whispering vocals.

Cars is my favorite piece. Electrifying dream pop
at its mesmerizing best with sparkling guitar play.

Home run.


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19. HRT by Band: I, DORIS (London)

This colorful collective criticize the disastrous state of health care, with the government ignoring the life-risking problems, in England with a sickly sticky riot grrrl pop tune that activates your limbs instantly.

Think Debbie Harry and Blondie playing around on their debut LP. Vibey and briskly. Frolicsome 60s organ touches, lively guitars here and there, and avid vocals.

Applause.

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20. ‘From The Start’ by LOST IN JAPAN (Canada)

The band’s new punchy stroke jumps up and down in your head and elevates your mood from the start. It’s a contagious foot-stamper with a poppy chorus vibe inviting you to play air guitar and sing along with all the force your lungs can come up with.

Wowzers!

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21. ‘Los Angeles: City Of Death’ by SWANS (NYC)

Capricious mastermind Michael Gira and his combo around for
a long time now, actually since 1982. But they still deliver impressive
goods.

New LP The Beggar is a mind-fucking feat.

And this grand jam is an ongoing, repetitive psych drone, with
saw-edged guitars Gira‘s poignant vocals adding a creepy
touch.


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22. ‘Sinatra Drive Breakdown’ by YO LA TENGO (Hoboken, NJ)

A notable psychedelic trip by the lauded indie veterans who released
one of their best longplayers (17 in total) with This Stupid World.


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23. ‘Dead And Over’ by DOWN THE LEES (Canada)

The first new music in three years from the post-punk-rock project of singer-songwriter-guitarist Laura Lee Schultz. The composition captures the raw emotions of sadness, frustration, and anxiety that permeated throughout the years since the pandemic began.

The track’s ominous mid-tempo progression and swelling structure advancing over
an ongoing hypnotic guitar riff send shivers down your spine. Second by second, like
a nervously ticking clock, the sonic poignancy and heartfelt fervidness grow with exuberance and magnitude until Schutlz’s monumental vocals go through the roof.


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24. ‘Why Did You Go?’ by CHVRLI BLVCK (London)

This is an emotive post-break-up pearl. Heartfelt reflections embedded in
a goosebump musing that resonates like a bittersweet symphony. This British
singer-songwriter’s highly passionate vox reminds me of Antony Hegarty‘s sensitive ardency. The whole-souled tristesse and mixed emotions at play here make you
silent.

Tune in.


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25. ‘A Little Bit’ by MILES FROM NOWHERE (Hamilton, Ontario)

This is the artistic moniker of Canadian songsmith Miles Evans-Branagh. He signed for
one of this year’s best albums, so far, with Slow Down. Eight musings. Eight engrossing compositions with one and the same message: get high on life with love. Craftily written, subtly arranged, and graciously orchestrated with intimate, soulful charm and stylish elegance that moves and touches.

Opener A Little Bit is one of those 8 affecting reveries.


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TURN UP THE VOLUME’s 20 Best Tracks – MARCH 2023

ALL TOGETHER ON SPOTIFY

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TRACK BY TRACK

1. ‘Freedom’ by CHIC CHOC (NYC)

Who: Three musically seasoned Amazons from NYC using drum machines,
synthesizers, guitars, voice and a variety of sound filters and pedals to make
their point.

It’s an incredible shame that women still have to fight for so many fundamental rights.
It’s bloody 2023 and so much female injustice is still a reality. So, it’s great that female artists get up, stand up and fight for their right to tackle this human disease.

Chic Choc do it right away on their fantastic debut single. They travel around the world looking for freedom with an electronic-booming EBM knockout to fill dance floors with. Boosting beats, catching chorus, sensuous vocals, and a protesting choir, combine for a sassy stunner. Bang-on. Le freak, c’est chique choc.

Tune in.

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2. ‘Lipstick’ by GHOST FETISH (Seattle, US)

Who: A synth-fueled post-punk
trio from Seattle, WA.

“Lipstick follows the obscure path of desire. Stretched between the lingering
impression of a touch lost to time, and the unshakable sense of its inevitable
return.

Lipstick is both a sensuous and affectional tune with gripping vocals
up front and melancholic ones in the back. At times it feels like the track will
erupt into an avid disco stomper. Maybe this debut is a foreplay teaser and
the follow-up will be an orgastic energizer. Anyway Ghost Fetish have my aural
and hip-shaking attention and will have yours too.

Tune in.

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3. ‘Right Wing Beast’ by SLEAFORD MODS (Nottingham, UK)


(Cover of new album ‘UK Grim’)

It’s Sleaford Mods by very good numbers. They slam the remorseless Tories and Brexit once again with knife-sharp ranting. Sonically, their characteristic catchy simplicity still activates your limbs. The mods never disappoint. Best track on their best album so far, named UK GRIM.

Move here, folks.

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4. ‘Open Invitation’ by LOU REED (NYC)

This a previously unreleased track from the immortal NYC legend, from the
sessions of his 1984 album New Sensations, one of his rare upbeat LPs.

So great to hear something old/new for the first
time from one of my all-time fav songsmiths ever.

Listen/dance here to the funky groove.

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5. ‘Mousehouse’ by DOCE OPERATOR (Seattle, US)

Who: 2-piece members who have been playing music around Seattle and the west coast of the United States in various incarations for years, and recently stumbled upon the formula that became Docé Operator.

These are the lets-go-bonkers bangers we need in these fucked-up times. Mousehouse
is a kooky disco floor knockout you can jump up and down to like a kanagaroo on E. Middle-finger to reality, bottoms up, ladies and gents. I don’t know who’s the mouse or who’s the rat, but I do know that this tune will bounce in my head for a while.

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6. ‘Hello’ by GROUPLOVE (Atlanta, US)

Grouplove, Atlanta’s beloved indies are gearing up for their
5th longplayer, called I Want It All Right Now, out July 7.

First single Hello is a euphoric booster expressing a desire for human connection
and a feeling of being lost in the world. This upper will put a smile on your face,
from left to right.

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7. ‘Cello Song’ by FONTAINES D.C. (Ireland)


(Photo by Turn Up The Volume – Antwerp 2022)

The by-now pretty famous Irishmen are part of a notable cast that cover a song
of the late troubled troubadour Nick Drake (1948-1974) for a new tribute album.

They picked Cello Song from Drake‘s 1969 debut LP Five Leaves Left.

Their electrical take is nothing less than sublime.

Listen.

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8. ‘Flume’ by HELICON (Glasgow, Scotland)


Photo by Sophie Barrott

Who: Psych rock outfit
from Glasgow, Scotland.

They launch their 3rd full length named God Intentions on 28 April. More info here.

Ahead of it comes this astounding psych-jam that goes on like forever with motorik,
Kraut-rock-like dynamics. Jangly riffs, 60s resonating organs, floating vocals, and an extensive wall-of-guitar-extravaganza sound to end this intoxicating symphony.
Yes, all ingredients for a mind-bending trip are here at work.

Get high here.

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9. ‘Magician’ by DESMOND DANDIES (Belgium)


(Press photo via VI.BE)

Who: Robust noisemakers from Limburg, Belgium.

Magician is about having a crush on someone and doing all that’s needed to score. Sonically, it’s a garage rock riff sledgehammer. A mean psych-groove monster doing your head in the way you like it. It goes wham bam bloody wham bam with its manic drum/bass force, its helter-skelter hooks and its hungry vocals. Bring on the album, motherrockers!

Don’t miss the debut LP, entitled 57 Heaven. It arrives on
Record Store Day, April 15, both on vinyl and digitally.

Turn up the heat.

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10. ‘Black Heart’ by ANSWERMAN (Boston, US)


Photo: Pat Piasecki

Who: Firm indie rock 4-piece from Boston.

“It’s a reflection of how we’re all feeling, trapped in ongoing patterns of depression and anxiety. It’s also the lead single and aural appetizer to our debut album ‘Black Light Poster’, out on April 21.”

No whistles and bells for these four sharp-edged hombres out of Boston. After a short, jangly intro it’s all riff-rotating cylinders and all garage rock burners on. Psychobilly hooks and surf licks swirl side by side with manic magnetism. Black Heart is a roaring steamroller with a buzzing bluster, an electric-energetic flow, and snappy vocals. As the cliché goes, it’s only rock ‘n’ roll but they and I like it any day of the week. So should you.

The road gets so lonely, got nothing to say
Will the sun shine? Well I hope and I pray
Oh yeah!

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11. ‘Polarized’ by THE ULTIMATE DREAMERS (Brussels)


(Photo by Xavier Marquis)

Who: Longtime darkwave act from Brussels.

They have a new 6-track EP out, named Echo Reverie.
More info here.

The EP is a characteristically post-darkwave-punk affair with
infectious twilight melodies embedded in a whirlpool of booming
beats, scintillating synths, gloomy stories, cinematic orchestrations
and tenebrous vocals. Footstomper Polarized is my favorite piece,
and probably yours too.

Let’s roll.

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12. ‘Can’t Outrun The Truth’ by PETE TOWNSHEND (UK)

Townshend didn’t release solo work for 30 years, and now, out of the blue
comes this brand new song. It’s composed and produced by his partner
Rachel Fuller.

It’s an irresistible, bluesy tune with a country feel.
A little pearl with heart-wrenching Townshend vocals
and melancholic harmonica play.

All proceeds of the song go to Teenage Cancer Trust.

Affecting!

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13. ‘Getting Old’ by FROM THE TIGER’S MOUTH (London, UK)

Who: Harry Sullivan, a seasoned
London-based singer-songwriter.

A majestic melody. A stellar orchestration. A sterling vox. Three matching ingredients
that guarantee an epic composition. And it’s all here. Getting Old progresses with tension and passion, forth and back, and magnetizes all the way through. Epic!

The song wrestles with the idea of us freezing in the moment, gripped by anxiety as fear takes over our ability to do the things we really want to. Familiar thoughts for many of us. But affecting music, as always, uplifts a moody state of mind.

First-class accomplishment.

Listen/watch.

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14. ‘From The Start’ by LOST IN JAPAN (Canada)

Who: Canadian pop/rock team that
released their debut full length in 2018.

This new punchy piece jumps up and down in your head and elevates your mood from
the kick-off. It’s a contagious foot-stomper with a poppy chorus vibe inviting you to play
air guitar and sing along with all the force your lungs can come up with. Wowzers!

Anthemic stroke

Check it out.

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15. ‘Paradise Is Mine’ by SWANS (NYC)


(Photo by Turn Up The Volume)

Mastermind Michael Gira and his swans will share their 16th LP,
baptized The Beggar with the world via Young God Records
on 23 June.

Along with all this news comes an almost 10-minute hypnotic
slo-mo jam called Paradise Is Mine that gets under your skin
slowly but surely.

Hypnotic.

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16. ‘Always Wrong’ by THE BANKROBBER (Italy)

The Italian synth-guitar pop siblings released their 6-track EP, named Lighters
last year. An exemplary accomplishment of skillful songwriting. Sparkling, breezy,
and varied. Turn Up The Volume named it the best EP of 2022.

And the family isn’t done yet. This year another EP, titled Lovers comes our
way. Afterward, Lighters and Lovers will marry and become one full album.

First single, titled Always Wrong. It’s another skilfully crafted
mid-tempo pop tune with glowing guitar sequences echoing
throughout.

The Bankrobber are right again.

Listen.

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17. ‘Morire’ by EMMA HUNTER (Oxford, UK)

Who: Singer-songwriter, 1950s-inspired guitarist, and loop-maker from Oxford, UK. Assisted by trip-hop-inspired percussionist Tom Bruce, she creates complexly evocative soundscapes, filled with dramatic Lynchian atmosphere.

OMG! Emma Hunter‘s vocals reach for the sky on this flamenco-influenced, breathtaking tour de force. She has truly an overwhelming vox that sends shivers down your spine. Mourning trumpets and Chris Isaak-like guitar sparks add a haunting timbre. Morire (the Italian word for ‘to die and fade‘) is what goosebump songwriting quality is all about. It wouldn’t be out of place on the melodramatic soundtrack of western classic
Once Upon A Time In The West . Capisce?

Watch/listen.

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18. ‘Until The Vague Takes A Form’ by MARIVON

Who: An eclectic group of international recording musicians
assembled by Canadian artist Jill McKenna. They joined forces
to make an album of music surpassing geography and genres.

Until The Vague Takes A Form is part of that recently released
album, titled None Of This Mine. More info here.

The song is an intimate, tender and vocally superb collection of romantic balladry, piano/cello/violin/banjo musings, and some intriguing pop experimentalism. Think
Regina Spektor and Big Thief. Discover it all, it’s a great companion for relaxing
moments.


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19. ‘Why Did You Go’ by CHVRLI BLVCK (London, UK)

Who: London-born singer-songwriter known for his vocal prowess and emotionally raw style. His music reflects his personal struggles with mental health, with an eclectic but immediately recognisable sound, influenced by artists such as Jeff Buckley, The Maccabees, and Fiona Apple.

This is an emotive post-break-up pearl. Heartfelt reflections embedded
in a goosebump musing that resonates like a bittersweet symphony. BLVCK’s
highly passionate vox reminds me of Antony Hegarty‘s sensitive ardency. The
whole-souled tristesse and mixed emotions at play here make you silent.

Tune in.

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20. ‘Call’ by DARKCAR (NYC)

Who: Fresh NYC dream pop duo featuring voice
Ashley Selett and musician David Terranova.

Imagine driving your car in the middle of the night, on the Talking Heads‘ road to nowhere while listening to Massive Attack with Portishead‘s singer Beth Gibbons on vocals and Interpol‘s Daniel Kessler playing trippy guitar lines all along. Sounds pretty intriguing, right? You betcha. Darkcar hypnotizes and magnetizes. Useless to try to resist. Trust me, you’ll join them on their ride the moment they call you.

Tune in.
Drive.
Dream.

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See/hear you next month, music junkies

Female Electro Pop Trio CHIC CHOC Fight For Women’s Rights With Debut Dance Floor Knockout ‘FREEDOM’

9 March 2023

Band: CHIC CHOC
Who: Three musically seasoned Amazons from NYC using drum machines,
synthesizers, guitars, voice and a variety of sound filters and pedals to make
their point.

Debut single: FREEDOM

“Freedom“ is an anthem for bringing on change, written with the intention
to bring light to the constant battle for women’s rights. Each of the cities they
sing about have particular instances associated with them where women were
treated unjustly.

TUTV: It’s an incredible shame that women still have to fight for so many fundamental rights. It’s bloody 2023 and so much female injustice is still a reality. So, it’s great that female artists get up, stand up and fight for their right to tackle this human disease.

Chic Choc do it right away on their fantastic debut single. An electronic-booming EBM knockout to fill dance floors with. Boosting beats, catching chorus, sensuous vocals and
a protesting choir, combine for a sassy stunner. Bang-on. Le freak, c’est chique choc.

Freedom for every woman on the planet.

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CC: Facebook – Instagram

Waking Up With… New Single By Old Rockers JOURNEY

Works faster than caffeine

The veteran San Francisco band JOURNEY made its biggest mark in the world
of hard rock between 1973-1987. After an 8-year hiatus, they picked up their
instruments, with new members in the line-up, again and have their first new
album in 10 years, named Freedom now ready to inflame their fans on 8 July.

But first, new single LET IT RAIN, sounding like one of their 70s golden oldies …

JOURNEY: Spotify – Website

CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS Shares Two New Emotive And Soulful Tracks

26 September 2021

Band: CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS
Who: The artist name of French
songstress Héloïse Adélaïde Letissier
Active: Since 2010 / 2 studio albums so far

New songs: FREEDOM and COMME L’OISEAU
Letissier released the songs as an EP, titled Joseph

FREEDOM
A slow-burning and emotive groove
with a gospel-like choir. Enrapturing!

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COMME L’OISEAU
A typical 6Os French ballad bringing 60s starlets
Jane Birkin and Françoise Hardy to mind. Gripping!

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CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS: Facebook

RAYON NELSON – Spirited Soulful Voice Shares Touching Musing ‘FREEDOM’…

Brand new sonic impulses

4 April 2019

Artist: RAYON NELSON

Who: London-based singer/songwriter “with eclectic influences from Jamaica, London and Suffolk, his music presents an inspirational and compassionate lyricism, set often to a sonic backdrop which encompasses a broad fusion of styles. Shaped by early exposure to an array
of different music such as reggae, old school gospel and soul from artists including Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Lauryn Hill, Rayon Nelson’s work is a matchless synthesis of the styles and vibes that formed him.”

Track: FREEDOM – new single from his upcoming EP. “I wrote it after being inspired and somewhat burdened to do something about the killing of young youths and also about young refugees. My mentality before was, I don’t have any money so I can’t do much… but I realised I could write a song! So this is a way of doing something! ” said about the story behind the song Nelson

Score: ‘Freedom‘ moves like a slow-mo, intimate R & B musing with a gospel-like chorus. It’s a genuine beauty that makes you long for better, more human times. The combination of Nelson‘s soulful, affecting voice and the overall heart and soul touching tone lifts the stirring song to an inspiring and yearning level of hope. Capture the sincere tenderness here…

RAYON NELSON: Facebook