Introducing: Javeon

Bristol artist Javeon is shaping up to be the next big charge in the electro-soul game.

JAVEON

The rising star brings a sophisticated balance of warm, soulful vocals and crystalline electronic beats. Stylistically, he is on the same futuristic Britstep trajectory that Disclosure has successfully steered into the mainstream.

In fact, Javeon hails from PMR, the same label as Disclosure and similar ‘it’ UK artists of the moment like Jessie Ware and Cyril Hahn. He also drops guest vocals on an amazing new Clean Bandit album track titled ‘Cologne’. So basically, you’re gonna hear more from him.

Vocally, Javeon – with his honeyed tones that recall Lemar or R Kelly – could probably sing anything from Motown to modern R&B, and make it sound like gold. He is capable of making your headphones moist even when he’s singing brutally honest tunes.

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Carmen Smith presents buzz track ‘Polaroid’

The name rings a bell, you say. Well, you’d probably recognise this wild-haired siren as Guy Sebastian‘s star backing vocalist who got dismissed from The Voice Australia after she bagged a prominent feature role on his single ‘Gold’, which was strategically launched just as the show transcended into its public voting heat.

Given how cut throat the competition got week by week, it’s hard to say how Carmen Smith would’ve fared if she remained anyway. But the good news is that, she’s now making the most of her exposure with a new buzz track and official single to follow next month.

‘Polaroid’ is a deeply personal, organic acoustic track Carmen wrote after her father passed away, which you can grab as a free download from her website.

Watch Carmen perform ‘Polaroid’:



What’s been interesting about this process of poking around her website and Soundcloud page is that I have fallen like a lumbering bear cub into a trap loosely covered with leaves, which we shall for the purpose of this exercise call Carmen Smith, her rather delightful 2007 debut album.

I reckon if this is all new to you then it makes sense to do a bit of homework on who Carmen is, because her potential wasn’t completely realised on The Voice. If this confident fusion of soul and blues she’s been peddling is a signifier of what’s to come, then I think the girl is set to ‘wow’ a lot of people.

Footnotes:

Stay tuned for Carmen Smith‘s new single, which will be out end of August.

Introducing John Rowley

Gurl, it’s hard getting your music heard out there, especially when you’re independent and completely working yourself from the ground up. I hear you.

But when you’re too time poor as it is to even keep up with major pop music news breaking on the daily, you’re definitely not gonna have time to deal with the truck loads of basic tracks pitched at you by deluded fame-whores and pushy PR peeps.

You’d have to credit my chance absorption of John Rowley‘s music to a winning combination of good timing and his clever, on-point writing.

This kid knows his fucking audience. He literally had me at:

“I’m in my first year of uni, studying a Bachelor Of Arts (Media & Communications) at the University of Sydney. A potential academic highlight so far has been writing a semiotic analysis of the video for ‘The Promise’ by Girls Aloud.”

I haven’t even heard a bar of his track and I already wanted to know more. Basically, my theory is you can’t really be that bad if you’re this well schooled in great Xenomania music. The 18-year old pedigree pop enthusiast is obviously on his way to completing a masters in this field.

John‘s probably not completely unknown to those who lurk around the corridors of Popjustice. His cover/mash up of Marina and The Diamonds/Foster The People was crowned ‘Song of The Day’ at one point.

However, his own original material ‘Stones From Glass Houses’ probably veers closer to the understated electro pop balladry of Sam Sparro‘s ‘Pocket’.

It’s classy, it’s dignified, and once you get past your initial hesitations about the Casio keyboard sound, ‘Stones From Glass Houses’ actually plays out to be a pretty engaging slice of electro pop.

The finished product could’ve probably done with a bit more colour and given John the kind of pop lift-off I know he would live for. But this is a good introduction to the young singer/songwriter’s abilities and, if anything, I’m now gagging to hear it remixed and taken to a whole new dimension.

Listen to John Rowley‘s ‘Stones From Glass Houses’:



Footnotes:

‘Stones From Glass Houses’ is out on John‘s Bandcamp page where you can name your price and download it.

Introducing Cat Torres

Oh. I was not prepared for the excellence this upcoming Melbourne artiste is flaunting so I’m just trying to prepare y’all, because I don’t want anyone wetting themselves in public when they hit play.

Meet Cat Torres, a feisty 20-year old local talent who’s rocking a killer combination of dub step, urban and underground rhythmic sensibilities.

Cat‘s debut single ‘Kitchen on Fire’ is a blinding knock out from every angle. It sounds like the kind of gritty East London dub  track you would wish upon it British pop artists like Siobhan Donaghy or even the Original Sugababes when they re-present themselves in the near future.

We’re talking about whiplashing hooks rendered over acid-washed grime beats that’ll grab even the most casual of underground music listeners.

‘Kitchen on Fire’ is pretty much a sonic masterpiece by pop standards. It guides you from aggressive pounding beats to feminine and vulnerable verses in the most engaging fashion. Factor in that extra special seasoning of Spanish guitar in the interlude and outro – and you’re looking dead straight at a winner right here.

‘Kitchen on Fire’ is produced by The PresetsJulian Hamilton and London-based producer Jaz Rogers, who has worked with the likes of Daniel Merriweather and Lauryn Hill. Grammy-winning audio engineer Phil Tan, who boasts credits on smashes for Rihanna, Snoop Dogg and Mariah, ended up mixing this track in his home studio.

Hit play and decimate them speakers right now with ‘Kitchen on Fire’:

 

Footnotes:

Grab your free download of Cat Torres‘ debut single ‘Kitchen on Fire’ now while it’s hot. See what I did there?

Sal Kimber and The Rollin’ Wheel launches ‘Beat Gets Louder’ and Tour Details

Normally if you breathe the words “country-alt” into my ears, you’ll cop a reaction like this. But Sal Kimber and The Rollin’ Wheel pulled in a couple of dancing geriatrics with some intoxicating 60s jazz realness and next thing you know, I’m swooning.

Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Sal Kimber has been on the up-and-coming for five years now but it wasn’t until 2008 when she formed this alt-country band that light bulbs started going off. Sal Kimber and The Rollin’ Wheel is made up of Sal’s older sister Beth Kimber, Jacob Cole, Cat Leahy and Trent McKenzie and together they’ve supported the likes of Kasey Chambers, Tim Rogers and Pieta Brown on tour. Better yet, they’ll be heading up their own nation-wide tour in October in support of their new album – deets after the jump.

Meanwhile, check out the video for their new single ‘Beat Gets Louder’ because this has breakout potential etched all over:

Sal Kimber and the Rollin’ Wheel – ‘Beat Gets Louder’ – Music Video from rohan spong on Vimeo.

The band’s self-titled debut album will drop in October and it’s set to show off an array of country-alternative and pop influences. The aforementioned ‘Beat Gets Louder’ smokes up some soulful undertones while its follow up ‘Do Right’ serves a sultry hook that basically leaves you feeling like Nashville Duffy just entered the bar- and I do mean that as a compliment.

Sal Kimber and The Rollin’ Wheel has announced the following tour dates to launch their album. Be sure to catch them here:

14 October – Basement Disks, Melbourne (in-store appearance)
14 October – New Market Hotel, Bendigo
16 October – The Vine Hotel, Wangaratta
22 October – The East Brunswick Club, East Brunswick
27 October – The Phoenix Pub, Canberra
28 October – Thank God It’s Friday appearance (ABC Studios), Ultimo.
29 October – Camelot Lounge, Marrickville
30 October – Clarendon Guest House, Katoomba
3 November – Malt Market, Dunsborough
4 November – Railway Hotel, Fremantle
11 November – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide
12 November – The Loft, Warnambool
13 November – Babushka Lounge, Ballarat
18 November – Pipinghot Chicken Shop, Ocean Grove
19 November – Shine On Festival, Pyrenees Ranges
24 November – Beetle Bar, Brisbane
25-27 November – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby
3 December – Grand Poobah, Hobart

Footnotes:

Sal Kimber and The Rollin’ Wheel will drop their debut album (pictured above) on 14 October. Grab the amazing ‘Beat Gets Louder’ on iTunes here.

Elen Levon: your new fave Aussie pop princess

Can we be real for a second and just say that our Australian pop scene is a little neglected? I see Aussie hip hop thriving, I see indie bands breaking out, and over in that corner, dance is exploding big time like it is everywhere else in the world. But where are our pop divas?

Introducing: Elen Levon – the feisty 17-year old pop singer labelled as our nation’s next it girl. Preparations are underway for a big debut soon with her ferocious first single ‘Naughty’ – produced by hit maker Israel Cruz (who has turned out stunners for Jessica Mauboy, Scarlett Belle and Ricki-Lee).

Young Elen may not have left the starting line just yet but she has already wowed crowds at this year’s Supafest where she premiered ‘Naughty’ live at the festival that hosted superstar headliners like Snoop Dogg, Taio Cruz and Nelly. The girl is groomed to be what y’all would call a triple threat: a capable singer, dancer and as it turns out, actress-slash-model too.

She has taken singing and dance lessons from a young age, and the culmination of all her hard work saw her recently signed to Ministry of Sound and Israel‘s imprint NuFirm Records, where the producer was quick to point out that Elen is the one he’s been waiting for.

“Australia’s always had pop artists, but not one that’ll cross over in US – she fills that void. A lot of female artists don’t really dance, but Elen is amazing at both… and she’s just 16 [at the time], which is incredible,” he said.

Now that we’ve whetted your appetite with all this hyping, here’s your first sneak peak at Elen Levon‘s forthcoming ‘Naughty’ music video:

 

Yes, gurl. Let these children have it. Are you feeling it?

Footnotes:

Elen Levon will premiere the video for ‘Naughty’ and release the single soon. Stay tuned!

Taste Test: Chris Sebastian

We could all use with a bit more feel good pop in our lives and this guy delivers.

Introducing Chris Sebastian, an upcoming local pop/R&B sensation who is about to charm the airwaves with his debut single ‘F.L.O.W.’. Y’all might’ve already clocked the family resemblance but yes, he is Guy Sebastian‘s younger brother, and damn straight he is just as vocally gifted.

It’s interesting to hear that show producers actually approached him to try out for Australian Idol after his brother won the inaugural series but Chris declined and was determined to carve out his own path in the industry. The show would’ve given him instant exposure and thrown him right into the limelight but I’m glad he saw beyond the fast forward fame to do it this way. For all the immediate comparisons to his brother, appearing on Idol would not have been the look.

Chris has been writing and collaborating with the likes of Gary Pinto, Paulini, Kate Ceberano and ace Melbourne producer Jhay C.

Take a listen to Chris’ debut ‘F.L.O.W.’:


 

Footnotes:

‘F.L.O.W.’ is set to impact radios and be released digitally on 4 July. Get into it.