Zac Hurst’s ‘Falling In Love On My Own’ is a love ballad for the self-isolating generation

The power of pop is taking the emotions, thoughts, fears and hopes of the moment and packaging them into something catchy an audience can latch onto and vibe with. 

Zach Hurst is proving to be an expert at this. He pens his tracks with the struggles of the last 18 months fresh in his mind. His last last hit, ‘2020’, was a cheeky attack on the year we’d rather forget. Now, he’s back with a more sensitive take on ‘Falling In Love On My Own’. 

Even if you’ve run the gauntlet of online dating and found someone special to chat with, it just hasn’t been the same recently. Kept apart, a special spark is missing. The magic of falling for someone is a totally virtual experience. Zac taps into this odd frustration with pop balladry, creating a tune that’s sincere, delicate and (most importantly) catchy. 

He’s helped on by soft synth pulses on the chorus, snappy strumming on the bridges and sticking rigidly to a tried and true song structure. 

Writing songs for the self-isolating generation should be easy for Zac. He’s made the most of being stuck at home, live streaming with Tom Grennan and Sam Harvey in an effort to give fans the authentic experience. This track is just another example of connecting with audiences over the problems of the here and now – and at least giving them something sweet to listen to.  

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Shifting waves of jazz fusion on the Anders Helmerson Trio’s ‘iScherzo’

Anders Helmerson is keen to relate his latest arrangement – iScherzo – to futurism, noting, “My music is conceived in an iworld”. I can see the comparison with its speed and momentum, but I’ve always considered that form too angular and abrasive to feel comfortable relating it to this piece.

Bold piano runs paint broad strokes across the canvas, as a grand picture takes shape from these three base elements. Admittedly, the colour runs a little outside the lines, but that’s alright. For, Anders stretches but never snaps – moments of near-madness on the improvisations always right their course back to the delightful, recurring, ‘la-di-dah melody.

Lukaz Chyla’s walking bass grooves go on a similar roundabout journey. He sometimes disappears from view, but even in those moments, you can still make out the muddy rumbling under the radar. His always-progressing strumming fills in the foreground as Anders does the sky.

If they are our painters, then drummer Juan Meija is our frame – sturdy and reliable. He rides the crashes a little too much for my liking, but all of his strikes hit clean and with cause. His comfort in moving around the kit also aids this track’s graceful forward momentum.

They create a beautiful sound, which while shifting and complex, never causes stress. It’s incredible that this elaborate and elegant arrangement could be performed remotely, as seen in the music video.

The arrangement of drums, keys and bass, played intensely (with moves from outside the jazz playbook), makes a comparison to BADBADNOTGOOD necessary – especially to their 2014 offering ‘III’. But the constant progression and honed performance lets the Anders Helmerson Trio stand on its own merits. I look forward to more.

iScherzo is the first single from the coming LP ‘Opus i’. To hear more from the trio, follow them at the links below:

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Words by Nathan Makalena

The duo of True Religion pair up with some fantastic talent for balearic bop ‘Que Bonita’

Listening to Que Bonita’s intro, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d started the wrong song. For half a minute, we’re given a solo performance from vocalist Amy Gill, paired fleetingly with guitarist Juan Carmona’s flamenco licks.

It’s a trick Kanye West goes back to again and again. Shine the spotlight on your songs’ standout elements, show them the respect they deserve, then slowly fold them into the rest of the track.

Particularly in the case of Carmona, his plucking is enveloped into a rolling tapestry of groove. He continues to join in playfully under the main beat, a contrasting texture to the rubbery, strutting bass, sun-soaked synth and endless layers of percussion.

In fact, I’ve heard it said that there’s no such thing as a passive audience during a Flamenco performance – a sentiment this track certainly shares. Organic claps, kicks and bubbling background chatter lace the tune, leaving you feeling like you’re already on the dancefloor.

Amy’s voice shines through all of it. She joins the long line of women who completely elevate dance tracks with superb performances. Her timbre (but maybe more so her lyrics) shares a lot with Jessie Ware on last year’s ‘What’s Your Pleasure’. Both sigh seductively over dappled synths, delivering commanding – if understated – performances.

But the DNA of ‘Que Bonita’ is more Balearic beat than disco bop, and since we won’t be dancing on Ibiza’s shores for at least another year, it’s pure escapism. Nevertheless, True Religion has cooked up something deliciously danceable, and we’re here for it.

If you want to stay locked into the groove, you can find True Faith at the links below:

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Words by Nathan Makalena

True to their name, Steady Rollin offer laid back grooves on ‘¿Dónde Te Has Metido?’

An aptronym is a name that suits it’s owner like a glove – Usian Bolt, Olympic sprinter. While Steady Rollin got to choose theirs, they did choose well. 

They write music you can cruise to, and it’s tracks like the newest release, ‘¿Dónde Te Has Metido?’, that makes floating down the river of life so easy. 

It might be the first time you’ve heard them, but Steady Rollin has had the people of their native El Salvador swooning. Their carefree sound, built on Americana stylings is a hit across Latin America and singer Fernando Poma is a champion of the local scene in San Salvador.

Bringing up the rest of the band is bassist Gerardo Pardo and drummer/backing vocalist Benjamin Andrade (who holds one of the best job titles I’ve come across – Yamaha Music’s official drumming representative for El Salvador).

A lot of the instrumentation finds its roots in classic rock, especially that blues-fused era of the 70s which sprang ‘J.J. Cale’ and the ‘Allman Brothers Band’. Falling riffs flow into a sweeping solo, while groovy piano accompaniment runs rife. 

The addition of accordion on the chorus works to highlight the track’s jam-band feel. By adding in a timeless, folk instrument it’s like we’re hearing this age-old, romantic story. 

It’s a reminiscent sound for a reminiscing song. Love and longing weave through the lyrics. It does well to capture that special moment in relationships where you’re, “captivated by how much ‘life’ is in someone” – as Benjamin puts it. 

And, like the name suggests, Steady Rollin have an easy, optimistic outlook. A lot of Latin Americana seems to have that tinge to it, always deeply emotional while deeply cathartic. It leads to a lovely tune that is well worth your time. 

¿Dónde Te Has Metido? is the first track from Steady Rollin’s upcoming LP Stories. You can stay locked into their grooves at the links below:

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