Emperors is the persona of gender-fluid drag king/queen Stephen/Cassandra, who aims to break the binary of electro-pop in “untraditional dada-esque fashion.” Their rallying call of a release, ‘We Are The Emperors’, seeks to do just that.
The production immediately chirps into life. Porter Robinson-style vocalisations echo out over rising synths before dropping away as Emperors arrives. What pipes up is a smooth, sultry baritone – like a more assured John Grant. It’s a striking delivery that drips like butter over the rolling, bassy verses and cries power on the triumphant, punchy chorus.
In fact, the choruses punctuate this track with moments of catharsis. The drum fills punch boldly in New Order fashion while white-hot riffs streak by. The bold, brilliant positivity is perfect for the sing-a-long lyrics. It’s anthemic.
Across the verses, Emperors urges the listener to take pride in themselves in a series of bizarre similes, “living lives as art/golden new nobility”. Regardless, the intention cuts through. ‘Go, and be golden’, says Emperors to everyone and no one simultaneously. It’s a timeless, passionate piece of pop we could all learn to live by.
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:
One of the most important UK bands of the 70s and 80s has returned with new material, a newly augmented line-up and a new live show to reaffirm to fans old and new just why they made such on impact on the British musical landscape. Formed in Hackney in 1974, Black Slate were the first completely homegrown UK reggae band, utilising their own sound system and dub plates, rather than the traditional method of using existing plates from Jamaica. At a time of huge racial tension and regular clashes between police and the black community, their single, Sticks Man, appealed to communities to lead by example.
Featuring original members, Anthony ‘Pure Silk’ Brightly (Keyboards); Chris ‘Music House’ Hanson (Lead/Rhythm Guitar) and Desmond ’Drummy’ Mahoney (Drums/Congo/Percussion) alongside newer cohorts, Colin ’Steam Fish’ McNiesh (Bass) and Jessie ’Energy’ Brade (Vocals) as well as Gaven ‘Magic Voice’ Creary (Vocals), their current single is Daylight, showing them to be still at the very top of their game. Their latest album, Peaceful Demonstration, is released on the on TCD Records the label named for Tony (Anthony), Chris and Desmond, the original members of the band founded in 1972 in the United Kingdom. After 40 years in the music business, the deep roots reggae band returns with their first full-length album released since 1982.
As the days get shorter and the cold weather well and truly sets in, we all have to work harder to keep our spirits lifted during the humdrum of daily life. Here to give you a little boost up into those beautiful soundclouds is ‘Born 2 Be Free’, the debut single from Toby TomTom.
Toby TomTom is one of those people that we should all attempt to emulate: infectiously upbeat and positive, with a big personality and an even bigger heart.
‘Born 2 Be Free’ is a spiritual extension of Toby TomTom, a distillation of his optimism. Inspired by his hope for his youngest son (and, by extension, all children), “Born 2 Be Free” reminds us all that love conquers fear and we have the right, and most importantly, possess the fight to be free.
While most artists are influenced, rather naturally, by other musicians, Toby TomTom also draws upon the words and deeds of motivational figures such as Bruce Lee and Muhammed Ali, which further sharpens the inspirational edge to his music.
So if you’re ever feeling at all blue, this winter or otherwise, then head over to soundcloud and give ‘Born 2 Be Free’ a whirl. We guarantee you’ll be walking with a spring in your step for hours after.
As always, if you prefer to listen to your music on another platform (why are you even here?!) then check him out on the alternatives:
‘Run’ is the infectious new track from Brooklyn musician Tony Banks, who fuses a potent combination of house, dance and hip-hop that is carving his own space in the music industry.
EarthTone and JwlB also feature on the track, where Tony exhibits some of his best raps alongside a pulsating beat that echoes the title of the song.
Tony is an artist who takes inspiration from all over the musical world, but most notably, Missy Elliot, Michael Jackson and Andre 3000. As a result, Banks has formed a style like nothing you’ve ever heard before. Tony himself describes his sound as ‘Move ya feet, feel good’ music and it is easy to see why upon listening to ‘Run’.