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Fox Stevenson // SUN SETS WEST // MXMS // Calgary James // Ryan Vanicin

Fox Stevenson – Dreamland

FOX STEVENSON does it all it seems. Producing singles, breaking out with new singles, ‘jet-setting’ like a baller, the UK native artist gets it done with songs that are effervescent and uplifting offerings. Mixed with the right amount of synth/electronica, and indie-rock pop sensibilities, fun is the middle name of your next experience at the next show. Said Fox: “This is the kind of song I always wanted to make, melding the dance world with the rock and singer songwriter pop world, without losing their best parts, ‘Dreamland’ is a song about feeling you just don’t quite get it, and looking around feeling like everyone else does; asking yourself if you can do better and never knowing if your lot in life is the product of who you’ve become. This track is the most important single I’ve released to date, it stands firmly at the heart of what Fox Stevenson is.” He knows is, so you should too. ‘Dreamland’ is much more EDM-vibed and even bleeds into some future-drum antics. It’s a feel good feelz.

SUN SETS WEST – Glass Surrender

Vancouver based examiner of what it means to listen to the heartbeat of a whisper, a beat, a tantric resonance – SUN SETS WEST is an opportunity of deep progression and sonic deliverance. Especially in the world of single ‘Glass Surrender’, you’re captured by the sweeping rapture of the colorfully muted vibes, and taken into asunder with SSW’s heightened vision of his vocals. The swirling skies, whither your sense of time and space – for a moment – gathering the thunder of a sliver within. Electric guitar picking, languid bass supporting, and Craig Aalders’ delectable expression of the words he espouses – this time, it’s right and ripe. Pictures of introspection is poetry in this single, and as the song meanders with purpose and selection, the horizon of it all, becomes clearer, then clearer, then clear. In this single, a brain exercise of one animal imagining being another – a crane perhaps – soaring through the sky, without the burden of being just a regular human, in an extraordinarily aggressive world. Freedom? For a moment, perhaps. This single is a keeper.

MXMS – What’s My Name

Shivers? Yes. MXMS is this gorgeously off-kilter magnificence of a project from Ariel Levitan and Jeremy Dawson. The two combine to form this oddly shaped, cosmic reluctance where it brings a visceral experience to music. The beauty is the depth in which the song is built, then carried out. The seriousness of the subject enhances the underpinned one piece frame of the duo that makes it so very tactile. Their use of contrasts also brings out the flavor of the story telling, as they utilize conventional pop music developing, then tastefully and deliciously add one sudden element (i.e. Ariel’s noise-screams) to get it to another plane of dimension. The audibly visual relationship between the gap of differences, makes you quiver and understand the longing you’d had. The song reminds you of that significant kernel of feeling and of innocence discarded, to help you relate with the subject of suicide. At hand the song succeeds with uncanny interest, irrepressible zeal, all while not overstepping boundaries, in as to secure the listener’s empathy and passion. MXMS does it again.

Calgary James – California Country

Getting in touch with his every-side of himself is what CALGARY JAMES does. Reflecting from one twinkle of fascination to another, the musician and piano player from the Bay Area, delights in finding ever new and ‘off the beaten path’ exercises to his offerings. And that ‘twinkle’ of curiosity is very important to him, as a man, in a world, in love with music. The sincerity comes through in his songs, and from the get go (first self-titled LP, 2015) the consistency and the nature of his passion keeps on coming through the music he publishes. With a distinct monotone baritone, there seems to be zero rules in what and how his music is dealt. From genre and sub-genre, it is the telling of his lyrics and stories that are the focus of his efforts. ‘California Country’ is such an example. And through it you can see familiarity in acts such as the Mamas And The Papas, but the interacting ingredients within this single, makes it solely his own. CALGARY JAMES manages to bring enlightenment in his offerings, even if it’s put in a context of commoditization. It’s a rare talent of communication. But don’t worry, the cheeky-fun of ‘California Country’ leaves you with a fabulous aftertaste. A well balanced, and honest meal in sound. Albeit, off the beaten path.

Ryan Vanicin – Like to Lie

We’d once described RYAN VANICIN’s works in this way: “Tortured, but with the grain of optimism, the words halo brightly. From the slow and arduous strumming of the acoustic guitar, to the malaise of Ryan’s vocals, the single describes a vapid interstellar environment, distant and cold, apart from the warmth of a pair of arms that can caress and hug your angst away.” Still true to this day. An impartiality of sorts lives within the folds of Ryan’s vocals and lyrical Universes. It’s a mysterious and impending feel in the gut that is beautifully framed in complex lyrical hymns. A poet at heart (we presume), Ryan’s works are drenched with visualizations. From the heart to the radical inseminations of our truths, ‘Like To Lie’ is a beckoning and soul wrenching confession in the basic needs for a two way street. But fair isn’t fair, all of the time. Life isn’t made of roses and gold strewn curbsides. Ryan comes through with one of his best lyrically weighted offerings. And in the way ‘Like To Lie’ has been proposed, the build up and journey to the peak of the climax, is subtly and masterfully done with only Ryan’s vocals. Cool stuff, indeed. Kudos.

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