Artist Review: Steven Blane

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

Artists like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Jay-Z have contributed iconic songs on behalf of their love for New York City, but when I was contacted by Rabbi and founder of Sim Shalom, the world’s only online Jewish Universalist synagogue and singer-songwriter Steven Blane, I didn’t know what surprises he had in store. If his intention was to give me something just as iconic as the artists mentioned in my first sentence, then he succeeded quite nicely. 

Steven Blane‘s LP of Jazzy, Swingish, and Bluesy collection of tracks titled The Best of Steven Blane (So Far) is a treat for the New Yorker’s soul in ways that almost can’t be fully described. It’s just that feeling; that feeling. A feeling that also leaves a presence within you. Whether it’s walking to the Union Square train station on a Fall, breezy evening or simply sipping some wine in one of the Village bars or Tap Rooms, Blane delivers you that same iconic sound in the league of artists that could be comprised of Sinatra, Bennett, and a riffy Johnny Cash vibe as well.

His song “I Love My NYC” is definitely Blane‘s calling to one of New York’s many city-inspired and tributed songs to the lifestyle, streetlights, and surroundings of New York’s finer moments. And it’s played and performed with that delicacy in a way where you can feel the atmosphere of the city in the song itself. Blane‘s clean, and articulately mid-ranged vocal approach is definitely a huge impact on this song’s overall signature sound. The lyrics are clever, and have great narratives that grasp you into them. It’s an attention-grabber and weaves a fabric into the city’s aura and feeling. His song “Happy New Year” also brings out this same soul behind the voice and writing style that Blane brings to the table.

Every song on this album has a smooth, eclectic, and soothing sensibility…no matter where you come from. He has a sound that has class, dynamic musicianship, and innovative measures that are always present throughout every track. The sound is versatile and diverse. And once you take a listen to Steven Blane yourself, he’ll find his way to your heart unconditionally. Whether you expect it or not.

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Artist Review: Belvue

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

Four young friends who happen to all be professional musicians and ridiculously awesome music producers and songwriters with major backbone to a fresh, eclectic sound all meet up one day. And Belvue was born.

Hailing from the Canadian landscapes of Calgary, this Alt/Rock quartet of passionate musicians instantly shared a bond and chemistry over their unique musical inspirations. And with each member already having their own personal knowledge and experience with music onstage and the business offstage, it’s safe to say that Belvue hit the ground running pretty much immediately, and their Freshman Debut EP How To Be A Lion, self produced by the band entirely, set the groundwork for them and a buzz quickly began to spread across the scene through radio airwaves, their infectious live shows, and even won first place in the 2015 Blind Beggar Original Music Showcase.

The band as of yesterday just dropped their new single “Take Me” from their upcoming EP Leave The Light On, slated to release September 1st. And just after one listen/watch of the single “Take Me” (Official Music Video), I was quite enamored and found myself hearing something that far outweighed my expectations.

This song right from the beginning showcases a very dynamic and captivating clean vocal & guitar intro that eases its way into very well-crafted measures of ambient verses, emotional lyrical content about the rise and fall of romance, and an aura that you can listen, see, and feel when watching the video for this song.

“Take Me” is an effective song that plays at your heartstrings with the brilliant songwriting that showcases the singer’s message and very impressive vocal range, and is definitely a track that’s astonishing all on its own. But the music video for this song helps you really capture the true art, imagery, and emotions that goes perfectly with this song’s moods and textures. The Cinematography is enchanting, the colors that are captured at each location are flawless, and the beautiful use of nature is what really makes this track powerful, beautiful, and just all around a perfect showcase of audio and imagery.

This song and video is a must-see-and-hear for all Alt/Rock listeners. The music will capture your soul, the video will give you goosebumps, and the production quality is top-notch and dynamically mastered. Belvue is a band that I am more than positive will land on your playlist favorites.

For fans of: 1975, Half Moon Run, Switchfoot, Imagine Dragons, The Killers.

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Artist Review: Isobella Caroline

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

This is definitely a journey into the experimental realm. A dreamlike state that brings a hybrid darkness to the aura of Isobella Caroline‘s music. But that’s what makes her uniqueness stand out and uses it as a self expressive tool that creates a dynamic that she puts her signature to.

Both songs “The Muse” and “In the Garden are eclectic and indie implemented but sustains a soothing industrial edge to it. Which gets you captivated by the theatrics and artistic charisma from the vocals without being spoon fed post production quirkiness. It has razor edge and cinematic-worthy moods that define a breed of expression that makes you curious about the mind of its creator. And it’s a curiosity that keeps you listening, and anticipating what may happen in the measures to come.

The dynamics are very reflective, dark, clever, and not for the heart of mainstream sensibility–which is what makes Isobella even more interesting and admirable. She’s not gonna give you some antics that succumbs to today’s Pop Music culture shock that’s been overly used among female artists in this day & age. She is creating something that makes you think, makes you wonder, and definitely keeps you listening. She’s an artist, in its truest form. And that form is a very solidified, brilliant one.

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Artist Review: Serge Bulat

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

An imaginative visual experience in audio. Serge Bulat‘s LP Queuelbum is a brilliant time-inspired instrumental album that delves into the world of conceptual art, experimental music narratives, and innovation of utilizing music as a parallel to what we see and hear

The New York artist shines light on the shifting realm of sound with great use of piano, organ, and other classical instruments that are implemented into a very evolved sound. It’s very calm, yet challenges the mind. It’s an album inspired and conceptualized by the philosophical aspect of time. It tells a story without even needing to speak or sing a word. It has moods that bring out music’s visual essence and could easily be used as a film score. Darren Aronofsky comes to mind, with that being said. 

Queuelbum definitely isn’t something to listen to while in a negative mood or in a state of stress; this is something your mind needs 100% devotion to in order to hear, see, and feel the message that Bulat creates in every track. Each track utilizes a similar mood, but brings something new to the table every time. It’s a brilliantly expressive album that has a lot of passion and backstory. It’s an album that makes you want to dive into the mind of its creator, and see how it was originated. Because the beauty of this album is…it could mean something different to each person that listens to it. Because everyone’s imagination is different. So when listening to Queuelbum, ask yourself…what do you see, hear, and feel? Put your mind to the challenge, and give this masterpiece a listen.

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Artist Review: Side Car

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

Taking some of the best innovative elements of 70-80s Funk, 90s Electronica and West Coast Hip Hop served shaken or stirred, leaves you with a very eclectic and electric taste of something sweet and catchy with Side Car‘s “Kelly”.

“…Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, pick up the phone…” is an ear bender that you couldn’t get out of your head if you tried. One thing Side Car demonstrates with this song is the insatiable ability of constructing a proper melody, and giving you something very easy to hum along to. The use of yesterday’s and today’s instrumentation and key factors of plugins during post-production is dynamic, and never outdoes itself.

It’s a captivating track. A fun one. It’s a song that could easily convince you that it came out decades ago on the Billboard 100, but still sets a tone that fits into today’s sensibility and musical interest among the fans, the scene, and industry alike. The atmosphere of their sound perhaps gives you a nostalgic feeling; one where you may be taking in the moment and embracing it, or remembering your glory days from way-back-when. It’s a great sensation and magic that only music itself can create. Side Car definitely has that magic, and it sets the tone for them beautifully.

If you want something that has some serious staying power among the catchiness of melodies, Side Car is your draft pick. And you’ll be humming along to “Kelly” before the track is even over. 

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