Step Back In Time New Music Premiere From Dallas Cosmas

Indie Artist

Dallas Cosmas

“If You Don’t Know Where You Came From”

I love Exile on Main St-era Rolling Stones. I also love the early albums of Lenny Kravitz and The Black Crowes. The reason I mention this is because I can hear shades of these artists in the latest single from Melbourne-based musician, Dallas Cosmas.


From the upcoming album “Alpha Beta Gamma” (due for release 11 October), “If You Don’t Know Where You Came From” is a funky, slow groove punctuated by wonderful gospel harmonies. Over a slinky electronic piano riff that would not be out of place on a 70s Herbie Hancock release, Cosmas delivers an impassioned vocal, reminding the listener, “If you don’t know where you came from, then you don’t know where you’re going to”. The song breaks for an uplifting middle eight that provides instrumental reinforcement of the underlying, positive message.


Whilst the track is strong, what really stood out for me upon listening to it for the first time is the production. The sounds on offer here and the way they have been mixed are not of this time. Rather, they take you back in time to bands like the Stones, Stevie Wonder and Ohio Players to name but a few. In a world of homogenous production and sound design, this is definitely a plus. For me, this is the true strength of “If You Don’t Know Where You Came From” and I hope to hear more of it on the upcoming album.

Simon says 4 out of 5 stars.

4 Star Rating






Indie Rock Band Lazybones “Trash Talk” Full Of Gusto and Energy

Australian Indie Band


“Trash Talk”

The latest track from Brighton-based alt-rock trio Lazybones, is one hell of a fun listen. “Trash Talk”, due for release on October 9th through SaySomething Records, is unabashed, trashy rock and roll that is about  “That moment when you know you’re about to say something you’ll regret, when you’re right on the edge and you just can’t stop it.”


Like a poppy version of Australia’s Cosmic Psychos, Lazybones waste no time in getting into the track – not a second of the three minutes is wasted. Over the top of this lean song driven by a driving, distorted bass and pounding drums, vocalist Candi Underwood delivers her lyrics with such urgency it seems her life might just depend on it. (Again, I was reminded of another great Aussie band here – Dallas Frasca.)


“Trash Talk” is an excellent song, full of energy and gutsy, rock n roll bravado. I would highly recommend checking it out and (if you live in the UK) getting along to one of their live shows. I am sure that, just like this track, their performances would one hell of a fun ride.


Simon says 4.5 out of 5 stars.

4.5 Star Rating


Sydney Singer, Peta Mai Releases Smashing New Music

Sydney Singer, Peta Mia Releases Smashing New Music

Singer songwriter

Peta Mai

“Hell or High Water”

Listening to Hell or High Water, it is hard to believe that Sydney-based artist Peta Mai once worked in a country outfit that shared the stage with the likes of Keith Urban. Rather, listening to this track, I would have thought she had cut her teeth fronting jazz groups in quiet piano bars, such is the quality of her vocal style and the sounds and harmonies on offer here.


Hell or High Water starts with a restraint that it only occasionally strays from. Over minimal piano chords, Mai delivers a mature vocal performance that explores the depths of devotion and how it feels to give your all to someone. This soulful track slowly builds, adding drums and harmonic interjections and jazz-infused transitions that speak to the quality of the production and songwriting on offer here. Never overstating its case, Hell or High Water reaches its climax with a subtle musical interlude and a closing chorus that is best described as modern gospel.


This is music of the highest order. Peta Mai has crafted a song in Hell or High Water that is timeless yet informed by the soul, jazz and R&B that has come before it. Listening to this track, it is hard to believe that this is an artist still closer to the start of her musical journey rather than the end.


With this track, I have become a fan of Peta Mai and look forward to (hopefully) seeing her play live in the not too distant future.


Simon says 5 out of 5 stars.

5 Stars


HangMan’s One Mistake is A Massive Slice Of Hardcore

HangMan’s One Mistake is A Massive Slice Of Hardcore

Hangman Album cover


“One Mistake”


Here’s something that not a lot of folk might know – a whole heap of electronic musicians like metal. Not sure why that is the case, but it just is. I count myself among this group, so it was with joy that I saw I would be getting to review One Mistake by New York band Hangman this week.


From their forthcoming album, One By One (out on 20 September through Flatspot Records), One Mistake is a massive slice of hardcore influenced by the sort of groove-orientated metal that kept the flag flying in the 90s. Listening to the brutal riffs and the vocal delivery, I was reminded of acts like Biohazard and Vulgar Display of Power-era Pantera. This is a killer track, full of top-notch playing, rhythmic changes and crisp production that doesn’t scrimp on the heaviness.


I really enjoyed this track – One Mistake is powerful advertisement for the upcoming album and I, for one, know that I will be tracking it down upon its release and I suggest that you give it a try as well.


Simon says 5 out of 5 stars.

5 Stars


‘Step Off My Wave’ As UpBeat DubStep from Bufinjer Smacks You In The Face



“Step Off My Wave

One of the first tracks I “discovered” after embarking on my personal creative journey and exploration of independent music nearly four years ago was a drum and bass track titled Drop Your Weapons by Buffalo, New York-based artist Dave Bulera, aka Bufinjer. Being a fan of Grooverider, Roni Size and the Metalheadz label, I was immediately drawn to the sound. Well produced, well written and (importantly for a dance track) infectious, the track was one of my favorites of 2016.


Years later and I am still eager to hear the latest releases from this ever-evolving artist. With a discography that covers techno, house, EDM and electronica, Bufinjer moves easily between electronic music genres and demonstrates a mastery of each. On Step Off My Wave, he hits us with an up upbeat dubstep track that, like the monster shark that graces the cover art, is a true beast.  As with all of his offerings, the sounds here are big and the production is first class. This is not music for the faint-hearted but it is music that demands you get up and dance.


As a co-founder of the Electronic Music Alliance (along with DaveyHub and Nicky Havey), Bufinjer has been a key figure in developing and supporting the independent electronic music scene. I would suggest that you show this artist some support as well and give Step Off My Wave a listen as soon as you can.


Simon says 5 out of 5 stars.

5 Stars


An Example Of The Best New Indie Pop Music; Valencia James

Pop Indie Artist

Valencia James


Let me get this out of the way up front – New York born, Sydney bred artist Valencia James has a great voice and it is on full display on her latest single, Dreamers. Moving from the restrained delivery of the verses through to the powerfully delivered chorus (where she proclaims “We are the dreamers – tomorrow can’t contain us”), James’ is a strong voice perfectly suited to the intelligent lyricism of the track.


The production here is also first-class – this is synth-pop that mirrors the vocal changes, moving from quiet, almost haunting electronics in the verses to bold, eighties-flavored synths in the chorus. And at just over three and a half minutes, it never overstays its welcome.


Listening to this track reminded me yet again of just how exciting the world of independent music really is. This is a song of the highest caliber – a song that is not only a match for what graces commercial radio airwaves, but one that surpasses it. As I tell my friends so often, if you want to hear the best new music, look further afield – it is there that you will find the real gems. Dreamers by Valencia James, is the most recent example of this truism. So take my advice and take some time to check it out.

Simon says 4.5 out of 5 stars.

4.5 Star Rating

Dreamers Available

A Musical Antidote To The Current Climate Of Despair

Album Cover

Moody LIttle Sister

“Great Big Mama Sunshine”

I am a sucker for big, bold choruses – the type that have you singing along despite yourself. Great Big Mama Sunshine, from New Mexico based duo Moody Little Sister, has catchy choruses in droves.

Hailing from the improbably named town of Truth or Consequences, Naomi Sparrow and Rob Stroup make impeccably produced Americana. Ranging from the upbeat country-tinged sounds of the title track, through the blues-groove of 711 Luck Street to the gospel flavors of Tell Somebody, the tie that binds this fine album are the superb vocals of Sparrow. Whether belting out a statement of self-empowerment in Child of the Wild or reflecting on a common theme of Americana in Tumbleweed, her voice is never short of excellent. This is accompanied by guitar driven songwriting, with hints of organ, drums and bass that only serves to compliment, rather than distract, from the storytelling at the heart of each song.

For me, the standout tracks are 711 Lucky Street, I Let You Go and closing track, Northern Highway. Having said that, there is not a weak track on this album – an album that serves as a “musical antidote to the current climate of despair”.


With a release date of 31 August, Great Big Mama Sunshine by Moody Little Sister is an album to look out for.

Simon says 4.5 out of 5 stars.

4.5 Star Rating



Pop Music That Will Have You Feeling ‘Top Of The Morning’

Single Cover

Layla Haskell

“Top Of The Morning”

So let me be straight up here – as a Gen X male with a wife and kids, a mortgage and a preference for dinner with friends over partying, I am probably not the target demographic for most modern pop music. Whilst I am a fan of genre, it is it is not the first thing I seek to listen to in those rare moments that I have time to spare.


With that said, I can recognize talent when I hear it and am only too happy to admit that I like “Top of the Morning”, the latest single from Layla.. Underpinned by the stunning production work of Darren Martyn, Bournemouth-based Layla Haskell delivers an assured pop-vocal performance. Her voice sit perfectly over the catchy summer vibes, demonstrating a range and control that speaks to her talent. From start to finish, this is a song that makes you take notice and asks you to listen again.


“Top of the Morning” is a pretty damn catchy song indeed and Layla is an artist that I am sure we will be hearing more from.  I would even consider putting this on for a listen when I next get the chance, and from this old man, that’s praise indeed.


Simon says 4 out of 5 stars.

4 Star Rating


The Atom Age Makes Rock and Roll That Is Exciting And Raw

Indie Rock Band

The Atom Age

“Never looking”

The Atom Age makes rock and roll that is exciting and raw. Drawing on influences from the The Saints to The Black Keys, the members of this six-piece Oakland band wear their influences on their collective sleeves.


“Never Looking”, the debut single from the band’s upcoming album “Cry Til’ You Die”, is a great example of its sound. The track kicks off with a monster guitar riff and a lyric that serves as a statement of intent  (“I never learned a way to take it slow”) and rarely takes its foot off the pedal in its short, sharp running time. The introduction of a saxophone into the mix only adds to the mayhem and fun.


This is music that I imagine would best be experienced live. It might be hard for me to get over to the US and see the boys in action though, so for now I await the release of their album on August 23. Like “Never Looking”, I will keep this review short and to the point and will wrap things up by simply saying this – check out The Atom Age if you like good rock and roll.

Simon says 4 out of 5 stars.

4 Star Rating

Available For Pre-Order


Upcoming shows:

AUG 23 Slim’s- San Francisco, CA

DEC 27 Kung Fu Necktie- Philadelphia (w/ New Bomb Turks)

Ella Fence’s Vocals are Intense And Outstanding with ‘Don’t Feed The Monster’ 

Ella Fence’s Vocals are Intense And Outstanding with ‘Don’t Feed The Monster’


Ella Fence

“Don’t Feed The Monster”

If you haven’t heard of Ella Fence then you’ve been missing out.

Ella’s earlier recordings consisted of strong beats and dark moody emotions which I loved.  

I’ve seen Ella progress with her new music since those early days and have to admit, I was a little concerned that the beautiful dark mood had evaporated.

After hearing this latest release of ‘Don’t Feed The Monster’, I’m pleased to say all my fears have been laid to rest.

Ella’s well-known distinctive style of dark moody and captivating melodies show in a rather different light in ‘Don’t Feed The Monster’.

Fence’s vocals are outstanding as it shows her vocal ability in a way where she doesn’t need to “show off”, moving from one octave to another using clear crisp falsetto bouncing from the lower register combined with her exceptional vibrato adding intensity in the verses making her performance enthralling.

‘Don’t Feed The Monster’ almost feels like a rock musical piece with synth arpeggio’s and sound effects floating around her vocal helping the track carry through while she feeds that monster.

The obvious component that can’t go unnoticed, is the simplicity and space and the clear message about feeding the monster, which I believe makes you want to set this track on repeat.    

One more thing….listen to the scream  after the bridge!

Love it! 

5 out of 5  Purple Hearts from Tracey


Ella Fence’s Vocals are Intense And Outstanding with ‘Don’t Feed The Monster’

Hannah Stewart Is An Artist We Need To Keep An Eye On

Single Cover Hannah Stewart

Hannah stewart


Californian electro-pop artist Hannah Stewart delivers two things on her new single – minimalism and groove.  Due for release on July 31, Glaze is an exercise in sparse drums, bouncy synth bass, layered vocals and very little else. And let me be clear – this track does not need another thing added. Following in the footsteps of artists like Grimes, Stewart manages to wrangle the most out of very little indeed, creating a track that is instantaneously catchy.

Written about the need to retreat from the world on occasions, Glaze is a direct and honest reflection on the need for introspection:

            “I like to glaze it over, I like to drown it out, Drown out the noise we live in, filter out”

Despite this, the song never sounds depressing – rather, the infectious groove keeps you dancing (even when all that seems to remain is that ever-present bass).

Glaze is a great pop track and Hannah Stewart is an artist that we need to keep an eye on. Her lyrics, production and vocals are all top notch. And, most importantly, she delivers it all in a minimalist package that is both idiosyncratic and refreshingly new.

Simon says 4 out of 5 stars.

4 Star Rating

Glaze is available on 31st July

On All Major Streaming Platforms


Moment To Moment Is A Strong Album That Deserves Your Attention

Indie Artist

missing words

“moment to moment”

It is an unfortunate reality that the word “melancholy” has a bad name. Often understood as sad or gloomy, people tend to forget that it can also mean pensive – a term defines as “dreamily or wistfully thoughtful; expressing or revealing thoughtfulness, usually marked by some sadness”. Indeed, some of the greatest pieces of music ever made, from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 Adagietto to U2’s With or Without You, can best be referred to as melancholy.


So it is with the greatest respect that I describe Moment to Moment, the new album from California band, Missing Words, as melancholy. This can be heard in the opening words of the title track (“I close my eyes, embrace the fall”) to the plaintive vocals and slow, lush synth pads of the closing track, Breath In. What holds the album together are the synthwave-inspired tracks and the fantastic vocals of lead singer James Meays, who sings about overcoming struggles, lost love and addiction, as well as changing for a better purpose. For me, the picks were Every Night, with its pulsing electro beat and the short but ever so good Reflections. The latter track, despite only clocking in at one and a half minutes long, would not have been out of place in Bladerunner.


Moment to Moment is a strong album and deserves your attention. In a perfect world, it would be gracing the airwaves instead of the saccharine nonsense so often found there. Dreamy and wistfully thoughtful, Missing Words have created an electronic album that should meet the test of time.


Simon says 4 out of 5 stars.

4 Star Rating

Understated and to the point, I Felt It In The Wind; Anna Wiebe



Anna Wiebe 

I Felt It In The Wind

It’s safe to say that we live in a world that is loud in every sense of the word. We are bombarded with advertising, sounds, signs and demands.  At work, in traffic and in what seems like ever less free time, the loudness never seems to dissipate, leaving us stressed and longing for moments of peace: We yearn for something simple and quiet.


Into this space comes I Felt It In the Wind by Anna Wiebe. Over a gentle guitar figure, her soft vocals speak of a quiet moment:

            “I felt it in the wind, I know its colder now, the air knows that somehow”

The Canadian singer-songwriter has produced a delightful track here that reminds me of the country-folk ballads of Jill Sobule. Understated and to the point, I Felt It In The Wind is a pearl and does what all great songs should – it takes you to another place and leaves you wanting more.


From the recently released album, All I Do Is Move, this single speaks of what seems to be the opposite – stillness. Wiebe speaks of how she was inspired by a quote from a quote from Douglas Copeland, which states that, “The act of endless motion itself is a substitute for any larger form of thought.” Perhaps what this means is that we need to step back from the noise of our life to focus on what truly matters. With this track, Anna Wiebe has encouraged us all to do that and I thank her for it.


Simon says 5 out of 5 stars.







Trip Jacker Mixes genres and styles in ‘search for humanity’

Indie Music

Trip Jacker

‘Search For Humanity’

One of the things I have enjoyed about the evolution of music over the last decade or so has been the crumbling of genre barriers. As someone who has never felt comfortable with the limitations and expectations placed upon artists by genre conventions, it is comforting to see those conventions being dismantled, reconstructed and reimagined.


Massachusetts-based musician and producer, Trip Jacker, works in this new space – happily mixing genres and styles on his latest track, ‘Search For Humanity’. Starting with a beat and bass line straight out of the eighties, he adds guitars and samples to produce a song that quickly develops into something individual and distinct. While hinting at the proto-industrial stylings of Killing Joke, Search For Humanity also draws upon synthwave and the kind of dance-rock made popular by bands such as Jesus Jones to create a track that is simultaneously retro and refreshingly new.


With cover art by Italian artist, Erinni Xeen, Search For Humanity is the complete package. I look forward to its coming release and await more music from the genre-melding artist that is Trip Jacker.

Simon says 4.5 out of 5 stars.

4.5 Star Rating



Links to trip jacker



Also find Trip Jacker on all the regular streaming services


Daniella Mason gets it right; pop music for the thinking people


Daniella Mason

“Mental State”

The trick for any artist is to write and deliver material that is varied enough to keep the attention of a listener, whilst simultaneously developing a style that is easily identifiable as one’s own. This is not always an easy trick to pull off. Some artists have a sound that is all their own, but after hearing a few tracks it becomes obvious that there is nothing else in their arsenal. On the flip side, there are those musicians who are so eclectic that there is no way to determine what lies at the core of their style.

On the “Mental State” EP, Daniella Mason gets it right, moving across genre boundaries but always maintaining a recognizable musical identity. Starting with the minimal, jazz-infused experimentation of “Deepest of Wells”, Mason tackles pop (“Girl in the Box”), upbeat electronic dance music (“Get Me Out Of My Head”), and a low and slow ballad (“What Goes Down Must Come Up”). Tying it all together are the intelligent, introspective lyrics and understated vocal delivery that define this Nashville-based artist’s approach.

“Mental State” is the second of four EPs that Mason will be releasing over the course of the year as part of her “State of Mine” sound series. Based on the strength of this outing, I will be tracking down the previous EP and picking up the next two upon release. This is pop-music for thinking people and is well worth the listen.

Simon says 4 out of 5 stars.

4 Star Rating

The Mental State EP is available now on

SoundCloud | Spotify |Apple Music | |Amazon |  ,Tidal  | Deezer |Google Play


It’s Time To Bring Back The Fun with 80’s big hair and ‘Dance Party’


Dance Party

“Too Hot Too Touch”

I grew up in the 80s, and that brings back some great musical memories: Listening to the Top 40 on the radio with my finger poised over the record button, waiting to capture my favorite track; listening to songs slow down as the batteries went flat on my Walkman; and, grooving away to the synth-driven funk of acts like Prince and Cameo at my local Blue Light disco.

Listening to Dance Party, I was instantly transported back to my youth and those wonderful memories. Too Hot To Touch is a new release but would you could be forgiven for thinking that this was the output of a young Whitney Houston.

And that ain’t a bad thing.

Starting with spacey, synth arpeggios, the track quickly finds its groove with big brass hooks and an irresistible bass that is topped off when the vocals kick in. And then there is the chorus that had me singing along before I had heard this out for the first time. This is a fun track played by musicians of the highest order and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Dance Party runs a “disco inferno” party series in their home city of Melbourne. I like to think that these parties are packed full of girls with big crimped hair and boys in stone-washed jeans and pastel shirts dancing like they have not a care in the world. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but this track sure deserves it.


Simon says 5 out of 5 stars.

5 Stars

Listen To More “Dance Party”

Skaarl Constantly Expands and Experiments Electronic Music

Fumar Single by Skaarl



What I love about electronic music is the endless variety – the seemingly infinite combination of sounds and genres that thoughtful producers are able to generate using the tools at their disposal. Unlike some other genres that are limited by the instruments that define their sounds, the very nature of electronic music is to constantly expand and experiment with new sounds and approaches.
Fumar, by UK-based artist Skaarl, is a perfect example of this. Starting with a simple acoustic reggae vibe, the track adds what can only be described as a comedic guitar line, before moving into a spaced out jam reminiscent of Left field at their tripped out best. Without overstaying its welcome, Fumar explores the eccentric side of the genre, whilst treating the listener to a listening experience filled with unexpected delights.
This is electronic music of a high order and represents what is fresh and exciting about the genre. Indeed, Skaarl is open about this eclectic approach, describing his style as “whatever happens in the moment”. In a world of carefully marketed, stage-managed releases, it is great to hear an artist take such an approach.
I enjoyed this track and I am sure you will too. Now available at all the regular places, I recommend searching out this (electronic) gem.
Simon says 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

4.5 Star Rating


Bass, Cool Grooves, Great production and Soulful Vocals From Jean

Australian Pop Singer Jean


“Follow You”

Bass and electronic dance music go together like cheese and crackers. Like sunscreen and a day at the beach. Like music reviews and bad analogies…..

The first thing that draws you into this fine EDM track is the bass. Producer, Open Till L8, has worked with Sydney artist, Jean, to create a simple, bass-driven groove that is perfectly suited to sun-soaked afternoon parties. Indeed, the production throughout is top-notch and even includes something rare in the world of electronic music – a middle eight.

But it would be wrong of me to focus solely on the musical elements of this track.  What becomes obvious on repeat listens is Jean’s lyrical skill. Delivered in a style best described as sleepy-soulful, he speaks to an unnamed partner described as his “favourite kind of distraction” using deceptively simple lines that hint at greater depths of meaning. This is songwriting of a high order – songwriting that understates its case and in so doing, invites you to return for more.

So, if bass, cool grooves, great production, soulful vocals and understatedly intelligent lyrics are your thing, take some time to check out Follow You by Jean. You might just be happy you took the time to do so.

Simon say 4 out of 5 stars.

4 Star Rating


‘Light Me Up’ by Jemma Siles is Pretty Damn Good; Someone to Watch!

Jemma Siles

“Light Me Up”

Pop music is a curious thing. Reviled by rock and indie music elitists, it is nonetheless a genre that continues to evolve, experiment and inspire. From The Beatles, to ABBA, through to Taylor Swift, it continues to outsell everything else. And there is a little secret as to why that is…

A lot of it is pretty damn good.

Light Me Up by Jemma Siles is pretty damn good. The singer-songwriter from Melbourne, Australia delivers intelligent lyrics (“I’m cutting your strings, but holding them tight”) in a vocal style that moves from sultry to strident. Underpinning her performance is a Latin-infused rhythm and minimalist electronic production of the highest order. Taken together, the track is absolutely contemporary and should find its home on any number of pop-friendly FM radio stations.

As a recent Australian Songwriter of the Year in the contemporary pop genre (as judged by APRA AMCOS), Siles is more than a one hit-wonder. Her lyrical skill and ear for a catchy melody places her among the strongest of those artists currently making a name for them selves in the ever-changing world of pop music.

I will make the call and say that Light Me Up is just an early chapter in the story of this artist. Watch this space.

Simon says 4 out of 5 stars.

4 Star Rating

Light Me Up Available

Clinton Tarantino Reminds Us That There Is Still Vibrancy Left in House

New House Single

Clinton Tarantino

Clinton Tarantino – Don’t Stop


Getting dance music right is not as simple as it may seem. As a genre built with a singular purpose in mind, good dance music must take the listener on a journey, whilst imploring them to keep on dancing.

With “Don’t Stop”, Clinton Tarantino shows he can get this balance right. Starting with the uplifting piano and sweeping strings synonymous with (progressive) house music, Tarantino slowly adds vocal elements and synth leads to a rhythm track that has its roots in the smooth electronic stylings of Daft Punk’s “Discovery” era. The production is superb and all the ingredients add up to a track that is sure to be dance-floor favorite after its release on June 2.

Like so much of the music that comes across my desk to review, I was pleasantly surprised by this track. Sometimes house music can seem formulaic and a tired reproduction of sounds and ideas going back to 1980s’ Chicago. On “Don’t Stop”, Clinton Tarantino reminds us that there is still a lot of vibrancy left in this genre. An evolving and melodic gem, I recommend this track to anyone looking for a dance-floor journey.

Simon says 4 out of 5 stars.

Clinton Tarantino​