Still Charles – Wembley

Artist: Still Charles

Song: Wembley

Genres: #indiepop #indierock

Location: Milano, Italy

Release date: May, 2021.

Comment: Wembley is a stunning single by Italian artist Carlo Aprea, aka Still Charles. The song is sang in Italian but it’s so good that you will enjoy it even if you couldn’t understand a single word (for the record, you should be able to catch at least a few words). Carlo says that Wembley, which he wrote during quarantine, is a love story told from beginning to end, inspired by a real relationship he had that ended because both of them were too proud. The track was produced by Riccardo Foresi, whom Carlo met in June 2020. Wembley has a beautiful music video as well that looks like a movie and that you can watch below. I hope you enjoy Wembley as much as I do. It’s quite a gem.

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Albert Eno – Broken Pocket Watch

Albert Eno used to sing for Italian rock band Kismet, but he’s been flying solo since 2018. This has led him to release his debut solo album, Dark’N’Stormy, back in May, receiving positive reviews so far. The key feature in the whole album are Albert’s soothing vocals, which grab your attention instantly without letting it go. The record includes a mellow rendition of Nirvana‘s Come As You Are, which plenty of people will consider a highlight of the album, but the track I kept coming back to was the hypnotic Broken Pocket Watch. Let me explain why.

Broken Pocket Watch is a quiet, unpretentious song. With a simple arrangement led by a semi-acoustic guitar, Eno’s effortless vocals are really what makes the track stand apart. He uses kind of a falsetto here but it’s soft enough to bring you calmness rather than agitation. The lyrics are profoundly nostalgic, reflecting on old memories and items from our past. All in all, it is nearly impossible to listen to this song without our minds drifting away into a state of relaxation. If you’re looking for an exciting track that keeps your heart pumping, keep looking, but if you want an enjoyable track you could listen to on a rainy afternoon, Broken Pocket Watch will be perfect for you.

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YumeMike – Dream Out Loud

Yume means ‘dream’ in Japanese and that is the reason why YumeMike chose that moniker, even though he’s actually Italian. He grew up playing bass in multiple #punkrock bands but, as a solo artist, he traded the bass for synths, creating an interesting variant of #indiepop with a strong #poppunk flavour. He cites The Naked And Famous and The Killers as influences, but if you want to have an idea of what he sounds like, think Owl City meets Angels & Airwaves. YumeMike’s ‘dream’ is to inspire and elicit warm feelings through his music. If you like positive messages, this is the artist for you.

Dream Out Loud is part of YumeMike‘s debut album, Light In The Mirror, released in February but that he started working on back in 2019. The track is perfectly on-brand with the artist’s style of uplifting synthpop music but I have to say that the overall production/musical arrangement is really impressive considering he worked on it alone. In fact, YumeMike just released an instrumental version of his debut album that is just as good too. This Italian artist is seriously talented and deserves to be on our radars. Check him out.

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Lyon Tide – Closure

Please let me start this entry by talking briefly about a different band. You are probably aware of Snow Patrol and its frontman Gary Lightbody. They are pretty popular, but you might not be familiar with Johnny McDaid, who plays piano, guitar and backing vocals for the band. Before Snow Patrol, Johnny fronted a short-lived but really good alternative rock band called Vega4. One of their singles, Life Is Beautiful, got a lot of exposure after it was featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (by the way, how on earth is that show still on?). They were a great band while it lasted.

Closure is the debut single of Lyon Tide, a band based out of Birmingham, UK. They describe their music as  Indie Post-BritPop, which may or may not mean something to you, but for what is worth, Closure somehow reminded me instantly of Vega4. It turns out that one of Lyon Tide‘s main influences is Snow Patrol. When I saw that, it all started to make sense to me. This was all a convoluted way for me to tell you that this single is outstanding. And it is just their debut. Just imagine what else could be coming from them in the future!

Lyon Tide is named that way after the tidal effect caused by the electromagnetic waves generated by the excessive amount of cellular antennas located around the French city of Lyon. They usually joke about the band’s origin saying that it was formed when a Brit, an Italian and an Indian man walked into art class. However, their music is something we should all take very seriously. They are really talented and could become something special. Enjoy Closure below.

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The Absolute End Of The World – La Strada Per I Vecchi Sogni

La Strada Per I Vecchi Sogni, which I think means The Road To Old Dreams, is my favorite track off Somewhere Else, the new album from one of the best post-rock acts out there: The Absolute End Of The World. As seems to be the norm within the genre, TAEOTW is a solo act and, as the name of this song suggests, the person behind it, musician Luca Maugeri, is from Italy. He started out in 2011 and has a knack for creating beautiful compositions that can transport you anywhere. He also records, produces and distributes his music himself.

La Strada Per I Vecchi Sogni is a euphoric yet melancholic soundscape that feels like drifting through the air over the Mediterranean Sea. The song seems simple and effortlessly even though actually it is not. I truly think that one of the hardest things to do is to make the complicated seem straightforward and that is what separates virtuosos from truly special composers. This song proves that Luca Maugeri, The Absolute End Of The World, is one of them. Enjoy.

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Michael It’z – Polytechnic Confusion

Michael Caria, from Sardinia, Italy, but living in London, calls himself a designer of melancholic soundscapes. I think that’s description is spot on. His musical project is called Michael It‘z and his music, while deeply experimental, is also very pleasant to the ear. It is electronic music but in a relaxing, ambient-like way. Michael’s objective is to make the listener feel something with his music in the same way a surrealist or abstract painting can do that without knowing what the painter had in mind.

Polytechnic Confusion was released as a single late last year with Cleopatra Records, and it is also included in Michael’s brand new album: Plastika | Music For A Film. The track is a great example of everything I mentioned above and then some. Sure, it is an unusual kind of music but there’s something about it that leaves you thirsty for more. Seriously, give it a try.

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Manuel Bellone – A Case Of An Endless Blue

Happy New Year! Today is not blue monday, but given the fact that for many of us it is the day we return to our daily routines/work after the holiday season, I’d say it comes pretty close in second place. If you’re like me, in days like these you’ll prefer to listen to sad/melancholic songs instead of happy ones, and if that’s indeed the case, I got the perfect song for you. A Case Of An Endless Blue is the latest track from Italian folk-rock singer/songwriter Manuel Bellone, who got inspired by the difficult year we all had in 2020 and being stuck at home for os long. Manuel got a raspy voice that is just perfect for the type of music he makes, including this track.

Despite being from Palermo, Sicily, Manuel got his roots in styles of music that are traditionally associated with America, such as folk, blues and country. Influenced by the likes of Ryan Adams and Neil Young, his goal is to sound classic but unique. He’s been releasing music and touring Europe with his band rather successfully since 2013, with plans to go out on tour again soon and release a new album this year. Give a chance to this true musician and hopefully A Case Of An Endless Blue will get you get through this day.

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ThePianoPlayer – Secrets

ThePianoPlayer is a musical project from Italian pianist and composer Enzo Orefice. As ThePianoPlayer, he uses his creativity to experiment with ambient and neo-classical music, but without ending up with abstract pieces. All his pieces are elegantly beautiful yet easily accessible.

Take, for example, one of his releases from 2020, the stunning Secrets. A beautiful song that reminded me of the work Ólafur Arnalds did for the show Broadchurch. Whether you are having a pretty active Sunday or a lazy one, I can’t think of better ways to end it than by listening to this breathtaking piece. Enjoy!

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