I was busier than expected this week, which is the reason for the short amount of updates here. I hope I can compensate for that by featuring here a great song that was totally overlooked at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
If you have never heard of that contest (it is not very popular in North America), our friend Jeff from the great Eclectic Music Lover blog, offered a concise summary when he reviewed the winning song from this edition, which wasn’t my favorite but I didn’t dislike. There is something you need to understand about Eurovision: most people watch it –and we’re talking about more than 200 million worldwide– not because of the quality of the contestants but to laugh at some of the over-the-top and often ludicrous acts that some countries send to this contest each year (for example, this one). A jury from each country awards points to 10 other countries, which accounts for half of the total amount of points. The other half comes from popular vote (people can’t vote for the act representing their own country). However, quite often political reasons influence how the country juries vote and the general public regularly selects the most extravagant acts, which means that the winning song is rarely the most deserving one (I mean, this song won in 2018). Therefore, if you don’t hate the winning song, you can consider yourself satisfied.
All that being said, this year’s edition was better than expected in terms of the quality of the contestants. Most of them were at least decent and a few were even more than good. In my opinion, by far the best entry was the act representing Portugal: The Black Mamba, and their song Love Is On My Side. It finished in 12th place but as I explained above, that doesn’t mean much. What really matters is that the tune, which was the first Portuguese song in the contest performed entirely in English, is outstanding. It starts with bluesy undertones reminiscing of rock tracks from the 1970s, which contrasts very well with the catchy chorus more typical of an #indierock track. It also helps that the band’s frontman’s, Pedro Tatanka, voice is really distinctive and perfect for this kind of music.He wrote the song inspired by a sex worker the band met during a trip to Rotterdam in 2019. Written from her perspective, it reflects how all hope is not lost even when life does not go as planned.
I hope you enjoy Loves Is On My Side as much as I did.
Back From The Dead is one of those genre-defying eclectic songs that you just like. Think Parklife from Blur with a catchier chorus and you will have a pretty good idea of how this tune sounds. As an artist, Lewca just wants to do what he feels like doing while having fun as well, not worrying about conventions or what people think they like. I mean, this song mentions going to the barber and having eggs with bacon for breakfast, not your typical lyrics stuff, yet it still works. It does so because the contrast between the chorus (did I mention that it was extremely catchy?) and the verses is high enough to highlight how infectious the former is, and also because the production, in charge of Lewca himself, is top-notch.
With regards to the artist, Lewca is quite a funny character, as evidenced by the bio on his website. Originally from London but living in France since he was 19, he now has 3 Kids & a Mortgage, which is also how he decided to call his debut EP (whose cover art is a drawing his kids made). He has always been involved with arts, studying Fine Arts and working on films, but got as well a passion for making music that he wanted to explore before he was “too old to die young“. Here we hope he achieves his mission of conquering the world.
Check this artist out. Maybe he will be your cup of tea or maybe not, but I guarantee you will have fun.
Talk Shivi is the musical project of Jacob Henry, a singer-songwriter, actor, and journalist based out of New York City. I cannot tell you much about him in terms of bio or the meaning behind that moniker, but I can tell you that he is a talented musician whose songs got a really unique feeling to them. He has released just two songs so far as Talk Shivi: Shadow Monster, his debut single back in January, and Let You Slide, just yesterday. Both very good but also different to each other. These are not your typical ‘guy with a guitar’ busking tunes, these are layered songs that will leave you wanting more.
Shadow Monster is a groovy alternative rock track with a sprinkle of psychedelic elements to make it interesting. Lyrically, it has a message about getting through dark times, probably inspired by the global pandemic. Before covid, Jacob used to perform live in NY all the time, which obviously changed last year. This has prompted him to shift his focus to the digital side of things, resulting in these two releases. There’s something magnetic in Shadow Monster that makes it easy on the ears. Check it out below but please do yourself a favour and listen to Let You Slide too. It is even catchier.
I Really Like You is a post-punk track, a genre I had heart before but wasn’t really familiar with. When you entered that into Google, this is the definition that you get: “a style of rock music inspired by punk but less aggressive in performance and musically more experimental”. I Really Like You is definitely experimental but in a groovy and compelling way. It doesn’t sound close to punk or even punk-rock to me, which is why I chose the Alternative (Rock) mixtape for it, but I certainly liked it. I’m sure it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea but, worst-case scenario, you will find it interesting.
The tune is a collaboration between Portuguese singer-songwriter Juline Costa and British act Six Four Zero Two. The latter is the independent, not-for-profit musical project of Rob Howsam, who joined the Royal Air Force in his youth and had 6402 as part of his Service Number. He enjoys the irony of using something that represents such as restrictive environment as the moniker of his creative endeavour. He was looking for a good vocalist to collaborate with and a contact suggested Juline to him. She was obviously what Rob was looking for.
Now, this is actually the first official release form Juline Costa. She got some songs posted on her Youtube channel and Soundcloud profile, but no studio albums or singles. Hopefully, I Really Like You, which she wrote based on a single acoustic guitar riff on repeat, will help her record an EP or something, because even though it might not be super evident on this track (other than her great tone of voice), she’s really talented and versatile (seriously, check her Youtube channel out). When you add Six Four Zero Two‘s production skills to the mix, the result is really fascinating.
I’ve had Setting Sun sitting in my queue for a while now, and during that time, my pal Jeff from Eclectic Music Lover wrote a flawless review of this single. I’m not a fan of repeating what has already been said, and even less so when what has been said is so good. The only thing I can add to what Jeff wrote is that Cristóvam, a singer/songwriter from Portugal, won first prize in the ‘Unsigned Only’ category for the International Songwriting Competition 2018, which had the likes of Keane, Bastille and Lorde, amongst the judges. And then, this year, he won ‘Pop Performance’ and ‘Song of the Year’ in the International Portuguese Music Awards. At this pace, by this time next year, he will be complaining about The Grammy Awards being corrupt.
The bottom line is that Setting Sun is a great, uplifting tune, and a great addition to T.A.M. Check it out below.