REVIEW: HASTEN MERCY – HEAD FAKE’S MICHAEL BAKER

Fusing indie pop with influences of country and folk music may seem like an odd partnership on paper for many, but this is what fundamentally makes up Toronto artist Michael Baker’s three-piece project, ‘Hasten Mercy.’

The haziness of the 80’s inspired synths softly poke through the hazy backdrop introduces the EP through the single ‘Star You Are.’ The guitar rounds up the three-and-a-half production, giving off a rich Americana sound.

With the driving grit of the electro bassline being the main feature, the second offering, ‘These Things’ (personally) more takes on a trippy downtempo tone, contributed by the woeful presence from the piano and violins.

Offering an appealing imitate setting, the artist invites us into his world through the final single, ‘I Break Everything’. He uses a vocal instrument to give a wholesome folk ballad that works perfectly against the soft electronic backdrop.

Michael Baker, who is the man behind the moniker Hasten Mercy, is known for pushing the boundaries to the extreme when it comes to experimenting with different genres. His solo project is a true testimony of his ability to merge unlikely genres into a very pleasing collection. All three singles have a solid potential for commanding regular attention on contemporary radio stations.

Have a listen to Hasten Mercy’s mini collection below…

Must Listens: I Break Everything, These Things

Gena Perala Puts A Spin On Britany Spears’ Hit, ‘ Baby One More Time’

Following her string of the pop covers earlier this year, which includes, Miley Cyrus’, ‘We Can’t Stop’ and Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, GENA PERALA circles back with another cover, this time taking on Britany Spears’ ‘Baby One More Time’

Recorded in her ‘home studio’ – only using a microphone and a laptop – Gena adds a smooth country twang to the 90’s pop classic, which pays homage to the #freebritney movement, a fan-led social media campaign which supports the Queen of Pop’s liberation from her conservatorship. Britany’s conservatorship was finally terminated last Friday (12th November), after 13 years under her father’s control.

Have a listen to Gena’s version of ‘Baby One More Time below…

EP Review: Away From The City – Melanie Crew & Ross Palmer

MELANIE CREW and ROSS PALMER have been performing together for several years but EP, ‘Away from the City’ is their first release as a duo. The EP features six songs, three by each writer, and was produced at their home in south London, including two songs that were written and recorded during lockdown (‘Nobody’s Watching’ and A ‘Different Place’).

Melanie leads the way on the EP with the purest of vocals, later supported by a male light baritone performance in guitar-led piece, ‘Seven Mountains’, setting the intimate theme of the collection. BBC Essex/Kent-backed artist went on to add a real mystical glow to spellbinding ‘Holborn Hill’ and ‘A different Place’, which boasts warm glow of country/indie folk.

Also beginning with a stripped-back performance with guitar-led, ‘Restless Heart’, Ross then takes the EP on a slight soulful route, giving the acoustic theme a full-body sound in ‘Nobody’s Watching’, where his soothing vocals eases into the arrangements, that somehow has a revival, Dr. Hook twang. Ross – also a BBC Essex and BBC Kent-approved artist – concludes the set with ‘Darkest England’ which carries on that full-bodied sound to the almost stripped performance, which allows his rich storytelling to take centre stage.

Even if you’re not the greatest fan of the folkore, singer/songwriter approach, you will find the ‘Away from the City’ appeasing as the moment you hit play the set, there’s a comforting warmth that immediately releases any weighty troubles away. Hear for yourself; have a listen below…

Must Listen: Holborn Hill, Nobody’s Watching, Darkest England

Song of the Day: Best Kind Of Light – Jess Knights

JESS KINGHTS‘ co-written ballad, ‘Best Kind of Light’, reflects on a graceful end to a relationship.

“It’s a choice to move on from any relationship with grace and integrity,” Knights says. “‘Best Kind of Light’ traces a reflection on what was with a recognition of what is, and a choice to remember the good and hopefully learn from the not-so-good.”

Fusing together Jess’ influences of blues, roots and revivalist soul, ‘Best Kind of Light’ – the title track of her latest album –  presents Knights’ luminous voice in its rawest form.

Absolutely stunning…Have a listen below…

EP Review: Time I Got Goin’ – House Above The Sun

Five-piece act, HOUSE ABOVE THE SUN‘s latest EP, ‘Time I Got Goin,’ carries on their neat theme of upbeat, feather light indie folk/rock/Americana from their 2017 EP, ‘Five Hours North’ (featured through intro single ‘Trains’ and ‘Time I Got Goin) but with a hint of bluesy country soul.

‘Small Town’ and ‘Footsteps’ are probably the best pieces that showcase their new-found sound, where an indie rock/folk combo serves as the perfect backdrop for the twang of that county soul.

In addition to their take on alternative folk/rock music, a retro/grunge-esque fusion presents itself through ‘The Bitter Life of Little Tony Starfish’ which gives the production a hazy and slight sparky feel.

It’s a real delight to see these South Londoners back on track with a range of genres – that I never expected – to their already established sound.

Check out ‘Time I Got Goin’ below…

Must Listens: Trains, Footsteps