Song of the Day: Shell – Ritual Cloak

Following on from their second album (Divine Invasions), collaborations with Welsh poet Autumn Juvenile and Polish Artist Michal Iwanowski, plus an R.E.M cover, Daniel Barnett and drummer/producer Andrew Sanders -aka electronic postrock duo RITUAL CLOAK – present their single, ‘Shell’ which is about being in a dream where you’re constantly searching for someone but never quite finding them.

It’s an idea that’s been floating around for a few years and gone through a number of different versions before becoming what it is now. Originally Shell was written for acoustic guitar and had a completely different feel. Dan remembers re-listening to Metals by Feist and being inspired by the dramatic intimacy of the album, leading to Shell being rewritten for piano. When the song was brought to the studio Sanders suggested taking the vocals outside of the usual comfort zone.

The inspiration for this method of production was taken from Bon Iver and Mogwai, experimenting with vocoder and the deliberate use of autotune for the first time. As a result the song entered new musical territories, and served as a reminder to ourselves that there are no rules in what we do. Have a listen below…

Song of the Day: Tedious – Xondra

Taken from her much anticipated EP, ‘Tedious & Brief’, released early this month. New York-based singer and songwriter XONDRA‘s single, Tedious’, is a fervent ballad about finding the strength to reclaim time, energy and love.

“It is a song for the people that love so much and so hard that they sometimes forget to save some for themselves; it is for those learning to step out of survival mode and really live in the present,” says Xondra. “’Tedious’ is me putting myself first. It is me allowing myself to to walk through the hard feelings I was having and still be hopeful that good times were coming down the road for me.”

Often blending elements of pop, rock, R&B and indie-pop, her music explores feminist themes with heartbreakingly honest delivery. Through the six-track EP, Xondra shares her experience of being a woman trying to survive in a man’s world. “I wrote this story for all of the people who have been hurt by the people who were supposed to love and keep you safe,” she says. “I wrote Tedious & Brief for all the people learning to speak up even if their voice trembles.”

Have a listen to ‘Tedious’ below…

Song of the Day: Pin Me Down – FRANSIS

Reminiscent of Wolf Alice and Florence + The Machine, London based alt/indie band FRANSIS‘ single, ‘Pin Me Down,’ was spurred by the tragic murder of Sarah Everard. It tackles a subject which is often difficult to talk about but shared by so many women, that of sexual assault, candidly focusing on the mental strain particularly in the aftermath, and the struggle behind closed doors.

Described as a therapeutic exorcism, Frontman Emma Withers shares, “This song is vulnerable and real, I wanted to focus on the self destruction, the brokenness, the confusion, the anger, and then finally the release which is supported by the music constantly, and as the song intensifies we hit an explosive finale, and an emotional release which was incredibly satisfying to perform in the studio, I did like 8 takes of this to get the raw emotion out of me, this is bonded with the mammoth eruption of epic guitar lines and pure power from the band.”

Despite the serious nature of “Pin Me Down” there is a positive outline, of admittance and then at the end, a collective sense of women standing together. A strong message that no-one should feel alone in their struggle, to let shame keep their burdens as skeletons or be fearful of walking down the street alone at night.

‘Pin Me Down’ is from their new EP, released last Friday (1st July). Listen to ‘Pin Me Down’ below…

Lee Gilbert Shares Emotive Single, ‘Soldier On’

Hot on the heels of the release of his latest album, ‘Take Me As I Am,’ and sell out show at the Parc and Dare Theatre, Rhondda, Welsh performer, singer and now songwriter LEE GILBERT has shared his new single waiting to be embraced by the listeners entitled ‘Soldier On’.

This emotional, multi-layered, Pop song was co-written between Lee and a new international songwriting collaboration called The Grand Cru. The Grand Cru includes… ex Jesus Christ Superstar lead, Steve Balsamo (who’s written for Slash, Meatloaf, Cliff Richard) and ex member of The Story’s and Balsamo/Deighton. Also on ‘The Cru’ is multi-award winning Welsh singer/songwriter Darren Parry, who’s a former UK Songwriting Contest winner, Billboard, Unisong, ISSA and USA Song Of The Year award winner (who’s co-written with The Korgis, Dan and Laura Curtis and others). In addition, the fourth member of ‘The Cru’ is Florida based Bonnie Skop, whose family has a long history in music; including her Dad managing Ted Nugent and Bob Seger in their early days.

As for Lee… he needs no introduction in the Welsh music scene; he is an acclaimed singer /actor. His 25 year career has spanned from Theatre, Radio and TV work which runs alongside his music career. As an actor Lee has performed in Musicals, Drama and Comedies, credits available via Spotlight. As a singer he has produced two other studio albums, ‘Just One Voice’ and ‘All of Me’. He performs in Theatres and venues around the UK and Europe as a solo performer or as front man with a 17 piece Big Band. His stage show ‘That’s Life’ is a full 2 hr extravaganza of music and dance. He is a regular performer of cabaret in London’s West End Cabaret venues and throughout the country, with other regular appearances in Greece and Switzerland.

Lee says… “The new song ‘Soldier On’ was written via Zoom during the lockdown periods, initially for a Hollywood film. Unfortunately, due to lockdown restrictions in the US and some problems the film did not go ahead (for now anyway) but the song still remains”. Lee says… “we dug into our own emotional well’s for this song. We wanted to express the struggle that people go through in overcoming adversity in everyday life, how they soldier on. Written long before Ukranian conflicts, this song now has a new meaning due to that we suppose but the song is hopefully universal in its message, it’s about rising above problems to a better place, it can mean different things to different people”!

Listen to Lee’s Gilbert’s ‘Soldier On’…

OUT TODAY: Listen To Darren Parry’s Single, ‘Unconditional Love’

Hot on the heels of his summer ear worm track, ‘Summer Of Love’, multi-award winning Welsh, singer/songwriter DARREN PARRY returns and treats us to a stunning ballad entitled ‘Unconditional’.

Darren says of the meaning behind the latest single… “If you describe something as unconditional, you mean that the person doing or giving it does not require anything to be done by other people in exchange or return”.

‘Unconditional’ was co-written with ex Jesus Christ Superstar lead Steve Balsamo (who’s written for Slash, Meatloaf, Cliff Richard and who also co-wrote Darren’s summer track ‘Summer Of Love’) and one of Wales’ top vocalists/performers, Lee Gilbert.

The single was written via Zoom during the lockdown periods, initially for a Hollywood film, which featured a 12-year-old-boy saying a tearful farewell to his father. Due to lockdown restrictions in the US, the film did not go ahead – but the song still remains!

So without further ado, it’s time to listen to Darren new heartfelt single below…