EP Review: “Petals” by Phavors

Hello! ūüôā

It has been an awful long time since I’ve done an album/EP review; even longer time since I’ve been asked to do it as well!

Back in mid-May, I was sent a message on my Instagram page from a duo called Phavors. At the time, they were just about to release an EP called “Petals” and wondered if I could write a review of it on my blog. They are my first group to be based in the U.S. to ask for my services, and even though I feel more comfortable talking about international music, I thought it would be fun for not only me, but for my audience too!

So, when the band sent me their pitch and link to the tracks included on the EP. They also included that they sound like Bon Iver but have elements of Billie Eilish, which is what sold me. I’m not a huge fan of folk music, even though I love singer-songwriters Dido, Celtic Woman, Sarah McLachlan, and The Civil Wars; I’m still pretty picky when it comes to the genre as a whole. However, I chose to look beyond that and focus my attention to Philip and Kayla’s work. I hadn’t listened to anything before I went to write this review, it’s just what I like to do for things such as this, that way I’m not overthinking my words as the music flowing in and out of my mini speaker.

The EP itself only comes with four songs, and the first happens to be the title track “Petals.”¬† My first thought was how beautiful it was, the light sound of the acoustic guitar with Kayla’s soft vocals, were really nice. It reminded me of waking up early and wanting something soft and mellow to begin the day on the right foot. It’s a soothing song that suddenly made me really calm inside. It’s the perfect way to begin a short musical journey. And then we move onto, “Waste Time” and I’m not going to lie, I wanted to use the title as a pun, but I didn’t. I was good, but boy! It would’ve been perfect. One thing I liked about this, was we were finally able to hear Philip’s voice. He is definitely quieter than Kayla. I really liked the slight boop of bass in the beginning, it made me think the general sound would be a little different compared to the first and it is different. I had the same vibes I experienced in the previous, but the tempo is more upbeat and happier.

Third is “Water Is Still” and I was actually looking forward to this one. I had hoped it would sound calm; almost like you should expect to hear it at a spa. In a way, it was exactly how I hoped it would be, but thanks to the addition of electric guitars to the airy beat in the background it gave it a nice little change. It was the perfect instrumental for me. I was so happy to hear something like this, where there’s no vocals at all. It’s just a nice collection of soothing sounds together. Lastly, we have “Home” and to hear Kayla and Philip’s soft words come into focus and together was wonderful, but towards the end of it, everything grows louder and I really liked it.

I was genuinely surprised by this. There were moments when I thought of them sounding like artist Banks and British band London Grammar in a way, like the second track gave me a strong Banks vibe with Kayla’s cool voice, but the whole thing had a London Grammar type of flare. I find it a bit odd that I was half expecting everything to sound a bit like Dido, but they ended up sounding more modern, almost new age type of music that I am learning to fall in love with in the last few years. After I finished listening, I started searching on my Spotify playlists for more comforting type of music like Phavors. After what’s been going on with the world lately, I needed to escape my reality a little longer.

Have you heard of Phavors yet? If you have, do you have a favorite song? What were your thoughts on their new EP too?

snowflake

 

March Playlist

Hello!

Welcome back to another monthly playlist! I hope you are doing good, and finding your isolation comforting and possibly a little fun here and there.

I started this month on the right foot, as for the last four years, March has become more of a sadder time for my family and I since my papaw’s death. I try not to bring it into my playlist but it’s like my brain likes to have softer sounds around. The first week was nothing but Ingrid Michaelson, Plumb and a little of Dido mixed in there too. If you were to see the collection of songs I put into my Spotify playlist, the first four songs are all in gray/white so I’ve been secretly calling it the “gray” playlist.

Towards the middle of the month though, I found upbeat tunes and wanted to listen to some of my favorite albums, ones that I knew I liked all the way through and this brought me back into my rock phase for a little bit. I listened Halestorm, Icon For Hire, and Within Temptation. I also realized I still had a three hours worth of old school hip hop music videos I could be watching on my DVR, and I started adding some of my favorite tracks like “I Do!” by Toya, “Right Thurr” (Remix) by Chringy featuring Trina and Jeremaine Dupri, and “Snap Yo Fingers” by Youngbloodz featuring Lil Jon, Sean Paul, & E-40.

How about I just give you my Top 20 songs instead of talking about the process? It might be less boring for you too!

Open Hands by Ingrid Michaelson featuring Trent Dabbs
Chocolate & Ice Cream by Plumb
I Choose You by Sara Bareilles
You Will Become by Glen Hansard
Fire Breather by Laurel
Beautiful With You by Halestorm
Don’t Think I’m Not by Kandi
Queen by Loren Gray
Good In Goodbye by Madison Beer
Say So by Doja Cat
Baby, I’m Back by Baby Bash featuring Akon
A Mili by Lil Wayne
Carry On by Ashanti
AM To PM by Christina Milian
Imagine by Ariana Grande
Our Last Gloomy Dance by Diabulus in Musica
All Is Found by Evan Rachel Wood
Zipper by Jason Derulo
Sluil a Run by Ella Roberts
Nobody Wants To Be Alone by Christian Reindl featuring Atrel

I hardly ever play favorites when it comes to my own playlists–especially the monthly ones, but this one just feels different compared to the others. It’s calmer but you can sense the shift on where I was emotionally; for example I associate the month of March with my papaw of course, March Madness, and listening to lots of Celtic Woman. I have my mom to thank for that because a couple of weeks before my papaw died, she found PBS was airing the newest Celtic Woman concert (Destiny) and hearing them sing always gives me a sense of peace.

This month I was allowed to watch some of my favorite Disney movies, but honestly I just wanted to watch Frozen II on Disney+ and now that I have, I am sort of taking advantage of the opportunity and watching classics like Bambi, Alice In Wonderland and even the newest live action film: Aladdin. By the time, this post goes live I’d probably watched the rest! Back to Frozen though, I absolutely loved it! The wait was so worth it, and yes. I am as obsessed with the soundtrack like I am with the first one. I have already learned both “All Is Found” and “Show Yourself” like a pro! I did not know that Evan Rachel Wood could sing so good!

If you would like to check out my Spotify playlist, click here and you’ll hopefully be directed back to my profile. If not, please let me know so it can be corrected!

What are you listening to this month?

snowflake

Album Review: “Infections Of A Different Kind (Step 1)” By AURORA

review2017This will hopefully be my last album review to have come out in the month of September! I am so excited to talk about this new release though, I love Aurora a lot. She is an interesting artist, she has a beautiful voice and the music she creates is usually right up my alley. If it’s not too much to say this, she’s like the Scandinavian version of Ellie Goulding! The reason why I say that is because they both have similar styles but I think Aurora brings out more emotion than Ellie, but of course that’s my opinion!

When I realized she had a new album out, I was really curious on what the “Step 1” meant at the end of the title. Does that mean, we’ll be getting another release or more in 2019? Technically, what I’m reviewing fits the normal standards of an extended play, as it only consists of eight tracks, but the songs themselves are all fairly long in length so maybe that’s the reason why it is called an album instead. I guess we’ll have to see later on what it all means.

We start off with her first single “Queendom” and I absolutely adore this song so much! I find it really empowering, but also it has like an unique take of what we think how fairy tales should sound like in a way too. It breaks out of the norm and the music makes it sound really fun and there’s no way you’re able to stop dancing or singing along to it. Next is “Forgotten Love” and the beginning started off softly but it grew a little in the tempo and became a bit upbeat during the choruses. I like the fast drumming, it gave the whole another edge. It went from this little frail thing into something stronger, but it wasn’t overwhelming, it was still very gentle like falling snow and dancing in it afterwards.

Third is “Gentle Earthquakes” and I’m not going to lie, but I kind of fell in love with the title first. The introduction is somewhat mysterious, you hear a statically voice in the background in the first two seconds before hearing Aurora’s voice coming forth, The broken voice stays throughout the song, so it adds another curious element. What I really enjoyed was once you got to the choruses, her voice would become very sharp and powerful against the pop-y beat. There’s a lot in this song, but it does sound like a gentle earthquake to me. No pun intended! We move onto “All Is Soft Inside” and the first thing you hear are these different bells, they’re in different pitches but they give a sort of exotic vibe to the song. I also love the usage of the orchestra in the background as well, I think it plays well in the story of the track. I’s all so good as it has this dreamy environment with all of these different sounds and tempos, I think it may turn into a favorite of mine!

Everytime I see this track “It Happened Quiet” I always want to put an “ly” at the end because it doesn’t make sense this way! Anyways, it’s not my song so I’ll just shut up. This has a gorgeous beginning with only a harp. It’s one of my favorite classical instruments ever. I think it’s very graceful and matches well with Aurora’s voice, but this is very quiet song, you can finally hear her at her finest without any interruptions. This is loving and sweet, ugh! I really can’t get enough of it! Next there’s “Churchyard” and I was wondering about this one too. When it starts out, she sings the words in a capella monotone type of way. This has a real gospel feel to it, because of the male choir in the background but the beat changes after a while into this synth-drum beast. The only way I feel like I can describe it is like how Madonna’s song used to sound in the 1990’s! It just has that type of vibe to it and even I thought it was strange, but I say that in a good way!

“Soft Universe” is another track that has an exotic take but the sound as a whole is actually pretty gentle. Although those high pitched “bam-bam” drums you hear throughout give it another layer, it still retains that softness but they also give it a fun edge to it too. I like the dark electronica feel it has, it’s just good! And last but not least, we have the title track “Infections Of A Different Kind” and I really enjoy hearing only her faint voice peeking over the piano in the background. I think the song in itself is very moving but while the song played out, I kept seeing a ballerina dancing elegantly in a studio full of mirrors in her light pink tutu, she looks so beautiful telling her story along with it. It’s that kind of song to see a prima ballerina dancing her best to something like this.

I have to say, I’ve listened to a lot of music over the years, but nothing has ever made me seen so many beautiful images before. I kept seeing different scenery like country sides covered with blankets of snow and then various types of dancers expressing themselves in such a neat way. Aurora has that way about her. She is just at one with music that there is hardly a separation between them. I have to say, not many musicians can do that nowadays! This was the purest sound I’ve found in a really long time. If she does plan on releasing anything else, I hope they sound a bit like this, if not better!

Have you heard of AURORA’s new album “Infections Of A Different Kind” yet? What was your favorite thing about it? Is there a song you love the most?

snowflake

Tune Tuesday | Switzerland ’17

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Howdy!

Today is the last day for Tune Tuesday! I hope you have enjoy this year’s worldwide lineup. I find it very fun to end it on a new country to the lineup: Switzerland! If you’re wondering why I’m not adding USA onto the list, that’s because I have something pretty fun brewing right now so you’ll have to be on the look out for that soon.

Back in February I was watching a special on our PBS channel and it was about the creations of some of the scariest stories to come out of England in the 1800’s. Mary Shelley and her husband Percy along with her stepsister Claire plus Lord Bryon and John William Polidori stayed in a villa by Lake Genova in Switzerland. The weather was awful so they had to spend their days and nights indoors, to pass time they told stories and poems. Lord Bryon basically told them all to write the scariest story they can come up with and thus Mary Shelley created parts of the first draft of “Frankenstein” while Polidori began working on his first story “Vampyre” which would be about the modern vampire of the day.

I thought it was very neat for an hour show. It’s always stayed there in the depths of my brain so I kind of told myself early on that I needed to create a Tune Tuesday of Switzerland so I could tell you about it.¬†Now back to the music!

I had to have some help with finding some Swiss music so I put out a tweet that I was looking for anybody to help me out and I actually found a blogger who is a native of Switzerland. Solange gave me a whole list of different music which I thought was very nice and I’m hoping that’ll help me out the next time I do this! She suggested I look into a duo as I’ve gathered, they’re called Dabu Fantastic and they seem to do pop/ubran music in their native tongue which I love! They kind of remind me of a Swiss version of The Chainsmokers and I mean that in the nicest way. They’re pretty good!

The other one she gave me was a female singer Stefanie Heinzmann, like Dabu Fantastic I am not familiar with her, but there are some differences with her as she tends to have an indie-pop sound like Zella Day and Ingrid Michaelson. As I’ve managed to find on Spotify, she does her music in English and has a wonderful voice!

Are there any other music acts from Switzerland that you think I should look into? Let me know!

snowflake

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Tune Tuesday | Iceland ’17

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Howdy!

I’m very excited to finally talk about a country that I’ve added to my list this year! ICELAND! I actually don’t know many Icelandic artists but I did know about one and I think once everybody hears their name, they’ll probably think “they’re from Iceland?” At least that’s what my initial thought was when I first heard about it.

I think I’ll go with the newest band first, now I know you’ve heard of these guys lately. They’ve been played on the Top 40 radio stations all over and had their song “Way Down We Go” featured on different TV shows! ¬†Kaleo are an indie rock band from Reykjavik and consist of JJ Julius Son on both guitar and vocals, David Antonsson does backing vocals and plays the drums, Daniel Kristjansson is their bassist and to round them off is guitarist Rubin Pollock. ¬†They’re currently on tour now until November!

Does Of Monsters & Men ring a bell? The band came about in 2010 and members Nanna Brynd√≠s Hilmarsd√≥ttir and Ragnar √ě√≥rhallsson are guitarists and who share vocalists, Brynjar Leifsson he is the lead guitarist, Kristj√°n P√°ll Kristj√°nsson plays bass and Arnar R√≥senkranz Hilmarsson does the drums. They’ve released two albums and one live album and EP. Unfortunately I cannot find out if they are working on another album right now.

If you know of any more Icelandic music and want me to continue to list them on Tune Tuesday, please let me know!

snowflake

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