Barbarella Blue: Retro Bombshell

Mango Potion EP – Barbarella Blue

Breaking it down

Barbarella Blue, the stunning songstress from New Orleans, instantly hits you with an Amy Winehouse vibe on her single, “Mango Potion” where a reggae groove meets her jazzy vocals. And while this helps to fill the hole in our hearts left by Amy (RIP, girl), Barbarella shows range within her EP, proving that she’s not a copycat act.

Barbarella Blue JaxxShack Music Blog

I don’t know about you, but “Rainy Day” brings me to a place that I want to be every single day of my life – as long as that place also includes books and pit bull cuddles. Her songwriting echoes the sentiments of every one of us at one time or another, and somehow has me wishing away this gorgeous NY fall weather for a crappy, rainy Saturday.

“Film Star” gives us an interesting insight into her pop-rock inclinations. I almost want to pull a bit more, because I have a strong feeling she could really be a badass knockout in this genre (a la No Doubt, Paramore).

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Lumos Lights Up Soul-Pop

Classically trained Alexa Jaye & Legna Cedillo have combined their powerhouse vocals to form the Brooklyn based soul-pop duo Lumos. In an industry over-saturated with characters and gimmicks, Lumos ambitiously strives to create music that speaks louder than any fabricated brand.

After meeting in 2009 while singing in the choir at the University of Kansas, Alexa and Legna became quick friends, and eventually roommates. Their undeniable vocal abilities soon attracted the urgings of friends for them to combine their talents, and in 2015 Lumos was officially formed.

Lumos’s debut EP, Only Wonder, is a collection of soaring female vocals

Lumos JaxxShack Music Blog Artist Spotlight

Entertain: The EP’s opening track is an immediate introduction to the commanding aptitude of Alexa and Legna. They do not hold anything back for the sake of the buildup – they get straight to the point. By introducing themselves in this way their passion is both clearly apparent and infectious.

Flames & Run: These tracks provide welcome moments of soulful softness, and this variance in style provides a new layer of emotion and ability.

Stars: A highlight on this EP. “Stars” utilizes restraint in a way that makes the track inexplicably powerful. A carefully choreographed chorus of vocal runs is both playful and motivational. Every time I played this track I turned it up a bit more and more – something I haven’t been inspired to do in a while.

Supernatural: A feisty and fun track that’s stylistically reminiscent of Jessie J’s “Bang Bang” fused with a little blues rock. This would be a showstopper live.

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EXCLUSIVE VIDEO DEBUT: Greg In Good Company – 2AM

“2AM” – Greg In Good Company
Director: Andrew E. Cahill
Director of Photography: Bella Gonzales

Those of you who’ve been following JaxxShack since our launch in April will undoubtedly remember one of our very first spotlight artists, Greg In Good Company. Today, we are thrilled to debut the official music video for “2AM” – another gem of a track off of their EP [Get the EP here]. Let us know what you think below!

By the way – as if this exciting news wasn’t enough, Greg In Good Company will be releasing a new single, “Monster’s Lair,” later this month. We’re told that it was inspired by the original Netflix series “Stranger Things,” so you can expect that ‘80s sci-fi sound. We. Can’t. Wait.

 

Can We Make This Any Louder? Artist Spotlight: The Evening Shades

Familiarity of a home grown band, with the polish of something much bigger

The Evening Shades bring a playful wit to their lyrics, use subtle vocal manipulation to add texture to their songs, and clearly draw from various musical influences.

Can We Make This Any Louder – This quasi-ballad from The Evening Shades captures the listener’s attention with a unique structure and clever variances in tempo. The band masters the art of musical drama when the haunting guitar picking is interrupted by a climactic upswing, immediately followed by an abrupt re-transitioning breakdown. This is a song that begs to be played at a live venue. Funnily enough, I was so taken by this song that I started it from the beginning every time it ended because each time I heard something new and interesting. What I missed by doing that for the first few play-throughs was the candid recording of one of the band members musing “I think that’s the one,” a few seconds after the final notes die out. I, too, think this is the one.

Can’t Afford to Die – A dynamic vocal performance riddled with inflections reminiscent of Bradley Nowell, Billie Joe, and Hendrix (but still largely Thales) guides this display of spirited defiance. Just when the song seems to close it comes back to life, eventually pulling in the bass as the song’s heartbeat – a clever symbolic tie-in to the message of the song. Or am I looking too far into things, again?

Other notable tracks include Here and Now & It’s All About You. This is a band I’d love to see live.

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Brooklyn & a Banjo: The Johannas

Talent is talent. One of the reasons that I founded JaxxShack is to expose the fact that an artist who records their original song on an iPhone voice memo application is, almost 100% of the time, much more interesting & passionate than the over-produced studio artifact. Money buys a staff of people & auto-tune (hey, J-Lo), but it will never buy organic, transparent, and raw talent. There are so many hidden gems out in the world, yet we listen to the same songs on the radio so often that we know the words even if we can’t stand the song. Don’t get me wrong – I love me some Britney Spears. But when someone pours their heart and soul into their music, we’re committed paying attention, even when it feels like no one else is.

So that organic, transparent, and raw talent we were talking about?: Joe Terrell and Hannah Thompson (no relation) came together in 2011 to form The Johannas. This portmanteau of their names just seemed like a fun and clever way to represent themselves as a songwriting duo, but after listening through their first album, A Place You Have Prepared For Me, I realized it actually speaks to and embodies their southern folk sound. In fact, Joe’s haunting tone and Hannah’s vocal inflection, which balances on the edge of a ragtime croon, create a quietly powerful musical blend. The inclusion of the banjo and harmonica in The Johanna’s music makes them stand out, and also allows the music to sing for itself in many instances.

After releasing their first album, The Johannas picked up a few new members, Sam Tocci & Charlie Perry, previously of Crisco Dreams, and started working on a new album: Get Ugly. The first single off of this album, Your Own Health, brings a melancholy approach to a more developed sound.

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Beth Macari’s VooDoo Voice

Hi, our name is JaxxShack and it’s been 2 weeks since we brought you your last Spotlight Artist. Totally unacceptable, we know! BUT JaxxShack is super excited to bring you more content and even more new music moving forward after a brief restructuring period. Make sure you’re following our Twitter (@JaxxShack) and Facebook (facebook.com/JaxxShack) pages as well so you don’t miss our Social Exclusive artists. But enough of the shameless social media plug.

Beth Macari is worth the wait. As soon as I heard that groovy bass line in the opening of her single, VooDoo, my interest was piqued. Then, I was hit with her soulful voice. Man, she has some powerful pipes with a refreshing tone that makes you want to just sing along.

I don’t know what they’re putting in the water over in England, but Beth is yet another JaxxShack Spotlight Artist from across the pond. She made it to number 18 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter chart with her debut single, Heartstrings. In 2015, she was chosen by Nigel Wright to front the house band for the new TV game show, Bring the Noise (on which Nicole Scherzinger hosts, btw).

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UPDATE: Richard Lomax “Choose Your Own Adventure”

We first introduced you to Mancunian singer/songwriter  Richard Lomax back in April when we launched JaxxShack. He’s back with a new single, Choose Your Own Adventure. It’ll be available on iTunes and Spotify starting on June 24th, but you can check out the Official Video below!

JoeJoeKeys: What the Funk!

Last Saturday night, I celebrated the engagement of two really great friends at a gem of a spot in NYC: Howl at the Moon Dueling Piano Bar. I was not paid to write about them, I’m just absolutely stunned at the level of talent that was on stage. Anything you wanted to hear – from the popular 90’s hits, to singles that were released last week, to the most obscure Disney song – this group of brilliantly gifted musicians played flawlessly & with infectious energy. I left without a voice from scream-singing RENT & Bruno Mars songs (I feel you judging), and exhausted from dancing for 3 hours straight. Recommend.

It’s obviously the Week of the Piano (that has to be some astrological *thing*, right?), because I had already planned to write about the talented, funky, and business savvy Mr. JoeJoeKeys. It’s about time we had a little funk infusion on JaxxShack.

It’s completely apparent from the lyrics in each of his songs that JoeJoeKeys has a sincere passion for music. His rhythms vary from song to song while still maintaining that funky groove that just makes you want to dance. He reminds me of one of my favorite under-the-radar artists, Allen Stone, but with a bit more aggressive instrumental construction behind him. (Also) recommend.

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Artist Spotlight: Unparalleled Height

We look everywhere to uncover interesting and talented new artists from around the world. Sometimes we spend hours searching every corner of the internet for a great fit, and sometimes a great band just sends us a DM on Twitter about a radio contest that they’re participating in. Unparalleled Height earned our vote.

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Artist Spotlight: Ashlinn Gray

You know those singers that claim they were singing the second they left the womb (“even before started I talking!”), and that they received a standing ovation at their 3rd grade talent show from a misty-eyed audience after their rendition of Tomorrow from Annie, so they knew they were destined to be a *star*? My favorite thing about Ashlinn Gray is that singing did not come naturally to her. She grew up in an artistic family, so unsurprisingly, she was in singing, piano, and drama lessons by the age of 4. After realizing that singing wasn’t her strong suit, she pursued it even more – working with some of South Africa’s top vocal coaches.

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