STM Reviews: J Israel – Be Grateful (Give Thanks)

Set for release on 25/11/21, ‘Be Grateful (Give Thanks)’ is also set to become the new go-to Christmas song that families across the world will be yearning to play.

The soul, characterised by its weighty beat and confident vocals, that comes across in ‘The Real J Israel’s upcoming festive single, adds a rich depth of flavour to the memories that have been drawn in the name of jubilant remembrance. He incorporates messages of gratefulness, and the fact life is hard for all of us and that we should be proud for our perseverance.

Juxtaposing this seemingly negative strife with something as wholly heart-warming as the comfort you get from family, and building on this through the already lightened spirit of Christmas, is only complimentary of his illustriousness and skill.

When listening, one feels intensely moved as a result of the gospel undertones. The beats that remain consistent during the whole song attributes to the consistency in the joy that being grateful will bring you, and the notion then of these beats mimicking the gospel sway and clap just makes you fall into the music and transcend yourself into joining in with that community spirit.

Family is clearly of high importance to ‘The Real J Israel’ and he makes admirable use of the passion and soul within this and evolves it into the compelling yet humble sound of his music. His history of gospel choirs and the church only enhance these notions, yet even as an atheistic listener you still feel embraced and loved through his words given the positioning this song has as a beautifully curated R&B ballad to life. Everyone has experienced life, so everyone can attune themselves to this touching tune.

‘The Real J Israel’s’ modern production combined with traditional instrumentation reflects on how deep-rooted the emotions of the song are, yet how we also need to look to the future and be grateful that we have another day to be grateful for all the love in our lives. His thoughtful style and clever curation make the prospect of new music from him all the more exciting.

Follow J Israel down below!


Words by Cecelia Koç

Somebody Told Me News: Tunetables Brings The Perfect Christmas For Music Lovers

It’s officially Christmas time, which means it’s time to go spare trying to work out what gifts to get for the music-loving obsessive in your life. Fear not, however, because I have the perfect suggestion: Tunetables. What are Tunetables, I hear you cry? What we have here are bespoke tables that double as storage units for CDs, tapes or vinyl. Each one is based on the aesthetic of music-equipment flight-cases – you will have seen the sort of thing in countless band-photos. I have to say, the units look amazing. “The Tunetables idea was born,” says inventor and Tunetables head, Rob Chappelhow, “out of a personal desire to have my music collection around me once again.” That’s something we can all appreciate.

If you have a moment, head over to their website and check them out. Yes, you will be paying more than the price of a flat-pack, but then you are getting a whole lot more for your money.

There are a few different ranges to choose from, and each hand-crafted case can even be personalised with your own initials or branding. Products from the Tunetables ‘Classic’ line also come complete with its own unique number detailed on a custom badge, which is a nice touch. Storage numbers range from 100 – 500 for CDs, 30 – 60 for tapes, and 75 for vinyl. As you can see from the photos on their website, these products are as much about display as storage, which is crucial for us collector’s.

Check out Tunetables below:


Somebody Told Me Art: The Work Of David Hicks

If music and/or photography is your thing, I’d recommend checking out the work of David Hicks, whose visual documents from both Cuba and Beunos Aires capture musicians and dancers beautifully. “I like wandering around towns and streets, marvelling about how we, human beings, live,” says David himself.  If there is a common theme in Hicks’ work, it is one of human connection. He is clearly a thoughtful artist who cares as much about the subtext as he does about the image itself.

“In Cuba,” explains Hicks, “they live for their music. It’s everything to them, and they’re very good at it.” Cuba has a rich and vibrant musical history, both in terms of playing and dancing. and Hicks, seems like the perfect candidate to capture the colours and emotions which emerge when Cuban dance and music combine. “After the initial outlay of buying the instrument of choice,” says Hicks, “it’s very cheap to enjoy. There’s not much in the way of other distractions so practise is easy ! Salsa music and dancing is common, with Rumba too. I tried to avoid the obvious photographs of the average Cuban bands doing their thing.”

Take a look at his work, which you can see here, and you can’t help but agree. The strength of Hicks’ work lies in his ability to capture the uncommon, magic moments in a way that feels whollly original.

Follow David’s work down below:

Website: HiXPOSURE | Travel Photography

Fynbos: The Only One – Single Review

Yearning weaves itself into every ounce of ‘Fynbos’s new song. From India to the UK and through the trials of life, we have the birth of ‘The Only One’ come out the other side. This is a single that does anything but neglect the rich emotional history that anyone can find within themselves, because as a listener you fall into the melody and become one, now serving as a medium of harmonious empathy.

‘Fynbos’ welcomes you into the space of this song from the offset, constructing the evocative sensation of floating around the cosmos. He sings to the melody like it’s his romantic partner, meaning that when paired with the sensational reverbed guitar, you feel embraced and catered to. You feel loved. Having this element at the structural core of the song is why it makes you so empathic, so swept away, and ‘Fynbos’ only enhances this further with his hypnotic chorus.

Ignited by the underscore of restrained drums, the choral voices singing ‘you’re the only one’ create an untouchable pulse that you are transfixed by, brought to life by the subdued bass. ‘Fynbos’ knows that everyone has a story of isolation, of feeling too far away from loved ones, and so he creates this song to bring the characters in all those stories back together to create one big heartbeat. If you can’t do it on earth, then at least you can do it in this effervescent dream he has constructed for you. That you have constructed. This heartbeat is inextinguishable, and gives you hope and comfort as a result, despite the unmissable undertone of melancholy.

The song fades out on this experience of endless spinning, as if you will never have to be let go again. An abrupt ending would have destroyed this, but ‘The Only One’ let’s you take this with you into the rest of your day, week, year, and even life, because it understands that shaking desperation that forms the foundation of the human existence.

For fans of Arcade Fire, The Divine Comedy, and The Flaming Lips, you can find ‘The Only One’ and Fynbos via the links below: