Mitsune Told Me: The Mind’s Behind ‘Hazama’

Mitsune is something to truly feast your ears on. Teaching us to look beyond the sounds of the western curtain, the quintet bring traditional Japanese folk music and infuse it with the sounds of modern blues, jazz and rock in a culmination that truly broadens horizons. The band’s latest project, Hazama, is due to be unveiled in mid-February so we got chatting to two of the Tsugaru shamisen players, Youka and Tina, to find out more…

STM: When was the last time you discovered an artist through word of mouth?

Youka: Constantly! The most recent examples are Yuma Abe (Japan), Audrey Nuna (USA) and Juba, a sick UK/Nigerian DJ who lives in Berlin. I found out about all of these artists through friends.

STM: How useful is the tool of ‘word of mouth’ when an artist is just starting their career?

Tina: I think it’s a communication of high quality, since the recommendation is added, which gives it this extra kind of honouring. Especially when starting a career, this can be the hidden gem recommendation.

STM: What were your first ‘tools of promotion’ when you first started in music?

Tina: Facebook, Instagram, mailing lists, website and flyers.

STM: What do you think the industry would look like without streaming platforms like Spotify?

Youka: This might be controversial, but I think Spotify algorithms are responsible for the homogenisation of a lot of music. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of diverse music on streaming platforms – anyone can put their music out there without a label or distribution deal, and that’s a wonderful thing! But these days most listeners are discovering music via Spotify algorithmic playlists, and I think it can really get you stuck in a genre box. Unimaginative music that sounds like whatever is popular at the time gets rewarded. I think it’s even started to affect the way people make music, musicians catering for this.

Anyway, to answer your question – I think the music industry without streaming would be overall more refined, curated by tastemakers, with more emphasis on albums rather than singles. On the downside, it might be harder for emerging artists to get their hat in the ring.

STM: What did you learn about yourselves as people and as musicians from writing/recording Hazama?

Tina: I learned to appreciate the energy of working together based on deep respect for a person and their skills. And there were so many new musical influences, which was a sensory experience. Last but not least: vocals + tricky shamisen techniques at the same time were a great challenge.

STM: Where did the idea behind the band come from?

Tina: The love for the shamisen was what connected us all. This mutual passion made us reach out for each other. The different paths we came from gave us very unique perspectives to this instrument, and to music in general. We want to show that this supposedly ‘traditional’ instrument is very much alive and contemporary. It is exciting and vibrant.

STM: How important is it that we spread knowledge and awareness of these traditional Japanese folk music sounds to those unaware of them?

Tina: For a more diverse music scene, any music that promotes lesser known instruments and tunes should get attention. There is such a big range of instruments and musicians beyond the western curtain, which still dominates what is broadcast and who is booked.

STM: What is the group dynamic like between the five of you?

Youka: Our rehearsals are a lot of fun, lots of laughter. Mitsune started first as a shamisen trio, so Tina, Shiomi & I have known each other the longest in the band. We have a deep relationship that extends far beyond musical collaboration – it’s a sisterhood. We love each other very much and are an emotional support network for one another. Petros & Daigo, our percussionist & bassist, are both super fun, enthusiastic people who are amazing to be around. They are also incredible musicians, open-minded and willing to tackle anything. The band is essentially based on friendship, so there’s a lot of great energy flying around in our rehearsals and on stage. We try to have fun 🙂

Hazama is unleashed on the 18th of February 2022!

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True Religion unleash an entrancing fusion of Spanish and English influences on their new single “Que Bonita”.

Today, I would like to introduce you to one of the most novel musical acts currently performing today. The duo “True Religion” consist of the virtuosic flamenco guitarist Juan Carmona and the exceptional vocalist Amy Gill. With distinctive vocals, combined with pounding beats that will fill any dancefloor, “True Religion” have crafted one of the most unique sounds of the fast-growing underground music scene.

The exhilarating single “Que Bonita” begins with the strumming of Carmona’s tender guitar strings which immediately grabs the listener’s attention. Then, the exceptional, soulful vocals of Gill kick in, which will make any listener yearn to dissect every word that emerges from Gill’s vocal chords. Gill’s voice is very reminiscent of a young Sinead O’Connor, due to her unique ability to hit the highest of octaves. The first 50 seconds of this track allows the listener to hear Gill’s isolated vocals, combined with exceptional production work, Gill’s vocals have a distinctive ‘echo’ effect, which allows Gill to have the maximum emotional effect on the listener.

“True Religion is the truth about ourselves, about how we can handle things, the emotion of being alive and feeling the others, about how we can manage difficult situations, by being kind, conscious, by practicing mindfulness and meditation, by true friendship, by trying to be better persons every day.” – True Religion

The track then takes an unexpected turn, when a house dance beat is introduced alongside Gill’s vocals, with Carmona’s distinctive guitar playing also making a much welcomed return. The music gradually grows into an irresistible electronic/dance track that will be welcomed at any nightclub in world, especially post COVID-19.

The wonderful attraction of “True Religion” is that you never know what they are going to do next. This is the case with “Que Bonita” as the track’s final two minutes contain no vocals and instead allow the listener to appreciate Carmona’s exceptional musicianship on both the guitar and piano, this is his moment to shine!

This track is a wonderful blend of flamenco and house, with influences from both England and Spain that will hopefully unite the whole continent of Europe during a period in which we arguably, the most isolated from each other. Check out “Que Bonita” if you haven’t already!

WATCH THE ‘QUE BONITA’ MUSIC VIDEO HERE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFRKHEYrjUg

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Words by Aidan Whelband

Country singer-songwriter Adam Lanceley unleashes the inordinate album “Welcome to the Next Century”

I would describe the Adam Lanceley as an irresistible fusion of melodic Eagles songs with a vocal delivery akin to Bob Dylan. Lanceley’s latest release, “Welcome to the Next Century”, is a fantastic collection of 11 songs that infuse everything excellent about country, guitar-driven music.

The album opener ‘Summer of Love’ is a gentle acoustic-driven track with an addictively catchy pop melody that you are sure to be humming along to once you get the chance to hear it. The album takes a much more mellow direction with the third track, ‘Asking for Shelter’, a powerful ballad with an alluring piano riff alongside Lanceley’s scintillating vocals. My personal favourite track on the album is ‘A World in Blossom’, a brilliantly bristly guitar riff reminiscent of Nirvana in their ‘In Utero’ days.

“The new tracks that are on this album have all been recorded since my last EP came out and all were written and recorded during lockdown. Doing this then helped me to escape some of the stress of the situation and almost take myself away to a sunnier, more care-free place. It was always intended that they would be released when the world seemed ‘brighter’ and on a more personal level, it felt like a turning point where things suddenly seemed easier”. – Adam Lanceley

However, Lanceley was not born with exceptional musical talent and suffered many severe setbacks before embracing his destiny to become a supremely talented musician. At age 10, Lanceley’s life changed forever when a car accident left him with devastating injuries that demolished his dreams of becoming a sportsman. He sustained severe brain injuries during this accident and has struggled with his mental health ever since. However, this excruciating experience allowed Lanceley to escape through music and found refuge in crafting songs. His love and passion for music are evident throughout ‘Welcome to the Next Century’ and have a lasting impact on anyone who gives it a listen.

Check out Adam Lanceley here:

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Words by Aidan Whelband

Michael Cooke unleashes the magnificent album ‘Midnight Call’.

The 16th of June has forever been immortalised as ‘Bloomsday’, the date on which the entirety of James Joyce’s masterpiece ‘Ulyesses’ takes place. However, there is now another reason why there is great significance associated with the 16th of June. It is the day that Michael Cooke will release his seminal album ‘Midnight Call’. Within the album’s lead single ‘Around Here’, Cooke showcases his innate ability to combine juxtaposing musical styles to create a novel and distinctive sound only he can make.

‘Around Here’ begins with a heavy, thumping, pounding drum beat which immediately demands your complete attention. Cooke then introduces a gentle acoustic guitar riff, making the listener feel as if they’re gently gliding on water.

In his youth, Cooke was initially set to become an Olympic athlete, however fate intervenient in the form of a devastating injury that hindered his chances of achieving his sporting dreams. However, Cooke would find an emotional outlet in music as he says:

“So many people let life pass them by and get caught up in group identity because they are scared of knowing themselves. I think once you start down the road of knowing yourself there’s no going back and let’s be honest it’s
pretty terrifying you see a lot of things about yourself you don’t like and it’s very hard to ignore”.
– Michael Cooke

Cooke has had an enviable music career as he has eloquently crafted music for television programmes and films available on Netflix. This album is just the start for Cooke, and I, for one, cannot wait to see what he has in store for us next.

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Words by Aidan Whelband

David Omlor reawakens 60’s guitar music with the exhilarating folk-Debut LP “Entropy”

David Omlor has just released his eagerly awaited debut album “Entropy” to a glistening reception from ‘The Ark of Music’ & ‘SleepingBagStudios’. David Omlor has delivered a scintillating album that is both a nostalgic throwback to 60s folk-rock and a progressive contemporary piece of art.

Omlor wastes no time in grabbing your attention, with the album opener ‘Let You Know’ delivering an irresistibly captivating guitar riff and melody that you won’t be able to rub out of your ears. The album’s second track, ‘Truth’ is a tranquil song with a gentle acoustic guitar alongside a tender electric guitar riff, reminiscent of Gary Moore’s ‘Parisienne Walkways’ beautifully melodic guitar riff. The entire album was recorded during the tumultuous year of 2020, but Omlor has used his valuable free time to construct this excellent record. Omlor states:

“During the complete insanity that was 2020 I locked myself in and created a solo record titled Entropy. Through the magic of modern technologies like Dropbox and Zoom I was able to collaborate with amazing musicians from all over the US to put together nine songs that try to make sense of an extremely strange and difficult time and come out of that darkness with some hope.”David Omlor

My favourite tracks from “Entropy” are the beautifully melancholic “Ghosts in Oklahoma” and ‘Surprised’ which takes the listener on a leisurely stroll through a tale of finding someone you love.

Omlor’s influences include such greats as Jason Isbell, Aimee Mann, George Harrison and the folk-rock legend Bob Dylan. Music is Omlar’s enduring passion, and he is currently a member of the sensational US band Benjamin Road who have played countless shows all over America. “Entropy” is Omlar’s first step into the world of being a solo artist, and I certainly cannot wait to see what other music he has in store for us. Go check out “Entropy” if you haven’t already.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BenjaminRoadMusic/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/djomlor
Website: https://davidomlormusic.com/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/djomlor
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2M5qfWXOwj7wysYePv8ca9?si=nDYtleVlQpaOu-K2S5fSiA

Words by Aidan Whelband

Anita Gabrielle unveils ‘research EP’ into Parkinson’s Disease with Grammy-Award winning collaborator

Released on December 7th, singer-songwriter Anita Gabrielle teams up with Grammy-award winning Amy Wadge (best known for her songwriting collaborations with Ed Sheeran) in her new EP ‘Just Neat‘.

With leading single ‘Best Friends’ out today, Anita’s music draws influence from the likes of Joni Mitchell, Annie Lennox and Carole King. An artist in her own right, the EP has drawn inspiration from her brother Michael, who lives with Parkinson’s Disease. Raising both awareness and funds for the disease, ‘Just Neat’ is an honest and heartfelt EP.

Opening track ‘Best Friends‘ pulls at the heartstrings with a strong emotive theme throughout. Recorded on a 1990s 8 track, but produced and mixed using the best modern day technology by Ben Garraway, ‘Best Friends’ acts as a shoulder to cry on during the world’s current darkness.

Avenue Louise‘ feels like an instant classic from the get-go. Armed with a strong orchestral arrangement, Anita’s distinctive vocals soar with guidance.

I Want To Go Outside Again‘ is the most relatable track on the whole release. Bathed in memorable hooks as well as new territory for the EP, the familiar number feels close to home right about now.

Got You Covered‘ has a subtle Eva Cassidy vibe to it’s arrangement, and that’s never a bad thing. Completely refreshing and one of the strongest tracks on the EP, this tune is simply elegant.

EP-closer ‘Dance Through Life’ keeps the strong momentum going, and features a pulsating drum beat that leaves listeners wanting more from it’s passionate folk attire.

Turning the world’s current darkness into light, ‘Just Neat’ is a breathtaking release from Anita Gabrielle.

Just Giving Link: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/anita-gabrielle
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-739931300/sets/just-neat/s-OJK1wPdt7ix
Apple: https://music.apple.com/gb/album/avenue-louise-
single/1531735236?uo=4&app=itunes&at=1000lM6c

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5w6HNVWyruiVDyZQsISrge
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-loV4mhu8jLucGO6Gv9ZfA

Check out the latest episode of The Quite Great Radio Show

Watch the next episode “Just Checking In – Episode 2” on the Quite Great YouTube channel. Writer, Chloe Mogg covers ‘Is COVID-19 causing a surge of long term chronic illnesses?

Michael Cooke finds his identity with latest album release ‘Doin’ Alright’

Michael Cooke’s recently-released debut album ‘Doin’ Alright‘ is doing more than alright. An exceptional release that finally helps Cooke find his own identity after a years of looking in different industries; his story doesn’t start with music. Having had his hopes dashed of becoming an Olympic athlete, Michael turned to acting.

To keep you fully in the loop, Michael has an identical twin who is always in the acting industry. Coming up against his own twin for the same roles, Michael still became a successful actor, and has featured in films ‘Now You See Me 2‘ and ‘Outpost 3‘ to name a few.

‘Doin’ Alright’ is an 8 track release straight from the heart. Soul-bearing and securing a strong indie persona, the album hears all of Michael’s influences under one roof. Somewhere between the sound of the 60’s while still sounding refreshingly like the present, the album resides in a folk come indie rock atmosphere.

Listen to ‘Doin’ Alright’ below, we’re certain it’ll brighten your day.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelcookemusic/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michaelcookeofficial/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-830073447-182196885
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5MxyKC6glppKNIXoR0mbaI?si=W5vd0Nv6QG-JTpO9lBUOjw
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRp-OTMQGvxHX3Cp1C1dx_g/videos

Check out the latest episode of The Quite Great Radio Show: 

Father-son duo ‘Uneven Stevens’ hit headlines, proving how music PR companies are here to help.

Made redundant last summer, Richard Stevens was left without work. In a stressful situation, his son Oscar decided that they should write a song to send to employers asking them to look beyond the CV and at the person behind the paper.

Amazingly, after hearing ‘Paper Me’, one employer hired Richard Stevens, who now finally has a job after 200 failed applications.

The father-son duo also asked music PR company Quite Great to listen to their song. As an unsigned, one-song band, Uneven Stevens were likely to receive little recognition, but after hearing the heartwarming story, Quite Great gave the band the platform they deserved.

Now, Richard’s story of finding employment through music has reached the upper echelons of UK and Irish press. With headlines in The Scottish HeraldThe Belfast Telegraph and ITV News, as well as broadsheet mentions in The Metro, The Sun and The Star, Uneven Stevens have proven why unsigned artists should always reach out to music PR companies like Quite Great.

‘Paper Me’, and the touching story behind it, is the definition of a feel-good tune and a great example of the music industry pulling together in hard times.

Listen to Paper Me now-

Find and support the iconic father/son duo Uneven Stevens.

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Written By: Jessica Rowe

Rising star Kelsey Coleman says Thank You for immense UK support

Following the huge success of her debut single Nobody, Kelsey Coleman gives a warm ‘thank you’ to her UK audience in a touching video tribute.

Nobody made waves for the young pop talent across the globe but found a special place in the hearts of the UK music audience.

As a thank you for the continued support Kelsey Coleman has released a dreamy cover of Warren Zevon’s Keep Me In Your Heart. Heartfelt, emotive and pure Kelsey explains the sentiment behind the video- 

“In the world today with what’s occurring and with all the conflict and anger, Keep Me in Your Heart is a message about peace and love, which I think we all need more of. I wanted to spread positivity and light to people and hopefully give people something to smile about. This is also a thank you to all the fans and supporters of my music and career so far. Thank you so much everyone and I hope you enjoy my cover!”

Nobody was an uplifting debut single we all needed, an ambient track featuring Kelsey’s dreamy vocals and authentic lyrical style.

Kelsey Coleman is a genuine talent, a delicate musician and a vivid story teller. An artist that brings innovation to the Pop genre and whose future is set to shine brightly. 

Debut single Nobody has already clocked up over 200,000 Spotify streams to date and even received a feature on prominent youtube channel The Vibe Guide. But Kelsey is not stopping there. With a new single due in October of 2020 Kelsey Coleman has endless talent to share with the world. 

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Written By: Jessica Rowe

Singer-Songwriter sensation Tia Beale releases a stunning debut EP

Sydney songstress Tia Beale has released her debut EP, a self titled 5 track project that establishes the young star as one to watch.

Recorded in collaboration with none other than Steve Clisby, a music industry heavyweight who has jammed with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Kool & The Gang and Chaka Khan.

The self titled EP is diverse from a gentle, soulful ballad ‘Do It Over’ to the upbeat synth track ‘Synergy’, Tia Beale’s talent knows no bounds.

With a childhood surrounded by rich musical tapestry and a family heritage from Barbados to Ireland Tia Beale’s diverse talent comes as no surprise. The 5 track project is a strong, stunning debut for singer Tia Beale.

The young singer has already received praise from industry tastemakers such as Muso TV and is a certified one to watch for 2020.

Stream Tia’s debut EP here

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