2018 has been a rockin year for new music. In no particular order, here’s a few of my absolute favourites- be warned, it’s an eclectic mix! 😉
Sarasvati- Released To Aion
Sarasvati is the solo project from Canadian bass playing legend, Chela Rhea Harper. Inspired by esoterica, Sarasvati is a fusion of folk metal, melodic doom metal and progressive rock. A highly creative and intelligent individual, Chela has been crafting her own material in tandem with studying creative coaching. Released To Aion, a collaboration with metal vocalist/guitarist Joe Waller, was released at the beginning of the year. The forth-coming album has experienced setbacks despite completion, but undoubtedly, Sarasvati will be back in full force when the timing is right.
The atmospheric introduction is to die for. I love Chela’s ethereal vocals on this. Think of Enya but with dreadlocks to die for. But Canadian. And with a heavy song, heavier than heavy itself. Plus a doom metal band behind her. So not Enya really but you get the idea! Play it louder than loud. It’s a masterpiece. Then go buy it. Support independent music. Here: Released to Aion | Sarasvati
RSO is super songwriting, rock power-couple Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) and Orianthi (Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper). Both are incredible guitarists with highly recognisable styles and both have stellar vocal chords. Recognised as an artist in her own right, Orianthi hails from Australia. Their debut album, Radio Free America was recorded in their L.A home over 2 years and produced by the legendary Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi).
Masterpiece was originally released as a single last year but seeing as the album only came out in May, I’m counting it as so. I love this song on so many levels- it’s the perfect love song. I love the way Richie and Ori’s vocals weave around each other and when they unite, they compliment each other perfectly. His gritty/edgy voice contrasts nicely with her smooth, warm and sweet vocals. The lyrics are incredibly beautiful, makes me wish I wrote them myself! It’s actually so delightful to hear a love song written by two people in love-without any cheddar! Kudos to the production on this, I love the effected drums and looping vocals. Solid songwriting. This rocks so much. Purchase: Radio Free America by RSO on Apple Music.
RSO- Blues Won’t Leave Me Alone
This is the song that brought Orianthi back to my consciousness. I think the production is simply phenomenal and incredibly brave. It’s so different to her back-catalogue. There’s something utterly perfect about this track. Perhaps it’s the way she entwines blues, gospel, soul and rock in the most perfect way. Her lyrics are exceptional, my favourite line has got to be: At least it feels like all that I’ve got is me and my guitar. Such a lyric makes me yearn for my guitar right now and wish I would make more time for it.
For me, this song indicates Orianthi is growing as a songwriter and artist. Her previous albums are great but this knocks right out of the park. Enjoy.
Emigrate- A Million Degrees
My man, Richard Zven Kruspe needs no introduction (especially if you follow my Instagram of this blog!). But hey, if you landed here not knowing who he is, i’ll fill you fast: Kruspe is the lead guitarist of industrial-metal rockers, Rammstein and Emigrate is his solo pursuit. After a 4-year wait since his last, his 3rd album A Million Degrees was released at the end of November.
The title track is stellar. This is probably his finest song to date (though he has some epic numbers!), it’s catchy, anthemic and heavy. It ticks all the boxes for me. His signature German/American accented vocals, great guitar riff, synth riff, vocal layering, solid drumming, combined with the fantastic song and perfect production make for his finest come back. I’ve been crushing on this man since Mutter (2001, Rammstein) and I’m so pleased to see him evolve into an artist in his own right. Now if 2019 brings any Emigrate gigs I’ll be a happy bunny (tickets for Rammstein are gold dust!). Purchase: Emigrate on Apple Music.
If you’re in the humour to dance/rock out then listen to 1234. The more I hear it, the more I like it myself.
Avril Lavigne- Head Above Water
When I first heard Avril in 2002, I couldn’t help but be a tad annoyed at her. She was quite the brat wasn’t she?! And everyone kept calling me Avril too which didn’t help! However she progressed (and occasionally lapsed) and has some fantastic tunes in her catalogue. She often powers my long distance runs. But don’t tell her that ;)Her last album (2013) was mighty good with an eclectic mix of pop, rock, dance and acoustic numbers. I especially loved the track she did with (then) husband (the equally annoying), Chad Kroeger.
Unfortunately in 2015, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, putting a halt on her career. Spending a long time healing and looking after herself, promising her sixth album (due next year) but in September this year, she released the title and debut track, Head Above Water, a song which is frighteningly close to the bone. Avril puts all of her emotions of being ill and the experience of being at death’s door into this wonderfully crafted production. She’s taken a huge leap forward with this song, notching up yet another level. Well done Avril. Looking forward to your album, hope to go running with you soon. Purchase: Head Above Water – Single by Avril Lavigne on Apple Music
Bangin’ dance/house number I couldn’t get out of my head all year.
Beoga feat. Ryan McMullan- We Don’t Have to Run
This video is the RTE Special that aired last year but this song was finally released in May this year. I just love this on so many levels, I wish I produced it myself!