LISTEN: Megzz – ‘Checkmate’

Following the release of her debut EP Feel My Love in 2019, and acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing for last year’s ‘Tell Me Why‘, unsigned Northamptonshire artist Megzz has now shared her latest single ‘Checkmate’ – a truly soulful treat for the ears. Fans will know of her commitment to using her platform and creativity to speak on self love, mental health and racism. Throughout the last year, Megzz has raised funds for several charities tackling these areas and even created her own movement. It’s a wonder she’s had time to create new music at all, and yet here’s ‘Checkmate’ – a fresh, empowering tune for anyone frustrated after being left on read. She’s a wonder woman!

‘Checkmate’ opens with a tasty pop and R’n’B influenced beat from which Megzz launches her gymnastic ability to deliver bars of crystal clear lyricism while displaying broad vocal range. Soon, the charming, toe-tapping intro takes a satisfying drop into the meaty bite of a more electronic sound (think SBTRKT meets Lapsley) luring us from swaying shoulders to banging heads and back. Meanwhile Megzz’s songwriting is the stuff of Insta caption dreams – “a queen without her king is still a monarch” is my current favourite.

Megzz obviously has a huge amount to say and I can’t wait to hear what this innovative artist does next.

Tutku Barbaros
@tutkubarbaros

Track Of The Day: Fräulein – ‘Belly’

Originally hailing from Northern Ireland and the Netherlands respectively, London-based duo Joni Samuels and Karsten van der Tol – aka Fräulein – have been winning us over since we first became pretty obsessed with last year’s single ‘Drag Behind’. Now, following their majestic last single ‘Pretty People‘ and acclaim from the likes of BBC Radio 1’s Daniel P. Carter, they have shared the first taste of a new double a-side release.

Exuding a stirring sense of frustration, ‘Belly‘ is propelled by dark, sparse hooks and raw, loose beats as the sweeping, captivating allure of Joni’s vocals take centre stage. With shades of Rid Of Me era PJ Harvey, it flows with an eerie, spellbinding energy, interwoven with a gritty, grunge-fuelled drive. Building with a visceral power to a brooding, immersive cacophony, ‘Belly’ will take you on a fierce sonic journey; an evocative soundscape showcasing this innovative duo’s consistent ability to develop their exquisite musical prowess with each new release.

Of the meaning behind the track, Joni Samuels explains:

‘Belly’ is a song that is written around its lyrics. I’m talking about how creativity can be bloody and exhausting for some people but really organic and energising for some others.”

Fräulein headline The Windmill in Brixton on 25th October, tickets available here.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Emma Swann

LISTEN: Alice Mary – ‘Too Much’

Alice Mary is an indie-pop musician living in East London who makes music combining a mixture of electronics, guitar, and introspective lyrics. Following 2017’s I Am Here EP and charming us live at The Amersham Arms a few years back, she has now shared new single ‘Too Much’. A tight pop production with Prince-inspired synths and guitars, it fuses together pulsing samples and angular vocal melodies. With additional production and drums from Alex Walker and a pumping bass line from George Kerridge, it’s upbeat, playful music with a darker subtext.
 
Infectious and full of energy, it begins with the excitement of a new relationship, which we hear in the ’80s–style sampling and the funky guitar sound (reminiscent of a Prince classic), yet the vulnerability starts to come through in the second verse (“I’m an island of unrest…”). The contrast in the chorus between “too much of a good thing” and “you’ll never be enough” perfectly sums up the song’s themes of sex and anxiety. Like all good pop songs, it is relatable, capturing the nerves and expectations of being intimate with someone new, all in a succinct rush.

We’re off to a good start with this song, the first of four singles to be released this year from Alice. We can’t wait to hear more of her heartfelt, shimmering sounds.

‘Too Much’ is out now. Keep your eyes peeled for a brand new live video, set for release on 24th May.

Fi Ni Aicead
@gotnomoniker

LISTEN: L.A. Witch – ‘Gen-Z’

There’s a hazy feeling that comes with listening to the music of Californian trio L.A. Witch. Their grungy vocals and psychedelic guitars have a way of transporting you to the Californian desert with the taste of last night’s whiskey on your breath.

The band have a unique way of combining vintage appeal with fresh subject matter and ‘Gen-Z’ is the perfect example of this. A four minute track inspired by the high suicide rates among Generation Z due to the pressures of existing in a social media age. Of the track, guitarist & vocalist Sade Sanchez expands:

“When I was a kid, music and guitar was my escape. Music was how I fought through my depressions. What will the future do to get through it?… With constant pressure to be perfect and information/advertisements and brainwashing constantly being shoved in your face, you become a product of your environment. ‘Gen-Z’ is about being a slave to technology, specifically to our phones.”

L.A. Witch’s 2017 self-titled debut oozed swagger through its laidback sound, possibly due to the band’s organic and slow-paced songwriting process. But upcoming album Play With Fire came to be under different circumstances; between their hectic touring schedule, studio availability, and the timeline for releasing records, they found themselves with only two months to do the bulk of the writing.

Despite the limited time frame, however, ‘Gen-Z’ showcases a band on top form; with its gritty energy and swirling bewitching haze, it’s a perfectly hypnotic slice of psych-infused desert rock.

 

Play With Fire, the upcoming album from L.A. Witch, is set for release 21st August via Suicide Squeeze Records. 

 

Ellie Ball
@ellie__ball