Elisee Akowendo hails from the Ivory Coast and grew up singing gospel music, developing a deep love of music that would come to define his life. Elisee traveled to Israel with his church group to perform, and after that, he was set to begin his master’s degree back home. But he took a chance on music, stayed in Israel and hooked up with local beat-maker Tamir Muskat. Together, they collaborated on Elisee’s new single “I Dey Shina”, an addictive banger of a tune that announces the arrival of a major new musical talent. “I Dey Shina” means “I’m Shining” and indeed it does as it’s warm message of love and peace is uplifting and thrilling at the same time.
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Andrew Paschal: In the grand scheme of things, there may yet be a place for sentimental music. Who hasn’t wallowed in songs like this just to indulge in the sheer emotionality of it all? Listening to “Hypnotised”, I often couldn’t decide whether I was genuinely moved, agitated, or distracted by its unabashed commercial sweetness. Commercial in the sense that it sounds like it’s trying to sell you something, like an ad promising a beautiful, fulfilling life if you just book a particular vacation or buy a certain piece of jewelry. Coldplay cast the spell effectively in places, but the song’s greatest error is its six-minute length, more than enough time to catch onto the band’s ruse. The effect wears off before the song is even over. [5/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: There’s a fairly standard Americana twang to John Moreland’s latest track and a fairly standard catchy chorus, but oh, that voice. Whiskey-tinged and tear-stained, John Moreland’s voice turns a standard into a standout. He has an earthiness beyond his years on “It Don’t Suit Me (Like Before)”, a reflective song that proves you can be a seasoned pro even at the age of 31. There’s a depth here that belies the happily bouncing melody, a melancholy, a shadow. A good tune with some good, good grit to it. [8/10]
Mike Schiller: This is ponderous, man. Our first taste of Kevin Martin and Earth’s collaborative album-length follow-up to the Boa/Cold EP from a few years ago carries little of the pure menace of their previous work, but all of the tremendous, sludgy, doomy, dubby instrumental power one could hope for. It sets a mood and then sticks with it for five minutes, never bothering to change, because why should it have to? Picture an abandoned island town slowly being leveled by lava, and you’re most of the way to imagining what this sounds like. [8/10]
Mike Schiller: Somehow, some way, Blondie is topical, political, energetic, and danceable. To be one of these is not a surprise; to be all of them is a bit of a shock, particularly when you realize that Chris Stein is 67 years old and Debbie Harry is 71(!). It’s a video that stars an initially-sullen androgynous space traveler who finds a glamorous space drag queen who presumably guides our protagonist to that great discotheque in the sky. It’s a story of not just acceptance, but a celebration of self and others. It’s a story where gender and sexuality is a fluid concept. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a story with a happy ending, something that’s awfully hard to find or even imagine given a political climate that seems hellbent on punishing and taking away the rights of the most vulnerable. The song underneath it all is a lightweight disco tune, nothing new but very much classic Blondie, and as a vehicle for the video, it’s perfect. [8/10]