With a booming glam rock shuffle, arena sing-along melody, and swaggering badassery, Samantha Frances and her band make you take notice immediately. It’s the kind of hybrid style that is slowly returning to hard rock—‘70s glam, ‘80s bombast, ‘90s volume—and interestingly enough the charge is being led by bands with strong, fierce women singers, such as the Pretty Reckless and Halestorm. This new single by Frances & the Foundation fits into that hold perfectly, wasting no time getting into your head.
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A true cult hero, Ted Hawkins was best known as a street performer in Venice Beach, California, wowing passersby with his soulful singing. Although attempts were made to create a mainstream career for Hawkins—Geffen released The Next Hundred Years in 1994—his lifestyle was far too unpredictable to create anything sustainable, and he tragically died on New Year’s Day 1995 at the age of 58.
Citing influences as varied as Queen, Alicia Keys, Al Green, and Frank Sinatra, New Yorker Gianna Salvato brings warmth and soul to her pop music, not to mention one hell of a voice. Her debut single “Baby, It’s You” features some wonderfully rich production that evokes the late 1980s as cleverly as Carly Rae Jepsen, wicked R&B groove underscoring a track that’s as ebullient as it is catchy.
Canadian band the Souljazz Orchestra are set to release Resistance, their sixth album of vibrant funk, soul, afrobeat, Latin, and jazz. In keeping with their unique mix of ebullient horns and rhythms and sharp social commentary, new track “Bull’s Eye” is as pointed as the Ottawa band has ever sounded, taking aim at a particularly noteworthy contemporary topic.
Best known as one half of folk duo Pink & Noseworthy, Los Angeles artist Shanee Pink opts for something more ambitious on her new solo EP Twin Flame, bridging contemporary indie folk with electronic elements and a subtle ‘80s pop influence. Sunny, adventurous, and exuding a warmth that reflects both her locale and her personality—she hosts a monthly “Laurel Canyon Music Revival” at the Kibitz Room in Los Angeles to celebrate the local music heritage and continuing that rich tradition—it’s an irresistible combination. Opening track “Brutal Heart”, with its insistent beat and irresistible hook, is a wonderful example.