Feature Opinion

Howler Presents: Fresh Flex Friday #52

There is so much inspiration and power in this week’s selection. Authentic voices being pushed the foreground of conscious thought and glimmers of hope that artists, who don’t usually get the recognition they deserve, will finally reach the ears of audiences that need to hear them. Listen to and support these artists, where possible please buy their music because that is how they’ll sustain their dreams.

Escapism Refuge – Ice Tea EP
Escapism Refuge has found predominant success in the international market and significantly less success amongst local audiences. He forged his sound in the fires of original UK dubstep, embraced the genre and developed his own signature. The genre managed to maintain more longevity overseas, which led to the natural conclusion that an artist of ER’s caliber would find more appeal abroad. Hopefully with the growing popularity of grime and UK bass there will be more interest show on home soil for artists of this ilk.

Umaah – Sheila EP
Subterranean Wavelength have been teasing this release for so long that I was sure I had missed it. Thankfully I had not. Durban born artist Umaah possesses a crisp and soulful voice, made for storytelling and weaving emotional tales of generational conflict. The production on each track is a spiritual counterbalance of digital modernism to the raw cultural embrace of heritage and ancestry.

Stone Jets – Memory
The title of this release is so apt. I’m overcome with nostalgia when listening to these tracks. There is a distinct era in my formative years in this industry that was encompassed by the simple balance of powerful but restrained songwriting, soulful harmonies and the gut wrenching emotional honesty of a singer. The Stone Jets have the catchy songs on lock, but there is substance in their content that will ensure the longevity of these hits. We’ll be tapping our hands on our steering wheels and singing back the lyrics from our picnic blankets by the time summer arrives.

Orah & the Kites – Opal Man
Described as ambient melancholic indie/folk, you will find yourself captured by the endearing informality of the video partnered with the range of feelings introduced as the song progresses. I’m intrigued by the composition, the vocal tones and the considerate contemplation throughout the track. I’m eager to hear more from this band, and see them live as soon as possible.

Jerry & The Bandits – Hearts Run Wild
You will hear the origin of this band’s sound from the minute you press play. The point of contention when artists sound too much like their influences is whether we will be able to establish a separation from comparison and give the artist a fair chance to impress based on their own talent. What can safely be said about Jerry & The Bandits is that they are of such a high caliber, performance wise, that they will at least get the opportunity to prove that they are more than a copy.

In Bloom – Better Off
This could easily pass as the theme song for a late eighties or early nineties teen movie, and I mean that as the highest compliment. If Weezer and Sonic Youth had a sleazy affair, this track would be the closest result. Noisy, slightly grungy and with just enough cheesy elements to strike a balance. I want this track on repeat for the rest of my weekend.

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