Zayn Malik’s solo career since leaving the confines of One Direction has been a mixed bag, a display of massive potential mixed with some notable letdowns. The best tracks from his 2016 debut album Mind of Mine (mostly the ones produced by frequent collaborator Malay) adeptly drew inspiration from moody R&B stars like The Weeknd and Frank Ocean, while showcasing a phenomenal vocal ability and tinges of Zayn’s own Pakistani heritage. However, Zayn has occasionally let his aesthetic slip into generic pop-R&B background noise… while the Taylor Swift duet “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” was a massive hit, it perhaps best exemplified how Zayn could potentially have his uniqueness watered down by the major label pop machine, and slip into pop star anonymity.
The well-worn cliche is that the most potent art is borne out of adversity. Unforunately, when it comes to the world of music, albums stemming from certain forms of adversity have a mixed track record. Bands that go through periods of lineup changes or interpersonal conflict may immediately bounce back and produce more music deserving of their past status. However, just as often a band will falter following a major lineup change, and lose a key part of their identity along the way.
After announcing the joining of their new vocalist Spencer Issy Berry, Las Vegas’ own Amarionette have released a new single called “Baddest”, off of their upcoming AMVRI EP, out June 22nd! The song showcases the band’s continued evolution into pop songwriting, while retaining their penchant for technical, groovy instrumentation. Spencer’s vocals soar on the high-energy track, and things come to a climax with an explosive guitar solo by Nick Raya that feels straight out of the ’80s. If this is the future of Amarionette, it is sure to be a bright one.
British alternative rock band Deaf Havana have made a name for themselves with the combination of stadium-sized hard rock riffs, and frontman James Veck-Gilodi’s confessionally emotional songwriting and vocals. Now, they’ve released a new single that pushes that winning formula outward in a totally unexpected way. “Sinner” is the lead single off of the band’s new album RITUALS, out August 10th, and shows the band moving into a bouncy pop rock soundscape, while still staying rooted in Veck-Gilodi’s fantastic voice and lyricism. The results are truly exceptional, and fans of The 1975 and Walk the Moon will find much to love. RITUALS seems poised to catapult Deaf Havana to a new level of popularity, while still retaining the core of what made them stand out as musicians. Stay tuned.