Jen Dan

Jen Dan


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Jen Dan

Title
Music Writer(Premieres/News/Interviews/Reviews) at The Big Takeover, Rebel Noise, Stereo Embers Magazine, The Record Stache, Indie Music Review, Delusions Of Adequacy, and my Stratosphere Fanzine Yahoo Group.
Bio
I handle premieres, write reviews, interview artists, and submit news at music sites TheBigTakeover.com, RebelNoise.com, StereoEmbersMagazine.com, TheRecordStache.com,  IndieMusicReview.com, and Adequacy.net, . I also supply feedback to music creators about their songs here at Fluence.io.

I am an established writer and have written hundreds of insightful music reviews and produced hundreds of fun and informative artist interviews over the years.  My focus is on indie pop, indie rock, electronic, and alt-folk music, but I am not limited to those genres.

I began my music career in the early 1990s by putting out a music-related paper fanzine titled Stratosphere which is now in online form at my Stratosphere Fanzine Yahoo Group. In 2007 I became a contributing writer for the long-running music site Delusions Of Adequacy.  Over the years I expanded my reach, writing for other music sites as well, including Rebel Noise, Tasty Fanzine, Northern Transmissions, Stereo Embers Magazine, Label Obscura, Indie Music Review, The Spill Magazine, The Record Stache, The Big Takeover, GigSlutz, and the now-defunct Junk Media.
Expertise
social media, music writing, music writing / blogging, music journalism, music curation, music blogging, music interviews, music reviews
Interests
indie rock, alternative, indie pop, metal, rock, electronic, singer/songwriter, music, pop, dream pop, downtempo, dance, ambient, trip hop, folk rock, film, indie folk, synthpop, fashion, shoegaze, electro pop, psychedelic rock, chillwave, alternative folk, post punk, post-rock, pop punk, lo-fi, entertainment, film / video, pop culture, lifestyle, soundtracks, food, photography
Location
NJ, USA

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Recent Feedback

Jacob Brown submitted media.

IDIOT by Mermaed

Jen Dan

Wow, this is dynamite!!  You've got the whole rock package here going, stamped with some catchy pop melodies!  And the production is super-sharp and clean. This should definitely be rocking the mainstream airwaves, and I mean that is a good way.  
I love the rich sound that balances rock grit and pop flow.  It's so cool to have the punchy drum beat prominent in the song, and the angular guitar lines supporting and winding around the stark drums.  
And of course, Arielle, your strong, but sweet vocals that get really expressive on the chorus.
Speaking of which, that chorus lifts off like a sleek rocket, sweeping the listener up, up, and away!  Love it!
The lyrics can't be too complex in a sing-along rock song, but what you do say/sing is relevant and gets your point across.
All killer, no filler in my opinion.

Carisa Bianca Mellado submitted media.

Nautical Heart by Night Tongue

Jen Dan

Hello Carisa and Andrew!  What a beautiful, haunting, transporting, and finally, intense epic track you have here.  I love every second of it.  I took me away to someplace ancient and not of this time.
Carisa, your vocals entrance throughout the tune - ethereal, sinuous, and lamenting, you cast a hypnotic spell.
Against the softly passionate vocals lopes the more propulsive, stark smack of the drums, and with the vocals sparkles guitar lines that flow along like a limpid stream.
There's a darker backdrop at times, in the song, made by synths/strings that creates an encroaching nocturnal atmosphere.
The forever moving forward, faster drum tempo, contrasted with the slower, wave pattern of occasional lifting up in supplication vocals is very evocative, making for a cross-dynamic that suggests the inexorable march of time and the inevitable regret of the moment (on a smaller scale) or a life (on a grander scale) that has passed.
Of course your potent lyrics feed into my just stated-ideas, but I think even without the lyrics, those feeling come to the surface.
And what an ending, when the fiery rock guitar line rises like a phoenix from the ashes, like a second voice that intensifies and swirls into distorted noise.
Completely captivating!

Alessio Casalini submitted media.

Jen Dan

Hello Alessio and Alexey!  Wow, what a cool track and eerie video!  Super job on the cutting edge, story-telling mini-movie and your music fits perfectly with the unwinding of the plot line.  Well, I guess it's vice versa, and the video rundown was filmed and edited to fit the song.  Either way, its a mesmerizing and immersive cinematic experience.
I love how "Cold and Silent" starts off with spare instrumentation and an ominous atmosphere brightened by lighter guitar and electronics.
Krystal Hawes' yearning, slightly anxious vocal tone goes just right with the video's theme, which is a cross between the set-up of the film Ex-Machina and a detective novel turned upside down.
What a super reveal in the video near its end, and the shift to full-blown sonics in the song, as it whips up with restlessly buzzing electronics and an agitated beat.
I don't want to give away the plot of the video, but it is a must-see.  Bravo!

TOPICS submitted media.

ART CAMP by TOPICS

Jen Dan

Hey there!  Well, this is a fun indie pop tune that is tailor-made for summertime.  It's a buoyant pop float with enjoyable lyrics and ear-catching dual male and female mirrored and alternating vocals.
Who wouldn't pick up on some of the nostalgic vibes that this song emits?  What's most interesting is that you focus on 'Art Camp', not just the usual summer camp - so we get lyrics about wanting to "papier-mâché" and "draw and listen to David Bowie."  Who doesn't, at least for that last part?
The beat is crisp and rapid, the KORG notes bright, the vocals (She: light; He: dark) delivered in a robotic, staccato tone, all run through with a buzzy electronic current.
Sweet!

Riley Jensen submitted media.

Jen Dan

Super, electrifying electronic rock tune that captures the angst and restlessness of the current tumultuous socio-political times.  

Bleak to defiant lyrics and emotive exclamations are either bolstered by gritty aero-guitar grind, skittering percussion, and electronic buzz or are contrasted brighter synth notes, brisk cymbals hits, and a sharp beat.

The video is old-school cool with colors and images that move along to the rhythms of the music.  Rock on!  Can't wait to hear more from you this year!

Austin Nolen submitted media.

Jen Dan

Interesting tune!  I was hooked from the start by its laid-back, neo-soul/jazz flow.  

It briskly simmers with a catchy groove made up of multiple layers of relaxed, but buoyant male vocals, muted fingersnap percussion, delicately plucked guitar notes, and the flitting in an out of jazzy, but subdued horns, light piano plink, cymbal taps, and drum thump.

The song ends - but then there's the sudden addition of organ pulses, ticking cymbals, and a drum beat, which sounds like it could be the intro to another number, or just a different, fun fade to this song.  Nicely done!

Austin Nolen submitted media.

Jen Dan

Well, you're definitely swimming in odd electronic/pop waters, but the melody is buoyant and structure is solid, so listeners will just go with the flow of the song.
The atmosphere is hazed 'n' dazed with casual, lightly fuzzed up vocals, which is nice, but the downside is it's difficult to hear any lyrics.  There's also some kind of background noise (maybe from a movie?) where someone is going off with increasing intensity, eventually shouting by the end of the song.  I'm not sure what the intention is for this bit, but I think it should either be toned down some or only sporadically inserted into the song.
I like the laid-back drum beat and touch of cymbals-ticking and the slightly warped guitar line-sounds loops that give the tune its daydreaming vibe.
There were some little electronic squiggles flitting in 'n' out early in the number.  More of that can be added IMO, to give it more texture.
This was an interesting listen and I do like how it's easy to just by carried along by the song's sonic flow.

submitted media.

Jen Dan

Wow, I was blown away by your song and video which both send a powerful message about how most of the time we hide how we're really feeling, even from those we love.  
It's difficult to mix and music and lyrics so that they both get equal treatment - most bands settle either for the mood/atmosphere or what they want to say, but you've combined it brilliantly on this song.
Your sonics are rousing and passionate - I love the punching drums, jagged to burning guitar lines, bass undertow, and emotive vocals, including the group chorus vocals that swell at times during the song.
I also love your lyrics on this track,  because you're exposing a universal issue - How hard it is to express yourself to the ones you care about.  That definitely touches a nerve for me.
And the video ties it all together with the narrative bookends of the couple getting ready for bed and the man asking the woman if she's okay and she says yes - even though she really doesn't mean it.  
We then see her running through a dark forest (representing all the heavy thoughts weighing on her mind, I'm assuming), which is interspersed with performance footage of you giving it your all live as a band.
Definitely a video and song I'll remember for a long time - for all the right reasons!  :D

CRÈME CRÈME submitted media.

'Resolution' by CRÈME

Jen Dan

Heya Trixie!  So good to hear this new house-inspired electronic pop track from you.  The effect is sharp and clear as crystal in its sonics, lyrics, and production.  The measured paced track has a powerful message about defeating the 'creeping darkness' with love - I dig that!
I'm also into how you layer your vocal lines - the main one is direct and then you have twisty vocal additions in various parts of the song.  There's an air of portent with the staccato tempo, from the well-placed hand claps, breaking glass, and deeper buzzing reverb.
Overall, a nicely done tune with thought-provoking lyrics.

Justin Sheppard submitted media.

Jen Dan

Hey Justin!  So glad to hear that you're doing well now and in tune with yourself these days.  That definitely shows on this lively funk-pop number with an important message that is definitely needed in the world right now.
I enjoyed the slinky intro to the tune and how it stays at a low-key simmer on the verses, but then gets jumpin' on the chorus sections.
Your vocals are warm and expressive and more emotive as the song progresses, in tandem with the rhythmic, Prince-like groove you've got goin'.
The lyrics are very personal, but universal and I was listening to every word.  At the end of the song I think you should put the background vocals a bit stronger/higher in the mix so you can hear the lines, "Got to bring each other up." more.
Otherwise everything is in its right place (To quote a Radiohead song? LOL) - Nicely done!

Patrick Tape Fleming submitted media.

Jen Dan

Heya Patrick and Chris!  Wow, your music is definitely a study in contrasts, what with the old-school '50s style rubbing up against modern indie sing-talking vocals.  I like the dichotomy, which is also on display in your sometimes serious, sometimes cheeky lyrics.  

Your appealing and amusing music video definitely highlights your sharp dance moves, Patrick and pulls the listener into the core of the love story of the song.

The carousel-at-the-fairgrounds setting is visually engaging, as is your all-white outfit, and the kinda, sorta, almost one-take shot for the video is a wonderful concept that was well-executed.  I love the switch to black 'n' white footage when you sing-talk about vintage French films.

The music is solid and I enjoyed the rock touch of the electric guitar line amid the more sedate, mid-tempo piano and horns song structure.  Nicely done.

Riley Jensen submitted media.

Futureproof by Kaptur

Jen Dan

Wow, such a cool alternative rock tune that sonically shape-shifts from alt-rock to post-punk and even heavy rock!  The deceptively subdued intro, which I think lasts about 2 verses, sets the stage with a restrained, but still restless vibe.
The whole song suddenly and unexpectedly explodes into a fiery post-punk conflagration, with sharply reeling guitar lines and emotive male vocals.  Your voice is perfect for the rock format, but I wish I could hear the lyrics a bit more clearly.  
The rising intensity and post-punk atmospherics of the song is thrilling; those guitars, that supple tug of the bass, the dynamic rhythm of the drums - and then there's another unexpected, but calmer break before the ummm, unexpected, and heavier alt-rock ending.  So cool!  Love the song; love the stylistic surprises.  Can't wait to hear more from you!

Austen Moret submitted media.

Animal Eyes by Midnight Divide

Jen Dan

Wowza, guys!  This is a killer track!!  I was not expecting such a rich and varied composition, even after reading that you blend cinematic rock with electronic elements.  That is an understatement!
You cover so much musical ground here, sonically and historically; what I mean is that I hear not only the rock and electronic genres, but also industrial, disco-pop, and post-punk styles all rolled into one atmospheric, but concise number.
A nocturnal, slightly ominous ambience pervades the tune as the verses lurk in the alleyway before you pounce on the more intense chorus sections.  Great vocals, at first slinking by on the verses and then attacking with fervor on the chorus parts.  And I love the extra higher register, siren-like vocal line that adds a heightened emotive feel.  That's also where I get the disco-pop reference from; maybe it's not intended by you, but the higher vox does project a gloriously shining vibe.
Love the electro touches with reverbed, trippingly quick percussion and also the industrial metal clanking beat that's most prominent at the start of the song.
Ace all around!  :D

Ilya Shkipin submitted media.

Sharpie Head by The Laytcomers

Jen Dan

Wow, well that was a blast and a half!  Talk about a walk through the sonic jungle... 
Now, lyrics-wise, I'd don't know if you're targeting the red tape and other aggravating practices of corporate America (or other country), but if so, well done!
If not, then I'm not sure what a Mr. Sharpiehead is... LOL
But, seriously, you have an aggressive, pointed sound that you rawly sprawl out over the course of this tune, starting with the strutting drum beat, rumbling, low bass line, and wiry guitar lines.  
I enjoyed the defiant proclamations and spare and unvarnished instrumentation, especially the mix of horns squawk and trills and tangling guitar tumult - Well, I also like the ominous bass line, emphatic drum beat, and menacing vocal venting.  Nicely done!

Milo Starr Johnson submitted media.

Vampire Daddy by Milo Starr Johnson

Jen Dan

Hello Milo Starr!  Your song definitely had me hooked from its down 'n' dirty, swamp-blues sound to your sweetly ripe, seductive vocal delivery.  Love the zig-zagging rock 'n' roll guitar reverb, punchy drum beat, and sharp lead electric guitar line - all very The Cramps-like - along with your alluring vocals and amusing, story-telling lyrics about a 'vampire daddy' who "...goes to sleep at dawn / Four am / Don't even yawn."
Like you mention in your background info, you have a history of working in film, theater, and comedy and you bring all of this entertainment value  to "Vampire Daddy", taking on different roles, and vocal styles for each part.  
I felt like I was listening to the audio track of and soundtrack for a campy, Rocky Horror Picture Show-like film!  And that's a very good thing.  But I also enjoy how you bookend that with the more traditional swamp-blues sonics of fiery guitar distortion and drum beat stomp.  Well done!

Mike Simmons submitted media.

Dysmorphic by The Doom Tomb

Jen Dan

Wow, "Dysmorphic" is beautiful song and harks back to the golden days/daze of early 90s indie pop.  It radiates a gentle longing through its crisp, but measured drum beat, occasional single cymbals crash, ticking stick percussion, hazily shining guitar strum, and soft, wistful vocals.
The song is subdued, but captivating, a slowly unfurling charmer with nice touches, like the sporadic vocal harmonizing.  
You spin a bittersweet story-teller, where a relationship seems to be in jeopardy, but it's all done very subtly - no overt drama; just inklings of a disturbance, at least from the vocal tone and sonics.
The lyrics tell another, more blunt, story, where the protagonist states, "No one was even right." and the other half, so to speak, declares, "Don't you know... / You're not happening."  Ouch.
But the tough lyrics are couched in such a languid, longing vibe that the words don't sting quite as much as they could.  
Although I'm having a bit of trouble discerning all of the lyrics, I'm really enjoying the overall reminiscing tone and the softer, airier vocal delivery that calms like a balm.  Lovely.

Mike Simmons submitted media.

Un-Miserable by The Doom Tomb

Jen Dan

Heya guys!
You've got a sweet tune going for you here and I can understand The Smiths references for the guitar sonics and the lyrics and The Replacements for the casually delivered vocals.  I'm a sucker for a good jangle-pop tune and yours definitely caught my ear and swept me along for the length of the song.
"Un-Miserable" lightly carries a heavy malaise at its heart (from what I can make out, it's about miscommunication and failed relationships... ummm, maybe?) and it flows with a continually restless pace of briskly hit drums, shimmering cymbals scintillation, and the charming reverberations of guitar chime.  
While I do like the male vocals and the emotionally casual droop at the end of each phrase, I couldn't understand a lot of what was being sung.  I don't know if my ears aren't that sharp, or if you're intentionally muddling the lyrics.  
Interesting addition of the found sound spoken word where someone is talking about having been to a party and "it was crazy".  Sometimes audio clips like that distract or detract, but I think that fits well with the rest of the song.  
The song title, which becomes a mantra by its end, is great - where what is said is maybe not what is meant.  Nice tune!  Now I want to check out other songs you've done.

Matt MacNeill submitted media.

Taste (Single 2016) by This Party

Jen Dan

Hey guys!  You've got a live wire one here, crackling at the start with the distorted guitars and then smoothing out into a catchy indie rock song.
While the song is molded in the tried and true Verse, Chorus, Verse format, it doesn't bore one bit.  You've got that massive guitar hook for the chorus which really carries the song along.  Nice crisply authoritative drumkit work, sharply enunciated guitar lines that come off like a second voice at times, and some interesting lyrics, especially "All I want is a taste of electric bliss."  Don't we all!  :)
I really enjoyed how the song all came together at its end with the added "Ahhh"ing back-up vocals, the sudden cantering drum beat, and fulminating guitars and cymbals 'n' drums turmoil.  Good stuff!

Martin Tillman submitted media.

Zero Gravity by Martin Tillman

Jen Dan

Hello Martin!
Wow, just what I needed on this hectic Easter holiday weekend; a beautiful, moving, expansive instrumental that has calmed me down and put me in a more meditative mood.  Your composition would fit perfectly on the soundtrack for an inspiring film.  It in itself is inspiring!  :D
The slowly unfurling start with its sharp, bright, starting-up sounds that dissipate creates immediate interest and then the gorgeous ebb and flow of wistfully reflective woodwind synths and poignant symphonic strings materialize, along with light, contemplative piano notes.
The piano keys that sound like sweet drops of water and the gentle wash of heightened strings are captivating and I love how those sounds twine pleasantly together.  The overall feeling is one of a radiating warmth and understanding - and compassionate uplift with the pull of those heavenly symphonic strings.
Divine!  I wish you and your wife Eva all the best.

Adam Saxe submitted media.

Virus by Adam Saxe

Jen Dan

Hi Adam!  I am diggin' your smooth, but heartfelt soul-pop tune!!  From listening to this one song, I'd say you're a class act with mass market appeal, in the vein of a Michael Buble, but exuding a calmer vibe.  I hope you don't mind the comparison, but some of your phrasing does sound Buble-like, and I mean that as a compliment.
I'm enjoying the all the different keyboard sounds that you include on "Virus", from the soft opening lines to the slightly reverberating, bubbly notes that form later on.  Very interesting contrast between the gentle keyboards and the sharper, brighter horn accents.  And you've got a cool groove going on with the crisp drum beat added to the mix.
The overall smooth and subdued vocal and instrumental delivery of the song and the choice of instrumentation give "Virus" a polished, cosmopolitan feel that's very pleasing and elegant.
I like how your emotions change over the course of the song, where at times you're more cool and direct, like when you intone "She convinces me to open my heart", and at others you're in turmoil, like when you exclaim "She's infected me to my core."  Eye-catching imagery to go along with your appealing lyrics.
As far as promotion goes, my advice to you is to contact and submit your music to music sites and individual writers who promote the pop/soul/RnB genres.  You can also tweet about your tunes and post messages at various Facebook Groups.  Build up your social profile (Instagram and other sites), even if it isn't all about your music, so people can find out more about you.  You probably know about all this already, but I just wanted to add my 2 cents.  :)
That's so awesome that you've had the experience of performing on tour with Jamie Lynn Spears.  Try to use whatever connections you have to get more ears on your music.  I wish you all the best in your musical endeavors.  :D

Vincent Sinex submitted media.

One Of A Kind by The Late Innings

Jen Dan

Hey Vincent!
Wow, for a one-person bedroom project you have a very full and developed sound and I'm especially tuned in to your heartfelt lyrics.
I like how you juxtapose the pleasant and upbeat sonics with your more searching vocal delivery and bittersweet lyrics.  The intro with horn-tinged synths is nice and I love the specific types of synth sounds you use, from the airily floating, sustained synth line that lends a dreamier vibe to the occasional sprinkling of starry and bright synth notes.
The chorus sections are the strongest parts of the song, when you describe someone who is "one of a kind" and how "I came back / because I could not forget / the one I left behind."  Very touching and real.  I also like the addition of the mild guitar line during those passages.
Your sing-talking, confessional vocal delivery works well with your short-phrase, 'page-torn-from-a-journal' lyrics, where your voice presses forward with a slightly crestfallen tone.
The only thing I would change is to remove the 'tropical island'-influenced syncopated beat that plays in the first minute of the song.  You switch over to smoother and not as recognizable beats for the rest of the number, but for the 1st minute I wasn't sure about that breezy island rhythm.  Just my opinion!  :)
Otherwise, this is an engaging tune that had me immersed in your words and vocal delivery.  I especially dug your twisty, rhyming lyrics "So close right from the start / yet so far apart / That's when I had a change of heart." near the beginning of "One of a Kind."

Shaun Hettinger submitted media.

Jen Dan

Hi Shaun! 
Wow, very interesting cover you're done for the Blue Oyster Cult classic tune.  It's always difficult to bring something new and interesting to a tried and true song, but you do bring a fresh take on it in the electro/synth-pop style.
I'm enjoying it from the start with the sinuously unwinding synth line and your drawn out vocals contrasted with the clicking fingersnap percussion and patter of globular electronic notes.
The song spins out in a hypnotic, electro-psychedelic spiral, but you also add a faster peppering of electro notes that builds in intensity towards the end of the song.  Very ear-catching!
I know it's a cover and these aren't your lyrics, but I like how you deliver the line "Romeo and Juliet / are together in eternity..." with a dry, knowing archness.
It's nice how you kick it up a notch by the end of the tune as you go for a more upbeat pace and distorted vocals, both low and high.  Cool cover!!

Shaun Hettinger submitted media.

Jen Dan

Hi Shaun - Great end-of-summer (or, heck, any season at all!) tune you've got here.  I'm enjoying contrast between the laid-back, island-like instrumental vibe and the upbeat, lively tempo.  I like the use of bongos to produce the pleasant, lightly bouncing rhythm and the sprinkling of bright, xylophone-like hits that give the song its sweetness.

Your vocals are mostly mellow, but direct and I like you raise your voice to a higher, pleading register on occasion, giving your lyrics a more urgent feel.  This is a lyrics-packed song and it was fun to follow your words and to figure out where you were going with what you were saying.  I especially like the refrain "If your heart aches for heartbreak / come and call me / I don't want to sleep alone tonight."  

What's intriguing is your song title and the somewhat bleaker/bittersweet lyrics that belie the fun nature of your instrumental and vocal delivery.  "Feeling Sinister" is a veritable study in contrasts!

Not sure who's on female backing vocals, but it add a nice dimension to the expression of the song.  I like the light sweep of synths throughout the tune and that's so cool that you used real horns at the ending of the track!  Love the sharp toots of trumpet and then the smoother flow of other horns.  Again, an ear-catching contrast between the two.

All in all, an engaging song that's perfect for summer, but can be listened to any time of the year!  I appreciate you contacting me about "Feeling Sinister". 

Bo Haan submitted media.

Jen Dan

Hey Bo Haan!
You definitely deliver a (de)lightfully funkified version of The Weekend's symphonic ballad and it's easy to go with your mellow musical flow.
I like your smooth, but still poppy groove with the syncopated beat, piano notes, and briefly plucked guitar refrain.  Nice falsetto vocals too, especially with the harmonies mixed in at times.  I hear shades of MJ with your vocal delivery.
I was going to go into the lyrics, but then realized you're doing a cover song!  Anyway, I like the touches of squiggly and buzzing electro-notes too.  
Nice job on this one!  :)

Inspired Artists submitted media.

Shake The Cage by The Slytones

Jen Dan

Hi guys!  Wow, what a blend of musical style(s) on this footloose and fancy-free number!  I'm hearing an interesting mix of rock, ragtime, and what you've called "fairground avant-pop" and I call theatrical carnival sonics.  

I'm really enjoying the "base" of the song that's comprised of rolling runs of piano notes and jauntily hit drums and cymbals.  The changeable tapping and clacking percussion also keep the pace lively.  And on top of that, to give it some crunch, you add short rock guitar riffs.

I like how you work within the confines of the mainly 'verse, chorus, verse' structure to include varied lyrics that aren't too repetitive.  I'm assuming it's Ashley on lead vocals?  I really liked your lower tone, roughly exclaimed vocals that bring a menacing edge to the song.  I also like that I can clearly hear most of your words, as opposed to some other singers that mumble their lyrics too much.  Interesting lyrics too, like on the admission "I can't shake these demons / that shape my desires."  The back-up vocals are good too and give it a fuller sound.

Going back to the structure of the tune, I like that break near its end where you change to a slower pace and strip it down with just the guitar and vocals, until you add the drums, cymbals, and organ notes.  There's a great bit where you rip out your vocals with powerful emotion during this break.

Then it goes back to the regular format of the brisk beat and kinetic percussion contrasting with the foreboding vocals intoning "Shake the cage / Burn the stage."  It's a well done song, guys!  Interesting and fun to listen to.

Peter Anderson submitted media.

Jen Dan

Hi guys!  What an absorbing "Making Of" for your song "Established in Baltimore"!  I had a great time listening to and understanding how you constructed this song.  The process of creation is not something that the average person thinks about when listening a tune, so it was really interesting to find out the sonic and lyrical backstory of this song.

The idea of creating sounds out of an old, broken down piano that only had its strings and soundboard left is pretty ingenious, and while I don't quite understand the jump from sampling the sounds of the strings to building a sampler instrument (and then performing each note on a keyboard), I could see the complexity and challenge in, like you say in the video, making "something out of nothing."

I especially liked the segment about the drum sounds; about using your fist to bang on the piano's wood to replicate the sound of a kick drum and hand slaps to mimic a snare drum.

As for the song itself, which runs through your video, and is the focus of the end of the video, it has a nice percussive rhythm and there's a pleasantly old-time feel to the piano strings.  The storytelling lyrics are great, about someone who's climbing a ladder ("You're looking down at the distance that you've gone."), I'm assuming figuratively, and I like the vocals that are touched with longing.  

This "Making Of" definitely whets the aural appetite and makes me want to listen to "Established in Baltimore" in full!!  Oh, and the meaning behind the song title is sweet.  :)

Will Peake submitted media.

Hot Air Balloon by Crystal Maverick

Jen Dan

Hi guys!  Just listened to "Hot Air Balloon", which is an interesting song title because the flow of your song has a floating quality to it, although I picked up more of a 'rainy day' vibe to it, with the contemplative and restrained sonics and vocals.

Nice work with the delicate picked guitar chime and occasional whisper of reverb guitar - and also the waterdrop plink of the piano notes.  The sing-talking, sighing vocal delivery also compliments the overall subdued ambiance of the song.

It's definitely a lyrics-centric track, and while I couldn't catch every word, I do like the key refrain "What we sing is what we believe / What we believe might not hold to be true."

While I do like the style, vocals, and instruments, for some reason I felt like lightly pulled symphonic strings should enter the mix halfway through the song or closer to it end.  I don't know why, but I was waiting for some addition like that.  Or maybe having the guitars come on a bit stronger by the end.  That's just my opinion.  The song is fine as it is if the intent is to create a hushed, hesitant, mellow, slightly melancholic atmosphere.  Nicely done!

Stereodyssey submitted media.

Anomalies by Stereodyssey

Jen Dan

Hey Justin!  Thanks for asking me to provide feedback on your intricate and involving track "Anomalies".

You definitely have a knack for crafting interesting sounds into an actual song.  What I really like about your output is that the sonics/notes/instruments you use are pleasing to the ear and not noisy, dissonant, or too out-there.  Then you blend it all into an understandable progression and evolution of sound.  Even though there's a lot of complexity to a track like "Anomalies", it flows easily and delightfully through the ears and the mind.

I enjoy your use of contrast within the track; juxtaposing the slow, sustained, ponderous, slightly melancholic tone of an expansive, extended synth line with the myriad of electronic notes in various forms playing off of each other throughout the song.  You also get a nice rhythm going as well.

I'm not as familiar with the effect that you use where specific notes are fast-repeated for a split second here 'n' there.  I mean, I have heard it before, but not that much in most of the songs I listen to, so that caught me by surprise and it kinda made me freeze every time I heard that technique because I thought that the playback of your song was stuck!!  LOL  But I kinda got used to it and went with it and it makes sense in the structure of your song.

I love the mid-section and ending, where you have those delicate, bright, tinging notes; two runs of them and one with a touch of reverb on it.  That's beautiful to listen to.  And, again, I love that contrast between those light notes and the burgeoning, extended synth ambiance.

All in all, a great job and I really, really like "Anomalies" and, as it's a good indicator of the rest of your Anomalies EP coming out at the end of June, I'd say you have a winner on your hands.

Matt Eckholm submitted media.

I'M GONNA CHANGE ONE DAY by HOWLONG WOLF

Jen Dan

Hi David!  Your song presents an unusual, but interesting contrast between your downbeat but still hopeful lyrics, stark, concise vocal delivery, and measured pace - and the jaunty, almost ska-like (!) rhythm and delicate piano/other (?) notes that keep the tone light.  

The focus of the song is definitely the lyrics and I liked several of the lines you penned, especially "I am still a loner now / but I'm a-gonna get through this anyhow."  You included a backstory about the song and video that give them a deeper meaning, which is very interesting, but if someone didn't know that info, they would be taking your lyrics at face value; about someone who hasn't changed over time, even though he expected or wanted to - but that there is still the hope or thought of changing.  Which is deep enough lyrically!

The sound and your vocals have a retro-pop feel which is perfectly suited to the intent of your lyrics and video.  If you wanted to change anything at all, I'd say to play up the retro angle and include more instruments and song structures that revive the American 50s past.  I think your lyrics and vocals would shine even more in that type of setting.  Or try to go "darker" with spare guitar lines, an ominous synth ambiance, and your terse, bleak vocals.  Just suggestions if you wanted to create a fuller or more dramatic sound.

Stereodyssey submitted media.

Earthchild by Stereodyssey

Jen Dan

Hiya Justin!!  I really like what you're doing with Stereoddyssey on this song and I can't wait to hear more from your upcoming EP.  The intro of the children's exclaiming vocals is cute and apropos to the point of "Earthchild" and I enjoyed the contrast of the shaken metal percussion and brisk hand claps (or is it wooden clacks?) against the nocturnal synth ambiance that is extended slowly over the faster, rhythmic pace.  You add various instrumentation smoothly, like the hand drums and occasional synth and piano (?) notes.

The overall effect is down to earth in a good way, with an overlay of more expansive atmospherics.  I really like that upbeat, sparking tempo rubbing up against the more contemplative, floating synth vibe and reflectively plunked notes near the end of the song.  

You also intersperse the tune with the gleeful burble of kids' voices, which is great, although the very end of the song cuts off a bit abruptly.  There's a kid's enthusiastic voice and it sounds like he may be vocalizing "Whoop" or a similar sound, but the very end of his exclamation is cut off.  Otherwise, it's an enjoyable, thoughtful, rhythmic song.  Thanks for sharing it!

yochay mocsari submitted media.

No One I Know by Claus Zinger

Jen Dan

Hi again Claus!  Well, I must say that this song was a bit of a challenge for me, because I'm usually not into "noise" per se in a song, unless it's done with finesse, and "No One I Know" just makes it on the better side of discordant.  

I supremely enjoyed the slow, ruminating pace of the song and the contemplative to sometimes poignant piano notes.  You definitely put the listener in an aurally discomforting place though by contrasting this softer, more reflective vibe with the sporadic high-pitched electro-notes and cycling noises that maybe come from a guitar, or maybe synths...?  Can't quite place the origin of those sounds.  I do like that gliding, but still strongly pitched sound that comes in near the end of the song.  Again, I'm not sure what instrument produces it, but it worked well as a bridge between the noisier aspects and the more melodious parts.

I know I said this for another song of yours, but especially on this one, it's hard to hear your words.  Your exclamatory, emotionally troubled vocals that convey a sense of loss are well done, but I can't make out what you're saying in the mix...

The video goes hand in glove with your song - nicely done!  In the video you contrast an elegant dancer performing amid the ruins of a rundown building as an older man futilely sweeps the dirty ground.  Very thought-provoking as usual!

FIRE IN THE RADIO submitted media.

Luna, I'll Be Home Soon by Fire in the Radio

Jen Dan

Hi guys!  Wow, nice one here - Love the up-tempo pace, crisp beat, and fluidly-played guitar lines.  Nice contrast between the two guitar lines and I'm digging the overall smooth, propulsive flow of the song.  You definitely have an assured grasp of dynamics that keeps this song interesting.  The vocals are light and pleasant, recalling a straightforward Evan Dando without the crestfallen undertone, at least to my ears.
The song starts off quickly enough, but then you kick it up a notch with more exclaimed vocals about being "left here with this fever / which only grows stronger", which is exactly how your song progresses at its end - coolness!  You do include a lull with just light sing-talking vocals and guitar strum, which then slowly builds with the addition of a distorted guitar line and backing vocals into full-bodied sonics by the end of the song.
Everything sounds as it should to my ears; it's an involving tune with a great ebb 'n' flow pace, clear lyrics, pleasing vocals, and driving instrumentation.  Well done!

Graham Alexander submitted media.

Jen Dan

Hey Graham!!  Thanks for sending me this intro video about your sound 'n' vision.  I really dig that you're originally from and still based in Camden, NJ and have reestablished the Victor Talking Machine Co. record label and are revitalizing the rock 'n' roll genre with your engaging music and entrepreneurial spirit.

In your video you include clips from 4 of your songs.  The first one, "Repeat Deceiver", radiates a straightforward vibe with catchy hooks and melodies that support your strong and heartfelt exclamations.  I definitely think your compelling vocals are the key to your sound; raw, but controlled, emotional, but not overly dramatic.  

Next song "Valerie" really caught my ear due its 80s throwback sound with a catchy, cycling guitar motif, the contemplative, mid-tempo pace, and of course your vocals that alternate between smoother and reflective and rougher, passionate cries.

You have a nice sonic variation going on with the representative songs; like on song #3 where you've included symphonic strings and a more mellow and reminiscing vocal flow (yet still urgently delivered).  I love  your bittersweet vocal delivery on the lyrics "Oh, how our lives changed / Reminds me of the time / when you were mine."

And on song #4 you crank out the rock 'n' roll with a horns section backing you - well done!  I'm enjoying the strutting tempo, more complex guitar line, emphatic drum beat, and your looser, down 'n' dirty, but joyful vocals.  You've got it goin' on!!

Jesse Elliot submitted media.

07 Really Good To Be Alone by Jesse Elliot

Jen Dan

Hey Jesse!  What a refreshing blast of a song during the winter blues I'm experiencing at the moment!  The bright guitar lines and especially your strong, emotive vocals carried me nicely through the tune.  

I like the cycling guitar motif; it's catchy and ruggedly rock-oriented.  I'm really enjoying your vocal delivery - it's raw, sharp, and not tempered emotionally (i.e., not subdued).  You put it all out there, but you also exclaim clearly, which is a great thing!  Too many lead singers bury their vocals in the mix and it's hard to hear the lyrics that well, but you don't have that problem at all.  Interesting lyrics; I like the lines "I took to the sky... / I never really had a choice.", as well as the song title refrain. 

I like how all the instruments fit into the steady rhythmic stomp, including tambourine hits and that piercing guitar line ring that appears mid-song.  The only thing I'd want a bit more of is more dynamism to the tempo of the song and a less continuously steady pace.  But other than that, and it's a minor suggestion, I enjoyed your tune very much!

Fluence Team submitted media.

For the Creative Community by The Fluence Team

Jen Dan

I liked the information given in the video, the actual visual run-through of various aspects of the site, and the even tone of the speaker.  While the purpose of Fluence.io is clear to me, however, it still might confuse newcomers who see this video for the 1st time without ever experiencing the site firsthand.  The video is possibly too short and too quick for newbies.  Maybe you could have more videos that specifically target the artist and curator respectively, so that you could spend more time on each entity. I think you need to stress the artist side of it more; this video was heavier on info for curators.  You have to sell it more to the public, so I'd say keep this video, but then have another or other vids that artist-specific, like "musician", "director", etc..., so that, again, you are more target-specific for who gets the information.  Hope my suggestions help!  

Paul Hale submitted media.

Taking You Out by The Landed

Jen Dan

Wow, I love the beautiful, mellifluous, quick-picked guitar at the song's start!  It moves like a fast-flowing stream and had me hooked immediately.  The clear, sharp vocals are a nice contrast to the guitar and I enjoyed the alt-folk sound of the guitar merging with the verse/chorus/verse pop/rock structure of the song.

The verse/chorus/verse dynamics are solid, but what I particularly liked were the bits between the verses and chorus sections; the build up of the guitars and the "Oohing" background vocals.  Very interesting lyrics, especially the lines "A prisoner is free / when you give him the key."

The vocal modulation is good, with an intensity in the vocal delivery that increases on the chorus parts.  The blending of all the sounds at the end of the song was very satisfying.  While I did like the drum work too, I feel that the production is actually too clean overall and that the drums are a bit too pronounced in the mix.

I'm sure your sound translates even better in the live setting, where you can rock out more and dirty it up.  I'd love to hear a live recording of your performance; maybe that can be the format of your next EP.  This song radiates an anthemic American feel, which is interesting since your based out of Essex!  

Drew Forsberg submitted media.

Pretty Boy by The Persian Leaps

Jen Dan

Cool and solid rock 'n' roll song in just over 2 minutes!  The instruments, song structure, and lyrics are great.  I was hooked sonically from the start.  I love the grungy (in a good way!), grimy, circling grind of the guitars and the sharply emphatic drum beat.  Nice mix of song dynamics where, about 3/4 of the way through the song, the intensity increases with a bashed drum beat.  

I really like the lyrics and the melody; love the line "You didn't take the time to look deeper than my skin."  While I do like the vocals overall, I think they need to be kicked up a notch; add more emotion, and maybe a slightly lower register, to the vocal delivery.  It's rock 'n' roll, so it should be raw 'n' loose; not overly controlled - at least that's my take for this song.

Near the start of the song there were some sporadic alternating vocal lines, which was an enjoyable change-up.  I'm thinking it would be cool to augment the main vocal line on the chorus sections with another vocalist or have doubled vocals by the main singer.  

You describe your band as 'noise pop' and I do see that marriage of the rock 'n' roll noise with the prettier melody and cleaner vocals.  Overall this is a nice tune.  And I have to say that it's great to hear about the plight of a "pretty boy" in song lyric form!

yochay mocsari submitted media.

Banana by Claus Zinger

Jen Dan

Hi Claus!  And so we peel back the "Banana" to expose a lyrically thought-provoking, indie electro-pop song.  I like the very start of the track, with the thwacking beat and slightly reverberating notes.  You make it swim in a portentous undercurrent due to the deeper aural tones of several instruments, as well as some wordless male vocals that occasionally materialize.

You build up the intensity on the chorus nicely with the strokes of smoldering guitar and added back-up vocals to your vocal lines.  I like the instrumental and vocal variety of this song, where you alternate between sing-talking and actually talking in a deeper tone.  Your vivid lyrics really stand out, especially "...do you think you can kill / something you have not created?".  

My only issue is that not all your words can be heard clearly throughout the song, so I'm thinking maybe a change in the mix could lift your vocals a bit out of the instrumentation; because I think you're enunciating fine, but sometimes your vocals are just dropped a little too low in the mix.  Just my opinion!  You've got all of interesting things to say, so I want to be able to hear it all clearly.  Sometimes a banana is not just a banana... Otherwise, nice song overall with a reflective vibe and engaging electronic and other (piano, guitar...) instrumentation.