Single Reviews: 27 February 2023: Vitesse X, Michael It'z, Shayan Javadi, Wolf & Clover, Sweet Giant

Photo by Kyle Johnson 

Vitesse X - Right Now

alternative pop

NY-based electronic thaumaturge Jordan Stern, AKA Vitesse X, spins an intoxicating waterfall of sputtered melodies, hazed-out vocals, and danceable percussion on her recent single "Right Now". The single is taken from the upcoming follow-up to her debut album, Us Ephemeral, which was released on the artist's own label Music Website in 2022. If "Right Now" is anything to go by, the upcoming album promises to be just as well-produced and hypnotic as its predecessor. This heavily atmospheric city-pop track inspires images of speeding subways and neon signs and can bring the energy of a city to listeners in the most rural areas. This vibe is achieved via a futuristic palette of sounds isochronally playing against meticulously programmed drums and heavenly vocals that are chopped up and stretched out to display their pulchritudinous nature.       

Michael It'z - Distanti - Attimi , Istanti

experimental ambient 

Sardinian-born producer Michael Caria, otherwise known as Michael It'z, is now based in London. Why anyone would choose the chaos and discomfort of London over paradisical Sardinia is beyond me, though I am not here to judge. Actually, that is precisely why I'm here. Michael It'z's recent single, "Distanti - Attimi, Istanti", is an immediately alluring foray into far-reaching ambient electronica. Its blend of Middle-eastern notation, provided lovingly by Italian saxophonist Guido Tabone, and spatially-searching tones cast an intoxicating spell. It doesn't require effort to get lost in this music. There are mysterious textures to lure you into its dense forest of sound, but it is nevertheless gentle and never makes you anxious. Instead, it is persistent in its search for drawing beauty from the vague. 

Shayan Javadi - Narenj 


By way of Dallas, Texas, Iranian artist Shayan Javadi has recently released his debut album, Shawn Javadi. Reported to have taken seven years to complete, the guitarist is not one for simplicity, and just like the wonderfully detailed Lionel Williams cover art for this almost self-titled debut album, Javadi's music is colourful, complex, and transportive. Technical proficiency aside, Javadi injects natural feeling into his impossibly-fast riffs on the single "Narenj" through a frantically searching composition that, while on the dark side, is full of hope, passion, and exotic flourishes. While tolerance for intensity is necessary for focused listening, this intensity rewards the listener with energy and music that can inspire imagery that often feels like hallucinating.

Wolf & Clover - O'Carolan's Farewell to Music


Wolf & Clover is a six-piece folk ensemble from Georgia, USA, that approaches traditional Celtic music in a way that is itself traditional. Instead of incorporating modern production techniques or experimental playing styles, their playing is rooted in a conservative appreciation for cultures passed. That being said, there is a satisfying quality to how the players bring their individual enthusiasm together, ruminating on their extended arrangements without stepping on each other's toes. Taken from the group's album 
Twelvemonth and a Day, "O'Carolan's Farewell to Music" sees the group investigate the work of blind 16-17th Irish harpist Turlough O'Carolan. O'Carolan is considered Ireland's national composer, and his works have been analyzed and appreciated for their rich melodies. "O'Carolan's Farewell to Music" is a standard widely covered by Celtic musicians for centuries, yet Wolf & Clover justify their take with a rich sound, impressive arrangement, and ear for the nuances of bittersweet music.  

Sweet Giant - Changing Shape 

garage rock

Londonite garage rockers Sweet Giant may sound like they're phoning it in from 2005, but their rough-and-ready mid-fidelity rock has enough charm in its punchy writing, retro guitar licks, and timeless vocal harmonies to feel relevant. It's hard to glean any meaning from this track, but there's attitude; that much is for sure. The middle 8th of their recent single "Changing Shape" lifts the lid on the group's vocally-led box of sugar and turns to wild and cacophonous prog rock. It feels like there's an instrumental band dying to come out, but they're kept locked up as a battery for this highly-charged and likeable jaunt.