Single Reviews: 1 July 2023: Tom Verberne, Bocce, AK Stella, James Richardson, Gillian Grogan

Photo by Ömerhan Datlar

Tom Verberne - Vicodin


New Zealander Tom Verberne delights with percussive acoustic guitar, understated vocals, and thoughtful writing on his recent release, "Vicodin". Achieving a peculiar guitar sound by jamming some paper between the strings on his guitar's bridge, "Vicodin" is a gentle song that harbors hidden fiery passion beneath its unassuming proclamations. It propels itself from being an innocuous nicety to something celestial and magnetic, possessing the power to soothe and inspire. As a multi-instrumentalist, Verberne resists commercial demands and confidently rides his own wave of original and highly enjoyable music.

Bocce - Good For You


Those who only have a superficial understanding of LA, gleaned from movies and TV, might be surprised to learn that it's not all palm trees and cocktails. Hard rock group Bocce reflects on the city's less appealing side, drawing attention to the social divide resulting from wealth inequality with biting cynicism and cathartic art rock. With electrifying bursts of energy, Bocce delivers a potent slice of atmospheric melodic rock that harbors grand ambitions, fulfilled through soaring instrumentation and impassioned vocals. Comprised of Sarah Shotwell, David Provenzano, and Christopher Keene, Bocce formed just last year but already demonstrates a tightly-knit unit, as evidenced by this awesome and invigorating track.

AK Stella - Running With Ghosts

alternative rock

Fueled by a dramatic flair and cinematic ambitions, "Running With Ghosts" serves as the debut single from LA-based artist AK Stella. AK Stella skillfully blends super-charged hard rock with darker, melodic, and poppier sensibilities, resulting in something unique and otherworldly while still appealing to mainstream audiences. This catchy and intoxicating number, about "following your dreams no matter what obstacles arise," introduces AK Stella as a singular and memorable force to be reckoned with.

James Richardson - Take to the Air


Originally from Michigan, jazz musician and composer James Richardson now resides in Nashville, Tennessee, where he explores his restless and instantly likable brand of experimental jazz. However, Richardson never takes his compositions to abstract territories that hinder enjoyment. He fearlessly injects his wild and carefree arrangements with moments of accessibility and unpretentious beauty. Featuring the ivory keys of pianist Alex Murphy, Richardson's latest single, "Take to the Air," is from the album "Daydream." It has the power to lift listeners from the stresses of life on the ground to a buoyant and untroubled perspective, achieved through flourishing percussion, gentle keys, sinister brass, and alluring wordless vocals.

Gillian Grogan - Silver Lake


California-based folkster Gillian Grogan seems to conceal multitudes of secrets within her recent single, "Silver Lake". Like a sage imparting wisdom through parables, Grogan's deep narratives are at once recherché in their rambling abandon and clear as day in their perceptive delivery. Rising and falling like sand dunes, the intensity of this track is as dynamic as the singer's intonations, ranging from gentle, late-night romanticisms to more searching and assertive exclamations. Above all, "Silver Lake" feels comprehensive in its emotional range and reveals Grogan as an artist less focused on impressing the listener and more intent on prompting them to delve deep within themselves.