The Soundshark Artist of the Year 2016 – Mr.Kitty

While this is the very first of the end of year posts for this site and officially the first time anything like this has been on the site before, it gives me great pleasure and happiness to write a piece, giving a greater emphasis on an artist that has been a constant for me this year. Limitations bore me and if locking a piece like this solely to any artist’s accomplishments in one year, it doesn’t grant the necessary freedom to write something engaging enough. For me anyway. So take this as a love letter to the one artist or group of artists whose music I have cherished through thick and thin this year, and I would like to dedicate this year’s piece to self-proclaimed ‘suicidal synth-pop’ artist Forrest Avery LeMaire a.k.a. Mr.Kitty.

If you want to talk about 2016 for Mr.Kitty, then it hasn’t been as active as past years. Despite playing numerous shows over in the States, we were expecting what was to be Mr.Kitty’s sixth album in as many years to be released in October, making him certifiably in the conversation as one of synth-pop’s hardest working artists around. Sadly but understandably, the album was put on hold until next year as health concerns became a priority into the latter half of the year. But that does not speak for the quality of the music that Mr.Kitty has produced over his six-year plus lifespan as a recording artist. Far from it.

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Credit: Doug Schwarz Photography

Channeling the mechanical heart of classic 80’s electronica and the drum machines of the great original goth movement, into chilling dreamscapes and darkened dancefloors, narrated by the oft distorted and reverb-drenched lullabies and shrieks of Forrest; the output of Mr.Kitty is an emotional outpouring of a vulnerable soul against an array of unforgettable analogue synth dialects. His first four albums form part of a quadrilogy of works known as the Dark Youth collection, spanning both light and darkness which broadcasts and touches upon many subject matters in that time frame, moving and macabre. It also serves as the perfect window or measuring post to show how much Mr.Kitty has grown and matured as an artist. But every release is its own separate universe, with its own atmosphere and a complete anthology of melodic masterpieces.

Arguably the greatest of his works is Dark Youth’s final installment Time, which although is one of the darker albums of that collection, is uncompromising in its vision, truly emanating the rawest feelings of every song, no matter how black its subject matter. How so many of these songs contain the musings of a mind much darker than you can imagine, but are entangled in some of the most memorable synth-pop written this decade is a true wonder and testament to Mr.Kitty’s abilities as a songwriter, let alone a fascinating juxtaposition. Although we have had snippets of a new album this year, how Forrest has tirelessly spun such outstanding retro-contemporary electronic webs together year after year is commendable. Each one is more enchanting and enrapturing than the next, and I have absolutely no hesitation in saying that everything that Mr.Kitty has created is consistently among the best music I have heard all year.

So if Mr.Kitty does get to read this, thank you for your music, and a Happy New Year, with love and kind regards,

The Soundshark xox

Five Essential Mr.Kitty tracks:





The vast majority of everything Mr.Kitty has ever produced can be found on his Bandcamp page, and if it can’t be found there, then it can be found on his Soundcloud page instead. Though unconfirmed, a 2017 release window is pencilled in for A.I., to be Mr.Kitty’s next album of which this site will take great interest in. You can shop here if you are in need of any t-shirts or the likes in the near future.

And finally, you can find all news and the means to give him a virtual hug right here:

http://www.facebook.com/mrkittydm
http://www.twitter.com/mrkittydm

And if you wish to give me a virtual hug at all for whatever reason, then you can do so at these social media channels, or by subscribing to the site using the link below:

http://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark
http://www.twitter.com/The_Soundshark

 

 

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30 Hotly Anticipated Releases Still To Come In 2016 You Should Get Excited About

2016, probably not just in my own personal opinion, has been a fantastic year for music releases so far depending on how far you’re willing to commit yourself to the kaleidoscopic universe out there. To name but a few of my favourites would include The Qemists, Youth Code, Autopsy Boys, All Hail The Yeti, Mask of Bees, Lowflyinghawks, Amplifighters and Weekend Nachos, and at this point, some music media outlets would like to take the chance to reflect on what has already come before and sum things up in a handy little list for you. The Soundshark isn’t some music media outlets. What The Soundshark has done has compiled a list of 30 forthcoming releases in 2016, of varying genres, and from mass appeal down to the underground to better illustrate why 2016 will remembered as a truly incredible year of music. There could be your new favourite band waiting here or an album announcement by that band you like you may have missed, who knows?

Let’s begin shall we?

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The Soundshark’s Top 20 Songs of 2015

Something somebody said recently struck me as it made an awful lot of sense. Exactly when do you stop saying, ‘Happy New Year,’ to one another? Or at least when does it become acceptable at the least. I honestly don’t know, but for now, I’m still considering it an appropriate time to talk about my favourite songs of last year. Seeming I’ve made a habit of it, and I finally have time to sit down and write about them.

2015 was a challenging year as it more or less marked my transition from degree student to having to fend for myself. Sometimes it sucked, sometimes it didn’t. But something that I didn’t previously have was a companion, somebody that I hold very dear to me and somebody I look forward to what the future holds for the both of us. As such, she has had an impact on deciding this list, just as much as the rollercoaster of emotions I’ve gone through in the past year has. Like I’ve said before, I do these lists for biographical reasons, to show where I’ve been and what’s happened in years gone by. Music and memory are powerful things.

So my rules for the list are as follows: I don’t always pick songs from this year to put on the list, it involves literally anything I’ve listened to in the past year that I’ve enjoyed frequently enough (that said, there are a lot of 2015 entries on this list which makes a change), but I try to avoid putting more than one song by the same artist in. Some of my past lists had more than one or two. You can find them on Spotify if you want to.

I would like to make an honourable mentions list, but there were far too many to include on this year’s list, so I’ll skip that formality this time. Just so many good moments or songs to include the entire list. And if you would like to listen to this list uninterrupted, commentary-free, then head on over to the Spotify playlist instead.

Righty then, on with the show…

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20 Bands With New Music In 2016 You Should Keep An Eye On

Well, 2015 has reached its close, December slowly fading off into the distance as we leave behind a year of fantastic music and a year of fantastic bands, in the public knowledge and waiting to be discovered. What awaits us into the next calendar leap year? Hopefully more of the same and whatever craze next to infect the minds of the impressionable as it cracks the charts. I’m pretty sure 2015 was the year of big room house, or bass house, or whatever. I didn’t care enough to pay attention. But what I did care about, and what I very much care about, is hearing the rumblings or public declarations in some aspects of 20 under-the-radar, underrated, unsigned and underground bands making music in the new year that I’m excited about, and hopefully I can make you excited about too. After all, this is what I want to do for life. If I can’t make you excited about emerging or unearthed music, then I may as well quit here and now.

I’ll give it my best shot. So, in no particular order, 20 bands with new material in 2016, you might want to pay attention to:

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6 Bands I’m Learning Black Magic For To Resurrect Them

Affecting free will, or even reanimating the dead is a near impossible task to accomplish, unless you have lots of money. Maybe not so much the dead part though, if the deceased can come back to life from slamming a suitcase full of money on their coffin or ashes, then Michael Jackson and Elvis would still be touring now. Then again, holograms. The point is, there are circumstances out of our control that affect what we love on a day-to-day basis and as much as it hurts, you want to do whatever you can to make it better again. In my instance, it’s bands that are inactive, deceased or simply no longer exist any more. So I’ve assembled a cast of five semi-unknown bands and one famous that I would willingly unearth from the great musical cemetary, in no particular order:

  1. Ulterior
Photo source: The Quietus/Unknown

Photo source: The Quietus/Unknown

Press who are in the know about this London synth-rock/neo-goth outfit adore them, but their current whereabouts right now are unknown. All social media traces of them have disappeared bar their website, but even that only features a full-screen YouTube video. I can only assume they’ve disbanded, which is a tragedy for fans of icy, vengeful synth-dominated rock, that poured attitude and an arousal into the heart of darker electronica. I already have written about this band on three occasions, my personal favourite here. They chose three words: icecold, staticvenom and speedhate to describe their music and it’s spot on. While politically charged and taking square aim at mass media, there’s a lingering Sisters of Mercy flavour in their palette, yet the flirting with pseudo-industrial and the unmistakeable 80’s synth sound, there’s an anger but an addictive personality to their cold-hearted yet incredible songwriting.

Five of their best:




Everything else is via Bandcamp.

      2. Schoolyard Heroes

Photo source: Pop Matters/Unknown

Photo source: Pop Matters/Unknown

My case for Schoolyard Heroes isn’t even funny as they reformed last year for a one-off show in the States, but have no intentions for continuing on their cult appeal since calling it quits in 2009. The Seattle-based fearsome foursome were one of a kind and the fever around them has grown noticeably since their split. What Schoolyard Heroes essentially did best was a punk rock horror cabaret, splicing the struggles of teenage life with B-Movies and the macabre, resulting in an all out assault that could be glamorous as it could visceral. Although with three albums to their name, all completed well within their youth, you can only feel disappointed that their infectious punk parade didn’t spread like the plague. There’s so much to enjoy from their utter delight in matters most morbid and the exact kind of fun and insanity that modern music is missing.

Five of their best:
Children Of The Night
The Plastic Surgery Hall Of Fame
They Live
Contra
Bury The Tooth Of The Hydra And A Skeleton Army Will Arise

Social media is scarce bar Facebook, but their music is readily available from most respectable music retailers.

3. Working For A Nuclear Free City

Photo source: Indie On Bunnies/Unknown

Photo source: Indie For Bunnies/Unknown

Previous to Gary McClure’s new found success in lo-fi indie rock darling American Wrestlers, he was one fourth of an incredible Mancunian troupe of musicians and producers known as Working For A Nuclear Free City. What the status of the band is currently unsure as not long ago they were on the lookout for a video editor, possibly signalling new incoming material that never arrived. Those on the insider’s circle and were aware of Working For A Nuclear Free City’s existence knew of the vast creative capacity that they housed, but they never received the full acclaim they rightfully deserved. Mining from an inexhaustible bank of inspiration and influences, they put together three (four including the now-elusive rarities) albums of some of the most eclectic music I’ve ever encountered. An under-appreciated and true original band, hopefully to return one day.

Five of their best:
Rocket
Asleep At The Wheel
Quiet Place
Alphaville
Brown Owl

Social media works for them, even though their posts are sporadic via Facebook. I had no idea this song existed until I searched out of curiosity, but go buy this via Bandcamp and for everything else, go get their music via most respectable music retailers. Also if you’re into that sort of thing, go read this interview of theirs, it’s hilarious.

4. Pitchblend

Photo source: Altwall.net/Unknown

Photo source: Altwall.net/Unknown

This is one of the saddest stories on this list for me. As a band from Reading in the UK, a seasoned music city from a national perspective, to perform for 10 years, and to have next to zero recognition for what is a seminal sound and phenomenal emotional and spirtual journey, should be punishable under the country’s justice system. This is by no means their fault however, whether victims of circumstance or the cruel realities of life, people just weren’t in tune with their explosive wave of stunning post-rock exhibitionism. How beats me. Rarely can you hear so much passion and belief agonisingly pour out of every single note and word without fail. There is never a wasted moment on the entire Lines Of Unreason album and the fact this has stayed buried in the musical graveyard is a travesty. Words do so little to give merit to how excellent this album truly is.

Five of their best:
Sirens
Celsius
Revelation
Searching For Satellites
Somewhere I Could Never Find

There is a Facebook page for the band, though it is very much inactive. Their music is however available via most respectable music retailers.

5. Pure Reason Revolution

Photo source: NME/Press

Photo source: NME/Press

Boy, where do I even begin with these guys… There’s been very quiet rumblings yet incredible demand for a possible reunion for years, but no actual drive to capitalise on it since their demise in 2011. Whatever their reasons, Pure Reason Revolution were a breed unlike any others in their class. Marrying intelligent progressive rock with luscious pop harmonies that later stretched into deep electronica territory that still maintained their killer songwriting principles, the London musicians behind this monumental project rightfully gained a rabid cult following. But press tried in all their might to elevate the band to the height they deserved and shockingly, it was never reached. One day, one day, there’s a hope that they will return and their astonishing progressive masterpieces will conquer a new generation of fans.

Five of their best:
Bullitts Dominae
The Twyncyn/Trembling Willows
Deus Ex Machina
Black Mourning
Over The Top

Oddly, their Facebook updates occasionally, but not with Pure Reason Revolution news. Go show support if you enjoy them anyway. Their music is available at most respectable music retailers, buy all the copies.

and last but no means least…

    6. Type O Negative

Photo source: NY Rock/Unknown

Photo source: NY Rock/Unknown

While there is a remote hope for every band on this list to reform, chances here are far beyond impossible. Why? If you’re not familiar with the name Type O Negative, then you won’t be aware that vocalist, bassist and literal giant personality Peter Steele has been dead for five years, tragically passing away from the effects of an aortic aneurysm aged just 48. The music of Type O Negative has always had an air of severe gloom attached to it, oft with self-depreciating humour and self-loathing running through every fibre of their being, becoming synonymous with the band (they were nicknamed the ‘Drab Four,’ playing on the Beatles moniker). There’s an entire conversation for another time here which may arrive at a later date, but the long story short is, the irreplaceable black but beautiful expanding harmonies and inexplicable doom of one of goth rock’s best and beloved bands will seldom be replicated.

Five of their best:
Wolf Moon
Love You To Death
We Hate Everyone
I Don’t Wanna Be Me
Dead Again

Their Facebook updates are rare but relevant should you wish to get them, but worth showing support too. Their music as expected is also available via all respectable music retailers and the vast majority of merchandise can be obtained through their website.

Until I figure out a way to raise the dead, may all these bands rest in peace…

The Soundshark’s Top 20 Songs of 2014

So a year happened again. In that year, the world got a decidedly more grim place to be, and trying to be cheery about it got harder. In certain ways, my own life has become, let’s just say entangled for now. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that needs ironing out. Eh. Luckily, music is always an entity that makes life infinitely more enjoyable and in terms of what I encountered over those 12 months, it was an absolute cracker at times. My rules are that I don’t have year restrictions on when songs came out, otherwise this list would be damn boring, as from an overseer perspective, I can’t really count too many bands or albums from this year I enjoyed that much really. There are some, but not enough to fill a 20 song list. And on that note, I would go into honourable mentions, but there are really far too many to count or write words for. If you would like to listen to these songs however without my commentary, you may do so by clicking here:  Top 20 Songs of 2014 (does require Spotify, I think.)

Right, best get on with it then.

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