Friday, January 29, 2010

Jes (Electronic/Trance)

It’s with rare exception that an artist captures me so completely with their voice that their music gets repeated play over a number of days. Progressive Electronic/Trance vocalist Jes’ has done just that. She is a vocal hypnotist who gets you into the mood of what she calls her Rocktronica music, whether it be wanting to get up and dance or to close your eyes and float away.

Jes is New York City born and raised Jes Brieden, a singer, producer, songwriter, and a frequent guest vocalist. Jes began writing songs and playing piano at age 10 and when she was 15 recorded her first song, Wasted On Your Love and by the age of 16, made her first recordings as a reference vocalist and was a back-up singer for several major record labels. But her career took another direction in 2001 when she met Mike Olson in while working at a popular recording studio. They would form the group Guardians of Earth and produce songs such as Star Children and One Moon Circling. Star Children was included on Paul VanDyks’ The Politics of Dancing series.

In 2003 Jes collaborated with electronic DJs and producers Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden,forming their own group called Motorcycle. In 2004, Motorcycle would score a hit with their 2003 cult classic single As the Rush Comes, a song that demonstrates how Jes’ soft enticing vocals can be the life preserver above the pounding waves of a dance beat. The single made number one on Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay chart in 2004 and the same year won Best Progressive/Trance and was nominated for Best Underground Dance at the Winter Music Conference.

Jes moved into a solo career when she met Tiesto, a Grammy nominated Dutch musician, DJ, and producer of electronica music and in 2005, he signed her to his record label Black Hole Recordings. She released her electrifying debut album Disconnect in 2007 which included her earlier works such the haunting tracks One Moon Circling, Ghost, Living the Dream and Like a Waterfall. This incredible debut showcases Jes’ innate ability to grab you with her sultry vocals that bleed with emotional highs and lows soaring above a driving dance beat. The one track that screamed club hit, Imagination, was deservedly number one on Billboard’s Dance Airplay in 2009.

In January 2008, Jes released her second album with Black Hole Recordings called Into The Dawn - The Hits Disconnected. The album contains remixes of the songs Heaven, Around You, Like A Waterfall, Ghost, and As The Rush Comes In found on the Disconnect album. However, this album truly missed the mark with remixing these tracks. Each song has had the dance beat removed and made into a slower version of the original, ultimately disconnecting the original dreamy groove and the deep emotion of Jes’ vocals that made them so captivating to begin with. Despite that, her most recent work shows great promise and regenerates her hypnotic essence.

Currently, Jes has been performing on Tiesto’s Element of Life World Tour, and her third much anticipated album called Highglow is due out in March 2010. The first single released from the album is a refreshing remake of the The Cure’s classic hit Lovesong. The radio edit version stays close to the original in vocal interpretation however, several remix versions were also created. Among them, the Cosmic Gate remix which stands out because it doesn’t have an overpowering beat or tweak her vocals to sound robotic as the other remixes. A real treat is the Acoustic Love remix that brings you front and center of Jes’ exquisite voice.

Even if dance/electronic/trance isn’t your first choice of music, I think you’ll be blown away by her incredible vocal ability and depth of emotion that I have yet to find with other artists in the same genre. I hope that you will explore Jes’ body of work and if you agree with me, help promote Jes to get the recognition she deserves.

Check out Jes’ websites and
Her music is available at and also on iTunes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Welcome! / The Trews

Welcome to my Music of Note blog! The purpose of my blog is to profile up and coming bands and musicians of different genres who I believe have a unique sound and are worth a listen. In the coming months, I will be covering one or more different artists each week.

Gone are the days when a new artist was 'discovered' by the primary channel available to them -- the recording industry. This process however, was turned on its head with the advent of the Internet and advances in technology. Although the consumer today is more pivotal in advocating new talent, this basic approach presents a dilemma for both the artist and the general public. How will an artist stand head and shoulders above all the others, and how will the consumer distinguish the high quality talent from the vast quantity of mixed?
I hope to contribute to this separation process with this blog, and by doing so, hopefully assist some talented artists in becoming more widely recognized.

My first profile is of The Trews, a rock band that possesses mind-blowing harmonies, stirring vocals, and powerful guitar prowess whether it be their hard driving rock songs, or their electrifying acoustic sets. I consider them Canada’s rock music gem that unfortunately flies under the radar in the United States. Originally from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, this Toronto based rock band is made up of Colin MacDonald - Vocals, guitars, and keyboards; John-Angus MacDonald - Guitars and vocals; Jack Syperek - Bass and vocals; and Sean Dalton - Drummer and vocals.

In 2006, The Trews debuted on the American music scene with their 2005 release and second studio album, “Den of Thieves”. Before then, they had racked up several Canadian top ten hits, several Juno Music Award nominations, and developed a reputation among their Canadian fans for being an incredible live band.

Formed in high school, the band started their career in 1998 as One I’d Trouser and then Trouser, before choosing a fan’s suggestion, The Trews. In 2002, they won a rock station contest which landed them a recording contract with Sony BMG Canada. The release of their first album, “House of Ill Fame” followed in 2003. The certified gold album produced several hit singles, including the number one hit and most played song on Canadian rock radio in 2004, “Not Ready To Go”. The Trews were nominated for Group of the Year at the 2004 Juno Awards and “Not Ready To Go” was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2005 Juno Awards.

Their 2008 album, “No Time for Later” really demonstrates their tremendous growth as songwriters and musicians. It’s an illustration of a band that has come into its own. It was released in the United States in 2009, and netted them another two Juno Award nominations in for Group of the Year and Album of the Year. The notable singles off of the album run the gamut of styles. Hard rocking guitars and an in your face lead vocal drives “Hold Me In Your Arms”, which won the 2009 Independent Music Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Song; "Man of Two Minds" is a haunting southern rock ballad of indecision; "Paranoid Freak" is an anthem for those of us who are; and "I Can’t Stop Laughing" is a clever song about heart-break.

I do believe though, that the best showcase of The Trews’ talent is their new live album, “Trews Acoustic - Friends And Total Strangers” released in October 2009. As they showcase their hits, previously unreleased rarities, and new songs, they prove they have the innate ability to shift direction without losing their identity. The live recording was done in January 2009 over two nights at Toronto’s Glen Gould Theatre, known for their first-rate recording studio.

I hope that my profile has encouraged you to explore The Trews music and inspires you to spread the word, giving them the promotion they deserve.

Check out The Trews official website: Their music is available through their website and on iTunes.