In May this year, the Record Label Lights and Lines launched The Album Writing Club. The challenge was to record an EP or album in one month. It was more than just the prizes on offer, it was also about supporting independent artists by creating a community during the event (and long after). Together, with some chosen mentors (which included me), the aim was to help everyone achieve their goals. As a bonus, they had three prizes on offer:
1st Prize – The winning album out on Lights And Lines digitally and as a limited edition CD run (selected by the label)
2nd Prize – Full album playthrough on the Sunshine Music iRadio station, where the hosts talk about the tracks (chosen by mentors and label).
3rd Prize – Artists will pick their best track from their EP/album. The winner will receive a PR campaign for it and be released through the label. The public would select this winner.
Lights and Lines were impressed, not only by the number of entries but also by the calibre of work submitted. It made selecting a winner a difficult challenge. The result led to a tie for first and second place. But, they decided on a winning album and an EP for each spot. Now, let’s talk about who won:
3rd Prize – Best Single (Public Vote)
Mikey J – My Little Dragon Girl
Mikey J won almost a quarter of the votes. It has a fun groove with its blend of alt-rock with ska elements (thanks to Danny Davis’s skills on the trumpet). A song dedicated to his wife, who was born during the year of the Dragon. It is an infectious track thanks to its combo of beats with the trumpet. You find yourself tapping your foot along to its groove while singing the line “My Little Dragon Girl”. As a bonus, Mikey J also shows off his guitar skills with some excellent solos.
2nd Prize – Media Prize (Judges Choice)
Func(x) – Kwargs 1 EP
Func(x) delivers the first part of an ongoing musical project exploring the theme “everything is code”. Each of the five tracks tells its own story with its various layers of electronic music. The vocals have their own style. They share their words in a spoken-word manner when they appear. No two songs are alike and keep the listener on their toes during the journey. Kwargs 1 is a fearless EP that does not restrict itself. Instead, it lets the music run free to tell its tale in its own way. For me, “New York By Rawtenstall” stood out the most due to subtle funky elements and captivating trumpets.
Bill Fever – iii Weights EP
Bill Fever has created a collection of songs “around the themes such as anxiety, fear, depression, imposter syndrome, addictions”. With an eclectic array of sounds (including synth, bass lines, and guitars), he uses this musical platform to let his storytelling qualities shine. An outstanding example of this is “What About The Kids?”. He talks about “the fear of what the future holds for my kids – the weight of the world over my head, being powerless, seeing a bleak future and wanting that to change”. iii Weights EP is not all serious, as “Tetramino” adds a bit of fun to this impressive album.
1st Prize – Best Album
We Walk The Earth – The Ice Storm
Ice Storm came to life thanks to the Album Writing Club. It was a creative spark required to complete some unfinished songs and write some new ones. Most were created while the artist was dealing with the loss of his partner and longtime musical collaborator. This resurgence resulted in a fantastic collection of songs that offer an array of moods, each one letting the musical talents of We Walk The Earth shine. To give you a taste of what this album will deliver, have a listen to “I Am Hollow”. The combination of grungy guitars and vocals is stunning from start to finish.
1st Prize – Best EP
Rebel Tramp – Intra Dimensional Fantasy
Grabbing first place with Best EP comes Intra Dimensional Fantasy by Rebel Tramp. They deliver a five-track space journey filled with electronic elements, some blues rock and vocals. While listening, you will hear a blend of different genres to its ever-changing musical landscape. Each one offers something slightly different but equally captivating. “Wavetashia” stands out the most due to its gentle vocals that flow from beginning to end. They never overshadow the music. Instead, work together to create a wonderful moment from this release.
Lights And Lines competition showcased an excellent array of talent and sounds. It not only helps to support artists with the prizes on offer but brought new music to listeners. Events like this are a great way to support independent musicians. They do plan to do this again next year. However, you do not have to wait too long to discover new tunes. Check out the releases by this label and others like it. If you find something you like, don’t forget to support and tell the world about the music you like.