Groover Playlist 136 | Mixing & Matching

Enjoy another slate of greatness from around the country & around the globe.

Robin Pitts brings the funk, Charles V.Rox Vaccaro has a very Berry Christmas, Flavio Rio feels fraternal, Alexandre Moreira catches a buzz and more in today’s submissions from Groover, a platform that connects artists with critics like me for a small fee. You can (and should) follow me on Spotify HERE, check out my Top 150 playlist HERE, or listen to it via the widget at the lower right of every page on this site. If you want to be in an upcoming playlist, go HERE. But first, mix it up with this diverse slates of acts and tracks:


Robin Pitts | Funk Attak

HOME BASE: France.
GENRE: Funk.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “Music is a family affair to the Pitts. Stemming from a long lineage of musicians from Milwaukee, Robin was raised around gospel, soul and funk. A rapper, singer, drummer, beatmaker, author and composer, he has been performing onstage with different projects in several countries in Europe, perfecting his art and skills. Pitts is constantly working on new original music, seeking for new sounds, styles and collaborations. His two first EPs are available online. Funk Attak is the second single from the Funk is Back album expected in spring 2022. Composed by Hugues Buenzey and Pitts, this track is old-school funk fashion with a twist of hip-hop, played live by a band of groove experts.”

Charles V.Rox Vaccaro | Run Rudolph Run

HOME BASE: Canada.
GENRE: Blues-Rock.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Charles V. Rox Vaccaro is a singer-songwriter and rock guitarist from Montreal. In the mid-’80s he was one of the founding members of the rock band Lipstik. The passion Charles puts in his music comes from his inner heartfelt vision, that has brought him to be a skilled musician and a great creator: sometimes it could be just the love for those three chords, or an inspiring story with the endless variations that an artist can use to narrate it. Here is his cover of the classic rock hit Run Rudolph Run by Chuck Berry, produced by Peter Ranallo. Perfectly on time to ride the Christmas atmosphere, Charles’ version of this masterpiece will surely throw some rock sparkle into your festivities. “Run Rudolph Run is a timeless Christmas classic,” he says. “Although it’s been recorded by many other artists, it is a song that I always wanted to cover. Staying true to its original arrangement and vibe, I did personalize it. This song has a great rock ’n’ roll energy and although it has a holiday vibe, it is also reminiscent of that era, which is immortalized by those ringing guitar riffs!”

Flavio Rio | Brother

HOME BASE: Belgium.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Flavio Rio is an Italian soul singer-songwriter in Brussels. He has combined influences from different musical worlds to create something personal and hard to label. Having made a name for himself in the jazz scene, Flavio is now edging into a more alt-pop, neo-soul sound, as displaying on his latest single Brother, a timeless pop-soul ballad.”

Alexandre Moreira | Mosquito

HOME BASE: Sweden.
GENRE: Psychedelic R&B.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Alexandre Moreira is making music and wondering whether it’s safe to go out. Sometimes he pops in his studio but hastily returns home to mix and also to lay in bed with the covers pulled up. This is the single from his upcoming EP. It’s a funny, irreverent track that is deceptively creative and musically complex, even while sounding simple and unassuming. But most of all it’s weird and hilarious.”

Niels Barrier | I Never Knew

HOME BASE: France.
GENRE: Folk-Hop.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “Passionate guitarist-mandolinist composer. I have been working for 15 years now on various musical projects. Some are groovy and funky, others are rock, and lately they have even included bluegrass. I am passionate about music in general; there is something beautiful in everything. As a guitarist I work a lot on groovy jazz (I have a passion for George Benson), swing and gypsy jazz. I am also a mandolinist. This range of music gives me real freedom for composition, but above all I try to compose things that touch me personally, whatever the style. Beauty and musicality are  the only criteria.”

Rough Grind | Dreamchaser

HOME BASE: Finland.
GENRE: Hard Rock.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Rough Grind deliver dark roasted rock. Served in your face. Intense, intriguing and intoxicating. Straightforward and strong in character. Powerful tones with rich and robust flavors. Pungent notes of exhaust fumes, burning rubber and unwashed hockey gear. A hint of dust, rust and roadkill. Old-school approved. Served black. CAUTION: May contain nuts! Founded in 2011, Rough Grind’s resumé includes three EPs — Son of a Gun (2014), Four For The Road (2017) and Trouble or Nothing (2018) — and their debut album Pieces of Resistance, released in 2020. Dreamchaser is the second single from their upcoming album Hardened (due on Jan. 28). While first single The Road Song was a stroll down the memory lane to revisit the age of hard-rock giants, the second one is a modern metal juggernaut. Dreamchaser is a veritable riff rocket that will irresistibly take up permanent orbit inside your head.”

Mystery_o | Midnight Movies

HOME BASE: United Kingdom.
GENRE: Soul / R&B.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “Based in the U.K., Mystery_o is the moniker of Ryan Napolitano, a diverse producer with a growing portfolio of hip-hop, neo-soul, R&B, house, chillhop and lo-fi. This track/project is a collaboration with U.K. singer-songwriter Kate McQuaide. The goal was to fuse her love of neosoul and funk with his stripped-back, melancholic production style. The result was the two-song EP Control, featuring this track. The song hits its stride properly by the time chorus kicks in, delivering a juicy baseline and high-impact vocal.”

Clou9 | Basement

HOME BASE: United States.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Clou9, an artist / producer / engineer from New Jersey, brings class and substance into a struggling hip-hop genre that is missing morals and value. Representing truth, authenticity, loyalty, accountability, and dedication, he believes you stand up for what you believe, no matter how many people attempt to discourage you. Basement, from his newest EP Truth, is a classic hip-hop banger with deep-rooted storytelling that expresses love and pain. Featuring hypnotic harmonies mixed with boom-bap, the alt-rap cut is topped by expert lyricism and a shredding guitar solo (also performed by Clou9).”

Doug Kistner feat. Bill Champlin | There’s The Door

HOME BASE: United States.
GENRE: Pop-Rock.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Trans Siberian Orchestra keyboardist Doug Kistner’s latest single There’s The Door features the vocals of former Chicago member Bill Champlin.”

Otis Mensah & The Intern | Swell

HOME BASE: United Kingdom / Germany.
GENRE: Hip-Hop / Jazz.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “With solemn saxophone, sparse drums and gloomy piano chords, Otis Mensah’s newest single Swell dips its toes in experimental jazz waters, creating an eerie and minimalist soundscape. Concluding the #OtisMensahExists series that saw Otis collaborate with Samuel T. Herring (Future Islands), Brelstaff and Elijah Bane, the final single marries Mensah’s abstract aesthetic poetry with raw production from Berlin beatmaker The Intern on a post-apocalyptic journey.”

Bernardino Femminielli | Le Glas

HOME BASE: France.
GENRE: Soul / R&B.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Bernardino Femminielli, a lucid and tempestuous entertainer, takes on the role of a triple agent in a sentimental mise en abyme, far from the tumultuous moral, political and philosophical conflicts. By turns storyteller, voyeur and actor of this tragedy in six acts, it is his word against that of another. The other is Brad Cerini. Lulled by the variety of his Italy, this student of Vannier, Lai and Musy projects Femminielli into the torments of a high school girl betrayed in love. Escaping from the shadow of the palaces, the mouse embraces her destiny with a gunshot.”

Faulty Rivals | Wasting Away

HOME BASE: Canada.
GENRE: Indie-Rock.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “Kitchener’s sour, dour and musically sweet hard-rock group Faulty Rivals make a triumphant return to their never-ending house party in their new single. Faulty Rivals have more dreary and hard-rocking material on the way, with their debut EP The Abused Will Ascend.”

Low Gear | Chemical Burn

HOME BASE: United States
GENRE: Metal.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Low Gears formed in Dallas for the purpose of delivering loud heavy metal music to the world. Love for their rhythmic sound and animated live shows has grown quickly. Their new CD Siktunes Redux was just released. The first single Mexican Radio, a cover of the Wall of Voodoo hit, received massive attention. Their second single Chemical Burn is on FIRE! They say: “This tune is one of the best metal songs available on planet Earth. I guarantee it. If you don’t dig it , send me a plane ticket and I will personally fly to a meeting place of your choice and kiss your ass.”

Etianne | Cigarette Sur Cigarette

HOME BASE: France.
GENRE: Synth-Pop.
THE TRANSLATED & EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “My name is Etianne and, oh surprise, I write songs. I am also a singer, violinist, Ableton addict and poet of my thoughts. Over the years I have created an electro-pop musical project whose album, many times rejected (ah, they joys of self-production) should be released next February. My lyrics speak of love and heartbreak but also tackle subjects such as abortion, feminism and depression.”

Chance Lovett | 7 Years

HOME BASE: Canada.
GENRE: Retro-Soul.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “The anthemic powers of soul are alive, well, and back with a vengeance during Chance Lovett‘s debut solo single. 7 Years was inspired by the murder of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer in 2014, but Lovett couldn’t find the words to complete the song until the murder of George Floyd in 2020. After watching the horrific news, she finished the song immediately. “I was flooded by the realization of the devastation that comes with being a black parent just trying to keep your child alive in a world where the very colour of their skin is cause enough for unspeakable violence,” Chance says. Though it is a heartbreaking song, literally following a mother’s thoughts about losing her son, it also offers glimmers of hope. “This song was written in dedication to lives that were taken away by a broken system, but I also want to dedicate this song to the celebration of black life,” Chance says. Before her solo career, Chance was part of Victoria’s premiere soul-revival group The Chantrelles, and also started her own band Chance Lovett & The Broken Hearted.”

Ninjahtiger | Dialling Jah

HOME BASE: Belgium.
GENRE: Electronica / Dub.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “A composer, drummer, singer and sometimes scratch DJ from Antwerp, Ninjahtiger loves to create music that submerges you into a different realm. Dialling Jah, a dub-style instrumental in honour of Haile Selassie, asks and answers the musical question: What if you could pick up that phone and call God himself?”

BSK | Do Me Like That / We Are The Best / Just For You

HOME BASE: United Kingdom.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Do Me Like That is about a couple who don’t treat each other very well but still are madly in love. We Are The Best is meant to give the feeling of being in a club. In the beginning of Just For You, I’m talking about God and how I believe he views the world; in the last verse I’m talking about myself .”

Kira Hooks | Moving Along

HOME BASE: United States.
GENRE: Soul / Jazz.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “This is a positive retro-soul track with real instrumentation, recorded to tape.”

Vermin & the Beachrat | Dinner By Candlelight

HOME BASE: United States.
GENRE: Country.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “In 2009 I released my first CD Crossin’ the Line. I had to think of a band name and checked out Beachrats, but another band had taken the name. Whenever Bausk, one of my best friends would call, he would always say ‘Vermin, what you doing?’ I’m only one Beachrat, so I became Vermin & the Beachrat. Crossin’ the Line was followed up with My Fantasy in 2014. In 2020, I started working on my third CD release One Last Chance.”

Barton Hartshorn | Still Life

HOME BASE: France.
GENRE: Pop-Rock.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Barton Hartshorn is a singer-songwriter in Paris. Born in England, he has toured with other acts as a drummer (Angus Stone, Gossling, Bo) and is lead singer and songwriter of the group Dictafone. Although none of his albums would be called concept albums, each one carries a distinct theme and represents a travelogue of sorts, a record of journeys real and imagined. Headquarter Café (2012) takes place in the fictional land of Ampersand and tells of the rise to power of a musician-cum-dictator. I Died Of Boredom & Came Back As Me (2017) came about through a year spent working in kitchens in Australia. Twelvemonth (2018) is a song cycle to accompany the novel Necessary To Life by Louisa Leontiades. It documents choices made and time spent on the Swedish island of Brännö. He wrote Still Life in the aftermath of Brexit. “The great civilizations were built on freedom of movement, not closed borders and a suspicion of foreigners. A time when my country will realize the error of its ways and decide to rejoin the world is not what I expected to hope for.”

Indiana Colson | Qui Suis-Je?

GENRE: Soul / R&B.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “I am an author, melodist and performer from the Parisian suburbs. I have been a singer for four years, all over France. I sing in cabarets, musicals and in a gospel choir. I do dance, theatre and have just started playing the piano. I enrich my art a little more every day. Qui Suis-Je (Who Am I) is a psychedelic, groovy and disturbing track that will take you to a neo-soul universe.”

Aldée | Les Échevelés

HOME BASE: France.
GENRE: Jazz-Folk.
THE TRANSLATED & EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Les Échevelés is the first title of my EP. It celebrates the dreamers, the dizzy, and the distracted lovers.”