The New Jersey music community has always been a positive force in the Garden State. With new bands and performers coming to the area with each new month, music continues to grow and offer a myriad of choices when it comes to finding something you would be interested in. Companies, such as Lakehouse Music Academy, nurture budding players from the very beginning, assisting talented folks with teaching abilities made up of area musicians that have long been contributors in all areas of music. The school teaches instrumental skills, as well as engineering and other areas of the music business. They give students the tools they need to take their craft to the next level.
Emerging indie artist Ella Ross is making waves with fresh multi-genre music for the masses. Having a keen interest in a multitude of music genres from a young age, Ella decided in early 2017 that it was about time for her to begin exploring and creating her own sound. Her music education continues to flourish via numerous teachers and reputable songwriters at Lakehouse Music Academy (Asbury Park, NJ). It was at Lakehouse Recording Studios that Ella curated, created, and recorded her debut EP, Uncharted Waters, released last August. Ella intends to release her second EP, Wasted Youth, this Friday at The Saint.
Ross’s single, “Can’t Get Enough”, has become quite the hit, known to be streamed on various radio stations — most recently Sirius XM. Ella regularly performs at venues locally and beyond, including The Saint, House of Independents, The Asbury Hotel, and the AP Music Foundation. Ella’s sound aesthetic is a glorious mixture of sound worlds that correlate to many of her inspirations such as Banks and Florence + The Machine. To find and stream Ella’s music, search via Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music and all other major outlets.
With the release of her sophomore EP just days away, Ella sent me the EP in a private link to listen to, and I thought I would share some of what I heard here for our readers.
The first track I listened to is called “Hurt.” Ross has a dreamy, perfectly pitched vocal style along the lines of Florence Welsh from Florence + the Machine. The compositional level is high, and the song combines excellent verses and bridges along with a great big alternative pop chorus. Ella Ross isn’t big on phony, overblown production work, and the song utilizes basic instrumentation and harmonies without getting lost in any mediocrity. Guitars are crisp, and the song literally pumps as you listen to it. “Hurt” is already doing well online (she releases singles each month) and I would suggest you look for it and take a listen.
“Before Tonight” is next and it immediately jumps out at me with its sonic delivery. Guitars and keys ping and chords growl as Ross takes center stage on vocals. The song comes at you like a sidewinder, wide-open, and a veritable audio soundscape that draws the listeners deep into her lyrical mind. Once again, compositionally speaking, Ella has done her homework, and the piece shimmers in original beauty. I’m a huge fan of the guitars on this song, and I love how chords crash into single-note lines of melodic splendor. Accents clash against big, bold choruses and instrumental breaks of either keyboard or guitar lines. Tastefully played, there is absolutely no bravado-soaked fist pumping here. Dreamy, hazy and aurally exciting to listen to, Ella Ross is my new favorite singer.
Up next is “Dream.” Ross doesn’t take the easy way out when it comes to her writing, and that fact is most evident on “Dream.” With a crafty way of putting complex parts together and making them sound great is a talent she has already mastered on this sophomore effort. Verses march to their own bizarre beat as the bridge warms things up and she sails into her terrific chorus. Her vocal tone is sweet and airy, allowing her to hit ultra-highs as well as coming down into lower registers and killing on every part. Her thematic bent is romance, relationships and the like, but it’s an entirely different feel than most standard offerings due in large part to the compositional directive and the smart use of minimal instrumentation to get things done.
“Basement Parties” is another look into the youthful rites of passage and the next phase of growth. The band plays great and instrumentation surges back and forth to support her vocal charms perfectly. Intricate synths work over chimey guitar parts and sonic bass. Once again, Ella shows her talent as she creates an outstanding piece of music full of life, emotion, and style.
Moving around I came to “Burn.” “Burn” is another fascinating look into a new artist that comes to the plate pre-loaded with scads of talent. Drums start things out as Ross starts singing. Very Cars-like. Guitars are surfy and distorted chimes of chord infused goodness as drums keep the backbeat with bass and keys. Ross tears into her stratosphere, blending rock and pop and coming away with a winner. The middle-eight guitar work reminds me of Mick Ronson during his time with David Bowie, and I love it. Ross’s melodic vocal style is reminiscent of one of her influential likes — Jillian Rose Banks. Her lyrical directive is very much like a painter with a blank canvas, and she doesn’t waste her time with anything by the numbers on this outrageously fine tune. Choruses are strong and charge straight back into powerful verses and a cornucopia of sonic sound. I’m sure this is a crowd favorite when she plays live.
“Everything We Thought” finishes off this classy EP with flair. Featuring an automaton-like rhythm section and a wave of synth magic, Ross sprinkles her vocal magic over the top as only she can. “Everything We Thought” boasts some heavy-duty and intricate synth work and reminds me of Eighties giants Tears For Fears in its delivery. Ella also reminds me of Portishead and Morcheeba. Verses are smooth, using pause to get emotional lyrical points across. I love the airy feel of the bridge as well. Ross blends vocal and keyboard to create her own ethereal picture, and it works. The middle-eight is filled with amazing synthesizer sounds, bass, and drums, making sense to me and fueling the songs internal engine quite well.
I am so happy I answered an email that Ella sent to me, as her music is not only original but also inviting, addicting and bound to take her places that she needs to go. Do yourself a favor and head over to her Facebook page to get info on the single releases and don’t forget to go see her at The Saint this Friday night as she celebrates the release of her EP with special guests We’re Ghosts Now, Ernest, and Lauren Patti. The show starts at 8 p.m.
For more information, head over to the saint at thesaintnj.com.