Thursday, December 29, 2016

Prodezra releases "Smile

Atlanta rapper Prodezra has released "Smile", his third and final single of the month (after "Good Looking Out" and "Egyptian Cotton"). The song finds Prodezra taking a glass-half-full approach to life's hardships over a remixed R&B sample.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Video: Mendel Roth, "Mincha"

Israeli Hasidic singer R' Mendel Roth has released the song "Mincha", a simple song with a surprisingly ambitious video.

The project was apparently inspired by a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that even a Jew who spends all day working to make a living will, upon noticing the approach of midday, immediately feel compelled to daven Mincha, even without the ideal conditions. According to Gruntig, Roth conceived of the song while grocery shopping in Boro Park and even shared it with fellow singer Shloime Gertner, who named his most recent album after it.

For such a deep concept, the song on its own isn't much; the lyrics are merely repeated exhortations to go daven Mincha, Roth's voice is pleasant but not particularly distinctive, and the beat (produced by Eli Shprei and arranged by Chesky Breuer and Mendy Hershkowitz) is fairly standard frum-pop fare. But the song was released together with the video, and the video is, quite frankly, amazing. Filmed in the Ukraine by Roth, director Alex Osmolovsky, and over fifty extras, it plays out like a big-budget Hollywood remake of Fiddler on the Roof. After an opening nod to the Mannequin Challenge (probably the only Internet fad an older person can partake in without seeming tacky), the video's 18th-century shtetl setting plays host to several mini-stories taken from countless Hasidic tales (the wealthy merchant, the poor woodcutter, the gang of thieves), all realized with impressive attention to detail and a fast pace that justifies the song's bombastic production.

Roth, a descendant of the Baal Shem Tov through the Shomrei Emunim rebbe, is known in Hasidic circles as a kumzitz host and lecturer with a stated intent to "spread Chassidus with pleasantness and charm, in a way that speaks to the younger generation." While he has yet to release an album, he has had several videos out this year, including "Tehoim El Tehoim", "Bein Hazmanim", and a kumzitz video entitled "Mendel with Friends".

Dovid Lowy releases "Ma'oz Tzur Jingle"

Singer/guitarist Dovid Lowy is wishing a Happy Hanukkah to fans with "Maoz Tzur Jingle", a breezy folk-pop rendition of the classic song.

Lowy's most recent album, Inspire, was released in August and is available at Mostly Music, iTunes, and Amazon.

Video: Yerachmiel and Ruach Hakodesh, "Burn The Best" (live studio)

The Israeli wedding band Ruach Hakodesh, fronted by Yerachmiel "Rocky" Ziegler, has released a live studio version of "Burn The Best", a new original reggae tune for Hanukkah composed by Ziegler.

The Ruach Hakodesh roster reads like a Who's Who in Jewish alternative music; at various times, the lineup has included former members of Hamakor, Moshav Band, Soulfarm, Yaakov Chesed, Yood, Pey Dalid, and Aharit Hayamim, as well as notable solo artists like Lazer Lloyd and Josh "Mr. Shabbos" Alpert. Ziegler, for his part, has four albums under his belt, including one with Aharon Razel, and fronts several bands. The musicians in this session include Aharit's Rafi Barkats on saxophone and Achiya Cohen on piano.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Video: Ariella Zeitlin, "Incandescence"

Violinist and YouTuber Ariella Zeitlin has released a new composition and music video for Hanukkah entitled "Incandescence". The piece has a cinematic feel, as Zeitlin's playing builds from tense plucking to wailing over a heavy rock backing.

Originally from Baltimore, Zeitlin began studying violin at age 7, heavily influenced by her grandfather, Julliard-trained violinist Zvi Zeitlin. Moving to Herzliya, Israel when she was 17, she received an MA from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Since 2014, she has uploaded violin lessons, covers, and original pieces like this one to her YouTube channel.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Shauli releases new single "B'shir"

Singer-songwriter Shauli (Shauli Atias) has released his latest single, "B'shir", an acoustic folk ballad taken from the Shabbos hymn Tzur Mishelo.

Born in Israel, Atias moved to Los Angeles as a child and began playing guitar at age 17. He debuted on the JM scene in late 2009 with the EP Simcha Belibi and has since kept going with singles like "Vehi She'amda" and "Don't Let Us Go", as well as a number of covers on his YouTube channel. Having recently moved to New York, he is currently working on a full-length album.

His music is available on iTunes, CD Baby, and Mostly Music.

Yohan Michael releases "Od Ishama"

French Hasidic singer Yohan Michael has released a new single, "Od Ishama". Composed by Shmuel Atlan with lyrics by Raphael Strock, the upbeat dance-pop tune is based on a popular Jewish wedding song.

Born in Marseilles, Michael attended yeshiva in Israel and was a baal tefillah in Canada, where he also worked as a wedding DJ. He met producer Moshe Laufer in 2015, and the two collaborated on Michael's debut single "Achake Lo". His second single, "Am Israel Chai", was released in July.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Gershon Veroba to release new album "Ani Yisrael"

Gershon Veroba will release his newest album, Ani Yisrael, tomorrow. The album will be distributed in the U.S. by Nigun Music and will feature guest appearances by Gad Elbaz, Ari Goldwag, Micha Gamerman, and Elikam Buta.

Video: Shtar, "Ma'oz Tzur"

Shtar has released their latest Chanukah single, "Ma'oz Tzur". Incorporating the opening line from the famous Chanukah hymn into its chorus, the song's English lyrics ask for Divine guidance in coming to terms our inherent human frailty.

Video: Matisyahu, "Shade From the Sun"

Matisyahu has released a video for "Shade From the Sun", the first single from his recent EP Release the Bound.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Rogers Park announce third annual Chanukah tour

Rogers Park have announced their third annual "Chanukah Jelly Donut Tour". Running throughout the last week of December, the tour stops will include Tuscon, the Virgin Islands, and several locations in Florida, including a Miami Heat game.

Video: Hanan Ben Ari, "Lo Levad"

Hanan Ben Ari has released a video for "Lo Levad", the lead single from his upcoming second album, in what is also his first ever actual music video.

Directed by Asaf Asulin, the video abstractly conveys the song's themes of loneliness and despair, following a featureless black figure too depressed to even leave his house - until the song reminds him that he is "not alone".

Yonatan Razel releases "Hatov"

Yonatan Razel has premiered "Hatov", the third single from his upcoming third album. The song, which takes its lyrics from Modim in Shemoneh Esrei, is based on a composition by the late R' Ben Zion Shenker, to whom the song is dedicated.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Eli Herzlich releases "Kesher Shel Kayomo"

Chasidic wedding singer Eli Herzlich has released "Kesher Shel Kayomo" (Lasting Connection), the debut single from his upcoming second album, Herzlich 2. Taken from the prayer recited by the bride's mother at a wedding, the song is composed and arranged by Eli Klein and Yitzy Berry (Beri Weber, Benny Friedman) and produced by Yisrael Lubin, who also produced Herzlich's debut album as well as the upcoming one.

The Belgian-born Israeli Herzlich debuted in 2014 with the album Chosson Domeh L'Melech (A Groom is Like a King), which spawned singles like the title track and "BeChochmo Yiboneh Bayis" (Wisely Build a House).

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Prodezra releases "Good Looking Out"

Georgia-based rapper Prodezra has released his latest single, "Good Looking Out".

Prodezra (aka Reuben Formey) currently has two albums and an EP under his belt, as well as collaborations with Nosson Zand and Y-Love. Earlier this year, he was included in The Forward's "Soundtrack of Our Spirit 2016", a reader-selected playlist of "the best new voices in Jewish music". His third album, Face to Face, was funded via a successful Jewcer campaign and is set to be released in the near future.

Video: The Maccabeats take on a Broadway hit with "Hasmonean"

Everyone's favorite Jewish a cappella group is back with another holiday-themed parody video, and this one is somehow both a pleasant surprise and something we really should've seen coming. 

With "Hasmonean", the Maccabeats takes on several cuts from the Internet's current favorite Broadway musical Hamilton, drawing parallels between the play's Revolutionary War narrative and the Jewish struggle against the Greeks. Group member Noey Jacobson gamely handles Lin-Manuel Miranda's complex rap rhythms with "Call Him Judah Maccabee" and "Our G-d", while the red-haired one (hey, I can't know all their names) has an obvious blast imitating Jonathan Groff on "You'll Be Greek", complete with swishing cloak, wildly waving scepter, and enthusastic trilling of R's. The play's more emotional side is not forgotten, however, as the video closes out with "The Story For Eight Nights".

The group's most recent release, last year's A Maccabeats Hanukkah EP, is currently available on iTunes and Amazon.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Music video: Shmil, "Ani Maamin"

Parisian frum-pop singer Shmil (Shmouel Touaty) has released a video for his version of "Ani Maamin", arranged by Shmuel Atlan and produced by JBeats Productions. Touaty debuted earlier this year with another single, "Vous Les Anges" (You Angels). Both songs appear on his recent debut album, of which the second is the title track.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

New single: Yonatan Razel, "Achshav Ani Af"

Yonatan Razel has released a new single, "Achshav Ani Af" (Now I Fly), the second single from his upcoming third album. The song was co-produced by Razel with Alon Yoffe and Eviatar Banai.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Hanan Ben-Ari premieres "Lo Levad"

Israeli funk/R&B artist Hanan Ben-Ari has released his latest single, "Lo Levad" (Not Alone), the debut single from his upcoming second album. Written with Roy Hasan and produced by Eyal Mazig, the slow-build ballad showcases Ben-Ari's powerful vocals and thoughtful songwriting as he offers hope to those going through hard times.

The nephew of former MK Michael Ben-Ari, Hanan has had quite the rapid rise to fame. Since his debut album, Izun (Balance) released in January, he has had several hit singles on Israeli radio, including "Tutim" (which was named "song of the year" by Galgalatz), while the album itself was certified gold in Israel after selling 15,000 copies in three months.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Music video: Shir Soul, "Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah

Brooklyn-based a capella group Shir Soul have released their music video for "Hanukkah Oh Hannukah", a medley taken from their recent album Holiday Shir. While the video is based on Pentatonix's "Daft Punk" medley, the track itself combines three traditional Hanukkah songs (the titular one included) with a Hanukkah-themed rewrite of P!nk's "Just Like Fire".

Music video: The Solomon Brothers, "Life"

The Solomon Brothers have released a new music video for "Life", the opening track and latest single from their 2016 debut album Song of Life. Filmed in South Africa, the video follows a young man on a nature hike that represents the "journey of life" described in the song.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Micha Gamerman releases "Bezochrenu Et Zion"

Brazilian-based frum-pop singer Micha Gamerman has released a new music video, "Bezochrenu Et Zion", directed by Mendy Pellin of Jewbellish.The song is taken from Gamerman's sophomore album, Micha Avdecha, which released in July of 2015.

There was clearly a lot of work put into this song and it's a shame that, to be blunt, neither are very good. The song, besides being yet another wistful ballad interpretation of "Im Eshkakhekh" (a category including even one of Gamerman's own previous singles), also suffers from its lackluster beat, a generic mix of piano, strings, and programmed drums without much in the way of variation or even a pulse. The "chorus" in particular is so understated that it's barely even recognizable as one on first listen, and while Gamerman's vocals here are perfectly fine, they're not strong or compelling enough to bring any additional life to the track.

And if the song suffers from dullness, the video has almost the exact opposite problem. Contained within the framing device of a forgetful best man at a wedding daydreaming is a parade of weird and occasionally disturbing imagery with no discernible point; the video's description says it is about "remembering who we are as a people, where we came from, and that we are waiting for the final redemption," but the connection between that and interpretive dancers, frolicking children, an Arab terrorist whose knife turns to cotton candy, a throbbing CGI heart, a dead body, and a tallis-clad rabbi standing next to a tiger - all on a beach, mind you - is a little hard to follow. As if that weren't enough, the otherwise somber video ends with Gamerman suddenly breaking into another of his old songs, "Simcha Guedola Halaila", a brass-heavy Latin pop number that sounds like "La Bamba" turned up to eleven.

None of this, obviously, reflects on the talent involved. Gamerman is a perfectly decent vocalist in general, and Mendy Pellin has worked on much better videos (several for Yaakov Shwekey, among others) in addition to being a pretty good comedian. Here's hoping that their future projects will be a bit more cohesive.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Benny Friedman to release new album "Fill the World With Light"

Hasidic crooner Benny Friedman has released a preview for his upcoming fourth album, Fill the World With Light

Coming two years after his previous effort, 2014's Kol Haneshama Sheli, the album was produced and designed by Sruly Meyer and will feature compositions from Hasidic pop heavyweights like Ari Goldwag, R' Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, and Yossi Green, as well as lyrics by Miriam Israeli and 8th Day's Shmuel Marcus.

The disc will release later this week and is available to pre-order on Mostly Music.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ishay Ribo, "Yitzhak & Rivka"

Israeli singer-songwriter Ishay Ribo has released his new single, "Yitzhak & Rivka", the latest from his sophomore album Pachad Gvahim (Fear of Heights), which released in March. The track is an acoustic folk ballad that tells the story of the titular Biblical couple, particularly the servant Eliezer's discovery of Rivka and her generous nature, with Ribo voicing the belief that every coupling is divinely ordained from the womb.

Video: Nissim ft. Yisroel Laub, "A Million Years"

Rapper Nissim hasn't exactly been slacking off since relocating to Israel earlier this year, but his latest, "A Million Years" featuring producer/singer Yisroel Laub, is nevertheless his first headlining music video (not a guest verse or lyric video) since becoming a citizen of the Holy Land. While other of his recent singles have been dance songs or holiday-themed, "A Million Years" is a more somber track, with Nissim chronicling his rocky relationship with the Almighty while Laub sings of undying loyalty to same ("I won't let go, even in a million years").

This is also a preview from the upcoming Lemala (Above), Nissim's first album since his 2013 self-titled effort, which will be produced by Laub for Little Box Records and will feature collaborations with him, Gad Elbaz, and DeScribe. The album was originally announced for Summer 2016, but Jewish Insights still describes it as "upcoming", so presumably it will be released some time in the coming year.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Avraham Fried, "Shuva Hashem" (from Tzamah 3)

Avraham Fried has released a new single, "Shuva Hashem". The song is from the upcoming album Tzamah 3, the latest from an Israeli project looking to bring Chabad nigunim to the masses. The album will also be promoted with a Yud Tes Kislev (December 19) farbrengen and concert at Binyanei HaUma in Jerusalem; details can be found at

Hasidic composer R' Ben Zion Shenker dies at 91

R' Shenker (right) at a farbrengen in 2010.
Per VIN - Noted Hasidic composer, chazzan, and music historian R' Ben Zion Shenker is the latest beloved musician claimed by the year 2016, having passed away Sunday morning at age 91.

Born in 1925 to Polish immigrants in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, R' Shenker is believed to have composed around 500 original songs, including the tunes for "Eishes Chayil" and "Mizmor L'David" that you've absolutely heard if you've ever been at an Ashkenaz Shabbos table. He is also known for recording and transcribing over 100 nigunim of the Modzitz hasidic dynasty, with whom he had an extensive relationship. His last album, Shiru Lashem Shir Chadash, a joint project with klezmer legend Andy Statman, was released just last month.

Some of his work can be heard below:

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Yoni Eliav, "Funk Medley 2016"

Bandleader Yoni Eliav and his crew have come out with their second "Funk Medley" (the first was in 2014) combining vocals from frum-pop heavyweights singing the biggest hits over a funk backbeat. The 2016 version features Shloime Daskal, The Zemiros Group, Yoni Z, Micha Gamerman, and Beri Weber, with the medley referencing Simche Friedman's "Bekarov (Yitgadal)" and a "Smooth Criminal"-flavored rendition of Boruch Sholom's "Lo Yemalet".

Friday, November 18, 2016

Matisyahu returns with Release the Bound EP

Matisyahu has just debuted his new EP, Release the Bound, his first album since 2014. The EP, which features collaborations with electronic artist The Polish Ambassador and Colombian pop duo Salt Cathedral, is said to continue the lyrical themes of 2014's Akeda with its exploration of the Biblical story of Avraham's almost-sacrifice of his son Yitzchak. It was released through distributor Thirty Tigers and is available on iTunes. An as-yet-untitled full-length Matisyahu album is scheduled for 2017.


Roy Yadid and Yehuda Saa'do, "Mishehu Dofek Badelet"

Israeli singer-songwriters Roy Yadid and Yehuda Saa'do have released the single "Mishehu Dofek Badelet" (Someone Knocks at the Door). The song, written by Aviad Paniv and composed and produced by Tomer Matanah, is a Mediterranean pop tune assuring the listener of hope for redemption.

Avraham Samet, "Ahavti"

Israeli wedding singer Avraham Samet has released his latest single, "Ahavti". The electro-dance song was written and composed by Samet with arrangements by Shmuel Levinson. The singer previously had success with the singles "Tatte" and "Tantz Chosson".

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Eitan Freilich, "Etz Chayim"

British singer Eitan Freilich has a new single in the form of "Etz Chayim", a power ballad composed by Yitzy Waldner and arranged by Ian Freitor. The song comes from his debut album, Am Yisrael Chai, which released in March.

Lyric Video - The Solomon Brothers, "Song of Life"

Folk rock trio The Solomon Brothers have released a lyric video for their latest single, "Song of Life", the title track from their debut album that dropped earlier this year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Maccabeats @ Camp HASC - What I Am

Premier Jewish a cappella group The Maccabeats have released their latest video, "What I Am", filmed at and in support of Camp HASC, a summer camp for Jewish special-needs children. Breaking with their typical fashion, this one is not based on a Top 40 (admittedly there haven't been many good ones this year), but is instead a cover of a song of the same name that rapper performed on Sesame Street in 2010.

Lipa Schmeltzer on how to compose music

Lipa Schmeltzer, the rare Orthodox pop singer who composes his own music, gives some insight into his creative process and a few tips for aspiring songwriters. The video is from the singer's vlog channel Shaynee v'Chamishee (Hebrew shorthand for "Monday and Thursday"), where he twice weekly posts Torah thoughts and answers to fan questions.

Eprhyme ft. Jon Madof, "Heavy Shtetl" (Hevria Session)

Neo-Hasidic rapper Eprhyme and genre-bending guitarist Jon Madof collaborated on a live version of the former's "Heavy Shtetl" for the website Hevria.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Kobi Oved's Jacob & the Angels release Leonard Cohen tribute

Kobi Oved, through his side project Jacob & the Angels, has released a tribute to the recently-deceased Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen, pairing the melody of Cohen's most famous song, "Hallelujah", with lyrics from Psalm 150, the final chapter of Tehillim.

Video: Ari Lesser, "Shabbat UK"

Rapper/poet Ari Lesser has released his latest composition "Shabbat UK", which, true to its title, is an ode to the joys of Shabbos recorded in London.

Lesser, a rapper and spoken word poet from Cleveland, is perhaps best known for his anti-BDS songs like "Boycott Israel", and has been featured on songs by Gad Elbaz and Lipa Schmeltzer, among others. He also has a YouTube channel where he posts a capella raps like this based on Jewish holidays, bible stories, sports, and other quirky subjects.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Alex Clare, "Tell Me What You Need" (Stripped Back)

Alex Clare has released a "stripped back" video version of his newest single, "Tell Me What You Need".

Clare's latest album, Tail of Lions, comes out this Friday.

A capella group Kippalive release "Havdallah"

Israel-based a capella group Kippalive has come out with "Havdala", based on the famous prayers that end Shabbos every week, complete with nods to "Kiss from a Rose" and the Harry Potter theme.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Video - Rogers Park, "Harninu"

As promised last week, Rogers Park have released their first all-Yiddish song and video, "Harninu".

Directed by the duo with filming assistance from Atara Wolf, the video opts for a rustic farm setting as the band perform their rendition of a Chabad melody, furnished with lyrics that speak of trusting in the Divine that things will go well (subtitled for the Lipa-impaired), in their usual upbeat folk style.

The band's debut album, The Maggid, is currently available on all the usual platforms.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Kobi Oved covers Streisand's "Avinu Malkeinu"

Israeli musician Kobi Oved recently performed a cover of Barbra Streisand's version of "Avinu Malkeinu". The performance occurred last Wednesday at a memorial for the late Israeli politician Shimon Peres, held at the Beth Weizmann Community Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Streisand herself performed the song at Peres' 90th birthday in 2013.

Oved is currently working on his debut album with producer Lior Cohen, which will include the single "Vaetchanan". He can be found on Facebook and YouTube.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Rogers Park announce all-Yiddish music video

Chicago-based Chabad folk rock duo Rogers Park have announced via Twitter and Facebook that they will be releasing their first music video entirely in Yiddish next week.

Formed in the eponymous Chicago neighborhood by childhood friends Yosef Peysin and Mordy Kurtz, Rogers Park debuted in 2014 with their video for "Sukkah's Falling", a Sukkos-themed parody of the Beatles' "I've Just Seen a Face". Since then, they've found success with their videos for "Shared Hearts", "Golden Crown", and "The Maggid" (the title track from their debut album, which released in January), and have even collaborated with violinist Ruby Harris, formerly of Diaspora Yeshiva Band.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Music Video - Shtar, "Gone Again"

Jerusalem-based rap/rock band Shtar have officially released their video for "Gone Again" to YouTube, having previously debuted it on their Facebook page. 

The song is actually a reworking of a track from their 2012 EP Boss. While maintaining the original's lyrics about ending a dying relationship, this version changes the instrumentation to focus on organic drums and guitar, resulting in a heavier rock feel than the original track's more subdued R&B vibe.

Shtar was formed in 2006 by rapper Ori Murray, originally from Seattle, and guitarist Brad Rubinstein, formerly of the short-lived British trip-hop band Lisp, after they met at the Aish HaTorah yeshiva in Jerusalem. They have since received critical acclaim for their debut album Infinity, and last year competed on the Israeli reality singing competition HaKokhav Haba with a cover of Linkin Park's "In The End" (they came in ninth).

Music Video - Simche Friedman, "Bekarov (Yitgadal)"

Israeli Chabad singer Simche Friedman has released a video for his latest single, "Bekarov (Yitgadal)".

Produced by Yoni Eliav and composed by Daniel Zamir (who appears in the video), with additional electronics work by Tal Matmor, Amit Harel, and Ron Tichon  the song is a catchy dance-pop piece that surrounds the famous opening lines of Kaddish with lyrics about taking time out from the world's insanity to connect with Hashem. The video, directed by Aharon Orian, is of the video-shoot-where-everything-goes-wrong genre, with Friedman contending with a malfunctioning microphone, a faulty smoke machine, and various people running through the shot, until he takes time out to calm down by davening.

Based in Lod, Friedman first made waves in late 2014, appearing on the third volume of singer Moshe Laufer's Chabad with Moshe Laufer series and collaborating with Eliav and singer Mendy Jerufi on a "Shluchim Medley" in honor of a Chabad shluchim conference that was going on at the time. In the intervening years, he found success with the Chanukkah ballad "Chasoif" (taken from the compilation album Ha’Meorrerim 2), the single "Kol Dodi" with musician Elor Velner, and other collaborations. Thus, "Bekarov" is technically his first solo single.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Avremi Roth ft. Yashlatz, "Torat Hashem Temima"

Chazzan Avremi Roth and the high school students of Yashlatz yeshiva in Jerusalem have released a new single "Torat Hashem Temima", composed by R' Yosef Tzvi Breyer and produced by Ofir Sobol.

The song, based on a selection from Tehilim, smoothly moves between acoustic kumzits-style strumming and more up-tempo brass-laden Orthodox pop, and makes good use of the interplay between Roth's and the kids' voices.

Chasidica, "Highbreed"

Not a lot of new music out this week, so I thought I would showcase this cool video from earlier in the year I just discovered, "Highbreed" by Chasidica.

Chasidica is an Israeli Hasidic alt-metal band that was formed in 2007 by brothers Sagi and Idan Givol, the former of whom played for a metal band in Australia before becoming religious. On "Highbreed", the band does a good job of balancing softer grooves with bursts of alt-rock grit, with Sagi Givol really displaying his vocal range.

Chasidica can be found at their website and on Facebook and YouTube.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Akiva Gelb ft. Shir V'shevach Boys Choir, "Shabbos Medley"

Hasidic singer Akiva Gelb, accompanied by the Shir V'Shevach Boys Choir, has released a medley of songs taken from the Shabbos prayers. Composed by Gelb and produced by Gershy Moskowits, the charming Carlebach-esque acoustic rendition is given a nicely atmospheric video shot at night by the ocean. (True East-Coasters can probably pick out where exactly this is - I'm from LA, the only water we see is bottled.)

Gelb is a relatively new figure in the Orthodox pop scene. He debuted last year with the single "V'ezkeh", and in March he released his debut album, Dance 365, which features the Freilach Band.

The Shondes release video for "Everything Good"

New York-based rock band The Shondes have released a video for "Everything Good", from their latest album Brighton (which will be reviewed here on Yidwise in the coming weeks).

The song acts as a perfect introduction to the album, showcasing the skills of lead singer Louisa Rachel Solomon and violinist Elijah Oberman, a power-chord-heavy rhythm section, and lyrics that are almost aggressively positive and optimistic. The video's boardwalk setting perfectly complements the relaxed-yet-soaring vibe of the song.

Brighton is currently available on all the usual platforms. As stated, a Yidwise review is forthcoming.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Eitan Freilich releases "Halayla"

Eitan Freilich has just released "Halayla", the second single from his debut album Am Yisrael Chai.

Composed by Ari Goldwag and arranged by Ian Freitor, the song is an upbeat electro-pop number with lyrics taken from Sheva Brachos, encouraging listeners to join together in celebration "tonight". It's the Jewish wedding version of a Pitbull song, basically.

Am Yisrael Chai is currently available on all the usual platforms.

Shloime Gertner, "Shelo Asani Goy"

British frum-pop superstar Shloime Gertner has premiered "Shelo Asani Goy", the first single from his latest album Mincha, which was released earlier this month.

Produced by Gershy Moskowits and composed by Moshe "Mona" Rosenblum, the up-tempo jazz/rock number borrows its lyrics from the Shacharis prayers, particularly the Morning Blessing in which we thank Hashem for being made Jews.

Mincha is currently available on iTunes, Mostly Music, and NigunMusic.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Alex Clare releases lyric video for "Tell Me What You Need"

British singer-songwriter Alex Clare has released a lyric video for "Tell Me What You Need", the debut single from his upcoming album Tail of Lions. Brooding and intense with lyrics lamenting an uncommunicative loved one, the song should more than satisfy fans of Clare's blend of alt-rock, soul, and electronica.

Raised secular, Clare became a BT around 2007, having discovered Orthodoxy through Chabad while studying in Jerusalem. Since then, he has talked openly about his adherence to halacha on tour. He found chart success in 2011 with his debut album, The Lateness of the Hour, and its lead single "Too Close", which reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. While Clare has remained musically active in the intervening years, "Tell Me What You Need" marks his first solo release since his 2014 album Three Hearts.

Tail of Lions will be released on November 11 through ETC Recordings.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Music Video - Raphael Ben, "Derech BaChaim" (Way Of Life)

Singer Raphael Ben has released a music video for his latest single, "Derech BaChaim" ("Way of Life" in English).

Produced by Ari Gotthelf and composed by Shmuel Atlan, the song is a house-style dance number with flamenco and Mizrahi influences. (Ben is a French native with Spanish Sephardi heritage.) While the production work can get a bit intrusive, with some blaring synths and auto-tuned "ahs", there is a strong enough chord structure to support it, and the use of flamenco guitar helps keep the melody from being overshadowed. Lyrically, the song has Ben giving advice to a young child on dealing with life's hardships (adorably portrayed in the video as the child taking boxing lessons at a gym).

Ben began his career in 2013, covering artists as diverse as Shalsheles and Jo Amar on his YouTube channel. He has recorded two singles with singer/guitarist Dovid Listhaus, and received considerable buzz earlier for his wedding ballad "Peninim".