Danni Stefanetti’s work writing and recording over the past year or so has recognised and rewarded with her winning a 2012 Musicoz award for her song “Victory“. While I’m not a fan of pay to enter song or band-battle competitions, previous Musicoz winners have gone on to bigger things. Musicoz are at least putting focus on new independent unsigned artists. Which is sadly lacking today with the “popularity” of reality TV shows as the source for our new music (I won’t get side tracked with the tragedy that has become).
Danni has been working with The Novacaine’s producer Alan Brey to record 6 new songs for a new EP. I’ve listened to these new songs and a few others following Danni as she develops, maybe searching a little with Alan to define her sound and style.
It seems to have been a progression from a folk or country sound to indi-pop. Which is probably not deliberate as she adds production to her songs. It always pains me pigeon holing any artist or even your own band when you try to explain to someone what “style” the music is or what it sounds like. A pointless question and exercise really.
So what do the latest songs sound like. “Black Piano” is acoustic guitar centered song which waltzes along with its guitar theme highlighted with some xylophone. This gives the song a playful feel about especially in the story telling of the verses. Its about the confused position you often can be in wondering exactly where you stand with someone. Hoping the relationship is bigger than it actually is. The (I think) timpani or orchestral like percussion and deep bass building sections between verses and chorus give the song some strong points of drive. I love the high register bass part just before switching to this section, which magnifies this in the 2nd verse too. There’s a great connect with the vocal melody and guitar themes as well.
“Victory” is the song which won Danni the Musicoz award. Danni switches to electric guitar on this song which is arranged with marching beat drum like patterns. Xylophones (toy piano?) come and go again throughout, but I think they work better in Black Piano than in this song. Vocally there are some layered backing vocals which are interesting – but Victory doesn’t really do it for me. I’m not sure how Danni is gonna order the songs on the new EP but I wouldn’t put ‘Black Piano’ and ‘Victory’ in sequence.
“Daymares” as the title may infer is a more harrowing song which has a really powerful chorus. The recording on Danni’s page is of her alone with her acoustic, so it will be interesting to hear what she adds to it in full production. Although, Danni’s performance creates plenty of depth in this arrangement. For me it works as it is. This song is all Danni as an artist. Maybe this song is the best overall representation of Danni as a singer-song writer? In this form it is bare and open, reflecting the lyric’s painful content of hurt and betrayal. Not that she is all bitter and twisted (like me) – she still way to young for that, I hope!?
“The Music Makes Me Move” is Danni pop. This is an upbeat song about the good feelings being with someone gives you. The song has a great little grove to it from its off beat high-hat swishing to the vocal “da da darrs” (which work). But what I particularly love about this song are all the guitar parts in it. There is no overplaying of bar or open chord rhythm and there’s plenty of great little guitar patterns which add motivation and fabric to the song’s groove. I also like the kinda overdrive effect (?) on Danni’s vocals. As with all of Danni’s new songs the lyrics and melodies are all gelling a lot better. One of the hardest things to do in writing a good chorus is selecting words which don’t seem to trip over each other or seem out of place. I like the sustain parts the bass and guitars play differentiating the 2nd verse too.
“Slept Like a King” has a prominent Rickenbacker or P-Bass tone part which hits you straight away when the song opens up – so of course its a winner with me. The song has a surf party 60’s feel to it mostly coming from all the guitar tones which Danni has had a lot of fun with no doubt. There is that warm over-drivey sound again to Danni’s vocal which is cool, its probably a nice tube mic or tube effect they’re using. I hate to say it again, but kill that xylophone – it doesn’t fit for me in this song. I only like it in “Black Piano”.
So, there’s a look into some of the new material Danni has been working on for her coming EP. Its great to see hard work paying off for a Perth local and the development of Danni’s music with her collaborators. She is more than just another chick wailing along to incoherent, 3 chord, capo shifting, guitar strumming in G Major. If I was to say which type of Danni’s songs I prefer or like more I would pick “The Music Makes Me Move” or even better still her song “The Moon Looks Pretty Tonight” which have a more “pop” feel. ‘Black Piano’ is great song too, its melody I’ve caught myself whistling. But then a song like “Daymares” also appeals to me in its pure singer-songwriter girl and guitar honesty. In saying that it could be a song deserving of a bigger production too.
Here’s a cool unplugged version of “The Moon Looks Pretty Tonight”