As you can probably imagine, there are a number of submission emails, tweets and Facebook messages that we receive on a daily basis. Trust that there are no complaints coming from this side of the computer screen, but candidly the volume is overwhelming at times, which can make it very difficult to sift out an occasional diamond in the rough.
Earlier today I was hit with a note about a new artist named River Tiber, pronounced “Tye-ber.” This particular sender has made good on a number of previous submissions, so it was an easy call to quickly hit play on the video for a song called “The City.” Almost instantly a crunchy drum beat coated my ear canals. Before I could get my bearings, a soulful R&B vocal poured down on top of the computerized percussion. It was then that I realized I’d been turned onto something special.
Imagine for a moment that we were playing a music-themed word association game. Because we’re both caught up on current affairs, when I say the phrase “the new king of New York,” you would answer with Kendrick Lamar. Next I would mention something like “OVO that’s major shit / Toronto with me that’s mayor shit.” You’d hopefully connect Drake with that bar. When it comes to musicians from Toronto, Drizzy is that guy. Second to mind would come The Weeknd. On a much smaller, up-and-coming level is River Tiber, the performance vehicle of 22-year-old Tommy Paxton-Beesley. Despite operating in an entirely different space than either of those artists, Paxton-Beesley’s sound still carries a dark, gritty character that is suitably balanced by his soulful, R&B style vocals.
Thus far the Toronto-based talent has only released two songs. “The City,” which is offered above, and his first single “What Are You Afraid Of,” a record that hit the Internet late last year. Both are very promising efforts that at times feel like a hybrid of Radiohead/Eraser era Thom Yorke instrumentation with Jeff Buckley-like vocal undertones. The latter comparison is admittedly a stretch, but it’s arguably there at certain points of “What Are You Afraid Of.”
In the fall we’ll be able to hear some more material from this blossoming singer, multi-instrumentlist, producer on his debut release Synapses. Until then enjoy the two tracks above and stay current with River Tiber on Facebook and Twitter.