Soraia
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Soraia

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
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"David Fricke's Year In Rock 2017"

Soraia
Berlin, New York City, March 24th; Dead Reckoning (Wicked Cool)

To quote myself, from the text I wrote (on the house) for the shrink-wrap sticker of this Philadelphia band's new album, Soraia are "searing guitars, burning soul and true CBGB grit" – a conclusion I reached after a year of playing their earlier records on my Sirius XM radio show, The Writer's Block, then finally seeing Soraia live in Jesse Malin's basement club. That room was hardly big enough to contain the anthemic vigor of the band's writing and the shotgun channelling of Siouxsie Sioux and Janis Joplin in singer Zou Zou Mansour's avenging rapture. I stand by the rest of what I wrote in that quote, especially after subsequent gigs I caught at Berlin again and Bowery Electric: "Soraia are the rock you need, in your face now." - Rolling Stone


"Soraia's Lead Singer On How Music Saved Her Life"

"Music is my lover in every way, it's never let me down," vocalist ZouZou Mansour of the rock band Soraia said on "Salon Stage." "I've struggled a lot with suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide and music saved my life."

Two members of the four-piece Philadelphia rock band performed their song "Wandering Star" from their forthcoming album "Dead Reckoning," out October 13. The band's name, Soraia, derives from Mansour's first name, but also from its meaning, "bright guiding star" in Arabic. Mansour and guitarist and vocalist Mike Reisman talked openly during "Salon Stage" about the healing powers of music. "When I play music, I escape," Reisman said, "I feel like it's a different plane of existence from waking life."

From personal experience, Mansour sees addiction and alcoholism as living in a vacuum. "You can't connect," she said. But with music, it's something the world shares, and as an artist, she facilitates that connection.

"I realized that instead of trying to destroy my own life, I'm now trying to create it every day in a new way," Mansour said. "It's never over, it's never too late, and I got some really good music from letting myself feel things I should have been feeling all along, and just expressing that to other people."

Soraia includes ZouZou Mansour (lead vocals), Mike Reisman (lead/rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Travis Smith (bass, backing vocals) and Brianna Sig (drums, percussion, backing vocals). The rock band is signed to Steven Van Zandt's label Wicked Cool Records. - Salon.com


"Dead Reckoning Album Review"

Rock-n-Roll should be unpredictable, naturally rebellious, and, with no question, lively. Sadly, in an age where there are many soundalike bands, Rock fans can walk away feeling unsatisfied and uninspired. That said, music does not need to reinvent itself, it simply needs to be good. Out of Philadelphia, PA, the band Soraia has been doing just that since they began their journey a decade ago as a young group with a dream to rock! Doing just that, the band offers raw emotion filled with indulgent Punk and Rock-n-Roll rhythms. All served up with a touch of nostalgia, Soraia returned on Friday, October 13, 2018 with their latest album, Dead Reckoning.

How fiery are Soraia? Well, Steven Van Zandt, host of Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM, chose Soraia’s song “Electrocutioner” as his #1 “Coolest Song of the Year 2016.” Not to mention their tough Punk cover of The Kinks’ “(I’m Not) Like Everybody Else” reached #1 on Rock radio in South America in 2014. Bottomline, this is one band that anyone who fancies themselves a lover of Rock should know about.

This being their fifth studio album, Dead Reckoning definitely shows the band has matured as they cultivated a style that has become their own. That said, front lady ZouZou Mansour has a captivating voice and not to be under sold or underestimated, Travis Smith (bass/vocals), Brianna Sig (drummer), and Mike Reisman (guitar/vocals) are just as talented and expressive.

Twelve songs in total, the album begins with the single “Quicksand,” which is an expression of intensity filled with power riffs and vigor. On “Why,” they deliver the same amount of unhinged emotion. Featuring the lyrics “…. Why don’t you wanna love me, why don’t you wanna love me the way I love you,” it emotes the amount of ardor in Mansour’s voice. Furthermore, it resembles tones from bands like Modern English and The Go -Go’s.

Moving on, “Cupid Killer” is an energetic, vivacious song full of percussion and attitude. Then, changing it up, “Wow” is slow and an enduring expression of sensitivity. This is while “Monster” is a catchy piece with lively drum rhythms and intense lyrics. On “Je Ne Sais Quoi,” roughly translating to “I do not know what,” it is a story about destructive behavior and it could easily become a fan-favorite.

With no shortage of refreshing Rock, “Wandering Star” is yet another marvelous song with guitar riffs reminiscent of yesteryear. Oldie classic “Tears On My Pillow” from Little Anthony and the Imperials may come to mind as Mansour’s powerful, yet melodic voice joins in. Finally, “Black Mood” concludes the album in a haunting and memorable fashion with dreamy guitar work and more soulful vocals.

It is no surprise that their name fits them perfectly, because Soraia means “bright, guiding star” in Arabic. Simply put, they are a talented band, but above all, they offer music that is real and from the heart, without barriers. They are not trying to fit a title, they are just making good music. Each song on Dead Reckoning is different yet so precisely executed. If you are looking for an album with a confounding attitude and great articulation, look no further. For these reasons and many others, CrypticRock gives Dead Reckoning 5 out of 5 stars. - Cryptic Rock


"Dead Reckoning Review"

I thought I was pretty clever and starting to organize my top albums of the year when Soraia unexpectedly crossed my path. A driving gaffe found me driving a rental car with Sirius Radio, instead of my car with its steady CD player. One day on my way home from work I heard Soraia’s ‘Why’ playing on Little Steven’s Underground Garage and felt that rush that used to come with hearing an exciting new song on the radio or on MTV. I was singing along (badly and out of tune) before the song had ended and made a note to learn more about this album as soon as possible. An iTunes purchase that night revealed an album of the year candidate that has me telling others that the whole album is magic.



Opening song ‘Quicksand’ has proven to be a little bit of a grower as it has gone from a song I liked to a song that I love hearing. The band exhibits several of its strengths from the powerful vocals of ZouZou Mansour to the dynamic guitarwork of Mike Reisman. Brianna Sig (drums) and Travis Smith (bass) lead the song like a well oiled machine with each getting moments to display their playing within the context of the song. The band shifts into ‘Why’ which is the song I had heard on the radio. This Little Steven penned song had to have really been written in some magical place as it is as perfect as a song can be. The guitars cascade in quietly during the verses and pick up as Mansour shifts from a reserved vocal into a powerful pre-chorus and a behemoth of a chorus. Smith and Sig propel this garage rock classic harder and harder while Reisman paints a canvas with his guitar. This song has significant crossover appeal and will hopefully get a chance to be heard by a lot more people.

After such a musical high, expectations would be for a drop, but it doesn’t happen as the band transitions into the straight ahead rocker ‘Cupid Killer.’ One of the great things I have found with this album is that every member’s input is awesome and vital to the songs. Each song has me wanting to highlight every member in some capacity. Smith’s cool bass line introduces ‘Beautiful Curse’ before some sharp guitar by Reisman and the drums of Sig fall into place. Mansour is in complete control of the vocals with an ability to go from delicate to dominant and full of attitude in the blink of an eye. ‘Wow’ lives up to its name with a great use of dynamics with each member again shining within its brief 4 minutes. The first half of the album comes to a close with ‘Come Down, Angel.’ The guitar work by Reisman is quiet and perfect through the verse leading into a huge chorus that allows Mansour to seize control. The drum fills by Sig really standout and add more muscle throughout the song. This song blends elements of classic rock with modern rock seamlessly.



‘Monster’ kickstarts the second half of the album with an awesome riff and vocals that would make the likes of Pat Benetar proud. This chorus embeds itself inside the brain and leads right into the next rocker ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi.’ Quite simply, the band is on fire. There is a quiet breakdown that transitions into an excellent guitar solo before Mansour, Sig, and Smith all let loose to close the song with an epic exclamation point. ‘Have Love Will Travel’ strikes the same garage rock itch for me that the Love Me Nots did with this one being right at home on either of the first two records by the Love Me Nots. It has a hard groove that gets the body moving and has been one of my favorites from the album since my first listen. Soraia has a unique tendency to introduce the chorus at the beginning of the song before bringing in the first verse and not overkill the chorus throughout the song. The hook still hits as strong as the first time.



‘Tahiti’ starts with a hypnotic riff, a great vocal, and some extremely well placed keyboards with the song building in power through the chorus before switching back to the original riff by itself. The second verse though packs a little more power with the band showcasing a diversity that many bands can never achieve. This music is simply timeless on this album. ‘Wandering Star’ sounds like a 50’s or 60’s ballad infused with a hard edge with Mansour providing a dreamy vocal through the chorus. Perhaps as a comparison, it would not be too far off to imagine ‘Earth Angel’ performed and written by a band with an attitude who likes their music hard and loud. The album comes to a close with slinky rocker ‘Black Mood.’ I really cannot say enough for the interplay between the musicians on this album. Sig and Smith are faultless as a rhythm section and carry each song with Reisman shining on the guitar. This song provides a perfect example with the solos by Reisman riding the wave of the rhythm, and Mansour providing a powerful vocal with hook after hook. The lyrics are unique throughout the album and really complement each song.



The worst thing that happens with this album is that it ends after ‘Black Mood,’ which requires starting it all over again. This album is faultless to my ears and soul and has possibly become my favorite album of the year. More than that though, this is an album that I envision playing for the next 20 or 30 years on a regular basis. I now have a brief back catalog by the band to explore and my early digging shows me that this is a band I should have discovered long ago. Don’t wait any longer, seek out this album and experience the beautiful magic they have created. - Uber Rock


"Soraia Debut New Video for "Quicksand""

Soraia’s forthcoming release Dead Reckoning, is due out on October 13th via Wicked Cool Records. Today, the band has released a new video for albumtrack “Quicksand”. The song, premiered last month as the “Coolest Song In The World” on Little Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Bands’s radio show lead singer ZouZou’s stage presence has been called “a true mix of Iggy Pop and Joan Jett.” Soraia kick off their tour on September 20th in Allston, MA.

Quote from lead singer ZouZou on “Quicksand”:

The inspiration for this song comes from two events major events:

Hearing the “Black Coffee” remake/cover by Rival Sons, and the death of David Bowie.

Basically, I loved the harmonies in the cover version of the Rival Sons’ version of the song, so I wanted to write something where the background vocals would be the main title line, and also be the most hypnotizing part of the song. Repetitive and soulful was what I was looking for in the background harmonies (of “Quicksand”).

The death of David Bowie had me listening to a lot of older Bowie at the time, so hearing “All the Young Dudes” made me think of the connection between then (when Bowie wrote the song) and now. It’s still so strong. It made me think of this time and the people in it,and how sometimes I hear how we’re all drowning in negative thoughts, and why is that, and what do they mean?
Ultimately, “Quicksand” is a commentary on the insidiousness of how – even in today’s times – we are individually and socially facing things we thought were over years ago, within us and outside of us.

The whole record is an uncovering of the secrets of who we are, in all our glorious and terrible ways. - Northern Transmissions


"Soraia Releases Video for "Quicksand""

Steven Van Zandt recently picked it as the “Coolest Song in the World” on his SiriusXM radio show Underground Garage, and now you can check out Soraia’s “Quicksand” right here on guitarplayer.com.

The riff-driven tune is included on the Philadelphia-based band’s upcoming new album, Dead Reckoning [Wicked Cool], which is set for release on October 13. If you like “Quicksand,” you can pre-order Dead Reckoning RIGHT HERE.

Soraia is fronted by songwriters ZouZou Mansour (vocals) and Travis Smith (bass). - GuitarPlayer.com


Discography

<p>Dead Reckoning (LP: 2017)</p>

<p>Electrocutioner b/w Is It True? (Single w/B side: 2016)</p>
<p>Less Than Zero (EP: 2015)</p>
<p>Soraia Lives! (EP: 2014)</p>
<p>In the Valley of Love and Guns (LP: 2013)</p>
<p>Shed the Skin (LP: 2008)</p>

Photos

Bio

Soraia epitomizes raw power, unrelenting energy, chaos, and freedom. ZouZou Mansour and Travis Smith are the core of this group -- their songwriting rooted in early garage rock with strong dynamics and melody -- and their live show  frenetic and intensely interactive.  ZouZou has been referred to as "a true mix of Iggy Pop and Joan Jett" onstage. Recently featured in Rolling Stone Magazine's "Year in Rock 2017"they've garnered an uber loyal fanbase through constant touring and SiriusXM heavy rotation for four years straight.

Throughout the US, Soraia has played the dingiest corner dive bar to the most massive amphitheaters, highlighted early opening Milwaukee's Summerfest in 2009. Their writing career includes five studio albums, one live cd, one EP, and many singles. Soraia's Less Than Zero (2014) record garnered their first #1 song with their attitude-laden, punk cover of The Kinks' "(I'm Not) Like Everybody Else" on rock radio in South America (Radio Doble Nueve in Peru) after spending 10 weeks in the Top 40 there. In addition,  Little Steven Van Zandt's SiriusXM Radio Station "The Underground Garage" Channel 21 chose "Quicksand" as his #1 "Coolest Song of the Year 2017, an accolade earnee two years in a row with him ("Electrocutioner" was the #1 "Coolest Song of the Year 2016")

Their newest release album, Dead Reckoning, through Wicked Cool Records/The Orchard, features a number of heavy rotation singles getting rotation in stations across the US, and several press and tv appearances including Salon TV and BalconyTV.

Above all this, Soraia's ferociously energetic, intoxicating live shows are their trademark calling card, showcasing a will to defy and survive. True rebels of rock 'n' roll, Soraia has overcome hundreds of obstacles other less fortuitous bands would never survive thanks to their unwavering love of music and all that it encompasses.
Whether in a hot, sweaty rock club or huge amphitheatre, Soraia's charisma and spirit transcend the concert stage and reach all those who witness the band live. Rarely will you see a band with as much magic and soul as Soraia, and never will you hear a journey so full of hope and heart as this band's story. Their every breath is a testament that miracles really do exist, and that the underdog really can win the whole world.

Band Members