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Haley Blais - Small Foreign Faction
Haley Blais - Small Foreign Faction

Haley Blais - Small Foreign Faction


A few weeks ago, Canadian singer-songwriter Haley Blais released "Small Foreign Faction," a single that is so well-crafted both musically and lyrically that it'll definitely put this new artist on your radar. It's a beautiful and intriguing ode to what happens when you take a reflective and honest look at who you are and what you're doing. "I never wanted anything / And I never got it," Haley repeats in the chorus. While these words are sung with ease, we can't help but wonder how Haley feels about these epiphanies. The song evolves musically, starting off with just Haley's voice, an electric guitar and a faint hi-hat, and then slowly builds up a to full band enveloped by synths and harmonies that are so in the pocket. Mixed with both light and heavy thoughts and motifs, Haley makes us realize that it's more than just okay to be exactly where you are right now, and so while "Small Foreign Faction" is a song about Haley, it easily seems like it could be about you or me. 

Dara Bankole on March 1, 2018
Been Stellar - Midwestern Holiday

Been Stellar - Midwestern Holiday


Hailing all the way from Michigan to New York City, Been Stellar is the indie-rock band that you definitely want to keep your eye on. If you’ve never heard of them, their latest single, “Midwestern Holiday,” is the perfect place to dive into. The song explores themes of nostalgia and heartbreak that are lightheartedly reflected through their instrumentals, creating a sort of balance within the track. With catchy guitar licks and a bit of vocal distortion, similar in style to The Strokes, Been Stellar effectively paints a relatable narrative within a sonic world that will definitely get your head bobbing along.

Haylee Zalewski on February 28, 2018
Angie McMahon - Missing Me

Angie McMahon - Missing Me


There is a fire that burns within 22 year-old Angie McMahon. It can be felt underneath the surface of her songs and climbing through the breaks and tremors of her voice. This Australian singer-songwriter released her debut single "Slow Mover" at the end of 2017, putting her on the map as a force to be reckoned with. But now, with her new single "Missing Me,” she has proven this wasn’t just a lucky strike. It’s no surprise that her inspiration comes from songwriters like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits, because as fresh and modern as her music feels, it runs deep with the influence of the classics. Augmented by her dynamic melodies and emotional vocal performance over electric guitar, this song is quite simply undeniable. It’s obvious that this is just the beginning for Angie McMahon, but it feels like the fire she has lit will soon become colossal. 

Nicole Rodriguez on February 28, 2018
Westerman - Confirmation

Westerman - Confirmation


In an era where every note is methodically crafted in the studio, it can be easy to mistake labored work for precocious inspiration. Westerman doesn’t bother with that façade. On “Confirmation,” the London-based artist bemoans the difficulty of creating something original — “Trying and it just won’t work / And I can’t understand it.” Indeed, the song’s production shows an artist who is in transition: 808s and synths have replaced the fingerpicked guitars that defined his earlier tracks. Despite his concerns, though, Westerman’s newest single shows maturation that extends beyond new instrumentation. His melodies are tight, the hook is playful (check out how he accents the word “easier”), and the Frou Frou-esque chorus of vocals that joins at the end is, simply put, lovely. Westerman is still developing his voice, and we’re lucky enough to be along for the ride.

Matt Megan on February 28, 2018
Nap Eyes - Dull Me Line

Nap Eyes - Dull Me Line


“I try to say a little prayer, but there’s some bitterness in my hair.” Nigel Chapman delivers the cryptic line with the effortlessness of a spring day. “Dull Me Line” is thoughtful social witticism poised among campy, guitar-driven alt-rock. What sounds familiar, effervescent and sunny is teeming with earnesty. I’m Bad Now, Nap Eyes’ third studio album, will be released March 1 on Paradise of Bachelors. You can pre-order here. 

Kaycie Satterfield on February 27, 2018
Riah - Prom

Riah - Prom


The new generation of pop artists have shattered the definition of pop music. Gone are the days of overblown and overproduced beats. Artists like Lorde have filled stadiums with atmospheric and sparse arrangements and exquisite lyrics. Up next to the plate is 26-year-old indie-pop singer Riah and her newest single “Prom.” The track vibrates in your ears with a beat that feels prepared to explode at any moment. The beauty, however, is that it doesn’t. The beat builds and builds, painfully so as per the lyrics, and simply fades away by the end. The synths and guitar strumming remain muffled behind Riah’s delicate yet powerful vocals as she croons, “Don’t wanna call / But I’m thinking about you.” “Prom” outlines the heartbreaking feeling of wanting and, appropriately, leaves you wanting more.

Brett Myers on February 26, 2018
Duets and Stuff - Serve Somebody

Duets and Stuff - Serve Somebody


Swedish-based Greta and Raimond come together for the creative endeavor DUETS AND STUFF, to make indie "music, art, video and so on" (as stated on their Facebook). Their debut single, "Serve Somebody" is sweet and pop-y without being overly saccharine. It's easy, breezy and light, giving just the right amount of brightness to get our senses tingling. If this song is any indication of what's to come, we'll definitely be keeping an eye out for this new Swedish duo.

Natasha Cucullo on February 26, 2018
Helena Deland - Take It All

Helena Deland - Take It All


We're into Helena Deland. So when she released her most recent track, "Take it All", we took a listen without a moment's notice. Darker than her previous productions, Deland gets broody on "Take it All". Minimal, yet haunting beats draw out the mercurial and unforeseeable nature of love. Deland questions how much we give when we fall, and in turn, how much the other person takes. "It isn't easy / it isn't easy," she repeats, her voice descending unpredictably as she comes to these realizations. With such a wide range of talent in just two songs, we're itching to hear more.  

Natasha Cucullo on February 26, 2018
Mount Eerie - Tintin in Tibet

Mount Eerie - Tintin in Tibet


During Mount Eerie’s 2017 tour for A Crow Looked at Me, following an hour singing about the unspeakably tragic death of his wife, Phil Elverum would close each night with the same song. Looking past the audience in front of him he would address her by name for the first time: “I sing to you, Genevieve.”

And so opens “Tintin in Tibet,” the first track on Mount Eerie’s forthcoming album Now Only. Picking up right where A Crow Looked at Me left in both style and narrative, the song first meditates on the absurdity of singing to someone who no longer exists, and walking “out the door to play them on a stage.” But like an elastic band it snaps back to memory as Phil remembers how they first met.

Assisted by a cascade of nylon-string guitars, dry bass and a steady kick drum, Elverum recalls their instant connection in concrete terms. He remembers sleeping on the floor of Genevieve’s apartment to be woken up by oranges and kissing. He remembers their shared solitude on the islands of British Colombia, and reading "Tintin in Tibet" on her lap in French, waiting for a boat to pick them up. The vignettes described are heavenly and precious like the events of a graphic novel. But as listeners we know that this love was real and experienced, and we also know too well how this ends.

James Liance on February 26, 2018
Hibou - Malison

Hibou - Malison


Hibou’s spacey arrangements have started to take shape. Whereas his debut album maturely described the listlessness of his teenage years, his new material aims to tackle more adult issues like anxiety. According to Hibou’s Peter Michel, crafting music has been “such a relief when [he] began to experiment and communicate the effects of [his] anxiety with textures and poetry.” Today, he releases a new track, “Malison,” that tackles the anxiety of being abandoned. There’s still a dash of dreaminess from his past material, but he sounds much more secure in his insecurity. His vocals no longer swim in a sea of reverb. His sings right to you, begging for his love not to leave him. Out on March 2, his sophomore release, Something Familiar, just wants to make sense of something familiar to many of us. 

Brett Myers on February 23, 2018
Wet Leather - Make It True

Wet Leather - Make It True


Phoenix are still an active band, but had they disbanded the joke could be made that Wet Leather has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of Phoenix. While the band could be considered NYC's response to Phoenix, this band manages to put their own electro-rock spin on the French electro-pop outfit's sound. They are hot off the heels of the release of their debut EP, Present Lives, and "Make It True" is a strong example of Wet Leather's compelling take on synthwave.

Bobby Lewis on February 22, 2018

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