Dafna - Sweeter

Dafna - Sweeter


John Casey held Emily Franklin in his skinny arms atop of the park near their neighborhood. John was home for the weekend visiting his parents, but they were still asleep at the crack of dawn, which is when John sent Emily an iMessage from outside her front door just a house down, asking if she was ready. The truth was that Emily had never been more prepared than she was at that moment, well-rested on account of going to bed by 9 PM the night before, giddy with anticipation. A long Saturday with family could wait. With their young beating hearts in tow, they strolled to the park, listened to the birds chirping. “You make me feel sweeter, like I’m no longer a burden,” Emily said after a silence that peacetime in 1940 couldn’t hold a flame to. John didn’t speak but held her even closer as they watched the sunrise. “But it makes me feel weaker when you hold me,” Emily finished. John felt one or two of Emily’s tears splash upon his right wrist as they trickled down and off her face before he asked Emily if he could play a new song he liked: “Sweeter” by the artist Dafna. Photo by Jivan West.

Mustafa Abubaker on April 9, 2021
GOLDEN - Never Too Late

GOLDEN - Never Too Late


GOLDEN's "Never Too Late" is tender, intimate and sprinkled with optimism. Warm keys welcome you into the track, and Bailey Cooke’s melodic voice rises from the depths not long after. Harmonies pour out like ripples in a pond where you see your reflection for the first time in who knows how long. The lyrics look self-destructive habits in the face, caress their cheek and say, “It’s never too late to find a way out"—no judgment, just a gentle reminder that there are lighter things out there for you. Suddenly invigorated, the second verse grips your hand and takes off running. Percussion that snuck in without you noticing like motivation after months of numbness. Everything clicks into place. If you want out (and you really do) it’s never too late to find the way. And it’s never too early to start looking, either. Photo by Kevin Condon.

Allison Hill on April 9, 2021
Ziggy Alberts - getting low

Ziggy Alberts - getting low


Doubt and emotional fatigue can become a burden when coupled with something as unsettling as prolonged loneliness, whether that comes by choice or not. With rushes of acoustic percussion and gentle inquisition, each second of Ziggy Alberts' "getting low" illustrates the feeling of becoming distant from purpose. Just one of the twelve intimate tracks featured on Alberts’ latest record searching for freedom, “getting low” moves through a story of idle longing into a place of delicate self-affirmation. The body of the track incorporates soft, elegant harmonies that work to bring a sense of warmth to its patient and sincere lyrics. Before diving into a dynamic outro, the song poetically fixates on how solitude can impact intimate connections, professing that “nothing makes me feel alone like when I can't see the difference in being with someone and somebody.” An outpour of trumpets and strings emphasizes Alberts' lyrical affirmations as the song moves towards closure, creating an immersive sonic landscape of elevated potential, laced with bravery, strength and hope. Albert's delves into the complexity behind a developing relationship with self-love on his exploratory seventh record, and akin to the other impassioned tracks in this collection, “getting low” chooses persistence when faced with imminent seclusion. Photo by Janneke Storm

Jenna Andreozzi on April 8, 2021
Fake Dad - Listen

Fake Dad - Listen


We're all stressed and overwhelmed with life, and if there’s anything we learned during the isolation of the pandemic, it’s that being alone and forced to face yourself leads to anxious thoughts and a heightened need to create. The latest song from the Brooklyn-based duo Fake Dad captures both that anxiety for the future and craving for it all at once through delicate sonic layers.

As the song starts, you first hear from a child’s voice talking about wanting to be supernova. It’s an all-too-relatable childlike desire to be remembered and seen, like a “really really big star up in space.” Andrea de Varona then descends in with soulful lyrics that sing not only to that desire but the anxiety that comes along with it. Almost somberly, the lyrics highlight the fear that any accomplishment will be followed by losing oneself or the spark that started it all: “I listen and hope to hear / How to make it and keep from breaking everything I make.” Simple, wispy and emotional, Fake Dad creates the perfect song for a slow morning or a late night. Photo by Lady Gleep.

Monica Hand on April 8, 2021
Homeschool - Smartest Man (feat. Samia)

Homeschool - Smartest Man (feat. Samia)


“Smartest Man” is an indie rock anthem of existential proportions. It is the second release from Homeschool, the solo project of Tom D’Agustino, formerly the lead singer of Active Bird Community. Over layered guitars and loose drums, D’Agustino sparks complex thoughts through deceptively simple phrases, like how and why we make the decisions we do in life. If one choice has the power to change not only our world but the worlds of those we love, why don’t we do things differently at certain times? (“No matter what you do / It’s like the whole world / Is doing it too”). With this magnitude at our fingertips, it’s amazing we don’t recklessly seize every day by doing the wildest things just to feel alive, for which D’Agustino has some ideas: “I wanna go diving / Or get struck by lightning / So I can feel the current in my hands." Yet so often we find ourselves stuck in patterns or monotony we can’t break, away from those we love. Featured after the first chorus, Samia laments on this idea: “Mom asked me / Can you come back home / I said I wonder whether that’s a question." Her vocals nestle perfectly into the pensive track before she and D’Agustine unite for one final towering chorus that will leave you wanting to climb the nearest mountain while calling your grandparents. And maybe by the time you hike back down, you’ll remember you’re always one choice away from changing your life. Photo by CJ Harvey.

Heddy Edwards on April 7, 2021


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