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​The Districts - Cheap Regrets

​The Districts - Cheap Regrets


The Districts continue their string of releasing vibrant, exciting new singles with the tricked-out track “Cheap Regrets.” This catchy rock anthem is the second release from their upcoming album, You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere, due out March 13th via Fat Possum Records. Explosive electric guitars and spacey synths are at the front of a grand arrangement that evokes a lavish sort of recklessness. The track expertly toes the line of overwhelming your senses without ever fully crossing it. Pumping drums and tight production keep the momentum alive and the instrumentation loud without being too heavy, and vocalist Rob Grote’s performance is raw, energizing, and totally transfixing. Like a guilty pleasure you just can’t kick, “Cheap Regrets” is addicting and evocative through explorative soundscapes and cool, electric hooks. You’ll lose yourself in it and love every second.

Britnee Meiser on January 24, 2020
Frances Quinlan - Your Reply

Frances Quinlan - Your Reply


The intro of “Your Reply” could soundtrack that unmistakable last shot of every feel-good teen movie, in which the protagonist asserts that everything really is turning around. It’s a change of tone for Frances Quinlan, but it’s a welcome experiment from the Hop Along bandleader not often described as cheery. The song has none of her signature snarls but makes up for it with an extra helping of her signature verbose wit. “The author, I read, fell from a window many stories high / Stretching out to feed pigeons or a stray cat depending on the website,” she sings, her delivery charming and unconventional. After a jaunty, singsong chorus, the most pleasant moment in a wholly pleasant track comes when Quinlan, stuffed with chicken and wine after dinner with her aunt, stretches out a verse to simply add, “Dinner, by the way, was divine.” Of the song, Quinlan said, “The speaker is frustrated at coming so close to understanding another person completely, but perhaps only just missing the mark. But still what a gift that is, to come close.”

Daniel Shanker on January 24, 2020
Glassio - Are You Having Fun Without Me?

Glassio - Are You Having Fun Without Me?


Irish-Iranian songwriter and producer Glassio’s newest single “Are You Having Fun Without Me?” is a melancholic dream-pop rumination on the slow evanesce of an old friendship. The Queens-based artist combines storytelling with synths in a believably nostalgic way as he asks questions he will likely never know the answer to: “are you having fun without my love? / are the problems gone without me? / or have they just begun?” His voice sitting soft and low amongst the dance-pop production adds a level of authenticity. It’s confessional and honest without leaning too far into the melancholy. Though it may be a little too soft to dance to, it is perfect for a late-night drive spent thinking. “Are You Having Fun Without Me?” is Glassio’s first release since his 2019 debut EP Age of Experience. It is also the first single off of upcoming debut album due out this spring.

Corinne Bates on January 24, 2020
Orion Sun - Ne Me Quitte Pas (Don’t Leave Me)

Orion Sun - Ne Me Quitte Pas (Don’t Leave Me)


Orion Sun creates gorgeous energy in her latest single “Ne Me Quitte Pas (Don’t Leave Me)." The singer, also known as Philadelphia-based Tiffany Majette, crafts a track filled with loving and deliberate harmonies that surround the listener in a warm embrace. The hook repeats, “It feels so good to know ya / It feels so damn good to know ya,” reminiscent of the feeling of being in love for the first time with someone new. Majette’s smooth voice radiates a calm storm—soft sentiments wrapped up in honest words that are as awe-inspiring as they are relatable. The production has a vintage feel at the start, calling back to other songs of the same title while still owning its unique sound and meaning. As Majette’s collection of songs continues to grow this year, we can look forward to more soul healing hits like this one. In the meantime you can check out her amazing first album A Collection of Fleeting Moments and Daydreams and her self-produced music video for “Ne Me Quitte Pas (Don’t Leave Me)."

Julie Gentile on January 23, 2020
Ratboys - I Go Out At Night

Ratboys - I Go Out At Night


Every song by Chicago's Ratboys can be traced back to the dormitory friendship of singer Julia Steiner and guitarist Dave Sagan in the first days of school at Notre Dame. Sometimes the lineage is literal, as with their newest single, “I Go Out At Night,” in which they lifted a guitar part from the skeleton of a song they wrote in that era. But more often even than that, a Ratboyssong will faithfully capture the wide-eyed sense of wonder endemic to that period in one’s life, exploring emotional territory usually reserved for late nights on a futon. Multiple guitars bash against the walls of the song’s structure, trying to break free in the abstract way that an adolescent dreams of being free. “What if I never come home?” wonders Steiner, but the band shows immense restraint, never forcing that thought to develop beyond the daydream that it is. Steiner’s biggest strength is in her tactful vocal delivery, whispering where others would shout, allowing her melodies to shine through the noise.

Daniel Shanker on January 23, 2020
Zoochie - Look Back On It

Zoochie - Look Back On It


What begins as a chaotic, tense guitar solo glides seamlessly into a slow, sultry rock tune on “Look Back On It,” the second track off of New Brunswick indie-rock outfit Zoochie’s debut album Honey. Lead vocalist Libby Kallins tells the tale of that first date we all know too well: one that you want to be over before it’s even started because the connection just isn’t there. She sings, “Snap, it’s gone in a second / Every minute left with you, I guess it could be depressing / But it’s not, it’s gone in a moment / And I don’t know what I’ve got until it’s left me uneasy.” The song is dynamic, taking us on a sonic journey through strong, powerful interludes and softer, more thoughtful moments. Drawing inspiration from artists like Hiatus Kaiyote, Cage the Elephant, and Frank Zappa, the group clearly showcases their passion for creating music that listeners will want to feel and dance to. After three years in the making, Honey is the compilation of songs composed from stories wild, calm, and heartfelt that the band has personally experienced throughout their time together. With its infectious energy and vibrant colors, “Look Back On It” is the perfect glimpse into what Zoochie has to offer.

Dana Schwartz on January 22, 2020
David Keenan - Unholy Ghosts

David Keenan - Unholy Ghosts


“I was gifted a book by somebody who loved me / About a man who got even with God,” sings David Keenan, and then the story begins to unravel. In “Unholy Ghosts,” a standout track from his latest album, A Beginner’s Guide to Bravery, we follow Keenan through meetings with a one-eyed tramp and a drunkard playing a wooden piano, his turns of phrase and run-on sentences treating the listener to vivid imagery developing patiently. “I wrote this song on a train from Amsterdam to Cologne, finished it as the train ceased to move, brought it in me to a Chapel in Cologne, sang it for the first time, left the Chapel with a liberated German bible under my arm as a souvenir,” he wrote in a Facebook post, demonstrating that his daily life is as fanciful and his daily speech as poetic as his songwriting. A comparison to Glen Hansard is almost too easy, but not unfair to either party, both fitting the mold of buskers with ideas too big for their streetcorners. The arrangement of “Unholy Ghosts” is booming, nearly to the point of spilling over, but beneath it all we hear David Keenan for who he is: an ambitious musician shouting his heart out.

Daniel Shanker on January 22, 2020
Soccer Mommy - circle the drain

Soccer Mommy - circle the drain


Following her popular first record Clean, Soccer Mommy (aka Sophie Allison) continues to release songs with hooks that’ll replay over and over again in your head. Like her two previous singles, her latest track “circle the drain” retains her signature guitar-driven soundscape. She mixes it with emotionally revealing lyrics that are delivered through angelic vocals. Her voice flutters inside your ears, tricking you with its warmth—making it easy to gloss over the depth and dissonance in her words. Wrapped up in her cheerful sounding production she sings, “Hey I’ve been falling apart these days / Split open watching my heart go round and around,” the duality of her artistry floating out in the most beautifully subtle way. Allison’s work is perfect for staring out the train car window during your commute and reminiscing about the times that have already passed you by. Her new album color theory comes out February 28 and you can also catch her on the road when she starts her international tour in March.

Julie Gentile on January 21, 2020
Ethan Gruska feat. Phoebe Bridgers - Enough for Now

Ethan Gruska feat. Phoebe Bridgers - Enough for Now


It must be daunting to be related to the composer of some of the world’s most memorable melodies. If intimidated, Ethan Gruska,grandson of famed film composer John Williams, doesn’t show it. Already making a name for himself as a producer, “Enough for Now” is a welcome insight into his identity as a songwriter, while showing off his obvious production talents. Little instrumental nuggets, like that unmistakable trill of a violin, remind us that Gruska co-produced Phoebe Bridgers’ earthquake debut, Stranger in the Alps. Whereas that album’s strongest moments lie in its sonic subtlety, Gruska, in an in-studio video, compliments the track’s renowned producer, Tchad Blake, on his ability to make songs “aggressively come through the speakers.” The relentless drum patch, either digital or an intentional imitation, harkens back to The Postal Service, whose debut album’s title, Give Up, shares a sarcastic resignation with Gruska’s lyrics. “Maybe I’ll try / Maybe I’ll die trying,” he sings, enlisting the help of Bridgers herself. Tapping into the same nostalgia as Bleachers or Stranger Things, Gruska sees this solo effort as a success, telling Stereogum, “It has that irreverence I wanted, despite its sweetness.”

Daniel Shanker on January 21, 2020
Fake Dad Feat. Leke - Big King

Fake Dad Feat. Leke - Big King


Nostalgic and lush, “Big King,” the catchy new single from Brooklyn-based duo Fake Dad, is lo-fi midnight magic. The track defies genres, pulling from indie pop, r&b and rap elements, and emphasizes the opulence and fantasy of influence by juxtaposing cool, dreamy beats with images of grandeur. The instrumentation is delightfully strange: a lovely, reverberating piano and groovy, r&b-inspired percussion coast over the satisfying crackle of a retro synth, while rapper Leke’s verse is a surprising and energizing addition to the arrangement. The track’s cozy, crisp production evokes the indulgence of late-night pillow talk and unfiltered intimacy and is the perfect compliment to vocalist Andrea de Varona’s velvety, ethereal voice. Her lyrics conjure up images of a big king ruling precariously over a glass mountain, lending themselves to larger questions of success and its relationship to truth. “Big King” is pensive and dynamic, and adds an entirely new dimension to Fake Dad’s signature comforting sound.

Britnee Meiser on January 16, 2020
Bonny Light Horseman - The Roving

Bonny Light Horseman - The Roving


Anaïs Mitchell has an uncanny ability to bring new life to old stories. Fresh off of a Best Musical win at the Tonys for Hadestown, a retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, she wasted no time before embarking on her next project. Bonny Light Horseman, a collaboration with Eric D. Johnson (known for his work in Fruit Bats and formerly The Shins) and Josh Kaufman (known for his work in countless critical indie darlings like The National and The Hold Steady), uses traditional folk songs as a jumping-off point for lush ballads that could find a home on an album by any one of the group’s innumerable associated acts. Their latest, “The Roving,” is a well-executed entry into the modern tradition of indie-folk, but elements of it stem from centuries ago. Of their process, Johnson joked, “These 500-year-old lyrics are so deeply applicable. ‘The Roving’ could be the plot of an ‘80s teen movie… How incredible is it that as humans we still just want to love and have sex and feel sad and fight?” The group’s debut album, due out January 24th, began and was mostly completed at the 37d03d event hosted by Justin Vernon, Aaron Dessner and friends. They, along with even more members of the April Base extended family, appear on Bonny Light Horseman’s collection of “semi-trad folk jams,” modernized with Mitchell’s signature touch - “We added a singalong chorus so everyone could bond about this.”

Daniel Shanker on January 16, 2020
Hope Tala - Anywhere

Hope Tala - Anywhere


In "Anywhere," a track off her late-summer debut Sensitive Soul, London native Hope Tala explores growth with a sweet vulnerability and timbre as unique as her sound. Hope's music is real and open, provoking thought and relating to familiar circumstances. Confessional lyrics, "I haven't felt this way since high school / I'm sorry, I know you feel lied to / I can't explain it but I tried to give you the words / You said through my hands when I fly with the birds," display both an admirable self-awareness and a poetic handling of emotion in a song about a relationship coming to an end. With jazzy ad-libs, her clear vocals float over other lyrics detailing the ways a relationship feels alive in the face of one that no longer does. Her distinct fusion of R&B beats and bossa nova instrumentation, self-coined as R&Bossa by the artist herself, makes "Anywhere" as delightful to listen to as a day on a beach in Rio.

Jazzmyne Pearson on January 16, 2020
​Tennis - Need Your Love

​Tennis - Need Your Love


Tennis' music is a jaunt that glides effortlessly from past to present. It's a vintage pop-soul project with feet firmly planted in the present. That's what makes the duo's newest single, "Need Your Love" so infectious and romantic: it's a beautiful balance between their nuanced rock sound and the doo-wop vibe that's intrinsic and unique to them as a band. Their aesthetic for this song is '70s soul, with frontwoman Alaina Moore sporting her signature blonde fro and bell-bottom corduroys. Passionate, gripping and indelibly retro, Tennis delivers another single that reminds us of old-time beauty. "Need Your Love" is one of two tracks dropped in the last three months in preparation for their upcoming album Swimmer, which is set to release in February.

Hannah Lupas on January 15, 2020
Moon Bounce - Hook

Moon Bounce - Hook


Moon Bounce returns with "Hook," the leading single off his sophomore record Skip Intro, due February 21. With an orthodox vocal melody to contrast Corey Regensburg's signature pervasive dissonance, "Hook" came of his "full-blown infatuation" in the early stages of the relationship with his now-wife, South African rapper Push Push. It's fixation at its finest as he sings, "You're a fabulous lay / But I kinda, sorta, also just can't stop thinking about you," before oppressing glitches close out the song, mirroring one's brain short-circuiting over his object of affection. Skip Intro is born of producer and songwriter Corey Regensburg's three-year hiatus spent battling an anxiety disorder; time off allowed him to craft a record where he "unabashedly confronts himself." The LP is available for pre-order via Bandcamp as a digital download, on vinyl, or a limited edition USB key "in a petri dish surrounded by slime.

Ysabella Monton on January 14, 2020
Sun June - Terrified

Sun June - Terrified


Sun June perfectly encapsulate the feelings of helplessness, frightening uncertainty, and the endless, resolute love that exists between a parent and child in their new track, “Terrified”. The release dropped earlier this month and follows up the band’s Younger EP, which featured two B-sides and two demos from their 2018 record Years. The song was the result of the Austin-based outfit participating in the Song Confessional Project, a podcast where people tell personal stories anonymously and then artists are asked to adapt them into an original song. In this specific case, a mother discusses her incredible fear upon learning her child had an accident and she couldn’t get to them right away. Sun June teamed up with Curtis Roush (of The Bright Light Social Hour), who stood at the producing helm, to create this sensitive, poignant ballad. A minimal, soft layer of instrumentation kicks things off and sets the pace as lead singer Laura Colwell’s airy, leveled voice sweeps in. As she sings heartfelt thoughts "I didn’t like that song / Til I heard you sing along to it / Cryin’ cause I can’t hold onto anything," it mimics the yearning to grasp something definite and the notion of certainty. The enchanting melancholy is rivaled only by the persuasive care that exists in this loving dynamic. A sentiment that can be all too familiar and extended to a partner, another family member or a friend. Regardless of the specific individual, Sun June captures that notion of wanting to always be there for the ones you love. “Terrified” is out now.

Meredith Vance on January 14, 2020

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