Adler Hall - Teresa
There must be something in the water in Brooklyn making our music scene better than ever. Adler Hall, this five-piece from varying musical backgrounds, is no exception to this phenomenon. The band has restructured following their 2016 album Tourist, which plays around the edges of synth and experimentation while centered around the folk-like focus of storytelling. Coming together to write and record their unique take on modern chamber-folk Adler Hall is back with their newest single "Teresa."
"Teresa," the lead single off their upcoming LP, Beware the Water, keeps much of the band's narrative foundation alive with lyrics like, “Tired of the fortunes you seem never to appear in / you smile at me, your teeth stained gray with the wine that I poured for you / though it’s nice you ask, it won’t change anything I see.” “Teresa” is clearly an important figure as these lyrics help portray a long and complex love story, one that has swung up and down and though the singer has run away from their love, she always seems to comes back. Wedding love ballad it might not be, but nonetheless, it is lyrically a beautiful song. Composer, Henry Hoagland builds upon the typical guitar-led folk song with a more strategic approach, incorporating electronic elements as well as fully utilizing the keyboard which they had only touched upon in their previous release. Beware the Water is expected to release this upcoming October and we're excited to see this continued development from the amalgam that is Adler Hall.— Nick Arcos on August 9, 2018
Brewster - Kiss Me While I'm Down
When you are hurt by the person you love, it’s a hard fall. As you shatter it can be easy to run back to that love, mistaking artful sadism for the comfort you seek as you begin to pick up the pieces. Mark Bucci, who leads his own bedroom-pop project, Brewster finally strings his pieces back together on the single, “Kiss Me While I’m Down,” the second song on a double cassette single being released through Great Grief, a new NJ label from Matteo DeBenedetti of the band Toy Cars. Drummer, Tom Devinko, supplies the tracks’s delicate dynamics to Bucci’s idiosyncratic guitar and synth melodies, fitting together music that lives on the axis of Wilco’s indie-instrumentation and the tittering electronics of the new Half Waif record. Bucci sings, “I can’t help myself/ I’ll let you twist me around sharing pronouns/ and kiss me while I’m down,” swirling around in his thoughtful guitar space and by the end, in the light, seeming to be emerging as whole.
Wingtip - Pavement
San Fran native, Nick Perloff-Giles's — otherwise known as Wingtip — coastal upbringing has deeply influenced his music. His moderately electro vibes mixed in with an acoustic-pop feel display remnants of his former beach life. "Pavement," the first single to come off of Wingtip's upcoming EP, Ghosts of Youth, captures these sounds. Starting with light synths and a gentle acoustic guitar line, "Pavement" builds as the story it tells unfolds. Tasteful electronic elements also paint it with a sense of character and youth. The nostalgic themes of lost love, getting older and being a little reckless capture the quintessence of growing up. Ultimately, "Pavement" is a song about the good ol' days and the hope that they're not all behind you. Just one listen and chances are you'll be taken back to that one summer that made you want to live forever.— Dara Bankole on July 27, 2018
Hayley Gene Penner - Smaller
Full of honesty and grace, Hayley Gene Penner's brave new single, "Smaller," speaks to the deep desire to be loved and the fear that it may be easier if you were someone else. Honing in on the struggle of body-image, Penner sings, "If I'm smaller and I'm different / Just a little less / Would you love me?" These words cut to the core and find you in a place you know all too well. "Smaller" shines with a quiet boldness. Penner refuses to hide behind metaphors or similes as she sings her truths with such sincerity and vulnerability. Like most toxic thoughts, it's easy to hear the danger in them when you yourself are not thinking them — it's a lot harder to recognize their toxicity when they're in your own head. Smaller" lets you connect with Penner as she sings of her battle with self-image while also allowing you to notice the lack of self-love you may have been showing yourself for longer than you realized.
Joyce Manor - Million Dollars to Kill Me
Joyce Manor know how to pack a punch into a bit-sized box. New single “Million Dollars to Kill Me” recalls the late-90s midwestern emo scene with its guitar crunch and tongue-in-cheek title. “And one day you will realize / You are nothing, nothing without her / You’re an asshole from the bar,” frontman Barry Johnson spits out. The track’s full-blooded, all-American guitar riff is fist-pumping-ly anthemic, while the drums borrow from pop-punk’s propensity for cymbal crashes. Rarely has a track felt so simultaneously venomous and fun.— Michael O'Neill on July 26, 2018
the king heat ensemble - Give or take
More often than not, when a band has a killer, memorable name their music does not live up to it, but once in a while, there are exceptions. The fresh, folk-inspired UK group, the king heat ensemble is one of those special cases. The track, “Give or take,” off their most recent EP epitomizes what it means to make a blanket-genre like acoustic-folk sound original and refreshing all while maintaining its organic nature. “Give or take” begins with bouncy, steel-string guitar picking as the lead singer briskly introduces himself 7-seconds in with a stirring yet understated vocal delivery. His voice is a tamed hybrid of James Taylor and Conor Oberst, which adds an alternative stroke to an otherwise heavily bluegrass inspired landscape. He sings, “Everybody here knows when you’ve got to stop to start again,” with a red-yellow tone, a warmness, and positivity that is speckled with patches of tanginess. The king heat ensemble is giving you an encouraging pat on the back, while sternly whispering, “start again.”
Gold Star - Baby Face
Los Angeles’ Gold Star combines disparate influences, from Americana to Britpop to Classic Rock into a surprisingly familiar sound on new single "Baby Face." The verse oozes Old West cool, something that might have come from the guitar of Turn Blue era Dan Auerbach or AM era Alex Turner, before launching into a fully Beatles-inspired chorus, complete with swirling Wurlitzer chords and reverb-laden double-tracked vocals. “Baby Face” is a song you may as well have heard the day you were born, greeting you with a loving epithet, but given a modern spin by an obviously devoted student of music. Contradictions are at the core of this song, at once retro and refreshing, then cocky but unsure. “I’m still not certain what it takes,” croons singer Marlon Rabenreither, “Are you in / Are you out?” Even the instrumentation takes two sides, as the smooth guitar’s conversation with the thumping bass forms the backbone of the song’s hook, introducing us to the song and leading us out with no answers.— Daniel Shanker on July 24, 2018
Michl - Tell Her
Rising Los Angeles artist Michl has revealed a stunning rework of Lauryn Hill’s “Tell Him” with his new summer love song “Tell Her.” This synth-heavy version is an emotional ballad featuring a gorgeous balance of organs, stripped back guitar and smooth vocals that pay homage to the original but still manages to be unique. The authenticity in Michl’s voice matches the emotional honesty of the lyrics, “I’ll never be jealous and I won’t be too proud / ‘cause love is not boastful / No and love is not loud / just tell her I need her.” This song is full of themes of hope and promise and reminds listeners that despite the ups and downs of relationships, “everything is gonna be alright.”— Alessandra Rincon on July 23, 2018
Margot - Tired
London dream-pop outfit Margot creates the kind of masterful, floating soundscapes one would expect from seasoned veterans of the genre. Perfect for a rainy London afternoon, “Tired” is the hazy daydream of someone unable to keep up with the pace of change in his life. “Get off your phone and tell me how you feel,” he pleads, wading through the sea of swirling guitars in an attempt to make any sort of meaningful, lasting connection, but not even the support of a string section can save him now. He has been rejected, he has been shut out and he is terrified to admit that time races only forwards. Things are looking up though. As the song fades out, the future uncertain, he has traded his relentless pessimism — “You’ve grown...I just don’t know you anymore” — for something a little more understanding and hopeful — “You’ve grown / and so should I / We’ll work it out eventually.”— Daniel Shanker on July 23, 2018
Ferdinand the Bull - Wooden Fire Escape
Meeting in college, this young group of talented Pittsburgh musicians has been playing together and touring the country for three years now as folk band Ferdinand the Bull. Their newest release “Wooden Fire Escape” off their upcoming sophomore album, “Painting Over Pictures” out August 11, is a catchy tune reminding you to be optimistic even in dismal situations. Characteristic of frontman Nick Snyder’s lyrical style, “Wooden Fire Escape” is full of themes about nature and love. Pulsating under Snyder’s vocals is a great backtrack of kick drum and guitar strums that make you want to get up and dance along.— Kathryn Brooks on July 18, 2018
Why Bonnie - Stereo
Hailing from Austin, Texas bedroom-pop band Why Bonnie is back with their new EP "Nightgown." The third track, "Stereo," captures the essence and charm of the five-piece band. Front-woman, Blair Howerton's voice carries on subdued and consistent while it lies on a bed of warm synths and an electric guitar making the song itself a blanket of comfort. Nevertheless, a pleasant yet unexpected shift comes as if to throw off the blanket and expose the unkempt sheets underneath. Howerton jumps the octave introducing a new type of emotion to the mix. As it builds, passive becomes active, apathy becomes caring, all heard and felt within high notes and louder dynamics. The song ends similarly to how it began, emulating just how natural it is to fall back into our composure after a moment of frenzied vulnerability and clarity.— Dara Bankole on July 17, 2018