Black Belt Eagle Scout - Indians Never Die
Certain performers possess a kind of earnest delivery — one that meets our ears in a deeply harmonious manner and allows us to better understand both the world and ourselves. Portland musician, Katherine Paul aka Black Belt Eagle Scout is one of those artists, and her debut album, Mother of My Children belongs to that rare breed. The record is a reflection of self/identity, loss, and what it means to belong to a place and a people whose face has been tainted over time. What does it mean to grow up within a group that so genially protects Mother Earth, when society has inflicted so much harm onto it? How do you identify as a member of this community when you too are constantly evolving?
The third single off the album, “Indians Never Die,” probes these kinds of questions. Paul transforms anguish into something powerfully eternal. When she cries out, “Do you ever notice what’s around you? / When it’s all there, in the wake of you,” she is declaring the immortality of her people. Even though her ancestors don’t physically live forever, the customs and teachings they passed down are boundless. “Indians Never Die” works to reshape the way many of us think of heritage, identity, and human connection. The track is anchored by one ceaselessly repeated phrase, “wastin’ away.” It is through the unfeigned repetition of these two words that we can begin to understand why Indians never die.— Andrea de Varona on November 6, 2018
Hollywood - Monster
Norwegian pop-rock supergroup Hollywood has recently released their debut single, "Monster." Although the band is brand new, each of the three members have had success in their own right. The group consists of synth-pop artist Billie Van, indie rocker Mikhael Paskalev and acoustic-folk singer/songwriter Jonas Alaska. While Hollywood's sound can no doubt be characterized as "pop," the amalgamation of the trio's unique individuals take on the genre to help "Monster" subvert traditional pop-rock tropes. While we may not know what Hollywood has in store for the future this release should leave little uncertainty that they will continue to extend the reaches of innovative pop music.— Bobby Lewis on November 5, 2018
The Vernes - Maybe I'll Feel Better When I'm Dead
The Vernes aren’t growing up without a fight. The Philadelphia band's newest album, Maybe I’ll Feel Better When I’m Dead, is practically a coming-of-age tale — filled with lyrics about still living at home, fond moments of nostalgia and panic at the fact that things just aren’t as good as they used to be. The opening title track sets the stage immediately, as it only takes a minute for the band to confess: “Some things never change / But I don’t feel the same / And I don’t feel a thing,” before coming to the conclusion that “maybe I’ll feel better when I’m dead.” Although there lyrics lean towards the melancholy and even morbid, the track's arrangement betrays the band's words. The guitars are soaring and insanely catchy; these are the sounds of an indie band prepared to fill stadiums. If their newest project is any indication, they aren’t far off.
Jim and Sam - Unravel
In “Unravel,” Los Angeles husband-and-wife folk duo Jim and Sam imagine an ancient drum machine and put to it the words of their deepest insecurities. “I’ve got secrets / Too big / To hide under floorboards in my head,” they worry together, placing these skeletons, too large for their floor, firmly in their closet. In a panicky chorus, we see Jim and Sam “unraveling, unraveling,” and we expect the song to swing in the same direction, but the locomotive of a beat never lets up. And it is this unrelenting normalcy of the outside world that makes our inner quirks seem so irreconcilable in the first place. “But I / Convinced / Myself of this,” they sing, an admission that maybe it isn’t so strange to be so strange. When they ignore the rest of the world and all of its external pressures and definitions and expectations, as they do in the striking final chorus, there is a magic that just the two of them share. It's clear that each of them has found someone just as broken as themself, and it’s not strange, it’s beautiful.— Daniel Shanker on November 5, 2018
Valley Maker - A Couple Days
Valley Maker, the moniker of Seattle singer-songwriter Austin Crane, recently released one of the best records of the year with "A Couple Days" being the opening track. Crane wrote Rhododendron while also pursuing his PhD in Human Geography — his fans are well familiar with how Crane's education ties into his music, seeing that his debut album also doubled as his undergrad senior thesis. Eight years later, Crane is not only older but also experiencing the transitions of life which is seen in his music as "Rhododendron speaks to how the places and moments we occupy become reflections of ourselves."
The more you listen to "A Couple Days" the more you'll want to know the story behind it. The earnest desire to understand hard concepts is heard as questions are turned into the lyrics, "How much of you is who I’ll be / How much of us is in between / What is and what is yet to be / And can I hold the mystery / I cannot hold the mystery." "A Couple Days" was produced by Toro y Moi, who also happens to have a spot on Buzzing Daily today, together these old schoolmates and friends created an introspective and winsome track that becomes a catalyst for an excellent record.— Dara Bankole on November 2, 2018
Angelo De Augustine - Time
Angelo De Augustine has released "Time," a single off of his album Tomb coming out January 18 off of Sufjan Stevens label Asthmatic Kitty Records. The 12-track LP was produced by Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, who has worked with artists such as albums St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, Glen Hansard and Rhye. Doveman is well known for his ability to bring a sweeping warmth into an album, and recently accompanied St. Vincent on piano for her new stripped down album MassEducation.
From lyric to sound, "Time" provides listeners with a wonderful example of Augustine’s past work. The track’s narrative is centered around the idea of waiting for a love to return and battling with the feeling that someone will always be in your heart even if they are physically distant, “Now your heart has been broken / And you're miles off away.” Although this topic can be initially read as desperate or hopeless, Augustine acknowledges the light in the dark, seeing time as a gift rather than a curse in the story between the two lovers, “Time keeps on learning / About you and me / I'll keep on loving / Someday she'll love me.” Augustine’s feathering voice, accompanied by the generously kind instruments throughout the track, creates an intimate sound in the work. We're very excited to see where Augustine will go with the themes seen on Time, and expect Tomb to be a truly lovely piece of work.— Samantha Weisenthal on November 2, 2018
Toro y Moi - Freelance
The latest single from synth guru Toro y Moi, aka Chaz Bear, is a colorfully retro, disco tune made for the dance floor. “Freelance” is the first track off of his upcoming album Outer Peace and it’s a pleasant departure from his previous downtempo album Boo Boo. The song oozes a retro, funk beat over Bear’s painstakingly auto-tuned voice. The track, and album as a whole, is Bear’s response to his experience of returning to his home in the Bay Area after spending a year in Portland, Oregon and how the difference in culture affected his creativity. In his lyrics he tries to find a sense of belonging but instead feels disconnected from the community around him. He manifests this disconnect in the way he breaks up the words, “Sometimes I think we are from the same place. / Now I don’t. / What just happened, happened, happened, happened, happened, happened?” But, the song’s pure psychedelic pop is disjointly euphoric and each of its layers radiate to create an irresistible jam.— Shayna Chabrow on November 2, 2018
Glorietta - Lincoln Creek
Indie-folk supergroup Glorietta consists of Matthew Logan Vasquez of Delta Spirit, Noah Gundersen, Kelsey Wilson of Wild Child, David Ramirez, Adrian Quesada, and Jason Robert Blum. Their first self-titled record together came out recentl and the band hit the road soon after to start playing shows. "Lincoln Creek" is one of the softer songs on the record and it features Noah Gundersen in his signature story-telling folk style. He sings, "Somewhere singing is free, a dime and a couple of twenties is all that they need / Somewhere someone is singing for free, thank God it ain't me." As he bears the weight of the darkness his songs usually touch upon, the band joins him lightening the load and back him up with harmonies like a small and gentle choir. Be sure to listen to the rest of the album and discover the gems on it like the tender "Lincoln Creek."— Dara Bankole on November 1, 2018
Ruby Gill - Your Mum
Originating from South Africa, the now Melbourne dweller and singer-songwriter Ruby Gill has a voice that's distinctively her own. In "Your Mum" she sings out her frustrations with a strong-willed and emotional tone that quickly goes from assured to heartbreaking. While at one point her voice is leveled and steady at other points it's erratically emotional. The main line Gill repeats is "I'm sorry I don't cook like your mum" but it's clear that the undertones of this pain are about more than just home-cooked food. Still the way, she uses this argument to release her insecurities both sarcastically and genuinely are breathtaking. With just an electric guitar and a powerhouse voice gone soft she sings, "I know I don't cook like your mum but I'm trying to love her son." Offering her voice, story and self-doubt wrapped up in a song, Ruby Gill has truly given us something of value and substance.— Dara Bankole on October 31, 2018
Cautious Clay - Joshua Tree
Largely evocative of nature, Cautious Clay’s “Joshua Tree” brings Clay’s musical talents front and center. The simple intro of chirping birds and a backing percussion gives way to his smooth-as-silk-vocals. Gracefully he explores the emotions so seldom discussed in the face of love versus loneliness with a climactic chorus that blooms beautifully into the harmony “I don’t wanna be loved." The slightly haunting and more pensive bridge contrasts the chorus and displays his lyrical and musical versatility as the song comes together.
A talented multi-instrumentalist, Clay is known to play guitar, but perhaps more surprisingly, he’s skilled on the flute and saxophone, both of which make appearances in many of his songs. “Joshua Tree” in particular, showcases his many talents. The song ends with his powerhouse vocals in the chorus, upstaged only by an unlikely, yet brilliant saxophone solo, giving way to the previously extremely subtle jazz undertones throughout the song. His ability to thread sincere lyricism and unlikely musical elements together in such an artistic way is why it won’t be long before Cautious Clay will be a household name.— Jazzmyne Pearson on October 31, 2018
Haley Heynderickx & Max Garcia Conover - Slow Talkin'
Haley Heynderickx is the kind of tender, open-hearted songwriter that crafts her material patiently and assiduously — much like one would carefully turn a plain spool of yarn into a beautifully knit piece of cloth. Her latest collaborative EP with Max Garcia Conover, an equally honest songwriter, proves that this kind of stripped down, radically heartfelt writing is precisely what is needed in the world of indie music. “Slow Talkin,” which also happens to be the only single released off the EP, encapsulates the ways in which both Heynderickx and Conover effortlessly convey a poetic nature in their lyrics. The weight of their words paired with the pureness of their voices is sure to give you goosebumps — the warm and fuzzy kind rather than the kind induced by fear or discomfort. The song tackles subjects like desperation, self-doubt and the bitter-sweetness of leaving a place or a person to better benefit the both of you. In the chorus, Heynderickx sings, “If you wanna make em’ happy, you’re gonna have to go,” capturing a human sentiment that is numbingly familiar to many of us: wanting the best for someone and knowing that you may not be it.— Andrea de Varona on October 30, 2018