Buck Meek - Joe By The Book
Buck Meek wrote the first ode to automechanics since Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. “Joe By The Book,” the charmingly prosaic new release by co-founder and lead guitarist of Big Thief, taps into the universal and spiritual quality of auto care. “I imagined Joe, the patron saint of automechanics, to honor the memory of Gus at ZP Auto in Brooklyn, who kept our van alive with nothing more than his faith until he passed away on a motorcycle, at which point the van seemed to immediately give up. It was also written to cope with the real-life disappointment of my grandparents being ripped off by a dishonest mechanic in Houston.” explained Buck. And that is simply and unapologetically what “Joe By The Book” is about. Thank you, Buck Meek, for the perfect reminder to see the transcendental beauty of every mundane thing.— Kaycie Satterfield on May 17, 2018
The Tins - Oh My God
This track, led by a strong, groovy, rhythmic bass line, is one that accomplishes The Tins' goal: to make people dance. As I write this, I can’t stop from bopping along at my wifi-equipped bar, and I don’t really care who’s looking at me out of the corner of their eyes. Using the guitar very definitively as a rhythm instrument, there are no unnecessary frills here. It’s beautifully polished bare bones — exactly what you need to get hooked. I don’t know whether to call this pop, rock, or what, but I also don’t think it matters. The slightly unexpected turns the melody takes, both in shape and rhythm, keeps you itching for more. The asides like “and then I wrote this” keep this song accessible, and the repeated “Oh my God” resonates with everyone, no matter what you believe in. That’s a phrase that seems to slip out in times of shock or desperation like an involuntary reflex. It’s one that rests in a very specific place in the gut when you hear someone say it.
— Grace Eire on May 16, 2018
Everything comes together so smoothly and seamlessly in this track, down to the ambiguous fade-out, leaving you wondering where it might go next.
Nation of Language - Reality
The line between dreams and reality can seem blurred at times and Nation of Language perfectly articulates this in-between phase with their latest single “Reality.” Giving us post-punk and new wave feels with synths that will make you dream you’re at a 1980's dance party, the track effortlessly evokes melancholy while still having fun. Brooklyn natives, Nation of Language, use their lyrics to revel in the feelings of being lost and not knowing your next move, while the repetitive beats flow like the schedules of our everyday lives. This new track will be great to add to your weekend summer playlist or when you’re feeling stuck after a long day of work.— Madison Hetterly on May 15, 2018
LUMP - Late To The Flight
LUMP is the collaborative project of critically acclaimed musicians Laura Marling and Tunng's Mike Lindsay, featuring a hypnotizing, furry, dancing persona, who lives in the spotlight at the center of it. This is an experimental folk project inspired by early-20th-century Surrealism and absurdist poetry, making a commentary on the role of the public persona and the obsession with individualism. LUMP is the artist and Laura and Mike act as its guardians. In "Late To The Flight," the opening track from LUMP's upcoming album, Marling's brooding melodies and sharp lyricism are clear as ever, but the world we are thrown into is unfamiliar. Bubbling over with strange guitars, flutes, synths and constantly droning echoes, the textures become all-consuming as Marling sings of lucid dreaming and the prison of public persona. The full album, LUMP will be out on 6/1 and we cannot wait to see the rest of what this duo has in store for us.— Nicole Rodriguez on May 15, 2018
Doncat - Everybody Wants To Shake Your Hand
Worth in the public eye versus self worth; this is the grout between the bricks in Doncat’s forthcoming album Preservation of the Spirit. Doncat, known to some as Duncan Neilson of San Francisco, takes us on a journey to examine the pursuit of fame as a pursuit of personal growth. Jiving off of a long line of Californian folk ringers and counterculture singers, Doncat’s music incorporates both folk and rock textures in his pursuit to unpack the American Dream. “Everybody Wants to Shake Your Hand,” is atmospheric and guitar-heavy. Sweet, textural organ pads and subdued earthy sounds mingle with Doncat’s cynical lyric. “No more waiting in a line to help yourself but there is none left; it is all a joke in the end,” he delivers. This sharp criticism can be found within the rest of the melodies on Preservation of the Spirit, out May 18.— Kaycie Satterfield on May 11, 2018
Juliana Daugherty - Light
Charlottesville's Juliana Daugherty is forging her way onto an emerging indie scene and while it's easy to blend here, she creates the kind of songs that won't let her. With a classically trained background and an MFA in poetry, it's clear that Juliana's relationship with music and words are rooted deeply within her. "Light" the title-track off her debut album set to release on June 1, centers on the idea of finding the light and expelling truth in the midst of the lies and darkness within depression. "Wait, it lied to you/There's nothing it won't do/There's nothing it won't steal." Juliana sings of the darkness in one line and then of the light in the next, exposing how easy it is to bounce back in our heads. Even still, "Light" ends with hope and somehow the idea in itself seems more plausible when she's singing of it. Juliana said she wrote Light in part to "strip mental illness of its power," claiming "there is nothing useful or beautiful to be gleaned from the experience of depression." Although it's easy to believe the narrative that depression should be leaned into if we want to produce anything resembling creativity, Juliana urges us to consider the opposite, making us realize how important it is to produce art that is more inspired by the hope of the light rather than the comfort of the darkness. This is definitely one album we'll be counting down the days for.— Dara Bankole on May 11, 2018
Our Girl - I Really Like It
Our Girl, hailing from Brighton, UK, recently released a new song with a new sound. Singer Soph Nathan has said that she was a little nervous to release this song into the open because it has a distinctly different feeling from their previous songs. They’d never had a song that looks at love in quite this light. It’s hard to admit that “I really like you,” over and over again, in a calm but deeply sincere and simple chorus. The honesty in the lyrics, though, is what makes this song so capable of crawling inside of you. It’s an upbeat, happy song that still manages to capture the trio’s garagey sound. The flow is undeniable, with subtle guitar lines peeking out of the background every now and then, building up during a wonderfully full and bright instrumental break. There’s an undeniable groove that’ll stick with you long after the song is over.— Grace Eire on May 9, 2018
Coco Reilly - Define You
Coco Reilly comes out strong with her first ever single “Define You.” With dreamy lyrics about a loved one to the backdrop of psychedelic guitars, Reilly will make you nostalgic while also wanting to dance. The lyrics beautifully describe the tension of loving and admiring someone you are in a relationship with yet trying not to hinder them in any way, a hard balance most in relationships can relate to. Genre-bending country and psychedelic, Reilly gives us the perfect song for a chill summer day.— Madison Hetterly on May 8, 2018
Sofia Wolfson - Write It Down
Sofia Wolfson’s “Write it Down” is an honest profession of frustration set to a sweet and snappy tune. Wolfson is sassy and fun, and also innately good at capturing the writer’s blocks of our lives. Her lyrics surreptitiously detail the obstacles we face in our day-to-day; and, set to music, help us deal with the prospect of change. In her own words, “The song kind of deals with my frustration of feeling like I'm saying the same thing over and over in my music. I was going through some changes in my relationships and a lot of the music that came from that time was an attempt to cope with that loss and the prospects of change.” Working through our roadblocks is more manageable with Wolfson’s music — we’re grateful for that and are looking forward to hearing more from the artist.— Natasha Cucullo on May 8, 2018
Aisha Burns - We Were Worn
Aisha Burns’ vision of Americana is one that is intimate, cathartic and expansive. Influenced by her upbringing in San Antonio, her work as a violinist in the ambient neo-classical sextet Balmorhea, and the absurdity of experiencing immense loss and love at the same time, Burns’ second album Argonauta brings the traditional and the modern together into something that is powerfully personal.
In "We Were Worn," the album’s opening track, Burns confronts the ghost of her recently deceased mother. The pounding of timpani drums lays out a dramatic stage as she decides whether to deny or acknowledge the terrible truth in front of her. Laying her process and anxieties bare, Burns comes to embrace the facets of her mother that continue to live through her own body.
Aisha Burns’ sophomore album, Argonauta, releases May 25 via Western Vinyl.— James Liance on May 7, 2018
Malena Zavala - Could You Stay
The weather is finally warmer, people are sneaking out of the office a little bit earlier, and Malena Zavala has a new album out. In other words, we’re not quite in summer yet, but we’re damn close. "Could You Stay" is a bittersweet summertime tune, capturing both the warmth of falling in love and the complications that come with that. Fittingly, the aesthetics of the music would be equally comfortable on an evening patio or behind a closed door of a bedroom. Zavala’s vocals tie the whole song together, with melodic lines that hang above a collection of guitars and Latin rhythms. The album is called Aliso and available now.— Matt Megan on May 7, 2018