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Chris Rovik - Burning Bridges
Chris Rovik - Burning Bridges

Chris Rovik - Burning Bridges


Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself bouncing along to Chris Rovik’s latest single “Burning Bridges” which, despite being a bittersweet farewell to a toxic relationship, makes itself out to be quite the departure from the artist’s last EP, Let Go, which he released around the same time last year. Opting for pop over grunge, this track wastes no time getting started, filtering into focus with an upbeat guitar, a bouncing bassline, and the infectious tongue-click of a wooden block. Rovik ends up with something a little less signature moody-goth-acoustic, and something more Tom Petty-playful. With the instruments maintaining a bubbly momentum, dynamic vocals lead us through the emotional evolution of the song; Rovik begins in the tenderness of a lower register and builds up to the powerful delivery of someone carrying the weight of a relationship he no longer wants to bear. When he repeats “This will be your last” in the chorus over and over, it seems to be more of a reminder to himself than anything else. “Burning Bridges” might be a last goodbye, but with this ending comes the sense of having a weight lifted from your chest, leaving you a little lighter as you dance off into the future.

Shasha Léonard on March 31, 2020
Hala - Emotional R&B

Hala - Emotional R&B


There are certain styles of guitar playing that are indelibly linked with a specific form of Americana; when you turn on a song and are immediately greeted by jangly, laid back acoustic chords, you can almost conjure the feeling of the sun beaming on your face as you’re relaxing. That feeling is at the heart of the new track "Emotional R&B" by Detroit singer-songwriter Hala. The song is a lighthearted rumination on the early excitement and uncertainty that a relationship can bring with it—an uncertainty that Hala confronts with a devil-may-care attitude, responding to his own feelings of confusion and ambiguity by crooning  “I ain’t complaining / Emotional R&B’s got me singing / All of these words to you.” As a multi-instrumentalist, Hala performs every instrument heard on the song; while this particular brand of musical self-sufficiency can sometimes lead to overproduced or unnecessarily showy fare, Hala adds layers of instruments and melodies without ever leaning into maximalism. The bright guitars and smooth, understated drums provide a suitable canvas for Hala to express his complicated emotions over, and the result is a sun-kissed ode to indefinite futures and living in the moment.

Alec Bollard on March 24, 2020
Kathleen - The Longest Year

Kathleen - The Longest Year


Kathleen’s “The Longest Year” is a gorgeous single fit for trying times. A calm intro seduces, warm chords gently sway and gain some pace as the bass joins, chugging away underneath. All the while, Kathleen’s unquestionably stunning vocals are on full display—intimate, confident. An acoustic guitar joins the arrangement, suddenly adding even more urgency while Kathleen pushes on. A palpable swell of passion and energy forming just below the surface. The first taste of the chorus teases a harp, swirling yet withholding. Fed by the continued momentum, the tension builds until it’s all but unavoidable. It culminates in an absolutely flooring moment. Kathleen belting the chorus over an astonishing wave of sound. A moment full of such earnest drama and emotion. Yet, when it all falls away, the vocals land with even more power. Kathleen’s ability to live so fully between these intimate and expansive moments is one of a kind. The production gets the spotlight in the bridge, as filtered vocals sing of a dream but sound of a nightmare. As it resolves, Kathleen pleas for change and lets the listener consider it all. An exceptional and thoughtful artist, she delivers a timely and timeless anthem to pull you through anything.

Max Himelhoch on March 23, 2020
Brother Moses - Bathroom Floor

Brother Moses - Bathroom Floor


Brother Moses’ “Bathroom Floor” expresses a direct “I’m over this” mentality. It is sincere, acknowledging the truths about a failed relationship, yet done in a nonchalant manner: “This is not a confrontation / This is me just calling your bluff.” The four-piece indie rock band from Arkansas has a way of connecting to the masses, while never giving too much away: “So you wanted to meet up / First time we spoke in months / I faked it like a regular person / I tolerated you at coffee.” This song, along with others like “Older” or “Sandwich Bags” from their first album released in 2016, make you feel as if you’re the one being sung to while being taught valuable lessons about life. The track suggests being truthful to yourself and what you’ve been through: “I kind of let you push me over / It felt a little too familiar / At once what pushes me away / And pulls me in.” The lessons change but the relatability stays consistent. If you are going through a difficult breakup, the band’s newest album Desperation Pop will put you in the mood to tear up and come to terms.

Bailee Penski on March 23, 2020
Elizabeth Woolf - Goodbye Old Friend

Elizabeth Woolf - Goodbye Old Friend


Sometimes a goodbye feels great; sometimes it just feels awful. But a real goodbye with someone you had a deep relationship with is bound to feel more complicated, more in-between. On “Goodbye Old Friend,” the first single from Elizabeth Woolf’s upcoming debut album, she explores one of these more nuanced kinds of goodbye. On paper, the lyrics tell us that this parting of ways is for the best and was probably even a long time coming; but from the beginning a melancholic tinge in the guitar whispers shades of disappointment nonetheless. Woolf’s smooth, smoky vocals and joyful vocal runs, which quickly evoke the setting of a jazz lounge, add to the dramatic arc of the track as well. While at the start she seems to have completely acquiesced to the whims of the universe as she sings, “Time is slipping from our fingers this time,” by the end of the song every instrument, including her voice, is bursting with bold agency, as we witness her claim this goodbye as what it really is: a self-empowered and hopeful choice. And you get the feeling it might lead to something better down the road.

Karl Snyder on March 23, 2020
Dizzy - Sunflower

Dizzy - Sunflower


In the “About” section on their Facebook page, the Canadian band Dizzy declares: “We write sad dream pop.” While their latest single, “Sunflower,” is literally about dreaming, it sounds more like a savory-sweet escape from reality than a tearful tragedy. Swathed in amber rays of late afternoon sun, the delightfully nostalgic track conjures flashes of those deliciously restless teenage years. Katie Munshaw’s lulling vocals paired with Alex Spencer’s ethereal guitar parts recall late 90s-era female-fronted indie-pop bands such as Sixpence None the Richer and The Corrs. Charlie Spencer’s synth work keeps the production feeling modern while maintaining the “dream pop” genre. “Sunflower” pairs well with writing in one’s diary and longing for social contact with peers.

Karyna Micaela on March 20, 2020
Allie X feat. Mitski - Susie Save Your Love

Allie X feat. Mitski - Susie Save Your Love


We all know a Susie: The friend with the toxic boyfriend you wish you could just shake and let them know they deserve better. Canadian songstress Allie X describes this exact sentiment on her new song “Susie Save Your Love." The track features an elusive songwriting credit and vocal from Mitski, who has been on a break from releasing and touring music since 2018. The swaying vocals and 80s synth undertones bring to life a story that cuts close to those who have watched someone they love stay in an unhappy relationship when they have people all around them that truly love them. X continues to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community as this song works as a personal narrative of loving a woman, whether that be as a friend or something more. The song comes off of X’s latest album release Cape God. She is currently working on rescheduling her North American tour.

Megan Beck on March 20, 2020
Ada Lea - Woman, Here

Ada Lea - Woman, Here


Coming straight out of a Western dream, Ada Lea is back with a thoughtful new single. The lyricism immediately fills with humanity. Sung from the heart, it’s authentic, and still finds a way to balance itself with levity. Lea's raw vocals allow so much emotion to show through. The band remains steady, a reliable guitar plucking through a chord progression, stable drums making a subtle entrance around the chorus. A chorus, moving due to its repetition. Her vocals stand strong in acceptance, pulled on by a high harmony that feels less sure, calling out in disappointment and pain. The guitar riff is the loosest piece of the song, some wandering relief from the tough chorus. Verse two builds emotion, with Lea finding more strength in her independence. A confidence that allows her to explore new melodies, adding so much color to the second chorus. As “I’ve got my mind, and that’s all I need” breaks through, Lea has embraced her own message completely. It’s time to move forward, and she’s got all she needs to do it. The Montreal-based artist is set to release an EP later this month.

Max Himelhoch on March 20, 2020
Elah Hale - one star rating

Elah Hale - one star rating


After a set of fantastic 2019 releases, Elah Hale brings us their first single of the year, and not a moment too soon. "One star rating" feels like a step forward for Hale, delivering an impressive vocal performance over some stunning pop production. A song full of heartbreak and what-if’s gets off to a fast start with the intro holding a hazy urgency. When Hale starts singing, the situation is clear, as they sing “I swear I / could be the one you wanted”, with a calm presence—you can feel the yearning. As the chorus hits, more synths arrive and pick up the entire narrative, from the tough reality of the verse, to the bright optimism of another chance. The instrumental break before the second verse is a brief moment of beautiful chaos. Expertly arranged to make disparate elements fit perfectly. Further into the new verse, Hale adds subtle harmonies that add heft to lyrics that speak negatively of themselves, pulling away quickly to leave honest and tough lyrics sitting more vulnerable, all alone. A sparse yet breathtaking bridge shows off just how good Hale is, both singing and writing. It leads the listeners to a stripped chorus, finding a new energy before shifting back into gear and cruising out. This young NYC artist has offered nothing but gems, and "one star rating" continues the trend.

Max Himelhoch on March 19, 2020
Yazmin Lacey - Morning Matters

Yazmin Lacey - Morning Matters


Yazmin Lacey is a neo-soul, jazz artist from the UK, but her song "Morning Matters" would just as easily be heard in a daytime venue/coffee shop in New Orleans as it would be in a coffee shop in the UK. The track starts with an inviting trumpet solo, ushering in the backing beat of the song. "Morning Matters" is soothing, a keen demonstration of Lacey's ability to capture the feeling of waking up with gratitude. She gives us a sense of empowerment and control, which is a rare yet coveted feeling especially in the current state of our world. Lacey's new EP Morning Matters is set to release on March 27 so get excited for more remarkable, feel-good music from this inspiring artist.

Ian Lutz on March 19, 2020
Forever Honey - Christian

Forever Honey - Christian


The BK-based group Forever Honey recently released their sunny, delightfully nostalgic debut single "Christian." The track jumps right into an entrancing, layered vocal section with synthy guitars accompanying the lead singer. As it progresses, "Christian" explores a coming of age relationship that is carefree but ultimately emotional unstable—from getting only surface-level TLC, "Well you warm my hands," to getting too drunk and not getting any sleep, "Will you hold my hair back? / Don't wanna leave / While you try to fight it." The song is a promising, captivating first release from the group which consists of 4 members: Liv Price, Aida Mekonnen, Steve Vannelli and Jack McLoughlin. Forever Honey, self-proclaimed lovers of late 80s pop, are releasing their first EP titled Pre-Mortem High on April 24. We can't wait to hear more from this group and we're sure you'll be feeling the same after checking out their debut track.

Ian Lutz on March 19, 2020

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