dad sports - nrvs again
dad sports’ latest single “nrvs again” falls somewhere between a Dayglow track and a more modern, synth-pop version of a Smiths song, topped with lo-fi lead vocals akin to Day Wave; the result is like a dance-ridden sugar pill for anxiety. In a rush of synths and sunny guitar riffs over fast-paced programmed drums, dad sports impressively bottles the odd sensation of discerning our own COVID-era emotions. In a glittering four minutes, they walk us through how difficult it can be to identify either rose-colored butterflies or adulthood anxiety when you’re already living in a constant state of quarantine unease: “feels like I’m nervous again / though it doesn’t take much these days…you’re the reason I can’t sleep tonight." But the good news is, by the end of listening to this indie pop gem, you will have forgotten your worries altogether. Photo by Lucas Kuhl.
“nrvs again” will appear on dad sports' debut EP, I AM JUST A BOY LEAVE ME ALONE !!!, releasing through Grand Jury Music on March 19.
Jordana - Doubt of Revival feat. Ryan Woods
In the prime of their youth, Gen Z resembles the effortless cool over which their Gen X parents once reigned supreme, while also managing to update it for a new age. Jordana’s “Doubt of Revival” featuring Ryan Woods brilliantly encapsulates this idea: musically, lyrically and in the very culture that surrounds its release. The bedroom pop artist’s airy vocals and sleepy delivery float above a grungy eighth-note bass line, in a way that would make the Empire Records soundtrack’s music supervisors proud. At first blush, the lyrics seem almost random, as though born through a stream-of-consciousness journaling exercise. Listen again. And again. These are the words of a generation coming into their own in an entirely different world than their millennial predecessors; they weren’t force-fed a fake idea of “how to be” that would eventually bite the latter group in the collective ass. They witnessed the backfire, and they're incredibly perceptive. This track proves just how closely they’ve been paying attention. They know the doubtful messages ingrained in them are not of them; it's as distinct as Jordana’s backing vocals float above Woods’ lead when he sings, “Got permission from a cynic he said live your life / Don't you listen to the critic that’s inside your mind.” Jordana and Woods represent a renaissance of capable DIY artists who are not only busting any doubt older generations may have fostered—they’re reviving the best of what was left for them. Photo by Felix Walworth.
Jordana's newest single was released today via Grand Jury Music. Listen on Bandcamp or wherever you stream.
Sarah Cicero - Letter to the Editor
Sarah Cicero’s "Letter to the Editor" is the perfect backing track to a post-breakup cleaning spree. The lyrics read like a letter you’ll never send, a composed list of grievances and calculated insults. Cicero’s sweet vocal harmonies undercut the bitterness of the lyrics though, like cream in coffee. The heartbeat-like bass makes itself known from the beginning, occasionally skipping up and sinking back down before settling into a fast steady drive. It sounds just like when you’re trying to think about anything else but the person getting under your skin. You try to redirect your thoughts, but instead, you just find yourself jumping to a fresh thing to be angry about; some of them are petty, some aren’t, and it’s hard to let go of either. You compromise by deciding to be the bigger person—or at least, the better person, which isn’t that hard, really, because they were a jerk who didn’t deserve your time. After all, isn’t the best revenge on someone who consistently makes you feel small to continue to grow in their absence? Photo by Sara Laufer.— Allison Hill on March 2, 2021
Richie Quake - Sensitive
From Brooklyn singer-songwriter Richie Quake comes "Sensitive," a dreamy, retro pop tune that addresses a core human need: to be understood. "I don't wanna be doomed / Drifting through time and space forever," Quake sings on the track, wondering if and when his lover will be able to offer the compassion he craves. It's almost hesitant, the way he makes his request through a coy, yet breezy delivery over velvety guitars and a slow heartbeat. It feels unfair to have to ask for empathy; I've spent so much of my adult life unlearning the need to apologize for my feelings. And while it often seems like the emotional labor is too much to ask of someone, sometimes all that means is a moment to "be alone together." "Sensitive" is Richie Quake's effortlessly tender reminder that you deserve a partner who will try. Photo by Mark Shami.— Ysabella Monton on February 26, 2021
RGB - Losing Patience
“Losing Patience” is the second single of 2021 from Tel-Aviv-based RGB. In it, we hear lead singer Noi Agam lament to a lover about how quick-tempered she has been with them. For an apologetic track, it is deceptively danceable; starting with claps and quiet beats, the song explodes into a shining array of electric tones, glitch-pop samples and a groovy disco bassline. The lyrics’ subtle play on words mimics the narrator stumbling over her apology, forming a catchy sugar-coated hook: “Sorry ‘bout me losing my patience / Now I know something went so wrong with me / Sorry ‘bout me losing—am I losing you?” The latter half of the song finds her realizing that feeling comfortable and empowered in a relationship doesn’t mean we should lose civil composure or abuse that power (“No I’ve never been the fool / Yet I’ve never been so cruel”). It brings to mind an important question: when we find ourselves in this situation, does our ability to be cruel to someone we claim to love mean we should stay and improve ourselves, or does it mean it’s time to walk away? If ever you’re not sure, you can always spend some time dancing to “Losing Patience.” Photo by Eden Amit.— Heddy Edwards on February 26, 2021
Ted Taforo - Island (feat. Lenka Shockley)
Simply beautiful. Two words that describe Ted Taforo’s track “Island.” From the captivating lyrics to the electro-R&B vibe brought by the percussion, “Island” feels like silk through which one entangles their fingers. The addition of Lenka Shockley’s vocal makes it even more whimsical, almost as though one is traveling on a cloud, or in this case, a boat. “Island” serves as a metaphor for love and how it makes us feel stranded in our decisions. “Out in the sea/ searching for guidance,” Shockley sings with soft harmonies to add cadence. It reflects the ways in which our heart turns in different directions, overthinking the little things and failing to consider the big things. Known for fusing jazz elements into his compositions, Taforo's saxophone blares near the end of the track, allowing a feeling of comfort to run through. Taforo’s debut album, entitled Outside, will be released later this year under Future Gods. Photo by Ted Taforo.— Bianca Brutus on February 26, 2021
L.A. Chaí - Burn For You
From Kansas City, Missouri comes the graceful work of L.A. Chaí through his debut single, “Burn for You.” Gentle is the voice of frontman, Andrew Bergthold, who penned and produced the piece while cultivating what is now a commendable solo act. Conceptualized during a playful conversation about the immeasurable genius of angel-city-lattes, L.A. Chaí promises to satiate with easy listening, compassionate meditations and loving serenades.
I blasted “Burn for You” while driving by a violet winter sunset and all I could think about was the striking congruence between song and scene. Bergthold “sends all of [his] love” via sparkling bells and atmospheric guitar as he charms his listeners with evidence that this vast galaxy is home to twin flames. It sounds like the magic hour that love so resembles. Photo by Levi Dalton.— Daphne Ellis on February 26, 2021
Francesca Blanchard - new year's in paris
Whirling with echoes of crowded celebrations of yore, Francesca Blanchard’s “new year’s in paris” emits the essence of a glass sphere; it includes this sense of wholeness, as well as transience in the spirit of self-restoration. Coming from a space of hibernation, Blanchard’s voice rings out with a clearness that pierces through all of the delicacies of loneliness and leads into a full sound of crowds cheering, synths roving and strings billowing. This track is one of yearning and the acceptance of loss. With lyrics like “I had a dream, our kids on the lawn and your mother loving me like her own," this song touches on the deep cut of desiring so badly for someone to come for you, to share the intimate details of life with someone who may never show up. Blanchard shared: “It goes out to anyone who’s gone through heartbreak this past year, in a time where human contact was out of reach. Here’s to healing late, but right on time." Photo by Maví Lou.— Laney Esper on February 25, 2021
Stray Fossa - Orange Days
The latest single from Charlottesville, VA trio Stray Fossa lays the drums and effects on heavy for an atmospheric and propulsive track from their forthcoming debut album With You For Ever. "Orange Days" bends genres as it goes; one can hear dashes of new wave and psychedelic amidst its dream pop landscape. Fans of Tame Impala will appreciate the phaser-laden guitars and ample reverb that recalls Tame’s beloved Lonerism. Over the booming and uptempo drum beat, singer Will Evans anxiously ponders the future. “My sun'll rise, and I know it's not much longer now,” he sings. “Somewhere begins a future, a stranger to ourselves.” The uncertainty of the lyrics, often delivered in spectral layers, mixes with a soundscape that likewise expresses a sense of unease as guitar and bass lines take unexpected turns. The end result is a song that successfully merges genres and sounds to a haunting and head-banging effect. Photo by Anita Richardson.— Pablo Nukaya-Petralia on February 25, 2021
Portair - Paper in the Sky
On "Paper in the Sky," Australian singer-songwriter Portair challenges convention in the details: a pattering hollow drum, strings suspended in water, full piano chords that draw contrast against his delicate vocals. While these sounds are unique and lush, Portair balances more inquisitive elements with a foot-stomping folk backbone that gives the track its homey, comforting sensibility. Laced with childhood nostalgia, "Paper in the Sky" calls to mind the adventures on which our youthful imaginations used to take us. Concrete images of raindrop races on car windows and model trains evoke visceral memories of a time when things were much simpler, when it didn't seem so difficult to find simple joy or excitement in the world. But instead of dwelling on innocence lost, Portair seeks to reclaim it; sending off all the most structured, restrictive and harrowing parts of the reality we know into a symbolic paper plane, there's nothing left but to "watch the paper in the sky float." Photo by Ashley Osborn.— Ysabella Monton on February 25, 2021
Kylie V - Natural
Kylie V’s "Natural" twirls and dances around intimacy in a way so earnest and honest, it almost breaks your heart. Their voice drops words like pebbles in a pond, rippling out before sinking in deep and out of sight. “I’m not a provider, I just wanna feed you,” they sing. The hook delicately touches on one of the most beautiful and intangible parts of love. It’s so enigmatic. Love never demands you to be anything but what you are; however, it often asks you, politely but insistently, to keep growing. It doesn’t shrink behind insecurity, even though you might. Love delights in vulnerability, taking in as eagerly as it gives. It’s strong and intimidating, and it takes time to learn how to conduct it. "Natural" sits right at the heart of that feeling, overwhelmed by the impulse to keep one hand held tight, and the other grounded on a door handle. Rhythm guitar lines ebb and flow as the lyrics tug between the fear of feeding someone else until you’re empty and the fear of letting them feed you back. The fear that you’ll take too long to get it right tends to linger at the back of your throat like something sweet and burnt. But you love them so much that of course you would try to figure out how to love them best. It’s almost too much to consider how you would begin to trust them to do the same for you, though. It feels safer to let yourself get wrapped up in the tide of feelings you’re experiencing, ready to climb out of the river when the current pushes you back to the banks. It’s a heart-wrenching feeling, but a delightful taste of what’s to come with Kylie V’s debut album, Big Blue, due February 28th. Photo by Lauren Ray.— Allison Hill on February 24, 2021