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Dan and Drum - Theoretically You
Dan and Drum - Theoretically You

Dan and Drum - Theoretically You


“Theoretically You” is clearly the work of friends. Dan Schechter and Philip “Drum” Thompson have known each other for 20 years, and haven’t been alive much longer than that. Thanks to the delightful weirdness of their musical relationship, “Theoretically You” is, above all, unabashedly playful. Dan and Drum give themselves space to experiment and trust that the outcome will be worth hearing. The song is cleverly cobbled together from tiny pieces like dozens of mismatched Lego bricks. Individual drums sputter off to one side while numerous vocal tracks layered on top of each other arrive from all directions. Schechter, who takes on the duties of lead vocals, plays the parts of Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos, with a soaring harmony in one ear, and a Top 40 auto-tuned pop star just seconds later. Like mad scientists — specifically the kind who use Ayatollah Khomeini as the basis of their rhyme scheme — it’s hard to tell if Dan and Drum meticulously planned out each element or if the fruits of their whimsy were pure dumb luck. It sure sounds like fun.

Daniel Shanker on January 22, 2019
Ten Fé - Echo Park

Ten Fé - Echo Park


London duo, Ten Fé has recently been dropping new tunes since the end of 2018 into the new year. One of our favorite's is Echo Park, your immediately enticed by the catchy guitar riff but then the bass line drops and that's when it really gets groovy. The layering effect is super seamless and the instrumentation almost steals the show from the lyrics. But the major standout of the song has to be the bridge. Ten Fé is making music sexy again. And we are here for it. You catch Ten Fé in a city near you this spring. Stay tuned for their new record Future Perfect, Present Tense out March 8!

Sophia Theofanos on January 14, 2019
Mor Mor - Pass the Hours

Mor Mor - Pass the Hours


Seth Nyquist’s ethereal voice and deeply poetic vision are the key driving forces behind the blooming act, MorMor2018 was a year of abundant successes for the Toronto based artist. Earlier in the year, he released his genre-defying debut EP titled Heaven’s Only Wishful. In December, he continued to astound us with the release of his dazzling single, “Pass The Hours.” Like the majority of the tracks on his EP, this song sits in that flowery, sunny-filled place that our minds often travel to in an effort to escape the agitation of our daily commutes. 

In terms of production, this song goes yet a step further into the genre-bending space that many of MorMor’s other tracks explore. Ambient, subtly arcade-like percussive textures fill the gaps between 90s alt-rock inspired guitar chords, a chunky bassline, and spacey synth pads. The bubbly, dream-pop elements of the song form a striking contrast with the underlying state of melancholy and uncertainty that permeates through the lyrics and vocal melody. Although Nyquist’s troubles are his own, as fellow human beings we can relate to the story of wilted hopefulness that he presents. As he sings, “Who will hold me up? / I wanna touch the sky,” we recognize the feeling of wanting to move forward and reach for our dreams even when we have nothing or no one to help us get there. Days keep passing but we don’t stop trying.

Andrea de Varona on January 14, 2019
Modern Diet - Blue Jeep

Modern Diet - Blue Jeep


Listening to “Blue Jeep” feels like falling under a spell. The song opens with soft, clipped keys over distant white noise, evoking a mood that’s cozy and nostalgic. Then, Bernardo Ochoa's raw vocals further lend themselves to the sound with lyrics that speak to growing up: “Old celebrations have led me back home / back to the suburbs now that I’m grown.” What unfolds is a beautifully arranged and emotionally charged song with a full-band sound, but Ochoa’s vocals, which sound like a dryer Darwin Deez, remain the focal point throughout. He never wavers, and because of that, the song never loses the intimate feel it established at the beginning. “Blue Jeep” is a gut-punch of a song you can listen to again and again, and it’s Modern Diet’s first single in two years. Clearly, it was worth the wait.

Britnee Meiser on January 11, 2019
Gabriel Birnbaum - Stack The Miles

Gabriel Birnbaum - Stack The Miles


Chekov’s Gun, to the literary types, is a rule dictating that everything mentioned must be mentioned for a reason. It is the basis for foreshadowing, it helps lay out clues in mysteries and it would be paradoxical to think that Gabriel Birnbaum name drops our new favorite literary principle without purpose. “Stack the Miles” meanders meaningfully over its steady but frantic guitar strums. Nearly every syllable contributes in some way to the song’s alliteration or internal rhyme scheme, watching the “rain rearrange” as “water patterns on the window shift like static on TV” (the gold medal, of course, goes to the slant rhyme of “parking lot” and “restaurant,” which gives even Semisonic’s “jacket” and “exit” a run for its money). Even his tongue twister of a band name, Wilder Maker, finds a way to roll off the tongue, clumsily but poetically. As Birnbaum examines patterns on the window and “the roadside graves, a blur of names, go flying by,” we similarly observe his deft wordplay but are powerless to stop its steadfast progression.

Daniel Shanker on January 11, 2019
Evelyn Frances - Home To Me

Evelyn Frances - Home To Me


Brooklyn's Evelyn Frances's whispery and saccharine voice beautifully sweeps across an acoustic bed of guitar and piano in her song "Home To Me." This up and coming artist releases her EP Pentimento today which was inspired by the independent movie with the same name. Frances wrote each song from the characters' perspectives, proving to be a daunting but worthwhile task. Being a classically trained multi-instrumentalist, Frances's own music reflects the impetus of a skilled musician. She remarks that her melodies are largely inspired by the flute, which can be clearly heard in warm tones featured on "Home To Me." As Frances sings of finding home in a person, the exquisite lyricism shape this sentimental tune that plays as soft and effortless as a lullaby. Be sure to catch the rest of Evelyn Frances's EP Pentimento today and her debut album Seed in April!

Dara Bankole on January 11, 2019
Lily & Madeleine - Just Do It

Lily & Madeleine - Just Do It


Folk-pop duo Lily & Madeleine's newest single "Just Do It" showcases the sisters in an soft yet anthemic way. From the opening line, "A little less talk a little more acting on it" the song exudes self-empowerment. It's the perfect song for the new year as you strive to make sure your resolutions last longer than January. The mix of pop and the duo's classic harmonic blends gives "Just Do It" a signature sound that's enjoyable and hard to replicate. After four albums the duo feels a special sense of ownership with their upcoming release remarking on how they took charge of the songwriting. With "Just Do It" and "Self-Care" as the lead singles we're excited about what else is in store. Lily & Madeleine's fourth studio album Canterbury Girls is out on February 22 via New West Records.

Dara Bankole on January 10, 2019
Kelsey Bulkin - Samsara

Kelsey Bulkin - Samsara


Evocative of the unique ebb and flow of the sea, Kelsey Bulkin’s newest release, “Samsara” sits squarely within a genre all its own — Beach R&B. Formerly half of the Oakland duo Made in Heights, Bulkin’s solo career has taken off to an exceptional start. Her youthful vocals coupled with vocal distortion elements and bass-y foundations make her music undeniably hers. "Samsara," the Sanskrit word meaning wandering, or more specifically the cycle of rebirth and life inevitable to all living things, explores the inevitability of change, attachment and moving on. Brilliantly poignant, the verse ”Irreverent as an ocean” builds and crests before crashing into the chorus “Hailing on the horizon / I'm hanging on to your island / Cuz I'm lost / Don't give up on me now.” On writing the song, Bulkin says, “Looking back at my own heartbreaks and framing them as attachments to the inevitability of change instead of as true loss has been eye-opening and also a riddle I’m trying to solve. How can we ever be completely detached and still survive here?” And what a riddle it is.

Jazzmyne Pearson on January 9, 2019
JP Saxe - 25 In Barcelona

JP Saxe - 25 In Barcelona


You may know JP Saxe from last year's breakout song " The Few Things," but he is far from a one-hit wonder. With "25 in Barcelona" Saxe beautifully sings us a confessional song, accompanied by an acoustic guitar, that seemed to accidentally happen. The plan for spending his 25th birthday in Barcelona, was for a celebratory time with friends immersed in a new culture, but within the good times is a longing for someone who isn't there. As seen in "The Few Things" Saxe has a way of accurately expressing universal feelings that at one time seemed to only find their existence in our heads. Traveling while having someone on your mind is an experience in and of itself, and the balance between trying to enjoy the moments while also wishing that person was were there alongside of you, can easily taint them. It's a battle of the mind and the heart, and as Saxe sings his breath-taking voice echos the deep emotions he feels within. As the song comes to an end, the last lines tie it all together in one final confession, "I'm halfway round the world in Barcelona / Tryna feel my world expanding / Like none of it was built around you / This wasn't supposed to be about you."

Dara Bankole on January 8, 2019
The Wild Reeds - Lose My Mind

The Wild Reeds - Lose My Mind


Just months after releasing a three-song EP recorded live, directly to tape, on a Tascam Portastudio, The Wild Reeds are back with a lush new single, “Lose My Mind,” from their new album due out in March. Upon releasing the New Ways to Die EP in late 2018, the band made it clear that the lo-fi sound was not a departure, nor an explicit return to their acoustic folk roots, but rather an experiment, a small step in a long musical journey. The Wild Reeds have been evolving with each release, largely due to the disparate input of the three singer-songwriters fronting the band, Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe and Sharon Silva.

“Lose My Mind” is an ode to the one person close enough to give perspective through highs and lows, steeped in the psychedelic stutter of Dan Auerbach’s fantasies and filled out by harmonies akin to those of Lucius or tourmates The Lone Bellow. The rhythm section, affectionately nicknamed the Nicks of Time for their shared name and steady beat, plays with empty space, giving the impression of great heights during the verse until the harmonies of Howe and Silva swoop in to firmly anchor the song. “You believed in me / When it would have been so easy to leave,” sings Lee, who wrote the song and takes charge of its melody, grounded by the support of her bandmates’ harmonies and the care of a close friend.

Daniel Shanker on January 8, 2019
Tiny Ruins - School of Design

Tiny Ruins - School of Design


"School of Design" is the latest single from the New Zealand based group, Tiny Ruins. Frontwoman, Hollie Fullbrook is more than a musician, she is a storyteller. Fullbrook's voice is gentle and soothing. The vivid lyrics describe a place that is supposed to evoke distinct thought and creativity. But the institution itself is a very controlled uniform space, "Everything was white / And all the clocks were well designed / All ticking in time." The guitar is captivating and gives the song the motion it needs to progress in contrast to Fullbrook's subdued vocals. Look out for the full album, Olympic Girls on February 1!

Sophia Theofanos on January 8, 2019

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