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Emma Bowers - Jonathan
Emma Bowers - Jonathan

Emma Bowers - Jonathan


East coast folk rock singer/songwriter, Emma Bowers released In The Morning her debut EP on August 17. Off of that album is "Jonathan", a quietly powerful tune that speaks to pain that lingers even when your person does not. Bowers is soft and lyrical. Just as she is grasping at the nothingness that is left of her relationship, the listener grasps to hear more. There is an effortless way that Bowers translates her story through simplistic instrumentation and the sweet twang in her voice. New Yorkers can catch Bowers's EP Release Show on September 21 at Pete's Candy Store!

Sophia Theofanos on September 14, 2018
Mipso - People Change

Mipso - People Change


It's a topic that's been up for debate for as long as time has been around — do people change? The fine folks that make up the indie-folk group Mipso tend to believe that they do. In this soft and nostalgic song "People Change," frontman Jacob Sharp wistfully sings that "people change when they walk away." Mipso is folk music at its very best. Telling us a story in the format of a song, "People Changes" stays with you the way tales do when they are full of heart and depth. As the song starts we are given a time frame, ten years have passed since he's seen this person he "used to love." Just as time has passed, so have feelings and hopes for the future. It's a confusing sort of emotion, missing someone while also being okay with the way life turned out without them. Chances are this song has a similar framework to a story in your own life and as you listen your mind and emotions will find in the gaps giving you the illusion that it was written just for you. 

Dara Bankole on September 13, 2018
J Mascis - See You at the Movies

J Mascis - See You at the Movies


J Mascis will release his third solo album, Elastic Days, on November 9 via Sub Pop. The Dinosaur Jr. guitarist has released the lead single off the album, "See You at the Movies," his first solo work since the 2014 album, Tied to a Star. Mascis’ new work is far warmer than much of his past work, with acoustic guitars and tenderly constructed rock chords culminating into an endearing folk-rock song for a new era of listeners.

"See You at the Movies" alternates between breezy strumming and piercing electric guitar solos, yet it is in the lyricism that listeners are able to understand the complexity of the work. The narrative examines a love story between two individuals existing on different planes of relationship realities, with the lead character of the work trying to examine his inability to ground himself in the relationship. The last lines of the work, “I kiss the freedom that you made / Still in shock and so it fades / Can't let go, so it just stays,” end in a hopeless yet charming manner. This song leaves us excited to see where this narrative will lead in Mascis’ new work, we can only hope it will remain as engaging and captivating as the single.

Samantha Weisenthal on September 13, 2018
Loyal Lobos - Swim

Loyal Lobos - Swim


As Andrea Silva aka Loyal Lobos would agree, most songs are inspired by intense emotions. In the world of indie-folk the most dominant of those emotions tends to be sadness. In her newest song, “Swim”, Loyal Lobos grabs her sadness by the horns letting us and herself know that she has accepted it for what it is. Lobos crafts a delicate glass blown piece that looks into lost love, isolation, and what it means to move forward when your heart is always trailing behind you. Her words are heartbreaking yet incredibly honest — tastefully paired with shoegaze-inspired guitar and minimal to no instrumental production. In fact, the only sections of “Swim” that employ significant post-production are the vocals and the percussion that comes in more than half way through the song. “Swim” is exhilarating and calming all at once, it explores both happiness and sadness and the humanness of that dichotomy.

Andrea de Varona on September 12, 2018
birch - femme.two

birch - femme.two


Brooklyn synth-pop duo Birch has released a new single entitled "femme.two" from their upcoming debut album. "femme.two" is a hook-filled power ballad front-woman Michelle Birsky describes as inspired by the recent women's marches. The track is a politically-charged call to action in the name of gender equality — the main hook's lyric "they want you" is an ironic take on Uncle Sam's "I Want You" slogan and challenges how specified that "you" actually is. The marginalization of women is an anthemic premise but Birsky has said that sort of sentiment would be anachronistic for these dark times. Instead, the song is an acknowledgement of the uphill battle equality faces and encourages the determination to keep fighting. Birch's debut album is due out early 2019.

Bobby Lewis on September 12, 2018
Dagny - Landslide

Dagny - Landslide


Norwegian pop singer Dagny’s modern pop take on the iconic Fleetwood Mac track “Landslide” provides listeners with an electro ballad they didn’t even know they needed. The song, which was recorded for an episode of the popular tv drama, The Bold Type, turns the classic into something new without erasing its original, subtle beauty that pulls at the heartstrings. Overall the track is a modern yet simplistic cover filled with ethereal vocals, melancholy and nostalgia that takes listeners on a journey down memory lane before time made them bolder and older. It’s safe to say Dagny has done a stellar job covering this timeless classic.

Alessandra Rincon on September 11, 2018
The O'My's feat. Chance the Rapper - Idea

The O'My's feat. Chance the Rapper - Idea


Maceo Haymes and Nick Hennessy — better known as The O’My’s — have just released their newest album Tomorrow. Filled with rich, soulful arrangements and a lengthy roster of longtime collaborators, the project is unmistakably Chicago in both sound and spirit. Like the rest of the album, “Idea” fuses classic Chicago soul with the city's more modern influences. Its first half has Haymes delivering an intimate hymn atop delicate piano keys and marching drums. "There was no light / Nothing but rain.” His lyrics invoke faith — of persevering against life’s many obstacles, the importance of feeling overseeing. Chance the Rapper lends a direct and vivid verse to reinforce these themes, using imagery of a ship in a storm as his sermon. Then, backed by pitched up vocals that resemble a full-blown choir, Haymes lets out one final, powerful refrain to drive the idea home. The cries are impassioned, but the song never sways from its peaceful core and calming sound. "Idea" is yet another showcase of the strong bonds that drive the Chicago music scene, as each artist builds off one another to bring out the best. 

Sam Reynolds on September 11, 2018
Con Davison - Talk

Con Davison - Talk


“Talk,” the song from Saint Paul, MN-based band Con Davison, is an interesting little number. It starts out leisurely with fun guitars panning back and forth and a melody reminiscent of Young The Giant before quickly jumping into a different, more frantic rhythm. On top of the sonic changes, the singer’s voice stays consistently sweet throughout, strangely making the listener feel at ease. Guitars and accompanying synthesizers swirl around until the dynamic changes and the singer talks through a fuzzy effect over party noises, “I don’t know why, but I feel like dying when I’m talking to you.” “Talk” is a somewhat soft tune that’s easy to listen to and simply creates an enjoyable atmosphere.

Kirsten Spruch on September 10, 2018
Big Red Machine - Gratitude

Big Red Machine - Gratitude


Big Red Machine is the self-titled, full-length debut of two longstanding indie titans — Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner. Released through PEOPLE — a growing collective of artists founded by Vernon and the Dessner brothers — Big Red Machine is a project focused on the very act of creating in and of itself, of constructing ideas without restrictions or boundaries. It is a natural extension of Vernon’s experimental 22, A Million blended seamlessly with The National’s broader alternative appeal. 

“Gratitude” is an immediate album highlight. Over a glitching drum track and swirling guitar loop, Vernon sings in a loose, Autotune-drenched croon. He draws feeling through his vocal performance first and foremost, hitting mesmerizing falsettos and allowing lyrics to excitedly flow through him. Only brief phrases can be easily understood through the song’s dense layers, most notably the loud cry of: “Better not fuck this up!” Vernon sounds lost in a moment, at the peak of a happiness so overwhelming it now crosses over to disbelief. In between are verses that feature intangible poetry — words that make less sense the closer you look. But that’s almost the point. “Gratitude” tries its hardest to capture genuine appreciation of a situation too good to be true. But Vernon and Dessner understand that it is futile to put such feelings to concrete words or ideas. All you can do is hope you don't fuck it up, and feel a bit of gratitude.

Sam Reynolds on September 10, 2018
Salón - Stakes

Salón - Stakes


Leo Grossman member of psych-pop group Cutouts, has gone solo with Salón, releasing the two track debut Stakes (comprised of the pieces “Proof” and “Stakes”). On “Stakes,” Grossman references LBJ’s 1964 presidential campaign “Daisy” ad while reflecting on 2018 America and paralleling the absurdity of our current political climate to that of The Cold War. But the sentiment goes beyond rumination; in the opening line, “The stakes are too high for you to stay at home,” Grossman reminds us to move out of our complacency, even if it is uncomfortable. In his own words, “I wanted to express that action, a necessary response to these high stakes, often requires sacrifice.” A friendly reminder that music not only moves us, but can make us move.

Natasha Cucullo on September 10, 2018
duendita - Magdalena

duendita - Magdalena


It is undeniable that music has the power to bring people together and remind us that in the end we are not that different. Once in a while, we encounter certain pieces that truly harness that power— duendita’s newest song, “Magdalena” is one of those pieces. The Queens-bred artist has forged her own path in the realm of R&B/soul since she released her first single, “One of One” in 2014. Since then duendita has expanded upon the elements that make her stand out amongst her contemporaries, one of those being her ability to make us feel what she’s feeling and shake us to the core. In “Magdalena," she successfully breaks our hearts and glues the pieces back together by the end. The track abounds in heart-wrenching piano chords, rich, lulling alto melodies, and spiritual openness. We are reminded that something ending or someone passing does not mean that those people or things cease to exist. Life is cyclical, and the past is never dead, duendita reminds us all of that.

Andrea de Varona on September 7, 2018

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