Fleurie - Constellate
"Constellate" is a song full of wonder and cosmic whimsy. Nashville-based Lauren Strahm has made a name for herself by putting out a great collection of songs that can be found on shows like Queen Sugar and Pretty Little Liars. With a voice that bridges the gap between gentle and brave, she sings the kind of songs that are full of honesty and resilience, showcased so prominently in "Constellate," her first single off of her upcoming LP Portals. With an atmospheric sound and lyrics that capture the essence of finding of the light ("We're spinning cause we know now, we survive/ and now we get to fly"), Fleurie perfectly captures that space that occurs when you finally emerge from rock bottom and get sight of land once again. "Constellate" is bound to make you feel a little lighter, while simultaneously getting you pumped for what's to come from Fleurieland.— Dara Bankole on May 29, 2018
The Happy Fits - Grow Back
Just over two and a half minutes into "Grow Back," lead singer Ross Monteith detonates. Where there once as a smooth-talking vocalist is now a dopamine-inducing blast of distortion, fuzz and hysteria. It is a genuinely exciting musical moment — the kind you go searching for in your local rock club, and it is a fantastic introduction to the next round of music from The Happy Fits. Monteith and his coconspirators, Calvin Langman and Luke Davis, make tunes that land somewhere between the pop-punk of the Arctic Monkeys and the clever storytelling of the folk revival movement. "Grow Back" is masqueraded as stripped-to-the-bones rock, but don’t let that distract you from its wily lyricism or careful arrangement. The band is filled to the brim with musical talent. Keep an eye out for their sophomore album.— Matt Megan on May 25, 2018
Richard Edwards - Gene
“Gene’s having a day,” croons former Margot & the Nuclear So & So’s frontman Richard Edwards. Between a divorce and a long battle with a lower intestine infection, Edwards has been having a year. But he’s back and just as lovely as ever with this sweet dream-pop track. “I wrote ‘Gene’ during a period where I was stopping and starting some writing projects based around a few actresses from the 1940s who went through long periods of success followed by intense periods of decline, accompanied by what some would call ‘madness,’” Edwards explains. Life is topsy-turvy, indeed. Listen to “Gene,” out on Joyful Noise Records, here.
Super Doppler - Oh Yeah
"Oh Yeah," premiering today, is the 4th single off of Super Doppler’s monthly digital singles series called Super Secret Singles Club, which will run through July of this year. It’s a six-minute journey that cuts and cascades right through so many different styles. There is certainly a certain type of nostalgia in the band’s sound on this track, with dense harmonies and very Ringo-like drum fills that first and foremost harken influence from The Beatles, at least to my ears. This makes sense, because the band has tossed genre classification out of the window in favor of exploring all that encompasses rock n roll at its finest, so what better band to start a song off emulating than The Beatles? You can also catch glimpses of funk in the bass, pop in the vocalizations, some country twang in the guitar riffs, and some folk in the lyrics. It’s an all-encompassing song that’s a real pleasure to float along with through each cohesive yet distinct section of the song. The best thing to do is to stop yourself from over-analyzing the clever songwriting and to just let it happen.
The band, comprised of brothers Michael and Bryan Adkins (guitar and drums, respectively), and fraternal twins, Neal and Cole Friedman (keyboards and bass, respectively), alongside long-time pals Harry Slater (guitar) and Tyler West (percussion), has been perfecting their sound since they went to high school together in Norfolk, VA. They’ve played in empty bars and dark basements countless times, but this summer they’ll be touring the US extensively with songs from their Super Secret Singles Club and more.— Grace Eire on May 24, 2018
Katy Kirby - Juniper
Fresh as juniper, we have this fittingly named song by Nashville songwriter Katy Kirby on repeat. “Juniper” is a crisp little post-folk jam. Listeners agree that this song is the best two minutes and thirty-three seconds they’ve experienced in a long time. Kirby strikes a perfect lyrical density served up on a platter of sweet, driving indie-rock. “Juniper” is the ultimate and title track off of Katy Kirby’s recently released EP. Listen on Bandcamp, Spotify and Soundcloud for more fresh-as-juniper tracks.— Kaycie Satterfield on May 24, 2018
Sun June - Slow Rise II
Sun June is a promising new “regret pop” quintet out of Austin TX, led by Laura Colwell and Stephen Salisbury. The two musicians met while editing Song to Song, Terrence Malick’s musical tribute to Austin, and their light-filled songs similarly feel like a breezy summer spent in Bat City.
"Slow Rise II" is the third single from their upcoming debut album Years. Built over a steady bassline, Colwell’s breathy Laura Marling-esque vocals carry both gaiety and sadness as the track gains momentum into a satisfying resounding conclusion. Sun June's debut album Years releases June 15 via Keeled Scales.— James Liance on May 23, 2018
Photocomfort - Gillian Jacobs' Understudy
Photocomfort's synth-pop is as mystifying as it is comforting. In “Gillian Jacobs' Understudy” we hear frontwoman Justine Bowe's voice tremble over melting synths and a steady beat, with melodies that climb and dip so unpredictably. Bowe has a knack for writing a memorable hook, as well as setting confessional, honest lyrics into a world lush with electronic sounds, each sharing the same expressiveness and urgency as the vocal. This song is a musing on insecurity and living in the shadow of a famous actress. It is an observation of the way people can seep into our thoughts and actions, and just how small we can become in the eyes of another. Bowe's vocal is reminiscent of Hounds of Love era Kate Bush as she flips vulnerability into power, singing, "You don't want to be in my head/ There's no room for you anyway."— Nicole Rodriguez on May 22, 2018
Little Man from the Radio - 7
On the surface, Little Man from the Radio’s “7” is a blissful lo-fi summer bop, perfect for enjoying the sun. However, if you really tune-in to this track, you’ll find melancholy undertones in the lyrics that may go unnoticed in its warm melodic splendor. “Never was certain, you loved me the same,” he sings, right before you’re hit with a wash of harmony and a positively catchy chorus that you can sing with a smile until you forget about the ways of an ex-lover.— Deanna DiLandro on May 21, 2018
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