Hala - Somehow
“Somehow,” a standout track from Hala’s Red Herring, is the pure distillation of only the best parts of the rock and roll ethos. It is sunglasses-and-leather-jacket cool, with none of the pretense. Singer-songwriter Ian Ruhala, who plays essentially every instrument on the album, plays the part of your friendly neighborhood Julian Casablancas, delivering a perfectly crafted pop song with a simplicity that feels effortless. Artists like Stef Chura and Anna Burch (for whom Ruhala played guitar on tour), among many others, set a high bar for Detroit’s vibrant indie rock community, but it is a community Hala slides into nicely. Though he retreated to the woods of Washington to record the album, he now broadcasts his Mid-Day Show sporting a sweater and his dulcet voice from his Detroit home, giving guitar lessons and music production tips from a safe distance. In the song’s music video, Ruhala and his ragtag bowling team narrowly defeat the bigger, meaner favorites, but even after all of the bad blood he reaches out to offer a handshake over a game well played. Ruhala is an underdog poised to break out, the hero of whatever story we need.— Daniel Shanker on May 14, 2020
Nathanie - Paris
Some songs manage to evoke a feeling and create a space within just the first few seconds. The first chord has barely settled into silence, and already you are immersed in the energy the artist wants to share with you. This is the case with our final Quadio pick of the week “Paris” by University of Arizona student artist, Nathanie. With a dreamy, ‘verbed out Wurlitzer, a classic R&B chord progression and a muted trumpet bleeding in as if from out your window, Nathanie confidently expresses a nostalgia for a time period she can’t quite pin down but knows is gone. Her airy yet hardy, understated vocals croon in layered harmonies, “so caught up in the past, I forgot you had forgotten me.” Through the warped fishbowl lens of her memory, Nathanie revisits an outgrown love that will always exist in suspended animation somewhere in her mind. Check out her past releases and upcoming new music on Quadio, the college-driven streaming platform that has been introducing us to our favorite emerging artists around the country for the past two weeks.— Andrea de Varona on May 8, 2020
Hope Waidley - It Rains in Michigan
Hope Waidley’s new release is intimate and contemplative, inviting you into the sweetness of young, carefree love. “It Rains in Michigan” is aptly named—it's the perfect song for gazing out a window on a rainy day. It's full to the bursting with that feeling of comfort you get when you find someone who feels like home. “It's no longer a secret like it was,” she almost whispers to us, “I'm in love. I don't know what I'm doing, do I?” Waidley’s simple guitar arpeggios, amid layers of hand percussion and a grounding folk-rock beat, all speak of an incredible ease. The whole arrangement cradles Waidley's stunning vocals—she somehow brings the powerful grunge of Amy Winehouse and the chill indie warmth of Cat Power—like a nest. “I fell too fast for 20 years old,” she sings and we can't help but fall too fast as well.— Mikhal Weiner on May 8, 2020
Kristina Sarro - Lovin
"Lovin" by Kristina Sarro is a beautiful ballad about what a longing for love looks like from afar. This soft bedroom-pop track is brought to you by Quadio, the new streaming service dedicated to finding the best of the best music from talented college students all over. This stunning song is one of so many incredible finds on the platform.
Sonically, "Lovin" is captivating. Like a hug, I was brought in by the soft piano, but it wasn’t long before I was enveloped by low-key acoustic guitar. Soon enough, electric guitar added an element of dreaminess that made me instinctively want to close my eyes and sway as I continued to listen. Sarro’s folksy vocals float effortlessly over the slow lo-fi beat, singing lyrics, “I know there is heaven / and I know there is a hell / cause there has to be a God that crafted you so well / I can see / he took his time / carefully.”
When asked what the inspiration for it was, the Belmont student said, “It’s pretty much about a very very nice looking guy I see all the time on campus. I’m definitely the “admire from afar” type of person.” Inspired by artists like John Mayer, Kacey Musgraves and Alina Baraz, Sarro wraps her influence, unique style and personal experience beautifully on her track "Lovin."— Jazzmyne Pearson on May 7, 2020
TATYANA - Wild Card
TATYANA arrives from London in spectacular fashion with "Wild Card." A single that is both lush and haunting, "Wild Card" excels in its monumental moments as well as it does in its sparsity. Background vocals welcome with warmth, TATYANA following shortly behind, expertly balancing the moment. The chorus peels back all that’s familiar, allowing for new silence, while the bass and drums breakthrough with an edge. TATYANA also takes the chance to spotlight the harp, fluttering through, sparkling in space. A moment to fantasize about this relationship in the future, TATYANA shares those earnest hopes with the listener, giving more urgency and credence to the passionate chorus. The harp returns, glistening in the sunny bridge, elevating it all to a dream. TATYANA takes that vulnerable moment and smashes right through it, coming back so powerfully with vocals flying in from every direction, each adding such valuable texture and charm to the song. It is a masterful performance across the song but in this final scene, it is undeniable.— Max Himelhoch on May 7, 2020
Adeline Hotel - Trace
Adeline Hotel has a way of putting you at ease. Living on the axis of psych-rock and indie folk, the music is loose and calming, but also entirely intentional. On “Trace,” a track from the upcoming album, Solid Love, Dan Knishkowy leads the project with the strength of his songwriting, telling a tale of transition that is equally driven by moments of love and connection as it is by total unknowing. The band, headed by Knishkowy and joined by guitarist, Ben Seretan, bassist Andrew Stocker, pianist Winston Cook-Wilson (Office Culture), drummer Sean Mullins (Wilder Maker), vocalists Brigid Mae Power & Matt Kivel, and a host of others, come together to blend their unique songwriting practices. As Knishkowy puts it, “Five people with loud playing personalities, playing as quietly as possible,” each musician creating their own moments of tenderness, trusting themselves and the process. Because of this, “Trace” is a slow-building wave and at it’s crest lies a beautifully jagged ending jam. The recipe of musical ambiguity, intimacy and clear warmth earns Adeline Hotel a sound that serves reflection as well as much needed sighs of relief.— Deanna DiLandro on May 7, 2020
Dania - Cardamom Tea
As we continue to partner with online music platform Quadio to bring you the latest music from up-and-coming collegiate artists, allow us to introduce you to Dania—dynamic and dreamy Philly-based indie-pop singer-songwriter and musician. Our pick of the week for the Northeast region, the University of Pennsylvania’s Dania has made splashes on Spotify’s “Ballads International” playlist (find her here nestled comfortably between Jessie Reyez and Noah Cyrus) as well as their “Arab X” playlist.
Dania’s Syrian-Croatian background informs her songwriting as she expertly weaves together Arab melodies and Western-inspired alternative beats to create a harmonious blend of culture and sound. In her latest release, “Cardamom Tea,” the result is a resoundingly unique and dark dream-pop lullaby of tortured love. The mellow, illustrative beats and soft piano that accompany Dania’s echoing vocals throughout as she sings of “cardamom tea and hesitation” cease only when her lyrics drop into Arabic during the bridge. She sings, beautifully and resonantly, “Akhir marra, Wallah / Hadi akhir marra” (which translates to “the last time, I swear this is the last time”) just before we hear the last iteration of the chorus.
The song closes with the lyrical equivalent of that pit in your stomach you know all too well if you’ve ever loved deeply and lost: “This is what happens / When you make someone your true religion.” An advocate for mental health awareness and Muslim visibility in the arts, Dania has undeniably used her existing platform for good. We hope that by sharing her music with you, we can help to stretch her platform—and her important work—even further.— Maya Bouvier-Lyons on May 6, 2020
Wet - This Fog
This track was released quite suddenly by indie-pop group, Wet. The song was set to be released on their first studio album in 2016, and then again on their second album, but ultimately didn’t fit either project. In my opinion, there is something truly beautiful about this song being released as a stand-alone, as it is an appreciation of the self and where you are in this moment. “This Fog” feels like a gradual understanding that there can be both sorrow and joy in being alone, and that in accepting this fact we begin to experience everything more earnestly. As I listened back more and more to this track, I was reminded of a poem I wrote a couple of years back, in which I reflect on something similar.
The wind hit my back in the way
you would want it to –
there was no sense of urgency –
it served only as a reminder
that energy is all around.— Beck on May 6, 2020
CoCo Zandi - Paradise
“Paradise” is a warm introduction to CoCo Zandi, solo project of Alexander Beggins (Wild Child). Cheerful ukulele with an emphatic heartbeat-like rhythm catches your attention and forms the foundation of the whole track. An increasing number of layers wrap around Beggins’s voice, resulting in a song that has a million details to fall in love with. There’s warm bass and strings that sweep you off your feet. Whimsical backup vocals pay homage to every single Disney “awwww they’re falling in love!” song simultaneously. Bells and twinkly keys add sparkle and bright, tuneful countermelodies. Lyrically, the song tells a story of love at first sight and every sight after. It’s a sweet, musically complex track that effortlessly wraps you up in the warm fuzzies. “Paradise” is the perfect soundtrack for waltzing around your room, putting away your laundry, and fantasizing about the day you'll get whisked off on your own romantic fairytale adventure.— Allison Hill on May 6, 2020
Lily Talmers - Warm Bodies
Our first Quadio pick of the week is “Warm Bodies” by U of Michigan songwriter Lily Talmers. The track is not only a beautiful take on electric folk—it’s also a wise and winding reflection on the magnetic physiology and mysterious transience of love. Talmers’s voice is undoubtedly the musical centerpiece here, possessing a rare warmth that could combat even the harshest Michigan winter. Meanwhile, her understated versatility on the guitar creates the perfect wistful backdrop for the big ideas she’s singing about. Throughout the song, she frames romantic attraction as the result of seeking something godly. It’s a beautiful sentiment, and it also makes it all the more understandable how earth-shatteringly disappointing it can be when the connection dissipates. It makes you think: is there anything godly in each of us after all? Or are we all just “lonely, aching bodies”? After building tension between these seemingly competing questions through each verse, Talmers finally hints at a bittersweet answer: yes.— Karl Snyder on May 5, 2020