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Helena Deland - Claudion
Helena Deland - Claudion

Helena Deland - Claudion


At the intersection of electronica and harmonic indie pop is Montreal’s Helena Deland, whose records evoke everything from Crystal Castles to Patrick Watson. Effervescent as Deland’s high, airy vocals are, “Claudion” bears markedly dark lyrics — the narrator talks about breaking into her own home to find a roommate or lover lying on the floor, presumably incapacitated. She says to the person, “I can look after you / but, girl, you should look after yourself,” caught between wanting to help and feeling helpless in the face of the person’s substance issues. Deland revealed in an interview that the person in question is actually herself and the narrator a friend who refused to leave Deland helpless after “an intense night out.” It is this intimate specificity in Deland’s storytelling that separates her from the lot of bubblegum dream-pop artists of late — her work pairs the same intricate textures and infectious beats with haunting personal narratives.

Haley Walker on August 9, 2018
Summer Like The Season - Wakey

Summer Like The Season - Wakey


Most of us in NYC have been experiencing the woozy side effects of this scorching early-August weather, but for a moment let’s attempt to conjure the pleasant aspects of summertime (outside the city…). An ice-cold cherry red popsicle melting on your lips as you dip your toes in a perfectly chilled swimming pool while listening to Summer Like the Season’s latest track, “Wakey.” No other song by the electro-art rock quartet so fully personifies their name and general essence. The lead singer, Summer Krinsky has turned a tired name joke into a fresh sound, a dreamy sonic collage of floating synths, quivering bass, and warm, willowy vocals. The chorus’ lyrics, “It’s time to sleep / I’m wide awake in a daze,” remind us that we’re all living within the spinning wheel of our memories, and each day that passes is just another entry in our rotary index of diary entries. Like all of us, the Detroit-based group is trying to figure out how to get by and make some sense of the world in the best way they can.  Their aural patchwork of haunting melodies and nuanced harmonic textures is a testament to the creative capacity of sound. Sweater weather is still not in sight, so might as well embrace the heat and listen to Summer Like The Season’s “Wakey”.

Andrea de Varona on August 8, 2018
Mass Gothic - How I Love You

Mass Gothic - How I Love You


Husband and wife duo Noel Heroux and Jessica Zambri of Mass Gothic are back again with their whimsy track “How I Love You” from their upcoming album I’ve Tortured You Long Enough. Sung by Zambri, the track is a pure love song featuring spare and simplistic guitar chords and endearing lyrics. In a dreamy and deeply personal tone, Zambri sings of how much she loves her partner and the pain she feels in her heart as she watches him leave for the day. Zambri's lush vocals serenade the listener when singing, “You wave goodbye just to be safe / I count the ways that I love you / I watched you go out my window / and count the ways that I love you.” Midway through the song, as distorted drums and synth are added, the feelings of deep love and pain amplify, keeping listeners in an emotional and dream state, like Zambri's as her lover recedes into the fade out. This stunning and fantastical goth-pop ballad will hit listeners hard and makes for a perfect addition into any out-of-the-box love song playlist.

Alessandra Rincon on August 8, 2018
Julietta - Stripes + Squares

Julietta - Stripes + Squares


“Stripes + Squares” by Julietta uses dream-pop accents to openly discuss and dismantle gender norms and the notion that you're not good enough alone. She challenges the idea of a life lived solely for the pursuit of romance by calling out the girls looking for "a picture-perfect guy" and the guys looking for a "quiet little trophy wife." “Stripes + Squares” the third track off of Julietta's new release Smooth Sailing, carries a catchy upbeat feel that will leave you thinking while grooving along. Using these songs as a means of self discovery and reclaiming strength, each track shines a light on topics that we all struggle with but are at times stigmatized by society. Using her captivating vocals alongside her authentic song-writing, Julietta is a force to be reckoned with in the indie pop scene. Check out her debut album, Smooth Sailing, out today! [photo by Danny Scott Lane]

Madison Hetterly on August 8, 2018
Mountain Lions - In The Valley

Mountain Lions - In The Valley


Steven Diaz’s solo project, Mountain Lions, is melodic introspection set in Appalachia. The Chapel Hill-based recording artist spent three years touring with Cleveland's The Lighthouse and the Whaler before launching his songwriting career. The debut Mountain Lions record juxtaposes Southern metropolitan life — the “Valley” — with the intellectual freedom provided by the mountains. For five years following his The Lighthouse and the Whaler departure, Diaz made trips to the Appalachian foothills, escaping the mentally stultifying Chapel Hill. There, he arranged and composed self-reflective Folk, which he aptly titled “Mountain Lions”. 

“In The Valley” melds the Protestant harmonic traditions of peoples who initially settled Appalachia with 21st-century textures, creating a soundscape that is both timeless and innovative. Like the folklore of millennia before, “In The Valley” uses symbols from the natural world to convey sentiments about the human experience — in this case, the georgic images call for the listener to slow down, reflect, and find peace in being alone. 

Haley Walker on August 7, 2018
Mothers - Pink

Mothers - Pink


The latest track from Philly outfit Mothers is post-punk with a pulse, a seven-minute epic that races ahead with anxious anticipation. Singer Kristine Leschper’s vocals are overdubbed, generating an army of voices leading the troops into battle. Jangly guitars clash with each other as the steady drum beat tries desperately to mediate. The respite that occurs two-thirds through the song is short-lived, as the frantic climax grows more and more chaotic before melting into waves of feedback. “PINK” promises that Mothers' sophomore record will be ambitious, energetic, and explosive. 

Michael O'Neill on August 7, 2018
Calan Mai - XO

Calan Mai - XO


Australian singer-songwriter Calan Mai gives us the perfect chill summer track with “XO.” Integrating brass instruments that work seamlessly alongside pleasing guitar chords, Calan Mai charms us with his charismatic vocals. His unique fusion of folk and indie in makes him an artist to look out for. The lyrics “Hook me up to WiFi / Wire my systems in/ Your media is reading me/ To someone better,” bring up topics of the pressures put onto ourselves and our relationships by social media whether we like it or not. More than just light indie pop, Calan Mai uses his songwriting to bring listeners to deeper places while still keeping a cheerful disposition. Follow Calan Mai on social media to keep updated on new work and tour dates!

Madison Hetterly on August 7, 2018
Jocelyn Mackenzie - Love Begets Love

Jocelyn Mackenzie - Love Begets Love


After the passing of her dear friend, Pam, Jocelyn Mackenzie sought out to write a song to Pam's grieving husband. "Love Begets Love" is the beautiful product of Mackenzie's efforts, a song about the consistent readiness and availability of love. As if an echo of Pam's heart, Mackenzie spreads a personal and universal message about how love can grow and foster in the midst of hardships. Mackenzie's voice has healing elements in and of itself, but it reaches to new levels when accompanied by the colorful background vocals which in a way sound like a united band of caring friends reaching out to a loved one in a time of need. While the pain of loss will never be truly erased, this song is a reminder that there truly is consolation and hope in love. "Love Begets Love" is featured on a compilation album dedicated to Pam's memory called Songs for Pam which can be found on Burst and Bloom Records's bandcamp. New Yorkers, be sure to see Jocelyn Mackenzie during her residency at C'mon Everybody in Brooklyn on August 11, September 16, and October 13! 

Dara Bankole on August 6, 2018
Wild Pink - Lake Erie

Wild Pink - Lake Erie


Wild Pink’s “Lake Erie” is full of all sorts of meaningfully mundane details one has no choice but to notice while growing up in a small town. “Your body looks impossibly small when you hang your head and cry / Meanwhile people on Tumblr unpack neuroses,” singer John Ross observes. He is unable to shake the tiny details once so familiar to him — a particular intersection or the smell on a rainy day. It is as much a song about leaving as it is a song about home. “You thought you’d never get out,” Ross reminisces in the chorus before finally flipping to the first person to marvel at his own growth. The song has an Americana sound tied more to the road than to any particular place. A wistful pedal steel guitar pines over the old days on top of a rhythm section as unrelentingly steady as the passage of time, declaring that there is no going back.

Daniel Shanker on August 6, 2018
Mitski - Nobody

Mitski - Nobody


Mitski Miyawaki has become an unstoppable influence in the evolution of the “bedroom pop" branch of indie rock. 2014's Bury Me At Makeout Creek and 2016's Puberty 2 were both widely acclaimed successes and have helped pave the way for the Soccer Mommys and Snail Mails of the world. Back again with her fifth solo LP, her upward trajectory isn't showing any signs of letting up. Mitski has developed from indie rock minimalist to "the most advanced American songwriter," as Iggy Pop describes her, and "Nobody" is a prime example of this continued growth. The song has a curiously upbeat feel, divergent from most of Mitski's catalog. It features disco/funk guitar playing akin to Nile Rodgers's technique or "Lovefool" by The Cardigans and a chorus with uplifting key changes — quite a juxtaposition for a song written during a bat of isolation and intense loneliness in a foreign country. Her new album, Be the Cowboy, is out August 17 via Dead Oceans.

Bobby Lewis on August 6, 2018
Ceramic Animal - Better Off

Ceramic Animal - Better Off


“Better Off,” the third track off of Ceramic Animal’s sophomore album The Horse, flies in strong with a distorted guitar riff, but it soon levels out as it makes a smooth landing into the melancholy groove. The melody never wanders too far off the beaten path, but that path is heavily trodden for a reason. It’s incredibly satisfying to let the vocals wander along, submitting to the inevitable revelation, “What can I do? / I’m better off with you.” The bass line weaves in and out of the lead guitar’s thread, creating a blanket of optimistic aura throughout the whole song. The Philly band certainly lives up to their self-proclaimed “swagadellic rock” style with this mesmerizing track. Catch The Horse out today on all music platforms! 

Grace Eire on August 3, 2018

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