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JP Saxe - 25 In Barcelona
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
Skylar Gudasz - Play Nice

Skylar Gudasz - Play Nice


Spirited singer/songwriter, Skylar Gudasz shares “Play Nice,” a breezy single that serves as a pointed, unbuttoned rebuttal to the commonalities of toxic masculinity. Gudasz doesn’t waste any time getting into how men's misconceptions of women have effected her, singing lines like, “I ain’t no silent doll and I ain't that sweet.” Her soaring and controlled vocal is pungent and placed in a vintage radio-esque delay that echos for your attention. The song is a PSA, that rightfully scrutinizes the belief that women can’t stray from “social norms,” all while immersed in an folk-rock bop. 

The production on "Play Nice" paints an energetic soundscape, incorporating synth and glittery electronics, a few elements absent from her debut release, Oleander. “When I wrote it I was feeling a lot of rage at the idea that, as a woman, you have to play nice and smile and go along with certain things as sort of a survival mechanism,” Gudasz said of the song. “I hope when people listen they come away with the feeling that it’s okay to be angry.”

Deanna DiLandro on January 7, 2019
Miss Grit - Talk Talk

Miss Grit - Talk Talk


Margaret Sohn is a NYU electrical engineering student by day and Miss Grit by night. In a highly saturated indie music scene, Miss Grit's first single "Talk Talk" proves that we should all be paying attention to her. From the first taste of her music, the influences of St. Vincent and Wilco's Nels Cline run deep. What we love the most is that there is something very personal and reflective about the lyrics combined with an instinctively groovy and danceable instrumental. We can't wait for what comes next for Miss Grit. Her debut EP Talk, Talk premieres January 11.

Sophia Theofanos on January 7, 2019
French for Rabbits - Highest Hill

French for Rabbits - Highest Hill


French for Rabbits' new single, "Highest Hill" feels, in its essence, like a break-up song. The minimalistic ballad from the New Zealand indie pop group is dreamy catharsis for the recently scorned. Lamenting the loss of a close relationship, front woman Brooke Singer sings in a mournful whisper, "You took me higher than the highest hill, then you took me lower than I've ever felt." Honest and cutting, this track is great for a sad walk around the neighborhood, or a soft, discreet cry on the bus. The group has been active since 2012, but a slew of career-leveraging moments, like an opening slot for fellow New Zealander Lorde and an upcoming performance at SXSW, point towards a bright future for this dynamic duo.

Jacqueline Zeisloft on December 12, 2018
Angelo De Augustine - Kaitlin

Angelo De Augustine - Kaitlin


Written in the aftermath of a devastating breakup, Angelo De Augustine’s “Kaitlin” is a hushed journal of the stream-of-consciousness thoughts that fill the silence when a gaping hole opens up, revealing that there never really was anything else. Sing-speaking with matter-of-fact phrasing that implies all other words have failed him, he resorts to simply crying her name. De Augustine whispers intimately, in a way that must have been reserved for the eponymous Kaitlin, but, without a muse, is now full of sorrow. The thought of life without her is wholly unfathomable, but even the thought of her causes its own form of pain, evident in the empty space he leaves at the end of a verse to inhale in preparation of uttering that awful, beautiful name. Not enough time has passed to erase the venom that the end brought forth, so he alternates between sweetness and bitterness, regretting that “I lost my friend,” but telling her to “leave your old boyfriend.” At the end of relationship in which each person’s voids made room for the other — one partner had a missing mother, the other a missing father, and both a missing piece that the other could fill — now there’s just twice as much emptiness.

Daniel Shanker on December 12, 2018
Sasami - Callous

Sasami - Callous


You may recognize Sasami Ashworth from Cherry Glazerr, Dirt Dress, or her contributions to Vagabon, Wild Nothing, and Hand Habits. On top of all that Pitchfork named her first solo release “Callous” best new track. SASAMI has been making all kinds music around LA for years, from scoring films and commercials to playing in grunge-punk bands. “Callous” is an intimate view into this musical powerhouses’s unhealthy relationship. She sings, “when I look back I can see myself slipping down” and “heaven knows I tried,” telling us she was losing herself in a relationship that was less than perfect. Her talent is clearly visible on this dreamy distorted track. Spacey synth builds through the whole song with steady drums bringing it back down to earth. SASAMI'S melancholy humming creates a melody beneath the sluggish guitar strumming quick and steady chords. Whether you’re an indie rocker or not, you will love this new track from SASAMI.

Kyra Bruce on December 11, 2018
Taylor Janzen - New Mercies

Taylor Janzen - New Mercies


The passionate question on the chorus of "New Mercies" asks both the singer herself and the listeners “Is it too late for me to believe in the morning’s new mercies?” 19-year-old Taylor Janzen’s latest single gives a voice to her skepticism about the things of heaven and earth. "New Mercies" is the Winnipeg singer-songwriter’s first single recorded in a studio with a full band, which captures all the frustrated energy that brought the song to life. The song was written in a moment of disequilibrium between the feelings of Taylor's energetic soul and the faith she was raised to believe in, a discordance she has always felt but was unable to explain until now. Asking about the mercies conceived in the morning to those who believe in the Biblical God, she questions if it is too late to believe and be saved but she answers herself and her cynicism along the song. Taylor is set to perform in several festivals including SXSW and release her new EP in 2019.

Giulia Santana on December 11, 2018
Micra - Child Grows Old

Micra - Child Grows Old


Sydney atmospheric-pop duo Micra recently released their second single "Child Grows Old." The duo is made up of Ivana Kay, a Bulgarian vocalist and guitarist and Robbie Cain, an Australian multi-instrumentalist. After being seated together at an Unknown Mortal Orchestra concert last year the two, kept in touch and decided to make music together. The end result is  a sound that is reminiscent of Beach House and Ariel Pink. When it comes to "Child Grows Old" “The song explores a time in life which felt like nothing had changed for too long. Waiting around for something to happen without knowing where to begin. It's an internal conversation about forcing yourself to jump into the next phase of life and facing the obstacles that come out of that,” Cain says. "Child Grows Old" is trippy in nature, but familiar in content and dedicated to finding life in those times that feel more like dead space.

Dara Bankole on December 10, 2018
Talk Time - True North

Talk Time - True North


Talk Time is an East Los Angeles alternative rock band. Bands that define themselves as alt-rock are a dime a dozen in LA, but this band knows how to distinguish themselves as their own force. Their music has a familiar pop atmosphere, but with the hooks and instrumental proficiency so as to not be lumped in with popular recording artists of their time. Their single “True North” follows that standard they’ve set, turning a familiar sound upside down. Produced by Math Bishop of U2 fame, you can hear echoes of many popular artists of the past decade. When listening, popular Alt bands in the realm of U2 and Radiohead and Foster the People spring to mind, but past the bands sound it doesn’t go further than that. They’ve set their own style and precedent for themselves, and are careful to maintain their established level of songwriting on all their releases.

Lucas Nyhus on December 7, 2018
Murray A. Lightburn - Bellevue Blues

Murray A. Lightburn - Bellevue Blues


Outside of Montreal, Murray A. Lightburn is predominantly known for fronting chamber-pop band The Dears and for sounding a whole lot like Morrissey. Ghosts of past success and musical icons could haunt a less versatile musician into irrelevance, but in “Bellevue Blues” Lightburn bares his soul and his soulful influences to dispel any doubts in his ability to continue creating. Of his upcoming release, due out in February, he told his label that it is an album with “no guitar solos at all, and very few instrumental passages. It’s just singing on top of songs.” "Bellevue Blues" is a simple song pairing the sound of the soul and motown hits so beloved in his childhood with the most complex subtleties of adulthood. Lightburn refuses to allow the simplicity to detract from the emotional weight, though, as he bursts into a chorus that would make even the toughest member of Snow Patrol well up a little bit. “I need you / To save me from myself,” he sings, though he is perfectly capable of holding his own.

Daniel Shanker on December 7, 2018
Johnny Gates - Baseball

Johnny Gates - Baseball


While the title of Johnny Gates's new song may mislead you, this song has less to do about sports and more to do about memories and the people that inhabit them. "It seems like we all have those people in our lives...sometimes you keep them / sometimes you lose them like I lost you." While taking this person to a Yankee game was a memory he'll hold onto, the present exists without them, creating the wistful emotions heard in this song. Having gained popularity from the TV show The Voice, Johnny Gates has come off of the big stage to deliver us music that is raw and emotional. He intentionally uses baseball to tie into his reality and tell us, "I grew up playing baseball, and I remember hearing pretty quickly from my dad, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. And I think life is a lot like that. So when writing this song, I wanted to reference my favorite sport, and some specific examples from my life, where, even if I didn’t come out with a win, I still have some amazing memories to hang on to." When Gates sings, the soft grit in his voice is a notable feature to the beauty of the song. With just a guitar and a universal feeling, "Baseball" is the kind of swoony, stuck-in-your-feelings kind of  song that doesn't get old.

Dara Bankole on December 6, 2018

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