Kyle Lux - 222
Does it seem like you’ve been encountering a certain number sequence over and over again in your day-to-day? These number sequences, which are often referred to as angel numbers, are seen in certain belief systems to carry particular messages to the beholder from their guardian angel. Each number can carry with it a plethora of different messages, making deciphering its meaning an intuitive act rather than a fishing expedition. Kyle Lux enlightens us with the meaning of his own set of angel numbers in "222," the highlight track of his recently released Projectors EP.
The number sequence 222 is often a reminder to go with the flow of your natural processes in order to obtain self-discovery and growth, and Kyle Lux showcases that and more in this track alone. “222” is a refreshingly new sound for the young genre-blending artist, taking his usual R&B ballads and trading them for a quick-witted hip-hop flow that you can’t help bobbing your head to. Lyrically, Lux seems to be releasing all control and expectations of a certain connection, allowing himself to “go with the flow” as opposed to adhering to “just another complicated label.” The music video accompanying the track sports a blissful Lux dancing freely and dressed in a variety of colorful outfits, further embodying this concept of free forming flow. Overall, “222” is a blooming introduction to Lux’s new-found sense of self discovery, both as an individual and an artist. Lux proves he is more than willing to break self- and society-imposed barriers in order to grow as both an artist and an individual, and we can’t be more excited for all that is to come. Photo by Undine Markus.— Bianca Brown on November 9, 2020
Quarter-Life Crisis - Postcard From Spain (feat. Frances Quinlan)
“Postcard from Spain” is the stunning lead single from Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth’s new project, Quarter-Life Crisis. This track blazes with post-modern complexity and profound artistry — but considering it features lyrics and vocals from the insanely talented Frances Quinlan of Hop Along, we would expect nothing less. Known for her quizzically insightful lyrics and searing vocals, Quinlan was tasked with writing the lyrics and vocal melody for an instrumental track Hemsworth had previously recorded. The finished product is a beautiful sonic tale that recounts one character’s muse-inducing trip to Spain. The track features overlapping layers of both electronica and modern rock, which, like Quinlan’s lyrics, contribute to complementary sonic tones that are fragmented but undeniably intertwined.
Quinlan is one of several artists that Hemsworth will be collaborating with in his upcoming project. The full Quarter-Life Crisis EP is set to be released on December 4 by Saddle Creek.— Lilly Rothman on October 21, 2020
Jordan Hawkins - Daydreams
As summer has faded to fall, and we all long for warmer days, Jordan Hawkins is here with a lifeline. Reminiscing on a sunny love, the song is full of so much heart. Instantly the production welcomes you into its arms, seemingly sitting in the sand as the sun sets. Hawkins arrives with the vocals and lyricism to match the mood. Visions of perfect moments at the beach embody Hawkins’ writing, revealing a desire to rekindle romance with a past flame, bringing those moments to life. The song’s chorus feels entirely relatable and chock-full of earnest desire. Hawkins’ undeniable smooth tone sets you at ease as you feel yourself dissolve into this daydream. And that’s what holds your ear — the incredible performance from Hawkins himself. There’s strength in his earnestness, giving more power to the grit, more assurance to the smooth, and such a visceral longing love when he steps into a higher register. There is such variety in his delivery, yet Hawkins navigates the shifts effortlessly. As a listener you can just float right alongside, enjoying every moment. It seems like every choice on this song was after that same mission, an effort to make this song feel like easy love: vibey percussion, beautiful waves of trumpets, dreamy chords, a warm bass to hold it together, subtle harmonies, the trumpet and guitar solo. It’s all there. Photo by Kiyo Vigliotti.— Max Himelhoch on October 21, 2020
Absent City - Ticker Tape Parade
"Ticker Tape Parade" by Absent City is one of those soft pop-rock numbers that would sound right at home soundtracking a partly cloudy beach day or the lull that strikes in the middle of road trips. The song has that oddly small Midwestern town vibe, like it found fun in itself in a place where there isn't much else to do but look inside yourself and pull out the pretty parts that make your day memorable. The vocals are shrouded in some kind of demurity reserved for indie singers and songwriters.
I sat in a prairie throwing tennis balls into the spacious abyss for my beloved German Shepherd pup to fetch and bring back to me. I was home for the semester thanks to COVID, and this was my life now. Remote learning. The great outdoors was now my campus. The further I yanked my arm back to hurl the tennis balls yards away, the harder my dog ran to please me and bring me back the one thing I could never get tired of momentarily losing. I watched him gallop on four legs to the ball, but I never lost sight of his furry mane and sunny disposition. He stayed in shape this way, and I could always cuddle him. I was just a boy and he was just my dog and we were just stretching out the last few rays of sunlight on a beautiful fall day before it was time to go home and listen to "Ticker Tape Parade" by Absent City and do it all again tomorrow.— Mustafa Abubaker on October 21, 2020
Girlhood - It Might Take a Woman
Girlhood takes on a new, fresh sound with “It Might Take a Woman.” The duo, composed of Tessa Cavanna and Christian Pinchbeck, released this single to predate their self-titled debut LP which will be released on October 23. The track mixes elements of synth pop and R&B to create a fast-paced groove, a major difference from their usual dreamy sound. The production of the track additionally starts slow, but then becomes an almost chaotic party of harmonies and reverb and shifts back. Tessa Cavanna's vocals are light and airy, but their power lies behind the message of the track: “It might take a woman like me / To get me to the man in you.” Cavanna is constantly straightforward about femininity in the duo’s music, and "It Might Take A Woman" presents a new chapter to this narrative. This track is an anthem for the ordinary woman to acknowledge that confidence can be found in vulnerability. Simply put, if you're ever in need of a confidence boost, then this single’s for you. Photo by Dean Davies.— Bianca Brutus on October 20, 2020
Slow Pulp - Trade It
knees hiked to my chest in the corner booth
of some midtown sports bar, I watch it end
with an Old Fashioned clutched close to my body.
I never did get used to the fact that sometimes
you kissed me just because you felt like it
shameless as always.
Chicago-based quartet Slow Pulp's “Trade It” sits between slowcore and shoegaze, guitar-driven and melancholic, emo at heart. Hurt is palpable in lead singer Emily Massey’s plaintive “Am I all that you wanted?” A cathartic shift highlights a synth lilt that yearns to trade everything in to start over. “It’s all that I’m asking,” she sings, and it shouldn’t be so much to ask, but is somehow everything. A twisted sense of nostalgia sits deep in my stomach, searching for certain sadness, someone who has long escaped me. I don’t miss them, but this song almost makes me wish I did. The track comes from the band's self-produced debut record, Moveys. In a statement, Slow Pulp describe Moveys as the manifestation of their dealings with “health challenges, personal upheaval and a pandemic, all while learning how to be better songwriters and friends.” Photo by Alec Basse.— Ysabella Monton on October 20, 2020
Elizabeth Woolf - Til It's Dark Outside
Los Angeles-based indie singer-songwriter Elizabeth Woolf holds a sunny disposition that shines through in her latest single. “Til It’s Dark Outside” is the title track from her debut album (released in its entirety on October 16) and is exemplary of the image and story-based writing that Woolf is known for. This track chronicles the experience of navigating suburbia all the while with a friend by your side. Reflecting on the small moments of life that add up to forever friendships feels like an appreciation of those in our lives that help us get through the day-to-day and in turn bring us closer to ourselves. The light and springy production aptly represents youthfulness, which helps transport the listener right back to the streets of their childhood home. Holding a cadence reminiscent of Carole King and Joni Mitchell, Woolf’s vocals and songwriting are wise beyond her years and nostalgic for the present — a rare and precious sound.— Beck on October 20, 2020
TALIA - Colder
I kept thinking I’d buy a weighted blanket,
kept using you for body heat instead, before
and after the Everlane coat that lives on the floor
and the draft-stopping plastic on my windows
though if ever I asked, I always had you
for the cost of three happy hour drinks,
the cab home and quarters for the dryer
to wash my sheets after you left.
TALIA’s vivid track “colder” lives in perpetual homesickness for a person who might’ve never been real with you to begin. Her first release on Quadio Records strays from her folk, strings-driven single “Shiver,” trading in her acoustic guitar for atmospheric synths and echoes. She crafts a cinematic quality to the otherwise minimalist bedroom pop soundscape we know, the song swelling as though these sounds can take her away, drown out the loneliness. “I get stronger everyday, but I’m still hurting,” she wallows over a weeping piano. Though lofty in its production, “colder” stays grounded in TALIA’s visceral pain; her voice swirls and soars, yearning to be distant but ultimately tied to those memories, wondering but never knowing if one change could have made all the difference. Photo by 70mm_.
Cartalk - Arroyo Tunnels
“Arroyo Tunnels” is the captivating opening to Cartalk’s highly anticipated debut full-length album, Pass Like Pollen. Cartalk is the solo project and vision of Los Angeles-based artist Chuck Moore, whose vocals are distinct in the way of Brandi Carlile or early Tegan and Sara (it’s not surprising the twins have taken a liking to the album). On “Arroyo Tunnels,” Moore sings in vignettes over gentle guitar — of growing their hair out, taking the long way home, routine heartbreak and screaming through tunnels — before the drums come in, along with an addictive guitar riff that continues through the remainder of the song. The second half is entirely instrumental, swelling gradually into something like a symphony before fading out as quickly and as gracefully as it began. The shortest song on the album at just under two and a half minutes, “Arroyo Tunnels” is a modest taste of what’s to come, but all nine tracks pack a punch of their own. While there is plenty of shredding not to be missed later on the album, “Arroyo Tunnels” is a gentle entrée — a “sobering serenity,” if you will. Photo by Katie Neuhof.— Maya Bouvier-Lyons on October 19, 2020
Duncan Fellows - Swallowing Grains
Duncan Fellows’ “Swallowing Grains” is just one of many personal musings on their latest album, The Sadlands. In their words, the Austin band documents The Sadlands as “a map of experiences culled from the past few years of our lives where we began to really try to demarcate the moments that had shaped and continue to shape us as people.” Melding sun rays and sweeping vocals, “Swallowing Grains” is a beachside jam conveying the perils of misunderstanding. Lyrical references to choking on air and swallowing sand denote, and fuel, the residual impact of lacking articulation. As frustration and fear accumulate, the guitar rolls in like the tide, stretching wide across shore before slinking back. It eventually eclipses into a breaking wave at the final chorus, plunging forth and encapsulating all within its warm deliverance. This is a tune that you’ll find yourself burying into, just as a clam would.Katya Myasnikova on October 19, 2020
David You - Moon is in Charge
When I think of David You, I think of morning coffee rituals and subdued light filtering through linen drapes. I think of soft summer evenings and sharing a bottle of wine with friends in the park as the sun sets over the trees. I could describe his voice as gentle or angelic, but really it’s the feeling of safety that his music invokes that I find remarkable. Much like the park, it allows a person to forget the busy rush of city streets just outside its perimeter. “Moon is in Charge” is You’s first single since his springtime EP, Beautiful, Like Pyramids, and after retreating home from a busy day it feels right to let the tender whisper of his voice fill the four walls of my room.
The simple arrangement of acoustic guitar and airy vocals makes for intimate lo-fi without any of the posturing. You sings about the repetition of the ocean waves, crashing over and over, and how he’d rather be “just like a small stream that joins a river's flow / knowing where I’ll go,” which is especially poignant in a time where we’d all like a little less chaos and a little more clarity when it comes to the future. Sweeping textures give substance, and You’s signature harmonies layered with the subtle hint of percussion and a shaker here and there complete the halcyon tableau of his songs. So pour yourself a cup of tea, put on your comfiest and give David You a listen.— Shasha Léonard on October 19, 2020