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Lily & Madeleine - Just Do It
Lily & Madeleine - Just Do It

Lily & Madeleine - Just Do It


Folk-pop duo Lily & Madeleine's newest single "Just Do It" showcases the sisters in an soft yet anthemic way. From the opening line, "A little less talk a little more acting on it" the song exudes self-empowerment. It's the perfect song for the new year as you strive to make sure your resolutions last longer than January. The mix of pop and the duo's classic harmonic blends gives "Just Do It" a signature sound that's enjoyable and hard to replicate. After four albums the duo feels a special sense of ownership with their upcoming release remarking on how they took charge of the songwriting. With "Just Do It" and "Self-Care" as the lead singles we're excited about what else is in store. Lily & Madeleine's fourth studio album Canterbury Girls is out on February 22 via New West Records.

Dara Bankole on January 10, 2019
Kelsey Bulkin - Samsara

Kelsey Bulkin - Samsara


Evocative of the unique ebb and flow of the sea, Kelsey Bulkin’s newest release, “Samsara” sits squarely within a genre all its own — Beach R&B. Formerly half of the Oakland duo Made in Heights, Bulkin’s solo career has taken off to an exceptional start. Her youthful vocals coupled with vocal distortion elements and bass-y foundations make her music undeniably hers. "Samsara," the Sanskrit word meaning wandering, or more specifically the cycle of rebirth and life inevitable to all living things, explores the inevitability of change, attachment and moving on. Brilliantly poignant, the verse ”Irreverent as an ocean” builds and crests before crashing into the chorus “Hailing on the horizon / I'm hanging on to your island / Cuz I'm lost / Don't give up on me now.” On writing the song, Bulkin says, “Looking back at my own heartbreaks and framing them as attachments to the inevitability of change instead of as true loss has been eye-opening and also a riddle I’m trying to solve. How can we ever be completely detached and still survive here?” And what a riddle it is.

Jazzmyne Pearson on January 9, 2019
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
The Wild Reeds - Lose My Mind

The Wild Reeds - Lose My Mind


Just months after releasing a three-song EP recorded live, directly to tape, on a Tascam Portastudio, The Wild Reeds are back with a lush new single, “Lose My Mind,” from their new album due out in March. Upon releasing the New Ways to Die EP in late 2018, the band made it clear that the lo-fi sound was not a departure, nor an explicit return to their acoustic folk roots, but rather an experiment, a small step in a long musical journey. The Wild Reeds have been evolving with each release, largely due to the disparate input of the three singer-songwriters fronting the band, Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe and Sharon Silva.

“Lose My Mind” is an ode to the one person close enough to give perspective through highs and lows, steeped in the psychedelic stutter of Dan Auerbach’s fantasies and filled out by harmonies akin to those of Lucius or tourmates The Lone Bellow. The rhythm section, affectionately nicknamed the Nicks of Time for their shared name and steady beat, plays with empty space, giving the impression of great heights during the verse until the harmonies of Howe and Silva swoop in to firmly anchor the song. “You believed in me / When it would have been so easy to leave,” sings Lee, who wrote the song and takes charge of its melody, grounded by the support of her bandmates’ harmonies and the care of a close friend.

Daniel Shanker on January 8, 2019
Tiny Ruins - School of Design

Tiny Ruins - School of Design


"School of Design" is the latest single from the New Zealand based group, Tiny Ruins. Frontwoman, Hollie Fullbrook is more than a musician, she is a storyteller. Fullbrook's voice is gentle and soothing. The vivid lyrics describe a place that is supposed to evoke distinct thought and creativity. But the institution itself is a very controlled uniform space, "Everything was white / And all the clocks were well designed / All ticking in time." The guitar is captivating and gives the song the motion it needs to progress in contrast to Fullbrook's subdued vocals. Look out for the full album, Olympic Girls on February 1!

Sophia Theofanos 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
Broken Bells - Shelter

Broken Bells - Shelter


Alternative rock’s greatest side-project, Broken Bells, has released their first new song since 2015. "Shelter" is another shining example of the supergroup's blend of genre-bending versatility and the ability to create well-crafted earworms. Broken Bells, which consists of The Shins frontman James Mercer and legendary producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton, continues to evolve their sound in such a fresh way that perhaps it could be said that James Mercer's best work is now through this collaboration with Burton and no longer through The Shins' ever so infrequent releases. The verdict is still out on that one but hopefully a new Broken Bells LP in the near future will cement that hypothesis as truth.

Bobby Lewis 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
French Horn Rebellion & Glassio - Love Me Back

French Horn Rebellion & Glassio - Love Me Back


Brooklyn siblings French Horn Rebellion have teamed up with fellow Brooklyn artist Glassio for their newest silky, smooth single “Love Me Back.” The track beautifully fuses together groovy, ‘80s synth-pop with emotive piano keys and funky basslines for an exuberant finish. The combination of their lush vocals and rich beats adds a layer of warmth that comforts the soul. Throughout, the Brooklyn artists explore what it means to put yourself out there for all to see and repeatedly ask the question “Are you gonna love me back?” The idea came when Sam Rad of Glassio began gibberish-singing vocal lines and Robert of FHR noticed that it sounded like Spanish. When they played back his isolated vocal track and deciphered what he was unconsciously saying, they worked out a translation and kept it to become a part of the song. The happenstance makes for a charming and engaging dynamic.

Shayna Chabrow on December 11, 2018

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