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Michael-Andrew - YOU
Michael-Andrew - YOU

Michael-Andrew - YOU


In a beautiful fusion of indie-folk and ambience with touches of R&B, Michael-Andrew Spalding gives us his debut album, atlasTELAMON, the name coming from a poem penned by the Cincinnati singer-songwriter and multidisciplinary artist himself. With imagery driven lyrics and a musical landscape that's as all-consuming as the vocals it accompanies, "YOU" highlights everything Michael-Andrew brings to the table. While its easy to get caught up in the sound, the lyrical themes of "YOU" are also worth exploring. If you close your eyes you can almost see it playing out. The song starts out the way a movie does in media res, throwing us into the climax before revealing how we arrive to it. Spalding sings of being underwater, and in the next breath tells us of his desire to go to the water. These lines expose the truth behind the concept that at times the very thing we desire has an overtaking power unbeknownst to us. Still the songs ends with the urge to go to the water, as if calling us back to that time of naivety and innocence when we filled our minds with picturesque thoughts and ignored whatever harsh realities may be a side effect. This is "YOU" by Michael-Andrew, and we're nothing short of impressed.

Dara Bankole on August 30, 2018
Slothrust - Birthday Cake

Slothrust - Birthday Cake


Is there anything quite as vile as sitting on someone's birthday cake or chopping off their hair and running it through the garbage disposal? Of course there is, but Slothrust imagines these childish and unjustifiable acts of cruelty, the kind that would ground you until your own birthday rolled around, through the eyes of an adult who should definitely know better. “Birthday Cake” starts off singsong and saccharine but turns sour, as if singer Leah Wellbaum had her fingers crossed behind her back the whole time. This transition is driven by a style of acoustic punk reminiscent of The Mountain Goats or early Front Bottoms, complete with dueling guitar solos simultaneously competing for your attention. “I don’t care anymore / You can do what you want,” Wellbaum sings as the song comes to an abrupt halt, stomping off to her room and slamming the door to ensure she gets the last word.

Daniel Shanker on August 21, 2018
Model Tenant - Real Like You

Model Tenant - Real Like You


Model Tenant is the epitome of “everything I never knew that I needed.” This collective made up of roommates/artists Liza Odachowski (Liza Anne), Allie Closner (Joseph), Josh Gilligan, Zach DykeThad Kopec, Robbie Jackson (Keeps) and Abby Clark (Sister Kit) have come together to join forces and give us what they refer to as "Roommate Rock." “Real Like You” the first song ever released from the band, doesn’t waste time to draw you in. From the very moment it begins, its steady pulse and groovy bass line catches you, hook line and sinker. The first verse begins with the unison of a male and female vocal that makes every word stand out in a way that’s almost tangible, ironically bringing the very topic of the song to light.

“Real Like You” deals with the idea of having individual lives while being apart from the human beings that make our lives what they are. It also delves into the concept of trying to feel grounded in what is real while deciphering what is not. Giving us nuanced lyrics with a danceable track, Model Tenant allows us the luxury of pondering as we move to the beat. Still the true beauty of "Real Like You" is its ability to showcase seven artists in a way that glorifies their individualities in unity. Chances are you'll be less than halfway into this song before you realize that you're gonna need more of whatever Model Tenant is cooking up in their Nashville home soon, real soon.

Dara Bankole on August 20, 2018
Elijah Wolf - Tell 'Em

Elijah Wolf - Tell 'Em


Indie folk rocker Elijah Wolf's first single “Tell ‘Em” off of his upcoming album On The Mtn Laurel Rd, is a deeply personal and honest track that represents a specific moment in Wolf’s life. The vivid scene he paints with his richly detailed lyrics and emotional vocal delivery brings listeners into his world and gives us a glimpse into the heartache he feels towards leaving home and the loss of a loved one. Although the track is sonically upbeat, lyrics like, “Yesterday came and went / am I dreaming of a place / that I’m leaving / All I know is gone,” reveal Wolf clearly expressing nostalgia for a different time in his life and how much the place and people in this time period meant to him. "Tell 'Em" comes to a close with the singer expressing “Tell ‘em I’ll be alright / tell ‘em what you need from me / for you,” before closing in a mellow cycle of the line “for you” and slow guitar strums.

Alessandra Rincon on August 20, 2018
Hope Tala - Moontime

Hope Tala - Moontime


After recently hearing Hope Tala’s track “Blue,” which was released earlier this summer, we were instantly hooked on her dynamic rhythms, sultry melodies, and compelling lyricism. All of these elements continue to be present in her newest single, “Moontime,” where she combines soulful sounds that were born in bossa nova and jazz. Pulling in subtle synth waves and a sparse yet purposeful piano, the West London artist strings together a track with a heavy groove wrapped around her emotional narrative as if to distract from what Tala describes as the “painful nostalgia about lost love.”

Deanna DiLandro on August 20, 2018
Kate Teague - Good to You

Kate Teague - Good to You


Reminiscent of the great female-led bands of the 90s such as Sixpence None the Richer and The Cranberries, "Good to You" by Kate Teague keeps it light while getting introspective. Already garnering immense praise, Teague proves that she's an artist to keep on your radar with the release of this single off of her debut album. In a comparison game that many of us know all too well, Teague finds herself wanting to be a better partner than she currently is, maybe one that resembles someone that she's seen in couples around her. With love in her heart and a desire to be better, we are strung along feeling the sweetness of this song in every lift of her airy and delicate falsetto. Still, the best part of the song comes at the end, with the entrance of a juxtaposing voice coloring the chorus with flare and charm. Taking you back in time, "Good to You" will make you hopeful about the direction of the music, and more specifically where Kate Teague is heading. 

Dara Bankole on August 17, 2018
Satellite Mode - Terrified

Satellite Mode - Terrified


New York based, electro pop duo Satellite Mode recently released their latest dark and dreamy single, “Terrified,” which serves as their follow-up to their previous single “Gave It All.” The track is a catchy and major-key bop that showcases lead singer Jessica Carvo’s haunting vocals and Alex Marko’s creative chord progressions and beats. The song uses its upbeat energy to touch on topics like the fear of love and the love of fear with poignant lyrics like, “Tell me / why do / I love being terrified. / What kind of fool / feeds on their own hurt/ to kill the time?" As the song reaches its dissonant climax the distortion becomes even more prominent, leading listeners further down the rabbit hole of a rhythmic pattern of hand claps and a listless marching beat with a surprising end.

Alessandra Rincon on August 17, 2018
Darcie - Darling

Darcie - Darling


Looking for a chill, dreamy pop-bop to wipe away those end of summer blues? Then look no further than Manchester duo, Darcie’s new song, “Darling” off their latest, two-track EP. The song exhibits the striking, lo-fi soul sound that Zigi Porter and Tom Donaldson have been cultivating during the past year. A groovy beat filled with fizzy percussive elements and mild, wavy electric guitar carry Portner’s sweet, subtly powerful voice. Her brazenly sincere persona shines through as she sings, “Pack up your lungs professing your love it should just be sex.” Although echoes of Sylvan EssoRex Orange County, and Jorja Smith can be heard in “Darling,” the duo has managed to keep a loose leash tied to their influences, which has, in turn, allowed them to open up their own stirring, candy-coated feel. Whether you’re listening with your windows rolled down on your drive back home from work or pumping it through your headphones on an early evening jog, “Darling” is sure to have you feeling good.

Andrea de Varona on August 16, 2018
Black Belt Eagle Scout - Soft Stud

Black Belt Eagle Scout - Soft Stud


Black Belt Eagle Scout is the soul project of Portland based, radical indigenous queer feminist, Katherine Paul. "Soft Stud" is the opening track off of her record, Mother Of My Children. The opening guitar is grungy and raw and identifies with the revolutionary woman not looking to back down. When Paul begins to sing there is a contrast that cuts like glass. Her voice is pure and emotive. The lyrics are simple but they ring out almost like a chant. It is impossible to not feel moved. 

Sophia Theofanos on August 16, 2018
Now, Now - MJ

Now, Now - MJ


There's no doubt about it, we still have the new Now, Now record on repeat. The band's vibrant and forthright single “MJ” packs a saccharine punch, delivering a string of breakup confessions over breathy synths and a driving guitar progression. Commencing with a quiet electric hum, the song soon crescendos into an iridescent roar as vocalist KC Dalager exhales digging lyrics of idealizing her lover too quickly, alluding to her childhood idol in a tune chock-full of Michael Jackson references.

The soft droan of Dalager’s voice in the intro is as chaotic as it is comfortable: it is the “aha” moment of hindsight vision, an expulsion of frustration at both parties in the relationship. The song soon lifts into a heavenly bounce, sparking danceability as soon as Dalager finds the words in her confession. Perhaps it is the most personal song Dalager has penned to date, stating admittedly how she “gave away such a pivotal part of [herself].” It just may be the answer to why the instrumentation is so celebratory: “MJ” is not a breakup song — it is a testament to Dalager’s own emotional turmoil and the joy of self-realization.

Nicole Rosenthal on August 15, 2018
Cullen Omori - Happiness Reigns

Cullen Omori - Happiness Reigns


Cullen Omori has a knack for writing bright, punchy indie rock songs, dating back to his time in Smith Westerns. New single “Happiness Reigns” — dropped ahead of the release of his sophomore solo LP, The Diet — continues the tradition. It opens up with a breadth of sighing guitars, parting the clouds just so you can gaze at the blue summer sky. It’s the kind of indie rock that sounds timeless, as likely to be from 1994 or 2010 as it is 2018. The track is punctuated with an unexpected (but overwhelmingly welcome) guitar solo, breaking the sheen with distortion and riffage. [Photo credit: Josh Spencer]

Michael O'Neill on August 15, 2018

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