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Faye Webster - In A Good Way
Faye Webster - In A Good Way

Faye Webster - In A Good Way


Atlanta singer-songwriter Faye Webster returns to the scene with a love song that is unapologetically sweet as honey. Lulling strings, staccato guitar and interjecting keyboard fuse together to create a track that touches an array of genres ranging from folk to pop all the way to R&B. I’ve always appreciated Webster’s way of expressing the most nuanced emotions with such few words—“In A Good Way” is no exception. The track explores the feeling of finding a love that is overwhelming in the most beautiful way, so beautiful in fact, that it makes you cry. The song opens with the line, “I didn’t know I was capable of being happy right now, but you showed me how,” and accurately depicts, how even in the midst of the unknown, love has the ability to poke through the cracks. All too often we look at crying as a negative expression of emotion and "In A Good Way" helps to remind us that it’s okay to cry and that sometimes, it’s even a good thing.

Megan Beck on April 28, 2020
girl in red - midnight love

girl in red - midnight love


“Midnight love” is the first single from girl in red since her second EP chapter 2 was released in September. The 21-year-old Norwegian, indie-pop singer-songwriter broke ground in the summer of 2018 when, from her bedroom, she managed to create the DIY queer anthem we all needed with “girls.” Her music delves into the intricacies of love and longing, the gray areas of relationships, and the questions and doubts that creep in when we are alone, and it does so with soothing sound and poetic precision. In this way, “midnight love” is no different. A one-woman show by the name of Marie Ulven, girl in red ordinarily writes, records, and produces all of her own music, though for “midnight love” she brought in fellow Norwegian artist Matias Tellez for co-production. The song’s cinematic intro sets the scene for Ulven’s reverberating vocals to take hold as she describes the complex emotions that come with being someone’s “second best.” Her echoing voice engages in a delicate and tumultuous dance with the instrumentals throughout—the layers of sound ebbing and flowing, pushing and pulling, creating a tension that builds as it mirrors the inner turmoil expressed in the lyrics. “Midnight love” addresses the struggle to find inner strength and clarity in the face of unrequited love, and ultimately to find the power to walk away, or at least leave that late-night text on read.

Maya Bouvier-Lyons on April 27, 2020
Skylar Gudasz - Rider

Skylar Gudasz - Rider


“Rider” is just one of nine passionate and lyrically stunning tracks off Skylar Gudasz’s new album Cinema, which takes us into the world of a black-and-white movie scene. The North Carolina-based musician's lyricism instantly places sharp images into the mind. “You ask me to be candid as you comb your errant hair / Well what, I want to whisper if my true voice is despair / or I’ve got too good at drinking or I’ve told untowardly tails / or I’ve hung too close the shimmering of your mirror on the stairs.” Cinema is Gudasz’s first album since her 2016 record, Oleander, where she was compared to a southern Joni Mitchell. A sweet folksy sound is prominent in “Rider” and brings the Mitchell mood back once again. At a time when many of us are feeling stuck and anything but free, Gudasz’s song is there to make us feel as if we are riding unbound on the back of a motorcycle— on our way to everywhere and nowhere all at once.

Bailee Penski on April 27, 2020
Haux - Heavy

Haux - Heavy


Losing a loved one is never easy, and in Haux’s latest single “Heavy” he grapples with the heartache of losing his aunt to an accidental overdose. Told from her perspective, he explores the difficulties of substance abuse and fighting addiction. In the very first lines of the single—“I took my life in the palm of my hands / I apologize for all that I am”—he paints the struggle of being self-aware of the problem but feeling helpless to stop it. Layering painful piano melodies, soft percussion and haunting vocals, Haux leaves you with a heavy heart and a solemn look at the importance of life and those who matter most. He repeats the chorus, "Take a sigh, take a breath in / Keep ‘em close, keep ‘em guessing / People lie, learn a lesson / Count your friends and your blessings," throughout the track as a plea to pause, reflect and appreciate the world around you. If this single is an indication of what’s to come on his new album Violence in a Quiet Mind (set to release this summer), I think we’ll need a lot of tissues.

Mona Dwedar on April 27, 2020
Dirty Projectors - Search for Life

Dirty Projectors - Search for Life


Dirty Projectors deliver a mesmerizing aria with the release of "Search for Life." This song could complement a tableau of rolling fields and wildflowers just as easily as it could fit into the soundtrack for The Graduate. Featuring vocals from guitarist Maia Friedman, the indie production on the track falls right in line with DP's previous work. Their vocal processing and indie instrumentation communicate a sense of adventure and a quest for understanding. The group does a fantastic job evoking some of the current feelings folks are having with lines like, "All over are the days / When we wandered through the world." "Search for Life" is off their four-track project Windows Open which came out in March 2020.

Ian Lutz on April 27, 2020
Salt Cathedral - How Beautiful (she is) feat. duendita & MC Bin Laden

Salt Cathedral - How Beautiful (she is) feat. duendita & MC Bin Laden


Brooklyn duo Salt Cathedral tap Brazilian rapper MC Bin Laden and songstress duendita for their latest single "How Beautiful (she is),"  exhilarating affirmation of beauty through soft dream pop textures diffused with Brazilian funk. It's as if vocalist Juliana Ronderos's airy vocals cradle you from the opening line, "I see her, so pretty, why can't you see?" before reaching the chorus. "She wines up / Shining on through every color," she insists, wanting you to recognize the good she sees in you. "Menina linda, 'cê veio da onde? / Tô me perdendo e perdendo o foco" ("Beautiful girl, 'Where did you come from? / I'm losing and losing focus") echoes MC Bin Laden in admiration, over a building bass. duendita's lavish verse rounds out the track on a moving note, simply stating, "Don't forget you're perfectly made." "How Beautiful (she is)" is the latest single leading up to Salt Cathedral's long-awaited debut album CARISMA, slated for a May release via Ultra Records.

Ysabella Monton on April 24, 2020
Margaret Chavez - Honeysuckle

Margaret Chavez - Honeysuckle


“Honeysuckle” is a dark folk masterpiece in balance from Austin-based Margaret Chavez (Marcus Striplin). The track opens with hypnotic guitar arpeggiations that draw you in like waving wildflowers drawing honeybees. Then come the lyrics, which paint vignettes of tragedy that seem initially at odds with the cheerful guitar melody. As the song progresses, the track unfolds into a retrospective of loss and love. Each verse relays another heavy anecdote of someone the narrator has loved and lost in some form. The stories that hit the hardest are underscored with dark, warbly synths that make you feel as though you are being teleported into the world of memory. The lyrics are so heartbreaking, it would be easy for the song to sink into sadness as deep as Striplin’s beautiful baritone voice; however, the buoyant guitar lines keep the song in the realm of bittersweet. It will be exciting to see what else Margaret Chavez has in store on their sophomore album “Into an Atmosphere," due to release July 31, 2020, via We Know Better Records.

Allison Hill on April 24, 2020
Phoebe Bridgers - Kyoto

Phoebe Bridgers - Kyoto


When Phoebe Bridgers released “Kyoto” she told us the track is about imposter syndrome or the feeling that she’s living someone else’s life. Instead of taking the speed train or appreciating her visit to a temple during her first visit to Japan with her bandmates, she instead finds herself spending time at 7-11 and having an unpleasant, expensive conversation with someone from her past whom she can’t seem to shake. In classic Bridgers fashion, the lyrics of “Kyoto” document complex emotions like ennui, resentment, and anger through commonplace images. In one of the most memorable lines of the song, she “drives out to the suburbs to park at the Goodwill and stare at the chemtrails with [her] little brother,” and the drabness of the concrete makes her love for her sibling all the sweeter. And for a song about psychological dissociation, the instrumentation is remarkably upbeat and even triumphant, making the song all the more versatile: listen to the lyrics if you need to be in your feelings, or focus on the bright trumpet solo if you need to get pumped for your day.

Karl Snyder on April 24, 2020
​Local Opener - I Hope All of My Friends Live Forever

​Local Opener - I Hope All of My Friends Live Forever


Local Opener’s new track is an all-around good vibes tune, the kind that makes you want to roll your windows down and crank it up as you soar down an interstate. “I Hope All of My Friends Live Forever” begins with a Fleet Foxes-esque vocal harmony before ushering in the full band. By the time the chorus rolls around we’re at an early ‘60s rock concert, with sing-along energy. The chorus itself demands to be sung by a crowd: “I wanna have fun again / I want all of my friends to feel the same / I want to have fun again / I hope all of my friends live forever.” Such a simple, resonant truth. A brief guitar solo continues the early-Beatles atmosphere before another verse that invites us all to choose happiness. “Wasted half of my life just being blue” croons the lead singer, adding “I’m trading in all of my gloom for sunny days.” Interestingly, the tune ends with a few contemplative improvisational bars in sharp contrast to the first three or so minutes, insinuating that choosing happiness isn’t always as simple as all that. Not simple, but certainly worthwhile.

Mikhal Weiner on April 23, 2020
Mackenzie Leighton - Paris Girls

Mackenzie Leighton - Paris Girls


Mackenzie Leighton is the friend you call up when you finally book that flight to Europe. She’ll take you down dark, cobblestoned alleyways to smoke-filled underground jazz clubs and give you that authentic Parisian experience not found in Lonely Planet guidebooks. You start to think that maybe after a week of observing the breezy elegance around you—and splurging on a bottle of expensive perfume—you’ll have acquired that coveted French elegance by osmosis. Leighton is here to tell you that’s not how it works. You can take her word for it, too. The California-born singer-songwriter moved to Paris after graduating from NYU and is still chasing that infamous je ne sais quois that Parisian women claim as their birthright. “Paris Girls” is a swinging jazz-pop number with a waltz feel in the verses. Leighton’s navigation of agile melodies makes her sound like a smoother Nellie McKay for a modern young audience. Unapologetic electric guitar remains prominent throughout the song, transporting you to the front row of that smokey Paris jazz club ‘round midnight. Until it’s safe to travel again, this track should hold you over.

Karyna Micaela on April 23, 2020
Nick Hakim - QADIR

Nick Hakim - QADIR


Quiet power and gentle ferocity—these are the reigning forces in the soundscape of "QADIR," the first release off of Nick Hakim’s upcoming LP, Will This Make Me Good. In addition to being the first release, "QADIR" was also the first song that Hakim wrote for the record. It’s an homage to his late friend who passed away in 2018 and for whom the track is named. Hakim conjures a sacred spirituality on this track by retaining a delicate balance between a heavy bass over a lightly driving beat, replete with acoustic percussion, and a haunting flute weaving in and out of a wide keyboard sound that holds down rich harmonies. Above all this, in a realm all its own, Hakim’s echoing vocals gently whisper truths in the manner of a prophet: “There seems to be a complexity to being kind / to your space to your temple / to your neighbors / who’ve seen the changes / We all feel change / Some of us wear masks / To hide the pain.” He is calling upon us to choose kindness and community. Surrounded by haunting background vocals on the chorus, Hakim draws us into an ethereal world that finally comes together in a mess of phantasmic voices, calling us from every side before fading slowly out into nothingness.

Mikhal Weiner on April 23, 2020

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