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Bon Iver - U (Man Like)

Bon Iver - U (Man Like)


Justin Vernon has grown comfortably into his role as a sort of ambassador of alternative rock, a curator of the museum that is his tiny sliver of the musical canon, a less guttural Dave Grohl. His April Base studio is not only the home base of his many side projects (Big Red Machine, Volcano Choir, and The Shouting Matches), but has also used his musical success as a platform to support other music he loves, recording albums for The Staves, Hippo CampusSufjan Stevens and numerous others. Upon releasing “U (Man Like),” one of two new tracks released in anticipation of a new album, Vernon said of Bon Iver, “This project began with a single person, but throughout the last 11 years, the identity of Bon Iver has bloomed and can only be defined by the faces in the ever growing family we are.” The song is centered around a soulful piano line and features guest vocals from Bruce Hornsby, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, the Bryce Dessner-directed Brooklyn Youth Chorus and a fellow experimental alternative rock falsetto-singer, Moses Sumney. The influence from these various contributors is apparent but doesn’t prevent Vernon’s characteristic voice, either melodically or lyrically, from shining through—with references to Greek mythology and German opera crowding the same verse. Addressing a range of notably American social problems, Vernon has assembled his friends to urge us all to do better, admitting, “It’ll be a long day of fixing.”

Daniel Shanker on June 12, 2019
V.V. Lightbody - Baby, Honestly

V.V. Lightbody - Baby, Honestly


Self-proclaimed “nap rock” artist V.V. Lightbody gives her best in the form of her newest track, “Baby, Honestly." Unique as they come, her style and skills as a singer-songwriter are on full display. She proves that a slow and deliberate piece is no less vibrant or lively than an uptempo track.

Released on the heels of her next solo 7”, “Baby, Honestly” delivers biting and strong lyrics with an undeniably smooth feel—her tone self-described as a “snake-in-the-grass,” dichotomously lends itself to its lyrics. The music nearly deceives you into not reading between the lines of lyrics such as, “Baby, honestly, you’re crazy for taking me seriously” as the dreamy flute, glossy guitar, and bossa nova beat act as a security blanket of sorts, lulling you to sleep over a danger zone. Even still, with all its layers, “Baby, Honestly,” honestly sounds like a dream.

Jazzmyne Pearson on June 12, 2019
(Sandy) Alex G - Gretel

(Sandy) Alex G - Gretel


“Gretel”, the first single release of a long-awaited return LP from (Sandy) Alex G, binds the warm nostalgia of fairy-tale musings to the clammy, inevitable truths of malevolence. From its disorienting, playful beginning to the trickled-in synth, reminiscent of the “Reading Rainbow” theme, this ear-candy haunt effectively drones its listener into the magical, ominous realm of oral tradition. The shrill siren-whirs indicate trouble, allocating responsibility to the well-known greedy folk-tale sister, Gretel, of the Brothers Grimm story, "Hansel and Gretel." This song comes from (Sandy) Alex G’s upcoming 13-track album titled House of Sugar, set to be released on Friday the 13th, this upcoming September. “Gretel” will take you on an enjoyable jaunt into a foreboding fairy-tale forest through the beloved, spectral harmonies of (Sandy) Alex G.

Laney Esper on June 11, 2019
Geowulf - I See Red

Geowulf - I See Red


“I See Red” is the shimmering new single from dream-pop duo Geowulf. Their first release since last year’s debut album, Great Big Blue, the track invokes their signature breezy, coastal sound while adding new depth in the lyrics. A tight drum beat and spacey synth sound introduce vocalist Star Kendrick’s crisp, clear soprano. “I keep my rage like I have a secret,” she sings, invitingly matter-of-fact. The song was written after a fight with her sister, amidst the realization that you’re only comfortable being your most horrible self in front of the people who love you the most. “And I'm only learning / Just to live, you gotta chill out / Calm down and breathe again.” Like a fight, the song starts small and gradually grows, adding more nuance and instrumentation to the arrangement, and finally culminating into a nice full band sound in the chorus. Reminiscent of a sunnier Beach House, “I See Red” is vibey and atmospheric, and should top all your summer road trip playlists.

Britnee Meiser on June 11, 2019
Bedouine - One More Time

Bedouine - One More Time


“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours; if it doesn’t, it never was” is a saying so common, it’s in danger of losing its urgency.  In her new single, however, Bedouine reopens and pours salt into the old adage. Over the last four months, Bedouine has slowly, deliberately put out tracks from her upcoming album, Birdsong of a Killjoy—“One More Time” is her fourth and latest release. Stripped-down acoustics open the song and are quickly overlaid by her elegant, nostalgic vocals. The track is an exploration, weighing the power of having a partner against that of doing it alone and an air of loneliness echoes the whole way through. Bedouine’s poignant lyrics consider the ways that being with someone can hold you back. In one verse, she is a cage and her lover the bird trapped inside; in the next, she is the shore and her lover the waves washing her away. The music reflects that characters she creates, containing both the lightness of a bird and the calming rhythm of the waves in its melody. Bedouine's celestial voice takes center stage and, at the climax of "One More Time," a symphony of strings swells to meet her. Her distinct brand of folk is drifting, billowing, and tender in this track. It feels as though Bedouine is learning something about herself over the course of the song and, luckily, she is gracious enough to share the lesson with us.

Brigid Moser on June 11, 2019
Steve Marino - Six Two Four

Steve Marino - Six Two Four


Steve Marino’s breezy single “Six Two Four” is an ode to good times and carefree summer nights. Lo-fi drums and reverberating guitars open the track, immediately emanating familiar feelings of intimacy and warmth. The arrangement is tender and hopeful; close your eyes and you might feel like you’re sitting around a fire pit with your closest friends, swaying along to Marino’s soft, easy vocals and losing yourself in the gorgeous melody. The lines “Everyone’s Here / Everyone’s Out” repeat throughout the song, making for an easy sing-along and emphasizing what’s at the heart of the lyrics and the mood: a celebration of friendship. “Six Two Four” is easy listening at its finest—it’s from Marino’s debut solo album, Fluff, which is flush with cozy songs about noticing and appreciating the people and places that make you feel like you’re home.

Britnee Meiser on June 10, 2019
Maude Latour - Plans

Maude Latour - Plans


She’s young, talented, and not afraid to branch out. Maude Latour has been making music she could vibe to since high school, starting out with a passion to create and a piano she bought herself. Having moved around a lot growing up, she cites music as a place where she felt at home and understood. After releasing a short project of bedroom pop songs in 2018 and receiving more support than she expected, Latour decided to pursue music as a side gig during her freshman year at Columbia University. Her studies of philosophy and political science are subjects already evident in the last couple of singles she’s released. In “Plans,” Latour not only showcases her abilities in sonic complexity but also in sonic beauty. This song fits perfectly with her idea of being understood through music—those moments of realness that bring about a connection. By means of synth and lyric, she is able to interweave her interests with her own life experiences to create a realness that is magnetic. On the record, Latour said that she’s realized the track is more about her own experience—how she loves and what that means to her. An inner look at her new love affair and how it’s changed her, something every listener can relate to despite the subjective nature of her experience. In terms of production, Latour is not afraid to play around with varying tones and cadence, leaving the listener in awe with the vibe that flows on by. “Plans” is an infectious, heart-baring song that will help you take on this summer. Photo Credit: Lola Lafia

Monica Hand on June 10, 2019
​Tei Shi - A Kiss Goodbye

​Tei Shi - A Kiss Goodbye


Tei Shi's sound may best be described as evocative, Latina indie-pop and her newest track "A Kiss Goodbye" delivers that same tone. Her exceptional recipe of R&B beats and buttery smooth vocalization makes her one of the most unique and listenable artists in her genre right now. Tei Shi transcends a rare soft yet authoritative voice in her lyricism, having a near-angelic affectation while claiming she "doesn't need a kiss goodbye" or any sort of outward approval. The blend of velvet and brash makes this new tune a stand out for the summer. Listen to this track while soaking in the sun or chilling on the porch. It's an ethereal kind of listening experience, which can be said of most of her discography. Much gentler than the majority of her punchy pop tracks, "A Kiss Goodbye" is somehow jazzy, flush and powerful all at once.

Hannah Lupas on June 7, 2019
Marika Hackman -  i’m not where you are

Marika Hackman - i’m not where you are


After two years of silence following the release of her sophomore album, I’m Not Your Man, English artist Marika Hackman is finally back with a new single that reminds us of all the reasons we love her. “i’m not where you are” proves Hackman to be both a master of her own sound and unafraid to experiment with new styles. The new track is full of contradictions: it opens with bright, popping synths only to be toned down by Hackman’s classic jaded vocals; the lyrics pivot between self-pitying and arrogant; and the beat makes retro fresh. The long-awaited release refuses to be categorized as just a melancholy, crooning murmur or a spiteful revenge anthem. Instead, Hackman experiences a nuanced range of emotions over the course of the song—self-doubt, indignation, regret—and the music peaks and sinks with her. 80s-esque guitar swells around her voice as she delivers her title message, which is a refusal to trust someone’s emotions if she can’t get to their same headspace. “i’m not where you are” is Hackman’s first teaser to her third full-length album, Any Human Friend, set to release on August 9th via Sub Pop. Hackman is clearly not done making us wait but at least we have this lush single to get us through the summer.

Brigid Moser on June 6, 2019
Clairo - Bags

Clairo - Bags


Riveting punches of hollow percussion and warped, loosely jointed guitar riffs burn off the low-fi fog of previous releases as Clairo seeks clarity through internal contemplation on her latest single, "Bags." With a kind of lyrical sleight of hand, Clairo weighs fantasy with reality, her own inner emotional turmoil spilling over in lines—every second counts / I don't wanna talk to you anymore / all these little games / you can call me by the name I gave you / yesterday." Lyrical symptoms of a non-committal lover live lines away from moments that depict the warm glow of contentment, and the reality of the dynamic remains unclear in the same way that Clairo’s voice remains unaffected. "Bags" takes Clairo out of the realm of bedroom pop and into the living room, finding a sense of ease and blossoming maturity in the sheen of her newly expanded sound.

Emma Bowers on June 6, 2019
​AURORA - The River

​AURORA - The River


AURORA is back with her chimerical and soothing vibes in “The River,” her third single this year. The 22-year-old Norwegian singer has been introducing the new era of her music in bits ahead of A Different Kind of Human, the second half of her two-part album project. The first part of the project was Infections of a Different Kind, an EP that came out in 2018. “The River” is the second to last single, and it continues the trend of songs directly linked to nature while talking about sensations that are intrinsically human. The track tackles themes of sadness, solitude, and desperation while remembering that our tears are made of the same elements that construct rivers and rains. “The River” reminds us that life comes in flows and calls us to not forget who we are and what our souls are made of—all while maintaining the sonic spirit of a cavernous river, somewhat characteristic of AURORA's sound. A Different Kind of Human comes out Friday, June 7th.

Giulia Santana on June 6, 2019
Sure Sure - What’s It Like

Sure Sure - What’s It Like


Proust once said, “Love is a striking example of how little reality means to us.” When we care about someone, the desire to know the intricacies of their world—what book is on their nightstand, what chips they buy at their favorite grocery store—becomes the driving force behind our affections. The possibilities cloud our rational thoughts and judgements. All we really want to know is: what’s it like to be in this person’s life? That’s the question Sure Sure asks on their newest single, “What’s It Like?” Inspired by the novel on his own nightstand, vocalist and guitarist Charlie Glick ruminates on the possibilities in the lyrics: “What’s it like / To handle your vacuum?... What’s it like / To get too drunk with you?” The melody is fun and upbeat, and like the arrangement, has an infectious sense of optimism at its core. Opening with some singalong-friendly uh uhs, a light, sunshiny synth, and tight, thrashing drums, the track immediately invites you to participate with your entire body. It never once loses its momentum; the crescendoing arrangement only gets brighter as it goes on, culminating in a cool electric guitar riff followed by one big, vibey party of sounds in the last chorus. Simply put, “What’s It Like?” is a euphoric, sun-soaked jam. It’s the last single before the release of Sure Sures 8-track album of the same name, out June 27th, and is one of our most anticipated releases of the summer.

Britnee Meiser on June 5, 2019
Yumi Zouma - Bruise

Yumi Zouma - Bruise


What started as an online project between friends based in New Zealand, New York, and Paris swelled into a musical force that boasts two full-length albums, three EPs, extended tours, and a myriad of singles and collaborations. After concluding EP III in 2018, alternative dream-pop band Yumi Zouma followed up with their self-released single, “Bruise.”  While “Bruise” is immediately recognizable as belonging to the band, band members Christie Simpson, Josh Burgess, Charlie Ryder, and Olivia Campion described the track as “way too club” to include on any of their earlier projects. Luckily, the eclectic, shimmering bop is more than capable of standing alone. Yumi Zouma’s signature sound comes through in the swirling synthetic beats and is elevated to a full-on dance floor smash with high-energy keyboard and club-esque bass and drums. The band is known for their glittery, dreamy soundscapes but while their songs typically guarantee shoulder-swaying and head-bobbing, “Bruise” will have you on your feet in a full-on hip-shaking dance fever.

Brigid Moser on June 4, 2019
Payton Odom - Hinterland

Payton Odom - Hinterland


Payton Odom's latest EP Sightlines is a sonic escape. “Hinterland,” the last track off the EP, is laced with instrumental chords from guitars and horns that create a gorgeously rich jazzy background to accentuate his vocals. Having lost his voice in a fluke some time ago when first starting up as a solo artist, the focus on the depth of feeling Odom's voice is able to bring out in the listener never gets old. With a slow pace and beautifully placed lyrics, the song's build matches that of any of his past pieces and sets the tone for his future ballads. "Hinterland" is simple, meaningful, and funky.

Monica Hand on June 4, 2019
The Marías - ...baby one more time

The Marías - ...baby one more time


Britney Spears iconic pop hit “...Baby One More Time” turns 20 this year, and to celebrate, psychedelic indie-pop group The Marías has released a dreamy cover. An amalgamation of jazz, indie, and funk influences, “...baby one more time” is a softer rendition of the original and swings to a smooth, sultry beat. Lead singer María’s vocals, sung just above a whisper, are velvety and sweet, guiding you through the arrangement with sweeping attention and ease. Her intonation, particularly in the “Oh baby, baby” backing lines, is even reminiscent of Britney herself, turning the nostalgia level up a few extra notches for good measure. Still, the light, delicate synths behind the vocal work with the jazzy percussion give the track a timeless feel. The original is planted firmly in the 90s, but “...baby one more time” transcends decades and genres.

Britnee Meiser on June 3, 2019

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