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Laney Lynx - Venting

Laney Lynx - Venting


Indie electro-pop singer-songwriter Laney Lynx is known for her infectious energy both on- and offstage, as well as her gift for writing acutely honest lyrics and addictive melodies. In each of her releases, she is able to hone in on a complex but universal emotion or experience, and put it not only into words but also to music — music that is often cathartic, and always inspiring. In “Venting,” Lynx addresses the feeling that arises when emotions are kept bottled up — when wires are crossed and buttons are pushed — and the explosive need to let it all out. Despite the tension expressed in the lyrics, the song sparkles with kindness and empathy, along with the underlying desire to make peace. 

Produced and mixed by Lucas Hass, and mastered by Torna, “Venting” features Tony Greco on guitar and Kyle Miles on bass, showcasing the unstoppable sound of collaboration between New York-based artists. The glittering instrumental synth is suppressed during the verses, before picking up and building to a colorful burst alongside Lynx’s vocals during the chorus. While the sentiment is that it will get worse before it gets better, and that the only way out is through, the delivery couldn’t be sweeter — and Lynx’s pristine voice is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down.

Maya Bouvier-Lyons on November 25, 2020
Kefeider - The Island

Kefeider - The Island


After receiving praise for his 2019 EP Since You Asked and his 2020 debut album Podium, Norwegian indie folk artist Kefeider returns with the poetic and poignant single "The Island." Having been written almost two years ago, "The Island" has taken new meaning this year after experiencing a sense of hopelessness during the pandemic. It is a feeling that too many of us now know too well. There is a beautiful simplicity to the melody, as Kefeider's voice delicately dances above. "The island within your eyes / Will soon be out of sight 
/ Don't mind what others say 
/ Help is underway." This melancholic tune touches deep within the wounds of this year, yet it also provides a sweet note and desire for better days ahead. Photo by Eskil Bast.

Sophia Theofanos on November 25, 2020
Riley Pearce - Electricity

Riley Pearce - Electricity


Australian singer/songwriter Riley Pearce delivers an authentic ballad for the everyday dreamer on “Electricity," an affecting track that explores the uncertainties of the future. Pearce perfectly wraps this subject in the delicacy of an acoustic guitar and profound, mellow vocal production. Sentiments about pursuing a dream tend to be melancholic as the value of tribulations seem to outweigh the possibility of success. We inevitably question, “Will it all work out?” It may or it may not, but for Pearce, that doesn't matter. The track begins in a cynical tone, but it ends optimistically. “One day things will go our way / Maybe we can build ourselves a home / Oh, I want to be all that you need me to be / Someone who sparks your electricity.” It’s a simple reminder that a journey is sometimes meant to be bleak, but treading it with someone else makes it worthwhile. Photo by Al Parkinson.

Bianca Brutus on November 24, 2020
CLAVVS - Heyi

CLAVVS - Heyi


Brooklyn-based indie pop duo CLAVVS are back with “Heyi,” an hypnotic exaltation that recharges the spirit at its very core. Comprised of singer-songwriter Amber Renee and Grammy-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Graham Marsh, their union has joined a singular, alternative path in pop music that they walk alongside the likes of Glass Animals, giving digitized production a human touch. The tune’s organic qualities are fluid and life-giving, a visceral energy traveling like lightning through your bones to force movement. Balanced with introspective lyrics on reaching for an old, better feeling, Renee’s hook persists, “Bring it back /  Bring it back to me / Sing it back / Sing it back to me,” a righteous chant over claps and bouncing synths to culminate in a catharsis that only pop music can bring. Photo by Lissyelle Laricchia.

Ysabella Monton on November 24, 2020
thomTide - clockWise

thomTide - clockWise


"clockWise" is a striking single, mysterious both in its feel and its creator. There’s very little that's easy to find out about thomTide other than the unquestionable — as an artist he is channeling some deeply creative and original textures and songs. His three previous releases are all less than 100 seconds, offering only a taste of what his musical world could be. Across these releases, thomTide brings up a diverse cast of comparisons for me: hints of Moses Sumney’s longing and grandiosity; using his falsetto as an instrument in ways that channel 645AR; and an undeniable swagger that feels like that of Brittany Howard. “clockWise” is an earned next step, an evolution in sound that still keeps the mystery alive. A driving kick forces a dark guitar riff onward, as he delivers poetic thoughts on growing and time. Just like the song’s energy, there is no stopping life from moving forward. Yet, rather than fall victim to its unrelenting momentum, thomTide takes it in stride, recontextualizing it as a motivation and reminder to “love and fail while we may.” Around halfway through, the song expands outwards, those lead vocals reaching for something more. In the final thirty seconds, drums are traded for a chorus of voices, creating a hauntingly beautiful moment. This is a performance that proves thomTide is not messing around, the mysterious figure capable of so much incredible artistry in under two minutes. We'll certainly be tuned in for what's to come. thomTide's hand-painted sweater is by Ryan Sadler and Spencer Lee. Photo by Ahmed Owda.

Max Himelhoch on November 24, 2020
EXNATIONS - Twin Flame

EXNATIONS - Twin Flame


Brooklyn-based EXNATIONS return with their newest post-quarantine single, “Twin Flame,” and with it, enter into the solidly dance-pop realm. Vocalist Sal shared that with their prior release, “Love in the Time of Quarantine,” they were working to capture reality; now, so far into the pandemic-ridden year, “Twin Flame” channels more of an escape, and with lush production and evocative lyrics that transport the listener on a mental vacation, they definitely hit their mark. Weaving in the same energetic elements that make standout Young the Giant and Walk the Moon tracks great, as well as just a touch of more electronic acts like Hot Chip (big props to drummer Taylor here for these impossible-not-to-bop-to grooves), “Twin Flame” warms the listener up with a brilliantly catchy bass line and kicks off running, the chorus hitting like a celebration daydream. While temperatures drop and the country settles in for an even more isolated holiday season, transportive tracks like “Twin Flame” will keep that warmth of hope alive in our chests. Like the band’s slogan goes, “It’s sad, but we’re still dancing”; and we are, thanks to a perfect EXNATIONS track for every stage of this wild and wacky year. Photo by Adele Sakey.

Stephanie Lamond on November 24, 2020
KALI - Back to the Start

KALI - Back to the Start


KALI’s debut single, “Back to the Start,” is a fearless and joyful ode to the pull, the power, the hold the right one can have on you, and the momentary bliss of a freefall in love. What begins with a somber instrumental and muted monologue quickly explodes into an upbeat guitar riff that primes the track for KALI’s sweet but strong vocals to come in. Each time we hear the refrain, “It hurts too bad to live in the past, but you keep pulling me back to the start,” the same upbeat guitar riff, along with a thin layer of lush strings, washes away all resistance, all reluctance, and we find ourselves, too, being pulled back in. The song’s music video, directed by Sophia Ziskin and Zealand Yancy, is a cinematic and captivating homage to the free spirit of youth — KALI skips and runs through fields and rides in the car with her friends, through tunnels and over the Golden Gate Bridge, smiling, laughing, head out the window, hair blowing in the wind. Once you’ve seen her smile, you can’t help but hear it in the song. KALI is an artist to watch if there ever was one. Photo by Sophia Ziskin.

Maya Bouvier-Lyons on November 23, 2020
All Things Blue - Lully

All Things Blue - Lully


All Things Blue was born in Los Angeles to the unburdened artistry of India Coombs, with help from her co-writer/producer, Jon Joseph. This year, they’ve released a kaleidoscope of alternative, post-genre singles in anticipation of their debut album, Get Bit. Though fearlessly awake, “Lully” is the perfect title for the psychedelic surrender that is their latest single, a deadpan ode to environmental catastrophe. Its opening lyrics don’t beat around any burning bushes. “Overgrow the apples, we’ll watch them turn to waste / Pack them full of chemicals, we love the taste.”

In a jazz-driven, groovy whisper, she continues to riddle truths about our potential agricultural future that few American artists have dared to touch. For a cynical generation that functions under distant shadows of those in power, a recurring choral sentiment like “It doesn’t matter anymore,” can be eerily inspiring, at least as a proclamation of urgent self-care. “Lully” asks its listeners to protect their inner peace as they continue to endeavor to subvert the blockaded systems in control of our agriculture.

Daphne Ellis on November 23, 2020
There's Talk - A Slow Return

There's Talk - A Slow Return


“A Slow Return” is out ahead of Oakland-based There’s Talk’s third EP Great Falls, expected December 18; it’s a meditative, spellbinding audio journey through the psyche of singer/songwriter Olivia Lee, who pulls from her identity as a queer woman of Chinese heritage. You have to really listen to pick out individual lyrics, but spellbinding synths and lofty guitars create a sensory experience. Listening to “A Slow Return” feels like entering a fugue state, a velvet fog from which you may never want to return.

Corinne Osnos on November 23, 2020
Halo Kitsch - Do You Feel Like A Sinner Yet?

Halo Kitsch - Do You Feel Like A Sinner Yet?


LA's Halo Kitsch presents a heartbreaking serenade about mixing up love and trauma with "Do You Feel Like a Sinner Yet?" Guilt, loss and PTSD are translated easily into the slow march of acoustic guitar, the rhythmic snapping and the quiet whistling. The song feels like a prayer for forgiveness delivered in a now-empty room that was once filled with hope, even if illuminated by gaslight. 24-year-old Katrina Kerns is not new to breakup songs or writing about being hurt by old lovers. What gives the new single a special place on her repertoire might be the feeling of a fresh wound that comes from the realization that the memories you thought you missed were just mutual harm, observed, first through pink, and now through grieving glasses. "Do You Feel Like a Sinner Yet?" is the fifth track from the singer-songwriter, who started sharing her truth this year and is only getting started.

Giulia Santana on November 23, 2020
347aidan - Dancing in My Room

347aidan - Dancing in My Room


I love this one, it’s the perfect bedroom pop-ish type of song. Aidan is one of the most passionate artists I’ve spoken to and this is def a hit! — Claire Rosinkranz

Follow Claire Rosinkranz on Instagram so you can stay up to date on her latest releases. And make sure you check out her music video for the newer version of "Backyard Boy" with Jeremy Zucker.

Alessandra Rincon on November 20, 2020
Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day

Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day


This is another bop/throwback for the car. I vibe out to this one pretty hard :) — Claire Rosinkranz

California native Claire Rosinkranz brings classical work ethic to alt-pop song-scapes in her 2020 EP BeVerly Hills BoYfRiEnd. At 16, Claire says the discipline and work ethic she learned from years of classical ballet training turned into a passion to be the best at everything she does — including making music.

Alessandra Rincon on November 20, 2020
Emilee Emiko - Quiet

Emilee Emiko - Quiet


"Quiet" by Emilee Emiko is a cool and reassuring drink of water in a chronic anxiety-driven dry spell. The track opens with a mellow grove and dreamy harmonies that sound like a pastel, upbeat Phoebe Bridgers. Relentlessly buoyant and easygoing, Emiko’s voice flows through verses about embracing your own agency through acknowledging what’s outside of your control. After all, if everything’s in your control, the next logical stop is that everything is in some way your fault. (Spoilers, it’s not.) You don’t exist in vacuum; you’re influenced by your circumstances and sometimes you can influence them right back. Sometimes not. Or, as Emiko eloquently sings, “If the world’s gone mad, well so have I / I put up a good fight.” It’s not a resigned sigh of defeat — the upbeat percussion, major harmonies and cheerful picked arpeggiations definitely say otherwise. It’s more like an acknowledgement that in order to adapt to unusual circumstances, you’ll probably react a bit unusually. It’s not indicative of how you’d behave under normal circumstances; that speculation is like comparing oranges and bananas. Instead, it’s healthier to slow down a bit and yield control to where you are. Take some time to process where you are, honestly. You can figure out where you have agency to move somewhere after, but it’s always worth taking a moment to get your mind quiet first. You might even find a piece of peace in it. Photo by Elsa Oluja.

Allison Hill on November 20, 2020
Felix Räuber - Colors

Felix Räuber - Colors


German singer-songwriter Felix Räuber exposes love’s intrusive side in his latest single, “Colors.” Minimalist, droning and orchestral, the track builds an echo chamber for pining verses and a chorus that gives full authority to the speaker’s love interest. “You even control the colors in my head,” he sighs in disdain, “You even control the choirs in my head.” Räuber surrenders his own sense of presence for a distant light projection. The genius here lies in the song’s tonality — ironically gray and chromatically chilled. Overall, it is a moment of silence for romance turned sour, interrupted by noise in the spirit of unrequited love’s persistent voice. Photo by Madlen Krippendorf

Daphne Ellis on November 20, 2020
Kishi Bashi - Penny Rabbit and Summer Bear

Kishi Bashi - Penny Rabbit and Summer Bear


Today we are announcing In The Mix, our new collaboration with Desert Door Texas Sotol, supporting the music and food industries that have been devastated by the pandemic. In The Mix pairs artist-curated playlists, free merchandise and a discounted Desert Door cocktail with the purchase of a special restaurant creation from select partnering restaurants in Atlanta, Boulder and Nashville on December 7-14.

In Georgia our In The Mix artist is Athens-based singer-songwriter Kishi Bashi. He helped inspire the special dish from Atlanta's Talat Market — Thai-style sautéed bay scallop and persimmon warm salad, complemented by a Desert Door cocktail with Ancho Reyes Verde Chile, fresh pineapple and lime juice and agave.

Listening to Kishi Bashi is comparable to floating through the most golden day that ever existed in the landscape of your favorite childhood storybook. “Penny Rabbit and Summer Bear” is a light and gleeful representation of the whimsical sound that Kishi Bashi is known for. With the delicate plucking of acoustic guitar accompanied by a soft stream of glimmering chimes, this track infiltrates the monotony of the day and creates within it a glimpse into a more pure, more courageous existence. This sentiment reigns true over all of Kaoru Ishibashi's musical inventions; there is a certain pureness and clandestine invitation into goodness surrounding his growing body of work. Photo by Rachael Renee Levasseur.

Laney Esper on November 19, 2020

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