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Samia - Lasting Friend
Samia - Lasting Friend

Samia - Lasting Friend


On her newest single, "Lasting Friend," Brooklyn based artist SAMIA raises her voice in defiant confrontation with the kind of unsettling memories that are not so easily leveled by time. A punchy, scowling guitar and intensely metallic percussion drive the tune while SAMIA details a troubling anecdote from her school years, nearly dismissing the story as one might tell to an likely ambivalent, quietly amused crowd at a party. The chorus is a kind of hypnotic confession as SAMIA tries time and time again to assert that “I’m not ashamed of my past, ” though never seeming entirely assured. Through this repetition, SAMIA grapples with the uncertainty of early adulthood as she processes memories that left unaddressed can become “monstrous” and debilitating. "Lasting Friend" easily falls in line with SAMIA's other releases, which often seek to reckon with a wide array of generational anxieties through her wrenchingly eloquent, emotional and referential lyricism.

Emma Bowers on February 11, 2019
Henry Jamison - Florence Nightingale

Henry Jamison - Florence Nightingale


Henry Jamison's, long-awaited sophomore album is finally here. Gloria Duplex has been revealing itself within its four singles, but the full collection is something to behold in one sitting. One of our favorites from the mix is the beautiful and poignant "Florence Nightingale." In a stream of consciousness mixed with thought-out reflections, Jamison covers a lot of ground within 4 minutes and 38 seconds. We learn that his girlfriend his does not like being compared to Florence Nightingale while also getting his thoughts on the state of imperialism — all while pointing to something bigger.

Taking a trip down memory lane, Jamison goes back in time to his high school and elementary school days but has more questions than answers. Still there was a  childlike innocence in squirt guns and sing-a-longs to Pocahontas's "Just Around the River Bend." The haziness of the music adds an extra texture to the reminiscing. A faint finger-picked guitar and strings pair nicely with vocalizations that ooh and ahh filling the song with yearning and impermanence.

One of the most heart-wrenching lines Jamison sings is regarding men, "we could find success / you know really be the best / then maybe we could rest upon our father's knee." "Florence Nightingale" doesn't set out to be hopeful but yet carries with it a weight of responsibility and understanding that leads us to believe in better days ahead. If you haven't yet, check out the four animated videos we partnered with Jamison to bring to life, all based off the message of each song.

Dara Bankole on February 8, 2019
Spectator - Waves

Spectator - Waves


Saint Louis dream-pop / indie folk duo Spectator is back with their first single, "Waves," off their second full-length album, Charlie. "Take me on a ride on the other side of your mind", sings Jeffrey Albert. The song is a journey of sorts, one that occurs next to steady streams and hilly terrain. While texturally calm, it lyrically centers around the hardships within intimacy. Albert's rich voice carefully contrasts the lightness of the guitar and tambourine making every line he sings front and center. Within "Waves" is the plea to be so intertwined with the person that you love, so that you don't where they end and you begin. This intense connection is what makes the rough times easier and harder. You know this person so well and they know you, but when you are at odds with each other, it is as if you are also at odds with yourself. It makes sense that these sentiments are sung and explored by Megan Rooney & Jeffrey Albert, husband and wife — two parts of a whole. Fans of Matthew Perryman Jones and Mumford & Sons will can be sure to enjoy Spectator's latest offering.

Dara Bankole on February 7, 2019
Daisy the Great - Last Kisses

Daisy the Great - Last Kisses


When Daisy the Great recorded their Buzzsession in a Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn, “Last Kisses” was a soft and wonderfully unassuming song. The gentle lilt of Kelley Nicole Dugan and Mina Walker’s voices, weaving consistently unexpected harmonies as the band’s collaborative lead vocalists, embodied lyrics like “I’m not sleeping / Just staring at the ceiling.” The song earned a full release on the band’s debut full-length album, I’m Not Getting Any Taller, and the duo has reimagined the song entirely. It’s easy to limit one’s attention to Dugan and Walker as they take their melodic twists and turns, but the rest of the band transforms “Last Kisses” into a high-energy romp by finding a groove as quirky as the singers demand. Daisy the Great's vocal philosophy extends into their instrumental arrangements as well, with syncopated hits from the whole band jolting Dugan and Walker into action as they claim to be staring at the ceiling. Hear this song and many more as Daisy the Great  joins a fantastic lineup this May at The Wild Honey Pie’s Welcome Campers festival.

Daniel Shanker on February 7, 2019
Active Bird Community ft. Samia - Somewhere

Active Bird Community ft. Samia - Somewhere


Active Bird Community sings of absence in “Somewhere” and plays with the same concept musically throughout the song. There are two gut-wrenching, cord-yanking, rug-pulling stops: first when the whole band follows a halting guitar solo into silence and next when a chorus goes small when all signs point to big. The latter leaves singer Andrew Wolfson alone with the reality of the growing distance replacing a once-powerful love. Not just heartache, but also fear of what solitude might mean for him, rattles his voice as he realizes, “It made you want to leave / It made you want to be / Somewhere where I was not.” The definition of one’s existence purely in terms of another’s absence is a powerful one, and Active Bird Community conveys this weight through a wall of frantic distortion. Unlike abrupt stops earlier in the song, the ending is a reminder of just how long the days stretch in the darkest times, teetering at the brink of an ending for nearly a minute after Wolfson’s and SAMIA’s voices have said their goodbyes.

Daniel Shanker on February 6, 2019
Stray Fossa - Swells

Stray Fossa - Swells


With their fourth release "Swells," Stray Fossa has nestled deeper into their dream-pop sound. The Charlottesville trio brings you out from the cold and into a warm cocoon of lo-fi chill-wave nostalgia. It feels homey, which might be a side effect of their decision to record and produce the single in their living room. The shoe-gaze guitar style mixes well with the hazey vocals and crisp percussion. The track ebbs and flows mimicking the subject matter of the song. It is even designed to be able to play on repeat and melt into itself through the last line, “these swells come and go,” which is repeated throughout. Stray Fossa seems to have found their sweet spot with this newest release.

Corinne Bates on February 6, 2019
Weyes Blood - Andromeda

Weyes Blood - Andromeda


It's not cool to admit you're lonely, sad and looking for something real with someone else in the hellscape of modern dating. But on her new song "Andromeda," Weyes Blood does just this AND makes it sound cool because that's just what she is — cool. Her singular sound is hard to place, with the only fair comparisons being Lana Del Rey meets Karen Carpenter, or Tammy Wynette's backing band meets Mind Games-inspired psych rock. Her lyrics, as always, twinkle with mystic themes, the track's title being inspired by Andromeda Galaxy, the galaxy closest to the Milky Way. The story of her broken heart and the "crazy guy" who she "dares to try" to love her is a tale as old as time, but Weyes Blood asserts the gravity and sincerity of her affections with zeal. Her strong voice croons, "You know that I hate the game/don't wanna waste any more time/you know I been holding out." Tired yet hopeful, "Andromeda" is a song for disheartened romantics holding out for something true "to hold on to."

Jacqueline Zeisloft on February 5, 2019
Toro y Moi ft. WET - Monte Carlo

Toro y Moi ft. WET - Monte Carlo


Outer Peace, the latest studio effort from Chaz Bundick aka Toro y Moi, challenges the listener to consider a dauntless tranquility that transcends themselves and the day-to-day trivialities of existing. Bundick lets the influence of Daft Punk and the house styles of his side project Les Sins seep in, crafting a record that is both dreamy and danceable. On “Monte Carlo,” it seems he may have cycled back around to elements of “chillwave,” heard in the woozy, deep textures on his earlier tracks like “Blessa,” but now refracting the sound through the lens of accessible pop music and lo-fi disco. The vocals, including the high pitched hook from Kelly Zutrau of Wet, are coated with a tasteful amount of autotune, fitting the track into the vein of Migos-style trap as it gliding over tittering drum machine hits, synth waves and echoing howls. In the lyrics, Bundick turns the woes of transportation into a siren song, and quite frankly, a real bop.

Deanna DiLandro on February 5, 2019
Donovan Woods - Go To Her

Donovan Woods - Go To Her


With last year's release of his note-worthy album Both Ways, Nashville/Toronto singer-songwriter Donovan Woods continues to put out music with the same intrinsic quality as the hit record. In "Go To Her," Woods sings out his anxious thoughts and attempts to coax himself into reconciliation with another. Questions and feelings are still left unsettled within the ending of this relationship, making it harder to move on. Still, the reminiscing would not be complete without also remembering what went wrong. Her actions that didn't make sense to the him and the "good mistakes" that he's made all led to a something that is now fragile and broken. Wood's voice is warm and comforting even in the midst of an almost lament. Musically the other star of this song are the strings that continually wax through, filling it with even more emotion and longing. "Go To Her" is Donovan Woods at his finest — while unsure of himself and his wants, there is a confidence in his sound, a sense that when it comes to who he is as a musician there is little left to question.

Dara Bankole on February 4, 2019
Girlpool - What Chaos is Imaginary

Girlpool - What Chaos is Imaginary


The title track on Girlpool’s newest album, “What Chaos is Imaginary,” is a moody and sweeping exploration of uncertainty. The indie duo, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad, made the song while living apart, forcing them to change the way they write, record and arrange and igniting a maturity in their sound unlike anything we’ve heard before. The song opens with an 80s-style organ synth that hooks you immediately in a kind of sonic nostalgia. Then Tividad’s vocals drift in, simple and beautiful in their waif-like falsetto. Backed by Tucker’s whispery harmonies and layered over drums reminiscent of a heartbeat, it feels like the pair is guiding you through a dark, unexplored fantasy land. It’s fitting, since thematically, that’s what “What Chaos Is Imaginary” is about: navigating uncharted territory, both physical and emotional and doing so independently. This mood is captured perfectly by the arrangement of the strings, particularly in the bridge. They’re equal parts captivating and spine-chilling, and are the reason this song is one of our favorites from this year so far.

Britnee Meiser on February 4, 2019
Lily and Madeleine - Analog Love

Lily and Madeleine - Analog Love


Lily and Madeleine’s single “Analog Love” is angelic and withdrawn, lovesick and calm. Upbeat percussion combines with relaxed strings and clear vocals to convey the duo’s lyrical wish to find a love not fraught within the worries and superficialities of our modern hyper-connected world. Longing to be grounded by their love, the sisters lament “I want an analog love/Something slow and sweet/Give me an analog love/Wanna feel the Earth underneath our feet.” This song combines noises harmoniously to produce an overall sound that is not exceedingly busy or overdone, something that could lull you to sleep or bring you back to life. For those holdouts that wish for relationships not solely defined by text on a screen or like-counters, this ode to old-school love is a beautiful affirmation.

Ben Burke on February 4, 2019

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