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Taylor Janzen - New Mercies
Taylor Janzen - New Mercies

Taylor Janzen - New Mercies


The passionate question on the chorus of "New Mercies" asks both the singer herself and the listeners “Is it too late for me to believe in the morning’s new mercies?” 19-year-old Taylor Janzen’s latest single gives a voice to her skepticism about the things of heaven and earth. "New Mercies" is the Winnipeg singer-songwriter’s first single recorded in a studio with a full band, which captures all the frustrated energy that brought the song to life. The song was written in a moment of disequilibrium between the feelings of Taylor's energetic soul and the faith she was raised to believe in, a discordance she has always felt but was unable to explain until now. Asking about the mercies conceived in the morning to those who believe in the Biblical God, she questions if it is too late to believe and be saved but she answers herself and her cynicism along the song. Taylor is set to perform in several festivals including SXSW and release her new EP in 2019.

Giulia Santana on December 11, 2018
Okey Dokey - When They Get Older

Okey Dokey - When They Get Older


With an intro nearly taunting you to start humming Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” Okey Dokey’s “When They Get Older” wears its influences proudly. Mixing sounds from the Motown and doo-wop classics of Hitsville, U.S.A. with the hazy leisure of California surfer rock, and finally hitting a little closer to their Nashville home with a hint of Elvis’ Graceland croon in the bridge, they pack a whole country’s worth of rock-and-roll history into only two-and-a-half minutes. Of course, with Rayland Baxter featuring prominently on vocals, the Nashville sound wins out and the whole crew smiles their way through the complexities of growing up. They rattle off a list of the things they look forward to in old age — a home, a family and the calm sort of love that replaces the horribly exciting kind only after years and years together — but then retract their wishes with a shrug when they realize that “creature comforts” and “picket fences” imply the calm sort of everything that replaces the wonderfully exciting adventures of youth. They want to get older, just maybe not so fast.

Daniel Shanker on December 4, 2018
Diamond Cafe - The Way You Used to Love

Diamond Cafe - The Way You Used to Love


Diamond Cafe is the solo project of musician Tristan Thompson, who performs under the mononym of Diamond. The music of Diamond Cafe feels like a modern take of classic 80's synthpop. His most recent single, "The Way You Used To Love Me" fully imparts this feeling, leaving the listener longing for a bygone era of music while looking ahead to what artists like himself have in store. It has the punchy drum machines, the dreamy synths, and with Thompson's pitch perfect vocals, it sounds like Diamond Cafe is the complete musical package for someone seeking a refuge from doom, gloom, and the dangers of modern music.

Lucas Nyhus on December 4, 2018
mxmtoon - I feel like chet

mxmtoon - I feel like chet


“i feel like chet” is another acoustic-pop-feel-good single from Bay Area singer-songwriter mxmtoon (aka: Maia.) Maia is only 18 years old but her voice is incredibly mature as she sings about looking at love through rose-colored lenses, which are pictured on the single’s cover. Despite her age, Maia proves that she understands the painful situations love can present. By admitting she is a hopeless romantic who is afraid of commitment, Maia shows that she is aware of this contradiction that took many of us until much later in life to realize. She confesses to listening to love songs and day dreaming daily, which could be the reason she is able to create such touching love songs of her own. All of Maia’s songs are recorded on her laptop in her parent’s guest room, which gives the songs a personal feeling that is hard to recreate in a recording studio. “i feel like chet” is a bedroom-pop tune that feels like a sleepover at your high school best friend's house where you are whispering about your crush and trying not to wake their parents. Keep your ear to the ground for more from mxmtoon this year!

Kyra Bruce on December 3, 2018
Julianna Zachariou - Subway Song

Julianna Zachariou - Subway Song


Conor Oberst isn’t the only one out there writing soft, devastating love ballads about perfect nights in that city that never sleeps. Julianna Zachariou’s “Subway Song” is a tender serenade for those couples who can’t keep their eyes open on their long late-night commutes home to Bushwick or Astoria or Jersey City or wherever. But the song is perfect no matter what city you take public transportation in. Mesmerizing and full, it transcends NYC city limits and catches you in transit, feeling romantic and wistful about someone or someplace. The sparse acoustic arrangement serves the clever verses and the delicate chorus: “Sway left, sway right, slow dancing in the middle of the subway.” “Subway Song” will leave you feeling giddy and ready for whatever Zachariou has for us next.

Jacqueline Zeisloft on December 3, 2018
Small Forward - Tearjerker

Small Forward - Tearjerker


With the ease of Los Angeles in its veins coupled with a twinge of early Death Cab for Cutie sadness, LA's Small Forward new single "Tearjerker" is a stand out. "When you look me in the eyes what will you do?/ When you notice there is nothing to hold onto" frontman Michael Stevenson sings. "Tearjerker" recalls the ending of something that was once significant. Still the sadness, seems more directed to the way things are ending — the awkwardness of small talk and the realization of your part in the dissolution of it all. Then there's the self-reflection, "will there ever be one day that passes by that I will stay the same?" that will attempt to eat away at you. With lo-fi vocals and a mellow surf rock vibe, "Tearjerker" sounds like what happens when emo kids grow up. Still Small Forward shouldn't be put in a box, in past projects they've shown us their psych-pop side along with their folk and Americana influences. Wherever comes next for these guys, we're positive that we'll be on board. 

Dara Bankole on November 30, 2018
Far Caspian - Finding My Way Home

Far Caspian - Finding My Way Home


Throughout Far Caspian's discography is an ebb and flow of sound, it arrives and leaves the listener effortlessly. Their song, "Finding My Way Home" is as effortless as the sound is amiable. Never during the duration of the song do they impart any negative feeling, nor any sense of anxiety. They use music as a tool not only to express feeling, but to impress an atmosphere. The atmosphere they convey through this particular song is one of harmony, it calmly tingles the eardrum and relaxes the mind. If any song were to be used for therapeutic purposes, it would be this one!

Lucas Nyhus on November 30, 2018
Faye Webster - Kingston

Faye Webster - Kingston


Meet Secretly Canadian’s latest signing, Faye Webster. Her debut single on the iconic indie label is “Kingston,” a lush and romantic ode to new love and Southern summers. Webster was formerly signed to Atlanta’s Awful Records, a collective known for rap artists like Playboi Carti. Not afraid to blend genres of folk, hip-hop and R&B, “Kingston” is a dreamy trip. This is reflected in its accompanying music video that looks like it could’ve been directed by Petra Collins — but it was actually made by the 21 year old herself. Featured on Pitchfork’s latest “What’s Good” playlist, Webster is definitely one to watch as a burgeoning artist in indie folk. Aside from her musical talents, Webster is also a recognized photographer in her hometown of Atlanta. She’s shot hip-hop stars like Offset, Lil Yachty and D.R.A.M., along with an ad campaign for Nike Airmax 97. With an already impressive back catalogue, “Kingston” is the first single of Webster’s upcoming sophomore album.

Olivia Clark on November 30, 2018
Pearla - Pumpkin

Pearla - Pumpkin


With "Pumpkin," Brooklyn’s Nicole Rodriguez aka Pearla talks about loss and life changes with a calm in the middle of a troubled sea approach. Written after a season in Tibet that was sparked by the loss of a loved one, "Pumpkin" walks you through the peaceful colorfulness of fall, reminding you that changes are natural and many times, beautiful. The strumming guitar throughout the song takes it back to the original feelings of hopelessness and dizziness that inspired the 22-year-old singer, while the lyrics will remind you that love and hope are always around the corner. "Pumpkin" was released last month along with ballad “Forgive Yourself,” that also talks about revelations in the adult life. Pearla is currently working on her debut album that is expected sometime in 2019.

Giulia Santana on November 29, 2018
Amanda Tenfjord - Pick A Card

Amanda Tenfjord - Pick A Card


Monopoly and Life: two board games that depict the trials and tribulations of the human condition. Amanda Tenfjord’s final single, “Pick a Card” from her debut EP First Impression does the same. In the chorus, she sings, “Just pick a card, any card / Say it's simple / I say it's hard.” The synth-laden track is coupled with her smooth but strong vocals that echo those of Sia, while NME have compared her to London Grammar and Adele. Tenfjord is a Norwegian 21-year-old living in Trondheim, the country’s third largest city which is developing a name for itself as the site of a burgeoning pop music community. As a new and young artist, Tenfjord is expressing the uncertainty of her future on “Pick a Card.” In tune again with the board game imagery, Tenfjord reveals, “I'm happy, but you know it's always tempting to push rewind and go from the top. / Life is not a game we can restart though. / No checkpoints if you go too far.” If you’re a fan of Scandinavian pop, definitely explore the rest of Tenfjord’s EP First Impressions out now on Propeller Records.

Olivia Clark on November 29, 2018
Adeline Hotel - At Least We Tried

Adeline Hotel - At Least We Tried


The best way to describe Adeline Hotel’s track “At Least We Tried” is slow burning. With it’s mellow guitar riffs, understated piano and steady drum beat, the Brooklyn singer-songwriter creates a warm and  heart wrenching listening experience with its subtle twang and well thought out instrumentation layering. The song overall carries Adeline Hotel’s signature warm tone and poignant lyrics. In it, singer Dan Kinshokwy sings of love, second chances, and life with lyrics like, “It’s hard to make sense of it / But you’re doing better than I might.” and “Please shoot out the light and tease me with everything wild.” With his easy-going vocals coupled with the warm harmonies provided by singer-songwriter Johanna Samuels, Knishokwy provides a tender exterior over a hard discussion of timely existential needs and a wistful rumination on what's actually needed to find happiness, fulfillment and why it can be so hard to come by.

Alessandra Rincon on November 29, 2018

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