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Tiny Ruins - School of Design
Tiny Ruins - School of Design

Tiny Ruins - School of Design


"School of Design" is the latest single from the New Zealand based group, Tiny Ruins. Frontwoman, Hollie Fullbrook is more than a musician, she is a storyteller. Fullbrook's voice is gentle and soothing. The vivid lyrics describe a place that is supposed to evoke distinct thought and creativity. But the institution itself is a very controlled uniform space, "Everything was white / And all the clocks were well designed / All ticking in time." The guitar is captivating and gives the song the motion it needs to progress in contrast to Fullbrook's subdued vocals. Look out for the full album, Olympic Girls on February 1!

Sophia Theofanos on January 8, 2019
Skylar Gudasz - Play Nice

Skylar Gudasz - Play Nice


Spirited singer/songwriter, Skylar Gudasz shares “Play Nice,” a breezy single that serves as a pointed, unbuttoned rebuttal to the commonalities of toxic masculinity. Gudasz doesn’t waste any time getting into how men's misconceptions of women have effected her, singing lines like, “I ain’t no silent doll and I ain't that sweet.” Her soaring and controlled vocal is pungent and placed in a vintage radio-esque delay that echos for your attention. The song is a PSA, that rightfully scrutinizes the belief that women can’t stray from “social norms,” all while immersed in an folk-rock bop. 

The production on "Play Nice" paints an energetic soundscape, incorporating synth and glittery electronics, a few elements absent from her debut release, Oleander. “When I wrote it I was feeling a lot of rage at the idea that, as a woman, you have to play nice and smile and go along with certain things as sort of a survival mechanism,” Gudasz said of the song. “I hope when people listen they come away with the feeling that it’s okay to be angry.”

Deanna DiLandro on January 7, 2019
Broken Bells - Shelter

Broken Bells - Shelter


Alternative rock’s greatest side-project, Broken Bells, has released their first new song since 2015. "Shelter" is another shining example of the supergroup's blend of genre-bending versatility and the ability to create well-crafted earworms. Broken Bells, which consists of The Shins frontman James Mercer and legendary producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton, continues to evolve their sound in such a fresh way that perhaps it could be said that James Mercer's best work is now through this collaboration with Burton and no longer through The Shins' ever so infrequent releases. The verdict is still out on that one but hopefully a new Broken Bells LP in the near future will cement that hypothesis as truth.

Bobby Lewis on January 7, 2019
Miss Grit - Talk Talk

Miss Grit - Talk Talk


Margaret Sohn is a NYU electrical engineering student by day and Miss Grit by night. In a highly saturated indie music scene, Miss Grit's first single "Talk Talk" proves that we should all be paying attention to her. From the first taste of her music, the influences of St. Vincent and Wilco's Nels Cline run deep. What we love the most is that there is something very personal and reflective about the lyrics combined with an instinctively groovy and danceable instrumental. We can't wait for what comes next for Miss Grit. Her debut EP Talk, Talk premieres January 11.

Sophia Theofanos on January 7, 2019
French for Rabbits - Highest Hill

French for Rabbits - Highest Hill


French for Rabbits' new single, "Highest Hill" feels, in its essence, like a break-up song. The minimalistic ballad from the New Zealand indie pop group is dreamy catharsis for the recently scorned. Lamenting the loss of a close relationship, front woman Brooke Singer sings in a mournful whisper, "You took me higher than the highest hill, then you took me lower than I've ever felt." Honest and cutting, this track is great for a sad walk around the neighborhood, or a soft, discreet cry on the bus. The group has been active since 2012, but a slew of career-leveraging moments, like an opening slot for fellow New Zealander Lorde and an upcoming performance at SXSW, point towards a bright future for this dynamic duo.

Jacqueline Zeisloft on December 12, 2018
Angelo De Augustine - Kaitlin

Angelo De Augustine - Kaitlin


Written in the aftermath of a devastating breakup, Angelo De Augustine’s “Kaitlin” is a hushed journal of the stream-of-consciousness thoughts that fill the silence when a gaping hole opens up, revealing that there never really was anything else. Sing-speaking with matter-of-fact phrasing that implies all other words have failed him, he resorts to simply crying her name. De Augustine whispers intimately, in a way that must have been reserved for the eponymous Kaitlin, but, without a muse, is now full of sorrow. The thought of life without her is wholly unfathomable, but even the thought of her causes its own form of pain, evident in the empty space he leaves at the end of a verse to inhale in preparation of uttering that awful, beautiful name. Not enough time has passed to erase the venom that the end brought forth, so he alternates between sweetness and bitterness, regretting that “I lost my friend,” but telling her to “leave your old boyfriend.” At the end of relationship in which each person’s voids made room for the other — one partner had a missing mother, the other a missing father, and both a missing piece that the other could fill — now there’s just twice as much emptiness.

Daniel Shanker on December 12, 2018
French Horn Rebellion & Glassio - Love Me Back

French Horn Rebellion & Glassio - Love Me Back


Brooklyn siblings French Horn Rebellion have teamed up with fellow Brooklyn artist Glassio for their newest silky, smooth single “Love Me Back.” The track beautifully fuses together groovy, ‘80s synth-pop with emotive piano keys and funky basslines for an exuberant finish. The combination of their lush vocals and rich beats adds a layer of warmth that comforts the soul. Throughout, the Brooklyn artists explore what it means to put yourself out there for all to see and repeatedly ask the question “Are you gonna love me back?” The idea came when Sam Rad of Glassio began gibberish-singing vocal lines and Robert of FHR noticed that it sounded like Spanish. When they played back his isolated vocal track and deciphered what he was unconsciously saying, they worked out a translation and kept it to become a part of the song. The happenstance makes for a charming and engaging dynamic.

Shayna Chabrow on December 11, 2018
Sasami - Callous

Sasami - Callous


You may recognize Sasami Ashworth from Cherry Glazerr, Dirt Dress, or her contributions to Vagabon, Wild Nothing, and Hand Habits. On top of all that Pitchfork named her first solo release “Callous” best new track. SASAMI has been making all kinds music around LA for years, from scoring films and commercials to playing in grunge-punk bands. “Callous” is an intimate view into this musical powerhouses’s unhealthy relationship. She sings, “when I look back I can see myself slipping down” and “heaven knows I tried,” telling us she was losing herself in a relationship that was less than perfect. Her talent is clearly visible on this dreamy distorted track. Spacey synth builds through the whole song with steady drums bringing it back down to earth. SASAMI'S melancholy humming creates a melody beneath the sluggish guitar strumming quick and steady chords. Whether you’re an indie rocker or not, you will love this new track from SASAMI.

Kyra Bruce on December 11, 2018
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
Micra - Child Grows Old

Micra - Child Grows Old


Sydney atmospheric-pop duo Micra recently released their second single "Child Grows Old." The duo is made up of Ivana Kay, a Bulgarian vocalist and guitarist and Robbie Cain, an Australian multi-instrumentalist. After being seated together at an Unknown Mortal Orchestra concert last year the two, kept in touch and decided to make music together. The end result is  a sound that is reminiscent of Beach House and Ariel Pink. When it comes to "Child Grows Old" “The song explores a time in life which felt like nothing had changed for too long. Waiting around for something to happen without knowing where to begin. It's an internal conversation about forcing yourself to jump into the next phase of life and facing the obstacles that come out of that,” Cain says. "Child Grows Old" is trippy in nature, but familiar in content and dedicated to finding life in those times that feel more like dead space.

Dara Bankole on December 10, 2018
Talk Time - True North

Talk Time - True North


Talk Time is an East Los Angeles alternative rock band. Bands that define themselves as alt-rock are a dime a dozen in LA, but this band knows how to distinguish themselves as their own force. Their music has a familiar pop atmosphere, but with the hooks and instrumental proficiency so as to not be lumped in with popular recording artists of their time. Their single “True North” follows that standard they’ve set, turning a familiar sound upside down. Produced by Math Bishop of U2 fame, you can hear echoes of many popular artists of the past decade. When listening, popular Alt bands in the realm of U2 and Radiohead and Foster the People spring to mind, but past the bands sound it doesn’t go further than that. They’ve set their own style and precedent for themselves, and are careful to maintain their established level of songwriting on all their releases.

Lucas Nyhus on December 7, 2018

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