These are the tracks I’ve been loving this week!
Daysof8 – Nora Lilith
Inspired by the Sound Toys ‘AlterBoy’ plugin, and the fluid improvisational writing style that came from it, Nora Lilith is pushing the bounds of Pop predictability with her new stuttering release ‘Daysof8’. The confessional release seamlessly blends the best parts of Pop, Jazz, R&B, and House music, which in turn has created a unique and minimalist sound scape that ebbs and flows with a sultry groove. ‘Daysof8’ outlines a retrospective understanding of one’s mistakes amidst a fallen relationship, and the desire for closure and freedom for both parties involved, but the haunting effects on the lead vocal leave the overall message largely up to interpretation for the listener. Nora Lilith isn’t afraid to step into sonic spaces that are a little more unconventional, and ‘Daysof8’ is an example of her skilful use of minimalism and dissonance to enhance the essence of her storytelling.
Pollen – Sasha Daniel
Swimming in a cinematic and experimental ocean of sonic scenery, Sasha Daniel explores themes of accepting the energy around us- good and bad- and embodying the essence of nature around us with her newest release ‘Pollen’. With cross-continental industry experience from Israel to the U.S, Sasha Daniel has been using her writing as a vehicle of self-reflection and contemplation, and takes her influences from other euphoric and explorative artists like Ásgeir, Billie Eilish, and Bonobo. The soundscape in ‘Pollen’ swells and moves with the ethereal and light choral harmony section established in the very beginning, before attaching itself to this strong percussive backbone that keeps the momentum consistent for the rest of the track. Sasha Daniel displays finesse with the simple and effective nuances of this art-pop style of production, relying on a foundation of harmonies, and reverse piano drones to really relay the message of ‘Pollen’.
Hazy – Little Fuss
Boston based indie pop duo Little Fuss is serving up something dreamy and delicious with the stylish new release ‘Hazy’. With melodies that fall up, and slide effortlessly around the some of the greatest chord choices I’ve heard in a long time, ‘Hazy’ showcases finesse over melody writing and effective instrumentation. The duo met while studying abroad in Spain, and have been developing their signature sound, unfazed by the last 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions. The title track of their debut EP ‘Hazy’ is a great representation of a coming together of proficient writing and polished production, with Olivia’s vocal’s resonating in this round and warm tone amidst the brightness of the electric guitar twangs. The four-track sonic adventure from the Boston artists is a fabulous introduction of their whimsy and personalities, and creates definite excitement for the next project from Little Fuss.
Glo – Roo
Cross-dimensional art-pop music maker Roo is taking you on a cosmic adventure with the dark and brooding release ‘Glo’. This release embraces the complex intricacies of navigating the experience of queer romance, with the industrial space textures of the instrumental taking you on a journey through the toxicity that can arise in this underrepresented arena. With a background in science technology, the level experimental electronica feels like a natural extension of her philosophical and contemplative songwriting style, and though otherworldly, the production in ‘Glo’ never strays from feeling accessible. Highlighting and blending the ethereal vocal tone in ‘Glo’ with the gritty darkness of alternative electronica, makes for a cinematic display of characterisation in music, and set up Roo for a long career in experimental soundscapes and unique approaches to writing.
Curiosity – Brooklyn Forbes
Brooklyn Forbes is the haunting and psychedelic songsmith you’ve been waiting to sink your teeth into, and ‘Curiosity’ from her debut EP ‘Egoic Illusion’ is a great introduction to the artists’ dreamy folk-pop universe. The intimacy of the vocal reverb and harmonies at the beginning of this song as they hang on the dissonance of the chord voicing, is the perfect set up for a track that takes you through a journey of emotions. After balancing on the edge of these ghostly melodic choices, the chorus of ‘Curiosity’ lands in this syrupy country-esque arena that momentarily subverts your attention; the song acts a little like a rollercoaster that lingers on the top of these haunting high points, before plunging into the thrill of a sweet diatonic resting place. Much like the rest of the dynamic EP, ‘Curiosity’ is a treat that’s hard to put down, and Brooklyn Forbes writing is sophisticated and entirely wonderful.
Home – Nicole Issa
Baring all in her vulnerable debut release ‘Home’, Sydney-sider Nicole Issa is breaking into the scene and establishing herself as an artist built on the principals of honesty and openness. The anthemic pop track is weaved together with polished production and cinematic orchestral waves, all serving as the backdrop to the fear of loneliness and displacement. The strong heartbeat-like thump throughout the verses in ‘Home’ really reinforce this message of looming anxiousness and uncertainty around the experience of isolation, a theme we can all relate to amidst this period of lockdown and social distance. The backbone to Nicole Issa’s release is a bittersweet understanding that though temporary feelings of connectedness from the wrong person may seem worthwhile at first, it can leave you feeling empty and alone. ‘Home’ reflects on the intrinsic heartbreak and bravery required to put your future- self ahead of your present desires, an emotion packed sentiment from the debut artist.
Remember Less – Rebecca McCartney
‘Remember Less’ is a dreamy expression of raw emotional stream of consciousness writing, packaged in a completely soulful and sexy indie-rock sound. The clear musical mastery is not lost on anybody, and NYC songwriter Rebecca McCartney knows how to craft a song with a comforting intimacy that still has the ability to explode into something colossal and strong. The sweeping melodies that resonate in this ethereal register are like clouds above a landscape of grooving instrumentation and backing vocalists, and the writing has a stark simplicity to it that brings a real sense of personal story telling. To put it plainly, ‘Remember Less’ from jazz-genius Rebecca McCartney, is possibly one of the greatest songs I’ve heard all year, and is a track I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Eve – Alba Rose
New Zealand Jazz cat Alba Rose has been making steady waves in the underground live scene in Wellington for a number of years, and is cultivating a global audience with her debut release ‘Eve’. The sultry neo-soul soundscape creates a backdrop for a reflective song about self-preservation and inner confidence, and features some incredible keys work that has you dancing in-between the chords and beats. This track feels as if it was created with a strong improvisational foundation, as Alba’s melodic choices feel so naturally adventurous amidst the driving flow of the groove. ‘Eve’ is certainty one to anticipate seeing live, and is a track you can imagining continually building over time as each member of the band is spotlighted with a solo, with the intimacy of Alba Rose’s vocal presence being the glue that ties everything together.
Julia – Gal Musette
If the Beatles, and ‘Westworld’ composer Ramin Djawadi had a haunting power-pop lovechild, it might sound something like the other-worldly cinematic release from US artist Gal Musette. The introspective, ‘Backwards Lullaby’ single is awash with themes of adolescent loneliness, mental health, and existential longing, packaged as concepts one can only share with an imaginary friend. The final chord of ‘Julia’ is breath-taking, and might cause an audible gasp of sympathetic emotion, as Gal Musette flexes her musicology and ability to incite a physical reaction from beautiful music. Something that spoke particularly loudly to me in ‘Julia’ was Gal’s precious restraint in introducing herself into the story set up by classical arpeggios and reverberating bells. ‘Julia’ is a cinematic and expressive indie/folk track with a distinct sense of originality, and Gal Musette’s intricate writing and arrangement elevate this song to a high level of sophistication
Ragdoll – Emmrose
After taking us for a sinister journey with ‘Afterlife’, Emmrose has returned with another brooding anthem in ‘Ragdoll’. The theatrical and empowering release is the second collaborative track from NY artist and producer Richard Orofino, and is a sonic punch to the groin of every nameless oppressive patriarchal figure. Opening with the dissonant and definitely haunted piano notes of a drowned lullaby, ‘Ragdoll’ builds up tension and arms itself as a powerful and reckoning force ready for battle. Emmrose has a way of really marinating her song writing in a thick molasses of emotional context, and isn’t afraid to have her writing dissect and reflect on some of the more toxic moments of her personal experience. ‘Ragdoll’ is quite the dark-pop cinematic expression, and is a clear example of Emmrose harnessing her inner turmoil to create something beautiful