Indie pop artist Jon Hill is dropping his new single “Human” today from Broken Record Co. Featuring as the title track on his upcoming EP, this emotional yet simplistic track offers relief from the demons behind our eyelids and allows us to not feel so alone for a while. Opening the track with piano chords instantly places the listener in the world of Hill and sets the stage for the addition of an electronic bass beat around the 20-second mark pushing the song forward toward the rest of the track. Stacatto style singing during the bridge breaks up the smooth and flowing chorus to provide added emphasis on the message of the song and Hill’s dreamy voice folds the listener within its velvety grasp. Keeping the lyrics to a minimum, Hill allows the listener to get lost in the song instead of their head. From the opening piano to the closing beats, this song is an emotional ride that shines a light on the struggles we all face being human, reminding us it’s okay to not be perfect.
Be sure to check out this wonderful new song and give Hill a follow on social media such as Instagram.
Electro-pop-punk duo Lady Lightning co-fronted by Graci Carli and Tony Bush released their debut EP album titled Sleepover in May of this year. The Brooklyn based band receives inspiration from 80’s style pop-rock legends Kenny Loggins, Debbie Harry, and Michael Jackson, and it definitely shows throughout all of the tracks on this first album. Truly a work for those seeking motivation for growth and empowerment, Carli and Bush provide a place to come home and re-energize to.
Woven throughout the tracks is a thread of religious verbiage, seen quite obviously in the first song “Heaven” but also in “Blame” and “Hero” as well. Choosing to drive songs with their upbeat musical styling and intricately woven vocals each track features both a whimsical and passionate air about it; with the message of self-care and appreciation never in doubt. If listening closely you may even be able to find small hints of Bleachers and Fall Out Boy vibes among the tracks, specifically “Hero” and “Lucky Love”.
Perhaps the most unique song on the album though is “Blow”, flashing an angrier beginning than any of the other tracks. The fervor of finally having made it and being able to show off their hard work and dedication provides the basis for the song while still leaving you with an inspired feeling to continue to put the time and effort in.
Rounding the album off with “Enough” the duo goes all out singing about the importance of believing in yourself. As the most up-beat track in the work, it will remind you of every great Disney movie you’ve ever watched. Featuring the lyric that potentially describes the entire album the best, “it’s hard to feel the good if it never gets tough” “Enough” is the perfect ending to an inspiring album.
Phebe Starr is back and brighter than ever with her new EP Ice Tea Liberace which was released on August 30 of this year. Showcasing an impressive musical vision and a wide range of vocal talent this four-song album will be the perfect kick start to your Fall music lineup. With songs mainly centered around a loss of innocence and having to come to terms with growing up, listeners will get a clear sense of Starr’s diverse musical style and opinions on the world.
Choosing to start off the album with its title track “Ice Tea Liberace” you’re immediately dropped into the mystical land Starr will journey through over the course of the four songs. Featuring a renaissance-meets-hip-hop vibe, this track has a unique blend of sound coming in from a wide range of instruments and background beats. The staccato lyricism pushes the song along and provides for a clear focus on the words themselves, a call to the return of an older world, a rebellion against how things are now. “Ice Tea Liberace” is both powerful and original, exactly what you would want from the opening track.
Starr’s next track “Bad News” opens with a tribute to the late Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” before moving toward her sleek and lustrous vocalism. A stark contrast from the first song, this one focuses more on the lyrics than the instrumentation. Drawing the listener’s attention to the chorus with the repetition of the B in Bad is a stylistic technique Starr has mastered and brings out in later songs as well.
The third track of the album, “Break the Law”, starts off a little different with Starr choosing to bring an acoustic-style sound into the mix. “Break the Law” is also distinctive in the strategic use of lyrical pauses letting the beat carry the song. A song to rave to at a basement party “Break the Law” sounds like a cross between Halsey and Billie Eilish with its roots planted firmly in the bad girl world.
Last but definitely not least, the last track on the album “Touch XXX” rounds us off in an emotional yet gentle way as if falling into a pool of perfectly calm water. Showing off her range here, you can truly get the feeling for how strong of a singer Starr really is. The kind of song that makes you close your eyes and feel the music, “Touch XXX” will take you on a ride of pure ecstasy.
Gifting us with a complete emotional journey Starr has succeeded in creating her own world for listeners to soak in. As the sole singer/songwriter on the album, it’s no wonder her true identity shines so clearly throughout the work. The most perfect blend of soul and power, Ice Tea Liberace will have you rebelling against societal norms before you know it. When asked about the new album Starr said, “I’ve constantly been expected to play a role. I think a lot of women have these expectations placed on us. Labels make people feel safe. Social identities make people feel like they have control over life. I’ve learnt those people may feel safe but they aren’t free. I’ve learnt that being outcasted for who you are is more enjoyable than being accepted for something you’re not.”
Oakland based husband and wife duo My Little Hum are back with their sophomore album Pioneer featuring the track, “One of a Kind” where the music is as free and innovative as the lyrics. Sounding like a female powerhouse band thriving on chaotic harmonies the electric beat captivates listeners reminding them of how they are as unique as the song itself. With the feel of an oldies rock song, you’ll have visions of hippies funkily dressed dancing through your mind in no time.
Inspired by guest band member Dan Jewett’s late father, “One of a Kind” has strong emotional ties for the band allowing their creative personalities to be felt throughout the entire track such as the harsh chomp of the guitar and hectic keyboard solo. Perfect for fans of Television, The Lemon Twigs, or The Sundays, My Little Hum continues to bring the power pop vibrations in not only “One of a Kind” but also their upcoming new album Pioneer produced by Mystery Lawn Music, set to be released on October 18, 2019.
Folk-pop duo Starbird & the Phoenix – made up of Courtney Bassett and Andrew Swackhamer – are back with a groovy acoustic rendition of the hit song, “Sunbeam”. Producing a video full of summery feel-good vibes, the two are jamming out in a quaint space allowing the viewer to feel as if they’re right in the studio with the artists. Between Andrew shredding on the ukulele and Courtney hitting astronomically high notes, you can’t do anything but “groove along with me” as the lyrics suggest. Great for a pick me up, one watch through the video will have your soul feeding off the energy of the two in no time. Be sure to catch this wonderful remake of “Sunbeam” the week of August 12 and allow yourself to dive into the world of Starbird and the Phoenix.
Set to release on August 8, “Cold” by Boy in Space is a great new R&B track that packs a mighty punch in the depth of its lyrics. With opening sounds reminiscent of a lullaby, this song will launch you deep into your feelings, “Both you and me no we gotta let it go/ Laying on the ground wondering why it’s so cold”. Deeply questioning the problems in a relationship, there is something we can all relate to with this track.
For fans of Fletcher, SHY Martin, or Chelsea Cutler there is a lot to look forward to here with Boy in Space. His R&B meets pop culture sound will have him on the up and up for many years to come, so be sure to keep up with him here.
Montreal born Chiiild has recently dropped an idyllic hit single in “Count Me Out”, with hazy vocalism gently pressed over the top of true R&B beats creating delicious soul food for the ears. Picture Tame Impala teaming up with D’Angelo for this celestial sound that crosses genres from the classical beginning to the jazzy blues ending. If the sound itself isn’t enough to draw you in then the lyrics will by promoting feelings of self-love with the insistence that you can bounce back from anything. The chorus, “Don’t count me out because I’ll come back” will get your head slow nodding along to the beat within the first thirty seconds.
Chiiild will also be heading overseas towards the end of this year but has promised more music for Fall of 2019. One thing is for certain though this is definitely an artist to keep your eye on moving into the future.
9/14 — Vancouver, BC — Vogue Theatre
9/15 — Seattle, WA — The Crocodile
9/17 — Portland, OR — Hawthorne Theatre
9/19 — San Francisco, CA — The Regency Ballroom
9/21 — Los Angeles, CA — Fonda Theatre
9/24 — Houston, TX — The Studio at Warehouse Live
9/25 — Dallas, TX — Trees
9/27 — Atlanta, GA — The Loft
9/30 — New York, NY — Brooklyn Steel
10/1 — Philadelphia, PA — Theatre of Living Arts
10/2 — Toronto, ON — Phoenix Concert Theatre
10/4 — Detroit, MI — Magic Stick
10/5 — Chicago, IL — Metro
10/7 — Boulder, CO — Fox Theatre
10/9 — Salt Lake City, UT — Metro Music Hall
10/11 — Santa Ana, CA — Yost Theater
Ann Arbor based indie rock band Fallow Land has recently released their first LP Slow Down, Rockstar dripping with hefty arpeggios flush with reverb and repetition while emotional lyrics slide over the top. A true evolution for the band from their EP Pinscher guitarist/vocalist Whit Fineberg claims a lot of emotional healing in the two years between records. He was even quoted to say, “When I was younger I lived more recklessly, it sometimes felt like every aspect of my life was an extension of the art I was creating.” While this was helpful in creating the band’s early works a fundamental shift was necessary for further production and as they’ve matured emotionally listeners can hear a change between the two albums.
With “The Things You Say” and “The Hope” emerging as the two most popular songs it’s by no coincidence that they’re also two of the most emotional and healing songs on the album. “The Things You Say” offers a total expression of fears and emotional exposure from the band. While in “The Hope” listeners are able to come to a place of complete comfort, similarly to how Fineberg himself was able to find comfort in the relationship he was writing about. With an emotion for everyone expressed on the album, the most unique song is “The Dog Song” featuring a heavy metal vibe unlike anything else on the record, and at third to last it creates a nice change of pace to reinforce the attention of the listener. As the band figured out who and what they wanted to be throughout the course of the work anyone listening in is also able to follow the narrative arc from beginning to end.
Perhaps though one of the most unique features of the album is how every track’s title begins with “The” instantly piquing the interest of anyone reading through the songs. This repetition of “The” also reflects the repetitive nature of a few of the tracks on the album such as “The Boredom” discussing gym class days and a need to feel comfortable in your own skin again. This album contains lyrical warmth felt inside of your bones while also packing a powerful punch from the content of the words being said.
Slow Down, Rockstar is a perfectly complete album with a definitive style created and maintained throughout its entirety. With lines such as, “I was unaware of the space your presence occupied inside of me” and “I wish I could undress your influence” it’s no wonder anyone who sits through the whole thing will feel as if they just traveled along an emotional roller coaster, and came out better because of it.
Fallow Land will be announcing their 2019 tour of the USA soon, so be sure to check out their new LP Slow Down, Rockstar here and stay up to date on their tour here.
There are certain experiences in life that are universal to all of us and with his new hit “Memorial” Devendra Banhart is able to capture and express the full realm of one of these experiences, loss. His lyrical genius provides metaphors that paint an intense picture of mourning and grief as seen in the human realm. When asked about the song himself, Banhart said, “Memorial is about loss & the strangeness to feel so numb and yet, so completely heart-broken-open…” The song was written for three people he loved the most in life as a tribute to ones who are taken from us too soon. It’s a perfect example of an artist trying to understand death, and truly features the different stages in the process of grieving. Banhart was able to cross musical boundaries with a waltz-like background bass and forefront finger plucking from the lead guitar while his wavering vocals carry the listener along. “Memorial” is just one song from Banhart’s album Ma coming out September 13.
Devendra Banhart North American Tour Dates:
09/27/19 – Dana Point, CA @ OHANA Festival
10/15/19 – Ventura, CA @ The Majestic Ventura Theater ^
10/16/19 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore ^
10/18/19 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom ^
10/19/19 – Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre ^
10/20/19 – Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall
10/22/19 – Berkeley, CA @ The UC Theatre
10/24/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel
10/25/19 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Yost Theater
10/26/19 – San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park
10/27/19 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
10/30/19 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater *
11/01/19 – Omaha, NE @ The Slowdown *
11/02/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater *
11/03/19 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall *
11/05/19 – Memphis, TN @ The Hi Tone *
11/07/19 – Austin, TX @ Stubbs (Levitation)
11/23/19 – Leon, Guanajuato Mx @ Tecate Bajio Festival
11/25/19 – Mexico City, Mx @ El Plaza Condesa
11/30/19 – Detroit, MI @ Museum of Contemporary Art *
12/01/19 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall *
12/03/19 – Montreal, QC @ The Olympia *
12/04/19 – Boston, MA @ The Wilbur *
12/05/19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel *
12/07/19 – Washington, D.C. @ 930 Club *
12/08/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
* w/ Black Belt Eagle Scout
^ w/ Daniel Higgs
For more on Banhart himself be sure to check him out here.