al olender makes our emotional hearts feel seen with first full-length easy crier

al olender makes our emotional hearts feel seen with first full-length easy crier

Al Olender is a songstress from upstate New York, with a knack for unraveling our biggest fears and emotions in her own words. As recent years have forced her to get to know herself on a deeper level, her music stages itself as borderline therapy for those of us who are muscling through tough times as well. Her first full length–aptly titled Easy Crier–is out now, and we implore you to experience it with your own ears.

“All I Do is Watch TV” has a title we can all get behind after being locked away during a pandemic, but the song itself is so unimaginably magnetic, and such a beautiful way to open this initial full-length of hers. The song itself is about dealing with the loss of a loved one, found in lines like “I read a book on grief, it told me to lay in bed.” Second track “Keith”–named after her older brother, who was lost too soon–is a testament to a life gone awry. Incredibly specific, yet viscerally relatable. She continues in this pattern with the delicate “Liar Liar,” which transports you to these moments and this intense feeling of melancholy.

“Djouliet” picks the pace up a bit, with notably light piano that makes the track, quite honestly, perfect for the summer months. The title track is infinitely relatable, as Olender discusses her experiences as though they are fleeting moments, passing her by on a screen. Her detachment–even during the pleasant memories–is incredibly notable, especially for those who have experienced any level of depression in their lives. And yet, she sings it all with an ethereal disposition, as though it hasn’t affected her at all.

But that is, perhaps, Oldender’s greatest superpower, as revealed throughout all ten tracks of this release. Her beautiful vocals feel untouched by any negativity, a slight release from the chokehold of seriousness that has seemed to enshrine us these past few months especially. And yet the subject matter is so much more complex. “Forget Your Number” is bittersweet and a bit vengeful, and we’re absolutely in love with it. “Neptune Pool” and “Minnesota Waltz” follow suit, employing silence between the notes to encourage a more emotional pull. “The Age” picks the pace up and layers in more instruments alongside boosted optimism. It serves as a quick one-two punch to get your heart rate up, almost blindsiding you with the return to delicacy in the final track “Mean.”

Keep up with Al Olender and her endearing music here.

insightful hilarity and inspiration drawn from the atlanta season 3 premiere and panel| sxsw 2022

insightful hilarity and inspiration drawn from the atlanta season 3 premiere and panel| sxsw 2022

SXSW 2022 – as we have established – was such a welcoming and wonderful experience. With 2020 being canceled and 2021 being an all-digital event, coming back into a hybrid in-person/digital setting was everything we could have hoped for. This year, the film/television panels and events were spread out further into the week than years past, and we were thrilled at the thought of trying to get a glimpse of Donald Glover and the Atlanta team on the red carpet on Saturday, March 19th, at the Paramount. Not expecting to get a chance to actually step foot into the theater, we were shocked when we got into the premiere with no issue as secondary music badge holders. Viewers were promised the first episode followed by an extended Q&A. We got that PLUS the second episode! 

“We like to under promise and over deliver.” – Show creator, Donald Glover.

If you love Atlanta already? You will be pleased right out the gate. If you didn’t love Atlanta already? It’s absolutely time to give it a try! 

Without any big spoilers: The first episode is a reimagining of real events. Because there are plenty of things that happen in this real world – in our individual lives – where you just think: that could have happened differently. One of the things the cast revealed in the Q&A was that, in putting together these final two seasons of Atlanta – If you didn’t know, now you know. Seasons 3 and 4 have been filmed, and they will be the show’s last – they spent a lot of time watching other amazing shows like Succession while asking themselves: What is something these shows CAN’T do that we can?

And with the preview of just the first two episodes? This team can do a LOT that others can’t!

During the first season, the writers and cast genuinely felt like they were trying too hard – and, upon reflection, they can still feel it in the work itself. During season 2, they were trying hard to prove that season one wasn’t a fluke. They earned that success, and they did a brilliant job. In these final two seasons? They’ve grown up, survived 2 years of a pandemic, some even have growing families that they didn’t have before. Admits Donald of how he writes post-children: “Kids make you soft as butt.”

The consensus this time around? “We’re just trying to have fun.” 

And, when the Q&A host asked if some of the subject matters in the first two episodes were based in truth (including instances of black face and euthanasia), show writer (and show creator Donald Glover’s brother) Stephen Glover said: “That shit is just funny”.

“We’re just fucked up people,” Donald added. “It came from us.” He went on to explain the correlation between fear and comedy, which are both massively present in Atlanta. “Fear and comedy are closely related, they’re always touching each other. They’re very connected. That’s why we’re trying to do that.”

From a viewing perspective? This show has always hit the tough, societal, human notes right alongside the wacky, weird, hilarious, bizarre WTF moments.

The panelists revealed that their writer’s room has been a physical location – but also a group text thread filled with memes and videos. Which, in hindsight, is made crystal clear in season 2, episode 6 with the character of Teddy Perkins (IYKYK). Donald Glover revealed that the character and episode were inspired by a photo of Michael Jackson ducking and covering, and the follow-up question: “What if you were being chased by that version of Michael?”

After this theatre viewing, we can admit it’s OUTSTANDING to watch alongside other fans, but just as hilarious, poignant, and effective when watching alone. Starting this season, you can watch it on Hulu the day after the episode airs on FX. And if the rest of the series continues with the cadence of the first two episodes of the 3rd season? You will not want to miss a single second.

The insight during the panel revealed self-awareness and an all-encompassing relatability to the content. With everything I learned about the creative process behind Atlanta, with its text thread writer’s room, I am feeling inspired to start my own writer’s room text thread. Because, my friends and I are SURELY clever enough to create our own epic, highly anticipated show, right?

On second thought, I think I’ll leave it to the pros. I already miss you, Atlanta crew!

Episode 1 of the 3rd season drops tomorrow, March 24th on FX. (Available on Hulu starting March 25th!)
Keep up with our continuing coverage of SXSW here.

lauren monroe urges us to enjoy life with new single “kiss me now”

lauren monroe urges us to enjoy life with new single “kiss me now”

Singer, songwriter, and healing artist Lauren Monroe is on a roll. On the heels of her new show announcements, she brings along her latest single release with the beautiful “Kiss Me Now.” Her first release of 2022, the song reminds us all to take life as it comes at us and, for a lack of better analogy, grab the bull by the horns. Explains Monroe:

[Kiss Me Now is] a reminder of the impermanence of life – a reminder to be grateful for who we have and the journey we have taken with loved ones. It’s about being happy and free, having fun but remembering it all ends one day. The pandemic challenged our ability to celebrate just being with people, and this song reminds us to celebrate the moments we do spend together.

While the pandemic still trudges on, this is a feeling we can all identify with. And this song is a beautiful testament to the humanness that brings us all together. Enjoy the track – and it’s gorgeously compiled lyric. video – below!

Pre-save “Kiss Me Now” on your favorite streaming platform for a boost of energy in your day.

fefe dobson electrifies with return to music and new single “fckn in love”

fefe dobson electrifies with return to music and new single “fckn in love”

Every couple of years, my twin sister and I would look at each other in a moment of confusion and wonder out loud, “Where the f*ck is Fefe Dobson?” And I’m not saying this just to say it. It’s been getting even more bothersome over time. Her albums Joy and Sunday Love dropped a decade ago, and it seemed to us that the Canadian wunderkind went even more underground after that. How did such an incredible, edgy songstress who helped lead the femme pop/punk world into what it is today, just kind of vanish? The world deserved her energy. The world needed her art.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago. My sister noticed Fefe’s IG changing a bit first. Once word of a new single dropped, she was all over it. So, you know we had to weigh in on the first single drop in ten years. “FCKN IN LOVE” is out now, and it’s honestly a new staple in the music library. Bringing her quintessential Fefe attitude and vulnerability, she attacks the topic of true love in a way that most can relate to. The song packs a punch, a love anthem if you will, and is inherently joyous to listen to.

Ever felt just blissfully in love? Feeling it now? Give the track a listen. (Especially if the person you’re in love with is yourself, quite honestly.)

maude latour leaps into the unknown confidently with the aid of her “headphones”

maude latour leaps into the unknown confidently with the aid of her “headphones”

Alt-pop entertainer Maude Latour is certainly making a name for herself in the industry. Her sold-out North American tour kicks off next month, a result of the popularity of her sound on streaming platforms. Latest track “Headphones” is no different. The song is a testament to her talent, letting her play with autotune around natural vocals that are no less than entrancing. Explains Latour of the track:

“Headphones” starts exactly after where the “Strangers Forever” EP left us — heartbroken and experiencing loss, but slowly finding strength, as we say goodbye to a person of our past. “Headphones” is an opening of a new world; it is the first ray of light as the storm begins to end. I was lying on a hardwood floor, realizing I was truly alone in my head, no more romantic partner to lean on, when I first heard a voice in my head. It was my own. I wanted to learn to love myself, I wanted to grow within. “Headphones” is that terrifying leap into our future, and into our deeper selves.

Latour released a video accompanying the new song. Latour gallivants around New York City in good spirits, driven by her own beautiful words and the track in her headphones. The idea that words or a song could set the tone for your day – or be the underlying soundtrack to your incredible life – is reason enough to get through the tough shit.

We understand the allure, and are excited to see what her live performance entails.

ride the wave with monsoon’s new full-length, ghost party

ride the wave with monsoon’s new full-length, ghost party

Athens-based indie rock outfit Monsoon – expertly comprised of Sienna Chandler and Joey Kegel – has proven its propensity for balancing delicate harmonies with hard-hitting lines. The duo’s dynamic is energetic, edgy, and self-aware in a way that we haven’t exactly experienced before. And their new album Ghost Party is more evidence of all of that.

The first track “Walking Legs” seems to get you on your feet in just that way, starting out slow and careful and building into a cacophony of epic sound. “Third Voice” brings in more pop elements, an introspective track about change and hope at its core. The title track delves into the brokenness Chandler felt during a particularly dark time, ending with Haunted Mansion-esque energy. (If you can’t quite relate even now, having lived during an insufferable pandemic, then kudos.)

The meandering nature of “Don’t Move” is almost a palate cleanser sound-wise, though the lyrics seem to question preconceived notions in a less-than-subliminal way. “O Brother” continues with morbid metaphors, while the one-minute-long “Dark Colossus” discusses a unique love, laced with the same darkness as its predecessors.

The soundscape of “Submission” feels like it hopped right out of an indie film like 500 Days of Summer, while “Nightshop” has more of an underground, pop-punk sound to it. Ninth track “Red Blood” keeps that punk spirit alive, at times akin to the haunting chant of “red rum, red rum” from that quintessential horror flick we all know and love. The composition sounds more like a spell being cast, but that doesn’t vary much from many of the tracks on this release.

While “Pig Pen” is not about our favorite Peanuts character, it does introduce whirring guitar parts that make us want to headbang all day. The album rounds everything out perfectly with the eleventh track “Beetlebee,” which starts with a whisper and ends with an absolute bang. In fact, the song feels much like the progression of the album as a whole. We’re particularly fond of it, and can’t wait to see the live performance.

  1. Walking Legs
  2. Third Voice
  3. Ghost Party
  4. Don’t Move
  5. O Brother
  6. Dark Colossus
  7. Submission
  8. Nightshop
  9. Red Blood
  10. Pig Pen
  11. Beetlebee

Get your first listen to Ghost Party on February 18th.