The song “Lines in the Sky”, which starts Cole Gallagher’s EP, The Confluence, has a soft sound. It makes you feel like you are at the beach, as he compares the person in his song to the sea. Emotions of excitement flow through the song, expressed through high notes. He is truly enjoying a fun time with this person at the sea.
As I contemplate more, I realize the sea is also a metaphor for his dreams being as vast as the sea when he is with this person, as they make him believe he can do anything he wishes. He is living in a world that is twisted, expressed through his voice. Deep and raspy, it captures emotions of anger, freedom, and pain, in a melody that flows smoothly and makes you feel like you releasing all of your emotions into the world. As he lets go of all his pain and anger, he finds that freedom is hard when you do not have the person you relied on to encourage you to see your dreams as vast as the sea.
As Gallagher sings the song “Stumbling in the Dark”, he goes through emotions of struggling to impress the person he is singing about. He believes he cannot live up to their expectations of how to act, and who to be. Despite feeling he cannot be his true self, he follows this person because he loves them too intensely to emotionally leave them. She is the only girl he will ever truly love. He is desperately searching for her so he can look into her eyes again. He is unsure how to show her that he cares about her forever and he hopes that her life is free of pain and worries, as he expresses by singing that he hopes the skies are blue for her.
During “Delilah”, the listener discovers the name of the person the lyrics to his EP has been flowing about. Delilah’s joy is his joy too, because her emotions are connected to how he feels. They are like a string, so when he or Delilah gets pulled or twisted a certain way, they are impacted by each other’s emotions. As expressed in his lyrics, his heart is open to her eyes, because he is open to looking deep into her soul and understanding life from her perspective. His heart will beat to her emotions and what she goes through in life.
In Cole’s song “Chatting Through Steal”, he struggles that his dreams have been packed up by people refusing to believe in him, and rejecting him. It is melancholic and contemplative, stirring pause in its listener.
In “Sugarland”, the melody intertwines as words enter this song, with emotions of helplessness. He wonders about what it would be like to see beyond the fields he lives in. Loneliness overwhelms him and he feels trapped in the fields. Hope fills his soul as he watches the bluebirds flying in the sky and “the flames rise up,” as articulated through these descriptive lyrics.
“The Ocarins of the Tennessee” starts with a slow, calming melody. As he is floating away, he continues to keep the attachment of this person whom he loves in his heart, vowing to never forget the sound of their voice. The sound of this person’s voice brings him both comfort and grief. He compares this person’s voice to the sounds of the sea because the sea is where he has had many memories with them. His heart is floating away with this person in his mind and away from this person in reality. At the end of this song, his high notes repeat in a steady flow in a pattern, capturing the emotions of being content with this person at the sea and the pain of losing them.
Xadi‘s “Black Rock” EP is a captivating musical journey that delves into dark ambiance, effortlessly blending catchy and chill elements. With its personal anecdotes and explorations of drug usage, Xadi weaves a tapestry of experiences that transcends racial boundaries, touching the hearts of listeners from all walks of life.
The EP’s main track, aptly titled “Black Rock,” stands out as a powerful statement that challenges preconceived notions about the relationship between music and race. The quote, “I didn’t know that music had a [sic] colour,” encapsulates the essence of this song and its overarching message. Xadi’s ability to create a sonic landscape that resonates with anyone and everyone, irrespective of their racial background, is truly remarkable.
The EP opens with a dark and haunting aura that immediately sets the tone for the introspective journey ahead. The production values are top-notch, showcasing Xadi’s skill in creating atmospheric soundscapes that immerse the listener. The combination of electronic elements, ethereal vocals, and carefully crafted beats creates a hypnotic experience that draws you in from the very first note.
One of the EP’s greatest strengths lies in its catchiness. Despite exploring deep and personal themes, Xadi manages to infuse the tracks with memorable hooks and melodies that stick with you long after the music ends. This balance between introspection and accessibility is a testament to Xadi’s artistry and ability to create music that can be enjoyed by a wide range of listeners.
“Black Rock” is also an EP filled with personal anecdotes and adventures. Xadi’s storytelling ability shines through as he shares his experiences with drug addiction, painting vivid pictures of struggle, redemption, and personal growth. The lyrics are thought-provoking and introspective, inviting listeners to reflect on their own lives and experiences.
As a black British music artist, Xadi brings a unique perspective to his music. While the EP addresses themes that are deeply rooted in his personal journey, the emotions and messages conveyed have a universal appeal. Xadi’s artistry transcends racial boundaries, touching upon shared human experiences that resonate with anyone willing to listen and empathize.
Experienced multi-genre artist Daniel Ellsworth brings all of his prior skills to the table, presenting his first independent project in a set of four LPs. The newly released WHAT is Ellsworth’s first fully self-produced LP and is the third in the set of I HAVE / NO CLUE / WHAT / I’M DOING. Contrary to that title, Ellsworth certainly seems to know what he’s doing, as the five new songs in WHAT display a mature musical sensibility with their clever arranging and the mixing of musical styles.
WHAT holds the listener’s hand via lyrics that tell a story, a diverse array of synths, and a clear progression of styles. Beginning with the welcoming “Lost In the Rhythm”, Ellsworth introduces a beat and whooshing synths worthy of any dance party. It’s feel-good and optimistic, in touch with the speaker’s initial meeting with the love interest.
“Blurry” heightens this euphoria, infusing its pop style with hip-hop influences, to evoke how the speaker is in complete awe of the lover. Panning synths in the catchy chorus create interest in the left and right ears, mimicking how it feels to have blurry vision in an auditory format.
“Flower Underground” flips the switch. Doubt sprouts in the speaker as the relationship with the lover takes a turn toward the uncertain. With indie-pop influences, this song has a myriad of synth timbres, creating an engaging collage of sound. The jazz piano solo hearkens to Ellsworth’s background in jazz piano, adding another new element to this LP.
Ellsworth draws from his experience in techno-pop in “Operator Emma”, as the speaker is in contact with the lover via sparse phone calls. Pleading for “an answer on the line”, Ellsworth’s voice soars into its highest range so far. The sweeping synths toward the end seem to hint at a hopeful conclusion for this complicated situation.
The final track, “I Believe In You”, is about the sun rising at the end of a long night. Circling back to indie-pop, Ellsworth’s voice has that lo-fi, old-time-radio vocal effect. There’s even word-painting when rising synths accompany the lyrics “surrounded by the sunlight”. The relationship has been repaired, and the music reflects that sense of relief and contentment that comes after a test of trust.
Daniel Ellsworth’s WHAT is a prime example of how to intermix musical genres to tell a story. After many collaborations with other artists—Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes, Chaos Emeralds, and DARKMINDS—Ellsworth sets out on his own, carrying a vast scope of musical experience with him.
Get ready to be swept away by Winterlark‘s newest EP, You Send Me A Photograph. This indie folk sensation is back with a collection of tunes that will tug at your heartstrings. From soulful melodies to lyrics that hit you right in the feels, Winterlark takes you on a musical adventure exploring love, memories, and those unforgettable snapshots of life.
Winterlark’s EP You Send Me A Photograph is a mesmerizing journey that transports listeners to a world of ethereal beauty. With their intricate compositions and hauntingly delicate vocals, Winterlark creates an immersive sonic landscape that lingers long after the last note fades.
The EP’s six tracks weave together elements of indie folk and dream pop, resulting in a sublime blend of introspection and enchantment. Each song is a captivating vignette, filled with evocative imagery and introspective lyrics that delve into the depths of love, loss, and the bittersweet moments of life.
From the haunting opening track to the poignant finale, Winterlark’s musicianship shines brightly. The intricate layers of strums and pizzicatos intertwine flawlessly, creating a rich tapestry of sound that envelops the senses. The duo’s harmonies are nothing short of spellbinding, evoking a sense of gentleness and emotional resonance that resonates deeply with the listener.
You Send Me A Photograph is an EP that demands to be experienced in its entirety, as each song seamlessly flows into the next, guiding the listener on a cathartic and introspective journey. Winterlark’s ability to capture raw emotions and distill them into captivating melodies is a testament to their artistry and musicianship. This EP is a true gem, destined to captivate both devoted fans and newcomers alike with its vintage beauty and heartfelt expression.
Rachel Burns knows passion. She knows intensity, appreciation, humor, and life. Her music has reached a unicorn “pop-soul-cabaret” genre-bending classification, relatably inspired by her everyday life. As a mother of two and cancer survivor, she could just as easily sing the blues — and most likely very beautifully. Instead, she takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to her art, the culmination of which comes to a head with her new EP release, What a Nasty Woman.
From the very first staccato notes of “Mansplainin'” – which any female-identifying human can probably identify with – through the weight of “Triple D’s” (pun intended), and through to the fade-out of wild-west inspired “Sundown Of The Macho Man,” you are in for a damn treat. Burns has brought just as much sass to her sound as she has talent, and these songs will have you revving up for the weekend the right way. (HELLO to her amped-up version of “All Shook Up”!)
“I like to empower people to empower other people. I’d like to uplift us all with this project,” Burns shares. “When I would dress up as Wonder Woman, I held up a giant sign that said, ‘Time to bust out the golden lasso of truth’ in glitter. Wonder Woman’s superpower was telling the truth. The truth is really powerful; it can break down all kinds of barriers, and I think that’s the kernel of a lot of my music: Truth telling. We’re going to laugh, dance, and be real – and not pussyfoot around anything!”
And pussyfoot she does not. Double entendres like the reference to fingers as “flacid, flimsy” and “soft, limp” in “Tiny Hands” and the entirety of “Triple D’s” are scattered across the 6-track EP, adding just as much joy and giggle to the aftermath of your listen as inspiration and empowerment. Her impressive vocal range is displayed to perfection on What a Nasty Woman, from the soft disposition of “Pollyanna’s Lament” to the deep, guttural performance of “Tiny Hands” and beyond. With nostalgic instrumentation that sets the stage for her theatrical, all-encompassing songs, you may just find yourself with an earworm or two.
Niall Connolly has never shied away from his own artistry. In listening to his repertoire you’re unlikely to sense reluctance. Instead, the folk singer rushes headlong into his music, laying his soul bare for the world to witness. “In this house, if you wanna cry, you can cry,” he sings on his latest album, The Patience of Trees, out June 2. And with a shuddering breath, we believe him.
The Irish-born troubadour has been a steady presence in the New York City folk scene, telling his musical stories across the din of nondescript bars and Manhattan’s broad stages alike. At every Connolly gig audiences are ushered into his world of unflinching honesty and disarming resonance. Whether listening to him live or on recording, the listener is wrapped in a strange combination of isolation and warmth, a mix that leaves a profound effect: one of having been held and lonely at the same time. This is Connolly’s unique ability to transform his art into something capable of providing tangible comfort.
The album’s first single, “We Don’t Have to Talk About It”, approaches the topic of self-harm in this same manner. “I know you get tempted by the third rail late at night,” he sings, acknowledging and stripping the power away from one’s demons at the same time. The latest single, “It’s a Beautiful Life,” gives an unrelenting perspective of the struggles many of us endure and, ultimately, the love that attempts to pull us through. The song evokes the painful journey through mental health and offers a unique perspective of the collective’s ability to triumph by giving voice to our experiences.
“Out of the Light” feels like an offering at the altar of Leonard Cohen’s emotional legacy. Thoughtful and serene but also spare in its hints of loneliness as he observes “every kind of messy road that leads to love.” Similarly, “Orchids at the Supermarket” haunts like a Nick Drake ballad, making beauty out of brokenness. Yet despite the gentle presence of such ghosts, the presence of Connolly’s emotionality makes each song the kind of experience that only he can create.
The Patience of Trees is enriched by the presence of Connolly’s friends and collaborators, including Mick Flannery, Anna Tivel, E.W. Harris, Javier Mas, and Warren Malone. The arrangements of each track serve as an echo of their lyrical power, emphasizing the story at the center of each song. Expansively, the songs stretch out across the album to create a rich journey full of remarkable souls and powerful experiences. At once demanding and exquisitely comforting, The Patience of Trees takes us into our own depths and offers us solace.
“The clouds were forming question marks, like the sky was doubting me,” he sings in “A Cloud on the Summer Sun”. “I’ve got every right to be here, as much as everyone.” While his songs take us into the caverns of human struggle, likely to cause the sharp, stabbing breath of resonance as the days, weeks, years of tamping down our emotions burst to the surface, the underlying tenet of Connolly’s work is always hope. Aggressive fucking hope. No longer the lame figment to punk theology. His words and his music welcome us into a world where hope and kindness are the bravest of things. In his house, if we wanna cry, we can cry, but ultimately we will heal.