On Introspects of a Psycho, Massachusetts-born artist, 30, successfully combines rap and hip-hop with pop to tell stories about being human amidst the societal constructs we face. When it begins, we hear “Your Skin Crawls”, a sort of pick-me-up that serves to reassure his person of their beauty. As the guitar soothes, the melody moves. “Lost in Colorado” feels like a diary entry of a cross country road trip stretching from Ohio to Colorado. It seems to be a goodbye of sorts, though he continues to describe the sights he sees to the person who may be bidding goodbye to. The groove picks up with “I Kinda Like How Your Father’s Fist Feels on My Face”, a track that features an electric guitar and creates the perfect late-night vibe, dimmed lights and all. The final track, “Ms. Uncomfortable (Stripped)”, slows everything back down again, bringing everything full circle, which tells the story of a girl who seems unsure of herself, a call-back to the first track on the album.
The Introspects of a Psycho feels emotional and vulnerable, every track exceeding the next. It supplies a song to satisfy any mood one could be in, and tells a compelling narrative along the way.
Wesley Schultz isn’t just the co-founder The Lumineers. He is a brilliant performer with the ability to bring songs to life in his own way. He proves this on his debut solo album, Vignettes. It may be shocking to find out that his first full length solo release is actually an album full of covers.
We first get to hear him take on Bruce Springsteen’s “My City of Ruins”. A more stripped-down version than the original, Schultz brings his acoustic style to the song and makes it feel like his own. His rendition of Coldplay’s “Green Eyes” bears some extra resemblance to the original apart from the lyrics, including the acoustic style that, when sung by Schultz, breathes a new life into the song. Perhaps the most breathtaking track is “Mrs. Potters Lullaby”, originally by Counting Crows. Complete with a slowed down piano and background violin, it is a far departure from the original. Another piano-heavy track is “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)”, originally by Jim Croce and featuring a prominent guitar.
A cover album may be a gamble as a debut album, but Wesley Schultz made each track his own every step of the way. By creating a record composed of his greatest musical influences, listeners get an inside look Schultz as not only a musician, but as a person. Schultz says of the purpose of the album:
I was introduced to a lot of music through other artists, listening to their covers and then going backward. So part of this record is the joy of exposing something that you know is beautiful, while trying to make it your own so that they both can stand on their own two feet. It’s almost like you’re showing people your personal playlist, your inspiration.
As winter nears, Miloe wanted to shine a light on his brisk state of Minnesota with his new EP, Greenhouse. He wastes no time working up the sunshine, either. The opening track, “Winona” is a bright and optimistic tune that relies on youthfulness to give the illusion of summertime warmth. The opening riff of the title track is a perfectly ear-catching novelty that immediately draws you into the heaviness of life struggles. The driving rhythm makes for a soothing ride. With “Change Your Mind”, he sings about wanting to be with someone and is willing to sit around and wait in case they change their mind for him. It works as a sort of ditty, one whose melody alone brings a smile to your face.
The most beaming song is “Marna”, a musical love letter to somebody who seems to be the light of his life. The simple guitar strums once again bring out the brightness of Miloe’s craft. The final track is “Everything (That Should Go)”, the perfect outro that reveals his vulnerability to not only the person he is singing to, but also you and I.Greenhouse is a sonically bright album that does indeed shine a warm light on even the coldest of states. Beyond the brightness is a raw, real body of work about finding and understanding love, along with the many other complications that come with life.
With his newly released EP, Good Morning Hunter, Odario combines poetry and hip-hop to craft a phenomenal piece of storytelling. With several guest artists throughout the 7-track EP, each track feels like a coming together of various ideas. A celebration of people.
“Peace” begins this celebration. The dominant piano that plays throughout is a staple of this up-tempo introduction. Filled with optimistic chants and goal-driven lyrics, you are welcomed into Odario’s ambitious thoughts. Things are slowed down with ‘Reprise”, a more somber and reflective addition that proves rather poetic. A distant echo towards the end connects it with the previous song, providing a more vulnerable view of those ambitious thoughts. The title track, “Good Morning Hunter” takes you back to the groove of the first song. The lyrics tell the story of somebody who is prepared to tackle whatever is being thrown their way that day. This same sentiment is echoed in a more electronic take with “Good Morning Hunter: Ok Dub”. Each song adds on to the other, creating a cohesive whole that tells a real story.From top to bottom, Good Morning Hunter tells the story of a person who is determined to do great things with his life. It doesn’t shy away from the reality of life and how struggles can get us down.
Going in to record their latest collection of “existential psychedelic soul music”, Saroon had to get the tape ready. This is to say that every head-turning moment of their new album, Our Transparent Future, was recorded to tape. But the method of recording isn’t the only unique part of this record. From vocal style to the overall highs and lows that it reaches, Saroon have crafted a unique record.
“Masters of the Road” illustrates this with ease. Here, you are reminded that despite social expectations, we are in charge of so much, yet we miss out because we are trapped in the cycle of doing things the “right” way. Mostly consisting of soft-spoken lyrics and a gentle guitar that speeds up towards the end, it has all the elements of a classic folk song. Immediately following is “Old Fashioned Protest Song”, which actually seems to focus on the things we as humans have less control of. Simply put, Saroon call into question those who put money ahead of more important and worthy causes. Seemingly calling attention to current social movements, they make it a point to reject the idea that we should just stand by and let ignorance win. One of the final songs, “Golden Age”, is both a reflection on the past and a nod to the present, urging us to think of the current moment as the height of our lives.
Our Transparent Future makes its way to various corners of life, all which come together to form an idea for what the future may look like not only for the world, but for individuals. It remains hopeful while not shying away from the heartbreak and struggles that come with being human.
Principle songwriter Ayal Alves explains: “There’s always the element of hope to it, and an acknowledgement that the nature of reality is that there is pain and suffering. The relationship between those two things is a transformational process.”
In the midst of grief, Nathan Oliver turned to music, as many do. That is how his newest release came about. Thank You for your Generosity, which he and his group began working on after the death of a member’s brother in 2017, takes the listener on a journey through the loneliness and confusion that comes with grief.
This journey begins with “Generous Seas”, an instrumental track fit for reflection as a mellow guitar plays over a more chaotic one. Then comes “Isle Of Youth”, a dive into what it feels like to be lost and distant from everything around you. This rock track is a standout on the record, blending soulful lyrics with beautiful guitar playing. This sentiment is also present in “Everybody’s Swimming”, which seems to call attention to the struggle of watching everybody continue to live their lives while you feel stuck in a painful place. One of the most heart wrenching songs is “Even If You Go”, which acts as a sort of promise that even when the subject is gone, they will continue to live with them by their side. The journey closes out with “A Tangent in Time”. A peaceful close to the album, it seems to offer a glimpse of hope, though unsure of exactly where that hope lies.
Thank You for Your Generosity is a vulnerable record that does not attempt to hide any sort of pain that comes along with the grieving process or life in general. Whether it is through the breathtaking lyrics or the gentle way each sound leaves the speaker, Nathan Oliver is working to enthrall every single listener.
01. Generous Seas
02. Isle of Youth
03. Everybody’s Swimming
04. Air Control
05. Even If You Go
06. Stand in Line
08. A Tangent in Time