As if last week didn’t give us enough to be thankful for, the week ended with a stunning EP release from Lilla Vargen, titled We Were Thunder. (As an Irish singer/songwriter, Thanksgiving meant nothing outside of the continental United States, but we’re still reeling about how perfect the timing was on this release.) Beginning with the powerful, building ballad that is “The Shore”, Lilla sets the bar high with her strong — yet ethereal — vocals commanding the voyage. Heart-wrenching, the lyrics speak of torment over past love. But the song’s gorgeous melody holds with it hope for the future. “Solitary” brings another tortured love to the forefront, as Vargen sings of a relationship that feels cold even when those involved are together.
The idea of drifting apart and feeling “solitary” matches the soundscape perfectly, which is something that is so uniquely Vargen. She continues to rip our souls apart with “Why Wait”, where she sings of the loneliness of unrequited — or perhaps not yet realized — love. This one hit home. “Trouble” plays with the notion of timing always being off between two flames. Another highly relateable — and infinitely gorgeous — track to center yourself in knowing you’re not truly alone in this. She winds down the EP with “On My Mind”, leaving the open ended question asking why her love interest is always on her mind.
We are clearly going to have this magical EP on repeat for a while. But it begs the question, will there be a resolution in coming work to this heartbreak? Or will it be like your new favorite indie film, leaving you with a cliffhanger that keeps it cult status for years to come? Let us know what you think on Facebook!
We would tell you to catch Lilla with one of our favorites, Dermot Kennedy, on December 17th at the O2 Academy Leeds, but the event is sold out. And we get it.
Keep up with Lilla Vargen here.
If you’ve been looking for instrumentals that will touch your soul simply and evoke emotion before the vocals even hit, check out Steven King‘s new full-length Steven King on Ice. In fact, try on the first track “Water” for size, and you’ll already see what we mean. Not to mention the fact that King’s pace switches pretty fervently between slow ballads (“Seams Are Splitting”, “Fly to the End”, “Run to the Back”, “Wine”) and a relatively danceable pace (“Water”, “Black Mood”, “Champion the Idiot”, etc.) throughout the nine track album.
Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, King has crafted melodies that make most of these tracks streamlined for television and movie placement. We are floored by the talent on Steven King on Ice. “Champion the Idiot” has pulled some obvious inspiration from 60s favorites, while songs like “Milkshake” have a bit more of a 90s appeal to them. And — even though there are a myriad of topics addressed in the album and, in that way, it can feel kind of scattered — it all seems to come back around to introspective thoughts, highlighted with lines like, “What’s this world to you?” in last track “Wine”.
We’re very into this album in its entirety, and will probably be championing it all week on Spotify. Take a listen below, and let us know what you think on our Facebook page!
Keep up with Steven King here!
On the chilly evening of Thursday November 21st, Chase the Horseman and Whoa Dakota entertained an enthusiastic crowd at The Brick in The Crossroads district of Kansas City, MO. To experience either is an absolute joy, but we will always sing the praises of Whoa Dakota. The project — championed by singer/songwriter Jesse Ott — is so much fun to watch. In fact, this is an act we urge you to see live. Though the song recordings are incredible, they still give no justice to Ott’s far-ranging, angelic vocals, the true instrumental leader of the project. If you get a chance, check them out next time they’re through town!
Keep up with Whoa Dakota here.
On November 16th, The Neighbourhood performed at The Midland in Kansas City, MO. Photographer Ashleigh Lee caught the snow, and snapped some highlights just for us.
Keep up with The Neighbourhood here.
Breezy, ethereal vocals. Light as a feather instrumentals, a warm and inviting soundscape. All of these factors are involved in VanWyck‘s newest full-length release, out today. The project, titled Molten Rock, is comprised of twelve impossibly beautiful tracks, inspired — in part, at least — undoubtedly by the folk of yesteryear. A slow, steady pace is established with first track “Supermarket Line”, and continues into “Lead Me On”, while “Rock Carver” brings with it more assertive instrumentals and a raspier take on the vocals.
“Make of Me” slows everything down to a crawl, gorgeous and sprawling in its soundscape. It is here that we take pause, to realize how important it is to note the comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Nathalie Merchant that VanWyck’s debut album drew, and to notice the way the music has evolved in the space and time since that album was released in 2018. As we roll into “Carolina’s Anatomy”, we feel an attraction to a new love the way this song seems to convey.
Have you ever been this close to feeling no remorse
and being where you want to be
“High School Gym Wall” is even more delicate than its predecessors, something we never would have guessed by its title. Haunting in a way that impresses, it perfectly introduces “Be It to the End”, which brings with it a darker, more theatric atmosphere. “Breakfast Room Revelation” is layered, a ballad of sorts that holds as one of our favorites from this collection.
“The Boatman Calls” and “Like an Ambush” are both solidly beautiful tracks, leading into “The Rock Steady Creeper” which is also impossibly relaxing in its disposition, despite the title. VanWyck expertly rounds out the album with twelfth and final track, the title track, which has the sonic feel of witnessing molten rock cascade down a landscape. The lyrics are descriptive, painting an intense picture, comparisons we all have the capacity to feel.
This album, if nothing else, urges you to feel. Whether by its intense and relatable lyrical content, or its lavish soundscapes. Experience it in full below, and let us know how you feel on Facebook!
Keep up with VanWyck here.
On November 9th, X Ambassadors and Bear Hands entertained an excitable — deservedly so — crowd show in Indianapolis, IN at the Egyptian Room in Old National Centre. Emerson Swoger caught some highlights for us.
Keep up with X Ambassadors here.