LA indie duo Carrousel continue an incredible year with the release of their new album Magnificent Desolation. This 10-track album examines the dystopian direction of current life and the spiraling process of depression, both in ourselves and the world we live in.
Joel Piedt (songwriter, vocals, production) and Sharon Piedt (songwriter, vocals) craft pop melodies that are more futuristics and lean towards the prophetic. Carrousel’s music seamlessly lives on the plane of several genre styles cohesively.
Standout track “Exile in NY” focuses on the feelings of depression and its toll on the individual and how that affects those around them. By playing with echo and atmosphere, this track feels like it’s being pulled straight from your inner thoughts. With a slow build up by the middle of the song all sounds and feelings overlap to create a state of unrest. Ending the track with recorded voicemails help show separation between the two subjects of this track, as we know see them drift away from one another.
Consistently, the duo creates music that looks to disorient the understanding of the present, and the over-digitization of knowledge, and does so in a way that does not hold back.
Brett Newski’s fourth studio album Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down centers around regaining control, and we only have to wait until April 17th to experience it in its entirety. At a time of high depression and anxiety because of the current global health crisis, Newski’s newest album sheds some much needed optimism.
Newski creates a call to arms against the destructive forces one may find themselves battling, which pertains to individual struggles with toxic relationships, low self-esteem, loneliness, and apathy to the global challenges we are already facing in 2020.
Newski and collaborator Spatola blend Newski’s lyricism with Spatola’s up-beat tempo and guitar-driven alternative style to create the sound of this record. Tracks like “Last Dance” lay out the challenge of trying to stay informed and engaged while trying to not consume too much that it negatively affects one’s mind. Meanwhile tracks like “Lousy T-shirt” describes the traps of social comparison in the wake of social media.
Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down is a reminder to not let outside forces negatively affect you. Keep up with Brett Newski here.
Chicago singer-songwriter Anna Holmquist formed Ester back in 2017 with the help of friends and collaborators, and now they’re about to release their first full-band LP, Turn Around. The record is a meditation both on major life changes and looking back at the past to help you understand your own growth, and Holmquist, possessing a rare vein of talent in both songwriting and singing, expertly guides their band through this task.
Most of the songs were written within the 6 month window around the beginning of Holmquist’s Saturn Return, which is psychologically viewed as the time that one reaches full adulthood and is faced (often for the first time) with adult challenges and responsibilities. The album’s exploration of adulthood is vulnerable and introspective, presenting a lot of moments for personal reflection.
Turn Around pieces together folk and rock elements around the centerpiece of the album: Holmquist’s honest and confessional lyricism and sensitive and emotional vocals. The songs are well-crafted, with the words written just as artful and important as the music.
“Little Shadow” is draped in haunting strings and gently plucked guitar. The ominous track builds to great heights with Holmquist’s quivering voice pulling mysterious melodies across the night sky.
“Holy Daze” feels like a float down a lazy river, with warm, slow bass coating the track in thick golden honey. Holmquist shows off her control and flexibility, easily flipping into her head voice before landing skillfully back with both feet on the ground. She sprinkles herself over the calm and breezy instrumentation like a colorful candy coating before tapping into her stock of emotionally-charged vocals, the intensity of her feeling evident to even the most casual listener.
“John’s Car” starts off sounding like a simple yet ominous indie-pop track, but Holmquist stuns, expertly building the song’s intensity with precise and attentive skill before it naturally peaks in a cathartic explosion of emotion. Holmquist is not only a powerhouse, but one who is smart enough to form important moments by holding back just the right amount before laying all of her cards on the table and damn, it’s a good hand.
“Thirsty” is reminiscent of a modern Fleetwood Mac while tracks like “When You Wake” channel the power and authority of Florence Welch. “Wildflower” is a breath of fresh air, providing even the most stressed out soul with a breath of fresh country air.
When Ryan Lee of Santa Cruz, Cali was familiarizing himself with his new studio Paradise Garage came his own musical project, Magic Waters. After recording the songs that would make up his debut EP Pinky Swear, it became clear these songs needed to be heard. This 3-song EP showcases Lee’s writing abilities, skills as a producer, and him as a performer. Through his songwriting Lee is able to blend personal stories, and observations on real-world problems.
A big political inspiration of Pinky Swear is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. The title of the EP and the single comes from Warren making pinky swears to young women to be a constant reminder that women can also be leaders.
The single “Pinky Swear” revolves heavily around politics. The chorus and outro shout out female political leaders like Senator Warren, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Katie Hill. Lee also makes reference to powerful women in his life, such as his wife, mother, and grandmother. While the verses tackle the NRA and Trump. This back and forth of female politicians that provide optimism, versus the current political climate showcases Lee’s view of the world today and where he hopes it can go.
Pinky Swear is out this Friday, and will be available on streaming platforms everywhere for your quarantine enjoyment. Keep up with Magic Waters here.
Manchester pop band The Slow Readers Club has recently released new single “Jericho” ahead of their highly anticipated new album, The Joy of the Return, out today via Modern Sky UK, which will be followed by a UK/European tour.
“Jericho’s our ‘sunniest’ track to date, and hopefully a good indicator of the variety people can expect from the album,” says frontman Aaron Starkie. The track is written from the perspective of his teenage self and focuses on the moment when you’re on the brink of a new relationship and you start to surrender yourself to the other person. It’s one of the bands’ personal favorites, and it’s easy to see why. Infectiously upbeat and featuring a bright blend of guitars and propulsive drums, the song is both danceable and anthemic. Ah, young love!
The album’s first single, “All I Hear” was recorded at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool produced by long-standing collaborator Phil Bulleyment. The Joy Of The Return marks a significant change in the band’s process, with their extensive touring allowing them time to write and develop tracks and arrangements through sound checks and back-of-van jams.
On March 12th, DED, the four-piece nu-metal powerhouse from Phoenix, AZ,released a 2-track mini EP titled Mannequin Eyes – and it’s worth screaming about. Not one to be missed, this heart-pounding release is features radio hit “A MANNEQUIN IDOL (Lullaby)” as well as premiere single “Eyes Sewn Shut”.
The elements present in Mannequin Eyes represent the best of DED’s idiosyncrasies, including riffs that move at the speed of light, haunting vocals that invoke the fear of God, and messages that scorn the replicated and mundane. But with track “A MANNEQUIN IDOL (Lullaby)”, DED manages to weave aspects of three distinct genres into one robust arrangement, not unlike multiple personas battling over the mouthpiece in conveying DED’s distaste. Bearing themes of disgust for the conveyor-belt machine of the modern music industry and all things ingenuine, vocalist Joe Cotela leads the wind-tunnel dynamic of this thrashing headbanger by employing a refreshing variation vocal styles that push the affect of the track over the listener’s head and through the roof. Through verses of this track, the transitions between intense, horrifying whispers to screams representative of classic “metal” reveals DED’s talent within their wheelhouse – But Cotela’s switch to a resounding pop-format chorus marked by vocals more reminiscent of modern alternative rock display the band’s versatility in managing a tidal wave of emotion as it pulls back and forth, over and over.
“Eyes Sewn Shut” is closer to a standard nu-metal/metalcore screamer, with lyrics like “I won’t be silenced, don’t make me violent / You get what you deserve”. This track continues DED’s message of rejecting the reality forced upon the many by the few, and like “A MANNEQUIN IDOL (Lullaby)”, features a chorus that has leanings toward modern alternative rock laced between its slamming accompaniments from guitarist David Ludlow, bassist Kyle Koelsch, and drummer Matt Reinhard.
Mannequin Eyes is DED’s first release since 2017 breakout album MIS-AN-THROPE, which pushed the ceiling with a sky-high stream count from the moment of its inception. Prior to the album’s debut, the group released three singles in anticipation: See “FMFY”, “Anti-Everything”, and “Dead to Me”.
DED is set to release another full length album in 2020. Starting March 24, the group will tour with In This Moment, Black Veil Brides and Raven.