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.

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.

the national parks unveil “dizzy”ing adventure from beginning to end in new lp a mix for the end of the world pt. 1

the national parks unveil “dizzy”ing adventure from beginning to end in new lp a mix for the end of the world pt. 1

A Mix for the End of the World pt. 1, the newest LP by the Provo, UT-based band The National Parks, is set for release on October 8. The eight-song collection “…was inspired by love and life, and chronicles the fear, joy, uncertainty, and peace that life might look like at the end of the world.” 

A Mix for the End of the World pt. 1 is an album that you will want to hear again and again. I would recommend listening to it from beginning to end, at least the first time out. The first piece, “At the End”, serves as a short (52 seconds) introduction to the music coming next. They have incorporated the same device with “Continuum” – a 41-second interlude leading to the end of the album. Both allow your ears to adjust to the next music.

My two favorite songs on the release, “Headlights” and “Dizzy”, showcase the very lyrics, tunes, and harmonies that have made The National Parks a band that has developed a strong national following. 

The National Parks will finish 2021 with a 15 city tour in support of Mat Kearney. 

Song list:

  1. At the End 
  2. Headlights 
  3. UFO
  4. Dizzy 
  5. Live til we die 
  6. Airplane 
  7. Continuum 
  8. Summer Bird
jacqueline loor empowers and enlightens with debut release show them

jacqueline loor empowers and enlightens with debut release show them

It’s hard to function after being in an unhealthy situation, but it’s even harder to overcome and embrace your emotions so you can become a better person at the end of the day. Miami-born Spanish singer-songwriter Jacqueline Loor takes listeners through this laborious yet rewarding journey on her debut album, Show Them, due to release this Friday. In response to seeing her sister endure a toxic relationship and eventually gaining the courage to leave her partner, the mother of two wrote this collection of empowering songs to inspire others to thrive and do the same.  

At the beginning of the album, Loor recognizes how her relationship is in shambles and reminisces how it used to be. Over time, she realizes how her significant other is only a distant echo of who they once were until she cuts them off from her life and finally gets the opportunity to exhale without them breathing down her back. This alone time allows her to find her footing and take the reigns of her life back, so she can show the world how she can soar and carry on without her former lover. 

Although she just started singing several years ago, at the age of 36, Loor’s commanding vocals and intricate, vulnerable lyricism shine throughout, ultimately sounding like an intriguing blend of the cinematic melancholia of Lana Del Rey and the ecstatic optimism of Sara Bareilles. With that in mind, if someone told me that some of these songs were from a musical on Broadway, I’d probably take their word for it. 

All in all, this project is remarkable, as it aims to empower listeners worldwide to escape the darkness and discover the light inside themselves.

Loors’ passion for performing is ever-increasing, as seen by how the singer-songwriter self-produced one song on the album, “I Broke My Heart,” and has been releasing a variety of songs sung entirely in Spanish as well. 

If this is her first comprehensive venture into the music industry, I’m excited to see what she has in store for the years to come. 

evvan, home

evvan, home

One of our favorite singer/songwriter extraordinaires – alt-folk artist EVVAN – has released a dreamy new 5-track EP, Home, and we’re certain it warrants a listen from music lovers of all genres. Never have we felt so much attitude without a hard blues influence in a folk track as we did with the initial track “Wolf.” (Wolf tracks are our favorite though. ;))

Second track “I’m Not Done Yet” is delivered with the fervor you expect from someone who is fully prepared for the next chapter of their lives. “So many times in my life I’ve heard the exact phrases I wrote in the song from friends who’ve experienced the same, from people who I thought were friends and didn’t accept me, from absolute strangers on the street who noticed I was different,” says EVVAN. “It is exhausting, and while there are times I feel beaten down and without hope, I remember this is who I am, and I should be proud of that.”

A track born from the emotions around wanting to come out, Evvan carries intense emotion with each word delivered, creating a beautiful ballad that feels like a torch held by and for all of those who feel other at times. If nothing else, this track is a testament to the artful soul of its creator.

“Hurricane” comes at a more steady clip, as EVVAN details a tumultuous relationship situation. “Falling Over You” speaks to a similar relationship, as the thoughts early in a relationship take over and confuse the hell out of our protagonist. Undoubtedly, this is a highly relatable track for the listeners. It’s also got a beautiful cadence that is absolutely captivating.

The title track rounds out this new release, more simplistic instrumentally than its predecessors, just as impactful. It really is the most freeing way to end the collection. If you have the opportunity, we highly suggest listening to the work in its entirety – as a full and honest adventure – below.

nainnoh, nainnoh

nainnoh, nainnoh

Georgian-born American singer-songwriter NAINNOH hit the ground running with her self-titled full-length release this week. The 11-track collection boasts endearing, psychedelic sounds led by sublime vocals. Her accent alone seems to lend itself to the psychedelic feel, while introspective lyrics and beautiful instrumentals interweave for a truly transcendent experience.

While the pace of most tracks in this collection are slow, calculated yet somehow organic. At times, you will find yourself mesmerized by the cadence of the track. In other instances, you will be completely enamored by the way a sound or word is annunciated, as in tracks like “Water.” “Colors,” “Threads,” and “Break Apart” are the louder, faster track options to check out.

This is the perfect soundtrack to your next full moon circle or stargazing experience. Check it out in its entirety below!

charlie treat, the comet

charlie treat, the comet

For a rip-roarin’ good time, country singer/songwriter Charlie Treat’s new album is the perfect answer to your prayers. Beginning with the amped-up energy of “I Ain’t Gonna Be The One To Do It,” he finds a way to lure the audience in with wit and a bite of nostalgia in the instrumentals. Even the slow down of pace with the second track “Drink With Me” holds lengthy, rhythmic lines, with (what appears to me to be) clear nods to The Black Crowes. (“Hard To Handle,” specifically, for those of you asking. And yes, it did take me calling the insanely talented music journalist Elizabeth Schneider to pinpoint the exact sound. Kudos to her.) Just those two tracks will have your mind spinning, but there are ten more inspired songs left to enjoy past that with this new release.

“The Two Best People” really brings the energy down, while singing of “bringing each other down.” Bluesy, beautiful energy to launch you into a light, airy “Tune As Pretty As You.” “Steamshovel Blues” brings the pace up again, but “So Much Better” lulls us back into that slow, glittering, 70’s sound. “Rain Again” comes at you with an edge off the bat, with some quick bongos and even quicker lyrics.

“Drive My Blues Away” is the most melancholic track we have yet to experience on this collection. The vocals seem very inspired, at times Springsteen, and at others Steven Tyler. The piano and whirring guitar solo make the whole thing feel like it could have been recorded in the 90s.

Thank goodness “Dollar For Dollar” brings the pace back up, as the subject matter isn’t entirely something to celebrate. However, the idea of rallying for the working man is something we can all relate to, especially after the trials the last year has presented us with. “Dancing At The Bar (The Quarantine Song)” starts out with glittering synth, and honestly we could see this track being performed alongside anything by ABBA. (Can you hear it?) “Candi” plays with dissonance before the first vocals hit, making it feel almost calmer as the lyrics set in. The whole album is rounded out quite well with “Biggest Fool,” which somehow blendsseveral of the aforementioned genres into one song. (Is that sitar? Are we in a 70’s music video? Where did that trumpet come from?)

One thing is for certain. Charlie Treat has chops. His ability to write lyrics that somehow perfectly complement each instrumental, creating new sounds that simultaneously pay homage to genre-spanning predecessors, is actually quite unique and very appreciated. The Comet should be approached as an adventure and a very appreciated leap into nostalgia.

The Comet is out on March 26.

jenn grinels, live volume 1

jenn grinels, live volume 1

Right now, nostalgia comes in waves. Enjoying a song from our past, Re-discovering a snack we used to love. Engaging in re-releases with new traits, flipping through memory books, and digging through the past. Memories can be healing, especially in today’s health and political climate, and the memory of a live performance can be fleeting.

Singer-songwriter Jen Grinels plays on our nostalgic hearts with the release of her Live Volume 1 full-length, recorded over three nights in early 2019 at The Music Box in Cleveland, OH, Rams Head Onstage in Annapolis, MD, and Avalon Theater in Easton, MD. The live music experience, something we haven’t been able to indulge in for an entire year, encapsulated in one gorgeous collection.

The light echoes from the sound bouncing off the walls of each venue, the magical eccentricities that live music brings with it. From the first mellow track “I Know Your Heart” through the soulful “Don’t Wanna Be Happy” and “Misery,” to the slow ballad-like presentation of “The Feeling,” Grinels powerfully champions multi-genre entertainment. And she doesn’t stop there, as “Can’t Stay Here” has roots in country with a little grunge flare. The sheer feeling (ha!) that rushes over you while playing this album gives you chills, as you imagine being at a live event in the future, singing into the open night air on a gorgeous evening.

That’s what this collection feels like. Live Volume 1 provides a little bit of hope at the end of this crazy pandemic tunnel. And doesn’t that just feel good right now?

animal years, this is part one of an album called animal years

Our favorite botanist Mike McFadden (vocals) and his incredible bandmates are releasing their full-length in three parts. Of the project, he admitted: “We had this patchwork of songs that had never quite fit on other projects and when we looked at them all together, we realized that the songs told a story.” This is Part One of An Album Called Animal Years is the first installment, and was just released.

Comprised of five tracks, it truly ignites magic in the air as it picks up pace, McFadden’s vocal control and manipulation something otherworldly from the very first notes, 7 seconds into the first track “What I’m Fighting For.” And relatable from that very moment as well, with the first line “I’ve been so lost in the world that I used to know” something that pretty much anyone can understand, especially post-pandemic life. This song has the energy of an anthem, and that feels right for now.

“Let You In” is definitely a low-key country ballad that teeters on theatrical in a captivating way, while “Talkin’ To You” is a more hard-hitting love song. There is a bit of an attitude to the instrumentation in the track, the true twine holding each piece together residing in the soulful vocals provided by three-part harmony and admirable vocal range. So much talent in one collection of music, it’s almost not fair.

“Haines St. Station” slows everything down to the most bluesy, beautiful pace we have heard in quite a while. A song that discusses boundaries, insecurities, and doubts in an open environment, it feels a bit cathartic to enjoy this track in particular. And then the trio brings it home with a very inspiring track, upbeat and quite sticky sweet “Nobody Can Stop Me.” We’re fans, and we’re going to keep that one in our back pocket for the strange moments when we stumble. The energy is invigorating.