New release “Noodle” from up-and-coming project Oscar Louis totters whimsically between resignation and acceptance. The solo venture of Canadian singer-songwriter Oren Lefkowitz, Oscar Louis blends blog era hip hop with detached chillwave, presenting a placid, steady head-nodder.
While Lefkowitz has explained that “Noodle” touches on tensions between Louis and his father, it stays light, with Lefkowitz’s raspy hum meandering through hip-hop verses over a minimalistic backdrop. Lefkowitz describes the conflict, explaining,
“I began writing “Noodle” after getting into a bad fight with my dad. I had just gotten really drunk at my cousin’s wedding, and ended up puking in front of my parents. This incident opened up a tricky scab rooted in my father’s disapproval of me and my decision to pursue music. “Noodle” is my attempt to show him love regardless.”
“Noodle” is Lefkowitz’s third single, following “Your Call is Important to Us” and “Find a Way,” both released earlier this year. His work has been featured on several Spotify playlists.
California indie-pop duo Ruby Red have dropped a sultry smooth single that can be described as deeeply vibey. New track “Superbloom” is boiling over with chunky beats and thick bass, suavely melded with nostalgic synth that invites a contemporary indie spin.
Like waking up to an electro-pop disco dream, the first few seconds of “Superbloom” are washed out, before bursting forth into stunning clarity. Wavy, texturizing synths envelop echoing vocals into a hazy vacuum, their syncopation weaving as glittery guitar riffs pepper the remaining space. For all its pleasantries, the song is also lyrically hyperconscious, featuring lines like “I can’t help but feel the heat of the moment controls me / I can’t help but feel like my shoulders are weighed down by truth.”
Not to submit to cliché, but “Superbloom” truly does deftly blend many current musical styles; including chillwave, electro-pop, indie rock, hip hop, and disco. This track is what happens when Toro Y Moi meets Tame Impala – with just a dash of Post Malone-reminiscent vocals – yet it still feels innovative and brand new.
Multi-instrumentalists Daniel Laner and Fernando Fine of Ruby Red have been longtime friends since elementary school, officially forming the band in early 2018. The group released a 5-track EP in 2018 titled “LOVELOCK”, with “Superbloom” as their second single of 2019 following previous release “How It Should Feel”.
Keep up with Ruby Red here.
Berlin indie rock group The Usual Boys have released what will be a bar venue classic: The meandering bassline of “I’m Not the Asshole” stumbles through the back of dive bars, down drunken alleyways, and around the street corners of a chaotic night out. Though The Usual Boys supply influences of established Britpop, the sarcastic tone of this track is peppered with garage grit and topped off with a smoky-cool smoothness that goes down like one last shot – maintaining its freshness even after many listens.
“I’m Note the Asshole” paints a muddled scene of friendly banter between friends gone sour, giving way to drunken conflict and frustrated dialogue. Vocals from Aleksi Oksanen wind, warble and drag in all the right ways; slurring slightly at the end of each note for a healthy dose of theatricality. With dusty snares and sweeping cymbals, drummer Patrick Pevsner pulls The Usual Boys behind a curtain of cool, filling the room with smoke that contrasts the gritty forwardness of lead and rhythm guitar trills from Ethan Dalziel and Oksanen, respectively. The resounding bass, via Rasmus Schmidt, drives this track the whole way, temporally unwinding any starting point of logic and illustrating the narrator’s descent into resentment.
The Usual Boys formed in Berlin in 2017 and have been haunting the scene since, wielding a fervent mania into the fabric of their punk-spirited shows. They’ve just finished a tour through their native Germany preceding the release of anticipated single “I’m Not the Asshole”, released October 4, 2019.
Follow The Usual Boys here.
The newest single from one of the freshest names rising in pop is titled “Long Game” – an apt expression of 22-year-old singer/songwriter Gavin Haley’s dedication to making it work. “Long Game” simmers and twinkles, finger snaps and pop-anthem beats clicking along reliably. Haley’s smooth, breathy vocals sweep through his profession to a significant other that despite difficulties, they can count on his loyalty.
That loyalty is reflected in the mono-tempo, mono-mood of this track, which feels chill and reassuring, yet perhaps overly cautious. Parsing through Haley’s other reveals that he has the vocal prowess to produce interesting melodies in both pop songs and acoustic ballads alike, so while “Long Game” definitely fits on a late-night drive playlist, we’re looking forward to seeing both his influences and willingness to push boundaries expand going forward.
Keep up with Gavin Haley here.
Dori Freeman’s new album titled Every Single Star is a perfect follow up to her 2016 break out year. Produced by Teddy Thompson this album features a sparkling voice over simplistic instrumentals allowing her Appalachian style to fully shine through. The powerful way she talks about heartbreak in so many of the tracks allows you to feel a connection to the pain she has been able to withstand, leaving hope for women who are in similar situations. Though Freeman’s personal life has changed between the release of her first album to this one, her message remains clear as she is loyal to the roots that have gotten her this far in music.
Choosing to sing about motherhood and the music industry itself Freeman is able to bring to light a little-discussed topic in the business. Taking on the role of the contended mother instead of a rejected lover Freeman speaks to her experience making this album by saying, “Musicians that are also moms and have to juggle touring and being at home and spending enough time with your child; that’s something that’ really hard for me to find balance in.” In the track “Like I Do” she expresses her love for her child singing, “nobodies gonna love you like I do” a lyric I’m sure almost every parent can relate to. The song plays an important role in her need to include her daughter into the album without making it all about her; a charming tribute this song is definitely one to take note of.
Providing a classic feel Freeman does an exceptional job making her songs sound like they’ve been around for ages in a comfortable and quintessential way. As a listener, you will often experience hints of Reba McIntire, Loretta Lynn, or Dolly Parton through the old twang and lofty notes of the tracks. This is most noticeable in songs “How I Feel” and “Darlin’ Boy” with the way she utilizes the instrumentals to accentuate her lyricism.
The most unique track on the album is definitely “2 Step”, where produce Thompson joins in for a duet with Freeman, creating a mystical blend of dazzling harmony. As a song about dancing, it’s no wonder the track sets forth a desire to stand up and let yourself loose as the music flows through you with a strong mountain soul.
Creating an album with songs of all emotions, Freeman has done what so many artists strive to do in crafting a complete story of songs to settle into. Her sophomore album Every Single Star should definitely not be overlooked and will provide endless hours of joy and powerful feministic inspiration. Be sure to catch the release of Every Single Star and to follow Dori Freeman on Instagram.