The outside world is getting more vivid, as more people get vaccinated and the days get longer, summer quickly approaching. Take this time to get outside, get grounded, and love on yourself a little bit. But in the in-between, feel free to play our May soundtrack in the background of whateverthehell you’re spending your time on and with these days. We promise you’ll find some gems to add to your personal collection, and there might be some fun ones built-in for your next vacation playlist! 🙂
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.
Today, we have your first look at the new Dawson Fuss music video, which also happens to be the artist’s directorial debut. The gorgeous visual boasts warm colors, noticeable contrast of light and dark while the protagonist (Fuss) experiences moments of obvious uncertainty. The video brings small instances of beauty to the forefront, moments you appreciate only when everything goes a little bit awry in a relationship. That, coupled with Fuss’ magnetic vocals and relatable lyrics, makes for a touching, all-encompassing experience.
“‘Hey You’ is inspired by the failure of first love and the complicated emotions that follow: regret, anger, sadness, and loss,” Dawson explains. “I wrote this song following my first serious relationship that unfortunately ended because of emotional and physical distance caused by the isolation of COVID-19.”
Get your first taste – and second, third, and thirtieth – below!
Singer, rapper, and bassist Trip Carter has the ability to make every situation feel free-flowing and fancy-free. While the subject matter of his new track “Heavyweight” is about how much pressure or weight he puts on his support system at times, the cadence would suggest a calming, transformative atmosphere. And thats exactly the brand of acceptance and calm we expect in an ebb and flow relationship.
Hear “Heavyweight” below, and be sure to add it to your rotation for the summer months. You’ll be happy you’ve got it in your collection, trust us.
As moderator Olivia Shalhoup, Founder and Director at Amethyst Collab, set us up for a chat about the Future of Women in Music, she dived right into the nitty gritty with her first question:
“Why do you think women have been so historically underrepresented in music business?”
You would think that in 2021, at a conference in a progressive city that labels itself as diverse and inclusive, is so largely attended by women, and so incredibly funded by the music industry, this question would be beneath us. You would look at the money women make for the industry – hand over foot, year after year – as both superstar talent and innovative project hires and assume that their role in the industry is far too substantial to warrant underrepresentation. Unfortunately, my friend, you would be incorrect.
Before the pandemic set in, a projected 15% of labels were majority-owned or operated by women. An estimated 5% of producers are female, while audio engineer numbers seem to be booming at a still-devastating 18% female. In a recent Northwestern study, only one third of the record labels polled had ever signed a female artist. Even notorious big name players like Sony, Universal, and Warner – that tout the highest paid artists, producers, and executives in the world – have debilitating gender pay gaps that average 30% on a good day.
“There’s this [idea] of [men] being decision-makers. Strong, dominant, powerful. Those are considered to be valuable traits to work in a competitive field,” explained Margaux Grober, Director of A&R at Arista Records. “That’s great, but I think men have a tendency to hire men because of those reasons even though women have shown that they can also be dominant, powerful, authoritative along with also being really intuitive and mindful and empathetic.”
Last fall, 45% of female business leaders admitted that it’s hard to get a word in edgewise in virtual meetings, specifically with their male counterparts. Even women who have broken through the metaphorical glass ceiling into integral roles within the industry often feel like they don’t have the advantage they should. Panelist Sammye-Ruth Scott, Director of A&R at Atlantic Records, elaborated, “It’s almost an uphill battle, even when we’re in the room. You almost get shut out of the conversation because [men] think your statement is invalid. We have to fight that much harder, work that much harder, and get in people’s face a little bit more in an assertive way to prove ourselves.”
Although the #MeToo movement technically originated with a statement in 2006, you would think that conversations around workplace equity would have gotten us farther since it ramped up in 2017. An industry so heavily focused on in the media with so much influence on generations of people could easily lead the way in inclusion. But it’s not. In fact, it continues to perpetuate gender bias in a way that almost encourages it.
This year, the Recording Academy acquired an array of new diversity hires and the 2021 GRAMMYs were touted as one of the most diverse music award shows in history. The entirety of the best rock, country, and new artist categories were filled with female nominees for the first time in history. However, only 11.7% of Grammy-nominated artists between 2013 and 2020 were female, so it shouldn’t have been very difficult to improve. I’m still unsure why the 62 year history of the award show wouldn’t have addressed diversity sooner. And while I’m very unimpressed by how they handle racial diversity – their nominations process has always been shady – I will admit, it’s a start.
This SXSW chat was a clear reminder that change starts from the top. People in positions of power need to be advocating for diversity in the industry, and throughout every career field. Bringing more women into positions of power will allow those key voices to place more women and people of color into careers across the industry. “I feel it will change as time goes on and we make a really concerted effort to bring more women in,” explained Grober. “But I don’t think it should just be on us to do that.” Women will champion the fight, but they need support from people who do not identify as women too.
If you have a creative project coming up, consider working with an array of diverse voices. Music projects often require videographers, editors, photographers, marketing-minded helpers, and other methods of support. Women exist in all of these spaces, and elevating their work is important. As we’ve already seen, a gainful future for women in music will, in turn, provide more opportunity for marginalized voices and people with less resources to find their artistic platform.
April is normally one of our favorite months of the year. Springtime is really kicking into high gear, it’s kitten season, it’s my birthday… This year is truly no exception, however obstacle after obstacle has been throwing itself into our realm. So, let’s take some time to relax with new releases from April 2021. Featuring music from REI AMI, Last Minte, Zuli Jr., and more, we will be adding new artists on a daily basis throughout the rest of the month. Check back frequently, and let us know what artists YOU love!
Thursday, March 18th brought with it some new sounds from far-off places. I was overjoyed to sit in on night 2 of “Close Up: A Sounds Australia Showcase.” Hosted by Dom Alessio of Sounds Australia, this relaxing evening featured music by Kee’ahn, Beans, Death by Denim, The Chats, and Kota Banks & Ninajirachi.
We think the photos do this showcase quite a bit of justice. The feeling of connecting with the earth and these natural landscapes while engaging with incredible international artists is absolutely captivating. Check out the snaps below, and add these bands to your next playlist!
St. Patrick’s Day at SXSW 2021 was an absolute blast. The Black Fret showcase featured six Austin, Texas-based bands in their showcase, giving us some of that SXSW hometown flare we were missing from our couches. Featuring Sydney Wright, Ley Line, Motenko, Eimaral Sol, PR Newman, and Buffalo Hunt, the music was magical already without the added lunar backdrop. Peep the highlights and check out the work Black Fret does below!
Black Fret believes our local music is art, worthy of the support of our community just as the symphony, opera and ballet have been supported for generations. We are a 501(c)3 public charity whose mission is to support the creation and performance of local music. Since 2013 we have contributed over $3.6 million to the local music economy of Austin, Texas. Learn more or join us at blackfret.org.
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!