Acclaimed piano virtuoso, Rob Kovacs, illustrates his talents in his newest endeavor: Let Go. The 9 track album is emotional, momentous, and provides a raw demonstration of life’s ups and downs.
Having already been named “Best Pianist/Keyboardist” by the Cleveland Free Times, Kovacs is no stranger to the spotlight. Adding to his repertoire, the Cleveland native was the first pianist in history to perform both parts of Steve Reich’s Piano Phase live. I encourage you to look up the impressive feat if you wish to be amazed by the human capacity.
Let Go tells the story of one relationship from beginning to end, in chronological order. Having worked on the concept album for over a decade, Kovacs was sure to not leave anything out. “Phade” kicks off the album similarly to how many relationships often do; peacefully and hopeful. As time goes on however, and the tracks progress, heavier weight is involved. “Here in the Future” hints at traces of anxiety, and in “Should-Haves” regret becomes clear.
29 minutes and 55 seconds later, the listener has finished a musical three-course meal. From excitement, to the darker spaces of the world and back to a place of acceptance – one is left with a new perspective, as well as a scar. We only have Rob Kovacs to thank for all of that.
Former indie rocker, Neal Wright, highlights the Chinese board game, “Go”, in his most recent work. Being an avid player for most of his life, Wright honors the abstract strategy game under his project name, Wave Collector. The artist’s new single, The Masterpiece, tells the story of and pays homage to Dosaku’s masterpiece.
Upon meeting The Masterpiece, one is not greeted in a gradual manner. On the contrary, I suggest you prepare for an abrupt “hello”: a “hello” filled with immense variety, and one that will occupy your full attention.
Within the first 15 seconds, the audience is engulfed by electronic instrumentation, ethnic pulsations, ambient noises and vocal recordings. If this sounds like a lot, your assumptions are correct. This track will, quite literally, take hold of you and lead you through an experiential journey based on novel sounds; and it will not wait for you to give the go-ahead. As a listener, allow yourself to take a step back and let Wright take control.
As a rising voice in Portland, Oregon’s electronic music scene, Wave Collector is uncategorizable and is anything but ordinary. Forget about that 3:00 pm caffeine crash– in four minutes, Wright will have you feeling re-energized and ready to take on masterpieces of your own.
Throbbing synths, outer-space vibes and the overwhelming sense of satisfaction that comes with bedroom pop — what more could you ask for? Shouting out her name from the entranced hills and transcendent sunshine of Los Angeles, the multi-talented Olivia Morreale presents her new track, “NO ANSWER”. Arriving as the first piece off her upcoming EP, SPACE DREAMS, the trackdrips traces of the emerging artist’s persona with each pulse.
Having roots in New York City and a background in jazz, Morreale’s unification with the glittery-ness of Southern California has resulted in evident depth as a writer and producer. Sensual vocals with ethereal lyrics results in a listener’s experience of both confusion and contentment. With Morrelae, strangeness is welcomed– even encouraged. As the song progresses, constellation vibrations take the listener far away; all while remaining grounded by the singer’s dream-like voice.
Along with co-writer and co-producer Eli Koskoff, the two have created a track that fits the mentality of a city like Los Angeles. No one really knows exactly where they’re headed, and life often seems too good to be true. Nonetheless, the only option is to keep floating ahead– enjoying what surprises you might discover along the way.
Since its inception in 1993, independent record label — Saddle Creek Records — has consistently earned itself a place on the shelf as being home to America’s favorite indie artists. From Bright Eyes, to Spoon and Big Thief; the Nebraska based college-project-turned-business’s roster draws fans from across the globe. Continuing Saddle Creek’s trajectory of success is rock band Ohtis, who just made their appearance on the label’s most recent project: the Document Series.
With roots dating back to 2004, the Ohtis trio is made up of Sam Swimson, Adam Pressley and Nate Hahn. Now presenting their single, “Schatze”, the three are joined by a feature from Saddle Creek’s very own, Stef Chura. The new track and accompanying music video foster a tech-savvy backstory that is irresistible for our current media-plagued generation. The song’s spacey beginning, strong rock anthem and head-bobbing bass line will undoubtedly land the group on top tier, alternative-loving playlists far and wide. Beyond that, Stef Chura provides authenticity– supplying us with realistic responses to someone who, quite simply, is bothering the shit out of you.
The Document Series serves as an effort, on Saddle Creek’s behalf, to allow bands not already a part of their label family to express their own musical communities, creations and desires. According to Ohtis themselves, “Schatze” lays out a character study of the “Selfish Antisocial Male”, primarily told through the lens of Sam’s longtime girlfriend.
London-based singer-songwriter, CLOVES, does not wait to ask for permission in her newest track and accompanying music video, “Sicko”. Every aspect of the artist’s persona demands attention. With vibrant pink hair, disjointed dance movements and an occasionally-pained facial expression; the twenty-four year old makes it hard to look away during the duration of her three-minute-long production.
In her music video, the Australian-born singer peels back the layers of what it means to be an outsider. We are first introduced to her character via the television: an immediate suggestion to cast judgment onto the girl we see through the screen. We are then brought in for a closer look at the haunting side of isolation and loneliness, and the frailty of it all. Most interesting of all: despite the sadness behind CLOVES’ words, we are led to a chorus that resembles the melody of a lullaby, and there is somehow a sense of acceptance of the singer’s depressed state.
Like a really good horror movie you can’t stop yourself from watching, CLOVES’ “Sicko” touches on the scarier subjects in life– but you can’t help but be obsessed nonetheless.
The start of every new year often brings new resolutions, aspirations, and sometimes an overwhelming emphasis on the need to be “positive”. While there’s no doubt such efforts are commendable, there is something refreshing about a voice that speaks out against the crowd.
With upbeat production and catchy bop after the next, Oscar DeLaughter and his newest single provide listeners with an oddly-cheerful acceptance of life’s duller moments. If your 2021 hasn’t started off the way you might’ve hoped for, DeLaughter’s track, “Just Woke Up”, will assure you that you aren’t the only one. Playing on the ordinary routine of waking up to yet another underwhelming day, DeLaughter manages to turn a depressing theme into an enjoyable one.
As opposed to shying away from the daunting topics of uncertainty and confusion, the young musician provides lightheartedness when we need it most– creating something we can even sing along to.
One object might particularly stand out the first time you watch couchwalker on film. I may or may not be speaking of the large brown couch placed in the middle of the set. Before you judge the couch, however, know that the couch is important. The inclusion of the couch is in fact, very intentional, and speaks to songwriter Jenny Banai’s individuality as an artist.
If you’ve recently been searching for a raw, emotional and authentic performance to satisfy your winter cravings, you might want to reconsider watching that two and a half hour long drama and indulge in Jenny Banai’s twenty minute film instead. With strong musicality, a clear vision and an empty warehouse-turned-living room, the British Columbia native imparts a true unconventional masterpiece.
After selecting various segments from her recent album, couchwalker, Banai and her team (including film director, Matej Balaz; and choreographers and dancers, Joanna Anderson and Kezia Rosen) present the tracks in a refreshing light, accompanied by visual representation. The resulting project features pleasing color coordination, purposeful fashion choices, and strategic bodily movements (fingers included)– providing an intimate explanation of Banais’ most personal questions and convictions.
In today’s world with the absence of live performances, Banai hoped to give an opportunity for fans to connect with her album on a deeper level. Throughout the short film, we are acquainted with an inquisitive yet glamorous girl, a melancholy yet daring girl, and there is both stagnancy and variety to her story. Banai creates a story we can all relate to.
It’s not too hard to find a good song that focuses on pain, loneliness or loss. Similarly, there’s never been a shortage of music that pays attention to life’s beauty. It is a unique uncovering, however, to come across a piece that acknowledges both sides of the coin. The result is a sense of connection between the artist and the listener, with both parties realizing that life’s emotional oscillations are a part of the human experience.
Mikey Ferrari’s new single, “standoff”, creates a space in which listeners can appreciate this connection. In the track, Ferrari opens himself to sheer vulnerability, reflecting on the loss of a close friend. Beginning with an electronic celestial sound, Ferrari adds color to his description of the longed for “space boy”. To enchant us even more, the Los Angeles-based singer puts to use his impressive falsetto, making it all too easy for us to indulge in his delicacy. By showing us his soft side, Ferrari only heightens the significance behind his words.
Despite the pain, profound beauty can be found when we are faced with a loss– along with an appreciation for what the loss teaches us. Ferrari reminds us of this lesson in “standoff”, coming off his upcoming album, SPACEBOY, set to release in early 2021.
We’ve all experienced the confusion that comes with being wrapped up in an unclear state of affairs with that special someone. Amongst other emotions, we often find ourselves asking a never-ending list of questions. Where is this going? What do they mean? What’s my next move, and what is theirs?
There’s no doubt that life would be simpler if we put an end to the constant mind-garbage that bubbles up from our brain’s most curious corners. Yet, we still can’t seem to help ourselves from spending hours analyzing the most straightforward text message, or deciding between which emoji would qualify as the most appropriate response.
If this situation hits home for you, I’m happy to present you with a solution that will remind you of how to properly respond: Southern California’s R&B star, Joyce Wrice, and her new single “So So Sick”. Not only will this track bring you back to a positive space focused on self love, but you will simply be too busy enjoying yourself to even think about anyone else.
With commandeering vocals and a self-empowered message, Wrice brings to life sentiments of rejection and pain; along with the necessary attitude to move past such emotions. The singer-songwriter’s sweet-and-cheeky sound is driven home as she conveys the unpleasant cyclicality of someone being unsure of how they feel about you, and having been through this before. As opposed to waiting for someone who’s only half-baked crazy about you, the listener is inspired to prioritize themselves and move on– an important lesson to take in stride as we move into the new year.
“So So Sick” was co-written alongside Daniel Church and produced by Grammy Award-nominee, D’Mile. The track comes from Wrice’s forthcoming album debut, set to arrive early 2021.