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.
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.
Pip Millett, the Manchester-born singer-songwriter, is ready to release her EP Motion Sick to an eager R&B audience.
Speaking on the EP, Pip states: “I have often felt lost when things around me have started to change. In recent times I’ve realized I’m simply ‘Motion Sick’. My core self is still there but without change there cannot be any growth. ‘Motion Sick’ is about the various changes in my life. With this change I have tried to find comfort in the simple things.”
Each of the songs on Motion Sick has a sound that harken back to an earlier time in music, but the song lyrics are very much topical. Pip Millett may have been creating songs that reflected changes in her life, but she is certainly in touch with what is important to others in her generation as well. Additionally, she has a voice quality that invites you to really feel what she is singing. The best examples of this are on “Best Things” and “Sad Girls” ft. Gaidaa.
“Running” ft. Ghetts is the first track on the EP and addresses the racist current that runs through our world. Intertwining Pip’s haunting lyrics with Ghetts’ raps, “Running” is an R&B anthem for our time:
[Ghetts] Another black man lost, worried about what a handbag cost, Whilst it costs to be black, I got a price on my head that’s not any cap. Fed’s are behind, I feel like I’m wanted dead or alive, Even after what I’ve accomplished nobody said they’d be kind.
“Hard Life” and “Braid it Back” round out the five-song playlist that makes up Motion Sick.
From the first haunting chords of the intro track “Home” to the last, intimate notes in sixth song “Strange Fruit,” singer-songwriter and producer Naomi Westwater’s beautiful new EP Feelings delivers just that: Feelings with a level of palpability unlike other albums provide. The topic of “Home” is less relatable, as Westwater sings specifically of her personal struggles with endometriosis and its accompanying reproductive issues. And while the second song “Feeling My Feelings” began in the same realm topically, it slowly developed into an anti-violence track. “Reflecting on the song now, I think it is also a haunting mirror to gun and police violence. It’s for those of us who feel our pain and feelings are ignored by others,” she admits.
“Commune” keeps to a slow, danceable clip, while Westwater observes her own spirituality and how it is defined in her life. Her vocals are absolutely magnetic, just like the way she leans into her own spirituality. While “Strange Weather” launches into a discussion on climate change, it does so in a beautiful and poignant way, never straying from the overarchingly soulful power of the collection. Explains Westwater:
This project felt like a storybook, like a complete collection of things that I’ve been meaning to say to the world, things I need to scream out into the void, and things that I need people to hear. These songs were all written at different times: ‘Strange Fruit’ in the 1930s, ‘Americana’ in 2012, and the others in the last few years, but the stories are so relevant to now.
Isaac and Thorald Koren – or The Brothers Koren – recently released their debut collection of tracks, an exquisite full-length titled I Went To The Sea To Be Free. Dedicated to the memory of their grandmother – who flew her plane over the Southern Ocean on Mother’s Day of 1974 and was never seen again – the album itself is laced with a sense of longing in the emotional lyrics. It’s hard to believe that the brothers approached music separate from each other, and later discovered their co-creating abilities. Their harmonizing abilities are almost haunting in a way, as displayed in tracks like “Say Everything”, “Gold”, and “Like Water”. (And virtually every other gorgeous track in this collection.)
Beginning at a leisurely clip with “Easy,” the album is introduced to us in a lighthearted, open-minded way. The song itself encourages its listener to take things as they come, while the brothers sing of how easy life can be with the right person. They transition with ease into the remaining thirteen tracks, presenting a true storytelling ambiance to the piece. Their cover of Prince’s 1984 hit “I Would Die 4 U” would otherwise fall short however the single has been stripped down into a different realm than its existing danceable pop energy, highlighting the love letter nature of it all. Crowd favorites include “Like Water”, “Beyond the Wild”, and “More Than You Know”.
Canadian duo Mayfly, comprised of Emma Cochrane and Charlie Kunce, have released their first EP ESSENCE. Both women are singer-songwriters, as well as producers, on this gem. The highlight of each song is their extraordinary harmonies.
“The goal of the EP is to bring people in to our musical universe…The essence of Mayfly is simply our voices and how they blend together, how they create this sense of unification and harmony.” Mayfly has accomplished exactly what they set out to do and then some. They have created five songs that move effortlessly from one to another, with no weak songs in the playlist.
Kicking off with ‘to jules’, Mayfly sets the mood with a song that is almost delicate sounding. It is my favorite song on the EP and a great introduction to Mayfly’s sound. ‘When all we knew was us’ starts with an acoustic guitar and one voice, building to both Emma and Charlie harmonizing lyrics with an aching quality that permeates the rest of the song.
The third track, ‘tes larmes’ features Tendresse and Joudi and is sung entirely in French. It has a different vibe from the other four songs on the EP, like you might hear on the soundtrack of a movie, but with the same ethereal harmonies that permeate the other tunes.
‘Sad song’ and ‘show me the way out’ acted as companion pieces in my mind – the breakup song, then the resignation about the breakup song. ‘show me the way out’ has lyrics that we can all relate to on some level, even with a more sanguine melody – “I’m never getting out of here, even if I try.”
Mayfly has produced a very thoughtful and beautiful EP with ESSENCE. I look forward to hearing more from them!