Editor’s Picks: July 8, 2019

Editor's Picks 17
Atwood Magazine is excited to share our Editor’s Picks column, written and curated by Editor-in-Chief Mitch Mosk. Every week, Mitch will share a collection of songs, albums, and artists who have caught his ears, eyes, and heart. There is so much incredible music out there just waiting to be heard, and all it takes from us is an open mind and a willingness to listen. Through our Editor’s Picks, we hope to shine a light on our own music discoveries and showcase a diverse array of new and recent releases. This week’s Editor’s Picks features Hunkpapa, Gallant, COIN, Skinny Living, Delacey, and Corey Harper!!
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“Cappuccino”

Hunkpapa

Here’s just one more reason to obsess over my favorite foamy espresso-based coffee drink: Hunkpapa’s brand new song “Cappuccino” is a fierce anthem roaring with conviction and inner drive. The Northern Ireland four-piece – who are completely new to me, and only formed two years ago – establish themselves as balanced rockers with an expansive outlook in this, their eighth overall song release.

Sonically, “Cappuccino” is passionate and unrelenting, a musical fire meant to light our own fires within. Hunkpapa let loose through their dynamic performance and high volumes, but “Cappuccino” equally displays an incredible degree of control: The band build to crescendos without dwelling too deeply in any climax, releasing only to keep building up again. The result quite mirrors that unquenchable thirst for more – to climb forever higher on the totem pole of life.

Grab a cappuccino
try to look professional
little does she know
that I think I’m going mental
Don’t you wanna do something
better than you’re yesterday?

Comatose conscript of the USA
There’s a fire in you’re blood
and it’s burning you down
(How long, how long, how long)

Set out to accomplish your goals, and keep them coming. “Cappuccino is Hunkpapa’s take on the suppression of dreams that all too often comes with young professional life,” the band shared upon this song’s release. “Step out into the world.”

“Cappuccino” is an elevating anthem full of life and an innate hunger to persevere, grow, and find fulfillment. I’ve found through it not only an incredibly addictive, inspiring and empowering, song, but also one of my new favorite Irish bands — so join me in following Hunkpapa wherever they go next, and let this song be your rousing wake-up call.

In short: Let “Cappuccino” help you follow your dreams.

“Sharpest Edges”

Gallant

For a song titled “Sharpest Edges,” Gallant’s latest single of 2019 is jaw-droppingly well rounded. The lead single off his forthcoming sophomore album, “Sharpest Edges” is a moody, slick, and soulful embrace of life’s full spectrum of pain and joy, bad and good.

Written around his depression, the song finds Gallant bracing for the worst while throwing himself into everything he does – in essence, allowing himself to be vulnerable despite a deep-rooted desire to hide away from the world. “There are two sides to every coin — a bunch of caskets buried underneath every vacation home,” he shared upon the song’s release. “I had problems with depression for a long time because even though you get to choose your own outlook on life, it’s hard sometimes to ignore the bad shit, the mistakes you made and the things you could have done better. It’s easier to admit the world is full of sharp edges—and to make a goal to have as many close calls as you can.”

Beyond it being a storehouse of inner strength, “Sharpest Edges” is simply and utterly intoxicating: Gallant’s voice flies over deep, muted bass pulses throbbing with vivid energy. His expressive vocal performance is defined by cool tenor chants and spine-tingling falsetto cries; every breath he takes seems to add further color and depth to the music. Few artists have as slippery and seductive an allure as Gallant – but then again, there’s no one quite like Gallant making the buoyant grooves he’s laying down.

“Sharpest Edges” is indulgent and chilling, but most importantly, it’s an ode to taking chances and living life to the fullest.

“Crash My Car”

COIN

Speaking of living life to the fullest, COIN have outdone themselves with “Crash My Car,” a song whose infectiously catchy melodies and raw, feverish energy eclipses any and all of their euphoric anthems.

You can crash my car tonight
Go out wasting all my time and money (Money)
I love the way you’re breaking my heart
And I can’t stand to see you leaving lonely
I’ll drive you home at the end of the night

“The story came from a fan who was in a car accident on the way to our show, but she still showed up in her near totaled, headlight hanging sedan,” COIN’s frontman Chase Lawrence recently shared. “Thank god she was ok! In that moment, the idea hit me: We don’t need anything as long as we’re together. No car, no money, the world is burning… but if we have each other, everything is perfect.”

“Crash My Car” radiates this feeling of love trumping all – that nothing else matters besides the one we’re with, and that we can get through anything so long as we’re doing it together. At the end of the world, we’re not hanging on to each other out of fear; we’re doing it out of a deeper intimate connection.

Between January’s hit song “I Want It All” and now “Crash My Car,” COIN have already had one hell of a 2019: “I Want It All” is a groovy, soulful enchantment that will get stuck in the head on repeat for months on end, its smoothe pianos and bluesy guitar licks capturing the extent of COIN’s growth and musical maturity over the 5+ years since their debut EP. “Crash My Car” might be seen as an equal and opposite to “I Want It All,” in that it exemplifies the ease with which COIN (who are sounding more and more like Walk The Moon) can now write a pop hit.

“Crash My Car” is just big. It’s a big, enthusiastic explosion of rollicking pop-rock energy. It’s the quintessential invitation to scream until our lungs are raw – and damn it, I’m whole-heartedly into it!

Having followed COIN since their nascence, I have a special spot in my heart for these guys. Their growth has been exciting to watch and enjoy over time, but the songs they’ve released most recently have each been breathtaking in their own spectacular way.

“Let Go”

Skinny Living

Is there a sound when a heart breaks? Can you work out the time it takes to mend it?” The beginning of Skinny Living’s new track is an immediate head-turner, with more and more to enjoy the deeper one listens. Soulful, charming, and pained in all the right ways, “Let Go” is a majestic folk-pop jam.

Is there a sound when a heart breaks
Can you work out the time
it takes to mend it,
I think we should end it
Can two people grow apart
We should have seen it from the start
We were different
I don’t think we can fix this

Epic and intimate; boisterous and calm; Skinny Living find the balance in seeming opposites not by choosing their middle ground, but rather by diving into both poles at once. Their catchy chorus invites us all to join in a heartfelt release, yet the words themselves are personal and speak to individual experience:

Let go of me
I’m trying hard right now to let go of you
And if you think somehow
You’re holding onto days long gone
Just because you’re scared to be alone
I think it’s time that we let
Let go, will you let go, let go

This is the kind of song I want to shout joyously out on a run, or driving down the highway. It’s a sweet liberation – emphatic, freeing, and perfectly executed.

“The Subway Song”

Delacey

Too many faces, but none I know, and I’m alone on the subway home,” sings a forlorn Delacey on her sophomore single “The Subway Song.” A poignant and aching piano ballad, “The Subway Song” is made for heartbreak in the city; of feeling all alone in a crowded room. Delacey’s soft singing packs loud, heavy emotion into every second; hers is the kind of voice that will stop a crowd dead in their tracks.

Take me home, I feel homesick
I don’t know, where I’m going
Too many faces, but none I know
And I’m alone on the Subway home
On the Subway home

Percussive clacks in the background simulate a train’s chug along the tracks as distant pianos paint a mellow, somber portrait of solitude. We feel the absence of another press heavily upon the artist as she sings out into the surrounding empty space – a space so full of life, yet none of the ones she’s looking for.

“A song can come any time and place for me. Even when I’m crying on a subway home from the studio and have to write it on my phone,” Delacey shared upon this song’s release late last month. The Los Angeles singer/songwriter only has two tracks to her name so far, having released her debut “My Man” in March.

I thought you’d be proud of me chasing the dream
I gave you a kiss and you let me leave
How many broken hearts are right on this train
They’ll get on and off and they never say

“The Subway Song” has the stunning ability to bring choked-back tears to the forefront with relative ease, which to me speaks wonders of Delacey’s capacity as an artist. Her story is just beginning, but I for one cannot wait to hear what’s next: Hers is a voice I would easily and eagerly listen to over and over again.

“Better”

Corey Harper

The bluesy twangs of John Mayer shine through Corey Harper’s latest single in the best way possible: “Better” aches with emotive guitar work and an equally stirring vocal outpouring. In premiering Harper’s “Don’t Hate Me” music video this April, I commented on the artist’s capacity to “[immerse] us in the depths of heartache and impending heartbreak”: “Pop music is so often maligned for lacking substance, but Corey Harper proves in “Don’t Hate Me” that powerful, catchy pop can exist without sacrificing integrity and depth.

Harper does it again in “Better,” a solemn self-reflection led by Harper and a mesmerizing, stripped-back guitar line. The latest off his forthcoming EP Barely Put Together finds the artist recognizing his flaws and accepting that, while he may not be perfect or have his life in order, he’s slowly but surely figuring things out and getting – for lack of better word – better!

I don’t have my shit together, but I think I like it better knowing that I don’t have to hide,” he sings: An emotional breakthrough in the guise of a chorus, or vice versa. “‘Better’ comes from a place where I compare myself in a really self-destructive way to other artists and people I respect and admire,” the artist recently shared. “It’s so easy nowadays to look like we have everything figured out because the canvas for success is resembled by a bunch of tiny squares on our phones. I’ve always struggled with not feeling like I’m interesting enough or have anything as important to say as other artists I see and learn from. This song is a letter and PSA for anyone who hears it, serving as an open invitation for people to see that we’re all human. You could say it’s my anti-hypeman anthem for the purpose of connecting with an audience I want to attract: Those who need a voice and song to help them get through the feeling of not having everything figured out but being just fine with that.”

“Better” is, for me, a song that just needs to be heard in order to be understood. Corey Harper lays himself on the line in a beautiful display of vulnerability, while at the same time stretching his arms out to bring his audience and anyone who needs it a warm and hopeful embrace. There’s a healing power to this kind of music that always strikes me as fresh, no matter how many songs echo its sentiment – because every time a song like this crops up, you know how big a deal it is for that artist to have it out here in the world. At a time when so many things continue to feel like they’re falling apart, “Better” opts to focus on the day-by-day improvements – the little things that are slowly changing in ourselves, and in a good way.

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com