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 Kelsy Karter, Hembree, Rosie Carney, Hozier, and Girl Wilde!
Kelsy Karter has already been on our radar as an artist-to-watch for quite some time; a cross between blue-eyed soul singer and indie pop princess, she’s been steadily sneaking her way up in the music world. Her moony rainy-day anthem “Sad Sad Summer” caught my attention last July with its tasteful incorporation of the old and the new – it’s the kind of distressed track that can turn our frowns upside down, giving us an excuse to let it all out at once, and in a big way.
Karter’s release two bangers in recent months to the tunes of “God Knows I’ve Tried” and “Catch Me If You Can,” both of which blend charismatic old-school soul with modern pop licks and rock instrumentations — but nothing compares to the sheer explosion of desire that climaxes on “Harry.” An instant hit in my book, Kelsy Karter’s tribute to Harry Styles is a tantalizing letter of lustful intent, and the kind of catchy thrill-ride that might catapult her career.
I blacked out, passed out first time we met
It wasn’t drugs, could be love but it’s probably sex
I’m thinking about you…
I’ll treat you better than the
girls you’re hanging out with
Take you to heaven and
I’ll show you all around it
I’ll never ever let you down
Her lyrics are clever and cunning; Karter knows what she wants, and she’s determined to get it. The pivotal moment of euphoria hits in the chorus, when all this energy comes out in provocative style:
Harry! I’m gonna make you love me
You’re gonna make me breakfast
It’s a secret just between us
We can keep it low key
I ain’t being funny
You should be so lucky
To put ya put ya put ya
Velvet arms around me
I’m g-g-g-gonna make you love me
So put ya put ya put ya arms around me
I’ll probably be singing this song on and off for the next year. Judging by the response it’s already getting from numerous outlets, this could definitely be Kelsy Karter’s big break!
The king of the culture is never really free sings Hembree’s Isaac Flynn in a blur of hazy vocals, drenched guitars, pulsing drums and subtle synth pads. I first saw Hembree three years ago at a NYC Communion Music showcase, and while they quickly caught my ear at the time, “Culture” sees them taking everything to the next level. The lead single off the Kansas City band’s upcoming debut album feels like a Glass Animals / Radiohead mashup: Bits of rock guitar melt into an ethereal, heavy (and exquisitely-produced) soundscape.
“Culture” transports listeners to another plane as Hembree hold a brash mirror up to society, asking if appearances are worth their cost, if the lies we ourselves at night are worth the pain and stress we endure, and so on. The catch is that no one is free – we’re each a slave to some external societal force that is insurmountably greater than ourselves (which, as it happens, is another link back to Radiohead – but I digress…) “Culture” is a hell of a ride, and a sign of great things to come from Hembree!
“Fake Louis”Girl Wilde
A grungey pop/rock defiance, Girl Wilde’s “Fake Louis” is an emphatic middle finger in the air and an empowered embrace of the self. Like a badass Taylor Swift song, “Fake Louis” finds self-love in saying ‘fuck you’ to society’s worst characteristics: It’s a slap to our brand-obsessed, looks-focused, emotionally-devoid consumer nation, and ooh does it feel good!
i bring my fake louis to the party
stopped kissing boys who just want my body
could write a book on what the hell’s wrong with me
so I’m saying whatever,
started feeling so much better
“I’ve struggled with my sense of self for a long time. ‘Fake Louis’ is about the weight that I’ve felt lift as I’ve gotten to know myself more,” Girl Wilde tells Atwood Magazine. “I have some weird quirks. I carry around a fake designer bag and my friends refer to it as “the fake Louis” and it’s become an odd joke. People are often thrown off by my honesty and self-deprecation but I feel like there’s a power in owning it.”
Spunky guitars and a passionate voice ring out against a catchy pop punk beat. It’s Avril Lavigne and Paramore in their prime, only a new voice with a fiery alt rock furor ready to burst. “Fake Louis” is only Girl Wilde’s third single release, though the seasoned songstress has plenty under her belt and even more to come. With its infectious energy attitude, “Fake Louis” is the song I will song when I’m mad at corporate greed; when I just want to stay in on the weekend; and when I feel like dancing with abandon. Girl Wilde is unleashed, and we’re better for it.
Bright, beautiful, and hauntingly delicate, Rosie Carney’s debut album Bare is an intimate outpouring of lyrical poetry and emotional vulnerability. For years, Atwood Magazine has touted the young Irish singer/songwriter’s tendency toward “open-eyed vulnerability and self-confession;” her 2017 single “Awake Me,” – which reappears on Bare – is “at once a tender, powerful act of self-confession and a call for acceptance set to music.”
The soft, soothing coo “I’m only human too, and that’s what humans do when they don’t have a clue” on “Humans” perhaps best summarizes the level of pure and utter surrender Carney poured into this album. The title Bare really says it all: This is Carney, stripped down to her core: Honest, unguarded, and completely exposed. Emotionally overwhelming and profoundly poignant, Bare moves slowly but never loses our attention as Carney guides us through bittersweet, and often deep reflections on all things human.
I’d like to say Bare is an album we can all listen to and cry along with together, but it’s more than that: This album is a record of being, a vessel through which we may tap into our own cores and feel.
“Almost (Sweet Music)”Hozier
With a charismatic little guitar twirl and a laid-back, feelgood energy, Hozier’s “Almost (Sweet Music)” kicks off with the warmth and cheer of an old friend. It’s tough to comprehend the fact that Andrew Hozier-Byrne released his debut album in 2014, and for the past five years, until 2018’s EP Nina Cried Power, that had been it! Hozier is one of the few artists whose impact was immediate and immense; he came onto the scene, and his music changed the game overnight – making way for a new generation of folk/pop crossovers.
I came in from the outside
Burnt out from the joy ride
She likes to roll here in my ashes anyway
Played from the bedside
Is “Stella By Starlight”
“That Was My Heart”
The drums that start off “Night And Day”
The same kind of music haunts her bedroom
I’m almost me again, she’s almost you
“Almost (Sweet Music)” is a lilting journey that accentuates the Hozier sound as we’ve come to know it and love it – and it’s wickedly clever: A beautifully catchy assortment of musical references find Hozier paying homage to his favorite jazz greats. From Ella Fitzgerald to Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke and John Coltrane, Hozier litters references through subtle wordplay and sundry name-drops. At the same time, “Almost (Sweet Music)” is a moving testament to emotional attachment and the pain of moving on; Hozier sings like he’s addressing a former paramour, describing some new sweetheart and the ways in which she reminds him of his ex. “I laugh like me again, she laughs like you.” The title “almost” really fits the song’s story.
This all comes to a peak in Hozier’s playful and poignant chorus:
I wouldn’t know where to start
“Sweet Music” playing “In The Dark”
Be still “My Foolish Heart, “
Don’t ruin this on me
Hozier’s second album Wasteland, Baby! is out in one month’s time on March 1, 2019. Until then, “Almost (Sweet Music)” is a perfect jam for getting into the celebratory spirit of new music – and, I suppose, new beginnings.
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