Editor’s Picks: February 25, 2019

Editor's Picks 02-25-2019
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 La Bouquet, Crystal Fighters, SYML, Wide Eyed Boy, Cooper & Gatlin, and Ceres!
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“Sad People Dancing”

La Bouquet

La Bouquet have come a long way in only three years’ time, and their intimately indulgent “Sad People Dancing” perfectly captures not only their musical essence, but also their maturity and artistic growth. The collaboration of former The Neighbourhood member Bryan Sammis (also known for his work as Olivver the Kid), Jake Lopez, and Drew Bruchs, La Bouquet immerse listeners in beds of dynamic and often turbulent passion, mixing reverb-laden guitar/synth soundscapes with evocative lyrics (“You’re like heavy sunshine; it hurts my eyes,” – “Kiss Me, Kill Me”) that have this peculiar way of grabbing our attention, and holding it tight.

The title track off their forthcoming debut album (out March 29), “Sad People Dancing” embodies La Bouquet’s quintessential blend of happy sadness: An infectiously catchy melody brings us through a powerfully sober experience of isolation and longing:

I want to feel, I want to feel
Better than I do right now
I want to feel so help me feel
Better than yesterday
‘Cause I’ve been watching the planes roll in
And people embrace from time that they’ve spent apart
And I’ve been waiting for someone to come and save me
So won’t you save me?

Melancholia has a tendency to suck the air out of a room. La Bouquet manage to inject light and warmth into our ears, while still immersing us in irrefutably dark emotions. Their balance of opposites is praiseworthy, but it’s the utter fragility of “Sad People Dancing” that lends this song its tremendous depth and value. I can think of few songs that capture the happy/sad juxtaposition with such delicate nuance and attention to detail: From Bryan Sammis’ aching falsetto cries, to the everpresent poignant guitar riffs, to the layered harmonies that increase the song’s emotional impact as it progresses, La Bouquet have made a thing of sheer haunting beauty.

Oooh it’s just like standing in the rain without you
It’s just like watching a party from the other room
It’s just like sad people dancing around the room
It’s just like sad people dancing
It’s just like sad people dancing


“Wild Ones”

Crystal Fighters

One day, I’m going to finally write an incredibly in-depth review of Crystal Fighters’ sophomore album Everything Is My Family, and why/how it became one of my favorite albums of the year and possibly, of all time. Today, I’m going to spare us all the hysterics and focus on the magnificent rapture of “Wild Ones,” the lead single off Crystal Fighters’ upcoming new album Gaia & Friends (out March 1, 2019).

A raw, brilliant celebration of perseverance and inner strength, “Wild Ones” shines bright with a zest for life. Lead vocalist Sebastian Pringle sings a tale of passion, failure, hope, dreams, and continuity as an eclectic assortment of rock instruments, vocal harmonies, and scattered sounds build to an infectious chorus of la’s.

I thought I was a star
Until I started fading
From the sky I freefall…
Every single day I
Go out look up at where I’m from
‘Cause I thought I was a star
How long, tell me how long
Can this go on,
like we’re floating in the arms of God
With the wild ones,
with the wild ones,
and we rage on
Til we’re blazing in the sun

You can read “Wild Ones” as a sad song of falling from grace and always looking behind, or you can see it as a dance with euphoria that treasures a moment of ecstasy, and basks in the beauty this world can bring to us all. I choose the latter interpretation, and from the band’s own description, I think we’re on the same page:

Our music represents the coming together of people and spirits in one place, and we see that as an analogy of life itself. We’re all together in this one big concert that is life. Our music is a celebration of life.”

In addition to being a publicist’s ideal soundbyte, the above explanation speaks to how deeply Crystal Fighters work to make their music an invitation for connection and movement – both physical movement of the body, as well as emotional movement of the soul. “Wild Ones” radiates love as the band dive deep into the throes of experience, recognizing life’s complexity and cherishing its majesty. I’ve had this song on repeat for the past week, and am so excited for Crystal Fighters’ new album: They just have the way of extracting the beauty in the world, and transforming it into love.


Sun Again EP

Wide Eyed Boy

Liverpool, England continues to churn out incredible musical talent, most recently in the form of alternative rock band Wide Eyed Boy. The four-piece of Oliver Nagy (vocals), Jonny Ball, Kobi Pham (Guitar/Keys), and Tom Taylor (Drums), Wide Eyed Boy are quickly establishing themselves as members of rock music’s next great generation (alongside the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen and Wolf Alice). Their debut EP Sun Again offers a thrilling ride through emotion, isolation, and romance that begs for repeat listens.

With lyrics like “Loving you is so easy when I’m down,” and “pack your bags, we’re getting out this landslide… Cut through all their streams, they never meant a thing, just breathe,” Wide Eyed Boy’s songs force us to stop, think, and really listen. Such lyrical creativity is aided by vocalist Oliver Nagy’s golden pipes and a penchant for impassioned — yet controlled — wails; he knows when, how, and with how much force he should let out every gasp, breath, shout, and cry. This all comes to a head in the EP’s opener “Sun Again,” and its closing anthem “Fire” – my personal favorite track the band has released to date. Dynamic, effusive, and absolutely charming, “Fire” echoes a kind of vulnerability seldom seen in rock music. It’s as catchy as it is meaningful, and it’s one of the main reasons I’ll be pushing Wide Eyed Boy on all my friends this year.

That said, please do yourself a favor and give Wide Eyed Boy’s debut EP a listen. It’s a twenty-minute joy ride full of highs and lows that remind you why everyone deep down wants to fall in love, find meaning, and live their best life.


“The Bird”

SYML

A beautiful and bittersweet song full of aching and tenderness, SYML’s first single of 2019 took my breath away. “The Bird” is simultaneously sweet and ominous; a fragile emotional dive into the depths of knowing. I’ve written plenty about my love of SYML‘s (aka Brian Fennell) music in the past; his song “Girl” brought me to tears the first time I heard it, and his older cover of “Mr. Sandman” transforms a familiar feelgood composition into a haunting plea; in 2017 I wrote, “SYML has given us a new way to dream,” and it was as true then as it is now.

“The Bird” heralds SYML’s upcoming album release; the self-titled debut will be out May 3, 2019 via Nettwork. For SYML, “The Bird” feels like a new chapter in an artistry that has already transformed so much since his days as indie rock band Barcelona’s lead singer. “Trying to love or even understand someone with all of their beautiful flaws and intricacies, while we cope with our own, is not easy,” the artist shared via press release. “It is as delicate and cold as it is proud and belligerent. ‘The Bird’ represents this surreal dance.”

The closer you get to something, the more it might leave you; it’s an endless balancing act that seems always to be on the verge of total collapse — yet somehow, we each manage to keep everything going. We juggle our own emotions while we interact with others and their own baggage, connecting and fluctuating like ripples in a sea.

When I first heard “The Bird,” I actually feared it; I thought it was so dark, and a little scary, that I didn’t know what to do about it. I just kept listening, and listening; now that I’ve had time to sit with it, and it’s had time to sink into me, I’m absolutely infatuated. SYML is defying the urge to rewrite his hit single “Where’s My Love” with spectacular ease, opening our ears and eyes to an incredible array of sound. Truth be told, I believe he’s only scratching the surface – and I cannot wait for his full-length debut.


“Like You”

Cooper & Gatlin

Brother-sister duo Cooper and Gatlin Green have an enormous penchant for indie pop bombast, and I’m going along for the journey with them. They debuted with the moody, poignant “Break” in 2018, which has since racked up a very impressive 350,000 Spotify streams. Released earlier this month, follow-up “Like You” is Cooper & Gatlin’s latest unnervingly memorable release, soaked in sunshine while also mired in emotional turmoil.

“It was written about a friend of Gatlin’s who was having issues with a family member who really wasn’t involved in her life growing up, and all of a sudden was trying to come back into her life and assert authority,” Cooper Green recently told me. “This is about her journey of navigating that negative experience; does she let it turn her into a bitter person, or to grow beyond that and into something better. We decided to release this now, as a follow up to “Break” because we think it shows another part of our sound that is cool, vibey and with more angst in the lyrics.”

No lie, no lie
I don’t even wanna look you in the eye
The truth, the truth
I don’t ever wanna be anything like you
Followed your footsteps and look where it took me to
That’s why, that’s why
I don’t ever wanna be anything like you

Incredibly powerful and joyously fun all at once, “Like You” offers a stirring take on the parent/child relationship. Once the child becomes the parent, they can never go back to being the child again. That innocence lost feeds into this feeling of defiance without remorse, yet with a connection as complicated as this one, it’s hard to pin down any one emotion without caveats. “Like You” is a complex pop song that digs at the heart of a situation with furious verve; at the same time, Cooper & Gatlin ensure our own spirits stay high, and that we never come down!


“Me & You”

Ceres

Australian band Ceres are Melbourne’s gift to indie rock, and discovering them sincerely felt like being a kid on my birthday: That sense of elation, in having received something you know can be all yours, and knowing you’re going to cherish it. Ceres’ upcoming third album We Are a Team, is out in late April, and the advance songs “Kiss Me Crying, “Viv in the Front Seat” and “Me & You” capture as much heartache and strain as they do raw, unadulterated passion.

Put her in the gears of the old printing press
Who do you think should clean up all this mess?
I think too much about it
I think too much about you
Put me in the gears of the old printing press
Just leave me time to think
The what we were once we left
Is what we will be again
Say what you want, but it was me and it was you
Say it in one, when you know that I’ll take two
Tell ‘em all its not for them, they never knew
Say what you want, but it was me and it was you

“Me & You” is an explosion of longing – a pained, romantic heart-on-sleeve outpouring worthy of teenaged and young adult adoration. It’s a personal reckoning, finding the narrator turning in on himself and confronting his worst qualities; and it’s an outstretched arm, spread wide into an ether and hoping someone else is going to be on the other side.

Ceres take us back 20 years to the best of ’90s/’00s emo and hard rock. I haven’t heard anyone make music this expressively honest and intense in a long time, but it feels like home and I’m going to embrace it as much as possible.

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Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup

February 22, 2018

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