Every Friday, Atwood Magazine’s staff share what they’ve been listening to that week – a song, an album, an artist – whatever’s been having an impact on them, in the moment. Here’s this week’s weekly roundup!
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:: You Are Someone Else – Fickle Friends ::
Lindsay Call, Southern California
Even if it’s raining buckets (like it’s been for a good part of the week in California), it’s technically spring and time for some fair-weather tunes… and You Are Someone Else is just that. Fickle Friends’ debut album is exactly what you’d expect: high-energy synthpop that has a knack for getting stuck in your head. You Are Someone Else is jam-packed with sixteen songs, which makes it feel a bit long and recycled at times throughout the album. But that doesn’t stop its sheer force. Fickle Friends are refreshingly ebullient in the majority of their songs, from hits like “Swim,” “Glue,” and “Brooklyn,” and the album tends to supplement those songs with others that are similar in structure and sound. Songs like “Bite,” “Lovesick,” and “Hard To Be Myself” stand out because of their shift in tempo and tone. Overall, though, “Hard To Be Myself” does exactly what it’s supposed to: offers a frenetic departure from the normal world with a ton of dance-worthy tracks. Definitely a great album to put on as soon as you leave work for the weekend.
:: Here Come the Aliens – Kim Wilde ::
Christine Costello, Limerick, Ireland
This week I’ve indulged once again in my greatest guilty (although completely not guilty) pleasure: Eighties music. Following a viral video of her spontaneous performance on a train, Kim Wilde has made a tremendous return to music with her album, Here Come the Aliens. In a desperate search for that bubbly, eighties pop sound, Wilde finds herself left with something between Blondie and a Eurovision entry. That’s not to say that the album isn’t an enjoyable listen; filled with infectious, pop choruses and good vibes. To describe the venture in one word… Wilde.
:: “No Way Back” – Alex Lleo ::
Mitch Mosk, New York
This week has been all about Alex Lleo‘s sophomore single “No Way Back,” which just released today, 3/23/2018. Hailing from a small town in Worcestershire, England, Alex Lleo seems to capture the sweetness and natural beauty of the world he’s always known. His debut EP was recorded live with a full band – as we see quite explicitly in his songs’ accompanying videos – and each instrument adds its own subtle texture to a effervescently light and lilting whole. What I love most about “No Way Back,” in addition to its infectiously catchy melodies and fresh wooh-ooh cries, is its easy, laid-back flow. The song is an appeal for letting life take its course – to embracing what we’ve got, and leaning into it as hard as we can, with outstreched arms and open hearts. “Kick off your shoes, throw out your phone, ’cause I know we ain’t going home.” Yes.. the song technically revolves around a one-time fling, but that doesn’t take away from the beauty in its message. “je m’appelle so what – no going back; no time for that,” Lleo and co howl in a delightfully provocative chorus. An all-around joy, “No Way Back” is the one-night stand you want to have… over and over again.
:: “Creatures” – Glass House Point ::
Sara Santora, Tallahassee, Florida
For some, the start of Spring can signal new beginnings, so it’s important to feel uplifted and empowered during this time of year. I’ve started some new chapters in my own life, but ironically enough, I’ve turned to some older music to help ease my transition into this new stage. “Creatures” isn’t old by any means, but I’ve played the song at least a hundred times since its release last year, and it’s been the perfect song to help get me in the right headspace for the coming season. Glass House Point is a smaller indie act from my home state, but their music, “Creatures” especially, feels large and powerful. This track was the first single released from their EP Midnight Appetite, and serves to set the stage for the EP’s narrative. I love it because it feels while both in and apart from the context of the EP, which is often hard to accomplish. For those finding themselves in transition, I highly recommend giving this song a listen. It’s anthemic and will definitely give you that boost you need to make it through and start Spring on the right note.
:: “Don’t Bring Me Down” – PREP ::
Kelly Wynne, Chicago
The end of winter calls for some vibrant tunes, and PREP offers that and more. The energetic pop funk band has a small collection of songs, but each is special and memorable in their own right. They reside in the same vein as Foster The People and Portugal. The Man, fostering an undeniably happy sound ready for dancing and uplifting days. “Don’t Bring Me Down” may be the most peppy of the collection, with a contagious chorus. While it boasts a loud energy, the track is rather calm with organized and subdued instrumentals. It’s synthetic pop at it’s best, supporting yet never overdoing the completely charismatic and friendly vocals that stick with listeners long after each track is over.
:: “Sinking” & “Iconic” – shye. ::
Jimmy Crowley, New York
It’s not always welcomed when the punks lighten up, which is part of what makes Shye so enjoyable. Shye is the moniker of Nick Harrison, vocalist for hardcore/pop-punk band Cautioners, but you’d never know that his roots were in screaming. Shye creates a brand of mellow, wintery pop that’s warm like a sweater. With soft, crisp vocals, “Iconic” and “Sinking” are comforting for an early morning walk in the snow, but the beats show they wouldn’t be out of place to be remixed for a club. His first two singles for the project are reminiscent of Justin Bieber’s Purpose album. He’s definitely an artist to keep an eye out for.
:: “Memorized” – Mat Kearney, RAC ::
Kelly McCafferty, New Orleans
Mat Kearney, who some would venture to say is the inventor of rapping with an acoustic guitar. Cadencing (that’s a verb right?) throughout a song as effortlessly as Drake or Biggie. He went quiet for a while but is back slowly dropping singles. His latest, “Memorized,” is, in my opinion, the best of his new sleuth of songs. You feel his old style so clearly, but it’s matched with a new style. “Memorized” is a pop bop about knowing every inch of your partner. It’s a summer sun jam to play on repeat. Can’t get enough of the new Mat Kearney. (Similarly to how I was with the old Mat Kearney years ago).
:: “The Heart Is a Muscle” – Gang of Youths ::
Alex Killian, Foster City, California
Gang of Youths remind us that attempting to overcome a broken heart is as difficult as it is brave on their track “The Heart Is a Muscle.” The Australian indie rock outfit just released the radio edit of the eager and honest song, which originally dropped in the summer of 2017. The new cut highlights the invigorating, determined message and feeling of the original track. I love the optimism of this song and the metaphor of the heart being a muscle that needs to be worked with love and human connection. The vocals come across as steadfast, hopeful and earnest and the lyrics are poetic yet deeply relatable. It’s a song that asks for patience from a lover, shows real self awareness, and proves that the most important thing in any situation, even mending a broken heart, is to try.
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