Editor’s Picks 105: Soda Blonde, Bombay Bicycle Club, JayWood, The Slow Show, Sarah Crean, & S. Carey x John Raymond!

Atwood Magazine's Editor's Picks 105
Atwood Magazine's Editor's Picks 105
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 Soda Blonde, Bombay Bicycle Club & Holly Humberstone, JayWood, The Slow Show, Sarah Crean, & S. Carey x John Raymond ft. Gordi!

Atwood Magazine Editor's Picks 2020 Mic Mitch

 follow EDITOR’S PICKS on Spotify




“Bad Machine”

by Soda Blonde

A searing synth; the heavy pulse of drums; and a spirited voice, cool and confident, shining over the hazy sonic mist. Dublin darlings Soda Blonde have returned after two long years with a cathartic eruption of passion and purpose. Released July 14, “Bad Machine” is an angular expression of self-acceptance and reflection. Quiet contemplation and emotional charge coalesce as the band deliver a tune that sears and soars around the ears, with lead vocalist Faye O’Rourke’s singing acting as a kind of beacon – a lightning rod of feeling, pushing that pervasive fervor forward.

Bad Machine - Soda Blonde
Bad Machine – Soda Blonde
What did I hear you say
What did I hear you say
I thought I was to blame
What did I hear you say
I want to live
But I don’t like lonely
Take me alive
Or baby drive it in slowly

“We can be slaves to our own impulses,” guitarist Adam O’Regan says of the band’s new song. “This idea that ‘every part of me is a bad machine breaking everything all the time, every part of me has been wired to repeat, I’ve got a bad desire by design,’ it’s this idea of recognizing that this is just a part of who you are and going with that; but it’s a double-edged sword. Sometimes taking a chance, being spontaneous and taking a risk – they’re not always the safest moves to make, but that propensity to dare is what makes us great. We wouldn’t exist without it.”

Soda Blonde’s chorus is a welcome climax – a radiant and resounding release of built-up tension and inner turmoil:

Every part of me like a bad machine
Breaking everything all the time
Every part of me has been wired to repeat
I’ve got a bad desire by design

“Bad Machine” is warm and fuzzy: A welcome return from the band that blew us away with 2021’s debut album Small Talk, and had us giddy with anticipation before that with their previous EPs, Terrible Hands (2019) and isolation • content (2020).

Soda Blonde’s sophomore album (out September 8th) is entitled Dream Big, and between now and then, we certainly will be dreaming, imagining all that’s to come: Th smoldering, cinematic onslaught of guitars, vocals, drums, and keys, all perfectly aligned in their mission, united around a common goal and expressed so poetically, so profoundly, to make the hairs on our necks stand up as the Irish band once again take our breath away.

What did I hear you say baby
I thought I was a game
I want to live
But I don’t like lonely
Take me alive
I’ll be going til morning
Every part of me like a bad machine
Breaking everything all the time
Every part of me has been wired to repeat
I’ve got a bad desire by design



“Diving”

by Bombay Bicycle Club ft. Holly Humberstone

Bombay Bicycle Club’s 2023 return has been nothing short of spectacular, to the point where the band’s latest single feels itself like a drop of bottled up sunshine. Soaring and spirited, the charming “Diving” radiates with warmth and wonder as Bombay Bicycle Club and Holly Humberstone join forces to deliver a sweet, summery enchantment.

My Big Day - Bombay Bicycle Club
My Big Day – Bombay Bicycle Club
Wake up, we gotta warm our lungs
Sun will light up, it’s all to come
I got no words, I’ll follow you
We got your back, you’re coming too
The weight is lifting off my mind
And everyone is running wild
The Earth has split beneath our toes
And everybody knows

Released July 19, 2023 via AWAL, “Diving” is the second single off Bombay Bicycle Club’s forthcoming sixth studio album My Big Day (out October 20, 2023). Following the record’s groovy, somewhat tongue-in-cheek title track, “Diving” is an irresistible, intoxicating dose of optimism.

“‘Diving’ is a song about that summer you have when you’re 15, the memory of which conjures up such a unique feeling,” vocalist Jack Steadman tells Atwood Magazine. “You’re discovering everything for the first time and the world seems as scary and exhilarating as diving off a tall cliff into a lake. Holly is the perfect fit for this song. Her music perfectly captures those feelings of early life, and her voice gives the whole song so much emotion.”

Steadman and Humberstone’s vocals coalesce with ease; they rise and shine together in an effervescent chorus full of possibility, hope, and wide-eyed wonder:

Roll the past away from me
Run along and dip my feet
Hold our breath and we can go down
Hope you see the best in me
Diving under next to me
Hold our breath and we can go down
Wonder how our lives could be
Say it’s warm, just promise me
Hold our breath and we can go down
Hope you see the best in me
Diving under next to me
Hold our breath and we can go down
Go down

It’s all too easy to get lost in the seductive folds of this song. Whether you spend your summers indoors with the A/C blasting or staring straight into the sun, “Diving” is ready to soundtrack all the best parts of the season of heat.



“Dirk Gently (Know Yourself)”

by JayWood

Maybe if the truth can save your life (I’ll let you know),” JayWood sings at the start of his new single. “Maybe it’s your youth that shows the light. Lean into the future for the night, then get taken away…” A feverish dance beat and compelling, thought-provoking lyrics help make “Dirk Gently (Know Yourself)” the irresistible song we’ll be moving and swaying to all summer long.

Dirk Gently (Know Yourself) - JayWood
Dirk Gently (Know Yourself) – JayWood
Stay here, tell me is it truth or is it fear?
Cause maybe your youth will set you free
Or maybe I just don’t know nothing
While it still comes easy to me
I’ll grow, images of things played on a roll
Well isn’t it cool? That’s it for me.
Moving outta cycles spinning out, is this what it’s all about?

A radiant reckoning full of deep reflections and breathtaking grooves, the lead single off JayWood’s new Grow On EP (out August 11 via Captured Tracks) has an uncanny way of getting us all up in our feels, in all the right ways. A sweaty, high energy reverie comes to light as Jeremy Haywood-Smith dives deep into his own depths, delivering an exhilaratingly soulful and seductive performance meant to capture the drama, the magic, and the wonder of self-discovery:

Tell me one thing, tell me nothing
Is it all but wasted?
Maybe someday we’ll have something
That says “Everything’s connected”
I can’t overstep, I can’t be no one else
Mama told me that “you got to know yourself”
Cause time won’t wait, so whether it’s true
I’ll let you know

“‘Dirk’ is a song that’s very reminiscent of some of my older funk/disco songs,” JayWood shares. “It’s a song that’s just me explaining going through a full blown bout of psychosis, it was a really weird tricky time and I had to navigate a lot of things I’ve been putting off for some time. I often use contrast for harder themes in my music, if it’s something sad i’ll put it in a dance song but rare is it that I just let a sad song feel kinda sad so that’s definitely something I want to explore moving forward.”

Catharsis and cacophony can often feel like one, and they certainly flow together in this song. JayWood navigates that area expertly as he crafts a world we can’t wait to bask in all summer long.



“One Shot”

by The Slow Show

Manchester’s The Slow Show have been a consistent favorite for the past eight years – ever since 2015’s debut album White Water first waded into those raw, fragile, and intimate depths of our fleeting human essence. The past decade has done nothing to “slow” this band down, with frontman Rob Goodwin and band mates Fred Kindt, Joel Byrne McCullough and Chris Hough continuing to explore what it means to be alive; to connect with others, and oneself; to be on this life journey, both together and separately. Their first four albums offer a discography full of cathartic warmth, visceral emotion, and utter wonder, and their fifth promises to radiate with the stunning glow of unabridged, unfiltered intimacy.

Subtle Love - The Slow Show
Subtle Love – The Slow Show
We’ve got one shot
Better take a good look
This feels real good
This feels real good
It’s a beautiful love
And it’s our place
It’s a place we go, a place you know
It feels good
If we’ve got one shot, to do whatever it takes
We’ve been high and low together,
we’ve been through it all love

Released May 30, 2023, “One Shot” is the tender and cinematic lead single off Subtle Love, The Slow Show’s fifth album, billed as “an ode to Love, in all its complexity.”

“‘One Shot’ is a dreamy, romantic ode to falling in love,” Goodwin shares. “The song celebrates the rash and mysterious nature of young love whilst contemplating the associated feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability. Musically, the song’s symphonic /pop composition reflects the complex feelings associated with falling in love. A tentative string introduction eventually resolves in a euphoric brass celebration, leaving space for hope and romantic ideal.”

The Slow Show have outdone themselves with a vibrant ballad that marries their signature intimacy with an effusive light not often found in our darkest depths. They have not only celebrated love in this song, but captured the magic and pure, breathtaking euphoria we experience as we realize that our feelings are true; that we’re not dreaming; that this love is, in fact, real and true.

We’ve got one shot
Better take a good look
This feels real good
This feels real good
We’ve got one shot
Better take a good look
This feels real good
This feels real good
I will take the blame
If we let it slip away
I will take the blame
If we let it slip away



“What Do I Know?”

by Sarah Creen

As catchy as it is cathartic, Sarah Creen’s “What Do I Know?” is a beautiful pop/rock serenade full of raw passion and fervent emotion. The Irish artist’s first single of 2023 aches with unapologetic intensity as she offers “a satirical take on a toxic relationship breaking down,” reflecting on her love life’s discord with some cheeky takes that don’t so much cover up, as they do lightly sugarcoat plenty of painful and turbulent moments.

What Do I Know? - Sarah Crean
What Do I Know? – Sarah Crean
He said rain don’t fall on a Monday anymore
We’re not in Berlin kid
Catch my eyes fall and chase the floor
He prefers when I wear makeup
Think he does so to bruise my core
What he doesn’t know won’t kill him
When it couldn’t kill me before
So what do I know?
I could throw myself on the train tracks
Outside the apartment he loves so
Yeah what do I know?
Sources whisper about a vast grey space
With a cable that leads right to his phone

Breakdowns don’t often sound this… fun?

“The song was written a few years after the time in which it’s set – which means I was able to approach it from a satirical angle,” Crean explains. “I think if it had been written during the period it took place, it would have been a much darker take… I remember not feeling much other than a bleakness at the time. I didn’t write anything while in the actual depths of it, eating was even difficult so the concept of trying to pick up a guitar to write felt impossible. Writing about that period a few months/years on instead definitely gives it that fully processed delivery, which is where the satirical take comes from.”

It takes time for us to look back on life without the bias of the immediate moment, but – speaking from experience – time really does heal most wounds, and in Crean’s case, it allows her to dredge up an important moment in her life’s story without all the baggage it might have initially come with. “Stop running, stop putting something on,” she sings in the track’s breakdown, exploring the brutal push and pull we feel when caught up in something that’s bad for us, but keeps us coming back. “Stop running… can’t be without you now.”

He said the “2 cool kids with a Bentley” suits us more
We’re not made to work for money
As his parents card goes and clears his score
He prefers when I wear a mini skirt
Think he does so to claim I’m a whore
What he doesn’t know won’t kill him
When it couldn’t kill me before

Instead of dwelling in self-pity or drowning in doubt, Crean has created an anthem for all of our inner (and outer) aches. The result is a rousing, soaring anthem we can return to and singalong with, pouring our tension in and letting it all go.

So what do I know?
I could throw myself on the train tracks
Outside the apartment he loves so
Yeah what do I know?
Sources whisper about a vast grey space
With a cable that leads right to his phone



“Steadfast”

by S. Carey & John Raymond ft. Gordi

Gorgeously glistening and beautifully delicate, “Steadfast” is a subtle, smoldering seduction: The kind of tender tempest that rises from soft, silent depths, only to transport you to another world full of feeling. The latest single off Bon S. Carey and Grammy-nominated jazz trumpeter John Raymond’s collaborative album Shadowlands (out September 15) is a cinematic, soul-stirring eruption of sonic and emotive wonder featuring none other Gordi, one of Australia’s best (and a longtime Atwood Magazine favorite, as well)!

Shadowlands
Shadowlands
Fill my pockets with your stones
They won’t hold me down
Take my oxygen I know that I can live without
Keep your body close to mine and it will keep you warm
No matter how brief it’s sweet
So take it out…
Take it out on me
Skin so paper thin
I’ll fix to the depth of you
Trace these retrograded steps
If you want me to
Facts and fiction carousels
have a hold on you

Do all but let me go

An immersive slow-burn that rises full of atmospheric charm and churn, “Steadfast” aches with intimate intensity as the trio create a space for uninhibited introspection and reconnection.

“This project was a real pleasure to be part of,” Gordi shares. “Sean (S. Carey) texted me saying he was working on something with John and asked if I’d be down to write some lyrics and melody and record some vocals. They sent me these beautiful instrumentals and I listened to them over and over as I began to flesh out lyrical and melodic ideas. It was the February of 2020 and I was in London, and then shortly after the world closed down. I took my parts of the project back to Melbourne and we just went back and forth over email until the songs felt complete.”

As moody and brooding as “Steadfast” sounds on the surface, in practice this intimate song inspires a sense of renewal. Between Gordi’s gentle, emotional vocals, S. Carey’s stunning sonic architecture, and Raymond’s breathtaking trumpet work, these four minutes are nothing short of divine brilliance.

Let me be your last breath
Let me be your tourniquet
Let me be your steadfast
Let me be your evidence
Keep your body close to mine
I will keep you safe
No matter how far I get
The offer stands



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Editor’s Picks

Atwood Magazine Editor's Picks 2020 Mic Mitch

 follow EDITOR’S PICKS on Spotify



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