Editor’s Picks: July 29, 2019

Atwood Magazine Editor's Picks 2019 July 29
Atwood Magazine Editor's Picks 2019 July 29
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 Your Smith, Brittany Howard, G Flip, Smith & Thell, Morning Midnight, and Mae Muller!
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“In Between Plans”

Your Smith

Your Smith’s latest single is an utterly euphoric song full of emotional depth. I just want to close my eyes and sway: Dance until dark, like nobody’s watching. “In Between Plans” captures utter joie de vivre: Joy for life, through and through. The artist born Caroline Smith sings of life’s struggle; of being at a crossroads, and not quite knowing what the future holds – and being okay with it, because life is the journey, not the end result.

On the water when I came to
In the haze of the sunlight
Neon daze on the port side
My only dollar soaked through
I don’t know where it came from
That’s a shame when you need one
My friends on the boat say,
“Get in the van”
But I don’t take the note,
’cause I’m in between plans

“In Between Plans is the soundtrack I wrote to the best day of my life,” Smith shared via press release. “When the sheer abandon of who I was intersected with the acceptance of the unknown journey ahead of me. It took one trip to Nicaragua, two new best friends, and one hit of acid for me to see that life is indeed a journey. This song is about that day.”

This is a driving song for living life in the moment: For finding the light and love in the everyday, and accepting that this – the present moment, not the future or past – is what it’s all about. We will always and forever be in-between plans; stop worrying, stop overthinking, and just live!

“Stay High”

Brittany Howard

Brittany Howard can do no wrong, but she can do a whole lotta right. The sensational Alabama Shakes guitarist/lead vocalist has time and again proved herself to be a powerhouse of emotion, intellect, and musicality, and she’s done so yet again with “Stay High.” The latest single off Howard’s forthcoming debut solo album Jaime (set for September 20th release via ATO Records), “Stay High” is a spine-shivering outpouring of sweet, sweet soul. A delightfully light backdrop of guitars, rollicking drums, and vibes serve as the backdrop to Howard’s ode to love and joie de vie:

I already feel like doing it again, honey
‘Cause once you know, then you know
And you don’t wanna go
Back to wherever it is that you come from, yeah
I just want to stay high with you

Howard’s prismatic croon soars clear and true, her voice ringing with anthemic strength as she calls for love and togetherness. “Stay High” comes out of, and breeds an environment full of empathy, understanding, and knowing. Its video, featuring the actor Terry Crews, magnifies that message further: “Crews plays a man who isn’t out to change the world, he plays a man who just wants to come home to those who understand and love him best. We see his inner beauty, grace and humanity in a place that is so often misunderstood,” Howard recently shared via press release.

Beauty, grace, and humanity: These simple traits are so often forgotten when we are stressed, or communicating behind emails, screennames, handles, and phone screens. At the end of the day, we are all human and we (generally) want the same things: To feel loved; to feel understood; to feel like a part of a community. “Stay High” is a call for us to strip back down to those universal basics – to stop sweating the small stuff and rediscover joy in the little things.

‘Cause where I come from
Everybody frowns and walks around
With that ugly thing on their face
And where I come from
We work hard and grind and hustle all day
(Yes, we do)
There comes a time, there comes a time
At night, where we get to play
And we smile and laugh and jump and clap
And yell and holler and just feel great
I just want to stay high with you

There’s no denying the inherent magic in this song. Brittany Howard masterfully manipulates her voice to get just the right emotion out of every breath, whilst delivering provocative lyrics that arrest the mind whilst evoking direct, powerful feelings. This isn’t to say that listening to “Stay High” will lead to a happy life, though it just might.

Listen to Brittany Howard’s “Stay High,” because it’s the kind of transcendent song that instills joy in all who listen.


G Flip

I have been waiting to feature Melbourne’s Georgia Flipo, and now’s the perfect time with her new single “Stupid” running circles in my mind. Taken from her upcoming debut album About Us (out August 30 via Future Classic), “Stupid” is a forward-driving song about relationship drama – the emotional hijinks that result in little things blowing up into big ones.

Lyrically, the song says it all:

Why we always actin’ stupid?
Why we always do this, do this, do this to ourselves?
Why we always actin’ stupid?
I wouldn’t wanna do this shit with anybody else
‘Cause we kiss and fight and we fuck all night
‘Cause we kiss and we fight all night
Why we always actin’ stupid?
I wouldn’t wanna do this shit with anybody else
Do we do it to ourselves?

We don’t get mad at those whom we don’t care about; we get mad at the ones we care for the most. That’s why every healthy relationship has its fair share of fights, but that’s also why it’s important to always, at the end of the day, come back to the love that you share: If you let small things get in the way of your love, then that’s a problem. G Flip’s new song echoes this simple, yet often easy-to-forget message of empathy and connection over all else.

You fight, you make up, you fight, you make up. Just remember why you care in the first place – with a helpful dose of reality from G Flip.

“Hotel Walls”

Smith & Thell

This life is beautifully ugly at times,” proclaims an impassioned Maria Jane Smith in Smith & Thell’s explosive new single. Lyrically raw and fantastically dynamic, “Hotel Walls” is an emotional landslide through the thick and thin of life: Traversing love, failure, success, commitment, as well as our sheer existence.

I signed the papers
For a lifelong lease
I rent the earth where I stand
And the air I breathe
Then you forget that deal you made with God
While busy finding yourself
being young, being dumb and in love

It’s all too easy
And you’re easily bored
Never once has it crossed
your mind that life’s too short

The Swedish pop/folk duo pairing Maria Smith with Victor Thell has always jumped headfirst into the deep end of the pool, challenging listeners to consider difficult topics through easily-digestible lyrics and unfathomably catchy melodies. “Hotel Walls is a metaphor for life,” the band shared upon the song’s release today. “You check in; You check out. Everything on earth is rented, but while we’re here we should celebrate life rather than fearing the inevitable death.”

And there’s a third person walking behind us
A tap on the back and it’s there to remind us
Life is a blink of an eye ’til you are no more.
So, I stand back, and I watch us fall
As we break everything inside these hotel walls
Life’s for rent and it called us out
So, I hand back the key as the door man bows

For all the anxiety and musings Smith & Thell have poured into their songs over the past five years, “Hotel Walls” is by far one of their most inspired and powerful. The band confront the nature of life directly and head-on, observing the pain and fears so many of us carry on such a deep, personal level. No one wants to think about the end – but that’s what “Hotel Walls” is all about: Confronting the fact that life is limited, so we should spend our days in reverie, embracing the people, places, and things around us.

We’re just grains in the universe,” Smith sings later on, reflecting openly something I personally think about all the time. “I let that comfort me when I’m anxious.” Everything is relative, isn’t it? Should we let little things get to us, when we ourselves are already so small in the grand scheme of things?

So, I stand back, and I watch us fall
As we break everything inside these hotel walls
Life’s for rent and it called us out
So, I hand back the key as the door man bows

What will today’s worries look like, tomorrow? Is our anxiety worth the pain? Is anything? “Hotel Walls” challenges us to breach our boundaries and live like we’ve never lived; put simple, it’s an anthem to live, love, and be. You couldn’t ask for a more beautiful sentiment.

“Ancoats Junction”

Morning Midnight

Glasgow duo Morning Midnight have me absolutely transfixed by their debut single. “Ancoats Junction” breathes with a folky warmth, its radiant vocal harmonies so full of sorrow, yet equally spirited and full of life. Vocalist/guitarist Jordan Scott and producer Jess Pascale have simply outdone themselves on their first go-around, and I cannot wait to hear more from this passionate fresh face.

“Ancoats Junction” captures the point of no return for a relationship, when you realize it’s over and that you’re never going to be back in those former glory days. The band describe it as being “about the hopelessness of trying to fix a failing relationship and knowing when to finally admit defeat.”

Scott sings solemnly about that cathartic, somber moment of truth:

At the point of every ending,
where our lines have never been
On the corner of Ancoats Junction,
we all lost so that you could win.
On the corner of Ancoats Junction,
we were hiding from pouring rain.
Couldn’t find any way to tell you,
we’re out of time if it stays the same
How can something meant forever,
burn a light then fade away
And though I try, it pulls me under
Say goodbye, go our separate ways.
And over & over again
It’s over, it’s over my friend.

“Ancoats Junction” is bittersweet, yet almost in spite of the lyrics’ sadness, the song is utterly soothing. This is the kind of track one might listen to in trying to calm down; Morning Midnight dwell in their emotions, but they don’t let that bitterness overtake everything else. Rather, they find a balance between the poignant truth of this goodbye, and an otherwise brighter vital energy. It’s as if they refuse to let this get to them anymore; they don’t want to dwell in the past any longer.

“When I look back now it still makes me sad, but ultimately it was the beginning of everything we’ve done since and for that I’m thankful,” Jordan Scott shared. “For all intents and purposes this song is about something coming to an end, so naturally it felt like the best place for us to begin.” What a beautiful way to start your story; Morning Midnight have me transfixed and ready for more moody heartbreakers.


Mae Muller

A casual “fuck you for breaking my heart” song, Mae Muller’s “Anticlimax” came literally a month after her debut album Chapter 1 and has been on my rotation ever since. The London singer/songwriter harnesses soulful sounds and sweet pop licks as she turns a soured romance into something far sweeter: A self-empowered, uplifting and feelgood embrace.

Why did I ever go back?
Am I crazy? I must’ve gone mad
All my friends say I’m better than that
‘Cause you don’t have a job
And you’re shit in the sack
Now there’s no point in calling my phone
I’ve got a new man who’s making me moan
And making up for the thing that you lack
All you are to me is one big anticlimax

Vibey grooves and tongue-in-cheek lyrics help spread the love around so that we end up feeling the freedom of being away from toxicity, moreso than the sadness of breakup or the nasty taste it can so often leave in the mouth. “Anticlimax” is so much more than its name – a blissful summer jam, it’s a fun middle finger to an ex and a great way to overcome your regrets and self-doubt!

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