Editor’s Picks 76: Handsome Ghost, Black Honey, Field Guide, Jasmine Jethwa, Girl Scout, & The Drives!

Atwood Magazine's Editors Picks 76
Atwood Magazine's Editors Picks 76
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 Handsome Ghost, Black Honey, Field Guide, Jasmine Jethwa, Girl Scout, and The Drives!

Atwood Magazine Editor's Picks 2020 Mic Mitch

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“Heaven Isn't Long For You”

Handsome Ghost

Don’t ask me to justify this statement, but I sincerely think “Heaven Isn’t Long For You” is both one of the happiest and one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard. Heartfelt and hauntingly beautiful, Handsome Ghost’s second single of the year (following August’s “Neptune”) gently picks apart the concept of heaven, or some kind of perfect paradisiacal place, through a smile-inducing soundtrack of warm, spirited, harmony-rich acoustic folk complete with banjo, mandolin, tambourines, acoustic and electric guitars. It’s an undeniably infectious singalong blending the sweet with the bittersweet, the delicate with the tender – which has admittedly been one of the band’s strongest qualities for nearly ten years running.

Add to that mix just a bit of twang, and Handsome Ghost have on their hands a cathartic, catchy campfire song that will play as well in neighborhood bars as it will in clubs and stages throughout the country.

Sky true blue
Time doesn’t move
I’ve been living this way for a while
Five star meals
And baseball fields
Well pour a drink and we’ll kill some time
Down to the river bend
Down there I couldn’t swim for my life
Dive deep the highest height
Look now I’m swimming the butterfly

“I’ve got a walk/hike down the road from my house in Massachusetts,” Handsome Ghost’s singer/songwriter Tim Noyes tells Atwood Magazine.  It’s a huge, wide open field that leads to a small winding trail up a hill. Probably a mile or so, all told. I take the dog there a few times a week. If you hit it at the right time…right around sunset…it looks like something out of fantasy fiction movie. Very beautiful – almost not real. Utopian, if you will.”

“One of those walks got me going on the concept of living in this perfect place (call it Heaven if you like, no pressure) and getting to do exactly what you want to do whenever you want to do it. And would that ever get old? For me, probably? Is it better to have everything just right all of the time? Or be human with flaws and challenges and emotion? This is the question. I was envisioning the big group vocals for the choruses as the kind of “congregation” of people living in this great, perfect world… followed by the one, lone voice at the end of each chorus who’s not so sure if he wants to be there. I guess it actually has a little touch of a cult-y feel too it, now that I’m writing this. That’s probably not too far off.”

And in the evening glow
The day is slow to end
Not a cloud for a miles and what a time it has been
But now I wanna feel the rain
I wanna feel the rain again

That notion of heaven as a utopia does feel a bit eerie and unsettling; that version of perfection might work for a while, but like Noyes sings in the song’s gut-wrenching chorus, “Now I wanna feel the rain. I wanna feel the rain again.” Or as he sings in the second verse, “It might sound strange, I might be deranged, but I think I miss the pain from before.” Life isn’t fun if it’s one straight line. Spice it up! Throw in the twists and the turns; the curveballs and the changeups. Take us on a roller-coaster ride for the rest of our lives, and the life beyond that. Keep it interesting! Keep us guessing.

Between Handsome Ghost’s intimate, vulnerably lyricism and their utterly enchanting, achingly beautiful performance, “Heaven Isn’t Long For You” is downright perfection in the best way possible: It’s thought-provoking and philosophical, catchy and cleansing all at once. With its ups and downs, this is the kind of song we can play on repeat and never get bored.

Wake up late, sun on my face
How could any man ask for more
It might sound strange, I might be deranged
But I think I miss the pain from before
And in the evening glow
The day is slow to end
Not a cloud for a miles and what a time it has been
But now I wanna feel the rain
I wanna feel the rain again
But now I wanna feel the rain
I wanna feel the rain again



“Out of My Mind”

Black Honey

All I wanna do is just get out of my, out of my mind,” an emotionally charged Izzy Bee Phillips sings in Black Honey’s dazzling new single. “All I wanna do is just keep wasting, I’m wasting my life. So take me by the hand, ‘cause I don’t understand why…” Released October 5 via Foxfive Records, “Out of My Mind” is an irresistible, instant reminder why the Brighton-based indie rock band of Phillips, Chris Ostler, Tommy Taylor, and Alex Woodward have been one of Atwood Magazine‘s most covered artists in the past decade: Black Honey know better than most how to marry passion, pain, and perspective; dreams and reality; raw, fervent rock and spirited, catchy melodies.

“Out of My Mind” hits hard and leaves a lasting mark as Phillips and co. rush out of the gate in a state of sonic churn and emotional reeling:

I’m a hurricane, you’re my best friend
Now it’s Friday I’m in Love ‘til it’s everyday
Pick me off the ground
Turn my song up loud my girl
Am I too much when I meet them
And I kinda hate this party can we leave here soon
They all think I’m high, it’s been my whole life

“This song in my head is kind of set at a social situation where I have said stupid shit and have a sense of anxiety about how to regulate in the moment,” Phillips tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s about wanting to go anywhere to escape the war in my head. It’s like reaching for a tiny pin prick of light escapism in the big darkness. Until now I think I let addiction fill me with guilt whilst simultaneously letting society project shame onto me about my life’s choices. We all need a moment to escape sometimes and maybe that’s okay? I wrote this song as hungry yearning for relief from a real world I find very hard to process and function in. Maybe I’m not alone in this and maybe it’s alright to make bad choices from time to time.”

She lets loose in a euphoric, ecstatic chorus:

It’s always the same and I blame myself ‘cause
All I wanna do is just get out of my
Out of my mind
All I wanna do is just keep wasting
I’m wasting my life
So take me by the hand
‘Cause I don’t understand why
All I wanna do is just get out of my
Out of my mind

With a house party as the lyrical backdrop for battling anxiety, internal second-guessing, that self-deprecating inner voice, and more, “Out of My Mind” feels at once relaxed and free-spirited, tight and dramatic. “I wanted it to feel like being on your bedroom floor, a bit whirly and vulnerable,” Phillips says.

In leaning into these feelings and channeling them into a charismatic, explosive musical upheaval, Black Honey have created something of an answer to their own problems. “Out of My Mind” is the kind of song you want to scream at the top of your lungs; it’s the cathartic, visceral expression of raw emotions rushing out that leaves us breathless in the best of ways. That inner whirlwind stops blowing quite as hard when you’re lost in the cacophonous blur of anthemic guitars, thunderous drums, and Phillips’ own cinematic, soaring vocals.

From their vivid, thought-provoking lyrics to the sheer power they’ve packed into three minutes, thirty-three seconds’ time, Black Honey have us going out of our minds in the best way possible.

6am and I’m still awake
Feeling just a little bit crazy
But you like the way I can slide down the stairs
‘Cause I never did care my girl

Morning is a war, I’m in pieces
And I kinda hate the way it’s me that did this
And I’m stuck in old ways

I’m your favourite mistake
Every time I just blame myself ‘cause
All I wanna do is just get out of my
Out of my mind
All I wanna do is just keep wasting
I’m wasting my life
So take me by the hand
‘Cause I don’t understand why
All I wanna do is just get out of my
Out of my mind
I need it, I feel it
I want it, I wake up
The morning, from sleeping
I’m steaming, I’m dreaming like



“You Could Be Free”

Field Guide

Field Guide’s latest single feels like the familiar words of a friend, whispered gently right into our ears. Released September 21 via Birthday Cake Records, “You Could Be Free” is a warm and warbly indie folk reverie with just the right touch of heartache and sorrow; the second song taken off the artist’s sophomore eponymous album, due out October 28, 2022, sees Field Guide’s Dylan MacDonald reckoning with his own darkness and its impact on those closest to him.

If I cannot get out of these clouds
Don’t you go easy on me
If I cannot get myself out
Take all your things and just leave
And I know it’s a long way down
Me, I’m stuck in it
But you could be free
You could be free

“It’s tough to see your own struggles affect someone you love — watching them take on your heaviness can really bring on a feeling of guilt,” MacDonald explains. “When I wrote this I was feeling a need to be pushed out of the dark place that I was in, I felt myself thinking ‘don’t accept this from me. I was listening to a tonne of M Ward’s Migration Stories around the time I was writing and recording these songs. [Engineer] Kris Ulrich and I would always end our days by drinking a bunch of whiskey and cooking a bunch of food all while listening to that record, we were obsessed. We recorded this song not too long before the winter solstice in a little cabin outside of Riding Mountain National Park — we weren’t seeing a lot of the sun and I can feel it in the recording.”

“I wrote the song on this old vintage guitar that I found in a store in Vancouver, some older jazz guy had put super thick, flat wound strings on it. I’d been looking for an electric guitar to write songs on as Field Guide for a long time. Finally I found this guitar, and immediately started writing like crazy. ‘You Could Be Free’ was one of the first songs that came out.”

If I cannot get out of these clouds
Don’t you go easy on me
If I cannot give you what you need
Take all your things and be free
And I know it’s a long way down
Me, I’m stuck in it
But you could be free
You could be free

It’s quite powerful to hear an artist rejecting themselves, in a way. “You Could Be Free” implores the narrator’s partner not to put up with the narrator’s BS; “If I cannot get out of these clouds, don’t you go easy on me,” Field Guide sings at the start of both verses, going on to bare all in a poignant, poetic, and gut-wrenchingly vulnerable chorus that, in essence, lets his loved one go: “I know it’s a long way down. Me, I’m stuck in it, but you could be free.”

In this moment of unadulterated, pure vulnerability, Field Guide has created something wondrous; something heartbreaking; and something utterly, majestically, and authentically beautiful.

I don’t wanna lose you, hurt you bad or ruin you
Wanna love you all the time and always choose you
And I know it’s a long way down
Me, I’m stuck in it
But you could be free
You could be free
You could be free
You could be free



“Golden”

Jasmine Jethwa

Can’t tell you where it is we’re going, but I’ll make you feel like you’ve been chosen,” South London’s Jasmine Jethwa sings in her first song of the year. Dreamy and lush, “Golden” (released September 23 via Akira Records) sees the British singer/songwriter returning to the fore with raw passion and alluring drive.

It’s been over two years now since Jethwa first introduced herself with 2020’s acclaimed Hurricane EP. “Jasmine Jethwa’s music is exciting and innovative – a much-needed breath of fresh air from the radio-ready pop hits of the 21st Century,” Atwood Magazine’s Nicole Almeida wrote at the time. “Her lyrics are collages of images and feelings that paint the picture well enough to leave curiosity brewing in the listener’s mind. The folksy tones that mark her signature sound are warm and inviting. Her voice is haunting in the best way… As far as ways to start a debut project go, it’s hard to think of a better one.”

“Golden” builds upon this strong foundation, finding Jethwa embracing her hauntingly beautiful voice while she steadily, carefully builds a cinematic soundscape comprised of acoustic guitars, vocal harmonies, and rich synths around her. It’s the kind of aural architecture that sends shivers down the spine, and at the center of this growing storm is a voice of pure gold, singing about the vulnerability, uncertainty, and hope of fresh, young love:

Mesmerised,
Half the time so I try,
Keep the feelings in my back pocket,
If your eyes,
Crash into mine tonight,
Find a forever that I’ll get lost in,
Can’t say, loving is easy but without you,
I don’t feel so good

“‘Golden’ is about the early stages of infatuation – the push and pull in a relationship,” Jasmine Jethwa tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s about the constant unease felt when learning about each other, connected then detached, feeling close to someone and then apart – and how even that is part of the enchantment. The song has a continuous feeling of instability and uncertainty, which is mirrored in the open choruses and closer more personal verses.”

“I think compared to my usual writing, ‘Golden’ feels younger and more hopeful, perhaps even naïve, but I like the purity of feeling, before things are jaded with knowing someone more and love getting heavier.”

I could beat everything you’re smoking, 
Not just a rush of serotonin,
Touching you deeper than the ocean,
Oh I could be your golden
Can’t tell you where it is we’re going,
But I’ll make you feel like you’ve been chosen, 
Touching you deeper than the ocean,
Oh I could be your golden

With a new EP on the way, Jethwa has much more in store before she closes out the year 2022. She says her new music came from a period of heartbreak, loss, and healing while she was diving deeper into her sound and vision; if we can take anything away from “Golden,” perhaps it is to cherish the love we have in the moment and not worry too much about where it’s going or how it’ll end up. Live in the here and now, and soak up what you’ve got while you have it.

On that note, I’ll be basking in some “Golden” rays as I blast this hypnotizing song on repeat.

Synchronised, so our bodies align,
Blur the borders so there’s no difference,
Can’t say, loving is easy but without you,
I don’t feel so good



“Do You Remember Sally Moore?”

Girl Scout

Girl Scout’s debut single is a fun, fuzzy, and feverish indie rock singalong. It’s also an homage, of sorts, to the “cool kids” we might have crushed on once upon a time, who never knew (and will never know) we had feelings for them – not because they were “somebodies” and we were “nobodies,” but because those kinds of crushes were saved for our daydreams and diaries.

Lately I’ve been looking through the yearbooks
At the faces of all those kids that I used to know
James looked drunk and Kathy had that haircut
Well, she looked like she’d just escaped from a tornado
But there’s one face that I’ll never forget
I know it well enough to draw it
And I remember that I drew a heart
around her name, while crying on the floor
Do you remember Sally Moore?
Do you remember Sally Moore?

Released September 21 via MADE Records, “Do You Remember Sally Moore?” is as enthralling as it is invigorating: A feel-good, smile-inducing joyride complete with sweeping guitars, charged beats, and achingly expressive vocals that effortlessly capture the tension, turbulence, and turmoil of being a teenager, in high school, with uncontrolled hormones and plenty of crushes to go around.

“‘Sally’ was written as a homage to the absolute knockdown experience of going through high school,” Girl Scout’s Emma Jansson tells Atwood Magazine. “The original idea and overall story was created with visual inspiration from TV shows like ‘Sex Education’ or ‘Stranger Things’, influenced by their portrayal of friendship, humor and overwhelming emotions. Part of the story was co-written with my own best friend from high school, Tobias Ekelund, and our shared experiences and friendship helped fuel the storytelling and emotional connection to the song. Both of us used to fall in love with older, cooler girls, and we’d spend our lunch breaks in the school canteen dreaming about building up the courage to talk to them. Of course in the end we never did, and they had absolutely no idea who we were… So Sally might be a representation of that hopeless yet wonderful one-way street kind of love.”

Comprised of Jansson, Evelina Arvidsson Eklind, Per Lindberg, and Viktor Spasov, Girl Scout’s charming, sun-kissed slacker indie rock comes straight from Stockholm, Sweden – where a December night can last nearly 18 hours. Thankfully, the band will have their own sonic heat to keep them warm as winter comes to the Northern Hemisphere; Girl Scout’s debut EP, produced by Ali Chant and Jacknife Lee, is set to release February 2023.

For now, we can ride out this Autumn with the nostalgia-inducing storytelling and cinematic sonics of “Do You Remember Sally Moore?”

Late night rides, back and forth to parties
Heads out through the windows of our car
Through the corridors, a thousand pretty faces
But their lines and shapes and curves I can’t recall
But there’s one face that I’ll never forget
I know it well enough to draw it
And I remember that I drew a heart
around her name, while crying on the floor

Do you remember Sally Moore?



“Not That Bad”

The Drives

The Drives have always stayed true to their name as a rock band with plenty of… well, you know. Ever since I discovered the Los Angeles-based trio back in 2020’s absolute and utter doldrums, I’ve been able to count on their music to get my heart beating faster and put a “pep” in my step when I need some sonic adrenaline. Last year’s debut EP This Might Take a While remains “an irresistible soundtrack to getting through the throes,” and if that represented The Drives revving their engines, then their new material sees them getting into first guitar.

I never wanted you
I never wanted you to stay
I just came over there to find out
What you’re thinking of
And where your head is gonna be
Anywhere it goes is fine with me

Released October 5, the band’s first single of 2022 (also their first release since last year’s EP) is a cinematic and spirited indie rock revelry. The heat of the California sun seems to shine down on “Not That Bad,” which soars with charming guitar licks and a dynamic, unrelenting drum groove despite a rather poignant set of lyrics:

And now a week is gone
And I’m still waiting for a call
I guess I needed you all along
But it’s really not that bad
And I don’t think I’ll be that sad
I guess I just thought you’d want me back

“This song is really about a relationship that ends before things can really get going,” The Drives’ singer/guitarist Andrew Levin explains. “When this happens, I’m usually more frustrated and sad about missing out on all the potential that a relationship could represent than I am about ending the actual relationship. It’s that moment in time where you don’t really know somebody that well, but you still picture this amazing future with them, and then it just ends for whatever reason. I spend most of the song trying to convince myself I’m okay, which never works. The end of the song also briefly addresses that strange place that two people can be in after a casual or short relationship ends. I feel like it’s really common for people to talk shit and put a lot of negativity towards each other when this happens because it can really suck when someone essentially turns you down.”

“I remember in my situation, I felt the urge to show that person what they were missing and casually make them jealous from a distance or whatever it was, but then decided to just be a normal person and respect their decision. I kind of end the song with that whole inner dialogue in my head where I’m clearly hurting a bit, but I’m going to try not to be an asshole about it. The funniest thing about all this though is that I ended up dating this person about a month after things ended, and we’ve been together for three years now.”

So maybe it’s that bad
But I’ll never let you see me sad
Even if you never want me back
I guess I’ll let it all just fade to black
I’ll never try to make you mad I swear…
I’ll never try… to make you mad…
I guess it’s really not that bad
But I’ll never let you see me sad

Who knows “why” things happen, but there’s a lesson to be gained in every situation, and perhaps the greatest takeaway from “Not That Bad” is recognizing the power of perspective. “I guess it’s really not that bad, but I’ll never let you see me sad,” Levin sings in the end, the song’s feverish beat still rolling strong alongside him.

But what this band truly does best is unapologetically shine. Even when they’re down in the dumps, The Drives give us the fuel we need to persevere; Levin, producer/guitarist Casey Chen, and bassist Geo Botelho have returned with exhilarating energy and charming charisma in this radiant song. If you like to smile while singing sad lyrics, then you will absolutely love The Drives.



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Editor’s Picks

Atwood Magazine Editor's Picks 2020 Mic Mitch

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