Atwood Magazine’s Weekly Roundup: August 30, 2019

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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:: About Us – G Flip ::

Mitch Mosk, New York

About Us - G Flip

G Flip’s long-awaited debut album is thoroughly dazzling: Released today, About Us channels the magic of intimacy, relationship strain and strife, personal growth, and more into a dynamic, percussive, and overwhelmingly passion-fueled indie pop extravaganza. An Editor’s Pick for her song “Stupid,” the Australian singer/songwriter born Georgia Flipo pours her emotions from the page into song after song as she tackles past breakups, her own insecurities, and more.

What’s striking about this album is its ability to channel vulnerability and intimacy throughout a slew of highs and lows: Ballads such as “Lover” (which is my new favorite song entitled “Lover,” sorry Taylor) and “Morning” are contrasted with empowered, anthemic outpourings like “I Am Not Afraid” and “About You,” and poppier bangers like “Stupid” and “Killing My Time” to present a whole, 360-degree vision of an artist wrestling to comprehend and get through her coming-of-age years.

Early favorites exist on both sides of the record: “Lover” sets a somber tone that feeds into the emphatic, inspiring “I Am Not Afraid,” which I can play on repeat all day. I’m also partial to the edgier, loud confessional “Drink Too Much.” Album closer “2 Million” offers a fitting conclusion to About Us’ bout with relationships: “Now I have your hand, I won’t let go of you; now I have your heart, I won’t let you down,” Flipo sings; having found stability at long last, we can feel and fully understand her reasons for clinging song intensely to it.

Expertly crafted and incredibly emotional, About Us feels much like a compendium of love songs – some, dedicated to special people here and gone; others, dedicated to the self. G Flip has outdone herself; all I can hope for now is that she jumps across the world to come play New York!

:: “Mortal Projections” – Djo ::

Mariel Fechik, Chicago

Mortal Projections - Djo

Joe Keery keeps surprising me. So far, he has dropped three singles from his new solo project, Djo. The newest, released 8/30, combines his 1960s sensibilities with modern production for a shimmery, mid-tempo, minor-keyed curiosity. Keery’s writing is idiosyncratic – though many pull from the 60s basket and borrow retro psychedelic chord structures and guitar riffs, something about these songs feel unique to him. “Mortal Projections” could almost be amusing if you looked at it from the right angle, and yet Keery’s delivery bars it from being so. Just a slight nod to the comical remains in the song’s synth lines and slightly baroque-sounding chorus melody. The song has an otherworldly quality to it, a dream world you could imagine being carpeted in orange shag. Keery’s voice, as well, is insular and inviting. At first, his voice begins scratchily – “Tell me, was I in your dreams?” It builds, however, into his smooth falsetto. The song ends on an a capella chorus of Keerys, harmonizing like a darker version of The Beach Boys:

I see reflections of my mortal self
Projected on the wall

With “Mortal Projections,” Keery has added more proof that his upcoming album Twenty Twenty will be fascinating, and I couldn’t be more excited.

:: “Quilting” – Pearla ::

Francesca Rose, Montreal

Pearla Quilting

As somebody who knits, I love a good knitting analogy/ metaphor. In Pearla’s latest single “Quilting”, there are the lines ‘there’s a change that cannot be undone/ like pulling a string from a sweater/ until it’s a pile of yarn/ god knows you won’t put it back together/ you can’t put it back’. They feel especially great when referring to the transitioning away from comfort, having to rebuild who you are when the things you found cosiness in are falling apart. 

Pearla, the New York-based singer/songwriter Nicole Rodriguez, continuously captures my attention with her addressing of relatable topics. Last October she released “Pumpkin”, a song encompassing the charm of Autumn. In “Somewhere”, released in 2017, she sings about the struggles of adjusting to adulthood when still in the mindset of a child. In “Daydream” she sings about the need to- well- daydream and how everything is better in the head.

Pearla’s songs (her debut EP Quilting and Other Activities is out on September 6) feel incredibly autumnal and I’m so glad that new music has been released at a time when the seasonal cravings are rapidly kicking in.

:: “Moment” – Pinegrove ::

Jimmy Crowley, New York

Moment Pinegrove

After last year’s delayed release of Skylight, it was unsure if Pinegrove’s return would be fruitful or worth all the thinkpieces. The confusing silence following frontman Evan Stephens Hall’s accusations (confession?) of sexual coercion put the record on a shelf for a release a year later.  While the record was generally well-received among fans, there was an awkward if not sour taste left in many fans mouths. While many have spoken in defense of Hall publically, many have also drawn a permanent red X through the band’s name. Even though I listened to Skylight upon release, the controversy and discussion around it tampered my enjoyment of the LP.  It made me uncomfortable to listen to the album, not uncomfortable like listening to a Brand New album would make me feel today, but I was still slightly perturbed. With a little more hindsight and discussion, I’ve found myself to enjoy Pinegrove again, but my initial difficulty with Skylight has sort of blocked what could have been my love of that record.

Pinegrove’s latest single “Moment” is a rollicking piece of country-emo that showcases some of the more romping elements that were featured on Cardinal and the better textures of Skylight.  The confrontation of knowledge is something that so many musicians tackle, but Hall’s vocals here express the legitimate fear, as he howls “I’m scared to know.”  As we often have to face hard-truths, the scary, anxious feeling that bubbles in your throat is often more difficult than whatever you need to face.  “Moment” summarizes that amazingly.

:: “Pixel Affection” – yeule ::

Adrian Vargas, Seattle

yuele Pixel Affection

To say that yeule defies reality would not be far from the truth. Her latest single “Pixel Affection” asks the listener to accept their truth, that whatever digital persona they have created or manifested is nothing more than snippets of code, no more tangible than the text on a monitor. The Singapore-born and London-based artist explores themes of AI and the virtual world on her upcoming release, Serotonin II, and with each single so far released, the fever dream of the virtual world only increase.

“Pixel Affection” takes hold of these themes and presents them with swirling electronic melodies that add a fitting mood to the stories yeule is sharing. With breaks in her vocals and glitched out effects present, yeule croons “the memory before I awake is coded to a million fragments, but all I had was pixel affection.” These lyrics are translated into the visual with perfection- gloomy, dystopian perfection. It’s digital versus reality, and by the end only one persona can remain. yeule is world-class at creating soundscapes like no other, incorporating glitch-pop-essque melodies that heighten her themes to new levels. Serotonin II is sure to deliver an experience that will remain in the minds of listeners for months on end. 

:: Boom Boom Boom” – Ida Mae ::

Anthony Kozlowski, Los Angeles

Boom Boom Boom - Ida Mae

When I was in college, I used to get a lot of my work done at the University Center. Surrounding the study area, TVs blasted music videos from sun-up to sun-down, usually rolling through the same Rihanna and Chris Brown hits — background music. But something caught my ear one day. A sustained roar of guitar sliced through the monotonous synths and hooked me immediately. Delta blues by way of UK fog, the ignition point of my obsession with a group called Band of Skulls. 

Fans of their co-ed garage minimalism will find plenty to grab onto in Ida Mae, a blues rock duo also hailing from across the pond. But these kids replace their thick sludge with a slick pop energy. “Boom Boom Boom” accelerates like a train with the brake lines cut, building from a murmur into a bayou rock blitz. 

“Boom, boom, boom, they got me
Boom, boom, boom, completely
Boom, boom, boom, I’m lyin’
Boom, boom, boom, they’re cryin’
Oh, your time ain’t long.”

Dive bar rock and roll is a subtle art, and this pair of blonde, wide-eyed youths bring it in spades. All you need is a cheap beer to knock back.

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:: This Week’s Features ::

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Singing to Yourself: An Interview with Madison Cunningham

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