Atwood Magazine’s Weekly Roundup: February 14, 2020

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. This week’s roundup features music by Nap Eyes, Peach Pit, Billie Eilish, Leila Sunier, Kevin Krauter, Caspian, and Stars and Rabbit!

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:: “Mark Zuckerberg” – Nap Eyes ::

Oliver Crook, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Mark Zuckerberg - Nap Eyes

You never really know what to expect when Nap Eyes release new music, apart from the guarantee it’ll be quirky, melodically jarring, and downright awesome. The first single of their recently announced album — Snapshot of a Beginner out on March 27th — “Mark Zuckerberg” feels like an upbeat update on their well-honed sound. With the Beach Boys-esque guitars dancing eloquently with lead singer’s Nigel Chapman’s monotone voice, he asks the most pertinent questions of our time:

Is Mark Zuckerberg a ghost?
Maybe, maybe
Where are his hands?
And why don’t you ever see them public?
And what does he do with all that sand?
He collects sand, right?
I think I read that somewhere (Seems innocent enough)
 

It’s another ear worm from a band you really need to know. So adept at changing their sound while staying true to what makes Nap Eyes so damn loveable, “Mark Zuckerberg” is so catchy and soul-searching without ever feeling pretentious. And don’t worry, it answers the question about Zuckerberg’s ghoulish nature: “Transcendence is all around us.”

:: “Shampoo Bottles” – Peach Pit ::

Lowndes Commander, Sumter

Shampoo Bottles - Peach Pit

Peach Pit has hit the ground running in 2020 with “Shampoo Bottles”, a shiny new break-up single that can easily trick you into rolling your windows down (I speak from experience!). The guitar-driven melody starts out softly and swells to a subtle build before retreating again, almost like the rising and falling of one’s emotional state after a relationship ends. 

As if singing in casual conversation, lead singer Neil Smith notes the seemingly insignificant items left behind by an ex, all of which have comfortably settled into his house and his memory– at least until time allows him to throw them out. In the end, Smith is left wondering “why [he] can’t just let it go,” and we’re left until the Spring for a full record of songs that are hopefully as delectable as this one.



:: Kevin Krauter ::

Caitlin Ison, Southern California

Kevin Krauter - Opportunity

I first discovered Kevin Krauter after the release of his debut full length album, Toss Up. The soothing lullabies of every tune pulled me in, especially the charming melody of “Keep Falling in Love.” His four latest singles, which I’ve been listening to on repeat all week, are no different. “Opportunity,” the latest release, and “Surprise” are a bit dreamier compared to the other two, reminiscent of Toss Up. “Pretty Boy” is a sweet and short song about a hopeful promise for a better version of yourself. “Green Eyes” gives heart wrenching honest lyrics about the downfall in a relationship:

Was it no clue whatever happened to you
Should I care if I lose a friend?
‘Cause if you’re looking for some truth
You’d see my green eyes ain’t looking back at you

All of these songs have their own personality while still having a few commonalities. If you haven’t listened to his work–I highly recommend it. His songs are always beautifully woven into the next, and it’s that kind of music you can think and listen to on a long drive. The four songs off this single are part of Krauter’s sophomore album, Full Hand, which is set for release on February 28th off Bayonet Records.



:: “Ishmael” – Caspian ::

Ben Niesen, France

Ishmael - Caspian

When I was young, my mother played the violin. It is an instrument I vividly remember strung and strident in the days of my youth. It’s an instrument which, despite its high tenor, strikes the deepest recesses of the psyche. Its song is as much a Madeleine de Proust as the smell of a sanitized school hallway or golden eggs on the skillet. Sometimes, chasing these memories is like chasing a white whale. It’s best left for them to happen upon you.

For Caspian, the song of a violin is the song of a man chasing his white whale, “Ishmael.” Featuring a violin somewhere between the slightest of neo-classical and the bluest of bluegrass, the song builds into the classic “quiet-loud-loud” custom by introducing to us to a violin worth every penny of their long-player’s price. Refreshingly, the song and the rest of the LP do not repeat the Mogwai classic of “quiet-loud-quiet-LOUD-quiet,” which will grate the mind like a block of cheddar after some time. Frontman Jamieson even manages to be heard coherently on the following eponymous track “Circles on Circles!” This commentator would like to thank Jamieson and co. for being so considerate. Not only have they brightened his early year, they have given him a record worth your consideration.



:: “Little Mischievous” – Stars and Rabbit ::

Adrian Vargas, Seattle

Little Mischievous Stars and Rabbit

Indonesian duo Stars and Rabbit are masters at crafting infectiously sweet indie-rock gems that will have rooms bustling with upbeat energy. Elda Suryani and Didit Saad make up the group and both employ signature rhythms and harmonies onto each song of theirs, and “Little Mischievous” is no exception with its slick guitar riffs and tantalizing vocal performance. From start to finish, the song’s intensity is at a constant, never dipping and always providing a joy-inducing experience. “Little Mischievous” comes from their upcoming album Rainbow Aisle, and it’s an album to surely be on the lookout for.



:: “A Little Longer” – Leila Sunier ::

Robin Fulton, London

Leila Sunier - A Little Longer

As technology becomes more readily available, more and more artists are taking the “jack of all trades” approach in which they have a hand at every level of the creative process. This can be problematic as artists can fulfil the “master of none” counterpart by spreading themselves too thin. In the case of LA-based artist Leila Sunier, she takes it in her creative stride and powerfully transcends from musician into an inspired multimedia artist.

Released today, If Only To Bleed Out The White Noise is an exposée of her talents as a singer, songwriter, multi instrumentalist and visual artist; with visual counterparts to each song created by Sunier herself. Lead track from the EP, “A Little Longer” perfectly encapsulates the musical prowess she has in her expansive arsenal. Led by her soaring vocal, her production builds an ethereally textured wall of sound around you, creating a palpable atmosphere that extends across the entire project.



:: “No Time to Die” – Billie Eilish ::

Nina Schaarschmidt, Manchester, UK

Growing up, a more or less ever-present and consistent thing were the James Bond movies. Whether or not you were drawn to the films, the theme songs proved irresistible in their own right. After Adele’s “Skyfall” released back in 2012, I thought they had reached the top of the ladder; the pinnacle of “Bond” song potential.

As it turns out, I was wrong! Last night, very sleepily, I got my first listen to the new theme song for the upcoming Bond movie, “No Time to Die” – made by Grammy winner Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas. It is hard to put into words the magic of this song that artistically combines mystery, danger, and love: All the main ingredients a Bond movie is normally made of. Eilish’s voice sounds careful, fragile, and confident at the same time. Starting with the opening line “I should have known,” her voice emanates sadness and regret until the chorus gets under the skin:

You were my life, but life is far away from fair
Was I stupid to love you?
Was I reckless to help?
Was it obvious to everybody else?

It’s a chorus full of pure emotions – reminiscing of a failed romance, a feeling with which most of us are intimately familiar. Eilish’s emotional lyrics are underscored with a soft, subtle background instrumentation that builds up over the song, together with her voice, to a powerful climax. Arriving eight years after “Skyfall” and five years after Sam Smith’s “Writing’s On The Wall” (for 2015’s Spectre), “No Time to Die” is a very well-crafted and produced song. Its arrival heralds the next era of Bond, bringing the fictional British spy to a new generation of moviegoers and music lovers alike.



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