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 weekly roundup features music by The Shadowboxers, Dizzy, Matt Mays, Allie Crow Buckley, and more!
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:: The Slow March of Time Flies By – The Shadowboxers ::
Mitch Mosk, New York
Arriving ten years into The Shadowboxers’ career, the pop-soul trio’s debut album is a majestic, transportive musical masterpiece. Sleek and soulful, feverish and finessed, The Slow March of Time Flies By is a truly unparalleled listening experience in 2020 – and one I was more than willing to rate a 10/10 (the first time I’ve done that this year).
Independently today, The Slow March of Time Flies By arrives as The Shadowboxers’ long-awaited and perfectly-timed initial offering. The band of Scott Tyler, Matt Lipkins, and Adam Hoffman sound cool, confident, and polished throughout an immersive twelve-song journey that bends and blends genre, marrying classic and newer R&B sounds with funk, neo soul, and pop elements. Timeless, achingly emotive, and utterly nuanced, The Slow March of Time Flies By is the debut every band wishes they could have: The Shadowboxers introduce themselves with a strong assertion of style, sound, and energy, setting the highest bar with gorgeous music that transcends the moment.
While it is a compelling through and through, there is no denying the inimitable triumph of the title track, “The Slow March of Time Flies By.” It’s an inevitable and jaw-dropping climax to the album, and the band’s finest work to date. Listening to this song on repeat is its own singular experience, and one I can’t recommend enough. If you want to get deep in your feels and have a good time doing it, close those eyes and soak in The Shadowboxers’ debut album.
:: “This Must Be The Place (Talking Heads Cover)” – Dizzy ::
Nicole Almeida, São Paulo, Brazil
Halfway through this week, Dizzy gave everyone a sweet little gift. No, it wasn’t a new single off their sophomore album, The Sun and Her Scorch, due July 31st, but it was a new and dreamy take on Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place“.
It’s extremely difficult to cover iconic songs from history-making bands, especially when “This Must Be The Place” so perfectly captures the energy and eccentricity that defines Talking Heads, but Dizzy took the song and turned into a heartfelt ode to missing your bandmates and tour. Recorded in each band member’s home and featuring tour footage, Dizzy’s cover does what the best covers do: it allows you to rediscover the original song while also retaining the cover band’s sonic fingerprint. “This Must Be The Place” is Dizzy all over, but it’s also Talking Heads all over, and that’s precisely what makes it so special. Here’s to missing your people.
:: “Serenade” – Allie Crow Buckley ::
Francesca Rose, Montreal
Flashback to last year when L.A-based singer-songwriter Allie Crow Buckley released her debut EP So Romantic– a gathering of dreamy, heated songs set to dramatic vocals and ocean backdrop. Now she’s back with a new single “Serenade” (released May 28), following in the same vein albeit the added strings. It’s a melancholic daydream with romantic tensions, taking real pain and turning it into a hazy fantasy.
The accompanying video is expectant too. Allie submerges herself in sun-soaked greenery, walking idly, picnicking alone, and caressing herself amongst the leaves. With the city outside alive with summery freshness, I relate to this.
Overall, “Serenade” is a great introduction to Allie Crow Buckley.
:: DOG CITY – Matt Mays ::
Oliver Crook, Halifax, Nova Scotia
We’re all passing quarantine in our own way; for sure it’s learning a new hobby, others are reconnecting with old friends. For Matt Mays, it’s writing a full-length album from the perspective of a rescue dog. DOG CITY, written and recorded in May’s garage over the last six weeks, explores ideas of freedom, unity, and togetherness.
Being off the leash (I’m so sorry) allows Mays to be more experimental, leaning into electronic beats and acoustic vibes with great sincerity. This earnest approach and self-aware approach stops this corny concept from becoming a cringey one but instead makes it an entertaining listen you’ll return to over and over.
:: “Over You” – Mokita ::
Robin Fulton, London
Nothing puts you in your feelings quite like a perfectly executed breakup song. The more relatable the better, and Nashville’s Mokita has his with “Over You.” It balances an intimate honesty with a wildly relatable and introspective stance on the typical breakup song formula, a testament to the calibre of his songwriting.
“When I was in high school I went through my first bad breakup and I remember I used to write these letters to my ex that I knew I was never going to send” he outlines. Written like an open letter, he asks all the rhetorical questions that float to the surface during the fallout, and delivers them in suitably appropriate sad-pop stylings; a standout track from a truly standout artist.
:: “Love Games” – Lani Renaldo ::
Chloe Robinson, California
Lani Renaldo is a triple threat: a singer, songwriter and producer. The young talent has unveiled “Love Games” an indie electronic pop bop about dating, sexuality and how important it is to be comfortable in your own skin. Renaldo confides, “It’s for 20 somethings, that are transitioning and going through a new phase in their life.”
Lani Renaldo’s music can be described as The Weeknd meets Lady Gaga with a dash of Bowie. “Love Games” is off of her upcoming EP NOHEARTBREAK2020 set for release later this year.
:: “La Vida” – L’Algérino feat. Soprano ::
Josh Weiner, Washington DC
My years of living in Francophone Europe brought me in contact with many musical heavyweights of that region. It caught my eye to see two of the top ones come together for an infectious new track. “La Vida” reunites L’Algérino with Soprano, each of whom have been prominent figures in France’s hip-hop scene for over 15 years. Their experience and chemistry– the two have churned out a number of duets already, including “Étoile d’un Jour” and “Les 4 Fantastiques”— are manifested well on this highly entertaining single.
As the title suggests, “La Vida” draws upon a considerable amount of Spanish influences. This approach is not unfamiliar to either artist– both of them hail from Marseille, not too far from the border of France and Spain, and Soprano’s wife has Spanish heritage. In this case, the song is built around the sort of festive horn loop often associated with Latin party music, and the lyrics are peppered with some “Franish” jargon, in the mold of “Eh Pepito, touche pas mi corazon.” The resulting fiesta/fête sure is a lively one, with multicultural flavorings too rich to pass up on. Un grand bravo to these two great Marseillais MCs.
:: “The Other Me” – Roman Rouge ::
Chloe Robinson, California
Roman Rouge’s “The Other Me” is a vibrant, emotive single that narrates the need to remain genuine to yourself no matter how uncomfortable that may be. Highlighting electronic soundscape and silky R&B vocals, listeners are immediately drawn into this electrifying track.
From a young age, the El Paso Texas native has had an immense love for music. Growing up in a single-parent household, his childhood wasn’t without its challenges, but every obstacle only made him stronger. Now he has become the highly talented and motivated artist he is today and is ready for whatever his musical journey has in store.
:: “WORDS” – GRANT ::
Nicole Almeida, São Paulo, Brazil
I feel like by now Sweden should be renamed ‘The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Pop Music’. Robyn, Max Martin, Icona Pop, Tove Lo, Lykke Li, to name a few, are names that come from the country and have shaped what we consider quality pop music today. Following in their footsteps is newcomer GRANT, whose newest song “WORDS” is heartbreak pop at its best.
In a poetic statement about the song, GRANT said: “I think relationships are a bit like religion, it has faith and rituals and when you doubt you should take comfort in knowing, it’s because you care. It takes courage to endure. That is love. Briefly we peek outside our window and wonder if what we do matters and if these rituals are giving us what we need. In time we start to mirror each other, we form a language and we have predictable habits, but I still can’t read his mind. There’s no absolution and certainties are momentary even when they last a lifetime. Looking at it that way, the idea of mundane seem kind of insane to me. But I try, and that is also love.”
“WORDS” beautifully exhibits this deep reflection, and is an exciting first taste of what’s to come in GRANT’s EP, due out later this year. The song takes time, breathes, and makes sure we’re listening to what GRANT has to say. GRANT has already been nominated for the equivalent of Best New Artist at the Swedish Grammy Awards, a song like “WORDS” is the best way to continue on the path of what’s an already wildly successful career.
:: “Tell You Something” – SPORTS ::
Mitch Mosk, New York
This song makes me want to strut my stuff – it just hits in all the right ways. Sports’ first song in two years, “Tell You Something” is a groovy, vibey indulgence that finds the duo (quite literally) “headed in the right direction.” It’s a lush, warm psychedelic haze, but it doesn’t engulf or tune out the senses; rather, it amplifies everything. It’s a soundtrack to walking down the street, with your head up high… not knowing where you’re going, but feeling like you’re going to figure it out, and that everything’s going to work out in the end.
Every time I say what’s on my mind
It never really seems to come out right
Sometimes I just feel like stayin’ quiet
In the night
Well, you would be the perfect one to ask
So tell me if I’m losin’ all my class
Sometimes I just feel like running back
To the night
I love self-aware songs, and the way Sports inject self-assurance into this return makes it both a buoyant and fulfilling experience – whether you need that boost, or just want to chill, it’s there for you. From those joyful little guitar licks to the wurly ambience at the track’s outer perimeter, to the sheer space Cale Chronister and Christian Theriot create throughout these three minutes, “Tell You Something” is definitely earning a space on my “songs of the summer” playlist.
I don’t know how to tell you something
But I do know that it won’t be easy
I’m headed in the right direction
Just tell me what to say
Tell me what to say
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