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 Killers, Lala Lala, Baths, James Bay, Treasure, Nostalgix, Rose Motion, Samson Ashe, and Johnny Ashby!
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:: Imploding The Mirage – The Killers ::
Mitch Mosk, New York
It would come as no surprise to learn The Killers have found the sacred fountain of youth: Imploding the Mirage cements, in real-time, their legacy as one of the greatest rock bands of a generation. It is visceral and feverish, hopeful and relentless – a passionate, boundless embrace of the tenacity and sheer power of the human spirit. Songs like lead single “Caution” and opener “My Own Soul’s Warning” showcase the band in prime form, while songs like “Lightning Fields” (featuring K.D. Lang) and “My God” (featuring Weyes Blood) find them branching out while staying forever true to themselves. That’s just the tipping point into this record so full of color, fervent passion, and boundless energy.
If 2017’s Wonderful Wonderful – The Killers’ fifth record and their first offering in as many years – heralded a sort of “musical homecoming,” then their sixth album is the full stop: A show of force so majestic and unapologetic, authentic and unencumbered by the need to prove anything, that it feels like its own noteworthy milestone.
:: “€ € € €^^%%!!!!!heaven!!!!!!” – Lala Lala & Baths ::
Adrian Vargas, Seattle
Baths is a connoisseur of eclectic soundscapes (and also song titles, apparently), that take listeners on voyages of despair, elation, or fear. It’s hypnotic, each track a unique blend that offers something new with each listen. Lala Lala, on the other hand, is a master at concocting dreams. Her vocals and melodies are perfect gateways into either placid or rambunctious, freeing realms. Join these two forces together and “€ € € €^^%%!!!!!heaven!!!!!!” is the creation, a song whose title is as striking as the music itself.
The soundscapes explored on “€ € € €^^%%!!!!!heaven!!!!!!” are dazzling mixes of electronics, glitched-out moments, and varied instrumentation that are all carried by a stirring backing piano melody. Lala Lala goes down the placid route with her vocals, and though at times monotone, it fits surprisingly well and only adds to the allure. It’s an oddity of a song, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t an intoxicating listen.
:: “Chew On My Heart” – James Bay ::
Erica Garcia, Los Angeles
It’s another day of just being forever amazed at the way English singer-songwriter James Bay always takes an acoustic guitar sound and can amplify it into an intriguing, arena-worthy melody. The artist’s latest single “Chew On My Heart” is an honest declaration of loving someone even if it hurts. The song follows the 2016 Brit Awards-winner’s surprise release of last year’s EP, Oh My Messy Mind. Co-written along with John Ryan, Andrew Haas, and Ian Franzino, “Chew On My Heart” showcases Bay turning heartache into a captivating summer song.
The music video features Bay performing the song everywhere from his bedroom to wide-open spaces. As a professional at the raw, acoustic vibe, the artist just also recently released an acoustic version of the song that sounds just as stunning as the studio version. Bay hasn’t gotten too specific about what’s next for his music, but there’s a good chance “Chew On My Heart” is the lead single off of an upcoming record in the works that the artist says is “sort of unexpected,” but yet to be released.
:: “Isolation” – Treasure ::
Joe Beer, Surrey, UK
Hailing from North West London, R&B neo-soul artist Treasure presents his latest single “Isolation.” An apt and relatable anthem for people all over the world, the song speaks about the mutual feelings we have felt during the past few months. The loneliness of quarantining, the anxiety of the unknown, and the fear for our loved ones, “Isolation” covers all bases and reminds us of just how united we have all been throughout these strange times.
Inspired by the likes of Sampha and Blood Orange, Treasure has concocted a distinct sound, blending both old and new sounds with acoustic and electronic elements. His soulful, effortless vocals deliver a sense of familiarity to his lyrics, providing ease and comfort for listeners. Featuring a prominent, funky bassline, ethereal synths, and ’80s-esque instrumentation, “Isolation” is sure to be your 2020 anthem.
:: “By Myself” – Nostalgix, Rose Motion ::
Harper Beattie, Boston
In a notoriously male-dominated electronic music scene (particularly the bass house subgenre), artists like Nostalgix are increasingly emergent as some of the most cutting edge acts the genre has to offer – but Nostalgix herself has overcome far more by her early twenties than just a boy’s club. At just eight years old, she moved to Canada from Iran with her family to allow for greater opportunities for herself and her sister – opportunities that may not have been available to her in her Middle East homeland. In just a few short years, she has soared through the ranks of merely attending events to becoming a renowned producer. Since then, she has found her niche sound within the bass house genre with a blend of vivid, effervescent ’90s nostalgia and landed tracks on prominent labels to the tune of Ghetto Ghetto, Night Bass, Uprising, Opulence, and Confession (producer Tchami’s record label).
Her latest off of Confession (out today!) is a bass-heavy collaboration with DJ duo Rose Motion called “By Myself.” Fervent beats and Nostalgix’s characteristic themes of uplift make this a danceable anthem of not only listener empowerment but also Nostalgix’s own assertion of proficiency in the electronic world. Poised to take the house music scene by storm, Nostalgix is a name that needs to be on your music rotation if you at all consider yourself a fan of the genre.
:: “Fun” – Samson Ashe ::
Mitch Mosk, New York
This is just a soulful, sweet rush of good times – and the perfect capstone, I think, to a summer that needs more good times. “Fun” is Samson Ashe’s second single since his debut single “Too Rough” released in 2017, a seductive and nostalgic embrace encouraging all to join in its sun-soaked revelry. Ashe sings with an easy flow.
So let me figure out the day and what to say
I wanna do the same things like yesterday
Rolling down the hill with my punctured wheels
We know the feeling when we had no bills
Got my 99 melting buh it’s ok
On fleet for the ice cream truck days
Running out the gates to be the first inline
time waits on no one, you know I ain’t lying
“‘Fun’ is a nostalgic ode to childhood when things were more simple and there was no price to who you were because nobody cared…I really miss that,” the artist tells Atwood Magazine. “Unapologetically I am who I am and I miss and need that fearless kid that grew up in Stamford Hill…his honestly and unfiltered voice… I hope the vibe’s captured.
And how. “Fun” embodies its name in sound and spirit, conferring upon its audience a wave of feelgood resonant vibes. Ashe’s second single is as fresh as it is free-spirited; here’s to hoping we don’t have to wait three more years for the next one!
:: In Bloom – Johnny Ashby ::
Joe Beer, Surrey, UK
Los Angeles based, London born artist Johnny Ashby is known for his wistful indie-folk written specifically to tug at those heartstrings. Soothing soundscapes, mesmerizing melodies, and haunting, ethereal vocals create music for the soul. His latest release In Bloom is a collection of five tracks, all certain to bring a sense of solace during such unknown times. Ashby’s beautifully soulful vocals tell positive, uplifting stories delving into the current status of the world we live in.
The songwriter shares, “I think all the songs lyrically really address where we are in this very moment. They’re very true of the time in which they were written… They’re so raw and honest and I feel like I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve here with all of these songs.”
Not afraid to show audiences his most vulnerable self, Ashby has crafted an EP which is sure to be the soundtrack to your year. It will get you out that funk, get you up on your feet and put a smile on your face. Something which I’m sure we all need at the moment.
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