Atwood Magazine’s Weekly Roundup: December 1, 2023

Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | December 1, 2023
Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | December 1, 2023
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 Holly Humberstone & MUNA, Eyedress & The Marías, The Moving Stills, Olive Louise, SOMOH, VALÉ, Marilyn Hucek, LØLØ, Melanie Baker, Lifafa, Faith Richards, Alisan Porter, The Snuts, Mitch Oliver, Vindigo, & Grace Yurchuk!
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Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup

:: “Into Your Room (with MUNA)” – Holly Humberstone ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, NY

As if “Into Your Room” wasn’t dreamy enough, Holly Humberstone’s new collaboration with MUNA shines with even more warmth and depth than her original soul-stirring track. The rhythm section is deeper and more pronounced, the chorus brighter, more dynamic and dramatic at ever as, together with the LA pop trio (undeniably one of the year’s “IT” bands), the English singer/songwriter erupts with both passion and pain, dwelling in the brutal (and yet somehow, euphoric) depths of her beautiful, endless heartache:

So maybe, take me
Into your room
Without you my soul is eternally doomed
You’re the centre of this universe
My sorry ass revolves around you
(yeah, yeah)
No I can’t do without you

The spellbinding second track on Humberstone’s recently-released debut album Paint My Bedroom Black (Atwood Magazine gave it a raving 10 out of 10 in our review), “Into Your Room” is at once a love-soaked anthem and a lovesick ballad: Humberstone is exposed and vulnerable as she shares her innermost feelings alongside a buoyant and brooding sonic soundscape of warm, dramatic synths and cool, pulsing beats.

Written one day “while experimenting with pawn shop-bought instruments and synths,” the emotionally multifaceted tune is an upward and outward expansion: One that resonates with wondrous hues and intoxicating grooves that make it as easy to dance to, as it is to cry with. Humberstone explains that she wrote “Into Your Room” as a means of capturing her guilt from not being present in a new relationship; this song, at its core, is a no-holds-barred declaration of her endless and undying love.

That all-out rush of blood to the head and the heart is enhanced with MUNA, whose lead singer Katie Gavin joins Humberstone in the second verse and subsequent chorus; together, they spill their guts, gore and all, in a cinematic, irresistibly catchy and cathartic upheaval of the soul.

In my review of this song, I wrote that “Into Your Room” sees Holly Humberstone “at her highest high and lowest low, all in the span of three minutes and thirty seconds.” Little did I know she could go even higher – and delve even lower – with the help of her friends. Love is aching, all-consuming, and unapologetic, and on “Into Your Room (with MUNA)” we feel the full scope of that visceral fever dream.

:: “Separate Ways” – Eyedress & The Marías ::

Julia Dzurillay, New Jersey

Whether it’s Cuco, Bad Bunny, or Tainy, The Marías work their signature wispy, psychedelic, sipping-red-wine-in-a-dimly-lit-bar sound into every collaboration. “Separate Ways” with Eyedress is no different, marking a new era for The Marías and their first collaboration with this singer-songwriter/rapper.

Each instrument has its moment to shine, including the wavy guitar track and María Zardoya’s sultry vocals. The lyrics details a failed romance, with the vocalists lamenting over what could’ve been if they didn’t go, you guessed it, their separate ways.

Hated that we went our separate ways,” the chorus states. “Maybe we just need some time to change / Maybe in the future, I could stay / Wait, for once I got a lot to say.”

:: Wabi Sabi – The Moving Stills ::

Joe Beer, Surrey, UK

Described as your “friendly neighborhood indie pop band,” The Moving Stills instantly entice listeners with a warm and welcoming vibe. The Australian four-piece then keep you along for the ride with their feel-good, captivating songs, whisking you away to a place under the sun. Their new ten-track album Wabi Sabi perfectly encapsulates this magical potion that they seem to behold, compelling fans to listen to every word and note. As well as their intoxicating sound, which is packed full of jangly guitars, groove-laden bass and toe-tapping percussion, The Moving Stills bring people in with their honest and relatable song lyrics. Telling stories from their own lives, including falling in and out of love, making memories with your pals and the ups and downs of tour life, the band give us a glimpse into who they are.

Speaking of their growth from their previous release, the band share, “We wanted to introduce new feelings and vibes, to those on our first record Sunshine Corner. Whilst maintaining a lot of the key elements of our previous tunes, we delved into making a spread of new flavours. With songs like “Drive Home,” “In Your City” and the title-track “Wabi Sabi,” we leaned into a more groove based feel. Songs that you can immediately vibe out to. On the other hand, we had songs like “Volcano” and “Best Friend,” which showcases a more upbeat side to our sound. Definitely works well at gigs and on the dance floor.”

:: “Special”- Olive Louise ::

Chloe Robinson, California

A poignant ode to all those who have felt like they don’t fit in, Olive Louise’s track “Special” is one many of us can connect to. Detailing what it is like to feel out of place, her breathless, haunting vocals create the perfect eerie feel. As humans we all wish to be seen and validated. Louise’s courage to be vulnerable and express her self –doubt makes the piece deeply powerful.

Louise’s music exudes an intoxicating dream pop sound. Her poetic lyricism and warm tone instantaneously pulls you in. Her story is one that will draw you in as well. Losing parents no matter your age is never easy, but it is especially hard to lose them young. She dealt with that devastating loss in her teens. As painful as it was and still is, she has channeled that grief into vastly expressive music. “Special” encapsulates that same emotional depth.

:: “Man” – SOMOH ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, NY

I love, love, love SOMOH’s breathtaking musical blend of fragility and fervor. The 20-year-old Londoner born Sophia Mohan showed off her stunning skills on this past April’s debut five-track A Plan To Get Home, “a beautifully tender and unapologetically turbulent fever dream” (my words) and one of this year’s best EPs (pure fact). Following August’s return single “Favourite,” October’s “Man” arrived with the announcement of SOMOH’s forthcoming sophomore EP Problem Child, set for release on February 22, 2024 via Tiny Library Records.

He gets to hold, onto her hand
And act of love that they’ll always understand
She gets to laugh and fall into him
Spread her legs until their knees are touching
And I know the risk
We take just to kiss
She’ll be my woman
And I’ll be her man

And oh, does this song hurt in all the best ways. An aching upheaval of SOMOH’s innermost depths, “Man” is an alluring, all-consuming mix of churn and charm, tenderness and turbulence as Mohan wrestles with double-standards around romantic expression between LGBTQ+ and heterosexual relationships. “He gets to fold his arm around her waist; to not have to wait for the moment to tempt fait,” she sings, restrained and restless all at once. “There’s nothing to say, there’s nothing you can do. I’ll wait for my chances to pick forbidden fruit…

“’Man’ was written out of the jealousy I felt towards heterosexual couples able to display their love in public,” SOMOH tells Atwood Magazine. “I’ve experienced so many moments in my relationship where I haven’t felt comfortable or safe enough to be affectionate with my partner. I wanted this song to capture the desperation of wishing I didn’t have to hide that part of myself so much.”

For Mohan and so many others, this song cuts deep, ringing out as an anthem of anger and exhaustion toward a society that still has leagues to go in embracing the “love is love” mantra. But what’s absolutely extraordinary – if not gut-wrenching – about this song is how SOMOH takes it one step further in the chorus, daring to be unapologetic about her love.

And I know the risk
We take just to kiss
She’ll be my woman
And I’ll be her man

It’s a mindset we should aspire to, wrapped in a roaring and radiant song we can play for hours on end.

:: “the homesick song” (x-mas version) – VALE ::

Julius Robinson, California

ABarranquilla Colombia native VALÉ is a bewitching vocalist and songwriter known for her fierce R&B/ pop sound. The singer has just re-released a new version of her emotive track “the homesick song” just in time for Christmas. The piece will touch us all. Most of us can understand that homesick feeling especially around the holidays. “the homesick song” (x-mas version) sung in English and Spanish, possesses that festive enchantment with twinkling bells and light, acoustic guitar. Her delicate, dreamy tone sings of a deep longing to be home. Her warm and wistful quality reminds listeners of the importance of being together.

VALÉ’s other bold singles “bololo” and “oops, my bad!” has landed her a loyal following. Each of her releases pull us in instantly with infectious hooks and highly confident vocals. While songs like “bololo” evoke vibes of Cardi B, this current offering displays more of a slowed down style with vocals reminiscent of Taylor Swift. No matter which musical lane, VALÉ’s exceptional artistry comes through.

:: Love & Loss – Marilyn Hucek ::

Kelly McCafferty, New Orleans

Marilyn Hucek released her EP Love & Loss last Friday. Complete with one of our favorites “Man of the House” and newer tracks like “Happy for You,” Hucek shows growth in sound and songwriting alike. We’ve been taking in each track of this EP and you should too! “Hey” and “LDR” show the more upbeat side of Hucek, while a stripped-down “Man of the House” acoustic version puts us in our feels.

We look forward to enjoying this EP and following what Hucek does next!

:: “*snow in berlin*” – LØLØ ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

Over Thanksgiving, I made a real push to finalize a few Atwood assignments that had been on my back-burner for a while over the finish line. Those included pieces on Canadian singer LØLØ and her song “hot girls in hell,” and one on another Canadian singer, Rebecca Lappa, who uses the wintery weather of her homeland as a metaphor for relationship stages.

On the heels of turning both of those assignments in (yusssss), what better to write about for my next Weekly Roundup entry than a new song by LØLØ that uses wintery weather as a metaphor for relationship stages?! Only rather than in Canada, the snow that LØLØ describes in her lyrics is that which she encountered during a recent trip to Germany.

‘”I wanted to write a song to remember that moment, of feeling something so special for the first time in a while,” LØLØ says of that initial encounter with the frosty precipitation in the German capital. “But as fast as that snow can come down, it can also melt just as quickly — the song goes through their different relationship stages, from falling in love, to breaking apart almost as fast.”

*snow in berlin*” elaborates on that cycle effectively. LØLØ takes us from where it all began (“You kissed me and I could taste danger ahead”) to the unfortunate current state of affairs (“Now we’re not talking, I hope that you’re good. I still think about you way more than I should”).

As a delicate acoustic number, it’s also far calmer and less abrasive than any songs I’ve heard from LØLØ thus far. Seeing this artist I’ve been keeping an eye on for some time now turn a completely new page in her creative profile is a noteworthy experience for me, for sure.

:: “All My Plants Have Died” – Melanie Baker ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, NY

Raise your hands high if you can relate to the title of this song (and RIP to my beautiful baby pineapple, 5/22/2016 – 9/16/2016). Based on a true story, Melanie Baker’s “All My Plants Have Died” is a grungy reckoning with green thumbs – a visceral, heated reflection not only on her ability (or lack thereof) to take care of her plants, but also herself. The Newcastle-based singer/songwriter’s first (and likely only) song of the year, released November 14 via DAEMON T.V, marks a bold new era in Baker’s artistry.

Following her ballad-heavy debut EP Broken (2020) and the heavier, heartier, alt-rock leaning standalone single “Waiting List” (2022), “All My Plants Have Died” sends shivers down the spine with a churning wall of hard-hitting sound (courtesy of some thunderous drums and supercharged electric guitars) and a beautifully unapologetic, uncompromising vocal performance.

all my plants have died
the worse they get the more i try
maybe i’m just not fit for this kind of life
all my friends are sad
and i’ll admit i feel just as bad
what is the point in getting up early
just to waste more time?
are we stuck in slow motion just watching our lives go by?
if this was a movie, it felt kinda scary for a while
everything is overrated
i wish i was more understated

“All of my plants did actually die within a week because I was sad, and I also just wasn’t very good at looking after them,” Baker shares. “But it’s also meant to be a metaphor about trying to look after your mental health whilst keeping up in such a fast paced world.”

“I wanted the song to have a big, chaotic, angry, rising build at the end which is something I’ve never had the confidence to do with my songwriting before. Writing the lyrics alone in my living room was cathartic enough but getting my best mates to then add layers and layers of guitars, noise, punky drums and shouting at the top of our lungs “I’ll never have to worry” was even more of an emotional release that I didn’t know I needed.”

isn’t it so mad that everybody’s basically a lab rat
in our suit and ties
trying to just get by as the mean machine goes on
i sit in my living room
writing songs for me and you
i have given up trying to make them sound good
are we stuck in slow motion just watching our lives go by?
if this was a movie, it felt kinda scary for a while
everything is overrated
i wish i was more understated

We could take a microscope to Baker’s lyrics, and at some point in the future we very well might – she truly holds nothing back here, saying aloud all the things we tend to bury deep down inside – but for now, I recommend basking in the belly of this fiery, fervent upheaval.

Sonically and lyrically stunning, “All My Plants Have Died” aches with an alluring, irreverent scuzzy, grungy grit as Baker sheds her softer singer/songwriter skin for something with a more electrifying edge. Fans of Lauran Hibberd, Matilda Mann, ella jane, Abbie Ozard, Pale Waves, Momma, Orla Gartland and more are sure to fall head over heels not just for this song, but for this artist who screams her heart out while wearing it unabashedly on her sleeve.

i killed all my plants over night
i tried to bring them back to life
but every time i tried
i got too damn sad and then i tried to

start a rock and roll band
all my friends are tired and i’m tired of being so tired
i tried to build a garden but it dried up in a fortnight
everybody’s working hard to pay their bills and get a better job
and go for runs and write some songs and make some art
buy a house and cook good food
not be sad and not be lonely
make new friends and fall in love
make more money money money
go to therapy and go to school
try to be so f’ing cool
maybe i will go to space or maybe i’ll just go to hell
i’ll buy a yacht i’ll be famous and really really happy
and maybe then i’ll pay someone to look after my plants for me
maybe then i’ll go to sleep and never have to worry
i’ll never have to worry, no i’ll never have to worry…

:: Jaago – Lifafa ::

Miles Campbell, Washington, DC

I’ve been mesmerized by the artistic creativity of Peter Cat Recording Co.‘s Suryakant Sawhney for some time now, but it wasn’t until stumbling upon his side project Lifafa that I realized Sawhney’s art knows no limits and certainly is confined to no genres.

Lifafa’s freshman album Jaago pairs electronic music production with Hindi and Urdu vernacular, something that Sawheny noticed was missing from India’s electronic music scene. The record is mysterious, undefined and completely left open for interpretation, featuring hypnotizing melodies paired with Sawheny’s silky croon. Similar to Peter Cat’s philosophy of refusing to adhere to vanilla song structures of verse/chorus/verse/bridge, Sawheny capitalizes on tempo changes, mellow-turned-intense beats and vocal swelling to leave the listener pondering upon what has just been experienced.

“It’s a place where I’d like to imagine I have a completely blank infinitely large canvas to try whatever I like, however niche an idea and attempt to refine it till its limit before wiping it all clean and starting again on something else,” Sawheny said in an interview with Top 5 Records. “So I guess right now what I’m working on is the sort of Hindi music I wish I heard playing around me.”

All 8 tracks featured on Lififa are inherently unique pieces of the Hindi-meets-electronic puzzle that Sawheny successfully attempted to piece together. Title track “Jaago” and “Candy” sonically portray themselves to be rooted in self-introspection and nostalgia, while tracks such as “Chaku Chidiya” and “Nikamma” feature more of the Bollywood flair and style. Check out Mere Saath for the keys to a deep trance portal guided by Sawheny’s alleviating vocals.

:: “good girl” – Faith Richards ::

Joe Beer, Surrey, UK

R&B artist Faith Richards knows how to set the mood in her evocative new single, “good girl.” Having grown up in the Mormon church, the now Paris based artist knows how it feels to have to live life according to specific guidelines. But now, she rejects this way of life, demanding to be boldly, fearlessly and most importantly, authentically herself. “good girl” demonstrates just that. The mischievous track sees the songwriter singing about having the ability to be sexual with your partner, while also still attending church.

Richards shares, “I’m human – sometimes I’m shy, sometimes I’m social, sometimes I’m busy, sometimes I’m just doing my own thing. I can be everything all at once. No label. No box. Just Faith Richards in her entirety.” The artist delivers this powerful message through alluring melodies, ethereal vocals and an addictive beat. Injecting us with a fierceness and determination to be exactly who we want to be, “good girl” is an anthem for when you need a confidence boost.

:: “Meant for Me” – Alisan Porter ::

Julius Robinson, California

It is said there is someone out there for everyone. If you believe in the term “soul mate” this statement can ring true. Just because your person may be out there though, it doesn’t mean the love will be easy. Relationships take work. Alisan Porter is familiar with weathering love’s storm. She details navigating the highs and lows of a partnership because like the song title states the person is “meant for me.” “Meant for Me” is an emotional, Americana/ country track that is seeped in masterful storytelling. Porter’s stunning, textured, earthy tone adds to the honest narrative.

The Massachusetts native brings a wide set of skills to the musical table. A singer, songwriter, actress, and vocal coach, her vast talents gained her a dedicated following. Featured on Star Search at just 5-years-old, even at a young age she was captivating audiences. Now in addition to making music, she has also worked on big Broadway performances such as Footloose and the revival of A Chorus Line. Within “Meant for Me” Porter continues to showcase her rare gift.

:: “Dreams” – The Snuts ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, NY

A spellbinding seduction, “Dreams” lives up to its name as a wellspring of warmth and wonder. Released this past August, The Snuts’ second single of the year (following June’s “Gloria”) is a sun-soaked singalong that demands to be shouted at the top of our lungs. The Scottish indie rock band have dazzled us from the get-go, releasing two sweltering studio albums in relatively quick succession (W.L. came out in April 2021, followed by Burn the Empire in September 2022) – and in doing so, taking the whole world by storm with an electrifying, emotionally charged sound.

Did I hear you say
We’re made for each other
Breakfast in bed
The suns up forever
You’re romer than Paris
Prettier too
I must be dreaming
How did I find you
Hey, I know
You’re a golden child
You’re a million miles better
Hey, I’m sure
I’m in love with you
And nothing feels better

And they’re still just getting started. More recent singles “NPC” and “Deep Diving” arrived with the announcement of The Snuts’ third studio album Millennials, scheduled to come out February 23 “on their own terms” – i.e., independently (they were previously signed to Parlophone in the UK and are now releasing via their very own label, Happy Artist Records, distributed through The Orchard).

Independent and thriving? It really does sound like The Snuts are living out their wildest dreams – and more power to them. “Dreams” has an enthralling seductive energy – one that we can’t help but fall for again and again. The band calls it a feel-good clap-along track. “It celebrates the feeling of punching way above your weight when life feels almost too good to be true,” they share.

Per frontman Jack Cochrane’s description, “Dreams” is the perfect introduction to the band’s forthcoming third LP. “Leading into this new record, the original idea was: Are there any songs we’ve forgotten to write?” he says. “Are there any ideas and feelings we can dip back into from when we weren’t living in this music world? That’s where we, as millennials, came up with the concept. Tapping into the emotions that we maybe hadn’t processed into music. Those big boiling points in your life. The first time you’re falling in love. First time your heart is broken. Those pivotal moments. On the last record there was a bit more nuance. With this one, we wanted to see how it would feel if we went more direct on the songs and to connect as easily as possible. I don’t think we’re living in an age now where people want to spend time taking something apart. We want people to feel it the first time they hear it.”

Millennials promises to be a powerhouse of stirring sentiment and cinematic energy. Get lost in the thrill of The Snuts’ “Dreams” and stay tuned for more ahead of the record’s late February release!

lately, i’ve been manifesting
that i’m king and your queen
never in my wildest dreams
would you be all mine
like it’s meant to be…

:: Mitch Oliver ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

I spent Veteran’s Day Weekend up in Montreal just now, and like all of my trips there have been, this one was (a) incredibly fun and (b) very much colored by the strong live music scene in the city. Thus, now that I’m back on this side of the world’s longest mutual national border, the best way to return to Montreal in my mind (something I am always keen on doing hehe) is, indeed, to listen to some fresh new music from that glorious city!

Assisting me with that native is MTL native Mitch Oliver and his new song “Hidden Gem.” It’s pretty far from the live music I did see there during my trip– some indie folk at the Place des Arts and a blues/rock set at Bistro à Jojo– but it’s a fine slice of the current Canadian dance music scene all the same. Monsieur Oliver premiered this track as part of his impressive hour-long DJ set as part of a rooftop sunset party in town. Now that he’s produced a formal studio recording of the song, the fun and infection of that memorable evening is forever preserved. À écouter absolument!

:: “Subway” – Vindigo ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, NY

Words simply cannot express how inspired and invigorated I feel, that the ’90s are finally back in vogue. As a child of ’92, I never got to “experience” bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden in their prime; by the time I discovered grunge in my teens, it was the late aughts, and liking that kind of heavy alternative music made you something of an… well, I won’t call it an outcast, but I certainly wasn’t part of the “in” group, either.

Welcome to another perfect day
How low?
Does everything appear to be okay?
I’m bored
I cannot keep playing this game
No more
But I can’t tell if I’m the one to blame

I don’t know if we have Olivia Rodrigo to thank for the past few years’ sea change, or if it’s just the natural way of the world, but alt-rock (in its many forms) is decidedly fashionable once again, and the past few years have seen a rise in artists making heavy, unapologetic scorchers that hit hard and leave a mark – all while somehow… sounding… cool?

Even LA “indie punks” Vindigo, a brand new four-piece that emerged earlier this year, have an undeniable allure about them. Their fifth single “Subway,” independently released November 17, is a ruthless and raw reckoning that can’t help but call to mind ’90s tunes like “Territorial Pissings,” “Breed,” and – for the mainstream crowd – “In Bloom.”

Gotta find a way
a way to be better
Living in a world that’s
made for killers
(to blame)
Gotta find a way
a way to be better
I got to get away
(the one to blame)
I got to get away

Even the way their members talk sounds decidedly grunge and anti-establishment.

“‘Subway’ is about feeling like you’re stuck in a world that prioritizes profits and perfection above progress and compassion,” Vindigo’s lead singer and guitarist Dakota Brubaker tells Atwood Magazine. “A lot of people in our generation feel that the way our society is structured doesn’t reflect our own priorities or interests and this disconnect often makes it unbearable to go through the day to day motions.”

“The lyrics touch on these concepts with lines like: “Hello, welcome to another perfect day, how low. Does everything appear to be okay?” The almost robotic cadence shows how degrading it is to wake up to another day of playing in a game that you don’t believe in. The lyrics also touch on this with lines like, “I’m bored, I cannot keep playing in this game. No more, but I can’t tell if I’m the one to blame.” The lyrics ask the listener what part they might play in why society is structured this way and maybe we’re a part of the problem and solution. The song’s sound is inspired by punk and alt-rock with loud guitars and booming drums. It is the 3rd out of 4 singles from the band’s upcoming debut EP titled Ur 4 Sale.”

Like oil and vinegar, apathy and a relentless drive to better this broken world have long been two hallmarks of alternative music, many of whose mainstays were and are activists – some outspoken through outside ventures, others directly through their art. Vindigo are young and they’re restless, they’re grunge and they’re green, and they’re undeniably an artist to watch in 2024.

:: “Surprise, Surprise” – Grace Yurchuk ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, NY

Are you surprised by my conviction, or just the courage that it takes?” 20-year-old Grace Yurchuk sings at the top of her debut album. I suppose the answer is, both! The alt-pop singer/songwriter (and current NYU student) stuns with radiant vocals and provocative lyrics throughout the independently-released Surprise, Surprise, and nowhere does she stand out more than on the record’s intoxicating title track. Achingly intimate, up-close, and personal, “Surprise, Surprise” finds empowerment and liberation through vulnerability as Yurchuk confronts a friend’s bad actions and, in turn, herself.

Are you surprised by my conviction?
Or just the courage that it takes?
You never cared for confrontation
Was it fun never taking the blame
for your mistakes?

“‘Surprise, Surprise’ was one of the final tracks I wrote for this project. I knew I wanted the opener to be a preview of the songs and themes to come, but didn’t know where to start until this past summer,” Yurchuk tells Atwood Magazine. “I had recently been very hurt in a friendship, and instead of lashing out at the other person, I tried to stay very cool, calm, and collected. Instead of feeling proud of my composure, I felt like I didn’t stand up for myself, which has been a common theme throughout my life.  It got me thinking: Even when I thought I was doing something different, I was doing something I have always done. Of course it would turn out this way. Why would I be surprised? And then the song poured out of me. I wrote it before a family dinner in 15 minutes.”

“‘Surprise, Surprise’ touches on feelings of knowing who you are to a fault, and assuming the good in others while they assume the worst of you.  I tried to capture the feelings of anger I had bubbling under the surface with the instrumentation and punchy lyrics, but the track is hopeful in the end – we may be caught off guard by other people’s actions, but in the end, we always have ourselves.”

Independently written and produced by Yurchuk, Surprise, Surprise (the album) is a fantastic introduction to an artist ready to share her whole, unabridged self with the world and anyone who cares to listen.

Surprise, Surprise includes tracks that I wrote and produced independently in the last year and a half, while simultaneously studying classical vocal performance at NYU Steinhardt,” she explains. “I wrote most of these songs in a practice room on the ninth floor of the Education Building, and recorded them in my (far quieter) childhood bedroom in Warwick, New York.  Each sound you hear in this album is one made by me!”

“I wrote Surprise, Surprise in the midst of many universal college and coming-of-age experiences, including trying to figure out my identity as a young writer and young woman in New York. I’d been asking myself: How much of who I am is what others think of me, and how much of who I am is what I think of myself? Is it possible to defy the expectations we set for ourselves? Surprise, Surprise is an amalgamation of my feelings, a symphony of my experiences with friendships, breakups, and everything in between!”

Surprise, Surprise is fun, poignant at times, but nevertheless an enjoyable ride through relatable coming-of-age highs and lows. Yurchuk finds her voice throughout this diverse, yet cohesive set of tracks, and while highlights range in size and scope from the glistening, gorgeous indie pop banger “Too Much” to the acoustic guitar-driven pop ballad “What You Need,” it’s the scene-setting “Surprise, Surprise” that continues to knock me off my feet, putting a moment of intimate reflection and inner reckoning on the spotlight and all but ensuring we pay special, close attention to all Grace Yurchuk releases from here on out.

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