Atwood Magazine’s Weekly Roundup: January 12, 2024

Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | January 12, 2024
Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | January 12, 2024
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 Quiet Houses, Pigeon Club, The Symposium, UMI ft. V of BTS, NOANNE, Jasmine Jethwa, Peach Luffe, Bring Me the Horizon, Kaia Kater, Seth Glier, Lake Saint Daniel, Fie Eike, Joy Autumn, Bree Rusev & Rod Coote!
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Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup

:: “What My Heart Is For” – Quiet Houses ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

We’re just two weeks into 2024, and already “What My Heart Is For” feels destined to be one of my anthems of the year. Released on January 5 (via LAB Records), Quiet Houses’ dramatic first single following last May’s sophomore EP Since July is a cathartic and captivating eruption of all those thoughts and feelings we tend to bury deep down inside: In this instance, the unspoken words surround our hopes and goals, and how futile it can feel to reach for something that seems so unimaginably out of reach. “I’m reaching out for something; is it getting closer?

Quick drink, a catch up thing
‘You should get yourself a job in the city mate’
(I’ve been wondering where my heart is)
Office brogues and inside jokes
But deep down they’re all decent blokes you say
‘I’ve been wondering where my heart is’
And you’ve been thinking bout climbing Everest
And I’ve been thinking you’re kinda sad
Said you can’t even begin to imagine it
I said I just don’t understand, but then I…

The duo of Jamie Stewart and Hannah Elliott, Quiet Houses have been stirring souls and stunning ears since early 2021, yet they’ve made a big name for themselves over that short span of time. Formed in Edinburgh and now based in London, they are are undoubtedly an indie artist worth keeping an eye on over the months to come – and their latest offering is without a doubt one of their best songs yet. A sonically and emotionally charged fever dream, “What My Heart Is For” aches with longing, desire, and doubt. It’s an inner reckoning with the very idea of being a dreamer, sung (as luck would have it) by a band I’ve previously dubbed “ethereal, enchanting dream pop at its finest.”

“‘What My Heart is For’ is a song about the ridiculousness of having dreams and pursuing them,” Quiet Houses share. “It’s about wanting something desperately even when you’re not sure what it is you want or why you want it.” Vocalist Hannah Elliott comes to a phenomenal climax in a heated chorus, reflecting on the very nature of our never-ending chase – and if there’s any value to holding onto those ephemeral, fleeting strands of hope.

I’m terrified by design
I’m reaching out for something is it getting closer?
Completely fine, eyes open wide
I’m reaching out for something just across the water

While emotions run rampant throughout this track, Quiet Houses also see their lush, guitar-heavy track as an indicator for their current sonic direction.

“We wrote ‘What My Heart Is For’ after a month on the road supporting Tidelines on their UK tour, so we’d had a LOT of time to listen to music in the car and were feeling super inspired!” The Scottish duo tell Atwood Magazine. “Hannah went to see Alvvays play in Glasgow and as a result of that was diving in to all of Molly Rankin’s favourite music. It’s one of the best ways to discover music we find, listening to all of your favourite artist’s favourite music. In an interview she said at her funeral she would love for the last song to be ‘Is This Music’ by Teenage Fanclub. It’s a 3 minute long instrumental track with huge melodies, soaring guitar riffs and this sense of openness that just feels so Scottish. This song and the whole album Bandwagonesque had a huge influence on ‘What My Heart is For.’”

“We also listen to a lot of guitar-heavy music – Jamie is a huge TTNG and American Football fan, and we love anything with jangly guitars and big pop melodies. I guess we see our music in the same world as current indie pop bands and artists like Alvvays, Wolf Alice, London Grammar, etc., but with a big dream pop/shoegaze influence (Beach House, Cocteau Twins, Hatchie). We love to make music that feels like this big world you can escape into – that’s always what we are striving for.”

Well since the day you graduated
Everything’s been great, you’ve been living the dream
(I’ve been wondering, where my heart is)
You hold your glass with both your hands
And shrug it off just like you used to at 17
(I’ve been wondering where my heart is)
And you wanna stand on the precipice
You’ll see the world from outer space
You’ll be standing right out on the edge of it
While I’m pacing around the place, screaming

What are we striving for? What are we fighting for? Quiet Houses may challenge our ways of thinking, but it’s all ultimately for the better: “What My Heart Is For” is not meant to get us down or stop us from dreaming; rather, the expansive, impassioned, and atmospheric anthem helps us get back to basics and think clearly about who we are, what we’re doing, and why we’re here. Perfectly timed for January – a period wrought with resolutions and renewals – this song is a gilded, glistening guide for weary hearts and wanderlust souls.

Fans of bands like Alvvays and Wolf Alice will indeed find much to love about. “What My Heart Is For,” a song full of passion and inner churn. My hope is that, a few listens in, the comparisons drop and they simply become fans of Quiet Houses, one of the UK’s most exciting duos – and a band I hope to hear much more from over these next twelve months.

I’m terrified by design
I’m reaching out for something is it getting closer?
Completely fine, eyes open wide
I’m reaching out for something just across the water
I’ve been wondering (where my heart is)
And I can see you looking at the floor

I’ve been wondering (where my heart is)
And I don’t think I want this anymore
I’ve been wondering what my heart is for…

:: “Liar” – Pigeon Club ::

Do you ever feel like at times you put up a shield in fear of truly letting someone in? Maybe 2024 is the year to change that. It could be the perfect time to be honest with others and most importantly honest with yourself. Pigeon Club’s current single “Liar” details a defense mechanism gone wrong. With light drums, soothing strings and a vocal so warm it melts across your ears, the song is the ideal wistful serenade. It only makes sense that a tale of deception and trickery would be accompanied by a video showcasing some tricks of its own. The quirky visuals narrate the story of a magician and his furry puppet companion. The more they entertain, the more he struggles to keep the fantasy alive.

Wayne Whittaker is the gifted mind behind Pigeon Club. The Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter is a rising artist going at it with full force. He has collaborated with prominent talents such as Haerts and Dawes. The captivating track is off of his upcoming album Another Year In The Minors set for release this spring.  – Chloe Robinson, California

The first rule of Pigeon Club is… feel free to go right ahead and talk about Pigeon Club! Wayne Whittaker has certainly merited that word-of-mouth with his considerable skills – not to mention his ability to handle Muppets, as seen in the amusing video for his new single “Liar,” an excerpt from his forthcoming sophomore album, Another Year In The Minors.

“This was a really hard song to write,” he says. “Structurally, it came together very quickly. But once I read it back, it became clear that this was going to be a particularly exposing three minutes. Thankfully, the touched upon themes are unmistakably human, so at the very least I’ve confirmed that I am indeed only human.” Hey, that’s a solid start! And the good cheer and commendable singing and guitar-playing layered atop those themes are enough to make this three minutes of music that are indeed worth engaging in. – Josh Weiner, Washington DC

:: “The Only One” – The Symposium​ ::

Francesca Rose, UK

A friend of mine recommended  The Symposium to me at the end of last year and their songs “Poison” and “Half Life,” (off their debut album Drugs, released in 2014) have been in my head since. The Chicago-based group channel the distinctive sounds of The Strokes and The Voidz but, while there can only be one Julian Casablancas in the world, there’s no denying that the ambiance comforts the ears regardless of the direction it comes from.

The Only One,” released 31 October, is powered by an easy-going bass line, electrifying riffs and sizzling synths. The lyrics are simple, repeated throughout with different degrees of intensity: ‘The only thing that’s been on my mind/ It’s how I feel when I’m not my best without you/ I feel depressed all the fuckin time/ There’s nothing else but I take back what is mine.’ While it doesn’t have the same contagious energy as those early tracks, it’s a sign that there is more new music to come in 2024!

:: “wherever u are” – UMI (ft. V of BTS) ::

Jada Moore

When the BTS member first shared his appreciation of the Japanese-American soul singer onto an Instagram story, excitement amongst fans garnered at it being a hint towards a possible future collab. That excitement grew more once the singers confirmed the collaboration. “wherever u are” is special in that it’s meant to convey a heartfelt message to loved ones: When discussing the song’s message, UMI mentioned the song was about a loved one, her grandmother. A nod to this is even shown on the cover art. For his part, the song is meant to be a comforting message for the BTS Army (BTS’ massive global fandom) as V is currently completing his mandatory military service (an often difficult journey).

When you’re not here
There’s some days I feel blue
Space in my bed I’ll still leave for you, ah
Overthink real fast now ’bout it, oh
I gotta trust you, I
Even on the days, I ain’t right by your side
I’m keeping my promise that
I will be wherever you are
Wherever you are
I’ma be, I’ma be, I’ma be wherever you are
Here in your heart
Wherever you are (Wherever, wherever, wherever)
I’ma be, I’ma be, I’ma be wherever you are
Wherever you are

The song itself is a beautiful rendition of soul and soft r&b. Beginning with the soft strumming of a harp, UMI’s soft voice leads the chorus, as V follows. The singer’s soulful voice pairs well with the rich baritone of V. A melodic dance of emotion and warmth, a tango in a sense, expressing the aspiration to always be near a loved one.

:: “White Glove” – NOANNE ::

Joe Beer, Surrey, UK

NOANNE is setting the bar high for 2024 with her explosive and mesmeric new single, “White Glove.” Reminiscent of a James Bond soundtrack, the dramatic and suspenseful tune is packed full of magic and fairy-tale wonder. This is a love song, but with a twist, as the Prague-based artist sings about a woman who is clinging on to a fading relationship. NOANNE shares, “The removal of the white glove is her desperate, almost theatrical attempt to challenge the norms, to provoke a reaction from her beloved, as if beckoning him to a duel not of swords but of emotions and memories.”

With a piano melody that brings to mind the likes of Elton John, “White Glove” packs a punch with soaring string arrangements, layered vocal harmonies and daring percussion. You’ll find yourself easily getting sucked into the world of NOANNE with this song, as you plunge into her intoxicating sonic tapestry and find solace in her soul-soaked anthems.

:: “Pylons” – Jasmine Jethwa ::

Pylons - Jasmine Jethwa

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Burnt bridges, small stations; how’d I get so far away?” Jasmine Jethwa sings, her voice heavy with emotion on her beautiful, brand-new single. On paper, “Pylons” is an achingly bittersweet goodbye, but it felt like a warm and welcome hello when I first heard it. Released at the very top of 2024 on January 5th, the soul-stirring song captures everything there is to love about Jethwa’s artistry in under three minutes’ time.

White seagulls, black ribbons, those tears roll down your face, on the platform last time I saw you…” Candid, confessional, and cathartic,  “Pylons” channels wistful feeling into a gentle, heavy-hearted acoustic ballad. Responsible for one of the best EPs of 2023 – April’s Same Streets But I Don’t See You Around – Jasmine Jethwa reflects on a relationship in the midst of its real-time disintegration not through some big blow-up, but rather through distance and physical separation. Uncertainty lingers on her tongue and in her heart as she wrestles with the decision to leave – unsure if this is the couple’s final farewell or simply a short-term impasse; a mere setback from eternity. Few decisions in life are truly black-and-white, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. As Jethwa conveys her own struggles with this life-altering decision, her music itself is as enchanting as it is utterly, irresistibly breathtaking:

I’m counting pylons
From the window of the train
You said you loved me and I
Didn’t know what to say
Oh how I wish I’d
Told you I loved you but,
All I said was OK

“This song is a journey as you travel away from a person,” Jethwa tells Atwood Magazine. “A sad goodbye tinged with regret. Unsure whether it’s temporary or forever.”

One of Atwood Magazine‘s artists to watch, Jasmine Jethwa has proved her prowess as an extraordinarily talented songwriter, vocalist, and performer at every step along her path, starting with 2020’s debut EP Hurricane (which Atwood‘s Nicole Almeida praised as a “much-needed breath of fresh air from the radio-ready pop hits of the 21st Century.”) Her storytelling poetry and raw, visceral vocal performance in “Pylons” prove especially poignant and heart-wrenching – a moving expression of loss and letting go – two of life’s most intimate and intense emotional experiences.

Grey Mountains, no signal
Low battery and high stakes
200 steel giants,
each one calls out your name oh
I’m counting pylons from the window of the train
You said you loved me and I
Didn’t know what to say
Oh how I wish I’d
Told you I loved you but,
All I said was OK
ok, ok

Beautifully brooding and increasingly impassioned, “Pylons” proves a stunning start to Jethwa’s year, and essentially ensures (at least for us) that she’ll stay top of mind as 2024 gets underway. Not only is this song a reminder of how powerful love’s pull can be – even as that love itself wanes – but it’s also an evocative take on regret and nostalgia, highlighting how hard it is to know if we’re ever truly making the right decisions for ourselves.

I’m counting pylons from the window of the train
You said you loved me and I
Didn’t know what to say
Oh how I wish I’d
Told you I loved you but,
All I said was OK

:: “Say It Back” – Peach Luffe ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Peach Luffe’s Jong Lee has long been an enchanting dreamweaver, his music as sweet as the fruit in his artist name (although I’m pretty sure that’s just a coincidence). For years, the prolific artist has dazzled our ears with his warm and wondrous indie pop – his dynamic, soulful vocals and glistening instrumental work never fails to send shivers down the spine – and if you’re at all a fan of the words I’m saying, I must first and foremost recommend 2022’s expansive and intimate debut album Everything is Peachy and last spring’s spellbinding 7-track EP, Fish Bowl – both of which faithfully capture the depth and Lee’s truly limitless talents.

His first single since Fish Bowl, “Say It Back” (released late last fall via Nettwerk Music Group) is a soul-stirring ballad channeled into an exhilarating three-minute anthem. All those visceral, heat-of-the-moment emotions we feel in the midst of a fight with our partner erupt as Peach Luffe sets a heavy, aching scene, ultimately looking for his love to repeat back to him those three words of reassurance and devotion that we so often yearn to hear: I love you.

You wanna skip the pillow talk
And in turn in for the night
Laying in the dark
The thoughts you’re trying to hide
I know you’re upset
You’re laying on your side
With your back turned
Don’t act like you’re alright
I don’t wanna say goodnight
Before we speak our minds
Let’s lay it all on the line

If he hears those three magic words, one gets the sense that even if things are not okay right here and now, that they will eventually be okay in the end – hence the song’s title, “Say it back”: Our narrator is longing to be told his pain is only temporary, and that their love springs eternal. Talk about relatable content:

Say it back, say it back to me
Don’t hold back, don’t hold back on me
Tell me that you want me
Just tell me you still love me

“Getting into an argument with your significant other before going to bed is always an awful feeling,” Jong Lee tells Atwood Magazine. “I personally wanna get it cleared up before sleeping but sometimes the other person isn’t like that. All I want is, no matter what, we say “I love you” before we head to bed. Even if we hate each other at that moment.”

In the heat of the moment, when you and I collide
Just remember what we have is hard to find
Sometimes we forget
We’re not competing for the top with each other
We’re on the same team all the time

“Say It Back” is a deeply human, unapologetically candid expression of what love looks like in real life: There are moments of smooth sailing, together with plenty of heartache and suffering, discord and dysfunction. We all romanticize love as this perpetually magical experience, but the truth is far more like a rollercoaster than any one of us would like to let on. And when the high is behind us and we’re in one of those lows, it helps to give and to receive an occasional “I love you” – an anchor, a declaration, and a promise, all in one beautiful breath.

I don’t wanna say goodnight
Before we speak our minds
Let’s lay it all on the line
Say it back, say it back to me
Don’t hold back, don’t hold back on me
Tell me that you want me
Just tell me you still love me

:: “Kool-Aid” – Bring Me the Horizon ::

Isabella Le, Garden Grove, CA

Bright red fruit punch is probably the last thing that comes to mind when you think of British metalcore band Bring Me The Horizon, but 2023, musically and otherwise, has taught us to expect the unexpected. Kicking off 2024 with guns blazing and cylinders firing, Bring Me The Horizon gifted us with their thrilling, head rush of a latest single, “Kool-Aid,” on January 5th.

The second track off their forthcoming LP, POST HUMAN: NeX GEn, “Kool-Aid” shows the 20-year-old band at their most evolved, most authentic, and most riveting. But, a brief scroll through the band’s Instagram comments made me realize this was not at all a popular opinion among fans. The song far from embraces the heavy angst and darkness of earlier records, such as Suicide Season and Sempiternal – the title, “Kool-Aid,” speaks for itself – but, in true BMTH fashion, it finds the perfect balance between grit and grace. Oliver Sykes’ vocals and emotion are irreplicable, and so are the band’s anthemic choruses and explosive guitar riffs; the Bring Me The Horizon signature remains, while experimental pop and electronic elements shed light on the path they continue to venture down.

It takes more than just skill to lean into nostalgia and stay refreshing – like the drink their latest song is named after, Bring Me The Horizon continue to do just that. In a league of their own and only getting better, it’s clear why BMTH remain modern representatives of the metalcore genre.

:: “Night Shift” – Smallpools ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Twas December 29th and all through the house, not a creature was stirring… except for Smallpools. Still “dreaming” after all these years, the LA-based indie pop trio made their return at an admittedly unexpected, unorthodox time – but then again, who else was putting out music just four days after Christmas? They had the Release Radar all to themselves, meaning “Night Shift” was front and center for so many of us would-be listeners – yours truly included.

The lead single off what we can only hope will be a long-awaited third studio album, “Night Shift” is a cinematic outpouring of energy from Sean Scanlon (lead vocals/keys), Michael Kamerman (guitar), and Beau Kuther (drums). Inspired, at least in part, by Scanlon’s early 20s jobs that found him working late nights and getting his fair share of strange encounters, the latest addition to the Smallpools catalog is electrifying: An energetic and charming fever dream.

I exist too much so I try to hide
I’m in the uniform with the sad ghost eyes
And all the roads feel empty on the valley side
It’s the devil’s hour in a soulless town
And we’re all vampires
I’ve been working on the night shift, night shift
Feeling like a sidekick to myself
Feet up on the desk lonely as it gets
And I know no one will find me
Working on the night shift, night shift
Tick tock goes the clock on my wrist
Watching re-runs, 21 Jump street
And I wonder if these nights will ever end

“Sometimes we get stuck in a routine that we can’t break out of,” Smallpools shared upon the single’s release. “The nightshift provides a comfortable anonymity, but we wanna find more. Will we bring to life a dream that still lingers within or remain in this loop that is the nightshift.” These routines we get stuck in might be related to something like school or work – something universally understood that makes ‘Night Shift’ a relatable song for all to enjoy.”

I think my dream cashed out and it hung me dry
And my will broke down on the highway side
So I left that alter with my shotgun bride
To an old motel but it feels like hell in the dark sometimes

This song was at once comforting and inspiring when I first heard it at the tail end of 2023; now it’s the second week of 2024, and I’m finding myself still fueled – more than ever – by the band’s hot beats, soaring guitars, and Scanlon’s emphatic vocals. Smallpools have themselves another winner on their hands; if this is the new soundtrack to our late-late reveries, count me in for the “Night Shift.”

I’ve been working on the night shift, night shift
Feeling like a sidekick to myself
Feet up on the desk lonely as it gets
And I no know one will find me
I’m working on the night shift night shift
Tick tok goes the clock on my wrist
Watching re-runs, 21 Jump street
And I wonder if these nights will ever end

:: “The Internet” – Kaia Kater ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

There can only be so many Grenadian-Canadian banjo players out there, and probably only so many of them are as impressively talented as Kaia Kater of Montreal. She’s had plenty of time to hone her craft over the decade-plus since her 2013 debut EP, Old Soul, and the latest display of her musical charms comes in the form of her latest single, “The Internet,” which represents her first release off her new label, Free Dirt Records, and the debut single of her fourth LP, due this coming spring.

Kater came up with “The Internet” during the 2020 pandemic, and used this song to comment on how the Internet had taken over all of our lives during the period of “virtual everything” that the lockdown represented. Even several years later, with the worst of the pandemic behind us, enough of those observations remain valid enough for her to fashion them into a brand new single. “I can only talk to you through the Internet, through bits and bytes and right angles,” Kater sings on this track, which comments on how our very existence remains overly consumed by the digital world. “Who am I now without the Internet?”

It’s a question worth considering, and no matter your conclusion, Kater’s deft banjo playing and beautiful vocals are bound to impress you to the fullest.

::  “My Body Remembers Everything” – Seth Glier ft. Hayley Reardon ::

Chloe Robinson, California

Nature possesses a deep power and beauty. Being immersed in its tranquil atmosphere with towering trees and crisp fresh air is truly a profound experience. Seth Glier’s delicate piece “My Body Remembers Everything” ft. Hayley Reardon focuses on the healing quality of nature especially in dealing with trauma. The song has a quiet quality just like nature itself.  With emotive harmonies over a stunning, stark backdrop, the track will hit you in the inner corners of your soul. The lyric video features art that is simple yet impactful, seamlessly conveying the single’s strong message.

New England singer/songwriter Seth Glier is a folk-drenched, indie pop artist oozing with palpable passion. “My Body Remembers Everything” is off of his upcoming album EVERYTHING, which is set for release January 26th. The record is a bold body of work allowing the listener to envision a world where humans are in tune with earth. We all could benefit from re-aligning ourselves with nature. Glier’s music reminds us of just how beneficial that can be.

:: “Blood, Guts, and Gross Stuff” – Lake Saint Daniel ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Between Future Teens’ releases and his own solo work, Daniel Radin has long been a reliable source of vulnerable songwriting – guaranteed to deliver more than a few intimate inner reckonings within cathartic, all-consuming anthems and beautifully tender ballads.

Nonetheless, his latest offering as Lake Saint Daniel still took me by surprise and left me breathless: “Is it time? I start to think of what else that I’d had in mind,” he sings, his voice a hot-on-the-mic whisper as “Blood, Guts, and Gross Stuff” gets underway. “‘Cause if how you spend one day is how you spend your life, glad there’s tomorrow to try it out again.


His first original release since 2021, “Blood, Guts, and Gross Stuff” (released in November via Hands In Records / Take This To Heart Records) is achingly emotional and chilling to the bone – a shiver-inducing inner reckoning with oneself, forcing us to confront who and why we are in tandem with Radin’s own philosophical upheavals.

Nothing like a jolt of introspective trauma to start your day… right?

Make a coffee kill my ego and pretend
That life is more than a random chain of events
Trying my best to make meaning less meaningless

“This is your classic early morning existential crisis-over-coffee song,” Radin tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s amazing what can trigger you to start thinking about why you are the way you are. Could be something as small as how you take your coffee or the musicality of your laugh. It’s a miracle to exist and even more miraculous to be aware of it. A blessing and a curse to have that level of self-awareness, but that also gives you the choice of what to focus on. This song is my attempt to parse the absurdity and marvel of consciousness.”

When we’re all just
A culmination of
Six million years plus
The ways our parents f’ed us up
I can still hear my first grade teacher
every time that I’ve forgot

That I waited two months to write about this beautiful song gives me the opportunity to hail “Blood, Guts, and Gross Stuff” as a fantastic top-of-the-year tune. As you’re thinking about 2024 and the year ahead, and making good on whatever New Year’s resolutions you laid out for yourself, let Lake Saint Daniel’s unflinching lyricism and heart-on-sleeve delivery act as a sort of guide. This song is as much a reminder of our own mortality as it is an exercise in making the most of (and with) what we have – and what we are: “A combination of blood, guts, and gross stuff and a base desire to be loved.”

What a beautifully terrifying, but nonetheless valid, way to sum up the human experience.

I still laugh
When the lady at the doctors office asks
Am I free in one year and a day to come back
I sure hope I’ll be around for that
‘Cause we’re all just
A combination of
Blood, guts and gross stuff
And a base desire to be loved
When I was eighteen I knew everything
but I guess since I’ve forgot

Now I listen before I talk

I’m not quite ready to ascribe to the philosophical teachings of Lake Saint Daniel, but I can sure as hell let go of my ego for three minutes of his blood-curdling folk bliss. The lead single off his new album Small Thoughts (out March 8), “Blood, Guts, and Gross Stuff” is a reminder – of Daniel Radin’s thought-provoking artistry, and of our own inherent, inescapable (and undeniable) fragility.

If you’ve ever cried to a Death Cab for Cutie song, prepare to bury your head in your pillow and indulge in Lake Saint Daniel’s no-holds-barred charm.

And I’m done
Taking credit just for the good in me
When life is half genetic lottery
It’s not like I chose my personality
If I’m who I’m supposed to be
Can I believe
We’re all just
A fine balance of
Empathy and trust and
Our worst instincts out for blood
But most people try their best just in case you had forgot
So fucking listen before you talk

:: “The Nile” – Fie Eike ::

Joe Beer, Surrey, UK

Copenhagen artist Fie Eike is starting this year off bang with her debut single, “The Nile.” Dancing delicately between art-pop, neo-classical and electronica, the stunning and unique track encapsulates the beauty of nature, while weaving in a story of conquering your fears, by venturing down avenues that you may usually try to avoid. More specifically in the case of “The Nile,” Fie Eike talks about exploring darkness.

The songwriter shares, “I feel like we live in a time where we have, in many ways, developed a kind of allergy towards darkness and fear as something we should avoid. But trying to deny the existence of darkness and fear only allows it to grow over time, and eventually it gains more power over our subconscious and our lives. It is my experience, that daring to explore the darkness and being present with it, not only expands our capacity for darkness but also expands our capacity for light, happiness and joy. In the end, there is no light without darkness and no love without fear.”

:: “The Otherside” – Joy Autumn ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

A blissful, atmospheric folk-pop expanse of smile-inducing warmth and wonder, “The Otherside” is the kind of song that soothes and stirs all at once. A highlight off Joy Autumn’s recently-released EP Rainy Sunday (independently released November 14), this lilting song showcases the singer/songwriter’s light touch and deft lyrical nuance: Subtle, sweet, and altogether immersive instrumentals prove a powerful spell as Autumn tends to a broken heart and the promise of a brighter future – a new dawn full of life and love and laughter, and all those things that keep us present and moving, forever onward, even when it hurts.

Hey, what do you say?
You know you were wrong
To end it this way
But I miss it when you call me up to say
You wanna hear all about my day
I miss the way you’d smile
and make me coffee Sunday mornings

“I wrote ‘The Otherside’ last fall when I was feeling really down,” Autumn tells Atwood Magazine. “Watching the falling leaves through my window reminded me that everything has its season, and just like the autumn leaves, our emotions are not permanent. I love the fall because it’s so beautiful, and it’s a chance to reflect and let go. Writing this song was incredibly soothing for me, and I hope it can be a source of comfort for those experiencing heartbreak and sadness.”

“The Otherside” is a balm for our troubles, a friendly voice saying all will be okay in the end. We can never be sure, but still we believe – because we must believe: Every day we get a little closer to the other side…

Now I know, yeah, now I know it’s over
Everyday I get a little closer
To the other side, to the other side
And the world, the world keeps spinning
Day to night to day I keep living
To the other side, to the other side

:: “Distant Place” – Rod Coote ft. Bree Rusev ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

I was pitched “Distant Place” out of the blue, and still remember listening to it for the very first time, outside just walking around my home. And then listening again… and again. Rod Coote and Bree Rusev’s warm voices fit together perfectly, their harmonies bolstered by charming acoustic guitars and lush piano chords that help push our breath out and pull our heads forward, so that we hang onto every moment of this beautiful folk-pop ballad. Released in December and produced by platinum-award winning producer Garrett Kato himself, “Distant Place” is a wistful, incredibly tender reflection on life, presence, purpose, connection, and being. Rusev and Coote, both singer/songwriters from Australia (he in Melbourne, she in Newcastle), sing about escaping the realities of life and finding a distant, peaceful place where they can simply be.

“We both started writing this song together in the early summer of 2022 while we were both living in the same coastal suburb in Newcastle, NSW by the ocean,” Coote explains. “Bree Rusev had spent her whole life living by the ocean, whereas I spent the first 18 years of my life living in the Australian countryside. We both wanted to capture the tranquil breezy feeling of sitting by the ocean and daydreaming of a perfect place. I was working full-time day job at the time of writing this song together and life was feeling a little monotonous. I also had been living in Newcastle for about 6 years at that point and was yearning for a change.”

“It’s amazing, looking back now, that after making the move to Melbourne in early 2023, it was almost like the song was foretelling the future and the change I needed to make, to move to a distant place. Both Bree and myself have a similar folk-pop blend style of song so the collaboration of this song came so naturally. Garrett Kato is a folk singer-songwriter in his own right and also a platinum-award winning producer who has recorded for the likes of Ziggy Alberts, Julia Stone, and Riley Pearce. Garrett has been recording both our songs for a few years now, so it was a natural choice for him to record and produce this song with us in his dreamy studio residing in Byron Bay.”

“The sounds of Ben Howard, Angus & Julia Stone, and Hollow Coves were inspiring us at the time, so decided to make the production sit within that dreamy folk-pop realm with mostly acoustic instrumentation of a classical guitar and banjo, accompanied with our breathy vocals and down-tempo percussive elements to allow the song to flow like a wave in the ocean. In the spring of 2023 we filmed the music video on a local beach and lookout in the same area of Newcastle where we wrote the song. The whole creative process of writing this song felt like a nice full circle moment in it’s entirety. This is the first song on a new EP that I’ve been recording with Garrett Kato that delves into more folkier sonic realms, with inspired from sounds of Dustin Tebbutt, Noah Kahan, Ben Howard, and Gregory Alan Isakov.”

No doubt the start of something very special indeed, “Distant Place” is a dream come to life; an uplifting serenade that aches in all the best possible ways, inviting us to join Coote and Rusev and bask in the beauty of simply being present and being alive.

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