Atwood Magazine’s Weekly Roundup: January 26, 2024

Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | January 26, 2024
Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | January 26, 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 Good Morning, Loukeman, Amanda Palmer, Marlon Funaki, Emma Ayzenberg, J Duran, LØLØ, Memorial, Ceara Cavalieri, Conscious Pilot, Hunter Daily, Cooper Phillip, Natalie Shay, & Jenny Stenger!
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Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup

:: “Just in Time” – Good Morning ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Listening to Good Morning’s latest single is like opening up the curtains and feeling those first rays of sun hit your face. But “Just In Time” is more than refreshing; it’s exhilarating: A buoyant and bright power pop groove full of fuzzy guitar licks, warbling pianos, glistening mellotron, radiant vocal harmonies, and so much more, the latest single off Good Morning’s upcoming double album Good Morning Seven (out March 22, 2024 via Polyvinyl) could not have come at a better moment.

Released together with the wistful, snack-sized B-side Ahhhh (This Isn’t Ideal),” the sun-kissed and spacious “Just In Time” treats listeners to five minutes of unadulterated, soulful and harmonious psych-pop wonder – a musical warmth brought down to Earth through Liam Parsons’ achingly emotive vocal performance. His contemplative, soul-searching lyrics inspire us to look within ourselves for answers as together, Parsons and Good Morning bandmate Stefan Blair douse our ears in a dulcet, downright saccharine seduction:

Don’t need to specify but each time
I fall apart I fall within you

And it goes without saying
that the limits of your life won’t ever dim you

When you magnify every issue
that arises it’ll end you

When you’re thrown overboard,
you’re gonna sink or you’re gonna float

We’ll find out together
There’s two truths to a lie
There’s ten teeth in your smile sometimes

It’s not so much musical trickery, as it is a blending of the light and the darkness that occurs naturally in our lives. “[‘Just in Time’] is really not a very happy song,” Parsons shares. “It seems to me that it’s about trying to muster up the hope that one day you’ll make it out of the shitty situation that you’ve found yourself in, and desperately searching for some self belief.”

There’s no denying the joy and inspiration this music can bring to an audience. Reminiscent of everything from Abbey Road- and Sgt. Pepper‘s-era Beatles to Wilco, Whitney, and some of the more accessible (read: mainstream) Flaming Lips albums, “Just in Time” is a beautifully unfiltered indulgence in all those sounds that make us smile, and those thoughts that make us furrow our brows.

With this single, the Melbourne-based duo have without a doubt hooked our hearts, making us all the more excited for their ambitious and expansive 17-track LP. Good Morning Seven, the fourth LP in their arsenal, promises to be at once musically energizing and spiritually uplifting: A milestone for the band, and special companion for fans new and old alike.

Inhale this Good Morning, and exhale all your stress.

Between making deals and then
throwing in the towel
well what’s new for me?

‘Cause I stopped trying to get older
once I realised I was and that’s habit forming

And I magnify every issue
that arises please ignore me

And we’re thrown overboard
but we’re gonna float so keep swimming baby
There’s two days in a night
There’s only one reason to come inside
There’s two truths to a lie
There’s ten teeth in your smile sometimes

:: “Brokenheart” – Loukeman ::

Kevin Cost, Austin, TX

In a world that encroaches upon a newly generated evolution of technology, as an onlooker of what that means for generic sound, it can be quite fascinating. Though it might terrify most of us, you have to admit that we are the ones using these machines, the fruits of human ingenuity, to compose noisy and transcendent artifacts. Enveloping a multitude of genres, Loukeman outshines the sampling and mixing skills of others with their new record, Sd-2.

This recent release is packed full of atmospheric waves of sound and mesmerizing bass-heavy beats found on “Brokenheart.” Within seconds of pressing play, you feel the naturistic cadence rendered through harp-like instrumentals on top of a subtle, yet sharp drum beat. The ethereal vocals glue it all together, heading towards whatever direction they want to travel. All of a sudden you are dropped directly onto the dancefloor with a rhythm that beckons your body to move while maintaining the dream-like state you were introduced to.

Sd-2 follows the Canadian producer’s previous collection of decadent melodies on Sd-1 which was released in May of 2021. As someone who craves otherworldly frequencies, this current assortment stays true to the vision Loukeman conveys and brings us back to the ever-changing reality we all experience.

:: “The Man Who Ate Too Much” – Amanda Palmer ::

Connor Muldowney, Washington, DC

Somehow, the lyrics on “The Man Who Ate Too Much” with the least amount of certainty and conviction behind them sting the most. When Palmer says I guess I’ll stop taking these prenatal vitamins, it breaks my heart. The song is packed with open ended musings and questions she asks of the listener but does not expect an answer to. Other painstaking lyrical details include the deeply relatable And I keep on telling all my friends it’s not that bad, But that depends on what bad is.

The deft lyricism hare, as well as a fantastic vocal performance, allow Palmer to keep the attention of the listener despite the considerable length of the track. “The Man Who Ate Too Much” clocks in at just under 8 and a half minutes. I have listened to it on repeat since its release two weeks ago, and I never skip a second.

The song feels comforting in a defeated way, like the ecstasy of giving up. Characterizing her summer as a winter on a stingray that was hacked to pieces, Palmer instills the feeling of a runner’s high one would get after losing a race. Ocean waves gently interrupt the track in intervals, and the song concludes with the ocean washing over her.

:: “When Sunday Comes Around” – Marlon Funaki ::

Miles Campbell, Washington, DC

Marlon Funaki initially grabbed my attention with a beautiful melodic tease to kick off his hit single “When Sunday Comes Around;” a strategic eyebrow-raising singular strum of psychedelic haziness, soon to be clarified with a crisp and catchy introductory riff. Upon further discovery of his distinct style and humble beginning – a 22-year-old Guitar Center employee from Redlands, CA sporting a cowboy hat and long curly hair – I was instantly intrigued before I even heard the grittiness and emotion in his voice.

“When Sunday Comes Around” is a testament of an honest mistake, a relatable episode of the ever-so-common beast of getting lost in translation. And while nodding along, you realize you’re left with no choice but to believe in Funaki, whose yearning for understanding is elevated with the grittiness and longing in his voice.

I witnessed Funaki grace San Diegans with his presence last week at a sold out show that featured his spirited vocals, entrancing guitar riffs and psychedelic-leaning style – and can’t wait to see where he goes.

:: iron mountain – Emma Ayzenberg ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Aching with raw, unfiltered vulnerability and dressed in soul-stirring indie folk garbs, Emm Ayzenberg’s sophomore EP is a cathartic and all-consuming upheaval. The LA-based singer/songwriter explores ideas of acceptance and transformation on the four-track iron mountain, a cinematic record that slowly lets the light in through a gray haze – that emotionally turbulent mist that so often clouds our minds, keeping us from realizing our fullest potential (and, in turn, our best possible selves).

“On iron mountain, I give voice to some of the close encounters I’ve had with pain, to what it means to gain a sense of safety in the body again,” Ayzenberg tells Atwood Magazine. “These songs alternate between story and my own inner monologue, with reflections on personal agency and resilience, memories, and how I’ve processed both personal and generational trauma.”

Pain manifests in so many forms, and in iron mountain we hear Ayzenberg confront, process, and begin to expel her demons. Healing is a long, arduous, and sometimes never-ending journey; or, it’s a breathtaking fourteen-minute experience wrought from an artist’s innermost depths, and brought to light through confessional writing and dreamy, lilting production. Her guard is down and her spirit is learning to look up once more: You’ll be hypnotized, inspired, and – if you’re like me – moved to tears through Emma Ayzenberg’s iron mountain, an intimate and intense hike that is well worth the climb.

For as we all know well, the views at the top can be utterly life-changing.

:: “Sweet Tooth”- J Duran ::

Chloe Robinson, California

Indie pop/rock artist J Duran crafts catchy pieces with a true psychedelic feel. “Sweet Tooth,” like the name, is a track that will definitely have you craving its sweet, sugary sound. The offering is a bold narration of feeling despair while trying to remain optimistic. Through the luminous, mechanical soundscapes and fierce echoing vocals the single soars to life. “Sweet Tooth” is for anyone who has been through the ringer but is still searching for the light on the other side. Duran shares, “One night I had made some chocolate chip cookies while hanging out with my brother. While laughing and discussing war stories of the glory days of partying, regrets, should’ve, could’ve and would’ve’s, I picked up a cookie, looked at my brother, laughed and said “Life’s been lemons but I’ve got a sweet tooth.”

“Sweet Tooth” is off of his upcoming album set for release this spring. The record was produced by Cage the Elephant guitarist Brad Schultz, which makes sense as the song has a similar energy. Duran also takes inspiration from chill indie acts like Beach House and Wilco. As a child his grandfather introduced him to everything from old school country to Motown. That musical education comes through in the unique indie sonic he currently creates.

:: “2 of Us” – LØLØ ::

Lauren Hicks, Mesa, Arizona

LØLØ is the empowered rock n’ roll gal of 2024. With a sense of expressing her emotions through clever writing and strong vocals – LØLØ impresses listeners with her range and talent. Her latest single, “2 of Us” released on January 12th leads the way for LØLØ’s music for the new year.

“2 of Us” expresses frustration and regret, with a mix of sass. LØLØ sings “You still wear skinny jeans / and that should have been my first sign / that you can’t let go of the past so / why should I be surprised / that you’re still texting your ex.” Her clear alto tone slices through the electric guitar and increasing drumline.

The song is a catchy powerhouse piece in contrast to her holiday release, “Snow in Berlin.” Between both pieces, LØLØ shows that she can reflect on both sides of love–the melancholy and hopeful, the recklessness and caution. LØLØ has a great skill in expression – whether it be through instrumentals, vocals, or her writing – she is on the rise with new music for the upcoming year.

:: “Corduroy” – Memorial ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

We all know the problem with perfect days, don’t we? They end.

And yet, maybe they can last a little while longer when captured in song. It’s a tall order, and yet that’s exactly what Bristol duo Memorial have done in their latest single. A dusty, dreamy seduction of warm folk-pop wonder, “Corduroy” is a sunny day manifest in three minutes of musical light and love.

Steady Daydrinking
soaked in that memory light
sun-stained corduroy
don’t let me forget today
could this be
the day that finds me
when I don’t feel too good
no ties, good people
and the smell of burning wood

“After a long period of shared turbulence in our personal lives; loneliness, uncertainty and general numbness, we reached a plateau without actually talking about it with one another,” the duo of Jack Watts and Oliver Spalding tell Atwood Magazine. “After writing a song that kind of dreamed of this warmth and comfortability being welcome, it felt like we inadvertently asked the universe to cook up a perfect day. Shortly after we found ourselves in a field, with a pop up bar, open fire, good food, our close ones and a tamed crow named Russell.”

“The residual joy of this day birthed ‘Corduroy.’ We have a penchant for gloominess that often manifests itself in not being able to keep happiness for fear of it leaving. This song is about utilising the memory of a day like this as a coping mechanism for the humbling notion that not every day can be like this.”

half the time I’m alive
afterlife in my mind

Memorial’s first single since their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album (which Atwood Magazine called “a record of raw connection and humanity brimming with wondrous folk warmth, gut-wrenching depth, and unadulterated, heart-on-sleeve vulnerability), “Corduroy” is a gentle, smile-inducing blanket of close-miked vocals and flowing acoustic guitars – with additional harmonies from accompanying pianos and tenderly smoldering horns.

If conveying pure bliss was the goal, then consider it met: A sweetly sun-kissed serenade, “Corduroy” aches in all the right ways, making it a lovely companion to your Saturday morning coffee that lingers in the heart long after its three-minute runtime.

for now no distractions
I’m here to be here with you
pressures lay sleeping
in the blur behind the view
half the time I’m alive
afterlife in my mind

:: “My Favorite”- Ceara Cavalieri ::

Julius Robinson, California

It is easy to fall for a bad boy. Those types of relationships can give you such a rush. Ceara Cavalieri’s latest single “My Favorite” explores a partnership scattered with red flags, but the danger is a blast. With Avril Lavigne vibes, the punchy pop track is an infectious must-listen. Cavalieri’s song shines through pulsating drums, vibrant guitars and confident vocals. The singer reveals, “The piece is about the adventures I experienced while dating this bad boy and the trouble we got into together. When you start falling for a bad boy, you know it probably won’t end well, but it’s so fun and exhilarating that you don’t care because the highs are so good.”

The Southern California singer/songwriter creates playful pop music with a hard-hitting edge. In her teens, she used music to express her innermost thoughts. It was a way to battle her shyness. That has led to the assertive offerings she releases today. “My Favorite” is another bold banger sure to be… your favorite.

:: “Modern Religion” – Conscious Pilot ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

I don’t always get the concept of “post-anything” (like, just what is “postmodernism” exactly? I’ve never understood that), and the same goes for “post-punk,” a term I’ve seen floating around the rock ‘n roll lexicon but have never quite been able to grasp. Thus, some Hmmmms were generated in my mind when I came across a band promoting itself as “post-punk”— Conscious Pilot, a new musical project just launched by Joe Laycock and Jack Sharp of Leeds, England, who previously were in a different band called Cheap Teeth. They’ve since relocated to Glasgow, teamed up with members from some other bands (Catholic Action and Pressure Retreat), and given a new musical identity a go.

What makes it “post punk” rather than “punk” or simply “rock” exactly, I couldn’t tell ya. But hey, I like to keep an open mind about things– definitely a key trait for Atwood writers to display– and since my favorite punk rock band, Green Day, just came out with a new album, I’m already in the mood for that general sort of music anyways. So, I’m glad I went ahead and gave the band’s new single, “Modern Religion,” a go. It’s an enjoyable and energetic track, and since it’s only Conscious Pilot’s second single release ever, following “Halfway to Hockney,” it represents a promising start for a freshly formed act.

Despite it being the band’s second single, “Modern Religion” was actually the first song Joe Laycock wrote after the Conscious Pilot group was created, given that its themes were ones that he was keen on getting out in the open. The track was “written about a lost individual in a perpetual struggle to find meaning, pushed towards a sense of collective faith in an atypical religious ideology,” he says. Given that his brand-new band is itself working to establish a formal identity in its early stages, this lyrical theme is all the more pertinent for the group. Now they have time to better solidify that identity, a process due to be achieved via the release of the band’s debut EP, Epoxy Plains, and the accompanying six-day tour in the coming months.

:: “Girl Friend” – Hunter Daily ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Hunter Daily has this natural, effortless way of filling life’s little moments with sweet romance, and in her latest single, the Los Angeles singer/songwriter pays homage to the alluring (yet equally confusing) girl crush: Released today via Flush Records, “Girl Friend” aches with the lure of temptation and a love that’s just out of reach.

“‘Girl Friend’ is a song about having a girl crush. It’s really confusing for me being close to a girl who is just so effortless and beautiful,” Hunter shares. “I find myself asking: do I want to be with friends her, be her, or be with her? The answer is, I’m not always sure! But the older I get the more I’ve started to realize that the feelings are definitely more than just friendship. I love women and I love being a woman, and I think this song is ultimately a celebration of that.”

“The day I wrote ‘Girl Friend,’ I remember leaving the studio unsure about whether or not I would feel comfortable putting a song like this out into the world. It just revealed a part of myself that I had never confronted before. But I loved getting to dive deeper into the feelings I was having and every time I played the song back I liked it even more. I knew I had to put it out! It’s just such a fun and flirty vibe that and I hope a lot of other girls will be able to relate to.”

The follow-up to Daily’s debut EP Die in LA (released last June), “Girl Crush” aches with intimacy and longing, sweet melodies and hypnotic rhythms. Tender guitars, driving drums, and Daily’s golden, glistening, hot-on-the-mic vocals – packed to the brim with passion – make “Girl Friend” an easy favorite, ready for repeat listens. It’s the perfect company for all your dreamy, ruminative Sunday walks.

:: “She’s a Player”- Cooper Phillip ::

Chloe Robinson, California

Seductive, soul-pop artist Cooper Phillip crafts an angelic R&B track that is wholly hypnotic. “She’s a Player” showcases the singer’s smooth vocal tone sliding across lush, snapping soundscapes. Many of us are looking for the love we have been waiting for, but sometimes the best kind of love and acceptance comes from within. Phillip beautifully reminds us of that in this glowing piece.

The Russian-born Los Angeles-based musician comes from a highly musical background. Her mother toured as a classical violinist. That deep love for the art was transferred to Phillip as she learned the piano and was a part of choir. In every release that fiery passion is present. “She’s A Player” is no exception.

:: “Doing Well” – Natalie Shay ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

The first step to success, in whatever you’re doing, is making success your goal. Manifest your dreams, and they’ll steadily become your reality. It sounds like magical thinking on paper, but the only way to reach the stars is to shoot for them in the first place. Nothing happens on sheer luck and coincidence alone – not in this life, anyway – and in her latest single, Natalie Shay reinforces how important it is to the be harbingers of our own destiny. Independently released January 19, 2024, “Doing Well” is a buoyant indie pop anthem – one she wrote together with her favorite band, Fickle Friends.

Will I be happy
When I get what I want?
Or will I crave
All the things that people have that I don’t?
Why I am hungry?
What am I looking for?
I’m just chasing a life
That will satisfy my wanting for more

“‘Doing Well’ is the daydream of success. Sometimes we imagine that we’ll know when we’ve quenched our hunger for success, but will it really make us happy? And can we find happiness in what we already have?” the North London-based singer/songwriter says.

“It was super exciting to write with Fickle Friends. I’ve been a huge fan of their work and sound for many years. We got into the studio in Worthing and as always just started having a conversation about how we were feeling and what was going on. We realised we all kind of felt the same about remembering to stop and take in the view sometimes and it can be easy when you’re chasing a dream to forget to do that, and to focus too much on the end goal. But what even is the end goal? This is a track about learning to enjoy the ride. With country pop influences and clean production. It’s one of my favourite tracks to play live.”

And it’s 2pm
Daydream again
If I can manifest it
Take the wheel
And just pretend to…

Shay’s chorus is a sweet eruption of raw passion and relentless determination:

Take a drive down a country road
Hear my song on the radio so
I turn it up so my friends think I’m real cool,
That’s a thing that you do when you’re doing well
Spend my money on a new guitar,
And the rest in a Silver Lake bar,
Get a house in the hills coz we all know
That’s a thing that you do when you’re doing well

Be your own genie, and make your dreams come true. “Doing Well” is a soundtrack to self-made success, and it all starts with a dream. Get lost in Natalie Shay’s wondrous enchantment:

:: “Unlovable” – Jenny Stenger ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

My heart twisted and turned in great knots the instant I first heard Jenny Stenger’s brand new single. Released today, “Unlovable” is an achingly intimate eruption from a bruised heart. “I went back to therapy ’cause I’m running out reasons to believe I can be loved,” the LA-based singer/songwriter confesses over gently brooding acoustic guitar strums. “I’m not to take it personally, but I think I need a doctor to tell me that I’m in love.”


“I wrote this song when I was dealing with the deep-rooted fear of being innately unlovable,” Stenger tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s about trying to understand that there isn’t something wrong with you just because feelings are unrequited or relationships aren’t working out, but struggling to believe it and inevitably blaming yourself.”

I know I should feel lovable right now,” Stenger laments in a heartrending, gut-wrenching chorus, “But how can I feel loved when there’s none around?” Through churning lyrics and a light, lilting folk-pop arrangement, she breathes a deep and all-too relatable pain out into the world.

And yet, “Unlovable” is not dark; rather, it’s the light glowing in the darkness – an uplifting wellspring of soothing, soul-stirring sound telling us we’re not alone in what we’re thinking and feeling – even if it seems like all hope is lost. No one is unlovable, especially Jenny Stenger; not when her music is this breathtakingly beautiful, inside and out.

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