Atwood Magazine’s Weekly Roundup: February 2, 2024

Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | February 2, 2024
Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | February 2, 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 Del Water Gap, Holly Humberstone, GracieHorse, Darius Martin, Emily Yacina, Fright Years, SKATELAND, Charm of Finches, Shoplifting, Astrid Sonne, Rosso Rosso, Club del Rio, RIP Dunes, Llewelyn, Phoebe Go, Hovvdy, Nicole Zignago, Twin Hector, Kinley, La Poré, Kizz Daniel, Davido, Ingrid Michaelson, & Jason Mraz!
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Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup

:: “Cigarettes & Wine” – Del Water Gap & Holly Humberstone ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Cigarettes & Wine - Del Water Gap & Holly Humberstone

That’s it: I’ve found my song of the year, and this is it! Del Water Gap’s S. Holden Jaffe and Holly Humberstone are basking in a beautiful moment of raw intimacy and connection, and they’ve channeled it into an unconditional hit. A world full of responsibilities and obligations awaits them, but the world can wait: In “Cigarettes & Wine,” two souls combine into one for a dreamy, romantic rendezvous. “I think I’ll put you in another song – a little glimpse of you before you’re gone,” Jaffe sings. It’s a precious, fleeting moment of love and unity before their lives ultimately tear them apart once more – and while that time is fast approaching (it always is), for now they’re together; for now they’re one – and this is their heart-to-heart.

Jaffe and Humberstone capture love’s weight, warmth, and wonder in their irresistible new indie pop anthem “Cigarettes & Wine,” a cinematic and soul-stirring ode to long distance relationships full of energy, urgency, and an aching euphoria.

I want a photo of you in my bed
To carry with me when I go out West
I think I’ll put you in another song
A little glimpse of you before you’re gone
We could push it for another day
I don’t care what other people say
I’ll show you off in the Atlantic Coast
The kinda feeling that I want the most
They said we’re foolish
But I wouldn’t change how we do it
Let’s keep living on cigarettes and wine
Shut the curtains to keep the world inside
No it don’t make a difference
Who cares what we’re missing?
Let’s keep living how we’re living

Released January 31, 2024 via Mom+Pop, “Cigarettes & Wine” is a breathtakingly bold and beautiful release from two of 2024’s most exciting artists. A transatlantic duo in their own right, Jaffe and Humberstone have, in recent years (and independent of one another), established themselves as two incredible bright spots on the world’s stage, their songs bridging the alternative and mainstream music landscapes. In many ways, it’s a wonder this collaboration didn’t happen sooner.

“Cigarettes & Wine” brings the best of both worlds together as Jaffe and Humberstone celebrate their union, lament their looming separation, and make the most of whatever time they have left together. The pair rise to a fever pitch in the song’s breathtaking chorus, channeling all that built-up tension and the pressures of long distance into a spectacular sonic and emotional climax.

“‘Cigarettes & Wine’ is an ode to a transatlantic long distance relationship,” Del Water Gap’s S. Holden Jaffe tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s about finally getting to catch a moment with the person you’ve been missing the most, and the threads that keep you connected when you’re once again forced to say goodbye.”

While the pair certainly capture a bit of that pain, “Cigarettes & Wine” is more about the passion they feel when they’re reunited with their loved ones. It’s that dynamic eruption of intimacy and intensity, making the most of every second, every minute, every hour – because every literal breath counts when they’re so few and far between.

:: L.A. Shit – GracieHorse ::

Oliver Crook, Halifax, Nova Scotia

I’m going to start this by saying I didn’t think I liked country before GracieHorse came into my life. That’s a grand sweeping statement that music wonks like myself love to brandish, before adding caveats like Johnny Cash (folk), Kacey Musgraves (cosmic), and Dolly Parton (goddess) are all exempt from the genre.

But GracieHorse is country music. Unabashedly stetson-wearing, two-step inducing country music. And it rocks. Each track is its own story. Album opener “Hollow Head” is mystical and swirling, lifting you off the ground and suspending you above the room, before gently returning you–a more ethereal form of you–to the couch. And this is just the start. “By the Light of His White Stetson” has all the drama of a noir rolled into a three minute bop, while “Backup Slowly” promises to get stuck in your head all day.

L.A. Shit is a great EP that feels like a stroll through modern Nashville. It’s breezy, airy, and just weird enough to keep you coming back. It’s also a country album, no matter how much I may fight it.

:: “Like We Used To Before” – Darius Martin ::

Grace Holtzclaw, Los Angeles, CA

It’s not often I review R&B or hip-hop, and yet, Darius Martin is finding a perfect middle ground between the two genres that made me inclined to chime in. His new single “Like We Used To Before” is sublimely sentimental with concrete hooks that keep both feet on the ground. Inspired by the memories that make us feel at home and people we build homes within, this single is about the everlasting bond of love.

Featuring pendulous riffs, razor-sharp spikes of percussion, and celestial harmonies, “Like We Used To Before” finds a happy medium between the abstract and crystal clear. He serenades, “We could be, we could be, we could be anywhere in the world / Pick a time and a place, it’s a date, just say the word.” Musing on the instinct to lay your heart on the line for that special someone, Martin strikes a universal nerve of love defying all possibilities.

:: “Nothing Lasts” – Emily Yacina ::

Olivia Martinez, Boston, MA

There is something addictive about a perfectly bittersweet song, especially since life itself usually feels overwhelmingly bitter and sweet at the same time. Emily Yacina embodies bittersweetness through both music and lyrics in “Nothing Lasts,” inviting her listeners to hit the “repeat” button for as many times as it takes for their state of wistfulness to pass. A clever, yet poignant metaphor for change, Yacina compares the impermanence of rain with the fleeting memories made in love and relationships. Her perspective comes as a wise piece of guidance for anyone struggling to achieve the acceptance that is necessary to cope with change.

Can’t control when it’s gonna rain
Or the way I feel when I hear your name
I just keep walking home
Knowing that nothing lasts long

The message in these lyrics is simple, yet profound, reminiscent of something one might learn in a Zen meditation class about embracing the ups and downs of daily life. But of course, Yacina’s words are set over a warm and fast-paced drum beat, sweet keyboard samples, and delicate harmonies, rather than a guided meditation recording. The lyric video shows Yacina driving through a city, singing along with “Nothing Lasts” in the car, which would probably be the ultimate situation in which to experience the song as an audience member as well. When you start to feel heartbreakingly nostalgic about “the one that got away,” it can be helpful to view change as a welcome friend, paradoxically consistent in the chaos of life.

This song deserves to be added to your life’s soundtrack, even if you decide to save it for a rainy day. Because if you can count on anything, it is that your life will soon change. People will come and go. Even when staying put, the places around us seem to change all on their own. But this song makes the rollercoaster of life feel slightly less scary and provides a two minute, fifty four second moment to breathe and embrace change.

:: “Evil” – Fright Years ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Fright Years’ “Evil” is my favorite kind of slow-burn: A cinematic and sweltering indie rock song that rises from brooding depths to a spirited fever pitch, taking its audience with it on the adventure of a lifetime. “I want to be evil, and make you all mine,” vocalist Jules Kelly sings, her charismatic voice hot on the mic as guitars and drums build thick walls of tension around her. If she wants to be evil, then we want to be evil, too; bring it on. The Edinburgh band’s latest single is at once tantalizing and taunting – an achingly emotive and smoldering seduction of raw heat that engulfs all who listen in its cloud of red-hot passion.

I want to be evil
And make you all mine
Take you down with a lethal kind of love,
turn you blind to my bad sides
I want you to watch me
As I drive for the thrill
Then I’ll take off both my hands
from the wheel and keep it
running ’til the speed kills
Oh, you’ll be walking me home
I’ll do the talking ‘till I know
That it’s hit you (oh no)
Until I kiss you (you won’t)
Sleep good when I’m gone
I want you lying by the phone
say ‘I miss you, you know’
I’ll say I miss you (I won’t)

“‘Evil’ is our indie rom-com,” Jules Kelly tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s about trying to make someone fall in love with you and maintaining power in the dating stage – but in the end you can’t control your own feelings. Think Andie in ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 days’. It came together quickly in the rehearsal room. Struan and Harrison were just messing around with some chords and a beat, and eventually locked into what became the verse. It was simple but so fun to play. When CJ added bass it just felt powerful, and the first thing that came to mind was the opening line. We then just ran with that feeling.”

Even break a smile at your call
You could tell me you’re leaving
and I swear that I wouldn’t feel a thing at all
‘Cause nothing can hurt me
When I hold the cards
If I can get you in a red flush,
one touch and I can play your real heart

“Evil” is only Fright Years’ fifth single since debuting in 2021, and if this song is any indication, this band have one hell of a year in front of them. Jules Kelly demands our undivided attention – and, together with her bandmates Harrison MacLeod-Bonnar, Christopher Jamieson, and Struan Blacklock, ensures a show we never, ever want to miss. From cathartic highs to spiritually cleansing lows, and all the messy wonders in-between, Fright Years tug at the heart strings in a way we haven’t felt in a long, long time. Fine-tuned and raw all at once, “Evil” is the unrelenting anthem we want soundtracking every day of our lives.

Because let’s face it: Who wouldn’t want their life to be an indie rom-com?

Oh, you’ll be walking me home
I’ll do the talking ‘till I know
That it’s hit you (oh no)
Until I kiss you (you won’t)
Sleep good when I’m gone
I want you lying by the phone
say ‘I miss you, you know’
I’ll say I miss you (i won’t)
We stop outside my door
and just like every time before
You say that you better leave
While I pretend to believe you
When you say that we’re friends
And this can’t happen again
When we both know that it will
I’ll say I miss you until

:: “Autobahn!” – Skateland ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

It’s been a long time since I went out to Austin – six whole years, just about! – but I still remember what a crazy good music scene that city has. Like for real, those two nights I had out on Sixth Street there, hopping from one open-door live music spot to the next, were some of the most poppin’ evenings I’ve ever gotten to enjoy in my life! Although I have yet to return to Austin since that grand old outing in 2018, I am open-minded to any works that can keep me updated as to how the rockin’ musical landscape in that region is doing these days.

Thus, an artist like Skateland (real name: Dorian Williams, Jr.), who’s currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, is just the type of guy to grab my attention. When he’s not busy working on his PhD (bit of an oxymoron there, I know), Skateland makes plenty of room for his side passion in music. He’s already released his debut EP, New Wave Revival, and appeared at the SXSW Festival (hey, it’s right down the block, so might as well, right?). Next up is his first release of the new year, entitled “Autobahn!”

“”The narrator begins the song with what he presumes is a breakup speech,” Skateland explains, “but somehow along the way concedes that, for better or worse, he will always love this person, and that the tough parts of loving someone are what make it worth it in the end.” It’s sincere lyrical matter, and the synth-y production by Skateland’s fellow Austin dweller, 10pmtoclose, seals the song’s status as a promising first step for the new year. Further poppin’ tracks and a second appearance at SXSW surely can’t be all too far behind.

:: “Clean Cut” – Charm of Finches ::

Chloe Robinson, California

Aussie indie-pop pair Charm of Finches has concocted a striking dark folk laced piece. “Clean Cut” provides advice we could all use after a tough break-up, “make a clean cut.” The moody track captivates listeners with hypnotizing harmonies and haunting string arrangements. The visuals are equally as eerie, creating the world of a spooky doll museum. The duo reveals, “We created a music video for this song with the help of lots of friends who were willing to dress up as dolls and clowns. This was a huge 22 hour shoot in a warehouse in Melbourne.”

Charm of Finches is comprised of sisters Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes. The two create beguiling offerings emitting a rich indie pop/folk sonic. They touch on themes of love, loss and nature. As young as 8 years old they took up the violin and cello. Not long after, Mabel also learned to play guitar. That was the catalyst for the twosome to begin writing songs together. Now they have truly honed in on their profound musical style. “Clean Cut” puts their enchantment on full display.

:: “rarespawn” – Shoplifting ::

Will Yarbrough, Philadelphia, PA

The ’90s came back into fashion a long time ago, but no one is mixing and matching the styles of that decade quite like Jamie Penn. The South Londoner couldn’t have picked a better pen name. While branded as shoegaze, Shoplifting swipes just as much from chiptune and jungle.

But Shoplifting amounts to more than just the sum of his influences. By blurring the timelines between those older, niche subgenres and what’s trending on TikTok, MIXTAPE encapsulates the dizzying speed of Internet life. American Football, London raves, a rousing speech from an Irish cult classic, mumble rap, Super Mario — everything zips together with just the click of a button in Ableton. That a twenty year old managed to compress so much future nostalgia in under 20 minutes is almost too much to process, but this EP is such a blast that you’d never guess a good chunk of it came together while Penn was hiding in his dorm if it weren’t for “rarespawn.”

It’s easy to spot bits of my younger self in “rarespawn.” “You would’ve loved to see the inside of my room / there’s so many things perfect for you,” Penn mumbles like he’s trying to hide behind his guitar. Even if you’re protected by a screen, connecting with people can still hurt. Heck, sometimes the fear of rejection is enough for me to curl up in bed with Bon Iver. But Shoplifting never lets Penn get too comfortable. Sure, it’s awkward, and a bit painful. But when the squeaky acoustics morph into a skittering breakbeat, it’s like he’s putting himself back out there, despite the risk.

:: “Do you wanna” – Astrid Sonne ::

Kevin Cost, Austin, TX

Astrid Sonne is finally beckoning to be heard with her latest; by way of speech, she has unmasked herself through sultry plumes of lyricism coinciding with the familiar instrumentals that have always showcased her excellence. It instills whoever wants to pay attention to what is needed, but requires a mandatory rule of keeping your oxygen mask on for breathing room.

“Do you wanna” is an impactful example of how transmitting a soulful message of compassion can be seen through the cracked lens of someone who has no empathy and distorts the illustration of “Do you wanna have a baby?” into a puzzle. The drums pace along with a steady awareness, but in the background, you hear a subtle depressive piano trio of chords, almost like a fee-fi-fo-fum sort of attitude buzzing at the thought of how bittersweet it can feel to say “I really don’t know.”

Sound can be defined through an encyclopedia of different lenses, but creating the multiple intricacies of a song solely through instruments becomes a different art form. Astrid provides a masterclass, expressing emotions that articulate a certain side of your brain and beyond what words within lyrics define. Communicating through these different lenses, it reveals itself in the purest form of an ambient yet a totally heartbreaking tone.

This second track follows the fluttering intro, “Light and heavy,” to her latest album, Great Doubt, and mirrors what she has been doing since the latest outside of your lifetime, along with the critically acclaimed EP, Cliodynamics. Astrid Sonne keeps dipping her toes into the solidifying, purely concrete genre-defying compositions we all need to keep searching for.

:: “Niamh” – Rosso Rosso ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Three eras of music came to mind the first time I heard Rosso Rosso’s “Niamh“: The classic pop of the 1960s (think The Beach Boys and The Beatles); early ‘70s Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie; and the pop/rock of the late ’90s (think Semisonic, New Radicals, and let’s even throw Hootie in there for good measure). That this Brooklyn band managed to somehow magically merge these two distant worlds is, to me, a phenomenal achievement – and indicative of their latent greatness. The four-piece of Conor Newton, Mike Palmieri, Kieran Scannell, and Dan Mueller, Rosso Rosso (which translates to “red, red” from Italian) are not even a year old, and yet I’m already hooked on their catchy hooks, their jangling, dramatic melodies, and their provocative, charming lyrics. Viens avec moi? Oui bien sûr!

Niamh’s thinking of leaving town
Her things are packed, her feet are off the ground
And I’ve found
That if the wind blows east, she’ll head west now
She’s over the Antrim glens
She boards the hooker headed off the ledge
Of this earth
But I am of the sod

Released December 1st, “Niamh” is the band’s fourth overall song release following “The Stoned Ape Hypothesis,” “Burlap Tuxedo,” and “Mamatomy.” A story of wayward souls departing the nest – and of the loved ones they leave behind – “Niamh” can’t help but remind me of The Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home”; it’s a lyric, and a melody, that would make Sir Paul proud. The band hit their high in a captivating, spirited, and instantly memorable chorus:

She said, “Viens avec moi”
The last time that I saw her
“Viens avec moi”
You’re going way too far

“I originally wrote ‘Niamh’ on my girlfriend’s upright piano,” Conor Newton tells Atwood Magazine. “It was a love song then. But after a dinner with my [98 year old] grandmother, it took a new form. She told me about her journey across the Atlantic, and the things – and people – she left behind in Ireland. Those images; a young woman’s departure from home; an unresolved romance; the history and mythology of a land: it all really resonated with me.”

“In the studio, the song came together even more, with Mike [Palmieri] and I fleshing out the track’s vocal arrangement. We added a trumpet and guitar to the bridge – which we wanted to float, darken, and undulate. To that effect, we actually stitched the section together using samples of our playing, often looped or reversed. The end comes crashing down, and all that’s left is the sound of the ocean.”

She tried to seduce herself
With promises of being someone else
(Someone else)
There’s no shame in feeling underwhelmed
Sail over that angry sea
And sea that Niamh is thinking not of me
Tell her please
The Boyne’s still green

Cathartic, churning, charismatic, and charged, “Niamh” is an instant hit in my book. I’ll be playing this song all weekend long, and I encourage everyone reading this to lend Rosso Rosso your ears as well: Listen ’til you’re red, red in the face, perhaps?

She said, “Viens avec moi”
The last time that I saw her
“Viens avec moi”
You’re going way too far
“Viens avec moi”
The last time that I saw her
“Viens avec moi”
You’re going way too far

:: “Una vida” – Club del Río ::

Frankie Rose, UK

Club del Río are a group from Madrid who have been releasing music since 2014 when their debut album Monzón came out. It’s totally feel-good and pure with typically folky elements that take us into a moment of calmness. Their latest single, “Una Vida” (released 5 January), is bursting with warmth. The guitars trail as though we’re stretching out under the sun and the chill stoner vibes encourage us to appreciate the present. The lyrics match that too, exploring the magic of existence.

Nací debajo de un montón de hojas
Rondando una constelación
Y en un reguero una esperanza puesta
Una vida, una aparición

The beginning of the year always feels uneventful and gray. If you’re living somewhere that’s in the midst of winter, allow this song to transport you to summertime where everything feels so much sweeter and more positive.

:: “Don’t Tell Me It’s Over” – RIP Dunes ::

Julia Dzurillay, New Jersey

This is the year of ‘80s-tinged indie music. After streaming Wednesday’s Rat Saw God non-stop, RIP Dunes (fronted by Matthew Iwanusa) is a welcome addition to the rotation — complete with noticeable influence by The Cure in originals like “Don’t Tell Me It’s Over.”

“I wrote a lot of it when I was stuck in my apartment during Covid and didn’t even know what I was going to do with the songs,” he wrote on Instagram.

And, after attending the ex-Caveman’s set in New York, this artist solidified his niche “cool guy” East Village-y aesthetic. He could open for artists like Faye Webster, Tanukichan, or Zzzahara, with a clear vision and an inclination toward alternative, almost crunchy country-adjacent music. Until then, we’ll be waiting with our fist in the air, Breakfast Club-style.

:: “Dorian Gray” – Llewelyn ::

Connor Muldowney, Washington, DC

Dorian Gray” off of Llewelyn’s Disposable Culture features a well constructed horror narrative about inevitable rot and decay. The narrator, much like the character the song takes its name after, displays delusion, as he fails to recognize his own face due to aging. Not liking his own reflection, he refers to what he sees in the mirror as an “it” to distance himself. He requests of the listener,

Avert your gaze
Please look away
It wears my face

The harmony limbers back and forth between a minor and a flat augmented chord at sections of minimalist guitar strumming and spectral moans. Right before the two minute mark, a labored horror string seeps into the mix of this, building up into the sharp tearing of E and F power chords. Frontman Aaron screeches “a ghost in my reflection, it wears my face.” He’s reached the height of his fury and delusion. And he’s no longer making a request, he’s making a demand.

:: “7 Up” – Phoebe Go ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Formerly of Aussie dream pop band Snakadaktal, Phoebe Lou reintroduced herself as solo artist Phoebe Go just two years ago, and I’ve been more or less smitten with everything she’s shared ever since. From her hauntingly beautiful and radiantly raw debut EP Player (October ’22) to last October’s charming and charged single “Something You Were Trying,” Lou has emerged as one of Melbourne’s brightest voices in the indie pop space. Her latest single “7 Up,” released on January 31, continues that streak as the singer/songwriter begins to tease her forthcoming debut album (slated for later this year). Unapologetically candid lyrics wrapped in a cinematic soundtrack find Lou opening her heart and soul in song, channeling inner tension and turmoil into an achingly intimate cathartic release:

You got a free ride to Silver Lake
You got a good side and your mama’s ache
You got a half-smile and a lemonade
You’re doing alright when you’re alright
You got a free ride to Silver Lake
You had a rough night but they liked your face
You didn’t realise what the label takes
You gotta moonlight, just in case

“To me this song has a kind of recklessness and a rush about it but maybe that’s the whole point. That’s how letting go feels sometimes,” the artist tells Atwood Magazine. “The lyrics feel like the words of a page ripped straight from Phoebe’s journal, because they pretty much are – honest and introspective.”

“I didn’t plan on writing this song, but I think it was time. I guess I realized that I’d been putting someone else before myself for a while, which is sweet, you know, but it gets old and it gets tiring. ‘7 Up’ is about seeing something through different eyes. It’s about setting some shit straight.”

You said you’d come back for me somehow
But it freaks me out that you call it Seven Up now
You said you’d come back for me someday
But the angel on my back thinks you’re a gateway
And I tried to forget how much
How much you hurt me
And I dragged myself into thе mess you love
Deliriously, dеliriously (yeah)

No one does brooding quite like Phoebe Go: At once finessed and unapologetically raw, “7 Up” is the emotional exhale we needed to reconnect with ourselves once again at the top of this year. It’s a cleanse; a fresh start; a slow-burn anthem that will have us feeling refreshed, renewed, and ready for whatever life throws our way. Get on the Phoebe Go train now, as she’s about to leave the station; next stop, stardom. (Yes, I know how corny that reads; I don’t care.)

:: “Forever” – Hovvdy ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Hovvdy’s dusty, dynamic brand of indie folk is ever-evolving and ever-enchanting – and the duo’s latest is especially easy to fall for. Released today (alongside news of the band’s forthcoming fifth album), “Forever” is charming to the point of disarming; a sweet outpouring of love expressed through a poetic conversation with your partner. It’s an outstretched hand set to a comforting, cathartic soundscape of bustling acoustic guitars, tastefully layered vocal harmonies, glistening piano chords, gentle harmonica blasts, and just the right of atmospheric production to make you feel like you’re not sitting at home, but rather in some expansive Texan field, with the southern sun shining its light down through a late afternoon haze.

In other words, “Forever” is romantic, radiant, and instantly heartwarming.

Baby take a breather
You know you’ve been freaking out
How I wanna cool you off
Like your favorite season with the windows down
Blowing through your hair like wind
Before a big rain
Blowing through your hair like wind
Before a big rain
Will I always love you
Yeah, I’ll fall forever…

Following last year’s singles “Jean,” “Bubba,” and “Portrait,” “Forever” is the fourth single taken off Hovvdy’s forthcoming self-titled double-album Hovvdy, out April 26 via Arts & Crafts.

“It’s a full circle, because lots of my songs, in adulthood, deal with looking back and seeing your parents as just individuals struggling through life – and trying to have more empathy or understanding. And now Will is diving in from the opposite side as a new parent, grappling with all that,” says Charlie Martin, who spearheads Hovvdy together with his friend and bandmate Will Taylor. “We’re trying to stretch out and create a tapestry of everything we can do.”

“On this album, we tried to really step back and look at: How can we convey our songwriting in a new way?” Taylor adds. “It challenged the songs we brought, and it challenged me to be more vulnerable.”

That high bar and inner drive certainly seems to have won out on “Forever,” as Hovvdy deliver Southern charm through a soft cinematic lens that wraps around the ears like a blanket of love.

You were first born
I’m a two kid
At the front door
We were caught up in it
Blame it on a season
Man it don’t get this dark
This time of year where I’m from
And after all is spoke and done
We can be honest
Are you having another hard time
I saw you hanging your head by the window
Saw you wipe your eyes
Maybe some help is worth a try
Maybe some help will work this time
Goddamn I swear I will always love you
Yeah, I’ll fall forever

:: “26 (Ni Tarde, Ni Temprano)” – Nicole Zignago ::

Chloe Robinson, California

There is a quote that states, “You are exactly where you are supposed to be.” When we are younger we tend to fantasize about what grown up life will look like. Moved out of the house by this age, married in are late 20s or 30s. Life isn’t always that precise though. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves it’s okay to veer a little off track. Nicole Zignago’s new indie-pop piece “26 (Ni Tarde, Ni Temprano)” is all about coming to terms with the passing of time and understanding it is alright to be on your own path. Singing the song entirely in Spanish, she stunningly conveys a concept that is utterly real and raw.

Zignago is a Grammy nominated Latin singer/songwriter possessing a pop style bursting with vibrancy. Her silky, passionate vocals soar atop serene beats and listeners are lured into that lulling quality. This single emits that same angelic atmosphere. She is preparing to showcase that unique sound as an opener for JP Saxe on his upcoming US tour.

:: “Never Home” – Twin Hector ::

Grace Holtzclaw, Los Angeles, CA

Twin Hector caught my attention on his new single “Never Home” because of the enticingly sweet sonics at the core of the track that draw you in like a bee to honey. Paired with a vocal that floats like helium and beats that dissolve like cotton candy, “Never Home” is nothing short of a sugar rush.

Written about his battle to keep one foot on the ground in spite of his boundless imagination, “Never Home” captures the natural tendency for creative types to drift away. Swimming beneath an intoxicating daydream of rhythmics lies a universal toss-up; should I follow my passion even though it may isolate me? “Never Home” surfaces our innermost insecurities over mesmerizing peaks and undeniably blunt lyricism.

:: “Heart Beats” – Kinley ::

Julius Robinson, California

There are some people you may know that cannot stand to be alone. They constantly bounce from one relationship to the next, feeling as if they have to have someone there to feel whole. Teen pop singer Kinley reminds us to not be defined by a relationship, your heart beats on its own with “Heart Beats.” Her profound lyrics are sung over bold, refreshing rhythms inspiring others to know they will be okay. Whether it is a friendship or romantic partnership, if the relationship is one-sided, do not be afraid to walk away.

Los Angeles-based Kinley Cunningham is an artist who puts so much heart and soul into everything she does. Beginning with a deep fervor for dance, she had won two national titles by the time she was nine. Cunningham took that love for the arts and continued to seek more passions leading to singing and acting as well. Releasing this new intoxicating single, listeners can feel that immense drive.

:: “Come and Gone” – La Poré ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York


:: “Twe Twe” – Kizz Daniel & Davido ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

It’s seriously incredible how thoroughly one can be transported to West Africa in the short space of two minutes and 23 seconds. The effect is pulled off to the max by native Nigerian Afrobeat-makers Kizz Daniel and Davido, who first collaborated on the 2018 single “‘One Ticket” and now are finally back for a reunion with the hugely infectious jam, “Twe Twe.”

In addition to the lush production– served up by the combined efforts of local talents Killertunes, Blaisebeatz and AyZed– “Twe Twe” is given some serious African seasoning by its largely Yoruba-sung lyrics. “Vado Won ni things ti won, Won ni omo won, Won ni car ti won,” Kizz sings in the opening moments in the song, and he sticks to his native language for much of the ensuing tracks. The small handful of quasi-English lyrics indicate that these two are quite the flirtatious fellows: “Hello hello. Madam, you are hot. Shey we fit link up inside my helicopter?” Kizz offers. The African imagery that the song itself conjures is further driven home with its music video, in which those hot Madams can be caught “fit linking up” not in a helicopter, but in the duo’s African wallpaper-lined living room. It’s a sight to behold, indeed, and it’s great that Kizz Daniel and Davido finally decided to reconnect after a six-year hiatus.

:: “Love Is” – Ingrid Michaelson & Jason Mraz ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

As we near Valentine’s Day, I can’t think of a more romantic song than Ingrid Michaelson and Jason Mraz’s beautiful new duet. Released today, “Love Is” is exactly what it claims to be: A summation, to the best of these two acclaimed songwriters’ abilities, of that unparalleled intimate connection we all strive for in our lives.

Home is wherever you are
You’re the moon and the stars
And the sun to me
Home is wherever you are
Life it’s just better with you
Let’s just keep going
And going through and through
Life is just better with you

“This song is about the most human connection, love,” Michaelson shares. “Love for a significant other, a friend, a child, a pet. (We love our pets a whole lot.)” Gentle and tender, vulnerable and true, “Love Is” resonates with the heat of two hearts beating as one.

Lonely days are far away
Wherever together we just have forever
The only way to spend a day
Is simply to be here with you
Love is wherever you are
And I don’t have to go very far
I’m home in your arms
Love is wherever you are
Love is wherever you are
At the end of the day, what I’ll do
Is come home to you
Love is wherever you are
Home is wherever you are
Life is just better with you

— — — —

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