Atwood Magazine’s Weekly Roundup: March 29, 2024

Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | March 29, 2024
Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup | March 29, 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 Tyla, Medium Build, Waxahatchee, Fantastic Cat, The Gaslight Anthem, The Last Dinner Party, Ride, Julia Logan, 3kelves, Starwolf, TOLEDO, Merce Lemon, AWOLNATION, Aluminum, Night Flight, Jay Kent, Karin Ann, Jamie Hannah, Knives, & MONTE!
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Atwood Magazine's Weekly Roundup

:: TYLA – Tyla ::

Julia Dzurillay, New Jersey

This Grammy Award-winning artist is making us sweat. Last week, Tyla released her self-titled album TYLA, with standouts like “Truth or Dare,” “Safer,” and the already TikTok famous “Water.” The album, as a whole, sounds inspired by R&B classics, while maintaining that easy listenability of forward-thinking pop music.

“Looking back at it now having traveled and everything,” Tyla said during an interview with Ebony. “I realized that growing up in South Africa was really fun. Music is huge in Africa. I feel like a drowned me as an artist.”

It feels fresh, bright, and steamy in all the ways you want end-of-March music to exude. Especially considering this is a debut album, Tyla is beyond impressive, and the perfect collection to stream while pining for warmer weather.

:: “Knowing U Exist” – Medium Build ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Spring has sprung up here in the Hudson Valley, and with it comes that innate, inevitable desire to lose oneself in sweet, serene acoustic dreams – for what is downtempo folk balladry, if not the perfect springtime soundtrack? Enter “Knowing U Exist,” the latest Medium Build single – and a truly beautiful two-and-a-half minute love song.

Reminiscent of The Goo Goo Dolls’ “Acoustic #3,” boygenius’ “Cool About It,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” and Harry Styles’ “From the Dining Table” off his solo debut (which remains a super underrated part of the Styles catalog, if I may say so myself), “Knowing U Exist” is a tranquil, tender, and intimate confessional: “F***, I just love laughin’ with you, the way your face gets all scrunched up,” Medium Build sings sweetly into our ears, his gentle voice hot on the mic and a radiant acoustic guitar in his lap as he plunders the contents of his very full heart. “F***, I just love starin’ at you, when you’re chewin’ on your tongue.” The charm of his poetry lies in its specificity; with just a few lines, Medium Build exposes little details that bring us deep into his world.

The song’s chorus is an endearing, smile-inducing moment of unflinching gratitude and sincerity that captures, in so few words, how easily love can calm a tortured soul. “And when the nasty thoughts come rushin’ in to meet me, knowing you exist takes a load off me.” The words are simple, direct, and honest.

“This song is about love. This song is about friendship,” Medium Build, aka singer/songwriter Nick Carpenter, shared upon his song’s release in mid-March. “I wish I knew how to say I love you in a normal way.”

F***, I just love snackin’ with you
Seeing what you get
F***, I just love teasin’ on you
And calling you a “b**ch”
I get heavy and I think too much
I get loud when I drink
And when the nasty thoughts
come rushin’ in to meet me
Knowing you exist takes a load off me
Just knowing you exist takes a load off me

I would argue – as so many friends and fans have done in the comments section – that “Knowing U Exist” is plenty normal. Love lies in the silly little details, doesn’t it? Laughin’, snackin’, teasin’… these are the special shared moments that make up the best parts of a romance.

That Carpenter gets to drop a couple f-bombs is just the cherry on top. Haven’t you ever loved someone so much, that you had to swear as loud as you could?! “F***, I love you!” Try it! It feels really, really good.

“Knowing U Exist” is the last single before Medium Build’s new album Country arrives on April 5. Recently, Atwood Magazine named Medium Build as one of our 2024 artists to watch, and rightly so. Billed as a record built with a human touch, Country already promises to be one of the alternative/indie world’s best releases of the year, as is evidenced by its four promotional singles, each of which hits hard and leaves a bit of Nick Carpenter’s heart and soul behind.

As for me, I’ll be getting all up in my feels all season long, thanks to the sweet acoustic stylings of Medium Build and his breathtakingly beautiful new song.

:: “All My Fault” – Fantastic Cat ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Forget music; anyone following Fantastic Cat on social media knows they could give Monty Python a run for their money as the next big comedy troupe. Simply put, their posts are hilarious – clever, too. Alas, the New York band of four singer/songwriters are really good at making music, too, and for the foreseeable future, they’re sticking with that… So move over, Traveling Wilburys! Fantastic Cat are taking over.

And they’re doing so with tongue firmly lodged in cheek. 2022’s debut album The Very Best of Fantastic Cat introduced us to the supergroup of friends-turned-bandmates Brian Dunne, Don DiLego, Anthony D’Amato, and Mike Montali through a collection of radiant, resonant, and undeniably fun folk rock songs that shone with a singular light. Each member has led a successful solo career in his own right, but together, Fantastic Cat are so much more than the sum of their parts – which is why everyone from yours truly at Atwood Magazine to the good people at Rolling Stone called them a “supergroup you need to know.”

For their upcoming sophomore album, Now That’s What I Call Fantastic Cat (out June 7), Fantastic Cat have signed with Missing Piece Records and announced a 38+ day spring and summer North American tour (featuring support from Headline and Low Cut Connie) that will take them all over the US and Canada. The announcement comes alongside the release of groovy lead single “All My Fault,” a spirited singalong that finds the band in high spirits – in the pocket and in their prime with a sunny, high-energy tune we’ll be humming all season long.

“We wrote ‘All My Fault’ just before our first show at the Bowery Ballroom, right around the time we realized we didn’t have enough songs for our first show at the Bowery Ballroom,” the band tells Atwood Magazine. “This project started as an escape from the self-seriousness inherent in our respective solo careers, and this song in particular takes the piss out of all that ego and delusion.”

It’s fun, it’s light-hearted, it’s insanely catchy, and it’s a great time for all: “All My Fault” is quintessential Fantastic Cat, in that it feels good, sounds freakin’ fantastic, and leaves you with a smile on your face and a pep in your step. I can say with absolute certainty that Now That’s What I Call Fantastic Cat will be yet another folk rock triumph from the supergroup as they continue to marry quality songwriting with stunning harmonies and beautiful melodies, a tasteful touch of humor. If you have the chance to see them live on their 2024 tour (tickets and more information here), take the opportunity to indulge in a night full of laughs and cheerful, charming folk rock – all courtesy of the very fantastic Fantastic Cat!

:: “Right Back to It” – Waxahatchee ::

Frankie Rose, UK

I don’t know about you but my mind is very much in springtime mode. The days are more luminous, the temperature slightly warning, the blossom is on the trees, and there’s a feeling of rejuvenation bubbling deep within me. The new album by Waxahatchee, Tigers Blood, is perfect for this, something which was also the case with last album  Saint Cloud, released at the end of March 2020.

Right Back to It” was the first single to be taken from Tigers Blood and the sweet melancholy continues to tug at the senses like a comforting hug. The song also features MJ Lenderman and their vocals harmonize softly together. In the accompanying video, we’re drifting down a stream surrounded by trees and a warming sunset which adds to the ambiance. “Right Back to It” and the album Tigers Blood (which follows the same style as Saint Cloud) are like reverting to the familiar, knowing what works and feels right and embracing that.

:: “Ocean Eyes” – The Gaslight Anthem & Karyna Rykman ::

Jimmy Crowley, New York

On the surface, it may not seem like The Gaslight Anthem have many similarities with Billie Eilish. The Gaslight Anthem are a heartland punk group from New Jersey who lean into the influences of down-to-earth rockers who have come before them with anthems that recall Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and others. Billie Eilish has been one of the most interesting popstars of the past decade, with a knack for clever lyrics, a powerhouse of a voice that can go from a whisper to a belt with ease, and she’s half the age of most of the members of The Gaslight Anthem.

While they may not seem like the most likely of pairings (though Brian Fallon has shown his affinity for pop music many times in the past), The Gaslight Anthem kicked off their new EP History Books Short Stories with an excellent take on “Ocean Eyes,” from Eilish’s debut album. Where the original song is very soft and almost whispered, the band places power chords and Fallon howls the chorus in a manner that can make waves.

Even though The Gaslight Anthem take some liberties with the sounds of the song, the lyrics remain intact, and the imagery is certainly fitting for the band’s general demeanor of longing for both love and a bygone era. “You really know how to make me cry when you give me those ocean eyes” and “Burning cities and napalm skies” work very well alongside “We can take a seat at the bar with the other broken heroes” and “Nights of smoke and dirty jokes.” Here’s to hoping that TGA give their amped up takes on more pop songs.

:: Prelude to Ecstasy – The Last Dinner Party ::

Emma Rayder, New York, NY

I’ve spent the last few months punching the air and asking, “Where was The Last Dinner Party when I was 16?” Technically, they were also sophomores at a Catholic high school, which is probably why their debut album, Prelude to Ecstasy, resonates with me in the way that it does. The band – led by founders Abigail Morris, Lizzie Mayland, and Georgia Davis – met at university in London in 2020, while studying English literature. By rule of thumb, albums that begin with a prelude are written by artists who have a deep appreciation for the classics (literature and music alike) – and The Last Dinner Party get downright biblical.

Certain tracks touch on religion more overtly, blurring the lines between heavenly devotion and earthly desire. Lines like “I wish I knew you / Back when we were both small,” and “I wish I knew you / When touch was innocent,” from “Sinner,” recall themes of original sin and first communion, while also portraying a lover’s jealousy. “Teach me how to do as you do / Guide me, show me how,” from “My Lady of Mercy,” purposely confuses childhood prayer with lust. My favorite song on the album, “The Feminine Urge,” tells a tale as old as time (or the Bible itself) – a woman’s inclination to fix what she did not break.

I am a dark red liver stretched out on the rocks
All the poison, I convert it and I turn it to love
Here comes the feminine urge, I know it so well
To nurture the wounds my mother held

With equally rich vocals and instrumentals, The Last Dinner Party shows the two sides to ecstasy in a new (or very old) light.

:: “Peace Sign” – Ride ::

Connor Muldowney, Washington, DC

The opening track off Ride’s brand-new seventh studio album Interplay, “Peace Sign” feels extremely reassuring despite its energy and flare. The song paints a picture of someone reaching out for help, but without the baggage of desperation. Rather, it reminds me of the feeling of someone else asking for help when I was scared to. The lyrics explore attempts to settle anxiety through progressive rock imagery:

Tonight, the feeling inside
Is a tension that’s outside of time
As you climb, the face of the rock
Has a feeling that’s winding you tight
It’s alright, your instincts are always right

I love the breezy sound of the guitar, and the simple but effective riff. Subtle vocal hums radiate throughout the song as well, providing hints of comfort. The song does a great job communicating a feeling of relief. Production credits show all four members worked on arrangements for each track. This is a band in a sort of “second wind” of its career after a split, and they are well acquainted with each other at this point. Polish and coherency is to be expected, but what struck me about the track was how “fresh” it felt. It’s a fun sound that could have easily come from a newer band. This is a band with good instincts.

:: “Top of the World” – Julia Logan ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

At first blush, you’d think “Top of the World” was some long-lost hit from the ’70s; the similarities to Fleetwood Mac and Carole King are instant and abundant, but that’s more a testament to Julia Logan’s talent and vision than anything else. Pulling from her roots both in Stockholm, Sweden and southern California, the definitely contemporary singer/songwriter weaves a Laurel Canyon-esque vibe throughout her catchy, sun-kissing soft rock sound. Released March 22 via Mayborn Music / Dumont Dumont, “Top of the World” is Logan’s first release in two years; made in collaboration with her producer and co-writer Daniel Bengtson (First Aid Kit, M Ward, James Yorkston), the track is the first single off her forthcoming sophomore album Faraway Nearby (out this fall).

Houses, friendships, places you thought you knew
Hardships, righteous, faces, a change in views
We’ve come too far, to turn back time
To turn around
You know you are a wandering scar
You’ll hit the ground
It’s such a loss
When you’ve got no redemption
What became of you

“I wrote ‘Top of the World’ with my producer Daniel Bengtson in his studio,” Logan shares. “It came from a conversation we had and a piano melody which grew into a song. The song deals with personal changes and fears, depression, getting older, and navigating societal expectations. We recorded the demo with only piano and a guitar and wanted to keep that sparseness in the final version and not overload it with production. I think we captured the sonic mood we we’re going for — and I think the song is a good introduction to my next chapter for the new album.”

An enchanting mix of melancholia and hope, “Top of the World” aches with raw vulnerability and heartfelt emotion as Logan reflects on the world around her and the one within. She’s alone, yet yearning for connection to something greater than herself, coming to a beautiful climax in the song’s tender, impassioned chorus:

At the top of the world I saw you
In the heartache alley I saw you man
Can’t see the skyline, no no
Into the night

No, she’s not from the 1970s, but Julia Logan is still an instant classic: Someone we should be paying very close attention to over the coming months, both for her undeniable prowess as a songwriter and vocalist, and for her radiant, spirited, soul-stirring sound.

:: Lucas 루카스 – 3kelves ::

Chloe Robinson, California

3kelves’ songs are such a joy to listen to with their laid-back, infectious grooves. The eccentric fusion of indie-pop and electro make the project the perfect addition to any vibey playlist. The artist has just unveiled an EP entitled Lucas 루카스, and each song is just as seductive as the next. The deeply personal 5-track collection showcases 3kelves’ trips around the world where he met other producers in person after initially meeting them online during the pandemic from Discord Servers.

The first track “Tides” feels like a tidal wave with its ethereal, beachy quality. “Shallow” has a similar relaxing radiance as it washes over us with funk-driven synths. The record concludes with “Nonsense,” which transports listeners to an atmospheric paradise. Warm vocals melt over a kaleidoscopic blend of sounds, and we are instantly pulled in. The message is just as captivating, detailing remaining positive in times of turmoil.

South Korea-born and San Francisco-based Taewook Lucas Kang, aka 3kelves is a DJ, producer, and songwriter who exploded onto the dance scene after winning Disclosure’s remix competition – twice. Now he releases effervescent electronic music opening for greats like Purple Disco Machine and Duck Sauce.

:: Starwolf ::

Miles Campbell, Washington, DC

I’m an advocate of genre-bending and nothing appeals to me more than fusing styles on opposite ends of the sonic spectrum, but was skeptical in my initial perception of Starwolf’s self-proclaimed hybrid genre “psychedelic disco” – mainly because I longed for it to be done right. My first thought – Kevin Parker meets the Bee Gees – difficult, but how undeniably intriguing would that be to pull off.

This young St. Louis outfit has it figured out. They’re layering the pieces together to create something entirely unique, with the recent notable addition of bassist Tim Lefebvre (known for his work with David Bowie and Empire of the Sun, amongst others). “Get Down Tonight” features entrancing synth runs complimented by a head-nodding disco beat, reverb-y vocals and spacey, somewhat sci-fi effects, a testament to the psychedelic nature of the band’s work.

“Get Down Tonight” is refreshing; it’s not overdone or drowned out with effects but rather crisp and bright. Two distinct styles mesh perfectly creating a fusion of sound that doesn’t lean one way or the other, but rather defines my understanding and hopeful expectation of psychedelic disco. I’m certainly following along the development of this group – especially as their next record will be mixed by Jason Kingsland, known for his work with Washed Out and Belle and Sebastian.

:: “In Yr Head (1818)” – TOLEDO ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

“We are prepared to divide fans on this one,” TOLEDO shared (rather excitedly) on the run-up to their latest single. Released March 14, “In Yr Head (1818)” is a dramatic sonic evolution for the Brooklyn duo of Daniel Alvarez de Toledo and Jordan Dunn-Pilz, and yet it’s still got that same dreamy, vulnerable, and charming TOLEDO DNA that we’ve fallen in love with through 2019’s Jockeys of Love EP and 2022’s debut album, How It Ends. Dramatic and sweeping and fully-electronic, “In Yr Head” is a cinematic five-minute reverie based on a relationship in Wong Kar-Wai’s 1995 film, Fallen Angels.

time will forget your heart in my hands
the weight of it
don’t let this fall apart for nothing
all to say:
i hope that when you look back
you find a way to move past
let everybody see you the way i used to
that dream in your head
the story that we built still stands
keeps you there, caught in a cycle
hiding in the lies you tell yourself

“In the simplest terms, the song is about change,” TOLEDO’s Jordan Dunn-Pilz explains. “People changing and moving forward. Usually we’d expound and speak on the lyrics in more literal terms, but it feels right to keep this song closer to the chest.”

“When we set out to make an electronic-leaning EP, we expected the result to be a goofy good time. It wasn’t until we started producing ‘In Yr Head’ that the project found an emotional core. We were excited about the vocal melody, but once the drum machine hit? That was the Big Bang for us. A marriage of the electronic experimentation with our familiar melancholy. The song title existed long before the song itself. We’re just fans of Wong Kar-wai.”

i hope the day you look back
that you’re only trying to turn around
to let everybody see you the way i used to
i can’t relapse, pick up the glass
and wash the blood from your hands

There’s an irreconcilable ache throughout “In Yr Head” that speaks to the raw tension in the room; for how beautifully atmospheric this song is, TOLEDO inevitably send shivers down the spine as they build out the song’s world, slowly and steadily, until it’s utterly all-consuming. I’ve never seen Wong Kar-Wai’s Fallen Angels, and while I should, I don’t need to have seen it in order to grasp the emotional depth, and the musical nuance, of this intimately expansive song.

but i hope someday you get there
and come find me in a place where
you can let them see the real you
don’t turn, you can’t efface again
i am trying to make you understand
i was only playing a role in your head

:: “Will You Do Me A Kindness” – Merce Lemon ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

Merce Lemon’s new single is the scab you shouldn’t pick, but you will. It’s a scrapbook of life’s little, fleeting moments – the kind that normally pass us by too fast for us to record them or put them to memory. It’s a haze of love and longing; of intimate connection, of raw emotion, and of that special, unflinching and unfiltered introspection that comes to us only in moments of total solitude and isolation.

I cook dinner with some friends
Tidy up the house tie up loose ends
Now the sun has yet to set
A little staring at the ceiling
Pick a book I never read
And I get lonely for a bit
Comes in waves and then it split
Like a kiss
That missed my lips
Will you do me a kindness?
Point the sun
Right into my flesh
I want nothing left
Will you do me a kindness?

Halfway between thunder and stillness, “Will You Do Me a Kindness” aches with the beauty and pain of a soul exposed. Released March 27 via Darling Recordings, Merce Lemon’s second single of the year (following a double-single with Colin Miller in January) finds the Pittsburgh-based artist ruminating on her life and times in what amounts to a cinematic and smoldering, vulnerable and visceral outpouring. Within the folds of six deeply cathartic and confessional minutes, Lemon dwells in moments of togetherness and loneliness, at once confronting and unpacking the many, often conflicting facets of the human experience. Her lyrics are vivid and poetic, her voice exceptionally expressive and just the right amount of ragged, her guitar overdriven and churning – all of which adds up to a breathtaking, soul-stirring fever dream of the alt rock-meets-indie folk variety.

The way a fly comes so quick
Through a door that’s swung open
Flung out chairs scatter the yard
While the wind does its whipping
From the porch a stranger’s song
And I get lonely I admit
Comes in waves and then it quit
Like a kiss that missed my lips
Will you do me a kindness?
Point the sun
Right into my flesh
I want nothing left

Lemon calls this song “a collage of moments, lines, and feelings I had gathered over the months.”

“One of the lines in this song is stolen from a haiku my mom wrote on a scrap of paper that was sitting on the kitchen table when I came over for dinner one night. Another line was given to me by a friend via text, something like ‘I wish I had the balls to use this line in a song.’ Sometimes a song spills out of you in one go, sometimes it comes to you in pieces. This one was a little bit of both,” she tells Atwood Magazine.

“The title comes from a quote I heard in the YouTube video of the crass Winnebago man and the rest kind of spilled out from there. It is a song close to my heart, the inescapable loneliness we feel as humans, the little things we notice when we are alone, the fear yet desire to give ourselves wholly to another.”

I’ll paint that hide cherry red
Leave no words to be said
Won’t wear my heart on my sleeve
So I can slip out, will you sleep?
Will you sleep? Will you sleep?
Will you sleep? Will you sleep?

For all those who love to get deep into the weeds of being alive, “Will You Do Me a Kindness” is a trip; Merce Lemon holds nothing back in her journey of self-reflection and inner reckoning, taking us with her as she delves into her innermost depths and pulls out something fragile, heartrending, and truly, undeniably beautiful.

And will you do me a kindness?
Point the sun
Right into my flesh
I want nothing left

:: “Panoramic View” – AWOLNATION ::

Christine Buckley, Mansfield, CT

Fans of AWOLNATION have been waiting four years for an original LP from the California-based rocker. He got many of us through the pandemic as one of those generous artists who piled on the livestreams, live renditions of his own songs, live covers, and even an entire covers album with a host of fabulous collaborators. Even his series of Instagram Lives with his music industry friends proved a welcome safe, soothing space as Aaron Bruno showed us that he’s not just incredible at penning a Beach Boys melody, placing it on a dubstep-meets-nu-metal bed, and alternating crooning and screaming over the top, but also a great conversationalist and a down-to-Earth dude.

He’s been talking about what he’s called his “last” album for more than a year, and although it makes this reviewer sob to think about “last,” his new song “Panoramic View” is the perfect intro to that upcoming album, due sometime this summer. The track has beautifully ringing guitars, a quintessential light Bruno melody with his bell-like voice over top. “It’s personal,” this song, something he says directly several times, and it seems like this is his final stall-setting and life-reflection before what might be the biggest album of his career.

Somewhere out there, still, I believe in magic
Let the monsters loose, I believe in magic
I won’t let them hurt you
Lay your hands on me, I believe in magic
A romantic fool, I believe in magic
I won’t let them hurt you

The bridge is a satisfying, beautiful homage to the cross-genre work that has always been AWOLNATION’s backbone: deep rumbling bass and jarring synth chords, followed by a brief trap beat before melting back into the melody, which carries us on the beautiful twinkling sea flowing through the song in the same way it flows under Bruno’s surfboards. AWOLNATION fans new and old will just grin from ear to ear over this one, and if it’s just a taste of what will come, let’s please bring on what’s to come.

:: “Behind My Mouth” – Aluminum ::

Kevin Cost, Austin, TX

Compared to their EP, Windowpane, which was tightly knit indie rock with a clear dreamy undertone and fuzz, San Francisco’s own Aluminum deliver a seedy single titled “Behind My Mouth,” off their debut, Fully Beat, due in May, with an atmospheric force.

The intro feels as if you are gearing up for the boxing match, hyping yourself up until you reach the center of the ring. It rides between the lip-clenching feel of a Stone Roses track and leaves the angst in the open for a more laid-back feel. It glides along with an addictive bass line and the repetitive “Do you ever see behind my mouth?”

:: “English Noise” – Night Flight ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

A favorite of our pages since their debut in 2018, London’s Night Flight have long captivated with a warm, wondrous sound that bridges the alternative rock and indie folk worlds. Their catalog – comprised of one EP and two studio albums – is a wonderland of rich, mellifluous harmonies, sweet, gentle and dramatic guitar strums, and endlessly dazzling melodies that swing high and swoop low, taking our ears and hearts on an engaging, enthralling adventure.

Following last year’s sophomore album Songs From Echo Zoo, the band returned today with the announcement of their new EP English Noise, the release of its dreamy, nostalgia-soaked title track, and the bittersweet departure of two founding members – Dan Webb and Oliver Halvorsen – leaving guitarists/songwriters Sam Holmes and Harry Phillips soldiering on together as a dynamic duo.

And dynamic, they are: “English Noise” is a magnificent letter to a lover wrapped in sun-kissed, emotionally-charged vocal harmonies laced with affection, connection, and longing.

“The lyrics in the verse talk of closure while the chorus examines their final summer together, when the outside world seemed to flourish whilst the wounds of their relationship continued to fester,” Sam Holmes tells Atwood Magazine. “There is something incredibly alienating about the cacophony of the world around us contrasting with the isolating emotion of falling out of love and no longer understanding someone the way you once did.”

summer came and summer went
I don’t even know how we ever paid our rent
While all the restless girls took out the restless boys
Drifting over the wall, came that English noise
Then summer came and left, along with you

Chills ripple down the spine as the chorus to “English Noise” rises and falls in a wondrous wave of poignant reverie, inviting its audience to join the band and dwell in a beautiful moment of romantic reflection. Flings and fun things with no name, they almost always have an end date; and in “English Noise,” Night Flight revive their memory for one more tryst – a final dalliance, that long last dance, a daring escape to Neverland. It’s colorful, charming, and all-consuming; enough to give all who listen a wistful smile as we let the music take us to some faraway moment in time that only we will ever know.

:: “Texting” – Jay Kent ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

Filipina singer Jay Kent has been chillin’ for a while since putting out her first two singles, “Just 2 Luv U” and “Infinity,” back in 2019. But having decided it’s time to snap back into action, Kent is back with her third official song release, entitled “Texting.”

A native of the city of Angeles on the island of Luzon, Kent sings about the ways in which finding love has now been irreversibly altered by the digital landscape of the modern era, and how texting has its limitations when it comes to romantic courtship. “People nowadays would do everything through text and I feel like typing your emotions down in a green or blue bubble doesn’t really show sincerity,” she explains. “Although it says ‘Delivered,’ how do you know if it’s been delivered to their heart and mind?”

On top of this thematic concept being compelling and relevant to modern times, the suave pop-friendly R&B production makes this all the more of an intriguing number. Text to Jay Kent: Please keep the high-quality tracks coming!

:: “she” – Karin Ann ::

Mitch Mosk, Beacon, New York

There’s something deeply freeing about Karin Ann’s “she“: From the opening moments where that thick guitar riff comes in and takes up all the air in the room, to the second the chorus kicks in and Ann invites everyone to dance, “she” is a cathartic fever dream ready to soothe our weary souls and lift our heavy spirits. Released February 9, the song is one of the first teases off the 21-year-old Slovakian singer/songwriter’s forthcoming debut album, and features vocals and production from Benjamin Lazar Davis (Okkervil River) and Joan As Police Woman.

But the who’s who matters less than the what’s what, in this case: Described quite aptly as “gothic disco-rock,” “she” is a dark, dramatic, and cleansing exhale from a body full of tension. That wave of relief we feel on Fridays, once the work week is over and we can have a few days to ourselves? Bottle that up, stick it in a song, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

she likes roses, and always sings in the car
she always puts herself in someone else’s skin
and she doesn’t like what’s on tv
always immersed in her dreams
she asks about mine
and always tells me, “you have to have some”

For Ann, creating a character allowed her to step into another skin and make what is ultimately a powerfully moving song.

“I don’t dive deep into the details of my songs; I enjoy letting people discover their own meanings and relate them to their own lives,” Karin Ann tells Atwood Magazine. “My struggle with insomnia often leads me to write during sleepless nights. One night, browsing through my phone notes, I stumbled upon a sentence that sparked inspiration. Most of my songs lean towards the sad or melancholic, but this particular lyric was different. I find it challenging to write happy songs, so it felt like creating this character allowed me the freedom to explore new territories with ‘she.’”

Ann comes to life in a spiritually charged chorus:

if someone ever
would take her to the dance floor
the world would disappear
the music would still be playing
her heartbeat so loud
even after everyone is gone
she’d still be dancing
dancing in her own mind
so dance with me
let the walls spin
come on dance with me
while the music’s still playing
so dance with me
time slipped through the cracks
just dance with me
before the sun comes up

For all those in need of release; for all those who love to let loose through dance; this is your song. “she” is everyone and anyone. Unleash yourself, courtesy of Slovakia’s Karin Ann.

she likes to wander the cities
she learned the streets by heart
her shadow tends to be her only friend
she owns a small apartment with a small door
with no elevator to the 5th floor
she just can’t afford more

:: “What If”- Jamie Hannah ::

Julius Robinson, California

We all ponder what could be. It is fun to dream up scenarios. We imagine what it would be like to have our dream career or dream relationship. British singer/songwriter Jamie Hannah concocts a stunning release leaning into the wild fantasies of the would be’s and what if’s. Entitled just that, “What If” explores the potential of a partnership and visualizing all that it could become. Poignant falsetto flows atop delicate piano keys to create a piece that pierces every part of our soul. Lyrics include, “what if we let our tears run dry, what if we’re more than just a night and hold each other tight.” Hannah sings those lines with complete gripping raw emotion and you are left in awe.

An artist with effortless range, his classical and operatic training comes in full force within his work. Through his intensely passionate tone and captivating lyricism there is an intimacy fans gravitate towards. Hannah takes inspiration from big icons such as MIKA and Freddie Mercury possessing a similarly impressive high-pitched tone. He displays that carefully crafted sound seamlessly with his new single. The track will leave you contemplating… what if.


:: “Headcase” – Knives ::

Josh Weiner, Washington DC

I have about as much trouble deciding what “post-punk” is as I do deciding what just about “post-anything” is (I have never, for the life of me, understood the term “postmodernism,” for instance). But I have a much easier time deciding that “Headcase” is indeed an energetic, infectious, and unapologetically profane new single from a self-described post-punk band from Bristol, England called “Knives.” Plus, since my parents are currently on a trip to Wales this weekend, it’s nice that I get to connect with them telepathically by scooping up some new tunes stemming out of that part of the western U.K.

The band says their goal with this track is to set the record straight on what it means to be “punk” in a day and age where that term is tossed around rather too liberally. “A punk could be a man in a suit and tie, not just a man with head tatts, braces, and a crooked smile,” they sing. Ultimately, they reject this common notion that to be “punk,” you have to be “living this carefree lifestyle, going around terrorizing places, [and] being loud and brash.” There are so many more paths to punkness that people ought to consider.

As can be inferred by the title of the EP that “Headcase” is to be featured on, What We See In Their Eyes, Knives are especially keen on presenting their views on all that they see, both in their native Bristol and in the greater world. It’s cool to see them take an initial stab at that process with their latest single, and it’ll be even cooler to see that process continued all the way through once the group releases that EP later this year.

:: “Dysfunctional Mess” – MONTE ::

Chloe Robinson, California

They say hindsight is 20/20. Oftentimes you look back at a toxic situation and wonder…how did I not see the signs? MONTE’s hard-hitting punk-rock single “Dysfunctional Mess” is all about missing a relationship’s red flags. With gravelly guitar riffs, booming bass lines and thrashing drums you sense the deep anger from a romance’s downfall. Caitlin Montclare (lead singer / guitarist) hopes she can help others going through something similar by sharing her own healing journey. “Dysfunctional Mess” is the ideal anthem for recovering from trauma and rediscovering yourself.

Montclare formed the boisterous band in 2017 adding drummer and audio engineer, Ismael Baiz and bassist Meghan Rose. The up and coming group is making waves in New York, playing prominent venues such as The Knitting Factory and The Bowery Electric. Inspired by 80s/90s icons such as Bad Religion and The Offspring, their bold sound possesses that same vibrant grit.

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